Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Gates is said to be frustrated and unhappy in the Obama cabinet where he's in the uncomfortable position of trying to defend policies that he previously criticized. Apparently, the Defense Department job did not turn out the way Gates had hoped because President Obama has turned away from policies that he once indicated he would embrace.
Rather than openly criticize the President, many believe that Gates will simply resign.
That will open the door for Hagel who is said to be anxious to take the cabinet post. Hagel is a virtual isolationist and would apparently fit in with emerging Obama policies that would have us disengage from hot spots (including Iraq and Afghanistan) while embracing unilateral disarmament and reaching out to dictators such as the Castro brothers in Cuba.
In the end, all of this still seems (as with much of Obamathink) to be more about the previous administration than the current one. Hagel was a frequent, vocal and often irrational critic of the Bush Administration and that appeals to the Obama crowd.
If they feel that can pull this off, the Obamatons will go for it.
It's a dispicable attempt to distract voters from a record of failed policies that have left New Jersey with abysmal minority graduation rates, a 9.7 percent unemployment rate, the worst climate for economic growth in the country and a looming $8 billion budget deficit for FY2010.
Christie Campaign Manager Bill Stepien said: "Jon Corzine's scare tactics are a sad attempt to distract voters from his own failed record on education. Governor Corzine has jeopardized essential education funding by using stop-gap measures to pay for nearly 10 percent of the education budget, and he has completely failed to revitalize our urban schools. The teachers and NJEA members featured in our web video want Jon Corzine to stop lying about Chris' record and start discussing the facts, which is the only way we are going to fix education in our state."
There's pretty much nothing Jon Corzine won't do or say to try and scare up votes.
"Christie said that as governor, he would, among other things, cut an array of business taxes, meet with company executives hoping to locate in New Jersey, walk businesses through the state's regulations, and allow employers to buy into out-of-state health care plans." (Cynthia Burton, "GOP candidate Christie launches attack on Corzine, Philadelphia Inquirer, 02/27/09.)
Aimee is the new Web Communications Coordinator for the K'NEX Company, makers of K'Nex and other toys. The Monster Truck visited the company headquarters as part of a K'Nex promotion.
Just a gentle reminder to Joe and Nancy and Harry and Rahm: We never heard a word from you the last time that swatikas and images of Hitler hit the city streets.
Not a word.
Hat tip: Ringo's pictures, zomblog and Hateway Pundit.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
“It is clear that there is a bipartisan consensus against a government-run health care option both in Congress and among the American taxpayers,” said Toomey Communications Director Nachama Soloveichik. “This kind of collaborative, bipartisan effort is exactly what our country needs.”
One of Philadelphia's great, grand judges was honored with a portrait unveiling at City Hall in Philadelphia recently and dear friends and family members turned out to pay homage to this beloved member of the Judiciary.
The Honorable Charles P. Mirarchi, Jr. of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court was feted by the city's Justinian Society of Italian-American lawyers and judges.
Gina Furia Rubel, Chancellor of the Justinains told me this was one of the most heartfelt, intimate and emotional events that she could ever remember as a Justinian.
"Judge Mirarchi is an old family friend and he's the Judge who administered the oath to me when I first became a member of the Bar," Gina said. Gina's dad, Richard F. Furia goes back even further with Judge Mirarchi and the Mirarchi family. The ties are very strong since Judge Mirarchi was a trailblazer for Italian-Americans.
When I first went to work for the Philadelphia Bar Association so many years ago Judge Mirarchi was one of the first judges that I met. He invited me to his chambers -- a warm, loving, demonstrative man with an easy smile, an unselfish devotion to the law and a willingness to share all that he knew. Instantly, I felt that I knew this man and that I could talk to him about almost anything. Over the years, that feeling never changed. Never looking our for himself, Judge Mirarchi always asked me how I was doing and showed an interest in me, my career and my family.
Honorable Pamela Pryor Dembe, the wonderful President Judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas presided at the Mirarchi event and the portrait was unveiled by Gina Furia Rubel, Judge Anthony J. DeFino and Haddonfield artist Joseph Routon.
What a beautiful portrait. What a wonderful man!
Shown above: Judge Mirarchi with portrait, Mirarch with Justinian Chancellor Gina Furia Rubel, Mirarch with President Jodge Pamela Pryor Dembe, Mirarch with Chancellor Furia Rubel and Richard Furia.
Indeed, Republicans have done more than many others to preserve and protect millions of acres of wilderness, national treasures and places of true antiquity.
And Democrats will probably never equal this record of achievement.
Three Republican Presidents -- Lincoln, Harrison and Grant signed the first pieces of legislation to preserve precious lands as state and national parks. These first preservations were Yosemite and Yellowstone. And it was a Republican Senator from Iowa -- John F. Lacey -- who spearheded the drive for the protection of so many additional acres and national monuments. Lacey was a true hero.
And, of course, that great Republican President Theodore Roosevelt was the veritable founder of the modern conservation movement and preserved more acreage than anyone -- often with just the stroke of a pen.
So many of the treasures that we enjoy today are there because of the courageous actions of Republicans.
Of course, you'd never know this from the Burns documentary since when the word "Republican" actually is spoken it's often linked to greedy, moneyed interests.
Well, Burns is an avowed liberal Democrat.
No matter. We know the truth.
And Burns' documentary is a spellbinding, visual joy nonetheless.
BTW: Ever notice that two of the four Presidents depicted on Mt. Rushmore are Republicans while only one can (nominally) be called a Democrat?
Sunday, September 27, 2009
NOW President Obama seems unwilling to bolster our forces in Afghanistan.
NOW he's toying with the idea of backing away or pulling out.
NOW he seems reluctant to finish the job in Afghanistan and NOW he won't even mention the word "victory."
But all during the presidential campaign last year he called for a greater commitment -- and MORE troops -- in Afghanistan. In fact, he even excoriated Bush and McCain for not doing enough, militarily in Afghanistan.
But NOW that Obama's the President and the Democrats are firmly in control, all that seems to be forgotten. And NOW our generals and our troops wait, wait, wait for the support they need.
Hat Tip: Gateway Pundit
We enjoyed wonderful white cosmo martinis made with Pravda vodka and delicious treats from Raw, the cafe at Boyds. These included shrimp wrapped in bacon, thin-sliced steak rolls, a variety of sushi, batter-dipped chicken and other delights.
Live models provided the visual stimulation (along with the many guests all of who were instructed to "dress fashionably") and DJs kept the whole environment reverberating.
Of course we saw many friends such as former Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellors Allan Gordon of Kolsby Gordon (there with his wife, Sharon) and Alan Feldman of Feldman Shepherd. Feldman was there with his partners, Carol Nelson Shepherd and Roberta (Bobbi) Pichini. We also chatted with our dear friend lawyer Theresa (Terri) Italiano who is now Legislative Director for Philadelphia City Council and with the great Nicole Cashman whose Cashman and Associates produced the entire evening for Boyds. And let's not forget Rob Kaloustian, General Sales Manager for 1210 AM Radio, The Big Talker in Philadelphia and Johnny Corrado of Morgan Stanley's Corrado Group.
Seventy years ago, Boyds opened its doors with a relentless commitment to providing customers with the best of the best. Today, in its third generation, Boyds is regarded as one of the world's great clothing stores.
While Boyds has grown and evolved, its core ideals have remained unchanged. There are no demographic breakdowns and no shareholders to answer to. Its customers are not points on a graph. Boyds one store. The same one that has been owned and operated by the same family for 70 years. And when you know customers by their names and individual tastes, demographics just seem silly.
In an age of mass merchandising, when so many retail stores look the same, Boyds focuses on providing our customers with exclusive merchandise. They are proud to offer one of the country's largest selections of fine men's and women's designer fashions.
Boyds is known for extraordinary customer service. Free custom alterations by fifty European tailors, fashion coordinators and free valet parking are part of Boyds tradition.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
It was quite ironic that New Jersey's Cost of Government Day was observed on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend (September 6).
That is the date, calculated by the Center for Fiscal Accountability, when the average worker in the Garden State has earned enough gross income to pay off their share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by state, local and federal government.
The national date was observed on August 12 (almost a full month later than 2008). Viewed in a different light, 61 percent of the national income is absorbed by the cost of government.
The average American worker labors 111 days to pay for federal spending, 49 days for state and local spending and 65 days to support federal and state regulations. The New Jersey labor force must work an additional 25 days beyond the national average to reach its Cost of Government Day.
And how does the state compare to the rest of the nation? It is not terribly surprising that only Connecticut achieved a date later than New Jersey, theirs was September 7. Pennsylvania's celebration took place on August 14, Delaware's was on August 9, and New York observed its date on August 31.
To put these dates into perspective, workers in Pennsylvania and Delaware have an advantage of three or four weeks of earnings for their discretion and New Yorkers a one week benefit, while people in New Jersey continue to support the cost of government.
While all states absorb the number of days figured to absorb federal spending, the key variable in their individual "celebration" date is the cost of state and local government. Perhaps the factor that contributes most to New Jersey's dubious ranking is the tax increases workers have been saddled with since 2003.
Over the course of the last seven fiscal years, New Jersey government has cumulatively increased taxes by over $21 billion, or $2,447 per person. The per capita figure is by far the highest in the country, as Connecticut follows with a $1,807 per person tax increase during this interval.
One of the consequences of relying on increasing taxes to raise revenue in order to sustain and boost spending is the out-migration of population to more tax-friendly states such as Florida. The result of losing their income is a heavier burden being placed on those who remain, especially the state's middle class.
New Jersey's fiscal 2010 budget increased taxes by over $2 billion. That will only serve to further fuel more people leaving the state and increasing the per capita tax burden on those who live here.
Jon Corzine's shameful attempts to smear Chris Christie are a national disgrace.
As if our state's reputation under Corzine wasn't bad enough, the Governor's desperate campaign just gets sleazier and oilier by the day.
Fearlessly, Christie sets the record straight.
"For the fourth consecutive year, New Jersey's business tax climate is ranked as the worst in the nation by The Tax Foundation. Governor Corzine has crippled our state's businesses with crushing tax burdens. The strain of the $1.2 billion tax increases in the FY2010 budget and the highest property taxes in the country have left New Jersey businesses and families struggling. And the Governor has only made a bad situation worse by taking away over $2 billion in property tax rebates from middle class New Jerseyans. Despite the Governor's desperate attempts to distract from those failures, the prognosis of our state's economic health is undeniable - four years of Governor Corzine's disastrous policies have left us on life support."
New Jersey Is Ranked Last In The Nation In State Business Tax Climate By The Tax Foundation For The Fourth Year In A Row. (Kail M. Padgitt, "2010 State Business Tax Climate Index," The Tax Foundation , 9/09)
* New Jersey's Ranking Due In Large Part To It's "Dead Last" Score On Property Taxes. "On the other hand, some states do manage to achieve an almost uniformly good or poor tax climate. New Jersey has only one tax that scores dead last, property taxes, but its overall ranking is 50th because it has no competitive taxes." (Kail M. Padgitt, "2010 State Business Tax Climate Index," The Tax Foundation , 9/09)
* New Jersey Also Scores 47th In The Nation On Individual Income Tax. (Kail M. Padgitt, "2010 State Business Tax Climate Index," The Tax Foundation , 9/09)
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
"Jon Corzine's hedge fund has a direct $26 million investment into an industry regulated by his own appointees. There is a blatant conflict of interest that is clearly wrong and must be corrected. Governor Corzine's hedge fund should not be able to directly profit from an industry he regulates.
"Each day, we learn of a new conflict of interest arising from the connection between the governor's personal finances and the state's finances. If it's not inappropriate financial relationships with casino license holders or the state investing half-a-billion into TPG hedge funds, it's having a personal stake in companies regulated by his own political appointees. Jon Corzine has no choice but to reveal the entire amount of his financial investment with TPG, its decision-makers and TPG Axon if we're going to know exactly where and how the governor's vast personal fortune crosses the line."
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The Pennsylvania SPCA is on the hunt to find whoever wrapped a cat in duct tape and dumped the feline in a yard in North Philadelphia.
A woman found the cat on the 2200 block of Edgley Street in the city's Rhawnhurst section Tuesday afternoon.
The tape was wrapped around the cat from her tail to her neck. The SPCA says the cat, who is about a year or two old, is doing well now that the tape has been removed.
The SPCA is offering a $1000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
If you know anything, you're asked to call the SPCA’s Cruelty Hotline at 1-866-601-7722.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Attention K'NEX® fans in the Philadelphia area! To celebrate K'NEX's new line of Monster Jam® building sets, coming to a store near you in Fall 2010, Grave Digger® will be visiting K'NEX Headquarters!
Come out to get your picture taken with this amazing Monster Truck. The first two hundred fans will receive a FREE K'NEX building set (limit one per person)!
Best of all - the event is absolutely free! No tickets necessary. Hope you can join us for the fun!
WHEN: Wednesday, September 23, 2009
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: K’NEX Headquarters – front parking lot
2990 Bergey Road
Hatfield, PA 19440-0700
About K'NEX Brands
Founded in 1992, K'NEX Brands was established to make and sell what has become one of the world's leading integrated construction systems for children. Winner of over 200 international awards and recognitions, K'NEX seeks to build young minds with its exciting product line and critically acclaimed K'NEX Education program.
For more information, please visit www.knex.com.
Instead, he has raised taxes, raised fees, raised tolls and chased businesses out of our state. Amazingly, over the weekend, Governor Jon Corzine told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he would not rule out raising taxes again to cover his gaping budget shortfalls, despite nearly 10 percent unemployment.
If Governor Corzine has already broken his campaign promise to New Jerseyans to not raise taxes, what kind of tax increases can we expect if he is actually admitting he will raise taxes?
In the last four years, Governor Corzine's tax hikes and uncontrolled spending have given New Jerseyans the highest tax burden in the nation, so it should be no surprise that he has no problem raising taxes on our state again.
In his last budget alone, he raised taxes by $1.2 billion, while New Jerseyans pay the highest property taxes in the country.
Even his most recent tax increases are not enough to cover his egregious spending. Next year, New Jersey will need to overcome Jon Corzine's $8 billion budget deficit and the Governor has told us how he will do so: not cut wasteful spending, but instead raise taxes.
Christie-Guadagno Campaign Manager Bill Stepien: "Record numbers of jobs are leaving our state and, Jon Corzine is encouraging New Jerseyans to follow them. Governor Corzine's promise to raise taxes is the first time in this campaign he has told the truth about his record and his approach to governing. While the Governor may believe that more taxes are the answer, the fact is the people of New Jersey are hurting. Governor Corzine's commitment to even higher taxes and wasteful spending that got our state into this mess show just how out of touch he is. It is time to say no to Governor Corzine's irresponsible policies and change the way New Jersey does business."
· An upcoming $8 billion deficit for FY2011
· $1.2 billion in new taxes and fees for New Jerseyans
· 1.2 million more taxpayers won't receive property tax rebates in FY 2010
Tax Burden: In FY2010, Governor Corzine's budget will make the tax burden even heavier by making the taxpayers pay these new taxes and fines:
o $970 million for the elimination of property tax rebates
o $903 million for income tax rate increases
o $400 million for tax increase on employers for unemployment program
o $270 million for corporate business tax increase
o $100 million for the elimination of property tax deduction
o $37 million for health insurance tax increases
o $30 million for cigarette tax increases
o $21.6 million for wine and liquor tax increases
o $20 million for DMV fees
o $8 million for taxing lottery winnings increase
To view the full story from The Philadelphia Inquirer, please click here.
Sophia Loren is celebrating her 75th birthday and she is still ravishingly beautiful.
Just look at the recent photos of Loren [above] for the Pirelli calendar. Loren was included with much younger stars including Penelope Cruz.
The voluptuous Loren, who still sports plunging necklines, said at the time [she posed for Pirelli] she was thrilled by the experience. "I didn't think they would ask me such a thing," she said, "then thought, what the hell, I am going to do it anyway.". . . Loren . . . 75 on Sunday, was an illegitimate child raised by a single mother in abject poverty in the war-torn slums outside Naples.
After trying out for beauty contests, she scored a few small roles on screen and at only 16, in 1951, played a young slave girl. That same year she unveiled her breasts, posing nude for the first but very last time. "When Sophia Loren is naked," she once said, "that is a lot of nakedness." Commenting once on another Italian bombshell, Gina Lollobrigida, Loren said: "I don't think she's positively mad about me.
Because I'm bigger than she? It's possible. Who knows?" It was in 1953 that Loren's career really took off when she met husband-to-be Carlo Ponti, an already married producer 22 years her senior who later became the father of her two sons and with whom she lived until his death at 94 two years ago.
When they first married, Ponti was charged with bigamy after Italy would not recognise a Mexican divorce from his first wife. He and Loren annulled their marriage but continued living together -- a huge scandal at the time.
Loren worked with great Italian directors including Dino Risi, Vittorio De Sica and Ettore Scola but unlike Bardot, who starred with French legends such as Jean-Luc Godard or Louis Malle, went on to work in Hollywood. Playing alongside stars such as Clark Gable, Peter Sellers, John Wayne and Frank Sinatra, she scooped an Oscar for "Two Women" in 1962 and a second in 1991 honoring her entire career.
Amid her 90-odd films -- she plans a biopic on her own life in which she will play her mother -- she co-starred in 13 with fellow Italian Marcello Mastroiani, probably her best-known partner. It is Mastroiani who in "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow", a 1964 movie, sits on the bed staring and sweating and roaring with joy as the sex icon peels off her clothes, swinging suspender-belt and stockings. Their last film together was the 1994 movie by Robert Altman "Pret-a-porter".
BTW: Sophia Loren returns to the screen in November in the big new movie musical "Nine" starring Penelope Cruz and Daniel Day Lewis. Watch the Nine trailer by clicking here.
Hoover's, Dun and Bradstreet, The Wall Street Journal and others all confirm that TPG-Axon Capital Management is "a subsidiary of" TPG Capital Partners.
"Texas Pacific Group founder David Bonderman said at a recent industry conference that his company's move to start a hedge fund was a way for the firm to find new uses for the 'intellectual capital' gleaned from researching buyouts, such as buying and selling stock in other companies in the same industry as a company TPG was trying to acquire, without sharing any inside information." (Jason Singer, "Carlyle Will Join Financiers' Moves Into Hedge Funds," The Wall Street Journal, 8/1/06)
In fact, TPG's own website includes a Financial Times article from July 3, 2006 stating, "In 2004 TPG formed a hedge fund, a move that has since been replicated by several rivals. The new venture, called TPG-Axon, is based in New York and managed by Dinakar Singh, a former high-flyer at Goldman Sachs." (Peter Smith and James Politi, "Against the flow: how 'private equity's Google' is profiting from contrarianism," Financial Times, 07/03/06)
TPG founders David Bonderman and James Coulter are identified in documents prepared by the Attorney General's Division of Gaming Enforcement, and released by the Corzine campaign yesterday, as the individuals who hold the ultimate authority to make decisions on behalf of the various companies that hold the casino licenses issued in 2008 to Harrah's, Caesar's, Bally's and the Showboat casinos in Atlantic City.
"No matter how you slice it, Jon Corzine is partnered with people who hold a casino license. Corzine needs to release any and all documents that shed light on the casino licensee holders relationships with TPG-Axon," stated Campaign Manager Bill Stepien.
"The DGE's letter to the Casino Control Commission references a number of other reports including a financial analysis of the license applicants and also reports detailing the 'credentials of the initial individual qualifiers' involved with license. We need to know if the Attorney General's office ever investigated the role that TPG, and those who exercise control over it, play in TPG-Axon," added Stepien.
Here's the exchange:
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about the funding for ACORN?
OBAMA: You know, if -- frankly, it's not really something I've followed closely. I didn't even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Both the Senate and the House have voted to cut it off.
OBAMA: You know, what I know is, is that what I saw on that video was certainly inappropriate and deserves to be investigated.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're not committing to -- to cut off the federal funding?
OBAMA: George, this is not the biggest issue facing the country. It's not something I'm paying a lot of attention to.
Monday, September 21, 2009
So, we headed over to 10th and Dickinson to the Annunciation BVM Church's Annual Saint Padro Pio Festival.
Saint Padre Pio (1887 - 1968), was a Capuchin priest from Italy who is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. He was born Francesco Forgione, and given the name Pio when he joined the Capuchins; he was popularly known as Padre Pio after his ordination to the priesthood. He became famous for his stigmata and for numerous miracles and healing that were attributed to him.
Beginning in 1990, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints debated how heroically Padre Pio had lived his life, and in 1997 Pope John Paul II declared him venerable. A discussion of the effects of his life on others followed, including the cure of an Italian woman, Consiglia de Martino, which had been associated with Padre Pio's intercession. In 1999, on the advice of the Congregation, John Paul II declared Padre Pio blessed.
After further consideration of Padre Pio's virtues and ability to do good even after his death, including discussion of another healing attributed to his intercession, the Pope declared Padre Pio a saint on June 16, 2002. Three hundred thousand people were estimated to have attended the canonization ceremony.
Well, the Padre Pio Festival yesterday was a grand affair with many happy attendees of all ages.
We lit a candle in the Padre's honor and followed the old Italian custom of pinning money to ribbons that adorn the saint's statue. This is part of venerating the saint and giving back to the church.
I grew up accustomed to veneration of the saints and it is a practice that I continue to treasure.
Saint Anthony is my patron saint and Saint Jude, Saint Francis, Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Joseph remain among my favorites.
Padre Pio is a source of great inspiration -- a beacon of light amidst so much evil in the world.
I might add that the Capuchin Franciscans have been very good to me over the years and were there at a critical point in my life when I very much needed them.
I never have -- and never will -- forget this.
Of course, while we were at the festival we supported the many vendors on hand and dined on penne pasta with meatballs, fresh cooked artichokes and delicious cannolis.
What a joy it was to sit in the golden sunlight on a little street in South Philly and savor the heart-warming sights, sounds and scents of an old-fashioned Italian street festival. Bella!
Photo of Saint Padre Pio statue by Mark Tarasiewicz.
"Today, we discovered that Governor Corzine holds significant personal investments in the Texas Pacific Group and its affiliate companies that may be in violation of the law. Governor Corzine must be forthright and tell New Jerseyans how much money he has personally invested with TPG and divest his interest in the company.
"At best, Governor Corzine's actions represent a concerning conflict of interest. At worst, they violate the Casino Control Act. Mr. Corzine should know that this investment is wrong and may, in fact, be illegal."
Sunday, September 20, 2009
"Today's report that Governor Corzine has personal financial investments in the New Jersey casino industry is shocking and reveals a colossal error in judgment that appears to be a violation of the law under the Casino Control Act. Common sense alone, let alone the real possibility of law breaking, should have prevented Jon Corzine from putting his personal financial gain ahead of his role as Governor.
"Additionally, it would appear Jon Corzine's actions are not confined just to his own personal self-interest, but have serious consequences that involve our state government.
"In the interest of transparency, Governor Corzine must immediately reveal exactly how much money he has invested in TPG, precisely how much money he has personally made from his casino investment and then he should immediately divest the funds. Any delay in giving New Jersey taxpayers the complete truth is a continued violation of their trust and will only further raise doubts about his integrity and the integrity of the government he leads.
"Governor Corzine's latest lapse in judgment raises many questions that will need to be answered in the days ahead."
After two straight years of adopting new energy efficiencies that have led to innovative cuts in expenses, the Township has strengthened its financial position.
“I believe we have a moral obligation to return any and all extra money we’ve saved back to the taxpayers during these tough economic times,” Platt said. “After making the right decisions my administration will ensure Cherry Hill is the best place to live in Camden County at the lowest possible price.”
This budget secures Cherry Hill’s status as the lowest municipal tax rate in Camden County, according to the state Treasury Department, and secures the special way of life the community enjoys.
We congratulate the Mayor on economical, efficient government service.
At a time when government at all levels is raising taxes Cherry Hill is lowering taxes by finding innovative ways to spend less and save more. At numerous Town Hall meetings, the Mayor solicited ideas from ordinary citizens in an effort to save tax dollars. He listened. He cared. He acted in the public interest.
That's a testament to Bernie Platt's fine leadership. Bravo!
Nestled among the natural woodlands of Absecon, Marriott's Fairway Villas delivers a classic golf club getaway in gracious old-world style. From the on-site Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa to miles of trails, beaches, beautiful barrier islands and the manicured fairways, this is a top-notch relaxation destination.
We spent a good deal of time at the adult pool at the villas. The weather was perfect and it was quiet and totally tranquilizing. The pool adjoins the spacious Red Door Spa that also includes a fitness center lunch bar and indoor heated pool.
The resort's large welcome center and clubhouse is luxurious and adjoins a larger pool area. There are numerous hot tubs, both indoor and outdoor.
The facility is open to all Marriott timeshare owners year round.
We lunched at the Fairway Villas and then later journeyed to nearby Leeds Point (home of the infamous Jersey Devil) to enjoy crabs at Oyster Creek Inn.
The Oyster Creek Inn has been doing business at the same location as long as I can remember. To call it rustic would be an understatement. Don't go for the ambiance. It's a ramshackle seafood bar and restaurant built on stilts right at the intercoastal waterway. The views are tremendous and the seafood is fresh.
We enjoyed Jersey Crab Bisque and a full plate of Crab Norfolk, an Oyster Creek specialty that features plenty of jumbo lump crab meat. Of course we paired that with french fries and homemade cole slaw.
The ride through the Jersey pines was easy, scenic and exceptionally pleasant.
On the way home we stopped for ice cream at a nearby Cold Stone Creamery.
BTW: Since we departed the pinelands before dark, we never had to worry about the Jersey Devil.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
This is the originator of the 20-ounce pound.
It's fun. It's informal. And most of all it's delicious beyond belief.
We're talking about The Kibitz Room and you can find it in Cherry Hill at Springfield and Evesham Roads and in Philadelphia at 1521 Locust St.
We stopped into the Philly Kibitz Room the other day and enjoyed succulent matzo ball soup and a huge roast beef on rye. We asked for half of our roast beef cooked and the other half deli style. And that's how we got it. The cooked half was dark and steamy. The deli half was pinkish/rouge and robust.
We also enjoyed a large portion of matzo ball soup. It looks just like the photo: real, hearty chicken broth, bow ties, big carrot slices and that mammoth matzo ball. Big, yes -- but the matzo was nonetheless light. Absolutely dreamy!
And the Kibitz Room has a great luncheon special: Corned Beef, Pastrami, Turkey, Tuna or Chicken Salad Sandwich w/ French Fries and Fountain Soda $9.34 Monday through Friday from 11:00-3:00.
Trust me: It usually takes two to eat ONE of these sandwiches. I did say USUALLY because you might get carried away and just eat both halves. But these sandwiches are huge!
BTW: The Kibitz Room also has great desserts, wonderful breakfasts, memorable appetizers and take out and catering services.
Trust me: This is as good as anything you're gonna get in Brooklyn!
Friday, September 18, 2009
Australia’s most honored, beloved, (and Tony-winning) housewife, Dame Edna Everidge, is proud to announce her triumphant return to Broadway in "It's All About Me", a glorious celebration of everything Edna. Performances for this extra special and very limited run engagement will begin early-March at a Shubert Theatre to be announced.
This is Dame Edna’s third return to Broadway, following her smash hit (and Tony & Drama Desk Award-winning) Dame Edna: The Royal Tour in 1999, and 2004’s Tony Nominated Dame Edna: Back with a Vengeance.
Dame Edna: It’s All About Me will be directed by four time Tony award winner Jerry Zaks, who most recently directed Chazz Palminteri’s hit solo Broadway show A Bronx Tale.
Dame Edna Everage, housewife, megastar, investigative journalist, social anthropologist, children's book illustrator, diseuse, chanteuse, swami, monstre sacré, polymath, adviser to British royalty, grief counsellor, spin doctor and icon is, arguably, the most popular and gifted woman in the world today.
Her career began in Melbourne, Australia in 1956 (see her best selling autobiography My Gorgeous Life - published in England by Macmillan and in the United States by Simon & Schuster) and though in the Fifties when her journey as a performing artiste began she had a strictly cult following.
In the 1960s Mrs. Everage - as she then was - did a series of one-woman shows with Barry Humphries in her native Australia and occasional stage and television appearances in England. She first appeared on the British stage at the Fortune Theatre in 1968 in Just a Show which received a mixed reception from the critics, though rave notices from writers such as John Osborne. This led to a short-lived television series on BBC The Barry Humphries Scandals.
Dame Edna's career really blossomed during the Seventies when her success in Australia was repeated in Britain with stage shows including Housewife, Superstar and A Night With Dame Edna.
Dame Edna's stage appearances in London have been legendary and she has performed to large audiences throughout in the Royal Albert Hall and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, often described as the greatest theatre in the world.
Edna also hosted two series of her own inventive chat shows, The Dame Edna Experience where her past guests have included Jane Fonda, Charlton Heston, Liza Minelli, Sean Connery and Mel Gibson and Julio Inglesias. She has also recorded similar television specials for the NBC and Fox Networks, where her guests have included Kim Bassinger, Robin Williams, Chevy Chase and Barry Manilow.Her books include Dame Edna's Coffee Table Book, Dame Edna's Bedside Companion, Lost Monasteries of Bulgaria, her famous autobiography My Gorgeous Life and her new book (in the pipeline) Love Your Husband's Prostate.
Dame Edna is Jewish (in a former life) and has three grown-up children. She spends her time visiting world leaders and jet setting between her homes in Malibu, London, Sydney and Switzerland.
She is the founder and Governor of 'Friends of the Prostate' and the World Women's Prostate Olympics. Dame Edna is the subject of an important study by the theatre historian and New Yorker critic, John Lahr - Dame Edna Everage and the Rise of Western Civilisation
She is the patron and founder of EdnaCare (Switzerland), which leases her services worldwide. Her hobbies are having afternoon tea with Stephen Hawking and compassionate photography. She especially likes lensing her fashionable friends in Aspen and Gstaad, and war orphans.
Her motto is: I'm sorry, but I care.
Governor Jon Corzine heavily favored stop-gap measures to fill the gaping holes in his FY 2010 budget, including funding roughly 10 percent of the education budget with one-time federal stimulus funds. This reckless accounting puts New Jersey children's education at risk by funding the education budget with $1 billion that will not be there next year.
"Many of the Board members endorsing Chris today are Democrats, but we all know that when it comes to providing a quality education and a hopeful future for our children, party and politics aren't a factor," said Francisco Gonzalez, President of the Elizabeth Board of Education. "Governor Corzine has failed our kids in the last four years when it comes to education policy in our state and it is time for a change in leadership if we're going to ensure our children receive the quality education they deserve."
The members of the Board endorsing Chris Christie for governor are: Francisco Gonzalez (President), Carlos Trujillo (Vice President), Pastor Raul Burgos, Armando DaSilva, Rafael Fajardo, Marie Munn, Fernando Nazco and Elcy Castillo-Ospina. In addition, three local Democratic Party leaders joined the Board members in their endorsement: Tony Monteiro, former Elizabeth City Councilman and former Elizabeth Board of Education member, Bob Jaspan, former Elizabeth City Councilman, and Donald Goncalves, former Union County freeholder.
"We are proud to be standing by Chris and giving him our strongest endorsement," said Carlos Trujillo, Vice President of the Elizabeth Board of Education. "New Jersey's government is broken and Governor Corzine has failed to provide any solutions for the host of problems facing our state and our schools. We know Chris shares our belief that our number one priority must be giving our children every possible tool they need to be successful in the future. Chris is a proven and determined leader who has shown he has the guts needed to fix our education system and demand accountability at all levels."
Thursday, September 17, 2009
But what was a three-year-old doing at an evening Phillies game or at any Phillies game, day or night?
A three year old doesn't understand baseball or have the attention span for baseball and shouldn't be in that environment.
Why wasn't dad reading her a bedtime story, at home, as she was tucked into bed?
And why are children constantly showing up at adult venues? What are toddlers doing in such environments?
Why is this happening?
I ask you: Why?
BTW: There's ANOTHER little child in the picture who appears to be even YOUNGER than the little girl who caught the ball. Did the parents actually PAY for these kids to attend the game?
"Today's unemployment numbers (9.7%) prove Governor Corzine has failed our state in exactly the area we were told to trust him the most. His unsustainably high taxes, increased debt and irresponsible spending have driven jobs out of New Jersey forcing record numbers of people out of work. His Wall Street borrow and spend budget gimmicks have failed. It is time for him to go."
New Jersey State Senator Robert Singer, the senior Republican member of the Senate Health, Human Services & Senior Citizens Committee, expressed concern today about a recently announced proposal in the US Senate Finance Committee that could dramatically increase the premiums that New Jersey families pay for health insurance. The bill is schedule to be introduced today and marked up in the Finace Committee next week; it is sponsored by Montana Senator Max Baucus.
“According to a report published in The Hill, Olympia Snowe a United State Senator from Maine will not vote for the Baucus bill because it would impose an up to 35 percent tax on high cost health insurance plans,” Singer stated.
“Unfortunately, the reality is that Maine and New Jersey have very similar health insurance costs. If a senator from Maine won’t vote for this bill because Maine is a high cost state, this should be a no-brainer for our congressional delegation.”
A report published by the Center for American Progress projects that health care insurance premiums would exceed nontax threshold in New Jersey set by the Baucus bill within the decade. The bill being introduced in the US Senate Finace Committee today would require up to a 35 percent tax on health insurance plans that exceed the threshold.
“Health care reform is urgently needed,” Singer continued. “How we pay for reform is a significant issue for New Jersey. The plan being introduced into the Senate Finace Committee today will balance health care reform on the backs of the middle-class families in a handful of high cost states like New Jersey. It is critical that Senators Menendez and Lautenberg, and our Congressional delegation vote no on any plan that will tax insurance premiums.”
No doubt by now you’ve heard the comments made by former President Jimmy Carter and other Democrat leaders injecting charges of racism into important policy debates we are having today. I think the former president, with all due respect, is plain wrong. I have seen racism firsthand, and the current opposition we’re seeing from Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike to the president’s policies is not racism. In fact, baseless accusations like this diminish real incidences of racism.
It is outrageous and troubling the lengths Democrats will go to disparage those who disagree with them. This is not the context in which we should have a debate on health care or any issue facing America. The American people want the Democrats to start working with Republicans on common-sense, incremental health care reform, not resort to tactics such as this that make it harder to solve important challenges facing our nation.
Please join me in taking a stand against this insulting attempt to divide the nation by injecting race into our civil discourse and instead seek ways to unite Americans by forwarding this to your friends and posting it on your profile.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Mary Travers, one-third of the hugely popular 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, has died. The band's publicist, Heather Lylis, says Travers died at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut on Wednesday.
She was 72 and had battled leukemia for several years. Travers joined forces with Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey in the early 1960s.
The trio mingled their music with liberal politics, both onstage and off. Their version of "If I Had a Hammer" became an anthem for racial equality. Other hits included "Lemon Tree," "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and "Puff (The Magic Dragon.)" T
hey were early champions of Bob Dylan and performed his "Blowin' in the Wind" at the August 1963 March on Washington. And they were vehement in their opposition to the Vietnam War, managing to stay true to their liberal beliefs while creating music that resonated in the American mainstream.
The group collected five Grammy Awards for their three-part harmony on enduring songs like "Leaving on a Jet Plane," "Puff (The Magic Dragon)" and "Blowin' in the Wind."
At one point in 1963, three of their albums were in the top six Billboard best-selling LPs as they became the biggest stars of the folk revival movement. It was heady stuff for a trio that had formed in the early 1960s in Greenwich Village, running through simple tunes like "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
They debuted at the Bitter End in 1961, and their beatnik look — a tall blonde flanked by a pair of goateed guitarists — was a part of their initial appeal. As The New York Times critic Robert Shelton put it not long afterward, "Sex appeal as a keystone for a folk-song group was the idea of the group's manager, Albert B. Grossman, who searched for months for `the girl' until he decided on Miss Travers."
Their debut album came out in 1962, and immediately scored a pair of hits with their versions of "If I Had a Hammer" and "Lemon Tree." The former won them Grammys for best folk recording, and best performance by a vocal group.
It’s entirely possible — nay, likely — that Obama will lose on all three big issues [cap and trade card check, health care].
He’ll probably take that personally. As he has pushed for the passage of his reforms, his public approval ratings have taken a beating, and voters have started to trust the Republicans more than his party on a host of issues.
The question that most political handicappers are considering right now is not “Will Republicans make gains at the midterm elections?” but “How large will those gains be?”
What all this means is, barring some unforeseeable world event, Obama’s will probably not be a historic presidency. He will have some successes and a lot of failures. His opposition won’t roll over, and his party will refuse to go along with his more costly, and thus risky, schemes. He won’t coast to reelection.
So Obama now has the chance to be the sort of president Bush would have been if the World Trade Center towers had not come down. Here’s hoping he makes the best of it.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
In another stunning example of hypocrisy, congressional Democrats are wasting taxpayers’ time and resources on a legislative measure to censure Congressman Joe Wilson so they don’t have to talk about their exceedingly unpopular health care plan.
Without question, Joe Wilson made a terrible error in judgment and has wasted no time in extending a personal apology to the president. The president has accepted his apology.
If we are going to march Members down to the well of the house to apologize, Joe Wilson is going to have to get in line behind Nancy Pelosi, who attacked the intelligence community who protects us, Charlie Rangel who cheated on his taxes, Jack Murtha – a walking scandal, and we all know how the Democratic leadership tried to protect William Jefferson.
Democrats don’t want an apology.
They want a side show – something to shift the focus away from their government-run experiment on health care.”
Senator Arlen Specter is stopping the Senate’s business dead in its tracks today so he can leave early to hold a fundraiser for his Senate campaign (CQ Politics, 09/13/09).
This announcement comes on the heels of a new report by the Congressional Oversight Panel that says taxpayers will probably never see the $81.1 billion they were forced to spend bailing out the auto companies. Specter voted in favor of the auto bailouts (Roll Call #215, 12/11/08). Additionally, the panel concluded that Americans were “left in the dark” about the specific details of the decision to bail out the auto companies on the backs of taxpayers (Congressional Oversight Panel, 09/09/09).
The question is: Why is Senator Specter putting his own political career ahead of taxpayers needs? He supported the auto bailouts back in December. Now, he should be fighting to end the bailouts instead of shutting the Senate down to hold a fundraiser.
Pat Toomey’s campaign Communications Director Nachama Soloveichik had this to say: “For someone who has been in Washington for thirty years, stopping the Senate to hold a fundraiser might seem perfectly normal. But for Pennsylvania taxpayers who are footing the bill for Specter’s $81 billion auto bailout and unprecedented debt, it’s a slap in the face. If Arlen Specter spent nearly as much time fighting for taxpayers as he does fighting for reelection, our economy might not be in such bad shape.”
New Jerseyans are invited to discuss their personal experiences, challenges they face and hopes for the future.
Using cutting-edge integration of social networking services, Twitter and YouTube, this website allows visitors to provide a personal snapshot of life in the Garden State by uploading videos, pictures and text. ItsMyNJ.com is a part of Chris and Kim's ongoing efforts to directly engage with and respond to New Jerseyans on the issues that are most important to them.
ItsMyNJ.com uses social media to directly connect real New Jerseyans to Chris and Kim and allows people throughout the state, regardless of party or affiliation, to express their concerns about and hopes for our state. Visitors to the site can submit comments, video or photos to a live feed, which provides a portal for visitors to share their experiences and thoughts for how to fix New Jersey's problems.
ItsMyNJ.com also features nine New Jerseyans as micro-bloggers. These "Voices" share a love for New Jersey and bring diverse backgrounds and experiences to the ItsMyNJ.com community. The site will follow their social networking feeds as these "Voices" share everything from their day-to-day routines to their frustrations with the direction of our state to their perspectives on the race for governor. These "Voices" will have special access to campaign events, as well as to Chris and Kim, and will offer unique insight into the lives and cares of New Jerseyans, while encouraging other New Jerseyans to join the dialogue.
As a part of the ItsMyNJ.com kickoff, the Christie-Guadagno campaign challenges New Jerseyans across the state to submit their ideas for a better New Jersey for the chance to be selected as the tenth NJ Voice. This person will be selected to represent his or her community with a passion for our state and a commitment to improving life in New Jersey.
Spokesperson Maria Comella said: "From announcing our Lieutenant Governor via social networking sites to releasing our 'Energy as Industry' policy through YouTube, the Christie-Guadagno campaign has made a priority of reaching out and speaking directly with New Jerseyans. The people of New Jersey are frustrated with the direction our state is headed under Jon Corzine's leadership and It'sMyNJ.com provides the opportunity for their voices to be heard. ItsMyNJ.com offers another avenue for voters to reach out and get involved with this campaign."
To meet the NJ Voices, please click here to go to the blogger page.
Visit Christie-Guadagno Sites:
· Christie-Guadagno Website: www.christiefornj.com
· Christie Twitter: www.twitter.com/christiefornj
· Christie-Guadagno Facebook: www.facebook.com/christieguadagno09
· Christie-Guadagno Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/34993591@N05/sets/
Monday, September 14, 2009
It's your supporters who you have to clean up after. And, at the rate you're goin, we're all gonna have to clean up a helluva mess after you're done!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Another view of the MASSIVE protest yesterday in DC (this picture from MSNBC). Note that the crowd goes from the capitol all along Pennsylvania Avenue to the area near the White House. The entire evenue is covered with people. The crowd stretched out... beyond the 1 mill point based on USAToday's report on how to gauge inaugural attendance.
Anyway, this is how many turned up in Washington yesterday to protest big government and health care. Some estimates have the crowd as high as TWO MILLION. And to look at this picture, you can believe it.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Well, we'll let former New Jersey Secretary of State Joan Haberle and Garfield Councilwoman Tana Raymond tell you why:
Haberle says she's tired of the "arrogance" and "do nothing" attitude of the Corzine administration and adds that "New Jersey has become the laughing stock of the nation."
"I keep telling people that State Street in Trenton is not Wall Street," Haberle says. "I don't care how good Corzine was on Wall Street, it doesn't transfer."
Haberle cited New Jersey steadily rising unemployment rate and noted that "businesses continue to leave our state." She pointed to the closing of the Ford plant in Edison New Jersey and the 800 jobs that were lost there. "And that's just one instance," she added.
Haberle, a licensed real estate broker, says she's never seen the state in such a dreadful economic condition.
She also deplored the "secrecy" of the Corzine Administration and said "there's no telling how much has been kept from us; how much we don't know" about what has transpired behind the scenes.
Raymond said she's become "completely disheartened" with Corzine. "I voted for him and he hasn't done anything," Raymond said.
"I really think he's out of touch with reality," Raymond added. "Garfield is a blue-collar town and he simply can't relate to ordinary people."
The Councilwoman said that New Jerseyans are fleeing the state in record numbers. "Many of my friends tell me that their children are moving south. They can't afford to live here. And old people are moving out as well. The taxes are forcing them to leave."
Raymond asked: "Where are the jobs that Corzine said he would provide? Where are they?"
Raymond said she feared no retribution from entrenched Democrats for crossing party lines. "Look," she explained "The people of this state are more important than any party. I simply can't give Corzine another four years to try to get it right."
State Senator Joe Kyrillos moderated the conference call and he told me that he's spoken to "many Democrats who say that cannot vote for Corzine."
Senator Kyrillos said that the Christie campaign expects to announce more Democrat defections as election day draws near. "Many people call me -- Democrat mayors, leaders -- and tell me privately that they're on our side, that they can't support Corzine."
Kyrillos indicated that some of these leaders may soon be ready to step forward, join many other announced Democrats for Christie and embrace Chris Christie publicly.
"I know that Chris Christie has talked to a lot of Democrats; a lot of important Democrats," Kyrillos said. "And he's getting a very positive response."
We dropped in at Season's 52 at the Cherry Hill Mall and discovered that it's just as good, if not better, than it was when it first opened back in the spring.
The place was crowded but we were quickly escorted to a plush booth where we enjoyed Seasons 52's distinctive fresh, seasonal dishes -- all 475 calories or less. This was a first-time visit to Season's 52 for our companions and they loved the atmosphere, food, service and the icy martinis.
The menu changes four times a year at Seasons 52 and that means that the restaurant's new fall menu arrives on Tuesday, September 15. The exciting fall menu offerings include a hearty Buffalo Chili, Chicken Breast Cabernet, Maple Glazed Quail, Black Mussels Marinara, Asian Grilled Duck Salad and a Pumpkin Pie Mini Indulgence to complete your dining experience!
Congratulations to Manager Shannon Earley and his entire staff at Seasons 52 for one of the fines dining experiences in the region.
We also dined at Philadelphia's legendary Palm restaurant in The Bellevue where we were treated to the usual superior service, succulent dishes, huge portions and convivial atmosphere. Did you know that The Palm represents true dining value?
The Palm offers a classic steak dinner for just $39.95. This memorable meal includes soup or salad, 14 ounce filet mignon or 16 ounce New York strip and two Palm signature sides.
The Palm's summer lobster special has been extended through September. It includes a gigantic four pound lobster dinner for two with two side dishes for just $89.95.
On weekdays from 5 to 7 PM and from 9 PM onward all Palm prime bites at the bar are just $3.50 per serving. These include kobe beef sliders, filet mignon capri sandwiches, veal parm sliders, mini crab cakes, calamari fritti chicken strips and prime cheese steak.
On top of all that, there's The Palm's three-course $17.95 lunch. And don't forget The Palm's three-course $35.00 dinner during Philadelphia Restaurant Weeks through September 25.
And then we spent some time at the new California Pizza Kitchen at Cherry Hill Mall (our second visit) and were as pleased as ever.
You can't beat CPK for fresh, fragrant, tasty pizza, pasta and salads as well as incredible desserts.
I enjoyed the asparagus and spinach spaghettini. This is a a light pasta with sautéed asparagus, spinach, fresh tomatoes, basil garlic and Parmesan cheese. You can add grilled chicken breast, shrimp or sautéed salmon but I enjoyed it without any additions at all. It's absolutely dreamy and way more than enough to satisfy even the most ravenous appetite. For dessert we shared a hot fudge brownie sundae. Unbelievably good!
The staff at CPK is so friendly and attentive. We arrived with a fairly large party but were accommodated promptly and efficiently.