Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Enhancing The Cause Through Impeccable Service!

Directing a professional or trade or business association is one of the toughest jobs we know.
Having worked closely with executive directors of such associations both in Philadelphia and throughout the nation, we can tell you that the hours are long, the demands are endless, and the level of stress is high. Which is just another way of saying that, quite honestly, at times it can seem like a thankless job.
That's not because the people that you serve aren't grateful -- most usually are. It's simply because of the nature of the work. You're working for a non-profit group so you typically don't have a huge budget and you have to watch every penny. Plus, much of your work is behind the scenes and you have to be deliberate, thorough, personable and tactful, no matter what. You have to act almost as an invisible hand, always improving things, always advancing the association and its members and always making others look good without calling undue attention to yourself.
Trust us, we know a bit about this.
And no one that we know right now does a better job at this than Philadelphia Bar Association Executive Director Mark A. Tarasiewicz. 
Which is why we're so happy that Mark has been singled out by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of the city's ten "Outstanding Voices of the LGBT Community." This honor is so well deserved precisely because Mark, a native Philadelphian who has served the local legal community for more than 20 years, is so deeply respected within his profession and so dedicated to his mission. In fact, it's safe to say that the members of the Philadelphia legal community have no better friend than this perceptive, mild-mannered, amiable leader who always seems to find a way to make good things happen, even under the most trying circumstances.
In fact, Mark Tarasiewicz has developed a knack for bringing positive recognition to nearly every group or organization he's served.
Before taking the helm of the bar association nearly four years ago, Tarasiewicz served as associate executive director of the association. In that role, he directed the association’s internal and external communications. He joined the Philadelphia Bar Association in March 1995 as Senior Public Relations Associate.
Tarasiewicz previously served as Managing Editor of the Pennsylvania Law Journal. He also served as Senior Communications Manager for global law firm Dechert LLP.
Tarasiewicz is a past President and Chairman of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association. He was inducted into the Philadelphia Public Relations Hall of Fame in 2012. He is a three-time recipient of the National Association of Bar Executives Luminary Award, as well as the Philadelphia Public Relations Association Fast Track Award. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Temple University, and has served as an adjunct professor in the Temple University graduate program in Strategic Communication. He has lectured for the National Association of Bar Executives, American Society of Association Executives, Public Relations Society of America, Penn State University, Villanova University and the University of the Arts and was recently honored for his leadership by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
The Philadelphia Bar Association, founded in 1802, is the oldest association of lawyers in the United States. The mission of the association is to serve the profession and the public by promoting justice, professional excellence and respect for the rule of law. In so doing, the association strives to foster understanding of, involvement in and access to the justice system.
That mission is in impeccable hands and the association's leaders are very well served by the devoted, day-to-day direction of Mark Tarasiewicz!

OMG! Are These Weirder Than Weird, Or What?

He Wants EVERY Hard-Earned Penny You've Got!

Wake up, New Jersey!
If you elect Murphy governor, he'll raise your taxes again and again and again and again. He wants it ALL and he wants it NOW!
Vote Guadagno next Tuesday!

Amidst Much Garbage, An Astonishing Gem Shines!

Hollywood's in disarray.
The town is rocked by scandal. Everybody's pointing a finger at everybody else. Shocking revelations abound. Big, Important People are suddenly loathsome scum. And the whole thing looks and smells like an open sewer.
On top of all that, this year's crop of new movies have turned out to be mostly duds and box office receipts have tanked.
But, Hollywood still makes good movies. Not as often, and not always as good as they once were, but, still . . .
And Hollywood still boasts big, certified stars who do honest, stellar work. Not as many stars and not as big and great as they once were, but, still . . .
Don't believe us?

Go see Only The Brave.
Go see Hollywood royalty at the top of its game in the form of Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin in two of the finest performances you'll see on the silver screen, anytime, anywhere.
Go see Andie MacDowell, as beautiful as ever and a damned fine actress, too.
Go see Jenifer Connelly in a role that defines modern womanhood, especially in an untamed environment.
And go see the astonishing young actor Miles Teller in a role that will touch your heat.
In fact, the entire cast is so natural, so believable, so three-dimensional that you'll wonder why every movie and every cast can't be like this. This is kind of flick that the late critic Judith Crist used to call a "movie movie" -- a film that will wrap its arms around you and keep you enthralled from the opening credits to the final acknowledgements.
Only The Brave (which should have really been titled Hotshots) is based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of elite firefighters who risk everything to protect a town from an historic Arizona wildfire. It's a movie that happens in flyover country -- that huge, seemingly unending swath of land between the coasts; the land that Hollywood all too often either mocks or simply ignores. Without special effects or mythical superheroes or shocking scenes of violence or graphic sex, Only The Brave tells a real story about real people in the real, on-the-ground America of today. In a world full of stunts, gimmicks and cheap tricks, this movie delivers impressive, heart-stopping, real-life credibility.
If recent headlines have left you wondering if the whole country is going to hell in a handbasket, you need to see Only The Brave. This is top-notch Hollywood moviemaking at its very best.
Don't delay. See it now!

And A Happy, Haunted Time Was Enjoyed By All!

White House Halloween 
Last night, the White House welcomed local students and families from over 20 local schools and community groups, as well as military families, to a Halloween celebration on the South Lawn. Guests were treated to festive décor, a photo op, treats from the President and First Lady, and sugar cookies from the White House Executive Pastry Chef.

See more from the White House’s Halloween here.

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump host Halloween at the White House | October 30, 2017

Unleashing the Potential of Businesses

Minority-owned businesses are a bedrock of the American economy and will be a critical component in the country’s new period of economic revival. The Trump Administration is committed to creating a business climate in which minority business enterprises can thrive and expand. The Unified Framework for Tax Reform, supported by President Donald J. Trump, cuts taxes and lowers the cost of tax compliance to unleash the potential of all businesses.

Watch here to learn more about how the Unified Framework for Tax Reform addresses the interests of minority business owners.

Ivanka Talks Tax Interests of American Families
Last week, Advisor Ivanka Trump appeared alongside Senate and House Republicans on Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of an enhanced child tax credit to promote the wellbeing of American families. As part of the Administration's push for Tax Reform, Ivanka, in coordination with the National Economic Council, Office of Legislative Affairs, and Treasury, has been working on an expansion of the child tax credit as it is an essential part of ensuring a middle class tax cut. It will put more money back in American's pockets, empowering them to make decisions that work best for their individual families.

Watch highlights here.

This Halloween: Be Very, VERY Afraid Of This!

With New Realities, Changed Rules Prevail!

Just In Case All Of This Slipped Your Mind . . .

Monday, October 30, 2017

Kick-Starting, Mobilizing, Energizing On All Fronts!

Under the current tax code’s uncompetitive corporate tax rates, wage growth stagnates. Hardworking Americans don’t experience the wage growth they should. But fixing our broken tax code can help make our economy more productive and more profitable. Read more about the Unified Framework for Tax Reform supported by President Donald J. Trump here.

Kick-Starting the American Economy into High Gear
There’s a disconnect between America’s corporate profits and America’s real wages. On Friday, the Council of Economic Advisers released a report on the relationship between the corporate tax rate and gross domestic product (GDP). GDP growth has stalled below its post-World War II average (about 3 percent) for the last decade. Improving our tax policies, such as cutting corporate taxes and allowing capital investments to be written off, will jumpstart America's economic engine.

See the full report here.

President Trump Takes Action Against the Nation's Opioid Crisis
Last week, President Trump continued the mobilization of his Administration to address drug addiction by directing the declaration of a Nationwide Public Health Emergency to address the opioids crisis. The action allows for expanded access to telemedicine services, including services involving remote prescribing of medicine commonly used for substance abuse or mental health treatment.

In 2016, more than two million Americans had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids. This directive will help states and local communities better fight this battle, and strengthen the tools available at the federal level, ensuring people have access to the help they desperately need, and deserve.

See more here.

Vice President Pence Delivers Remarks at Minot Air Force Base
On Friday, Vice President Pence gave remarks to Airmen at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. He expressed gratitude on behalf of the President and citizens of the United States for their service to our Nation, and dedication to defend our freedom and way of life. The Vice President also reassured the Administration's commitment to strengthening the United States’ Armed Forces, proclaiming that the era of budget cuts to the American military has ended.

“Our President has already signed the largest increase in defense spending in nearly 10 years. And as we speak, we're working with the Congress to pass the largest investment in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. Under this Commander-in-Chief, the era of budget cuts to the American military are over,” Vice President Pence said.

Read the Vice President's full remarks here.

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump deliver remarks on combatting drug demand and the opioid crisis | October 26, 2017 (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

They Side With Him And NOT With Them!

Here's the latest from Rasmussen Reports:

Two prominent Republican senators who have decided not to seek reelection have been increasingly vocal in their criticism of President Trump in recent days. But most GOP voters want their party to follow Trump, not Senate Republicans.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 57% of Likely GOP Voters believe the Republican Party should be more like the president. Just 33% feel the party should be more like Senate Republicans instead. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

But 48% of GOP voters think it is more important for Trump to keep other elected Republicans on his side than for him to pursue his own agenda. Forty-two percent (42%), however, say it’s more important for the president to go his own way rather than worry about party unity.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of Republicans say it is important to them that some GOP senators criticize the man who was elected as a Republican to the presidency, including 32% who say it is Very Important. For just as many (47%), the senators’ criticism is unimportant, with 19% who say it is Not At All Important.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in Rasmussen polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 26 and 29, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Fifty percent (50%) of Republican voters think the president’s criticism of senators in his own party is good for the country. Only 35% believe the president should continue to rely on congressional Republicans to pass his agenda.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of Democrats say the Republican Party should be more like GOP senators than like Trump, a view shared by a plurality (44%) of unaffiliated voters.

Democrats attach a lot more importance to the senators’ criticism of the president than Republican and unaffiliated voters do. Unaffiliateds are the least concerned about Trump keeping other elected Republicans on his side.

Among voters who believe the GOP should be more like Senate Republicans, 86% say the senators’ criticism of Trump is important to them. Sixty-six percent (66%) of those who want the Republican Party to be more like the president regard the criticism as unimportant.

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of voters who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing say the GOP should be more like him. Eighty-one percent (81%) of those who Strongly Disapprove of the president’s job performance think the party should be more like Senate Republicans.

Voters in general, including 38% of GOP voters, are more likely to believe Republicans in Congress are the bigger problem for Trump than Democrats are.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Republicans think their representatives in Congress have lost touch with the party's base, consistent with findings for years.

Only 19% of Republicans – and 11% of all voters – rate the performance of the GOP-controlled Senate as good or excellent.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of GOP voters share an unfavorable opinion of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and 36% think it would be good for the country if McConnell stepped down.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it’s free) or follow Rasmussen on Twitter or Facebook. Let Rasmussen keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.

A Remarkable Story; A Truly Joyous Event!

Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Center City Philadelphia will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving following the beatification of Father Solanus Casey, a Capuchin friar from Detroit, Michigan. Father Thomas Betz, O.F.M. Cap. will be the main celebrant. Father Casey is only the second man born in the United States to be beatified.

Friday, December 1, 2017
5:15 p.m.
Saint John the Evangelist Parish (Upper Church)
21 South 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Background information on Father Solanus Casey
A member of the Capuchin Franciscan Order, Father Solanus Casey was born November 25, 1870 and died July 31, 1957. He entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order in 1897 and was ordained a priest in 1904. Due to his inability to fully complete all academic requirements for priesthood, he was never permitted to preach, hear confessions, or fulfill the usual pastoral work of Catholic priests. Instead, he was given the humble task of answering the door and talking to the many people who came to the Capuchin friaries in New York and Detroit where he was assigned.

Father Solanus became famous as a spiritual advisor and a man of prayer. During the Great Depression he founded a soup kitchen to feed the poor of Detroit and he was known for his pastoral visits to the sick. He said that he had two great loves: the sick and the poor. Many people received healings and other divine favors through his prayers. He spent 20 years in Detroit and it was there that he achieved his reputation for charity and holiness. People did not forget him after his death and devotion to his work and legacy continued.

Because of his holiness, Pope John Paul II declared him Venerable in 1995 and Pope Francis has announced that Father Solanus will be beatified at a Mass on November 18th at 4 p.m. at Ford Field, Detroit.

Background Information on Beatification Process
After Father Solanus received the title of Venerable from Pope John Paul II in 1995, people were then suggested to pray to Father Solanus, asking for his intercession to God. The Capuchins have documented hundreds of exceptional favors received which might be acclaimed as miraculous. Most of these claimed miracles did not have sufficient evidence to support the rigorous standards required for a Vatican declaration of miracle. However, one miracle was approved thus clearing the way for Father Solanus’ beatification. The case was of a woman who lives outside the United States and was visiting Father Solanus’ tomb while on a pilgrimage. The woman suffered from an incurable and painful skin disease. Her name has not been publicly released.

The woman started to pray for others while at the tomb in Detroit, but a voice in her head said, “pray for yourself.” The cure was instantaneous. The medical doctors in her home country, Detroit, and Rome all attested that there was no scientific explanation for the cure. Based on a thorough study of his life and virtues and in light of this approved miracle, Solanus Casey is acknowledged as one who is in heaven, in union with God, and is given the title of “Blessed.” The next step is to attain the title of Saint. Another miracle is required and it will have to be investigated and approved in the same manner as above to attain sainthood canonization.

 Notes: Priests are welcome to concelebrate and if so should bring an alb and a white stole. For more information on the Mass, please contact Father Paul Brandt at 215-651-4454.

Dramatic New Breakthrough Means Vital Help!

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today announced that New Jersey pharmacies without medical directors can now apply for a standing order to dispense the life-saving heroin antidote Narcan® without a prescription.

The Pharmacy Practice Act, amended in June by Governor Christie as part of his continuing efforts to fight the heroin crisis, allows pharmacies without medical directors to get a standing order from the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) to dispense the antidote.

“This law is just one important tool in our comprehensive strategy in combating the disease of addiction,” said Governor Christie. “Narcan is critical to our efforts to save lives and now we are making it easier for more pharmacists to help.”

Last week, the opioid epidemic was declared a national public health emergency by President Donald Trump.

Since April 2014, police, EMTs, and paramedics have administered Narcan more than 32,000 times, including 9,500 overdose reversals this year alone. In addition, thousands more reversals have been done in hospital emergency rooms.

The original law did not provide a mechanism for DOH to issue a standing order and allowed only pharmacists with medical directors to dispense Narcan, generically known as naloxone. Hundreds of pharmacies throughout the state do not have medical directors on staff.

DOH has finalized the standing order process and is now accepting requests from licensed pharmacists in good standing with the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy (BOP). Requests should be emailed to standing.orderrequests@doh.nj.gov.

The standing order allows pharmacists to dispense the antidote to someone at risk of an overdose or to an individual who obtains the antidote to administer it to a loved one or someone in an emergency, regardless of whether they have a prescription for the antidote. The standing order requires the pharmacists to provide information about recognition and prevention as well as information about dosage, resuscitation, and aftercare.

Narcan is administered, often through a nasal ingestion but sometimes through injection, throughout the state by police, EMTs, and paramedics and is dispensed to families through programs funded by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, now located in the DOH.

Governor Christie also has expanded Recovery Coach and Patient Navigator programs that pair people whose overdose was reversed in a hospital with peers that can guide them through the steps of recovery.

“We have to look at every overdose reversal as an opportunity to get people into treatment,” Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett said. “The administration of Narcan may return someone from near death, but we know sustained recovery requires more than just an antidote.”

This standing order will be reviewed periodically and updated if there are relevant developments in the law or science about opioid antidote administration.

Pharmacists dispensing the opioid antidote must maintain records as required by the BOP, which is in the process of issuing guidance for pharmacists who dispense the antidote.

For more information about Narcan, please visits http://nj.gov/health/integratedhealth/services-treatment/naloxone.shtml.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sometimes, Ya Just Gotta Tell It Straight . . .

How We Foresaw It All -- EIGHT Years Ago!

CBS News has announced that Jeff Glor will become the new anchorperson of the CBS Evening News.
Here's how it was announced:
But, if you had been paying attention to the Dan Cirucci Blog eight long years ago, you would have known that we determined that Jeff Glor was a rising star at CBS even then. Of course, we were tipped off by our ever-perceptive friend and TV expert Joanne Calabria who is Vice President for Public Affairs for the CBS Stations Group. Thanks to Joanne, we got to watch Jeff live and in person at the CBS studios in New York and we could see that he would be an anchorperson some day. In fact, he was already prepping for the role.
Here's what we wrote on June 18, 2009 under the headline 'Emerging Star, Jeff Glor':
Ever hear of Jeff Glor?
If you haven't you soon will.
More on Jeff in a moment.
But let me begin by telling you about our amazing day in Manhattan with PR colleagues earlier this week.
We began in Philly at ThBellevue on Broad Street where a bunch of us boarded a mini bus for NYC.
Once in the Big Apple we lunched at Artisanal Restaurant on Park Avenue with Linda Ayares, Senior Vice President of M. Silver Associates specializing in tourism and travel PR and marketing. Linda regaled us with wonderful PR crisis stories and gave us incredible insight into building relationships with clients and helping clients navigate their way through some of the most harrowing public relations dilemmas imaginable.
Then, we were off to Peppercom Strategic Communications where we heard from Ted Birkhahn, Chief Operating Officer and Head of Client Services. Ted spoke about digital marketing and the emerging importance of social media in monitoring the media and customer landscape and spotting trends and developments for clients.
"It's all about customer insights," Ted said. Ted was joined by Sam Ford, Peppercom's Director of Consumer Insights who also gave us his own insights into how, when and why to use digital media (Twitter, blogs, Facebook, etc.) to gain information that is often better (and cheaper to acquire) than a focus group.
Ted and Sam know a thing or two about marketing and communications. Ted worked for Rudy Giuliani's media team when Rudy was Mayor of New York and Sam project manager for the MIT's Convergence Culture Consortium
After Peppercom we were whisked uptown to the CBS Broadcast Center where we met our friend Joanne Calabria for a private look inside the CBS Evening News.
And that's where Jeff Glor comes in.
Katie Couric wasn't anchoring the News on Tuesday evening. She was off and was replaced by Saturday News anchor Jeff Glor.
Jeff is sort of CBS-TV's answer to Anderson Cooper.
At 33, Jeff is one of the rising stars in the TV news business. He's a CBS national affairs reporter and is also seen on the CBS Early Show.
Remarkably telegenic and calm with a friendly, dispassionate manner he is a trained journalist and experienced reporter and acnhorperson who delivers the news with an enviable sense of professionalism.
We know this because we watched the Evening News being prepared and we saw Jeff and his colleagues in action. We were in the editing rooms as the broadcast was constructed and in the control room once the program began to air. We saw CBS and the Evening News in a way that very few people see it: from the inside, out.
After the program aired we heard from CBS Evening News Executive Producer Rick Kaplan who told us that "these are serious times and people expect a serious, reliable news broadcast." Kaplan added: "They don't want fluff. People are worried about their livelihood, their world, their families and their future. They expect us to deliver the news seriously, fairly, honestly."
Following the CBS session we all relaxed at Brasserie 8½ on 57th St. where many CBS staffers chill after a long day at the Broadcast Center.
Then, it was goodbye to Manhattan and back to Philly.
What a wonderful day!
BTW: The entire day was coordinated by the incredible Lisa Simon, President of Simon Public Relations Group in Philadelphia. Thanks, Lisa!

Yes, We Really ARE Stronger Than All That . . .

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie issued the following statement on the five-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy:

“Five years ago, Superstorm Sandy forever changed our State. The storm caused coastal and inland flooding on a scale never before endured or envisioned. Hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed or severely damaged, the power was out, thousands of people took refuge in emergency shelters, and many lives were lost. Virtually everyone in the State was impacted. Only after the wind, rain, and flood water receded were we able to fully grasp the magnitude of Sandy’s devastation. It became clear that full recovery from Sandy would take years.

“Working together with Federal and local partners, we have made tremendous progress in rebuilding stronger over the last five years. We have rebuilt more than 5,500 Sandy-damaged homes that are now constructed to better withstand future storms. Where rebuilding in flood-prone areas was not practical, we have begun to buy out more than 1,000 homes to move families out of harm’s way and, in turn, permanently preserve these flood-prone lands. We restored and replaced thousands of rental units to maintain affordable housing stock, with thousands more rental units to be constructed in the coming years. We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to support small businesses as we continue to spur local Sandy-impacted economies. Our utilities and critical facilities have been and continue to be rebuilt in a resilient manner, pushing innovation in preparation for future disasters.

“While we have made record progress, there is still more to do. I will not be satisfied until every family affected by Sandy is fully recovered. But, we have already made significant progress, we will keep moving forward, and we will get the job done.

“I’m proud to say that we truly are stronger than the storm. Due to the work of this Administration, in partnership with the Federal government and the citizens of our State, we have rebuilt to ensure that we are stronger than the next storm as well.”

Well, This Just About Says It All . . .

The SCARIEST Thing We Can Imagine Right Now!

Yes, it's REALLY scary!
Nah, we're not talkin about the nebulous Mueller probe.
We're talkin about something else. . . . 
Pretty soon those pop-up Halloween costume stores will close and we couldn't be happier.
We'll also be glad that we won't have to witness the sight of idiotic grownups dressed for Halloween in ridiculous costumes. Grownups have helped to ruin Halloween.
Did you dress in costume as a child and trick or treat? Fine! That's enough. Okay?
Halloween was never, ever meant to be a schlock fest.
There is so much Halloween 'junk' for sale in the stores and so much Halloween stuff adorning homes that's the trend is truly scary. When Halloween begins to rival Christmas as a holiday you know we've got a problem. And it is rivaling Christmas.

As we wrote not very long ago in the Philadelphia Daily News:

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

Hey, It's happening Once Again: Don't Miss It!

You may find yourself asking this question in the days ahead. If you do, we've got the answer.
So, what's behind the beguiling colors of autumn?
If you're lucky enough to live in a part of the country where there are four distinct seasons you know that this time of year can be dazzling. 
And hopefully, you're wise enough to take the time to enjoy the vivid hues of the season.
OK, so the colors do not seem quite so vivid this year but we've been enjoying the colors that we do have nonetheless. We've slowed down, looked up, and savored arborland's big, bright show. The above photos are the result. All of these photos were taken during this beautiful season in the Philadelphia region.
It's been my experience that when it comes to autumn, nature is much more reliable than Broadway or Hollywood. This show's always a winner. There are no flops.
The changing of the leaf colors is the way that trees begin to prepare for winter.
A process called photosynthesis helps keep the leaves green through spring and summer. A chemical called chlorophyll helps make photosynthesis happen. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color.
As the days get shorter and there is less and less sunlight, the trees realize that winter is coming. They cannot support their leaves. During winter there is not enough light and water to sustain the leaves. The trees will rest and live off the food they stored during the summer. 
Animals grow a furrier coat to prepare for winter. Trees shed their leaves.
As the trees begin to shut down their food-making factories, the green chlorophyll disappears from their leaves. The bright green fades away and we begin to see yellow and orange colors. Small amounts of these colors have been in the leaves all along. We just can't see them in the summer, because they are covered up by the green chlorophyll.
That's science's explanation. 
However you explain it, the result is a time-honored show.
Get out and enjoy the razzle-dazzle before the curtain comes down on this magical spectacle. It's fantastic!

Besides the autumn poets sing,
A few prosaic days
A little this side of the snow
And that side of the haze.

~Emily Dickinson

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one autumnal face.

~John Donne

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.  
~Albert Camus
Photos copyright 2017 by Dan Cirucci.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Remember These? Which Ones Do You Miss Most?

Once they were giants. And once they commanded big bucks.
They were household names.
But they're all gone now.
All defunct.
We're talking about the American retailers that went belly-up -- stores that are no more.
Maybe you remember some of them. Maybe some were your favorites. Maybe you really, really miss some of them.
So now, here's your chance to tell us which ones you miss most. Vote in our poll at the top right of this page. We've listed 15 of the big ones. Tell us which ones you really miss. Vote for as many as you want!

Indictments? Mull This Over For Awhile . . .

What's The Story On THIS Guy? He Ain't Tellin!

To date, Phil Murphy has spent nearly $20 million of personal funds to fuel his campaign for New Jersey governor. But with 11 days to go until Election Day, New Jersey voters know remarkably little about how Phil Murphy actually made his fortune.

During an editorial board interview with the Asbury Park Press, Phil Murphy was asked, “I’ve heard various reports about how wealthy you are… How wealthy are you? Where exactly did it come from?” Murphy declined to answer, saying, “I’ve made a few bucks, there's no question about it,” before pivoting to other topics.

“Serious questions remain about how exactly Phil Murphy made his massive fortune, and New Jerseyans deserve to know before they head to the polls,” said Kim Guadagno. “Perhaps Phil Murphy won’t release his tax returns because he doesn’t want us to know if he profited off gun companies or helped raise capital for North Korea’s primary supplier of fuel while working at Goldman Sachs. In the name of transparency, Phil Murphy should immediately release his tax returns with a full list of clients and business deals he was involved in at Goldman Sachs.”

While Phil Murphy worked at Goldman Sachs and even served as the president of Goldman Sachs’ Asia operations through 2000, the firm led an IPO for China’s state-run oil company, which is North Korea’s primary provider of fuel with longstanding business ties to Sudan, Iran and Iraq. Goldman Sachs came under intense scrutiny by labor leaders and human rights activists amid concerns the deal could financially support terrorism or regimes guilty of human rights violations. China's state-run oil company remains North Korea’s primary provider of fuel to this day. (Human Rights Watch, 2003; Reuters, 4/28/2017; Goldman Sachs Annual Report, 2000)

Phil Murphy personally profited off gun companies while working at Goldman Sachs – companies he now claims to oppose. In 1998, Remington retained Goldman Sachs to advise the company regarding potential sale or acquisitions. Goldman Sachs also owns large quantities of shares in Vista Outdoor, Sturm Ruger & Company and Smith & Wesson. (The New York Times, 4/11/1998; Mother Jones, 6/2016; Fintel; IBTimes.com, 1/12/2016)

The Star Ledger previously reported that Goldman Sachs under Phil Murphy invested in a Taiwanese shoe manufacturer "known for exploiting workers throughout Asia."(The Star Ledger, 6/2/2017)

Murphy was also attacked by his fellow Democrats during his primary election for flip flopping on the environment because of his extensive investments in energy and fracking companies. (Bergen Record, 5/15/2017)

Murphy has repeatedly refused to make his tax returns publicly available online to avoid close scrutiny of his investments and business dealings before the election.

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