Sunday, December 19, 2010

Truth, Justice and The American Way

Yesterday the United States Senate voted to void the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law. The House did it earlier in the week and now it heads to the desk of the President for signing. Once the law is implemented the young men and women who put their lives on the line daily for my right to blog and your right not to read my blog will no longer have to hide their true nature.

I want to thank Senator Specter and Senator Casey for voting yes.

Which brings up the question.

Should we be thanking people for doing the right thing?

Or, should we just expect them to?

Either way the law was changed yesterday by the people’s representatives and not the courts, which is the way it should be.


Can I please get married?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ambassador Richard Holbrooke

I learned about the death of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke from Martha Stewart. I was reading my Twitter time line and it was her tweet that gave me the news that we all sensed was coming. I don’t mean to turn the death of Mr. Holbrooke into one of those “Where were you when you heard the news” moments and I don’t mean to mock the death of this American hero but it is somehow fitting that Martha Stewart would be break the news to me.

Ambassador Holbrooke lived in the rarefied world that is the inhabited by “The Elites” and I am not using Elites as a derisive term the way Sarah Palin refers to anyone with an education or influence or who has read a book. A great culture needs it’s elites for those geeky history buffs from small cities in Pennsylvania to admire and aspire to become.

Richard Holbrooke was born and raised in New York City the child of Jewish parents who fled the Holocaust but chose to raise their child as a Quaker in order to expand his world view. He is a graduate of both Brown and Princeton. A few weeks after his graduation Mr. Holbrooke answered the clarion call from his generations most shining light, John F. Kennedy. Mr. Holbrooke entered the Foreign Service and within a year he was fluent in Vietnamese and sent off to that hot-spot. Within 6 years he was participating in the Paris peace talks. During the early 70’s he left the Foreign Service and became the managing editor of the very influential Foreign Policy magazine and contributed to Newsweek. During the Carter administration he served as Assistant Secretary of State. Bill Clinton then appointed him Ambassador to Germany and then promoted him Assistant Secretary for Canada and Europe. There is a revolving door in the foreign policy business and Mr. Holbrooke left to return to the private sector and think tanks. He was called back to service as a civilian special envoy to the Balkans. It is in this role that Mr. Holbrooke earned his place in the history books. He was the architect of the Dayton Peace Accords which led to a lasting peace in what was Yugoslavia. In 1999 he was appointed to be the 22nd Ambassador to the United Nations.

Throughout all these years Richard Holbrooke could also found going to the best parties, attending fundraising galas and was often seen on the Society Pages of the New York Times. He was invited to dinner with Brooke Astor, gave insightful interviews on PBS, wrote policy papers that transformed the way governments around the world treated each other and was the toast of highest echelons of Washington, London, Paris, Tokyo and Beijing society. His widow is the frequent Vanity Fair contributing writer Kati Marton who was the third ex-wife of ABC newsman Peter Jennings. Holbrooke traveled in that rare world of money men, trophy wives, power brokers, media types, great authors, TV stars and academics. He was profiled endlessly by the reporters of NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post and the great newspapers around the world this week will note his passing with 1,000 of words of commentary. Brian Williams tonight gave his passing an entire segment between commercial breaks on the NBC Evening News.

Richard Holbrooke will be remembered as a great diplomat, a great thinker and a man who could make things happen. He brought warlords together and forced them into peace, he mobilized the global business community to join the global fight against AIDS, TB and Malaria. He was a board member for some of the greatest institutes and think tanks as well as the Museum of Natural History.

Most significantly Ambassador Richard Holbrooke never lost sight of his reason for entering government service in the first place, John Kennedy’s call to service. Richard Holbrooke served his nation well; he served it with dignity, class and sophistication. John F. Kennedy’s peers, the men and women he brought into government with him are often referred to as “The Best and Brightest”. Richard Holbrooke was too young to be considered one of them but he was certainly one of the best and brightest of his generation. He has left his nation stronger. He solidified this nation’s role in the world and he brought peace, stability and hope to large sections of the globe.

Take a moment this week to learn more about the remarkable man and one of my hero’s.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Cloture Vote On Defense Spending

Here is today's roll call vote to allow the Senate to debate the Defense Funding bill that included repealing the Don't Ask Don't Tell law. Keep in mind that this was not a vote on the Defense Funding bill or the repeal of DADT but this was a vote just to allow debate and then a vote. In the U. S. Senate you have to vote yes or no as to whether you are going to be allowed to vote on the real issue. You need 60 Yea votes before a vote will be held.

This is the worlds greatest Democracy?

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 2nd Session
as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate
Vote Summary
Question: On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed (Upon Reconsideration, Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 3454 )
Vote Number: 270 Vote Date: December 9, 2010, 03:33 PM
Required For Majority: 3/5 Vote Result: Cloture on the Motion to Proceed Rejected
Measure Number: S. 3454 (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 )

Measure Title: An original bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2011 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.
Vote Counts: YEAs 57
NAYs 40
Not Voting 3
Vote Summary
By Senator Name
By Vote Position
By Home State

Alphabetical by Senator Name
Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Nay
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Brown (R-MA), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Not Voting
Bunning (R-KY), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Coons (D-DE), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Not Voting
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Nay Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Franken (D-MN), Yea
Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Gregg (R-NH), Nay
Hagan (D-NC), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johanns (R-NE), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Kirk (R-IL), Nay
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
LeMieux (R-FL), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Not Voting
Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Manchin (D-WV), Nay
McCain (R-AZ), Nay
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Nay Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Merkley (D-OR), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Risch (R-ID), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Snowe (R-ME), Nay
Specter (D-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Udall (D-CO), Yea
Udall (D-NM), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Yea

Thank you Senator Casey and Senator Specter for voting Yea

Don't Ask Don't Tell

President Obama has been pretty clear in his support for changing DADT. Do I wish he was more passionate about the issue? Yes, but that is not really his style. Do I wish he would be working the phones and pressuring members of the Senate to vote for repeal? Yes. Do I wish he would be out there every day trying urging the American people to rise up and force the Senate to do the right thing? Yes.

But, the President can only do so much. It is up to the people who have been impacted by this issue to tell the story of why DADT must be repealed. It is up to the GLBT community to lead the fight to secure our full and equal place in society. We have to convince the Senator’s that asking someone to die for their country while living a lie is wrong. We have to tell the Senator’s that asking someone to defend the concepts of freedom and liberty around the world and yet not have them fully in their own country is hypocrisy at its worst and it is certainly not a very moral position. We must be willing to lead the fight for our own battles before we can ask our friends to assist us. I ask my GLBT brothers and sisters; how many phone calls to Senator’s have you made? How many letters to the editor have you written? How many petitions have you either signed or circulated? What have you done to affect the change you know is right? What have you done in the name of your own freedom, in the name of justice and liberty for you and for all?

I am an old liberal warhorse and I have been through many a political and social justice battle in my time and I am getting tired of fighting but I am also getting sick and tired of waiting for full citizenship. I am getting sick and tired of seeing kids go through the same type of bullying that I went through 40 years ago. I am sick and tired of seeing the best and the brightest this country has to offer being kicked out of the military while we are fighting two wars and sabers are rattling in other hot zones. I am sick and tired not having my relationship of 27 years seen as having the same value as Newt Gingrich’s three marriages.

I am sick and I am tired.

I know that we must continue the fight and we must call on our friends to fight with us. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is un-American and it is a moral blight on the reputation of the great republic.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Look How Far We Have Come

On November 19th, 1863 President Lincoln spoke these words.

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

From time to time I reread this and his second inaugural address. I don't think we have ever had a President who spoke with such eloquence and inspiration about this nation. Yes, we have had memorable speeches given by our leaders but Lincoln's words stand above all others. Remember that he wrote these words himself he did not have a Peggy Noonan to write them for him.

Today our most quoted political leader relies on the 140 spaces Twitter allows to get her message out. Look how far we have come.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Shop Online and Help Meals on Wheels

Do you shop online? Of course you do. Now you can shop online and benefit a very important charity.

Meals on Wheels of Northampton County.

When you shop at the more then 700 stores on a portion of your sale will go to Meals on Wheels of Northampton County. It is free for you and does not cost MOWNC. You don't pay any more than you normally would and with so many online companies offering free shipping this is an offer you can't refuse. No lines, no parking problems and no time at the mall. also has a lot of great money saving coupons.

Some of the participating merchants are: Gap, Nordstrom, Best Buy, Office Depot, Expedia, The Home Depot, and nearly 700 more.

Remember there is no extra cost to you.

Fun Fact: You are not just benefiting Meals on Wheels of Northampton County but also the Lehigh County and Monroe County programs. The kitchen at the Northampton County site provides all the meals for the other two county branches.

Meals on Wheels is truly one the best charities you can support. They feed hundreds of seniors and home bound folks everyday.

I know you are going to shop online this holiday season, so why not support Meals on Wheels.

Fighting Cancer While Eating Wings and Chili

Q: What are you doing on Sunday, December 19, 2010?

A: Tasting wings & chili, watching the Eagles vs Giants game and fighting cancer.

My friends at the Nazareth Area Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring their;
3rd annual Chili & Wing Cook Off Competition
Hampton Inn on Route 248 - Easton/Nazareth
The event benefits the American Cancer Society
  • Doors open at 12:00 and the event goes through out the game.
  • $15 per person
  • Cash bar
  • Raffles
  • If you don't like Chili or Wings other restaurants will be providing pizza, snacks and other tasty treats
  • Professional massage sessions are available
  • You will be able to vote for the best chili and wings
  • Wear your best Eagles, Giants or any other sporting team gear
  • For last minute holiday gifts a last minute shopping area will be set up

We are still looking for food vendors both for the chili & or wings and for side dishes and snacks. Please contact either myself or the Nazareth Chamber @610-759-9188 or 610-759-5262.

This really is a great time and even my friends who could care less about football come and enjoy the food. We have some great caterers and restaurants participating. I will publish that list once it is finalized.

If you want tickets please contact me or call the numbers listed above.

I hope to see everybody there.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A School For Campaigns

I received an e-mail from Northampton County Democratic Party Chairman Walt Garvin announcing the following:

The League of Women Voters of Lehigh Valley is holding a Candidates Workshop on Saturday November 20th. The workshop will be held at NCC 8:00AM to 12:30PM

The deadline to register is November 12.

In the 2011 Municipal Election in the Lehigh Valley we will elect:

Lehigh County Commissioners (at large) and row officers

Northampton County Council Members (by districts), District Attorney & County Controller

City and Borough Council Members

Mayor of Easton and Whitehall

Township Commissioners and Supervisors

School Directors

Judges of the Court of Common Pleas and Magisterial District Judges

This workshop will help you get your campaign off and running. They will have experienced campaigners on hand to discuss successful techniques.

County elections officials will explain the often-confusing paperwork and answer your questions.

If you haven't decided if you are going to throw your hat in the ring next year, the workshop may help you make up your mind.

Potential candidates, campaign treasurers, and committee members will all benefit from the experience and knowledge of the panelists and speakers at the workshop.

Spread the word!

This actually sounds like a fun time but I have VIP tickets to the Lafayette / Lehigh football game with my father that day, which will be even more fun.

An Interview With A Newly Elected Republican

This week I had the pleasure of guest hosting a Sunday news maker show; this is a transcript from my first guest.

My questions will be in normal font and my guest; a newly elected Republican Congressperson’s responses will be in italics.
Good morning I’m Donald Flad Jr and I will be sitting in this morning while the usual host takes some time off to recover from sitting in this chair talking nonstop for 24 hours during the recent midterm elections. My guest this morning is a newly elected, Tea Party backed Republican.

Welcome Congressperson elect

Um Thanks

This was not your first run for office was it?

What’s your point asking me a question like that? Is this going to be one of those Lame Stream Media hatchet by an elitist East Coast person who reads books is it? Sarah Palin said that I should only speak to Fox but my backers thought I should come on this show.

For clarity sake let me say upfront that I went to Penn State, my father was a printer and my mother was mostly a home maker who worked outside the home and I write a blog that 25 people read so how does that make me an elitist? I was asking because you campaigned as an outsider and one of the common folks but you have held public office off and on for 25 of the past 30 years and for the last 4 years you had a lobbying job.

Don’t try to play gotcha with me you little poofter, I was not a lobbyist I was a public interest advocate.

For the Health Care industry.

I gave voice to the voiceless I advocated for free markets and protecting the American people from government takeover of their medical care.

What was the name of your organization?

KMMFOGI: Keep my Medicare free of Government Intervention. We were a group that informed senior citizens of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Carter/Johnson/Kennedy/Truman/Roosevelt attack on their private medical care. We warned them about death panels and brown foreign born doctors.

Death panels? Nowhere in the legislation was there a mention of death panels. Did you read the bill? And you do know that Medicare is a government run program?

I read Sarah Palin’s in-depth Tweets about the Hitler like attack on our perfect health care system. Obama was trying to take over our health care like a foreign invader.

One of your campaign promises was to reduce the size of government, cut government spending and balance the budget. How will you do this?

By reducing the size of government, slashing spending and balancing the budget.

But how will do accomplish this?

By doing just what I said.

But how are you going to do it?

Man up Donald and listen to what I am saying.

You are not saying anything specific. I just want to know how you are going to cut the size of government, what specific spending will you cut?

By balancing the budget


Man you elites are such sore losers all you know how to do is attack

I am not attacking you I am simply asking what programs, departments and spending you are going to cut. Can you be specific?

By cutting fraud and waste
Can you be more specific? Would you cut defense spending?

No – How can you even suggest we hurt our brave service members like that? I will do anything to protect our troops.

There is no fraud or waste in the defense budget?

Who wrote your questions Karl Marx or Nancy Pelosi?

OK, so you won’t touch defense – Where else will you cut the fraud and waste?

It’s everywhere so I am going to find it and cut it.

Would you cut earmarks? Would you eliminate a government agency? How will you identify the fraud and waste?

I will know the waste and fraud when I see it and remove it.

Why won’t you tell me what you are willing to cut?

What part of I will cut fraud and waste don’t you understand?

You will not be able to remove it alone, you will be only 1 of 535 votes what if other members do not agree with what you find?

I have asked God for assistance with this and he will guide me and smite those who oppose the will of the American People who elected me.

With that, the newly elected Congressperson answers his cell phone; Yes Sarah I know you were right; I should have gone on Fox and Friends.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tuesday Evening With John Callahan

“I opted not to join you because I was seething with anger”. A friend was explaining why she was a no show to John Callahan’s victory party. I understand the emotion and lord knows I have been there often myself on election nights in the past. John Callahan’s party Tuesday night was different.

Had my friend attended her anger would have evaporated very quickly. I could sense no bitterness in the room; we were disappointment certainly but not bitter. There was no anger or many serious conversations about how stupid the voters are or how much smarter we were than the 54% of the electorate that gave their votes to Charlie Dent. There was still very much a sense of hope and joy in the room. And, it only got better when the Callahan family arrived. They were clearly hurting and maybe a little stunned but they were smiling and waving. They greeted the people on the way to the stage with bear hugs and kisses, John and Mafalda hugged each other a lot and they both kept the children within reach throughout John’s speech. Their daughter and younger son stayed close to their mother for comfort and to provide comfort. The oldest Callahan son was so stoic and so brave he was almost heart breaking. He stood behind his father like a secret service agent. I had a sense that he would have done anything he could to protect his father from having to say the words he was about to say we could all sense the pain he was feeling, because we were feeling it too.

All of us would have done anything to have John’s words be “Thank you, this victory is not about me but it is about what we have done together and about what together we will do to solve our nation’s problems”. But, those were not the words John Callahan said and yet we still felt hope. John Callahan’s personal joy had impacted us all and changed even a cynical guy like me. He campaigned with such enthusiasm and with such promise we were not ready to let that go. We did not want to let him down or show him anything other than the same sense of the possible and of the positive he showed throughout this long campaign. The same hope we had following Mafalda’s introduction of John back in mid February never left us. Our reaction to this speech was the same as after Mafalda’s speech, there was not a dry eye in the house. He spoke about hope, he spoke about moving forward, he spoke about how lucky he was to be able to return to a job he loved and he spoke about how much his family means to him.

After the speech and the TV cameras were turned off John and Mafalda stopped and spoke to everyone, they did not seem like they wanted to leave. They wanted to thank everyone. I think they wanted to be the ones to turn off the lights and call it a day. The campaign was over and they wanted to end it on their terms and their way by spending quality time with their friends, family and supporters. After my bear hug from John I told him that it was proud of him and it was my honor to have supported him and I looked forward to be given the opportunity to do it again.

I have been to more concession speeches than any normal human would normally survive and I have never been to one so affirming and so positive as this one and was for a good reason. He was a great candidate and more importantly he is a great guy, which is the main reason why I supported him in the first place.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Jon Geeting Is Smart

Jon Geeting is one of the smartest people I have yet to meet and Hillary Kwiatek is one of the smartest people I have met started this terrific blog awhile ago.

It is one of my daily reads and and I am always better informed because I have read it.

If you are one of my friends on the left and are interested in issues that impact your lives and opinions that are so well thought out it's scary, this blog is for you. For my friends who are not on the left, if you spend enough time reading Jon Geeting you will regret you ever voted for Charlie Dent.

I Am A Candidate

The New Deal Party


For Immediate Release

Donald C. Flad Jr of Bethlehem, Northampton County has announced his candidacy for the State Senate in the 18th Senatorial District.

The District includes the following communities:
Cities – Bethlehem
Boroughs – Bangor, Catasauqua, Coplay, Delaware Water Gap, East Bangor, East Stroudsburg, Fountain Hill, Freemansburg, Hellertown, Nazareth, North Catasauqua, Northampton, Pen Argyl, Portland, Roseto, Stroudsburg, Stockertown
Townships – Bethlehem, Lower Mount Bethel, Lower Saucon, Plainfield, Smithfield, Stroud, Upper Mount Bethel, Upper Nazareth, Washington, Whitehall,

Statement announcing candidacy:

There is a hunger in our land – a hunger for competence, a hunger for leadership, a hunger for simple straight forward clear thinking, a hunger for someone, anyone to speak truth to power. I stand ready, willing and able to feed the hunger.

There is a thirst for someone who makes sense when he speaks, a thirst for someone willing to look at an issue from all sides before voting and thirst for someone willing to reach across the aisle and do what’s best for the people. I stand ready to quench that thirst.

We face difficult times and there will be many hard choices ahead I am prepared to bring all people together to find the solutions. Like a master chef I can combine all the ingredients of our problems and the ingredients of our solutions and create a tasty stew that will satisfy our hunger. Like a great bartender I will add a dash of common sense, a splash of compromise to a generous portion of clear thinking and pour it over the rocks of our problems, give it a vigorous shake and pour out solutions to our problems.

I can no longer ignore the urgent and forceful voices that have been calling out to me over the years to enter the arena of public life and run for office not just any office but this office. I have heard the cries of the people; my people and I can no longer deny them their wishes. I can no longer stand on the sidelines and hope for our leaders to actually lead, I must answer the clarion call of the people and run for this high office.

I am a traditional Liberal and so like a great auto racer I will hold the steering wheel of power steady and constantly and consistently keep our great commonwealth turning to the left and not allowing the extremist fringe pass me on the right.

Why I have chosen to run for the State Senate at this time? Because I need to look at myself in the mirror Wednesday morning and I need to ask myself did I do all I could to solve our problems? Did I vote for the candidates that I believe will do what is right for the people? By voting for Dan Onorato I can say that, by voting for Joe Sestak I can say that, by voting for John Callahan I can say “Hell Yes”, by voting for Steve Samuelson I can say yes. When given the choice on the ballot for this year for the 18th Senatorial District I can’t say I will have made the right choice unless I write in myself.

So, on this day at this hour I am announcing my candidacy for the Pennsylvania State Senate in the 18th District. This seat was once held by a woman of great vision, of great courage and she helped move this great commonwealth forward. I announce my candidacy in the memory of and to honor the legacy of Jeannette F. Reibman.

I am asking the good people of the 18th District to join me as we serve up a new era of progress for all the people. I am asking the fair minded people of the 18th District to write in the name DONALD FLAD JR for the office of State Senate. When you vote tomorrow please take a few extra moments and type in DONALD FLAD JR in the space for write in next to the State Senate line.

I have answered your call to service please answer my call and join me on Election Day and write (type) in DONALD FLAD JR.

Thank you, may God bless you and may God Bless the United States of America.

Press questions can be submitted via

Friday, October 29, 2010

Marcia Hahn

The other night at a Nazareth Chamber of Commerce function I kissed a Republican and quite frankly I liked it.

I have voted for Republicans before. This may be a surprise to some but there comes a time when good government matters more than party. I can’t imagine a time that I would ever vote for a Republican for President but I have voted for Republicans for Governor and I may have voted for John Heinz for the Senate but I am not quite sure my memory serves me correctly.

I never voted for Bob Casey Sr. The year he was elected Governor I voted for Billy Scranton (in the primary I helped lead the Rendell campaign in the area) and when he was re-elected I voted for Barbara Hafer. It did not stop from attending the inauguration parties but I never voted for the man.

I voted for Bob Casey Jr only once but my other choice was Little Ricky Santorum. In all other Bob Casey Jr elections I could not vote for the Republican so I would write in Artquest President Jeff Parks. In 2006 I knew I had to vote against Santorum and did not want to risk the chance that my vote would allow that moron to stay in office so I held my nose and for the first time voted for a Casey. I am glad I did. Bob Casey Jr has turned out to be an admirable Senator and someone I will actively support in 2012.

2009 was an awful year for Northampton County Democrats; we lost control of County Council. Of the contested races I only had 3 winners and two of them were Republicans, Judge Michael Koury was the only Democrat to win. My other winners were County Council Woman Peg Ferraro; who I have been a supporter of for many years and Judge Craig Dally, a former State Representative. Peg is someone who has been able to transcend parties and work for what is best for the county. Craig Dally has been a Republican who thrived and succeeded in a district that should have been represented by a Democrat and when he ran for judge his Democratic State House Colleagues supported him.

Judge Dally was succeeded in the State House by former aide Marcia Hahn. I have gotten to know Rep. Hahn over the past few years and if lived in her district not only would I vote for her but I would be out campaigning for her. I may not agree with her on some of the broader political issues and her Republican philosophies may often oppose my views of the world but I really like her.

Rep. Hahn is committed to constituent services; she is committed to working with her Democratic colleagues for what is best for the region and she is committed to making government more open, more transparent and more about the people.

The State House opens every daily session with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, Rep. Hahn makes a point to attend each opening because she believes it is an important symbol and she believes it is the right message to send. There are times when she finds herself there with few other Representatives but it is important to her to honor the traditions. This helps her to keep focused on the reasons she ran for office in the first place. Locally there have been other staffers who have succeeded their bosses in office and have become imperious and cocky, Marcia Hahn is determined to not allow that to happen to her and I am convinced she will remain accessible and constituent focused no matter how long she chooses to stay in office.

The people of the 138th District are lucky to have Marcia Hahn as their State Representative; she is smart, she has great sense of humor, she is warm and personable, she has a firm grasp of the issues and she really cares about the people she represents. She is the embodiment of what a Representative should be. Charlie Dent should use Marcia Hahn as a role model to find his way back home.

Rep. Hahn has captured both the Republican and Democratic nominations for office and she deserves it. If I lived in the Slate Belt I would be proud and honored to cast a vote for Marcia Hahn.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Guest Blogger: More Faith Than Trust

I am pleased to welcome my dear friend Silagh as a guest blogger today. When she was looking for a forum to share these thoughts I quickly offered her space here. I hope this is not going to be be Silagh's only visit as a GB. As always your thoughts and comments are welcome.

I'm honored to bring my thoughts to this incredible forum. Over the last few months, Donald has offered deep insights into his values that are reflected in his support of local politicians. I'm moved by his unwavering support of John Callahan as the next representative of Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district. My vote counts as much as any person. I'm right in line behind Donald with whom I wish to represent me, and my fellow citizens of the Lehigh Valley; John Callahan. My statements here are not a reflection of any organization with which I am affiliated. I offer these thoughts as a private citizen; as the rights and privileges of the United States Constitution offer me.

Last week, I attended a small celebration, "Lights On, Doors Open" in South Bethlehem. It was at the Fowler Center of the Hispanic Council on East Fourth Street. The celebration was in line with the national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of after school programs. The hours of 3-6PM are when youth are more likely to get into trouble if they are not engaged and supported by these programs; especially if they come home to an empty house because their parents are still at work. I wrote about this in a post on the ArtsLehigh blog last March. The event was not only to celebrate the work that has been happening here, and with other non-profits in the Lehigh Valley, but to encourage support for it to sustain and grow.

Since it was less than two weeks away from the November 2nd election, ALL the local politicians were present: Dent, Boscola, Brennan, Samuelson, BASD Superintendent, and some members of the BASD School board. After a delightful performance from two of the program's young participants, the politicians took turns speaking. Congressman Dent was first. He said,
"I'm so happy to be here and thank you for the invitation to enjoy the celebration. But I must apologize that I have to leave early. My daughter is playing a field hockey game, and I'm sure you'll understand this priority. Thanks again."

While I understand wanting to be there for your kids, he could have AT LEAST said something about the desire to support more after school programs. Guess he doesn't. There was so much UNSAID that informs my level of faith in his understanding of ALL of his constituents. I'm not swayed by one appearance. I'm swayed by a voting record.

Boscola didn't have much to say about the program either. But she also had to run. She less than gracefully exited stage left soon after Dent.

Brennan's and Samuelson's statements were better. As parents, they both have kids who have been involved in after school programs. In fact, I've witnessed Samuelson volunteering at Pennsylvania Youth Theatre. My kids go to school with Brennan's kids. They played together at the afterschool program last year.

When Mayor Callahan entered the building during Samuelson's speech, he made his way over to me to shake my hand. Similar to what Donald wrote in a previous post, John makes me feel like a human being - not just a constituent. But he's not looking for rock star status. Callahan is attentive to all the people he meets. In this instance, he really understands the reasons why after school programs need to be. For 15 minutes, he shared with the crowd his personal story of being a Head Start kid - where speech therapists helped him with a rare impediment. He stayed involved with afterschool programs; sports, leadership, etc., because his home life was less than perfect. He credits much of his success from the teachers, coaches and mentors that looked out for him. But while there were programs for him, he still worked to make the most of this life - and now he wants to pay it forward. Mayor Callahan's leadership stands enough for me to have more faith in his him, than trust in Dent.

I'm an arts administrator with an irrational devotion to my children. I believe that if their peers are offered similar opportunities to what I work hard to provide mine, their world will be better to live in. I vote for candidates who reflect my values. My vote is for John Callahan. And I'm also voting to keep Brennan and Samuelson in office as well.

Dr. Silagh M Chiappetta White
Mother, Wife, Arts Administrator, Volunteer, Citizen.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bob Freeman Or Else

We were both true believers and we were convinced that against all odds our candidate for President would win, the future of the republic depended on it. I think we were right, if our candidate had won I truly believe the world would be a better place.

The year was 1972 and of course our candidate was George McGovern, my campaign buddy was Bob Freeman, he was 15 and I was 13. We knocked on doors, we licked stamps and placed them on envelopes, we sharpened pencils and we ran out and got coffee for the grownups (or at least I did). At 15 Bob was recognized as one of the rising stars of the Easton Democratic Party.

I have supported Bob in every campaign he has run except for one. He challenged sitting Democratic State Rep. James Prendergast in 1978 and I thought a good Democrat should not face a challenge in the primary. Bob forgave me and I have been an unflinching supporter of Bob Freeman ever since. It was Bob’s loss in 1994 that caused my self-imposed exile from active campaigning and party politics. It was a call from Bob that got me to work voting precincts in 2004 and 2006 but I would only hand out his flyers to the voters.

Bob supported me in my exile and we were not in as frequent contact as we were when I was more involved. During this time Bob met and married the amazing Terri and he honored me by asking me to escort his mother down the aisle.

Bob is the first person I came out to and way back then his unflinching support helped me as I evolved along the coming out process.

Bob Freeman is honest, dedicated, competent and effective and I challenge anyone to find someone who has spent as much time in public life as honorable and trustworthy as my old friend.

Our small cities/boroughs and neighborhoods are better served by the state government because of Bob Freeman and our green spaces are better protected because of Bob Freeman.

Agree or disagree with Bob’s view of the world there is no one (OK there are a few nut jobs) who will challenge his commitment to doing what is right and to doing the right thing for the people he represents. Bob does not care about your party or even if you voted for him, if you have a problem and if he can find a way to help you, he will.

This community, this state and this nation needs more people like Bob Freeman in office. We should consider ourselves lucky that we have the original.

If you think I am in the tank for John Callahan I will challenge you to duel to defend Bob Freeman.

If you live in the 136th District and you do not vote for Bob Freeman you are not only a fool but I firmly believe you hate your country.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Am Voting For John Callahan Because....

I had planned to set out some reasons why John Callahan should be elected to Congress. I had planned to review his proposals on the economy, on jobs and on the other issues of the day. I still may do that but the reason I am voting for John Callahan is that he is John Callahan.

I had decided to support my Mayor before he decided to announce. I was not even certain of many of his views, Bernie O’Hare challenged me on this fact but I had decided. As the campaign progressed I have become more certain that I made the right decision.

I knew I could not support Charlie Dent. Charlie Dent is a nothing, he has done nothing, he has accomplished nothing and he will be remembered for nothing. Charlie Dent has spent his entire adult life as an elected representative and yet he has done nothing to improve our lives. Charlie Dent in Harrisburg used to just go along to get along. In Congress Charlie Dent does whatever John Boehner tells him to do. Charlie Dent is low fat vanilla pudding, he is just there. I want more.

I have spent a lot of time around a lot of public office holders and candidates for public office and I have never seen someone who tackles these roles with as much joy and as much positive energy as John Callahan. During his first campaign for city council he impressed everyone with his drive. During his campaign for Mayor he took on the city establishment and quite frankly bitch slapped them. The Morganelli/Leeson/Schweder crowd has never forgiven him for not waiting his turn and they have never forgiven him for depending on the advice of the citizens of my city rather than their small group of good old boy elites. These guys thought that they were the chosen ones and the city government belonged to them. The voters of Bethlehem realized this gifted, talented and hard working young man held the keys to the future of Bethlehem not these sons of leaders past.

But, I digress.

John Callahan is so comfortable in his own skin. I recently attended a LGBT event in honor of John Callahan and I have never seen a straight guy so relaxed and so at ease in a room full of mostly gay guys. I have seen him with business and corporate executives and he dominated the room. I have seen him with young professionals and he was one of the kids (I’m old). I have seen him with the movers and shakers of the Arts community and he fit right in. He hung out with us during a Celticfest Pub Crawl and was treated like a rock star by many of the participants and seemed shocked by the attention. When Oprah Winfrey said that Barack Obama was “the one” she had clearly not ever met John Callahan.

Whenever Mayor Callahan sees me he never fails to greet me even if he has to walk across the room to do so. And, when we talk he ensures that I am the center of his attention for the time we are talking. I have observed him at many events over the past year and he treats everyone the same. As he speaks to people he treats them as if they are the most important person in his life, he does not look over the persons shoulder for someone more important and his eye contact is so focused it is almost uncomfortable. I have seen this trait in two of the other best and most successful political figures on the scene today; Ed Rendell and Bill Clinton. As they say on the street “The brother has mad skills.”

John Callahan entered politics because he wanted to give back to the community that supported him during his youth (see the post titled Mafalda Speaks). He wanted to improve his community, his city and now he wants to take that zeal to Washington to try to improve his nation. John Callahan had nothing handed to him; he has earned everything through hard work and dedication. Imagine a member of congress with a passion to try to make the system work for the betterment of his constituents rather than a congressman who votes against the interest of the working people and small business owners of the district because the man with a tan tells him to do so. I am convinced that Charlie Dent’s interest in congress is as a stepping stone to the US Senate not to aid and assist the people he represents.

Charlie Dent has tried to diminish the success of John Callahan in order to suppress the votes coming out of the Bethlehem area. I wonder why Charlie Dent has not discussed his own accomplishments during this campaign. Oh that’s right he has none so he has to try to sully the reputation of arguably the most successful mayor in Bethlehem’s history. Dent needs to convince people to vote against John Callahan in order to win. Imagine wanting to win an election based on people voting against your opponent rather than wanting to vote for you. This campaign has shown that Charlie Dent really has no shame and nothing is beneath him.
I am voting for John Callahan for his passion, for his intelligence, for his life story, for his vision and for his past successes. I am voting for John Callahan because I believe in him and I know that he will make me proud that I have voted for him.

Often voting is a lesser of two evils; in this year’s 15th Congressional district race there is only one lesser and it is not John Callahan.

I am voting for John Callahan and I am proud to casting this vote, this is a vote I want to cast, this is a vote I am honored to cast.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The VP In Town To Support John Callahan

I have been a big fan of Joe Biden for many years. He was the closest Pennsylvania had to a Democratic Senator. He was often called upon to lift our spirits, campaign for our candidates and raise money for our party both statewide & local. He had come to this area often to help us out and I will be always grateful for his support. You can take the man out of Pennsylvania but you can’t take the Pennsylvanian out of the Senator.

And, now this native son of Pennsylvania has again answered the call and has come to town not once but twice to support John Callahan for congress. The Vice President was one of the key players in advising Mayor Callahan to make this run and he promised Callahan that he would always be there for him and would support him throughout. I can’t think of a time when a sitting Vice President would campaign twice for a candidate in the same year. It takes a great deal of effort to get someone of this status to campaign for you once let alone twice. There are 435 Democrats running for house seats this year and Biden has campaigned for John Callahan twice. Clearly, Biden is a man of his word and clearly Biden and the national party thinks that John Callahan can still win this race.

Joe Biden is the last or at least one of the last of dying breed of politician. He is humble, he is not wealthy, he believes in something greater than himself, he can speak without a teleprompter, he is blunt and he is honest. If I were the leader of the Democratic Party or at least President of The United States, Joe Biden would never be home. He would be out on the road talking to people, because no one speaks American better than Joe Biden. There is not a politician out there who speaks to and for the American people with in more sincere and genuine manner than Joe Biden. He is a natural and he is genuine and the American people are responding to him and it may be because of Joe Biden the Democrats defy the experts and maintain majorities in both houses of congress.

His life story, the arc of his career and how he leads his life should be the acid test for what an elected representative should be. Office holders should aspire to lead the exemplary public life. He has not had a drink since college, he never became part of the Washington scene; he took the train home every night to be with his family and he has never profited from his years in congress and has consistently been reviewed as one of the poorest members of congress.

In his talk Monday night one of the most moving portion was when he said the “longest walk a person can take is that walk up the stairs to tell his/her child that daddy /mommy has lost their job and things are going to change”. He spoke about his father having to do that very thing. He spoke with great passion about taxes, budgets, economic policy, foreign policy, family, Wall Street, Main Street, small business, banking and the fact that we can’t return power back to the party that drove this nation into a ditch.

I have heard from folks who attended both this event and the Clinton event a few weeks ago and they have told me that Joe Biden made a better case for electing John Callahan.

The Vice President’s words have inspired me to redouble my efforts to elect John Callahan to congress and his words have given me hope.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Constitution Trumps

I am supporting the President’s position on DADT. Yes I am.


Because the Constitution of this nation trumps everything else and because we are a nation of laws we must follow the proper and legal process for making laws. If a law needs to be changed the Constitution is very clear as to how to change it.

The Congress of the United States makes/changes the laws.

The President of the United States does not make the laws he enforces them. The President has been pretty clear in his support for changing DADT but he is required by the constitution to defend this nation and its laws.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is the law of the land, it was passed overwhelmingly by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States.

There are those who have called on the President to void the law via executive order and he can do just that. I hope he does not. All of us on the left who were critical of Bush for all the executive orders he signed to not enforce the laws written by Congress would prove ourselves to be hypocrites if we now support a President for doing the same thing. I try very hard to be consistent and I am going to remain consistent on this issue despite my urgent and passionate desire to see the law changed. It would be easy for me to turn on the President and not support him on this but then I would be no better than the Republicans who did not care about the reckless spending by Reagan, Bush and Bush and now criticize Obama for reckless spending with almost violent language.

I have made it very clear that the big four issues for me now are LGBT issues; void Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, void Defense Of Marriage and allow Gays and Lesbians to get married, adding LGBT to the Employment Non-discrimination laws and adding violence against LGBT people to the federal hate crime laws.

These laws/changes must happen but it must be done correctly and within the structures of what the constitution spells out. If I am allowed full citizenship via an executive order rather than through the law the next President can just void this President’s executive order and I am back where I started from; nowhere.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Said She

In a previous life I spent a lot of time on the road for work. It was my habit to go to the hotel pool at the end of the day and swim about an hour’s worth of laps before dinner. During one of my trips to Houston the hotel had a complimentary cook out once a week. It was a BYOB affair. Somehow I missed this announcement. When I went down for my swim I found the pool area full of good ole boys drinking beer and eating BBQ. I really needed those laps so I just dove in. As I was getting out of the pool and heading back to my room a group of the guys invited me to join them for dinner around the pool. They had more than enough beer and bourbon.

During the evening they pointed out how skinny I was, they noticed my really expensive/interesting hair cut, they asked why I read Vanity Fair (I brought it to the pool to read while I dried off), they commented on my board shorts and the fact that I ate my BBQ with a knife and fork. But, they thought I was really funny even though I spoke too fast, was too much of Democrat and a few of them were surprised I was not Jewish.

About three hours later I am sitting in the hot tub, smoking a cigar and talking about life on the road with some of these good old boys. One of them asked me how my little woman was able to put up with this time apart and how or if I was able to keep faithful.

I said that she is just great and understands that this is what I have to do and that the faithful part is not difficult because when I get home it is all worth it.

Yes, I said she.

Why did I do that?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why Marriage Matters

Let me tell you a little story

There is this guy living in Allentown, his name is Chris, I have known Chris his whole life. Chris works hard; pay’s his taxes, votes, loves his family and has a lot of great friends. Chris was building a life with a great guy named Mike. Mike died suddenly a year ago.

Chris was in bed and he heard a sound and a thud in the bathroom, he rushed in to find Mike on the floor dyeing. Chris called the 911 and as Mike was being taken to the hospital, Chris was put in a police car and taken to the police station so an investigation could take place to ensure there was no foul play. Mike died alone in the hospital his life partner Chris was alone at the police station. An officer came in to the room to tell Chris that Mike had died and that he was cleared so he could go home. I don’t recall now if the police brought him home or if Chris’s parents came to pick him up. Imagine what the neighbors thought when they saw these two men being taken out of the apartment.

Mike was just coming out of the shadows of the closet, despite that fact that he and Chris were building a life together Mike was not quite strong enough or comfortable enough to list Chris as a beneficiary on any of his insurance or retirement paper work and there was no will. The only proof that these two men had a life together was the matching rings they wore.

The county could not release Mike’s body to Chris. The county had to place an article in the newspaper looking for a next of kin and after 72 hours of waiting Chris was given access to Mike’s remains. A next of kin was found; a miserable old woman who Mike had not been in contact with since the mid 90’s, she was Mike’s Aunt. She released Mike’s body to Chris and his family under one condition; she would not be asked to contribute to the cost of the funeral otherwise “The County could dispose of him as they would any pauper”. Chris’s sister dealt with the county on his behalf and said Chris wanted nothing from her he just wanted Mike’s body so he could complete Mike’s wishes.

Mike worked with Chris’s brother and the people at work went into overdrive and took care of all the details for the reception after the memorial service, employees from other locations came to cover the workplace so anyone who wanted to attend the memorial service could. Close to 150 people attended the very casual service. Mike was not very religious but the service was held in the social hall of Chris’s family’s church.

The funeral home understood the situation and really went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the Mike’s urn could be present for the service and they also understood that Chris would have to engage an attorney in order to gain access to Mike’s estate to cover the costs of the funeral and other debts they incurred together.

Under Pennsylvania laws Chris was not entitled to Mike’s estate because there was no will nor was he listed on the beneficiary paperwork. The only person entitled to that money is the Aunt that Mike despised because she was the next of kin. Chris was appointed executor and was able to pay expenses from the estate and he was allowed to collect a small fee for holding that post but that process took so long that Chris had front the money for the bill for the funeral home.

Yes, a lot of this mess could have been avoided had Mike had the courage to add Chris to his paperwork. It should not take courage to do that but in this country it takes courage to live an open and honest life. It was another step out of the closet and unless you have had to take those steps you will never know the courage it takes. If Chris and Mike had been allowed to get married, instead of having to settle for matching bands, the Aunt would not be listed as next of kin, Chris would have.

Chris, his family and friends miss Mike dearly everyday and are still scarred and somewhat embittered by what Chris has had to endure. Chris’s brother is particularly angry and frustrated by what he witnessed and his brother’s pain because he knows unless he crosses every “T” and dots every “I” he will go through the same thing. Chris’s brother has been in a stable and monogamous and affirming relationship with the same man for almost 27 years but his government does not recognize it as legitimate. As a result Chris’s brother and his partner have very clear wills and have listed each other as primary beneficiaries on all financial paper work.

I am Chris’s brother.

This is why marriage is important and this is why I will become a single issue voter if I have too. Living life in the shadows is not an option for me; living life without the full rights and privileges of the majority is not an option for me.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Yes, I Am Voting For John Callahan Because It Is About Me

In his comments to my last post Bernie O’Hare warned me against basing my decision to vote for John Callahan based solely on one issue. I have never been a single issue voter but the issues I addressed in my last post are about to become make or break issues for me.

Throughout my long political involvement I always allowed LBGT issues to get pushed aside, I was always willing to compromise and then support candidates who support for my civil rights and my right to be a full citizen in this country is at best tepid.

I supported the greater good for the rest of society while I accepted my rights to considered an afterthought or something that would be gotten around too when the timing is right. I have concluded that the timing will never be right.

I want the leaders that I vote for, the men and women I give my money, my time and my efforts to lead on my behalf.

I support a woman’s right to choose, I support strong public schools, I support the right of unions to organize. I support affirmative action; I believe the government needs to do more for the poor, the young and the elderly. I believe in climate change and support candidates who want to do something about it. I support investing in our cities and preserving our farmlands and green spaces. I believe in comprehensive immigration reform.

I support your right to burn the flag and I support your right to own and use a gun. I support your right to hate me because of who I love. I support your right to worship who, what, where and when you want. I support human rights, I support the peace movement and I support our troops. I give to the boy scouts; I give to food banks and animal shelters. I have tried to imagine what it like to have walked in the shoes of everyone out there, to understand where you are coming from so I can support your right to exist and your right to your opinion.

And yet, every election I am asked to support people who are not truly willing to support me. I want to get married; I want to not have to read about 13 year old boys killing themselves because some asshole called them gay. I want the word gay to no longer be a bad word, I want gay to no longer be a joke or punch line anymore.

I am tired of coming out of the closet over and over it again. You straight folks have no idea how demeaning it is to have to explain and or justify yourself to people who are not really worthy of it. How do you think I feel every time someone asks me about my wife because I wear a band on my ring finger? Really people; a tall, thin, well spoken, well read, well dressed 51 year old man is not married for a reason.

So, my friend Bernie when I find a candidate who has embraced me and this issue the way John Callahan has I am going to support him. Yes, Bernie for the first time in my very long involvement in politics this election is going to be about me and I am voting for John Callahan.

Do you really think by carrying the water for John Boehner, Charlie Dent really has your interest at heart?

You can visit Bernie's blog by clicking on the link for Lehigh Valley Ramblings

Saturday, October 2, 2010

This Election Is About Me (and I am voting for John Callahan)

I have made no secret of my support for my Mayor in his quest to become our next Congressman. This begins a series of postings explaining why.

John Callahan cares about me.
· John Callahan will co-sponsor the reintroduction of ENDA (Employment Non Discrimination Act) and he has vowed to actively support it.
· John Callahan will co-sponsor the legislation that died this week in the Senate to overturn Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
· John Callahan has pledged to ensure the Matthew Sheppard Hate Crimes Legislation is enforced and will support its reauthorization.
· John Callahan will support legislation that grants same sex couples the same legal rights that heterosexual couples receive.
· John Callahan will work for equal treatment for the LGBT community with immigration issues.

Are these just promises? I think not.

This is what John Callahan has accomplished as Mayor of Bethlehem.
· Bethlehem under the leadership of John Callahan offers health care benefits to all city employees and their families. Not just the straight ones.
· Bethlehem allows the same-sex partners of city employees’ to be eligible as pension beneficiaries.
· John Callahan has introduced and anti-discrimination ordinance that will establish a Human Relations Commission which will protect my LGBT community. The Pennsylvania law will not protect me but my Mayor has decided that his city will.

Let’s take a moment to look at Charlie Dent’s record while not representing me in Washington.
· Charlie Dent voted against the Matthew Sheppard legislation
· Charlie Dent voted against ENDA. Because of Charlie Dent I can get fired because of who I love.
· Charlie Dent voted to amend the Constitution of the United States to define marriage. The constitution of this country grants rights Charlie Dent voted to amend the constitution to deny rights.

Let me say this very clearly:


This election is about me and I am supporting John Callahan for Congress and I ask you to do the same.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Take A Moment

Take a moment to think about Tyler Clementi.
He was the young man who jumped off the George Washington Bridge the other day.

Tyler jumped off the bridge because his college roommate decided to live web stream him having sex with another guy.

Take a moment to think about what Tyler’s life was like those last few days before he decided that it just was not worth living.

Tyler was 18 and in his first year in college. He was living his life and he was living his sexuality. His disgusting roommate and a sick friend decided it would be a hoot to show the world Tyler’s sexual activity.

By many news accounts Tyler was brilliant young man and an accomplished musician.
When Tyler found out what these two foul pigs had done to him, he decided his only coping option was not too cope at all. He decided that his life was not worth living if he had to endure this kind of humiliation.

I came out to my family in 1982 – I was 23 (I knew about 15 years earlier) and it all went very well but for many of my peers it was no walk in the park. A lot has changed over the last 30 years and we have been led to believe that this younger generation does not have the hang ups that my friends and their families had. The MSM has led us to believe that being gay is no big deal to the younger generation. Tyler’s foul roommate and his pig friend clearly did not get the message of hope and change.

Take a moment to think about what would have caused these two bottom dwellers to do this.
But, don’t think about them for too long; don’t waste your Karma on such disgusting life forms. Instead think about Tyler’s family. Think about the other young men on these webcasts. Think about how painful those last few hours of Tyler’s life were like.

I will think about Tyler Clementi a lot for the rest of my life.

It is up to G-D to forgive Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei. I will never be a good enough person to forgive them. I hope every day they live will be as painful for them as the last few days Tyler’s were for him.

Take a moment to think about Tyler.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Update On A Friend

Back on June 16th I posted a character reference letter I wrote on behalf a young friend.

Joe begins to repay his debt to society today. He will be spending about 3 months in the county prison, if he behaves himself there and I am certain he will, he will be transferred to a rehab center for another 3 months. He will be spending the weekend going through tests and orientation and then enter the facility full time as of Monday. Joe will not be placed with the general population but rather with the work release group during his time as a guest of the county.

A few weeks ago Joe told me that he did not think that he had a drinking problem, I just stood there glaring at him as I started to wave him off and just walk away he tried to explain. He said he knows he has a problem but he just does not think that the drinking is the core issue and he is hoping to spend his time away getting to what the real problem is He has some serious anger issues and the reckless behavior he has exhibited is a result. He is looking forward to working on his demons and knows he is going to come out of this a changed man. He is determined to close the book on this chapter of his life and begin anew.

I have warned his friends that the Joe they are saying goodbye to this week will not be the Joe they greet this spring when he is released. He will be sober and if my past experience is any indication it is all he is going to want to talk about. He is not going to want to do the same things he did before and some of them may feel some rejection as he puts some distance between himself and those who empowered his previous behavior. They may not like him very much and he may not like them in return. If they truly love their friend Joe they are going to have to accept the new guy and support him as he faces his future or they are going to get pushed aside. I hope they really are his friend.

Here is the e-mail he sent me at 2:30 this morning:

I will write you about getting me a book. I do not know too much about the details yet and probably won't for sure until I am in population Sunday or Monday. I am partially dreading the morning and partially relieved to finally be getting this out of the way so I can get on with my life. I am most concerned not with myself but my loved ones who will be stressing over me the entire time I am away. I somehow feel like this ordeal will be harder on them than it is on me. So I will write until my hand falls off and keep myself busy with letters and visits and phone calls as much as I can. I am even toying with the idea of writing about my experience throughout this. Might make for interesting reading years from now. At any rate, my long year of waiting, speculation and hoping for the best while dreading the worst is finally over. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your support Donald; you are a very good friend.

One of the things Joe and I have in common is our love for what used to be called Social Studies and as you may imagine I have a ton of books that fit into that category. I am going to be spending the next few weeks hitting the bargain bins to find some other books that I hope will teach, inspire and entertain my young friend. I cannot send him any books that involve pornography, violence, drugs, racism or any other antisocial behavior. If you have any suggestions please share them with me.

I will think about Joe every day and I hope that he comes out of this ordeal a better man. He is one of the brightest young men I have ever met and once he pulls it all together I don’t think anything will stop him from becoming a great success at whatever he chooses to do with his life. If you get a chance give a thought to my friend and wish him well. Note; Joe is not his real name so when speaking to G-D, Buddha, Krishna, Mother Earth, Karma, Bruce Springsteen or any other higher power you can refer to him as Donald Flad Jr’s friend.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Something Is Wrong

There is clearly something wrong with me. Something has changed. All pistons are not firing. I am a few ants short of a picnic. The lights are on but no one is home. Shit happens and I don’t react.

Am I jaded, bitter, cynical or just so over it that I stopped caring? If so, how or why did it happen?

Let me give you some examples:

The Catholic Church festival in Roseto allows a game vendor to take shots at a cartoon of the President of The United States. I was appalled by it on many levels and after reading the good Father’s badly written and ridiculous letter to the editor giving his take on the events of that weekend I was really quite upset. But, I did not rant or rave. I did not take to Twitter, Facebook or this blog to rail against it. No. Guy and I discussed it calmly and after awhile I thought the whole affair was so foolish that I did not think I could add anything. I was certain that Lehigh Valley With Love would have done a much better job at boiling this foolishness down.

My blog idol Lehigh Valley Ramblings tries to promote a lame story about Dino Cantelmi getting away with poor driving because he is related by marriage to Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan. One of the local newspapers did not even cover the non-story and the other disproved it. This is Bethlehem: the son’s of the high and mighty always get away with everything. Did I vent to you here or on Twitter did I write a piece on yet another cheap trick by Charlie Dent? No. I commented on Bernie’s blog but I did not return to read a response.

My dear friends over at Lehigh Valley Independent have written some brilliant stuff over the summer and the only thing I feel the need to comment on is whether John Callahan is hotter than Charlie Dent.

Bill Clinton comes to town and after a brief moment of interest I forgot completely about it until I read about it the next day.

John Boehner comes to town and my only interest is how the vampire pale Charlie Dent looks standing next to the tannest man in Congress.

Lisa Boscola tells local restaurants and bars to break the law and I gave it a big yawn.

Sarah Palin said so many outrageous things this summer and made no sense what so ever each time she spoke or tweeted but all I did was shrug my shoulders and mutter things like “If that’s what America wants then that’s what they deserve.” I did not storm around the house, I did not wave my arms, and tears did not come to my eyes in rage.

Dr. Laura showed her true colors (once again) and I did not join in the discussion. I did not take to my blog to defend the First Amendment from her distortion of it. I just let the moment pass.

The media driven uproar over the non-mosque not being built at the World Trade Center site and the moron preacher burning Korans did not provoke much of a reaction from me.

I ignored Glenn Beck.

So what happened to me?

Am I so disgusted by the way the nation has turned on this President that I have given up?

Have I lost the fire in my belly? I used to love being in the arena (as TR used to call it) and lately I could take it or leave it.

To answer my own question above; I am jaded, bitter and cynical but that never stopped me from caring in the past.

Something has stopped clicking and I need to find out what it is. Any thoughts ya’ll have will be most welcome.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

They Won't Say It - I Just Did

They hate him because he is black.

They cannot abide the fact that the President of the United States is not white.

They hate that the face of America is no longer Caucasian.

For almost 2 years now the punditry has tap danced around this topic but few have actually come out and said it.

The right wing hatred of Barack Obama is purely and simply based on the color of his skin.

The vast majority of the chattering class can’t or will not say it. I just did.

· Two years ago they bashed him for attending a Christian Church where someone they considered to be a radical Black preacher was the senior minister. I have met Rev. Wright and I have heard him preach. He is by no stretch of the imagination a radical. Yes, he may have been angry when he preached those infamous sermons but he is hardly a radical. I am a member of the United Church of Christ and by and large we may be a very progressive lot but radical is a stretch.

· The same people who accused Barack Obama of attending a radical Christian church now accuse him of being a Muslim. These idiots might try to have it both ways but I am not about to let them. He can’t be a Christian in 2008 and a Muslim in 2010. If he converted I think someone would have noticed.

· They say he was not born in the United States and therefore should not be allowed to serve as our President. We all know this is bullshit and they know this is bullshit but this is one way that they can delegitimize this colored President.

· But none of them actually come out and say it but we all know they hate him because he black.

· They a call him a Marxist, communist, socialist, fascist and a Nazi often in single steam of thought. You and I know that it is not true but it is also not possible. So do they but what the hell they are talking about a black guy and they are really good at playing to people’s fears. Yes Newt I am talking about you.

· They compared his wife to a gorilla, but they meant nothing racist by that, they were just talking about her fit arms.

· They sold campaign pins that read “If Obama wins can we still call it the White House” and said it was just a joke. I got the joke it just was not funny.

· They said his policies favor black people at the expense of white people. Prove it. They can’t.

· They were critical of his appointment of the Black Attorney General. After all we can’t have too many non whites in position of power can we?

· Then he nominated that uppity Puerto Rican woman to their Supreme Court.

· They hate this black President so much they have had nothing but high praise for Hillary Rodham Clinton. So we all know that if they are nice to Hillary they must really hate him.

· I have thousands of examples but you get my point.

The more mainstream conservatives are just winking and nodding about the issue. These uptight very white eunuchs know better but they are willing to do anything to get back into power. They clearly are morally bankrupt and only care about power. They are willing to sell their souls to the racist devil. When the devil comes to collect they will all be taken straight to hell and then we have the world to ourselves and oh! What a great place it will be.

Monday, August 16, 2010


There was this man who walked into a bar and ask the bartender for 10 shots of whiskey.

The bartender asks, “What’s the matter?”

The man says, “I found out my brother is gay and marrying my best friend.

”The next day the same man comes in and orders 12 shots of whiskey.

The bartenders asks, “What’s wrong this time?”

The man says, “I found out that my son is gay.”

The next day the same man comes in the bar and orders 15 shots of whiskey.

Then the bartender asks, “Doesn’t anyone in your family like women?”

The man looks up and says, “Apparently my wife does

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Voices You Should Know

In my last post I wrote that the only voice speaking truth to power on this whole sordid Shirley Sherrod affair was Anderson Cooper. I was watching Anderson at the time I wrote the post and watching Anderson in that tight black tee shirt of his forced all other thoughts out of my brain. Don't judge me, even the straight guys out there are envious of the way Mr. Cooper can wear a tee shirt. I would like to apologize to all of the people out there on TV, Radio and on-line who added their wise voices to the chorus of truth tellers. Those who know me are well aware that Rachel Maddow, Keith Olberman and Chris Matthews are an essential part of my information gathering process. The people I want to give props to are not as well know but they should be.

These are folks who I have come to depend on to clarify my thinking and provoke me to expand my view of the world around me. I have mentioned some of these big thinkers in the past but I want to give them their due. I have added some new links on this side where you can find them after you are done with me.

Joan Walsh can be found over at Salon. She is not on TV nearly enough and whenever she is on she speaks with such clarity that most of her opponents wither in her presence. Recently she gave a colleague a history lesson. The topic turned to the battle for the soul of the Republican Party and the other commentator said that parties tend to swing to extremes from time to time but then usually find their way back into the center, no argument there. Then, he went on to give the nomination in 1984 of Walter Mondale as an example of the Democrats nominating someone from their radical side. Joan's response was fast and furious and she gave a history lesson that brought me to my feet in my living room. Ms. Walsh's writing over the last few days has been nothing short of brilliant. Her Tweets are all over the map which makes her even more interesting and I always feel so honored when she takes the time to respond or comment on my Tweets.

Over at the Washington Post and on MSNBC you can find editorial writer Jonathan Capehart and Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Eugene Robinson. As with Joan Walsh these two men are always calm voices during the shout fests that MSNBC can sometimes become.

Mr. Capehart is young, stylish, witty & urbane. He wears the best ties on TV and they are always perfectly knotted. He is quickly becoming the voice of his generation on matters of race, sexual politics and any other issue he decides to speak/write about. He is the voice of the Washington Post but I suspect he will soon rise above that lofty position to become one of the go to and essential voice of our times. Another great Tweeter and he often responds back to my Tweets.

Eugene Robinson is a no nonsense yet poetic columnist. I always think I am smarter and better informed after reading him. His thoughts on race, politics, war and any other topic should be a must stop along the way to enlightenment. He writes with great clarity, humor and a forthrightness that we can all benefit from.

From The Nation you can find 3 writers and pundits who are quickly becoming favorites of mine. Christopher Hayes, Melissa Harris Lacewell and Katrina vanden Huevel. All three spend quality time in academia so they come at issues in a very thoughtful manner, Ms. Harris Lacewell is a Professor at Princeton. I am new to these three but I have found them to be very clear voices in the debates of the day and their honest defense of the left will prove them to become the leaders of the of progressive thought for years/decades to come. Mr. Hayes is great on Twitter but Ms. vanden Huevel Tweets on everything; we watch football games; reality shows and the Tony Awards together via Twitter.

Give these folks a chance to inform, enlighten and entertain you. If you have some suggestions for me please leave a comment and I will check him or her out and let you know what I think.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Won't Waste Mr. Walsh's Plea

"At long last sir have you..." Oh never mind, I am not going to dignify this whole sordid affair by using that classic plea for decency.

This has been a disgusting few days.
  1. A less than trustworthy blogger (ass) publishes a video that shows black people are racist. Wow that's really big news. Some whites are racist, some blacks are racists, some Jews are racists, some Muslims are racist, some Catholics are racist, some politicians are racist, some parents are racist and they produce racist children. This is not news but the once Pox picks up a story the MSM has to pick it up in order to prove they are not trying to fellate Barack Obama.
  2. Every talking head on all networks (though it seems less so on CNN) goes crazy calling for the firing of the black racist as seen on (ass's)video. Everyone speaking knows that (ass) is a suspicious source but common sense be damned. If Pox is going crazy the MSM has to go crazy to because they don't want to be accused by Pox of trying to fellate Barack Obama.
  3. The Sec. of Agriculture decides to fire the black racist seen in the video because one of his assistance told him that a crazy man with a history of substance abuse was going to come out and talk about this black racist.
  4. An elderly white farmer comes out in support of the black racist. It turns out the black racist saved his family farm. The black racist hits the airwaves and asks people to watch the entire 43 minutes of the video not just the 2+ minutes (ass), Pox and now the MSM have been showing every 30 seconds.
  5. A producer (not a reporter) decides that viewing the entire video may be an act of journalism and discovers that the black racist is not a racist, though she is still black.
  6. Oh the hand wringing.
  7. The big story is the President and his administration over reacted and should not have fired the erstwhile black racist.
  8. My reaction is WHAT THE FUCK is going on here?
  9. All the media- left, right, center, print, on-line, TV, radio are talking about this and yet no one, not a single person is talking about the sleazy person who created this issue and tried to ruin the reputation of the honest and hard working woman. All the media is ignoring the fact that they fanned the flames of this fake story and created an environment that caused the formerly black racist to lose her job and worse yet her reputation.
  10. No one but Anderson Cooper.

This entire event is a disgrace to everyone involved except the formerly racist black woman and Anderson Cooper's tight black tee shirt.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Am Not A Fan Of.........

I am not a fan of Oprah Winfrey. Surprised?

How can the guy who wept when Ted Kennedy died (it was my 50th birthday) and continued to weep throughout the entire funeral process, not be a fan of Oprah? How can the guy who gets emotional at good campaign events or the guy who wiped a tear at the Bethlehem Skateboard grand opening not be a fan of Oprah? Coffee commercials make me sad, Lana Turner movies break my heart, I cried along with Halle Berry when she won the Oscar, I was almost overcome with emotion as the Spanish players accepted their awards at the World Cup and when Maury say’s” Marvin you are not the baby’s father” I cry along with the trampy girl running off stage.

So how can this guy not be a fan of Oprah Winfrey?

She is a beloved by millions of women and men around the world. She is a successful business woman, actress, producer, writer and a noted philanthropist. She is friends with the high and mighty. She opened school for girls in Africa. It was her interview that helped Michael Jackson begin the long climb back and it was her interview that almost destroyed the career of Tom Cruise. She has tried to teach us how to accept people of all walks of life and when she speaks out on an issue she speaks with such moral clarity that people listen. In the early days of the 2008 presidential primaries Hillary Clinton was gathering up most of the endorsements of the African American elites. Once Oprah came out to endorse Barack Obama his support in the African American community exploded and it helped him win the crucial battleground state of South Carolina and break even on Super Tuesday. People are already beginning to mourn her departure from TV next year.

Why don’t I like Oprah?

There is fine line between what Oprah does on her TV show and what Jerry Springer does on his. They both exploit people; they both hold people up to judgment and scorn, they both encourage people to debase themselves in front of a national audience, they both think that humiliating people will teach them and us to be better people. Both Jerry and Oprah end their shows with mini lectures sometimes with a finger wagging in our collective faces. We are told what we learned from our past hour together and that if we are smart we will follow their sage and wise advice.

Granted Oprah does it at a much more classy level than Jerry but exploitation is exploitation.

My detractors on this topic, and I have many; always talk about all the good things Oprah has done. I ask for examples.

She gave away all those cars to her audience: She did not give away anything and never has. All the things she gives away are provided by the marketing departments of the product they are pushing. Do you really think she paid for all those cars or even those Carrie Underwood CDs? The car company paid for the cars and the audience members had to pay the taxes, fees and the cost of transporting the car back home. It cost some of these women well over $1,000 to accept this “gift” from Oprah.

The school she built in Africa is the other prime example given as to the future sainthood status of Oprah Winfrey. She did build a school and if it is successful will benefit the most underserved population on the planet; African women. This school opened with great fanfare, all of which was generated by the Harpo media machine. When Angelina Jolie opened her complex she invited a few press people along to document it, when Madonna built hers the same thing. Brad Pitt moved to New Orleans so he could over see the rebuilding of the neighborhood he adopted and there was little fan fare. Sandra Bullock was the first to give a million dollars each to the 9-11, Katrina, South Asia and Haiti funds and there was never even a press release from her people.

But, When Oprah opened up her boarding school she flew multiple plane loads of celebrities, talking heads, media types and anyone else who worship at the altar and drink the Kool-Aid of all things Oprah Winfrey to Africa. She housed, fed and partied with some of the wealthier people in the country all on the dime of her foundation and we got to share in all this largesse because she filmed the entire thing and broadcast it not only on her show but on ABC prime time. Imagine if she used some of that money to do a background check on the violent predator she hired to run the school.

We have become a nation of whiners, victims and cry babies. We do not accept responsibility for our own actions nor the results of those actions. We feel the need to wear our hearts on our sleeves. We have no secrets; we have to share everything with everybody. We think it’s OK to discuss the size of our breasts and penises and we are compelled to tell everyone our innermost secrets. We have become a culture where dignity and honor are not valued. People have no manners or ethics. People think if they go on the Oprah Winfrey show and confess the burdens of their lives all will be forgiven and Oprah thinks that all this dirty laundry airing results in teaching moments. Sorry oh mighty oracle of Chicago not everything needs to be discussed and not everything results in a teaching moment.

What lesson did we learn from the woman whose face was chewed off by a monkey? What are we learning from the whole John Edwards saga? Bringing Monique’s brother in for an hour to discuss the effects of his raping his sister was a teaching moment? Oprah asks her guests and audience to bare their souls but she threatens her family members if they discuss their history or their memories of her life.

The Oprah Winfrey Show has led to the dumbing down of this country; she makes our women feel like victims and she makes our men feel weak and undeserving. Only two people have benefited from the Oprah Winfrey reign of terror; Gayle King and Oprah Winfrey. I suspect Stedman is regretting the day he met this wonderful woman.

I had no idea that texting while driving was a bad idea, thank you Ms. Oprah Winfrey for telling me.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Break Does Not Mean I Was Broken

I have a big urge right now to just run away and lose myself somewhere, a big city preferably. I am not sure what the root of this need is but when I figure it I may decide to share it. Or not.

So instead I took a break from blogging both reading and writing. Another reason I stopped was because I was beginning to bore myself with what I was writing. How many times can I point out the absurdity of many politicians especially on the right? How often can I defend the President? I was beginning to get redundant, so I took a break.

During the break I did not read any of the blogs that I really enjoy and the only columnist I read was Maureen Dowd, I cannot imagine a time that I would not crave her every thought. So, no Frank Rich, no Charles M. Blow, no Joan Walsh, no Bernie O’Hare, no Lehigh Valley with Love, no excitement from Penny @ Vineyard Road and I regret to say I even stopped reading my good friend Hillary Kwiatek over at Lehigh Valley Independent. It’s not that Maureen Dowd is more important than anyone else; it’s just that we have a long history together.

It’s not that I had nothing to say, anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I have a lot to say. I think I was finally in an information overload state. Who knew? I never in a million years thought that would happen to me but it did. I tried writing something erotic but I was told it was boring.

As Cher said in Moonstruck “Snap out of it”, I need to buck up, be a man and start writing again. I am going to try to not write as much about politics and more about life. I am not sure what that means but there has to more than politics. I will still write about current events but I hope I will be able to move beyond the politics and explore the root cause of my opinion of the current event. I will of course still offer solutions to everything. My friend Silagh told me the other night that one of the things she likes about me is my moral certainty and that I am very clear about what I believe to be right and wrong. So, I am going to expand this project to bring my moral clarity to a wider variety of topics.

Suggestions are always welcome and of course polite feedback is encouraged.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Letter

I have a young friend who has had some difficulties and now may face some court time to reflect on the choices he has made. I believe in this kid, he is really bright, very funny and could have a stellar future. He has a quite few demons he needs to exorcise so maybe some time away may be exactly what he needs. With a great deal of trepidation he came to me and asked if I would give him a character reference. I quickly agreed. The letter is below.
Of course I changed his name.

Dear Sir/Madam

I have known Joe Smith for three years and over the course of this time I have gotten to know Joe as a bright, thoughtful and hard working young man. Yes, he has his flaws but for me they are far outweighed by his assets as a person. I am not writing this letter in any official work related capacity but as someone who has become Joe’s friend.

I have had the opportunity to watch Joe as an employee and as a leader in his department. As a supervisor in his area he is always on top if what is going on and always does what is right for the associates he is accountable and for the customer who pays his salary. When on the job he is focused on doing the right thing.

Over the past few years Joe and I have had many conversations about politics, the news of the day and most importantly his life and the choices he has made. I am old enough to be Joe’s father and in fact he refers to me as Dad because I am not afraid to have the hard conversations with him about some of his less than stellar activities. A few of these conversations have begun with me pulling him aside and saying “What the hell were you thinking? Or I suppose you were not thinking were you.”

Joe is well aware of the stupidity of his actions and fully realizes what could have happened because of them. Since this incident I have noticed a marked change in Joe. He is more humble, more willing to admit to his flaws and to learn the lessons his mistakes teach him. I truly believe he now understands that his actions have consequences and he is ready and willing to work on what it is that has caused him in the past to be so reckless.

I have seen great growth in Joe over the past few years and I can vouch for his level of maturity and understanding that his past actions have not only caused great harm to himself but could have been deadly to others. I am asking the court take into consideration the young man Joe has become and the potential for a bright future I believe he possesses when considering the legal consequences for his past actions.

Donald C. Flad Jr
After this weekend I heard a rumour that my friend may have let Dad down. I only had a brief moment today to question how he was feeling. He grinned said Fine and then tried to stare me down. I think he was expecting more of grilling but I did not have the energy. Tomorrow is a another day.
What do I do if my "son" let me down?
Did I do the right thing by writing the letter?