Sunday, December 16, 2012

The World is in Mourning

To President Obama
I have been deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the dreadful loss of life today in Newtown, Connecticut; particularly the news that so many of the dead are children.
Prince Philip joins me in extending our heartfelt sympathy to you and the American people at this difficult time.
The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth are with the families and friends of those killed and with all those who have been affected by today’s events.
Elizabeth R
— Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth to the President of the Unites States of America, Barack Obama on the disturbing shooting today 

The Names


Monday, November 5, 2012

Marcia Hahn - In PA 138th District

If I lived in the PA 138th State House District I would vote for Republican Marcia Hahn

You may ask why?

  1. She is a Republican 
  2. I don't agree with much of her voting record

Rep. Hahn has a voting record that is fairly conservative but she is not by any stretch a tea bagger, she is what is now called a moderate Republican.

I attended a luncheon sponsored by the Slate Belt Chamber of Commerce and Rep. Hahn was to speak on Education.  After the talk she came up to me and said "OK Flad let me have it".  I had no reason to let her "have it".  Her positions were well thought out and from my Liberal point of view very moderate and she was open to compromise and to fully discuss and understand the issues before making up here mind on any education reform legislation.  I thought it was interesting that she sought me out to get my opinion; it says a lot about the quality of her character.

At recent community festival my company's booth was placed next to a booth manned by a shrieking Tea Party loon.  The Obama bumper sticker on my car was hard to miss since the car was parked next to my booth. Rep. Hahn came up to tease me and asked if I was OK  and to let me know that if  they bothered me she would be there to protect me.  It was a pretty funny moment.  I think she really was concerned about me and this was her way of letting the wing nut know that I was her friend.

Rep. Marcia Hahn never fails to seek me out at an event, to ask my opinion on a topic, asks about work, my family, tell me some jokes and to engage in some friendly political banter.

Representative Hahn puts politics and partisanship aside when it comes to the bread and butter economic issues that impact the greater Lehigh Valley.  She has a very good relationship with Rep. Bob Freeman who is her polar opposite when it comes to politics  but works with him and the rest of the local delegation for what is best for the area.

I would vote for Marcia Hahn because she is smart, thoughtful, organized, cares a great deal about her community and is very visible around the district.  She works very hard and has surrounded herself with a very capable and qualified staff.

I am proud to call Marcia Hahn my friend and I encourage those of you who can vote for her to do so.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Like Father Like Son

I was with my father in the car on the way to a Lafayette College football game and as is often the case politics came up.

Dad Flad - "I would rather vote for a DOG than that do nothing, empty suit and intellectually lazy Charlie Dent."

Me - "I'm not really a fan of his opponent but I may end of voting for him just because he's not Congressman Dent."

Dad Flad - "Your Mother & I voted absentee this year because I'm not sure she can stand in line very long."

Me - "That's a good idea.  Who did you vote for in the Congressional race?"

Dad Flad - "I voted for the dog"

My dad once said "I will never vote for another Republican as long as New Gingrich is alive"

Me - "How you gonna vote when he does die?"

Dad Flad - He just glared at me

My father was not always this way, I know he has in fact voted for some Republicans but when Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter something transformed him.

So.....I come by it honestly.

My Vote For Congress

Election day sometimes gives us a choice of voting for the lesser of two evils.  Sometimes voting is like pissing in the wind - you get relief but you also get wet.

This year I just can't do it.  I can't just vote for a Democrat because I think he is the lesser of two evils in the 15th district Congressional race.

The incumbent is Charlie Dent who has shown no signs of leadership or effectiveness though he did pass legislation to name a building after a beloved local Federal Judge.  

Congressman Dent introduced  legislation to strip the citizenship of Anwar Awlaki an American born Muslim Cleric who was hell bent on the destroying this country.  My Congressman could not get enough of his congressional peers to support this bill.

Think about that fact; Charlie Dent could not convince enough politicians (opportunist all) to support a bill to strip the citizenship of the most hated man in America.  

His Democratic opponent is Rich Daugherty; a local pol who has does not seem to be trying very hard or really care if he wins or not.

I have decided to write in myself for Congress. 

 I have to look at myself in the mirror on Wednesday and I have to know I did the right thing.  I can't send Charlie Dent back to Congress and I can't send Rick Daugherty to Congress.

I am writing in Donald C. Flad Jr for Congress in the 15th Congressional District 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

WE ARE........

Any fan of college football is familiar with the Penn State cheer of WE ARE.....PENN STATE.  It is a rallying cry used to cheer on the Nittany Lions.

In 1948 the Penn State football team was invited to play in the New Years day Cotton Bowl held in
Dallas Texas, their opponent was Southern Methodist University (SMU). In 1948 Penn State had very few black students and only two black players on the football team. For the first time in school history a young black student was a starter.

In 1948 segregation was still very much in place in Texas and SMU was a segregated university.  SMU officials sought out a meeting with the Penn State to request the university leave it's two black student athlete's home or at least off the field.

When told of this proposed meeting Penn State team captain Steve Suhey proclaimed at a team meeting "We are Penn State....There will be no meetings".

Wally Trippet; one of the black players did play in the 1948 Cotton bowl and he scored the touchdown that allowed Penn State to tie the game for a final score of 13 - 13.  Penn State ended the 1948 season undefeated.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Did Great Grandpa Flee 3,000 Years Ago?

Willard Mitt Romney is opposed to my right to be a full citizen of this country.  He opposes "Gay Marriage".

He said that marriage has "been one man and one woman for 3,000 years".

Which is historically inaccurate.

His great grandfather fled this country to Mexico so he could maintain his (then) Mormon "lifestyle" of more than one wife."

I don't think that happened more than 3,000 years ago.

I could be wrong.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What Happened Between 2008 & 2009

After one full year in office President George W Bush requested congressional approval for an increase in the debt ceiling he went on to seek debt ceiling increase in every year following except for 2005.

In 2002 31 Republican Senators did the right thing and voted to increase the debt ceiling so the government could continue to pay its bills and expenses.

In 2003 50 Republican Senators voted yes.

In 2004 50 Republican Senators voted yes.

In 2006 51 Republican Senators voted yes.

In 2007 as many Republican Senators were concerned about primary opposition 26 still voted to increase the debt ceiling.

In 2008 there were two votes to increase the debt ceiling the first vote 34 members of the GOP Senate caucus voted yes.  Because the first vote was not actually large enough to meet the needs a second increase was needed and 33 Republican Senators voted to do the responsible thing.

In 2009 still working under the Bush spending plan only 2 Republicans voted yes and a second increase was needed in 2009 and 1 patriotic Republican voted yes.

In 2011 not a single Republican Senator voted in the best interest of their country – not a single one!

What happened between 2008 and 2009?  Barack Obama.

When Mitt Romney criticizes this President for not being bi-partisan enough to govern effectively; I know he is full of shit, you know he is full of shit and we all know he knows he is full of shit.

If Romney wins I hope he is not naive enough to think the Democrats in the Senate are not going to extract their pound of flesh to get revenge. 

Please don’t ever forget that when Congress is in session there are no adults in the room. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Remembering George McGovern - In Two Parts

Some of what you need to know about George McGovern;

He was the son of a miner turned Wesleyan Methodist Minister who himself was briefly a minister until he heard another calling; public servant.

Former Pastor, College professor, Congressman, Special Assistant to the President, US Senator from South Dakota, Democratic Presidential nominee, Author, Ambassador, Father and Husband to the sublime Eleanor died this morning at age 90.  His was a life well lived and we as a nation are better for it because he answered the calling of politics and public service.

While in college he registered to fight in WWII, a few days after the Pearl Harbor attack he was compelled to serve his nation.  He interrupted his college education and served in the Air Corp; he was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant.  He flew hundreds of missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery and leadership.  After the war ended he flew food relief mission across Europe and just prior to his separation from service he was awarded the Air Medal and three Oak Leaf Clusters for his valor and service.  During the 1972 campaign he was vilified and had his patriotism questioned by conservatives and Republicans for his opposition to US involvement in Vietnam.  

He returned home to South Dakota and his beloved Eleanor to complete his college education, thanks to the socialist GI Bill.  He would eventually earn a PhD from Northwestern.  He was raised to be a Republican but he was inspired by FDR’s leadership during the war so he became a Democrat after a few years as a college professor he went on to work for the Democratic Party in a state that had only 2 Democratic members of the 110 seat State Legislature.   In 1956 he became the first South Dakota Democrat to be elected to Congress in 22 years.  In 1960 he launched a campaign to oust the loathsome Karl Mundt from the Senate he lost.  As a result of losing that race President John Kennedy appointed him to the new position of Special Assistant to the President (Czar) as the first Director of the Food for Peace program.

The Food for Peace program fed tens of millions of people worldwide in dozens of countries and expanded the nascent school lunch program in this country.  Pope John XXIII personally praised Mr. McGovern during an audience at the Vatican.  In 1962 President Kennedy allowed George McGovern out of his commitment to pursue another race for the US Senate.  Again, he took on an incumbent Republican but this time the result was different, he became the first Democratic Senator from the state in 26 years and only the third since 1889.   He became ill during the last weeks of the campaign and Eleanor is widely credited with saving his campaign by her tireless efforts on his behalf. 

While in the Senate he fought for farmers, Native Americans as well as issues dealing with hunger and poverty.  He often push for the government to reset it’s priorities from military spending to domestic spending in areas that could improve people’s lives.

In his first year as a Senator, George McGovern became the first member of that body to speak out against the increasing US involvement in Vietnam; note the year was 1963.  Oddly he voted to support the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.  He later said he regretted making a political decision on that vote rather than a moral decision.

In 1968 he stayed neutral in the post Johnson Democratic primary race campaigning with RFK, Vice President Humphrey and Sen. Gene McCarthy.  He was encouraged to enter the race but he did not believe he could garner enough support to actually win the nomination and he did not want to jeopardize his re-election race.  A little more than a month after RFK was assassinated he did enter the Presidential race in order to give the bereft and leaderless Kennedy delegates a candidate to support.  In the final balloting he came in third place behind McCarthy and the eventual nominee Vice President Humphrey.  In the end he endorsed Humphrey and campaigned for him as well as running his own re-election.

After the 1968 election Sen. McGovern led a commission to open up the Democratic presidential nomination process, as a result primary caucus voters elected the delegates to the convention rather than the party establishment choosing the delegates.  This rule change allowed non-establishment candidates to win the nomination and in fact allowed McGovern himself to win the nomination in 1972. In fact Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama also benefited from the rule changes set forth by the McGovern committee.  The rules have been tweaked over the years allowing for more party leaders (super delegates) to be appointed but ultimately it is the primary/caucus process that picks the Democratic Party nominee.

It was his opposition to the war and distaste for Richard Nixon that led to his full on run for the Presidency.  Because he did not have any establishment support he entered the race in January of 1971, unusually early for that time, unlike now when candidates begin running the day after the incumbent is inaugurated.  Because of his grassroots campaigning he was able to outlast the better financed and more establishment approved opponents.

The new rules allowed for a more disorganized and free flowing convention, this new generation of delegates, elected by the people demanded that their voices be heard on every possible issue.  As a result George McGovern was forced to give his brilliant “Come Home America” acceptance speech around three o’clock in the morning east coast time.  It has been said that the television audience was 15 million people as opposed to a viewership of 70 million that he could have expected at and earlier hour.

Because the nomination was not decided until a very late hour the campaign had to rush a decision on the Vice Presidential nominee after many of the party leading lights rejected the offer the campaign settled the more moderate and southern acceptable Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri.  A good man, a decent man, someone without controversy would appeal to Middle America, unfortunately he neglected to tell the campaign he had under gone electroshock therapy to battle depression but I have to wonder if it would have matter since Eleanor McGovern battled depression her entire life and he was hospitalized during his military service more than once for battle fatigue but that’s just speculation on my part.

After word of Sen. Eagleton’s treatment became public McGovern said he supported his running mate “1,000 percent” but within a few days Eagleton was forced from the ticket.  McGovern was vilified for his disloyalty, ineffective leadership and sloppy management style, he never recovered.  Again, McGovern reached out to the leading Democrats of that time to run with him but they all ran away from him.  In the end he chose Kennedy in-law, founding Director of the Peace Corps and Lyndon Johnson’s Ambassador to France Sargent Shriver (read back and see my remembrance of this great American).  If the McGovern campaign hoped Shriver would add a little Camelot excitement to the campaign I’m sure they were deeply disappointed.  The campaign was a noble and brave effort but in the end it was rejected by the voters in 49 states; the Democrats only won Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, the people of his home state even decided they didn’t want to promote their own Senator to the Presidency.

Senator McGovern and Eleanor were so despondent after this loss the contemplated leaving the country and on inauguration day 1973 McGovern gave a speech in London harshly critical of Richard Nixon and his stewardship of the nation.  Upon his return home McGovern was roundly criticized and was rejected by most of the political establishment in and out of the Democratic Party.  McGovern went home to South Dakota to mend fences and was re-elected to the Senate in 1974.  He certainly benefited from Nixon’s downfall as a result of his unprosecuted crimes against this great republic.  Sen. McGovern was unable to fight the tide of the Reagan revolution and was defeated in 1980.  He handled this defeat better than he did the 1972 loss and he bounced back quickly.  He returned to academia and for a brief time replaced Stephen Ambrose as a Professor at the University of New Orleans.  After that he joined a think tank and became a much sought after speaker.
In 1984 he decided to run for the Presidency again; this time he understood he had no chance of winning but he made the race in attempt to return the party to its more liberal roots.  During the campaign he became the moral voice of the party and as a result he restored his reputation and settled comfortably into the role of elder statesman and leading voice for the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party.  He campaigned tirelessly for Walter Mondale and commiserated with a Mondale defeat that was equally as devastating as his was 12 years earlier.  It has be reported that after the election Walter Mondale asked him how long it would take for him to get over the hurt of such a overwhelming defeat his response was that he would let Mondale know when it happened.

In later years he would use his money to open and operate a hotel in Connecticut and wrote frequently in the Wall Street Journal about his experience as a first time, late in life small business owner.  In 1994 his daughter Terry died as result her years of substance abuse, he published a book about the experience of losing a daughter after years of her battling mental illness, drugs and alcohol.  He used the proceeds from that book to open a treatment center in her memory.

In 1998 President Clinton appointed Sen. McGovern the US Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, after his election President Bush asked him to stay in the position and when he finally resigned the position in 2001 he was appointed a UN Global Ambassador for Hunger Relief; A UN Goodwill Ambassador.   In 2000 President Clinton awarded Ambassador McGovern the Medal of Freedom pointing out McGovern’s decade’s long fight to end hunger worldwide.

In 2007 Eleanor died and McGovern soon moved home to South Dakota to be closer to his family.  Eleanor would have been a role model First Lady.  Unlike most political spouses of her generation she often campaigned for her husband on her own.  During the 1972 convention she would invite wavering delegates and party leaders to their private hotel suite for personal one on one conversation, encouraging people to remain loyal and chastising those who strayed.  It was a very effective tool in dealing with an unruly and fiercely independent convention.  She was a tireless campaigner for women’s issues including the biggest issue of the day the ERA.

Earlier this year recorded George McGovern recorded the narration of Aaron Copeland’s “Lincoln Portrait” for the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and just a few weeks ago he introduced the production at its premier.

George McGovern died quietly overnight his body finally telling him he had lived a great life, fought the good fight and it was time to rest.

The personal; 

The 1972 McGovern presidential campaign was my first campaign; I was 13 years old.  I would volunteer a few hours after school and on weekends. I would run errands, sharpen pencils, lick envelopes and on occasion tag along with the older kids when they went door to door.  It was during this campaign I met and became lifelong friends with State Rep. Bob Freeman and met iconic State Senator Jeanette F. Reibman; a woman I would campaign tirelessly for in the future.  I was probably led to the McGovern campaign because of my parent’s fervent and faith based opposition to the Vietnam War. 

George McGovern convinced me to be a Democrat and a Liberal and an American who is proud of his country even when its elected officials do not always make us proud.  George McGovern taught me that this great republic, this beacon of democracy could be better and as he never stopped fighting for this nation’s freedom as he fought for its moral center I too will never give up hoping for this nation’s future. 
A few weeks ago someone asked me what I would do if President Obama lost the election; I responded by saying when you begin your active political life at age 13 with George McGovern you learn how to take a knock down punch but you get back up and continue to fight for the heart and soul of this country and you never give up hope.

I actually got to meet Sen. McGovern twice. Once, during his 1984 campaign, the Northampton County Young Democrats (yes I still qualified back then) invited him to be our guest of honor at our annual fundraiser. He had no handlers, no staff to keep him at a distance from us it was just this American Icon and the future leaders of the Democratic Party.  I don’t remember much about his formal remarks but his overall theme was about fighting to ensure the Democratic Party did not move too far to the right in reaction to the success of Reagan.  But, I do remember how relaxed and confident was.  I remember he took the time to speak to everyone in the room he asked about our jobs, our college studies our families; he asked why we were Democrats and was not too proud to ask those of us who were supporting Walter Mondale or his 1972 campaign manager Gary Hart to at least keep him in our back pockets in case of the two front runners faltered.  I know that I moved him up on my list 1 behind Mondale and ahead of Hart and John Glenn.

I met Mr. McGovern again briefly in 1992.  We were in DC for the Aids Quilt display and were returning to our hotel no doubt and little tipsy, I’m sure I had on enough gay rights pins to open a pin store and I noticed him walking down the street, I called out “Hello Senator” he stopped looked at me to see if he knew me I just said “I just wanted to thank you for all you have done for this country, thank you Senator” he looked and smiled and I just walked on.  I turned around with a tear in my eye and saw him shake his head and chuckle.

My early interest in politics became a passion for good government and progressive/liberal causes because of that 1972 campaign and they became a permanent and essential part of who I am as a man because of George McGovern. 

I believe that history will be very kind to George McGovern of Avon, South Dakota.  We are a better nation because of him and I am a better man because George McGovern ran for President in 1972.
Thank you Senator McGovern.

Thanks to various news sources for clarifying my memory of some of the facts of George McGovern’s life 

A Moment of Silence For George McGovern

A former Senator, Presidential candidate, a war hero and most importantly a hero for peace. His beloved Eleanor has called George McGovern home to be with her.  George McGovern was 90 years old.

I have much to say but for now I will just say Thank You George McGovern, Thank You.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Reasons Why I Am Voting To Re-Elect The President - Part 5

On October 15, 2012 Astronaut, Senator and American hero John Glenn said this:

“You learn to size up a person by their character.  He stood firm against doubters and saved the auto industry.  He’s taken on big corporations and foreign powers when they’ve threatened out jobs, our freedom and our way of life.

And you know he means what he says.

Barack Obama has earned my vote and my trust.”

I don't think one famous Democrat endorsing another Democrat is news or significant, in fact it really pisses me of when news organizations treat such endorsements as news.  It would be news if John Glenn would have endorsed Gary Johnson or Jill Stein. The mere thought that someone like John Glenn would even consider endorsing someone like Willard Mitt Romney almost makes me double over in laughter.  

I am sharing Senator Glenn's endorsement with you because I think it is an eloquent summation of why we should be supporting this President's re-election.

How Mitt Romney's Latest Attack On Libya Is Falling Apart | ThinkProgress

How Mitt Romney's Latest Attack On Libya Is Falling Apart | ThinkProgress

Friday, October 19, 2012

What They Are Saying About The President

Below is a not complete list of poster, pin or tee shirt sayings seen at Tea Party events.

Obama’s Plan White Slavery

The American Taxpayers are the Jews for Obama’s ovens

Our tax $$ are given to Hamas to kill Christians, Jews and Americans

Obama what you talkin bout Willis! Spend my money

No Taxes / Obama loves taxes bankrupt USA / Loves baby Killing

A picture of The President stabbing Uncle Sam with word CHANGE below it

Barack Obama supports Abortion, Sodomy and Socialism and The New World Order (so did Bill Clinton and George W Bush)

A picture of Obama bent over sticking his tongue out and a Saudi Prince holding his hand out with money in it  “He was not bowing he was sucking the Saudi JEWELS

Hey Hussein Quit “Dixie Chickin” our nation Go back to Kenya

Obama’s Plan White Slavery

Cap Congress and Trade Obama back to Kenya

Iman Obama wants to ban pork

Obama – Half Breed Muslim

Go Back to Kenya

Obama Nomics – Monkey see monkey spend

Put the White back in the White House (tee shirt seen at recent Romney rally)
A photo of Obama kneeling before Sarah Palin shining her shoes

If Obama wins will it still be the White House (this one is from 4 years ago)

I know that everyone who opposes this President is not a racist.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Please Just Make Up Your Mind Willard

Here is Mitt Romney's crystal clear and firm stand on the issue of a woman’s reproductive freedom.

1994 “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.”

2001 “I do not wish to be labeled pro-choice.”

2002 “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose.”

2007 “We should overturn Roe V. Wade.”

2011 “I will advocate for and support a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”

2012 “There is no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

2012 (his campaign clarifying the last statement) “Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and will be a pro-life president.”

This is a man who wants to be President and yet he can’t come up with a firm position about a very important issue to many women in this country.  

And, he is wondering why he is having a difficult time connecting with women voters.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Who Knew Gay GOP Was So Desperate


This is an ad placed by the Broward Log Cabin Republicans.  The gay ones.
There is so much wrong with this piece of crap I'm not sure I can capture my outrage in print.  When you see my guy ask him.

  • They show a picture of the corpse of the recently killed Ambassador - Disgusting on so many levels
  • They have outed the Ambassador Stevens - Something they oppose
  • They accused the President of deliberately allowing the Ambassador to be killed - Really?
  • They accuse the President of not protecting the United States from Shariah Law - This nation is under threat from Shariah law?  Really?  No Really?
  •  They are "unified in their support of Equality of Rights in the State of Israel" - What does that have to do with any of the above? I guess they think they are appealing to the Jewish retirees from NY.  I don't get the last line at all.
This is one of the lowest most disgusting ads I have seen in a very long time and it is done in support of a guy who hates the sponsors of the ad.  I don't get it. They are willing to stoop to this disgusting level to support someone who wants to reimpose DADT and opposes equality for them.  

Who knew people were so desperate to remain second class citizens.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reasons Why I Am Voting To Re-Elect The President - Part 4

I am a man of great faith and strong beliefs.  I am someone who tries to live his convictions daily. But, I am not so steadfast in my ways to not accept compromise when it comes to political decisions.

I never voted for former Governor Bob Casey, I never voted Bob Casey Jr until he ran against Little Ricky Santorum. But, I had to compromise my values in order to drive a man as detestable as Rich Santorum out of office.

"I can't wait to see how crushed these Obama true believers react when he is forced to compromise once he is elected." "Will they stick with him or with the slump off in disappointment?"  I said this 4 years ago (much to the horror of my guy) to someone who I came to find out was an Obama True Believer.

Odd, how I (Barack Obama was my 5th choice during the 2008 primary) have become a more steadfast supporter of this President than many of those who came to me with quivering voices and tears in their eyes asking me to support him during the 2008 primaries.  Many of these folks were incredulous that I was supporting Hillary because my guy is black they just assumed that I (we) would just naturally just support the black guy running for President.  We didn't in the spring but we certainly did come the fall.

It has been painful for me to watch many of these True Believers sit on their hands during the last 3 years as this President fought against an economic tsunami, racist foes and the Republican's willingness to let this country fail rather than allow any Obama initiative that would move this country forward pass. I hear many of the True Believer's say "Well, he just didn't do what he said" or "Well, he promised hope and change and he just didn't deliver." 

Perhaps I have been in and around politics for so long that I have become cynical and jaded and perhaps my expectations of what any President can really accomplish is so low, that I have not been all that disappointed in Barack Obama.

This President in the face of birthers, tea baggers, subtle and not so subtle racism and Republican unity in wanting him to fail at any cost; saved wall street, saved the American auto industry, ended the Iraq war, is drawing down the Afghanistan war, reversed the economic downward spiral, gave us meaningful health care reform, facilitated the end of the Gaddafi reign of terrorism, encouraged the Arab Spring and authorized the killing of Osama Bin Laden and many of his top aides around the world.

Was I always happy with the way Barack Obama has managed his Presidency?  No, read back to some of last summer posts.  But, I am a realist and being one I realize that he is the best President we can expect for these times and given what he has been up against he has done a pretty damn good job.

Barack Obama has earned a second term and to the folks who were with him 4 years ago and are wavering now I say BUCK UP, PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL/BOY PANTS and ask yourself; do you really want Mitt Romney to be President and the Republican's to control both houses of Congress ?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Nobody Wanted Her Constitution

"Get your free copy of the constitution, no obligation"

I listened that line non-stop for about 5 hours on Saturday and it was painful.

I participated in the Bath Community Day festival this past Saturday.  Bath, Pa is a quaint little borough in the heart of Northampton County and like many of these small communities it has seen better times but the residence of Bath are fighting back and working hard to improve the quality of life and culture of their little town.

Bath Community Day is one such effort.  It is an opportunity for vendors, merchants and organizations to gather on a Saturday afternoon and showcase their services. The event took place at the Green Street park. The park is just recovering from devastating flooding last year and the highlight of the day was the dedication of the new performing arts stage and pavilion.

One of the community groups participating in the festival was the Lehigh Valley Tea Party.  All day long the shrill woman staffing their booth shouted and berated people passing by.  She would wave a copy of the Tea Party edition of the U.S. Constitution shouting at everyone who passed by; "Get your free copy of the constitution, there is no obligation."  As people walked by and politely turned down her offer she would then scream "It explains where your freedoms come from."

I thought the tea party believed that our freedoms come from G-D not government.  I am confused by her assertion that our freedoms come from a document that sets up the government.  But, then the tea party is not known for their consistency.

As people continued to turn down her offer and they walked further away from  her she would then get even louder and say "What's the matter don't you love your country enough to learn about your freedoms and how they are protected?"  Very few people took the time to speak with her but, then why would anyone want to speak to someone who was questioning their love of country.

By her insults this crazed tea bagger assumed that people did not already know and understand their constitutional freedoms, she assumed that only the tea party had all the answers and exclusive knowledge of the constitution and she assumed that she could insult people into compliance.  She was wrong on all accounts.

I would have loved the opportunity to confront this woman but I was not there representing myself I was there representing my employer so just stayed at my booth and promoted my wares.  A number of my Republican friends came up to me to make sure I was OK and not suffering too much by listening to this diatribe all afternoon.  I assured my friends that I was fine and was really enjoying watching people shake their heads in either disgust or dark humor at this fanatic as they quickly walked out of ear shot.

She did not do her cause any favors on Saturday so in some perverse way I was glad she was there and I left with a sense of satisfaction that her presence had the opposite effect of her intent.

Note - I will continue to use the term Tea Bagger as long as they continue to deny the President is a natural born citizen, call him a Nazi and make racist comments about his wife.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The First Debate - Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Carry On

In 1939 the British Government plastered this slogan on posters all over London to help keep the spirits of the British people high during some of the darkest days of WWII.

Attention liberals and other supporters of our President; to you I say "Keep Calm and Carry On"  "Stay Fired Up!"

There is no question that our President was clearly not the winner of the first debate and I suspect some money poured into the Romney campaign as a result and the Democrats are going to have focus a little harder on some of the swing states.  But, one debate is not a game changer especially since there was no smack down by Romney.  

The former Governor was simply more on his game than was the President.

Romney may have won the night but Barack Obama won the day after.
  • The fact checkers were out in full force yesterday and to a person they debunked much of what Romney said
  • Even conservatives noted that Romney positions Wednesday differed greatly from his positions he has taken over the last 18 months
  • Romney was called rude, a bully and overbearing by many in the chattering class
  • There was almost as much post debate discussion about the moderator as there was the debate itself 
  • Romney was roundly mocked for wanting to fire Big Bird as an example of how he will solve our nation's massive debt problems.  For the record PBS receives no direct funding from the federal government.  The money goes directly to the local stations and the amount of the budget that will be saved by cutting this subsidy is 0.012%.  Not much of an impact is it?  Of all the things Romney could think of to cut spending the best he could do was PBS?
  • The President was greeted by 30,000 people at his rally in Madison yesterday
  • There are two more debates to come and this President is famous for his 4th quarter come back skills
If the President stood there Wednesday and just responded to Romney misstatements and lies would he have looked defensive?   Would he have looked angry?  Barack Obama has spent his entire political career trying not to be "the angry black man" because he knows that "the angry black man" will never be elected President  in this country.  So, his handlers chose to coach him to look calm, reserved and Presidential but, they over coached him and he looked bored, unfocused and ill prepared.

Keep Calm and Carry On people one debate will not win this race for Romney and one debate will not lose this race for Obama and one debate will not lose this race for the future of this country.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Listen To The Boss

The marriage-equality issue should be recognized for what it truly is-a civil rights issue that must be approved to assure that every citizen is treated equally under the law.

“I couldn’t agree more with that statement and urge those who support equal treatment for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to let their voices be heard now.”  Bruce Springsteen

Normally I don’t put a lot of weight behind what entertainers have to say about current events because a lot of it is pretty shallow, tends to be trendy and usually more about them than the issue they proclaim to care about.  The upside is that celebrities can bring attention to an issue but that attention often proves to be fleeting. 

But, this is Bruce freakin Springsteen when the boss talks you people should all listen.  I do. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Reason Why I Am Voting To Re-Elect The President - Part 3

Some of the new government spending that the Republican’s complain about includes
  • ·          $1.4 billion  to fund the improvement in services to veterans at the VA
  • ·         $4.6 billion to pay for more mental health professionals within the VA
  • ·         Supported and signed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which made more money available for veterans medical care
  • ·         Ensured there was enough funding to provide active troops with better boy armor – Remember during the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld started wars when family members had to spend their own money to ensure their loved ones had proper body armor.

The First Lady and Dr. Biden have dedicated much of their activity to speaking out on behalf of the military families at home and ensuring the returning troops are treated as the they deserved to be treated; patriot’s and hero’s.

The President supported and was prepared to sign the Veteran’s Job Bill; it was fully paid for and had mostly bipartisan support.  This bill would have lowered unemployment among veterans, giving grants to federal, state and local agencies to hire veterans; giving priority to those who served on or after 9/11.  Sen. Mitch McConnell and his party of chicken hawks forced a cloture vote which means the Senate had to vote on whether they were going to vote on the bill.  This way the Republicans could not really be accused of voting against the bill they just voted against voting on the bill.  60 votes are needed in cloture votes and this failed to pass because on 58 Senators voted yes. Only in the American Senate does legislation get 58 yes votes and 40 no votes and still not pass. 

 Not very democratic if you ask me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Reasons Why I Am Voting To Re-Elect The President - Part 2

  • When President Obama took office this nation was in its worst recession in 75 years, during his first year in office economists declared the recession over.
  • When he took office there were 13 straight months of private sector job loss, the private sector has been adding more jobs than it has been shedding every month since February 2010.  That is over 4.5 million new private sector jobs. 
  • The unemployment rate has continued to drop (except for the first few months) every month since the President took office. The reason the jobs numbers are not showing this growth as clearly because Federal, State and Local governments have been laying off people as a result of economic constraints and Republican austerity programs.
  • The Dow Jones Index was running around 8,000 when the Republican’s left the White House; the stock index is now hovering around 13,000.
  • Under Republican spending we had a $1.4 trillion deficit and despite GOP claims to the contrary the federal deficit is now $1.3 trillion.
  • In February of 2012 GM posted record profits only 2 years after the President wisely supported their bail out.  Chrysler soon followed and Ford is stronger today than it was in 2009.
  • New spending programs under President Obama totals up to $1.44 trillion.  Under the last Republican administration new program spending totaled $5.07 trillion.  Who are the big spenders?  Congressman Ryan supported each one of these new GOP programs and referred to them as economic stimulus. So even if this President doubles the new government spending in his next term it will still be less the Republicans spending.

Things are not as good as any of us want them to be but when the Republican’s ask is the country better off than it was 4 years ago the answer is YES. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Reasons Why I Am Voting To Re-Elect The President - Part 1

  • Through his leadership DADT was repealed and he proudly signed the law.  He did not sign it off the radar he held a grand and elaborate ceremony.  He said he would and he kept his promise.  He did it the right way through an act of Congress.  Thank you sir.
  • He has voiced support for Marriage Equality.  It has taken him awhile but he has voiced his support.  It's called evolving, it's called growth.  At the same time he has ordered the Justice Department to stop defending DOMA in the courts.  His reason...discrimination is wrong.  We are all American's and we all are entitled to equal rights and protection under the law 
  • He supported hospital visitation rights for LGBT patients.  It is now the law. 
  • He has spoken out forcefully against bullying 
  • He created a "It gets Better" video and shared it on Youtube
  • He supports work place protections for all citizens
  • He is married to the very awesome Michelle!  (More on this later) 

Many more to come........Please feel free to share your reasons for re-electing our President.
Or your reasons why not - but remember please be polite and not offensive...I will blacklist your ass in a heartbeat if you are rude or disrespectful. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

If Paul Ryan Were An Action Figure He Would Be Called LIAR MAN

Paul Ryan - lies about "Obamacare" taking money away from Medicare
Paul Ryan - lies about the fact that his Medicare plan actually does take money away from the program and is a voucher plan.
Paul Ryan - lies about the negative impact his budget plans have on the poor and the middle class
Paul Ryan - lies about the benefits his budget plans have for the 1%
Paul Ryan - lies about his general economic plans - Trickle down has never worked and will never work
Paul Ryan - lies when he blames President Obama for the closing of the auto plant in his home town.  The plant closed a month before this President took the oath of office
Paul Ryan - lies when he blames The President for the lowering of the nation's S&P rating.  When shown a statement by S&P blaming the Republicans in Congress for the lower rating, he still denies the facts.
Paul Ryan - lies about the financial and social status of his family in his home town and pretends he pulled himself up by his boot straps.  His family was very financially comfortable and very prominent in the town.  It is a shame that his father died when he was a young man but as a result his college education was paid for via a benefit provided by Social Security.  A plan he would now like to end.

These are all pretty significant lies.

Paul Ryan - lies when he said he ran a marathon in 2 hours and 55 minutes when in fact it took him over 4 hours.

If Paul Ryan is willing to lie about something as silly as a marathon time imagine the lies he will tell us as Vice President

Responding To A Facebook Screed

So let me get this straight;
If you cross the North Korean border illegally, you get 12 years of hard labor.  If you cross the Afghanistan border illegally, you will get shot.  Two Americans just got eight years for crossing the Iranian border.  If you cross the U.S. border Illegally, who get a job, a driver's license, food stamps, a place to live, health care benefits, child benefits, education, and a tax free business for 7 years.  No wonder we are a country in debt.
Like and Share if you agree!!!

I came across this gem on Facebook a few times.  Not surprisingly I did not share nor did I agree.

Does the person who posted this think it is better to live in Afghanistan, North Korea or Iran?

I didn’t agree with this post because I believe we are a better country a better people than what this screed implies.  We are a kind and we are decent.  We are compassionate and we are generous.  We are the first to offer support when disaster strikes no matter where in the world it happens. We have gone to war to save humanity.  We have sacrificed our young men and women and our treasure to help people across the planet who are crying out for the freedoms we often take for granted.

People have always come here yearning for a better life, seeking protection from war and violence, seeking a way to protect their daughters from barbaric practices, fleeing a life impoverished because they are members of the wrong tribe or religion.  We profess to be the beacon of freedom; we have a statue in New York Harbor that defines us as a people.  What this Facebook post implies is that the Statue of Liberty is meaningless.

Let me point out that we are a nation of immigrants and many of our ancestors came here illegally. 

Also, the person who posted this and persons who re-posted it have their facts wrong, illegal immigrants receive none of these benefits automatically.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

An Idea

“If we took away the minimum wage-if conceivably it was gone we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.” Congresswoman Michelle Bachman

 I am not a Rhodes Scholar; I went to a community college and then Penn State, it took me 9 years to get through college and I struggled with the economics courses but that makes no sense what so ever.

Does the Congresswoman think that companies would hire more people if they didn’t have to pay them the minimum wage?  They would keep the same staff just pay them less.

Has anyone considered slavery; unemployment in the slave holding states was pretty low in the first half of the 19 century.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Who are you going to believe? Sarah Palin or John Adams

Sarah Palin recently said this: “Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant-they’re quite clear-that we would create law based on the God of the bible and the Ten Commandments”

John Adams wrote this; “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

So, who are you going to believe?

Thomas Jefferson called John Adams the “colossus of the revolution”

John Adams so believed in justice that he served as the defense attorney for British soldiers involved in the wrong end of the Boston Tea Party.

John Adams served on the committee to write the Declaration of Independence.

John Adams along with Jefferson brought France to the American side during the American Revolution.

John Adams helped negotiate the peace treaty with Great Britain

John Adams was the first Vice President of the United States

John Adams was the second President of the United States

Sarah Palin served a half a term as Governor of Alaska; she resigned because being famous was much more lucrative than fulfilling her commitment to the people who elected her to high office

Sarah Palin had a reality show that so few people watched it was cancelled

Sarah Palin thought that the Queen actually ruled Great Britain

Sarah Palin was unable to name a newspaper she read

Sarah Palin promoted her daughter as a teenage celibacy advocate after she had a child out of wedlock and they both profited from a national tour that the great journalist Matt Lauer helped to promote

Sarah Palin’s husband is on a reality show that cheapens and mocks the brave men and women who serve in our military. (More on that later)

Sarah Palin’s husband once complained that it took her all morning to write a Facebook post.

John Adams vs. Sarah Palin – I’ll take my chances with a man who died on July 4, 1826.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gore Vidal

When I saw a tweet late last night that Gore Vidal had died, I gasped.  Not because I was surprised; he had been sick for awhile and he never really seemed to have recovered from the death of Howard Austen, the man he shared his life with. 

His grandfather was the first man Oklahoma sent to the US Senate.  His father was West Point nobility, went on to found what would become Eastern, TWA and Northwest airlines and had a tempestuous affair with Amelia Earhart, was a two time Olympian and served in the Roosevelt administration.  His mother was a socialite who had a long term affair with Clark Gable.  His step father would then go onto to become the step father of Jackie Kennedy. 

He attended the most prestigious private schools in the country, Sidwell Friends, St. Albans, left to study in France, came home during the war went to the Los Alamos Ranch School and finally  Phillip Exeter.  When the rest of his class was heading to Harvard or Columbia he enlisted in the US Navy.  This smartest most clever of men, this literary icon never attended college.

He had his first novel Williwaw published in 1946 when he was 19. This novel based on his experience in the Navy burst him onto the national literary scene. 

His third novel The City and the Pillar was published in 1948.  This book would prove to change his life forever and many years later would have an enormous impact on mine.  It was one of the first novels to deal with homosexuality in a manner that was not sleazy, negative.  The gay and bisexual characters were not ashamed, were not sick, they were everyday men going about the course of their lives.  This story line so scandalized and offended the book critic of the New York Times that the paper would not review another work by Gore Vidal for 5 more years.

When I was a young man trying to figure things out I took The City and the Pillar out of the community college library for some downtime reading and I was transformed.  I learned that what I wanted, what I was feeling, what I was sensing about myself was not all that strange.  I learned that I was not dirty, or emotionally stunted or mentally ill.  I learned that I was normal.  I learned all of this from a work of fiction.  A few weeks later I read Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, some pretty intense reading for a 19 year old.

After reading The City and the Pillar I was hooked.  His historical novels helped me to understand this nation’s history better but his more odd fiction gave me the most pleasure.
Myra Breckinridge; about a transsexual and so much more
Creation; his spin on the how the world started
Duluth; he makes up a city in the upper Midwest where people die and end up on TV
Live from Golgotha; Jesus is not really crucified and he is in fact a fat slob and Tom Brokaw and NBC news are transported back in time to cover this major event
Palimpsest; His memoirs that he could not guarantee were completely accurate but it was how he remembered things

His essays and social commentary were often scathing but never far from the truth, his TV debate with William F. Buckley is legendary; look it up you will be transformed.  His play The Best Man may be the best play about American politics ever writen and he was not above mocking himself through his many appearances on television comedies.

Gore Vidal was the last of the great literary figures that emerged as media superstars after World War II.  Norman Mailer, John Updike, Truman Capote, William F. Buckley and James Baldwin all died years before.

I’m not sure I read everything he has written but I came pretty damn close.

But, if I had not read anything other than The City and the Pillar I would still be mourning Gore Vidal.
I gasped when I learned of Gore Vidal’s death because for a brief moment I realized that another of the post war “Best and the Brightest” would no longer be here.  I would no longer be able to learn from him, I would no longer be able to be provoked by him and I would no longer be inspired by him.

Thank you Gore Vidal.  Thank you for making our lives much fuller our culture more interesting and for the positive and meaningful impact on my life.  You are sitting on the pedestal next to Reinhold Niebuhr.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Can Musikfest Win?

What would happen if Musikfest announced a line up like this?

On the Sands Main Stage

Friday – Madonna kicks off her world tour – opening act is Nikki Minaj

Saturday – Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

Sunday – Mumford and Sons

Monday – Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight & Patty Labelle

Tuesday – Pink and Kelly Clarkson

Wednesday – Rhianna & Drake

Thursday – Prince with The Roots

Friday – Rolling Stones with Bele Fleck opening

Saturday – Springsteen

Sunday – U2

Vesper Concert Series

Friday – Audra McDonald

Saturday – Josh Groban

Sunday – Yo Yo Ma

Monday – Casey Stratton

Tuesday – Joshua Bell

Wednesday – Kate Bush

Thursday – Jessye Norman & Kathleen Battle

Friday – Sutton & Hunter Foster

Saturday – Bette Midler

Sunday – Renee Fleming

Musikfest could announce a line up like this and people would still complain.