Friday, February 29, 2008

Playing On Fear?

Does this ad play on people's fears?
I'll let you decide that.
I will only tell you this: There are two precious little children in my world who I positively adore. And when I think about this election, they are the ones who are most on my mind. They really are what this election is all about. Again and again, I pray for their safety and their secuirty. Above all, I want them (and all our children) protected from the horrors of those who seek to destroy us.

PC Chuckles

Adam Cirucci sent us these wonderful politically correct jokes:
A priest and a rabbi walk into a bar ... They invite the bar's patrons to aninterfaith discussion on tolerance.
What's the difference between a Jew and a Pizza? .... You can't hug a pizza.
What do you say to a Mexican in a three piece suit? .... Gosh, that's aswell suit! I must get the name of your tailor.
An Irish American, a Japanese American, and an African American were stranded on a desert island ... Luckily theydrew strength from their differences and ultimately survived the ordeal.

Deep In Leap

Let's face it, any day that lengthens the dreary month of February is a pretty sad day.
Leap year day is a reflection of our own inability to understand (let alone control) time and space and the universe. The calendar is nothing more than a unit of measure. Time as measured by clocks and so forth is a feeble attempt on our part to gain control of something that is beyond mortal understanding.
We've messed it up from the start. The calendar doesn't quite work so we've had to add this stupid day to "make" it work for us. Now, we have to wait yet another day for this horrid month to be gone.
Do you have a February 29 birthday? Go ahead and enjoy it. But remember: We know how old you really are!

'Leading' The Nation

In January New Jersey was responsible for a whopping 56% of the nation's job loss.
Under wacky Jon Corzine and the all-Democrat state legislature New Jersey continues to drift deeper into debt, borrowing more and attempting to push forward with relentless rounds of toll and tax hikes. At the same time the state is bleeding jobs, businesses and residents. To say that New Jersey is not a business friendly state would be an understatement.
State spending must be drastically reduced now if there is to be any chance to prevent total economic collapse. Call your state legislator now and demand spending cuts and no increases in tolls or taxes.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Burden Of Knowledge

In the wake of the Great Man's death so many good William F. Buckley stories are circulating and they comfort us and help us to keep the memory of WFB alive. Here's one that we heard this morning:
In 1970 WFB appeared on the popular Laugh In TV show and was asked by comic Henry Gibson: "Mr. Buckley, you are almost always shown seated. Does that mean you can't think on your feet?" And WFB replied: "No, it's just hard to stand up with the weight of all that I know."


In Newark they've been having a difficult time putting together a jury for the corruption trial of the city's once-powerful Mayor, political boss Sharpe James.
It seems that many of the potential jurors are saying that they are distrustful of and disdainful toward all politicians and public officials.
Distrustful of politicians and public officials in New Joisey?
Why, we're shocked, shocked!

Another Record Breaker!

During the week just ending, this site has already topped 1,500 page views and more than 1,100 visits. This is another record for our young and growing site and we thank you for your continued support. E-mail our address to others, tell your friends, neighbors and colleagues about us and remember to get involved by posting comments. You do not have to register to post a comment and you can always comment anonymously. Simply click on the word "comments" at the end of any blog item.

Taking Comfort In Comfort

We had a great time last night at John DeBella's Comfort Food fest presented by Classic Rock MGK, 102.9 on the FM band.
The Fest at the beautiful Cescaphe Ballroom in Philly's hip Northern Liberties neighborhood featured food from many of our town's best chef's including one of our favorites, Pippo Lamberti of Positano Coast. Also on hand were Matthew Levin of Lacroix, Todd Fuller of Tangerine, Don Mercantuno of Brasserie Perrier, David Wiederholt of Oceanaire, Brian Duffy of Kildare's, Cary Neff of Coquette Bistro, David Zuckerman of Philadelphia Park Casino, Scott Dubbs of Lucky Strike Lanes and Steve Linneman of the Cescaphe Ballroom.
Food stations served wonderful goodies such as tomato soup and grilled cheese, chili, tuna melt, waffles 'n chicken, crispy pizza squares, pad Thai with shrimp and even that old reliable Spam. The drinks of choice were Bluecoat gin and Fiji water.
John DeBella is one of Philadelphia's favorite (and funniest) radio personalities and last night he presented his First Annual John DeBella Golden Spoon Award.
On a personal note, it's wonderful to see Positano Coast and all the Lamberti restaurants prospering. We've been visiting Aldo Lamberti's original South Jersey restaurant (Tutti Toscani) on Brace Road in Cherry Hill since it first opened in 1985. There are now nine Lamberti restaurants in the region with more than 300 employees company-wide serving more than 18,000 guests every week.
Kudos once again to the folks at Cashman and Associates for putting together a spectacular evening at the Comfort Food fest.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

WFB, 1925 - 2008

As the father of the modern conservative movement in America William F. Buckley did more to advance the positive values of individual liberty, decency and simple common sense than anyone of his generation. He was more than a great thinker and communicator. He was also a consummate liver of life - a passionate man who was fully engaged; someone who showed us that an American could, indeed be a Renaissance man. Though his scholarly language often challenged us, the thoughts behind his words were rooted in the most basic American notions and virtues. He mainstreamed conservatism and made it meaningful and accessible to everyone. And, he showed us how to live an honorable life. He took to heart the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes: "A man should share in the action and the passion of his times at the cost of being judged not to have lived." He lived.

And He's Off . . .

Shortly after he gave his dismal budget address wacky Jon Corzine left Joisey and flew off to Ohio to campaign for Hillary Clinton.
Corzine is still insisting that Clinton will be his party's nominee. And he still believes that his heavily-lambasted NJ toll increase plan may survive in some form.
We do hope that Corzine had a great time in Ohio. Since he was closer to his home state of Illinois he must have felt a lot better than he did here in Joisey where his budget address to the state legislature did not garner any interruption for applause.

The Last Star

She was a Hilton long before Paris Hilton.
Decades before Survivor she defined what it means to survive and thrive.
Long before "American Idol" her beauty and talent made her a modern day icon.
She never needed Maybelline because she was born with double rows of eyelashes on each eye. And before botox and collagen and silicon her natural endowments made all of us star struck.
Before anyone even knew the word "bling" she collected diamonds and precious gems as if they were rock candy. But none of the gems ever dazzled quite as much as her luminescent, violet eyes.
By now you must know that I’m talking about Elizabeth Taylor, the last of the great Hollywood stars.
While many of today’s stars come off as shallow and transitory Elizabeth Taylor endures. Through six decades, eight marriages, seven husbands, 59 films and numerous near-death experiences she has remained a shrewd, complex and captivating personality: a loyal friend, a clever businesswoman, a compassionate citizen and even a savvy politician.
She predated the sexual and individual-rights revolutions by making her own rules and charting her own course, for better or worse. Long before most people even thought of women as entrepreneurs she built successful businesses and amassed hundreds of millions of dollars. Her perfumes are among the best selling fragrances of all time, earning an estimated $200 million in annual sales. Her net worth has been estimated at more than a billion dollars.
To call Elizabeth Taylor a trailblazer would be an understatement. Do you admire Oprah’s generosity or Angelina’s self-proclaimed concern for children or any star’s triumph over substance abuse? Elizabeth Taylor’s been there, done that.
Before anyone was even willing to talk about AIDS Elizabeth Taylor created one of the first and most important organizations for AIDS research and funding. Through the American Foundation for AIDS Research and now the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, Elizabeth Taylor has raised more than $300 million for AIDS research.
She has faced her own demons, bid adieu to dozens of friends and lovers, and even begged forgiveness from those she may have hurt along the way. Through it all, she endures.
Happy Birthday today to the Last Great Star of the movies, Dame Elizabeth Taylor!

People Power

It has now become clearer than ever that the only thing that can save New Jersey is the transfer of power directly to the people. And this can only be accomplished by initiative, referendum and recall.
The residents of New Jersey must gain the power to place public questions directly on the ballot, vote on important topics in direct elections and recall public officials through petition and election. Twenty-eight other states now have this power and it works. When California Governor Gray Davis mismanaged the state, the people recalled him. He was thrown out of office in a special election.
While Governor of New Jersey, Woodrow Wilson stated that the referendum and initiative were "the safeguard of politics." Direct democracy, Wilson said, "takes power from the boss and places it in the hands of the people."
New Jersey has strayed way too far from Wilson's model. It's time to take the state back and restore Wilsonian democracy!

The Ax As Toothpick

So now wacky Joisey Governor Jon Corzine says he finally hears the cry of oppressed taxpayers and he comes forward to propose a state budget that cuts state spending a whopping 1.47%. And included in this are cuts in property tax relief (rebates) and aid to municipalities which translate into higher local property taxes and less money in homeowners' pockets. It's the same old shellgame.
Corzine's cuts are so tentative, so limp, so tiny that it's sort of like peeling a grape: delicate and meaningless.
The Governor says he will cut up to 5,000 jobs from the state payroll (many through attrition). But that's only about 4% of the total state workforce.
California and Indiana are moving toward 10% budget cuts and Joisey can barely eek out one-and-a-half percent from its bloated, wasteful, corrupt-ridden state bureaucracy.
Call your state legislators and tell them: Don't touch the rebates. Instead. cut more. Cut waste, mismanagement and fat across the board in the state budget! It's time to use an ax, not a toothpick.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Party With Perrier

All of the chairs and tables were removed from Georges Perrier's legendary jewel box last night as Le Bec Fin opened its doors to a reception hosted by the renowned chef himself.
Philadelphia's most revered restaurateur mingled with guests amicably and invited all to enjoy menu samples from appetizers to desserts. Level 1 Vodka and fine wines were the lubricants of choice.
The Perrier empire (dubbed Signature Restaurants) will soon unveil its latest attraction at the dazzling new Comcast Center which will be the tallest building between New York and Chicago and one of the largest and most advanced "green" buildings in the world. Perrier also announced an update of the nearby Brasserie Perrier with more popularly priced menu items and he encouraged diners to stop by Le Bec Fin and its lower level Le Bar Lyonnaisse for new menu choices and more accessible offerings.
Kudos to the evening's architects: the extraordinary Nicole Cashman and her wonderful staff at Cashman and Associates. Nicole told us that she is now representing Philadelphia's Sofitel where big changes are on the horizon for the hotel's restaurant and lounge.
At the event we also chatted with CBS3 meteorologist Doug Kammerer and his lovely wife Holly and Fox29 weatherguy John Bolaris. Doug just moved from NBC10 to his new digs at the up-to-the-minute CBS3 broadcast center. Bolaris has returned to town from New York.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Go Away, USA

Only last week we were commenting about Michael Medved's observation that "Hollywood Hates America" (also the title of Medved's best-selling book.
And now all four major actor Oscars have been awarded to foreign actors. We're told that this is the first time in the history of the awards that this has ever happened.
Does anybody at all know Marion Cotillard (pictured), the best actress winner? Has anybody ever heard of her? And what about Tilda Swinton, the best supporting actress winner . . . ever heard of her? I guess it's now too much to expect that the winners in major categories would be actors that we've actually heard of, people we've actually seen in movies.
It sort of reminds me of Gloria Swanson's great line in Sunset Boulevard: "I'm as as big as ever. It's the pictures that got small."
I also love the way presenters now have to say "And the Oscar goes to," instead of "And the winner is . . ." It's gotten so bad you can't call anyone a winner anymore because that implies that others are losers. So, if you win the Oscar it simply "goes to" you. It might just as well have gone to someone else, but this time it "went to" you. How nice. It's all so politically correct.
Not that Oscar has lately worried about being politically INcorrect - especially when it comes to the GOP. The show wasn't on for ten minutes last night before the droll and boring host Jon Stewart started lambasting McCain on the issue of age. He then when on to ask the entire audience: "So, which Democrat are you voting for?"
So much for correctness. So much for class.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Perfect Pizza

You can search high and low for the perfect pizza and then one day you bite into a hot, crispy pie and you're in heaven. You've finally found it!
That's what happened to us last week at Pietro's Coal Oven Pizzeria & Family Restaurant on Walnut St. in Philadelphia. We've long felt that the true test of a pizza is the basic margherita pizza. We asked for a "basic" well-done.
The atmosphere at Pietro's is warm and inviting and the service is always friendly. In the winter a burning fireplace makes it even more delightful. And Pietro's boasts a large, well-stocked bar. After we enjoyed a large, fresh Italian salad the pizza arrived right on schedule. The aromatic, thin-crusted pie was fresh and succulent. And unlike many thin crusted pizzas it held its flavor and texture beyond the first slice. Perfecto!

PR Grand Slam!

Congratulations to Adam Cirucci who hit a PR grand slam last week when every major Philadelphia TV news crew (Fox29, NBC10, 6ABC & CBS3) showed up for Pennsylvania State Senator Andy Dinniman's salute to veterans in West Chester.
Adam, a Vanderbilt grad, former newspaper reporter and well-known Chester County scribe is one of Senator Dinniman's key staffers.
BTW: Senator Andy Dinniman was recently named Elected State Official of the Year by the statewide organization, Pennsylvania Citizens for Better Libraries (PCBL).
"It is an honor to be recognized as an advocate for public libraries and the values they represent. I have always felt that our libraries are not mere public institutions but important pillars of democracy - offering free access to information to every citizen," Dinniman said.

They Do It With Brio

We had a great meal last night at the new Brio Tuscan Grille at Garden State Park in Cherry Hill. In Italian brio (freely translated) means gusto or liveliness. To "do it with brio" means to do it with spirit.
On a Saturday night Brio is lively and crowded. But our reservation was honored promptly and we were seated at a cozy table right in the center of all the action. This is a classy "white table cloth" restaurant but the prices remain competitive and the service is excellent. The atmosphere is old-world but updated. And the most important part - the food - was simply wonderful in every respect: Caesar and chopped salads, lobster bisque soup, veal, crab cakes, shrimp risotto - all superb. Portions were significant without being overwhelming. And every part of the service was nicely timed and paced. BTW: Even the coffee was good.
For dessert we decided to head down the road to the Cold Stone Creamery where we indulged in Oreo overload. Hey, it was Saturday night. Time to shoot the works.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

There IS A Difference

When we tell people that we've found that, generally, Republicans lower taxes while Democrats raise them and generally, taxpayers nearly always getter a better, fairer deal from the Republicans, more than a few people tell us: "Awwww, it makes no difference. They're all the same!"
But they're not all the same.
Look at these figures that Frank Borelli sent to us from the Tax Foundation:
Annual taxes under Clinton 1999 [Under Bush 2008]
Single making 30K - $8,400 [$4,500]
Single making 50K - $14,000 [$12,500]
Single making 75K - $23,250 [$18,750]
Married making 60K - $16,800 [$9,000]
Married making 75K - $21,000 [$18,750]
Married making 125K -$38,750 [$31,250]
Under Bush federal tax rates run from 10% at the lowest level to 35% at the high end. Under Clinton the rates ran from 15% at the low end to nearly 40% at the high end. Rates were higher under Clinton for all Americans even the so-called "working poor."
Keep this chart and show it to others when they tell you "There ain't no difference!"
Because the fact is that Democrats raised rates for lower and middle income people.
Now, if you run into anyone who actually wants to pay more in taxes, tell them what the President said in his State of the Union: "The Internal Revenue gladly accepts checks or money orders."

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Mighty Roar, Part 2

In town meetings, rallies, phone calls and letters-to-the-editor New Jersey taxpayers are speaking with a mighty roar - a roar that says "Cut state spending! No tax increases! No toll hikes! No new taxes!'
In front of the Statehouse they gathered and shouted "We're not gonna take it anymore!"
And now it appears they've already won their first big victory. Corzine's toll scheme is all but dead.
Hey, it's another day in my adult life when I'm proud of my country.

Buy This Book!

We went out to Borders last night to welcome Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure, authors of the new bestseller "The Soprano State: New Jersey's Culture of Corruption." More than 150 people showed up for this event and the book sold out in a matter of minutes. We had to put our names on a waiting list. It's been the same way wherever Bob and Sandy go. The publisher has already sold out of the first printing.
People are thirsting for the truth about the waste, corruption, deceit and mismanagement that have dogged our state. Sandy said she hasn't seen anything like this since the big anti-tax rallies and Florio debacle of 1990. Bob says people are really angry.
Here's what impressed me most about these two veteran journalists: They haven't become so cynical that they even begin to think about "What's the use?" Instead, they're still fighting the Good Fight. What I found refreshing is how much enthusiasm they have and how much they still believe in democracy. Bob kept telling everyone there last night: "Keep fighting. Write. Call. Let your voice be heard." And Sandy smiled in a knowing way as if to say "We can do this."
These two give me hope for the future. And if we can put the breaks on Corzine & Co. we should not stop there. We should go all the way and throw all the rascals out. Then let's give New Jersey what it really needs: initiative, referendum and recall!


Wacky Jon Corzine's toll and tax plan is dead. Even Corzine himself has admitted it's not going anywhere in its current form.
But watch out. Because the Governor is apparently ready to wheel and deal with Assembly and Senate Democrats - the same Democrats who are reluctant to give up the iron-fisted grip they feel they hold on our state.
So, like Frankenstein, some version of a tax/spend/tax/spend plan can keep coming back. Dems are eyeing hikes in the gas tax. Yes, they want to take away the one break (the last break) we've got in Joisey - the relatively low price of gas at the pump. And there are other tax schemes on the table inclding "smaller" rises in tolls and another round of hikes in state-imposed fees for all sorts of things. Plus, they want to take away our real estate tax rebates.
The answer for all of these must be clear: "No, no, no and no!"
No further increases in taxes, tolls, or fees. No new taxes. No reductions in rebates. No more games. Cut state spending now.
Find the list of state legislators here. Call them and tell them "NO!"

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dejected 'Company'

Last night I tuned into the two-hour-plus telecast of Stephen Sondheim's trailblazing musical "Company" which was revived last year on Broadway. This minimalist, actors-play-the-musical-instruments version stars the droopy-eyed Raul Esparza in the pivotal role of Bobby.
"Company" is one of my all-time favorite shows and I suppose I'm somewhat possessive about it.
Since I saw the orginal version with Larry Kert, Donna McKechnie and Elaine Stritch decades ago on Broadway, I'm particularly wary of any revival that comes along. Nonetheles, a few years back I did see a credible revival at the Kenndy Center in Washington.
Still, it's hard to top the audacity of the original with its sleek staging, strategic lighting, seamless ensemble performances and that unforgettable Boris Aronson set.
Maybe I should have seen this latest revival live but I had to settle for last night's TV/film version.
I was disappointed.
This acclaimed update directed by John Doyle is dark and heavy. All of the actors wear the same black suits or dresses throughout the perfromance. There are no props (save for the actors' musical instruments) to speak of. The lighting is, to say the least, subdued. The entire production maintains a hard edge. It's as if "Company" stumbled through the last decades of the 20th century and took all of the trash of the 70s, 80s and 90s along with it. And so the show seems to have become weary -- harder, tougher, more shrill and less forgiving. There's a dejected feeling about it.
And although Raul Esparza has a beautiful voice he's simply not the Bobby I've known all these years. He's more aloof, less charming, more brooding, less fun - more Robert than Bobby.
The one bright spot is Heather Laws as the neurotic Amy, who sings the extraordinary, rapid-fire "Not Getting Married Today." Just for that one moment Laws made me remember why I loved (and still love) the original "Company" so much.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Speak Softly, But . . .

Obama came to the podium last night and knocked Hillary off the airwaves to deliver his victory speech.
Barack went ahead and talked for forty-seven minutes. Forty-seven minutes.
Hey, maybe he was paying homage to Fidel Castro who resigned yesterday. Or maybe he was giving one last wave to Bill Clinton who has always been known for undisciplined, long-winded speeches. Whatever . . .
On the other side of the political spectrum McCain delivered brief victory remarks and managed to slip in some good zingers. For example:
I will work hard to make sure Americans aren't deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change. . .
I have never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I haven’t been proud of the privilege [of being an American]. Don't tell me what we can't do. Don't tell me we can’t make our country stronger and the world safer. We can. We must. And when I'm President we will.
I'm also struck every time I hear McCain say "I have been an imperfect servant of my country." Sometimes, Big Mac's soft-spoken demeanor and gentle command can be every bit as compelling as the most lavish oratory.

Wrong Color

Barack Obama will most likely not be the next President of the United States and it all has to do with color.
But it's not the color of his skin that may stop him. No, not that.
It's the color of his eyes.
Get this: Even though only 20 percent of all Americans have blue, gray or hazel eyes nearly every American president since 1900 has had blue, gray or hazel eyes. And 38 of our 43 presidents have had blue eyes. Obama's eyes are brown. Hillary's are blue/grey. McCain's are blue.
These astonishing facts about presidential eye color are reported by Michael Medved on his blog. Medved says he was tipped off to this by a friend of his who is a film and advertising composer. Medved did a bit of research and managed to ascertain the color of presidential eyes beginning with George Washington (penetrating blue/grey) and continuing all the way up to George W (vividly blue).
And this, too: The few presidents with brown or darker eyes did not fare well. Lyndon Johnson was hounded out of office and Richard Nixon was forced to resign because of the Watergate scandal. And the others? Andrew Johnson (impeached) Chester Arthur (Remember him?) and John Q. Adams (seated after a disputed election and served only one term before being voted out).
As a brown-eyed person myself I was pretty much blown away by this history which I had never heard about. It's got to be disheartening for so many of us with soft, sympathetic, loving brown eyes.
But look at it this way: As more people of color emerge, so too will dark eyes ascend. In other words, Obama could be eyeing the future in more ways than one. Still, this marks yet another area where he's called upon to be a trail blazer. It's a heavy burden.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Perils Of Plagiarism

People have been asking me about Barack Obama's use of the same words and phrases as Massachusett's Governor Deval Patrick.
As a lecturer in coporate communications and as someone who teaches public speaking I can answer by telling you what the text says. The text that I use (A Pocket Guide To Public Speaking by O'Hair, Rubenstein and Stewart) says this:
Plagiarism - the passing off of another person's information as one's own - is unethical. To plagiarize is to use other people's ideas or words without acknowledging the source. Whether it's done intentionally or not, plagiarism is stealing.
The rule for avoiding plagiarism as a public speaker is straightforward: Any source that requires credit in written form should be acknowledged in oral form . . . Direct quotations are statements made verbatim, or word for word, by someone else. Direct quotes should always be acknowledged in a speech . . . A paraphrase is a restatement of someone else's ideas, opinions, or theories in the speaker's own words. Because paraphrases alter the form but not the substance of another person's ideas, the speaker must acknowledge the orginal source.
These words are taken from pages 10 and 11 of the text.
Plgiarism is one of the first things we address in our course of study - it's that important. And, the definition of it is quite clear to anyone who wants to read it, understand it and follow it.

Wright's Right

I've been meaning to say something about Villanova's classy basketball coach Jay Wright.
Last week Nova lost a heartbreaker to Georgetown when the ref called a foul on the Wildcats with one tenth of a second to go in the game. One tenth of a second! Georgetown won 55-53 on free throws. To make matters worse, this marked the second time this season that Villanova lost a game on free throws with less than a second to play.
But after the game Wright refused to blame anybody. There was no rancor, no ouburst at the ref, no recrimination. Wright called the whole thing "a learning lesson for these kids" and noted that life isn't perfect, people aren't perfect and sometime's it's hard to learn that.
The Philadelphia Inquirer said that Wright displayed "a silver lining" after the game:
"I was proud of our guys," Wright said. "No moral victories or anything. It's not. It's a loss. But we played better tonight, and I just think we're learning . . . I thought we played good defense," Wright said. "If you're a good team, there are going to be nights when you don't makes shots and you've got to win it with your defense. We haven't been able to do that all year. That's what Georgetown has done all year. They still found a way to win the game."
Jay Wright epitomizes the class and tradition of Villanova. And it reminds me of something that the great Joe Paterno always says: "I'm a teacher, first." Wright understands Paterno's mantra. He gets it. He makes me proud to say: "Hell, yeah . . . I'm a Wildcat!"

Monday, February 18, 2008

Three Oh!Oh!Oh!

In 18 days this site has witnessed an additional 1,000 visits -- our fastest growth yet.
We've now logged more than 3,000 visits.
Thanks for making it happen. Keep visiting and keep telling everyone you know about the site.
We promise fresh scintillating commentary and relevant information every day.

Mark's Moment

One of our town's top public relations pros was welcomed onto the wall of notables at the city's premier watering hole last night when Mark Tarasiewicz witnessed the unveiling of his likeness at The Palm.
Mark who is the Director of Communications for the Philadelphia Bar Association is also chairman and past president of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association. A Philly native, he's a graduate of Temple University. Mark is a nationally-recognized PR practitioner who shares his expertise with students as an adjunct professor at Temple's School of Communications.
But here's the important part: Mark is one of the nicest people we know. He's caring, helpful, friendly, funny, thorough, bright, incredibly hard-working and admirably meticulous.
Once in a great while nice things really do happen to nice people.
This is one of those moments. This is one of those people.
Congratulations, Mark. And thanks to our favorite restaurant, The Palm, for making it happen!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Immune To Hype

From our friend Christine Flowers in the Philadelphia Daily News:
Just like every other kid, I endured the battery of shots that inoculated against the diseases of childhood: diptheria, whooping cough, typhus, measles, polio.
The marks have faded after more than 40 years, but there is still enough definition there to remind me of my parents' concern and my doctors' wisdom. Thanks to them, I was immune to anything but the passing cold.
I wonder if, in that pharmacological mix, they slipped in a vaccine against hype.
It occurred to me that this must be the only explanation for my complete and utter immunity to Barack "Yes We Can!" Obama. When he stands at the podium and delivers those words of hope and uplift, the crowds roar back in support.
And here I sit, trying to figure out what it is that keeps me from succumbing to the enchantment of this political messiah when so many intelligent people are falling in line - and in love . . .

Read the rest of the column here.

Strait Stuff

Speaking of George Strait, we would be remiss if we did not observe the maturity, depth and range and his performance.
George Strait makes Kenny Chesney seem like a lightweight. He makes The Rascal Flats seem like a tennybopper group. Strait doesn't need the swagger of Toby Keith to make his point. He doesn't have to jump all over the stage and yell like Big & Rich. He doesn't need to levitate and/or swing from wires the way Garth Brooks once did. In fact, he'd look silly doing any of these things.
George Strait is Real Music for Real Adults.
Strait doesn't insult the intelligence of his audience. He doesn't pummel you with his performance. He understands that when you've got The Right Stuff you you don't need bravado. With Strait the talent shines brighter than any pyrotechnics and the words of the songs do almost all of the talking that needs to be done.
In the shrill world that we now call "entertainment" this is refreshing beyond belief.

Legend & Legion

The Legend and his legion were united last night as George Strait played Philadelphia's Wachovia Center to a near-capacity crowd in a post-Valentine's lovefest.
With the nine piece Ace In The Hole band and two backup singers on stage with him King George delivered a rousing collection of classic country hits that included "How 'Bout Them Cowgirls," "It Wouldn't be Texas," "The Chair," "The Fireman" and "I Just Wanna Dance With You."
Strait also delighted and surprised the audience with an intoxicateing honky tonk version of "There Stands The Glass (Fill It Up To The Brim)" and a Texas swing version of the Johnny Cash hit, "Folsom Prison Blues."
Speaking of Texas, Strait played homage to his home state with "Amarillo By Morning" and as always he entered the arena to the strains of "Deep In The Heart of Texas." The King also introduced a new song, "I Saw God Today," which seems destined to become a chart-topper.
The show was sheer simplicity: all music and light on the special effects and videos. This guy dosn't need smoke and mirrors. This is the Real Deal.
After his customary encore Strait lingered with adoring country fans circling the large center stage smiling, shaking hands and signing autographs. The man who they call "The Frank Sinatra of country music" left, as always, to the strains of "This Is Where The Cowboy Rides Away."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ahhhh, spring!

As baseball spring training begins anew the fans are once again juiced.
Forget that Philadelphia hasn't had a world champion professionsl sports team in 25 years - 25 long, barren years. That means there isn't a kid (or a college student or young adult) around who remembers the last Philadelphia world championship.
How sad!
And yet the Philadelphia sports franchises continue to pitch their wares, raise their prices and string the fans along with promises of a better day tomorrow. And the fans (poor suckers that they are) continue to buy it.
Sure, I know that Philly teams have won division and conference championships in the interim. That's fine. But no Big Enchilada. And unless the fans get the Big Enchilada, it's not good enough.
Let's put it this way: Suppose you supported a political party that hadn't won the White House in more than 20 years. How long would you expect to keep contributing to and working for that party if it kept losing and losing and losing. How much support does anyone owe to losers?
Hey, I'm a loyal guy but loyalty has its limits. Defeat is a bummer. And a loss is a loss. Period.
The fans deserve a world championship - any world championship. So, here's my message to the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers: Git It Done!

Friday, February 15, 2008

New Visits, New Features!

Thanks once again to all of you for helping us to make this site a success.
For us, the past few weeks have been the busiest ever. Even though we are a relatively young site, we are now averaging nearly 500 visits per week and we've already passed the 2,500 mark.
Plus, we're offering several new features:
You may notice the "sphere" logo after each posting. Sphere is a special service that links us to other blogs, other posts and the entire internet. When you click on the sphere logo at the end of each posting a screen will pop up which tells you about similar postings on other blogs and items on the internet which are related to the same subject. We hope you enjoy this convenient new feature.
We are also a precinct for the Pajamasmedia presidential straw poll. Just click on the box and you can vote in this weekly straw poll.
And, we are now linked up with New Jersey Blogs and BlogNetNews. This allows you to search BlogNetNews and other Jersey blogs.
Plus, don't forget that it is now easier than ever to comment on our postings. Simply click on the word "Comment" at the end of each posting and you can add your comment. You don't have to register or leave your name. You can always comment anonymously and we welcome your comments.
Tell everyone you know about our blog and keep coming back!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Class Act

Bravo to Mitt Romney for releasing his delagates and asking them to support John McCain.
Romney is a class act and this move will hold him in good stead among Republicans and all fair-minded people for a long time to come.
Romney is making smart long-term decisions that are in the best interest of the party and the nation. He's proving himself to be a good sport, a responsible adult and a patriot.
You could learn something from this, Mike Huckabee.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Somebody named Bill Reilly recently wrote a letter to the Philadelphia Daily News and what he had to say continues to resonate. Reilly warned us about romaticizing JFK's Camelot and seeking an updated version in "Obamalot." Here's part of what Reilly said:
For our journey backward, let's do something radical and grab a history book. Ask what would Obama do differently?
The events that actually occurred during the Kennedy administration: Large tax cuts to stimulate and revive the economy. The FBI wiretapping of MLK's phone. JFK approved the CIA-planned invasion of Cuba. Offensive missiles placed on the Soviet border (Turkey), which led to the Cuban missile crisis.
The planned assassination of Castro. The JFK-backed, CIA-approved assassination of South Vietnam President Diem. Fifteen thousand troops sent to South Vietnam to stop the Viet Cong. No significant legislation passed. White House turned into a bordello. The president's reckless dalliance with a mobster's girlfriend (Judith Campbell) . . . Obama makes the left feel good, but it's all style and no substance.

That Face, That Laugh

From Leo Lerman's collected journals, The Grand Surprise:
November 1, 1976 . . . then the doorbell rang and in came an unidentifiable woman . . . She was Garbo - the only (?) authentic legend left. Garbo is beautiful (or we thought her beautiful) when she laughs. She throws her head back and becoming, suddenly, the essence of laughter, golden laughter, pure joy before any of us knew of pullution, contamination. . She has abrupt shifts - almost like an actor who has been directed to speak thoughts in a character submerged until this moment . . . She is full of wide-eyed incredulities and amazements . . . And she is permeated by self-raillery. She seems almost always poised for flight - solitary - so solitary."
To experience the miracle of Garbo laughing view the 1939 Ernst Lubitsch classic Ninotchka.

No Way, Ray!

Realizing that Corzine's wacky toll hike scheme may be doomed, tax-and-spend Joisey legislators are looking for other ways to pick our pockets. The Associated Press reports: Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, said that some toll hikes "could be eliminated by increasing the state's 14.5 cents per gallon gas tax by 10 cents now and five cents in 2013. Doing so, he told the Associated Press, would allow the state to pay for transportation work for decades."
One of the few "benefits" we have in Joisey is the [relatively] low tax on gas at the pump. Now, Lesniak and his pals want to take that away from us while they still try to keep some of the toll hikes in place. It's the same old shell game.
Call Lesniak at 908-624-0880. Tell him: No toll hike. No gas tax hike. No new taxes. No way! Cut state spending now!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Heartfelt Wishes

The Republican National Committee is offering these and other greetings for Valentine's Day. You can e-mail them to others. Click on either image for a link to all the cards. Happy Valentines!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Early Easter?

Lent and Easter are exceptionally early this year.
Now, you may ask: Early compared to what?
Well, the answer is early compared to the range of dates that can accommodate Easter under the Easter dating method devised by Pope Gregory XIII and his astonomers and mathmeticians.
According to the Gregorian calendar Easter is always one of the 35 dates between March 22 and April 25. The canonical rule is that Easter Day is the first Sunday after the 14th day of the lunar month (the nominal full moon) that falls on or after March 21 (nominally the day of the vernal equinox). So, this year Easter pretty much coincides with the beginning of spring.
Here's another interesting fact: The last time Easter occurred this early was 1913.
Next year Easter will fall on April 12 which presumably will seem more normal. And in 2011 Easter will fall on April 24 which is one day shy of its latest possible date.
One would expect that it will be a chilly Easter this year.
But I actually remember balmy Easters in March and chilly Easters in April. And there have even been years when it has snowed on Easter Sunday.
Why is the date of Christmas fixed while the date of Easter changes each year? That's a question for another time.

From The Edge

I've just finished reading Anderson Cooper's Dispatches From The Edge which is subtitled "A Memoir Of War, Disasters and Survival."
The book jumps back and forth between Cooper's stories of his own life and his coverage of the world's hot spots including Sri Lanka, Iraq, Sarajevo, Somalia, Rwanda and New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. At 42, this boyish-looking CNN News anchor and heir to the Vanderbilt fortune has seen a lot of life -- from the untimely death of his father Wyatt Cooper, to his brother's tragic and dramatic suicide to his own brushes with death in war zones.
Cooper writes in a short, quick stacatto style. Here's how he describes images of his time in Africa: "Amputations. Executions. Empty beds. Shuttered stores. Crippled kids. Wild-eyesd gunmen. Stripped-down corpses. Crashed cars. Mass graves. Hand-made tombstones. Scattered ammo. Half-starved dogs. Sniper warnings posted like billboards . . . Desert. Mountain. Rice paddy. Field. Farmers bent over . . ."
There's a breathless quality to Cooper's writing. What comes through is a restlessness tinged with sadness. But on the air Cooper seems calm, detached, super-cool. You wonder about his prematurely gray hair, his quizzical squint and the way he purses his lips. You watch and listen and you want him to smile more, to seem more at ease.
Here's an observation from the book that's worth repeating: "In disasters, in war, it isn't government that helps people, at least not early on. It's individuals: policemen, doctors, stgangers, people who stand up when others sit down."

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Who To Call

Call as many of these New Jersey State Senators as you can and tell them "no increased tolls, no tax increases, no more debt, no deals - cut spending now!" Note: South Jersey area codes are 856 and 609 but if you have unlimited long distance calling you can dial any New Jersey area code from anywhere.
Jim Whelan - 609-383-1388
Steve Sweeney - 856-251-9801; 856-455-1011; 856-339-0808
Fred Madden - 856-232-6700
Dana Redd - 609-292-9484
Shirley Turner - 609-530-3277
Bob Smith - 732-752-0770
Barbara Buono - 732-205-1372
Joseph Vitale - 732-855-7441
Ray Lesniak - 908-624-0880
Nicholas Scutari - 908-587-0404
Richard Codey - 973-731-6770
Ronald Rice - 973-371-5665
Teresa Ruiz - 201-484-1000
Sandra Cunningham - 201-451-5100
Nicholas Sacco - 201-295-0200
Nia Gill - 973-509-0388
John Girgenti - 973-509-0388
Paul Sarlo - 201-804-8118
Loretta Weinberg - 201-928-0100
Robert Gordon - 201-703-9779

Anti-Toll/Tax Sites

Here are some great anti-toll plan, anti-tax web sites you can visit and link to:
Citizens Against Tolls
Americans For Prosperity
Save Our Assets NJ
Bob Ingle's blog
If this keep heading in the right direction maybe we'll not only stop toll increases but actually eliminate tolls. It's been done in other states.

Thanks, Bob!

Bob Ingle is Trenton Bureau Chief for Gannett New Jersey newspapers and co-author of "The Soprano State: New Jersey's Culture of Corruption." Everyone should visit Bob's blog and regularly read his columns in Gannett's Jersey newspapers. Bob was among the major boosters of yesterday's grand Rally Of The People in Trenton.
In New Jersey we have something called "Abbott" school districts that reap the bulk of state benefits. This term came about because of a state Supreme Court decision that ordered redistribution of state school funding.
So now, Bob reports that standardized test results in many schools are improving while results in the Abbott schools continue to slide - this despite the fact that "half the state's education budget goes to just 31 schools in poor urban areas."
As Ingle correctly observes: "The problem with the Abbott philosophy is it's based on flawed thinking that all education takes place in the classroom and if you throw enough money something it improves."
Thanks, Bob!

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Mighty Roar

How I wish that all New Jerseyans were like the ones I met on the steps of the Statehouse in Trenton on Friday. Thousands gathered with a mighty roar to protest wacky Governor Jon Corzine and his loony plan to send our state further into debt by mortgaging our roads and rasing highway tolls by 800%.
Bravo to FM radio station New Jersey 101, The Jersey Boys (Casey and Rossi) and Jim Gearhart. Not since the big tax protest that turned Jim Florio out of office have I seen such a huge crowd of ordinary citizens in front of the capitol's gold dome.
The word is that Corzine's plan is just a vote or two from being declared "dead." Let's hope that's so. First, let's sack the plan and put a stake through its heart. Then, let's send him and all his cronies packing.
Of course, words can't express it all. It takes pictures to tell the real story. So, here are the pictures.
Photos by Dan Cirucci, copyright 2008

The fact that so many ordinary, hard-working people from all over the state who struggle to pay taxes and make ends meet took time out of their busy lives to gather in Trenton to make their voices heard is nothing short of inspiring! Bravo!

I Should Have Known

I should have known. Should have understood. Should have trusted the old adage that "Democrats fall in love while Republican fall into line."
But I'm a hopeless romantic. I thought Republicans just might learn to fall in love with a Big Personality - someone from a big city who acted boldly and sometimes brashly, whose life unfolded like grand opera, who'd take big chances and scoop up all the chips in the end.
And Rudy Giuliani did take big chances. As it turns out, they were also stupid chances, and he never even made it to the finals.
So, I was wrong. I should have realized that Republicans aren't known for taking big chances. They like to play it safe . . .
Read the rest of my column from today's Philadelphia Daily News by clicking here.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Unity, Not Conformity

With a fair dose of humility and strategic dabs of humor John McCain delivered a stirring address at the National Conservative Political Action Committee gathering in Washington today. Now the presumtive GOP nominee, McCain was well received as he polished his conservative credentials before the crowd while not abandoning the independent-minded approach to public life that has characterized his years in the spotlight.
His remarks set the right tone and his delivery was well paced and heartfelt yet devoid of sentimentality. Always somewhat ill at ease at playing to the crowd, McCain seems incapable of being patronizing. Here are some of the highlights of his remarks:
I am proud to be a conservative, and I make that claim because I share with you that most basic of conservative principles: that liberty is a right conferred by our Creator, not by governments, and that the proper object of justice and the rule of law in our country is not to aggregate power to the state but to protect the liberty and property of its citizens.
My record in public office taken as a whole is the record of a mainstr eam conservative. I believe today, as I believed twenty-five years ago, in small government; fiscal discipline; low taxes; a strong defense, judges who enforce, and not make, our laws; the social values that are the true source of our strength; and, generally, the steadfast defense of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which I have defended my entire career as God-given to the born and unborn.
Often elections in this country are fought within the margins of small differences. This one will not be. We are arguing about hugely consequential things. Whomever the Democrats nominate, they would govern this country in a way that will, in my opinion, take this country backward to the days when government felt empowered to take from us our freedom to decide for ourselves the course and quality of our lives; to substitute the muddled judgment of large and expanding federal bureaucracies for the common sense and values of the American people; to the timidity and wishful thinking of a time when we averted our eyes from terrible threats to our security that were so plainly gathering strength abroad.
I know in this country our liberty will not be seized in a political revolution or by a totalitarian government. But, rather, as Burke warned, it can be "nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts." I am alert to that risk and will defend against it, and ta ke comfort from the knowledge that I will be encouraged in that defense by my fellow conservatives.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

New Jersey First?

Who's Real?

Tomorrow night (Thursday) at 8:30 PM I will be on the Dom Giordano Show on The Big Talker, 1210 AM radio in Philadelphia.
I'll be talking about authenticity once again and focusing on who is the Real Deal among the presidential candidates.
Here's what I said about authenticity recently in a Philadelphia Daily News opinion piece:
Being authentic is hard work.
It takes discipline. Authentic leaders know who they are. They are comfortable in their own skin. Their own quiet, practiced belief in themselves is what moves them to inspire others.
And they do that by first spending lots of time really listening to the people they hope to inspire. In a world full of cowards, genuine leaders are called on to chart new paths, take risks and even show a bit of old-fashioned courage now and then.
Authentic leaders are imperfect. They're distinctive, quirky and even eccentric.
And because they aren't afraid to trust their instincts, they can surprise us as well. There's little doubt that Churchill was authentic. So, too, was Harry Truman.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Change Or Strength?

What is it that Americans most want in a President?
Is it new direction and new ideas (change) or is it strength and experience?
Well, look at this pie chart based on the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll. Lots of people want something new but "new" is still not able to claim a majority. "Strength and experience" wins by double digits.
Now, suppose the choice comes down to McCain v. Obama.
Obama seems to have cliamed the "new" mantle but it's doubtful that voters would pick him on the baisis on strength and experience. On the other hand, when people are asked about McCain, "strength and experience" are often the first two things they mention.
Now, look at the percentage of people (7%) who say they want both - new ideas and strength and experience.
That seven percent could be critical.
If a candidate has the strength and experience and he's able to convince voters that he could bring about the changes that they seem to want, then he's on his way.

Rally In Trenton Friday!

Everyone is urged to join radio station New Jersey 101.5 along with Jim Gearhart and The Jersey Guys as they rally the people of New Jersey to stand up and be heard on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8 at 12noon on the steps of the State House in Trenton.
NJ 101.5 is inviting everyone throughout the state to gather and voice their opinion regarding the 800% proposed Toll Hike Scheme and the lack of spending cuts being made by the current legislators.
Signs, banners, buttons and shirts are ALL encouraged at this rally.
The Governor stated that, "Pigs will fly over the Statehouse before there's a realistic level of spending cuts that can fix this mess."
Now, be there as New Jersey 101.5 and the people of New Jersey make pigs fly over the Statehouse as a show of outrage and solidarity!
To be a part of the rally, email the Jersey Guys at:

Aloft With Wings

Turner Classic Movies has begun its 31 Days of Oscar and that means only Oscar-nominated movies from years gone by over the next month.
It's a marvelous celebration for movie buffs and last night featured two golden silents: 1927's Wings starring Clara Bow and Buddy Rogers and directed by William Wellman; and 1927's Sunrise starring Janet Gaynor.
I saw Sunrise once before so I opted for Wings, the first film ever to win a "best picture" Oscar. This is a masterful film about World War I which contains some of the most vivid and poignant images you will ever see. It also includes some of the screen's earliest flying sequences. And it's worth a look if only for the movie debut of Gary Cooper who plays a flying ace who is introduced and then quickly lost in a plane crash. But even in this brief scene the tall, laconic Cooper stands out. Cooper's whole career proved that words don't make the star, images do.
Watching Clara Bow in this film I was reminded of the song "With One Look" from Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard:

With one smile
I'm the girl next door
Or the love that you've hungered for
When I speak it's with my soul
I can play any role
No words can tell
The stories my eyes tell
Watch me when I frown
You can't write that down
You know I'm right
It's there in black and white
When I look your way
You'll hear what I say.
Yes, with one look
I put words to shame
Just one look
Sets the screen aflame
Silent music starts to play
One tear from my eye
Makes the whole world cry.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Truly Super

Wow, was I wrong about the Super Bowl!
I thought the Pats really were perfect.
And wasn't it fun to see a Super Bowl game that finally lived up to its title? At last, a really thrilling Super Bowl.
Anyway, I attended a fine Super Bowl party where I was reunited with old friends who I hadn't seem in more years than I care to remember. It was a great feeling. And I also got to eat a lot: a veriety of cheeses, mini-hoagies, ham 'n cheese melts, shrimp, nachos, mini hot dogs, chocolate chip cookies, marshmellow hearts and chocolate footballs. Whew!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Not Since Wells

Not since Orson Wells defined the title role in Citizen Kane have I seen a performance like the one delivered by Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood.
Not since Robert DiNero in Raging Bull have I seen such a complete portrayal with such power, such intensity.
Not since the silent era have I seen a film that delivered long stretches of scenes packed with punch but without a word spoken. The whole first portion of the movie (which is critical to the story itself) is presented without dialogue. When words are spoken they are simple, flat and spare, like the land itself.
This is a big movie - a sprawling saga. But it also plays out intimately and personally. There are scenes where a look, the movement of an eye, the lift of an eyebrow or some small movement telegraphs so much.
There is so much tension in this film - and so much restraint. And so characters and scenes are played out in a tight and coiled manner. But they are played out against a vastness of time and space. It's positively hypnotic.
Bravo to everyone involved!

President Who?

Lou Cirucci sent us the following which seems to be making the rounds via e-mail:
1. Enron's chairman did meet with the president and the vice president in the Oval Office.
2. Enron gave $420,000 to the president's party over three years.
3. It donated $100,000 to the president's inauguration festivities.
4. The Enron chairman stayed at the White House 11 times.
5. The corporation had access to the administration at its highest level and even enlisted the Commerce and State Departments to grease deals for it.
6. The taxpayer-supported Export-Import Bank subsidized Enron for more than $600 million in just one transaction.
BUT...the president under whom all this happened WASN'T George W. Bush.
It was President Bill Clinton !
Are we ready for Mrs. Clinton?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Running Against Clock

Barack Obama is closing in on Billary but time may run out before he is able to seal the deal and capture the nomination.
Obama has not peaked. His numbers continue to climb. And it seems that the more people see and hear him, the more they like him. But Super Tuesday is upon us and two more big primaries (Ohio and Texas) come up on March 4. Obama is in a race against time.
He does not seem to have the time to gain the kind of exposure he needs to make the complete case with the voters - not enough time to hammer home his positions on issues, either. And not enough time to make an impact in so many states at once.
The longer the campaign goes on, the more Obama gains and Billary loses. But time may not allow enough gain by Obama and enough loss by the Clintonistas for Obama to prevail.
The sooner Hillary is able to wrap it up, the better for her. The longer Obama is able to keep it going, the better for him.
The big surprise in all this is that it was the Republicans who were supposed to have a protracted fight and the Democrats who were supposed to wrap things up early. But now the tables have turned.


A countdown clock at the official Super Bowl site proclaims the hours, minutes and seconds till the Big Game.Hey, I'm not holding my breath.
To begin with the Super Bowl game itself is never a very exciting game. And this year the Giants have to battle perfection. Watching perfection (aka Tom Brady) is like watching paint dry.
Then there are the commercials. They are fun to watch but now you can call them all up on You Tube or any one of a number of other sites. So, why sit through the whole spectacle?
Oh, the food . . . I almost forgot that.
Well, if you're going to a Big Game party tomorrow (or if you're hosting a party yourself) watch out for the dip. The dip is a breeding ground for bacteria - expecially if someone is double-dipping. Microbiology students at Clemson University have found that three to six double dips transferred about 10,000 bacteria from the eater's mouth to the dip." Ugh!
Maybe it's best to just stay at home, cook a healthy meal and watch an old movie. Or maybe just go out for a long walk. Or maybe just go out to the movies.

"Strong, Honest, Decisive"

According to the latest polls "he is widely seen as experienced, strong, honest and decisive." And in recent months no single candidate has seen his or her image improve more than him. When voters are asked about him they have a hard time coming up with anything negative to say. In polling lingo this means that his positives are high and strong while his negatives are low.
Who is he?
Well, since I'm talking about a "he" you know it's not Hillary. And since he is seen as "experienced" you know it's not Barack. Among viable candidates that leaves only McCain and Romney. By process of elimination you've got to figure that the dramatic increase in positive image in recent months could only mean McCain.
And so it is.
All this according to a just released Associated Press/Yahoo survey. According to this poll McCain is "even showing improvements from two groups he has struggled to win over: conservatives and white evangelical Christians."
Meanwhile, Hillary is seen as less than honest and people say that one word that comes to mind when they think of her is "feminist." Clinton is also not seen as "likable" or "refreshing."
When Obama is mentioned most people in the poll point to his lack of experience.
And when Romney is mentioned most people cite his Mormon faith. The poll also found that "Romney's ratings for likability, strength and attractiveness have improved . . . but he is still well behind McCain in every category."
When McCain is mentioned people point to his time as a Vietnam POW and say that he's a war hero. And this is true for people of both political parties. In fact the poll found that "even Democrats have very little bad to say about McCain."

Friday, February 1, 2008

THE Book On Movies

If you are as interested in the movies as I am you must read Pauline Kael. The late movie reviewer wrote the book on the movies, literally.
It's called "5000 Nights At The Movies" and it contains more movie reviews and more insight into the movies than anything else you'll ever read. It's a wondrous resource.
You will be surprised at the sheer number of movies Kael reviewed in her lifetime. What's more, her knowledge of movie techniques, movie directors, stars, studios, eras and genres will take your breath away.
And although these are considered "capsule" reviews they are all penetrating and thorough in their own way. It's obvious in her reviews (which are abridged from much longer versions that first appeared in The New Yorker magazine) that Kael had a passionate love affair with the movies.
This book is as much fun to browse as it is to read through and it will lead you to movie treasures you might not otherwise have known about. You can pick the book up with a particular movie in mind (listings are alphabetical) or you can simply plunge into it at any point and take your chances.
Either way, you won't be disappointed.