Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Committee Approves Christie Supreme Court Nominee

Today, Governor Chris Christie issued the following statement regarding the Senate Judiciary Committee’s approval of Anne Patterson to be an Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court:

“I want to thank the Judiciary Committee and Chairman Scutari for their support of an outstanding candidate for our state Supreme Court. In Anne Patterson, we have a principled and experienced attorney of the highest character and professionalism joining the Court if confirmed by the full Senate. From the hearing today and since the time of her nomination, the people of New Jersey have learned that Anne possesses all the attributes I will demand of any nomination I make to the Supreme Court, including integrity, compassion and, above all, the necessary credentials and background to serve on our state’s highest court.”

Christie Signs Legislation Into Law

On May 26, 2011, Governor Chris Christie signed the following bills into law:

A-444 w/GR/S-295 (Green, Bramnick, Conners, Conaway, Jasey/Allen, Buono) - Disqualifies member of board of education or member of charter school board of trustees for conviction of certain crimes and requires member to undergo criminal history background investigation

A-2173 w/GR/S-1361 (Vainieri Huttle, Stender, Pou/Buono, Greenstein) – Requires Department of State to establish and maintain a website to provide a clearinghouse of information for nonprofits

How Others View Obama's Memorial Day Outing

Barack Obama has played golf 70 times (Photo: AFP)
Barack Obama has played golf 70 times (Photo: AFP)

Nile Gardiner has an excellent column in Britain's Telegraph on President Obama's seemingly cavalier attitude toward both the presidency and Memorial Day.
Here's just a portion of what Gardiner has to say: 
Can you imagine David Cameron enjoying a round of golf on Remembrance Sunday? It would be inconceivable for the British Prime Minister to do so, and not just because of the usually dire weather at that time of the year. Above all, it would be viewed as an act of extremely bad taste on a day when the nation remembers and mourns her war dead. I can’t imagine the PM even considering it, and I’m sure his advisers would be horrified at the idea. And if the prime minister ever did play golf on such a sacrosanct day he would be given a massive drubbing by the British press, and it would never be repeated.
Contrast this with President Obama’s decision to play golf yesterday, Memorial Day, for the 70th time during his 28-month long presidency. For tens of millions of Americans, Memorial Day is a time for remembrance of the huge sacrifices made by servicemen and women on the battlefield. The president did pay his respects in the morning, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, but later in the day traveled to Fort Belvoir to play golf. The story has not been reported so far in a single US newspaper, but was made public by veteran White House correspondent Keith Koffler on his blog.
Click here to read the entire column.

Army VS Navy In Philadelphia, Sat., June 4

It is one of the oldest rivalries in all of sports, one rich in tradition, and linked to the City of Philadelphia for over 100 years: Army vs. Navy. A new chapter will be created for this legendary match-up when the two teams meet face-to-face at PPL Park in Chester, PA at 5:02 p.m. on Saturday, June 4 in the Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC). The competition, which features 16 of the nation’s top collegiate rugby teams, concludes on Sunday, June 5 also at PPL Park.

Rugby is the most winning team at West Point and has been a leader in USA college rugby since its founding in 1961, competing in the Collegiate Rugby Sweet 16 Tournament every year since its inception.

“Like most athletes at West Point, our team enjoys the challenges of being leaders and athletes,” Army Head Coach Rich Pohlidal states. Working through those challenges at West Point gives his players the military and leadership requirements they need. “Being on the athletic field is very much the same as being in the Army,” Pohlidal continues. “Certain programs, rugby being one of them, know this and try to structure their programs that way.” Pohlidal also observes that his ruggers “get into more elite units and high companies.”

It is also true that Navy SEALs have a connection to Rugby. “This year we had two SEAL selectees, neither are on the squad due to training commitments,” comments Navy Head Coach Mike Flanagan. “I think the SpecWar [Naval Special Warfare Command] community likes the fact these guys can think, react and respond to an ever-changing situation with poise and confidence. The job is like rugby: fluid, dynamic and physical.”

The Cadets and Midshipmen have profound requirements and obligations that extend into the summer beyond their academics.

“For us,” begins Pohlidal, “it is great to have the West Point leadership [Superintendent General Huntoon, Commandant General Rapp, Director of Cadet Activities, Colonel Flowers, and Dean General Trainor] as a supporter of Rugby, especially with the structure of the Military Academy. Our cadets, and the Midshipmen, have summer training duties and other obligations. To have both Cadets and Midshipmen involved in the CRC is a great opportunity for our academies.”

Army and Navy, assigned to Pool C of the tournament, will also face the ruggers from Central Washington and North Carolina in the first day of the round-robin schedule.

Justin Hundley, Army’s Assistant Coach and 7’s Specialist, says Army always looks forward to competition with good athletes and that Central Washington will play a very good brand of 7’s. “Against UNC, the Cadets will need to play an aggressive defense, which Hundley says “suits Army well.”

“The CRC caps off our year,” Navy’s Flanagan notes. “We get to play great teams in a terrific venue. Certainly we have a tough road with UNC and Central Washington, neither of which are pushovers. The fact that Army is in our pool just makes it better.”

Army and Navy rugby played each other earlier this season at West Point in what Flanagan calls a “terrific game of rugby,” despite Navy’s 34-27 loss. Both teams were undefeated at the start of the match.

Both coaching staffs are aware that “Philly loves Army-Navy” and agree that “the world wants Army-Navy.”

“With Army-Navy, it’s always a big deal,” Hundley admits. “Winning Army-Navy is comparable to winning a championship game.”

“Shoot, people would show and take sides if we had an impromptu game of tiddly-winks,” confirms Flanagan.

Army and Navy’s schedules for the first round of the CRC on Saturday, June 4 are as follows:

11:26 a.m. Navy vs. North Carolina

11:48 a.m. Army vs. Central Washington

1:38 p.m. Navy vs. Central Washington

2:54 p.m. Army vs. North Carolina

5:02 p.m. Army vs. Navy

Single-day and weekend tickets for USA 7’s CRC are available exclusively through ComcastTIX on line at ComcastTIX.com, by phone at 1-800-298-4200 or in person at the PPL Park box office. Group discounts are available by calling 215-389-9543.

Campaign On: Romney Opens Up; Fires Awey

Thank you, Jamie Gangel for a very fair, accurate, thorough report and a human glimpse at Mitt Romney, the man, the leader, the husband, father, grandfather and citizen.

Video: The Truth About Israel's Borders

This excellent video, produced by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs explains why President Obama's ill-advised plan to return Israel to its "1967 borders" is a prescription for disaster.
Visit the JCPA and/or go to the video on You Tube and share it with friends.
The truth is more powerful than the wishful nonsense being propagated by liberals and other so-called "do-gooders" in the name of peace.

Obama Lays Wreath, Then Golfs In 95-Degree Heat

President Obama took some time out to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and to meet briefly with families of those killed in battle but then it was back to the golf course yesterday (Memorial Day) for the President's 70th round of gold during his presidency, his 12th round this year and his ninth weekend in a row of golfing with golfing buddies junior White House staffer Ben Finkenbinder, White House Trip Director Marvin Nicholson, and Energy Department staffer David Katz.
It was 95 degrees outside in Washington and the heat index meant it felt like almost 100. But that didn't deter Obama. He was at in in the scorching heat at the Fort Belvoir Golf Course.
According to veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler "the decision to golf on Memorial Day invites comparison with President George W. Bush, who gave up the game early in his presidency and said he did it out of respect for the families of those killed in Iraq."

But hey, Obama makes his own rules.
The One (as Oprah refers to him) stands alone.
And the heat never bothers "Mr Cool" anyway.

Video: Glow Of 'Manhattanhenge' Dazzles NYC!

Twice a year, the sunset lines up with New York City's street grid -- making for spectacular views. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, identified the cosmic event over a decade ago and coined it Manhattanhenge.

Our Most-Viewed Features And Stories Of All Time!

Since we're celebrating 250,000 visits to this blog and 500,000 page views, this is a good time to check out our most viewed features and stories of all time:
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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Secret Torment Behind 'The Voice'

It's been said that his voice is heard somewhere in the world almost every moment of every day and perhaps even more often then that.
And in the digital age when sounds are bounced off satellites, his voice is also almost always somewhere out there in space.
In fact, the sound of that voice is/was so distinctive, so melodic, so genuine and so seductive that it has yet to be duplicated. His more than 1,300 recorded vocals have been termed "the soundtrack of our lives."
So, even today, when people say "The Voice" you know who they mean.
But behind Frank Sinatra's unique voice with its masterful phrasing, well-trained elocution and irresistible timing a secret torment (a deeper, darker personality) huddled in a corner: frightened, insecure, tempestuous, unpredicable.
In James Kaplan's definitive new biography of Sinatra (Frank, The Voice) the source of the singer's lifelong torment is revealed.
Frank Sinatra's entry into this world was literally turbulent.
His birth was difficult -- so difficult that his mother's life was thought to be in danger.
By the time that local midwives called a doctor over to the Sinatras' cold water flat in Hoboken the only way to bring the baby forth was to use forceps -- cold, raw, intrusive metal. The right side of the child's face and his ear were disfigured. He was placed on a table until the mother could be tended to. The midwives seemed to think the child might be dead. The life of the  mother was more important.
But someone threw cold water on the baby and he started wailing. The Voice emerged -- panicked, injured, pained, frightened and (perhaps) angry.
The mother (Dolly Sinatra) never had another child and she alternately dotted on and ridiculed her prized son. Looking at him, she may have sometimes thought: "I never want to go through that again!" On the other hand, there were surely moments when she may have felt that his mere presence must be a miracle. Polar opposite feelings.
The son alternately appreciated what the mother had gone through and blamed her for his disfigurement. He both loved and feared her and all of his relationships with women were similarly ambivalent. Tortured.
An only child, Sinatra kept to himself and remained self-conscious about the scars on his face and his mangled ear. Even after plastic surgery (years later, and only partially successful) he still covered his face with Max Factor pancake makeup every day and always insisted on being photographed from the left side.
We all know that Sinatra had beautiful blue eyes, and (as Kaplan points out) a perfectly-formed mouth and a full, sensual lower lip. Plus, there was that seemingly cocksure self-confidence that made him appear bigger than life.
But he remained insecure, tormented and (in certain situations) suprisingly vulnerable.
In some way, it was as if he was never fully formed.
But the torment fueled a restlessness that drove him to succeed, urging him ever onward. He always had something to prove. Always.
And the vulnerability (when he allowed it to show) was catnip to women.
Still, a certain frightful loneliness (perhaps a sense of abandonment) lingered throughout his life and revealed itself in numerous ways. For example, he dreaded being left along at night and insisted that others keep him company, often till daybreak.
In large part, the torment defined the man -- a talented genius, though a nonetheless complex and combustible personality and an ever-illusive public figure.

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Memorial Day Lives In Small Town America

Maybe it's the timeless nature of the scenes.
Maybe it's the sense of community in a small town.
It could be a community pickup band playing under a big tree. Or it could be Old Glory held high, passing under the Town Clock on Main Street. Or it could simply be an old soldier with his hand over his heart or a young child proudly waving the flag or a mother looking on with a special awareness.
Whatever it is, we know that Memorial Day -- and the spirit of America itself -- lives on in its small towns and cities; in these places where neighbors pitch in to help one another and where cherished values endure.
This is where those who gave their all are remembered and cherished -- here and, one would hope, throughout our land.
The scenes above are from historic Haddonfield NJ, the picture-postcard town that seems made for such occasions.
But in fact, these scenes can found anywhere in America this weekend -- and even abroad where cemeteries have been set aside as resting places for Americans who died defending freedom around the world.
Wherever you are: honor, remember, reaffirm!

Memorial Day: Keep Faith, Take Up Their Torch!

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae wrote In Flanders Fields. He was a medical officer in both the Boer War and World War I. A year into the latter war he published in Punch magazine, on December 8, 1915, the sole work by which he would be remembered. This poem commemorates the deaths of thousands of young men who died in Flanders during the grueling battles there.

The Values Of A Simple, Pastoral Life

While we were touring the Berkshires we visited a place that turned back the clock to a simpler, more pastoral time -- the Hancock Shaker Village.
Hancock Shaker Village is a National Historic Landmark that preserves and presents the legacy of the Shakers' at their community in Hancock, Massachusetts. Hancock opened as a living history museum in 1961 and is the largest Shaker museum in the East. It features 20 historic buildings, extensive gardens, and a significant collection of Shaker artifacts. In addition, the village includes Shaker craft demonstrations, historic breeds of livestock, and its restored 19th-century water system.
The Shakers got their name because of the unusual shaking movements they made when in intense, collective prayer.
They were a religious order that believed in pacifism, celibacy, communal living and gender equality.

After reaching peak membership in the 1840s, the Shaker movement gradually dwindled, partially due to the urban migration that accompanied the Industrial Revolution, and by the westward migration of New England's youth.
By the early twentieth century, the population of the village had fallen to around 50, most of whom were children. The remaining Shakers sold off their excess land, and many buildings were destroyed.
But much of the village still remains and it is preserved and open to the public as a living museum. It's a great place to visit and contemplate a simpler time.
Photos copyright 2011 by Dan Cirucci.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Vibrant Summer Documentary Film Series!

HBO Documentary Films heats up the summer with provocative and compelling films every Monday night, kicking off a new 11-week series MONDAY, JUNE 6 at 9:00 pm. (ET/PT). From a portrait of maverick chess genius Bobby Fischer to a gripping undercover visit to a Manhattan sex crimes unit, from the story of feminist icon Gloria Steinem to a road trip to meet newly naturalized U.S. citizens, HBO documentaries take subscribers to worlds others rarely see. This year’s summer series features the work of a wide a range of directors, from award winners such as Greg Barker, Liz Garbus, Lisa F. Jackson, Peter Kunhardt and Alexandra Pelosi, to exciting emerging filmmakers.

Christie: Honor Those Who Made 'Ultimate Sacrifice'

IIn honor of Memorial Day, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie yesterday joined Major General Glenn K. Rieth, The Adjutant General, and a number of our State's veterans at the State's Annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Wrightstown. The Doyle Cemetery, with approximately 15 burials each business day, covers 225 acres and was designed to accommodate 154,000 men and women who have served in the Armed Forces as well as their families.

“Memorial Day is a time to honor the men and women who wore this nation’s uniform and made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of liberty, democracy and freedom,” said Governor Christie. “I am pleased to join veterans and their families to honor the selfless service and sacrifices made by the veterans who are laid to rest at Doyle Cemetery.”

The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMAVA), led by Major General Rieth, provides services to New Jersey’s more than 460,000 veterans from the time they leave military service until they are laid to rest. In addition to supporting all of the vital programs provided by DMAVA, including a toll-free mental health hotline for veterans, Governor Christie has signed legislation that strengthens the support network for military families after the death of a service member, as well as a program that awards high school diplomas to veterans who dropped out to serve in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

In addition to the cemetery, DMAVA operates three Veterans Memorial Homes - Paramus, Menlo Park and Vineland - as well as a transitional housing program for homeless veterans in Winslow Township. DMAVA also maintains a statewide network of Veterans Service Offices who work to ensure all of the state’s veterans receive the federal and state entitlements earned through their service. The DMAVA team of 18 Veterans Service Officers accounted for the awarding of nearly $72 million in federal benefits to New Jersey veterans last year.

A Remarakable Tribute To Our Heroes

Between the fields where this flag is planted, there are 9+ miles of flower fields that go all the way to the ocean. The flowers are grown by seed companies. 
It's a beautiful place, close to Vandenberg AFB. 
Check out the dimensions of the flag. The Floral Flag is 740 feet long and 390 feet wide and maintains the proper flag dimensions, as described in Executive Order #10834. 
This flag is 6.65 acres and is the first Floral Flag to be planted with 5 pointed Stars, comprised of White Larkspur. Each Star is 24 feet in diameter; each Stripe is 30 feet wide. 
This Flag is estimated to contain more than 400,000 Larkspur plants, with 4-5 flower stems each, for a total of more than 2 million flowers.

Lessons From An Abandoned Quarry

It's an abandoned quarry that seems to be in the middle of nowhere.
It's up in the mountains, down a long dirt road.
But no vehicles travel there now. You have to walk down the road yourself to get there.
And it all seems frozen in time.
The quarry, known during its operating days as the Chester-Hudson Quarry, played a key role in the early development of the Town of Becket (Mass.) and the surrounding area.
Granite from this quarry was used for monuments in many states. The quarry was operational from the 1860's to the 1960's.
Truck - Photograph by H. David Stein When the quarry was abandoned, much of the equipment and structures were left just as it was (as if the quarrymen had gone for lunch and never returned). The site has stayed the same, plus some rust, until now.
The Historic Quarry and Forest is open year round, dawn to dusk, and admission is free to the public. It's all part of the Becket Land Trust.
A self-guided tour is available at the historic quarry site. Beginning in the parking lot (the Gateway), visitors can continue up the access trail and pass numerous markers describing artifacts and objects including pieces of machinery, tools, trucks and buildings.
In addition, old rail beds that lie dormant, remind visitors of the time when the stone was transported down into the town of Chester for processing. A brochure containing helpful definitions and information about the tour can be found at the kiosk (located at the quarry entrance, throughout the Berkshires, at the Mullen House Education Center, and on this website. Also available is a separate trail map of the historic walk.
We talk the walk and examined the artifacts and the quarry site.
We found it to be eerily beautiful.
And the lessons?
Well, it all reminds us that our natural resources are finite.
So we must continue to explore and find new ways to gather new materials and reap the benefits of the earth while being mindful  of our responsibility to the whole.
We cannot abandon our efforts the way the quarry was abandoned.
Nor can we freeze time, as the other-worldly nature of the abandoned quarry might suggest.
We must be adventurous. We must continue to take risks; to explore.
Always, we must move forward. Avanti!

Photos: The Norman Rockwell Museum And Studio

If you're traveling to New England this summer you owe it to yourself to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Srockbridge, Mass.
Here you will find the largest collection of Norman Rockwell paintings anywhere as well as every Norman Rockwell cover from the Saturday Evevning post. You will also be able to step into Rockwell's studio (above) maintained exactly as if he had just finished one of his great works of art.
And, you will be able to enjoy the wonderful town of Stockbridge -- the place that Rockwell proudly called "home." It's all delightful, and highly informative.
Read more of our observations about Norman Rockwell by scrolling down to another blog post about him and the museum.
Photos copyright 2011 by Dan Cirucci.

Berkshires: Mountains, Farms, Lakes, Lush Greenery!

Here are just a few of the scenes from our recent visit to New England's beautiful Berkshire Mountains and surrounding areas.
But photos cannot capture the majesty of the mountains, the quiet harmony of the meadows, the vivid reflections of the lakes and ponds or the rolling hills of bountiful farmland.
Still, this will give you some idea of what you will find this summer amidst the green hills of Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and environs.
This is surely a part of our great country that everyone should enjoy and treasure!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Berkshire Carousel Project Inspires, Motivates

During our trip to the beautiful Berkshire Mountains we discovered a delightful community project that inspires young and old and delivers something that everyone can take pride in.
It's the Berkshire Carousel.
Well, it's not really a carousel -- not yet, anyway.
But it will be, when it's finished. And it will open in 2013.
Berkshire Carousel, Inc. is a grassroots community project designed to be a part of revitalization of downtown Pittsfield, Mass. and the Berkshires.
This non-profit organization, funded primarily by donations and sponsorships, is training volunteers in the building of an authentic classical wooden carousel. The project involves residents of the entire Berkshire Community who are carving and painting the carousel figures (“ponies”) and creating the artwork on the ride. The carousel is expected to be located in downtown Pittsfield.
Right now the ponies are being created in a large open space at the Berkshire Mall. Residents of all ages are participating in the effort -- sharing, learning, creating, working together.
This is the most ambitious and largest permanent artwork ever created in the Berkshires by volunteers! Learn more about the project by clicking here.
And learn how you can help make the carousel a reality by clicking here.
Look, everyone loves a carousel. It's a whimsical creation -- a fairytale ride -- that appeals to the child in all of us.
Even if you don't live in or near the Berskshires, you can get involved. This is a wonderful project!

Beautiful Berkshires Beckon, Blossom, Beguile

We've often found that the mountains can be just as enhancing and every bit as tranquilizing as the sea.
The tides have their own allure but the high peaks of green, green mountains in the spring and the reflections of those lush hills and valleys in lakes and ponds cast a mesmerizing spell over those fortunate enough to take in all the splendor.
The mountains remind us of just how small and infinitesimal we really are. They give us a new sense of proportion -- a sense of proportion that we dearly need.
We've had such a lovely time in the beautiful Berkshires over this period leading up to the holiday weekend.
We moved easily through three states -- Massachusetts (our home base for the trip) New York and Vermont.
We visited Williamstown, Hancock, Bennington, Albany, Lanesboro and other towns and villages along the way that barely show up on the map.
We were enthralled by the diversity of this area -- a place where you could be gazing at a Cezanne one minute and visiting an abandoned quarry the next. We found art, music, passive recreation and more high adventure activities.
In the days ahead I'll be running some photos from the trip (along with limited, selective commentary) and we hope you'll enjoy it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Revealed: A Great Star's Scandalous Secret

She was one of the greatest stars of all time.
Her image came to be synonymous with seduction.
She exuded glamour, sultriness, and a simmering sexuality that appealed to both men and women.
Her heavy-lidded eyes, her high cheekbones, her sensuous lips, her shapely figure, her tempting voice and her magnificent legs made her an international sensation.
But beneath the garments that often seemed to be sewn onto her sinuous frame, Marlene Dietrich had a secret -- a secret which has only recently been revealed.
No, it didn't concern anything that was fake. There were no false parts. Everything was real.
And the secret wasn't a secret about something the Great Dietrich did or had or kept.
Rather, it concerned something she didn't do, something she didn't keep, something she never wore.
In Charlotte Chandler's new book Marlene, Chandler reveals that Dietrich never wore panties. Never.
"I don't like to wear panties,' Dietrich told Chandler. "They are so confining. And when they show through and make a line, it looks terrible."
And Dietrich said this was her attitude from an very early age. "I've never understood why the absence of panties was so shocking and was considered a mark of not being a decent woman," Dirtrich explained.
"In school," she said "I couldn't have any of the other girls, even my best friends, know my secret. I had to be especially careful on gym days."
"If she had caught me, my mother mother would have punished me for my guilty secret . . . fortunately, the revelation that I was not a lady, even when I was only a little girl, didn't happen and it was not exposed that I was exposed. Then, finally the day came when I didn't have to answer to anyone."
Dietrich said that when she met the man who was to become her husband, he didn't care about the fact that she didn't wear panties. And that was just fine with Dietrich since by that time she had no intention of changing her ways.
"He never seemed to mind anything that I did," Dietrich said of her ever-tolerant husband.
As always, Dietrich made her own rules.
And this is just one of the many quirks and various aspects of her fascinating life.
BTW: Author Ernest Hemingway (who was widely believed to have conducted a lifelong relationship with Dietrich) always felt underwear to be confining. So, he never wore underwear. Maybe that was part of the mutual attraction between these two icons.

Summer Does NOT Begin On Memorial Day!

Repeat after me:
SUMMER DOES NOT BEGIN UNTIL JUNE 21 (that's the bad news) BUT SUMMER DOES NOT END UNTIL SEPTEMBER 22 or thereabouts (that's the good news!)
The whole notion that summer begins on Memorial Day and end on Labor Day is something that was dreamed up by the media and/or the travel industry. And it's a lie.
Because the calendar (and the seasons themselves) tell a whole different story.
May is often cool and transitional. And so is much of June.
Summer begins at the summer solstice on June 21.
And autumn begins at the autumnal equinox on September 22.
June 21 is the longest day of daylight.
September 22 is a day when the hours of daylight and darkness are about equal. Thus, the equinox.
After September 22, darkness begins to take over and it remains that away until December 21 which is the shortest day of the year in terms of sunlight. Each day after that, we get more sunlight until the vernal equinox in March -- the first day of spring.
That's the cycle of the seasons.
We have many warm, wonderful days ahead of us.
And yes, there may be some gloriously sunny, summer-like days during the first few weeks of June (IF we are lucky). But it still won't be summer.
Summer comes in its own time and its own way. Nature has taken care of that.
Don't rush the season -- and don't cut it short.
And, when it's time, do go out and enjoy summer until at least September 22.
And don't let anyone tell you it's over on Labor Day.

She Says 'Buy American' But Drives Foreign

Democrat National Committee Cahir Debbie Wasserman "Blabbermouth" Schultz has done it again.
Ever since she became the DNC Chair Schultz has putting her foot in her mouth.
Her latest foray?
Well, she thinks everyone should go out and buy an American-made car.
That's what she said, and who can argue with that? Sounds like a great idea. In fact, it's such a good idea that I've long mad it practice to ONLY buy American cars. In our family, we own four American cars -- all made in the USA.
But like most phony liberals Wasserman Schultz doesn't practice what she preaches.
Turns our she drives a Nissan and an Infiniti. Ain't that cute?
This is classic leftist hypocrisy. And we see it time and time again.
What the liberals want you to do and what they do are two different things. Surely you're not surprised by this. Liberals are special people. They don't have to follow their own rules. The rules are for you -- not for them.
My advice: Buy American because it's the right think to do and tell this Blabbermouth to park her tres chic foreign cars at the side of the road and take a walk.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Join Pro Israel Rally In Philly Friday!


When: (Tomorrow) Friday, May 27, 12 noon-1 PM
Where: Across from Israeli Consulate, 19th and JFK Boulevard,

Objective: Stand with Israel. Bring appropriate signs.

Sponsored by Philadelphia ZOA and co-sponsored by the Independence Hall Tea Party Association.

Free and open to all. Please let others know about this important event and encourage them to attend.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Allen Applauds Christie's Energy Plan

New JerseyState Senator Diane Allen (R- Burlington/Camden), co-sponsor of legislation withdrawing New Jersey from the job-killing Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), issued the following statement praising the Christie Administration’s newly released Energy Master Plan. The Plan ends New Jersey’s participation in RGGI.
“RGGI drives up energy costs for consumers at a time when nobody can afford any additional taxes. Businesses are hit particularly hard, and virtually invites them to pick up and leave New Jersey. This program has put New Jersey on an unequal footing as compared to our neighbors, and I applaud Governor Christie’s newest commitment to improving our business and jobs climate in New Jersey by withdrawing from RGGI. As I have repeatedly stated, this is not a debate about whether or not we should protect our environment- we should. However, I refuse to accept that good environmental policy must come at the expense of families’ livelihoods. There has to be a better way, and I believe the Governor’s energy master plan is on the right track in advocating for state and private investment in renewable energy and conservation projects not borne on the backs of ratepayers.”

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

NJ: Addiego, Rudder, Delany Blast High Court

New Jersey State Senator Dawn Marie Addiego, Assemblyman Scott Rudder and Assemblyman Pat Delany expressed outrage after the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that an additional $500 million must be spent on the chronically failing school districts formerly known as Abbott Districts.
“Suburban taxpayers should be appalled by this ruling! The court has declared that suburban parents who are already paying twice for education, for their own children and for students in the urban districts, now must shoulder the burden of another $500 million,” said Senator Addiego.
New Jersey’s school funding formula channels almost 60 percent of all state education aid to just a handful of school districts, the same districts that will receive the additional $500 million.“Since 2001, the 31 Abbott school districts in the state have received $43 billion in state aid,” said Assemblyman Rudder.
“This ruling will continue to drive up property taxes for suburban homeowners.”
“Once again, the New Jersey Supreme Court has mandated that the taxpayers spend hundreds of millions as if we had limitless funds and no other responsibilities,” said Assemblyman Delany. “This is just another in a long line of expensive court decisions that will cost New Jersey taxpayers when they can least afford it.”
"New Jersey’s worst performing urban school districts already spend far more than the state average, and continue to have unacceptably low graduation rates and poor classroom performance,” Senator Addiego said. “Without accountability and education reform, the supreme court is ensuring that children attend even more expensive schools that continue to fail them, while leading to huge property tax increases across the state.”

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An Unexpected Artistic Treasure -- FREE!

Imagine finding priceless works of Art by Warhol, Grant Wood, Cezanne, Mary Cassatt, Brancusi, Larry Rivers, Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, Hopper, Inness, Georgia O'Keefe, Giacommetti, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange and many others.
Imagine all of these in a jewel box setting atop a hill in a rich, historic academic atmosphere in harmony with nature.
And imagine it all being free.
That's what you'll find at the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Mass, surrounded by the beautiful Berkshire Mountains. We visited the museum today and found it to be a delightful treasure --a wonderful place to spend several hours enjoying (and learning more about) art and its value and meaning.
Nearly 400 works of art from the museum's own collection are combined with 50 major works on loan from the Yale University Art Gallery in an exhibition that interprets what it means to be a teaching museum.
We found this exhibition to be illuminating and thought-provoking.
We were impressed by the collection and frankly surprised by its thoroughness and diversity.
In fact, the wealth of objects on view even includes a rare original printed copy of the Declaration of Independence and a First Edition of The Federalist Papers given to George Washington by Hamilton and Madison and signed by Washington himself. That alone is worth the admission price but there is no price of admission. It's all yours to enjoy and we heartily encourage donations to the museum as a gesture of thanks.
If you are ever in the Berkshires, you owe it to yourself to make this (and the nearby Clark Museum) your first stop.
You won't be disappointed!

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What Norman Rockwell Knew -- And Saw

We are traveling here in the beautiful Berkshires and have had a chance to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum and studio in nearby Stockbridge.
Although he was born in New York City, Rockwell lived in the kind of small town America that he loved -- a friendly, intimate town steeped in American tradition and American values.
Rockwell selected many of his models among the residents of this small town and their faces became familiar to millions. Just as Andrew Wyeth drew on Chadds Ford and the people of the surrounding Pennsylvania countryside, Rockwell drew on his own environs.
But Rockwell also traveled the world. He journeyed throughout America and to several continents and painted what he saw.
Far from being provincial in any way, Rockwell was a worldly man who was curious about and understanding of many different cultures, traditions and beliefs. And all of this is reflected in his paintings -- IF you look closely enough. It's important to note that he was also inspired by European masters including Vermeer.
At the same time, Norman Rockwell was a businessman. He was a commercial illustrator though nonetheless a fine artist. He felt a deep responsibility to earn a living through his work -- to make a comfortable life for himself and to support his family. And he worked very hard. While standing in his studio (where everything is just as he left it) we learned that he spent time painting every day of his life -- every day, including Saturdays, Sundays, Christmas and all holidays.
This gentle, perceptive man taught us many important lessons. His ethic remains an inspiration.
Here's something that Norman Rockwell said that is worth remembering:
"Commonplaces are never tiresome. It is we who become tired when we cease to be curious and appreciative."
Norman Rockwell never tired. He never stopped being curious and appreciative. He kept faith -- not just in America but in humankind.
BTW: In future postings I will run photos from the Norman Rockwell Museum and other places that we've visited during this journey through the Berkshires.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

NJ Supreme Court Decision Is Bogus, Arrogant

Hot Air has joined many other publications and web sites in denouncing the controversial New Jersey Supreme Court decision that orders the state to continue throwing money at so-called "poor" school districts even though billions of dollars of spending (estimated at $37 billion and counting) has failed to improve grades and test scores for students in these districts.
Not only is the decision dumb beyond belief but in fact, this sweeping decision has absolutely no credibility.
Here's an excerpt from the article:
Meanwhile, the state of New Jersey simply can’t afford this decision. Complying with earlier Abbott court rulings cost New Jersey taxpayers more than $37 billion between 1998 and 2008 alone, according to a Federalist Society white paper.
The decision is fishy for another reason, as well. The Court’s decision came on the strength of a swing vote of a justice temporarily assigned to the Court with neither the governor’s approval nor the advice and consent of the state senate.

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Obama's Parliament Speech Falls Flat

the Brits have failed to respond to President Obama's speech before Parliament.
The widely-anticipated speech fell flat.
One has to wonder why Obama doesn't simply come home. this round of foreign travel has proven to be a bust for him and it looks bad that he's away with all the natural disasters and tragedy here at home in the Midwest.
Obama's timing was bad -- VERY bad.
Anyway, here's an excerpt of coverage of the speech from Britain's Telegraph:
The pictures were better than the words. President Barack Obama is a brilliant speaker, but also a very polite man, and in Westminster Hall his oratorical inspiration was smothered by the cautious politeness of an American statesman.
Perhaps Mr Obama was smothered also by his audience, which remained stubbornly unresponsive. For most of the time the President had nothing to bounce off: no applause and certainly no shouts of praise or blame as might be heard in an American church or at an American political rally.
The presidential text sounded as if it had been worked on so hard and conscientiously by a vast team of helpers that it had lost all savour, and been reduced to a series of orotund banalities, of the sort which can be heard at every tedious Anglo-American conference: “Profound challenges stretch out before us…the time for our leadership is now…Our alliance will remain indispensable.”

NJ School Funding Ruling: Outrageous Imposition

As you can see by the reaction of the Governor and many state lesgialtors, the New Jersey Supreme Court's decision reiterating the imposition of the school funding formula for the state's so-called "Abbott" (allegedly "poorer") school districts has touched off a firestorm.
New Jersey has faced a continued financial crisis.
The state is not undertaxed.
It's not a revenue problem that the state faces.
It's a tax problem.
New Jersey residents are taxed too much.
And the highest burden on the already highest-in-the-nation New Jersey property taxes is the cost of education -- funding local school districts.
It's the biggest chunk of local towns' skyrocketing property taxes and homeowner's feel the pain day after day.
Governor Chris Christie has courageously taken on this battle.
He has been fearless and steadfast in his efforts to rein in "education" costs that are draining revenues: too many administrators with too many Big Fat Paychecks; the huge burden of teacher and public employee health benefits and pensions; huge sick and vacation day "jackpot" payouts upon retirement; too many school districts with overlapping spending and wasteful practices. The list goes on and on.
The last thing the Governor and other common-sense leaders needed at this time was the imposition of this latest Supreme Court decision.
For a long time, the New Jersey Supreme Court has acted in an imperious and overbearing manner. The Supreme Court has taken an "our way or the highway" approach to its judicial responsibility. And the Court has turned a deaf ear to the stark realities that face the state -- the real problems that taxpayers and elected officials face day-to-day.
The Court seems to see itself not as a co-equal branch of the state government but rather as a super-authority (an almost regal entity) above and beyond the people, the elected leaders or any other agency, bureau or body in the state.
Throughout these years of unbridled court activism, New Jerseyans have been far too complacent. Sweeping decisions such as the Mt. Laurel decision and the Abbott decision have come and gone and the people have accepted their consequences (and their own fate) in a largely docile manner.
Part of this is understandable.
A lot of people are uniformed.
The state has no statewide commercial TV station and no statewide newspaper. And New York and Philadelphia media outlets give short shrift to New Jersey.
But these factors can only excuse a finite amount of apathy.
And now the complacency must end.
The people must take up the mantle of Christie and like-minded legislators.
And this means that the Governor must be given a legislature that will enact spending and/or court reform and also allow Christie to make siginifant changes in the makeup of the hgh court as those opportunities present themselves.
Major change must occur -- even if it takes a constitutional amendment to make it happen.
The statewide legislative elections are coming up this November.
The fiscal crisis and the court must be front and center.
ANY legislator (Republican or Democrat) who supports the policies of this court (and the Abbott funding approach in particular) should be thrown out of office.
Those who favor an activist court that legislates from the bench should be removed.
New Jersey must change its ways. That means a changed legislature and a changed legislative leadership.
The people still have the power -- IF they choose to exercise it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bateman: Court Decision Ignores Suburban Students

New Jersey State Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset/Morris) issued the following statement today after the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that an additional $500 million must be spent on chronically failing urban school districts:
“We need to wrest control of education funding from the courts, which have continuously decided the only way to lift up our needy children is to pump vast sums of money into urban districts with little or no accountability for results. This process diverts resources from equally deserving students in other districts, as well as overburdens state taxpayers.
“Governor Christie and my Republican colleagues have put forth numerous educational reforms including tying teacher tenure to students’ academic performance, and expanding charter schools in order to change the status quo in chronically failing schools. These proposals are a better solution than throwing more money at the problem which has been the failed choice over the past 30 years.”

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Oroho Invites Dems To Join In Funding Reform

New Jersey State Steve Oroho (R-Sussex, Morris, Hunterdon) sent a letter today inviting Senate President Steve Sweeney and the entire Democratic caucus in the New Jersey Senate to sign on as co-sponsors of SCR-121. The proposed constitutional amendment, sponsored by Oroho, clarifies that the responsibility of determining levels of education funding rests solely with the Legislature, not the Judiciary.
The letter reads, ” For more than two decades an activist Court has improperly assumed the powers of the State Legislature on many issues, including school funding. As a result of past court decisions, New Jersey’s school funding formula has been constructed so that about 60 percent of all state education aid is directed to just a handful of school districts….. If we are to effectively improve educational outcomes for all students in New Jersey, we must increase the Legislature’s ability to adopt critical reforms without being continually hamstrung by an overreaching Court. That is why I have sponsored a constitutional amendment to make it perfectly clear that education funding levels are to be determined at the sole discretion of the Legislature, and not dictated by members of the unelected Judiciary."
The letter was sent a day before the State Supreme Court is expected to issue its latest ruling on education funding.

The text of the entire letter is below:

May 23, 2011
Honorable Stephen M. Sweeney, Senate President
New Jersey State Senate
935 Kings Highway, Suite 400
West Deptford, New Jersey 08086

Dear Senate President Sweeney,
For more than two decades an activist Court has improperly assumed the powers of the State Legislature on many issues, including school funding. As a result of past court decisions, New Jersey’s school funding formula has been constructed so that around 60 percent of all state education aid is directed to just a handful of school districts.
I am sure that you support efforts to improve educational outcomes for all students in New Jersey, and would agree that educational reforms should not be limited to court orders to spend more money, especially when New Jersey already spends more per pupil than anywhere else in the entire country.
It is my belief that New Jersey does not have a school funding problem, rather we have a problem with the allocation of existing resources. Previous Court rulings have made it virtually impossible for the Legislature to adopt common-sense education reforms that members of both parties support.If we are to effectively improve educational outcomes for all students in New Jersey, we must increase the Legislature’s ability to adopt critical reforms without being continually hamstrung by an overreaching Court.
That is why I have sponsored a constitutional amendment to make it perfectly clear that education funding levels are to be determined at the sole discretion of the Legislature, and not dictated by members of the unelected Judiciary.
All of my colleagues in the Senate Republican caucus have joined as co-sponsors of the amendment, SCR-121. In your role as Senate President, I invite you and the entire Democratic caucus to also sign on as co-sponsors of this important and timely legislation.
Working together, Republicans and Democrats can help ensure that all children have an opportunity to receive the education they deserve at an affordable cost.
Thank you for your consideration of this request, and I eagerly await your response.
Senator Steve Oroho

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Doherty: Amend Constitution; Restrict NJ Court

New Jersey State Senator Michael Doherty, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement in response decision of the New Jersey State Supreme Court to order the Legislature to expend additional money for Abbott districts:

“Once again, the Court has overstepped its clearly defined constitutional authority.  This position was acknowledged by the two dissenting justices.
“This decision also perpetuates a failed legal theory that more money will improve educational outcomes.  This theory has been disproved after more than three decades of Abbott decisions.
“At the next quorum of the Senate, I will introduce a proposed constitutional amendment that will forever remove the Court from decisions on how we fund our schools.  The proposed constitutional amendment will provide equal school aid for each student, regardless of where the student resides.  New Jersey needs to establish a fair, simple, transparent, and straightforward educational funding formula that takes the income tax fund and distributes the fund equally to each student.
“I look forward to a full and vigorous debate on the merits of my proposed amendment.  I believe the voters of this state will approve a fair school funding formula by an overwhelming margin.”

Cardinale: Court Treads On Legislative, Exec. Branches

New Jersey State Senator Gerald Cardinale noted today that two of the five voting members of the New Jersey Supreme Court dissented from the latest Abbott Decision because the “relief demanded of this court treads on the constitutional prerogatives of the Legislature and the Executive branch.”:
“The two dissenting opinions of the court are very telling. Two justices argued that the court had no right to order the Legislature to spend money.  This is a principle that is maintained in both the state and federal constitutions.  Only the Legislature can appropriate and spend the taxpayers’ money, not the executive branch and certainly not the Supreme Court.
“In the second dissent the two Justices acknowledge the abject failure of the Senate Democrats to fulfill their constitutional obligation of advice and consent.  The determination made by the court today was by a 3-to-2 vote.  Clearly, in a case that literally impacts the wallets of every person living in the state the court must acknowledge that a minimum of four votes are needed to grant relief on this motion.
“The Court has ignored the Constitutional provision that all education aid be distributed for the equal benefit of the state. (Article 8, Section 4, paragraph 2) this provision of the State Constitution is as binding as any other and should not be disregarded by the Court to further their misguided ambitions of social engineering.
“It is extraordinary that the Court is not averse to violating the very principles it is sworn to uphold. I object to the court’s arrogance and to its conduct. Today was a very bad day for the American system of jurisprudence.

Kean: NJ High Court Cannot Legislate From Bench

New Jersey Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) issued the following statement in response to the New Jersey Supreme Court's ruling ordering the state to spend $500 million on the 31 former Abbott school districts:

"The unelected justices of the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a ruling today that created law from the bench despite having no constitutional authority to do so. In so doing, they have thumbed their noses at the residents of the state who elected a Governor and a Legislature to make these policy decisions as is prescribed by the state constitution."

"The Court is wrong. A thorough and efficient system of education is not solely contingent on dollars, but requires significant reforms to make those dollars work better for students: rewarding excellent teachers for merit rather than longevity, reforming tenure to more easily and quickly remove ineffective educators from the classroom, and capping superintendent salaries to rein in administrative costs. Quality education is about holding the system accountable for student outcomes, and we should not turn to spending as a remedy until accountability measures are put in place."

"The Court's ruling fails disadvantaged students by continuing a decades-old legal theory that, since its inception, has not measurably improved the poor graduation rates and test scores of chronically failing school districts."

"Republicans have been clear: we will not raise taxes on the most highly taxed people in America to pay for another wrongheaded decision by the Supreme Court. The state's tax burden has, according to census figures released today, cost our state another 190, 000 residents in 2009. The Legislative Majority needs to put its cards on the table and come forward with ideas on how to address this ruling."

Christie: High Court Decision 'All That's Wrong' In NJ

Today's arrogant, outrageous and irresponsible school funding decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court warrants the strongest possible response from every citizen of the state and that response -- a response of nothing less than outrage -- must emanate from the top.
Fittingly, Governor Chris Christie has set the proper tone in responding with appropriate dismay.
The Governor is absolutely correct: The Court has no business telling the State Legislature and the Governor how they should spend the taxpayer's money. The Court has vastly overstepped its bounds. The Justices of this contemptuous Court are legislating from the bench.
If this is the way they wish to conduct themselves, the majority Justices should get the hell off the court and run for office -- run for legislative posts or whatever.
The time has come for the people of the state to rise up and demand reform so that EVERY branch of government (including this heretofore imperious court) will be accountable to the people.
The Governor's statement follows:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:
Today’s ruling by the State Supreme Court is disappointing, but not unexpected.
There are several reasons why I believe this decision represents everything that’s wrong with how Trenton has historically operated and everything that I am here fighting to change.
First, as a fundamental principle, I do not believe that it is the role of the State Supreme Court to determine what programs the State should and should not be funding, and to what amount.
The Court should not be dictating how taxpayer dollars are spent and prioritizing certain programs over others. The Supreme Court is not the Legislature; it should not dictate policy, it should not be in the business of discussing specific taxes to be raised and it should not have any business deciding how tax dollars are spent. A number of the members of the current Supreme Court agreed with that very position in today’s decision.
Those responsible for making decisions regarding how money is raised through taxes and how it is spent by government are those elected by the people and ultimately held accountable by the people.
Secondly, I believe the Court’s decision is based on a failed legal and educational theory that incorrectly reasons the key to establishing a thorough and efficient system of education is to throw more money at failing schools.
Let me be clear, I do believe funding education is critically important to New Jersey’s future. Even before today’s Court decision, we increased education aid by $250 million to every school district in this year’s proposed budget.
But, we must also acknowledge that money does not equal quality results. And there is now nearly 30 years of evidence that just throwing money at the problem is not the answer.
We should be getting better results with the taxpayer money we already spend and we aren’t which means changing the educational system goes beyond dollars and cents.
However, as Governor of New Jersey, I realize that regardless of my personal beliefs, I must comply with the New Jersey Constitution as interpreted by the New Jersey Supreme Court. In February, I submitted my budget to the Legislature for review and consideration. That is my constitutional obligation. Now the legislature has until June 30th to fulfill its constitutional obligation to pass a final budget.
In the light of the court’s ruling, it is now up to the Legislature to determine how the State is best able to fund the additional $500 million in aid to the Abbott districts specifically ordered in footnote 23 by the Court’s majority while also meeting the State’s other funding priorities as I proposed them. I have complete confidence that the Legislature understands its unique constitutional obligation to send a balance budget to me by June 30th. I am also confident that the Legislature understands its independent constitutional obligation to comply with the Supreme Court’s order in whatever budget they send to me for my consideration by the June 30th deadline.
I fully expect the Legislature will send me in a timely manner for my review and consideration a constitutionally balanced budget that includes how the Court’s order will be met.
My principles remain the same. New Jersey has some of the highest taxes in America. New Jerseyans are already incredibly overtaxed. Therefore, as I have repeatedly stated, I do not believe raising taxes is the answer. That has not changed.
I stand ready to execute my constitutional duties and consider what the Legislature submits as its final budget to me by June 30th.

White House Employs "Terminator"

The White House has its own Terminator. And no, it's not Arnold.

His name is Jesse Lee, and his job is to vigorously attack online critics of President Obama and his administration, squashing any negative stories that can hurt his re-election bid.

They call it "Rapid Response." It feels more like intimidation. Particularly as Mr. Lee's first post as a mouthpiece for the Obama administration is to TwitPic a picture of the Terminator robot.

From Info Wars:

In a bid to ‘squash negative stories’ about Barack Obama that appear on the Internet, the White House has hired a dedicated propagandist whose role will be to savage people who tell “lies” about the President, in a chilling reminder of how prosecutors threatened people with jail time during the 2008 campaign if they criticized Obama.

You can find the whole story here.

Finally: A Pizza That's Worth The Trip!

You don't have to go all the way to Arzona to get an Arizona pizza.
But you may have to journey tp Lanesboro, Massachusetts where the original Arizona Pizza sits tucked away along Cheshire Road in the beautiful Berkshires, not far from Bershire Mall.
This is where we found ourselves last night as we are vacationing nearby.
We picked Arizona Pizza for two reasons. First, we craved pizza -- REAL pizza. And second, were intrigued by the unlikely name and the look of the place. It looked cozy and inviting. Plus, as we got out of out car we could smell the wood from the wood burning fire that cooks the pizza. Mmmmmm!
We entered and we promptly ushered into a small, woodsy, quiet room behind the bar that featured soothing indirect lighting and personal TVs in intimate booths. Your choice: turn on the TV or enjoy quiet conversation.
Now, if you're thinking that you can get noveau-style pizza at a place named Arizona Pizza, you're correct. They do have pizza called Sun City Classic White, Hawaiian, Greek and The Kokopelli.
But they also have pizzas appropriately titled Meat Lovers, Cheese Steak, Grilled Chicken and Florentine.
So, yes -- they have "designer pizzas" here if you're so inclined. But they feature traditional pizza Pizza, as well -- the real stuff. And, you can design your own pizza and order it in personal ($5.49), 10 inch ($7.99) or 14 inch ($11.49) sizes.
And here's the real payoff: The pizza that you order will be fresh, crispy and delightful. It will be a pizza you will not forget. It will be cooked just as you want it with the ingredients and toppings that you want in the size you want and they won't overcharge you for it. Our pizzas were fragrant, bubbly, hot and tasty.
These pizzas are worth leaving home for, that's for sure.
But if you live nearby, Arizona Pizza also delivers.
On top of all that, Arizona Pizza also serves appetizers, wings, salads, wraps, pastas, burgers, strmboli, calzones, sandwiches, tacos and kids meals. But it's the pizza that you'll want to go for, especially if you've never been here before.
We've tasted pizzas all over the country (and in Italy as well) and we can tell you that this is among the best.
We're told that there are other Arizona Pizza outlets in Massachusetts and maybe one or two other states since the place has now been franchised. But this is where it all began and we can't imagine any of the other outlets topping this.
So, if you're ANYWHERE near the Bershires, get on over here.
Arizona Pizza, 660 Cheshire Rd., Lanesboro, Mass., 413-499-5562, Fax 413-499-5578, open seven days for lunch and dinner.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Schwarzenegger: Always Stuck On Himself

Have you noticed that Schwarzenegger's mistress (and the mother of his child) looks a lot like Arnold himself?
Yeah, she looks a lot like Arnold, only with more girth and huge breasts.
She doesn't look like the fresh, peachy-skinned, well-toned younger Arnold that seduced America and seemed to win the hearts of so many.
Rather, she looks like an old, beat-up Arnold.
She looks like what Arnold is becoming and/or has become.
She looks crass and hard and rough and ballooned.
This is weird. Or, as Peggy Noonan has noted, it's "creepy."
But maybe it's not so weird. Maybe it all makes sense.
Look at it this way: Arnold was always really in love with himself.
So, he screwed himself. That's what egotistical men do. They eff themselves.
From his earliest days in the national spotlight (I'm talking way back to the movie "Pumping Iron" now) Arnold was always stuck on himself. It was always all about him. He was the beginning, middle and end of the story. It was obvious that he was hopelessly ego-driven and relentlessly calculating.
He didn't seem to very much care about anybody unless he or she could advance the Aspirations of Arnold. And, doubtless he used (and both figuratively and literally) screwed many people along the way.
This was (and apparently still is) a way of life for Schwarzenegger.
Of course, you might defend all of this and argue that "self love" is healthy. But there's nothing healthy about a self-centered infatuation with Me-Me-Me that has no real underpinnings and is fueled by insecurity.
There, I've said it: insecurity.
This man is insecure -- and fatally out of balance. He didn't live in the real world. Rather, he lived in a world of his own making where he was above all and infallible, indestructible, untouchable.
I suppose Arnold believed his own news releases. Hey, that a dangerous business, to say the least.
Like many many powerful (though nonetheless insecure) people Arnold intimidated others. And he surrounded himself with those who would enable his feeble fantasy.
Don't expect him to give up his ways anytime soon.
I suspect he's too far gone. I doubt that he's ever been in therapy and it's awfully late to start now.
You don't necessarily feel sorry for people like Arnold. He's well taken care of, materially anyway. He'll survive
So, don't feel sorry.
Rather, just stay away -- far, far away.

Obama Camp Worried About Stealth Christie Candidacy

The New York Post is out with an intriguing story today that says that the Obama Administration is so worried about a possible Chris Christie presidential run that Obama's campaign team has already begun to dig up dirt on Christie. In political circles the polite term for this is "opposition research."
The Post notes that Christie has said again and again that he will not run in 2012. Indeed, Christie has answered this question dozens of times and the answer has always been "no."
But the Post also says that top Republicans such as Henry Kissinger and Speaker of the House John Boehner keep urging Christie to run. And the newspaper presents a scenario under which Christie might actually run for president. Here's how it goes: Christie gets his pension reform plan adopted by the Democrat-controlled New Jersey state legislature and then Christie wins at least one house of the NJ legislature for the GOP this November. Then, he jumps into the national race.
But key Christie advisor Michael DuHaime says this ain't gonna happen. DuHamie says Christie isn't in the race and won't be in the race.
Yet, the one person who Christie seemed to be genuinely keen on for president -- Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels -- isn't running. So, if Christie doesn't run, who will he support? And, if there's no one in the race that is worthy of Christie's support, might that mean that Christie himself would run?
Until things are a bit more clear (at least in terms of the potential lineup of candidates) we'll just have to take Christie's word on it: He won't be a candidate for president.
That brings us back to Obama & Co.
All we can say about Obama and his team is they must be terribly concerned about Christie to be gearing up for a race against him already -- and digging up dirt on him. 
And, Obama and his allies must be awfully insecure as well.
We're sort of amused that the President and his brood would be so interested in Chris Christie -- and, apparently so worried.
Which leaves us with this message for our Favorite Governor: Keep doing what you're doing, Chris. Because, whatever it is your doing, you're doing the right thing.
Keep them worried.
Keep them on their toes.
Heighten their anxiety level.
Make them squirm.
You go, Gov!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Israelis Demonstrate Against Obama

President Obama has been trying to backtrack from his controversial remarks regarding Israel and the Mideast peace process but it isn't working
It isn't working here in the US and it certainly isn't working in Israel.
This kind of thing seems to happen all the time with Obama -- he makes out-of-the-mainstream, provocative, even controversial remarks and then tries to back away.
But here's the bottom line: Many of his view really ARE rooted in radical beliefs and policies.
So, while he doesn't always want to reveal these fringe underpinnings, they eventually emerge. The funny thing about the latest go round is that it came on the heels of what was considered an Obama foreign policy triumph -- the killing of Osama bin Laden.
So, the big step forward in foreign policy was followed by two steps backward: The Israel inmbrogiio; the near-abandonment of one of our more fearless and most trusted allies.
Anyway, back in Israel, people are definately not amused.
Here's an excerpt from a report in YNet News:
While Barack Obama presented the mild version of his Mideast speech before a Jewish audience in Washington, hundreds of activists gathered across from the US embassy in Tel Aviv in protest of the American president's foreign policy.
Roughly 300 people took part in the demonstration, which was organized by My Israel, a national Zionist movement. They carried rope in their hands and around their necks, chanting: "Obama, Israel won't commit suicide." It was their response to the principles presented by Obama on Thursday, which lead to a reported rift between him and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"It seems like Obama cannot differentiate between allies and enemies," said Rafi Trablesi, one of the movement's leaders. "I want to remind him that Israel is an ally of the United States, and that he should act like it."

The Real Mitt Romney - His Own Story

America faces exceptional challenges. Mitt Romney is an exceptional man with unique qualifications to lead our country through perilous times, restoring our strength at home and abroad.

Mitt was born in Detroit on March 12, 1947. His mother, Lenore, gave up an acting career when she met and married his father, George. Mitt’s father came from humble origins and never graduated from college. He apprenticed as a lath and plaster carpenter and sold aluminum paint before beginning a career that brought him to the head of American Motors and then the governorship of Michigan.

Mitt married his wife, Ann, in 1969. They first met in elementary school when he was a Cub Scout; he remembers tossing pebbles at her when she rode by on a horse. When they met again years later at a friend’s house, he was smitten. Between them, they have five sons and sixteen grandchildren, who are the center of their lives.

Like any family, the Romneys have faced hardship: Ann was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, and more recently fought a battle with breast cancer. She credits her husband’s unwavering care and devotion to her for helping her through these ordeals.

Mitt is not a career politician. He has spent most of his life in the private sector, giving him intimate knowledge of how our economy works. But he has also been an outstanding public servant. In one chapter of his distinguished career, he reversed the decline of a state mired in recession. In another chapter, he salvaged the 2002 Winter Olympic Games from certain disaster.

When Mitt was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, the state was in severe disarray, its budget was out of balance, spending was soaring, and taxpayers were being required to pay more and more in taxes for diminishing services. The state economy was in a tailspin, with businesses cutting back on investment or even closing and unemployment ticking up. Mitt made hard decisions that brought state spending under control. He restructured and consolidated government programs, paring back where necessary and finding efficiencies throughout.

Facing a state legislature dominated by Democrats, Mitt cast more than 800 vetoes as he brought conservative principles to state government. He cut red tape for small businesses, signed into law job-creating incentives, and fought hard to bring new businesses to the state. He eliminated a $3 billion deficit without borrowing or raising taxes. By 2007, at the end of Mitt’s term, the state had accumulated a $2 billion rainy day fund in its coffers. This stringent fiscal discipline provided an essential backdrop for economic recovery. When Mitt came into office, the state was losing jobs every month. When he left office, the economy was generating new jobs by the thousands.

In 1999, the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics was on the verge of collapse. Thanks to his reputation as a superb manager, Mitt was asked to take over. The event had been bogged down in a bid-rigging scandal, sponsors were fleeing, and the budget was bleeding red ink. The attacks of September 11, 2001, just months before the start date, created a security nightmare. Some were contemplating scaling back the competition or even moving it out of the country.

Mitt set to work. In a remarkably short period, he revamped the organization’s leadership, trimmed the budget, and restored public confidence. He oversaw an unprecedented security mobilization to assure the safety of the athletes and millions of international visitors, staging one of the most successful games ever held on U.S. soil.

Mitt’s impressive skills did not come out of nowhere. He began his career in business.

After graduating from Brigham Young University in 1971, he earned dual degrees from Harvard Law and Harvard Business School. After working as a business consultant for several years, Mitt founded the investment firm Bain Capital in 1984. Under his leadership, Bain Capital helped to launch or rebuild hundreds of companies, including household names such as Staples, Domino's Pizza, and The Sports Authority. As Bain Capital was growing in prominence, Mitt returned to his old consulting firm, Bain & Company, as CEO. In a time of financial turmoil at the company, he led a successful turnaround.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Obama's Pro-Palestine Leanings Evident Early On

The American Thinker has a great article pointing our that Barack Obama's pro-Palestinian tendecies were evident long before he became President.
In fact, Obama flirted with (and praised) radical PLO sympathizers.
But, for the most part the mainstream liberal media shielded the public from these alarming leanings. There were a few exceptions (as the article notes) but the media didn't want to alarm voters lest it derail the Obama juggernaut.
Here's an excerpt from the article:
When President Barack Obama publicly endorsed the Palestinian view of Israel's future this week, he took many Americans, including many of his Jewish-American supporters, by surprise.  Had the media been doing their job, he would not have surprised anyone.

In April 2008, Peter Wallsten of the Los Angeles Times wrote a lengthy article titled "Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Obama."  The article pulled some of its information from a video shot at a 2003 farewell dinner for Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian booster and a de facto spokesman for the PLO during his Beirut years.  Khalidi, who had spent several years at the University of Chicago, was leaving for New York.

Domestic terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn reportedly attended the dinner as well.  This would make sense.  Khalidi begins the acknowledgment section of his 2004 book, Resurrecting Empire, with a tribute to the guy who lived -- and edited -- in their neighborhood.  "First, chronologically and in other ways," writes Khalidi, "comes Bill Ayers."  Unlike the calculating Obama, Khalidi had no reason to be coy about this relationship.

At the dinner, Obama thanked Khalidi and his wife for the many meals they had shared chez Khalidi and for reminding Obama of "my own blind spots and my own biases."  Obama hoped that "we continue that conversation -- a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table [...] [but around] this entire world."
Click here to read more.