Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday's Shame

He couldn't do it on a weekday because that would have attracted too much news and given conservative radio hosts days and days to talk about it.
And he couldn't do it on a Sunday because that would have been too obvious and simply would have added insult to injury.
So Obama chose a Saturday to have his spokesperson quietly announce that yes, he has resigned from Trinity United Church of Christ, his spiritual home for more than 20 years.
Forget Obama's strident and repeated defenses of Trinity. Pretend that never happened.
Trinity United no longer serves Obama's purposes. It no longer fits his political manifesto. It became too obvious a liability. It simply had to go.
So, Obama sheepishly ducked out "sometime within the last few days," according to his spokesperson. We don't know exactly when this happened. We only know that Obama decided it would be announced today. It's an old rule that when you don't particularly want to make news about something, you announce it over the weekend - either after business hours on Friday or on Saturday.
It also happened that today, Saturday, was the day that the Democrat Party decided to broker a deal behind closed doors that determines the fate of Michigan and Florida convention delegates by declaring Florida and Michigan Democrat delegates half-persons and granting them half-votes.
When this decision was announced more than a few people were not happy.
"How can you call yourselves Democrats if you don't count the vote?" one man in the audience shouted before being escorted out by security. "This is not the Democratic Party!"
"We just blew the election!" a woman in the audience shouted.
"This isn't unity! Count all the votes!" another audience member yelled.
Put these two stories together and its downright creepy: The expected first African-American to be nominated for President by a major party walks away from an African-American Church while his party adopts a less than one person/one vote policy that hearkens back to the days of racial segregation.
And this from a party that claims to be progressive?

Are You Listening, Jon?

To address the New Jersey's long-term fiscal crisis, state Republicans have proposed a series of structural reforms designed to gradually put the state’s budget back on sound fiscal footing. These reforms include:
-Enacting a strong budget cap.
-Allowing only recurring revenues to be used for balancing the budget.
-Mandating continuous audits of state agencies/departments.
-Requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature for any tax increase.
-Making it much harder to borrow without t voter approval.
-Creating Initiative & Referendum.
Republicans have called for consolidating and streamlining all of the state’s economic development activities and putting them under the control of the Economic Development Authority while reforming the Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP) to restore its original incentives to businesses that locate in the Garden State.
Republicans propose establishing a preference program for New Jersey businesses under government contract law that expands on the current 25 percent set-aside, extending the urban transit hub tax credit program to all towns, moving to a single sales factor for manufacturing businesses, and repealing the throw-out rule so that the state won’t tax income earned outside New Jersey.
“The only long-term solution to our budget problems is to grow the economy,” said GOP Senate Leader Tom Kean (pictured). “We need to act now to let businesses know that we will work with them as partners in making New Jersey more prosperous and progressive.”

Back To McCormick's

Last night we returned to the new McCormick & Schmick's restaurant at Garden State Park in Cherry Hill and found the place teeming with diners and imbibers of all ages.
Both the bar and the dining room were full.
McCormick's features a great Happy Hour menu in the bar with $1.95 burger platters and other treats such as flat bread pizza and seafood cakes -- all at the same $1.95 price. Everything is fresh and scrumptious and guests mingle freely.
The staff at McCormick's is wonderfully friendly.
Every time we return we are greet warmly and the Garden State Park area is vibrant with new eateries and stores everywhere.
The whole experience is a real treat!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Can't Wait To Read 'Em!

After a protracted legal battle, the email correspondence between Gov. Jon Corzine and union leader Carla Katz, his ex-girlfriend, could soon be in the public domain.
Mercer County Suprerior Court Judge Paul Innes, who has been reviewing the emails since August, ordered that the Corzine administration release the messages.
In May, 2007, the Republican State Committee filed suit to force the Corzine Administration to release the emails, which they suspected contained discussions about a contract negotiation between the state and Katz’s union, Communications Workers of America Local 1034.
The Attorney General's Office, which represents Corzine, is said to be appealing the decision. Spokesman David Wald could not immediately be reached for comment.


Last night we joined friends for dinner at Estia, Philadelphia's Greek/Mediterranean restaurant across from the Academy of Music near 15th & Locust.
Estia restaurant specializes in whole grilled fish served by the pound from the Greek islands, Morocco, Tunisia and Portugal. Estia restaurant offers a first-rate wine list with more than 300 selections including wines from Greece, Europe, Israel and Lebanon.
There's something about a fish looking back at me as I prepare to eat it that made me pass on the whole fish idea. No, thanks. But our party did enjoy salmon, sea bass and halibut, among other dishes. Appetizers of zucchini and eggplant chips and calamari were quite tasty.
Service at Estia is very attentive and the atmosphere is rich and cozy with an ample wine list and a full bar. On a spring evening like last night the front of the restaurant opens to the street at you can enjoy the nearby comings and goings at the Grand Old Lady known as The Academy of Music.
Estia also offers a pre-theater menu featuring three course for $30 from 5 to 7 PM. That's a real bargain considering the entrees at Estia run from $20 to $36. A two-course lunch is also offered for $17.

Scouts' Honor

So Michael Nutter is "astounded" that the Boy Scouts had the "audacity" to file a lawsuit against the city.
Join the club, Mayor.
I'm also astounded. And elated. And I'm definitely not alone.
It finally looks as if the local Cradle of Liberty chapter has stopped playing by the Marquis of Queensbury rules, and is taking on the municipal bullies
who've been persecuting them since Nutter's predecessor sat in his bugged office.
We all know the gory details, but here's a brief chronology:

To read the rest of Chrstine Flowers' column from todays Philadelphia Daily news click here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Vango, Then Continental

Last night we partied at Vango just off Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. Vango (on 18th between Chestnut and Walnut) bills itself as "Philadelphia's boldest restaurant, lounge and sky bar featuring innovative cocktails, modern cuisine and a menu of nightly deejays." We enjoyed signature mango infused vodka cocktails and samples of some of Vango's Japanese menu.
As the sun began to set on this great, clear, crisp spring evening in the city we headed just up the street to Steven Starr's Continental Midtown where we feasted on goodies like Rad Na Thai Chicken, Spinach Ravioli and the ever-favorite Crispy Calamari Salad. The Continental was teeming with fashionable diners inside, outside and on the roof. We were happy to ensconce ourselves smack in the center of things in a comfy round banquette. We couldn't figure out what we liked most: the food, the vibe or the people-watching. It was all simpatico.
After The Continental we ended our jaunt with gelato at the irresistible Capogiro - a truly perfect ending to a great spring evening!

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Memorial Day Story

Congratulations to Michael Vitez of the Philadelphia Inquirer on his beautiful Memorial Day story (On Memorial Day, a wounded vet's journey back) about a courageous South Jersey Marine and his family, neighbors and friends.
Nobody writes real-life, poignant, human stories like Michael Vitez.
If you haven't already done so, you can read the entire story by clicking here.
Still, we must note that we have to read seventeen paragraphs into the story (almost to the end) for Vitez and the Inquirer to tell us how two wounded Marines feel about the war and their Commander in Chief:
Hennagir and Hardin said they still support the president and the war. When asked about the president's loss of support in the polls - primarily because of the war - Hardin expressed their position best: "Let somebody else try being president for a day. He's doing a great job."
Hennagir added: "Every president gets hated by the end of his term."
Remember, respect, renew!

Friday, May 23, 2008


Goin downashore this weekend?
Don't look for me there. 
It's been years since I've been to the Jersey shore for any length of time.
Why? Because the whole experience is dreadfully overrated. Yes, I know the Jersey shore is convenient. But after that, there's not much you can say on its behalf.
I do go downashore for day trips. But I find that Jersey shore towns are more crowded and congested than ever. In Ocean City you’ll find block after block of dreary duplexes all looking exactly the same. They are so close together that if your neighbor sneezes you’re likely to catch a cold. 
At least Atlantic City has its casinos and of these the best of the bunch is the beautiful Borgata (pictured). 
But in Wildwood teens still run wild, beer bellies still abound and the messages that adorn cheap t-shirts are more offensive than ever.
Except for AC and Margate, to me, it's simply not a turn on. 
When it comes time for my summer vacation I hop in my car and drive to a tropical island where Palmetto trees, magnolias, exotic birds and crepe myrtle are plentiful and you may even see an alligator or two. On this island you don’t need beach tags to enjoy the smooth, inviting beach and the sea is calm with an ocean temperature that’s more like bathwater. You can walk, jog, roller blade or bicycle for miles under lush tropical foliage along well-maintained paths. Dolphins dance in the waters where fishing, boating, crabbing and shrimping beckon. And when you are not golfing on world-famous courses you can play tennis on championship-style clay courts. Shopping and dining choices are endless and the friendly natives speak in a slow drawl that invites you to linger. At night as you walk along the beach you can enjoy a sky that is literally bedazzled with stars. Thank goodness for Hilton Head!

It Ain't Summer Yet!

I don't know who came up with the notion that the summer begins on Memorial Day but all this stuff about summer kicking off this weekend is nothing but a hoax.
Summer arrives on June 21 and it doesn't end till the first day of autumn which is September 22. Summer does not end on Labor Day and it doesn't begin on May 26 or any day close to that. 
Of course, Memorial Day is simply Memorial Day -- a day to remember our fallen heroes. And Memorial Day is May 30. For many years this day was known as Decoration Day. That term was coined to remind us to decorate the graves of those who died in service to our nation and all others that we wanted to remember. But hardly anybody seems to visit graves anymore so you never hear about Decoration Day these days.
Weather-wise, May is not a very reliable month. This year in these parts May has been unseasonably cool, damp, windy and rainy. So, don't expect the "unofficial start of summer" to be hot and sunny. It ain't July yet. Get it?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

This Is A Fact

Since the Wisconsin primary in February Hillary Clinton has garnered nearly 800,000 more popular votes than Barack Obama - nearly eight hundred thousand!
Facts are funny things.
And they are hard to refute.
Remember: All the flowery rhetoric in the world and all the sloganeering cannot change this one fact.

Did She Miss Something?

I know that we're not supposed to discuss Michelle Obama (yet another topic deemed "off limits" by the OH!man) but I can't resist passing along this question that Pultizer Prize-winning columnist George Will poses to Obama about Michelle and her recent comments:
Michelle, who was born in 1964, says that most Americans' lives have"gotten progressively worse since I was a little girl." Since 1960,real per capita income has increased 143 percent, life expectancy has increased by seven years, infant mo rtality has declined 74 percent, deaths from heart disease have been halved, childhood leukemia has stopped being a death sentence, depression has become a treatable disease, air and water pollution have been drastically reduced, the number of women earning a bachelor's degree has more than doubled, the rate of home ownership has increased 10.2 percent, the size of the average American home has doubled, the percentage of homes with air conditioning has risen from 12 to 77, the portion of Americans who own shares of stock has quintupled. Has your wife perhaps missed some pertinent developments in this country that she calls "just downright mean"?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ka Boom!

Justlikethat we've quickly logged our 9,000th visitor on this site.
And our numbers ccontinue to grow.
Thank you for helping to make us such a big success.
Just within the past few days the site has had visitors from Mexico, Ireland, Brazil, England, Pakist and and Japan. And within the United States we've had visitors from border to border and coast to coast.
Keep spreading the word!

That Country Crowd

Watching the Academy of Country Music Awards the other night I started thinking about how many of country's current crop of stars seem inauthentic. And, I'm also troubled by the fact that these awards shows rarely showcase country's best.
For example, Dwight Yoakam was a presenter but he didn't perform. That's a shame because Dwight is one of the most electrifying country performers I've ever seem.
Thank goodness Reba McEntire hosted the event. Reba is the quintessential country star: great looks, great voice, great personality. She's got it all.
But it gets dreary watching Kenny Chesney win the "Entertainer of the Year" Award again and again. This miniature beach bum is such a shameless self-promoter that it's almost pitiful.
On the other hand Montgomery Gentry are just as they are. Troy and Eddie are irrepressible crowd pleasures and they exude so must testosterone that it restores your faith in the future of manhood.
And I always enjoy seein the beautiful Leann Rimes -- what a powerhouse. LeeAnn can sing most any type of song but she remains a country music giant. I also like another Lee Ann - the grogeous and talented Lee Ann Womack.
I was happy that Brad Paisley was honored but I wish he would do fewer novelty numbers and show us a more serious side.
And I find that Keith Urban brings an enormous amount of depth and sensitivity to his performances.
Also, Trace Adkins was in fine form and it's great to see how he has grown as an artist with a newly-diverse repertoire. His new song, "You're Gonna Miss This" is a poignant country classic.
And Garth Brooks was back (Did he ever really retire?) and regrettably as self-absorbed as ever.
But why in hell was Dr. Phil on the show? Can someone tell me what this windbag has to do with country music?
Of course, King George (Strait) doesn't really have to sing if he doesn't want to. All he has to do is show up. Any country gathering become an official EVENT when the King Is In The House!
BTW: Of the two annual country awards shows I much prefer the Country Music Association Awards from Nashville. The ACM Awards and Show are the Real Deal!


Hillary Clinton won a spectacular victory in Kentucky last night once again defeating Obama by more than two-to-won and winning nearly every demographic group.
At this same point in his campaign John McCain was easily besting his opponents.
But Obama just can't seem to do that,
What's remarkable about the Democrat race is how little it's changed from the beginning. Obama and Clinton voters each remain firmly alligned in their own camps. There has really been very little movement. In fact Hillary voters have actually solidified behind her (and still come out in large numbers) while Obama has seen some erosion, particularly among white voters who don't happen to be wealthy.
In the exit poll in Kentucky MORE THAN ONE THIRD of Kentucky Democrats say that in an Obama/McCain November matchup they will vote for McCain. If you don't think that's enough to deliver Kentucky to McCain you don't know how to count!


I was sorry to hear the news about Senator Ted Kennedy today and join with so many others in wishing him strength, hope and a complete recovery as he battles Cancer. Only last week in my Philadelphia Daily News column I talked about how I supported Kennedy's quest for the presidency in 1980. The Democrat Party would have been wise to chuck Carter and nominate Kennedy that year. The party probably would have had a more successful future. Instead the party stayed with Carter and tumbled into a downward spiral that (save for the two Clinton terms) has not abated. Carter set the stage for Mondale, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry --all losers. Last year when it was announced that Ted Kennedy would finally write his memoirs I welcomed the news and hoped that Teddy would tell us some of his survival secrets. I said this: Whatever you may feel about Teddy he has certainly known the highs and the lows and it's fair to say he's been through hell over the course of his 75 years. Maybe he'll give us some insight as to where and how he got the strength to carry on.
I hope Ted Kennedy will be able to look forward to more chapters of his life -- inspiring, successful chapters -- ahead of him.

Monday, May 19, 2008

No, We Can't!

Forget about eating as much as you want.
Forget about driving SUVs.
Forget about keeping your home at 72 degrees.
According to Barack Obama "That's just not going to happen" because "that's not leadership."
We can't do these things anymore "and expect that other countries are going to say 'OK'" according to the OH!man.
Obama said all this yesterday in a speech at Roseburg, Oregon.
So get ready to lower your sights, America. And get ready to change the way you live. And get ready to give up many of the personal freedoms that you hold dear.
Because Obama says: "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said.
"That's not leadership. That's not going to happen," he added.

The OH!man knows what's best for you. And he means to enforce it.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


His was a name that gave Hollywood actors, writers, camera
men and others a chill of fear: Otto!
It could only be one person: Otto Preminger, aka Otto the Terrible.
Now, I've just finished reading Foster Hirsch's big new biography of Preminger, Otto, The Man Who Would Be King and I've found it to be an in-depth, fascinating read.
Otto was known for his tantrums. And Hirsch speculates that the root of Otto's legendary temper was buried deep in his indulged Austrian childhood. Otto's loving, benevolent parents produced a child who simply Knew He Was Very Special and who grew up to become a great Hollywood producer and director and a master promoter of his own plays and movies.
Preminger was also a proud American and a very proud (though non-observant) Jew who successfully brought Leon Uris' "Exodus" to the screen. A shrewd businessman, he always brought his films in on-time and under budget.
Among Preminger's more notable movies are classics such as Laura, Anatomy Of A Murder, The Man With The Golden Arm, In Harm's Way, Advise And Consent and his last, underrated film, The Human Factor.
He was a formal, imposing figure whose persona masked a kinder, softer side: a passionate lover, a devoted father, a loyal friend, a dedicated defender of artistic freedom and a knowledgeable epicurean and world-traveller.
His story is worth the read.
Otto truly was Bigger Than Life!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

'W' To Knesset: No Retreat!

President Bush today in a dramatic address to the Knesset marking the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel:
Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along," the President said to the country's legislative body, "We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is –- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.
Some people suggest if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away. This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of the enemies of peace, and America utterly rejects it. Israel's population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because the United States of America stands with you.
America stands with you in breaking up terrorist networks and denying the extremists sanctuary. America stands with you in firmly opposing Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. Permitting the world's leading sponsor of terror to possess the world's deadliest weapons would be an unforgivable betrayal for future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

The Kid's In The Hall

Yesterday was Hall of Fame Day as the Philadelphia Public Relations Association welcomed Nina Zucker of Nina Zucker Associates into its Public Relations Hall of Fame.
It was a grand day for Nina as she stood front and center at a luncheon in her honor at The Kimmel Center on the Avenue of the Arts. Big-name guests included Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and CBS 3 TV anchorwoman Pat Ciarrocchi.
With insight, creativity, wisdom, experience, ideas and connections, Nina Zucker has been putting her clients in the spotlight for 20 years as president of Nina Zucker Associates, the marketing communications firm she founded in 1987. As one of the region’s premier specialists for arts and culture, entertainment, literary and destination PR, marketing and community relations, she has provided strategic consulting, publicity and promotion for countless organizations, companies, products and authors, and has been the PR force – and spark -- behind some of the region’s most high-visibility events and initiatives.
We congratulate Nina and join with the other members of the Hall of Fame in welcoming her into our cozy little club. Bravo, Nina!

Around The World

Recent visitors to our blog have included web surfers from Sri Lanka, Korea, Japan, Canada, France and Houston, Dallas and Sunnyvale, Texas. Hellooooh, Sunnyvale!
And welcome, everybody!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It Was Carter

So many people have accused me of wanting to pull the Democrat Party apart by encouraging Hillary to stay in the race that I feel I must answer this accusation. These people say that the 1980 model that I cite spell disaster for the party. They say that by staying in the race and bringing it to the convention Teddy Kennedy essentially cost Carter the 1980 election.
It was Kennedy, they say, who defeated Carter.
I disagree.
It was Carter who defeated Carter.
Note that in my article I referred to Carter's time in office as a "failed presidency."
Carter was a failure and he set himself up for defeat. Then the Great Communicator, Ronald Reagan came along and finished the job.
The election was held on November 4, 1980. Ronald Reagan beat Carter by almost ten percentage points in the popular vote. Republicans also gained control of the Senate for the first time in twenty-five years on Reagan's coattails. The electoral college vote was a landslide, with 489 votes (representing 44 states) for Reagan and 49 votes for Carter (representing 6 states and the District of Columbia).
Look at the 1980 map, above.
Teddy Kennedy didn't do that. Carter set it up and Reagan finished the job.

We've Gone National!

Thank you, Real Clear Politics for picking up our column in today's Philadelphia Daily News: Hillary Situation Reminds Me of 1980.
The comments on this just keep pouring in and we're excited and nearly overwhelmed.
This is a great thrill, and very gratifying.
To all those who have been arguing with me about this, our friend Michael Riccardi reminds us that it's really not so unusual for a candidate to stay in the race and take his or her challenge all the way to the convention. Here's what Michael says:
Hillary has every right to remain in the race as long as she wants. You are correct to point out that no one in her position (close 2nd) has ever gotten out before the convention. Udall in 1976 had his name placed in nomination. That same year, Reagan fought all the way to the convention. Hart in 1984 and Jesse Jackson in 1988 all kept their second-place campaigns going into the convention.
Thanks, Michael for this very pertinent update.
And thanks to everyone for your support of our efforts and all of your comments.

True Grit

I never thought I'd say this - but I've come to admire Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I've been inspired by the true grit that she's displayed during this presidential campaign. Her determination and willingness to fight on against all odds should be a model for others to follow . . . To read the rest of my column from today's Philadelphia Daily News click here.

La Tolteca: Delicious!

We journeyed back to West Chester last night where we visited one of our favorite Mexican spots, La Tolteca.
Tolteca on South High Street is a small roadside mecca for fine, simply-prepared treats like tamales, enchiladas, burritos, chile relleno, chimichanga, quesadilla and tacos.
And this BYOB is remarkable value and a great buy for families. Four people can eat nicely for about 40 bucks. You'll be served a large, tasty platter for about $8.25. The service is good and friendly and the food is fresh and zesty.
We've come back to Tolteca again and again and we've never been disappointed.
BTW: The free, crispy nachos are great!

Blame Game

At ABC News Jake Tapper has tallied up 10 separate instances where Obama has blamed his staff for his own actions, statements, bunglings and gaffs.
This has been going on for nearly a year now.
There's a pattern here: Whenever Obama gets caught in a contradiction or misstatement he blames his staff. It's always "staffers, assistants, staff work" or the like.
It's almost laughable.
This is a guy with an enormously high opinion of himself who seems to be unable to admit to a mistake or a mess up or bad judgment. He just won't take responsibility.
Tapper's piece is worth reading if only to review the crazy catalogue of Obama's blame game.
Count 'em up the way Jake did. Then, ask yourself: "Do I really want somebody like this running the country?"

Overwhelming Win!

Hillary Clinton didn't look like a loser Tuesday night as she celebrated an overwhelming victory in West Virginia defeating the OH!man by a stunning two-to-one margin.
Hillary has now piled up seventeen million votes!
Can anyone explain to me why these 17 million voters should now be ignored?
Hillary carried just about every demographic in West Virginia last night. Her win was broad, deep and meaningful. And the simple truth is that since 1916 no Democrat has won the White House without winning West Virginia.
And as Hillary said: "The White House is won in the swing states and I am winning the swing states." Hillary has won swing and/or border states like West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. And let's not forget Florida which I feel has to count as a Hillary win. Let's face it: She's won most of the big states that a Democrat must win.
Democrats better think a little longer (and harder) before they abandon her.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Inspiring Story

A beautiful story appeared in the Camden Courier-Post about Marine Capt. Michael P. Del Palazzo (pictured) of nearby Marlton who has been making a difference in the lives of children while he is stationed in Iraq.
Mike is the son of our cousin, Lorraine Cirucci Del Palazzo and he is a very admirable young man. Of course, we're not really surprised by all of this since his mother is an extraordinary woman and a true patriot.
Here's part of the story:
Marine Capt. Michael P. Del Palazzo has witnessed the chaos the war has brought to Iraq, including to its impoverished children, many of whom lack shoes and decent clothes.
In frequent e-mails, the 31-year-old Marlton man, who's finishing his second tour of Iraq and is scheduled to return to the United States this week, has told his mother about the dire circumstances the children face.
As a mother, Lorraine Del Palazzo understood -- and did something about it.
In March, she organized a shoe/clothing/toy drive among her co-workers and church friends that collected 18 boxes of donated new and almost-new items for Iraq's children.
The boxes, filled with everything from sneakers, shoes and sandals to shirts, shorts and pants to Beanie Babies, reached their destination in late April.
Del Palazzo, along with members of the Charlie Company 1st Tank Battalion he commands, distributed the gifts to children in the Al Anbar province of Iraq.
"The Marines in my company are professional warriors, but they are also very compassionate young men. Their ages range from 19 to 25, and a lot of them have children at home," Del Palazzo wrote in a May 1 e-mail to the Courier-Post. "They take the same pride in helping the people here as they do in serving as Marines."
His mother was moved to start the drive when her son sent her a photo of him with some Iraqi children on March 13 . . .
Read the rest of the story and see more photos here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Altered States

We all know the OH!man has remarkable powers but I'd still like to know how he managed to visit FIFTY SEVEN states. Perhaps he's thinking of the states he plans to add once he becomes Our Exaulted Leader. You know, states like the State of Well Being, The State of Higher Consciousness, the State of Euphoria, and the State of What The Hell Do I Do Now?

Friday, May 9, 2008

For The Moms

To all moms and gandmoms and great-grandmoms and all the "children" that they love - and who love them back: Think of our nation and its future this Mother's Day. And remember: The Presidency is no place for on-the-job training!

Positano Coast!

We had a wonderful time last night at Aldo Lamberti's dreamy Positano Coast Restaurant and Sopra Lounge (pictured) amidst the treetops of Philadelphia's Society Hill neighborhood. Sopra is color, comfort and intimacy combined in a soft, welcoming atmosphere.
We were part of a huge party centered in the lounge and we enjoyed Positano's unique lemon drop martinis. The party also featured a variety of other adult beverages as well as shrimp, tuna tartare, brusceta, gazpacho soup, mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat and miniature potato puffs. As the evening wore on the open-walled setting was throbbing with happy partygoers and intoxicating music. The candlelit space opened to the balmy night breezes and the sky beyond as guests sort of naturally blended into their vibrant surroundings. The more, the merrier!
It was a night to celebrate the coming of the warm-weather months and the rain held off just long enough to make it a perfect evening in every sense of the word.
We congratulated Aldo as we departed and we extend our thanks as well to Nicole Cashman and her extraordinary staff at Cashman and Associates for their hard work in making this event such a great success.

Joey The Great!

Kudos to the Great Joey Vento and his Geno's Steaks for donating all of the proceeds from their sales during the past 24 hours to the family of slain Philadelphia police Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski.
The line at Geno's snaked around the vibrantly lit cheesesteak haven last night and we waited patiently with so many, many others to contribute to the cause. We didn't mind the long wait and met many folks in line who felt the same way.
Many of Philadelphia's Finest also arrived to show their support and Joey welcomed the men and women in blue, ushering them in through a back door so they could save time and get back to their shifts.
In the line we ran into Jim Johnson, an old classmate from Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden who now lives in nearby Audubon. Jim is semi-retired and now works at Philadelphia International Airport. He was purchasing some cheesesteaks to take home to family members in Jersey. We also saw our friend Dom Giordano, host of The Dom Show on The Big Talker, 1210 AM on the radio in Philadelphia. Dom broadcasted live from Geno's last night.
As I'm writing this Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski's memorial service is already underway in Philadelphia. How many more police slayings will it take before people wake up and realize we must crack down on street crime?
On final thought: No mercy on the thugs who murdered Sgt. Liczbinski and shame on all of those everywhere (including Barack Obama, wacky Jon Corzine, New Jersey legislators and so many others) who refuse to use the death penalty. Shame on them!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Indomitable Barbara

From a New Yorker profile/book review of TV legend Barbara Walters:
Walters is, along with Mike Wallace, among the few remaining on-air television journalists whose careers encompass almost the entire history of television news. Before broadcast news emerged from the primordial ooze and separated itself from entertainment and commerce and opinion, just about everybody in front of the camera did a little of just about everything. Walters hawked Alpo on the air, assisted by live dogs. She got her big break, a full-time job on NBC’s “Today” show, in 1961, as a writer for a long-forgotten beauty named Anita Colby, who had a five-minute segment on the show that was sponsored by S & H Green Stamps and was devoted to fashion, makeup, and entertaining. Walters, whose first ambition was to be an actress and who had a couple of early jobs in public relations, became a journalist by accident, when NBC moved “Today” from the entertainment to the news division and a sympathetic boss decreed that she could write for all segments of the show. Her transition to on-air personality came by accident, too, when, after a few short, unplanned fill-ins, she got herself assigned to Paris to cover the fashion shows . . .
As she has gone from being well known to being famous and on to being an inescapable, if easily parodied, national monument, Walters has taken the reporter-source relationship to a strange new place. While Oprah Winfrey, who declared as a contestant in a teen-age pageant that Walters was who she wanted to be like when she grew up, can no longer pull off the act of being in a position inferior to those she interviews, Walters can, somehow. She also gets to offer her own opinions and feelings and to act as a combination of loving but gimlet-eyed mom and one-woman embodiment of American public opinion.

List The Losers

Quick, quick: Name the number of losing Democrat presidential candidates since 1968 and give me their names.
You'd be quite astounded at the number of Democrat losers in the past 40 years.
It's almost staggering and includes the presidential elections of 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 2000 and 2004. That's six big losers and quite a few of them are still hangin around and causing trouble - or at least trying to.
Think about it: In 40 years the Dems lost six big presidential elections and managed to win only three. Not a very good record.
During the same period the GOP had only three losers: Ford, George H. W. Bush and Dole.
Back to the Dems: We've already mentioned George McGovern (1972). But how many of the other losers can you name? Here's a helpful tip: Start in 2004 and work your way back.

With Friends Like These...

That famously loyal friend and fearless leader George McGovern has decided that his endorsement of Hillary Clinton is no longer valid. The losing 1972 Democrat presidential candidate says he urged Hillary to drop out of the Democratic presidential race and has endorsed her rival, Barack Obama.
After watching the returns from the North Carolina and Indiana primaries the other night, McGovern said it's virtually impossible for Clinton to win the nomination. So, he's simply walking away from her. McGovern said he had a call in to former President Clinton to tell him of the decision, adding that he remains close friends with the Clintons.
"I will hold them in affection and admiration all of my days," he said of the Clintons.
Oh yeah, sure. You remember McGovern: He's the guy who said he was 1000% behind his own running mate, Tom Eagleton before he dropped Eagleton and replaced him with Kennedy brother-in-law Sargent Shriver. Some friend!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

From Iron Hill To Ponzio's

Last night we visited nearby West Chester and dined at one of our favorite spots, the Iron Hill Brewery. Iron Hill's lively, informal atmosphere, friendly staff and key location in downtown West Chester make it a welcoming spot all year round but it's always fun in the spring when sidewalk dining opens up. And Iron Hill has recently updated its menu which is augmented by the bar's own fresh brews that vary with the season.
We love West Chester for a variety of reasons. Not the least of these is the fact that this cozy college town is home to PR pro Adam Cirucci who joined us last night. Adam enjoyed one of his favorite Iron Hill menu items, the New York strip steak.
Bright and early this morning we headed to Ponzio's diner/restaurant at the crossroads of Cherry Hill where Mayor Bernie Platt welcomed a group of us for breakfast. The Mayor updated us on plans for continued commercial growth and development in South Jersey's most vibrant community. But Bernie also warned that New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine is trying to "balance the state's budget on the backs of communities like Cherry Hill." The Mayor is not amused - and neither are we! The way we see it, the Governor and state lawmakers ought to wring the state budget and state government dry of mismanagement, waste and corruption before they pass their problems onto sprawling, successful suburban meccas like Cherry Hill.
At the breakfast we chatted with Cherry Hill Mall honcho Bob Ahlquist who told us the big new expansion of the mall is moving ahead right on schedule. In addition to Maggiano's the Mall will announce another new restaurant opening real soon. But Bob's not ready to release the name of this top-drawer restaurant and neither are we. So, stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Still Can't Close The Deal

Barack Obama was unable to close the deal again on Tuesday night.
Yes, he won North Carolina. But he simply won another southern state with a huge black vote in the Democrat primary (more than 30%). And he once again captured more than nine out of 10 of those black votes. But Obama lost Indiana to Clinton and Clinton won nearly 60% of late-deciding voters in Tuesday's primaries. It's significant that Obama couldn't win Indiana which borders his own state of Illinois.
So, let's review. Obama has lost New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, Indiana, Florida and Texas. I add Florida because Obama never took his name off the ballot in Florida. These are big, significant states - key states in any general election.
And next week and the following week it's likely that Clinton will win West Virginia and Kentucky.
Still, Hillary faces an uphill climb.
Democrats will have a hard time denying Obama the nomination. The only question is will the prize be worth very much if and when Obama claims the prize? He can't win the big ones. He doesn't seem to be able to win over the groups that have turned against him. And, his inability to close the deal has led to a long, fractious race which has left both candidates bruised and battered.
And the doubts about Obama continue to grow - especially among the so-called "Reagan Democrats," older voters, regular church goers and independents. And these are people who actually vote.
If anything, the Clintons have been easy on Obama. That won't happen once the Republicans step to the plate.
Be sure of this: Nothing which Obama has faced thus far prepares him for the battle with the GOP that looms on the horizon.

Cinco de Mayo At Tequilas

We celebrated Cinco de Mayo at Tequilas upscale Mexican eatery in Philadelphia last night.
This dreamy culinary outpost was jammed with happy diners, and with good reason; the food is great. We arrived already fortified with margaritas (enjoyed earlier) so it made sense to follow that up with a full pitcher of sangria and hearty fare.
Tequilas got its start back in 1986 while located at 1511 Locust Street. Owner David Suro, a native of Guadalajara, grew up near agave fields in the state of Jalisco.
He went to school with the children of agave farmers and tequila producers. David met his wife, Annette, while working as a waiter in Cancun. He followed her home to Philadelphia and got a job at the only Mexican restaurant in town (El Metate). A year later, he bought out the owner and renamed it Tequilas.
Tequilas Restaurant moved to its current location at 1602 Locust Street in 2001. Today it continues to evolve and reinvent itself while providing authentic dishes from all regions of Mexico.
We enjoyed shrimp stuffed with chihuahua cheese, wrapped with bacon and deep fried. It was served on a bed of greens, Mexican rice and vegetables. Pacific coast restaurants in the states of Nayarit, Colima, Sinaloa and Sonoro offer this dish.
We learned all this and more from Tequilas wonderfully informative menu which explains the history and geography of each dish and even includes stories about people and places in Mexico. In addition to the seafood treat which we enjoyed, numerous chicken, meat and vegetarian dishes are available.
BTW: Tequilas huge and elegant bar offers the largest selection of tequila in the city.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Tryin To Wiggle Away

Obama DID make a private deal with the Teamsters as the WSJ and others have reported. Now, on GMA this morning he tries to wiggle away from it. It's the same old doubletalk. Why is Obama being wishy-washy about his secret promise to end strict federal oversight of the Teamsters?

The Future Looks Great!

You are looking at the future of the Republican Party.
And you are looking at the future of America.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is that future. Jindal (shown here with his wife, Supriya) is the most exiting young leader in America today.
And now Bobby has caught the attention of national commentators and Senator John McCain who campaigned with Jindal in Louisiana last week.
Here's what William Kristol says about Bobby Jindal in the New York Times today:
. . . in separate conversations last week, no fewer than four McCain staffers and advisers mentioned as a possible vice-presidential pick the 36-year-old Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal. They’re tempted by the idea of picking someone so young, with real accomplishments and a strong reformist streak.
It might also be a way to confront the issue of McCain’s age (71), which private polls and focus groups suggest could be a real problem. A Jindal pick would implicitly acknowledge the questions and raise the ante. The message would be: “You want generational change? You can get it with McCain-Jindal — without risking a liberal and inexperienced Obama as commander in chief.” I would add that it was after McCain spent considerable time with Jindal in New Orleans recently, and reportedly found him, as he has before, personally engaging and intellectually impressive, that the campaign’s informal name-dropping of Jindal began.
Personally, I believe a McCain/Jindal ticket would be dynamite: exciting, vivid, relevant, trailblazing. It's what we need right now.
But whether or not it happens, be sure of this: Bobby Jindal is the future!

About That Tough Talk

Barack Obama likened Hillary Clinton to President Bush for threatening to "totally obliterate" Iran if it attacks Israel.
"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," Clinton said April 22 in an interview with ABC. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."
Obama said, "It's not the language we need right now, and I think it's language reflective of George Bush" akin to "bluster and saber rattling."
What in hell would Obama have us do -- stand by and watch while Israel is attacked?
Is this Obama's foreign policy: Sit and watch and play nice while terrorist nations destroy democracies and usher in a "post-American world?"
Bravo to Clinton who refused to back down and responded: "I'm asked a question about what I would do if Iran attacked our ally ... and, yes, we would have massive retaliation against Iran . . . I sure want to make it abundantly clear to them that they would face a tremendous cost if they did such a thing."

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Dolly, Wolfgang, Borgata!

We journeyed to the beautiful Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City last night to enjoy the legendary Dolly Parton in concert at the Borgata's spacious and comfortable Event Center.
Before the show we dined at Wolgang Puck's American Grille. Offering contemporary American cuisine in an upscale setting designed by preeminent hospitality designer Tony Chi, the restaurant is Chef Puck’s first east coast venture. Wolfgang Puck American Grille offers two distinctive dining experiences ranging from casual and relaxed to elegant and upscale, each with a different menu and price point. Guests enter the restaurant upon an elevated terrace that overlooks Borgata’s pedestrian walkway creating a great place to people-watch. We chose the informal Tavern and enjoyed perfect martinis and burgers. If you can find a better burger platter than the one served here please let us know. It's truly outstanding.
As for the show, Dolly is the kind of bigger-than-life entertainer and vivid personality who delivers on every level. She knows what you want to see and what you want to hear and it's all there. Magnificently done out and backed by eight musicians and three vocalists Dolly performed all her giant hits and then some. These included Nine to Five, Jolene, Here You Come Again and the poignant Coat of Many Colors. She also delivered songs from her new album, Backwoods Barbie.
Dolly is a well-grounded entertainer and consummate musician who has actually written thousands of songs (including I Will Always Love You, which she also performed) and she is a real person who is proud of her country roots as well. She is an incandescent talent.
Thanks goodness there was no warm up act. The show started promptly and ran more than two hours with a brief intermission. Dolly Parton is the Real Deal.
And this too: The Borgata remains a personal favorite of ours. Everyone at the Borgata is friendly and courteous. It's a joy to visit this spectacular property because it is so well managed and the staff is so accommodating. Bravo!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Eight, Oh! Oh! Oh!

This blog has now logged its EIGHT THOUSANDTH VISIT!
Thank you for helping us reach 8,000!
We thought you might like to know that people are visiting this blog not just from all over the USA but all over the world. Some of our visitors have been from England, Kuwait, Canada, France, India, Brazil, Greece and Puerto Rico.
When we started the blog we had no idea that we would have such an impact. But the truth is that people are now reading us on nearly every continent and nearly every state from coast to coast.
Thank you. And keep spreading the word!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

We Give It A 10!

We had a great time visiting today with Bill Henley, Lori Wilson and the staff of Philly's The 10! Show (aka 10!) at the NBC10, WCAU-TV studios.
The one-hour magazine/lifestyle show is taped in the morning in front of a live audience and airs at 2 PM, Monday through Friday. Hosts Lori Wilson and Bill Hendley (pictured) couldn't be better matched. They have great chemistry on-air and off. They told us that they enjoy working with one another and look forward to doing the show every day. We also chatted with the show's resident DJ, Omega, who spins great music and peppers the proceedings with youthful energy and street lingo. Omega told us he's been doing deejay gigs since he was 12 and he knew early-on that this is what he always wanted to do.
Audience coordinator Colin McAndrew and talent booker Jami Osiecki also discussed details of the show with us including audience demographics, the types of topics and guests the show prefers, audience giveaways and bookings.
10! was re-launched nearly a year ago with Wilson as Henley's new co-host and has been a big success ever since. We wish Lori and Bill (who's also an NBC10 meteorologist) continued success.