Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy New Year!

A blessed and Happy New Year to all of our Jewish friends and indeed, to everyone! May you be inscribed for a wonderful year.

Vote NJ Hall Of Fame

Voting for induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame has begun and will continue through the end of November.
You can cast your vote this year and tell your family, friends and colleagues to do the same. It's fascinating to see who is from New Jersey and the Hall of Fame is great for the state's image!
When you vote, if you provide a valid email address, you will be eligible to win front row tickets and backstage passes for two to the second annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sunday, May 3 at NJPAC in Newark.
In the Historical Category, the nominees are Grover Cleveland, Molly Pitcher, Paul Robeson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Walt Whitman and Woodrow Wilson. In the field of Arts & Entertainment, the nominees are Abbott & Costello, Count Basie, John Bon Jovi, Jerry Lewis, Jack Nicholson and Sarah Vaughn. In Sports, the list includes Larry Doby, Althea Gibson, Carl Lewis, Shaquille O’Neal, Phil Rizzuto and Joe Theismann. In Enterprise, the nominees are Milton Friedman, Guglielmo Marconi, Mary Roebling, Carl Sagan, David Sarnoff and Wally Schirra. And in the General Category, the nominees are Justice William Brennan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Admiral William Halsey, Dorothy Parker, Philip Roth and William Carlos Williams.
Vote by clicking here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Encounter

It's been happening more and more.
I wear a McCain button or a McCain tee shirt and total strangers come up to me to commend me and tell me they're voting for McCain.
I can't count the number of times this has happened. And it happens to others I know as well.
Today in the supermarket line a man with a foreign accent tells me that he's a proud American citizen and he's voting for McCain because "if you want communism, you can vote for the other guy." He calls Democrats "communists" because he says they want to deprive good, honest, productive people of their hard earned money -- they want to "take money from people who work and give it to people who don't want to work."
Of course, the view sounds extreme and maybe just a tad simplistic.
But then the guy tells me he's from Russia and he's so proud to be an American citizen. He says he lived under communism once and he doesn't want to live under it again. He admits that people in other countries may not like us "but they respect us." And then adds: "If they don't like the U.S., how come they all want to come here?"
He tells me he doesn't want everything turned over to the government because the constitution says "'We the people' not 'We the government.'"
"If I have to leave here, where would I go?" he asks. "Mexico? Canada? I don't want to live in those countries."
But he says he's not worried - not worried at all. And he predicts an easy victory for McCain.

Halloween: Truly Scary!

Today while browsing through a store I saw one of the dumbest things I've seen in a long time: A Halloween Tree!
It's a bare "tree" with orange or orange and purple lights lining the branches.
There is so much Halloween 'junk' for sale in the stores and so much Halloween stuff adorning homes that's the trend is truly scary. When Halloween begins to rival Christmas as a holiday you know we've got a problem. And it is rivaling Christmas.
As I wrote not very long ago in the Philadelphia Daily News:
Halloween is now so big that Americans spend almost as much on this faux-holiday as they do on Christmas. And Halloween is now the third largest party occasion, after New Year's and The Super Bowl. More candy is sold on Halloween than on Valentine's Day and people will actually send each other 28 million Halloween cards.
I don’t know about you but I’m not longing to receive a Halloween card from anyone. And it’s been decades since I’ve been out trick or treating.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for children enjoying the day dressed as ghosts, goblins and super-heroes and I’m happy to greet them. . . .
For children Halloween is a way of gently dealing with fright and fear while having some old-fashioned fun.
But grownups seem to have forgotten this and they’ve now set about stealing Halloween from the kids. Today, huge numbers of adults celebrate Halloween and at least half of them spend more than $100 each doing so. To me there’s nothing more awkward than a grownup trying to trick, astound, frighten or repulse somebody by wearing a Halloween costume. Most costumed adults look just plain dumb. Let’s face it, many of these people don’t need costumes to begin with and some of them are downright frightening no matter what time of the year it is.
But people will find countless ways to make fools of themselves and so the costume stores now start appearing in early August. When I see some costumed lackey trying to wave me into one of those huge, tacky Halloween stores I run in the opposite direction.
Still, I’m starting to feel like I’m the only one not costumed for Halloween. Even dogs have gotten into the act. Where did this dreadful trend start? Who was it that first thought: “Hey, let’s strip our beagle of whatever bit of doggy dignity it may have had by forcing it to wear a tiara and a tutu.” Dogs in costume look totally bewildered, and rightfully so. Dressing them up and parading them around on Halloween is just this side of cruel.
In fact, the whole Halloween situation is out of proportion. Haunted houses are a good example. Isn’t the world frightening enough without paying to visit a haunted house or participating in some other type of contrived horror? Why would you spend your money this way?
And why would you decorate your house in orange lights? When you think of it, orange is a pretty garish color to begin with. It should be used sparingly, if at all. Its time on the scene should be mercifully limited. But now we’re awash in a virtual sea of orange from mid September onward. Ugh!
To me, natural, seasonal adornments are fine. But now driving through suburbia I’m assaulted by Halloween lawn decorations included animated witches, skeletons and ghouls. And the strangest custom of all involves people who put tombstones on their front lawn. Think about it: Why would you turn your front lawn into a cemetery? Why would you welcome death itself to your door?
I pose this question because when you think about it Halloween is all about death. Its ancient origins are said to lie in Celtic traditions observing the night when the Celts believed the dead returned to earth. With the coming of Christianity, this festival was turned into Halloween – the eve of All Saints and All Souls days. But the observance is still rooted in death.
When an observance that celebrates death begins to rival Christmas as one of our biggest holidays we’ve got a problem. My solution: put a few pumpkins out, sip some cider, enjoy the fall foliage and let the dead rest in peace.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman, 1925-2008

Those piercing blue eyes.
That devilish smile. Or alternately, the pout.
He could be the outcast, the rouge or the guy around the corner.
But always there was something about him that simmered, that was unexpected, that was real.
Today, the New York Times is calling him "one of the last of the great 20th-century movie stars."
And he certainly was a star by every measure of the term.
Like all great stars Paul Newman came alive on the screen. His face, his stance, his style, his frame -- all were made for the camera. He wasn't a big guy. But he was always Very Big on the screen. At the same time, he could play an intimate scene in a way that would make women melt and make guys think: "So, that's the way it's done."
He exemplified the American spirit and captured that spirit in westerns, small-town dramas, mysteries, adventure films, irreverent comedies, urban film noir and one of the all-time great buddy movies, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.
Paul Newman was a real guy who knew who he was and understood what he was all about. He cared about his country and the world and he never hesitated to act on his beliefs in a positive way that sought to not only advance his views but benefit others as well.
I like the fact that he was married to the same gal for 50 years and that he always maintained a well-grounded, sensible, measured sense of himself.
Paul Newman was a Eugene McCarthy delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1968 when I was just one of the "McCarthy kids." I worked alongside him that year during the Indiana primary in Indianapolis and again at the convention in Chicago. He didn't have an entourage or a limo or a press agent or handlers.
He was Paul Newman. That was his actual name. That's who he was. And that was way more than enough.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wonderful Wegman's

Is there a better supermarket than Wegman's?
If there is, I haven't discovered it.
Right now, Wegman's can be found in New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. New York is the home base for this chain (founded in the 1930s) followed by Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland.
Wegman's growth is concentrated in the mid Atlantic region and additional stores are planned in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland. So far there are 71 Wegman's stores.
If there is one near you, consider yourself very, very lucky.
What is it that makes Wegman's so special? It's hard to know where to begin: aware, friendly staff people; plenty of help for shoppers; a huge selection of tempting, fresh gourmet and everyday food, groceries and household items; bright, attractive, clean, easy-to-navigate stores with wide aisles; a great "eat in" selection and a spacious, comfortable seating area; helpful advice on meal selections and meal preparation and competitive prices on everyday items.
Wegman's people are courteous, knowledgeable and friendly. They go out of their way to help shoppers. The whole package actually makes food shopping a treat.
People actually camp out overnight so there can be there when the doors to a new Wegman's store opens. It's that special.
This much is certain: Once you shop at Wegman's, you'll never shop at a "regular" supermarket again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

THIS Is Leadership

From John McCain:
America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, ever corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.
Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have since discussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administration has put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities and concerns.
This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talk about the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take going forward.I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear their perspective.
It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration' proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time. Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative.
I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me. I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved.
I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night's debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.
I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people.
All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.
Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.

New & Hot: Distrito!

Our spies tell us that the new Philly restaurant Distrito in University City is one of the most exciting eateries to open since the beginning of Philadelphia's famed restaurant renaissance.
Jose Garces, the top Latin chef who brought authentic tapas to Philadelphia with his acclaimed restaurants Amada and Tinto, has opened Distrito (40th & Chestnut streets) as a high-energy culinary destination inspired by the spirited culture of Mexico City.
The menu reportedly "traverses the city's rich gastronomical landscape, serving contemporary interpretations of classic Mexican fare in a fun 'small plates' format that incorporates authentic Mexican ingredients into fresh presentations like 'Nacho Libres,' a variety of both traditional and Chef Garces' signature tacos."
We're told that Distrito's vivacious decor, designed by Jun Aizaki of Crème Design Collective, pays homage to the diverse elements of Mexico City's culture, among them the colorful masks of the lucha libre or "free fight" professional wrestlers.
The word on this place is that's it's big, bold and sensual.
It's a huge, imaginative investment - audacious, with dramatic lighting, vivid colors and tempting alcoves.
And we hear that a hip crowd is flocking to Distrito just to experience the full effect of one of the hottest places in town. Hurry!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mum's The Word

While the Democrat Congress dithers (because "no one know's what to do") and while Obama & Co. take more polls and convene more focus groups to find out "what will fly" the nation waits for the kind of stong action and solid reform which McCain has proposed all along.

Nearby Asian Fare

Over the weekend we revisited Coconut Bay restaurant in nearby Vorhees to sample Asian fare.
Coconut Bay has an extensive menu featuring Chinese, Japanese and Asian dishes (as well as sushi) and the prices are reasonable.
If you go to Coconut Bay we recommend one of the combination "box" selections. These are served in a Chinese "box" - actually a multi-divided, decorated platter and typically include entree, vegetables, rice, spring roll, salad and sushi. There is more than enough for one person in these boxes so you can share or have some to take home.
We enjoy the jumbo shrimp platters, beef and broccoli, light chicken dishes, seafood combinations and chicken with cashews.
Like most restaurants of its type Coconut Bay is a BYOB.
We wish we could say that the restaurant has worn well since it opened a few years back but, regrettably, it does need a bit of a face lift. The large space is quite bare and little has been done to add to the ambiance. The place seems to do a great business so we'd recommend a little reinvestment in the property.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Powerful Message

Cousin Lorraine Cirucci DelPalazzo forwarded this video to us from catholicvote.com.
We now share it with you.

The Quick Goodbye

I hate to see summer end.
And I savor every delicious moment of it - especially today as autumn arrives.
Aimee Cirucci was in Newport, Rhode Island over the weekend and she snapped this breathtaking photo from Newport's famed Cliff Walk.
Imagine the waves crashing against the rocks. Enjoy the sea breeze and the ocean's mist. Watch the sun glistening on the water. Get lost in the sky's vivid blue.
Wave goodbye to summer - and pray for a mild winter.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Like 1980, Again?

On Saturday, I joined Adam Cirucci and his fellow Vanderbilt University alums at Philadelphia's National Constitution Center where we heard a talk by Dr. Bruce Oppenheimer on the 2008 presidential election.
Dr. Oppenheimer is a professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt and the author of numerous books and articles on the U. S. Congress and the democratic system. He's well versed on American political history. Here is some of what Dr. Oppenheimer said:
  • Barack Obama is to Jesse Jackson as John F. Kennedy is to Al Smith (the Democratic presidential candidate in 1928 and the first Catholic to be nominated for the presidency). In other words, if Obama wins, he will complete the journey begun by Jackson just as JFK completed the journey begun by Smith.
  • By any historical measuring rod, the odds favor the Democrats this year: bad economy, war, unpopular president, and people feeling the nation is headed in the "wrong direction."
  • In the modern era, it's very hard for one party to maintain control of the White House for more than two terms. Since 1952, this has only happened once: in 1988 when Bush succeeded Reagan.
  • Most polls nowadays are notoriously unreliable because people don't answer their phones (caller ID, etc.) or they have cell phones or the polls are automated ("robocalls"). State polls are even more unreliable and subsets of polls cover such a small sampling that they are unreliable as well.
  • Presidential elections are decided by a preponderance of events and impressions accumulated over a long period of time -- not by any one single event unless the event is so cataclysmic (like 9/11) that it proves to be a real "game changer."
  • Vice Presidential choices rarely make a huge difference in the outcome of the election.
  • This election may turn out to be very much like to election of 1980 where the race seemed close until the final couple of weeks. In the end, people were satisfied in their own minds that Reagan could be president. They reached a level of comfort with Reagan and embraced change. The result was that he won handily. Once again, the new guy, the challenger, may prevail -- if he can finally close the deal with the American people, if they reach a level of comfort with him.

Having said all this, Dr. Oppenheimer would not flat out predict an Obama victory. But he invited the audience to "consider all the factors and come to your own conclusions. You don't need talking heads to illuminate you. You can read, pay attention, consider the facts and figure it out for yourself," the professor said.

Forget After Seeing

Over the weekend we went to see the Coen Brothers' new movie Burn After Reading.
This is the film that bills itself as "the number 1 movie in America" and, indeed, lots of people are flocking to see this dark comedy.
I enjoyed the Coens' Fargo a few years back and I really like Frances McDormand. McDormand, Pitt and John Malkovich are the most vivid characters in this movie, which isn't saying much. Pitt is particularly zany and weirdly charming in a comic turn and his character is probably the most innocent and likeable of the sorry lot. But Malcovich is reduced to repeated blurtings of "F--k!" and McDormand is, well -- McDormand.
In presenting this film the Coens seems to show their total disdain for the characters that they themselves created. The film is empty of any central point, message or even vaguely redeeming quality. You will chuckle at times but you won't feel involved with or empathy for hardly anyone in this movie.
Kyle Smith summed it up in the New York Post:
The Coen brothers invite you to spend $12 in exchange for the information that people are idiots. . . .
Burn After Reading is a cynical, nihilistic outing in which the Coens prove to be disdainful of their own character creations. Kyle Smith of the New York Post says it best:
The Coens are ice-pick cruel, dismissive of sentiment, meticulous in their design and utterly without hope. Sometimes they're so repelled that their work is itself mildly repellent, at least on a first viewing.
BTW: Movies were a lot more interesting when every other word in the script wasn't "F--k!"

Friday, September 19, 2008


We participated in Philadelphia Restaurant Week last night by dining at XIX (Nineteen) the beautiful restaurant at the top of the Park Hyatt at The Bellevue in Philadelphia.
We opted to sit outdoors nineteen stories above the street with a spectacular view of Philadelphia's burgeoning skyline. To our left were the gleaming new towers of Market West: Liberty Place, the Pyrmaid Building, the Comcast Center and several others. To our right was City Hall and the older buildings which once formed the hub of the business and commercial district with Old City and the river beyond.
The Bellevue itself (formerly The Bellevue Stratford Hotel) has played a storied role in the city's history and XIX inhabits the space which used to be the Cameo Room and later became Founders Restaurant. But now the genteel atmosphere of the Cameo Room is gone along with the stuffy clubbiness of Founders. Hyatt has opened the room up and created a bright, airy, informal though nonetheless elegant environment suited to the times.
We enjoyed butternut squash soup, monk fish, roast loin of pork, sinful devil's food cake and strawberry shortcake along with delicious white cranberry martinis. Service was seamless and the presentation was memorable. It was another gorgeous late summer evening with a dramatic sunset, cool breezes and a clear sky.
For a special occasion when you want to savor every moment in a truly dramatic atmosphere we certainly recommend XIX.

Palin Like Truman

Our dear friend Gayle Michael has sent us these observations on Governor Sarah Palin:
She's terrific--like a mini Reagan who not only loved our country but also had a great optimism for even better days.
And, she is inspiring just because of the way she is. There is no pretense.
Too bad there are those who will nit-pick and try to find fault with everything she stands for....when in reality it is they who are at fault within themselves.
I support her because of what she stands for. I truly believe she is unshakable and the more others try to discredit her, the stronger she will be.
If you go back and think about what Truman had to do to end WWII--he had absolutely no idea about what was going on in New Mexico until FDR died. No information and no experience.
Maybe that's the key--Truman reasoned, spoke and commanded from the heart. And, it was all about his love of America and saving lives. Too bad there are those who have lost sight of the big picture.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Paying Taxes Patriotic? NOT!

Joe Biden thinks that paying taxes is "patriotic."
Noting that some people would indeed pay more taxes under the Obama/Biden plan, Biden said: "It's time to be patriotic ... time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut."
Let's get this straight: In a free country, patriotic acts are offered offered freely and voluntarily. Acts mandated by the law (under the threat of incarceration and/or repossession of your property) are not patriotic. Paying taxes is not something that we do freely and voluntarily out of the generosity of our hearts. We pay taxes because we have to. It's the law.
If you enjoy paying taxes, you'd better take a good hard look at yourself. If you think that paying taxes is patriotic, then go ahead and pay more than you have to -- overpay the government; send them extra money; contribute to the cause.
As Ronald Reagan always reminded us: It's your money.
Yes, it really is our money. We earned it. We worked for it. And we have an absolute right to keep as much of it as possible and to fight like hell to keep the government's greedy hands off it.
Now, that's patriotic!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Maybe someone can tell me what happened to global warming.
We have been enjoying beautiful late summer days with relatively cool temperatures and pleasant sunshine. Air conditioning is unnecessary.
In fact the entire summer has been remarkably pleasant and relatively mild.
And the sunsets of late have been spectacular with vivid, slowly changing pinks, oranges, blues and greys.
I took the photo above earlier this evening as as the sun set over the Philadelphia area.
Slow down, take a deep breath, look up. Enjoy every moment. Let your thoughts wander and feel your cares melt away!

Photo copyright 2008 by Dan Cirucci

Constitution Day!

On Sept. 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed by thirty-nine brave men who changed the course of history. Now Constitution Day is a time for us to continue their legacy and develop habits of citizenship in new generations of Americans.
So, today is Constitution Day (also known as Citizenship Day). This is the day that we celebrate our US Cosnstitution and the freedoms that it gaurantees to all of us.
The Constitution is the legal fabric of our nation -- it's what we all have in common; it's what holds us together; it's what permits our justice system to function. Without the Constitution we wouldn't be a nation.
So, Constitution Day is every bit as important as the Fourth of July.
I urge you to learn more about the Constitution and Constitution Day by clicking here.
Also, be sure to visit the wonderful National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. It's one of the finest attractions of its type in the world!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I'm really disgusted with people who seem to be addicted to their BlackBerrys or other texting devices. These distracting oafs who always need to be showing how important they are by receiving or sending messages are themselves often among the most boring and irrelevant people I've ever met.
They eventually live their lives through their PDAs.
And if you don't believe that people can actually become addicted to these idiotic devices than you haven't been paying attention. A new poll from Sheraton Hotels says 35 percent of BlackBerry and PDA users would choose their devices over their spouses.
And don't forget the people who are putting all of the rest of us in danger by using PDAs in their cars or in work situations where a PDA is an unsafe distraction.
Back to that Sheraton study reported by CBS:
BlackBerry's are becoming -- among other things -- the 800-pound gorilla in the bedroom. 'Berry, 'Berry, addictive? "I live with it. I can't live without it," one New York City resident told CBS 2 HD. Yeah ... there's a reason some call 'em ... CrackBerrys. But are you having a love affair with yours? "I am on my BlackBerry more than I see my boyfriend," one woman said. The study of 6,500 traveling executives says 35 percent of them would choose their PDA over their spouse. "That's a tough call," one said. "Oh you don't want to go there," another added.
Here's my message to these BlackBerry addicts: Stick your GD PDA UYA and go away!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bistro 7 Shines!

We had a very lovely dinner with friends last night at Bistro 7, one of Philly's newest and finest BYOBs in Old City just off Market at 7 N. 3rd St.
Bistro 7 Chef/Owner Michael O’Halloran (formerly of Fork and the White Dog Café) relies on a network of local, organic farmers for the pristine ingredients that form the basis for his eclectic American bistro dishes, and the ever changing menu reflects the best that the season has to offer. The understated, minimalist décor features white linen tablecloths, filigreed heirloom flatware and graceful stemware, and the open kitchen provides an intimate glimpse of the chefs at work. The place is cozy and conducive to quiet conversation and the service is personal without being intrusive.
We enjoyed burgundy-braised natural beef short rib with lobster, sweet pea and corn risotto with baby arugula greens and herbed pan jus. The short ribs were tender, juicy and not at all chewy and the risotto was heavenly. Others in our party enjoyed slow roasted Atlantic salmon filet over cassoulet-style white bean-fennel stew with mussels, chorizo, roasted tomatoes and baby arugula in buttery saffron-Pernod broth. The entrees were wonderfully fresh and fragrant and beautifully presented.
For dessert we treated ourselves to chocolate malted pot de crème with vanilla whipped cream. Luscious!
Bistro 7 is open for dinner only Tuesday through Sunday. A 5 course, $35 Chef’s Tasting Menu, is available Tuesday through Thursday and the restaurant is also available for private parties of up to 40 people. Reservations are recommended.

Foxwoods Move Great!

The move to build a new Foxwoods Casino at Market East in (or atop) Philadelphia's aging Gallery Mall is one of the most exciting moves for the city that I can imagine.
Foxwoods would rejuvenate the entire area and add life to the Mall and the city's new convention zone.
Having worked in the neighborhood for nearly 20 years I know the area well.
Foxwoods is being more than fair in expressing its willingness to move its casino from the Philly waterfront to the downtown area. And Market East won't get another opportunity like this anytime soon.
Frankly, I hope this project is fast tracked so that Market East can witness the dramatic turnaround that it deserves. This is a chance to rethink and re-imagine the entire Market East corridor as a business, tourist and entertainment mecca leading into the historic area and the waterfront.
Let's hope that Chinatown neighbors and others will give the project a chance.
And bravo to Mayor Michael Nutter and Governor Ed Rendell for getting behind the project.
Go, Foxwoods!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Where's Michelle?

Some people are wondering: Where's Michelle Obama and why wasn't she at the World Trade Center site yesterday for the 9/11 commemoration? Why wasn't Michelle there with John and Cindy McCain and Barack Obama?
As far as I know John and Cindy McCain were at Shanksville, Pa. and in lower Manhattan yesterday. And Barack Obama joined the McCains at the World Trade Center site.
Plus, I also saw the President and Mrs. Bush and Vice President and Mrs. Cheney at the White House commemoration and of course the President was at The Pentagon memorial dedication as well.
But I did not see Michelle Obama yesterday.
Where was Michelle?

Option: Dump Biden?

Democrats are increasingly jittery about their prospects today as the Obama campaign unleashes a September offensive full of new ads mocking McCain as out of touch and tieing him to lobbyists and special interests. At the same time, there are new concerns that Obama & Co. may not be able to reach fund rasing targets and that Democrats could even lose their control of Congress.
On top of all this, Senator Joe Biden has now pretty much admitted that perhaps Obama should have chosen Hillary Clinton as his running mate after all. Biden has been even more gaff prone that usual of late and there's little doubt that he's off his game. He seems uneasy in this new climate, surrounded by yuppy handlers and Obamaniacs.
Is it too late to dump Joe?
Is that even a possibility at this point?
In politics, never say never.
Democrats have proven themselves to be remarkably adept at making last-minute switches (think Torricelli et. al.) and one has to wonder what Obama and Bill Clinton were chatting about yesterday. At the same time, Hillary's been quietly helpful of late - as if she's waiting for the other shoe to drop.
That shoe could be Biden.
I'm not saying it's going to happen but if it does happen, it could happen like this: Biden withdraws (maybe for "health" or "personal" reasons or simply for "the good of the party") and the DNC quickly replaces him with Hillary.
Obviously, Hillary would need no training for this role. She's ready to go IF she's agreeable.
That's a big IF. Does Hillary really want to be Obama's second choice for second place?
Still, it can be done.
And don't forget: 50+ days is an eternity in politics.
In a year filled with twists and turns, don't rule anything out.

Take That, Charlie!

Smug. Pretentious. Presumptuous.
That's what I thought as I watched the first part of the Charlie (now known as CHARLES) Gibson interview with Sarah Palin last night on ABC's World News Tonight.
Gibson sat upright in a jacket layered over a tweedy sweater, a dress shirt and a tie. As he looked over his half glasses and posed questions to Palin he seemed to be saying: "How dare you assume you are up to the challenge you face? What gives you the right to even think you can play with Big Boys like me?"
Gibson never cracked a smile as he rolled out his questions one after another in a bad imitation of Professor Kingsfield from the Paper Chase.
The result was that Gibson came off as hopelessly pompous -- sort of like some judgmental, constipated old aunt. At the same time, Palin remained Palin: the savvy gal around the corner who played basketball with the guys and always knew she could outwit them.
Palin never hesitated. She never flinched. Her answers were crisp, direct, self-assured.
I love the way she kept referring to Gibson as "Charlie."
If he had actually remembered when he was "Charlie" he might have cracked a smile; he might have understood; he might have been seduced - and he might have actually enjoyed it.
But Charlie left all that behind when he became Charles, The Anchorman.
And Palin? Well, with Charles so hopelessly aware of himself and so distracted by his own staggering significance, Palin was able to make her appeal directly to the viewing audience. And there she once again succeeded on all counts.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

'God Bless Their Souls'

Today, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, U.S. Senator John McCain delivered the following statement on the seventh anniversary of 9/11:
"No American living then should ever forget the heroism that occurred in the skies above this field on September 11, 2001. It is believed that the terrorists on United Flight 93 may have intended to crash the airplane into the United States Capitol. Hundreds if not thousands of people would have been at work in that building when that fateful moment occurred, and been destroyed along with a beautiful symbol of our freedom. They and, very possibly I, owe our lives to the passengers who summoned the courage and love necessary to deny our depraved and hateful enemies their terrible triumph.
"I have witnessed great courage and sacrifice for America's sake, but none greater than the sacrifice of those good people who grasped the gravity of the moment, understood the threat, and decided to fight back at the cost of their lives.
"I spoke at the memorial service for one of them, Mark Bingham. I acknowledged that few of us could say we loved our country as well as he and all the heroes of September 11 had. The only means we possess to thank them is to try to be as good an American as they were. We might fall well short of their standard, but there is honor in the effort.
"In the Gospel of John it is written, 'Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.' Such was their love; a love so sublime that only God's love surpasses it. I am in awe of it as much as I am in debt to it. May God bless their souls."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kennedy Honors For Jones

I'll never forget the night I saw George Jones at the Grand 'Ole Opry.
Jones sang a gospel duet with the late Vestal Goodman called Mansion Over The Hilltop. It was nothing short of thrilling.
When the song ended I turned to the man who was sitting next to me with his young son (who must have been about eight or nine years old.) "I hope that boy knows he witnessed one of the greats here tonight," I told the father. "Oh, yes sir, he does," he answered. "He does know that."
Indeed, everyone in the audience knew thay had witnessed greatness.
Now, this beloved country music icon has been chosen to receive a 2008 Kennedy Center Honor.
Jones, who has been called, the “greatest living country singer,” earned his reputation by diving so deeply into a song’s lyrics that listeners couldn’t help but feel an emotional connection to the song and the singer. The country legend first hit the charts in 1955 and since then has won two Grammys, numerous CMA and ACM Awards, has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and still headlines nearly 100 shows a year.
Follow up:
“I am completely overwhelmed to be the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor,” said Jones. “I can’t believe that I have been included in the same company as previous winners that are country music legends: Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Roy Acuff and Willie Nelson. Since I was a young man, I have just done what I love and that is sing country music, and I never dreamed that something this special would happen to me. I am completely humbled and will be proud to accept the award!”
Since 1978, the Kennedy Center Honors have bestowed on extraordinary artists. The Honors have been compared to a knighthood in Britain, or the French Legion of Honor. In addition to the gala performance in the Center Opera House, the Honorees are treated to a White House reception and banquet.
Bandit Records released George Jones: Burn Your Playhous Down the unreleased duets, a collection of never before heard duets between Jones and his illustrious guests on August 19, 2008. The recordings range from the mid-70s with his ex-wife, the “First Lady of Country Music,” Tammy Wynette to the most recent recording from 2007 with his daughter, Georgette, the only child from the union of George and Tammy.
George Jones is what country music is all about.
And country music is America.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mission Grill Pleases

We recently dined at the new Mission Grill at 19th and Arch Sts, in Philadelphia and found it to be quite satisfying.
Mission Grill describes itself as "refined casual southwestern" and that it certainly is.
Chef Ernie Frotino, a native Philadelphian presides at the 140-seat Mission Grill. Fortino comes from the renowned Fountain restaurant at The Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia. Prior to that he worked at a couple of New York's finest eateries.
At Mission Grill Fortino has prepared a menu that mixes American and southwest favorites for lunch and dinner. We stopped by for lunch and enjoyed kobe beef montaditos. Other choices include an open faced quesadilla, short rib empanadas, sopes di carnitas and fish tacos, grilled skirt steak and tortilla soup.
Everything was fresh, tasty and beautifully prepared and presented in a soothing setting conducive to conversation.
This is a welcome addition to the Philadelphia restaurant scene.

32 Calorie Soft Serve!

If you like soft serve ice cream (as I do) but you don't like the calories and the fat, you may want to try Only 8 Frozen Yogurt.
This ice cream alternative is delicious and nutritious.
It derives its name from the fact that it had only eight calories per ounce, or 32 calories for a small (four ounce) serving. That's a very small amount of calories for quite a treat!
Only 8 proclaims that it is all natural, calcium fortified, sweetened with fructose and made with four healthy yogurt cultures.
Only 8 is available at select soft serve stands (including some Mister Softee outlets). Look for the Only 8 sign and logo.

One Of The Mostest!

Our thanks to all of you for helping to make this blog one of New Jersey's "mostest."
According to Blog Net News New Jersey we are now the fourth most influential political blog in the state, the second most active blog and the fourth highest rated!
We're thrilled to be right up near the top in Joisey and in such good company.
Last week was one of our biggest weeks ever and we will soon welcome our 15,000th visitor.
We've had visitors from Iran, Iraq, Spain, India, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Canada, France, Italy, Australia, Japan, Greece, Israel, Germany, Ireland, Brazil. Mexico and many other nations. And of course we've welcomed visitors from throughout the United States including Highland IL, Baton Rouge LA, Tyler TX, West Hollywood CA, Port Saint Lucie FLA, Clinton TN, Valdosta GA, Bloomington, IN, Hamden CT, Park City UT, Anacrotes WA, Cumberland Center ME, Laceyville PA, Hudson WI, Denver CO, Jackson Hole WY, and Parkville, MD.
Helloooooh, everybody!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sarah Triumphant

Take that, Barack.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Hillary.
Deal with it, Nancy - and Harry.
Get ready to sweat.

Sarah Barracuda is here. And she's headed to a town near you.
On Wednesday night, the governor of Alaska showed the rest of America what John McCain already knew: She's definitely ready for prime time.
And how.

To read the rest of Christine M. Flowers wonderful column in the Philadelphia Daily News click here.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Jon & Jon & OHman!

Obama made a bold bid for "real people" support in Joisey yesterday by attending a fund raiser given by Jon Bon Jovi (the former John Francis Bongiovi, Jr. of Perth Amboy and Sayerville).
The price? $30,800 per person.
The setting? Bon Jovi's mansion on the Navesink River in Middletown.
Since about 100 people were present at the event that translates into nearly $3.1 million for the DNC and Obama. And since Obama only spoke for eight minutes that means he pulled in about $385,000 per minute.
Well, you can do stuff like that when you break your promise and turn your back on public financing.
Earlier in the evening, Obama attended a $2,300-per-person reception at the nearby home of veteran party fundraiser Phil Murphy. About 200 people, including the Bon Jovis and New Jersey's wacky Governor Jon Corzine, attended.
No doubt Jon and Jon spent the evening searching for the missing "h" in their names.
As for Obama, one can't help but wonder if he's starting to think it might actually be advantageous to lose the election. After all, when you can command that much dough for an eight minute speech, imagine how much you could make on the Big Bucks executive speaking circuit. At this rate, 24 minutes would command more than a million bucks.
BTW: Since some people seem to enjoy counting homes, some of Bon Jovi's other homes include a condo on the Upper West Side of New York, a SoHo townhouse and a beach retreat in the Hamptons. Now, that's true grit!

Thanks, Dr. B.

Bill Bennett's Morning In America is one of the finest talk shows on the radio. It's lively, informative, stimulating conversation conducted in a civilized manner with interesting guests, pertinent topics, and attentive callers with opinions that give you lots to think about.
Bennett's show is heard in Philadelphia from 6 till 9 every morning on WNTP newstalk 990 on the AM dial. It is also heard throughout the United States and on Sirius satellite Channel 144.
This is not a "shout show." Bennett never raises his voice. And this is not a boast-fest or an ego celebration. Though Bennett is an extremely accomplished person, he doesn't huckster himself, his books, his ideas or the show. Rather, his listens - really listens - to callers and guests and responds with insight and clarity. All ideas are entertained and everyone is treated respectfully.
Dr. William J. Bennett is a native of Brooklyn, New York who studied philosophy at Williams College (B.A.) and the University of Texas (Ph.D.) and earned a law degree from Harvard. He is the Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute, and a CNN Contributor.
During the 1980s, Dr. Bennett emerged as one of the nation's most prominent political figures. He served as President Reagan's chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1981-1985) and Secretary of Education (1985-1988), and President Bush's "drug czar" (1989-1990).
Dr. Bennett has recently completed a two-volume history of the United States, entitled: "America: The Last Best Hope," Volumes 1 & 2--both New York Times Best-sellers.Dr. Bennett has written for America's leading newspapers and magazines and appeared on the nation's most influential television shows. He has also written and edited 16 books, two of which -- The Book of Virtues and The Children's Book of Virtues -- rank among the most successful of the past decade. The Book of Virtues has been made into an animated series that airs on PBS in the United States and Great Britain and has been seen in over 65 countries.
This man, his writings and his program are worth your attention!

Friday, September 5, 2008


It's a fact: More people watched Sarah Palin deliver her memorable speech to the GOP convention than watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. And Palin didn't have all the spectacle, pyrotechnics, lasers and tens of thousands of live spectators and participants that the Olympics (or Obama) had. She didn't have the Hollywood set or the Greek columns or the mass adulation. But she still managed to attract more than 40 million viewers, And get this: Palin's speech wasn't shown on nearly as many networks as Obama's.
And while we're talking about facts, here's another one: More people died from gunshot wounds so far this summer than died in Iraq. Last I checked, Chicago is home to and represented by a guy named Obama.

Man In The Arena

Since I mentioned the Teddy Roosevelt quote ("the man in the arena") which came to mind last night during McCain's speech, some people have asked me for the full quote. Here it is:
It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt
April 23, 1910

'Fight With Me!'

I’m going to fight for my cause every day as your President. I’m going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank Him: that I’m an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on earth, and with hard work, strong faith and a little courage, great things are always within our reach.
Fight with me.
Fight with me.
Fight for what’s right for our country.
Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.
Fight for our children’s future.
Fight for justice and opportunity for all.
Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.
Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight.
Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up.
We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Teddy, Patton, McC

John McCain's speech at the GOP convention was a classically structured address that was more like a State of the Union speech than a campaign speech.
And we have to agree with Adam Cirucci who observed that McCain was "Patton-esque" as he strode out onto that long runway and addressed the crowd from the center of the arena. It reminded us of the quote from Teddy Roosevelt (McCain's hero) who talked about "the man in the arena." McCain is not a tall man - not a big man - but the setting and the man last night managed to convey someone who is big in spirit, big in character and full of insight, resolve and determination.
The bulk of the speech actually focused on everyday bread-and-butter issues: kitchen table issues that every American can understand. And one of the high points came with McCain's rousing call for energy independence (drill, drill, drill!).
McCain didn't really have to dice and chop his opponent too much last night because much of that work had already been done by others in the nights leading up to McCain's acceptance. And the candidate didn't have to energize the party base and the party faithful very much because he already achieved that in part through the selection of his running mate.
So, McCain wisely moved toward the center, chastising his own party (along with the Democrats) for losing its way on government spending and corruption. At the same time McCain once again reached out to Democrats and vowed to work with them.
In such a partisan environment this was classic John McCain; truly audacious.
This was a thoughtful and well-structured speech with strong, clear policy statements, vivid, mature observations and compelling life lessons -- inspiring in many ways.
The end of a speech is always the toughest part to write and the hardest part to pull off.
McCain gave us an absolutely rousing ending last night. And the ending rightly triggered a crescendo.
A Big Night for McCain and the GOP.


Could this be the difference:
Democrats: America's broke and Washington will fix it.
Republicans: Washington's broke and America will fix it.

And More!

  • I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a `community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.

  • I might add that in small towns, we don't quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't listening. We tend to prefer candidates who don't talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco."

  • “This is a man who has authored two memoirs but not one major law. This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never say the word victory except when he’s talking about his own campaign.”

  • “But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed … when the roar of the crowd fades away … when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot - what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger … take more of your money … give you more orders from Washington … and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.

  • “That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on E-bay.”


It's hard to characterize what happened when Sarah Palin addressed the Republican Convention last night except to say "Wow!"
A woman who has been pilloried by the power elites of DC and NYC for days simply stepped to the platform with poise and purpose and knocked 'em dead.
As one commentator said after Palin's remarks" "This is not something you learn in a few days. In fact, it's not something you learn. It's a talent. You've either got it or you don't and she's got it."
Palin seemed so natural, so confident, so self-assured in her presence and her performance that the thought of her being even the slightest bit intimidated by anyone became unthinkable. And once the audience saw that she was actually relaxed and breathing and altogether winning in both style and substance, they began to relax as well. Soon, it became a lovefest.
This was one of the occasions when the person and the moment fused; when the speech and the speaker melded. And for it to happen to someone so new on the national stage can only be considered breathtaking.
You wanna talk about Obama's debut at the Dem Convention only four short years ago? Okay. But, you can't talk about that anymore without talking about what happened last night.
Because what happened last night with Sarah Palin was every bit as big and every bit as important.
Yes, yes . . . . This was a moment and a turning point - a moment to savor, to ponder, to remember.

Great Guy, Great Lines

Some of last night's best lines from Rudy Giuliani:

'We the people' - the citizens of the United States - get to decide our next president ... not the media, not Hollywood celebrities, not anyone else. . . .

You have a resume from a gifted man with an Ivy League education. He worked as a community organizer, and immersed himself in Chicago machine politics. Then he ran for the state legislature - where nearly 130 times he was unable to make a decision yes or no. He simply voted "present." .
As mayor of New York City, I never got a chance to vote "present." And you know, when you're president of the United States, you can't just vote "present." You must make decisions.

For four days in Denver and for the past 18 months Democrats have been afraid to use the words "Islamic terrorism." During their convention, the Democrats rarely mentioned the attacks of Sept. 11.
They are in a state of denial about the threat that faces us now and in the future.
You need to face your enemy in order to defeat them. John McCain will face this threat and lead us on to victory. . . .

So, our opponents want to reframe the debate. They would have you believe that this election is about change versus more of the same. But that's really a false choice. Because "change" is not a destination ... just as "hope" is not a strategy. . . .

The Democratic Party had given up on Iraq. And I believe, ladies and gentlemen, that when they gave up on Iraq they were giving up on America. The Democratic leader in the Senate said so: "America has lost."
Well, if America lost, who won? Al-Qaida? Bin Laden? In the single biggest policy decision of this election, John McCain got it right and Barack Obama got it wrong. . . .

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Palin Excerpts

From tonight's speech:
  • I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom, and signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids’ public education better. When I ran for city council, I didn’t need focus groups and voter profiles because I knew those voters, and knew their families, too. Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.
  • I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone. But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country.
  • Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems — as if we all didn’t know that already. But the fact that drilling won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all. Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines…build more nuclear plants…create jobs with clean coal…and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources. We need American energy resources, brought to you by American ingenuity, and produced by American workers.
  • Here’s how I look at the choice Americans face in this election. In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.

Old Glory On 9/11

On Thursday, September 11th, 2008, an American flag should be displayed outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States.
Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this seventh anniversary of one our country's worst tragedies. We do this in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends andloved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fightingat home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.
In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed inAmerican flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stoodshoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity.
Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds

It's A Fact

Sarah Palin has garnered more votes while successfully running for office than Joe Biden ever did in all his failed runs for the Presidency, combined.
And Palin has spent more time in elected office than Obama.

Go, Johnny, Go!

If you've been watching the GOP convention you've probably seen or heard Jon Voight. In fact, Voight will moderate tonight's introductory video focusing on Sarah Palin.
An Oscar winner and four-time Oscar nominee, Voight has defected from Hollywood's lockstep liberal frenzy and endorsed John McCain for President. And he's not shy about it. Voight calls himself a "9/11 Republican." Like many others, September 11, 2001 is when Voight began his joourney to the GOP.
I once met Jon Voight when my family and I were travelling. Voight was staying in the same hotel with a bunch of other actors who were performing nearby. Not all of the actors and entertainers who were staying there were friendly when we approached them. But Voight was different. He chatted with us, posed for pictures and was delighted to hear our reactions to some of his film performances including one of my personal favorites, "Runaway Train".
Recently appearing in "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," Jon Voight has sustained a very successful Hollywood career over the span of five decades. His newest film (due in October) is the new David Zucker comedy, An American Carol. To build and maintain such an impressive filmography over such a long time is no easy accomplishment.
Voight is correct when he says "America is approaching one of its most important elections in history."

Monday, September 1, 2008

Conventional History

For a political junkie the quadrennial political conventions are like the Super Bowl, the World Series and the Olympics all rolled into one.
I love the bigness, the loudness, the craziness, the pageantry and the oversized oratory of these outdated spectacles.
I've been to four political conventions in my lifetime: two Democrat conventions (1964 and 1968) and two Republican conventions (2000 and 2004).
In 1964 at the Dem convention in an already fading Atlantic City I was a Young Democrat for LBJ. We lost our Real Hero and we had to battle on with "LBJ for the USA." When Lyndon Johnson wasn't obsessing over the possibility that Bobby Kennedy would challenge him he was teasing the party and the country with Veep possibilities. I remember a huge billboard on the boardwalk with a photo of GOP nominee Barry Goldwater that said, simply: "In Your heart You Know He's Right." I also remember standing on the convention floor with Walter Cronkite who had nothing to do and who merely watched the convention as a spectator. In 1964 Cronkite's ratings were in the tank so CBS yanked him from Dem convention coverage and replaced him with Roger Mudd and Robert Trout.
In 1968 Cronkite was back in the booth and I was on the ground at the infamous Democrat Convention in Chicago. The nominee was Hubert Horatio Humphrey and I was angry. I was one of the "McCarthy Kids" -- college kids who supported and worked for anti-war candidate Senator Eugene McCarthy. We travelled with McCarthy throughout the country and stayed in the homes of McCarthy supporters. I stayed in upscale Winnetka, Ill. but during the convention I didn't get back to Winnetka very often since we were pretty much trapped in McCarthy headquarters at the Conrad Hilton Hotel while all hell broke loose on the streets of Chicago. I hated Chicago Mayor Dick Daley and the other party leaders who suppressed free speech and the will of the people. But no, I did not take to the streets and no, I did not abandon the party. In the end I campaigned for and voted for Humphrey (I never trusted Nixon) and I went down with the ship.
Jimmy Carter altered my view of things and Ronald Reagan sealed the deal. But that's another story.
In 2000 I worked the GOP convention in Philadelphia as a volunteer and I did the same thing again in New York in 2004. I was in the house (and sometimes on the delegate floor) every night at both conventions. I'll tell you this: Democrats talk a good convention game but Republicans run the smoothest convention you'll ever see. A Democrat convention is like college registration: everything left to the last minute, lots of hoops to jump through, fun in a weird way but totally chaotic. A GOP convention is like being in the military: You're here and you'll do it our way and on time. For the most part Republican delegates are better dressed, more mannerly, more attentive and appear to be more appreciative.
This year something told me to skip the GOP confab in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Since Gustav has prompted the cancellation of the Republican opening session and seems to have put the rest of the convention on hold I guess I made the right decision.