Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
For years, many in my generation have been criticized by those older than us, specifically the Baby Boomers, in that we have not done anything significant. The Baby Boomers then run through the list of the things their generation has done. (some of which I don't think I could proudly say were good) To my Baby Boomer friends and others who have doubted us over the years, I believe our time has come.
Most historians put Generation X between the years of 1964 thorough 1979 births. Gen-Xers have learned about the greatness and history of this country from their parents, grandparents and teachers, have been inspired by leaders such as Reagan and events like the end of the Cold War; which have allowed those lessons to become reality. Applying what they have learned in those important life lessons, Gen-Xers played roles in the longest peacetime economic boom in United States history. Add another event to that list that will forever impact Gen-Xers: the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Fresh to the professional world, and some having just, or almost finished their four years of college were brutally and brazenly awoken to the evil in the world as terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. No longer was the United States exempt because of the two oceans that separate her from the rest of the world. On that day and since, members of Generation X have stood up to protect and defend the United States of America, whether spontaneously stopping terrorists from further attacking America in the way that Todd Beamer (born 1968) did, to the brave American soldiers, many of whom decided to carry out plans to fight for our interests abroad so citizens at home will not have to live through another September 11th. Members of Generation X have re-evaluated their positions in life as a result of this event, causing them to ask themselves, "How will I best contribute to America's Exceptionalism?" It may not be tomorrow, it may not be in two months or two years, but that fateful day will drive Generation X and they will then become known as the "9-11 Generation."
As stated above, Gen-Xers have learned about the United States and know what makes this country the best nation God has given man. Gen-Xers also know the importance of the individual to the American success story. As a result, they see what their Baby Boomer president (born 1961) is doing legislatively, in that he and the Congress are pushing though legislation that stifles individualism thorough Federal Government control. With large majorities in Congress, the president was able to pass health care legislation that increases the size, scope and influence of the Federal Government, the ARRA (Stimulus) that increases the size, scope and influence of the Federal Government, as well as the financial reform bill that increases the size, scope and influence of the Federal Government.
It will be a member of the eventually minted "9-11 Generation" that will stand up to this baby boomer president, get the American people on their side and right the ship, giving Americans the opportunity to succeed and use the Federal Government not to stand over, but to stand behind.
We may have that leader now, we may not; but in The Calling to Lead, I describe how that GenX/9-11 Generation leader can rise. Michael Buonocore is that leader and he was deeply affected by September 11, changed his life goal so that it best contributed to the continuation of American Exceptionalism, and rose in prominence because of his leadership skills and ability to articulate how America will continue to be the best nation God has given man. I hope that when The Calling to Lead is eventually published, readers and members of my generation can look at it as a handbook on how tomorrow's leaders in the "9-11 Generation" can be born, grow in influence and become celebrated, distinguished leaders who will positively impact the United States of America for years to come.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
His son Luke has followed in his footsteps in entering journalism. Check out this clip, boldly asking Congressman Charles Rangel questions about his ethics violations and not shying away from his snarky response.
Reporters need to follow Luke Russert's steps and ask politicians the hard questions, regardless of party. A tip of the cap to Luke Russert who has a promising career ahead of him.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
We look back at 2004, young voters talked a good game and stumped for John Kerry, but when push came to shove, Kerry lost and his heavily hyped youth vote did not show up. This tells me two things. First, the only thing that drove them in the campaign was the ABB (Anybody But Bush) vote. Kerry was not the most exciting candidate and they did not feel as though they had a stake in the man, as he was only a vehicle to end Bush's presidency. Second, young voters have historically been unreliable when actually going to the polls. Again, they talk a good game, wear their liberalism and left-leanings on their sleeves, but do not show up when it matters.
Fast forward four years later to 2008. The Youth of America was mesmerized by Barack Obama. We saw the fainting, we saw the chanting, the crying, and we even saw the insane! He said everything from closing Gitmo, to ending torture, to apologizing for America that drove them wild. They bought into him, his agenda, they embraced the hope and change that he would provide them and in many cases, they didn't refer to him as he, but He. Major figures in popular culture, who many of these young Americans closely follow, also endorsed Obama.
Just two short years later, I wonder if many feel the same way. Taxes will soar for them in 2011, as they will be the ones paying for the financially (and just plain choking) health care bill, unemployment rates among America's youth are ridiculously high, legislation from the health care bill, to extended unemployment, to tax hikes, discourages young people from going out on their own making them even further tethered to the government and their hope in Obama is turning to despair.
Analyzing the whole situation, I hope young people realized they were taken advantage of by Obama and the Democrats, as they are now living the consequences of following through on their adulation and awe of a man and his policies before reading up on the history of these policies, realizing that these policies have not worked in the past and will not work in the present in the future. It is my hope that a political leader will emerge and not tell America's youth what he (or she) will do for them, but instead how he (or she) will empower them to discover and hone their strengths in order to become financially successful and independent thinking Americans, who can become leaders in their own right and train tomorrow's leaders to continue the American story.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Hailing from Livonia, Michigan, Thaddeus McCotter has served in Congress since 2002. Prior to Congress, he was an attorney, a Wayne County Commissioner (where he made it more challenging for the county to raise taxes) and a Michigan State Senator. I rather enjoy his style of speaking as he reminds me of a former professor of mine. This professor, one of my favorites at Drew, may have seemed dry in tone, but his lectures were informative, and to catch his humor, you had to listen. The same applies to the Congressman. He has a gift for words, but he also has a gift for humor, as he proved in his keynote speech on Saturday night and in his many appearances on Fox News's Red Eye. Here is one below:
Another interesting item about the Congressman is he plays the guitar and was once in a band! McCotter has made a name for himself in Congress, being the first Republican to come out against the Paulson bailout/TARP and also being the first to implore the President to apologize to Officer Crowley, who was accused by the president of "acting stupidly", impugning the Sgt. before knowing about the incident. Congressman McCotter has stepped ahead to speak his mind and should be admired. I'm glad to see leaders like Thaddeus McCotter are in Congress, I would love to see him in a Congressional Leadership Position, and let's see if we can elect more like him this November.
UPDATE: Congressman McCotter on the YRLC
Thursday, July 15, 2010
He does it again today in the Washington Post, calling out the White House for its lack of loyalty to Congress and its Democrat members who supported the President. This weekend, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on Meet the Press, publicly for the first time, (most of America already realizes this) that Democrats may lose Congress, revealing Obama's strategy to throw Congress under the bus when they lose in November, making them take the blame for the loss and not tainting the president. A pattern with this president in refusing to say "my bad" is something I've previously blogged about and here is further evidence.
Congressman Pascrell makes a really good point on loyalty, which was also touched upon previously in "The 'Right' Solutions." Obama should be doing more to help these Congressman to show them that he has their backs, the same way George W. Bush did in 2002, when the Republicans had gains in the House and re-took the Senate. (And the political realities are that Republicans want Obama to help Congress, when considering his really low approval rates) This is a dangerous path to take, especially since the President will be fighting for his political life in 2012, not just from the Republicans, but from within his own party.
As I said, I'm having a lot of fun watching this! I again congratulate and thank the Congressman for calling it like it is.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Driving around, I have seen many signs advertising construction projects as part of the "American Investment and Recovery Act," aka, "The Stimulus." Today, an article stated these signs cost taxpayers $20 million!
Around New Jersey, I have seen these signs for the most minor of projects and have also seen them in other states around the Northeast. We remember the platitudes of the stimulus and the president: jobs created/saved, a step forward, etc. We've even been told by Vice President Biden that the stimulus is working.
As I remember, the stimulus should have created/saved jobs, yet the unemployment rate is nearly 10%. Let us not forget that these statistics only include those who are receiving benefits, as those who have "given up" or are under-employed are not counted, thus making the full unemployment rate nearly 17%!
If the Summer of Recovery were really taking place, Congress and the President would have either supported additional tax cuts or extending the Bush tax cuts, giving businesses incentives to create jobs. Had this been the case, this would have been a true Summer of Recovery. It is unfortunate our leadership refuses to realize the Stimulus isn't working and Americans, especially those who want to work, would be a lot happier if they changed course and embraced the tax cut route. When the Bush tax cuts expire on January 1, 2011, it will only get worse.
Looking at the reason why the these "Brought to you by..." signs are all over the place, those who designed ARRA wanted to remind Americans these projects are because of Obama and the Democrat passage of this massive spending bill. As we see the Stimulus is an abject failure, I wonder if the Democrats are rethinking this policy. And if they tear down the signs hoping the voters forget, think of the money that will waste! (I'll look forward to Darrell Issa's investigation on that one in 2011.) The "Brought to you by..." signs won't help them very much come November, as it's just further evidence of broken leadership and policy that needs to come to an end.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
About one month ago, The Weekly Standard published an article about Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels that is worth a read.
An unpretentious guy and a consistent conservative, Governor Daniels has been at the helm in Indiana since 2004 and has done a phenomenal job of cutting state spending and putting the state in strong fiscal shape. As he serves out his second term, Governor Daniels has not made a declaration to run for president, but if he does, I believe his leadership in Indiana, as well as his work at OMB and in the private sector, have given him the experience and success needed to successfully pursue the highest political office in the United States.
Friday, July 9, 2010
The truth of the matter is that I am not too sure that Sarah Palin will run in 2012, but let me tell you all, I want her to!
Having not expressed my opinion on her yet on "The 'Right' Solutions," I will now take that opportunity. Let me first tell you where I came to know Sarah Palin. Back in June 2008, when I was looking for who I would want as John McCain's running mate, I came across a video of Sarah Palin that was emailed to me by a friend. In the video below, she was interviewed on Glenn Beck's old Headline News show:
In this interview, she shows her expertise in energy issues and her experience as an executive and it's at this point, I said she was the best person to be picked as McCain's running mate as she is consistently conservative (life, 2nd Amendment, fiscal, social, foreign policy), strong and knowledgeable on energy, and eventually was the only one in the campaign with executive experience. At that point, I believed her rise to the national stage would have a strong and positive impact on the Republican Party in not only the election, but in years to come. Friends and family told me I was crazy, I asked them if they cared to make it interesting, maybe a friendly wager...the person who was right buys the other a case of beer of their choice. (few took me on) On the day she was chosen, not only did I get calls from those who doubted me, but Sarah Palin temporarily took the wind out of the sails of Barack Obama and the Democrats, the day after his big DNC speech at Invesco Field. Those on the left looked at her and scared out of their mind, seeing her as a threat, readied their attack machine; some of the nastiest smear tactics ever seen in modern day elections.
We won't repeat what was said as there's no need for it because they are all nasty lies. Looking back, I believe she was not used to the McCain campaign's best advantage. I used the phrase "Let Sarah Be Sarah." We saw this not only in the Glenn Beck interview, but at the Dayton Announcement event. She also cleaned Joe Biden's clock in the debate. She faced her critics head-on, whether on the campaign trail or on Saturday Night Live! From Day 1, she should have been doing FNC, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, etc. The Katie Coric interview and Charles Gibson interview should have never taken place. Despite the campaign's misuse of her, Sarah Palin saved John McCain from getting numbers against Obama that Mondale received against Reagan and Goldwater received against LBJ. This was done by rallying conservatives, many of whom doubted McCain's candidacy and conservative credentials. For that, those in the campaign should be thanking her and not attacking her.
Some people, after facing the level of attacks she did, would run away, cower in a corner, change careers and basically leave the public eye. Not Sarah Palin! She has the will and character to fight on and stay in the public eye. Events in her private life (many discussed in her book,(which I highly recommend and note that she finished the manuscript ahead of its due date) others publicly known) have further helped to make her a strong person. Her opponents zing her, she zings them right back. She knows she is hated by the left and does not care what her opponents think. Tonight on Hannity, Bernard McGirk made the following statement:
"I'd rather be in a foxhole with Sarah Palin than the Republican leadership (not the reasons you think)"Some conservative friends and I have disagreements about whether or not she is ready for a run for the presidency. They state the fact that she resigned her governorship before the term ends. Looking at the situation, I understand why she did it, so does Alaska and it showed observers that she cares more about the people of her state than the position or power, as attorneys and individuals led by Rahm Emanuel, who filed these frivolous ethics complaints, brought her state to a halt and had she stayed in power, the state's business would not have been completed and she would have lost friends in Alaska in thinking more of herself than her constituents. They criticize her for her support of John McCain and Carly Fiorina. While I'm not a fan of McCain and would like to see Hayworth win the primary, I understand why she supported him: he brought her to the dance! Had she gone against him, Palin would have been seen as disloyal and lacking in character. She went for Fiorina as she is a Republican woman running in a Democrat leaning state. I don't fault her for either.
Sarah Palin has shown herself to be a consistent conservative and for those who haven't yet seen her speak either on the trail (she does not use or need a teleprompter) or on Fox News, she is an articulate conservative. In these past few months, even though she does not hold a public office she has shown herself to be influential in forming the debate (as we had seen in the "Death Panels" debate), effectively uses Facebook and is responsible for the large number of Conservative women from Sharron Angle to Nikki Haley, who won primaries so as to represent the Republican Party in the fall general elections.
Conservatives know the Republican Party has misused them and/or mistreated them over the years, hence the reason for the rise of the Tea Party. Having Sarah Palin run would get the Conservatives and Republicans on the same side and unite the party.
As to the issue of whether or not she will run: prior to the release of this ad, I would have said an emphatic NO, but now, I've moved into the undecided column. We will see in the coming months as events continue to unfold, and if she does decide to run, she will be a front runner.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Dr. Julius J. Mastro: Dr. Mastro has long been a fixture of Drew University; a student, alumnus, professor, chairperson and trustee. He had many students over the years and as Chair of the Political Science Department, was responsible for forming and staffing the department. Dr. Mastro's love of Drew was so noticeable and contagious, so much so that he came out of retirement twice to teach Drew's students. He also had a great influence on his students, including myself! Before I took his intro to American Government class (PSCI 6), I was planning on majoring in History. After I took his class, it was the force that brought me to change my mind and become a Political Science major. Dr. Mastro made sure his students were active participants in the learning process through discussion, debate and the application of real world activities. The two things he taught me, as well as the rest of his students stayed with me to this day.
- "Know all sides of the argument"
- "If you want it or believe in it, stand up for it"
For an intro class, PSCI 6 was quite challenging and he gave the hardest exams around, but in the end, his students learned the material. He also had a strong sense of humor that one could mistake him for a comedian instead of a professor. Many a Drewid was teased by him and made to falsely believe that they would have a chance to drive his Jaguar convertible if they got on his good side. Interestingly enough, Dr. Mastro also owned a shoe store in Bernardsville that is still in existence today. Dr. Mastro passed away in 1999, but will be long remembered by his students and the Drew community.
The Honorable Thomas H. Kean: As the president of a university, one would expect the person in this position to be hidden behind a desk in the ivory towers, unseen by students and inaccessible to the public. This was not the case with Former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean. He was readily visible among the campus, meeting with students, sitting down to eat lunch with the students in the Commons, attending campus events and even teaching a class. In this class, Governing a State, Governor Kean taught with the use of storytelling. Each event or moment brought up was relevant to leadership and government; the two themes of his class. Additionally, he brought in speakers to his class that ranged from pundits to State Supreme Court Justices to Legislators in order to show the students the faces behind the stories and allow them to directly tell the students their experiences. We were also welcomed to network with these individuals. The Governor invited his students to various social events around campus and in North Jersey, and also took us on a very memorable field trip to the Statehouse in Trenton.
As a professor, Governor Kean was in close contact with all his students, allowed them the opportunity to exhibit their strengths and was incredibly loyal even after leaving his class. This class and my experiences within, as well as the encouragement and opportunities presented to me by the governor are some of the most memorable academic and professional moments for me at Drew.
Dr. Nicolas Celso, Esq.: Of all the graduate classes in Education I've taken at Monmouth and Kean, and many of them have been quite fulfilling and useful, School Law, a class I took for the Masters in Educational Leadership program at Kean University, was the most useful and fulfilling Graduate Class I have ever taken! The professor, Dr. Nicholas Celso, a former school administrator and attorney/partner in his own firm, knows the material and presents it clearly and articulately to his students. He has been teaching at Kean for many years and I find it amazing that a family member of a friend of mine had him as a professor in his first year at Kean. Back then, Dr. Celso admitted being a novice instructor, but sure did not show it! And he definitely did not show it last year when I took the class! The class was taught very much like a law school class where we had to read cases, examine legal precedents and analyze the reasons why the courts ruled as they did, after learning New Jersey Educational Law (Section 6A and 18A). He was a big fan of the Socratic Method and gave a final exam in the end that was a significant portion of the grade. This class has definitely helped me in my teaching career and will help me if I become an administrator. After taking this class, I learned that (a) many teachers are unaware of the laws and; (b) many administrators are unaware of the laws.
As an educator, I highly recommend my fellow teachers thoroughly read through 6A and 18A and know it by heart! It is unfortunate that some administrators in the system operate with the belief the teachers do not know the law and take advantage of their lack of knowledge Dr. Celso taught me that the career you save in knowing the law may very well be your own.
As I said in earlier Journey posts, my life experiences have helped to form the plot of The Calling to Lead. People who have been influential in my life one way or another have inspired characters in the book. As these three gentlemen have greatly influenced my professional life and their teachings still live on to this day, having them inspire characters in The Calling to Lead is the best thank you and honor I could give to them for mentoring me.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Happy Birthday America! We live in the greatest country God has given man and this experiment called America is going strong at 234! "The 'Right' Solutions" would like to wish you all a Happy Independence Day and hope that you have a great time with family and friends, be it watching fireworks, spending time at the beach, pool, barbecues, etc. Let's also take a moment to remember the true meaning of this day; the bravery with which our Founders carried themselves and led the way so we could be an independent nation, as well as the members of our military, whose courage and sacrifice have allowed us to celebrate July 4th after July 4th. Let's hope today's leaders in America will train tomorrow's leaders so that we can celebrate another 234!
Friday, July 2, 2010
For as long as we can remember, the news was dominated by ABC, CBS and NBC. As CNN entered the scene, television news still operated with a liberal bias; blatant to those who closely followed their coverage. In the midst of the media slobbering over President Bill Clinton on "All Bill Clinton," the "Clinton News Network," "Nothing But Clinton," and the "Clinton Broadcast System," Americans wanted an alternative and that void was filled by the Fox News Channel.
In doing my research for The Calling to Lead, I decided that Fox News will play a major role in the storyline and in Michael Buonocore's life. Having intensively researched Fox News at a time I considered working for them, as well as thanks to the folks I know who work there that provided me with information, I have a working knowledge of why Fox News is so successful and including them was the appropriate ode to their importance in American society, politics and the way the media does business. I have taken from Fox News the idea of "Fair and Balanced" in my teaching, as I have explained in a previous blog post.
Liberals and opponents of Fox News hate it. They hate that conservatives have a voice, they smear anyone working for them as dumb, rigid or radical. Additionally, they scream that Fox News has a blatant Conservative bias and constantly cite Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Neil Cavuto. What the liberals don't tell their drone supporters is that Fox News television programming is broken into two areas:
Hard News: This is defined as news programming where there is an anchor(s) in the studio who may moderate debates between guests, read the news or introduce field correspondents who are covering the stories they are introducing. On Fox News, these anchors, consisting of Bret Baier, Shepard Smith, Juliet Huddy, Martha MacCallum, etc, are even handed and do not give their opinions. They let the viewer decide for themselves. Fox News is the only network whose hard news programming does not disclose their bias.
News Analysis: This is defined as programming whose hosts DO give their opinion and are required to do so in many cases. Hosts like Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, etc, are intellectually honest about their beliefs and do not hide behind the cover of journalism to give their viewpoints. The critics of Fox News specifically cite this type of programming as the reason why Fox News has a conservative bias, but when you look at the analysts who host shows on Fox, Greta Van Susteren, Geraldo Rivera, as well as some of the pundits like Juan Williams who have guest hosted, they are not conservative...more than can be said for MSNBC who only has Joe Scarborough (and he has a liberal to keep an eye on him in Mika Brzezinski.)
One final note, their pundits or contributors are much more evenly divided than on the other networks. You have Ann Coulter, but you also have Bob Beckel. You have Michelle Malkin, but you also have Penny Lee. Rarely does one see a conservative on the other networks and when they are on, they are usually being talked over or demeaned.
In the past year alone, Fox News has broken stories such as ACORN's fraud, Van Jones, Anita Dunn, Bill Ayers and the recent corruption in the justice department that other outlets have ignored.
So the next time critics scream about Fox News, it would be wise for us to examine the veracity of their attacks and once we find out they are false, thank Roger Ailes and Fox News for introducing a truly fair and balanced news outlet that will continue to have influence over the way journalism is presented to Americans and viewers around the world.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
This afternoon on Fox News, Megyn Kelly, on her show, America Live, interviewed Christian Adams who is whistle-blowing on the Philadelphia 2008 Voter Intimidation case that was dismissed by Attorney General Eric Holder. Adams was the lead attorney on this case. Here is Part I of the interview:
This is a very big development and it is very early to draw any conclusions. I will be looking forward to Part II of the interview, as well as if this will be picked up and further covered by others.
UPDATE: Here is Part II of the interview:
Megyn Kelly did some good work on this one and followed up on him. I wonder where this will go and I think it will take a Republican Congress in 2011 to hold hearings on this and further explore.