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Hurry out and discover all the wonderful Christmas lights in the area -- many of which are FREE!
The following list is provided courtesy of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation (GPTMC):
• Macy’s Christmas Light Show: An annual Philadelphia tradition since 1956, the Macy’s Christmas Light Show
bedazzles visitors daily, on the hour every hour, until New Year’s Eve
Day. With more than 100,000 LED lights and the sounds of the legendary
Wanamaker organ, the Grand Court atrium becomes adorned with floating
snowflakes and flying reindeer. Don’t forget to check out the Dickens
Village on the third floor.
• Comcast Holiday Spectacular: Through January 1, experience high-definition visions of sugarplums during the fifth year of the Comcast Holiday Spectacular.
Shown on the world’s largest 4-mm LED Comcast Experience Video Wall at
the Comcast Center, the Holiday Spectacular features scenes from George
Balanchine’s The Nutcracker performed by the Pennsylvania Ballet, a
magical sleigh ride through the snow-covered Pennsylvania countryside
into Center City Philadelphia and performances by some of Broadway’s
best-known dancers. Shows are 15 minutes long and run every hour on the
hour from 10 a.m.–8 p.m. (no shows at 5 p.m. during the week).
• Holiday Season at Franklin Square: All December long, Franklin Square is lit with thousands of festive holiday lights and decorations as part of its Electrical Spectacle.
Get into the holiday spirit by visiting with Santa every Saturday and
Sunday from 2-5 p.m. through December 24.
• Rittenhouse Square Christmas Tree: Rittenhouse Square transforms into a
holiday wonderland with the flip of a switch, as the park and
Philadelphia’s largest Christmas tree (more than 30 feet tall!) become
illuminated with 5,000 brilliant, multi-colored globes and lights. The
ceremony is on Monday, December 1 at 5 p.m. After enjoying the
beautiful glow of the park, sneak in some holiday shopping at the
boutiques of Rittenhouse Row or a bite and a drink from one of the many
acclaimed restaurants in the neighborhood.
• Christmas Village at Love Park: For its fifth year, the Christmas Village
will once again be at Love Park complete with more than 50 decorated
wooden booths packed with European food, sweets and drinks,
international seasonal gifts, traditional German Christmas ornaments and
high-quality arts and crafts. As you shop and explore, enjoy live
musical performances, hot mulled wine, bratwursts, a Christmas carousel
and City Hall’s brightly lit holiday tree. It’s open through December
• Boathouse Row: One of Philadelphia’s most memorable nighttime vistas
is that of Boathouse Row, made up of a dozen sculling clubs that line
the Schuylkill River behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 2009, new
full-color, energy-efficient LED light nodes were hung to showcase the
intricate architectural details of the clubs. Now a drive or stroll
along the river results in an eye-popping lighting marvel that normally
glows white but can change to celebrate a holiday or civic celebration, a
charity appeal or a significant professional sporting win.
• Longwood Gardens Christmas: No holiday is complete without a visit to Longwood Gardens,
where more than 400,000 twinkling lights and spectacular fountain shows
compose a brilliant wonderland your family is sure to love. Starting at
3:30 p.m. every day through January 6, gaze upon the large, starry
snowflakes and icicles that sparkle throughout the gardens before
warming up in heated conservatory with twenty “rooms” featuring festive
displays of floral garlands, sparkling trees and more. Timed advance
tickets are required and sell out quickly, so get yours here ASAP.
• Christmas in Peddler’s Village: Peddler’s Village will light up your holiday season
with a fantastic display of nearly one million holiday lights. While
you’re in a festive mood, explore more than 70 specialty shops — perfect
for your holiday shopping — and eight restaurants. While you’re there,
check out the spectacular Gingerbread House Competition and Display.
• Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum: A miniature winter
wonderland amid the evergreens awaits visitors to Morris Arboretum. The Holiday Garden Railway
display is a quarter mile of model train track featuring seven loops
and tunnels with 15 different rail lines, two cable cars, nine bridges
and trains that cruise past scaled replicas of historic monuments and
Philadelphia-area landmarks made from all-natural materials.
• Smedley Street Christmas Light Spectacular: Venture into South Philly, specifically the 2700 Block ofSmedley Street
between 16th and 17th Streets and Moyamensing and Oregon Avenues, for a
peak at a hidden holiday gem. You’ll see trees covered from head to toe
in glowing color-shifting lights, gigantic blow-up Santas and all of
the neighborly holiday cheer one could ask for this time of year.
• “Miracle on South 13th Street” in South Philly: Another must-see
holiday lights destination in South Philly is the 1600 block of S. 13th
Street, known colloquially in Philadelphia as the “Miracle on South 13th Street.”
The elaborate illuminations of the neighborhood homes along this
stretch of street, which started 13 years ago, make for a perfect
holiday evening outing. Be sure to bring a camera — posing with the
digitally animated Santa is always popular.
• Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farm: Millions of lights sparkle at Shady Brook Farm
during the incredible Holiday Light Show. Experience the magical drive
in your own car or hop on a moonlit hayride or horse and buggy. Monday
through Thursday is when the real tractor hayrides will happen, but then
Thursdays through Sundays, you’ll ride around the display in a
horse-drawn carriage. Also, don’t forget to stop and get your picture
taken with Santa at Santa’s Village. Reservations are recommended.
• Christmas Around the Farm at Linvilla Orchards: For the holidays, Linvilla Orchards
transforms into the North Pole — farm style. Get into the holiday
spirit by taking a look at the animals in their winter coats and doing a
little shopping at the market that’s stocked with tasty holiday treats
like hot mulled cider. Santa makes a guest appearance every Saturday and
Sunday in December, and on select afternoons, visitors can sing along
during Caroling Hayrides, complete with live music and apple cider.
• Herr’s Snack Factory Tour 12 Days of Christmas: Responsible for one of the region’s most celebrated snack foods, the Herr’s Factory
is fully decked out for the holidays. They’ll be hosting all manner of
Christmas-themed events centered around the light display which is now
in its 23rd year. On December 12, bring out the family for hayrides
through the Christmas lights. The annual light display features more
than 400,000 lights arranged throughout the complex. Also, be sure you
don’t miss “Big Red,” a 60-foot-tall Norway Spruce decorated with more
than 1,500 red lights.
OK, we can all start playing Christmas music now.
And since there's no Christmas like a Country Christmas, that means country music.
Because, somehow Christmas and country music just seem to go together. So it should come as no surprise that many of the best Christmas songs you will ever hear are country Christmas songs. To begin with the single best Christmas album we've ever heard is by Alabama and it's simply titled "Christmas." This is the first Alabama Christmas album issued in 1985. Every song on this album is wonderful but some of our favorites include Santa Claus (I Still Believe In You), Christmas Memories, Tennessee Christmas and Christmas in Dixie. We also like all of the songs on Clint Black's 1995 album "Looking for Christmas." Favorites from a variety of other albums include: 364 Days to Go by Brad Paisley, This Is My Prayer by Reba McEntire, When It's Christmas Time In Texas and Christmas Cookies by George Strait, Goin' Home for Christmas by Merle Haggard, and (a perennial favorite) Christmas Times A-Comin' by Bill Monroe. Among non-country Christmas songs we like Santa Baby (the original by EarthaKitt) When My Heart Finds Christmas and I Pray On Christmas by Harry Connick, Jr. as well as It Happened In Sun Valley by Mel Torme and Christmas in New Orleans by Louis Armstrong. A friend who takes a somewhat dimmer view of Christmas has asked that we add Merry Christmas From The Family by Robert Earl Keen and Granma Got Run Over By A Reindeer by Elmo and Patsy Shropshire. So there, we've added them.
We've been meaning to tell you about the new Stave Carrell-Mark Rufallo-Channing Tatum film Foxcather.
The film, directed by acclaimed director Bennett Miller is based on the true, grizzly story of the murder of championship US wrestler Dave Schultz who along with his brother, Mark Schultz became part of the Foxcather wrestling team funded by John duPont of the monied Delaware family that made its fortune in gunpowder and chemicals.
We've really been meaning to tell you about this movie which details how Mark Schultz (Tatum) forms a relationship with du Pont (Carrell), as they train for the 1988 Olympic games in Seoul - a union that leads to unlikely circumstances as both men feel inferior to Mark's revered brother, Dave (Rufallo).
Hanging over the whole thing is the heavy, sweaty scent of homoeroticism.
In his scenes Carrell wears a fake nose that really looks more like a proboscis or a snout. He's a cross between Barbra Streisand and Cyrano de Bergerac. It's just this side of grotesque. And Carrell talks very slowly - not necessarily deliberate, just slowly.
You have to wonder why these guys can't figure out that for all his money and feigned power duPont is basically nuts and possibly, very dangerous.
As for the hulkish Tatum, he mopes through his scenes with his knuckles almost scraping the floorboards. He says very little and when he does talk he mumbles. Someone has told him to walk and move almost like Sasquatch, methodically with his eye down and his shoulders hunched. It's not that it's scary, it's just creepy.
Ruffalo's character (Dave) is the closest to normal that we have in this film and he's actually somewhat likeable. So, of course you know he's the one who will be killed in the end.
And since it's all based on a sensational crime case that everybody knows about, the whole long, slow, dismal movie is a tedious waiting game with the murder hanging over every incongruous move and every troublesome detail.
Like we said, we wanted to tell you all about this film when it first opened but we didn't have the heart to do,it. The movie had such great advance buzz and it was wildly hailed at the Cannes Film Festival. The anticipation was high.
And Carrell and Tatum are two of our favorite actors. But their talents are really wasted here - and so is Rufallo's. The characters are really never developed. We don't really know why duPont is as deranged as he is. We're not sure why Mark seems so lost, isolated and damaged. And there's nothing to tell us why his brother is not equally troubled. And while the brothers seem to genuinely love one another there are times when their literal, brutal, physical bouts take an enormous toll on them.
So, the film is not just a downer but it's a bummer, too.
Unless you have a special interest in the sport or the crime, skip it.
Regular Save Jersey readers
know who is Ray Lesniak is but, owing to Governor Christie’s
presidential ambitions, a lot of folks are tuning into this site (and
the Jersey-centric issues we cover) for the first time. Like the vetoed pig gestation crate ban bill. The relevant background:
That’s Ray. He’s a Democrat state
senator with 36-years of Trenton time under his belt representing New
Jersey’s 20th Legislative District (the Union/Elizabeth area). Senator
Lesniak is no Christiecrat and never was, not even during the heights of
the Guv’s popularity; he’s an old school activist liberal who was a
primary legislative force behind New Jersey’s gay marriage legalization
push and capital punishment ban. And he HATES Chris Christie (as
illustrated above), beating the Bridgegate drum as loud as anyone (while his firm hypocritically profited from port authority lawsuits) and making a habit of bashing the Big Guy on Twitter with strongly-worded barbs.
Did I mention that he’s also a long-time Clinton ally? And it’s not just a casual acquaintance; here he is playing golf with Slick Willy back in 2001 (h/t NJBiz):
Lesniak served as New Jersey Chair for Clinton/Gore and Gore/Lieberman, respectively, and in 2011, he openly suggested
that Hillary Clinton replace Joe Biden on the presidential ticket. He
shortly thereafter begged her not to leave the State Department:
When asked what Americans might do to heal the racial divide in our nation the esteemed actor Morgan Freeman once answered in three words: "Stop talking about it."
It does make a lot of sense, doesn't it?
In the purest meaning of the term, if we were really color blind then the subject of race would never come up. It would never be mentioned. And one's race would never be a factor.
We would then be living up to Dr. King's admonition to judge each person on the content of his character and not the color of his skin.
But it hasn't worked out that way, has it?
In the first half of the last century the South kept a rancid form of racism alive with strictly-enforced segregation and Black disenfranchisement. In the second half of the century the North gained the upper hand through the enactment of civil-rights laws and the introduction of what was arguably a sort of reverse racism in the form of affirmative action, quotas, burgeoning race-related regulations and the dreaded political correctness.
Then, as the new century entered its first decade a huge breakthrough arrived far sooner than most people expected.
America elected its first black president.
But this man who identified himself as African-American was really the product of a mixed-race marriage - a white mother and a black father. He was blended and, as such a person of color.
No matter, as might be expected, blacks supported him at a rate of nearly 100 percent and they were joined by other persons of color as well as white liberals and young people.
As more than a million people witnessed his inauguration live in front of the U. S. Capitol Building, many wept openly and even the most die-hard skeptics expressed great hope. This was truly an historic moment -- a moment of such profound significance that it was really hard to find words to express it.
And now, here it is a mere 72 months later and we are once again mired in racial strife, conflict and tension.
Racially, the nation seems to be once again on tenterhooks.
Well, actually a lot has happened since the civil rights revolution -- and plenty of it good.
According to the Census Bureau the median income of blacks has nearly doubled since 1964 and the poverty rate among blacks has fallen by 14 percent. Twenty-six percent of blacks had high school diplomas in 1964; 85 percent did in 2012. And the number of black people who have completed four years of college jumped from 4 percent to 21 percent.
Since 1964 discrimination in public and private hiring has been outlawed and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created to enforce and advance these efforts. Indeed, African-Americans can now be found in every type of job and at pretty much every job level. And we all know that affirmative action and loan and incentive programs have actually encouraged the acceptance of minorities at colleges and universities and in hiring.
Discrimination walls have also fallen in the area of housing, public accommodations and most every other aspect of American life to the point where there is virtually no neighborhood or no public place that is off limits to any racial or ethnic group.
Likewise, blacks and other minorities have made huge strides in the world of entertainment and advertising: TV, movies, theater and the popular culture.
Beyond all that, every public and private agency, corporation, group and entity imaginable has been sensitized to the laws and rules against racial discrimination and the need to reach out to, help and actively recruit racial minorities. If you don't know about any of this, you simply haven't been living in the same world we've been living in.
And yet, we still have anger, resentment and race-related or race-induced violence. And we're still told that we haven't done enough to repair the racial divide in America.
Why is this happening and where and how will it all end?
Was James Baldwin right when he said decades ago that "To be a negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time?"
Is that the way it has to be? Is the DNA of our nation so damaged by the scourge of slavery that this is the way it will always be?
Well, let's take a look at President Obama once again.
Let's do that, because in one very real way, he mirrors is the future of America.
Demographic experts tell us that among young people in this nation within a few short years there will be virtually no racial minorities. That is to say that among this group racial subgroups will be, statistically, fairly equal. What's more, by 2050 the nation will look that way as well -- each racial or ethnic group making up a a nearly equal or close to equal portion of the total population.
This will happen for two reasons: Racial minorities are younger now and they will have many more children and.
At the same time, another big development that is already underway will accelerate: There will be much more intermarriage and blending of the races.
Interracial marriage in America was once not only a stigma but in many states it was downright illegal.
But those stigmas and laws have fallen as well and by 2010 about 15% of all new marriages in the United States were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity from one another, more than double the share in 1980.
About 24% of all black male newlyweds in 2010 married outside their race. Also, about 36% of Asian female newlyweds married outside their race. The figures for Hispanics are similar to those for Asians. And while the figures are lower for black females and Asian males, the trend is nonetheless clear.
In fact, a quarter of all Americans now have a relative who is in a mixed-race marriage.And that number will keep growing.
More Asians. More Hispanics. More African Americans. More acceptance. More intermarriage.
By the middle of this century, America will be well on its way to being racially blended.
The future will be neither black nor white but somewhere in between.
The typical American citizen will simply be a person of color but he or she may not even be referred to that way as this will be the norm.
Vast numbers of people will be of (and have allegiance to) no particular race.
And maybe (nearly 200 years after the civil war) that's how the racial divide will finally.
Calling it a "solution in search of a problem," Governor Chris Christie today vetoed legislation banning the use of pig gestation crates in New Jersey where, in fact, the practice is not even in use by farmers. The Governor urged legislators to turn their attention to actual problems facing New Jersey, instead of using lawmaking as "a political cudgel" on issues outside our borders.
Governor Christie noted that he rejected nearly identical legislation last year sponsored by the same partisan legislators. At the time, he noted that both the state Board of Agriculture and Department of Agriculture found that bill to be unnecessary and ill-advised.
"I will rely on our in-state experts rather than the partisan politicians who sponsor this bill. These facts are no less true today," Governor Christie said.
In fact, the Legislature in 1995 directed the state's agricultural experts to develop and adopt standards for the humane raising, keeping, care and treatment of all types of domestic livestock.
"These Humane Standards have put New Jersey at the vanguard of protecting domestic livestock from animal cruelty," Governor Christie said.
The New Jersey Supreme Court, in upholding the majority of these standards, observed that the Agriculture Department "took seriously its charge to consider all aspects of ... the welfare of domestic livestock."
A copy of the Governor’s absolute veto message is attached to the release.
Governor Christie also took the following action on other pending legislation:
S-1909/A-3064 (Barnes, Oroho/Mazzeo, Lagana, Eustace) - Repeals anachronistic, superseded, or invalidated sections of statutory law
S-2164/A-3411 (Gill, T. Kean/Lampitt, Lagana, Pinkin, Conaway, Garcia, Bramnick) - Prohibits insurers from setting prices for non-covered dental services
You've seen him in ER, Bobby, The Company You Keep, New York, I Love You, Transformers, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and many other productions.
He's Shia LaBoef, the photogenic but somewhat quirky performer who seems to have a knack for attracting attention.
Now, he says he was raped by a woman who visited his #IAMSORRY performance art installation earlier this year in Loa Angeles.
Here's what Shia told Dazed and Confused about the alleged incident:
"One woman who came with her boyfriend, who was outside the door when this happened, whipped my legs for ten minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me. ...There were hundreds of people in line when she walked out with disheveled hair and smudged lipstick. It was no good, not just for me but her man as well. On top of that my girl (actress Mia Goth) was in line to see me, because it was Valentine's Day and I was living in the gallery for the duration of the event -- we were separated for five days, no communication. So it really hurt her as well, as I guess the news of it traveled through the line. When she came in she asked for an explanation, and I couldn't speak, so we both sat with this unexplained trauma silently. It was painful."
For some people Thanksgiving is stressful. The whole business with the relatives is too much for them -- too much togetherness for too long a period of time amidst the kind of tenderhooks that the holidays bring along with them. Under these circumstances, the slightest disagreement or untoward look can mushroom into a huge imbroglio -- especially when there's already a history behind all of the characters, topics and relationships. So, plan accordingly. If you're hosting the family this turkey day, here are ten tips for keeping peace:
1) Stick to the traditional menu that has something for everyone. Aunt Mary may not like your special cranberry sauce, so make sure you include the sweet potatoes that she does like.
2) Give the kids what they want. Set up a special table for them and don't force them to to rigidly act like miniature adults the whole time.
3) Weather permitting, open up some space outdoors so people can air themselves out. Too cold? Get that fire pit goin. Give people their own space.
4) Compromise on the football and sports events and try to forego any TV whatsoever during the meal.
5) Be traditional. Start the meal with a simple prayer -- non-denominational, if need be. It sets a nice tone. If you don't do this on Thanksgiving, when will you do it?
6) Play soft, pleasant music.
7) Compliment the family trouble-maker. Butter or baste him or her just as you would the turkey. It can be a wonderful form of sedation and/or diversion.
8) Keep known adversaries or potential adversaries at opposite ends of the table. Don't play favorites. Try to give them equal time.
9) Stress cool colors - a simple light blue tablecloth can work wonders.
10) If something goes wrong, don't announce it to the whole family. Remain unruffled. Keep calm, slurp another martini and carry on!
To us, this painting by Normal Rockwell perfectly expresses the spirit of Thanksgiving and it also perpetuates a sense of simple goodness and decency. This painting was created in 1951 for the Saturday Evening Post.
President George Washington's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, 1789:
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many single favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the Service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks, for His kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the single and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, of the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have to acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humble offering our prayers and supplications to the Great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all people, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone know to be best.
Don't EVER forget that our nation was founded by people who prayed and continually sought God's guidance!
Here are 20 reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving holiday:
1) This great nation of ours and all its people: One nation, under God with liberty and justice for all.
2) The spirit of giving, of helping out to reach others. Even in these tough times, American individuals, corporations and foundations contributed an estimated $290.89 billion in 2010, up f 3.8 percent from the previous year.
3, 4, 5, 6) The four bountiful freedoms that we enjoy: Freedom of speech; freedom of worship; freedom from want; freedom from fear. These are our cornerstones.
7) Family - the bulwark of our society and the foundation of social order.
8) Our armed services -- all who serve now, everywhere and all over the world.
9) The heroic example of those who gave their lives in service to our nation as we remember them anew this Thanksgiving.
10) All of our first responders, at every level and in every town and city as well as those who gave their lives in such service.
11) Children -- our investment in the future, the joy of our lives and the wonder of life itself.
12) Native Americans - the true Americans who shared the first Thanksgiving with the settlers.
13) The land itself -- from sea to shining sea and beyond; purple mountains' majesty and amber waves of grain.
14) Our pioneering spirit -- from the discovered frontiers at home to the space age above; we wander onward. always seeking, always discovering, always achieving.
15) Our Founders and the promise of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that they bequeathed to us. May our stewardship be faithful to their original freedoms, responsibilities, laws, limitations and aspirations.
16) All the great elected leaders who have defined America from Washington to Jefferson to Jackson and Lincoln and Roosevelt (Franklin and Teddy) and Reagan.
17) The unelected leaders who nonetheless inspired us and opened new doors from Franklin to King and everyone in between.
18) All the inventors and scientists and all who charted a path to a better, safer world with longer, healthier lives for all.
19) Friends: Those who stand by us and encourage us and listen and laugh and love.
20) God, who has blessed us, watches over us and stands in final judgement of each one of us and all we do. God bless America!
Well, it only took New York Senator Chuck Schummer about five years to realize something that we've been saying right here on this blog all along: President Obama and the Democrats should have focused on the economy first and not made health care their priority, ramming it down people's throats. They made a Very Big Mistake and it has caught up with them.
But at least give Schummer credit for admitting it yesterday in Washington.
Some of our liberal friends think that as conservatives, we're being "hypocritical" when we ask why the National Guard wasn't called out night before last in Ferguson.
They say we're advocating government "intrusion" into the lives of ordinary citizens.
Let's get this straight: Protecting people from law-breaking rioters and looters is not "intrusion." Protecting businesses and law-abiding business-owners from wanton destruction of property and livlihood is not "intrusion." Stopping people from committing arson and other assorted crimes is not "intrusion." Rather, these actions constitute enforcement of the law, the very safeguard of our freedom.
President John F. Kennedy said: "Americans are free to disagree with the law, but not to disobey it. For in a government of laws and not of men, no man, however prominent and powerful and no mob, however unruly or boisterous, is entitled to defy a court of law." My liberal friends would do well to remember this.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody -- and God Bless America!
Most Americans know that the Pilgrims celebrated a Thanksgiving feast in 1621.
You may also know that individual states celebrated days of thanksgiving on different days on the calendar -- until President Lincoln called for a national day of Thanksgiving to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November in 1863.
But I learned something new while working on the American Catholic Almanac...
Did you know that a Spaniard by the name of Pedro Menendez de Aviles celebrated a feast of Thanksgiving centered on a Mass with the Timucua Indians on September 8, 1565, in St. Augustine, Florida?
They dined on bean soup 56 years before the celebration in Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts!
Another Catholic feast of Thanksgiving happened in Texas -- again before the Pilgrims. Don Juan de Oñate declared April 30, 1598, to be a “Day of Thanksgiving” and it was also commemorated with the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
We give thanks for all the early Americans and for our ancestors in the Faith.
...and for whoever decided on turkey and gravy over bean soup!
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Catholic Vote.
With Winter Storm Cato expected to impede transportation and travel throughout New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie today declared a State of Emergency, authorizing the State Director of Emergency Management to activate and coordinate the preparation, response and recovery efforts for the storm with all county and municipal emergency operations and governmental agencies. Commuters are asked to use extreme caution while traveling across the state.
“Today’s storm is expected to produce travel hazards and potentially cause power outages throughout the state,” said Governor Christie. “I’ve authorized state officials to take all necessary action to prepare, and my Administration will continue monitoring conditions throughout the remainder of the storm. With higher than normal traffic volume due to the Thanksgiving holiday, I strongly encourage all New Jerseyans to drive carefully so that they and their families arrive safely at their destinations. “
Already affecting parts of the state, Winter Storm Cato is expected to continue into the evening, bringing rain, snow, mixed precipitation, and strong winds.
During his return journey from Strasbourg, where he addressed both the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, Pope Francis answered questions posed by the journalists who accompanied him on the flight. The questions and the Holy Father's answers are published below.
Q: “Your Holiness addressed the European Parliament with pastoral works that may also be regarded as political words, and which may be linked, in my opinion, to a social-democratic stance - for example, when you say that we must ensure that the true expressive force of populations is not removed by multinational powers. Could we say that you are a social-democrat Pope?”
Pope Francis: “This would be reductive. It makes me feel as if I am part of a collection of insects: 'This is a social-democratic insect ...'. No, I would say not. I don't know if I am a social-democrat Pope or not. I would not dare to define myself as belonging to one side or another. I dare say that this comes from the Gospel: this is the message of the Gospel, taken up by the social doctrine of the Church. In reality, in this and in other things – social and political – that I have said, I have not detached myself from the social Doctrine of the Church. The social Doctrine of the Church comes from the Gospel and from Christian tradition. What I said – the identity of the people – is a Gospel value, is it not? In this sense, I say it. But you have made me laugh, thank you!”
Q: “There is almost no-one on the streets of Strasbourg this morning. The people say they are disappointed. Do you regret not visiting the Cathedral of Strasbourg, that celebrates is millennium this year? And when will you make your first trip to France, and where? Lisieux, perhaps?”
Pope Francis: “No, it is not yet planned, but one should certainly go to Paris. Then, there is a proposal to go to Lourdes. I have asked to visit a city where no Pope has yet been, to greet the citizens. But the plan has not yet been made. No, for Strasbourg, a visit to the cathedral was considered but it would have mean already making a visit to France, and this was the problem”.
Q: During your address to the Council of Europe I was struck by the concept of transversality, especially with reference to your meetings with young politicians in various countries, and indeed you spoke of the need for a sort of pact between generations, an intergenerational agreement at the margins of this transversality. Also, if I may ask, is it true that you are devoted to St. Joseph, and have a statue of him in your room?”
Pope Francis: “Yes, it is true. Whenever I have asked something of St. Joseph, he has granted it to me. The fact of 'transversality' is important. I have seen in dialogue with young politicians in the Vatican, from different parties and nations, that they speak with a differetn music, that tends towards transversality, and this is valuable. They are not afraid of coming out of their own territory, without denying it, but coming out in order to engage in dialogue. They are courageous! I believe that we must imitate this, along with intergenerational dialogue. This tendency to come out to find people of other origins and to engage in dialogue: Europe needs this today”.
Q: “In your second discourse, to the Council of Europe, you spoke about the sins of the sons of the Church. I would like to know if you have received the news on the events in Granada [alleged sexual abuse of minors by priests in the archdiocese, Ed.], that in a certain sense you brought to light...”
Pope Francis: “I received the news – it was sent to me, I read it, I called the person and I said, 'Tomorrow you must go to the bishop', and I wrote to the bishop asking him to begin work, to start the investigation and go ahead. How did I receive the news? With great pain, with very great sadness. But the truth is the truth, and we cannot hide it”.
Q: “In your addresses in Strasbourg, you spoke frequently of both the threat of terrorism and the threat of slavery: these are attitudes that are also typical of the Islamic State, which threatens much of the Mediterranean, which threatens Rome and also threatens you personally. Do you think it is possible to engage in dialogue with these extremists, or do you think this is a lost cause?”
Pope Francis: “I never give something up as a lost cause: never. Perhaps dialogue is not possible, but never close the door. It is difficult, one might say almost impossible, but the door is always open. You have used the word 'threaten' twice: it is true, terrorism is a threat. … But slavery is a real situation embedded in the today's social fabric, and has been for some time. Slave labour, human trafficking, the trade in children … it is a crisis! We must not close our eyes to this. Slavery, today, is a reality, the exploitation of people … And then there is the threat of these terrorists. But there is another threat, and it is State terrorism. When the situation becomes critical, and each State believes it has the right to massacre the terrorists, many who are innocent fall prey alongside the terrorists. This is a form of high-level anarchy that is very dangerous. It is necessary to fight terrorism, but I repeat what I said during my previous trip: when it is necessary to stop an unjust aggressor, it must be done with international consensus”.
Q: “In your heart, when you travel to Strasbourg, do you travel as Peter's Successor, as the bishop of Rome, or as the archbishop of Buenos Aires?”
Pope Francis: “As all three, I think. My memory is that of the archbishop of Buenos Aires, but I am no longer in that role. Now I am the bishop of Rome and Peter's Successor, and I think that I travel with this memory but with these realities; I travel with all these things. Europe worries me at the moment; it is good for me to go ahead in order to help, as the bishop of Rome and Peter's Successor; in this respect I am Roman”.
Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT/NYSE: PEI) announces that it will host “Adventure to Santa – A DreamWorks DreamPlace,” at Cherry Hill Mall.
The interactive Santa adventure for the entire family is the first-of-its-kind and is set to open to the public on Friday, November 28, 2014.
DreamWorks Animation, the global family entertainment brand known for award-winning storytelling and industry leading innovation, has chosen Cherry Hill Mall as one of eight exclusive locations in the United States to feature this experience during the 2014 holiday season; Cherry Hill Mall’s “Adventure to Santa” will be the only location for this experience in the Philadelphia market.
“Aligning with an innovator of DreamWorks Animation’s caliber has allowed us to bring this incredibly unique experience to the Philadelphia area,” said PREIT CEO Joseph F. Coradino. “Adventure to Santa is a perfect example of our efforts to incorporate social and compelling experiences into the mall environment and it will make Cherry Hill Mall a must-visit destination throughout the holiday season.”
“Adventure to Santa – A DreamWorks DreamPlace” is a first-of-its-kind holiday experience that seamlessly blends storytelling with cutting-edge technology. Appointments can be made in advance through a smartphone app, allowing families to enjoy all that Cherry Hill Mall has to offer before or after embarking on an unforgettable adventure through a 2,000 square foot holiday cottage with beloved characters including Shrek, Donkey and of course, Santa Claus.
“DreamPlace turns the traditional holiday mall visit on its head with an immersive, interactive approach that draws upon our signature brand of technology, storytelling and, of course, humor,” said DreamWorks Animation’s Chief Global Brand Officer Michael Francis. "We are continually looking for new ways to bring our characters to life and DreamPlace will deliver an unparalleled experience which fans will absolutely love.”
Cherry Hill Mall, located in Cherry Hill, N.J., is anchored by Nordstrom, Macy’s, and JCPenney, and features several exclusive retailers including American Apparel, Apple, A/X Armani Exchange, Crate and Barrel, Forever XXI, H&M, Henri Bendel, Hugo Boss, J. Crew, MAC, Michael Kors, Pandora, Pottery Barn, Sephora, Swarovski, Teavana, The Art of Shaving, The Container Store, The North Face, True Religion, Urban Outfitters, and Vera Bradley. Furthering the mall’s position as a regional dining and entertainment destination are leading restaurants such as Grand Lux Café, Bobby’s Burger Palace, California Pizza Kitchen, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, and Bahama Breeze. FUN FACTS:
DreamPlace has 6 different light shows. DreamPlace is 2,000 square feet in size. It requires 6 semi-trucks to transport a DreamPlace. It takes 150 craftsmen to create each DreamPlace. A DreamPlace surface contains 3,146,752 pixels. DreamPlace is capable of 281 color variations. DreamPlace utilizes a 300 watt concert sound system. DreamPlace weighs over 50,000 lbs, which is equivalent to the weight of 1,000 Christmas trees! DreamPlace has over 15,000 animated twinkling LED lights and more than 100 strobes. The overhead displays require 7.5 miles of copper cable.
People have been complaining about Christmas creep at area stores -- and rightfully so. You know what we're talking about: All those Christmas decorations at stores, malls and shopping centers that go up even before Halloween. It's downright creepy -- and greedy. But not at Nordstrom. No -- the classiest (and arguably, the finest) department store simply will not feature Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. This is a long-standing Nordstrom policy and Nordstrom has no intention of changing it now. Isn't that refreshing? Isn't it yet another great reason to shop Nordstrom? Bravo to Nordstrom for once again resisting Christmas creep! Now: ready, set, head on over to Nordstrom next Friday and throughout the Christmas season to enjoy the holiday the way it was meant to be enjoyed. And thanks, Nordstrom for keeping the faith.
"We Gather Together" is a beautiful song that expresses the spirit of Thanksgiving in a very special way. It has been sung in America for generations. So many of us of a certain age sang it in public school when we were children. It was often heard in schools around this time of the year and was a part of Thanksgiving programs everywhere. Ask yourself: Can it be sung in public school today? Would it be permitted? Think about what we've lost, America. Think about it this Thanksgiving Day.
Copy this notice and post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest - everywhere! Spread the word! Let's get everyone to resolve not to shop on Thanksgiving Day so that we can end this madness. Let Thanksgiving be the great American holiday it was meant to be - a joyful day of gratitude with families, neighbors and friends. Say NO to the degradation of Thanksgiving. DO IT NOW!
Marking the beginning of the Administration’s Season of Service, New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno today visited Oasis: A Haven for Women and Children in Paterson, where she and members of her staff met with program participants and served hot meals during the organization’s Thanksgiving Celebration.
“It is a privilege to join Oasis and see the immediate, positive effect its programs have on the women and children it serves,” said Lt. Governor Guadagno. “When staff and volunteers provide a hot meal, a health program or training class, they also provide participants the tools for a new beginning and self-sufficiency. I thank Oasis for its continued care for Paterson’s residents in need.”
Annually, Oasis serves more than 65,000 hot meals to women and children from the community.
"We are very excited that Lt. Governor Guadagno can join us again for the annual Thanksgiving celebration at Oasis,” said Sister Gloria Perez, Executive Director of Oasis. “This event brings together corporate groups, public servants and other local leaders with over 1000 women and children in our community who are struggling to make ends meet this Thanksgiving.”
Opened in 1997 to provide meal services to women and children, Oasis expanded its mission in 2007 to become a “safe haven” with additional health and safety services as well as literacy, language and workforce development programs. All programs are designed to help families succeed in the workplace and community while meeting their immediate needs of food, clothing and social services.
Kathleen Long, Director of Development for Oasis, added, “Many of the women joining us for this special meal have also participated in the adult education and workplace readiness programs of Oasis, where we strive to prepare them for jobs in our community. We know these programs are of great interest to the Lt. Governor and this Administration, as they help strengthen communities for the long term.”
In the spirit of giving this holiday season, the Christie Administration is once again giving back to New Jersey through its Season of Service initiative. Officials are volunteering throughout the Garden State and also taking time to recognize those who volunteer within their community. Individuals and organizations with charity program stories and pictures can share them by using #SeasonOfService. Residents can find volunteer opportunities, as well as recognize individuals and groups that enhance New Jersey’s communities through service, by visiting www.volunteerism.nj.gov/.
What just happened in Ferguson is actually a reassuring end to an ugly story, Save Jerseyans; a grand jury of average citizens didn’t bend to base emotion or public pressure. It took guts to make a call here as Governor Jay Nixon was simultaneously declaring a state of emergency during the deliberations.
12 individuals charged with an all-important constitutional function didn’t let any of this sway them. Physical evidence was considered. Witness statements were scrutinized. Legal tenants were applied. The justice system worked.
Anyone who resorts to violence tonight isn’t interested in justice and, frankly, they’ve got what’s coming to them.
And the Ferguson citizens dedicated to building a better America? The silent majority, diverse in background and opinion, who aren’t acting like fools for the cameras? They’ll sleep in their own beds tonight, wake up in the morning and work hard for their families like they always do. May God bless them and see them safely through the night!
Thousands of Philadelphia sports fans will shop early and save on Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia 76ers apparel and accessories at Comcast-Spectacor's Orange and Black Friday sale this Friday at the Wells Fargo Center.
Fans who shop early will save the most, with discounts of 30% off their total purchase from 7-8 a.m., 20% off from 8-9 a.m. and 10% off from 9-10 a.m. Philadelphia Flyers Alumni Bernie Parent, Bob "Hound" Kelly and Joe Watson Autograph Items Purchased at Sale from 9 – 10 a.m.
Exclusive Flyers Reebok, Sixers Adidas and 47 Brand styles are available for the entire family, including great stocking stuffers, at the Fan Zone powered by Reebok. Fan Zone offers an array of player apparel, headwear, outerwear and even team-specific accessories for pets, travel, automobiles and more.
The 10% discount will also be available to Flyers game ticket holders attending the Flyers vs. Rangers game taking place on Black Friday at Wells Fargo Center beginning at 1 p.m.
Discounts exclude jersey lettering, memorabilia and previously purchased items, and is valid only on Friday, November 28 at the Fan Zone store Powered by Reebok located on the 11th street side of the arena.
Here is the complete transcript of Officer Darren Wilson's letter which was received by a supporter and held until after yesterday's grand jury decision was announced:
To all of the pro Officer Wilson Supporters -
I would like to thank you all for standing up for me during this stressful time. Your support and dedication is amazing and it is still hard to believe that all of these people that I have never met are doing so much for me. I watched the CNN video we recorded at the rally on Saturday and it brought tears to my eyes.
All of you are simply amazing, and I don't know how to thank you all enough. I wish I could attend meet you, hug you, and personally thank you for all of your continued support, however, due to my and my families safety I am unable to. Please don't give this letter to any media or post it where they can see it. Relay the message of thanks to all and keep this letter private until the investigation is complete.
I want you all to know that I do get updates on the amount of support. Unfortunately, I don't get to see all of the comments made through social media, but overall messages are relayed to me.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and know that I would do the same for any of you.
Also please keep my family in blue in your hearts and prayers, they have all made a sacrifice to their own lives in order to work the excessive hours through the heat and rain to ensure that the riots and protests in Ferguson were as safe as they could be.
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And Rand Paul comes in second with 11 percent, followed by Chris Christie at nine percent, and Jeb Bush at eight percent.
But Romney says he's not running. "No way," he says.
So, when they take Romney out of the race the poll finds that Romney supporters would then turn to Christie first, giving New Jersey governor 22 percent of the vote, followed by Bush at 20 percent, then Rand Paul at 19 percent. So, absent Romney that means that Christie is the leader in New Hampshire.
And what if Bush decides not to run? Where do you think those Bush voters would go? We're guessing that far more of them would go to Christie than to the next nearest contender, Rand Paul.
Which means that Chris Christie goes into this thing (IF he decides to run) with plenty of appeal!
But strongly oppose President Obama’s executive action announced last night.
That’s because the legislative process and our system of government matter. Presidents don’t dictate policy. If we accept that President Obama, or any future President, may selectively enforce laws based on his or her political preferences (even policies we agree with) --- our nation is in trouble.
Consider a few things following the President’s announcement last night:
As we predicted, the President’s move has fanned anti-immigrant flames. His temporary solution is not reform, is an insult to Congress, and has made real reform even more difficult.
Opposing this power grab doesn’t mean we support the status quo. CV supports immigration reform. Just not this way.
Legal scholars on both left and right agree this action is constitutionally dubious. Even President Obama admitted in March 2011 that this action was unconstitutional. You can watch the video here.
Americans are divided over how to best solve this issue. Some want to deport anyone here illegally. Others want to grant blanket amnesty. In our opinion, both of these answers are wrong.
As Catholics, we are called to respect the dignity of every human person - to welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, defend the unborn. This does not mean we are obligated to grant legal status or citizenship to anyone and everyone. But it does mean, it seems, that we must work to treat those that wish to come to America with dignity and respect -- and to offer them a legal process that is fair, just, and orderly.
That said, the situation on our borders and in our immigration system is anything but dignified right now. Children are being led by criminals across the border, families are being torn apart, and gang and drug violence is rampant. It’s disgusting and it’s unsustainable.
Republicans must show real leadership and respond.
We expect to see a border security bill move through the Senate or House fairly quickly. This is a critical and necessary first step. But it is not enough. A real solution to the millions of illegal immigrants living and working in America must be addressed.
Republicans must respond firmly – but also calmly. Opponents of this power grab must explain why it is both lawless and reckless without resorting to equally reckless attacks on immigrants.
Members of Congress have the ability to slow down this action through the power of the purse. But defunding the President is not enough. Republicans should combine any response to curb the President’s power with reform proposals of their own.
America can be a welcoming country and still uphold its Constitution.
Here's a wrap-up of recent news from the New Jersey State Republican Committee:
Today we're recapping a few announcements and events from this week including Governor Christie's upcoming trip to Canada as well as the Lieutenant Governor's address at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities' 99th Annual Conference luncheon in Atlantic City. Additionally, as the Governor's chairmanship of the Republican Governor's Association came to an end this week, we're also featuring highlights of the organization's successful year under Governor Christie's leadership that the Governor and his fellow Republicans discussed over the past few days at the RGA's Annual Conference. We're excited to also share with you a profile out this week on our Monmouth GOP Chairman Shaun Golden and his successful grassroots efforts this election cycle. Finally, be sure to check out some of the community service activities taking place across the state next week that Christie Administration officials will be participating in to kick off the fourth annual "Season of Service." GOV. CHRISTIE ANNOUNCES TRADE & CULTURAL MISSION TRIP TO CANADA –
The week began with news on Monday that Governor Christie will travel to Canada in December for a two-day trade and cultural mission trip. On December 4th and 5th, the Governor will visit Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa with a traveling delegation that includes New Jersey business leaders to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, members of his ministry, and energy officials. The Governor will emphasize the importance of strengthening relations with our neighbors and expanding our nation’s energy independence. Click here to read more details on the Governor’s upcoming trip from the Wall Street Journal exclusive.
GOV. CHRISTIE BRINGS RGA CHAIRMANSHIP TO AN END IN FLORIDA –
Earlier this week, Governor Christie was at the Republican Governor’s Association Annual Conference where his tenure as Chairman of the RGA came to an end following an incredibly successful election year for the organization. Thanks to Governor Christie’s leadership and hard work, 31 states will now be lead by Republican Governors as we defended incumbents and picked up new seats across the country, even in traditionally blue states like Maryland, Illinois, and Massachusetts. At this week’s conference, Governor Christie joined fellow Republicans to reflect on this year’s impressive accomplishments while also looking to continue building on our success in the future.
ICYMI: Governor Christie in New York Times Magazine
Hitting news stands this Sunday, the New York Times Magazine will feature an extensive piece on Governor Christie that takes a look at some of the time he spent on the campaign trail this year as RGA Chairman, but also offers an intimate look at his upbringing and family. Click here to read the full piece before Sunday.
LT. GOV. GUADAGNO TALKS JOBS IN SPEECH AT NJLM’S 99TH ANNUAL LUNCHEON –
The New Jersey State League of Municipalities kicked off its three-day conference in Atlantic City this week – bringing together state leaders, municipal officials, and exhibitors together for the largest municipal conference and trade show in the United States. On Thursday, Acting Governor Kim Guadagno joined the NJLM at its 99th Annual Conference luncheon, “Partnerships for Prosperity,” where she spoke on building a business-friendly environment that attracts employers and creates jobs here in New Jersey. The Acting Governor underscored the important role local leaders have not only in working together to find solutions, but also in forging partnerships with businesses and corporate leaders to implement solutions for growth and job creation. Check out pictures from Acting Governor Guadagno’s speech below:
COUNTY CHAIR PROFILE: A LOOK AT MONMOUTH GOP CHAIRMAN SHAUN GOLDEN’S LEADERSHIP
In case you missed it, be sure to check out an interview out this week with Monmouth County GOP Chairman Shaun Golden for a look at how he is leading efforts to strengthen our support and deliver success in Monmouth. Click here to read more about Chairman Golden’s successful efforts in growing a grassroots network of supporters and community leaders to help candidates spread their conservative message and win critical races this cycle.
CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION BEGINS 4TH ANNUAL “SEASON OF SERVICE”
Starting today, the Christie Administration will kick off the fourth annual “Season of Service” during which administration officials will volunteer their time and highlight opportunities across the state to serve New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents. A number of community service events will be taking place next week: On Tuesday, November 25th Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno will be serving a luncheon meal at Oasis in Paterson at 12:00PM with First Lady Mary Pat Christie visiting the Interfaith Food Pantry in Morris Plains later in the afternoon at 2:30PM. And on Wednesday, November 26th Governor Christie will head to Newark to serve a luncheon meal with Feed the Hungry at St. John’s at 11:15AM.