Sunday, July 5, 2015

Greek Mythology Updated For The EU

Next up, America?

World's Longest Pizza Nearly One Mile; Video!

Photo Essay: Summer's Abundant Natural Beauty

Summer is a sensual season - a season abundant with rich, vivid colors, fragrances and stunning surprises that delight the senses.
And an early morning walk through nearly any part of beautiful Hilton Head Island proves that.
When we tell people that we recharge during lazy summer days on Hilton Head they ask us if we play golf. No. The game is much too tedious for us.
We walk, cycle and occasionally play a quick game of tennis. But mostly we just soak in the island's natural beauty.
This is a place that defines the word "lush." And this morning it was nothing less than a celebration of summer's slow, intoxicating seduction.
All you have to do is get out and experience it!
All photos copyright 2015 by Dan Cirucci.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Christie: Vets4Warriors Will Continue

New Jersey Governor Christie today announced that the Vets4Warriors Program, operated by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, will be able to continue operations with State support. This announcement follows news that the U.S. Department of Defense may discontinue federal funding for the program. New Jersey’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget includes $8 million to ensure and expand access to health care for veterans in our State; a portion of those funds will be used to support the Vets4Warriors program. 

“The Vets4Warriors Program offers an invaluable resource to our nation’s service men and women in need,” said Governor Christie. “I am committed to continuing mutual efforts with our congressional delegation in preserving funding for this important program. In the meantime, the State of New Jersey will maintain program funding for this year as we work to identify and explore resource options for the future.”

Governor Christie’s action demonstrates the Administration’s strong commitment to New Jersey veterans and their families. This includes creating and enhancing assistance tools that provide financial support and peer counseling services through the New Jersey National Guard State Family Readiness Council, as well as expanding the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs’ successful Veterans Haven program to provide access to services for homeless veterans in the northern part of the state. In addition, the Administration has taken measures to connect veterans and employers to help military service members transition back into the civilian labor market through initiatives such as Helmets2Hardhats, Operation Hire a Jersey Hero and the VETeach program. Governor Christie also has signed legislation that awards high school diplomas to veterans who dropped out to serve in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam and strengthens the support network for military families after the death of a service member.

The Vets4Warriors Peer Support Line, which is available 24/7 and toll-free to all active duty, Reserve and National Guard members, is staffed entirely by veterans.  The unique structure of Vets4Warriors allows individuals to receive support in a completely confidential, personal, non-threatening way from other veterans, who know the challenges of military life and the rigors of the transition to civilian life, since they have lived through it themselves. 

Chris Kosseff, President of Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care expressed the sentiments of many in reaction to the news saying “I want to express my deepest gratitude to the Governor and the Legislature for keeping Vets4Warriors alive to support our service members and veterans and for keeping 40 veterans employed doing this important work; we look forward to continuing to serve those who keep us safe and free.”

Since its inception in December 2011, Vets4Warriors has made over 130,000 veteran contacts and has continuously employed over 40 New Jersey veterans.

Now More than Ever, Treat Our Flag Properly!

Summer is America’s season.
And it’s also the season of Old Glory.
It’s the time of year when our American flag seems more visible than ever. The flag flies proudly at Fourth of July celebrations, leads parades and community observances, decorates monuments and gravesites and flutters above tall buildings and city streets.
This is the season of the red, white and blue.
And that’s fitting because the flag was officially adopted as the symbol of our nation on June 14, 1780 thus giving birth to the observance of Flag Day on that date every year.
But I continue to be worried about our American flag.
I’m worried because too often I see the flag displayed with everything from indifference to outright disrespect or dishonor.
I know that lots of people displayed the flag right after September 11 and that was understandable. Old Glory naturally appears when we want to come together as one nation and demonstrate our strength, unity and pride.
Too often now I see tattered flags, faded flags, worn out flags. The offenses are numerous.
Recently I spotted elongated, disproportionate flags flown from poles at a new car dealership. Frequently I see huge, oversize flags flown along highways in front of businesses. These flags seem to be displayed solely to attract attention to the businesses.
In my neighborhood a local realtor once placed small plastic American flags in the ground at curbside in front of many homes. Forget the fact that there’s something inherently offensive about a plastic flag. These flags have promotional messages from the realtor attached to them. Way too often I see flags touching the ground.
Sadly, I once saw a tattered flag flying over Philadelphia’s City Hall on the Market Street West side of the building.
Not too long ago someone gave me a flag lapel pin that had a promotional message displayed across the front of the flag. And I’ve actually seen the flag used as a window covering and imprinted on paper plates, cups and napkins.
Lately, the flag even decorates articles of clothing. For a long time this was considered improper but now it seems to be commonly accepted.
If we love our flag – and we should – we are obliged to observe proper flag etiquette as stipulated by United States Code Title 36 Chapter 10, also known as the Flag Code.
The proper proportions of the flag are defined by law so that no matter how large or small a flag may be it is always looks the same and is clearly recognizable as Old Glory. And that’s just the beginning. The Code says that the flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speaker’s desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any insignia, letter, word, number or drawing of any kind.
Furthermore, no part of the flag should ever touch the ground. And finally the flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.
Organizations such as the Boys Scouts and the American Legion routinely collect old flags and dispose of them properly.
The Flag Code clearly states that “The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.” A living thing!
Our flag is the living embodiment of our nation. This summer let’s treat it as such.

The Flag Controversy - Make A Choice!

On The 4th Of July - Words To Ponder

A 4th Of July Reflection And Heartfelt Plea

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' heart is mighty, its spirit is true and its best days are still ahead of it.
My prayer this day is that God will bless and protect this great country (certainly, now more than ever) so that all children who celebrate the Fourth will understand and enjoy its wonderful freedoms for generations to come.

Have A Gloriously Happy Independence Day!

Friday, July 3, 2015

For The Fourth - 101 Reasons To Love America!

Happy Birthday, America!
In no particular order, this is our own rather subjective list of 101 reasons to love America.
You can feel free to add or subtract from this list or create your own list. America gives you the freedom to do that -- and a lot more:

1) Our constitution. The thread that holds us together and the bulwark of democracy.
2) Our federal system of 50 states, each distinctive, each free and independent but united as well.
3) The Liberty Bell. Forever flawed though nonetheless inspiring and eternal.
4) The Founding Fathers and what they wrought. They risked their lives, property, fortunes and sacred honor.
5) American summers, for summer is surely America's season.
6) Old glory, our flag -- proud, bright, brash and always flying high.
7) In God We Trust. Our ensuing faith in Him and His destiny for us.
8) Baseball. While football may be America's sport, baseball remains its pastime. There is a difference.
9) The 4th of July. Our birthday and our touchstone.
10) Free elections. The right to choose the leaders that we want.
11) Jazz. America's unique musical art form.
12) Those who served. Our veterans, protectors of our freedom.
13) The American Red Cross. There when we need them.
14) Our free enterprise system. A model for the entire world.
15) Country music. The hip-slapping spirit of America.
16) Hollywood. Tinseltown and its gift to the world -- movies.
17) The Statue of Liberty. May her torch always be held high.
18) Walt Disney. The gift of imagination and wholesome entertainment from an American genius.
19) Our military --every branch and everyone who serves.
20) The Grand Canyon. In a word, breathtaking.
21) The great American novel. From the great white whale to The Great Gatsby, keep spinnin those tales!
22) Freedom to worship, Our many houses of faith all across the land.
23) The Interstate Highway System. Thank you, President Eisenhower.
24) Our first responders, brave and steadfast.
25) Small towns. Where America's heart beats true.
26) Television. For better or worse, it reflects us and epitomizes the popular culture.
27) Our farmers. Keeping the agrarian spirit alive and the horn of plenty full.
28) Broadway. The Great White Way, and all that it represents and all the hustle and bustle that surround it.
29) American cars (and our love affair with the car). Even after tough times US auto industry can never be counted out.
30) Coca-Cola. The drink that IS America.
31) Las Vegas. Vegas, baby, Vegas!
32) Thanksgiving. A uniquely American holiday and the kickoff of our buying season.
33) The Rocky Mountains. America's sturdy backbone.
34) Neighbors and neighborhoods. Our real time, real people link in a high-tech age.
35) Our national park system. Even with those pesky rangers, it's a joy.
36) Our two-party system. It’s seen better times but it still works.
37) Apple pie. Yummy, yummy!
38) Gospel music. Expressing faith, love, joy and anguish.
39) The Gateway Arch. A soaring, inspiring welcome to America's frontier.
40) Cowboys. The soul of our wanderlust.
41) Elvis Presley. The King is on the premises.
42) McDonald's -- every one of them and every diner and roadside eatery in between.
43) Flowering gardens. Roses and marigolds and azaleas and magnolias and all those other beautiful flowers and all the people who help make them bloom.
44) Our volunteer spirit -- from Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys right up to the present day.
45) Those who gave their all. All those who died protecting our freedoms, many buried on foreign soil. And all POWs and MIAs. We shall never forget.
46) A free press. We love them. We hate them. We curse them. We praise them. But where would we be without them?
47) The blues. Sad, sultry, soulful.
48) Andy Warhol. He made the ordinary extraordinary.
49) Starbucks. Keeping us alert and ready.
50) Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey. Still the greatest show on earth!
51) Big Sur and the entire California coast, from top to bottom.
52) Free public libraries. Learn, baby, learn!
53) Our system of higher education -- especially our great public universities.
54) The legacy of Norman Rockwell. The man who showed us the best in ourselves.
55) Texas. Big. Bold. Proud. American.
56) Ferris wheels. From the 1893 Chicago World's Fair till now, still enchanting.
57) The Kentucky Derby. The legendary run for the roses.
58) Mount Rushmore. Our history wrought mammoth.
59) The Smithsonian. Endlessly fascinating and free.
60) NASA. To the moon and beyond.
61) The Super Bowl. A bowl full of partying in an otherwise dull month.
62) The South. Lush land of tall tales, spirited music, colorful characters and firey history.
63) Hot dogs. Plump, juicy and smothered with your choice of dressings, garnishes, condiments, whatever . .
64) Home sweet home. The house you live it; your land, your property, your domicile.
65) The Great Lakes. Can you name all five of them?
66) Grandma Moses. The modern-day mother of primitive American art.
67) Marilyn Monroe. Defying convention, she made America sexy once and for all.
68) The Mississippi. Mighty from top to bottom and everywhere in between.
69) The Indy 500. Vrrroooomm, vrrrrroooomm!
70) The great wits. From Mark Twain to Will Rogers to Dorothy Parker to Art Buchwald to Erma Bombeck to P. J. O'Rourke.
71) The heartland. From Ohio to Iowa, where ordinary, everyday America thrives.
72) Blue jeans. On the farm, in the city and everywhere else.
73) "God Bless America." The people's anthem that Irving Berlin wrote just for us.
74) Independence Hall. Where it all began.
75) The Lincoln Memorial and the man it celebrates. The ultimate monument to the single most compelling figure in American history.
76) Rock 'n roll (aka rock). Rhythm 'n blues, jazz, honkey talk, soul, gospel -- all rolled into one.
77) The West. Where our restless spirit was born.
78) Sneakers. From PF Flyers, Keds and Chuck Taylor Converse to a $13 billion a year industry, we love 'em.
79) The Drudge Report. Because we need to know.
80) Barbecue. Beef or pork, wet or dry, hot or sweet, it's America.
81) The Washington Monument. The highest point in the capital and a fitting tribute to the father of our country.
82) Alaska and Hawaii. Our exotic and adventurous extremes.
83) Uncle Sam. When he calls, be sure to answer.
84) The Stars and Stripes Forever, and all of those great Sousa marches and their Sousa bands.
85) Native Americans. This land is their land.
86) Chicago architecture. Art that we live in, work in, play in; a living lesson in soaring beauty; a skyline to emulate.
87) Walt Whitman. "I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear . . . "
89) Motown. The irrepressible sound of a lively, searching soul.
90) New Orleans. A sassy, saucy, scintillating survivor.
91) Rugged individualists, gadflies, iconoclasts, muckrakers and all those who afflict the powerful. Charge onward!
92) Harly Davidson. Still the king of the road.
93) Geeks. Zuckerberg, Jobs, Wozniak, Gates and the whole damned Silicon Valley.
94) Comics and comic books. From zany dimwits and lovable losers to iconic super heroes.
95) Truckers and truck stops. Keep on Rollin!
96) New England. Lobster, chowder, rugged seacoasts and cherished traditions.
97) Scientific pioneers. The searchers, the discoverers, the trailblazers and all those who make the breakthroughs that enrich and lengthen our lives.
98) American fashion. From Ralph and Tommy and Donna and Vera. From Seventh Avenue to the world.
99) New Jersey. The distinctive state that gave us Sinatra and The Boss and taught us all how to be wise guys.
100) Willie Nelson. Is there anyone he hasn't sung with or any genre of music he hasn't yet recorded?
101) The American Dream. A better life for our children and our children's children. Always, our best days lie ahead

How 'Lone Wolf' Is Destroying Pennsylvania

The True Meaning Of The 4th Of July

..."Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those revolutions simply exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a revolution that changed the very concept of government.

Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.

We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should. 

Happy Fourth of July. "

~Written in his own hand by Ronald Reagan President of the United States 1981

BTW: Though the media consistently attempted to portray Ronald Reagan as an "amiable dunce," ordinary American citizens knew this was not the case. Reagan was an exceptionally well-read leader -- a man who knew his history. He was also a prolific writer. He wrote many of his own speeches, kept an exhaustive daily diary and wrote thousands of letters -- many in his own hand.
Those who worked for Reagan attested to the fact that he was an astute editor as well. He knew the power of words and was able to convey more with a few words than many of today's leaders can convey with thousands of words.
Obviously, no holiday brought Reagan more pleasure than the 4th of July. That's because he knew and understood the true meaning of the day.  

Nashua NH Mayor Endorses Chris Christie

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Read The New York Times? Check This Out!

A once great newspaper is now a national disgrace!

Christie's Unscripted Debut Wins Praise

What They’re Saying, Volume 2 …
In Announcement And At Town Halls, Christie's “Command Of His Message And Policy Proposals Offered A Strong Contrast With His More Scripted Opponents”
“Chris Christie Carries Announcement Vibe to New Hampshire”

Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade: “[W]hen he's him and he’s out there defending his record, telling what he's going to do, I want to see what the people of New Hampshire are going to say. Are they going to react like they do with John McCain and rally behind him?” (Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” 7/1/15)
  • “Chris Christie had a very good day yesterday. He was very strong in New Hampshire and got endorsements from the Maine governor.” (Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” 7/2/15)
  • “You’re going to need someone that can hit like lightning. And it is Governor Christie that can do that.” (Fox News “Fox & Friends,” 6/30/15)
Los Angeles Times: “He spoke without notes, roaming the stage with a handheld microphone in a scene reminiscent of the town hall meetings that have yielded some of the most colorful and confrontational moments of his political career...But his command of his message and policy proposals offered a strong contrast with his more scripted opponents.” (Mark Z. Barabak and Tina Susman, “Chris Christie launches presidential campaign, but has his time passed?,” Los Angeles Times, 6/30/15)

The New York Times: “The governor was, at the core, comfortable. The town-hall-style meeting is his signature event, and he was in his element, often joking with voters. … He also made sure to maintain that comfort.” (Nick Corasaniti, “Chris Christie Carries Announcement Vibe to New Hampshire,” New York Times – First Draft, 7/1/15)
  • “Building upon the pillars of four policy speeches he gave as a candidate-in-waiting with his Leadership Matters for America PAC, Mr. Christie laid out his platform on entitlement reform, economic recovery, foreign policy and education.”
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough: “And you close your eyes and you listen to that speech, it's one of the most powerful messages anybody can give, especially in a year that most voters are consigned to the fact that they're going to get a Bush and a Clinton. One guy out there saying, hey, listen, I'm not going to sit around trying to figure out what you want to hear. I'm going to tell you what you need to hear.” (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 7/1/15)
  • “And you may not agree with me. But if I'm saying it, you know I believe it. You know I'm going to go to Washington and I’m going to fight for it. And there's nothing you can do to change my mind. I'm going to do what I think is right. That is a powerful message. I think we were all probably thinking the same thing.”
John Feehery: “I like Chris Christie's big personality. I think it plays well with Republican base voters. I think he's going to talk about big issues, which I think need to be discussed.” (MSNBC, “News Nation with Tamron Hall,” 6/30/15)
  • “Chris Christie gave a great speech today. It was one of the best speeches I’ve seen for a person wanting to announce he is president. He is the real deal. He’s authentic. He can really go after it. I think he is very articulate, and he can argue with the best of them.” (Fox Business Network, “The Intelligence Report with Trish Regan,” 6/30/15)
  • “My view is that voters are desperate to have authenticity in their candidates...I think Chris Christie is running as himself. I think that will be appealing to a lot of voters.” (Fox Business Network, “The Intelligence Report with Trish Regan,” 6/30/15)
Sandown, NH Resident Anthony Conconte: “For some of the potential voters in attendance, Mr. Christie’s style seemed refreshing. ‘I really like the guy — he’s direct and honest,’ said Anthony Conconte, 24, of Sandown.” (Nick Corasaniti, “Chris Christie Carries Announcement Vibe to New Hampshire,” New York Times – First Draft, 7/1/15)
  • “When asked the first thing that came to mind when he heard the name ‘Chris Christie,’ Mr. Conconte smiled and struggled for a word. “Straight shooter,” he said, before pointing to the giant ‘Tell It Like It Is’ banner on the near wall. ‘That,’ he said.”
The Star-Ledger: “Gov. Chris Christie has always been a quotable political figure.  His speech announcing his run for president was no exception.” (Matt Friedman, “Top 10 quotes from Christie's 2016 kickoff,” Star-Ledger, 6/30/15)
  • “With his boisterous, sometimes brash and classically Jersey political style, Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday finally announced his bid for the presidency, declaring he is "ready to fight for the people" of America.” (Christopher Baxter & Claude Brodesser-Akner, “Christie Makes It Official: 'I Am Now Ready To Fight' For The People Of America,” Star-Ledger, 6/30/15)
The Weekly Standard: “The New Jersey Republican addressed a friendly audience that surrounded him on all sides, with his wife Mary Pat and their four children joining him on stage. As he often does in his town-hall-style meetings around the state, Christie spoke extemporaneously with a few glances at notes on a music stand.” (Michael Warren, “Christie Announces Run, Bashes Hillary as Obama's 'Second Mate,’” Weekly Standard, 6/30/15)

Breitbart: “[Christie] emphasized his family ties to the Livingston community and his roots in the American dream.” (Charlie Spiering, “Promising Truth and Compromise, Chris Christie Launches Presidential Campaign,” Breitbart, 6/30/15)

New Hampshire Attorney General Tom Rath: “Christie’s magnetic personality and formidable debate skills are tailor-made for the Granite State, former New Hampshire Attorney General Tom Rath told The Hill. ‘He is very good at some of the things you need to succeed here,’ said Rath.” (Melissa Clyne, “Christie Goes for Populist Touch in NJ Campaign Launch, NH Swing,” Newsmax, 6/30/15)
  • “‘I’ve been to several of his town halls and he’s a horse: He goes in there for an hour and stays two hours, answers every question. That skill set is serving him well.’”
Newsday’s Ellis Henican: “Don't forget Christie does have very good political skills. He's good at speaking on his feet. He knows a ton about issues.” (MSNBC, “First Look,” 6/30/15)
National Review’s Alexis Levinson: Christie talks about all the strong women in his life - of his 2 grandmothers he says, ‘part of today is a fulfillment of their dream, too.’” (Twitter, @alexis_levinson, 6/30/15)

MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt: “This crowd was fired up for Christie and starts to underscore why it is that Christie is so strong as a potential, has been so strong as potential president candidate. This highlighted his political skills.” (MSNBC, “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” 6/30/15)

The Hill: “[P]ast opponents … have underestimated Christie’s political skills, which he exhibited once again in Tuesday’s high-energy speech, delivered without the safety net of a teleprompter.” (Niall Stanage, “Christie joins 2016 field,” The Hill, 6/30/15)
  • “The address had a zigzag quality, emphasizing his pragmatism and open-mindedness one minute but his Republican zeal and love of political combat the next.”
Yahoo Politics: “[C]hristie is clearly hoping his gritty authenticity will distinguish him in a presidential race that is increasingly scripted and stage-managed.” (Liz Goodwin, “Christie makes small-town presidential speech at high school,” Yahoo! Politics, 6/30/15)

Former Governor Tim Pawlenty: “I think he's positioning himself as the blunt talker or the brash talker. I think there's an appetite for that. There's a market for that. And people want strong, clear leadership and I think the speech was a great example of his ability, his capability, his charisma, his communication skills.” (CNN, “At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan,” 6/30/15)

CNN’s John King: “People are fed up with politicians. So that’s where this truth-teller, authenticity, I’ll tell it like it is, fed up with Washington comes in. And the idea that send a bull to Washington, Washington's the china shop, I'm the bull, let me go. That will have appeal to voters.” (CNN, “At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan,” 6/30/15)