Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween! Here's A Classic From SCTV

Here's wishing a happy and safe Halloween to you and yours!

Last night/early this morning I was watching a PBS begathon from Channel 12 in Philly. The show was a best of SCTV, with excerpts from that classic comedy show from Canada, presented in the late 1970's and into the 1980's. One of the clips works well into the "spirit" of the day.

Below, Joe Flaherty (Count Floyd), John Candy (Dr. Tongue), Eugene Levy (Bruno), and Catherine O'Hars (Stewardess) are featured in Dr. Tongue's 3D House of Stewardesses, the Saturday night movie on Count Floyd's Monster Chiller Horror Theater.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Rush Holt Gets My Vote in the New Jersey 12th

This coming Tuesday I will vote for my incumbent congressman, Rush Holt, a Democrat representing the 12th District in New Jersey. I agree with the groups and publications who have endorsed Mr. Holt for another two year term. He has served the 12th well, and is the better choice than his Republican challenger, Scott Sipprelle.

And of special note, Congressman Holt took the time to send me a personalized letter via snail-mail after I voiced my concerns about offshore oil drilling following the Deepwater Horizon disaster this past summer. Not every public servant would be so cordial and responsive, but Rush Holt has proved to be one of the good guys.

He deserves re-election. And I feel honored to have such a man of integrity representing the interests of Central New Jersey's citizens in the nation's capital.

Gov. Christie shouldn't cozy up to muckraker of 'Teachers Union Gone Wild' |

In the Friday October 29th edition of the Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), the editorial board chastised Governor Chris Christie for apparently choosing to ally himself with conservative muckraker James O'Keefe and, in the Star-Ledger's words, "(for co-opting) the questionable material for his political purposes".

The "questionable material" is a video called "Teachers Gone Wild" which supposedly shows less than extraordinary behavior by teachers (NJEA members), administrators, and union reps. For all of you newbies, Chris Christie and the NJEA, New Jersey's largest teacher's union, have been engaged in open warfare from Day One of the current administration.

Every taxpayer in New Jersey may have a beef with the NJEA; they might be the biggest lightning rod locally since Darryl Strawberry's days with the Mets or Patrick Ewing's near misses at titles with the Knicks. But for a sitting governor, and former federal prosecutor, to ally himself with O'Keefe's background is questionable in itself.

Conservatives and Tea Partiers love O'Keefe because of his videos that brought down ACORN last year. But then last January O'Keefe posed as a repairman to try to tap the office phone of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu in a federal building, was caught along with his accomplices, and temporarily jailed with felony charges. The felony charges were dropped and reduced to a misdemeanor; O'Keefe was sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service, and fined $1,500.

And then the James O'Keefe saga starts to get really weird.

CNN's investigative reporter Abbie Boudreau was putting together a series on young conservative activists in the United States. One of the persons Boudreau wanted to interview was James O'Keefe. O'Keefe agreed to a meeting with Boudreau aboard a boat in Maryland. Supposedly Boudreau and O'Keefe were to discuss a music video; O'Keefe told Boudreau the meeting on the boat was an attempt to protect his privacy.

But it was a setup, an attempt to "punk" and discredit Abbie Boudreau. O'Keefe had champagne and strawberries, and a plethora of sex toys and aids onboard the small boat. He was going to attempt to seduce Abbie Boudreau, and get it on tape in to discredit her and CNN. An associate of O'Keefe's tipped off Boudreau to the plot. This became one of the most bizarre stories to surface last summer.

It is amazing to me that a former federal prosecutor and current governor would ally himself to a man who'd enter a federal building under false pretenses to secretly tape a sitting member of Congress. Add to that, O'Keefe's lame and hairbrained plan to sandbag Abbie Boudreau and CNN for his own agenda.

But I suppose Chris Christie and James O'Keefe do share one thing in common; it's all about winning. It doesn't matter who gets hurt, it's all about painting the other guy as a villain, even if it means showing a distorted view to their true believers and to those sitting on a fence.

Some say "Chris Christie for President in 2012". Who knows? Maybe James O'Keefe can be his communications director.

Click the link below to read the Star-Ledger editorial about the Christie- O'Keefe relationship.

Gov. Christie shouldn't cozy up to muckraker of 'Teachers Union Gone Wild' |

Thursday, October 28, 2010

HEREAFTER; Clint Eastwood's Gentle Masterwork

I took a few hours away from the slings and arrows of political discourse last night to check out the latest film from filmmaker and legendary movie star Clint Eastwood, who with Martin Scorsese are the two directors who's work never disappoints me. Hereafter is probably the most understated yet elegant film director Eastwood has ever made; who knew that the man who once played The Man With No Name and Dirty Harry as a younger man who become a filmmaker of range and depth probably not seen since John Huston?

Lately I've been thinking a lot about mortality, and for lack of a better word, fate. I was present at the New Meadowlands Stadium on the day Rutgers player Eric LeGrand was paralyzed after making a tackle. I couldn't help but think for days afterward "what if?"

What if the Army kick returner headed for the sidelines instead of attempting to run across the field? Or if Eric slowed down for a second while running towards the return man, or if someone even minimally blocked Eric? If any of those things would have occurred, perhaps Eric LeGrand would have never had that fateful mishap that changed his life forever.

Mortality, the fragility of life, and chance are some of the themes we see in Hereafter. There are "what if's?" in abundance. What if we we were in a certain place at a certain fateful time instead of a loved one who died after taking our place, or if we made a decision that fatefully put us in harm's way, and for some reason we lived while others did not?

And what if death is not the end, but only the start of something we cannot fathom?

This film will have you trying to find answers for the questions it asks, but it will leave it to the viewer themselves to look for those answers. As main character George Lonegan, a psychic played by Matt Damon, informs us in the film he doesn't know what happens next, he just listens to those who've passed on and hears their voices, and passes on messages to those left behind.

Peter Morgan's script tells three separate but parallel stories that will intersect in time. Marie LeLay (Cecile De France) is a French television journalist who is enjoying a Pacific vacation with her producer- boyfriend Didier (Thierry Neuvic) when a tsunami destroys the island and kills thousands. Marie almost drowns, and stops breathing after attempts to resuscitate apparently fail. She goes into a netherworld temporarily inhabited by shadowy figures, but then she is pulled back to consciousness...and to life. Marie and Didier return to Paris (the French scenes, at least one quarter of the film, are in French with subtitles), but Marie sems haunted and distant after her near death experience. She soon decides to try and find out....what happens when we die?

Across the English Channel in London, two children, twins Marcus and Jason (Frankie and George McLaren) spend much of their time looking out for their well meaning but destructively alcoholic mother Jackie (Lyndsey Marshal). Always one step ahead of the social services officers, the boys are extremely close, with Jason being the outgoing leader and Marcus the quiet follower. One fateful day one of the boys loses his life, leaving the other to care for Jackie, and himself. The surviving twin goes on a quest to talk to his brother just more time.

And in San Franciso George Lonegan (Damon) toils away in a sugar factory, seemingly hiding from the world. George is a psychic who finds his gift to be curse; merely touching someone he can feel the spirits of those close to that person. George cannot reconcile a life based on the ability to talk with the dead; he was once a famous person who had books written about him, but now has turned his back on that life, even after the appeals of his younger brother Billy (Jay Mohr) to cash in on his psychic abilities..

George takes a cooking class at night, where he's paired up with a lovely newcomer to San Francisco, Melanie (Bryce Dallas Howard). In the weeks that follow they become close, to the point of a budding romance. Melanie does have a deep, dark, and hurtful secret in her past, and at first she knows nothing of George's past profession. But chance....or fate.... intervene in an encounter in George's apartment after class. And their relationship changes forever.

While watching this movie I kept thinking...."How are these stories going to intersect?". I won't spoil your fun about figuring out how the three stories come together, but the clues are there almost from the start.

Let's just say that British actor Derek Jacobi (playing himself) plays an important role in the weaving of the tale. And so does a famous author from another century who wrote about a ghost who visited the meanest man in town.......HUMBUG!

A couple of familiar faces from TV are in the film along with Jay Mohr (SNL, GARY UNMARRIED, and of course, GHOST WHISPERER); Richard Kind (SPIN CITY and MAD ABOUT YOU), and Steven R. Schirripa (I almost yelled out "it's Bobby Baccala from THE SOPRANOS!") were featured in memorable supporting roles.

Eastwood also produced the film (and wrote it's musical score), along with Kathleen Kennedy and Robert Lorenz, and executive producers Frank Marshall, Tim Moore, Peter Morgan, and Steven Speilberg.

I recommend this film, and I must say, it's good to start seeing movies for grownups again, where special effects enhance the film and not dominate it. No amount of technical wizardry can ever take the place of a great script, good acting, and a master directing the action.

Hereafter is worth your time, and your attention- not to mention your $10.50.

And to paraphrase a popular me; I DRINK Dr. Pepper.

Christie to tunnel commuters: Drop dead |

The editorial board of The Star-Ledger, New Jersey's largest daily newspaper, tells of how the killing of the ARC project by Governor Chris Christie will impact the New Jersey-New York area not only for years, but for generations to come.

Well done, SL.

Click the link below to read more.

Christie to tunnel commuters: Drop dead |

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Helloooo...... Mr. President, are you listening??: Chris Christie killed the tunnel project!

Here's blogger buddy Sue's take on the news of Chris Christie's cancellation of the ARC tunnel project.

A nice read.

Good comments, too!

Helloooo...... Mr. President, are you listening??: Chris Christie killed the tunnel project!

Christie To Kill ARC Project- Tunnel Vision For The Future; His Own


There was once a time when New Jersey made things. We had auto assembly plants, breweries, factories that made electronic components, and New Jersey built some of America's first super highways, like US 1, the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike. We had "cloverleaves" and bridge projects, and Trenton used to make, and the world did take.

We used to have a film industry here as well. Actually, the first films were produced by Thomas Edison, and there were studios in Fort Lee, before sunny California beckoned the fledgling movie moguls. In more recent years TV became an important industry in New Jersey with The Sopranos and most recently Law and Order; SVU.

Terence Winter and Martin Scorsese wanted to film HBO's Boardwalk Empire in Asbury Park. However, the tax credit given for film production was discontinued by the new administration of Governor Chris Christie, the tough talking guy who's the nation's Republicans have fallen in love with- probably because they don't have to deal with him on a daily basis. Anyway, Boardwalk Empire moved it's operation to Brooklyn, and SVU crossed the Hudson into New York after spending it's first 11 seasons being filmed in New Jersey. New York offers a tax credit for film production; NJ doesn't. Say goodbye to New Jersey's film industry.

On May 3, 2009 the largest public works project in the United States was begun in North Bergen, a new railroad tunnel, the first in nearly a century to connect New Jersey and New York. The project was known as Access to the Region's Core, or ARC. The tunnel would burrow 100 feet below the Hudson River and end at a new 34th Street train station in Manhattan. At the station there would be access to 14 subway lines, PATH trains, and the Long Island Railroad. The full story behind the tunnel and the history of previous construction can be found here.

The tunnel project would provide thousands of construction jobs in Northern New Jersey, as many as 40,000 permanent job after the completion of the tunnel project, would cut the commute time for some riders in half, and add increased property value to tens of thousands of New Jersey homes. Candidate Chris Christie supported the tunnel project and reaffirmed his commitment to it after his election.

But today, Governor Chris Christie, citing cost over runs of $1.1 billion to $5.3 billion has decided to cancel the ARC project for good. He initially canceled the project on October 7, but then conferred with US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, and went on to further review the funding over the next two weeks, in between his stops across America campaigning for Republican candidates in this year's mid term elections.

Some will call Chris Christie a man of vision. But I for one see him a man of only one vision- of himself as the Republican challenger for the presidency of the United States in 2012.

Christie appears to be adamant in obtaining federal money to cover any cost overruns; in using this approach he puts the onus on the Feds for the collapse of the ARC project while enhancing his status as a tax cutting, spending slashing, fire breathing star of the GOP. He can flip flop on his commitment to the tunnel project because it died because the Obama administration won't give New Jersey anymore he'll say.

And while federal authorities have offered to find alternate financing or even scale back the project, Chris Christie appears to be entrenched and inflexible in his position, despite the benefits the completion of the ARC project would have. The commuter, already saddled with higher fees and less service since Christie took office, is getting socked yet again.

Here's what I find most disturbing. When the state of New Jersey said it would not fund the $1.5 billion New Meadowlands Stadium, the ownership of the Giants and Jets found ways to get it financed and built. I find it it impossible to believe that New Jersey, with the resources available from both the public and private sector, couldn't find a way to cover any potential overruns. If the overrun was low at $1.1 billion, you mean to say the state, the Feds, and the Port Authority couldn't find a way to get the cash and get it done now? Because the bottomline is new tunnels will be needed, and needed soon. At what point do the existing one hundred year old tunnels become so unsafe that they have to be closed, leaving New Jersey, New York, and AMTRAK in an impossible situation managing the masses that commute or use the train for travel along the Eastern Seaboard.

In this two week window of review since the first closure of the ARC project, it appears that Governor Christie spent little time in seeking alternate financing to get the job done. It's pretty hard to do your job properly when the chief executive of New Jersey is at a GOP dinner in Indiana..... or in in Connecticut campaigning for Linda McMahon.... or in Florida, stumping for Marco Rubio. In the past six weeks or so when this crisis was bubbling to a surface, we could find Christie in Pennsylvania speaking for numerous candidates, or in California campaigning for Meg Whitman (and ripping into a protester in the audience....there's nothing like being confrontational to someone YOU think is confrontational to calm things down).

The Chris Christie Ego Tour 2010 seems to be winding down with the midterms on Tuesday. And much like his fiasco regarding the loss of $400 million in federal RACE TO THE TOP funding because of a clerical error- and Christie's unwillingness to compromise (or even APPEAR to compromise) with the NJEA, his decision to sink the ARC project seems to be driven by political ambition over the real needs of the state of New Jersey. This is a mistake that will impact not only New Jersey, but the whole region as well.

We....all of us....deserve so much better than this.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Poll; Which of the Following Makes You The Craziest?

I need a little respite from the backbiting, mudslinging, the slings, the arrows, and prospect of two rainy days coming up to just have some fun...and get some things off my chest about things that are bugging me.

So I started a new poll, to see how many of you agree with me.

Are you sick of political ads? "Candidate Smith does it with barnyard animals!."

"Oh yeah? Candidate Jones does with livestock too....and so does his wife!"

You know what I mean? I'm a political guy, but it's even getting to me.

And I'm sick of Brett Favre....Brett comes out of the tunnel, Brett throws a pick six, Brett sits on the bench, Brett slaps Randy Moss on the butt, Brett throws another pick six, Brett breaks a bone, Brett will Brett won't, yes Brett will......ENOUGH!

Jersey Shore? How many 15 minutes can these self described "Guidos and Guidettes" keep getting? Sheeeeeesh!

Starting the Christmas season in October....are these people at QVC, HSN, et al out of their minds? People are broke! And these people saying "Merry Christmas!" weeks before Halloween...what's with that?

And lastly....The Palins. Stop it already. "Momma Grizzly"'s October. Eat a pizza or two and hibernate until March.....or even April if you will. Tina Fey will fill in nicely, thank you. Or that nice young witch from Delaware, maybe.

Anyway, just for fun....the poll is beneath the PLAYLIST and above the election poll in the left hand column. Vote early and often.

Because I will.....Good night!

The Associated Press: Officials say NJ-NYC tunnel project likely doomed

As expected, New Jersey Governor Christie will officially cancel the ARC tunnel project to Manhattan citing cost over runs, according to the AP and other media outlets.

I have a few comments on the situation, which I'm working on, and will publish tomorrow morning.

The Associated Press: Officials say NJ-NYC tunnel project likely doomed

Monday, October 25, 2010

Political Ad of the Day; "Shouldn't The Senator From West Virginia Actually Live In West Virginia?"

A very interesting (and effective) political ad from organized labor in the West Virginia US Senate race.

It asks the question.....shouldn't the next senator from West Virginia actually live in the state?

They claim Republican John Raese moved to Florida to avoid paying taxes, and are backing Democratic challenger Joe Manchin, currently West Virginia's governor.


John looks remarkably like a smiling version of Dick Cheney!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Juan Williams; No Mulligan Given For His Words

"Thinking aloud is the source of most of the world's problems". Benjamin Franklin to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in the HBO series John Adams

Most of the world has heard the statement former NPR commentator and FOX News contributor Juan Williams made on The O'Reilly Factor this past Wednesday.....but if you didn't, here's what was said;

"When I get on a plane....I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

This was in response to O'Reilly's appearance on The View in which Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar walked out after being offended to O'Reilly's comments about Muslims and terrorism.

And in the aftermath of those words, Williams was fired by NPR CEO Vivian Schiller- who later made a wisecrack (since apologized for) about Williams' sharing private thoughts with a publicist or psychiatrist, and stood her ground on Williams' firing.

Then the Right chimed in....O'Reilly, Palin, Gingrich, Huckabee, Cantor, Boehner, some of whom called NPR a left wing organization that should have it's whooping 2% of it's federal funding pulled for silencing Juan Williams. In a word, this was more out of control political correctness. And the Left, through voices such Eugene Robinson and EJ Dionne, defended Williams and spoke out against his firing as an overreaction, and felt that Williams should have been allowed to explain himself publicly.

Now, anyone who follows this blog knows, I am a slightly left of center Democrat, a liberal, a progressive if you will. But what was "liberal" (ie, "tolerant") in the way Williams was fired....for remembering an honest reaction he had, but not having the good judgment to keep those thoughts- which could be misinterpreted- to himself?

Let's bottomline this.

Is there anyone reading this who has never had a reaction to being in a situation where there are people who look different from you, or who speak another language, or are of another ethnic or religious background, and you don't feel entirely comfortable in their company, either consciously or unconsciously? It's usually something totally irrational, a fear of someone or something perceived as strange or unknown. And once rationality kicks in, openness will follow.

Progressives may not like Juan Williams for his appearances on Fox News, where he has signed a multi-million dollar a year contract post firing from NPR, and has now become the Righties on Fox latest cause celibre. Juan Williams is now Exhibit A for the Right in it's cultural war against "the intolerance of the Left". They may have a point in this case.....but for conservatives to wag fingers in the faces of progressives, well not so fast, ladies and gents.

Just this past week Meghan McCain took heat from Republicans and Tea Partiers for her criticism of Republican candidate for the US Senate from Delaware Christine O'Donnell for being unqualified for the job. And has any current Republican office holder ever shown the guts to call out Limbaugh or Beck when they make outrageous and divisive comments about those they see being threats (read "Democrats, liberals, progressives, et al")?

Yes, the Left does have a form of orthodoxy, and sometimes it does manifest itself in situations like the Williams/NPR affair....and it isn't right.

But the opposite side of the aisle is loaded with people who adhere to a written script and agenda.....and their 11th Commandment is "Thou Shalt Not Diss A Fellow Republican, No Matter How Crazy, Stupid, Or Unqualified For Office They May Be".

There's enough hypocrisy on both sides to go around.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rutgers store to sell T-shirts to benefit paralyzed player Eric LeGrand |

In a story written by Star-Ledger columnist Mark DiIonno, plans were revealed for New Brunswick's Scarlet Fever to sell T-shirts to honor and raise money for the care of paralyzed Rutgers player Eric LeGrand.

Please click the link below for more details.

Rutgers store to sell T-shirts to benefit paralyzed player Eric LeGrand |

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Meghan McCain on Christine O'Donnell | Political Headlines |

Just after I went to Sue's blog and ranted that "everyone" (meaning "Republicans") seem to have really lost their minds and let this election turn into a complete freakshow....

There comes Meghan McCain. Proof that not everyone in the GOP has moved to the lunatic fringe. On This Week with Christiane Amanpour , Ms. McCain was one Republican who stated something so obvious that anyone with a fully functioning brain should understand....that Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party/Republican candidate for the Senate in Delaware, is unqualified to be elected to the US Senate.

"My problem is that, no matter what, Christine O'Donnell is making a mockery of running for public office," I said. "She has no real history, no real success in any kind of business... [the message] that sends to my generation is: One day you can just wake and run for Senate, no matter how [much of] a lack of experience you have. And it scares me for a lot of reasons."

The next day she woke up to alot of anger directed at her from the Tea Party and from some in Republican circles. Click here for Meghan McCain's rebuttal to her critics.

But next will Meghan talk about Levi Johnston, the Wannabe Mayor of Wasilla, who's lack of credentials make Christine O'Donnell look like an overachiever? Talk about a campaign about nothing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

18,000 Emails For Eric LeGrand

Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers football player who was paralyzed after a neck injury in the Rutgers- Army football game this past Saturday, has so far received more than 18,000 email "get well" wishes from around the world, according to ESPN New York.

He remains hospitalized at the Hackensack University Medical Center.

Rutgers head Coach Greg Schiano talked about Eric today, though he didn't elaborate on his medical status.

"He goes through different periods," Schiano said. "There are medications that have to be administered. He has been very responsive at times and very aware. He knows. I have tried to keep him informed. It's only been, even though it feels like a number of days, it's only been a few days.

"I have tried to keep him informed what is going on here," he said. "I see him each day and let him know what is happening with the guys. He understands."

To send Eric a "Get Well" message, visit Scarlet, or click his picture on top of the left hand margin of this blog.

Read more at ESPN New York.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The "President" Defends His Record- Musically!

Time to lighten it up a bit.

The President has had a rough time highlighting his accomplishments, and sometimes in articulating.....and selling... his message.

But what if he were to do it musically?

Like in a "Gilbert and Sullivan" inspired operetta?

Hmmmm...or would you believe....Freddie Mercury and Queen?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

On Eric LeGrand; Rutgers Player Paralyzed In Game Injury

You knew it was a bad situation when the cart was brought onto the playing field of the New Meadowlands Stadium late in the fourth quarter of Rutgers' 23-20 overtime win over Army on Saturday October 16.

And it was, in all likelihood, the worst day ever in the life of defensive tackle Eric LeGrand, who just turned 20 years old last month. But what made the event even more heartbreaking was seeing Eric's mother watching it all happen from her seat in section 110. I was sitting about ten rows behind her in the same section, and saw something I hope I shall never see again.

Rutgers had just scored to tie the game at 17-17. On the kickoff to Army, Eric hit Army returner Malcolm Brown hard with his helmet on the Army 25 yardline. Both players hit the turf; Brown got up, but Eric was sprawled on the turf, unable to move. The training staff ran out to Eric, then head coach Greg Schiano.....and then the call came for the cart, which is used to move seriously injured players who can't get off the field under their own power.

I first noticed the woman wearing the scarlet #52 jersey with "LeGrand's Mom" stenciled in the back before game time; there were several other players families and friends seated in the section and those adjoining it. As her son lie on the turf with EMT's and the medical staffs of both Rutgers and Army working on him, my attention focused on Eric's mother in a cold, silent stadium with more than 40,000 onlookers. The fans were watching the medical staff trying to stabilize a man with no movement in his body, and could not even raise his all accounts, he's a good hardworking kid, and a solid contributor to the team.

But the lady wearing that #52 jersey was watching her baby suffer....and watching her made my heartbreak.

Eric's mother was allowed onto the field, where Coach Schiano met her, and somberly embraced her in a touching gesture that made me feel that I...and all of the other onlookers....were somehow eavesdropping on this very private moment of shared sorrow of two people who held the common bond of their individual love and affection for this young wounded warrior.

Eric was taken to Hackensack University Hospital after being treated for about seven minutes and carted out of the stadium. Rutgers went on to rally and win in overtime on Joe Martinek's touchdown. There was the immediate joy of the win for the team and the fans, but then the joy evaporated when thoughts turned to Eric LeGrand

Coach Schiano had an abbreviated post game press conference, but his main concern was for the well being of Eric LeGrand. Below, and excerpt from The Star-Ledger's Dave Hutchinson.

‘When you coach these kids, they’re your kids,’’ said Schiano, his eyes watering.
‘‘That’s the thing I don’t know if everybody gets. It’s not pro football. Those are your kids. You’re raising them. You’re finishing the job for their parents, so it’s tough.

Eric LeGrand underwent emergency surgery at Hackensack University Hospital late Saturday- in layman's terms, he has a broken neck. Eric fractured the C-3 and c-4 vertebrae in his neck, and has no feeling below his neck. There is concern that he may never walk again.

Below, the update from on Eric Legrand's status.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (October 17, 2010) - Rutgers junior defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (Avenel, N.J.) suffered a spinal cord injury in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game vs. Army. The injury was at the C3-C4 level and emergency surgery was performed by doctors throughout the night at Hackensack University Medical Center to stabilize the spine.

“We want to say thank you to everyone for all of your prayers, kind words, and well wishes,” the LeGrand family said. “We appreciate every single thought. Eric is in good spirits and we are praying for a full recovery.”

Eric is resting in the intensive care unit at Hackensack University Medical Center and will remain there for the near future. Currently, he has no movement below the neck.

“Eric, his family and the Rutgers Football family believe he will recover,” said Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano. “We ask our fans and the entire Rutgers community to believe and pray for Eric as he begins the recovery process.

Coach Schiano spent the night at the hospital with Eric's mother, Karen, and family members. Among those who wish Eric a full and speedy recovery is former Penn State player Adam Taliaferro, who suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury 10 years ago and was given a 3% chance of recovery, but beat the odds and walked again. Eric was remembered as a selfless player by coaches and team mates at Colonia High School- his running backs coach at Colonia, Nick Ruta, said the following.....

“He’s one of the best kids to come through our program, not just as an athlete but as a human being. He’s one of those kids who is the reason why you love to coach. The reason why you love to teach.’’

I've spent a good deal of my life watching football. You always see injuries, large and small. In 99% of the cases there are full recoveries from sprains, pulls, and broken bones. You hope you never see something as terrible as a young man possibly crippled for life in playing the game. For every Adam Taliaferro and Dennis Byrd, who suffered spinal chord injuries and yet walked again, you will also find Darryl Stingley or Marc Buoniconti who did not.

When you see a serious injury during a game on TV the announcer will send the audience to a commercial break where you can be entertained by E-Trade Babies and the Geico Gecko. But in a silenced arena or stadium thousands share moments of horror- it's in front of you, and you don't and can't turn away. You're reminded of just how dangerous the sport can be....and in the case of Eric LeGrand, we were looking at a college student, not a well paid professional.

Football is a game that has high risks of injury, and yet we have fans who don't seem to appreciate the hard work, effort, and sacrifice those who play it make. I've never understood the mentality of certain fans who boo college players, often while their families are in the stands. Very simply, they don't deserve it.

My thoughts and prayers are with Eric LeGrand and his family. And our extended Rutgers family has experienced yet another tragedy, this following the suicide of Tyler Clementi several weeks ago.

Be strong friends..........

Much more on Eric LeGrand and the latest at Scarlet Scuttlebutt.

Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand carted off on backboard with neck injury

Friday, October 15, 2010

Follow the Money (Part II) Chamber of Commerce Sponsors Attack Ad in New Jersey 12th District

Congressman Rush Holt, Democrat, New Jersey 12th District

A most topical political attack ad has been seen by thousands in Central New Jersey.

The fine print at the bottom of the ad tells this part of the story...."The US Chamber ( paid for and is responsible for the content of this ad. Not authorized by any candidate or any candidate's committee."

According to this advertisement, Republican candidate for the New Jersey 12th District, venture capitalist Scott Sipprelle, had nothing to do with an attack ad on his Democratic opponent, incumbent Rush Holt.

This ad has been airing on TV stations the New Jersey 12th District, which gerrymanders through of parts of Somerset, Monmouth, Middlesex and Mercer counties in that wonderful world between the New York and Philadelphia megalopolises we call "Central Jersey". And it's my home district.

Below is the ad in question.

Alright.... neither Mr. Sipprelle, the Republican Party, nor agents of the candidate or the party had anything to do with this attack ad. It's from the Chamber of Commerce- they take full credit for it. Either click the link, or type in the web addie at the end of the video. It's from the Chamber, let there be no doubt.

I have three questions, not as a Democrat, or a self styled "citizen journalist" but as a voter in the New Jersey 12th District....are the charges that foreign multi-national corporations are dumping perhaps millions of dollars into the Chamber of Commerce to produce attack ads like this one true?

And one has to ask....what is the motivation for a foreign company to weigh in financially in American elections unless it is to gain some sort of influence?

And finally, should a candidate who'd benefit from such ads repudiate them, if it can be determined that these ads are even partially paid for by foreign corporations who may have their own motives to support the ads?

Follow the Money (Part I); Beck Gives $10K to Chamber of Commerce

On October 14, Glenn Beck contributed $10,000 to the US Chamber of Commerce and urged his radio listeners to contribute to the Chamber as well.

Beck did this in response to charges that the Chamber may have funneled as much as $75 million to support candidates, all Republican, who support the Chamber's agenda, and that money has been contributed by foreign multi- national corporations in attempt to tip the balance in our November mid-term elections.

So here's how it goes.....Beck sends a $10,000 to the US Chamber of Commerce. His boss, Rupert Murdoch of NewsCorp FOX News parent company, gave $1 million each to the Republican Governor's Association and the US Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber puts the money in it's general fund. Then they pay for attack ads against candidates who the Chamber feels must be defeated in order to elect someone they believe is more friendly to business.....and to the agenda of the Chamber. All are Republicans, coincidentally.

Glenn Beck works at that "Fair and Balanced" news organization. Rupert Murdoch is NewsCorps' head honcho. It stands to reason that both are contributing to attack ads on Democratic candidates, but not doing so directly.

Rather, they're using the US Chamber of Commerce as a legal money's that simple.

So much for Glenn Beck, and his hypocritical campaign "To Restore Honor" to America.

And so much for "fair and balanced".

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Citizen's United Case- The Nightmare Scenario May Be Coming True

“The difference between selling a vote and selling access is a matter of degree, not kind,” Justice Stevens wrote. “And selling access is not qualitatively different from giving special preference to those who spent money on one’s behalf.” ......from Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Steven's dissent in the Citizen's United v Federal Election Commission, printed in The New York Times, January 21, 2010.

This blog first mentioned the Citizens United case on February 5, 2010. It was a case that slipped through the cracks of media scrutiny in those weeks preceding the Super Bowl. To bottomline it, the conservative wing of the United States Supreme Court ruled for the majority, 5-4, that the government may not ban spending by corporations on political campaigns. Essentially the court said that corporations had the same constitutional rights as private citizens, and to try to regulate corporate spending and activities in political campaigns was a violation of their First Amendment Rights.

Dissenters, like Justice Stevens, saw the ruling as a danger to subvert democracy.

Few listened in January- most media ignored the story or put it on a back burner. But Keith Olbermann didn't. I posted this entry about Olbermann's Special Comment on the Citizen's United ruling in February

Below, please watch his Special Comment.....a prophecy that appears to have come true, with tens of thousands of dollars, some of which come from foreign multi-national corporations by way of the US Chamber of Commerce, finding their way to finance dozens of ads attacking Democrats nationwide.

Now let's fast forward to the present. Think Progress broke the news of the possibility of the US Chamber of Commerce funneling foreign money to produce ads designed to defeat Democratic House and Senate candidates in this November's mid-term elections.

Denial is all around, but there seems to be more evidence of possible wrong doing. US election laws say that if campaign contributions are used to produce political ads, the donors must be named.....and they must adhere to laws governing campaign contributions.

Below, Olbermann leads with the story on his October 13 show, with Think Progress' Faiz Shakir.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chris Matthews Explains Why Taking Foreign Money In Political Campaigns is Bad.......So Why Can't The Democratic Leadership Make A Better Case Against It?

The issue of the possibility of foreign donations funneled by the US Chamber of Commerce to the war chests of Republicans for attack ads is an issue that the Democratic leadership- including the President of the United States- should be presenting to the American people. But in doing this- so far- they are doing a pretty poor job.

On Sunday presidential adviser David Axelrod was on Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer. When Axelrod brought up the subject of foreign campaign contributions to US elections, Schieffer answered with a "Is that all you've got?".

Clearly, Democrats need to explain why this is a bad situation....foreign money goes into an American political campaign from a multinational based in another country with the possibility of damage it could do to the American labor force.

One man who "gets it" is MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who talked about it on Tuesday's edition of Hardball. Below, Matthews discusses foreign campaign contributions in the most simple yet logical terms I've heard from a talking head- or any member of the Democratic leadership, and how the American worker will probably get screwed by the usual suspects. Also on the table is a look at the relative lameness of Democratic response to Republican attacks, and the failure of Democrats to sell their accomplishments to the American voter.

Appearing with Matthews are MSNBC analysts Richard Wolffe and Mark Halperin

I'm trying to stay optimistic about November.....but it ain't easy anymore, ladies and gents.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quick Hits For October 11. 2010; The Football and Chris(es) Edition!

Hey ladies and gents. I took a couple of days off for football (first) and then for some family issues- nothing serious, but just a few things that needed some attention.

So I now find myself in a situation where I want to talk about a variety of issues in a short space of about some Quick Hits?

(1). The sign in the end zone said it all; In Dodd We Trust. And then some. Chas Dodd, the 18 year old true freshman quarterback for Rutgers University started in place of the injured Tom Savage, and the South Carolina native made a spectacular debut on national TV last Friday night. Dodd passed for 322 yards with two touchdowns in leading Rutgers to a thrilling 27-24 comeback win over UCONN.

It was a wild night at R House to be sure, with Dodd hitting Mark Harrison with a TD pass to tie the game at 24 with just 3:53 left in the game. After UCONN went three and out, Rutgers drove the UCONN 17 yard line where San San Te drilled a game winning 34 yard field goal with 13 seconds left in the game.

It wasn't quite "Pandemonium in Piscataway" but it would do quite nicely for the RU fans.

And I know what you must be thinking....Chas (pronounced "chase") looks more like one of Frodo's mates in Lord of the Rings than an NCAA quarterback. But the diminutive #19 is one of those players that has a bit of magic in them. And he looks good in Scarlet.

(2). And to the 10,000 or so of the 48,000 plus who left early with six minutes to go to beat traffic....shame on you! It's Rutgers-UCONN. And something always crazy happens in the last couple of minutes to win (or lose) games; muffed punts, field goals hitting uprights, 81 yard TD receptions with seconds to go.

By the way....looking at the UCONN message boards- it's amazing how many fans up there want to dump Coach Randy Edsall....and that's just stupid. Last year Edsall held that team together after the murder of Jazz Howard, and a slew of heartbreaking last minute losses to get them to a bowl game, where they soundly beat Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks. And didn't those guys beat #1 Alabama last Saturday?

So go ahead and fire Randy Edsall, oh sons and daughters of Huskyland...he'll stay unemployed for about ten seconds

(3). It's Columbus Day! And The History Channel celebrated the day by giving us hour after hour of Pawn Stars.

And History International? Almost the mention of the day and it's significance. You can talk about the genocide that happened to the Native Peoples in the Western Hemisphere after the arrival of the Spanish in 1492, and yes it was horrific and brutal. But no one alive today cam fathom the courage those mariners, led by their captain from Genoa, Cristoforo Colombo. And if not for him, would there not be a Columbus, Ohio? And then where would the Blue Jackets play?

(4). New Jersey governor Chris Christie recently said it's time to pull the plug on the $9 billion rail tunnel that would connect northern New Jersey and Manhattan because New Jersey cannot afford to pay $2.5 billion in overruns that Christie says the state does not have. But then Christie met with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and decided to put a two week hold on the cancellation while project is reviewed. I think there is a couple of things at work here.....first, the project would create thousands of jobs, perhaps as many as 40,000. The existing tunnels are nearly 100 years old, and will need to be replaced sooner or later. And also....the feds have already spent $600 million on the project, and New Jersey would have to pay back $300 million of that that New Jersey does not have. So the choice is spend more and create jobs and have a new tunnel  or don't build it and give $300 million to Washington and have nothing to show for it. Maybe if Mr. Christie would stay home and take care of business here.....and do the job we're paying him to do.....he'd know what's going on. But Oprah and GOP fund raisers beckon.

It's so nice to have a rock star in Trenton......I think?

More on the tunnel project here.

(5) And in closing, we've talked about Christopher Columbus, Chris Christie.....but what would  a QUICK HITS be without a mention of the newest Chris on the block, Christine O'Donnell.

How can you tell you've "made it", in a manner of speaking?

When Saturday Night Live! starts doing send ups of you. Below, from MORNING JOE, is SNL's take on Christine's "I'm not a witch" ad.

Parting shot...way to go Yankees!

And...Phillies (if Sue is reading this)!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Think Progress » Exclusive: Foreign-Funded ‘U.S.’ Chamber Of Commerce Running Partisan Attack Ads

It looks like it's official.

The government of the United States is up for sale. If the reports are true that the US Chamber of Commerce is funneling tens of millions of dollars into the midterm elections- much of it from foreign corporations- then the fears of a takeover of our government by foreign entities isn't crazy paranoid talk, it is a distinct possibility.

How does that affect you and me? Here's one hypothetical scenario.

If fictional Corporation Z based in Germany (a nation that has a national health system payed by tax dollars) doesn't want to pay a benefits package to it's workers in Kalamazoo,MI, they can funnel big bucks into the campaigns of friendly politicians in the Michigan, for example. In this world of quid pro quo these "friends" would do their best to help Corporation Z's bottomline. That might mean downsizing the plant in Kalamazoo and sending those jobs to Germany, or finding ways to get the plant closed entirely under the mantle of "free enterprise".

But the real bottomline is that most of the rest of the industrialized world plays under a different set of rules that protects jobs in their nations, while we see plant closures and job loss, and protection of corporate interest rather than of the jobs of those people who actually do the work.

What in God's name ever happened to the concept of economic patriotism?

Read more, from Think Progress.

Think Progress » Exclusive: Foreign-Funded ‘U.S.’ Chamber Of Commerce Running Partisan Attack Ads

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Roy Halladay No Hits Reds in Game One NL Division Series, 4-0!

To channel the late Harry Caray (and Phil Rizzuto).....holy cow!

Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies has pitched only the second post season no hitter in the history of baseball, 4-0 tonight against the Cincinnati Reds. The first post season no-hitter was Don Larsen's perfect game in 1956.

Halladay only allowed one batter to reach base, a 5th inning walk by the Reds Jay Bruce.

Read all about it at

Midterm Election 2010 Poll

I've added a poll in the left hand margin to get an feel- albeit an unscientific one- about how the voting is going for the midterms next month. And it will give me an idea of the political ideology of the readership of this blog, or if there is a dominant ideology at all.

I'll leave it up until election day, and it's set for one vote if you want to vote multiple times, be my guest, if changing browsers to vote in an online poll means that much to you. If that's the probably have way too much time on your hands.

Thanks alot! And spread the word to other bloggers and their followers.

Also- comments have been enabled

No $75 ? Let It Burn; A Preview of "Tea Party America"?

As most readers know by now, Gene Cranick lost all his possessions, including three dogs and a cat, because his mobile home is Western Tennessee was allowed to burn to the ground because he failed to pay a $75 municipal fee that would have given him fire protection. Cranick called to report the fire last week and offered to pay the $75 to the South Fulton fire department, who refused to respond because doing so would only encourage others not to pay the fee.

South Fulton Mayor David Crocker said the following (from The Huffington Post)....

""Anybody that's not in the city of South Fulton, it's a service we offer, either they accept it or they don't."

This is a story that has resonated through America, and well it should. And it should be a cautionary tale to all of those who may have been seduced by the call of "government should be run like a business", that "government is always the problem, never the solution", and "smaller government now!". What is on display in this case is a possible preview of what life in Tea Party America could look like.....lower taxes, but "user fees" for governmental services.

User fees- remember that term. Because Republicans and their Tea Party buddies always talk about lowering taxes. But one of the ways they get money into the public coffers is increase user fees for government run entities. When Christine Todd Whitman became was elected governor of New Jersey in 1993 she ran on a platform to lower the state income tax by 10% each year for three years. The state income tax was lowered....but tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and Atlantic City Expressway rose, and new toll booths were constructed in areas where previously there were none. New and higher user fees.

Call it a GOP shell game.

So let's examine some possible scenarios in "Ala Carte Tea Party America".

Do you want to send your kids to a public school? Pay a fee. But remember, since not everyone is paying property or income taxes to support the school system, the citizen could be shelling out a lot more money in fees than in property taxes.

What about law enforcement, garbage pickup, libraries, snow removal, senior services, unemployment compensation....and fire protection? Do we offer it "ala carte"? And when the next flood hits in Wayne, NJ or Alton, IL or Nashville, TN does the 911 operator have to punch in your ID and check the computer program to see which government services you've paid for?

Boat and watercraft sales should be healthy in this not so brave new world.

Here in New Jersey families are starting to pay fees if their kids want to play interscholastic sports, and other school systems are imposing fees for students to take field trips. We already have teachers who routinely shell hundreds of dollars of their own money for school supplies because state aid has been cut to a trickle thanks to the New Jersey Mouth That Roared, Governor Chris Christie, now with his road show at a GOP event near you.

This tragedy to Gene Cranick is something that never, ever should have happened in the United States of America. Period and end of story. The lack of response to the burning of Cranick's home, where firefighters did show up to protect his neighbor's home, was a scenario similar to America of the 19th century, where fire protection was done by subscription, and often fires went out of control because the occupiers of the burning buildings didn't pay for fire protection.

The Grand Poobah of The Tea Party, Mr. Glenn Beck, the man who invoked God from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August for a new nation under God, said the following about the incident (from Newser)....

The argument about Cranick’s case will go “nowhere if you go onto ‘compassion, compassion, compassion, compassion’ or well, ‘they should’ve put it out, what is the fire department for?’” Beck said. “No, what is the $75 for?”

After all, he points out, “if they did put the fire out and make an exception for your house and you didn’t pay,” then “would anyone pay their $75?” (His producer helped Beck along in his explanation by mimicking Cranick’s accent for nearly the entire segment.) The fee is “to pay for the fire department to have people employed to put the fire out,” Beck continued, and to use fire services without paying the fee “would be sponging off of your neighbor’s $75.”

My question to Glenn Beck regarding this matter is very simple. If told another person's home was on fire and helped was asked for......what would Jesus do?

If you don't think He'd call for a thunderstorm to douse the flames, He's at least find a way to help...for free.

And if it were too late and the home was lost, He'd comfort the person who lost his home instead of ridiculing and trashing him.

Below, Gene Cranick talks to Keith Olbermann on COUNTDOWN.

In closing, I just watched the interview Olbermann had with Gene Cranick a second time, and I'm torn between profound sadness and outright rage. How can this be allowed to occur in our country? Lincoln spoke of "our better angels"....and thank goodness there are those good people of compassion and justice who are willing and able to speak up for those who have been wronged.

And as for those who say Cranick got what he deserved....quite frankly, they make me sick. This should be beyond politics or ideology. These are individuals who say human evolution is only a theory, yet they adhere and practice social and economic Darwinism.....survival of the fittest.

As for Glenn Beck....I can only say that this self appointed God fearing Christian and savior of America might be the the biggest hypocrite walking the earth. A man who lacks the basic compassion of Christ, and is nothing more than a cheap carnival huckster playing the role of American Messiah.

But the truly delusional are those who believe his gibberish. And PT Barnum is sitting up in his grave, winking at the poor suckers....and there are a lot of them.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Christine O'Donnell- "I Am Not A Witch"; (But Can She Float?)


Hot off the presses and into cyber space.....

Delaware Republican Senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell has told the world....

"I am NOT a witch!

But through our very thorough search of YouTube (so it must be true) we found this O'Donnell ad with proof of the contrary.

I dunno. Maybe it's a Halloween thing. Anyway, it's back to YouTube. Here's a tried and true method to determine if Ms. O'Donnell is, indeed, a witch.....courtesy of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

If she can float.....she must be made of wood. And if she's made of wood....she can float like a duck. And if she weighs more than a duck.....

One more she responsible for turning this guy into a......

And he never got better?

Monday, October 4, 2010

44 - One Nation rally attendance: Does it matter?

Interesting take by The Washington Post on the size of the crowd of the One Nation Rally in DC this weekend. Some of the comments by readers have erupted into a proverbial foodfight.

But my favorite quote was from the Associated Press that "the crowd was 'less dense' than the one that greeted Glenn Beck on August 28th".

And I wholeheartedly agree; progressive crowds are generally "less dense" than conservative ones.

READ MORE at Washington Post .com- One Nation rally attendance: Does it matter?

No, I Won't Shut Up!...... "Time To Buck Up, Progressives!"

This opinion piece is the start of a new series in which I'll attempt to state a case in support or in opposition to a topic or personality in the news. And neither The Left, The Right, nor The Center will be immune.

Sometimes a political satirist can make the point better than any long winded politician could.

On this week's Real Time on HBO, Bill Maher asked this question regarding the progressive and independent voters who cast their ballots for Barack Obama in 2008, and who vow to stay home and not participate in this November's midterm elections because of dissatisfaction with the President's performance.

I'll paraphrase what Bill asked.

"Who do you support- your disappointing friend or your sworn enemy?"

What is frightening, discouraging, and baffling to me (at the same time) is the logic some of those one time Obama supporters have for not voting in these Congressional races. Often it has to do with single issues that have not been resolved, like unemployment, funding for education, ending the wars in the Middle East, and the slow recovery from the Great Recession. Republicans and their allies in the Tea Party have an enthusiasm and are energized, and if the pundits are correct they will gain control of the House next month, and possibly the Senate as well.

And on the left there still is a sense of apathy and fatalism, and too many who are willing to let 2010 take us back to 1994 and it's aftermath- a Republican takeover of Congress, and nearly six years of investigation of the White House, plus government shutdowns, and a three ring circus involving the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.

I didn't even mention the divisive and costly impeachment of a President of the United States over a matter that never should have been brought to trial, and was 100% about politics and had nothing to do about justice.

President Obama and Vice President Biden have chided The Left to "buck up" and stop whining. And many on The Left bristled and whined about being called whiners.

Please put me in the foxhole with Barack and Joe......and progressives, liberals, whatever you choose to call yourself- stop whining, goddammit!

A great analogy of what happened to this country during the Great Recession came today on Morning Joe from former "car czar" Steve Rattner about 13 minutes into this 15 minute segment.

Indeed, this country's economy did experience a "quadruple bypass" in attempt to save it from obliteration. No one likes the fact that we have unemployment at 9.6%, but imagine if there were no stimulus package to save job or there was no rescue of the auto industry- and thus saved it's hundreds of related suppliers and parts manufactures- we could be talking about unemployment in the double digits, just like the early 1930's.

This President and this administration deserves more credit than what they're getting. And this is not a sermon to convert those on the Right in a "Road to Damascus' moment; we know were you stand. I am preaching to the choir- but in every choir there is at least a couple of members who have nodded off, and need a poke in the ribs.

We have to return to being a nation that manufactures things people buy instead of manufacturing more wealth for the richest 2%. We can't allow Wall Street to dictate the fate of Main Street and return to the acceleration of exporting of American jobs overseas to support corporate America's bottomline. But in the worst case scenario for the progressive movement, this is exactly what could happen with a Republican takeover of the House and possibly the Senate.

If you're searching for a ideal candidate and perfect President, go check out the West Wing reruns on BRAVO. President Bartlett saved the nation every week in about 50 minutes for seven years....and he was a Democrat, albeit a fictional one. And maybe that's where we, in general, as a people don't "get it"; this is real life. There are no quick fixes. Recovery takes time, and there has never been a perfect man in the White House, no matter how much we want to deify our Presidents.

For instance.....

Harry S. Truman routinely referred to African Americans with the "N word". Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court with "friendly" appointees by expanding it to 12 justices. Woodrow Wilson said of the the film The Birth of a Nation in which the Ku Klux Klan were portrayed as heroes and African Americans as inferior, "It is like writing history with lightning. And my only regret is that it is all so terribly true".

Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory but failed to tell Congress he was doing so. He also imposed a trade embargo during the Napoleonic War, which caused economic ruin in the young United States- New Englanders threatened to secede.

John Adams signed off on the Alien and Sedition Acts, and and dissidents were arrested and imprisoned. George Washington sent "Light Horse Harry" Lee into Western Pennsylvania to crush The Whiskey Rebellion- tax protesters two centuries before The Tea Party (Mark II)....they were an armed militia ready to take on the forces of the young republic.

And Abraham Lincoln? He suspended the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War. While civil war was fought in the South and in the East, the upper Midwest erupted in the Great Sioux Uprising. Lincoln signed off on the execution of 38 Dakota Indians for war crimes, murder, and rape. On the average each warrior had a trial that lasted five minutes. They were hanged en mass in Mankato, Minnesota.

And Barack Obama? He didn't take out his magic wand and end the recession fast enough. And then he told his onetime supporters to stop whining.

For crying out loud.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rutgers Community Mourns Tyler Clementi

It's homecoming weekend for Rutgers University. Graduates from years past will return to The Banks for reunions and activities, and at 2:00 PM tomorrow the 2-1 Scarlet Knights will meet the Tulane Green Wave for a football game at a sold out Rutgers Stadium in what forecasters say will be a glorious October day. Friends will meet, classmates will be reunited, tailgate parties will erupt from the Scarlet Lot to general parking at the RAC.

But this is anything but a typical homecoming at dear old RU.

A young man freshman named Tyler Clementi should have been part of the Homecoming festivities, enjoying what it is to be young and in college. But as to all who have not been living in a cave already know, young Tyler Clementi committed suicide by jumping off  the George Washington Bridge on September 22. His body was recovered yesterday by authorities in New York, and identified.

Tyler Clementi took his own life after a webcam caught him having sex with another man, with the camera allegedly planted by his roommate and aided by another student. And within hours a promising student and musician decided it was all too much and too embarrassing and ended his own life.

And I say damn the shortsightedness of youth.

To the duo who allegedly planted the camera as a prank....did you ever consider the pain this would cause? Even if Tyler had not been driven to suicide, the anguish they caused to another human being, the violation of trust, and the simple lack of common respect of another person's privacy was mindboggling. This was a prank gone awry, one which seemed to come from the keyboard of a playwright or screenwriter, but it wasn't. This was real life, and a genuine tragedy felt not only in this community, but throughout the nation.

And to young Tyler himself, doing the God, did you consider your parents, and those who loved you? You took your life, and you took a big piece of theirs as well. Yes, what happened was painful, but the challenge was to go on and not squander this gift of life.

So unspeakably tragic.And as I type this, I feel a combination of sadness, anger, and frustration. A young man dead, driven to suicide because he was "different". And I feel the helplessness of the moment in not being to scream to every desperate kid out there that it will get better. The sun really does come up tomorrow, as hackneyed and corny as it sounds. Life is never as good as your best day, nor as bad as your worst.

Below, a few words from Ellen DeGeneres .

Today on campus there were students wearing black in tribute and in solidarity.

Rutgers fans usually wear red to the games. Some students have started a Facebook page encouraging tomorrow's football crowd to wear black to the game.

Tomorrow, I'll alter my usual game day outfit of white hat, red Rutgers tee shirt to a black hat with the red block R and a black Rutgers tee shirt.....but I'll have my red RU hoody's going to be chilly by the fourth quarter.
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