Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Let's At Least LISTEN To Another Point Of View!

Cherry Hill (NJ) Township has been ruled by ONE party for decades.
There's been no institutional opposition -- not one person on Town Council from the opposite party. Not one!
The Mayor, the town governing body, the whole government apparatus -- controlled by ONE party.
In the interest of democracy, isn't it time to give the town anther point of view? It's a simple matter of checks and balances. It's healthy. It's what democracies all about.
Come on out on September 24 and hear another point of view from folks who deserve a lot of credit just for putting their names forward and challenging a huge, entrenched, well-financed political machine.
Cherry Hill voters are too smart, too fair and too democratic to embrace any more groupthink. It's time to open some windows and welcome diverse points of view!

To Be Sure: 'These Voices Don't Speak For US!'

Insightful. Prophetic. Thought-provoking. 

This Is One Initiative New Jersey Really Needs!

New Jersey doesn't permit a direct democracy measure known as initiative. But even though we're not one of the 18 states that allows citizens to draft laws and submit them directly to voters, we do have the Garden State Initiative.
And, wow -- do we need it right now!
Under the direction of its president, Regin Egea, this group aims to strengthen New Jersey by providing an alternative voice and common sense policy solutions in the state—solutions that promote new investment, the growth of jobs, the creation of economic opportunities, and innovation to the benefit of all New Jerseyans.

Stumbling, Bumbling, Fumbling, Mumbling . . . . .

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

JOURNEY: A Walk Through The Streets Of Reykjavik

Parc On Rittenhouse Square: Joie de Vivre!

Have we told you lately how much we love Parc Restaurant, Bistro & Cafe on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia?
We go there often and always have a wonderful time.
In fact, we've never had a bad experience -- or a bad meal -- at Parc. Never.
Parc has everything going for it: An authentic, casual French ambiance that envelops you and puts you in the mood to enjoy your surroundings; a superb location at Philadelphia's choicest address; a mercifully small (though nonetheless inventive) menu that reminds you that every dish is special; a tariff that doesn't drain your wallet and, last but not least, the very best restaurant staff in the city.
Some of our lunch favorites: warm shrimp salad, croque madame, omelette, steak frites.
Some of our dinner favorites: New York strip, roasted cod, beef bourguignon, half roast chicken.
Parc is big and boisterous. But it's also intimate and seductive. In other words, it's full of life. So, you can be part of a big group or dine with a few friends or have a cozy table for two or take a single seat at the bar or sit alone by a window and you'll have a great time anytime, anyway, anyhow.
The food is plentiful, tasty and served lovingly.
The bread is -- well, it's what you would expect at a real French cafe. The French fries are fresh, hand cut and so fragrant that you feel like you're in potato heaven.
And the staff is friendly, helpful, efficient, grateful and always accommodating. You'll find an open, welcoming attitude characterizes this fine, professionally trained staff. You'll always be treated warmly.
Great food. A distinctive, warm, inviting environment. Superb service.
Can you ask for anything more?

Your Chance To Help Restore Democracy!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Dazzling! The Magical September Colors Of Iceland

On a crisp, clear, sunny September day we visited a botanical garden here in Iceland and this is what we found. Absolutely beathtaking!

There's Simply NO Learning Curve Here . . .

Some things never change!
Here's something that we wrote about Joe Biden nearly TEN YEARS AGO right here on this blog:
Joe Biden is like some chatty old PTA mom.
He just keeps talking and talking and talking.
But very few people are even bothering to listen anymore.
This guy is so full of himself -- he's such an insufferable windbag -- that he's long since past the point of having any notion of what a dreadful bore he really is. It almost doesn't matter to him whether he has an audience or not. He just keeps yapping away.
It's the definition of irrelevancy.
Biden makes dreadful mistakes. He says inappropriate things. He embarrasses himself and others. But none of it seems to matter in the end because nothing and no one can stop him.
There's something sad and funny about it at the same time.
Sad because he's the Vice President of the United States and I guess that's really a reflection on our nation.
Funny because nobody really believes he has any power (especially now) and almost no one takes him seriously.
Anyway, Lisa DePaulo has an interview with the veep in GQ magazine (now, there's an appropriate place for a well-dressed old warrior) where he once again celebrates his own loquacity.
Click here to read it. LMAO.

OMG! The Natural Beauty Of ISAFÖRDUR!

We are in ISAFÖRDUR, a small coastal fishing village set alongside one of Iceland's majestic fjords on the west side of this sea-centered nation.
For shear, natural suggest beauty this place is hard to beat. BTW: This is where a huge percentage of the world's cod comes from. But the economy is also diversifying to continue to accommodate both old and new settlers.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A Sumptuous Celebration Of An American Treasure!

That's the only way to describe Larry Setmpel's Showtime, A History of the Broadway Musical Theater.
This big, new book is a treasure trove of Broadway lure.
The shows. The music. The stars. The eras. It's all here.
I've been having a great time reading Showtime. It's the kind of book you can read from cover-to-cover (over a long winter) or pick up from time to time and just peruse. Either way, you're going to feel invigorated by this revealing, surprising and ingratiating chronicle of America's unique, high-spirited gift to the world: the Broadway musical.
Beginning with the scandalous Astor Place Opera House riot of 1849, Larry Stempel traces the growth of musicals from minstrel shows and burlesques, through the golden age of Show Boatand Oklahoma!, to such groundbreaking works as Company and Rent.
This meticulously researched and detailed book was more than 30 years in the making.
In covering the expansive subject before him, Stempel combines original research—including a kaleidoscope of primary sources and archival holdings—with deft and insightful analysis. The result is nothing short of the most comprehensive, authoritative history of the Broadway musical.
But please don't think of it as a history book. Because this book is alive with the stories, the legends and the groundbreaking ideas that lit up the Great White Way and made it an entertainment mecca for generations.
Martin, Merman and Merrick are all here -- along with Sondheim, Lowe, Rodgers, Kander, Hammerstein, Lerner, Ebb, Coleman, Hart, Comden, Tune, Robbins, Bernstein, Green and so many more. And they're all given their due.
This book is not just about Broadway. It's not just about music. It's not just about theater. And it's not just about showbiz. It's about America.
I urge you to get your hands on Showtime. You're gonna love it!

Do You Know Where Akureyri Is? Well, You Do Now!

Akureyri sits just 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle near the top of the world in the northern part of Iceland.
It is defined by one of Iceland's largest fjords, crystal clear waterways, a surprising amount of greenery and snow capped mountains.
Here are just a few scenes from this town of about 19,000 as we make our way through this part of the world.

Eight Big Stories You Dare Not Miss . . .

9/11 Anniversary: Trump Says Day Is 'Seared into Our Soul' as Nation Remembers 18 Years Later
-Fox News
“Eighteen years after the Tuesday morning President Trump says ‘is seared into our soul,’ the nation paused to solemnly mark the events of the 9/11 terror attacks and the nearly 3,000 people who were lost – but never forgotten,” Greg Norman reports. President Trump and the First Lady led a moment of silence with victims’ families at the White House before traveling to a remembrance ceremony at the Pentagon.

🎬 Watch: President Trump and the First Lady honor 9/11 victims
'We Pay a Debt of Honor': VP Pence, Others Remember Flight 93 Victims
-Pittsburgh Post-Tribune
“Not far from where Vice President Mike Pence stood Wednesday morning at the Flight 93 National Memorial stands its 93-foot-tall Tower of Voices, where wind chimes of different musical notes symbolize each of the 40 individuals who thwarted another attack on Sept. 11, 2001,” Julian Routh writes.

 Vice President Pence: A “common field” became a “field of honor forever”
Democrats Should Give Trump a Win on His Trade Deal with Mexico and Canada
-The Washington Post
Even The Washington Post’s liberal editorial board agrees that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) should allow a vote on President Trump’s trade deal with Canada and Mexico. “It’s better not to gamble with people’s jobs and income, even for an understandable political reason, unless overriding substantive policy concerns justify it. They don’t.” 
Trump Keeps Winning on Immigration – Against All Odds. Supreme Court Decision is Victory for All
-Fox News
“The Supreme Court’s decision late Wednesday allowing the Trump administration to implement its policy making it harder for migrants to qualify for asylum in the U.S. is a victory not just for President Trump, but more importantly for the American people and for the rule of law,” National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd writes.

 Promise kept: The border wall is going up fast!
CNN Tries to Blame Trump for the Obama Administration’s Leaks
-The Washington Post
“Here’s some advice for the media covering President Trump: If you don’t want to be accused of reporting fake news, don’t report fake news,” Marc Thiessen writes. This week, CNN falsely reported that President Trump mishandled classified information, when it turns out the leaks in question came from the Obama Administration. Oops!

More: Eddie Scarry: “CNN’s big ‘mistakes’ all run in one direction: anti-Trump”
Trump’s Plan to Stem Border Crossings Gets Results
“President Donald Trump’s plan to force Mexico to stem the flow of migrants across the southwest border of the U.S. appears to be working,” Ted Hesson reports. Border apprehensions plummeted to 51,000 in August after President Trump put pressure on Mexican officials to address illegal immigration across their country earlier this year. 
President Trump Is Making History For Black Colleges And Universities
-The Daily Caller
“It’s National Historically Black Colleges and Universities [HBCU] Week, and President Trump is marking the occasion like no president in history,” including with this week’s speech at the annual HBCU Conference, Paris Dennard writes. “Unfortunately, President Trump will never get the credit he deserves for all he has done for HBCUs.” 
‘Historic Milestone’: Senate Confirms 150th Trump Judicial Nominee
-The Washington Times
“The U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump’s 150th judicial nominee Wednesday, helping to fulfill the president’s campaign promise to remake the federal bench with a conservative bent,” Alex Swoyer reports. The tally so far: 105 lower federal court judges, 43 circuit court nominees, and two Supreme Court Justices.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Five Greatest Hymns Ever Written? You Decide!

Let's talk about the five greatest hymns ever written.
In reverse order from five to one, here's what we think they are:

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

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

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

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

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

To these five we would add Just As I Am. This well-known hymn was written by Charlotte Elliott in 1835 and first appearing in the Christian Remembrancer, of which Elliott became the editor in 1836. The final verse is taken from Elliott's Hours of Sorrow Cheered and Comforted(1836). Billy Graham was saved in 1934 in a revival meetings in Charlotte, North Carolina led by evangelist Mordecai Ham hearing  Just As I Am as the alter call. This song became an altar call song in the Billy Graham crusades in the latter half of the twentieth century. Graham used the title of the hymn as the title of his 1997 book - Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham
These six great hymns have been a source of comfort to many at various times in their lives and we've find that we return to the music and words of these hymns again and again.
We feel that each one of these hymns was touched by God -- inspired by the Lord himself.
On this earth, you can't get much closer to heaven than that.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Whatever Happened To A Sacred Election Day?

Before you know it, Election Day 2019 will be here.
When I was a kid, Election Day was sacrosanct. In my family it was like a Holy Day of Obligation except that instead of going to church you went to the polls and voted.
It was sacred -- a quiet day that allowed people to speak through their actions.
There were no campaign commercials on the airwaves on Election Day. None.
Campaigning ceased.
Candidates, if they appeared at all, appeared to vote and maybe showed up at one or two polling places or phoned in to see how things were going.
"This is the people's day," my father used to say. "It belongs to them."
Yes, tensions could be high. But polling places remained places of honor. Campaigning or politicking anywhere near a polling place was strictly forbidden. Poll workers and party workers at the polls (and my father was one of these) remained civil, regardless of parties. If a disagreement, dispute or disturbance arose, it was usually resolved quickly and quietly.
At the end of the day, the tedium finally subsided. The machines were opened. The tallies were revealed. The mystery was over.
One side celebrated and the other sulked.
That's the way I remember it. That's the way it should be.
But now Election Day is as noisy and as raucous as any other day. And it's also a day of campaigning. The greedy TV and radio stations still run campaign spots. The newspapers still print campaign ads. And the internet is now still clogged with the same huckster messages as well. It's campaign, campaign, campaign right up to the last moment.
Even on Election Day, shameless candidates are still pitching their wares and still hunting for votes.
It's disgraceful. Tawdry. Unseemly. Disrespectful.
It disses the very system -- and the treasured principles -- that make a free and fair election possible.
The secret ballot is sacred. Honor it. Don't diss it.
So, this year, try to SHUT UP, EVERYBODY -- until the polls are closed and the votes are tallied.
All power to the people means letting the people vote peacefully and quietly -- even till the very end.
They'll be time enough for shouting later.

Here Are 10 Big Things That Trump Gets Right

There are plenty of reasons to find fault with President Trump. 
He can be self-absorbed, egotistical, boatful, peripatetic, quixotic, contradictory and downright exasperating at times.
But, he’s a keen observer, absorbs information quickly, often acts daringly and has good instincts.
So, let’s give him some credit. And, let’s begin with 10 Big Things that he gets right:

  1. The media are biased. As a lifetime PR pro I worked closely with the media for more than 35 years. And I can tell you that 95 percent of the members of the media are staunchly liberal. For years, they tried to keep their strong bias a secret. But Donald Trump has smoked them out. And now they are scampering like crazed cats.
  2. Republicans must fight back, strongly and quickly.   The GOP has been polite and even genteel for too long. Turn-the-other-cheek Republicanism has led to defeat, ridicule and demoralization. Plus, it’s not good for our country. President Trump answers critics quickly, fights back forcefully and refuses to suffer fools gladly. Good for him!
  3. Winning is important. In politics as in practically all other competitive pursuits, winning is the paramount goal. If you can’t win, you can’t govern. And, if you can’t govern, how can you ultimately make any difference at all? 
  4. Priorities count. You can’t lead without priorities or guiding principles. And this all begins with the simple maxim America first. As we move forward, we must renew our commitment to our own nation and put America, its people, its needs and its priorities first. When we forget this, we write the scenario for our own demise.
  5. Our allies must pull their weight. We’ve carried too much of the load too long and in too many ways to continue to bear the full burden. Those who call themselves our allies have got to step up and chip in. They’ve got to demonstrate it. It’s only fair and right for us to not just expect this but insist on it.
  6. We can’t police the world.  America can’t be everywhere at once. We can’t put out every fire, round up every rogue nation, quash every dictator, vanquish every foe. We don’t have all the answers or all the resources to solve all the world’s problems. We’ve got to pull back in some respects, if only to catch our breath and reassess. 
  7. Our infrastructure is critical. Roads, brides, highways, public transportation, cyber delivery systems and cyber security are all critical, to name a few. We need a Big Commitment and huge infusion of money to begin to turn the corner here. We’ve waited too long already.
  8. Borders are key. Without borders, we are undefined as a country. It’s as simple as that. No borders, no nation. We must enforce border security in every way possible. And, as a sovereign nation, we have every right to do this. We must continue to build the wall and complete it.
  9. If we can teach China a lesson, why not? When it comes to trade and intellectual property, we don’t have to vanquish China to teach it a lesson. All we have to do is bring about a result that alters the imbalance somewhat. That would be a big first step. So, let’s hold fast and git it done!
  10. We’re better that many would have us believe. America is still that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan talked about. We are a nation of good, decent, hard-working, generous, affable people. We lead the world economically and we’re a beacon of freedom, democracy and hope. As such, the steps that we take to lead and set an example for others must begin within us and proceed from there.

Acting Boldly To Combat A Growing Peril!

In the Oval Office yesterday, President Donald J. Trump announced bold action from his Administration to combat a new type of addiction threatening American families.

“We have a problem in our country. It’s a new problem. It’s a problem nobody really thought about too much a few years ago, and it’s called ‘vaping,’” the President said. “And the parents don’t know too much about it.”

About 8 million adults use e-cigarettes today—but so do 5 million American children. “An entire generation of children risk becoming addicted to nicotine because of the attractiveness, appeal-ability, and availability of these vaping products,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.

WatchTrump Administration removes all flavored e-cigarettes from the market.

To protect our children and ensure that e-cigarettes return to their original function—helping adults gradually overcome nicotine addiction from tobacco products—President Trump has authorized the Food and Drug Administration to finalize rules that ban the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes.

The President’s actions come as a result of new data, not yet released, from the National Youth Tobacco survey. Secretary Azar briefed the President and First Lady on the new report yesterday, which shows a surge in adolescent usage of e-cigarettes. It also confirmed that children are drawn to flavored e-cigarette products in particular.

The ban will cover all non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes, which includes bubblegum, fruit, alcohol, mint, and menthol flavored products.

See the chart First Lady Melania Trump shared on child e-cigarette usage.

More“Melania Trump calls for government action against e-cigarettes”

Remembering the heroes of United Flight 93

While President Trump and the First Lady led a moment of silence on the White House South Lawn yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence traveled to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to visit the Flight 93 National Memorial. The memorial stands on the very ground where the plane crashed 18 years ago. The President and First Lady visited the site last year.

 Vice President Pence: A “common field” became a “field of honor forever”

On a beautiful Tuesday morning 18 years ago, Flight 93 left Newark Airport bound for San Francisco, carrying 40 heroic passengers and crew members from across our country. Within 81 minutes of takeoff, their lives would be taken from us. The heroic actions they took in that short time frame have earned them a place of honor in history.

“America was attacked on September the 11th, but America took the fight back to our enemies on that very same day, not on some foreign battlefield, but right here in the skies above these fields, where the heroes of Flight 93 were forged,” the Vice President said.

“History records they ran forward. They charged toward the cockpit. At 10:03 a.m., Flight 93 plummeted to the Earth.”

Today, the names of these 40 men and women are etched in marble in that field, the Vice President explained. “I want to assure their precious families, they’re also carved into the hearts and the memory of the American people.”

Learn more about the Flight 93 National Memorial.

🎬 More: President Trump and the First Lady at the Pentagon 9/11 ceremony

Video of the day: First Lady at the Kennedy Center

First Lady Melania Trump recently helped dedicate the REACH, a new immersive learning theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

As Honorary Chair of the Kennedy Center, Mrs. Trump opened the exhibit with remarks at the Center’s new Welcome Pavilion. “This is a momentous occasion for the arts,” she said. “The Kennedy Center has always been a powerful tool to bring people together. This new addition will be so valuable to Washington D.C. and is so important to our community and to our nation as a whole.” 

Photo of the Day

Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour 
Vice President Mike Pence addresses State and local officials from Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah at the White House State Leadership Day in the South Court Auditorium | September 12, 2019