Tuesday, July 29, 2008

'Miss Edie'

They called her 'Miss Edie' at NBC 10 in Philadelphia.
Now, we will all miss Edie - especially those of us who knew her, loved her, and counted her as a friend.
Edie Huggins brought grace, dignity, humanity, kindness, caring and a sense of total professionalism to everything she touched, everywhere she went.
And she touched the hearts of so many Philadelphians over a long, distinguished, trailblazing career. In the cutthroat world of local TV news Edie sure as hell knew how to compete. But she always played by the rules, she had a smile for everyone, she had time for everyone and she never raised her voice.
Edie Huggins passed away today after a prolonged illness.
You can read what I wrote about Edie on this blog last December by clicking here.
And you can read Edie's complete story and a tribute to her at NBC 10 by clicking here.
Edie dedicated much of her professional life to community service and to being a strong advocate for many causes, as she served on many boards throughout the region.
Edie is survived by her two devoted adult children, Hastings Edward, a complex engagement manager with IBM and a daughter, Laurie Linn, a national television producer in Los Angeles and a marketing specialist for Broadcast Advertising in Baltimore and Philadelphia.
"So I feel like when I walk back into this town that I'm just one of many of her children. I don't know that I could give a testimonial that would be anymore insightful then anyone else that could say they loved her," Hastings Huggins, Edie's son, said.
She rubbed elbows with everyone from mayors to governors to celebrities -- she had access to them all. But Edie was most inspired by the lives and stories of the many unknown, hard working people of the Delaware Valley, ordinary people doing extraordinary deeds.
I was so, so proud to know this extraordinary lady.
In a business where personalities come and go and authenticity is often in short supply, Edie Huggins was the real deal.
A memorial service for Edie Huggins will be held on Aug. 5 at 7 p.m., at Bright Hope Baptist Church, 12 Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue in Philadelphia. The service is open to the public.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mama Mia, Whatamess!

I knew nothing about Mamma Mia before I went to see the film of the musical which stars Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan.
I deliberately avoided the show for this reason: I don't do jukebox musicals. I don't regard jukebox musicals as legitimate Broadway musicals. Jukebox shows are contrived musicals built around previously created pop songs that have already become hits. They do not contain original music that is written for and meant to enhance the story of a legitimate, integrated musical.
Anyway, Streep and Brosnan are two favorites of mine and I heard good things about the movie so I went to see it.
True, I should have consulted my favorite movie review site: Rottentomatoes.com. Had I done that I would have seen that Mamma Mia barely broke 50% on the Rotten Tomatoes critic meter. That means that nearly half the many critics who post on the site hated the movie.
Mamma Mia is a mess. It's hopelessly contrived. It's loud. It's inane. Its cardboard characters are endlessly giddy. It's painful to watch.
Here's what Christian Toto said in the Washington Times: Mamma Mia! is a sloppy, overwrought mess of a musical. But at least Toto enjoyed the Abba songs. I hated them. They're shrill and dumb.
Here's what Roger Ebert said in the Chicago Tribune: There are the wall-to-wall songs by ABBA, if you like that sort of thing. I don't, not much.
And here's what Ann Hornaday said in the Washington Post: Mamma Mia! presents itself as a piece of clever counter-programming to this summer's surfeit of pounding, effects-driven comic-book movies. But filmgoers eager to sample its sunny, synth-pop pleasures are likely to feel just as bludgeoned.
My final word: Avoid this show at all costs. Don't see it live. Don't see the movie. Don't rent it or buy the DVD. Stay away - far, far away.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

12,000 . . And Growing!

Yes, we have reached 12,000 worldwide visitors.
And we're growing every day.
Recent visitors have loogged in from India, South Africa, England, Israel, South Korea, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan, Iraq, Kuwait and several countries in South America.
Bonjour, tout le monde!

Friday, July 25, 2008


Among Obama's more interesting statements of late, here are two:
"You know, you always want to avoid saying things like 'always' and 'never.'"
"Israel has always been a good friend of Israel."
And we can add to these his comment about looking forward to dealing with world leaders [as President] "for the next eight to 10 years."
And then there was his statement about travelling to "57 states" in the United States.
So, I ask: What if President George W. Bush had said these things? What if he assumed a President was able to serve in office for 10 years? What if he thought America had 57 states? What if he called Israel "a good friend of Israel?" What if he said you should "never say never?"
How do you think the media would have treated him?
Do you think he would ever be able to live down statements such as these?

Soft Serve?

Aimee Cirucci has alerted us to a feature story in the New York Times about soft serve ice cream (often referred to in the Philadelphia area as "frozen custard").
It seems soft serve is tres chic. In fact it's all the rage in New York and Hollywood.
I've loved soft serve for years. Now, as ice cream gets more and more complicated (with mixes, fold-ins, toppings, swirls, flurries and blizzards) I find myself turning to soft-serve more and more.
Soft serve is simple: It's smooth, creamy, tasty, consistent and fun and easy to eat. It's basic. It stands well on its own. It doesn't need any alteration, additions or adulteration.
And, it's comforting.
Don't ever think that soft serve is just for children. No way!
Soft serve is for everybody.
Here's what Marian Burros of the New York Times says:
Even the most ordinary soft serve is popular. When going out for an afternoon or evening snack, Americans are about twice as likely to have a soft-serve swirl than a scoop of the harder stuff, according to Harry Balzer, a vice president of the NPD group, a market research firm. (Until recently you couldn’t make soft serve at home.) While sales of hard ice cream have been fairly stable, according to NPD, soft-serve sales are growing.
The appeal of soft serve lies in part in a bit of science. Taste buds respond better when they’re not well chilled, so ice cream tastes creamier and richer when it’s not frozen solid. Hard ice cream is served at about 5 to 7 degrees, while soft serve comes out of the nozzle at 14 to 25 degrees.
Those great classics, Mister Softee, Carvel and Dairy Queen remain very popular.
One soft serve merchant proudly declares: “Soft serve is a really a satisfying textural, tactile and visual experience. Like instant gratification. We have a lot of people joking about lying down and having the soft serve dispense right into their mouths.”
BTW: There is a difference between soft serve and frozen custard. Frozen custard contains eggs while most soft serves don't. And most soft serve pursits enjoy the treat in a dish, not a cone.
Either way, Enjoy!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sunset, Philly Style

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset in the Philadelphia region this evening.
To begin with it was a perfect day with comfortable temperatures, low humidity and a refreshing breeze - all ushered in by yesterday's rain.
Then, this evening the sun embarked on its magical descent and lit up the sky. It was clear with a light, balmy, airy feeling - a fresh, windswept feeling.
This is why I love summer and why I treasure each and every one of its days!


Today, for the first time in American history a presidential candidate will deliver a campaign speech in Europe.
And today Europeans will weigh in on their choice for President of the United States.
And today, Barack Obama will visit Germany - his first visit to that country, ever.
This is Barack Obama: a person who never really held a full-time job until he became a United States Senator two years ago; a man who announced his presidential bid after he had served in the U. S. Senate for just 143 days.


Last night Obama had to field an off-the-cuff question from ABC News: "If you had it to do over again, knowing what you know now, would you support the surge? There was a small problem. This was not a question that Obama's handlers had prepared him for.
He had no script.
Here is Obama's answer. See if you can make any sense at all out of it:
"No, because keep in mind that question, you wouldn't ... but keep in mind that kind of hypothetical is very difficult to know hindsight is 20-20 ... later ... but I think that what I'm absolutely convinced of is that at that time we had to change the political debate because the view of the Bush administration at that time was one that I just disagreed with."
Get it?

Delicious Izakaya

We were out late last night celebrating the opening of the spectacular new Izakaya Japanese Pub at the beautiful Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City. In Japan izakaya describes is a type of Japanese drinking establishment which also serves food to accompany the drinks.
The name "izakaya" is a compound word consisting of "i " (to remain) and "sakaya" (sake shop), showing that izakaya originate from sake shops which allowed customers to remain on the premises to drink.
At Borgata Izakaya describes a modern Japanese pub that defies comparison and serves extraordinary sushi, sake and robotayaki served in a sensual, yet contemporary atmosphere. Izakaya's tempting cocktails and sharable plates make it the premier spot for after-hours nosh and drinks, or a delicious late night meal.
We were mesmerized as we watched chef/owner Michael Schulson (pictured) and his fine staff at work as they produced dazzling treats such as cubed kobe beef, king crab, seared scallops, salmon, spicy tuna cracker and sushi made of cucumber, tuna, eel, shrimp, yellowtail and avocado. Schulson is the acclaimed chef and star of "Pantry Raid" on the Food Network and his new eatery is inspired by his time living in Japan and his global travels.
Izakaya is dreamy inside - tranquilizing in shades of brown, gold, grey and black. With an airy spaciousness Izakaya invites you to linger and taste a variety of dishes while enjoying drinks such as its signature sake sidecar. Last night we sampled all of the treats including the refreshing sidecar and topped it all off with mini ice cream sandwiches made of green tea, chocolate or vanilla tofu "ice cream."
We also met many members of the Borgata staff including Signe Huff who works in human resources. Signe told us that Borgata employs more than 8,000 people and that its human resources department alone employees more than 20 people. Signe started working in Atlantic City at Resorts when gambling first arrived 30 years ago. Signe was a pleasure to chat with as she described how the town has grown and thrived and how Borgata has redefined hospitality at the shore.
BTW: In Philadelphia magazine's "Best of Philly" (just out) Borgata garners a record FIVE "best of" winners in five different categories. Is anybody surprised?
Kudos once again to Cashman and Associates for producing a top-drawer party!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


A friend reports to us that the first F/A-22 Fighters have been delivered to Langley Air Force Base. He explains:
Langley is to be first Operational AFB for the F/A-22. It is a very beautiful AFB, located in a picturesque location, as you can see in these photos, near Norfolk and Hampton, Va. In Actual In-flight (simulated) Combat Operations against the F-15, two F/A-22s were able to operate without detection while it went Head to Head against (8) F-15s. The F/A-22s scored Missile Hits (Kills) against all the F-15 Aircraft and the F/A-22s were never Detected by either the F-15s or Ground Based Radar. The F/A-22 has been described as a "titanium and carbon fiber dagger." They're so advanced that if their on-board locator is switched off even our own satellites can lose track of them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Michelle: Angry, Again!

Michelle Obama returned to one of her favorite themes Monday, as she spoke in Colorado. She said she wished people had more time to be angry, divided and disappointed:
Obama rattled off a list of areas where she believes the nation has been underperforming during the two terms of President Bush: education, health care and the economy.
"I wish we had time to be divided. I wish we had time to be upset. To be angry. To be disappointed. I wish we did," Obama said. "Because if we had time for that, then things wouldn't be so bad right now. Instead, we're in a place where another four or eight years of the world as it is will devastate the life of some child."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Joe Hits Obama On Iraq

From Jake Tapper at ABC News:
"Look, the fact is that if Barack Obama's policy on Iraq had been implemented, Barack Obama couldn't go to Iraq today, it wouldn't be safe," Sen. Joe Lieberman, Ind-Conn., told Chris Wallace . . . on "Fox News Sunday."
"Barack Obama, John McCain saw the same difficulty in Iraq," Lieberman argued, "John McCain had the guts to argue against public opinion, to put his whole campaign on the line because, as he says, he'd rather lose an election than lose a war that he thinks is this important to the United States..."
Lieberman continued: "Sen. McCain and I and others want us out of Iraq, sooner rather than later, but want us out in a way that does not compromise all the gains that American and Iraqi forces have made in Iraq ... And frankly, we want to stay there to a victory, because we don't want all those who have served in the American uniform there to have served, or in some cases died, in vain. Remember this, Chris, we wouldn't be having this discussion about how to get out unless the surge, which John McCain courageously fought for, taking on the president of his own party, popular opinion, risking his campaign, and which Sen. Obama opposed, worked. So, that's the good news."
And there's this charge as well: "If Barack Obama's policy in Iraq had been implemented, he couldn't be in Iraq today, is because he was prepared to accept retreat and defeat, and that would mean, today, al Qaeda would be in charge of parts of Iraq, Iranian-backed extremists would be in charge of other parts of Iraq. There'd be civil war and, maybe, even genocide. And the fact is that we are winning in Iraq today. And, you know, you can't choose, as Sen. Obama seems to think, to lose in Iraq so you can win in Afghanistan. The reality is, if we lost in Iraq, which Obama was prepared to do, we -- we would go to Afghanistan as losers."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Go, RedState!

Congratulations are pouring in to RedState.com, one of the best web sites anywhere.
RedState is now celebrating its fourth anniversary and I join so many others in wishing the RedState blog a happy, happy birthday.
And I'm so happy to be sending out greetings from a Red State. Since I'm normally stuck in hopelessly blue Joisey, I'm delighting in the true red surroundings of my adopted home state, South Carolina.
So, I join Newt Gingrich, Mitch McConnell and so many others in congratulating RedState on its updated site, thanking RedState for its wonderful contributions to The Cause and wishing RedState continued success.
As long as there's a RedState (and red states) the future is secure!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Live With History

We took a quick jaunt yesterday to the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina in Shelter Cove on Hilton Head to view Live With History, an exhibit of photographs from the vast archives of the New York Times. This marvelous exhibit contains some of the world most famous photographs from some of the world's most renowned photographers. The collection of photographs chronicles over a century and a half of world history. This exhibition of black and white images captures changes in everything from fashion and finances to politics and personalities. More than 80 photos were chosen from among six million by researchers and the head of The New York Times photo archives for this extraordinary exhibit of historic moments.
The exhibit continues through September 12 and is well worth a visit.

Incredible But True

Every year I tell my friends that the hottest summer day in Hilton Head is often considerably cooler than the same day in Philly.
Yes, it can get very hot here in South Carolina's steamy Low Country.
But . . . today it's breezy and 84 degrees in Hilton Head.
And in Philly? Try hot and humid - sweltering, near 100 and no breeze!
Incredibly, it's been like this most of this week.
At the Jersey shore the water is frigid and the surf is downright dangerous; so much so that the riptide has actually claimed a few lives.
Here, the ocean water is like bath water and the surf is calm.
Hey, the Jersey shore is conveeeenient. I understand.
And I don't expect the downashore folks to ever venture this far south.
But for anyone who plans to stay anywhere for any length of time, this little piece of paradise is definately worth the trip!

Satire: We Get It!

About that magazine cover, Sen. Obama . . .
We got it. There are a lot of us, actually, even the bitter ones, clinging to our guns, married to our siblings, glued to our Bibles.
You don't need a Harvard pedigree or a subscription to The New Yorker to understand what satire means.
So please tell your staff and supporters to stop whining about how a group of liberal literary types depicted you as a Muslim and your wife as Angela Davis. (And you thought Republicans would be the first to play the race card.)
Stop telling the world that this will just put the nail in your coffin with those unsophisticated voters who don't do nuance and have limited vocabularies.
Even those of us who don't travel in your high-toned circles caught the joke.

To read the rest of Chrstine Flowers' wonderful op-ed from today's Philadelphia Daily News, click here.

Hunka Burnin Love

Yes, I was around when Elvis was in his prime.
And yes, I even remember some of his early hits. And I saw him on the Ed Sullivan Show (only from the waist up, of course).
But I was never a big Elvis fan.
It wasn't that I disliked Elvis. It's just that I never really connected with him or his music.
And I've never bought into these Elvis recreation shows.
But . . . Mike Helms of Fort Mill, South Carolina performs as Elvis at Skillets Cafe here in Hilton Head every summer and he's wonderful. And so, through Mike I've really come to appreciate Elvis' music.
Mike is very faithful to the look, the sound and the mannerisms of Elvis and, above all, he has a wonderful voice. He knows how to sing the songs of Elvis.
His show doesn't caricature Elvis. It's true to The King and his music and it's also lots of fun.
In addition to his Thursday night gigs at Skillets Mike also performs on Friday nights at Coligny Plaza here on the island. And Mike always draws a big crowd. Last night I was once again part of that crowd.
So, if you're down this way don't miss Mike's performance as "The Big E." It's truly a memorable, entertaining evening!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Goodbye, Tony

From President Bush's remarks at Tony Snow's funeral this morning:
Most of all, we remember Tony's love of his family. There was no doubt for Tony Snow that his family was first. When Jill reached a milestone birthday, Tony had a huge celebration. He later said that he and Jill danced that night as if they were teenagers. He said he was the most fortunate man in the world to have shared love like that. So, today, Jill, our hearts are with you, and we thank you for giving Tony such a special life.
For Robbie, Kendall, and Kristi, you are in our thoughts and prayers, as well. We thank you for sharing your dad with us. He talked about you all the time. He wanted nothing more than your happiness and success. You know, I used to call Tony on the weekends to get his advice. And invariably, I found him with you on the soccer field, or at a swim meet, or helping with your homework. He loved you a lot. Today I hope you know that we loved him a lot, too.
I know it's hard to make sense of today. It is impossible to fully comprehend why such a good and vital man was taken from us so soon. But these are the great mysteries of life -- and Tony knew as well as anyone that they're not ours to unveil.
The day Tony was born was also the day that many of his fellow Catholics pay tribute to Saint Justin. Justin was also a gifted thinker and writer, and a powerful witness for the Christian faith. Because of his beliefs, he suffered many times of trial, and in the year 165 A.D. he was arrested. Before he received a sentence of death, he was asked: "If you are killed, do you suppose you will go to heaven?" Justin replied: "I do not suppose it, but I know and am fully persuaded of it."
Tony Snow knew that, as well. That brought him great peace. When talking about the struggle he waged so admirably, he said that no matter how bad times may sometimes seem, "God doesn't promise tomorrow, he does promise eternity."
And so today we send this man of faith and character and joy on his final journey. Tony Snow has left the City of Washington for the City of God. May he find eternal rest in the arms of his Savior. And may the Author of all creation watch over his family and all those who loved him, admired him, and will always cherish his memory.

From the remarks of Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, president of Catholic University:
"The measure of this man's life can be found in his character, in his optimism, in his joy and humor, in his courage, in his passion for what was good and right, and in his love for God and family and neighbor and country. Tony snow did not need a long life for us to measure. It was, rather, we who needed his life to be longer."

Flippity, Floppity TIE!

From Dick Morris and Eileen McGann:
After almost six weeks of a constant Obama lead, generally in the five to seven-point range, Scott Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll records two consecutive days of a tie race (July 12-13) and a one-point Obama lead on July 14. What happened to the Democrat’s lead?
Part of the slippage is Obama’s fault and part is McCain’s gain.
Obama has carried flip-flopping to new heights. In the space of a month and a half, this candidate — who we don’t really yet know very well — reversed or sharply modified his positions on at least nine key issues.
. . .
Obama’s breathtaking flips and flops are materially different from McCain’s. While McCain had opposed offshore oil drilling and now supports it, the facts have obviously changed. Obama’s shifts have nothing to do with altered circumstances, just a change in the political calendar.
As a candidate who was nominated to be a different kind of politician, Obama has set the bar pretty high. And, with his flipping and flopping, he is falling short, to the disillusionment of his more naïve supporters. One wag even called him the "black Bill Clinton," a turnaround of the "first black president" moniker that had been pinned on Bill.
Meanwhile, McCain and the Republicans have finally found an issue, oil drilling, exposing how the Democrats oppose drilling virtually anywhere that there might be recoverable oil. Not in Alaska. Not offshore. Not in shale deposits in the West. . . .

The truth is that the Democrats put the need to mitigate climate change ahead of the imperative of holding down gasoline prices at the pump. If there was ever a fault line between elitist and populist approaches to a problem, this is it. In fact, liberals basically don’t see much wrong with $5 gas. Many have been urging a tax to achieve precisely this level, just like Europe has done for decades.

News Randy Travis!

The great Randy Travis is out with his first purely country album in qite some time. It's called Around The Bend and it's filled with wonderful new music. This is one of country's legendary voices - a true talent who brings his own unique touch to everything he does.
The album is in stores now.

Dems Want Joe Out

From Rick Pedraza at Newsmax:
Several Democratic insiders are now saying Sen. Joe Lieberman, D- Conn., will be kicked out of the party's caucus and lose his Senate chairmanship next year if he addresses the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., as planned.
Lieberman, the four-term senator from Connecticut who was elected as an independent in 2006 after losing the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 because of his support for the Iraq war, is supporting Republican nominee John McCain for president.
According to The New York Times, Lieberman's Democratic colleagues are upset over his openly campaigning and traveling with the senator from Arizona during this election season and are fuming over his refusal to tone down his rhetoric against Obama. Some in his party are advising him that speaking to the GOP convention in September will be the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. . . . .

Lieberman has reportedly not ruled out switching parties, but has not to this point thought that he should, which is increasingly becoming an intolerable embarrassment to Democrats.
"I don't have any line that I have in my mind," Lieberman says about reaching the point of no return with the Democratic Party for speaking out on behalf of McCain. "If it happened, I'd know it when I saw it."

Best HH Barbecue

We were in the mood for barbecue last night so we rushed over to Hilton Head's best barbecue, The Smokehouse on Pope Ave, near Coligny. It took awhile for our pulled pork sandwiches to arrive but they proved to be well worth the wait. The Smokehouse has been consistently excellent. The barbecue was fresh and tender and even the mild sauce was tangy. The rolls were perfect. The atmosphere at The Smokehouse is intimate and woodsy, much as you might expect. And the tempting aroma of fresh barbecue wafts through the air even before you pass through the restaurant's doors. Wonderful!
BTW: The Smokehouse caters great parties.
On Tuesday evening we found ourselves in Savannah where we sampled the fine burgers at B & D Burgers on Broughton St. B & D has been chosen best burger in Savannah year after year for the past five or six years and the accolades are well-earned. There are dozens of variations on the burger here and this All-American treat is offered in three different sizes. The choices are mind boggling. Don't expect a fancy atmosphere but in Savannah this is THE place for a beer and a burger.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Top Ten Movies

The American Film Institute has come out with its new list of the Ten Best Movies of all time. Here they are:
Many people have long felt that Citizen Kane is indeed the greatest movie of all time and I doubt that this will change any time soon. The film by Orson Welles is, quite simply a work of genius.
Note that very few of these top ten movies are of recent vintage. Only Schindler's List, The Godfather and Raging Bull fall into that category. The rest are all old - very old.
I can't imagine why Singin In The Rain made the top ten, delightful as it is. I can think of many finer (and more successful) movie musicals, including a few of very recent vintage.
Anyway, it is a solid list and it's certainly a good list of "must see" movies.

Powell And Clinton

Two hot rumors are making the rounds in Washington:
One has Colin Powell endorsing the OH!man or even speaking and endorsing at the Dem Convention.
It's no secret that the former Secretary of State has met with Obama. But he's also met with McCain. Would the former Chair of the Joint Chiefs really turn his back on a military man and endorse a guy who wants to scale back our military presence throughout the world? Nothing would surprise me. Stay tuned.
The second Big Rumor says that a deal has already been cut for Hillary to join the OH!man's ticket. Word is that Hill would accept the Veep spot in exchange for the complete elimination of her campaign debts. Think of the advantages: Obama would nullify Cinton, take her out of the Senate (where she could be a thorn in his side) and eliminate her as an active challenger should he actually be elected. But I'm betting it ain't gonna happen. The Obamas can't bear the thought of having this woman (and her hubby) by their side. My guess is Obama would have to be in Really Big Trouble to make this pact.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Congress: Lift The Ban!

It's Called the Bekkan Formation.
It runs from Montana into lower Canada and includes parts of North and South Dakota as well as other states.
And it's rich in oil and natural gas: up to 503 BILLION barrels of potential oil reserves alone.
And this doesn't even take into account the additional energy bonanza that would be gained for offshore exploration.
The President and Republican leaders have already given the green light to the exploration that we need to close the energy gap and lower prices at the pump and elsewhere. The only things standing in the way right now are Barack Obama and the Democrat Congress.
America has what it needs to take the first big step toward energy independence. And, be sure of this: As soon as we announce that drilling will begin the price of oil futures will drop and that will affect the price at the pump. The results are likely to be quick and dramatic.
The President has lifted the ban on offshore drilling. Now the Democrat Congress must act.
It's time for this do-nothing Congress to wake up!

IBD To Pelosi: Resign!

From Investor's Business Daily (IBD):
Any leader with an energy record as derelict as Speaker Pelosi's ought to step down. Where she once was just incompetent and irresponsible, she has now — with her latest scheme to fix oil prices — become dangerous.
Despite polls showing Americans in favor of drilling more oil from America's huge untapped supplies, Pelosi won't allow it. She just wants to empty our Strategic Petroleum Reserve for a short-term fix to get through Election Day.
It's an irresponsible suggestion, signaling not only an ignorance of how the economy works but also a willingness to place the nation at risk in the case of emergency.
. . .
With Congress' public approval at a subterranean 9% and falling, the speaker must be starting to realize that November may not be the Democratic cakewalk that pundits predict.
President Bush, however, isn't about to be suckered into releasing the reserves just long enough for pump prices to fall by Election Day, thereby saving Democrats' skins so they can carry on their drill-nothingism for an additional two years.
The president needs to do two things with Pelosi's proposal: First, tell her "no," unless she comes up with a plan to open up more drilling. Second, expose it for what it is — a bid to paint Bush as the problem to distract from her own sorry record.
In playing politics with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the speaker has moved beyond the incompetence and irresponsibility that have characterized her leadership to date.
It borders on reckless, something we cannot tolerate in such dangerous times.

Number One, Again!

Our op-ed in the Daily News yesterday ("It's all about the brand") was the most-read piece in the newspaper's opinion section.
It was also featured on Lucianne.com.
Thank you for helping to make us Number One again!

Monday, July 14, 2008

All About The Brand

Quick, what do you think when I mention Coca-Cola?
Maybe you think "soft drink." Or maybe "refreshment."
But maybe you also think of hydration, harmony and happiness. Perhaps visions of America come to mind, or thoughts of an earlier, simpler time. A longing for Santa and an old-fashioned Christmas with the family might even pop into your head.

To read the rest of my column from today's Philadelphia Daily News, click here.


We experienced an absolutely beautiful twilight last evening as the sun lowered itself over Broad Creek on Hilton Head. Every minute saw the sky and the creek painted a different color and we actually watched schools of tiny fish dancing and leaping out of the water. Every season has its charms on this blessed island but on an evening like this you have to believe that summer is why Hilton Head was born.
As the sky darkened the moon appeared to brighten, illuminating the blue sky. The moon sat sentry over the tall, tall pines and an absolute stillness prevailed as night beckoned. The water still shimmered in the moonlight and the creek seemed boundless.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Truly Golden

This was one of those truly golden days on Hilton Head.
The sun lingered and lingered, unwilling to cede its throne.
Tall pines seemed to tease the blue blue sky and Spanish moss dripped from the live oaks creating a natural harmony.
On the beach a barely discernible breeze and relatively mild temperatures prevented humidity from taking its toll. The water was calm and inviting.
Exotic birds preened in the sun and the shadows of pelicans flying in formation overhead beckoned beachgoers.
The overall atmosphere seemed to say "slow down, unwind, don't worry, stay awhile longer."
And so we did.

'Man Of Character'

From the White House, here is the complete statement of President Bush on the death of Tony Snow:
Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of our dear friend, Tony Snow. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Jill, and their children, Kendall, Robbie, and Kristi. The Snow family has lost a beloved husband and father. And America has lost a devoted public servant and a man of character.
Tony was one of our Nation's finest writers and commentators. He earned a loyal following with incisive radio and television broadcasts. He was a gifted speechwriter who served in my father's Administration. And I was thrilled when he agreed to return to the White House to serve as my Press Secretary. It was a joy to watch Tony at the podium each day. He brought wit, grace, and a great love of country to his work. His colleagues will cherish memories of his energetic personality and relentless good humor.
All of us here at the White House will miss Tony, as will the millions of Americans he inspired with his brave struggle against cancer. One of the things that sustained Tony Snow was his faith - and Laura and I join people across our country in praying that this good man has now found comfort in the arms of his Creator.

Best Of Hilton Head

This morning we enjoyed an old fashioned country breakfast at Hilton Head's cozy Plantation Cafe on Pope Avenue between Sea Pines Circle and the beach. Plantation always serves a delicious breakfast and lunch and the prices are reasonable.
Last night we dined at the original Truffles in Sea Pines at Sea Pines Center. Truffles has remained a favorite for its appealing American menu, lively informality and fine food and service.
Truffles now has two other outlets: On Pope Avenue and in nearby Blufton.
Plantation also has another outlet, North Island at Port Royal.
Here are some of our other favorites on Hilton Head:
Woody's Darned Good - Best bagels on the island, on the Parkway near Palmetto Dunes.
San Miguel's - The island's best Mexican, at Shelter Cove.
Hudson's - Best old-fashioned seafood/fish, this legendary eatery is on the docks at Squire Pope Road.
Red Fish - Great fish dishes in an upscale atmosphere with super early bird specials, off Palmetto Bay Road.
Hinchey's - Best grouper sandwich at this Chicago Bar and Grill at Coligny.
Il Carpaccio - Finest informal Italian with the island's best thin-crust crispy pizza at Pineland Station on the Parkway.
Michael Anthony's - Finest upscale Italian on New Orleans Road.
British Open Pub - Authentic British dishes including imported beers, banger and mash and best fish 'n chips, in The Village at Wexford on the Parkway.

'Not Tall On Experience'

From Ruadhan Mac Cormaic at the Irish Times:
If Barack Obama doesn't win November's presidential election in the United States, "you can kiss the Democratic Party goodbye", the actor and director Robert Redford told an audience in Dublin last night. . . . Asked by Michael Dwyer, film correspondent of The Irish Times , if he was looking forward to "regime change" in the US, Redford said: "Yes. Where my country is at the moment, I'm not confident of anything. I'm hopeful.
"I think Obama is not tall on experience . . . but I believe he's a really good person. He's smart. And he does represent what the country needs most now, which is change. . . .

Well, give Redford credit for admitting that his guy is "not tall on experience" and let's remember that it's not enough to simply be "smart" and a "good person" to be the leader of the free world.

Loss Of Tony Snow

The Death of Tony Snow represents an incalculable loss.
When I think of Tony I think of someone who was fair, gentle, decent. caring, courageous, loving, endearing - someone who truly deserved to live a long, long healthy and happy life.
His death leaves us empty and at a loss to explain why life is so unfair and why the good one are often taken from us while many of the evil ones seem to live forever.
"Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of our dear friend, Tony Snow," President Bush said in a statement. "The Snow family has lost a beloved husband and father. And America has lost a devoted public servant and a man of character."
Snow joined FOX in 1996 as the original anchor of "FOX News Sunday" and hosted "Weekend Live" and a radio program, "The Tony Snow Show," before departing in 2006. I always enjoyed Tony's radio program because while he held a particular point of view he was never mean or hostile. He treated everyone with respect. And his affable, easy-going manner made it difficult for anyone to dislike him.
A sometime fill-in host for Rush Limbaugh, Snow said he loved the intimacy of his radio audience.
"It's a tremendous loss for us who knew him, but it's also a loss for the country," Roger Ailes, chairman of FOX News, said Saturday morning about Snow, calling him a "renaissance man."
As a TV pundit and commentator for FOX News, Snow was sometimes critical of President Bush before he became Bush's third press secretary in 2006. He was an instant study in the job, mastering the position — and the White House press corps — with apparent ease.
Indeed, Tony Snow was the kind of consummate professional who made every job seem easy. And he set his audience at ease as well.
He faced the scourge of colon Cancer with the same quiet strength and determination that he brought to the rest of his life.
Robert Anthony Snow was born June 1, 1955, in Berea, Ky., the son of a teacher and nurse. He graduated from Davidson College in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in philosophy, and he taught briefly in Kenya before embarking on his career as a journalist.
Because of his love for writing, Snow took a job as an editorial writer for the Greensboro Record in North Carolina and went on to run the editorial pages at the Newport News (Virginia) Daily Press, Detroit News and Washington Times. He became a nationally syndicated columnist, and in 1991 he became director of speechwriting for President George H.W. Bush.
Snow is survived by his wife, Jill Ellen Walker, whom he married in 1987; their son, Robbie; and daughters, Kendell and Christie.
In reports of Tony's death you may read that he lost his battle with Cancer." Don't believe it.
Tony never lost a battle. And no one who fights Cancer ever looses. Never.
The only people who are losing the battle so far are those who have failed to find a cure for this insidious disease.
They are the losers.
And they will remain losers until they conquer Cancer.
Tony will always be a winner. Always!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Courtesy Of Cary

There are two wonderful (and instructive) Cary Grant stories in Cybill Shepherd's memoir Cybill Disobedience.
The first has Cary seeking entrance to an awards gala without credentials. The gatekeeper asks him to identify himself. "I'm Cary Grant," he replies. The gatekeeper answers: "You don't look like Cary Grant." And the great star replies, simply: "No one does."
In the second story Cary warns Cybill: "You mustn't go around telling people all the time that you're so happy and so in love." Naively, Cybill inquires: "Why?" And Cary answers: "Because people aren't happy and people aren't in love."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Calendar Doesn't Lie

It's a fact:
Barack Obama served 143 days in the United States Senate (yes, 143 days!) when he announced that he had decided to run for President. And of course he did this after saying he wouldn't run for President.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Global Warming?

It's been remarkably cool (for July) here on Hilton Head Island this year.
There is a steady breeze on the beach.
The humidity is comparatively low.
Steamy, steamy heat is not in evidence.
Compared to what it's normally like this time of year the weather seems downright balmy.
But please don't tell the global warming alarmists.
Let them continue to delude themselves. In the larger scheme of things they really don't matter very much anyway.
BTW: The ocean water temperature remains remarkably warm (almost like bath water) and we are thankful for that.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Pelican Frolic

Where does a pelican swim?
where he (or she) wants.
And so today a large pelican decided to swoop down into the pool at the Marriott Golf and Tennis Resort oceanfront on Hilton Head's cushy Palmetto Dunes Plantation.
It happened at about 2 in the afternoon when the pool was full of young children. The pelican was quite comfortable in the pool, thank you. The pelican spent some time in the pool, then sat on a nearby chaise for awhile then went back into the pool for another swim. Hotel staff members were unsuccessful in attempting to remove the pelican and the bird flew away when it was good and ready.
The whole thing lasted about 10 minutes but attracted a significant crowd with videos and cameras at the ready.
BTW: A pelican looks a whole lot bigger in a pool then it does in the ocean or way up there in the sky.

Who Will Protect Them?

We are now firmly entrenched at our southern command post on beautiful Hilton Head Island in South Carolina's beguiling low country.
The semi-tropical atmosphere of this blessed island with its lush foliage, warm sea breezes, long sunny days and star-drenched nights lends itself to refreshment, invigoration and contemplation.
This time of year the island is teeming with young families and that means that children are everywhere. As I watch these children play freely poolside or by the ocean and cavort with such wonderful spontaneity, I pray for them and for their future. And I can't help but ask: "Who will protect them?"
Who will protect these children from our enemies?
Who will protect our nation? Who will safeguard our way of life and the freedoms that we treasure? Who will protect America from those who hate us and are determined to destroy us and everything that Ameica stands for?
When these children are tucked in at night, who will protect us with the strength, fortitude, courage and determination that will ensure another bright morning for America?
We live in dangerous times.
And be sure of this: Our enemies want us dead - all of us; even the children.
We need a leader who truly understands the nature of the enemy that we face, the seriousness of the threat that confronts us -- someone who has faced our enemies eye-to-eye once before; someone who has survived with strength and wisdom; someone who loves America and knows what it is to risk everything for that love.
We need someone who has the courage - the sheer guts - to act and the knowledge and experience to know when and how to act. There won't be time for on the job training.
This is what we need if we are to protcet these children and give genuine meaning to the word "hope." Because, unless these children survive, unless there is a "tomorrow" for them, there is no hope - no hope for America or the world.
These are the considerations and this is the issue that should inform us in this election.
For me - for these children - there is really only one choice.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Have A Glorious 4th!

The Fourth of July means little children on decorated tricycles in local parades. It means food, fun, family and fireworks. It symbolizes love of country and devotion to duty, honor and the cause of liberty.
It's fitting that this grand day arrives at the beginning of summer, for summer is truly America's season. We are an outdoor nation: sunny, spacious, free, adventurous and perpetually optimistic.,
When we celebrate our nation's birthday we reaffirm our faith in America and everything it stands for. We confirm our belief that God did indeed "shed his grace on thee."
When we celebrate this day we make this promise to ourselves: That we will always remember that America's cause is just, it's heart is mighty, it's spirit is true and it's best days are still ahead of it.
My prayer this day is that God will continue to bless and protect this great country so all children who celebrate the Fourth will understand and enjoy it's wonderful freedoms for generations to come.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Another Milestone!

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Cousin Joe

It's been a week since we said goodbye to Cousin Joe and the Cirucci Family still grieves.
Some people seem to shrink and wither away as they get older.
But Joe Cirucci was always big. Always.
He was physically big to begin with. But in my eyes he actually seemed to grow in stature as he got older.
When he walked into a room you knew that someone of significance had arrived: someone uniquely human, someone worthy, someone real.
To look into Joe’s deep, dark eyes was to look into the depths of his mighty heart.
He was a man who was very comfortable in his manliness – so comfortable that he was never afraid to show his feelings. And yes, he cried openly, without any hesitation when warranted.
But no one ever mistook his tenderness for weakness or naivete. For he was not a somber man nor was he one who was easily fooled.
He knew who he was and was comfortable with himself: proud of his heritage, his name, and his family. Proud, yes - but never insufferably boastful.
And he laughed easily (as much at himself as others) and told wonderful stories.
His affairs were in order. His priorities were right. And his priorities always began with his family. For him, love of family was as natural as breathing. It was who he was – a natural extension of himself.
The last time I saw Joe it was on a happy occasion and he was surrounded by his family and full of love. That was fitting.
Joe’s naturalness, his realness, the depth of his heart and the richness of his soul made him stand out.
These things made him big. Truly big. Always, big!

Best Asian/Chinese

If you're looking for the best, freshest Asian/Chinese food in a really fine, comfortable, tranquil atmosphere try Sakura Spring on Route 70 in Cherry Hill.
I've been going to Sakura Spring for years and have never, ever had a bad meal.
The chicken, pork, beef, shrimp and vegetables are so fresh and fragrant that even a simple dish here becomes a total delight. Everything is prepared just right. Nothing is ever overcooked. Every plate is beautifully presented. And the service is friendly and attentive without being intrusive.
The decor at Sakura is also a cut above most Chinese restaurants. There's a real sense of place with lovely tables, chairs and booths and a harmonizing atmosphere that is very soothing.
Sakura also has a bountiful Chinese New Year celebration every year complete with many special dishes and a colorful dancing dragon. And there are special dishes for each season as well as delicious sushi all year round.
BTW: Sakura means "cherry blossom" which is fitting since Cherry Hill is home to some of the most beautiful cherry blossom trees in the area.