Tuesday, November 24, 2015

He Says You Have To LISTEN First

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addressing the Council on Foreign Relations today in Washington.

One Thing You Must Not Do On Thanksgiving . . .

Copy this notice and post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest - everywhere!
Spread the word!
Let's get everyone to resolve not to shop on Thanksgiving Day so that we can end this madness.
Let Thanksgiving be the great American holiday it was meant to be - a joyful day of gratitude with families, neighbors and friends.
Say NO to the degradation of Thanksgiving.

Shocker: How One State's Taxes Choke Charities

New Jersey’s confiscatory tax climate is responsible for the highest property taxes and worst business climate in the country, but it is also having another deleterious effect.

Today, New Jersey ranks among the least philanthropic states in the country according to a new report from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

“The season of giving is upon us, yet how sad is it that New Jersey has reached the point where people can no longer afford to be as generous as they would like to be because of high taxes,” remarked AFP state director Erica Jedynak. “We might as well refer to our income tax as the anti-benevolence tax.”

The ALEC report, State Factor: The Effect of State Taxes on Charitable Giving, examined data from 1997-2012 and revealed an inverse correlation between taxes and charitable giving. As stated in the report’s conclusion, “[I]ndividuals in states with high taxes donate less and individuals in states with lower taxes donate more.” 

New Jersey placed 43rd on ALEC’s list for the period 1997-2012 and 46th for the period of 2008-2012.

“As Ronald Reagan said, ‘the spirit of voluntary giving [is] ingrained in the American character.’ So it is with New Jerseyans of good will who would no doubt love to give more to causes they care about and to help those who are impoverished or sick,” said Jedynak.

“Yet, instead of being able to donate more to causes that dispense charity with a warm heart and lift people up, their hard-earned money is filtering through the cold hands of bureaucracy and ensnaring people in dependency.”

“There is little compassion in that, and it’s just one more reason we need ease the tax burden on New Jersey families.”

Seven Fishes Feast Will Aid Charities, Kids

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is proud to participate in the 7th Annual Feast of the Seven Fishes Dinner presented by Talk Radio 1210 WPHT and benefitting the Catholic Charities Appeal as well as The Archbishop’s Christmas Benefit for Children.

Monday, December 14, 2015
6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sonesta Philadelphia Hotel
1800 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Dom Giordano will host special guests including Jim Amato, Deputy Secretary for Catholic Social Services, Taya Kyle, wife of American Sniper Chris Kyle, and other local guests from the world of politics, entertainment and sports.  A quartet will play holiday music in between portions of the program while attendees enjoy a traditional Italian seafood feast.

A portion of proceeds will benefit the Catholic Charities Appeal and The Archbishop’s Christmas Benefit for Children. To purchase tickets visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/feast-of-the-seven-fishes-2015-tickets-19302845330

A live broadcast of the evening is available at http://betaplayer.radio.com/player/talk-radio-1210-wpht

The Catholic Charities Appeal feeds, clothes, shelters, and educates more than 200,000 people across our region every year, regardless of their faith. To learn more about the Appeal, visit http://catholiccharitiesappeal.org/.

The Archbishop's Christmas Benefit for Children is an annual fundraising initiative that raises critically needed funds for the continuing support of programs that benefit children suffering from neglect, poverty, and continued abuse. This year’s event will be held on December 17th.  To learn more, visit http://www.archbishopschristmasbenefit.org/. 

On Turkey, Russia And Even Mali, Romney Was Right!

Last week there was a gruesome terrorist attack in Mali.
Mali, you say?
Yes -- Mali. That's the country Mitt Romney warned about in 2012. And most of the pundits and nearly all of the mainstream media mocked him and laughed about it when he made his warning.
"Mali has been taken over, the northern part of Mali by al Qaeda type individuals," Romney said. "With Mali now having North Mali taken over by al-Qaeda, with Syria having [Bashar al-Assad] continuing to kill, to murder his own people, this is a region in tumult."
So, once again Romney was right.
And the pundits and mainstream media were wrong.
But Romney has been right again and again.
Romney warned about Turkey as well. And Turkey is now in the news for shooting down a Russian airplane. 
Here's what Romney said:
Our desire to bring our troops home, safely and soon, is met with our recognition that if Iraq descends into all-out civil war, millions could die; that Iraq’s Sunni region could become a base for Al Qaeda; that its Shia region could be seized by Iran; that Kurd tension could destabilize Turkey; and even that the broader Middle East could be drawn into conflict. The possible implications for America and for American interests from such developments could be devastating.
And Romney warned about the destabilizing effect of our withdrawl from Iraq in such a way that now seems almost prophetic.
Here's what he said:
“In Iraq, the costly gains made by our troops are being eroded by rising violence, a resurgent Al Qaeda, the weakening of democracy in Baghdad, and the rising influence of Iran. And yet, America’s ability to influence events for the better in Iraq has been undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence. The president tried — and failed — to secure a responsible and gradual drawdown that would have better secured our gains.”
What's more, it's now well known and generally clear that Romney was right about Russia's threat to American security and world peace. Even when mocked by Obama, Romney refused to back down.
Here's how he explained it:
“Russia, I indicated, is a geopolitical foe… and I said in the same paragraph I said and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. Russia does continue to battle us in the UN time and time again. I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin.”

Botton line: Romney was right.
And America voted wrong.
Now, we're in one helluva mess.
Did you laugh at Romney then? Did you believe Obama and the mainstream media and the liberals who mocked Romney?
Did you vote for Obama?
Then, take a good, cold, hard look at yourself in the mirror because nobody's laughing now and the clear majority of the American people are dissatisfied with the way Obama's handling his job.

Jersey City Story Another Fabricated Trumpism?

From our good friends at the Save Jersey Blog:
By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
Does lying about a problem to score political points serve the solution, Save Jerseyans?

On Saturday, the Donald held a campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama, and during one of his patented rambling rants, he made an extraordinary claims about 9/11 and… the State of New Jersey.

“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down,” Trump thundered from his podium. “And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

It’s a claim he then repeated when challenged on Sunday’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” program:

“It was on television. I saw it,” Trump insisted. “It was well covered at the time, George. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.”

What’s really not good is Trump’s penchant for making shit up.

9/11 hijacker links to Jersey City and Paterson don’t equate to “thousands” cheering in the streets. In fact,Politifact conducted the research and couldn’t find a single well-sourced report of 9/11 celebrations while also making the very good point that “[i]f thousands and thousands of people were celebrating the 9/11 attacks on American soil, many people beyond Trump would remember it. And in the 21st century, there would be video or visual evidence.

Trump naturally has none ’cause it doesn’t exist. He’s a master huckster who knows what his audience wants to hear and doesn’t care if facts need to be manipulated (or in this case invented from scratch) to make the sale. The Donald didn’t just embellish – he slandered New Jersey, which suffered terribly on 9/11, to win votes. To make matter worse, lying about domestic terror sympathizers only makes the folks we need to persuade about the very real dangers of real domestic terrorism all the less likely to believe us.

Is this the best we can do next fall, Save Jerseyans? Better yet, can we afford to do this poorly? Let’s hope not.

Monday, November 23, 2015

US Issues Worldwide Travel Alert Warning - Video

Have You Ever Thought About THIS?

Shop On Thanksgiving? Not at THIS Store!

Unlike other stores, Nordstrom has NEVER rushed the Christmas season.
And this year is no exception.
Here's what the sign says in front of every Nordstrom store:
From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.
We won't be decking our halls until Friday, November 27.
Why? We just like the ides of celebrating one holiday at a time.
Our stores will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving festivities.
On Friday our doors will be open to ring in the new season in style.
Bravo to Nordstrom.
Now, we ask everyone to follow Nordstrom's example.


Polls: US Hates Media, Likes Trump, Rejects Obama

There are a ton of new polls out today and the results of each are sometimes surprising, certainly enticing and always revealing:

  • A Pew poll has found that that Americans' trust in the media is at an all time low with nearly two out of every three people (65%) believing the media have a "negative effect" on the country. Nearly the same amount (67%) say the federal government has a negative effect.
  • A Washington Post poll finds that Donald Trump continues to hold a commanding lead over Ben Carson, his nearest rival for the GOP presidential nomination. Trump scores 32% with Carson behind at 22% with Marco Rubio at 11% followed by Ted Cruz at 8%. Both Rubio and Cruze have inched slightly higher since the same poll last month. The poll also found Republicans to be far more energized than Democrats and far more likely to vote in their party's presidential primary.
  • More Republicans polled (38%) believe Trump has the best chance of winning the general election next November. 
  • In the same Washington Post poll by overwhelming margins Republicans picked Trump as the candidate best equipped to deal with four of five major issues identified (economy, terrorism, immigration and tax policy). Trump ran behind Carson on health care.
  • In a poll conducted jointly by Democrat firm Anderson Robbins and Republican firm Shaw & Co. President Obama's job approval rating has fallen to 40%. A majority (54%) disapprove of the way Obama is currently doing his job. This is Obama's lowest number since a year ago at this time. That low was followed by a huge loss in the midterm elections.
  • The Anderson/Shaw poll also found terrorism to be the top issue on the minds of Americans, now edging out jobs and the economy.
  • The same poll found Trump to be the clear favorite of GOP voters over Carson (28% to 18%) with Rubio and Cruz both gaining and tied at 14%.
  • Rubio would do best in a race against Hillary Clinton next November defeating her by 50% to 42%. But Trump, Cruz, Carson, Rubio and Christie would defeat Clinton as well. Christie would defeat her by three points, Cruz by four points, Carson by five points, Trump by five points and Bush by six points. 
  • 63% of those surveyed think the war on terror is going badly under Obama. Of those, more than half (33%) think it's going very badly. Also, nearly two our of every three Americans (65%) think Obama has not been aggressive enough in fighting terror. 
  • Two-thirds of those surveyed in the Anderson/Shaw poll (67%) are opposed to Obama's plan to take in an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees. And, a clear majority (56%) think it's wrong for Obama and Clinton and other Democrats to refuse to use the words "radical Islam" while 73% oppose closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center. 
  • In a new Reuters poll, 58% of Americans now say they “don’t identify with what America has become.” While Republicans and Independents are the most likely to agree with this statement, what's really revealing is that even 45% of Democrats share this feeling. Furthermore, more than half of Americans, 53%, say they “feel like a stranger” in their own country.

Record-Setting Mural Will Commemorate Pope's Visit

The World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 (WMOF), in partnership with The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (Mural Arts), will host a Dedication Ceremony for the commemorative mural, titled The Sacred Now: Faith and Family in the 21st Century

The dynamic mural stands to receive the Guinness World Record for “Most Contributions to a Painting by Numbers.” More than 2,700 people – including Pope Francis himself – have contributed to the mural through Community Paint Days and during the 2015 WMOF Congress. In total, participants representing more than 100 countries have helped paint the mural.

Honoring the recent visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia and spanning three building facades at the future home of Saint Malachy School, the final record-setting mural consists of 153 individual panels measuring 5’ x 5’ in size, encompassing 4,239 total square feet. 100 students from Saint Malachy and Saint Veronica Independence Mission Schools will also attend the celebratory event.

Mayor Michael Nutter will be joined by Donna Crilley Farrell, Executive Director, World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 and Jane Golden, Executive Director, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program to formally dedicate the commemorative mural which will serve as a lasting reminder of the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 and the Holy Father’s historic visit to Philadelphia.

The event and media availability will take place:

Monday, November 30, 2015
11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
The Future Home of Saint Malachy School
1012 W. Thompson Street (At the Corner of 11th & Thompson Streets)
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Key Speakers / VIP Guests will include:

Mayor Michael Nutter
Donna Crilley Farrell, Executive Director, World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015
Bishop John McIntyre, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Jane Golden, Executive Director, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

Cesar Viveros, Mural Arts Program lead artist

Some 'Comparisons' Just Don't Work!

A Facebook friend writes:

"So you can see how leftists 'think'.

"Comparing turning away Jews -- not one of whom represented even an implicit threat to Americans -- fleeing Nazi Germany, to folks fleeing Syria -- who, in light of the attacks in Paris, are not merely hypothetical threats, but REAL threats -- is beyond absurd and deeply offensive.

"America has a long tradition of opening its doors to the persecuted, but its FIRST obligation is to the safety of Americans. 

"If you can't guarantee that we're not going to admit another Tsarnaev family -- apparently, those who weren't terrorists were petty criminals and moochers, and just about all were lunatics or ingrates -- when your "compassion" threatens the lives of Americans, it's time to reconsider your compassion'".

How The Hell Did THIS Security Breach Happen?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Remembering JFK'S Secret - Then And Now

Today marks the 52nd anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and we awash in related stories and personal recollections.

As usual, people are recalling where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news that JFK had died. For our generation, those retellings are as significant as the story I heard so many times from my mother about how she was at home on a stepstool hanging curtains in April, 1945 when she heard over the radio that FDR had died. She never forgot it.

But why should I tell you about where I was and what I was doing when on November 22, 1963 when I can tell you about the evening in June1960 when I met JFK.
Born nearly one-year to the day after the end of World War II, I was just shy of 14 when I was brought up to the dais at a Democrat fund-raising dinner in Camden to meet the man who would become the youngest president ever elected. I was a scrawny kid, less than 100 pounds with big ears and all the clumsiness of that dreadful phase between childhood and whatever. Sports held no interest for me. Politics was my baseball and this was as close to the World Series as I was gonna get.
At the time, Kennedy was still fighting for the Democratic presidential nomination and it was still not clear whether his own party would chose him as their standard bearer.
But the Democratic organization of Camden County was star struck and so was I. Forget that the New Jersey delegation to the Democratic convention was still technically committed to then Governor Robert Meyner as a favorite son. This night belonged to Kennedy.
Kennedy sat just to the right of the podium in Camden’s old convention hall, a former armory that had been dressed up for the occasion in bunting, flags, flowers and huge photos of Kennedy and other Democrat candidates. Security as we now know it was non-existent and local media jockeyed with dinner guests to get close to Kennedy. The scene was a bit chaotic as the dinner’s chairman struggled to establish order and get the evening underway.

But I was probably the youngest (and maybe the most ardent) Kennedy fan in the house and a local ward leader was willing to escort me right up to the man who commanded the spotlight so that I could shake his hand.
When I met him, I instantly knew there was something different.
He didn’t seem full of himself like so many public figures. In fact, he seemed somewhat shy and awkward. He lowered his shoulders a bit and thrust his hands into the pockets of his pin-striped suit jacket. He looked away for a moment and appeared lost or detached, almost to the point where I wanted to help him. So many people were trying to get his attention. Amidst it all, he appeared to be holding something back.
But then he looked down at me and took my hand and smiled. The eyes, the hair, that smile, those teeth, the voice with its distinctive accent – in no time at all I came to understand why so many others were captivated by JFK. This man was magnetic. And he seemed to be completely without hubris.
I’m sure I told him how much I admired him and how much I wanted him to be elected. And I’m sure he thanked me and left me with some encouraging words. But I couldn’t tell you what was actually said because I was in the zone. I was enveloped by the magic of it all.
Turning to leave the dais, I took one last look over the hall from that vantage point. And at that moment I knew instinctively that politics was really show biz and that in just a few moments John F. Kennedy would have to perform. He would have to meet the ceaseless expectations of yet another hungry crowd.
Still nostalgic for FDR, this audience wanted an updated version of all that charm and sophistication – someone who would not merely lead them but who would now inhabit their lives through the miracle of television.
So, JFK would do for TV what FDR did for radio. He would turn it into a potent tool to achieve a history-making victory in November.
And that’s how most people came to know Kennedy, through television. He was uniquely suited to the medium because as I noticed on the evening I met him he was cool, unassuming and incomplete. Each person was free to complete that part of him that was hidden from view. This is the perfect persona for a medium that feigned intimacy.
Charles deGaulle once said that a leader must always retain an element of mystery. “There can be no prestige without mystery,” he explained “for familiarity breeds contempt.”
JFK knew the secret that we call charisma. He never allowed us to become too familiar.
And his untimely death seals that in perpetuity.

Note: the photos that you see above and below were taken by me on that night in 1960 when I met John F. Kennedy. 

Five Greatest Hymns Ever! . . . Plus One

Since it is Sunday, let's talk about the five greatest hymns ever written.
In reverse order from five to one, here they are:

5. His Eye Is On The Sparrow
This song was originally written in 1905 by songwriters, lyricist Civilla D. Martin and composer Charles H. Gabriel. The song is most associated with the late actress-singer Ethel Waters who used the title for her autobiography.

4. Just a Closer Walk With Thee
It was probably the favorite southern gospel song of the twentieth century and it is written by D.Gillis. It became known nationally in the 1930s, when African-American churches held huge musical conventions. In the 1940s, southern gospel quartets featured it in all-night gospel-singing rallies. It is probably the single most frequently played number in the hymn and dirge section of New Orleans "jazz funerals".

3. What A Friend We Have In Jesus
Originally written by Joseph M. Scriven as a poem in 1855 to comfort his mother who was living in Ireland while he was in Canada. Scriven originally published the poem anonymously, and only received full credit for it in the 1880s. The tune to the hymn was composed by Charles Croza Converse in 1868. William Bolcomcomposed a setting of the hymn. The hymn also has many versions with different lyrics in multiple languages. Below, it is sung by the great Alan Jackson.

2. Amazing Grace
John Newton, the author of the lyrics to Amazing Grace, was born in 1725 inWapping, England.
Despite the powerful message of "Amazing Grace," Newton's religious beliefs initially lacked conviction; his youth was marked by religious confusion and a lack of moral self-control and discipline.
After a brief time in the Royal Navy, Newton began his career in slave trading. The turning point in Newton's spiritual life was a violent storm that occurred one night while at sea. Moments after he left the deck, the crewman who had taken his place was swept overboard. Although he manned the vessel for the remainder of the tempest, he later commented that, throughout the tumult, he realized his helplessness and concluded that only the grace of God could save him. Prodded by what he had read in Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ, Newton took the first step toward accepting faith.

1. How Great Thou Art.
Surely the most melodic and inspiring hymn ever written, it has won universal praise and acceptance. Written by Carl Gustav Boberg in Sweden in 1885, translated into English by Stuart K. Hine. It was popularized by George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows during Billy Graham crusades.
This hymn was the title track of Elvis Presley's second gospel LP "How Great Thou Art", which was released in 1967. The song won him a Grammy Award for "Best Sacred Performance" in 1967, and another Grammy in 1974 for "Best Inspirational Performance (Non-Classical)".
Boberg wrote the hymn following a two mile walk through a thunderstorm from a church meeting.
It was voted the United Kingdom's favorite hymn by BBC's Songs of Praise.

To these five I would add Just As I Am. This well-known hymn was written by Charlotte Elliott in 1835 and first appearing in the Christian Remembrancer, of which Elliott became the editor in 1836. The final verse is taken from Elliott'sHours of Sorrow Cheered and Comforted (1836). Billy Graham was saved in 1934 in a revival meetings in Charlotte, North Carolina led by evangelist Mordecai Ham hearing Just As I Am as the alter call. This song became an altar call song in the Billy Graham crusades in the latter half of the twentieth century. Graham used the title of the hymn as the title of his 1997 book - Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham

These six great hymns have been a source of comfort to me at various times in my life and I find that I return to the music and words of these hymns again and again.
I feel that each one of these hymns was touched by God -- inspired by the Lord himself.
On this earth, you can't get much closer to heaven than that.