Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Defending Jean Schmidt

Ann Coulter appears to be one of the few people willing to defend Ohio's newest congresswoman, Jean Schmidt. Ann accurately asserts that Schmidt was indisputably correct in her comments on the house floor during the heated debate over the "Murtha resolution." Ann also manages to blister Congressman Murtha-it makes for great reading. You might want to read more about Murtha's Shallow Idea.

After 400 house members voted against the resolution to immediately remove troops from Iraq, including the votes of Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha, there is more "news" on the matter. The vote certainly doesn't stop Pelosi from changing her mind. The democrats in the house are the living, breathing definition of disingenuous. You have to read the article at News Max.

This great article: The Left's Secret Pact: Subverting the War is worth reading too. It is an insightful article, and sad as it is, it is well worth the time.

You really have to see this clip of Bill O'Reilly on the Today Show today. O'Reilly was on fire.

As always, you can read more at the political teen.

New York, New York

It would have been thrilling to be at the Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan (49th Street and 5th Avenue) tonight to see the lighting of the huge Christmas Tree. It must be gorgeous. Maybe I will get to visit NYC this Holiday season.

Check out the article at the New York Times.

Never Mind............

It seems like a case of "never mind" about Britney Spears making a Broadway debut in Sweet Charity. Thank goodness. You can read lots more at Broadway World. Hopefully, we are all saved from this stage faux paus.

Harry Reid Should Be Removed From Office

There was not time yesterday to get a post in on a most appalling story. It appears that Harry Reid let loose with some classified information, and no one seems to be holding him accountable. The mainstream press was "stuck on stupid" and acted as if the only news story on Tuesday was the resignation of congressman Cunningham. The public loves a political scandal, and loves to hear wanna be journalists like Joe Scarborough rant on endlessly about the corruption in Washington, however, we are at war, and the leaking of national security secrets might be a little bit more important! Besty Newmark has extensivse coverage. John Fund seems to have broken the story, and Michelle Malkin has updates.
Joe Lieberman completely supports President Bush and the military in this column. Scroll down this page to see how the media is ignoring Senator Lieberman.
You have to see and read what Kayne West told to Barbara Walters last night on ABC.
Read Dick Morris' latest column in the New York Post. As always he has unique insights. This time he is speaking to the Iraq war.

As always, there is lots of great reading to be found at The Political Teen.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Milestone

This post represents the 100th post completed at Thespis Journal since my first day of blogging on September 5, 2005. I have been thinking today about the best way to celebrate this milestone. A lot has happened since the ridiculous mainstream media coverage of Hurricane Katrina, and the ridiculous proposals of "Reform Ohio Now" had me fuming enough to start my own blog. I was also looking for a method to share thoughts and writings on all things political and theatrical.

I don't think that I have anything profound to share, but I would like to cite a few of best posts in the last three months.

Here is the post that started it all.
Here is a a great post on Lying Landrieu.
A Season of Discontent? I Don't Think So!
Here is a bitter posting on the Reform Ohio Now proposals. This was my first posting to make it to the "recommended postings" on the front page at Red State.
This is my "open letter to Michelle Malkin" that made it to the Front Page of Red State today on the recommended diaries sections.
This is my review of RENT which I also posted on Broadway
This post represents hours of research into the vote on the "Reform Ohio Now" proposals.

On Sunday, Dr. Sanity linked to me as item number 14 in her famous carnival of the insanties. Also, I posted the open letter at Red State, and today I made it to the front page as a "reccomended diary."

Wish me good fortune in continuing this effort. With all of the other responsibilities that I have including producing and directing shows, directing choral ensembles, and being the Union President, I am sometimes overwhelmed. It is great fun, and thanks to all my friends and contacts in the blogosphere.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday Linkfest/Please Enjoy

Senator Trent Lott may be considering a comeback, and I certainly hope that will return to the senate in 2007 and to the Republican Leadership team. It was absurd to begin with that Mr. Lott was forced to give up being the majority leader for praising Strom Thurmond at his birthday party. The liberal media had a feeding frenzy, and succeeding in morphing the comments into something different than Senator Lott had intended. Strom Thurmond was a great American whose intelletual development never ceased. Thurmond was willing to admit changes in his philosophical outlook, and grow throughout his lifetime in politics. Senator Thurmond was certainly above the elusive and evasive Senator KKK Byrd of West Virgina who continues to serve in the senate despite his obvious senility. Perhaps Senator Byrd can be defeated next year, and Senator Lott will be re-elected and return to his post as majority leader. Frist's failure to be a stong leader has caused great headaches for Republicans in the US Senate.

George Will
profiles Indiana's Governor, Mitch Daniels and some common sense cuts that Governor Daniels has implemented. The link is to the New York Post, and it is well worth the free registration to have access to this great New York original which is one of our nation's premiere daily newspapers.

Robert Novak
has a new column today which is chock full of interesting Washington tidbits. His mention of Ohio congresswoman Jean Schmidt are interesting, but there is little doubt that Schmidt will re-elected easily next year.

The New York Daily News has an insightful article sourced from insiders in the West Wing. There seems to be some common sense in this detailed piece on President Bush's current difficulties.

You have to see today's edition of Carnival of the Insanties by Dr. Sanity.

For college students of all ages, Dick Morris exposes a dispicable piece of legisaltion destined to make the burden of debt greater for all of you. Email your elected representatives.

The wonderful Michael Barone has a great column up today about the collpase of GM. My Grandmother, Nettie Powers, would never have believed it. Mr. Barone's analysis, coming from his Detroit perspective, is right on the mark and is a quick and worthwhile read.

Peggy Noonan explains some of the theory behind her latest book which sounds wonderful. Pope John Paul the Great is still instructing all of us, even in the months following his death. Congratulations to Ms. Noonan on another inspiring book.

The GOP's Medicare Blunder
is explained in this column from the Wall Sreet Journal.

Irwin M. Stelzer tells some truth about the ecomony on this Thanksgiving weekend that you are not likely to read anywhere else. CNN surely won't cover the story in this level of detail!

The United Nations in charge of the worldwide web? Certainly Not, says Pete DuPont in the Wall Street Journal.

Paul at Powerlone makes a play on words in his headline "Clueless Joe." This play on words is a reference to the song from Damn Yankees the 1955 Tony-Award winning Broadway musical. Joe Biden certainly does qualify as Clueless Joe!

An Open Letter to Michelle Malkin

I revere Michelle Malkin. She is wonderfully accurate, original, and entertaining. I have a problem with one of her Friday posts in which she bashes public education and public school teachers. I emailed Michelle the following letter, but I have received no response. I hope that my "open letter" will generate response from supporters of Michelle, and maybe even from Michelle herself.
Most of all, I would love to see the problems of our public education system debated honestly, and realistic solutions presented and implemented. Our students deserve it!

Good Morning Michelle:

It is my privilege to have the opportunity to write to you. I respect you greatly, and I have linked to you from my blog many times. You are a remarkable person, and I will persist in reading your insightful work and continue to be instructed by you. I believe in conservative ideals, and you will find that I pontificate upon many conservative topics in regular postings at my web log: the Thespis Journal. While I am a strong advocate of portfolio accountability and comprehensive assessment for public school students and teachers, and I believe that as a nation we should aspire to the ideal of allowing competitive market forces to assist us in creating stronger public schools, I will also vigorously support strong public schools as the foundation of our republic and the hope of future generations. As with many institutions in our society, there is room for significant improvements in the public schools.

I am writing in regards to your recent comments about Bret Chenkin, social studies and English teacher at Mount Anthony Union High School in Vermont. Your commentary is certainly fitting. Mr. Chenkin’s behavior was inappropriate and inexcusable. As you noted, the Superintendent addressed the behavior in a firm and uncompromising manner. The school district should employ a zero tolerance policy for this type of unprofessional and irresponsible behavior. While the teacher’s behavior in this instance is indefensible, the correlation you have drawn between Mr. Chenkin’s actions and a parental decision to avoid “government schools” is an intellectual leap beyond the horizon.

For every Bret Chenkin, there are fifty or more public school teachers who have their students fully engaged in the learning process more than five days per week. For every case of “liberal indoctrination” there are abundant illustrations of dynamic teachers presenting model lessons rich with innovative instructional strategies that many conservatives would find refreshing. These diligent and meticulous teachers represent the best practice of the pioneering American Spirit. A caring, dynamic teacher is the key to unlocking the door of learning. It should come as no surprise, even to us conservatives, that more than a few model teachers can be found at every public school in the nation.

Moreover, it is much easier for the defeatists, these champions of privatization, to take cheap shots at every public school and schoolteacher because of the actions of one. The prevailing conservative “news” paradigm allows only pessimistic stories promulgated by the mainstream media to constitute the entire vocabulary of news reporting. Conservatives use this one-sided reporting to further their thesis of bad “government schools.” I am glad that I did not stop reading columns and blogs because there are a few blogs out there that certainly are irresponsible, inaccurate, and unprofessional. There are bad bloggers, bad teachers, bad superintendents, bad politicians and bad journalists to be found throughout the United States. Because all public schools are supported by state, local, and federal tax dollars, every incidence of poor behavior is magnified beyond its breadth and scope and each overblown occurrence makes an easy and ready-made target for the anti-public school alliance which always seems to be lurking in the wings.

It would be interesting to know if you would agree to publish, in the interest of fair and balanced coverage, the excess of unpublished and extraordinary triumphs of the many competent, caring, and committed public school teachers nationwide.

The majority of teachers who practice the world’s most noble profession in our nation's public classrooms every day receive little or no public recognition. All forms of the media (including and especially the writers in the blogosphere) emphasize every error made in the public schools. As an educator, notoriety is the equivalent of making a huge mistake. The prevailing "news" template does not permit the highlighting of the frequent and bountiful achievements of public educators and students.

There are many challenges in the public schools that us conservatives never seem to address. Teachers deal with students every day whose basic life needs are never met at home. Our students are not fed properly, live in cold apartments, spend the night without any adult supervision, and do not have their basic health care needs met. Too many of our students arrive in our classrooms confused, unprepared to learn and unable to focus on learning. Some of our students have erratic attendance patterns that prohibit the learning process. Sequential learning that builds upon skills that are practice daily is often impossible when the students have such unreliable school attendance. We, their teachers, attempt every day to assist these children without judging them, and to love and care for them the best that our time will allow us as a service to the children and ministry to our communities. We also carry on with remarkable lessons every day in our attempt to educate every child dutifully following the essential principle that "every child can learn."

All media outlets use their resources to bash the public education system at every turn, yet there are educational miracles which happen every day in the public school that are not reported. Almost always, conservatives dismiss and ignore the radically different problems faced by urban schools and suburban schools. Although Urban Schools face dire challenges and consequences every day, suburban public schools are largely thriving. We meet the diverse and complex challenges presented by our students as demonstrated by the students increasing in their academic achievement each day and performing better on standardized tests all the time.

Many public educators are heroes. We are licensed specialists who function as mentors and informal advisors to our students. We take our role seriously and agonize over any mistake or misjudgment. We are professionals with training, experience and in some cases, expertise. We think, we do, we know, and we do not respond well when journalists that attempt to make us guilty by association question our integrity. Teachers overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to insure that our students have the opportunity to learn and achieve. We are agents of infinite change, and we adapt to the adjusting needs of our students several times each week. Our number one priority will always remain our singular students. The daily display by students of boundless energy and wide-eyed enthusiasm for new educational experiences keeps us returning to our classrooms as agile professionals with fresh and flexible ideas.

And not all of us are liberal. We are conservatives with unshakable core values. We never indoctrinate students in the latest liberal dogma. We consider it a part of our spiritual service to assist every child in becoming a better person and a more educated, responsible citizen. We scramble to accommodate the latest trends and fads in education which usually come to us in the form of new unfounded mandates. Legislation comes at us in a “one size fits all” mode and often the legislation has unintended, punitive consequences.

I have personally given twenty years to secondary public education and interacted with over 2,000 students. I hope that I have altered and enhanced their lives, and provided them with part of the motivation to pursue a quality life while becoming a life long learner.

I am hoping for a local, state, and national conversation on public education that is realistic. Finger pointing, partisan speeches, dogma, and rigid solutions have subjugated the last twenty-five years in the arena of public education. All sides of the debate should participate fully and be forced to offer well-researched and wide-ranging solutions. The Republicans that I have helped elect have drained resources at the state level, but they offer very little in terms of long term practical solutions that contemplate providing a quality education for all. Our young people are too important to reduce the issue of public education to rhetorical slogans and to marginal cheap shots at teachers. Teachers, parents, politicians, and all community stakeholders must come together and mutually begin the process of developing a stronger learning model. We have a responsibility to provide for the educational needs of all children in America.

Thank you so much for your time, and I hope to hear from you.

Thespis Journal

Read many great Sunday articles at The Political Teen.

More coverage at Right-Minded
This article blasts all public educators.
There is always great reading at The Mudville Gazette
Read about charter schools at Betsy's Page

Friday, November 25, 2005

Cindy Sheehan Shows She's Nuts (Again), and Other Quick Links

Ian Schwartz has up a great photo and commentary regarding Cindy Sheehan! You have to see this, it will only take a moment. Cindy Sheehan is a fool. While I agree with Rush Limabugh that keeping her out front gives the liberals a ridiculous spokesperson, it is difficult to handle her publicity stunts and her duplicitous face on CNN all the time.

Mark Finklestein has some great coverage of fair and balanced news coverage at the TODAY show. It seems that Matt Lauer and Jim Maceda sense that they are not always in touch with soldiers, and that the Washington DC democrats have no ideas.

Noel Shepherd reports on CNN's fantasy about Oprah Winfrey endorsing Hilary Clinton for President. CNN played this story over a two day period many, many times.

Ann Coulter
makes the most of Murtha's big debacle last week. Ann's acerbic wit and great insights have never been more useful to the conservative movement.

Clifford D. May also puts Congressman's Murtha's Big Wave into a realistic perspective.

From page six in the NY Post: Al Franken looks like an idiot again. Franken may have learned not to take on Justice Scalia in public. Franken clearly doesn't know his US History!

Lights Ouch! Complete coverage in The NY Daily News of the balloon accident on Thursday during the parade. The Daily News proves once again that they give the most detailed and accurate coverage of Manhattan events.

Dr. Sanity has a great article with detailed research on living the optimistic life.

A great article on on the "flying" in current Broadway shows.

Playbill's coverage (and several links to playbill articles) of the opening night of Edward Albee's Seascape. I would love to see this show! Anything with Frances Sternhagen is bound to be thrilling. She was absolutely wonderful in Mornings at Seven and also in Steel Magnolias. This is the New York Times Review of Seascape.'s interview with Frances Sternhagen-it's rich! Here's a great summary of the Seascape reviews.

Say It Ain't So..........

There are several reports that Britney Spears may be in talks to replace Christina Applegate in the Broadway revival of Sweet Charity. Certainly, no Broadway producer would permit this tragedy to happen. The Sweet Charity revival is a marvelous production full of energy, vitality, and show-stopping numbers including the incandescent "Rich Man's Frug," the gospel number, "The Rhythm of Life," and a true Broadway vamp: "Hey Big Spender."
This forty-year old classic musical is a delight with powerhouese performances by the entire cast-especially all of the supporting players Certainly, Britney Spears tabloid lifestyle would sell tickets, but there is nothing more absurd than thinking that she is right for the role of Charity Hope Valentine. While Broadway is commerical endeavor, it is an artisitc one as well. Charlotte D'ambiose or Karen Ziemba would make ideal choices to further this Gwen Verdon vehicle into the theater history books. It gets worse: the producers Barry and Fran Wiesler are considering adding Britney's husband, Kevin Federline to the cast as well. All of this "news" belong in Dr. Sanity's
carnival of the insanities! Here are some great links. Please say it ain't so.............

Check out this article at More news from Playbill.
Blogway Baby is one heck of a Broadway blogger.

The New York Post Article that started it all. Broadway World offers the usual complete coverage.

Here is my Review of SWEET CHARITY from this past July:
It was so hot while I was making my way to the Al Hirschfield Theater on Tuesday night, that I had to wonder if Sweet Charity would be worth the effort. A myriad of thoughts were flowing in my mind: The show almost closed in Boston after Christina Applegate broke her ankle, and only a true last minute, show-business miracle (meaning a lot of money) got this revivial on Broadway by the May 4 the deadline for entry into the 2005 Tony Award sweeps. Reading and research had indicated that this show was ok, and mostly a vehicle for its' original star, Gwen Verdon. The show seemed to be to a remnant of 1966 with little appeal to today's audience. While known for a couple of great numbers, the show appears on the surface to have failed to make it into the canon of widely performed shows. It is sometimes billed as a tawdry look at the life of a dance hall mistress. Boy, was I surprised!!
I would have willingly paid the price of the ticket ($102) just to see this ensemble perform the dance: "Rich Man's Frug"!! The design of this dance was classic Bob Fosse with just enough edge and revision to keep an audience member intranced for the full eight to nine minutes of this number. The orchestra, and I do mean orchestra-there were about twenty players (huge by today's broadway standards), played this music in stellar fashion with great bravura and showmanship! "Rich Man's Frug" was easily in the top fifteen numbers I have ever seen on Broadway, and that is really saying something big! The dancers movements were truly mesmorizing, and I found myself with chills at this glorious sight!
If "Rich Man's Frug" was the creme and the froth of Act I, "The Rythmn of Life" matched this energy and style in the second act. It was an amzing number with the emotion of a great revival meeting, the voice of a great WIZ, the dancing genuis of Bob Fosse, and the unbridled energy of 1966 all ensonced in one miraculous show-stopping moment. When the black character who sings the lead on "Rhythm of Life" opened his full-throated, big black man sound, there was a house quaking moment rarely felt on Broadway today. It was AMAZING! I had no idea of the total concept of "Rhythm of Life." This number must have revolutionized Broadway in 1966, even if this revival took some creative liberties in making this number fresh for 2005!! I wanted to stand up and cheer for fifteen minutes after both "Rich Man's Frug," and "The Rythmn of Life."

The supporting cast members in this show are stupendous! Dennis O'Hare is an actor and commedian of the first degree. He does not appear in the show until more than an hour into Act I. When he comes on, he seems meek and mild, but within four minutes, he has stopped the show with the greatest comedy seen since the great Carol Burnett show. He posessess a range of comedic tricks, and depth of character that a thrilling sight to behold! Janine LaManna and Kyra DaCosta have voices that will thrill and chill you, and both of these singing actors can steal a scene from anyone!

But this is a show that starts and ends with Charity Hope Valentine. And Christina Applegate - the ankle-impaired star of TV, but Broadway unknown - is good. I am certain that she is not better than the brilliant and far more experienced Charlotte D'Amboise, and not as polished, but Applegate, as pretty as a picture and as cool as a popsicle, emerges from the entire ordeal of trying to get this show to Broadway triumphant and glistening.She brings obvious commitment and energy to the role, and a sincerity that is unique. It would be wonderful to see Karen Ziemba or Miss D'Amboise do the role.

Cy Coleman's music absolutley soars! the orchestrations are wonderful, and the music almost lifts you right out of your seat.
It was certainly my privelage to see this classic of Broadway. I wish I could attend again just to catch more of the show. The book by Neil Simon is echanting. I am sure that it pushed the broadway musical forward in 1966 with its' unhappy ending, and the sadness of Charity's life. it is amazing to think that when this show first appeared on Broadway, Hello Dolly was in its' original run, along with Funny Girl and Fiddler on the Roof. Sweet Charity really deserves its' place along side those great originals-it is simply a different genre.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Seasons Of Love

Broadway musical fans have another film version of a Broadway classic to celebrate this Holiday season. RENT, based upon Jonathon Larson’s intimate, explosive, lyric laden and plot rich rock opera, opened in theater nationwide on Wednesday, November 23, 2005. The Broadway incarnation of RENT has been playing at the Nederlander Theater at 41 Street and Seventh Avenue since April 1996 having moved from off-Broadway and off-off Broadway houses. The film is a triumph for the late Mr. Larson who probably never would have imagined: his songs being brought to the mass public in such a sweeping and dramatic method. The legendary Broadway anthem, Seasons of Love, is destined to become one of the most beloved crossover songs of all time. While the show loses some of the magnetism and luster which brought Mr. Larson and the original cast members to the brink of international stardom, the movie is worth a view, and occasionally conjures up some of the raw emotion and magic which keep this show playing well into its’ tenth year on Broadway.
Most of the original cast has reassembled for this production of RENT. Idina Menzel, as Maureen, a role that she originated on Broadway prior to winning the 2004 best actress Tony award for her portrayal of Elphaba in WICKED, is stunning in her singing and acting. She is a cut above all of the rest in this stellar cast. Adam Pascal (Roger), Anthony Rapp (Mark), Jesse L. Martin (Tom Collins), Taye Diggs (Benny), and Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Angel are all excellent in their portrayal of the brash young characters that comprise this touching, intimate piece of theater. Messer’s Martin and Diggs possess voices of great emotion and lyric beauty. They each have of vocal moments worth catching again. Rosario Dawson as Mimi and Tracie Thoms as JoAnne make outstanding additions to the cast. These cast members are true to Mr. Larson’s desire to bring life to every word of the score, and in this case the script too. “Seasons of Love” is beautifully sung, as is “I Will Cover You” and “Will I.” “Out Tonight” and “Take Me or Leave Me” are as raw and earthy as one might expect. When I think about it, all of the singing is exceptional. “Santa Fe” has novel and creative choreography performed by Angel and Collins on a New York subway ride, while La Vie Boheme is made into a Broadway showstopper with all of the room of a movie set to get this cast and the extras dancing.
There have been times during the Broadway run that the producers seemed to have lost faith in the prevailing and awe-inspiring lyrics of Mr. Larson’s magnum opus. In fact, there have been misguided attempts to recreate the enchantment of the show with bizarre casting (Joey Fatone as Mark, Scary Spice as Mimi) and to bludgeon the audience with sonic wattage of sound. Although the show continued its healthy run through these artistic missteps, the beauty of the lyrics and simplicity of life and death have often been lost on Broadway and in the many touring productions. Christopher Columbus the Director of this film version of RENT did not make this mistake. The movie, even on the big screen, maintains its’ intimacy, and without the company members and the pit musicians visible, there is a sanctified focus on the eight principal characters and the development of the interpersonal relationships among these primary players. Without overwhelming the audience with explicit enunciation, this movie cast transmitted more of the lyrics than I have ever heard in the theater. In turning down the volume and purging some extraneous characters, the straightforwardness of the interactive story seem to come across with unusual clarity and meaning. Believe it or not, this movie version seems understated when you subtract the need for all the electronic instruments to overpower the theater with excess volume.
There are several drawbacks to this production. There is stilted dialogue created almost word for word from sung recitative in the original production. Some of this dialogue is jarring and quite unnatural. Nearly every plot device is explained in dialogue, or with action so explicit that any pre-teen could capture the storyline. There is no room for the imagination which is essential to the experience of any live play. Some songs are eliminated completely and wonderful plot devices such as the sung voice mail messages are nowhere to be found. The relationship between Roger and Mimi is not well developed. This lack of development results from all of the changes enclosed in the new movie sequence of their initial meeting. Mimi’s invitation for Roger to join her for a private Christmas Brunch written on the window is never resolved, and there is little emotion in the audience for the reunion of Roger and Mimi at the conclusion of the show. The pointed timeline of “December 24, 1989” narrows the panoramic basis of the original work, and the open ended passing of time that one feels when they are attending the live theater completely escapes this more than two hour movie which sometimes drags. The most disturbing moment of this movie adaptation of RENT is the “commitment ceremony” for JoAnne and Maureen in which the wedding guests gawk at these two women while they display a tirade of emotions which should be (as in the musical) a moment shared only by the two characters and their audience. This scene seemed like a parody of the theater with cast members following the characters as seemingly voyeuristic paparazzi allowed in to witness these purely personal matters. This staging of “Take Me Or Leave Me” is clearly a departure from the intentions of Mr. Larson. It is obvious that the producers and the Director felt the need to make everything in this film brazenly apparent with nothing left open for a nuance of interpretation. Extraneous dialogue and action made certain that we followed every plot device as if we were reading the latest in “Teen People.”
There are many gorgeous views of New York City, most of them views from “alphabet city” on Manhattan’s lower east village. There is a great flavor of New York City in the late 1980’s, and there are few dull moments. Around the year 2001, RENT started to seem dated. The movie and the current Broadway production might both seem like better material when viewed in the retrospective from that distant year 2016 when the show reaches the ripe old age of twenty.

The New York Times has a great review.
This appears to be the movie homepage.
A Rent movie Blog.
Coverage at
Check out the latest from Broadway World.

Read the Review.

If you link to the playbill article, you will find a lot of other coverage.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Murtha's Big Waves

With all of the news coverages surrounding Representative John Murtha (D-Pennsylvania), someone must be wondering who is John Murtha? As an avid follower of national politics, I must admit that I have never heard of Congressman Murtha before last Thursday when he became the darling of the liberal media. Following a little internet research, one of the most interesting facts to come to light is Murtha's support of Howard Dean for the DNC chairmanship. In an article posted at Red State, Captain Toke asks if Murtha is going the way of Jimmy Carter.

"The media wants to portray Murtha as a war veteran, centrist who is now against the war. I don't know of any centrist Democrats who endorsed Howard Dean for DNC chairman. I think like many of his aged, Democratic brethren, Murtha is drifting further and further to the left. One would figure that an old school war veteran would go the way of Zell Miller, not the way of Jimmy Carter. And as a Vietnam vet, I would figure he would be a little more hesitant and thoughtful about letting his party exploit a war for political gain. Any intellectually honest person can look at this current partisan battle over pre-war intelligence and can see the Democrats hypocrisy and exploitation of the war."

Representative Murtha attempted on Friday night to redefine his position which is still posted on his congressional website today. His statement included the following words: My plan calls:

To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.

To create a quick reaction force in the region.
To create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines.
To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq

Is there anyone who believes that his choice of the word "redeploy" means anything other than the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq? Murtha chose his own weasel words, and then had to eat them when congressional Republicans called his bluff.

Murtha's criticism of the war has a history that began prior to last Thursday. According to an article posted at CNN, Murtha had significant problems with the war as of May 10, 2004. In a joint appearance with Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Murtha described the war as "unwinnable." Further, Murtha went on to state his case more forcefully, "We cannot prevail in this war with the policy we have today. We need to mobilize or get out," he said." It would be devastating to pull out now, but it may be impossible to mobilize now that the public has turned against it," Murtha stated. Despite these strong statements from nearly two years ago, the liberal media has attempted to portray "road to Damascus" conversion just last Thursday. By appearing with Pelosi two years ago, Murtha was establishing left-wing credentials ignored by many. This evidence of the real John Murtha confirms my conjecture stated Friday night.

Murtha's lack of support for the war goes back further to September 2003. In a New York Times article, Representative Murtha heavily criticized the war and President Bush. Democrat Minority leader Nancy Pelosi joined Murtha and called for resignations of the entire administration Defense Team. In an interview the following day on HardBall with Chris Matthews, Murtha made a strident case against the war, "Well, I certainly feel misled by myself. I mean, I'm not blaming anybody else because I saw all the intelligence reports. All of them indicated we had imminent danger. Obviously, we made a mistake. I made a mistake. We didn't find any weapons of mass destruction. We didn't find any nuclear weapons. We didn't find any al Qaeda." There are many other colorful quotes in this post at News Busters. It is clear that Mr. Murtha has been a strong critic of the war for more than two years.

Brent Baker has a great post showing Bill Schneider on CNN calling Murtha the "Walter Cronkite" of this war. WOW! The liberal media picked up on this liberal propaganda immediately. They loved it! And now, they have their own Walter Cronkite to parrot their treasonous charges.

Furthermore, John Murtha appeared on HardBall on Friday, and made statements that were factually incorrect. There are many voices who say that they can no longer defend him. A full transcript of the interview reveals the bias, half-truths, innuendo, and partisanship so regularly demonstrated by Mr. Matthews.

Finally, this brilliant article by Bill Kristol sums up Representative Murtha's lack of insight and intellectual integrity and his outright irresponsible behavior this past week. On Fox News Sunday, Mr. Kristol, of The Weekly Standard, called for an imperical debate regarding the US Military presence in Iraq. Kristol says that it is preposterous to suggest that the presence of US troops is the foundation of the unstable conditions in Iraq. Kristol asks the question, "would Iraq be better off without the presence of US troops?" Let's have that debate, as the House of Representatives did on Friday night, and even Congressman Murtha did not vote to withdraw the troops immediately.

But that would be just the beginning. If U.S. troops were withdrawn and the Iraqi people were not able to defeat the terrorists and Saddam loyalists, what would happen? What if Zarqawi and his al Qaeda allies were able to make common cause with the Baathists to turn Iraq into a terrorist state or to provide a haven for terrorists, complete with an oil supply to finance their global activities? And what of Iraq's neighbors, which include Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia? They would likely decide that they could not afford to let a vacuum develop in Iraq or allow their adversaries to establish a base there. All these nations would contemplate military intervention in Iraq, directly or indirectly through the arming of allies. The possibility of a regional conflict erupting among any or all of these powers could not be excluded. Is this is a tolerable outcome for the United States?

In fact, Murtha does seem to be aware of the disasters that are almost certain to follow the immediate withdrawal he demands. He calls for the creation of "a quick reaction force in the region." He calls for "an over-the-horizon presence of Marines." And he calls for the United States "to diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq." We have too much respect for Murtha to believe that he seriously imagines we would be able through diplomacy alone to bring "security and stability" to Iraq. But the question is, when the inevitable disaster unfolded as a result of his proposed withdrawal, what would be his plan for the "quick reaction force" and "over-the-horizon presence" of the Marines? It seems he would have us withdraw our forces, hand a monumental moral, political, and military victory to the terrorists in Iraq and all over the world--only to take us back into war when the inevitable disaster began to unfold.

Check out Ian's Schwartz's video of Murtha on Meet The Depressed.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens his will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Sing praises to his name: He forgets not his own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side, All glory be thine!

We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
And pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

As we all gather together with family and friends for this holdiay season, let us unite in remembering those less fortunate than we. Let us resolve to live our lives in service to others, and to always be thankful for all the blessings we have in life.

In honor of my family and friends, I am sharing a few family recipes which you and your family might enjoy this holiday season. These wonderful dishes have made our holiday table warm, inviting, delicious and truly homemade for many years. You will especially enjoy my mother's cranberry salad. It is a great accompaniment to any holdiay meal and goes very well with Turkey or Ham.

Kentucky Cranberry Salad

an original recipe by Marlene Manley

1 3oz pkg cherry gelatin ,1 cup hot water, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup pineapple juice, 1 cup cranberries - ground (use your food processor), 1 cup crushedm drained pineapple, 1 cup celery - chopped, 1/2 cup chopped nuts.

Dissolve gelatin in water, add sugar and pineapple juice. Chill until partially set. Fold in cranberries, pineapple, celery and nuts. Chill in 9x9x2 inch pan until set. May use 3 medium apples and 1/2 orange with cranberries, if desired. Make sure the cranberry, pineapple, celery and nuts are dry (all juice removed) before folding in to gelatin mixture. Yields 9 servings.

Sweet Potato Souffle
an original recipe by Marlene Manley

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 stick margarine


1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup margarine
1 cup chopped pecans

Cook potatoes and mash, add sugar, beaten eggs, vanilla, margarine and milk. Spread in flat 11x9 or 9x13 cake pan. Mix dry topping ingredients. Melt margarine and add to dry topping ingredients. Sprinkle evenly over potatoes before baking. Bake at 350 degrees for for thirty minutes. You can easily double this recipe for a crowd!

Lots of Thanksgiving posts at "The Truth Laid Bear."

Movin' Out to Close in New York

Many of my students, former students, and friends have seen the Billy Joel dance musical "Movin' Out" during its more than three year run on Broadway. It seems like the show has been playing forever.

If three years can be a long time in the life of a musical, it can be a significant span in the life of a country, too. When "Movin' Out" opened in the fall of 2002 at The Richard Rodgers Theater on 46th Street, the United States was not a country at war in Iraq, and the musical's affecting but not especially revelatory story of young lives traumatized by combat seemed, at times, to be a standardized retelling of a saga worn thin through repetition, galvanized only by the vital raw kinetics of Ms. Tharp's artistry. According to the author of this article, Movin' Out is in great shape, and will actually be missed.

Playbill has more detail on the Movin' Out closing.

The official broadway web site is quite interesting.

Broadway World also has great coverage.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Murtha's Shallow Idea

By a vote of 403-3, house of representative members rejected an immediate "redeployment of troops" suggested by Representative John Murtha. In a day filled with fiery debate, Murtha desperately attempted to recast his remarks late last night on the house floor. His remarks on Thursday generated worldwide headlines stating that Murtha was calling for the "immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq." Murtha claims that he has a more nuanced position, but obviously did not consider the ramifications of his comments prior to making them. If 403 house members are willing to go on the record denouncing any plan for an immediate withdrawal, there is not going to be a retreat any time soon.

John Murtha proved to have lots of hot air in support of his position and many overly vocal supporters, but only three members were willing to vote for his hollow suggestion. The display on the house floor of flaming rethoric, and deliberately misleading statements by liberals, democrats, and their ilk, did a disservice to all those defending our nation in Iraq.

In her column yesterday, Mona Charen details the democrat party history of being the cut and run party. Ms. Charen is most compelling in her conclusive paragraphs.

"The Clinton administration was as adamant that Saddam had WMDs as the Bush administration. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright declared in 1998 that "what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risk that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face." [Emphasis added.] Liberals acknowledge the Clinton position but hasten to remind us that "Clinton didn't go to war." No. Because the Democrats are the party of talk, endless negotiations and U.N. resolution, even when faced with potentially catastrophic threats, they will not act militarily.And now, in the midst of a grave conflict, they stoop to any lie to discredit a president who did not lack the courage to act."

The battle continued on Friday afternoon and most of the evening with a resolution on the floor of the House of Representatives calling for the immediate withdrawal of the troops from Iraq. There was an extremely heated and partisan debate. Jean Schmidt of Ohio sent a strong message to Representative Murtha. Tonight, we in Ohio are very proud of Jean Schmidt! In the 7:00pm. hour of Hardball with Chris Matthews, the host stated that these statements by congresswoman Schmidt might "choke her career." This statement by Chris Matthews demonstrates, once again, his partisan view of everything. Schmidt was simply relaying a message from a constituent in Ohio.

Congratulations to the Republicans in the House for exposing the fraudulent proposal by Representative Murtha. America can not cut and run now!

Thanks to Ian Schwartz for the great clip of Jean Schmidt-you really ought to look at it!

It is my conjecture
that all of the signs point to a co-odinated effort from the democrat party spin machine to use Representative Murtha (as a supposed supporter of the military) as the catalyst to ignite a debate prior to the Thanksgiving recess. Chris Matthews, Andrea Mitchell, and others already parroted Congressman Murtha’s political stunt in the mainstream media. Between now and the end of the year, it is likely that this strategy will be exposed by leaks from democrat party officials or congressional staff.

Charles Bird really has it right! Murtha is loser-defeatist!
We can always depend on the writers at American Thinker for great commentary. The article on winning in Iraq and losing at home is very appropriate on this night when the House of Representatives and the democrat leader, Nancy Pelosi are obfuscating the issue in a faux debate, and avoiding their obligation to support our troops and the mission!
Noel Shepherd has great coverage at News Busters exposing John Murtha for the fraud that he is!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More from RUMORS

There is still a great afterglow from this past weekend's performances of RUMORS by Neil Simon. All of the cast and crew members deserve a great round of congratulations. Thanks to all cast and crew members.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Jay Rockefeller's Treason Linkfest

Jay Rockefeller is truly frightening. Look at the link and see his debacle on Fox News Sunday. The mainstream press should be all over this, but his treasonous behavior has not yet made it to any of the major outlets. There is more all over the blogosphere. Although we know that liberals will do anything to make the world love them, and that they always blame America first, I am still regularly shocked at the methods they use to undermine America.
Read Captain Ed Morrisey at Captain's Quarters.
This David Limbaugh column is amazing!
Bryan Preston of Junk Yard Blog is posting on Michelle Malkin's space this week. He has more on the "Bush Lied" campaign.
Mark Kilmer at Red State has an expose on Rockefellers misadventure.
Let me know if you have more links and thoughts.
Powerline has a lot of detail about Rockefeller's statements on Sunday.
You have to read this editorial from the New York Post which details the original comments on Rockefller's treason.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ohio Strengthens its Red State Credentials

In rejecting the kook, left-wing proposals on Election Day, the voters of Ohio resoundingly demonstrated that Ohio is genuinely a state with solid conservative voting patterns. Ohio voters proved that they can not be fooled by propaganda, artificial rhetoric, and false pretenses. The strength and depth of Ohio’s current propensity to fall into the red state mold is a philosophy espoused in this column and elsewhere for the last several months. The voters powerfully validated Ohio’s red state credentials on Tuesday November 8.

A series of well-documented articles on the red state underpinnings of Ohio voters generated some shrill comments from liberal readers insisting that Ken Blackwell, Ohio’s Secretary of State, stole Ohio for President Bush in November 2004. Others falsely opined that Ohio was the closest Presidential state in 2004, while some liberal voices promoted the idea that Ohio would be equally divided on the so-called “Reform Ohio Now” issues as they were on Bush vs. Kerry. Voters in Ohio silenced all the critics and left-wing fanatics with stunning, overwhelming, and comprehensive electoral victories.

Red State Ohio voters have much to savor when looking at the results of Tuesday’s election. Despite a massive TV advertising campaign, voters rejected these thinly disguised liberal attempts to overturn past election results. Initially, it is apparent that when turnout for a particular election is moderate, there is great strength from the conservative voting base in the Republican and swing counties. Clermont County, Greene County, Butler County, Hamilton County (Cincinnati), Franklin County (Columbus), and Montgomery County (Dayton), all defeated the issues by margins ranging in the low 60’s to the middle 70’s. Issues 3 and 4 failed in all 88 of Ohio’s counties. The supporters of “Reform Ohio Now” have to consider that the election wasn’t even close, and accept the only sound interpretation of the voting data: Red State Ohio won’t be blue in the near future.

Moreover, Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s highest concentration of liberal voters, defeated the state issues by margins of 51%, 59%, 61%, and 61%. These negative results and the lopsided percentages are astounding when you consider the amount of money amassed by the well-funded liberal coalition trying to take over Ohio’s elections. The liberal organizations claimed massive, grass roots support, yet they could not even pass one of their issues in the liberal hotbed of Ohio.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, of all papers, appears to have it just right this time. Although the paper may have only been stating the obvious, it was still refreshing to see it in print straight from the liberal mainstream media.

"Had any of the issues come remotely close to passing, the complaints from Reform Ohio Now proponents attributing the result to voter confusion might have had considerable validity.
But these were landslide defeats. Issues 3 and 4, by far the most important of the initiatives, lost in all 88 counties.
Sure, voter confusion played a role in Tuesday's outcome. But the defeat of Reform Ohio Now only underscored yet again how far out of touch many Democratic leaders and their consultants are with Ohio voters.
...The Reform Ohio Now crowd instead tried to play political mind games with the electorate and disguise them as reform."

Republicans can savor the fact that Ohio voters have kicked George Soros in the butt to get him out of Ohio again. The Ohio republican party has proven again that it can mobilize its’ voters, and the moderate voters of Ohio tend to side with common sense conservative positions especially in all of the off-year elections.

As a teacher member of the Ohio Education Association, I recurrently lament the unsurpassed ability of the OEA to get on the wrong side of every public issue in Ohio. While our leadership team in Columbus needs a laser-like focus on school funding and practical educational reforms, they seem to be consumed with their liberal politics and the pursuit of fringe candidates and issues. These liberal positions, which appear to trump the needs of our students, are forcing the voice of the OEA to the periphery of the political debate in Ohio. The OEA leadership took a position on the “same sex marriage” proposal late in the 2004 campaign. This issue was defeated by over 62%, and confirmed OEA’s role as part of the far left in the Ohio political spectrum. Despite a non-stop barrage of party line half-truths to the members over the last three months, OEA did not seem to make even a dent in the election results on Tuesday.

Finally, the forecast for conservative candidates and issues in Ohio looks good. Although Senator Dewine may seem to be in some trouble for his 2006 senate race, the democrats appear to be in disarray with two clone candidates opposing each other in the May primary election. Either Paul Hackett or Sherrod Brown will be forced to cater to the left wing in the primary. This position will not leave the winner in a strong position to challenge senator Dewine. Representative Ted Strickland does not seem to be in a position to defeat any Republican, especially popular Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. The best-case scenario for the Ohio democrat party involves hoping for the worst for Ohio, and focusing on a voter turn-out plan that would break the mold of the last fifty years. Ohio’ red state voters are not poised to make Ohio blue-or even purple- any time soon. This week’s election results put that debate to sleep for the foreseeable future.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Reagan's Glow

Paul Beston has a fabulous article at The American Spectator about the night that Ronald Reagan won the presidency. That night was twenty-five years ago tonight. I was a freshmen at Anderson University and watched the news well into the night. The news was shocking: A Reagan landslide and the Republicans took control of the senate for the first time in thirty years. Many changes have come since November 6, 1980. On that election night, there was no internet, no Fox News Channel, no blogosphere, no, and no Rush Limbaugh. We watched Walter Cronkite on CBS for our coverage, and took his word for it.

The world has changed in my lifetime, but after visiting the Reagan library this past summer, I am more comvinced than ever that Ronald Reagan was the finest President of the 20th Century. His legacy of winning the cold war, revitalizing the Unites States economy, and making America great again will live on for the next century. America has seen many great eras in its' history, but those glorious Reagan years will live on as profoundly growing and changing times for our nation. Ronald Reagan's stature will only grow in the many years to come.

May God Bless Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and thanks to both of them for a lifetime of memories that make me proud even today.

Check out these great links.

The Political Teen

Michelle Malkin

Pat Santy

Dr. Pat Santy, who maintains her web log as Dr. Sanity, has a great article on The Intellectual and Moral Bankrupcy of Today's Left. Her blog is wonderful and worth a daily reading.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

UNHINGED by Michelle Malkin

One of the most articulate voices of the conservative movement is out with her latest book today. Although I obviously have not yet read the book (after all, I am no instapundit), the preview of her book looks intriguing. Her book will undoubtedly provide laughs and insights for everyone frustrated by the non-stop antics of the kooks on the left.

There is much more information at The Radio Blogger from its' author, Brian Maloney.

Michelle is one of the most interesting and singular people working in journalism today. Her blog is first class, and her writings are superb. Anything written by Michelle is worth reading, and will provide new insights into the topic at hand.

I plan to review the book as soon as I have time to read it. I will be looking to the New York Times best seller list soon hoping to see UNHINGED at the top of the list.