Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cancer Patient Will Miss Taylor Swift Date Tonight

The Courier Post is reporting that Stratford High School senior Kevin McGuire will miss his date with Taylor Swift at the Academy of Country Music Awards tonight in Las Vegas. Here's an excerpt:
In his second bout with cancer, Stratford senior Kevin McGuire won over the Internet and Taylor Swift.
Now the fickle fight will keep the Sterling Regional High School senior from accompanying the superstar to tonight’s Academy of Country Music Awards.
Hours after being in “great spirits” Thursday and a day before his planned departure to Las Vegas, McGuire was dealt a 103-degree fever and taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said Kevin’s mother Vicki McGuire.
He remained in the hospital Saturday, and his sister Victoria posted this message on the “Taylor Swift take KEVIN MCGUIRE TO PROM!” Facebook page:
“I am so sorry to announce this devastating news, but Kevin was admitted to the hospital last night, and is unable to attend the Academy of Country Music Awards with Taylor Swift. As we should all live by the moto “ live for today” a cancer patient feels the impact of these words far to hard.
Our prayers and thoughts go out to Kevin and his family. Here's hoping he has his dream date real soon!

Click here to read the full story.

He's Baaaaack! . . . The World's Cutest Dog Poses

Check Out This Week's Top Five Page Views!

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President George H. W. Bush Endorses Romney

Mitt Romney has announced the support of President George H.W. Bush.
“As a naval aviator, congressman, ambassador, CIA director, vice president, and president, George H.W. Bush served our country with great devotion and high distinction over many decades. When we talk about the Greatest Generation, we are talking about those like President Bush, who, after Pearl Harbor, enlisted in our armed forces and served with unflinching courage during World War II. 
"This is a man who knows from the ground up – and from the top down – the meaning of responsibility in exercising leadership in our democracy. I am proud to have him as my mentor. Ann and I are grateful to be able to call Barbara and George our good friends.
"There is no greater honor than earning President Bush’s endorsement and I am grateful for all George and Barbara have done.”

Primavera! Welcome This Magical Time Of Year

Sometimes they're barely perceptible.
And you have to look closely to spot them.
But sometimes they are clearly evident -- fresh and new and stunningly green.
They don't arrive all at once. They sort of creep up on you.
But they are worth looking for. For these sprouts of green and these fresh buds signal our season of rebirth and renewal.
The Italians call it primavera. It's a wonderfully melodic, romantic word.
We call it spring.
And it's here. It's all around us. But this early in the season you have to search for it a bit.
So, spring into action -- get out there and delight in it. It's a magical time of the year!
Photos copyright 2012 by Dan Cirucci

Romney Lays Out The Case Against Obama

From a speech delivered yesterday by Mitt Romney.
Since Barack Obama became President, over 800,000 Americans have lost their jobs.
Millions of Americans spent longer looking for a job than ever before. Long-term unemployment is the worst since the Great Depression. 
Over 46 million Americans are now living in poverty, more than ever before in our nation’s history. In households with single moms, over 30% are living in poverty. 
Forty-six and a half million Americans are now on food stamps, another record.
2.8 million homes have been foreclosed on 
New business startups are at the lowest level in 30 years.
Over 2,000 Chrysler and GM dealerships have closed and 22 automobile manufacturing plants have been shuttered or idled.
Our yearly budget deficits are soaring and our national debt now stands at an all-time high. Barack Obama presided over the first trillion-dollar deficit in American history. And he has repeated this dreadful distinction for each year he has been in office.

For the first time since World War II, our national debt is greater than the size of our entire economy. Each American’s share of the national debt stands at $50,000.

President Obama did not cause the recession, but he most certainly failed to lead the recovery. His stimulus protected the government, not the people. It was promised to hold unemployment below eight percent. It did not. Barack Obama’s stimulus was as ineffective as it was expensive.

His Obamacare didn’t help create jobs either. It discouraged small businesses and health companies from hiring new workers. And Dodd-Frank hurt the community banks that provide loans to small businesses. But the “Too Big To Fail” banks are even bigger today.

He failed to deliver on jobs, but on his goal to raise energy prices, he sure came through. All in all, President Obama prolonged the recession and slowed the recovery. His economic strategy is a bust.

Listen As Paul Ryan Tells Why He Backs Mitt

Friday, March 30, 2012

Remember -- Pets Are Forever!

Sale Of Philly Newspapers Is Imminent


That's the word on the sale of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News.

In fact, we're told that the announcement of the sale could come at any moment.

Earlier this week we were told that the sale would be announced by the middle of next week.

But things seem to be moving along very rapidly now and we will soon learn that the papers have been sold for about $56 million to an investment group headed by local philanthropist, H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest who now serves as chairman of the group. Lenfest is leading the bid along with a real estate investor, William P. Hankowsky, chief executive of Liberty Property Trust. There is no majority partner.

Earlier, former Philadelphia Mayor and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell who had been part of the investment group announced that he was no longer involved in the bid.

The group now includes George E. Norcross III, a Democratic power broker in South Jersey; the parking lot magnate Lewis Katz; and Edward M. Snider, chairman of the Comcast subsidiary that owns the Philadelphia Flyers.

The newspapers will move from their iconic headquarters building on North Broad St. to the old Strawbridge's department store building in The Gallery at 8th and Market Sts. That site is owned by real estate investor Ron Rubin, another major Philadelphia area power broker.

New Art Competition: Runyan Invites Entries

A special message from Congressman Jon Runyan:

Each year, thousands of high school students across the nation submit art projects to their Member of Congress for the Congressional Art Competition. This year is no different and I am happy to announce my 2012 Congressional Art Competition.
This competition is open to high school aged students whose permanent address resides within the 3rd Congressional District. The medium of the artwork can range from paintings, drawings, 2 dimensional collages, prints, mixed media, computer-generated art, and photography. A student release form must also be completed and submitted.
This is a great program that allows young artists the opportunity to have their works of art hung in the United States Capitol and enjoyed by the hundreds of thousands of visitors who roam the halls of Congress.
If you or anyone you know might be interested in participating please visit my website, or contact my district offices in either Mt. Laurel, 856-780-6436, or Ocean County 732-279-6013.

Christie Video: 'How We're Makin The Tough Choices'

HURRY: Mega Millions Jackpot Now At $640 Million!

The Mega Millions jackpot has reached historic proportions. With no jackpot winner in Tuesday’s drawing, the jackpot for March 30, 2012 is now an estimated $640 million. This is the largest lottery jackpot in world history, surpassing the previous record of $390 million.

If one ticket matches all six numbers for the half-billion dollar mega-jackpot, the winner would have the choice of receiving the full jackpot in 26 annual payments of about $20.7 million, or a cash option of approximately $389.8 million.

“Friday night’s Mega Millions drawing will truly be a spectacular event in lottery history and provides an unprecedented opportunity for players to take a chance on a half-billion dollar dream for just the $1 price of a ticket,” said Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery and lead director for the Mega Millions group.

More than 4.7 million tickets won prizes in Tuesday’s drawing, including four tickets that each won $1 million and 43 tickets that each won $250,000.

The jackpot for the March 30 drawing was originally estimated at $476 million, but with stronger than anticipated sales nationwide, it became clear that the jackpot for Friday’s drawing would be much larger. The high sales figures mean more than just a mega-jackpot amount; they mean greater profits to benefit each state in which Mega Millions is played. Each participating state’s legislature determines how its Mega Millions profits are allocated. In many states, profits are earmarked for education. The beneficiaries in other states include parks, natural resources, property tax relief, programs to help the elderly and several other important causes.

This jackpot has been growing since January 24, when Mega Millions had its most recent jackpot winner. The jackpot has now rolled 18 times without a winner. The odds of winning the jackpot are approximately one in 176 million. The odds of winning any of the Mega Millions prizes are approximately 1 in 40.

Mega Millions is played in 44 jurisdictions (42 states plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands). Drawings are held Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time; 10:00 p.m. Central Time; 9:00 p.m. Mountain Time and 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

Seasons 52; Fresh, New Spring Menu Ready Now!

We recently had the chance to sample the fresh, new spring menu at Seasons 52 in Cherry Hill and we can report that it's light, savory, innovative and delicious.
And the fine wines that go with each new dish are wonderful as well.

Seasons 52, the highly-acclaimed fresh grill and wine bar restaurant, introduced its new spring menu on March 20. Known for its seasonally inspired menus and fresh approach to dining, Seasons 52 meets the demands of today’s culinary-savvy consumer, offering a complete dining experience with great tasting foods and positive lifestyle benefits – a concept that is “right for the times.”

“During the spring, farmer’s markets and grocers are full of fresh, vibrant produce such as rainbow carrots and vine-ripened tomatoes,” said Cliff Pleau, Senior Director of Culinary at Seasons 52. “We are inspired by these bright spring flavors to create memorable dishes that excite the palate. By pairing them with fresh foods, such as Columbia River Steelhead Trout, and using natural cooking techniques like wood-fire grilling, Seasons 52’s menu delivers flavorful, thoughtfully-prepared dishes for spring.”

Guests can now delight in new spring menu items including:

  • Artichoke & Goat Cheese Flatbread – with leaf spinach, balsamic onion and roasted peppers 
  • Artichoke-Stuffed Artichoke Leaves – with organic arugula, Parmesan cheese and balsamic glaze Tomato & Haas Avocado Salad – with organic arugula, balsamic glaze and grilled bruschetta Columbia River Steelhead Trout – with spring vegetables, basmati rice and lemongrass sauce
  • Spicy Snow Peas & Shiitake Mushrooms – with roasted almonds
  • Lamb T-bone Chops – with asparagus, truffle mashed potatoes and red wine glaze
  • Tiger Shrimp Penne Pasta – with spring asparagus and oyster mushrooms in a light lemon-basil sauce. 

Shown above  are the  Hass tomato and avocado salad and the grilled Columbia River steelhead trout.

In addition, two new cocktails are featured on the spring menu – Strawberry Kir Royal (Fresh Strawberry- Infused Prairie Organic Vodka, Organic Agave Nectar and Zardetto Prosecco) and Strawberry Basil Fusion (Fresh Strawberry-Infused Prairie Organic Vodka, Fresh Basil, and Organic Agave Nectar).

Master Sommelier George Miliotes has also updated his “Drink These Before They Become Famous” list, a handpicked selection of must-try wines for the season. This season’s selections include:

Aveleda Vinho Verde, Portugal ’10/’11 – Crisp and light with just a hint of sweetness and sparkle, this varietal it is the perfect aperitif wine to enjoy with an assortment of flatbreads.

Lioco Indica Rosé, Mendocino ’11 – A totally natural wine with lovely aromas and flavors of ripe red raspberries and strawberries and a pleasantly dry finish; goes with just about everything on the menu.

Zardetto Prosecco, Treviso NV – Everyone loves Prosecco! Produced in the northeast of Italy, this is one of the finest sparkling wines and tastes excellent alone or with a dash of fruit juice.

Botani Moscatel, Sierras de Málaga ’10 – Neither sweet nor dry, this Spanish wine is packed with fruit flavors and a round finish. It pairs beautifully with white fish or shellfish.

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Corvina Veronese ’08/’09 – Supercharged with a second fermentation from dried grapes, this wine is medium bodied but with a long and potent red fruit finish – a perfect accompaniment to any meat dish, from pork to lamb.

Seasons 52 changes the menu four times a year with weekly fresh features to truly capture the flavors of the season. Each valued guest can be guaranteed the highest quality fresh food, prepared without compromising great taste or a rich and complete dining experience. Nothing on the menu is more than 475 calories, from the signature flatbreads and appetizers, to all entrees and its popular mini indulgence desserts.

About Seasons 52
Seasons 52, which debuted in 2003, is a fresh grill and wine bar that provides guests with a fresh dining experience, enabling them to celebrate living well. The menu is orchestrated by award-winning Chef Clifford Pleau, and is inspired by the seasons and the fresh appeal of the farmers’ market – 52 weeks a year. The award-winning wine list created and developed by Master Sommelier George Miliotes – one of over 180 Master Sommeliers worldwide – is consistently praised for its diverse international selection of 100 wines, including more than 52 offered by the glass. Seasons 52 is recognized as a forward-thinking restaurant concept that is “right for the times” and always offers guests something new to discover.

Seasons 52 currently operates 21 locations in 12 states across the country and will open additional restaurants in Garden City (Roosevelt Field), NY, and Oak Brook (Oakbrook Center), IL, in spring 2012; Santa Monica (Ocean and Broadway), CA, and Los Angeles (Century City), CA in autumn 2012; and Houston (Westheimer), TX in spring 2013. For more information, please visit, or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


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Jewish History Museum: Special Passover Events

In celebration of the holiday of Passover, the National Museum of American Jewish History will have evening hours for the first time on Wednesday, April 11, when it will be open until 8 p.m. Visitors to the Museum can pay what they wish. The Museum café and store will also be open that night. The store will be offering a discount of 20 percent on Passover items on the 11th and the café will be kosher for Passover that night and for the duration of the holiday.

In addition, throughout the holiday, visitors will be provided with a Passover family guide that explores themes related to the holiday in the Museum’s core exhibition. The family guide will prompt discussions about the holiday and the parallels between the story of Passover and the story of freedom that is told throughout the three floors of the Museum’s core exhibition.

Each activity in the guide begins with a quote from the Haggadah (the booklet that guides the order of the Passover Seder while retelling the story of Exodus.) The family guide also contains questions geared to parents, non-family visitors, and older teens and includes definitions of the ritual objects and other items associated with Passover.

“During Passover Jews recount the story of the Exodus from Egypt, which is about the journey to freedom. Our exhibition shares the theme of freedom with visitors by exploring the experience of not just Jews, but all people, who have come to these shores for more than 350 years, fleeing persecution and seeking freedom and opportunity,” said Ivy L. Barsky, the Museum’s Gwen Goodman director and COO.

Passover begins Friday, April 6 at sundown. The Museum will close at 3 p.m. on that day. During the holiday the Museum will be closed on Saturday, April 7 and Sunday, April 8.

The National Museum of American Jewish History, on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, presents educational programs and experiences that preserve, explore and celebrate the history of Jews in America. Its purpose is to connect Jews more closely to their heritage and to inspire in people of all backgrounds a greater appreciation for the diversity of the American Jewish experience and the freedoms to which Americans aspire.

XFINITY LIVE Opens Tomorrow (3/30) At 4 PM!

Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider, Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko, The Cordish Companies President David Cordish, The Cordish Companies Vice President Reed Cordish and Mayor Nutter will formally welcome XFINITY Live! Philadelphia to the South Philadelphia Sports Complexes on Friday, March 30 at 4 PM.

The public is welcome to attend the Grand Opening ceremonies and is invited to celebrate the opening by enjoying the dining and entertainment options at XFINITY Live! Philadelphia. The outdoor video boards will simultaneously read “Live!”, the exterior neons will be lit and fireworks will illuminate the sky.

Going “live” comes just hours before alternative rock band, Third Eye Blind, will perform in a free concert open to the public on the outdoor stage at XFINITY Live! Philadelphia as part of the Grand Opening. The Third Eye Blind concert is the first in a series of year-round, regular entertainment featuring local, regional and national recording acts at XFINITY Live! Philadelphia.

XFINITY Live! Philadelphia has Xfinity WiFi hot spots as Comcast is providing free wireless internet access to both customers and non-customers at South Philadelphia’s newest dining and entertainment complex.

XFINITY Live! Philadelphia, designed by Jeffrey Beers, is home to six unique venues and over a dozen entertainment choices. Dining options include Philly MarketPlace, Spectrum Grill, Broad Street Bullies Pub, NBC Sports Arena, PBR Bar & Grill (Professional Bull Riders Association) and Victory Beer Hall. XFINITY Live! Philadelphia will open every day regardless of sporting and entertainment events. Financing for XFINITY Live! Philadelphia was provided by Citzens Bank. Restaurant hours and more information can be found at

Tough Times Require Extraordinary Measures

State Senator Renews Call For Assessment Reform

New Jersey State Senator Tony Bucco, R-Morris and Somerset, is renewing his call for all local governments to share responsibility in property tax assessment appeal refunds and settlements, in light of a Star-Ledger exposé, “Jersey’s Tax Appeal Revolution.

“We saw this revolution coming as the Great Recession crushed the real estate market, and some communities delayed property reassessments by several years and in some cases decades,” Bucco said. “The reported result of municipal tax bases decreasing by $3.8 billion last year is staggering. Local budget nightmares are indeed caused by a rising number of appeals, of which more than 52 percent were reportedly settled last year.

To mitigate the burden on municipalities, especially those that have borrowed or bonded to pay off tax appeal losses, Bucco is again pushing a bill to require fire districts, school districts, county governments to also pay their fair share of appeal refunds and settlements. Bucco is re-introducing last session’s S-2904, which will accompany this session’s Assembly version A-1503.

“Each local entity will concede or collect their fair percentage of an appeal outcome, based on how much they receive in property taxes,” Bucco explained. “For example, a school district that spends 70 percent of a property tax dollar will be accountable for 70 percent of an appeal refund or settlement in that community.”

Under current law, only the county shares in this burden with municipalities through the county tax equalization process. Senator Bucco’s bill would require municipal tax collectors to deduct the applicable pro-rata share of property tax refunds from the amounts to be paid in a subsequent tax year to the county, school district and fire district.

“This legislation aims to ease a major burden on municipalities, as many property owners continue to fight for assessments that are in line with the current market,” Bucco concluded. “I urge the majority party to immediately post this legislation for committee hearings in both houses.”

Major Backing: Rubio Endorses Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney has announced the support of Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

“Marco Rubio is living proof that the American Dream is still very much alive,” said Mitt Romney. “From humble origins, he has risen to become one of the brightest lights in our political party. He has been a leading voice in the U.S. Senate and the country for the cause of restoring American greatness. He knows that the way forward is to end excessive regulations, shrink government, and get our economy growing. He understands that the way to strengthen our communities is to strengthen our families. He recognizes the dangers that will face America if we fail to maintain our military power. He understands how critical it is to bring new leadership to the White House. Senator Rubio’s endorsement is a major milestone in my effort to make Barack Obama a one-term president. Ann joins me in thanking him for the confidence he is placing in my leadership and for the great honor he has done me today."

Click Here To Watch Senator Rubio Endorse Mitt Romney for President

FOX NEWS’ SEAN HANNITY: “Up to this point, you had not jumped into the primary race. Are you endorsing Mitt Romney then?”

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: “Well, I am going to endorse Mitt Romney and the reason why is not only because he is going to be the Republican nominee but he offers at this point, such a stark contrast to the President's record. Look at the President's record. This is someone who has run the country, not very well over the last 3 years, that has no experience beyond that doing that. At the same time, as he has no experience with the private sector or the free enterprise system. In Mitt Romney, we have a candidate, an alternative, that in addition to being successful as a governor, running an important state in this country, has also been successful in the private sector and offers a very clear alternative to the direction this president is going to take our country. I think all the candidates in this race have a lot to be proud of. They have offered a lot to the debate. But I just can't buy into this idea that by their own admission, they are saying the only way they can win this race is by having a floor fight in Tampa in August. I think that's a recipe to deliver four more years to Barack Obama and our country – forget about the Republican Party – our country cannot afford that. We have got to come together behind who I think has earned this nomination and that's Mitt Romney.”

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mary Pat Christie Names Newest NJ Hero

 NJ First Lady Mary Pat Christie (right) honors Jane Hanson as a the newest New Jersey Hero.

After leaving a position in the private sector, Jane Hanson wanted to make a difference. In doing so, she co-founded Partners for Women and Justice in Montclair, a non-profit that provides legal assistance and guidance to women endeavoring to break away from abusive relationships and begin a new life for themselves and their children. Ten years later, the organization has assisted thousands by empowering and providing hope to low-income women and victims of domestic violence. Today, First Lady Mary Pat Christie honored Jane Hanson as a New Jersey Hero for her leadership and commitment to improve and protect the lives of women and children in the state.

"I am so deeply inspired by the work Jane and Partners for Women and Justice are doing to help women who may not be able to advocate for themselves,” said Mrs. Christie. “Domestic violence and abusive relationships are perilous actions that no woman or child should ever have to endure. Partners for Women and Justice is providing an important safety and support mechanism to keep victims and their children safe while helping them to rebuild a successful life without violence. I am proud to name Jane Hanson a New Jersey Hero.”

Since 2002, Partners for Women and Justice has offered quality legal assistance in domestic violence and family law matters to low-income, abused women in Essex, Morris and Union counties. The organization also provides guidance to promote financial competence and independence. Staff works with pro-bono attorneys to serve clients in a variety of ways, including protective orders, visitation arrangements and fair awards of child and spousal support. Over time, this work has translated into millions of dollars of free services to women in need.

“I am humbled by this recognition. It really belongs to our clients who have the courage to say ‘Enough, no more’ and who risk standing up against an abusive partner, to our tireless and dedicated staff who on a daily basis, advocate for our clients and their children, to our many volunteer attorneys who are committed to the idea of equal access to justice, to the dedicated trustees who have guided and led Partners for Women and Justice, and to the many funders and donors who make it possible for us to do our work,” said Jane Hanson, Executive Director and co-founder of Partners for Women and Justice. I am also grateful to the First Lady for her interest in shedding light on the still pervasive problem of domestic violence and the need to help vulnerable women and their children find safety and peace.”

According to the 2010 Domestic Violence Offense Report prepared by the New Jersey State Police, there were 74,244 domestic violence offenses reported by the police in 2010, a 1 percent increase compared to 2009. Overall, females were victims in 75 percent (55,919) of all domestic violence offenses. Wives comprised 18 percent of that total and ex-wives were 3 percent of the reported domestic violence offenses in 2010. Children were involved or present during 31 percent of all domestic violence offenses occurring in 2010.

During her visit, Mrs. Christie met with clients and participated in a roundtable discussion about the obstacles they face and the types of assistance they are receiving from Partners for Women and Justice.

For more information about Partners for Women and Justice, visit

New Jersey Heroes is an initiative of First Lady Mary Pat Christie that showcases the positive and unique ways people and organizations are impacting New Jersey and their communities. To nominate a hero, go to and follow the application instructions and submit the person you believe is a true New Jersey Hero.

'How To Succeed' Revival Marks First Anniversary

No, I didn't see the original How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (aka How To Succeed) when it first opened on Broadway in 1961. In fact, I didn't even see the pre-Broadway tryout of the show in Philadelphia that year.
But I did see the show when it was revived many years later at the Kennedy Center in Washington with Matthew Borderick in the starring role and that revival did move onto Broadway with much success.
Now, the latest revival (originated with Daniel Radcliffe in the starring role and now starring Nick Jonas) is celebrating its first anniversary on Broadway.
And the show also stars Bea Bridges who is currently seen on screen in The Descendents.
The show is simply a perennial favorite -- a clever, cartoony send-up of the business world and  an affectionate look at the early 1960s.
In honor of the first anniversary of the revival, we thought you might like to see this video.

Thompson: Judges' Salaries Not Cut By Premium Hike

Follwoing is a letter to the editor written by New Jersey State Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) regarding the case of DePascale vs. State of New Jersey just heard by the New Jersey State Supreme Court. The central question of the matter is whether judges should be exempt from pension and health benefit reforms recently approved by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor. The Senator argues that judges should not be exempt from increased contributions for health and pension benefits that will apply to other public employees ;

In the case of DePascale vs. State of New Jersey just heard by the New Jersey State Supreme Court, it has been argued that a new law requiring Justices and Superior Court Judges to make larger contributions towards the cost of their healthcare insurance and pensions reduces their salary which is prohibited by the Constitution.

A section of the State Constitution reads:  “The salary of Supreme Court Justices and Superior Court Judges shall not be diminished during their term of office.”

Increasing the amount these esteemed judicial officials must pay to purchase healthcare insurance and pensions does diminish their purchasing power but does not diminish their salary.

If DePascles’ argument is sustained, then it could similarly be argued in the future that anything which diminishes these officials’ purchasing power (although not affecting their salary) would be in violation of the Constitution and hence, illegal.  Note this section does not bar any diminishment of salary only action by the Sate.

Thus, following DePascales’ logic, should federal, state or local governmental entities increase income or property tax rates or Social Security or Medicare deductions, it would be equally valid to argue these actions would diminish the salary of these officials since such actions would diminish their purchasing power.

In fact, if the Court finds for the plaintiff in the cited case, one might even argue that when the price of gasoline, groceries, utilities or housing increases, it “diminishes their salary” in the same way as increasing the price of purchasing their health insurance and pension did.  Consequently, one would conclude they should never have to pay a higher price for anything they purchase during their term of office.

Clearly, this argument is totally fallacious, was never the intent of the drafters of the constitution or the people that voted for its adoption and should be summarily dismissed.

Senator Samuel D. Thompson
12th Legislative District

XFINITY LIVE: Free Third Eye Blind Concert Friday

Third Eye Blind will perform a free, outdoor live cocert on Friday, March 30 at 8 PM as part of ther opening of Xfinity Live in South Philadelphia at the staudium complex. This will be prec by a series of free concerts by other bands throughout the day.

Admission to the concert is free and open to the public. This will be a non ticketed event.
Since 1997, San Francisco’s Third Eye Blind have recorded three best-selling albums and assembled one career retrospective. Led by Stephan Jenkins, 3EB won wide success during a tumultuous group of years when the major-label recording industry was finally losing its grip on an enterprise that for decades it had dominated with steely efficiency. Nothing could have made 3EB happier! 3EB, however, have experienced no comparable loss. Instead, they have gained artistic clarification -- and, surprisingly, a fan base larger than ever.
Participation in the older, untouchable realm of nervous star-making and could color a band’s identity. In the case of 3EB, it often blurred the perception of their brilliant musical creations. In recent years, those creations have recast the band among a current generation of fans.
3EB now write, tour, record, and communicate in a fluid new world where their music continues naturally to evolve. Their exchange with their audience is unfiltered. 
The Third Eye Blind concert is the first in a series of year-round, regular entertainment featuring local, regional and national recording acts at XFINITY Live! Philadelphia.
The live music continues on Saturday, March 31, when regional and local bands will take the stage to continue the Grand Opening events.  The bands that will play throughout the day are Crazy in Stereo, Burnt Sienna, Flamin’ Caucasians, Kristen and the Noise,  Mr. Greengenes, 3AM and Strange as Angels. The schedule for Saturday’s bands is as follows:
11 a.m. Crazy in Stereo
12 p.m. Burnt Sienna
1 p.m. Flamin’ Caucasians
2 p.m. Kristen and the Noise
3 p.m. Mr. Greengenes
4 p.m. 3AM
5 p.m. Crazy in Stereo
6 p.m. Mr. Greengenes
7 p.m. Strange as Angels
8:15 p.m. Kristen and the Noise
XFINITY Live! Philadelphia ( is a dining and entertainment district centered in the heart of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. XFINITY Live! Philadelphia features over a dozen restaurant and entertainment choices, including six main venues: Broad Street Bullies Pub, PBR Bar & Grill (Professional Bull Riders), Philly MarketPlace, Spectrum Grill, Victory Beer Hall and the first-ever NBC Sports Arena. XFINITY Live! Philadelphia is a joint partnership between Philadelphia-based Comcast-Spectacor and Baltimore-based The Cordish Companies.

How Risky Is Christie's Springsteen Bet?

How many times has Chris Christie seen Bruce Spirnsteen in concert?
Many, many more times than I've seen George Strait in concert.
Many, many more times than I ever saw the great Bobby Short sing cabaret classics.
But not quite more than all the live music concerts that I've ever seen combined.
Not yet.
Still, Christie will see Springsteen perform for the 127th time tomorrow night,
Yes, Chris Christie has been a Bruce Springsteen fan for a long, long time -- long before Christie became Governor and long before he bacame a national sensation.
But as far as anyone can tell, Bruce Spirngsteen has never officially acknowledged Christie's devotion. The self-proclaimed "Boss" apparently has so many devoted fans -- so many reverential worshipers -- that it's simply impossible to begin acknowledging them by name, even if they are famous and if if one of them does govern his home state.
And then there's this: Chris Christie is a Republican and a fiscal conservative. But Bruce Springsteen is, by all acounts a liberal Democrat whose songs plead the case of the downtrodden -- the down-and-out, the unemployed and/or the underemployed who suffer at the hands of mammoth, monied interests. And Springsteen did support and perform for Obamna and Biden in 2008.
But Christie see no conflict here.
He says he cares about the marginalized and the forgotten ones as well. The Governor says this is why he's working so hard to prime the Garden State's economy and create more jobs. And this is why Christie made a special trip to the new Revel casino/hotel/resort in Atlantic City yesterday -- to welcome thousands of new jobs there and reiterate the state's bet that this new enterprise will be the linchpin of Atlatic City's rejuvenation and a key component of Christie's Jersey Comeback.
Christie sees himself and The Brucer pursuing the same goal, albeit perhaps from different angles and with different roles to play.
How does Springsteen see it?
We really don't know yet.
But The Gov has invited The Boss to come to Atlantic City and perform in Revel's spectacular new showroom over Memorial Day weekend.
Christie says he will be there to kick off the festivities.
Will Springsteen be there as well?
I'm tempted to say "Don't bet on it."
But this is Atlatic City, so . . . . roll those dice, spin that wheel, pull that lever and let's see what happens.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Walnut Street Super Club: Really Something Special!

Not too long ago we poked our heads into the new Walnut Street Supper Club and we were delighted with what we found -- a retro dining spot and bar with real, live music nightly -- songs and music that you can actually listen to, understand and enjoy. Broadway show tunes, the Great American Songbook and all the old standards and "easy listening" ballads you've always loved. And there's no admission and no cover charge for the music. Plus, the prices for food and drink are very reasonable and it's all here in lovely (dare we say) elegant surroundings.

Yes, if you’ve ever daydreamed about a time gone by when men were men and women were dames, then head to the Walnut Street Supper Club, where even the new cocktail menu will have you feeling like an original member of the Rat Pack.

The Walnut Street Supper Club, a 1940s-esque venue in Midtown Village (near 13th St.) has recently released an entire menu of alcoholic mixtures that pay tribute to some of the 20th Century’s most famous celebrities — and most notorious tipplers.

There’s the Sinatra-inspired “Ol’ Blue Eyes Martini” that consists of a no-nonsense mixture of Kettle One, dry vermouth and pancetta-stuffed olives. Or try the “Judy Garland” which, much like the singer/actress herself, is a sweet and sassy combination of Stoli Oranj, Peach Schnapps, pineapple juice, prosecco, mint, orange and sugar.

Of course no nostalgic bar menu would be complete without the “Dean Martin Manhattan,” a smooth amalgamation of Applejack, Cherry Heering, Dubonnet and Orange Bitters. Additional concoctions include the “Nat King Cole Collins,” the “Marilyn Monroe” and the “Barbra Streisand” to name a few.

The Walnut Street Supper Club has also launched a brand new happy hour that runs Sunday through Thursday, 4:30-7 p.m., during which you can imbibe $5 featured wines, $4 well drinks, and $3 domestic beers plus 20% off food at the bar.

Walnut Street Supper Club
1227 Walnut Street

Atlantic City: Christie's Bold Action Leads Revitalization

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has acted on a strong commitment to support the regional and state economies through the ongoing revitalization of Atlantic City’s tourism and gaming industries.

In January 2011, Governor Christie signed S-1866 to pave the way for new investment in the city by allowing the issuance of two new casino licenses for facilities with a lower minimum bedroom requirement of 200 rooms rather than the 500 mandated under current law. S-12, signed into law in February 2012, provided regulatory reform and modernization yielding millions in cost savings to industry. $30 million of those savings are being reinvested in marketing efforts to promote Atlantic City.
Since the July 2010 Hanson Commission Report, the Christie Administration has made clearadvancements to revive growth and development in Atlantic City. This progress includes:
Atlantic City Tourism District: Launched in April 2011, the district is an area in which the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) is authorized to facilitate development by assuming planning, zoning and other land use functions and develop and implement a Tourism District Master Plan. These include:
·         Land Use Regulation & Enforcement: The CRDA processed more than 90 land use certification applications and approved most of them within 48 hours of receipt of all required materials. Hearings were held on two applications, which are advancing to the CRDA Board for approval.
·         Security and Cleanliness: A new police substation is being implemented in mid-town Atlantic City, while CRDA is assisting with converting a former visitor information center to a Boardwalk police substation. In the citywide Demolition Project, 21 structures have been cited for demolition, six have been demolished and 15 are in the hearing process.
·         Special Improvement Division: New Boardwalk and beach signs were created and all old signs were replaced, with 65 Boardwalk signs installed and 50 beach signs installed at the beach entrances. Thirty additional beach signs are being created for installation. Additionally, 90 flower boxes have been installed at each beach entrance, with 30 additional boxes being constructed. Throughout the beach and Boardwalk, trash collection and other cleanliness and maintenance functions have been increased.
Tourism Advisory Commission: The 10-member commission was appointed, met and formed four committees to address neighborhood cleanliness, safety, marketing/public relations and development.
District Master Plan: The CRDA adopted the Atlantic City Tourism District Master Plan in February as a blueprint to revitalize the district and position Atlantic City for sustainable, long-term economic growth and job creation.
Boardwalk Improvements: The first phase of installation of new lights has begun, Kennedy Plaza landscaping improvements are being installed and four landscaping areas at Boardwalk street ends are in the design phase. Construction of the Boardwalk façade for Ocean Club will begin this fall. Exterior lighting for Boardwalk Hall is being tested, with installation planned for 2012, which will provide dramatic lighting to show the building’s iconic features.
Downtown Plan: The CRDA Board of Directors approved a contract for a Workforce Housing and Retail Market Analysis, which will lay the groundwork for new housing investment. Also, ArtSpace, which the CRDA engaged in 2010, released their market assessment for an artist community. Additionally, Stockton College now holds the lease for Dante Hall and is planning uses for the theater. CRDA is advancing negotiations with The Cordish Group for Atlantic City Live.
The Inlet: A public-private partnership formed between CRDA and Revel Entertainment is facilitating infrastructure improvements and development of new housing and retail projects. Relocation of the Jitney Association is scheduled to be completed in spring 2012. Discussions have begun with regulatory agencies to replace the seawall and repair the Boardwalk in the Inlet. Also, landscape improvements on New Hampshire Avenue have been completed.
CRDA Construction Activities: More than $100 million is being invested by the CRDA in projects including widening and landscaping of Martin Luther King Boulevard, road improvements for improved access to the Revel site, construction of the Christopher Columbus Mixed Use Center (garage) opening early 2012 and Boardwalk façade improvements.
Strengthening New Jersey’s Tourism Efforts: The Christie Administration is strengthening New Jersey’s tourism efforts with a new role for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.Governor Christie has endorsed the recommendations of the New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment Advisory Commission to strengthen the state’s tourism promotion efforts. The recommendations, detailed in a report released in March, outlined a series of common sense and aggressive reforms to streamline and centralize the state’s patchwork of entities responsible for tourism promotion and advance and better promote New Jersey’s tourism industry. 

Christie Tours New $2.4 Billion Atlatic City Casino

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, joined by Revel CEO Kevin DeSanctis and hundreds of casino workers employed at the new project, today toured the now-completed $2.4 billion Revel Atlantic City that has created 5,500 permanent jobs, part of over 10,000 temporary and permanent jobs associated with its construction and operation. The newest casino and resort to join the Atlantic City skyline, Revel will have an eight-week preview opening beginning on April 2, ahead of its official May 25 premier kick-off.
“The completion of Revel and its opening is a turning point for Atlantic City and a clear sign that people once again have faith in the City’s ability to come back and be successful,” said Governor Christie. “Atlantic City is the engine of the local and regional economies and critical to the economic success of the state as a whole. Through job creation, increased tourism visits and development projects, our continuing efforts to revitalize the tourism and gaming economies in Atlantic City are getting positive results.” 
In February 2011, Governor Christie announced the approval of $260 million in tax-increment financing by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to support infrastructure improvements in the South Inlet neighborhood adjacent to the Revel development and move the $2.4 billion project forward. The agreement made the state an equity partner in Revel, while allowing the stalled project to move forward toward completion.
“Bringing Revel online not only provides a world-class attraction for guests, it will spur additional capital investment by existing casinos, creating a better overall experience for visitors and a foundation for long-term and consistent economic growth,” continued Governor Christie.
Now completed, the Revel project supports over 10,000 jobs, with more than 5,000 being permanent jobs for New Jerseyans. Its construction collectively supported more than 2,600 construction jobs in addition to ancillary employment in manufacturing, vendor/supplies and professional/consulting jobs. Along with job creation associated with Revel, the new casino hotel will distribute more than $153 million in payroll annually and generate $155 million in state and local taxes each year.
Helping to ensure that the jobs created by Revel benefitted the community, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development awarded a $2.6 million Customized Training Grant in December to help provide local workers with the skills and qualifications needed to fill the 5,000 permanent jobs created by Revel. The training grant is the largest such award to date under the Christie Administration.
“These are truly exciting days for Revel, our team and partners, and we are proud to welcome Governor Christie for a first look before our preview begins on Monday,” said Kevin DeSanctis, Revel Chief Executive Officer. 
Governor Christie has worked aggressively to support growth in Atlantic City and pave the way for new investments and job creation in the city. The 2011 Economic Impact of Tourism Report released this month found new visitor expenditures increased by 7 percent over 2010 to a level just shy of the all-time high of $39.5 billion reached in 2007. The figures further demonstrated that the New Jersey Comeback is taking hold in vital sectors of the state economy.  
Last week, an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America provided another indication that Governor Christie’s efforts in Atlantic City are drawing investment and creating jobs. The study ranked the Atlantic City-Hammonton metropolitan area #1 in the nation for new construction jobs in 2011. From January 2011 to January 2012, Atlantic City added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (45 percent, 1,700 jobs) of all 337 metro areas in the nation.
Governor Christie has acted on a strong commitment to support the regional and state economies through the ongoing revitalization of Atlantic City’s tourism and gaming industries. In January 2011, Governor Christie signed S-1866 to pave the way for new investment in the city by allowing the issuance of two new casino licenses for facilities with a lower minimum bedroom requirement of 200 rooms rather than the 500 mandated under current law. S-12, signed into law in February 2011, provided regulatory reform and modernization yielding millions in cost savings to industry. $30 million of those savings are being reinvested in marketing efforts to promote Atlantic City.
After historic reforms were signed into law in 2011, including the establishment of an Atlantic City Tourism District administered by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, and a Tourism District Master Plan that was adopted just last month, Governor Christie is continuing to provide the resources necessary to support Atlantic City’s comeback in his Fiscal Year 2013 Budget as well. The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget provides $290,000 for public safety support in the Atlantic City Tourism District. These funds will enable the Attorney General to develop a robust public safety task force in Atlantic City, focusing the efforts of the State Police, the County Prosecutor and the Atlantic City Police Department, along with Federal agencies including the ATF and FBI to ensure the safety of the entire city including the Tourism District.

Gudagno Launches Rutgers RDII Supercomputer

New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno today pressed the “power button” on what is expected to become one of the 10 most powerful academic supercomputers in the world at Rutgers University. The symbolic “powering up” ceremony marked the opening of the Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute (RDII), which will house the IBM supercomputer and provide expertise to companies who want to take advantage of its abilities. Only 8 of the nation’s 62 scientific computation centers have industrial partnership programs.
“By making its new supercomputing power available to business, Rutgers is expanding our innovation ecosystem and making New Jersey an even more attractive business location,” said Lt. Governor Guadagno. “There are few places where a company can access such computing power. New Jersey is now one of those places. For small and medium sized companies, Rutgers is putting the benefits of supercomputing within reach. Thanks to Rutgers’ business-oriented approach, high-performance computing will become a significant state asset and the latest reason for businesses to come to, and stay in, New Jersey.”
Unlike other academic institutions that limit access to such computing power for academic purposes, RDII will serve New Jersey companies and actively market to industries – life sciences, financing services and advanced manufacturing – identified in the State Strategic Plan. For New Jersey companies, the supercomputer will help them bring products and services to market years sooner and less expensively than otherwise possible.
“Rutgers today enhances its reputation and its importance to economic growth in New Jersey with the powering up of its academic supercomputer,” said Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks. “This invaluable new tool will help to ensure that Rutgers students are equipped to meet the current and emerging workforce demands.”    
RDII will also offer students experience working with advanced analytics and state-of-the-art high-performance computing. According to a report by McKinsey and Company, there is a labor shortage of up to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills and 1.5 million managers and analysts that can analyze and make decisions based on a high-performance computer’s results.
“The capabilities of the new supercomputer at Rutgers will help New Jersey enhance its global standing in those industries that will define American commerce in the coming decades. The potential that this project presents for the pharmaceutical, bio-tech and financial services industries in New Jersey is virtually unrivaled,” said Richard L. McCormick, president of Rutgers University.
According to Rutgers, a medical device manufacturer shortened its research and development process by using supercomputing to mathematically fine-tune prototypes and simulate design change combinations for a catheter technology the company acquired. Supercomputing helped a large financial services firm shorten from hours to seconds the time to analyze its credit book and run risk analysis on its entire portfolio. The company can now react quickly to risk changes and explore potential problems before they arise. Researchers for a life sciences company used supercomputing to pinpoint the genetic reasons why some people with rheumatoid arthritis are resistant anti-inflammatory drugs and identify the best ways to create new, effective drugs.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Frommer's: Philly One Of Top Ten Cities For Parks

Frommer’s travel experts just released their ranking of The World’s 10 Best Cities for Parks and Philadelphia is deservedly on the list.

The piece calls out Philadelphia's vast Fairmount Park, one of the world’s largest city park systems, made of 63 individual parks over 9,200 acres, which is actually “about 10% of Philadelphia” in terms of geographic area. Pretty cool.

Frommer’s writes, “The parks are home to more than 200 historic buildings, America’s oldest zoo, six golf courses, cycling trails, performance venues, and an array of landscaped gardens and wooded areas.”

Other parks highlighted include the Wissahickon Valley Park with 50 miles of terrain for mountain bikers and hikers plus fishing in Wissahickon creek; Pennypack Park along the Delaware River; the Azalea Garden; Boathouse Row; Bartram’s Garden; Shofuso Japanese House and Garden; Franklin D. Roosevelt Park (“The Lakes”); and East and West Parks.

That’s not to mention the brand new Race Street Pier, tricked-out Penn Park, FDR Park in South Philly, Liberty Lands Park in Northern Liberties, and plans for even more parks coming to Philly: the Reading Viaduct park project, Shoemaker Green at Penn and Mayor Nutter’s resolve to transform 500 acres of unused public land into green space, part of his Green 2015 plan.

You can reference Visit Philly’s Parks & Gardens listings for a comprehensive guide to public park space in Philadelphia.

Original 'Broad Street Bullies' Ready XFINITY LIVE!

In advance of the opening of XFINITY Live! Philadelphia, members of the Broad Street Bullies today put the finishing touches on the Broad Street Bullies Pub inside of XFINITY Live.
These legendary Flyers alumni helped complete the final steps of finishing this incredible new restaurant, and will be there first to see it completely ready!        
Bernie Parent led a contingent of Bullies to the timeless neighborhood pub featuring authentic memorabilia from the legendary Broad Street Bullies team of the 1970’s. Classic tavern meets gastro pub, Broad Street Bullies Pub specializes in gourmet burgers and classic pub fare as well as an expansive variety of beer including 48 drafts on tap. Bullies Pub will serve lunch and dinner and often feature live acoustic entertainment at night. The atmosphere is a well-balanced mix of classic meets comfortable – the ideal place to meet or celebrate a special occasion.
XFINITY Live! Philadelphia is home to six unique venues and over a dozen entertainment choices. Dining options include Philly MarketPlace, Spectrum Grill, Broad Street Bullies Pub, NBC Sports Arena, PBR Bar & Grill (Professional Bull Riders Association) and Victory Beer Hall. XFINITY Live! Philadelphia will open every day regardless of sporting and entertainment events. Restaurant hours and more information can be found at

Van Gogh Wows 'Em - Get Tickets Now!

Seven weeks into its nearly 14-week run, the major exhibition Van Gogh Up Close has booked over 150,000 tickets and is welcoming visitors from 44 countries and 48 states plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Philadelphia is the only U.S. venue for the exhibition.

Garnering popular and critical acclaim, the exhibition features masterworks including Almond Blossom, painted as a gift for his newborn nephew in the last year of Van Gogh’s life, and Garden in Auvers, seen in the United States for the first time, as well as such familiar favorites as Sunflowers. The New York Times declared it a “succinct, revelatory exhibition,” and the Philadelphia Inquirer observed, “The moment you enter Van Gogh Up Close at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the exhibition tells you that it's something special, one of those uncommon revelations of artistic soul that once seen, can never be forgotten. [T]his exhibition, so thematically concentrated and beautifully installed, brings viewers closer to the essential van Gogh than anything that has come before.”

 “We are grateful for the enormous support the Museum has received to enable us to bring these masterworks to Philadelphia from around the world,” said Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “The Museum could not have undertaken this project without the support of Glaxo Smith Kline and Sun Life Financial. For helping us to get the word out to the world, we thank the Greater Philadelphia Marketing Corporation, the Philadelphia Visitors and Convention Bureau, and our longtime broadcast sponsor, NBC 10, which has produced an especially thoughtful and absorbing half-hour TV special on the exhibition.”

To accommodate the strong public response to Van Gogh Up Close, the Museum recently announced extended weekend hours. "Many of our international and out-of-town visitors are coming over the weekends, so the galleries are filling quickly. It’s a good idea to plan your visit in advance,” said Gail Harrity, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Museum. "We have plenty of tickets available if you book early, and it is also a great idea to come during the week, especially Tuesday through Thursday, when traffic is generally lighter.”

Tourists have been making Philadelphia their destination, taking advantage of Van Gogh Up Close hotel packages available at the Best Western Center City Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel, Rittenhouse Hotel, and Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel. These packages include a one-night stay and two exhibition tickets (per room reservation) and, for maximum flexibility, guarantee admission to Van Gogh Up Close with no date or time restrictions during exhibition hours.

At the Museum, the Van Gogh Up Close gift shop has also been teeming with exhibition enthusiasts. Shoppers have their choice of van Gogh-related books, including the exhibition catalogue, prints, CDs, and DVDs; Starry Night dresses, scarves, bags, and socks; necklaces, earrings, pins, and bracelets; and cookies, jellies, soaps, and pottery that echo van Gogh’s intense engagement with nature and the vibrant colors of his paintings.

On Mondays, when the Museum is normally closed to the public, elementary and high school students from the Philadelphia School District and Archdiocese are coming with their classes to learn from and be inspired by the work of van Gogh, thanks to Sun Life Financial. To date, more than 2,130 students have experienced the exhibition throughout the week and by the end of the show’s run, over 3,800 students will have visited the galleries.

There is one Monday, on April 9, when a premium ticket is available for visitors seeking an especially intimate experience, as the attendance in the galleries will be limited accordingly. Docents will available throughout the galleries to answer questions and offer insights into the life and work of van Gogh. Visit the website for information.

Tickets may be purchased at the Museum or by phone at (215) 235-SHOW (7469) Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., and on weekends 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Tickets may also be obtained at any time online at There are service charges for both phone and online ticket orders. For recorded information about the van Gogh exhibition as well as other Museum programs, call (215) 684-7500. Purchasing Van Gogh Up Close tickets in advance of visiting is strongly encouraged. Advance restaurant reservations are also encouraged.

Last ticket: 4:30 p.m., Museum closes at 6:00 p.m.
Sundays, through March
Last ticket : 4:00 p.m., Museum closes at 5:30 p.m. 
Sundays in April
Last ticket: 4:30 p.m., Museum closes at 6:00 p.m.

This exhibition is made possible by GlaxoSmithKline and Sun Life Financial. The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Additional support is provided by the Robert Lehman Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, The Kathleen C. and John J. F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson, David and Margaret Langfitt, Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Linck, Mr. and Mrs. John M. Thalheimer, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Abramson, The Arcadia Foundation, Mrs. Eugene W. Jackson, and other generous individuals. Promotional support is provided by NBC 10 WCAU and Amtrak. The catalogue was funded, in part, by the Netherland-America Foundation.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Trouble With 'Mad Men' - For A Certain Age Group

So I watched the first three-quarters of the season premiere of the renowned Mad Men on AMC.
Not that I've been a devotee.
But after you've heard so much about the show (and you've been innundated with promos, tie-ins and hypes) it's near impossible to avoid it.
No, I don't know the back story and I haven't watched it from the beginning. Hard to believe but I'm a relative newcomer to the world of Don Draper and the men (and women) of Mad Men.
Nonetheless, here's what I've come to realize: Beyond the fact that this is a classic genre show, it's really almost clinical and it's very demographic -- every bit as obsessed with demographics as the ad world it portrays.
The show has enormous appeal for people in their 20s and 30s. And that's important because this is a group that television really needs if it is to survive.
Why this appeal? I suppose it's because young adults are now fascinated with the 1960s.
The sixties are mysterious enough to be history to them but the era isn't ancient history. It's just before their time -- old enough to be of interest but also recent enough to feel accessible. In other words, it's a time that was not so long ago that you can still feel that you can capture some sense of it -- some spark, some style, some morsel of what it was like.
And that's fine, I suppose.
But if you've actually lived through the sixties, the show is a yawn.
You lived it. You did it. You were there.
Do you really want to go back?
I don't think so.
Let's face it: November 22, 1963 really was The Day The Music Died.
From then on, everything sort of fell apart. The sixties took a crazy, sometimes ugly often violent turn. And then the lost decade followed -- the seventies; a era of dreadful architecture, bad fashion, mostly forgettable music and no real art to speak of. From 1964 onward it was like a reckless, off-the-rails binge followed by a terrible, decade-long hangover.
So, if you're 40 or under Mad Men may have a great deal of appeal for you.
Maybe even if you're 45 or 50. Maybe.
But if you're older than that, why would you want to venture back into that era? Why?
Look at it this way: When I was in my twenties the 1920s and 30s had great appeal for me. They manitained a hold on me. The Roaring Twenties. The Lost Generation. The music, the art, the literature, the avantgarde. The time between the two wars and the struggle that was The Great Depression. It was all rich with creativity and energy and meaning. It was a period inhabited by Big Personalities. And for me (when I was a young adult)it was also recent enough to be of interest while still not being something that I actually lived through.
Which means it wasn't personal.
So, because I didn't live through it, I could romanticize it.
My parents couldn't do that. They lived it. They went a bit wild like everyone else and then struggled through the Great Depression. It was manic.
They couldn't wish they'd lived through the 20s and 30s because they already did. And they still had the dings and scars to prove it.
For them the era wasn't old enough to have acquired any patina.
Likewsie, I can't romanticize the 60s now, or the 70s for that matter. That would be folly.
And by the same token, I have no desire to see that era as it was. I know what it was like. I did it. I was there. I experienced it already. Once was enough.
So, Mad Men doesn't really resonate with me.
Instead it just sits there.
And that's not enough.
Not at this point in my life, anyway.

Macy's Flower Show Opens Today!

Macy's Flower Show opens today at Macy's flagship Herald Square store in Manhattan and at these Macy's stores: Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis and San Francisco.
Macy's Flower Show is a spectacular annual event -- not just a harbinger of spring but a dazzlingly colorful not-to-be-missed spectacle. And, best of all, it's FREE!
This year's theme is Brasil, Gardens In Paradise and it's inspired by the work of artist Bebel Franco and the vibrant spirit of Carnavale. And yes -- all of the flowers are real.
Macy's Flower Show will continue through April 7 during store hours.
We'll be telling you more about it right here and we'll also be showing you some pictures.
So, be sure to stay tuned!
Click here for more information.

Romney: 'Louisianna Adds To Our Lead'

Mitt Romney today made the following statement on the results of the Louisiana primary.

"Ann and I thank all the voters of Louisiana who took part in today’s primary and she joins me in congratulating Rick Santorum. We are very pleased with our second place showing, and because it exceeded 25% of the vote, it entitles us to pick up delegates and add to our lead. Every day that passes with President Obama in the White House is a missed opportunity for America to get back on the right path. I do not accept that our great country must endure chronic high unemployment with millions of people out of work and losing their dreams. It’s time for all Americans to come together and help return our country to the conservative principles that made America free and prosperous, secure and respected around the world. I look forward to the contests to come, to being chosen in August as the Republican standard-bearer, and to defeating Barack Obama in November."

On the Death Of Priscilla Buckley At Age 90

National Review is reporting that Priscilla Buckley died this morning at age 90.
She lived a long, happy, productive, generous life.
The sister of legendary National Review founder William F. Buckley, Priscilla Buckley has been described as the "backbone" of the magazine that came to be the bible of the modern conservative movement in America.
She was a wonderfully accomplsihed editor and writer in her own right and by all accounts an incredibly kind and caring person.
Priscilla Buckley worked largely behind-the-scenes to help make National Review what it is today. She served as managing editor of the magazine for many years but her influence extended far beyond her title as her brother relied heavily on her as he built the National Review empire and fueled the conservative movement to prominence.
William F. Buckley assumed the public role -- becoming the look, the sound and the face of National Review and American conservatism. Meanwhile, Priscilla woked behind the scenes, bringing the pieces together and making sure that every edition of National Review was complete, well-written, thorough, accurate and in the hands of its appreciative readers in a timely fashion. She moved the copy, met the deadlines and completed the day-to-day work that is so vital to the success of any publication.
And thankfully she also mentored many writers and editors who now follow in her fottsteps.
RIP, Priscilla Buckley.

The Rag Trade: America's Precipitous Decline

I gleaned the following information while watching CBS Sunday Morning today:
As recently as 1997, 41% of all the clothing purchased in the Uunited States was actually made here in the US. Today, only 2% of all the clothing puchased here is made here.
It costs roughly 75% more to make a garment in the US.
A fine polo shirt that costs 30 bucks to make here goes for $65 wholesale and is marked up to $155 for retail sale.
That same shirt might be made elsewhere for seven bucks or less. You do the math.
It's not a plesant picture.

Romney Edges Closer and Closer To Nomination

Though the news reports say that Rick Santorum has "won" the Louisianna presidential primary Santorum has only captured 10 of the 20 Louisianna delegates. Mitt Romney won five of the delegates. That means that Romney's delegate total is now 568.
That puts Romney far, far ahead of Santorum in total delegates: 568 to 273.
Remember, 1,144 delegates are needed to secure the GOP nomination.
Once Romney picks up just five more delegates he will be over the halfway mark to the nomination. That will mean that no other candidate (or combination of candidates) will be able to surpass him in the delegate count no matter what.
It is highly unlikjely at this point that anyone will even come close to surpassing Romney.
Which means that's it's basically all over but the shouting.
Mitt Romney is overwhelming, odds-on favorite to capture the nomination.
He will shortly reach 573 at the pieces will all begin to fall into place.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Romney Blasts Obamacare, Presents His Own Plan

“Today Obamacare is two years old, but the American people are not celebrating, and neither is the White House. We must repeal this law immediately.” – Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney has leveled harsh criticism against President Obama’s failed health care reform. “It was always a liberal pipedream that a 2,700 page, multi-trillion dollar federal takeover could actually address the very serious problems we face with health care,” said Romney. “Sadly, the law itself is fast becoming the national nightmare that I and other critics have always predicted.” Romney noted that, contrary to President Obama’s claims in promoting the law, costs are already exceeding projections, insurance premiums are expected to rise dramatically, millions of Americans are facing the loss of their health plans, and Medicare beneficiaries are bracing for substantial cuts.

Romney repeated his commitment to repeal Obamacare, and outlined his vision for a health care system guided by state flexibility, market competition, and consumer choice that will provide higher quality care at a lower cost to all Americans. “Everyone can agree that health care is broken,” said Romney. “So the last thing we should do is allow Obamacare to freeze the current system in place. Instead, we need to encourage innovation at every level. States should have the flexibility to pursue new policy approaches.  Insurers and providers should have the opportunity to compete in a genuine market.  Most importantly, patients should have the information and control they need to make choices about what they actually want.”

Romney also announced members of his Health Care Policy Advisory Group: Scott Atlas, Tom Barker, Scott Gottlieb, Paul Howard, and Tevi Troy.  This group will help Romney design policies that will strengthen the health care system nationally while giving states the power to innovate and individuals the power to control their own health care decisions.  “I’m honored to have the support of this thoughtful and experienced group of advisors,” said Romney.  “I look forward to working with them to help deliver the health care system that the American people want.”

“I think I speak for all members of the group in saying that we are thrilled to be supporting Governor Romney and working with him on this critical issue,” said Troy.  “He has been a strong, conservative leader on health care reform and I believe he is the one candidate who can reverse the damage done by President Obama and put this nation on a path to market-based health care reform.”

A Health Care System Guided By State Flexibility, Market Competition, And Consumer Choice

As president, Mitt Romney will repeal Obamacare.  This effort will begin on Day One, by issuing an Executive Order paving the way for Obamacare waivers to all fifty states.  Then, he will pursue reforms at the national level that will create the conditions for a thriving, market-based health care system. These include:

Restoring State Leadership And Flexibility

Romney will begin by returning states to their proper place in charge of regulating local insurance markets and caring for the poor, uninsured, and chronically ill. States will have both the incentive and the flexibility to experiment, learn from one another, and craft the approaches best suited to their own citizens.

Block grant Medicaid and other payments to states
Limit federal standards and requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid coverage
Ensure flexibility to help the uninsured, including public-private partnerships, exchanges, and subsidies
Ensure flexibility to help the chronically ill, including high-risk pools, reinsurance, and risk adjustment
Offer innovation grants to explore non-litigation alternatives to dispute resolution
Promoting Free Markets And Fair Competition

Competition drives improvements in efficiency and effectiveness, offering consumers higher quality goods and services at lower cost.  It can have the same effect in the health care system, if given the chance to work.

Cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits
Empower individuals and small businesses to form purchasing pools
Prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage
Facilitate IT interoperability
Empowering Consumer Choice

For markets to work, consumers must have the information and the power to make decisions about their own care.  Placing the patient at the center of the process will drive quality up and cost down while ensuring that services are designed to provide what Americans actually want.

End tax discrimination against the individual purchase of insurance
Allow consumers to purchase insurance across state lines
Unshackle HSAs by allowing funds to be used for insurance premiums
Promote “co-insurance” products
Promote alternatives to “fee for service”
Encourage “Consumer Reports”-type ratings of alternative insurance plans
Background On Members Of The Romney Health Care Policy Advisory Group:

Scott Atlas is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor and the chief of neuroradiology at the Stanford University Medical Center.

Tom Barker served as Deputy General Counsel at the Department of Health and Human Services from 2003 to 2007 and as General Counsel in 2008.

Scott Gottlieb served as Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs at the Food and Drug Administration from 2005 to 2007.  He is currently a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a practicing physician.

Paul Howard is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and director of the Institute’s Center for Medical Progress.

Tevi Troy served as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2007 to 2009.  He is currently a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.