Jan 20, 2017

Allentown's Park Problem

Under Pawlowski, the park and recreation departments were combined,  and all three of the consecutive park directors had the same background in recreation, and were hired by the same person,  Fran Dougherty.

The WPA double stairwell in Lehigh Parkway, shown above, is in dire straights.  The landings are falling apart, allowing water to seep into foundation of the steps.  The park department always has the same answer now for years.  Yes, we're budgeting for it next year.  Yes, it's on our short list. etc. etc.  Meanwhile, last summer a large outdoor  gymnasium was installed at Jordan Park.  Although it would be the envy of any federal prison,  it is nothing they could ever afford.  However,  our recreation obsessed park director found the funds.

I have twice publicly offered city council my time to act as a liaison on park matters.  They approve the park budgets, and have the leverage to modify park priorities.  Meanwhile,  our iconic system, once nationally recognized as among the best,  declines.   Pawlowski's director endorses more parks, and more expensive catalog equipment,  while the important existing features crumble.

Jan 19, 2017

Pawlowski's Second String Minorities

The Morning Call announced that Ed Pawlowski has made his try for a fourth term official. As I pointed out previously on this blog, he has been courting minority church congregations since his incrimination with the FBI investigation. His friend and probable supporter Alan Jennings, thinks that because of the Trump era discontent with status quo government, that he might have a chance. Actually, by that yardstick, he's toast. He represents the worst of government as usual. What Pawlowski is going after is the Marion Barry vote. That previous mayor of Washington was re-elected, even after being convicted on drug charges. The idea is that minorities are more sympathetic to trouble with the man. Pawlowski's strategy might work. The Democratic primary will divide up a relatively small number of votes among numerous candidates.

In 2005, when Pawlowski was unencumbered by corruption allegations,  he promised the established minority community leaders more presence in city hall. He delivered on that promise. I can only imagine who and what he is promising now.

The title of this post is based on my observation that Pawlowski is not only courting minority votes, but those smaller congregations and business people, who previously did not warrant his attention.

Jan 18, 2017

The Hillary Women and Elephants

Now, I can accept that many women found Trump's persona unacceptable.  I can also understand that many women, and men, supported Hillary.  While protesting the inauguration might provide some cathartic relief,  and it  certainly is a boom to the busing industry,  what the exercise really accomplishes remains a mystery.

The protests remind me of the controversy over performing elephants.  I think that if those Ringling Brother elephants could talk, they would have told the women to butt out.  Their cousins in India and Asia have to carry logs all day. Worse yet, their relatives in Africa are slain by the thousands for their ivory.

During the campaign I met Hillary workers from New York, who were concerned about their granddaughter's future health choices under a Trump presidency.  I suspect that their granddaughters will have the same health options as now, but because of grandma,  they will no longer be able to enjoy the circus.*

* Ringling Brothers is ending the circus after 100 years.  The show could not survive without the elephants.

Jan 17, 2017

Allentown's New Park

Pawlowski has been praising Allentown's plan for a new park off of Basin Street by the old incinerator parcel.  As a student and advocate of the park system,  I can tell you that the existing park system has never been in worse shape.  As a student of local government, I can tell you that this plan shows how misguided priorities can be in this city.

Allentown's Park Director, Lindsay Taylor, is also elated. “I am very excited at the prospect of the city’s creating a plan for Allentown’s own “Central Park,” a park and trail hub that will link to downtown and provide the type of recreational facilities that will encourage people choosing to move to the downtown.” Lindsay, it would be a pretty gritty ride from the new Strata Lofts to Basin Street. Quite a tour past the prison, down to Union Street.  You know where to find me in the parks everyday. I'll be glad to take you around, and show you 100 things that should be maintained before you even think about adding a new park to the neglected existing system.

Jan 16, 2017

Minority New Head Of Allentown School District

The other day I received the following comment on an older post. So where is your story on the first black superintendent of the Allentown School District??? I noticed you and Bernie conveniently neglected to bring that up??? Well, first off, Bernie and I write two blogs completely independent of each other. When we cover the same story it is only by coincidence. I tend to publish only one post per day, putting me behind the news cycle. However, this topic wss indeed on my short list. The Allentown School Board members were very pleased with themselves about the three finalists being minorities. Articles mentioning Mr. Parker's selection, featured the fact he was the first minority superintendent in a system where minorities are now the majority.

I don't know what is involved in improving the district, but I'm fairly certain it is not the color of the superintendent's skin.  I do not believe that the role model concept applies here.  I do not believe that students at Raub Middle School either know or care that their superintendent is African-American.  One need only look at the large urban school districts to know that having minority school administrations isn't enough to make a difference.

Role models must be much closer to home, if not in the home itself. I wish Mr. Parker and the district well.  If there are improvements it will result from his insights,  not his complexion.

Jan 13, 2017

Open Space Dreamers In Lehigh Valley

Despite Pennsylvania being one of the thirteen colonies,  there exists a vast wilderness in the northern central portion of the state.  Open space exists everywhere in the world, except our densest cities.  Despite this reality, the concept of open space and farm land have become mantras of the left.  Here in the Lehigh Valley, we have many more acres of farmland than farmers,  yet the conservative Lehigh County Commissioners keep adding more tax dollars to farm preservation.  I recently suggested that they should care more about our historical structures,  rather than bowing to political correctness.  But all this background is leading me up to today's topic,  Lower Macungie Commissioner Ron Beitler.  Although we never met,  Ron and I are often on the same page.  However,  Ron is an open space advocate, who I believe may now be crossing a line.

Ron would like to see his township zoners more sympathetic to open space.  I think that he is clearly confusing zoning and planning.  The township comprehensive plan dictates what uses are allowed, and where they are allowed.  It is zoning responsibility to implement that plan.  It is the zoning board responsibility to fairly allow justified  exemptions to that plan.  The zoners should not be swayed by a predetermined philosophy of land use.  Although the township is rolling out a new comprehensive plan later in the year,  Beitler just engineered the replacement of a zoner that he felt wasn't in sync with his philosophy of open space.  Although he acted within the guidelines of appointments and approvals,  it was deck stacking,  which I find objectionable.

ADDENDUM: Deck stacking can have major consequences, one need look no farther than Allentown.  Mayor for Life Ed Pawlowski in eleven years stacked city council and all the Authorities.  Before Candida Affa became his yes lady on council,  she was his yes lady on the Parking Authority.  Try going downtown to Hamilton Street, and putting in eight quarters for a cup of coffee.  Destination cities do not even charge $2 an hour to park.  What kind of destination does Allentown think it is?  Mayor for Life is supposedly soliciting contributions for his 4th term.  He has yet to call me.

photo credit: The Morning Call

Jan 12, 2017

A Farewell To Hope With No Change

In my lifetime I listened to a lot of presidents speak.  The first one I remember is Dwight Eisenhower.  Although he wasn't much of a speaker,  certainly John Kennedy could turn a word. However,  I have never heard anyone better than Barack Obama.  Obama is so eloquent he need not restrain himself with the truth or facts.

The Democratic choir in Chicago Tuesday night heard Obama concede that  although the factory jobs are gone, we still need more unionization.  In the same paragraph, he also advocated for a larger safety net.  Old mantras die hard.

One of the most glaring reality checks about the speech is that Chicago is the murder capital of the world, with over 750 fatal shootings in 2016.  Hope alone can't get you safely down the street.

As Obama's golden words soared away from practicality, he cited his effort to close Guantanamo Bay, and avail our terrorist enemies the benefit of our justice system in New York City.

The disconnect between empty words, no matter how well spoken, and current events, is why Trump is being sworn in next week.

Jan 11, 2017

The Jeff Sessions' Session

I have a confession, I don't watch much current television.  Most of my viewing is limited to retro shows, from the days of my youth.  The current agenda driven news,  both liberal and conservative,  I find annoying.  However, I did watch some of the Senate Committee grilling of Jeff Sessions on Tuesday morning.

Senator Sessions expectedly replied, over and over, that as Attorney General he would enforce the law,  regardless of how he may have voted on the matter, while serving in the Senate. What a surprise that a conservative senator has a conservative voting record.  Before being a senator,  he served as Attorney General in Alabama. The Senate hearings seem to be an opportunity for grandstanding, with little other purpose.

New Jersey's Cory Booker has publicized his upcoming crucifixion of Sessions.  Booker will make history today, and testify against a fellow senator in a confirmation hearing. While Cory concerns himself with smears against Sessions from thirty years ago,  he had no issue with Eric Holder wanting to transfer terrorists from Guantanamo to New York City, and afford them protection under US justice codes.  Sessions favors retaining the prison at the Naval base in Cuba.

photo of Senator Sessions in Iraq

Jan 10, 2017

The Daughters of Zion

On Monday morning, the entire media, including conservative outlets, were abuzz with Meryl Streep's speech bashing Trump.  Being a certified bastard,  I wasn't impressed that a top grade actress could deliver an emotional speech. However, what did amaze me was that although Streep's photo was everywhere,  the murdered Israeli cadets in Jerusalem had either moved to the bottom of the page, or even off of it.

Three of the four murdered soldiers were young women.  The Palestinian reaction was to hand out sweets, and take pride in the attack.  While Obama helped legitimize the attack through the UN vote and Kerry's speech,  Trump has declared that he will move the embassy to Jerusalem.   If he does that,  it would be a memorial to those murdered girls.

Jan 9, 2017

PPL's Rude Day

The letter from PPL stated that my service would be interrupted on January 5th for six hours, to make improvements or repairs to our lines.   I assumed that they had discovered damaged wires or equipment,  and that the repair was necessary, to avoid an impending outage.  After noticing a string of  contractor tree trimming trucks,  I made some inquires.   Although it only 25 degrees outside,  my electric was being turned off for routine tree maintenance, that wasn't done earlier in the season.  How inconsiderate is that?

Although, I live in a neighborhood with many trees,  in the all years that I've lived here, they have never before cut the power to trim the trees.  It is not a densely populated area,  so I suppose we didn't rate much consideration.  Save for this blog, perhaps there were no other complaints.  Most of the residents probably have no idea that the outage was for such an arbitrary reason.  They might even think that PPL had their back, with some pro-active repair. Their taped message after the power was restored at 3:15 pm, stated that the cause of the outage was equipment maintenance, and that 137 customers were affected.   In addition to being unnecessarily inconvenienced for almost a full day,  they will consume extra energy bringing their house back to temperature.  Those  residents with electric heat or heat pumps, will have to pay a premium for their discomfort. They will have to tip their abuser.

Jan 6, 2017

McHistory In Lehigh Valley

Readers of this blog know that I'm upset about what little value history is given in this community.  Yesterday's Morning Call story on the Lehigh Valley Trust Bank building goes a step farther, and significantly alters the story of an important structure.  After reading the Morning Call article, one would think that the bank closed,  Abe Atiyeh purchased it and then sold it to the Jaindls,  who are now opening an event center after restoration.  The real story is so different,  I can only conclude that this current article was only meant as another NIZ promotion, not a serious background of the building.

When the building was purchased by Seigfried Braun, unmentioned in the article,  it had been modernized.  He and his family spend years and most of their assets lovingly restoring it.  The famed skylight and other adornments were covered over decades earlier, by a massive new lowered ceiling.  What you see now is the fruit of his labor. Restoring the skylight alone took over a year.  In addition to that bank,  he also purchased the Dime Bank and the Elks Club.  The Dime Bank has now been incorporated into the new Renaissance Hotel.  The Elks Club was demolished to make way for J.B. Reilly's aborted massive Two Towers project.

Unfortunately, illness forced Mr. Braun to quickly sell these significant structures for pennies on the dollar, to Abe Atiyeh.  We should thank Braun for saving these magnificent structures.  Although, I like to think that my local political opinions have merit,  my better calling is to defend and advocate for local historical structures, when I have the needed endurance.  Meanwhile, I use this blog to present local history, and occasionally point out misconceptions about it.

This piece was inadvertently posted for several minutes yesterday during revisions. 

Jan 5, 2017

Lehigh Valley Not Much For History

The Lehigh Valley isn't much on history, neither Allentown or Lehigh County. The 1824 stone arch Reading Road Bridge is only still standing because of my efforts. It's sister bridge from 1828, Schreibers, may now be closed by the State. Since the 15th Street Bridge(Ward Street) was closed for replacement, Schreibers has taken an incredible beating. Although posted for 3 tons, it has been battered by tractor-trailers no less than half a dozen times. In a further assault to the bridge, Allentown dropped the ball, and allowed the State to make Oxford drive/24th Street bridge one way for repairs, increasing the burden on the old stone bridge.

reprinted from September of 2013

UPDATE JANUARY 2017:  Although, the new 15th Street Bridge opened about 18 months ago,  Allentown has yet to repair the smashed walls on the Martin Luther King side of Schreibers bridge.  In fairness to Allentown, they were repaired once during the closure of the 15th Street Bridge, but then were smashed again.  Now that the 15th Street Bridge is complete, it's way overdue for the city to make final repairs on the historical bridge walls.  

Jan 4, 2017

Downhill On Lehigh Street

During the early 1970's, Allentown demolished the entire neighborhood between Union and Lawrence Streets. It was, in a large part, home to the black community. How ironic that we destroyed the cohesion of a neighborhood, but renamed Lawrence Street after Martin Luther King. The only remnant of the neighborhood is the St. James A.M.E. Church. Going up the hill today we now have a vacant bank call center on the east, and the Housing Authority Project on the west. A whole neighborhood existed in from both sides of Lehigh Street, including black owned shops. The houses were old and humble, but people owned them, many for generations. Some blacks at the time wondered if the project was Urban Renewal or Negro Removal?

reprinted from January 2011

The bank call center referred to above is now Building 21, Allentown School District's own alternative charter like high school.

Jan 3, 2017

The Color Line Of Allentown's NIZ

I do not purport to be politically correct.  However, I do have some grasp of Allentown's realities.  Before the former merchants and their clientele were removed from Hamilton Street, for the arena and NIZ development, I called the emerging program classist.  When I debated the issue on channel 69, the NIZ proponent referred to the former merchants and their customers as a cancer.

In yesterday's post, I predicted that the former demographic, mostly black and hispanic,  would again dominate, after the initial wave of gentrification in the new district failed to sustain itself.  A local black entrepreneur, Alfonso Todd, reminded me in a comment that they too are millennials.

Yesterday, when I wrote that I don't believe that gentrification will succeed in Allentown,  that really referred to a mostly white, middle class enclave feeling comfortable at 7th and Linden Streets.  I believe that Todd sees more of an integrated grouping.  I believe for that to happen, the minority middle class would have to be substantially larger.  He believes that a larger event calendar would facilitate more urbanization.  I can see that, but I'm not sure that it would translate into more actual middle class center city residents.  I hope that he's correct, because his vision would be much more successful in the long term than mine.

I know that there are others who could approach this topic with more sensitivity, and perhaps in a more colorblind fashion.  However, the best I can do is provide a forum for the uncomfortable truths among us.

Todd at one of many events he promoted, photo by molovinsky

Jan 2, 2017

The Reality Of Revitalization In Allentown

The Morning Call reported that the proprietor of Sage is closing his two stores on the ArtsWalk to concentrate  on internet sales. Although it's true that online sales have deeply affected brick and mortar retail,  that is not a new revelation.  What is not discussed in the article is the reality of downtown's demographic; It's the same poor crowd walking among the new buildings.  Just as Shula's couldn't serve enough $50 steaks in that environment, nor can Sage sell $75 designer jeans.  Although J.B. Reilly induced his upscale merchants with discount rents,  he can't  upgrade the shoppers;  He can't put money in the their pockets.

Reilly is hoping that his Strata Loft buildings eventually house enough millennials to support upscale commerce.  However, until and unless that happens,  both the stores and restaurants will have to adapt to market realities to survive.  The new Rite-Aid is doing well,  as it did on Hamilton Street, before the revitalization.  Just as Shula's was replaced with a lower price point eatery,  we will see Sage replaced with a downgrade.

I don't have faith that Reilly's millennial migration will succeed. I don't have faith that Allentown is a candidate for gentrification. I think that all too soon he will be renting to the same demographic that lived there before his new buildings.  At that point,  the Morning Call will be promoting that reality as diversity.  Now don't feel bad for Reilly,  either way, he has a new real estate portfolio, paid for by the taxpayers.

Dec 30, 2016

Pawlowski's Budget Victory

Although the budget compromise is being portrayed as a win/win,  it is anything but that.

I know Pawlowski.  Although independent candidates don't fare well in elections,  they learn a lot about their opponents during a campaign.  As an independent candidate for mayor in 2005,  I suffered through 28 campaign events with Ed.  In my informed opinion,  he prevailed in the current budget compromise.  The salary increases were mostly restored, and as for council having more voice in choosing the Community Development Director,  they always had the final say.  But, here's what the public doesn't know.

Pawlowski's guy,  Michael Walker, is still retained as Operations Manager.  Although the mayor's friend, Candida Affa, says that there is a side agreement that he will eventually leave,  this is currently unconfirmed. More so, what she and nobody else disclosed, is that Walker is mostly a no-show employee.  I have been told by several reliable sources that nobody sees him,  and some key employees in city hall have never even met him.  We taxpayers have been paying a substantial salary ($90,000+) for nothing,  and will continue to do so under the new budget.  Pawlowski has beaten council and his distractors down so much, for so long,  that they consider anything less than his complete victory a winning compromise.

Dec 29, 2016

Obama's Pogrom Against Israel

Yesterday, Obama told Israel,  through his spokesman John Kerry, that Israel must decide if it's going to be Jewish or a democracy, and that it can't be both in its current  one state solution. Could you imagine him saying that to one of the Arab countries,  that they either have to be Muslim or democratic, but they can't be both.  This man has outright contempt for Israel.  Israel is concerned with survival.  Perhaps Obama needs to spend a few nights in Chicago's hood,  and learn what it's like to live in danger.

Kerry spent an agonizing seventy four minutes trying to justify throwing Israel under the bus at the UN.  In his drawn out speech, he inadvertently touched on some of the harsh realities of life in Israel.  While praising the United States for providing the Iron Dome, he mentioned that it saved countless Israeli lives.  Later in the speech, he said that a Palestinian state on the West Bank must not be hostile, like Gaza.  What a leap of faith that would take.  What words ever came out of Palestinian mouths to reassure Israel?  He even stated that a two state solution would stabilize a volatile region.  Does he know a place in the middle east that is calm.  Does he think that the carnage in Allepo has anything to do with Israel?  A Secretary of State who has accomplished nothing in the middle east, now in his last three weeks in office, knows the solution for Israel and the middle east.

While Kerry said that peace cannot be imposed,  he had no trouble  imposing a rebut of Israel.  He stated that his plan was approved by the world stakeholders.  In truth, the only real stakeholders are Israel and the Palestinians.  Kerry must know more than Netanyahu and Abbas.

I will not list and discuss his six point plan.  He started his speech by stating that the United States would be derelict if it didn't tell its friend the hard truth.  An hour and fourteen minutes later, he concluded the long speech by saying that in good conscience, the United States cannot do nothing. He  and Obama are neither a good friend, nor have a conscience about Israel.

Design considerations on this blog are chosen for desktop viewing.

Dec 28, 2016

Jews In Jerusalem

Except when barred by one conqueror or another, Jews had lived in Jerusalem since King David. Prior to Jordanian rule in 1948, there was a Jewish majority for 150 years. In 1864, eight thousand of the fifteen thousand population was Jewish. By 1914, two thirds of the sixty five thousand residents were Jewish. In 1948 the United Nations Partition Plan divided the British Mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. Jerusalem was to be initially an international city, with access guaranteed for all. This plan was rejected by the surrounding Arab nations, which attacked Israel in concert immediately upon the UN vote. When the truce was declared, Israel had survived, but East Jerusalem(walled Old City) was in procession of TransJordan. The Jordanians subsequently destroyed over 50 synagogues in the Jewish Quarter, which dated back to the 1400's. For hundreds of years both Christians and Jews were prohibited from building higher than Muslim structures. The few synagogues which survived were the ones built mostly below street level. The oldest surviving synagogue, The Jerusalem Synagogue, was built by the Karaite Jews in around 900. Shown above is the Ben Kakai, a Sephardic Synagogue built in the 16th Century.

Perhaps the most famous synagogue destroyed by the Jordanians was the Ashkenazi Hurva Synagogue built in 1720, it's dome visible in the top center of this photograph from the 1920's. It's replacement was completed in 2010.

This post was first printed in April of 2010, and titled The Synagogues of Jerusalem

Dec 27, 2016

A Family Story

This post is unusually personal for this blog.  My grandfather came to Allentown from Russian Lithuania  in 1891.  In the next few years he was joined by his parents, and five siblings.   The family settled on 2nd Street, along with many other Jewish immigrants of that period.  He worked in various jobs, including a cigar factory, until he could establish himself as a butcher, as in the old country.  Because we were here for over a hundred years,  I consider myself somewhat of a local historian.

As a boy growing up in Lehigh Lehigh Manor, on the ridge above Lehigh Parkway, I explored the WPA structures when they were still comparatively new.  Because of that background, I was able to uncover the Boat Landing, and advocate for our  traditional park system.  One of my father's uncles worked for the park system, caring for Lehigh Parkway.

What brought me to this post is my great grandmother's tombstone in Fountain Hill, which I recently visited.  She is buried in an old Jewish cemetery that is no longer in use. Although, her tombstone is very old, it replaced an even older one , that then laid behind the former Wentz's tombstone factory at 20th and Hamilton, for many decades.  I am the last Molovinsky in Allentown.

photo taken behind Wentz's before recent demolition of that facility.

This blog is designed for desktop.

Dec 26, 2016

Obama's Parting Shot At Israel

For those who support Israel,  Obama's parting shot of not vetoing the UN resolution against the little country, was not a surprise. He has demonstrated indifference to outright hostility, since his first term in office. Ironically, his middle eastern sympathies  provide little comfort to our citizens as we brace for possible attacks during this holiday season.  Support for Israel is a controversial issue, even among some Jews.  It is not my intention to debate the general topic here, but to note Obama's departure from the historical American position, of not imposing pre-conditions on a country surrounded by sworn enemies.

As a Jew, I'm perplexed as to why he garnered so much Jewish support, in both 08 and 012.  Jews, like other minorities, were nursed on the belief that the Democrats better represent them. Despite outright hostility to Netanyahu for four years, he loss only 8 points of Jewish support for his second term.

This post should not be misconstrued as a partisan indictment of Democrats.  Rather,  it is my contention that voters should mature beyond preconceived notions about one party or the other.

Dec 23, 2016


                                    REPRINTED FROM 2012

In the best use, molovinsky on allentown chronicles my efforts in the community, in addition to being an alternative news source for local issues. Last week a small victory resulted from such efforts. Our local dignitaries broke ground for a new garage at Lanta. Several years ago, when the garage plans were first announced, it was to be built on the parking lot of Bicentennial Park. Allentown needed money, and Lanta had a grant to build a new garage. Lanta claimed that the ball park property was the only feasible location, and the City claimed that Bicentennial Park had outlived it's usefulness.
Bicentennial Park is virtually the history of baseball in Allentown. First opened in 1939 as Fairview Field, it was home to the minor league team of the Boston Braves; The Allentown Dukes played there through 1948, when Breadon Field was built in Whitehall, site now of the Lehigh Valley Mall. Over the years thousands of Allentown kids had the yearly thrill of playing "Under The Lights". In addition to hosting the Allentown Ambassadors, it currently serves women's fast pitch softball. In addition to the outrage in our park system, I will be adding the ballfield as a topic in my upcoming SPEAK OUT ALLENTOWN MEETING. from Lanta Mugs City, May 14,2009  
I conducted a meeting at a small local church, which attracted a couple members of City Council and the Hunsicker Family, who led the drive to build the park, decades ago. City Council went on to pass a resolution recommending that the park not be sold, and Lanta did eventually figure out an alternative space for the garage. Needless to say, I wasn't one of the dignitaries invited to the ground breaking, nor were my efforts even mentioned in the newspaper article, but a small victory, never the less.

Baseball Memoirs, June 3, 2009

above reprinted from 2012
UPDATE DECEMBER 2016: The meetings mentioned above, in 2008 and 2009, I conducted at Faith Baptist Church on N.12th St.  Among the topics were parking meter increases, Lanta,  Bicentennial Park, and Fairview Cemetery.  They provided an informal public venue for citizens and council to interact.  Years later, I would conduct more meetings at the library on preserving the WPA structures.  Unfortunately,  Allentown and South Whitehall have demonstrated little regard for our historic structures.  The mission continues.

Design considerations on this blog are chosen for desktop viewing.

Dec 22, 2016

Rumble Over Wehr's Dam

This striking photograph of Wehr's Dam was taken recently by local professional photographer Hub Willson, and featured on his facebook page. Among the many who complimented the photograph was Randy Cope, Park and Recreation Director of South Whitehall. Randy cooperated with efforts by the Wildlands Conservancy to demolish the dam, and still calls for its demolition in his Parks Master Plan. After I spent the last 30 months defending the dam against the Wildlands and South Whitehall, I couldn't refrain from reminding Randy that if he had his way, the dam wouldn't have been there last week for Hub to photograph.

When the former Allentown Park Director allowed The Wildlands Conservancy to demolish the quaint Robin Hood Dam in Lehigh Parkway,  he told me that the dam could be replaced with a nice sign and picture of the former dam.

Just as the Democrats were surprised that Trump won in November,  Randy Cope, The Wildlands Conservancy and the South Whitehall Commissioners never expected the Wehr's Dam Referendum to pass. They expected the residents to vote the dam away, when threatened with a tax increase for restoration. They thought that they could accommodate the Wildlands Conservancy with no political consequence. They still hope to demolish the dam.

Hub has understandably deleted the posting and controversy from his page, and I apologize for my intrusion there.  Sometimes, in the course of fighting for our history,  I must cross some boundaries; For that I make no apology.

photograph of Wehr's Dam by Hub Willson

This blog is designed for desktop viewing.

Dec 21, 2016

Politics 2016, When Well Spoken Was No Longer Enough

I'll grant my liberal late night friends that Barack and Bill are both well spoken and cool. We saw Barack with Anthony Bourdain and Jerry Seinfeld, tres cool. You like your pols well spoken and witty. How you enjoyed Trump and Palin being ridiculed on SNL. How you loved Jon Steward bashing those low information Republicans. How you loved the beautiful entertainers campaigning for Hillary.   Well, friends, the proverbial fat lady has sung.

 Bill Clinton's explanation of Hillary's loss marks the end of his commentator days. Anybody with a shred of insight knows that the election was over well before the FBI announcement or any Russian hacking leaks. Bill's lack of candor also spells the end of Hillary, because her main credential was him. Likewise, Barack Obama's explanation of the loss was way less than candid. He was the quintessential inspirational speaker, who failed to bring any change with his hope. Democrats fail to realize that when there's no factories anymore, union bosses telling you whom to vote for doesn't carry much weight.

 There's even Republicans who loss big in this election, like the Bush clan. Of course, all this is the good news. The bad news is that I don't see this country coming together.  That would require the cooperation of the media, which is soundly married to the concept of polarization. With the country so split, it is more profitable to take a side, and stick with it. Alec Baldwin will have his Saturday night job for at least the next four years.

Dec 20, 2016

The Self Righteousness of the Left.

The last ditch attempt by the Democrats to reverse our election process has failed, although the results won't be official until January 6. Prevailing upon the electoral college members to vote their conscience, instead of their mandate under the Constitution,  required a heavy dose of self righteousness on the Democrat's part.  Unlike votes in swing states,  that is something in which they abound.

Worse, they don't seem to understand the true nature of their loss.  While they rave on about winning the popular vote,  but for New York City and Los Angeles,  they would have lost that also. While they rant on about not steering enough voters out to the polls on election day,  the Republicans had virtually no organized ground game under Trump.  What they did have was highly self- motivated voters, wanting to see some fundamental changes in their government.

I don't think  that the two post election strategies of having a recount, or subverting the Electoral College, will endear more voters to the Democratic Party.  Bill Clinton speaking of "angry white men", and using every excuse for Hillary's loss, won't help either.  Obama spending his final days in office muttering about Putin hacking our system, is just another example of poor losing.  He would have served righteousness better confronting Russia about the carnage in Syria.  Michelle Obama told Oprah Winfrey that the country is losing hope under president elect Trump.  She apparently doesn't understand that voters were looking for more than hope, they want progress, both for themselves and the country.

Dec 19, 2016

Bill White's Christmas Fruit Cake

If Pawlowski needed any indicator that his goose is cooked in Allentown, he need look no further than Bill White's column on Sunday. For the second year in a row,  Bill abandoned his usual Sunday Christmas Light Column for the low hanging fruit called Pawlowski. Last year's column already recommended that the mayor resign.  Understand, that White by nature isn't a boat rocker.  White's use of the previous mayors in the Pawlowski dream sequence was a very clever vehicle. I note that of one of the expressions he used,  shenanigans,  has appeared along with Pawlowski's name on this blog dozens of times.

Although, White has apparently decided that Pawlowski is now definitely Hall of Shame material, he  still shields the NIZ from such scrutiny.  He knows that Pawlowski really wasn't responsible for the new construction in Allentown, and that it just happen on his watch.  He knows that the NIZ is J.B. Reilly's handiwork,  who now even owns the Morning Call building and office, from where Bill wrote his column.

Since its been over a year since White called for Pawlowski's resignation, we certainly must give Mayor Ed credit for being resilient.  He may even decide to run for a 4th term.

Dec 16, 2016

A Bastard Blogger At Christmas

Last Wednesday's council meeting wasn't nearly as crowded as it appeared, considering that council and the mayor were finally going toe to toe.  One side of the chamber was half full with city employees, there by Pawlowski mandate.  I saw both  the park director and her foreman.  Pawlowski was giving a long soliloquy on how the budget cuts would affect each department, and the department heads were summoned for dramatic effect.  The other side of the chamber, populated by the citizenry, was about one third full.

However, if you wanted to find citizens,  you need only driven toward Lehigh Parkway Saturday night.  There, for Lights In The Parkway, the line of cars extended all along Parkway East, over Schreibers Bridge, and down Martin Luther King Drive.  When I drive through the park I see the neglected WPA structures.  I see the view and access to the creek obscured by Wildlands Conservancy Weeds. I see neglect, misappropriation, and undue outside influence.

It would be nice to only concern myself with twinkling colored lights.  Perhaps they have a pill for that.

Dec 15, 2016

Allentown's Runaway Monster

Allentown City Council created the monster that they are now trying to reign in.  They turned the mayor into this rebellious creature, by granting his each and every wish for eleven years.  Although that will not be the defense used by the attorney he hires to defend his budget,  it could be.  The attorney could claim that council itself conditioned the mayor to think that he was entitled to create every position he desired, and fund it to the extent that he wished.  Council for three consecutive terms never voted no against his requests.  The longest sitting member,  Julio Guridy, never had to learn  how to say "no" in English. *  Pawlowski was so strong that he actually decided who should cast his yes votes, and stacked the council to his will.  He likewise stacked every authority in Allentown with board members assigned to approve his greater agenda.

Credit the FBI for finally subduing the monster.  It was certainly something that the voters weren't up to.   It is ironic and painful that the citizens must pay for both Pawlowski's and Council's legal costs to defend their relative budgets.  However,  call it the price to pay for those eleven years of indiffernce.  As to which case will prevail,  I don't think that the taxpayers will win either way.

* please pardon my culturally insensitive little joke

Dec 14, 2016

News In The Lehigh Valley

One of the new terms from this election, among many, is fake news.  With so many people now getting their news and information from scrolling on a  mobile device, often a headline is what people have come to believe.  Broadcast journalism no longer really exists.  Who believes that Fox is fair and balanced? Who doesn't see the objective of MSNBC?  In our era, trying to get close to the truth is laborious and time consuming.  You have to check multiple sources, and try to distill common denominators in a story.

Here in the valley, I think that we're still pretty lucky in the news department.  It's true that we lost one of the three papers, and the other two are skeletons of their previous self.  And of course, there's certain topics which have no credibility in reporting, such as the NIZ in Allentown.  J.B. Reilly literally now owns the Morning Call building.   The fox owns the henhouse.  Although the paper would claim that there are firewalls, they have always been very thin at 6th and Linden.  That topic aside,  they are pretty good reporting the saga at City Hall,  and being forthright about crime.

WFMZ also does a good job.  Although their medium restricts them to sound bites and short segments for the tube,  their websites produces detailed stories, written by former reporters for both the Morning Call and Express Times.  How many people actually read those reports is another story.

Here in the blogosphere, you have Bernie O'Hare, who relentlessly hunts the stories. Although he has some prized politicians,  he takes his role very seriously, and includes disclosures. Then, of course there is another blogger, who writes less, and likes nobody.

ADDENDUM: The national venues,  such as Huffington Post and MSNBC,  with Trump having lost the popular vote,  are reinforced with their agenda news spin. (Same for Conservative venues, with Trump winning the election.)  Yesterday,  Rachel Maddow and MSNBC, vowed to keep the pressure on the new administration. Of course that means continue with the aspersions and inneuendos popular with their audience.  Entertainment business as usual, masquerading as news.

Dec 13, 2016

Trump's Brilliant Cabinet

During the campaign nothing about Trump really impressed me.  Now, that he has been elected,  I'm impressed with his cabinet formation.  While his opposers are complaining about appointing the rich, fat cat capitalists, after he swore to drain the swamp, he indeed is doing as he pledged.  These people are not being picked for their skin color or gender.  They are not being picked because they need a paycheck or career.  Each will actually sacrifice economically to serve.

What is prompting this post, at this time, is Trump reportedly has picked Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, along with John Bolton as his deputy.  Tillerson, a $25 million a year CEO of Exxon Oil, didn't need a job or prestige. He doesn't need to be Secretary of State to help Exxon, as American Voice of Reason, claim in the facebook notice shown above.  When Trump ran he pledged to bring the best people into our government, and he seems to be doing just that.

Dec 12, 2016

Defending Tony The Tiger Against Breitbart

I have been defending Steve Bannon from association with white supremacy and anti-semitism. I also defend Breitbart News, from such accusations. However, I must now defend Kellogg's from Breitbart's boycott campaign against the cereal company. Kellogg's pulled their advertising from Breitbart's because of perceptions referenced above. Breitbart in turn started the boycott in response. There is no obligation for a company to advertise with a media outlet, and there should be no penalty for ending the relationship, regardless of the reason. I can only think that this tactic will hurt Breitbart more in the long term. Monetizing web sites is no easy matter.  Kellogg's undoubtedly advertised with Breitbart because of their growing readership. Although, they decided to end the relationship for political reasons,  that is their prerogative.  Breitbart's niche is being conservative in a mostly liberal field.  Perhaps the only other site of their size is Drudge Report.  I think that Breitbart should have a firewall between their editorial position and their advertising department.  To end up being boycotted after spending your advertising dollars doesn't seem a worthwhile dollar placement.  I  suspect that other potential advertisers will take notice.

Dec 11, 2016

The Coptic Church Of Alexandria

The Church and Theology School in Alexandria was established by the Apostle Mark in 60AD. Most of the early converts were common Egyptians who spoke Coptic. Although Christians became the majority before the Arab invasion in 636, by the 12th century they were the minority. The concept of monasteries in Christianity was started by the Coptics in the deserts of Egypt. Currently, the Coptics are threatened by transitions in Egypt, let us pray for their safety.

photograph of St. Marks Coptic Church in Alexandria, Egypt.

reprinted from January 2011

Dec 9, 2016

A Legacy Of Capitualation

While Obama embodied everything that liberal America could want in a president, he capitulated us away on the world stage. His line in the sand in Syria was only one of many feats of weakness. Probably, his greatest victim was Israel, which saw him embolden Iran.

While I'm alienating my liberal friends, let me go further. His current decision to stop the Dakota pipeline is yet another plea for lasting popularity with his base. Understand, that the pipeline is not on the reservation. Understand, that while it is near the tip an area that juts out from the main part of the reservation, it is far away from that main area. Understand, that only the portion that goes under the river reservoir is incomplete, and it must go under it somewhere, to be completed. I understand that while the image of Indians, activists and veterans has created a noble notion, the stoppage impacts our energy and commerce. It is my hunch that if Hillary won the election, Obama may not have acted against the pipeline. I believe that he sees the issue as a final poke in the eye to those fascists who have conspired against his noble causes.

Dec 8, 2016

Showdown At City Council

Last night was quite a confrontation between the mayor and city council. Those looking for more details can find excellent reports by Emily Opilo of the Morning Call, and Bernie O'Hare at Ramblings.

Alan Jennings was the only person from the public who spoke on Pawlowski's behalf. He claimed that the budget cuts are being inflicted on Pawlowski as punishment for the criminal investigation, and because of those cuts employees are leaving, and morale is low. Of course, in truth, people are leaving and morale is low because six underlings have already pleaded guilty to criminal acts on Pawlowski's behalf, and others are not anxious to fall on the same sword.

Although council defunded the Managing Director position, Pawlowski has created three other positions in his executive suite since he first assumed office. Although council defunded the Community Development Director and Operations Manager, there still exists subordinate positions which operate the nuts and bolts of the city's operation.

Pawlowski read into the record a long filibuster about how the cuts would effect each department and it's activities. In Parks and Recreation, the department of which I'm most familiar, he cited the adverse effect it would have on the city pools and the WPA structures. His administration closed Fountain Park Pool years before any budget cuts. Cedar Beach Pool is now the subject of another investigation. Besides rebuilding the previously neglected wall in Lehigh Parkway which had collapsed, the city hasn't spend one dime on the WPA. They only repaired part of the wall because it was necessary to reopen the entrance road. Work done last summer on the Fountain Park WPA steps was paid for by the Trexler Trust, after a third party secured the grant.

When Pawlowski asked the city solicitor if council's actions last night were permissible under the charter, she declined to answer, claiming that she wasn't prepared for the question.* Pawlowski has threatened to go to court if council persisted with their budget plans, which they passed last night. However, it's unclear who would pay for that. Furthermore, I think that he might become preoccupied with his own probable court date.

*ADDENDUM: Last night I asked a council member about solicitor Susan Wild, who replied that she has provided them with excellent counsel.  My erroneous post yesterday implied otherwise.

Dec 6, 2016

A New Pawlowski Shenanigan

For years I have urged that Allentown City Council should use the budget and expense approvals as a negotiation tool, as done by councils most everywhere else. This council, and it's predecessors for the most part, refused, and became known as rubber stamps. That changed rather dramatically with Pawlowski's implication in wrong doing by the FBI investigation. For the current budget, council has become very proactive. They indicated last meeting that a solicitor of their own was overdue. I would hope that Council calls this bluff by Pawlowski and Wild, and passes the budget tomorrow night with council's own amendments. They should also seek an outside opinion on Wild's unique interpretation of the budget sequence.

ADDENDUM:  Two members of council have stated that they will indeed pass their amended version of the budget tomorrow evening.

UPDATE: Fellow local blogger Bernie O'Hare feels that Wild was serving council's interest by notifying them that the budget deadline was December 15th.  Pawlowski now claims that the cuts made to his first budget, legally justify a new budget by the administration,  and the review processes must start anew.  Susan Wild has not opined on Pawlowski's new assertion.  The notion of Susan Wild serving any master other than Pawlowski is news to both me and council.

UPDATE DECEMBER 8TH: Last night I asked a council member about solicitor Susan Wild,  who replied that she has provided them with excellent counsel.

Why Trump Won and Clinton Lost

Some Democrats are saying that Clinton lost the election by a total of 110,000 votes in three key swing states.  I don't know if that is indeed a fact,  because facts are hard to come by in the current news and media world.  Considering that one of those key states was Pennsylvania, and that Lehigh County is an important factor in the state,  the election process appears to have been fair.  A recount in Lehigh discovered only three absentee ballots which should have gone to Hillary.  A local Democratic activist, although physically present at the Lehigh County recount, continues to paste the election fraud posts on his facebook page.  Jill Stein dropped the recount in Pennsylvania because it was only proving the fairness of the election.  However, she and the Democrats are now filing  claims in federal court, to continue casting doubts on Trump's legitimacy as president.

Every possible accusation of racism and bigotry was used against Trump.  He is supposedly in league with anti-gays,  against women in multiple ways, anti-Semitic and anti everything else.  He didn't win because half the country dances in hate, he won because, as James Carville famously once said, it's the economy, stupid.

I heard a 10 year old girl call Trump a bad man the other day.  I don't find it positive that millions of children growing up with despondent Democratic parents would think that the next president of the United States is a bad man.  I don't find it constructive that their parents are allowing them to harbor such an opinion even before the inauguration.  The September issue of Time Magazine featured comedians and the extraordinary career that they were having with the soft orange target.  I suppose that they will continue mocking, but eventually their sponsors will realize that  they're alienating a significant portion of their market share.  CNN is now analyzing the election, to explain what happen.  Of course, self analysis would be more in order.

The bitterness of this election certainly eclipses anything in my memory.  Although, I didn't support Trump,  I now find this political acrimony more disturbing than anything any candidate said.  I must confess that when I discontinued anonymous comments my readership numbers suffered.  I have no doubt that I'm again losing readers, by criticizing their unwillingness to accept the results of our democracy.

Dec 5, 2016

Rumble In Our Democracy

I keep wanting to get back to local news, but the sore Democrats won't allow it.  They're still complaining about dog whistles and racism.  They're still calling Bannon a white supremacist.  So far, on their behalf, I've seen no real insight about their loss.  Newscasters on CNN speculate that Joe Biden might have beaten Trump.  Instead,  they should be examining how they lost any pretense of objectivity.  Torturing the Democrats even more, is the fact that they won the popular vote.    I see previously sensitive women, of Democratic persuasion, making catty comments about Kellyanne Conway's appearance.  I see lawyers complaining about the legality of the  electoral college.

A local dispenser of taxfunded grants is distressed because Trump used an Indiana state grant to help retain Carrier manufacturing jobs. He wants Obama to get credit for the 16 million jobs that a Washington Post headline said that he had created.  There's no details in the article, because if Obama had in fact created that many jobs,  Hillary would have won. Union members voted for Trump not because of racism, but because they know better than most, that making popcorn at the mall during Christmas season,  isn't manufacturing.  Although, I have often praised this local official on this blog for his accomplishments in Allentown, he requested that I refrain from commenting on his Facebook page. He hates Trump to his very core, and does not accept him as his president.  Another tax funded agency director praised his reply to me.  Never the less, I will continue complimenting his good work.  For me,  life goes on in Allentown, regardless of who is elected to the White House.

We see professors outlining courses on racism and electoral grief.  Others seek contributions for a recount in Florida, with only hours left allowing that recourse.  I have yet to read or hear a positive, forward thinking word from the Democrats.  As a certified bastard, I must once again confess my amusement.  My only concern is that my smirk might be taken as a smile.

Dec 2, 2016

Recounting America's Preference

Earlier in the week, I was critical of the Green Party and their recount effort.  I thought that they were compromising their principles, to possibly only benefit Clinton and the Democrats.  Indeed, the disheartened Democrats thought much more of Jill Stein after she filed for the recount.  The Clinton campaign is now openly recruiting people to help with the recount in Michigan and Wisconsin. The other day, after my post, I received a call from a local Green Party member. This woman was an avid supporter, who actually was with Stein several times during the campaign.  According to this source, the party itself did not support the recount, and it was more of a renegade action by the good doctor herself.  This was not my impression, or the premise of my previous post.  I also believe that it was not conveyed by the press, or is the perception by the general public.

As an advocate for independents and third parties, I find this revelation disappointing.  I knew that Gary Johnson was using the Libertarian Party as a vehicle for his campaign.  I assumed that Jill Stein was more married to her choice of parties.   However, I certainly understand the difficulty of running completely independently, with no party affiliation.

In photographs of the local Lehigh Valley recount, I recognized vocal Clinton supporters present.  The entire local recount only discovered a few absentee ballots which were not counted.   It in fact reaffirmed the integrity of the existing voting system.

Dec 1, 2016

Looking For A Cop In Allentown

If you were looking for a policeman Tuesday morning, you better have been on the second floor of Sacred Heart Hospital, because all the brass and most of the shift were there. It was another one of their Coffee with a Cop sessions.  Besides hospital personnel,  there were only a few community members present.  I confronted Chief Morris about what appeared to me to be a wasted use of manpower.   To his credit, Morris didn't take offense at my blunt assessment, and actually even explained the reasoning.  Police take many of the injured and distressed to that hospital, and this session allowed the hospital workers and police to meet personally, under much less stressful circumstances.

The next Cop and Coffee will take place at the Sunrise Diner on S. 4th Street.  Even I concur that spot will be a good location for community outreach.

Nov 30, 2016

Looking For A Motive In Ohio

Main stream media tells us that the authorities are looking for a motive as to why the young angry Muslim immigrant attacked people at Ohio State.  Needless to say, I find the inquiry mind boggling.  With open hearts and closed eyes we have become easy targets.  We worry more about xenophobia and political correctness, than security. Our college professors want to label our self preservation instincts as racist.  We hide from the reality of our enemy's blind hatred, and instead concentrate on weapons, like gun control. The weapons used in Ohio were a car and kitchen knife.

While our social scientists look for complex answers, hopefully our government will resort to simple procedures, like increased vetting.

During WW2, the navy didn't have time to psychoanalyze each kamikaze pilot.

Nov 29, 2016

Unfriending The Election Results

Before and since the election, I have been amused by reactions to Donald Trump. One facebook friend started to unfriend people yesterday that support Trump. Others are even less tolerant, and will unfriend those who don't loudly condemn Trump. They just cannot be associated with any possible connection to racism or xenophobia, even if contrived. I suspect that the next four years will be tough on them. Although, I do not believe that their characterizations are fair, this post isn't intended to defend Trump, but rather note the mindset of those so upset. Meanwhile, they feel free to viciously demonize, ridicule and mock anyone they suspect remotely connected to the evil one.

Counselors were actually recommending that family members didn't discuss the election at their Thanksgiving dinner. Nonsense like that makes bastards like me grin, and I don't smile that often.

Nov 28, 2016

The Marginalization of Dr. Stein

When Jill Stein campaigned for President she defended herself against taking votes away from Hillary.  She claimed that Hillary was just the status quo, and not really progressive.  The Green Party is now saying that they're not doing the recount for the benefit of any one candidate, but for democracy. Well, we know that they're not doing it for Jill, because she only got about 1% of the vote.  She is now getting more contributions for the recount than her campaign generated.  She has become a willing tool for those despondent over Hillary's loss.  Clinton's campaign staff will be on the ground monitoring the recount.

Trump's victory was pure democracy.  He had no get out the vote organization,  no ground game.  If history will show any shenanigans in the 2016 election, it will be in this recount,  not on November 8th.  As someone who ran himself for office twice as an independent,  I find this action disappointing.  It depreciates the Green Party to the children's Junior Achievement section of the Democratic Party. In essence, Stein is a front for Hillary to recant her concession.  Jill Stein's legacy will be the confirmation of Trump's victory, instead of the principles on which she had run.

Nov 25, 2016

Observations From An Old Allentown Meat Market

Card carrying members of this blog know that in addition to being a son of a bitch, i'm also the son of a butcher. Because my father had a meat market, I was impressed when Wegmans opened about 15 years ago. They raised the bar for local supermarket chains. Getting on their parking lot the day before Thanksgiving was a fool's errand, until this year. On Wednesday there were plenty of spaces, I couldn't even describe the store as very crowded. What happen? The simple answer would be more competition, with Hamilton Crossings and their new offerings. I actually think that  something else was also in play.

For the last several years, Wegmans had indulged in one remodeling project after another. Although new, changing and different might appeal to their clientele in upstate New York, I don't think that they understood local Pennsylvania Dutch thinking. Make it do, wear it out, use it up, do without has been the mentality here for generations. I found the continuous remodeling annoying, and with each improvement there seemed to be less customers.

This blog has received some complaints, mostly from my distressed Democratic readers, about straying too far from the valley with my recent election posts. I wouldn't expect to hear that beef about this entry.

Nov 24, 2016

Allentown As The Little Apple

Before we start, if you're looking for some nice holiday sentiment, click away now, it's not here. I've called Allentown the Little Apple, but that's unfair to New York City. The comparison gives Allentown too much credit, even with the Revitalization. Understand, that the entire revitalized area is primarily owned by just one person, and that's just too freakish for anywhere, even here. Understand, that we have a newspaper that not only doesn't question that, it promotes it. Understand, that we have a mayor who is the center of a FBI investigation, who goes around like nothing's wrong. Talk about an elephant, or hippo in the room.

 reprinted from November 2015

Nov 23, 2016

Obama Rewards Trump Bashers

Yesterday, President Obama bestowed the Metal of Freedom upon those celebrities who bashed Trump on Hillary's behalf during the recent presidential campaign. Among those being rewarded was Robert DeNiro, who wanted to punch Trump in the face. Others who met the criterion included Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen.

By now, some of you may realize that I'm using this post title as a teaser and introduction to a few other issues. The hot media topic, besides the election, is fake news. With declining hard copy newspaper sales, many readers are reducing themselves to just the titles of articles that appear on their mobile devices. Although the liberal left had declared Trump voters as low information people, that description crosses party lines.

Last, but not least, allow me to mention blogging and this site. Yesterday, I noticed that a few local readers believed that an associate broke an important story. Although, that particular blogger has indeed broken many stories, yesterday's post wasn't one of them, nor did he claim that it was. That false assumption was made by some of his readers, who apparently rely on a blog for local news. Although, I imply on my sidebar to have extra-terrestrial sources, it may not be totally true. Any insight I have about this valley is gleaned from every local news source that I can find, plus conversations with those few officials who still talk to me. Lastly, several readers have reprimanded me for posting on topics beyond the Lehigh Valley. As Steve Martin would say, EXCUSE ME.

Nov 22, 2016

The Alt-Left In America

Since Trump's election and Bannon's appointment, we hear of the Alt-right. Although this element is supposed to be the radical right, they were so quiet that nobody even expected Trump to win the election. They were so undemonstrative that nobody saw his victory coming. However, since Tuesday November 8th, what do we call those now acting out? The media has politely designated them protestors.

Vice President Pence went to a popular broadway show last week. The actors apparently couldn't resist the temptation to reprimand him from the stage after the show. Never mind that the new administration is still about 7 weeks away from assuming office, and at least months more from any policy change in this country. College presidents, including local ones from the Lehigh Valley, have signed a letter to Trump asking him to repudiate hatred against minorities. I didn't know that Trump invented bigotry or prejudice, but is apparently now responsible when it appears. I do know that nobody ever expected President Obama to address anti-Semitism on American campuses.

According to the left, everybody Trump considers for appointment is a racist. They have been using that derogatory term very loosely. Allow me to annoy my liberal readers a bit more. It wouldn't surprise me to find that some of the intolerant incidents being attributed to Trump supporters are in fact dirty tricks.    I suspect that most Trump supporters are content enough by the election results to relax. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about the other side.

Nov 21, 2016

Obama Saves Planet Earth

You may recall that President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize before beginning his first term. It was bestowed upon him in hope of the change he promised to bring. Now, in an equally inspiring gesture, he has instructed his contemporaries in Europe to continue cooperating with the United States, even with Donald Trump. He has in essence given the world permission to keep turning, even with his departure. Now, if Germany and the other European nations do continue cooperating with the most powerful nation on earth remains to be seen, but they surely would not have without Obama's recommendation. They had been looking forward to weaning themselves against America's money in supporting NATO, United Nations and every other institution mostly bankrolled by United States. Some conservatives thought Obama was just an easy smile, with virtually no foreign policy chops, but this last trip sure set the record straight.

A draft of this post was inadvertently published for several minutes this past weekend.

Nov 18, 2016

John Bolton, A Man For The Times

Recently, a king maker in New Hampshire looked over Rick Santorum, and said that he had the right look to run for President. Nobody is saying that about John Bolton, but he has the right stuff. Bolton, in addition to being a former United Nations Ambassador, was involved in national security positions with both Bush Administrations. He may well be the most informed candidate, on national security issues, the Republicans could hope to find. He believes that Obama's foreign policy emboldens our enemies, and the recent North Korean aggression seems to bear that out. Domestically, he favors repealing old laws, not passing new ones. Although Bolton feels that Obama has put world interests ahead of that of United States, he realizes that after three and half years in office, Obama will be very articulate about world affairs. Nobody would have more international expertise, to go toe to toe with the smooth talking Obama, than John Bolton.

ADDENDUM: The above post is reprinted from December of 2010. At the time, I was hoping that Bolton would be a candidate against Obama in 2012.  Likewise, I was hoping that he would be a candidate in 2016. He is by far the most qualified of those now being considered by Trump for Secretary of State. Consideration for Bolton is being opposed by Rand Paul.  It's interesting how those in Washington who were outright opposed to Donald Trump, would now like to be his trusted advisers.