Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Day "Down The Shore" 2010- Greetings From Asbury Park


Bruce Springsteen by the merry-go-round in The Casino, early 1970's

Yesterday I took a ride down to Long Beach Island and spent most of the early afternoon. It was beautiful and cloudless, and Island Beach State Park was packed, lots of families with a zillion kids getting one last big blast of summer before returning to school either this week or the day after Labor Day. I took some light reading along- it's still summer, you know. And I started Runaway Dream; Born To Run and Bruce Springsteen's American Vision by Louis P. Mazur. It's a pretty good read, dealing primarily with Springsteen's early career and the creative process involved with the creation and recording of his iconic record Born To Run in 1975.

Born To Run was released at about the same time I was getting out of the Air Force. My last two years were in the UK; I had heard some buzz about "The New Dylan" over there, but we were fed a steady diet of False Prophets in those days. I thought it was all hype.

My brother, five years younger than me, was a true believer and a member of Bruce's Church of Rock and Roll, Jersey Style. He worked on me, gained a convert, had me going to the Stone Pony and The Fast Lane on Fridays and Saturdays with him to see if and when Bruce would show up and jam- we saw a couple of Bruce's shows together years later, in fact we were at the then Brendan Byrne Arena on it's opening night during Bruce's The River tour.

The song he opened with; Born To Run.

Anyway.... yesterday I was feeling a bit nostalgic. I hadn't been to Asbury Park in years. That is, MANY years. Instead of going to Seaside Heights on the way home- who knows, an out of control Snookie might still be pounding on people at Seaside- I decided to just stay on Route 35 North to Asbury Park, and revisit some of the past, and get a look at the good, bad, and ugly of what was once a little jewel by the ocean.

Below, selected videos on Asbury Park found on YouTube. The still photographs were taken by me on August 30, 2010. Click the photo for a better view. More text and photos following the jump break


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Christie Fires Schundler; The Fallout Continues


On Friday morning New Jersey Governor Chris Christie fired Education Commissioner Bret Schundler in the wake of the controversy regarding the denial of $400 million in RACE TO THE TOP money for Garden State schools because of a clerical error. The HOME NEWS TRIBUNE's editorial board contended that Schundler lied to Christie. My Letter To The Editor below says there is no smoking gun saying that Schundler lied, to the best of anyone's knowledge.


"Education Commissioner Bret Schundler got caught in an apparent lie- worth $400 million- and got canned by Gov. Chris Christie as a result".

This is how your editorial regarding Christie's firing of Bret Schundler in the Saturday (Aug 28) edition of the Home News Tribune began. I have a real problem with the wording of that statement.....it should read "Bret Schundler was fired partly because Governor Christie says Schundler was caught in an apparent lie".

After New Jersey lost out on the RACE TO THE TOP millions, Christie decided to blame Washington bureaucrats and the President of the United States for New Jersey finishing out of the money. When the tape surfaced that showed the New Jersey's representatives in the application process were at fault, Christie said that Schundler gave him bad information of what happened during the process.

Now, according to other media sources- broadcast, online, and in print-  Schundler denies that he gave the governor bad information. According to those sources Schundler told Christie not to make the claims against Washington and President Obama....but Christie did so anyway. Schundler has emails that support his claims, but other than that it's a "he said- he said" scenario.

Schundler had to go; with this $400 million clerical error somebody had to take the fall, and the ball was in Schundler's court. But your newspaper has no impirical evidence whatsoever that Schundler lied to the Governor. Christie made the situation worse with his over the top and foolish fixing of blame on the Obama administration when the fault was with his own team. The Governor once again played tough talking prosecutor and made sure the other guy- Bret Schundler- was painted in the worst possible light.

The bottomline- a very embarrassing performance by all involved. And maybe with some investigating- and with time- the truth about what really happened will surface.

Update! According to The Auditor in Sunday's Star-Ledger, the United States Department of Education held a workshop last year regarding the second round application for RACE TO THE TOP funding. Tips were given on the correct way to submit the application, as well as reminders to proofread, and that no new information could be submitted after the June 1 deadline.

The workshop was held on April 21 in Minneapolis. In all, 37 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico sent representatives to the workshop.

New Jersey did not, and finished eleventh, out of the money

The ten states that finished ahead of New Jersey and received funds attended the workshop.

According to The Star-Ledger Governor Christie's office has declined comment.

Katrina + 5; New Orleans Today


Hurricane Katrina first hit the Florida coast on August 23, 2005, and then crossed the peninsula to the Gulf of Mexico, where it reorganized into a strong Category Three storm.

Five years ago on this date, August 29th, Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast in Southeastern Louisiana. We all know the stories of the levies breaching, flooding New Orleans, causing more destruction than any natural disaster in US history.

When the storm finally fizzled out there were 1,836 dead and $81.2 billion in damages done to the Gulf Coast states, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Images shocked us then, they shock us still.

Most shocking of all were the images of New Orleans, a national treasure, 80% under water, with men women and children dead or dying in the streets, and on rooftops, and in the New Orleans Superdome waiting for rescue that too often came late or not at all.

There was recovery, but still work to be done in New Orleans and the region when the BP oil spill occurred, another blow to people of whom we must ask; how much more can they take?

But there is will, there is faith, there is progress....and New Orleans looks at tomorrow, hoping to never to repeat that chapter of it's past.

Below, video from NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams, one of the first journalists in New Orleans five years ago, comes back to take a look at the city. Among those he interviews are actor/activist Brad Pitt and New Orleans native, musician/actor Harry Connick, Jr.







What a story...I do believe they're going to make it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Way I See It; Patriotism Should Be A Quiet Virtue



Opinion

A certain issue has been bugging me for a very long time- and it's the segment of our society that self describes themselves as being patriots.

But before you read on, please note; I have nothing against patriots, and I am not indicting or criticizing people for love of the United States or of any other country (should the reader be from another nation). Hopefully readers and others may find me to be patriotic. But what I find disturbing is when a person feels the need to describe themselves as being a patriot.

Because in my eyes, being a patriot is a virtue. It's like being honest, or being a good parent or spouse, or being wise. You can even throw in the attribute of possessing beauty, internally or externally, or having talent. And to me, if a person is truly virtuous they don't extol their virtues.

I can tell another person they are wise, or possess genius, or are a good son to aging parents. But for a person to crow about their own virtues- "I'm a good son" or "I'm the smartest guy here", for example- is really bad form.

And it's not very humble.....and humility might be the greatest of all virtues.

Some of these feelings that I have no doubt come from the "Rally To Restore America" that Glenn Beck is holding in Washington today on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. He'll be addressing tens of thousands of patriots later on today.....and I know they're patriots, because so many of them say they are. I guess all one has to do is join "Tea Party Patriots" and that does the trick, like baptism or a bar mitzvah sanctifies and admits you to a realm of faith.

I grew up during a time where I was surrounded by quiet patriots, that of The Greatest Generation.  This includes my Dad, my uncles, my Mom, grandparents, cousins, family friends and others who came of age during the Great Depression and then fought the Nazis and Japanese in World War II, or made sacrifices here on the home front, or worked in factories aiding the fight against Axis oppression. They always talked about the Depression and WW2 when I was a little kid, and we listened to stories of gas rationing and boot camp and Grandma driving rivets as she helped put together tanks and jeeps at the old GM plant that was converted for the war effort. There many different stories from many different people, but they all had one commonality....

Each one said they were just doing their share. They didn't ask for extra credit. None of my acquaintances from that generation ever pointed to themselves and said "I'm a patriot". They would talk about the other guy and say, "He was a great patriot", or "She sure was patriotic". But they never made it about themselves....they were old school. You left it to others to praise your virtues, you never praise yourself. It was something called humility.

And that, in our narcissistic age where there are no secrets and a multitude of lies, is something seemingly lost in America.


Maybe a look in the mirror.....and a dose of humility directed at one's self, and to one's country, is what really needs to be restored.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Glenn Beck To Save America- From What?


Very briefly.....

Tomorrow, Saturday August 28, Glenn Beck will lead his "Rally to Restore America", an allegedly non-partisan affair on the National Mall in Washington, DC on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. The rally is being held on the same location where Dr. King delivered that famous address.

To date Beck has been very cloudy as to just what he is restoring America from, but here's a clue. Take a look at the video below.






The first African American President of the United States will be vacationing and not in Washington when the rally takes place. But the symbolism of Glenn Beck's selection of the date and location of the rally is pretty clear. When one looks at the video above, and Beck calls Barack Obama a racist, a reasonable person can see where Beck is coming from, and what his intent is.

I just wonder what music will be played when Beck takes the podium.

I've got 5 to 1 that it's "Jesus Christ, Superstar".

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Christie Administration's $400,000,000 Clerical Error; "It's Obama's Fault!"


As a practicing Roman Catholic, I was taught that the Pope, in matters of faith, is considered to be infallible....that is, the judgment of the Pontiff is always correct regarding matters of theology.

And as a New Jersey resident, I should feel doubly blessed....for we hath One Among Us, also a Catholic, who in his own mind claims infalliblity as well. He can be found in Trenton, the city that "makes and the world takes"....I knew about pork roll, but I didn't know so much baloney came from Trenton as well.

Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that exclaimed The Buck Stops Here! It's something Republican Governor Chris Christie should have remembered before he started finger pointing, shifting blame, or looking for an underling to throw under the boss when a clerical error by his administration cost New Jersey public schools $400,000,000 in grant money. This is happening at a time when state aid to municipalities has been slashed, several thousands of teachers are being laid off, and classroom and sports programs are discontinued. The State of New Jersey and it's schoolchildren needed that money.

And the Christie Administration let them down.

You've probably heard the story already. The Christie Administration applied for funds under the Race To the Top initiative; New Jersey hoped to get $400 million to aid its ailing schools. On Tuesday the announcement was made that nine states and the District of Columbia would be awarded Race To The Top money. New Jersey came in eleventh, and lost out on the cash.

The application for the grant was specific; it required budgetary data from the years 2008 and 2009. The application delivered to Washington had data for 2010 and 2011. The error in the application cost points in the application, dropping New Jersey to the #11 spot. and no money.

And, in the words of the Star-Ledger Editorial Board, the administration of Christopher James Christie, called by some "the future of the Republican Party" did do the following.....

"It (the error) may have been the most expensive clerical error in the history of mankind."

The full editorial of the Star-Ledger can be found here. And I agree with their statement. The mistake belonged to New Jersey; nine states and the District of Columbia got it right.... and we, the state of New Jersey, did not.

(Click for the August 25, 2010 front page of the Star-Ledger ).

Governor Christie then turned political, and needed to finger someone else. Forget about being a statesman and leader...a screwup like this tarnishes his political present and future.

So Christie needed to fix blame, and said the following.........


"When the president comes back to New Jersey, he's going to have to explain to the people of the state of New Jersey why he's depriving them of $400 million that this application earned because one of his bureaucrats in Washington couldn't pick up the phone and ask a question, couldn't go on the Internet and find information, or wouldn't accept the verbal representation" of the state's education commissioner during a follow-up interview,

What?

Christie's team messes up, and it's the President's fault?

Or let's try the rest of federal government. It seems to work for Boehner, Bachmann, Palin, Gingrich, and company. Here's more from Chris Christie.

""Does anybody in Washington, D.C. have a lick of common sense? Pick up the phone and ask us for the number."

Yes, it was a lot of paperwork, a ridiculous amount.... but the winners did it right. New Jersey didn't. And as the Star-Ledger mentioned in their editorial about Jim Furyk's disqualification from the Barclay's Golf Tournament because he arrived five minutes late.....those are the rules. If New Jersey got a mulligan for it's error, then every state that needed to do corrections to get millions of dollars would be doing so, and that would not only result in chaos, but it would be unfair.

So far Christie hasn't thrown anybody under the bus from his administration, but that could change. Here's an item from newjerseynewsroom.com.

"Gov. Chris Christie's Dog Days of August political nightmare continued Thursday as a new report surfaced that the $400 million federal education funding mistake apparently occurred when the governor nixed an agreement on support of aid application between his education commissioner and the NJEA, a statewide teachers' union."

That's right, they initially had the right figures, and had they submitted the original application, New Jersey could have gotten $400 million. Education Commissioner Bret Schundler worked out a deal with the NJEA and the state. But Governor Christie killed the deal. The application was redone, this time with the wrong information.....and it cost New Jersey $400 million.

There's more to come; the Democratic controlled New Jersey Assembly has said that an investigation is in order....and most New Jersey residents seem to agree.

Update!- Friday August 27 9:00am .....Last night news of a video from the US Department of Education broke. The video, in which representative from New Jersey led by NJ Education Commissioner Bret Schundler, presented the state's application for the Race To The Top grant. The video (from newjersey.com) clearly shows that New Jersey's delegation was asked by federal officials about the absence of the requested figures for 2008 and 2009, required on the application. The New Jersey representatives admitted that they did not have those figures available. The speaker from the US Department of Education asked if New Jersey could provide those figures....they were given a second chance.

On that second chance, New Jersey's delegation again was unable to provide the required data.

See the video below.

Excerpt of N.J.'s Race to the Top interview shows officials with no budget answer




More updated information may be found at nj.com.

As I type this at least two New York television stations, FOX 5 and PIX 11, have tried to contact Governor Christie for a comment on the video, which proves his claim that federal bureaucrats prevented New Jersey the chance to make corrections was totally false.

Christie's claim that the reviewers refused to accept corrections after the June 1 deadline was also not correct. New Jersey's delegation was given two chances to fix the problem, and was not able to do so.

Christie did respond to a question from a New Jersey radio station last night about the video and it's implications. He said he hadn't seen the video yet.

Update! Friday August 27 11:41AM NJ..... Education Commissioner Bret Schundler was fired this morning by Governor Chris Christie after Schundler refused to submit his resignation. Full story at nj.com.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Remembering Ted Kennedy; One Year Later


I'd be remiss without mentioning that today is the one year anniversary of the passing of Edward M. Kennedy. Senator Kennedy passed on August 25, 2009.

This afternoon I received the following email from Peter Meade and Lee Fentress, representing the Edward M Kennedy Institute.

One year ago today, our country lost a dear friend, a true patriot, and an irreplaceable public servant. Today, more than ever, we miss Senator Ted Kennedy.

But, as we pause on this anniversary, let us reflect not on the tremendous loss but on the indomitable spirit that lives on -- a spirit that inspires all of us to fulfill his vision of an engaged electorate and legislative branch, with members of both parties working together to make America a more perfect union.

We are lifted up by the Senator's words that gave witness to his own life's experience and called on us to rise to the challenge in our own time: "We are all Americans. This is what we do. We reach the moon. We scale the heights. I know it. I've seen it. I've lived it. And we can do it again."

By his own example, Ted Kennedy showed us that men and women of good will can come together to solve our nation's most difficult problems. No challenge is too great. No problem is too hard. He taught us about extraordinary perseverance and the will to keep coming back -- no matter what.

He didn't question or demonize the motives of his colleagues because he knew they loved their country as much as he did. He reached out to them, created alliances and worked through differences, let others take credit -- just to move the issue forward.

He did this while not compromising on his principles. As President Obama said in his eulogy, "And that's how Ted Kennedy became the greatest legislator of our time. He did it by hewing to principle, but also by seeking compromise and common cause."

Senator Kennedy believed that we could and must learn from the past. He always looked to the future with optimism and unfailing perseverance in the pursuit of equal rights, civil rights, and justice for all.

On this anniversary day -- and in the days to come -- let us look to the future with optimism and unfailing perseverance. Let us learn from the Senator's example and once again, "scale the heights" and become engaged in solving the most difficult problems of today. As Senator Ted Kennedy said, "And we can do it again!"

As we recall the indomitable spirit that lives on, we also think of the Kennedy family and wish them peace and happiness on this day of remembrance.

Regards,

Lee Fentress
Chairman
Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Peter Meade
President and CEO
Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

PS: Please take a moment to share your favorite memories of Senator Kennedy with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate:


http://www.emkinstitute.org/oneyearmemories

From Useless Trivia and Mindless Rants

(Above, Ted Kennedy (l) with my father; Summer 1980).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In His Own Words; Why John Boehner Handed Out Tobacco Lobby Checks On the House Floor



Some may call it a distortion of the facts, but the man who did it has fessed up. We've all heard the story about the day in 1995 when the Republican leadership handed out checks from the tobacco lobby to members of Congress on the floor of the House of Representatives. And handing out checks was the then number four ranking Republican.

Today he is the House Minority Leader, and has designs on the Speakership should the Republicans take the House in November. What John Boehner (R-OH) did in 1995 was entirely against House rules, but it didn't stop him from passing out checks from Big Tobacco when a vote was considered to end tobacco subsidies.

To no one's surprise, the subsidy was saved.

In the video below Boehner admits he passed out checks on the House floor, and offers an explanation.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ron Paul- Stop The Demagoguery About The NYC Mosque


It's been said that once you get beyond the rhetoric, there really isn't that much difference between a true conservative and a true liberal. Both have the same objectives in mind, but are taking different paths.

Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) is the Godfather of the New Libertarianism, a lifelong Republican, and probably the closest heir to the Republicanism of Barry Goldwater. And on Friday (August 20) he issued a statement regarding the controversy of the Islamic Center that is scheduled to be built two blocks from Ground Zero in Manhattan.

We hear the term...."What would Jesus do?". In his statement on the "mosque" controversy Congressman Paul gives us an example of "What would Thomas Jefferson say?".

Below, his statement, which can be found at RonPaul.com.

Is the controversy over building a mosque near ground zero a grand distraction or a grand opportunity? Or is it, once again, grandiose demagoguery?

It has been said, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Are we not overly preoccupied with this controversy, now being used in various ways by grandstanding politicians? It looks to me like the politicians are “fiddling while the economy burns.”

The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque.

Instead, we hear lip service given to the property rights position while demanding that the need to be “sensitive” requires an all-out assault on the building of a mosque, several blocks from “ground zero.”

Just think of what might (not) have happened if the whole issue had been ignored and the national debate stuck with war, peace, and prosperity. There certainly would have been a lot less emotionalism on both sides. The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom?

In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.

They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill conceived preventative wars. A select quote from soldiers from in Afghanistan and Iraq expressing concern over the mosque is pure propaganda and an affront to their bravery and sacrifice.

The claim is that we are in the Middle East to protect our liberties is misleading. To continue this charade, millions of Muslims are indicted and we are obligated to rescue them from their religious and political leaders. And, we’re supposed to believe that abusing our liberties here at home and pursuing unconstitutional wars overseas will solve our problems.

The nineteen suicide bombers didn’t come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran. Fifteen came from our ally Saudi Arabia, a country that harbors strong American resentment, yet we invade and occupy Iraq where no al Qaeda existed prior to 9/11.

Many fellow conservatives say they understand the property rights and 1st Amendment issues and don’t want a legal ban on building the mosque. They just want everybody to be “sensitive” and force, through public pressure, cancellation of the mosque construction.

This sentiment seems to confirm that Islam itself is to be made the issue, and radical religious Islamic views were the only reasons for 9/11. If it became known that 9/11 resulted in part from a desire to retaliate against what many Muslims saw as American aggression and occupation, the need to demonize Islam would be difficult if not impossible.

There is no doubt that a small portion of radical, angry Islamists do want to kill us but the question remains, what exactly motivates this hatred?

If Islam is further discredited by making the building of the mosque the issue, then the false justification for our wars in the Middle East will continue to be acceptable.

The justification to ban the mosque is no more rational than banning a soccer field in the same place because all the suicide bombers loved to play soccer.

Conservatives are once again, unfortunately, failing to defend private property rights, a policy we claim to cherish. In addition conservatives missed a chance to challenge the hypocrisy of the left which now claims they defend property rights of Muslims, yet rarely if ever, the property rights of American private businesses.

Defending the controversial use of property should be no more difficult than defending the 1st Amendment principle of defending controversial speech. But many conservatives and liberals do not want to diminish the hatred for Islam–the driving emotion that keeps us in the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia.

It is repeatedly said that 64% of the people, after listening to the political demagogues, don’t want the mosque to be built. What would we do if 75% of the people insist that no more Catholic churches be built in New York City? The point being is that majorities can become oppressors of minority rights as well as individual dictators. Statistics of support is irrelevant when it comes to the purpose of government in a free society—protecting liberty.

The outcry over the building of the mosque, near ground zero, implies that Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to those who are condemning the building of the mosque, the nineteen suicide terrorists on 9/11 spoke for all Muslims. This is like blaming all Christians for the wars of aggression and occupation because some Christians supported the neo-conservatives’ aggressive wars.

The House Speaker is now treading on a slippery slope by demanding a Congressional investigation to find out just who is funding the mosque—a bold rejection of property rights, 1st Amendment rights, and the Rule of Law—in order to look tough against Islam.

This is all about hate and Islamaphobia.

We now have an epidemic of “sunshine patriots” on both the right and the left who are all for freedom, as long as there’s no controversy and nobody is offended.

Political demagoguery rules when truth and liberty are ignored.


I may not agree with Ron Paul on most things, but I'll never question his love of country or his adherence to principles. Well done, and better said than anyone regarding this two week old contrived controversy.

Late Addition! Below, videos of Ron Paul's decision to back the right to build the Islamic center, with Lawrence O'Donnell on COUNTDOWN.





To see the "anti-mosque" protesters surround and intimidate an African American man wearing a tight fitting cap because they assumed he was a Muslim (he isn't)....it just goes to prove............

The first three letters in "assumed" are A-S-S.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quick Hits For August 22, 2010; End of the Summer Clearance !!!!!


Summer heat, drought, mosques, yellow jacket attacks, troop withdrawals, and FOX-es....all kinds of stuff, big and small.

Time for some Quick Hits!!!

(1). I really enjoy blogging. I only wish there was less typing involved.

(2). Beautiful, damp, delicious, glorious RAIN! I love it. For some of you reading this from cooler climes in the United States (is there such a thing in August?) and in foreign countries, it's been an exceptionally hot and dry summer in the Mid Atlantic states. I'm guessing that we've had more than 40 days of 90 degrees plus days this year (as opposed to nine all of last year), and for this summer we're at minus six inches in rainfall for the past three months; front lawns crunch when you walk on them, and there has been some limited water rationing.

This morning we woke up to some much needed rain, and there's a 100% chance for more during the day, and 60% for tonight. I don't think I've ever experienced a summer when it's been such a struggle to keep plants, herbs, vegetables, shrubs, and flowers alive...we've lost some, as have many other people. And in trying to keep the greenery from dying off other projects get sent to a back burner for another year, not to mention the toll all of the heat takes on you physically and even psychologically by the end of August. By the time evening rolls around you're gassed.

As much as I love summer (in most years) it will be a relief to see September roll in; they'll be cooler temps, and tropical systems churning up the coast to break the drought.....unless the climate change we're told is "only a theory" proves to be anything but.

(3) Rallies were held today in support and in opposition to the building of as Islamic Center two blocks from Ground Zero in Manhattan. The rallies were separated by police by several blocks, and as I type this no incidents of violence were reported.

One pro center supporter held a sign that said...."We don't care what bigots say, religious freedom is here to stay.".

And opponents sang patriotic songs and held banners as well... "Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all the terrorists were Muslim."

Many of us have noted and asked the "why?" regarding Glenn Beck's Rally To Restore Honor on August 28, the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, mere blocks from where the first African American President and his family reside. Now I have a question as to the lack of judgment of BOTH sides of the "Ground Zero Mosque Issue" having opposing rallies on anniversary of the day of one of the worst Christian on Christian acts of religious genocide in history. Namely, today at St Bartholomew's Church we celebrated the The Feast of St. Bartholomew The Apostle. Technically the feat is Aug 24, but today it was celebrated because he's the church's patron saint.

In France, 1572, on St. Batholomew's Day a massacre of epic proportions was set off by Catholic King Charles IX's supporters on the French Protestant population. The Huguenots were not only a religious minority who were gaining in numbers, but were part of a political movement as well. Civil war had been waged for three years between Catholics and Huguenots, but peace had been agreed upon, and the sister of the Catholic king was engaged to be married to a Protestant prince.

The anti-Protestant factions in the strongly Catholic city of Paris objected to the peace and the marriage. Tensions boiled over on the St. Batholomew's Day....Catholic troops and mobs attacked unsuspecting French Protestants.....the carnage went on for weeks. Men, women, and children were killed, and estimates of the murdered range from a low of 8,000 to a likely 30,000 dead.

Two years before French Protestants were granted freedom to worship by their King; two years later he ordered the same people slaughtered.

And on this St. Bartholomew's Day, 2010, we see Muslims at one rally asking for the same freedom of worship with no restrictions as other religions.....and at another rally there is opposition that says they respect that right, but don't agree with their judgment and perceived lack of sensitivity.

I'm not making a case that these situations distanced by hundreds of years are the same. I only make note of the irony. We pride ourselves as being a republic that treasures freedom; but at a certain basic level just how different are we from those we left behind in Europe, or from any other land of our ancestry?

(4). A further comment on one sign that was against the construction of the Islamic center....

"Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all the terrorists were Muslim."

It reminds me of a quote from a classic American television show.

"(Serial killer) Joel Rifkin was adopted. The Son of Sam was adopted. If you're adopted you'll become a serial killer"..... Cosmo Kramer, Seinfeld, The Masseuse,
November 18, 1993.

(5). And while we're at it....St Bartholomew the Apostle. We Roman Catholics have a patron saint for everything. Tradition says Bartholomew served as an apostle to the east, into Parthia, Ethiopia, and even to India. He was said to have met martyrdom in Armenia....we are told that he was executed by being flayed alive.

And old St. Bart became the patron saint of a bunch of professions and conditions....remember, he died by being skinned alive!

He's the patron of butchers, tanners, cobblers, leather workers, trappers.....and plasterers, bookbinders, and Florentine cheese merchants. No, I didn't make that up.

Bartholomew is also the patron saint against twitching....so for all of you nervous people out there, he's the guy you pray to for intercession.

Maybe he should become the patron saint of offensive line coaches....you try anything to prevent false starts.

(5). Kathleen O'Brien of the Star-Ledger wrote a front page story about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his confrontational attitude towards New Jersey's teachers and the New Jersey Education Association. One of the main questions explored is...... does Christie have a vendetta against the state's teachers? And the answer is: it all depends on who you ask.

O'Brien interviewed some of Christie's high school and junior high teachers in Livingston, some for, some against, some angry, some hurt, some see a politician playing politics.

Here's a sample from two of them.

"We’re all puzzled by the attitude, more than by what he’s trying to do.....I agree with most of what he’s saying — I hope he has success, because we’re all going to benefit — but not how he’s saying it."..... Anthony Hope, a Christie supporter and his former baseball coach.

"It’s (Christie's barbs at New Jersey's teachers) over the top. It does nothing but create animosity. It’s going to hurt him......the people you diss and antagonize are the same people you’re going to have to deal with later."....Ed Hill, retired social studies teacher, a lifelong Democrat who voted for Christie.

And those, ladies and gents, are what a couple of friends and supporters say about New Jersey's governor.

This is a fascinating story, more of it here.

(6) According to The Huffington Post, Fox News spent less than ten minutes on the withdrawal of the last combat brigade from Iraq last week while MSNBC spent the entire night on the event, with Keith Olbermann in studio, Rachel Maddow with Richard Engel (embedded with the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division), and Chris Matthews commenting while on vacation.

While MSNBC, and to a similar extent CNN, gave the story a lot of coverage, FOX chose to ignore the story or marginalize it. Rather, it was given second tier status by both Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. Their shows continued to present the story of the "Ground Zero Mosque" as the most significant story of the day.

Years before his death, Walter Cronkite was asked "What is the purpose of network news?"

Cronkite answered...."To inform the public of the things they need to know".

I wonder what Mr. Cronkite would have said of Fox's decision?

Are they a news organization, or a propaganda machine?

(7). Suppose there was a fictional cable company with a fictional on air host on it's relatively small news network; call him Cable Host. And pretend there was a fictional news organization, a giant in the industry, with a fictional host who might be the top dog at the News Giant; he's News Giant Host. And suppose Cable Host was critical of News Giant Host, and made that fact public. So News Giant Host leans on cable company, about what's in the best interest of cable company; he has the muscle and he uses it. And suppose cable company blinks....and Cable Host is first suspended, and then fired. He then sues cable company for wrongful "termination".

But this scenario may not be fictional.

Barry Nolan, former host of CN8's Backstage With Barry Nolan, was appalled that Bill O'Reilly was to receive the Governor's Award at local EMMY AWARD CHAPTER in Boston in May, 2008. Nolan protested in the lobby of the Boston Marriott Copley Place at the precise time O'Reilly was to receive his award. In less than two weeks, Barry Nolan was out of a job, first suspended by and then fired by COMCAST. And Nolan has suspicions who was behind his firing.

Terry Ann Knopf tells the story in her piece from Columbia Journalism Review, "The O'Reilly Factor". As you may or may not know, COMCAST is purchasing NBC-Universal, including NBC, MSNBC, BRAVO, Telemundo, and it's entire cable menu. Here's Nolan in the article's last paragraph.

"I don’t think they had the F-ing right to tell me what I’m allowed to say. In the end, I think they were trying to suck up to Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch and Bill O’Reilly in a way that’s spineless and appalling for a company [Comcast] that aspires to run a major network news operation [NBC]. What happens when Keith Olbermann goes after O’Reilly? I think that’s scary.”

Yes Barry, it is scary.

Click here for the complete article .

 (8). In closing.....as they say, at the end of the world, after the Apocalypse, only two things will survive; cockroaches and old pictures on the Internet.

Well....not really. I just made that up. But anyway.....look what I found!

The two ladies pictured above have logged thousands of hours on American TV in the past two decades, and both were contestants the same year (1992)  in the Miss America Pageant.....they didn't win. But they shoulda....coulda.....

One went on to make a name in news, and is currently the lead anchor on HLN's Morning Express. Yes ladies and gents, pictured above is Robin Meade from her days as Miss Ohio. and no, Robin does not lack for pictures (more than 40 pages) and attention in cyberspace.....so many choices, but somebody had to do it.



Also competing that year from Robin's neighboring state of West Virginia was Kim Parrish, who was a host on QVC for years, and later went on to become a clothing designer on HSN and ShopNBC.

She also serves as president of Miss America's Outstanding Teen, which holds it's scholarship competition in Orlando this week.

Truth be told.....I prefer the the 2010 editions of these two talented and quite beautiful women....but that's just the opinion of one Manly Man.

Don't laugh! I've still got it....but it just takes a lot longer to get it.

Got it?

That's all....time to get ready for MADMEN!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Another Sting In New Jersey!!!!!


A funny thing happened last night just shortly before I was going to come in and blog about the final combat brigade leaving Iraq.....or possibly more about the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque".....or even about the latest poll that reveals that 18% of the American population (what geniuses) thinks that Barack Obama is a Muslim (not that there's anything wrong with that).

I had ideas floating around in my head while I finished up watering the shrubs and plants in the front yard, just shortly before 8:00pm last night.....and then I was stung multiple times by a bee, or possibly plural "bees". It happened so quickly I don't know how many attacked me.

So pardon me for the somewhat misleading title to the entry....so what, you were expecting a story about a crooked New Jersey mayor being led away by the Feds in handcuffs? This is a quasi-political blog, and I reserve the right to shift gears whenever I wish....or at anytime I'm in discomfort or pain.

Anyway....while watering a small patch of flowers I felt something crawling on my leg; it was getting dark and I motioned to brush it off and it stung me. I yelled some choice expletives, one of which rhymed with "Brother Tucker"....and I was stung again....and again...and again, on various body parts.

So I ran back to the house, swearing and cursing a blue streak because of the all the stinging that took place in a matter of seconds....I got into the house....and I felt something crawling around in my teeshirt.

It was at least one of the culprits...a bee, the little bastard. I took off my shirt and threw it in the washing machine, and doused to little SOB with hot water. But it didn't kill him, he started to tread water. Here ya go...have some Clorox!

Die!!!!!

At that point I sat down to try and figure out what happened.

I did nothing to provoke an attack, and it happened after sunset- so there goes the wives' tales that say bees are dormant after dusk and won't attack unless they feel threatened. And actually this was the second time I had been stung in a week; last Friday one of the same species stung me on the foot while sweeping the front porch. there was a new nest in the aluminum siding of the house, I discovered, and took it out with a combination of pesticide, a bug zapper, and flypaper.

And like the previous attack, this one was unprovoked....I still don't know if it as more than one bee, or if there was a nest in that spot that isn't visible.


The bees are a wild species....I don't know what kind, and have been unable to get a definitive match from online research...they look similar to yellow jackets, but are smaller (maybe half as big), and have a real bad attitude.

I sat down after the attack, but wasn't really sure how many times I was stung. There is a theory John Madden had about football players with multiple injuries; you can only really hurt one place at a time....and he was right. So after a inventory of the stings I determined that I was stung four times in a matter of 10 seconds or so....my wrist, my thigh, the back of my head, and on my kneecap. The knee hurt the worst, right on the bony area with no fat, thin skin, and lots of nerves...and it still stings today.

I was wearing a baseball cap, and was stung in the area between the cap and the plastic adjuster. One bee flew up the leg to my shorts and stung my left thigh; I'm beckoning the spirit of Richard Pryor and thanking the powers that be for not letting that bee keep moving up my shorts and stinging my....OK, this is a family blog.

The one bee that flew under my shirt never stung me on the chest or back. He was probably disoriented from the darkness.....and it led to his watery demise.

I recovered his lifeless corpse...and will take him to Cook College today to se what kind of species he is, and what I can do about them.

Luckily, it was only four stings....it's recommended that for 10 or more you get to an ER, ASAP. And I never swelled up, or showed an allergic reaction, or had anything life threatening....just sore in one or two spots, still.


So...that's the scoop. I really wanted to break away from political discussions anyway. I really didn't want to do it this way.

Later!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

8-18-10; The Last US Combat Troops Leave Iraq



It's been nearly seven and a half years after the United States invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein,  but as I type these words the last combat troops are crossing the frontier from Iraq to Kuwait.

And it's an odd thing to watch....so under the radar the average citizen may not be aware that it is happening. There is coverage on the 24/7 news outlets; each of the Big Four networks is staying with their regular programming.  There are no celebrations in Times Square or Griffith Park, no fireworks and church bells ringing as in VE and VJ Days. The television news coverage has all of the elation and suspense of watching a moving van going about it's business.

There is a sense of relief, however. On May 1st, 2003 President George W. Bush made his dramatic landing on the air craft carrier Abraham Lincoln and declared "Mission Accomplished", and told the world that America had won the the combat operations against Saddam Hussein.

But the war dragged on through his presidency, and into the next. And now, thank God, it really does look like the end.

The 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division is the last group to leave Iraq; our first troops set foot on Iraqi soil on March 20, 2003. Though 50,000 troops will remain behind in non-combat roles, the "Last Patrol" is leaving; but another 4,415 American men and women did not. They are the ones who lost their lives in Iraq.

The State Department announced that the last combat forces would be leaving Iraq today at about 6:00PM EDT.....

More of the story, with updates, can be found here.

I'll be back with some additional comments tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The "Ground Zero Mosque"; Four Video Comments


I've made my position on the so called "Ground Zero" mosque clear in my past two entries; the Muslim group that wishes build a community center/mosque on the site has a constitutional right to do so.

Also....any responsible elected official must support that First Amendment right. And that for any elected official, no matter who it may be, to comment further on the propriety and wisdom of building at that site, is in itself inappropriate. It's about the separation of church and state.

And to create a wedge issue on the matter, as some are trying to do, is a slap at one of our most basic freedoms. Either you support the first amendment, or you don't.

Below, some opinions from on air personalities and guests on MSNBC.



Michael Smerconish Subbing for Chris Matthews on Hardball



Chris Hayes subbing for Rachel Maddow on The Rachel Maddow Show



Rudi Odeh-Ramadan A 9/11 first responder and guest on Countdown



Keith Olbermann a "Special Comment" on Countdown




One last comment regarding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his wishy washy support for the right to build the Islamic center, just not at that site....Senator, you're a Mormon by choice. In the 1830's and 1840's members of your faith were run out of Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri, and then forced to leave the United States for what was still officially Mexican territory- Mormon pioneers called their new home "Deseret", now the state of Utah.

They left to practice their religion freely.....their former neighbors believed they had that right......just not in their backyards.

Yes, Senator....you're in a tough re-election race. But since when is an election more important than defending the constitutional rights of others?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Suppose The Westboro Baptist Church Wanted To Build Two Blocks From Ground Zero?

Above, members of the Westboro Baptist Church protest a soldier's funeral in Vermont, Undercoverage.net

Yesterday I published a blog entry about the building of a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City, not far from where the September 11th terror attacks took the lives of nearly 3,000 innocent victims. The entry took nearly eight hours to write, and it's composition took five writing sessions spread out over two days.

And I thought I had said everything I wanted to say....namely, that extreme Muslim terrorists, not Muslims, were responsible for 9/11.....and that building a mosque at the site was within the Muslim group's rights; I agreed with the position of President Barack Obama and Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

And I disagreed with the critics of those who questioned the reasons for building a mosque at the site; there is a thing called The United States Constitution that guarantees freedom of assembly, speech, and worship to all, not to a select few.


But at 4:00am this morning I woke up- it was a bad dream. I was seeing a Bizzaroland dreamscape, a New York City that didn't have a mosque two blocks from the former WTC site.

Rather, there was another religious group housed there.....The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, had opened a satellite church in New York; 8 million sinners, 8 million souls going to hell en masse.

But I'll digress for a minute....let's talk about those religious groups who could occupy the site, and have little or no objections.

No one would have a problem with Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, or other Eastern Orthodox Churches at the site. Coptics? Well, they're Arabs, but they're CHRISTIANS...so they're OK.

Anglicans, Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian.....heck, any mainstream Christian Church would be alright, even the ones who perform same sex marriage; this is New York, ya know.

Evangelical Christians and Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Jews can build at the site....

Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses? Well, there's enough doormen in NYC to slow down any door to door missionary work, at least limiting it to "normal business hours".

Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs....they're part of the mainstream.

Santeria? Well....maybe some trouble with animal rights people....but OK, they can build a church there.

Wiccans....they're "white witches", aren't they? Pantheism....like in AVATAR? Oh, what the heck, they're OK.

Scientologists? John Travolta and Tom Cruise can't be wrong, can they?

Atheists, Agnostics, and Unitarians? One group believes in nothing, another isn't sure, and the third believes in SOMETHING, but can't quite define what it is. They're harmless....let them build SOMETHING there.

Which leads us to the Westboro Baptist Church, and their pastor, Fred Phelps.....remember them? They are the ones who picket other churches, events, stadiums, funerals, and cemeteries with signs that say things like "God Hates Fags", "God Hates America", and "God Hates Israel". The WBC is not part of any Baptist conventions or associations, and claims to adhere to Primitive Baptist and Calvinist principles. And to be fair, the WBC is NOT a representative of any mainstream Christian group

But- for argument's sake- what if the WBC moved into the same building that the Muslim group wants to turn into a mosque/Islamic cultural center?

I talked about these guys a few months ago. On April 14 the WBC was set to picket actress Dixie Carter's funeral, claiming Ms. Carter "...lived her life in adultery. She divorced her husband and married two other men along the way. God says that is living in adultery!".

In the view of the WBC, America is being punished for it's sins by being engaged in war in Iraq and Afghanistan, hence the protests at the funerals of military members killed in action....and they believe that 9/11 was more Divine Retribution leveled at America.

I could go chapter and verse about the Westboro Baptist Church and their hatred of Jews, Catholics, other Protestants, homosexuals, and a long, long, list of all they find sinful.....just check out some of these pictures. But the bottomline is the WBC, spewing hate and venom, could occupy the same space that Muslims want to use for a mosque, and little could be done to stop them. Their picketing (41,000 protests since 1991) could be curtailed by requiring them to have permits, but as far as having freedom of speech and assembly, and of religious expression, they are protected by the Constitution, even being as loathesome as they are.


I wonder how, in this Bizzarroland scenario, would the usual suspects react.....what would Palin, Boehner, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, and the other voices with an opnion an everything, say about a far, far off the charts radical right Christian group occupying a building so close to Ground Zero, hallowed ground, and an event the WBC cheered as God's punishment?

Would those voices be as strong in repudiation as the one's we've heard in reaction to the building of a mosque? Surely there would have been fewer political ramifications.....and probably much less media coverage.

Just something to think about.













Sunday, August 15, 2010

Obama On the Ground Zero Mosque; An Act of Political Courage



Part One-Prologue
"I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.~~Colin Powell on his endorsement of Barack Obama for the presidency, October 19, 2008 on Meet The Press. The text was copied from the44diaries.wordpress.com .




Part Two- Fear
The story told by General Colin Powell cuts to the chase more eloquently than I could ever imagine to. US Army Corporal Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, an American Muslim from New Jersey lies in a grave in Arlington National Cemetery. The picture above shows his grieving mother at his headstone.

Everyday we put on the news, and learn the name of yet another young American killed in action in Iraq or Afghanistan. We're told they died defending freedom, and they fight so we don't have to. I'm sure Corporal Khan believed that when he entered the Army. And it's sad, and very troubling, to know that while he and others fight and die in the Middle East for this American Ideal we're told of from the day we enter kindergarten, there are some in this country who believe that some of these freedoms should not be made available to all of our citizens.

Freedom of speech, of assembly, of worship, and the separation of church and state are all guaranteed in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Yet there is an undercurrent in the United States of ant-Muslim sentiment; the proverbial "broad brush" is being used to paint Muslims the same color. It doesn't matter that the majority of Muslim Americans are good citizens, or that some, as in the case of Corporal Khan, died serving our country, killed by extremists who have perverted their religion. There is fear, there hatred, there is bigotry, and there is xenophobia.....and it threatens to undermine much of what we hold sacred in our country.

The following item appeared on August 7 in The New York Times.

In Murfreesboro, Tenn., Republican candidates have denounced plans for a large Muslim center proposed near a subdivision, and hundreds of protesters have turned out for a march and a county meeting.

In late June, in Temecula, Calif., members of a local Tea Party group took dogs and picket signs to Friday prayers at a mosque that is seeking to build a new worship center on a vacant lot nearby.

In Sheboygan, Wis., a few Christian ministers led a noisy fight against a Muslim group that sought permission to open a mosque in a former health food store bought by a Muslim doctor.

At one time, neighbors who did not want mosques in their backyards said their concerns were over traffic, parking and noise — the same reasons they might object to a church or a synagogue. But now the gloves are off.

In all of the recent conflicts, opponents have said their problem is Islam itself. They quote passages from the Koran and argue that even the most Americanized Muslim secretly wants to replace the Constitution with Islamic Shariah law.

These local skirmishes make clear that there is now widespread debate about whether the best way to uphold America’s democratic values is to allow Muslims the same religious freedom enjoyed by other Americans, or to pull away the welcome mat from a faith seen as a singular threat.

“What’s different is the heat, the volume, the level of hostility,” said Ihsan Bagby, associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky. “It’s one thing to oppose a mosque because traffic might increase, but it’s different when you say these mosques are going to be nurturing terrorist bombers, that Islam is invading, that civilization is being undermined by Muslims.”

Feeding the resistance is a growing cottage industry of authors and bloggers — some of them former Muslims — who are invited to speak at rallies, sell their books and testify in churches. Their message is that Islam is inherently violent and incompatible with America.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Down On The Farm; Yankees Past, Present, and Future


I didn't post anything on the old bloggerooni yesterday because I was in Trenton to see the Trenton Thunder beat the Harrisburg Senators 4-1 in an Eastern League game. I have a partial season ticket plan and have been going to games since the franchise began play in 1994 as a Detroit Tiger affiliate. The Thunder have since been affiliated with the Boston Red Sox, and most recently they've been the Double A team of the New York Yankees.

The Thunder have produced scores of future major leaguers over the years, among them such notables as Tony Clark, Nomar Garciaparra, Trot Nixon, Kevin Youkilis, Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and David Robertson. I can say I saw these guys on their way up, and yesterday I got a chance to see a couple of potential stars in catcher Austin Romine (who might make Jesus Montero trade bait, a single and an RBI last night) and outfielder Dan Brewer (last night a double, a home run, three RBI and two runs scored).

In the past I've seen Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter in rehab games in Trenton, and last night it was pitcher Alfredo Aceves on display in a two inning rehab appearance. Last year Aceves went 10-1 with the Yankees with one save and a 3.54 ERA in 84 innings with one start. He had been battling a bulging disc in his back and has been disabled since May 9. Aceves was had a 3-0 record with a fine 3.00 ERA before the injury. Last night he started the game and pitched his scheduled two innings, retiring all six batters he faced, with one strikeout, on a total of 26 pitches. The good news for the Yankees is that his rehab start went very well. The bad news is that injured starter Andy Pettitte experienced discomfort in a simulated game in Tampa. He was scheduled for rehab starts for Trenton in the the coming weeks, but that may have to be shelved.

And there was an added treat for Yankee fans last night. In the eighth inning and with Harrisburg down by three runs, there was a call to the Senator's bullpen....and out came the former Yankee fan favorite Orlando Hernandez, aka El Duque. Duque had been out of organized baseball since 2007 when he was with the Mets, and was 41 years of age. On July 2 he signed a free agent contract with the Washington Nationals, the Senators parent club, so his baseballreference.com page saying that Duque is retired is....well, not so.

Now 44 years of age (reportedly), the Cuban born righthander wears that number today (he'll be 45 on October 11). His best year was with the 1999 World Champion Yankees, when he went 17-9 with 157 strikeouts and a 4.12 ERA. My favorite El Duque moment....the game when he fielded a ball hit back to mound and had the ball stick to the webbing of his glove. So Duque threw his entire glove to first baseman Tino Martinez for the out! A perfectly legal play...and I never knew that you could do that.

For the record....Duque was by far the oldest player I'd ever seen play in a Trenton Thunder game. I've seen teenagers like Montero and Melky Cabrera at Waterfront Park, and it was interesting to see the other extreme. And before I forget....Duque pitched a scoreless 8th with a fly out the right, a strikeout, a single given up, and a ground out to second. As for his memorable leg kick that almost brought his knee to his chin (pictured).....well, it's about half of that these days. No....make that about a third



One last note to all of you Baby Boomers....throwing out the first pitch last night was Gene Cornish, once the guitarist with the Young Rascals. He's not so young anymore, but still threw a decent pitch in the vicinity of the plate.






Thursday, August 12, 2010

The GOP vs The Working Man; NEWT GINGRICH


COUNTDOWN with Keith Olbermann once again gave us a few moments of "must see TV" on Thursday. In a recent interview at humanevents.com, former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich wrote that extension of unemployment benefits gives the incentive to stay on unemployment instead of looking for another job. He went on....

"The Wall Street Journal quotes an engineer who admits he turned down more than a dozen jobs because the salary would have been less then he made on welfare.This story encapsulates the problem of the long-termed unemployed. The depth and length of this recession is at risk of creating a permanent pool of unemployed Americans, who get so used to being unproductive that they are willing to accept welfare indefinitely instead of taking a job."

You would think the former Speaker, who was at one time third in line to the presidency during the Clinton administration, would know the difference between "welfare" and "unemployment insurance".

But he knows the difference. It was just Newt's way of scoring points with his political base.

And by the way....the jobs being offered in the paragraph above would require the hired person to move to Dubai.

In the video below the man referenced by Gingrich, Mike Hatchell of Lumberton, NC- with his wife Sarah- talk about their history, and the truth about why he turned down the job offers. The bottom line is, Mr. Hatchell payed into the unemployment insurance pool for more than 30 years.....it was money he was entitled to, and the depiction of him being on welfare by Gingrich was simply a bold face lie.



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