"...everyone is bored,and devotes himself to cultivating habits..these habits are not peculiar to our town.." Albert Camus "The Plague"

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Middletown Straw Poll: Night Two....

CT Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch at the 2nd night of The Middletown Straw Poll , January 26,
at Holy Trinity Church, Middletown

Although sparsely attended compared with the previous night's function , this event featured a more animated crowd, entertained with political oratory, rock music and children dancing. Once again the Ron Paul supporters were front and center in numbers and enthusiasm as this was a bipartisan event, whereas the previous straw poll at the Middletown Elk's Lodge was a Republican only event.

The beautiful sanctuary of Middletown's Holy Trinity Church could have accommodated many more folks than the 75 or so that showed up. The straw poll ballots offered 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices but after all the ballots were consolidated and tabulated the final result was Ron Paul 23 and Hillary Clinton 21.

Below is raw video from the evening which runs about 15 minutes:

The first Ron Paul speaker was Joshua Katz. (pictured above) Tom Sheehan, a later speaker for Ron Paul made an impassioned speech about the sanctity of our constitution. Hillary Clinton was represented by two speakers, most notably by Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. (pictured at top) Mike Huckabee was represented, as he was last evening, by William Landers. John Killian, who organized the event, read a short statement about the Obama candidacy while later in the evening a more impassioned speech for Obama was made by Bradley Spahn. Middletown city council member Earle Roberts spoke for the John McCain candidacy.There were no presenters for Mitt Romney, winner of last evening's straw poll, or Rudy Giuliani. The corporate sponser of the event was NEOS, L.L.C., a software consulting firm from Manchester, CT , whose owner, Ernst Renner, presided as M.C.

Special mention must be made of the presence this evening of the lovely, gracious, and animated Susan Bysiewicz, Connecticut's Secretary of the State. Her stand up, hand and arm ballet, by way of explaining the state election requirements for the Feb 5 primary was beautiful and effective. A great many Connecticut registered voters are unaffiliated with a party so Ms. Bysiewicz brought with her stacks of registration forms to enable anyone present to enroll in a political party. I succumbed to her blandishments and switched from independent to party enrolled.

This blog also appears today at Right of Middle.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Romney Wins Middletown Straw Poll....

Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano and CT G.O.P. Chair Healey

Very complete video of this event at Brainflation

There was a nice turnout this evening for the Middletown Straw Poll sponsored by Connecticut Republicans. Around 150 people were at the Middletown Elks lodge to hear pitches for the various Republican presidential candidates. The Everyday Republican blog is now reporting the final vote tabulation: Romney 136, McCain 104, Paul 96, Giuliani 34, Huckabee 9, Thompson 2, and Hunter 1.

It was a lively crowd and the Ron Paul supporters were certainly the liveliest! Chris Healy, Connecticut G.O.P. chairman, and the evening's M.C., had to tell the Paul people at one point to quiet down and let all sides be heard. Healy then introduced Middletown's Mayor, Seb Giuliano, who gave a short welcoming address.

Former Massachusetts governor Jane Swift was on hand to speak for John McCain. Her remarks followed a video presentation of McCain's military and P.O.W. experiences.

The Mitt Romney camp also used a video to explain the candidate's experience in business and government. Mayor Mark Bouton of Danbury then spoke on the candidate's behalf.

Ralph Campanara of Rocky Hill gave a humorous and engaging defense of his candidate, Rudy Giuliani.

Mike Huckabee was represented by William Landers, a local businessman.

Here are some additional still photos:

Today on Steady Habits: Why the Media Love John McCain....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

You Gotta' Love This Debate....

Historic 1st, a silent debate! Rather silly, but may provide some relief from the tedium.

Haven't heard enough? There's more....

Monday, January 21, 2008

On Painting the White House Black....

The Joke That Left Them Gasping:

A Greeley (CO) businessman apologized Wednesday after a joke about Illinois Sen. Barack Obama fell flat during the National Western Stock Show's annual Citizen of the West banquet.

William R. Farr was pretending to read telegrams congratulating this year's award recipient, University of Colorado President Hank Brown, when he pulled out a piece of paper and said, "I have a telegram from the White House."

Then he added, "They're going to have to change the name of that building if Obama's elected."

Witnesses said they could hear people gasp in the ballroom of the Adam's Mark Hotel.

"I gasped," said Gov. Bill Ritter, who was sitting at the table with Farr.

Source: Rocky Mountain News, Evan Semon photo

Of course blacks themselves, especially rappers, have suggested not changing the name. but painting the White House black. See George Clinton's (no relation to the 1st black president) video featuring his song "Paint the White House Black":

George Clinton Ice Cube - Paint The White House Black
Uploaded by oublierleracismeskyblog

Rapper Lil' Wayne weighs in with this ditty, 1st verse only:
Young maine for president I'd probably paint the white house black if it was my residence bush back in office some niggas feel that's irrelavant, cause they still peddalin this medicine but anyway anyday i can zurk out quick and make my semi spray send some of my men ya way just to blow yo men away stephon malbury type bullets they like the pennatrate young money we outta school but we got chemistry (young money muthafucka) young spitter, young maine, young cop, young mall, tez poe we dont pass the rock nigga we ball hog mash low in the escalade nigga yall all fall jack yo fresh ass caddy and steal yo white wallz nigga we don't like yall hell yeah we will fight yall we ain't on no tyson shit we ain't tryna bite yall knuckin if u buckin probably buss it at yo couzin we youngins thats bout somethin yall niggas ain't bout nothing(chyea, chyea)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Raw Katie Couric-The Perky Puppet....

Couric is caught thinking she is not on live. Interesting as to how the news is staged and how dependent is the "perky one" on scripting and prepared cards.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Christmas Story We Missed....

Photos credit: Jim Kleeman
Troop Train to Army/Navy Game

This article by Ronnie Polaneczky appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News, December 22, 2005. This event did not get a lot of publicity at the time because the sponsors, Bennett and Vivian Levin, wished to avoid a media circus or the distraction of Pentagon suits and brass. This true story has been Snopes checked.

Here's a Yule story that ought to be a movie

AND NOW, in time for the holidays, I bring you the best Christmas story you never heard.

It started last Christmas, when Bennett and Vivian Levin were overwhelmed by sadness while listening to radio reports of injured American troops.

"We have to let them know we care," Vivian told Bennett.

So they organized a trip to bring soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philly, on Dec. 3.

The cool part is, they created their own train line to do it.

Yes, there are people in this country who actually own real trains. Bennett Levin - native Philly guy, self-made millionaire and irascible former L&I commish - is one of them.

He has three luxury rail cars. Think mahogany paneling, plush seating and white-linen dining areas. He also has two locomotives, which he stores at his Juniata Park train yard.

One car, the elegant Pennsylvania, carried John F. Kennedy to the Army-Navy game in 1961 and '62. Later, it carried his brother Bobby's body to D.C. for burial.

"That's a lot of history for one car," says Bennett.

He and Vivian wanted to revive a tradition that endured from 1936 to 1975, during which trains carried Army-Navy spectators from around the country directly to the stadium where the annual game is played.

The Levins could think of no better passengers to reinstate the ceremonial ride than the wounded men and women recovering at Walter Reed in D.C. and Bethesda, in Maryland.

"We wanted to give them a first-class experience," says Bennett. "Gourmet meals on board, private transportation from the train to the stadium, perfect seats - real hero treatment."

Through the Army War College Foundation, of which he is a trustee, Bennett met with Walter Reed's commanding general, who loved the idea.

But Bennett had some ground rules first, all designed to keep the focus on the troops alone:

No press on the trip, lest the soldiers' day of pampering devolve into a media circus.

No politicians either, because, says Bennett, "I didn't want some idiot making this trip into a campaign photo op."

And no Pentagon suits on board, otherwise the soldiers would be too busy saluting superiors to relax.

The general agreed to the conditions, and Bennett realized he had a problem on his hands.

"I had to actually make this thing happen," he laughs.

Over the next months, he recruited owners of 15 other sumptuous rail cars from around the country - these people tend to know each other - into lending their vehicles for the day. The name of their temporary train?

The Liberty Limited.

Amtrak volunteered to transport the cars to D.C. - where they'd be coupled together for the round-trip ride to Philly - then back to their owners later.

Conrail offered to service the Liberty while it was in Philly. And SEPTA drivers would bus the disabled soldiers 200 yards from the train to Lincoln Financial Field, for the game.

A benefactor from the War College ponied up 100 seats to the game - on the 50-yard line - and lunch in a hospitality suite.

And corporate donors filled, for free and without asking for publicity, goodie bags for attendees:

From Woolrich, stadium blankets. From Wal-Mart, digital cameras. From Nikon, field glasses. From GEAR, down jackets.

There was booty not just for the soldiers, but for their guests, too, since each was allowed to bring a friend or family member.

The Marines, though, declined the offer. "They voted not to take guests with them, so they could take more Marines," says Levin, choking up at the memory.

Bennett's an emotional guy, so he was worried about how he'd react to meeting the 88 troops and guests at D.C.'s Union Station, where the trip originated. Some GIs were missing limbs. Others were wheelchair-bound or accompanied by medical personnel for the day.

"They made it easy to be with them," he says. "They were all smiles on the ride to Philly. Not an ounce of self-pity from any of them. They're so full of life and determination."

At the stadium, the troops reveled in the game, recalls Bennett. Not even Army's lopsided loss to Navy could deflate the group's rollicking mood.

Afterward, it was back to the train and yet another gourmet meal - heroes get hungry, says Levin - before returning to Walter Reed and Bethesda.

"The day was spectacular," says Levin. "It was all about these kids. It was awesome to be part of it."

The most poignant moment for the Levins was when 11 Marines hugged them goodbye, then sang them the Marine Hymn on the platform at Union Station.

"One of the guys was blind, but he said, 'I can't see you, but man, you must be f---ing beautiful!' " says Bennett. "I got a lump so big in my throat, I couldn't even answer him."

It's been three weeks, but the Levins and their guests are still feeling the day's love.

"My Christmas came early," says Levin, who is Jewish and who loves the Christmas season. "I can't describe the feeling in the air."

Maybe it was hope.

As one guest wrote in a thank-you note to Bennett and Vivian, "The fond memories generated last Saturday will sustain us all - whatever the future may bring."

God bless the Levins.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Troop Support: Still Most Important Issue

h/t Red Notes from a Blue State

Amidst all the political primaries hullabaloo let's not forget our freedom preserving troops and the veterans!

Excerpt from a long posting by Ron Winter on troops and veterans support:
If this country is going to prevail, if our way of life and our freedoms are to continue in future generations, there will have to be warriors and ultimately veterans. I don't care what the cost is, or what percentage of the federal budget is involved. Whatever is paid to ensure that our military gets the best equipment and treatment, and that veterans get the best after their time on active duty, is worth it.

Without the veterans, without the military, there is no America. Think long and hard about that when you are deciding who to support in the presidential election.

My choice will go to the candidate who is short on lib service, and long on real support vor the military and veterans.