Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Rudy's Sins

We love Rudy Giuliani.
He's smart, gutsy, articulate and insightful.
But every now and then Rudy makes us want to say: "What the hell were you thinking?"
On April 19 Rudy accepted the Communion wafer - which Catholics believe has been consecrated into the body of Christ - from a priest standing near Pope Benedict when the pope said Mass for thousands of priests, nuns and others at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
That was wrong.
The New York Post says that "Giuliani, who rarely attends Mass, was asked afterward if he felt uncomfortable taking Communion during the pope's Mass. He said 'no.'"
That was also wrong.
Under Catholic doctrine, Rudy should not have accepted the sacrament because he is twice divorced and remarried a third time without obtaining a church annulment of his second marriage. Also, Rudy supports abortion and as New York's Edward Cardinal Egan has pointed out: "The Catholic Church clearly teaches that abortion is a grave offense against the will of God." Egan says that he and Rudy had a long-standing private agreement that Rudy would not receive communion. On April 19 Rudy broke that agreement. That was wrong.
"I deeply regret that Mr. Giuliani received the Eucharist during the papal visit here in New York," said Cardinal Egan. "I will be seeking a meeting with him to insist that he abide by our understanding."
Confidential to Rudy: Get right with The Cardinal.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gas Prices: Congress MIA

How can she fix our problems when Pelosi doesn't even know the price of a gallon of gas? SanFranNan is out of touch. While prices soar, the Democrat Congress blocks further exploration and refuses to suspend federal gas taxes to give us some relief!

Most Viewed Op-Ed

My opinion piece in the Philadelphia Daily News focuding on the plight of Philadelphia lawyers attracted attracted more web views than any other opinion piece or letter in the paper on Tuesday. It also proved to be one of the most-emailed pieces.
If you haven't already read my take on the much exagerrated "death" of the Philadelphia lawyer you can read it by clicking here. And of course I invite you to e-mail it to anyone else who might be interested.

Obama Undone

Obama's stuttering, stumbling, rambling today in a series of "ahhhhs.....uuuuhhhs....ya knows.....sooo..." was an extraordinary event - a news conference that looked and felt like a campaign meltdown.
Obama's bumbling of the whole Wright affair and his shifts and turns on this and other matters demonstrate his poor judgment, stubborness and immaturity.
Wright's words and actions have never changed. Not yesterday. Not last year. Not five years ago. Wright has always believed these things; he's always believed in "liberation theology."
So, why has Obama changed his mind about Wright now? Why does he choose to step away now?
Because this is threatening Obama's suddenly shaky campaign, that's why - because Obama finally - finally - realized that Wright is not a political asset.
Though, incredibly, Obama said today he has still not severed ties to Wright's church and Obama never flat out said today" "I was wrong. I was wrong about Rev. Wright. I'm sorry."
This could be it for Obama.
Now, it just may be time to wave "Goodbye!"

FLASH: Not Dead Yet!

The cover of a well-known local magazine recently featured a suited, French-cuffed arm jutting out of coffin.
The corpse's hand is holding a briefcase.

And the cover asks: "Who killed the Philadelphia lawyer?"
We're promised a tale of "greed, mergers, ego." . . .

Read the rest of my op-ed from today's Philadelphia Daily News by clicking here.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Live Report From Reno!

Our friend Chris Cendagorta, Executive Director
of the Washoe County Bar Assoc. in Reno, Nevada has just sent us this report about the seismic develop
ments in "The Biggest Little City In The World:"
When even Drudge is warning us to hunker down, you know it's serious. Feels like we're facing the end of time here - the quake "swarm" is getting pretty entertaining. The 4.7 Friday night tossed us out of bed and knocked off pictures, items off shelves and even dropped one of kayaks that hang up at the top of the garage by a few inches. We have many new hairline cracks around doors and windows. Amazingly, the only thing that broke was the lid to an old sugar bowl. We had an ancient bottle of brandy that we got from my husband's parents' old drugstore. It sat up on the top of the cabinets with other old booze bottles. The first thing I saw in the kitchen was that bottle sitting in a partially open drawer next to the fridge - that drawer opened about 3 inches and caught the brandy!
They settled a little yesterday and I actually caught myself missing the rumble that precedes the shaking. I'm not sure what that says about me. Now, they are warning for something bigger. We had about 10 that we could feel this a.m. between 4:30 a.m. and the time I left for work - a 4.2 that didn't feel that big (I'm a regular on the seismo lab's page now) and several aftershocks. You can hear the quake before it hits; it sounds a little like the school bus that rolls down our street twice a day. I found myself this morning (after the 4:30 quake) just kind of waiting patiently and sort of rolling with it. Must be the yoga kicking in.
We haven't done any of the preparation stuff, but we may have to rethink that. Jugs of water at least. I've got some good friends from our Friends of Mt. Rose enviro group who are geologists, seismologists and Desert Research people. They've indicated to watch for a bigger one.
Here's what a day looks like at the seismo lab:
Reporting from the (moving) ground in Reno,

More Words From Wright

Today in remarks at the National Press Club in Washington Rev. Jeremiah Wright called Louis Farrakhan "one of the most important voices of the 20th or 21st centuries" and said of Farrakhan: "He is not my enemy." He noted that Farrakhan had called "Zionism - Zionism, not Judaism - a gutter religion 20 years ago" and Wright refused to disassociate himself from those remarks.
The Associated Press has already describe Wright's appearance as "defiant" and noted that Wright said he's told Obama that if he is elected in November and is inaugurated in January, "I'm coming after you." He said that's because his differences are not with the American people, but U.S. policies.
Wright also refused to take back any of the words of his controversial sermons saying "there is no excuse" for the things that the American government has done and declaring that the government of this country "grinds under people" [grinds people under]. Regarding 9/11, he repeated that "if you engage in terrorism you will have terrorism committed against you."
He said America's leaders must "apologize for racism and slavery" and "until that apology comes" he doesn't feel a need to apologize for anything he's said about America.
Of Obama, he said: "He speaks as a politician and does what a politician does and I speak as a pastor and do what a pastor does. . . He did not denounce me. He distanced himself from some of my remarks, like you, having never heard the complete sermon. He had to distance himself - because he's a politician - from what the media was saying I said . . . He [Obama] said I 'didn't offer any words of hope.' How would he know? he never heard the rest of the sermon."
He revealed that just before Obama made his formal announcement of his presidential candidacy last year at the Illinois Statehouse, he [Wright] prayed with the Obamas and their children "downstairs."
He compared America's "troops stationed all over the world" to the age of Roman "imperialism" and talked about "ages of oppression" adding: "Yes, I can compare that because we have troops stationed all over the world. We run the world."
He said that he did not speak up in the immediate aftermath of the controversy surrounding his remarks because he was trying to follow "my mother's advice, which is 'better to be quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.'" Wright said "they [the media] were trying to make a fool of me." He said he finally decided to speak up "to defend the tradition of the black church."
In one of the last questions Wright answered (about whether or not he thinks it is God's will for Obama to be President) Wright said that "if God intends for Mr. Obama to be President then no white racist, no candidate and no political pundit will get in the way; for God will do what God wants to do."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Elites To Dems: Don't Fizzle

The elites in the media are beginning to worry about the prospects of their beloved Democrats. They are issuing stern warnings in the hope that the party will get its act together. Listen to Dick Polman in today's Philly Inquirer:
If the Democrats somehow contrive to blow this presidential election, they should be consigned to the dustbin of history - or to a display case at the Smithsonian, where perhaps they can share space with the Whigs.
Seriously, think about it. The economy is tanking, yet their autumn opponent, John McCain is on record saying, "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should." The Iraq war continues to kill our kids and bleed us to the tune of $3 billion a week, yet McCain, who sometimes confuses the Sunnis with the Shiites, remains its unapologetic cheerleader. Meanwhile, nearly 80 percent of the American people think the country is on the wrong track - a legacy of the current Republican president, who now has the highest disapproval rating (69 percent) in the history of the Gallup poll.
Yet, McCain is deadlocked in the polls with his two Democratic rivals. He is traipsing around the nation on his "Time for Action Tour," blissfully unscathed and husbanding his septuagenarian strengths, while the Obama and Clinton armies burrow ever deeper into their respective trenches, emerging every so often to impale themselves on barbed wire, generally mimicking the bloody stalemate on the western front in World War I . . .

The Original Delight!

Nothing is quite like the original Chick-Fil-A sandwhich. Nothing is quite so perfect, quite so satisfying.
A friend writes of his love for Chick-Fil-A and a recent experience:
I felt like Chick-Fil-A today, I really did. But the Chick-Fil-A across the street from us is still an empty shell advertising "help wanted," so I opted instead for the closer, operational option -- McDonald's.
What is being prominently displayed on the McDonald's menu? The Southern Style Chicken sandwich -- a lone, seasoned chicken patty accompanied only by two pickles peaking ever-so-slightly from the plain, seedless bun. Its model was very immediately apparent, but I had to ask to be sure. The manager replied more directly than I would have expected: "Have you ever had Chick-Fil-A?"
I ordered two.
For research purposes, of course.
While tasty, the sandwiches felt altogether ... hmmm ... off. It's like trying to make your own Beef with Broccoli: the ingredients may all be there ... you may prepare it exactly the same way ... but you'll never match the way your favorite chinese take-out place makes it. It just cannot be replicated.
And in a move that McD's may have seen as an improvement, McDonald's opted for its usual, premium-sandwich paper box. But there's magic in Chick-Fil-A's little foil bag. When taken out, the Chick-Fil-A may look like it has been sat on in a warm, poorly ventilated car for a few hours, but somehow, someway, that bag marinates and strengthens the whole sandwich. The first bite into any Chick-Fil-A sandwich is always almost overpowering ...
While the McD's chicken is a near-perfect rip-off (though the McD's version is more consistently shaped), the bun is noticeably softer. The pickles are sweeter ... too sweet ... and therefore complement the sandwich less. I watched the gentleman in the kitchen prepare my sandwich, and noticed that the placement of the pickles seemed deliberately careless, unlike the truly careless preparation at Chick-Fil-A.
As I finished my chicken sandwich, I felt a little ashamed. A little like I was cheating. I thought about driving to the nearest Chick-Fil-A 20 minutes away and redeeming myself with an original, but I didn't have the stomach for it -- literally and figuratively. There's always dinner, I guess.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Still The Greatest!

The political circus left town earlier this week but The Greatest Show On Earth is still in Philadelphia at the Wachovia Spectrum with final performances on Saturday (4/26) and Sunday (4/27).
If you haven't been to this "Over The Top" edition of Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus this year hurry on over for the magic, daring and spectacle of the Big Top. I've just returned and not only do I finally feel like spring is in the air but I'm a kid again. The entire show is delightful: whimsical, engaging, thrilling, and colorful with edge-of-your-set action and old-fashioned laughs.
This touring version of the circus seems a bit more intimate (with its one main ring) than its sister edition which tours simultaneously but with completely different acts. But anyway you look at it the circus provides plenty of value for your entertainment dollar.
There are performances on Saturday at 11, 3 and 7 and then again on Sunday at 1 and 5and tickets can be purchased on site or online.
And, if you miss the circus now, don't fret. You can still see it at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton where it will perform 10 shows from May 10 through the 14th. You can order tickets for the Trenton engagement through
BTW: Kudos to our friends Ike Richman, Eric Nemeth and everyone at Comcast Spectacor for doing such a great job of promoting the circus every year.

Inside The West Wing

After dinner at The Source yesterday in DC we headed back down Pennsylvania Avenue to 1600 where we were ushered into the northwest gate of the White House for a private tour of the press area and the new White House press room.
The formal name of the press room is the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room and it is named in honor of President Reagan's first press secretary, Jim Brady who was shot and permanently disabled during an assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981.
The Brady Room is actually a small theater in the West Wing of the White House where the White House Press Secretary gives daily briefings to the news media and the President sometimes addresses the press and the nation. It is located between the workspace assigned to the White House Press Corps and the office of the Press Secretary.
The room is really so small that our handful of visitors (pictured) actually filled the front of the theater very quickly. As many know, this area was an indoor swimming pool (used by FDR, JFK and Johnson) until Nixon covered the pool and turned it into press offices and a lounge that could double as a briefing room. The swimming pool still exists, although it is now used as a crawlspace to handle the wiring of the press operations. As you can see from the photo, the ceiling in the room is quite low and the room is rather long and narrow as befits what was once a (sort of) lap pool.
In December 2005 the White House announced its intention to renovate the aging Press Briefing Room and cramped press corps offices. On August 2, 2006, the final briefing was held, and President Bush hosted several previous press secretaries at a closing ceremony.
President Bush reopened the renovated room in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the morning of July 11, 2007.
The most noticeable change to the briefing room is a different backdrop for the press conferences, now featuring a softly lit screen flanked by mock columns instead of the previous blue curtain. The new podium also contains video screens for teleconferencing and multimedia displays.
We also saw the former "pebble beach" where the White House correspondents deliver their daily video reports with the White House as a backdrop. The correspondents don't have to stand on pebbles anymore. President Bush had the area paved over so that it is much more comfortable for the reporters.
The President has actually been quite kind to the White House press corps. But for real friends in Washington he still (wisely) relies on his Scottish Terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley.
BTW: Our thanks to Jeff Jubelirer of Ceisler Jubelirer in Philadelphia for arranging this memorable tour!

In The Power Corridor

It had been way too long since we'd been to the world's most powerful city.
So yesterday we decided to join a group of friends and colleagues for a quick trip to the nation's capital. The weather more than cooperated, providing us with a perfect spring day.
Our first stop was the National Press Club just a few blocks from the White House where we attended a luncheon and heard from Charles L. Overby, Chief Executive Officer of the Freedom Forum, The Newseum and The Diversity Institute. Overby, a former newsman who speaks with a wonderful southern drawl told us all about Washington's most popular new attraction, The Newseum. That whet our appetite for the real thing. So, after lunch it was off to The Newseum (pictured) just about a mile up the road on Pennsylvania Avenue and within shouting distance of The Capitol.
The Newseum — a 250,000-square-foot museum of news — offers visitors an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits.
The exterior’s unique architectural features include a 74-foot-high marble engraving of the First Amendment and an immense front wall of glass through which passers-by can watch the museum fulfill its mission of providing a forum where the media and the public can gain a better understanding of each other.
The Newseum features seven levels of galleries and theaters where you can see artifacts such as the door that burglars taped during the Watergate break in, the notes that JFK took during his historic 1960 debate with Nixon, the microphones that FDR used to deliver his fireside chats and the charred electronic transmission tower from the top of the World Trade Center. You can easily spend four hours or more at The Museum which makes it worth every cent of its $20 admission price. Don't miss it!
After The Museum we dined next door at The Source, Wolfgang Puck's newest eatery which features a sleek three-level interior, a second-floor outdoor dining terrace and fresh, simple dishes with an Asian flair. This is Puck's first Washington eatery and with white table clothes and soft lighting it's also one of Puck's more upscale outlets. Delicious, but be forewarned: the portions are not exactly huge.
After The Source it was off to The White House.
But more about that in the next post!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why Can't He Win?

Obama just outspent Clinton by about 3 to 1.
He's got deliriously enthusiastic supporters on every streetcorner - people who are willing to volunteer their time and fund his huge war chest.
Big media and big city newspapers (like the Philly Inquirer and Daily News) are solidly behind him.
Intellectual elites sing his praises, calling him 'refreshing, caring, exceptionally gifted.'
Indeed, he is an outstanding orator who knows how to fuse the message and the moment and play the crowd like a fine instrument.
And on top of all that, he's able to hide his essential wonkiness behind an appealing smile and an overall look that's easy on the eyes.
And yet he hasn't won a significant primary since February 22.
So, why can't he win the big ones? Why can't he close the deal?
The answer would seem to be clear to anyone who's really paying attention: The country simply isn't sold on this guy. People have honest concerns about him - genuine concerns that go to their core values and deeply held feelings about this nation and the type of person who should assume the Presidency. And in recent weeks those concerns have begun to deepen.
There are questions of maturity, judgment and sensibility here that simply cannot be ignored. And now it's a good bet that these questions will not be ignored.
Stay tuned.

Big Winners

After yesterday's Pennsylvania primnary, here are some of the big winners:
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell - Understood the people and politics of his state and showed true grit.
Philly Mayor Michael Nutter - Nerdy, you say? Don't be fooled. He's shrewd, patient and tough.
Hill, Bill and Chel - Each played his or her role to the hilt. And, Chelsea emerged as a public personality in her own right.
Terry McAullife and Lanny Davis - Turns out loyalty still means something, at least for some people.
Rush Limbaugh - Yes, Rush. His 'operation chaos' was important to Hillary's victory.
Pittsburgh Tribune Review - Hillary was smart to meet with the newspaper's editorial board and the newspaper was smart to endorse her.
AFSCME and AFT - Big union power in Hill's corner.
John McCain - The more they fight each other the less time (and money) they have to beat up on him and the GOP.

Scenes From The Party

Here are some scenes from the Big Party last night inside the Grand Ballroom of Philly's Park Hyatt at the Bellevue.

Big Losers

There are more than enough winners and losers to go around after last night's Hillary blowout in Philadelphia.
Here are some of the Big Losers:
Big Mainstream Media (pictured, from last night). The mainstream media missed the trends once again and no one seemed to realize the damage that was done to the vaulted (and overrated) Obama campaign over the past month - and, particularly since the last debate. When will the mainstream media stop cheering for Obama and start reporting what's really happening?
Bobby Casey - The infatuated Casey vowed to deliver the Pennsylvania Catholic vote for his new best chum, the OH!man. Hey, Bobby: Can you say "Bless me father for I have sinned?"
Wacky Jon Corzine - Joisey's failed Governor almost walked away from Hillary and talked about how, as a superdelegate, he could still support Obama. But last night he climbed onto the Bellevue Ballroom stage to try to celebrate with the Clintons. For a guy who presides over Joisey you would think he would have learned by now that you don't offend friends who have long memories.
Bill Richardson - The fast-talking New Mexico Governor and former Clinton cabinet member walked away from his old friends. Keep walking, Bill. Ditto for Robert Reich.
Philly Boss Bob Brady - Brady was officially 'neutral' but played footsie with the OH!man. Brady wanted to have it both ways. The sad thing is that Philly usually lets him get away with this kind of cowardly behavior.
Cell Phone Theorists - A whole bunch of pundits who think they're super hip said all the polls showing Hillary gaining were wrong because they were phone polls that didn't include all those Hip Young People who are always talking and texting on their cell phones. Wrong!
Nancy Pelosi - San Fran Nan came thisclose to endorsing the OH!man. Too close, Madame Speaker. Too close!
Liberal Elites and Left Wing Wackos - This hypocritical fringe crowd will not be deterred. They are determined that the beatification of Obama will continue. That's bad news for the Democrat Party.
There are probably lots more losers but I'll leave it to you to lengthen the list.

The Win She Needed

It was hot, crowded, raucous and loud inside the stately old Grand Ballroom at Philadelphia's Park Hyatt at the Bellevue last night as Hillary Clinton basked in the victory she needed.
The media crush and huge assemblage of Clintonistas and party faithful made for an atmosphere that was at once festive and perplexing.
Festive because it was clear that Clinton would once again deny Mr. Wonderful the moment he yearns for - the knockout. But perplexing as well because these people are tired and somewhat confused, and even bemused. They don't have a clue what's going to happen next or how the road to the nomination will eventually open up for them - if at all. They only know that somehow or other they are determined to find a way - find a way or make one.
Back to the would-be bystanders: Looking at the hundreds of assembled media reps you could see their faces drop as Hillary's lead continued to build over the course of the evening. They want to write the story they came to write: Mr. Charisma conquers all. They've written this story over and over again in their heads but they can't get to play it out for real. It must be maddening.
How they crave a handsome, young, charismatic candidate/President right out of some longed-for storybook - so magical, so stunning, so Hollywood!
And yet the dream keeps escaping.
I'll have more details of the happenings inside the Ballroom later this morning but I wanted to give you these first impressions as I returned from the inside of this endless campaign.
In later posts I'll chronicle the winners and losers from last night; try to explain why and how all this happened; attempt to fill you in on all this spectacular drama and prognosticate a bit about what may happen next. Oh, and there will be pictures, too.
But for now I'm gonna try to get a little shuteye.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Out Damned Spot!

I've finally found the secret to removing spots and stains from clothing.
It's Grandma's Secret Spot Remover. It works every time.
Grandma's removes spaghetti sauce stains, coffee, mustard, gravy, grass, dirt, grape juice, cola, even tar spots.
It will save your garments and allow you to wear them again and again.
And it's easy to use, environmentally safe, non-toxic and biodegradable. Plus, it contains no chlorine or phosphates.
Grandma should pay me for this testimonial but she doesn't.
This is based purely on my own experience - Grandma's works! Go to this website to buy some Grandma's Secret Spot Remover. It comes in a small bottle (perfect for travelling) complete with simple directions and is easy to use.
I'm tellin ya - this stuff works!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Obama Advisor Jesus Video

Erick at, has a bombshell post with yet another example of a Barack Obama associate and adviser who does not hold the values the vast majority of Americans hold dear.
This time, it is a media and technology adviser to Obama named Larry Lessig. It seems Lessig trains folks who work for Google. In one of his sessions with Google employees, Lessig showed a video that shamefully mocks Jesus Christ - portraying him parading around in a diaper and singing until he is run over by a bus. On the video, Lessig tells the audience, "This is a little bit touchy to some people. I don't get it, so just chill. The underlying message here is that Jesus does survive."

Setting Bar High

The mainstream media just can't get over their infatuation with Obama.
So, they're setting the bar extraordinarily high for Hillary tomorrow in Pennsylvania. They're saying she has to win by double digits - anything else will be considered a defeat.
And, they're adding that even a huge popular vote victory in the keystone state will not give her a leg up on the nomination, noting that she can only net 10 to 15 delegates out of Pennsylvania.
Let's face it: Most of the media simply don't want Hillary to win. They don't want Mr. Wonderful to have to squirm at all. They feel the nomination is rightfully his.
But pollster John Zogby says that polling over the past weekend shows late-deciding voters breaking Hillary's way. "If a 10-point victory is the pundit-driven threshold she needs on Tuesday, it looks like she can do it," Zogby explains. "This does not look like a one-day anomaly – undecideds dropped to only 5% in this latest single day of polling, and they are breaking Clinton’s way . . . if white and Catholic voters, who still are the biggest portion of undecideds, actually vote, Clinton will have her double-digit victory."
More from Zogby: While Obama continues to lead in eastern Pennsylvania by a 53% to 37% margin, he lost ground in the central part of the state – Clinton now leads there by 16 points, up from eight points in earlier polling late last week. Clinton also expanded her edge in western Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, and now leads there, 56% to 33% . . . Clinton was also seen as the candidate who better understands Pennsylvania – by an almost two-to-one margin.
If you recall, this same pattern prevailed in Ohio. Late-deciders broke Hillary's way and she scored a decisive victory. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cheery Cherry In Cherry Hill!

The Cherry blossoms are in vivid bloom along Chapel Avenue in Cherry Hill, N. J.
Along a dazzling two mile stretch from Haddonfield Road to Kings Highway the blossoms create bright ribbons of pink. Through the day the color varies slightly as the sun and the clouds help to create a feast for the eyes.
But this incredible show only lasts for a week or two so you must hurry if you want to see some of the most magnificent clustered blossoms anywhere.
Drive slowly, cycle or walk under the blossoms and soak up every magical moment!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

GOP Posts Gains

Republicans are no longer underdogs in the race for the White House. To pull that off, John McCain has attracted disgruntled GOP voters, independents and even some moderate Democrats who shunned his party last fall.
Partly thanks to an increasingly likable image, the Republican presidential candidate has pulled even with the two Democrats still brawling for their party's nomination, according to a new Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll.
The survey suggests that those switching to McCain are largely attuned to his personal qualities and McCain may be benefiting as the two Democrats snipe at each other during their prolonged nomination fight.
By tracking the same group of roughly 2,000 people throughout the campaign, the AP-Yahoo poll can gauge how individual views are evolving. What's clear is that some Republican-leaning voters who backed Bush in 2004 but lost enthusiasm for him are returning to the GOP fold _ along with a smaller but significant number of Democrats who have come to dislike their party's two contenders.
Among people who have moved toward McCain, about two-thirds are discontented Bush voters, with many calling themselves independents but leaning Republican.

Ayers In His Own Words

Get this: former Weather Underground bomber William Ayers (who told the New York Times in 2001 “I don't regret setting bombs; I feel we didn't do enough.”) now says that it's wrong to call him an "unrepentant terrorist." Ayers says that Israel and the United States are among the real terrorists. This from Ayer's own web site:
". . . an Israeli assault on a neighborhood in Gaza is terrorism;" Ayers says.
And Ayers also says that "The U. S. bombings in Vietnam for a decade were acts of terrorism."
Ayers compares both of these to Sherman's March to the Sea which he describes as "indefensible terror."
Of terrorism, Ayers says the U. S. government "does it routinely."
Yes, Ayers admits that Arabs are capable of terrorism as well.
But Ayers also says that capitalism "is exhausted as a force for progress: built on exploitation, theft, conquest, war, and racism . . ." Ayers proclaims "that capitalism and imperialism must be defeated and a world revolution . . . must win."
But don't worry about Obama's association with Ayers. It's just a diversionary issue; nothing to be concerned about.

The Ayers Connection

Nearly two months ago I reported right here about Barack Obama's connection with the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers.
Now the connection has surfaced in the most recent televised debate and is attracting the glare of the national media.
To hear Obama tell it, Ayers is just a guy "who lives in my neighborhood." But as Ben Smith at Politico has reported Ayers and Obama "have crossed paths repeatedly in the last decade. In 1997, Obama cited Ayers’ critique of the juvenile justice system in a Chicago Tribune article on what prominent Chicagoans were reading. He and Ayers served together on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago for three years starting in 1999. In 2001, Ayers also gave $200 to Obama’s state Senate reelection campaign." And Obama has also been linked to 60s radical Bernardine Dohrn.
When it comes to people like Rev. Wright, Dohrn, Ayers and others, what's at question is Obama's judgment - his judgment in continuing to associate with people such as this; his judgment is refusing to walk away from them; his judgment in not seeing the dangers in the views espoused by these individuals. Now, Obama's unwillingness to face up to the situation suggests a level of arrogance and immaturity that we'd do well to reject.

Friday, April 18, 2008

More Bad Joisey News

Under wacky Governor Jon Corzine and backed-up by iron-fisted Democrat rule in the state legislature the bad news in Joisey just never ends.
Corzine's administration this week announced that they plan to base this year’s property tax rebates on 2006 property tax bills. Therefore, if you are one of the many whose property tax rate increased in 2007, you will see no additional relief this year.
Corzine and the Democrats boasted before last year's election that they had achieved sustainable property tax relief for New Jersey homeowners. Apparently, they meant sustainable for one year.
According to the legislation, passed in early 2007, property tax rebates are supposed to be based on the property tax bills in effect each October. Property taxes rose, on average, 5.5 percent last year, despite the legislation that called for a 4 percent cap.
And there's more - last week it was Union City bus drivers receiving up to $73,000 in overtime pay, including six hours of OT a month for charging their cell phones. This week, we learned the state paid more than $3,700 on six cigarette lighters for inmates at a facility for sex offenders.
A report by Millennium Radio News revealed that the state Department of Corrections paid a total of $3,734.10 for the six wall-mounted lighters. That price translates to $622.35 per lighter with New Jersey taxpayers footing the bill.
A state official defended the purchase of those lighters noting that they are outdoor lighters for the inmates when they "go out to recreation," and adding that inmates are not allowed to have personal lighters or matches. Just last month the Legislature passed a bill, A-2308, which banned smoking altogether on the grounds of state psychiatric hospitals.

Tell Him How To Vote

Tom Ryan, an undecided superdelegate in Pennsylvania, wants voters to decide for him.
With only four days until the Pennsylvania Primary, Tom says he wants to leave his choice up to the people. Last week, this Scranton Mayoral candidate announced on his web page,, that he was selected as one of Pennsylvania's unelected superdelegates. As a result, he has received numerous emails asking questions like "How did you become a Superdelegate?" and "Do you think its fair that you could overturn the will of the people?"
Visitors to can vote in a poll asking who Tom should support, Clinton or Obama. There will be a new video everyday between now and the primary. Out of 700 Superdelegates, only a little over 200 are actually known. TomRyan says he wants to show that superdelegates "are not the faceless, anonymous elites that the media has made them out to be. '

'Visual Merchandising'

What is "visual merchan-
Ask Luke and Nina.
Luke and Nina help to coordinate visual merchan-
dising for Hugo Boss. And that means they keep a steadfast eye on the look, the sound and the feel of every Hugo Bass store from the outward appearance of the store to the sound environment inside, the placement of the clothes, the colors, the lighting and everything else that you see and/or hear. We chatted with Luke and Nina and they told us that it all comes under visual merchandising. Nothing is left to chance and everything is geared toward eye appeal.
Last night the visual merchandising at the Hugo Bass store in the mammoth King of Prussia Mall included Phillies star pitcher Cole Hamels (pictured) and beautifully prepared treats from the Mall's California Cafe. It was a lovely evening that also featured wine selections and drinks prepared with Bluecoat gin.
A word about Cole: he is one of the most articulate, polished, and gracious athletes I've ever met. This San Diego native is not just The Pitcher From Central Casting, he's also an appealing ambassador for his team and for major league baseball. I watched him interact with some of the youngsters who came out to see him last night and he was attentively kind and natural.
A winning night for Hugo Boss and (we hope) a winning season for our Fightin Phils!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thrown On Defense

Tom Fitzgerald in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Sen. Barack Obama was thrown on the defensive about everything from comments by his former pastor to his friendship with a member of the radical Weather Underground, to why he rarely wears an American flag pin in his lapel.
It could not have been the performance Obama wanted to have six days before the state's primary, at a time when he needed to reassure voters who might have been put off by his recent remarks about "bitter" small-town residents in the state who "cling" to religion and guns because of their economic frustration.
At one point Obama said, "I revere the American flag – and I would not be running for president if I did not revere this country." That is not a good thing for a candidate to have to say.
Photo:Michael Bryant / Inquirer

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Debate

Not a good night for the OH!man.
The entire first FORTY FIVE MINUTES of the debate were about things that Obama does not like to talk about: the flag lapel pin, William Ayers, The Rev. Not-So-wRight, the "bitter" comments, guns, religion, patriotism. Obama fumbled while trying to deal with these matters to such an extent that at one point he said he had "disowned" Rev. Wright. Called on this by "Georgie Boy" Stephanopoulos, the OH!man quickly backtracked and said he "disowned" Wright's comments. And the hair-splitting continued as Obama tried to have it both ways on the flag issue and then professed his patriotism by saying "I could not help but love this country." Wow - what a ringing endorsement that was for America!
Then, even when the debate turned to foreign affairs Obama was once again put on the defensive when he had to reassure Americans that he actually supports Israel.
Here's the way Obama works: If it's an issue he can't handle or doesn't want to talk about he declares that it's extraneous - some kind of petty "trick" that we shouldn't be talking about. But all of these quirks, all of these associations, all of the questionable characters that he surrounds himself with, all of the bad syntax and instances of misspeak go to his judgment. And that's the real issues here: his judgment - or obvious lack thereof.
In the end the sense deepens that Obama is stubborn and insecure.

'I'm In Philly, Right?'

As soon as the broadcast of the Democrat debate in Philadelphia began, ABC's Charlie Gibson started making mistakes. Twice within the first minute-and-a-half of the debate Gibson referred to the site as "The National ConstitutionAL Center."
How much does Gibson get paid and he still can't get the name right?

Obamas: 26G To Wright Church

They talk a lot about "being poor" but last year Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, made $4.2 million according to their just-filed 2007 income tax return.
Among their charitable donations in 2007 was $26,270 to Trinity United Church of Christ, where the incendiary sermons of Obama's former pastor have created problems for the candidate.
Obama keeps saying he's got a lot of problems with Wright's views and sermons, but damn -- that hasn't stopped him from funneling a lot of dough The Reverend's way!


Word has just come down that former Newark Mayor Sharpe James has been convicted on all counts by the jury.
Congratulations to federal Judge William Martini who presided over this case. Bill Martini was a classmate of mine at Villanova University. Kudos also to our fine U. S. Attorney Christopher Christie.
Now let's put some more corrupt public officials in jail and clean up Joisey!

Religion = Contentment?

On The Today Show this morning Vatican spokesperson Cardinal John Foley was asked: "What is it that Pope Benedict wants Americans to know as he begins his visit here?"
Cardinal Foley answered without hesitation: "He wants everyone to know that religion is a source of peace and fulfillment. It brings happiness and contentment."
Really? I thought religion was something you "cling to" along with "guns" and "antipathy toward those who are not like you" when you are filled with "bitterness."
Thanks, Cardinal Foley. I'd have never known.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Laura To Co-Host Today

Our wonderful First Lady will be in the spotlight on The Today Show next week and we're sure she'll do a great job as always. After all, Laura Bush is a natural: genuine, gracious, winning.
The Associated Press reports that First lady Laura Bush will be "guest host" for an hour of NBC's "Today" show next week.
The network said she'll host the 9 a.m. EDT hour April 22, the morning of the Pennsylvania primary. By that time in the four-hour morning show, politics is usually set aside for issues that affect women, who make up the majority of the audience during that time period.
Mrs. Bush will participate in several segments and interviews, NBC said Tuesday.
She will be joined earlier in the broadcast by her daughter Jenna to talk about their new children's book, "Read All About It!"
The first lady will also give Ann Curry a tour of the Bush family ranch in Crawford, Texas.
We can't think of a finer pair: Our own favorite, Ann Curry and America's national treasure, Laura Bush.

Blucoat Bartender Battle

We attended the Bluecoat Bartender Battle last night in the dreamy Millennium Ballroom at Loews Philadelphia Hotel.
It was a great evening with a young crowd cheering on their favorite bartenders from throughout the area, gathered to mix drinks with Bluecoat American Dry Gin. While there we chatted with Andrew Auwerda, the President of Philadelphia Distilling, the makers of Bluecoat.
Bluecoat is distilled in Philadelphia in a custom-built, hand-hammered copper pot still. A true batch distillation, the process calls for extremely slow heating of the pot, which allows for maximum separation of alcohols. Impurities are discarded, leaving what Bluecoat calls "the purest, most flavorful alcohols producing a spirit that is intensely smooth and invigorating."
When the Philadelphia Inquirer's Craig LeBan assembled a group of discriminating imbibers to judge the aroma, smoothness and flavor of gin brands he discovered that Bluecoat came away with the top honors. "This locally-made spirit was the big winner with a softness and pronounced botanical, citrus aromas that appeal to less hardcore gin drinkers," LeBan said. "It was the group's decisive favorite for gin and tonics and also the all-purpose favorite."
With its distinctive blue bottle Auwerda says Bluecoat takes its name from the American bluecoats who won the revolutionary war. "Why should we drink British gin?" Auwerda argues. "Didn't we win the war?"

Bitter? No Way!

John McCain on America's greatest asset - its people:
"During the Great Depression, with many millions of Americans out of work and the country suffering the worst economic crisis in our history, there rose from small towns, rural communities, inner cities, a generation of Americans who fought to save the world from despotism and mass murder, and came home to build the wealthiest, strongest and most generous nation on earth.
They suffered the worst during the Depression, but it did not shake their faith in, and fidelity to, America. They did not turn to their religious faith and cultural traditions out of resentment and a feeling of powerlessness to affect the course of government or pursue prosperity. On the contrary, their faith had given generations of their families' purpose and meaning, as it does today."

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bravo Berlusconi!

You read it here first.
Back on December 12 (more than FOUR MONTHS ago) I wrote: "It seems Italians are beginning to realize that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to chuck Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his right-of-center government last year."
Now, Bella Italia has joined France and Germany in making a decisive turn to the right. (Can England be far behind?) Here's the latest from the Associated Press:
Media billionaire Silvio Berlusconi won a decisive victory Monday in Italy's parliamentary election, setting the colorful conservative and staunch U.S. ally on course to his third stint as premier.
The victory in voting Sunday and Monday by parties supporting the 71-year-old Berlusconi avenged his loss two years ago to a center-left coalition.
"I'm moved. I feel a great responsibility," he said in a phone call to RAI public television while monitoring election results at his villa outside Milan. Italian news agencies said he had a private dinner with key aides.
Berlusconi capitalized on discontent over Italy's stagnating economy and the unpopularity of Romano Prodi's government.
"Berlusconi won because he has a strong coalition and because people feel that on the other side, the government is going to take them nowhere."
This was Berlusconi's fifth consecutive national election campaign since 1994, when he stepped into politics from his media empire, currently estimated to be worth $9.4 billion
Berlusconi has also affirmed himself as one of Israel's closest friends in Europe.
On Monday, he said he would make his first foreign trip as the new premier by visiting Israel to mark the Jewish state's 60th anniversary. He said it would be a show of support for "the only real democracy in the Middle East."
Berlusconi's party and its allies won strong victories in both houses of parliament despite a strong final sprint by his
main rival, Walter Veltroni, who ran a campaign that could have come out of Barack Obama's playbook, with calls to "Vote for change" and supporters armed with "We can!" banners.
In the 315-member Senate, Berlusconi was projected to control 167 seats to Veltroni's 137. In the lower house, his conservative bloc led with 46 percent of the votes to 39 percent.

Bravo, Bravo Berlusconi. Molto bene. Bona fortuna!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Get Well Soon, Paul!

America's favorite broadcaster, Paul Harvey has been recovering from pneumonia and cataract surgery and hasn't been heard on the radio for awhile. But Harvey is due back on April 25.
Paul Harvey is an American treasure.
Paul Harvey began his radio career in 1933 at KVOO-AM, Tulsa Oklahoma while he was still in high school. Later, while attending the University of Tulsa, he continued working at KVOO as an announcer, then as a program director.
Today, Paul Harvey "News and Comment" and "The Rest of the Story" can be heard every Monday through Saturday on ABC Radio and many other outlets. Paul Harvey News is the largest one-man network in the world, consisting of over 1200 radio stations, 400 Armed Forces Network stations that broadcast around the world, and 300 newspapers.
I've been listening to Paul Harvey on the radio as long as I can remember. In fact, I simply can't imagine radio without Paul Harvey. His homespun common-sense, wholesome humor, inimitable style and uncanny ability to find the natural human element in every story make him a one-of-a-kind broadcaster.
To find a radio station near you that broadcasts Paul Harvey click here.

Thank You!

Overnight we quickly passed another milestone and, in less than two weeks this fledgling blog has logged another 1,000 hits!
We thank you for visiting - and for returning again and again.
Remember - you'll find new material here every day, throughout the day. And we continue to welcome your comments and input.
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Share this blog with others. Send links and get the word out via e-mail, etc. And thanks for helping to boost our numbers!

'Soprano State' Meets Philly

We joined The Soprano State authors Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure (pictured) for a wonderful party in center city Philadelphia last night at the world famous Irish Pub where Bob, Sandy and their friends celebrated their emergence as New York Times bestselling authors. Among the notables at the event were New Jersey 101's irreverent Jersey Boys, Ray Rossi and Casey Batholomew, the redoubtable Renee from nearby Rouge and Willie Nelson's piano and guitar tuner, introduced to us simply as "Tunen Tom."
If you haven't yet purchased The Soprano State rush out and get this NYT bestseller which details the true story of corruption that has pervaded New Jersey's politics, government and business for the past 30 years. Everything in the book is [sadly] true but it reads like fiction. The Associated Press called it a "page turner" and noted: "You start out laughing and end up pounding he table for reform."
Well, as you may have noticed we are among those pounding the table for reform. And we couldn't think of finer people than Bob and Sandy to lead the way - and more inventive rascals than The Jersey Boys to share the journey. If Jersey is to have any chance at all to climb out of this mess, we need more people like these folks.
After we dined on Irish stew and shepherd's pie at the Irish Pub we relaxed and enjoyed the balmy weather in Rittenhouse Square for awhile before heading over to Marathon-On-The-Square for dessert. There we walked into Philadelphia Museum of Art Director and CEO Anne d'Harnoncourt (looking regal as usual) and her husband, senior museum curator Joe Rishel. You can listen to my podcast interview with Anne d"Harnoncourt by clicking here.
We told the folks at Marathon how much we were longing for waffles and ice cream and even though it wasn't on the menu they quickly obliged with a heavenly version that sent us home ready for sweet dreams.
It was a truly wonderful evening!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dems To Banish Joe?

From Robert D. Novak:
Sen. Joseph Lieberman's friends are certain that if Democrats expand their one-vote Senate edge in this year's elections, they will kick him out of the Senate Democratic caucus and, therefore, oust him as Homeland Security Committee chairman.
Lieberman risked the usual punishment of ejection from the party caucus when he endorsed Republican Sen. John McCain for president and actively campaigned for him. But with Democrats in a Senate majority of only 51 to 49, they would lose control if Lieberman defected to the Republicans.
After being defeated by an anti-Iraq war candidate in the 2006 Connecticut Democratic primary, Lieberman kept his Senate seat in the general election by running as an independent and now calls himself an "Independent Democrat." He became Homeland Security chairman under the Democrats' strict seniority rules by remaining in the party caucus.

Friday, April 11, 2008

NJ: Vote 'No' This Tuesday

Jersey voters get to vote on their school budgets this Tuesday, April 15.
I'll be voting 'No!'
It's not that I don't care about schools. It's not that I don't care about kids. I care deeply about both.
But school budgets climb year after year and they represent the bulk of our property taxes - the nation's highest property taxes. Politicians must get the message that these increases simply have to end. And voting 'NO' on the school budget is one of the only ways we have to get the message across - it's one of our only vehicles to drive the point home.
So much money is wasted at all levels of government that we must demand thrift and accountability. Every board, agency, commission - every elected official - must hear our voice loud and clear. Until we use our muscle at the ballot box, nothing will change.
Send a message - vote 'NO' on Tuesday!

Bravo, Bonnie!

Our friend Bonnie Grant is back where she belongs - at the helm of an important Philadelphia agency and ready to tackle the sort of Big Challenge that she excels at.
The Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences Congress (GPLSC), a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, has named Bonnie Grant as executive director, effective April 1.
The GPLSC grew out of Philadelphia hosting the 2005 BIO convention, which had more than 18,000 attendees and an economic impact of $35 million.
The GPLSC strives to connect leaders in higher education and research institutions, venture capital entities, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and the health care communities to position the Philadelphia region as a world-class destination for meetings and conventions.
Grant has more than 20 years experience in marketing and communications in the education, government, corporate and non-profit sectors, including nine years as deputy city representative under Mayors Rendell and Street. Most recently, she served as director of communications for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition.
“The life sciences affect everyone,” said Grant. “From research to finding a cure for a disease and new drugs to treat it, to attracting new and innovative businesses to our region – this sector provides passionate and provocative topics that drive policy making and touch people on every part of the planet, all of which require the meeting of great minds. We want those minds to meet here in Philadelphia.”
And you're the one to make it happen, Bonnie. Congratulations!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Gala 'Electile' Premiere

Last night we attended the world premiere of the new political documentary "Electile Dysfunction" along with a capacity crowd at the Philadelphia Film Festival.
This new film by Mary Patel (pictured) and Joe Barber is really a crash course in the modern-day business of politics and it uses the 2006 Pennsylvania Senate campaign between Santorum and Casey as its frame. The production values are first rate and the film moves at a lively pace as it travels to Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, rural Pennsylvania, Hollywood and many other places. One of the fun aspects of the feature is a series of TV exaggerated TV spots for fictional candidates. They're fresh, funny and just-this-side of believable. In addition to Casey and Santorum some of the notables featured in the film are legendary Philly PR guy Elliott Curson, political consultants Neil Oxman and Joe Trippe, actor Ed Asner, presidential grandson and son-in-law David Eisenhower, former Philadelphia Inquirer editor Gene Roberts, White House correspondent Helen Thomas and Philly TV anchor Larry Mendte.
Patel and Barber have high hopes for getting the film distributed and/or picked up by HBO or some other outlet. Voters can gain ample insight into how propaganda, persuasion and advertising are brought to bear on a campaign and what to watch out for as they decide how to vote. And the film is a must-see for students of politics and communication. Plus, it funny and entertaining.
After the showing we joined others at the post-premiere party upstairs at One just a few blocks from the theatre. At the party were we saw more friends including Penn State Abington criminology prof and author Sean Patrick Griffin, former Philly City Controller Joe Vignola, Philly PR Hall of Famer Nessa Forman and ubiquitous Philly lawyer Scott Sigman.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

There They Go Again

By a single vote the New Jersey State Senate has passed yet another piece of tax and spend legislation and the Governor has said he will sign it.
No matter that the state is deeply and debt. No matter that we are one of the highest-taxed states in the nation. No matter that the state legislature and the Governor have done nothing to tackle the state debt or lessen the burden on taxpayers.
This time it's the paid family medical leave bill which will create a new state fund and tax the typical worker an additional $33.00 per year. Understand, that's just the starting point. It's a new fund for the state to raid and a new agency for the state to run.
Businesses in the state begged the Senate not to pass this legislation -- especially now -- but it all fell on deaf ears. So what if businesses are leaving New Jersey because the state is overtaxed and over-regulated. Why worry about that?
The vote was pretty much along party lines except that one wimpy Republican (isn't there always at least one?) crossed over to vote for the bill and a couple of Democrats got cold feet.
The bill's sponsor, Democrat Senator Steve Sweeney has been yelping and crying for passage for a couple of years. Sweeney's the guy who holds two state jobs (Freeholder and Senator) and also holds another job with the Iron Worker's Union. Sweeney said he would give up one of the state jobs but, guess what? He changed his mind.
Meanwhile, here in Camden County Congressman Rob Andrews will give up his seat in the U. S. House to run in the Dem primary against Senator Frank Lautenberg. And while that's happening, Andrews' wife will likely be nominated by entrenched Dems to fill his House seat.
The Inquirer reports: "The entry of his wife into the congressional race while he is running for the Senate set off a wave of criticism, with some analysts questioning his commitment to the Senate race and others wondering how voters would feel about being asked to vote for two Andrewses on June 3. Camille Andrews declined to comment yesterday. She is of counsel to the powerful law firm Dilworth Paxson, an associate dean at Rutgers University's law school in Camden, and works for an investment firm in Bala Cynwyd." (THREE jobs, again!)
So, if Andrews loses the Senate bid, his wife can conveniently step aside and he can move back into his House seat. Course, Andrews says that's not why his wife is running and we shouldn't interpret it that way. Sure....of course not....mmm hmmm......
You see, with unaccountable one-party rule you can indeed give new meaning to the term "arrogance of power."

Today's Hollywood Greats

Because I revere many of the great Hollywood stars of yesteryear people keep asking me if there are any current stars who would rival the likes of Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford or Carole Lombard, to name a few.
Yes there are. But with this one caveat: No one has been as beautiful or as compelling as Greta Garbo. No one. Garbo stands alone.
Now, having said that, let me name a few of today's stars who measure up:
Tom Hanks - This back-to-back Oscar winner chooses his roles carefully while cultivating his well-crafted image as a modern-day everyman.
Diane Keaton - A deft comic touch reminiscent of Lombard.
Danzel Washington - Reliably excellent and eminently watchable.
Penelope Cruz - So beautiful she takes your breath away.
Leonardo DiCaprio - A great public persona; really looks and acts like a movie star.
Diane Lane - Elegant, classic beauty and nuanced, understated acting.
John Travolta - A star through all the stages of his life.
Meryl Streep - Among the truly great actresses of our time
Daniel Day Lewis - Right up there with Brando and Olivier.
Jodie Foster - Maintains a versatile star quality, great range.
Jack Nicholson - An irresistible rogue.
Julia Roberts - Statuesque, with an intense vulnerability.
Will Smith - Endearing, and always memorable.
Others: Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Javier Bardem, Julianne Moore, Emma Thompson, Juliette Binoche.
Maybe you can think of some yourself. Who are the great stars of today?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Writers Who Teach

. . . and teachers who write.
It's time to hail two winning professors from opposite ends of the generational spectrum.
The first is Dr. Maya Angelou of Wake Forest University. As USA Today writes:
She has been a professor of American Studies at Wake Forest since 1981 and owns an 18 room home in Winston-Salem, NC.
Now, she adds, "I'm not a writer who teaches. I'm a teacher who writes. But I had to work at Wake Forest to know that."
She describes the joy she finds in a classroom: "I see all those little faces and big eyes. Black and white. They look like sparrows in the nest. They look up, with their mouths wide open, and I try to drop in everything I know."
She has no plans to retire. She teaches one course each semester at Wake Forest. (Currently it's World Poetry and Drama Performance.)
She writes on yellow legal pads and says that even after all these years, a clean sheet of paper scares and thrills her: "I see a yellow pad, and my knees get weak, and I salivate. I know that sounds like coyness, but I have less coyness than modesty, and I have none of that." She laughs.
And then there's upcoming writer and novelist Tony Earley who is also a "writer who teaches" and a "teacher who writes." Dr. Earley is the Samuel Milton Fleming Chair in English at Vanderbilt University. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama and has taught at Vanderbilt since 1997. He has been named one of the twenty best young fiction writers in America by The New Yorker and one of the Best of Young American Novelists by Granta. His first book, Jim The Boy was widely acclaimed. That was followed by "mostly true" stories called Somehow Form A Family. His new novel, The Blue Star has just won additional acclaim. here's what USA Today says about Earley:
Tony Earley didn't plan to take eight years to write a sequel to his debut novel. But after the acclaim for Jim the Boy in 2000 -- Newsweek called it "dazzling" -- Earley says he was "afraid to write for a while," worried he might not be able to match his earlier success.
Then, he tried "to do something post-modern, just to prove I could, but apparently I couldn't." After three years, "having figured I'd sabotaged my career, I decided to go back to Aliceville (his fiction setting) and see what happened."
These two professor/writers and their respective universities are at the top of my list.
And, BTW: I happen to know a couple of fine young writers myself who benefited greatly from their studies at Wake and Vandy!

Recall Effort Underway

The effort to recall Joisey's wacky Governor Jon Corzine is now underway and gaining steam.
You can download recall petitions at All of the instructions are there at the web site.
As you might expect the law in Joisey makes recall very difficult. But if Caleeefohhnyaaahh can do it, why can't we? And remember that nobody gave Californians a chance to succeed when they started their recall effort. Yet, they did succeed in recalling one of the nation's worst governors (Can you even remember the guy's name?) and finding their way out of a financial mess.
Go to, read the directions carefully, download the petition and start collecting signatures. BTW: Every petition needs to be notarized but you can have a document notarized at your local bank or by any attorney licensed to practice in New Jersey. It's not difficult.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The American

Grammy wining artist Rodney Whittenberg has written the theme song for Mary Patel's new documentary Electile Dysfunction which debuts this Wednesday April 9 at the Prince Theater, Broad and Chestnut at 7:00 PM. Order tickets at

End Jersey Madness!

The New Jersey League of Municipalities recently compiled an extensive report on the state's property taxes which confirmed that New Jersey has the nation's highest real estate taxes. But there's more: Of the top ten counties in the nation with the highest real estate taxes, seven are from New Jersey. Of the top 20, 12 are from New Jersey. Of the top 25, 14 are from New Jersey. Real estate taxes in Camden County New Jersey rank in the top 25 nationally. Burlington County ranks in the top 30, nationally. Gloucester County ranks in the top 30, nationally. The average annual property tax nationally is $1,742. In New Jersey it's $5,773.
Right now, Governor Corzine and the legislators in Trenton are playing the same old shell game with spending and taxes: threatening cuts to vulnerable and "showcase" services to intimidate the public while continuing to pad their own pork barrel programs; proposing draconian cuts to selected municipalities to alarm local officials and local citizens; suggesting huge increases in other taxes (such as the gasoline tax) to avoid discussing or considering real cuts in state spending and suggesting new taxes (such as local income and/or property taxes) as a way around the issue. All of these are schemes are diversions, pure and simple.
New Jersey must drastically cut the state payroll (68,000+ employees) and cut it now. Three thousand employees cut from 68,430 is a cut of barely more than four percent from a bloated workforce that needs to be cut by at least 15 or 20 percent.
Here are some other ideas:
1) Bring in leaders of private industry to find, cut and eliminate waste and mismanagement.
2) Eliminate all overtime for state workers.
3) Cut patronage jobs and multiple lifetime pensions for government jobs.
4) Eliminate all dual office holding and dual job holding in government.
5) Mandate that the state budget for the new fiscal year be fixed at a point at least 10 percent below last year's budget.
6) Penalize small towns that refuse to merge, consolidate or share services.
7) Consider privatizing some state services (such as parks) where necessary.
10) Rescind recent pay increases given to judges and other government employees.
11) Subject state workers to independent "productivity auditing." If they're not being productive, fire them.
12) Eliminate unfunded state mandates to schools and municipalities.
14) Slash state regulations and eliminate regulatory boards, wherever possible.
15) Reject expensive new programs and mandates such as the proposed family leave plan.

Jewish Delegates Pivotal

A disproportionately large number of Democratic superdelegates are Jewish, and they could prove crucial in deciding whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama wins the party’s nomination.
Thus far 36 Jewish superdelegates have declared for Clinton, while Obama has 12 Jewish superdelegates. But 26 Jewish superdelegates are among those who are still undeclared.
“If the Democratic presidential primary comes down to a photo finish, these Jewish insiders could play an outsized role in anointing a nominee at the party’s August convention,” according to the Forward, a Jewish publication that has conducted a new survey of Jewish superdelegates.
Superdelegates are largely elected officials and party officials, and the number of Jewish politicians has grown significantly in the past half-century. In 2006, 33 Jewish candidates were elected to Congress, up from 13 in 1950, the Forward reports.
And over the past 15 years, the Democratic National Committee has had three Jewish chairs.
One of those chairs, Massachusetts-based activist Steve Grossman, is now a Clinton fundraiser. And with Obama ahead of Hillary in pledged delegates and the popular vote, Grossman has sent out an open letter to DNC members urging them not to fall in behind Obama until all state contests are concluded.
Grossman told the Forward that if the result from the disputed Florida primary is counted, and Hillary does well in upcoming primaries, the overall results would be inconclusive and it would be the responsibility of superdelegates to vote their conscience.
The Forward also notes that Hillary has personally been doing some “heavy arm-twisting” in an effort to secure Jewish superdelegates.

Bigger Than Life

There was a time when Hollywood stars really were, literally and figuratively, bigger than life.
Charleton Heston was of that time.
Of course he is best known for his starring roles in epics such as Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments. But few realize that his career actually began on the stage, on Broadway. In 1947, Heston got his first big break, landing the role of Caesar’s lieutenant in a Broadway production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra staged by Guthrie McClintick and starring Katharine Cornell.
Still, Heston's physical stature, deep, penetrating eyes, chiseled features and sheer manliness made it inevitable that Hollywood would beckon. And those of us who saw Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show On Earth in 1952 knew that Heston's portrayal of a hard-driving circus boss had "star" written all over it. From that point on it was pretty much one Big Role after another. The man and the times merged as Hollywood embraced wide-screen epic drama as an answer to the power of the small screen which had come to inhabit everyone's living room.
For me, The Greatest Show On Earth started a lifelong love affair with the circus.
In the 1950s and early 60s Heston championed liberal causes and even marched with Dr. King and stood on the platform with the late civil rights leader at the historic 1963 March On Washington which culminated in the landmark "I Have A Dream" speech.
But like many of us Heston saw the Democrat Party moving further and further to the left and he eventually embraced conservative causes and the candidacy of his good friend and colleague Ronald Reagan.
Charleton Heston was a man of his times - a fully engaged artist, active citizen, leader and patriot who was never afraid to be who he was, to change his mind and to speak out and fight for what he believed in. On the Today Show this morning George Clooney and Brad Pitt were cited as modern day Charleton Hestons. But the truth is that Clooney, Pitt and Affleck together are hardly fit to polish Heston's tombstone.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Only One

I never liked Richard M. Nixon and I never voted for him.
But the fact remains that Nixon was the last President to charge nothing for his public speaking appearances after he left the White House.
From the time he left the White House in 1974 until the time of his death in 1994, Nixon never charged a cent for his various speeches and lectures in all parts of the nation and throughout the world. And Nixon was a prolific speaker who always kept up with the issues of the day and was recognized by all as a foreign policy expert.
Nixon remains the only former President over the past 24 years to refuse to profit from his speaking engagements.
I mention this because the Clintons' just-released tax returns show that former President Bill Clinton has racked in $51 million from his speaking engagements since he left the White House in 2001. That's $51 million in little more than seven years - nearly 7.3 million per year or nearly $600,000 per month!
Bill Clinton can be a compelling speaker and goodness knows -- he LOVES to talk (especially about himself). But this is a helluva lot of money by anyone's standards.

Democrats Not democratic

It turns out the democrat Party is not very democratic.
For ample evidence of this you need look no further than the unelected superdelegates who are likely to decide the Democrat Party nominee for President this year.
The RNC has created a clever, informative (and funny) site all about the superdelegates and how they can and will be manipulated in a most UNdemocratic fashion.
Of course one of those superdelegates is Joisey's own wacky Governor Jon Corzine. It seems Corzine is pledged (well, sort of pledged) to Clinto but now says he could wind switching his delegate vote to Obama. Forget that Clinton easily carried Joisey. Ya see, Joisey's Governor don't care about that, hon. He's gonna vote in what he perceives to be HIS best interest and to hell with the state.
My, my -- it must be fun to be a superdelegate: sort of like a potentate, only a bit more powerful.

Friday, April 4, 2008


On Saturday (4/5) in honor of the Centennial of Bette Davis' birth Turner Classic Movies will present a Davis film retrospective as follows:
11:00 AM- The Bride Came C.O.D (1941)
12:45 PM - The Letter (1940)
2:30 PM- The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
4:30 PM - Now, Voyager (1942)
Stardust: The Bette Davis Story (2005) TCM original documentary
8:00 PM- All About Eve (1950)
10:30 PM - Jezebel (1938)
12:30 AM - Dark Victory (1939)
2:30 AM - Dangerous (1935)
4:00 AM - Pocketful Of Miracles (1961)
Tune up your video recorder and get ready for this BetteFest!

Thanks, Dale!

Yeah, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is NASCAR Royalty.
And yeah, Dale Junior's a McCain guy, too.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has spent nearly a decade on the NASCAR circuit, where he was Busch Series champion in 1998 and 1999, before advancing to the Winston Series in 2000. He's had over 15 wins and finished in the Top 10 in 90 other races. In 2004, he won stock car racing's most famous contest, the Daytona 500.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a major talent. Even people who know nothing about NASCAR beyond the movie Days of Thunder have heard the name Dale Earnhardt, especially since Junior's namesake is a legend in the sport. But the younger Earnhardt is more of a rock 'n' roller than his father, and thanks to appearances in the Sheryl Crow video "Steve McQueen" and the MTV show Cribs, he's recognizable to the MTV generation.
Yep, both Dale Jr. and John McCain come from a long line of winners!

Julie To Philly

The great Julie Andrews will come to Macy's in Center City Philly on Saturday (4/5) to promote her new book, titled Home: A Memoir of My Early Years, and to receive a musical tribute from the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Choral and Peter Richard Conte at the Wanamaker Organ in Macy's Grand Court.
Is there a greater Broadway star that Julie Andrews? Is there a classier star anywhere? Has any other entertainer given more joy to more people in movies, theatre, on recordings and in live performances? If you can name one, please let me know.
We last saw Julie on Broadway when she starred in Victor Victoria and she was wonderful, as always. She is a pro who understands that she always owes the audience her very best and she always delivers. But beyond all that, she's a gracious person who proves that you can be a truly Big Star and still be kind, still care about others and still know who you are and from whence you came.
Julie's memoir recreates her years before the movies, artfully revealing the story of her childhood and upbringing.
The concert salute begins at 11:30 AM and then Andrews signs her book beginning at noon. You must buy the book in advance and only the first 150 purchasers will have their copies signed by Andrews. So, hurry on over to Macy's!