2018

2018 was a year where I reconsidered a lot almost everything in life, though I didn’t make many radical changes. Things as fundamental to me as my politics, my religion, and my personal future all came under scrutiny in my mind this year. Some were caused by events, while some just came under question for me between my ears. Where I want to live, what I want to do, and who I want to do it with are all things I’m actively contemplating these days.

But I did check walking out onto the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge off of my bucket list.

The impossible happened in 2018- on February 4th, 2018, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Philadelphia Eagles beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII. I’ll be honest, it took me until about 15 minutes later to realize what I just watched. A few days later I’m in downtown Philadelphia with a bunch of my childhood friends at one of the wildest parades I’ll ever see in my life. After years of close failure, I won’t lie, I never thought I’d see the day.

Yesterday the Eagles snuck into the NFC Playoffs, with a chance to win Super Bowl LIII. We’ll see what 2019 brings.

I started out 2018 celebrating a lot of success from 2017. One of the fun celebrations was the swearing in of Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure and a brand new Democratic County Council majority. After helping Lamont through the campaign and the transition, it was nice to see my home county run by someone I have faith in. The after party at Oak wasn’t bad either.

I have to give Lamont and that Council a lot of credit- a year later, I think they’re doing a good job providing quality county services for those in need, while protecting the interests of our taxpayers. I believe they’ll continue to govern with a progressive, but pragmatic mindset.

I believe that in life, you eventually have to face all of your biggest disappointments again. The 2016 Election was a huge disappointment for me, in what it meant for our world. The 2018 primary was a huge personal disappointment that made me question if I wanted to continue being a part of my Democratic Party. I took a couple months off and contemplated my future. Then I decided to go back to the scene of 2016’s crime, North Carolina. I had offers in several states, but I just saw an obvious choice in front of me, eventually.

I took over the Charlotte region for the North Carolina Democrats in mid-September. I took over a difficult situation, and a team who had not been put in position to succeed. It was not always a pretty campaign, but we swept up all five Mecklenburg County State Legislative races the Democrats targeted for pick-up (4 House and a Senate seat), the mission we were sent there to do. We took over get-out-the-vote operations also in the now controversial NC-9 Congressional race as well- But we’ll never know what really happened in that election.

I went to some really fun college sporting events this year. I went to the NIT Final Four games at Madison Square Garden, seeing Penn State win the title. I saw Notre Dame beat Syracuse in football at Yankee Stadium in November. Finally, I made it to Happy Valley for the first time in a couple years and saw Penn State crush Maryland. The NCAA might be a morally bankrupt organization, but their games are awfully fun.

Way back in the bitter cold early days of 2018, I went to Philadelphia to celebrate another 2017 victory, that of Judge Ellen Ceisler to the Commonwealth Court. Sometimes you pick candidates strategically, and to advance yourself. Sometimes you support candidates because you just want to. I first chose to support her, then work for the Judge because I felt like her politics and values matched mine. I never regretted it a day. Her swearing in and party were held in City Hall, and I was reminded again that Philly has the most beautiful City Hall in America.

I had a stocking for Christmas at the College Hill Tavern. The owners, management, and staff there continue to be some of my favorite people. It’s good to have a go-to place here while I’m home.

One of the weirdest, most amazing things I’ve done this year was attend President George H.W. Bush’s lying in state at the U.S. Capitol. The 41st President served from the time I was five, until I was nine. He was one of the most qualified and intelligent Presidents we’ve had, even if I don’t agree with his politics. He was a hero of mine as a child, when I could respect the office of the Presidency.

There was so much winning in 2017 that there was lots of celebrating in 2018. Lehigh County Executive Phil Armstrong was possibly the most satisfying win I’ve ever managed. He’s just a great guy who wants to do well for the community. Celebrating his swearing in was a very happy day.

For the past two election cycles, I’ve had the privilege of managing State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski’s re-elections up in Wilkes-Barre. This year we got him through a 15% win against a long-time local radio host. We had a great message, a good team, and a damn likable candidate. I’ve been lucky in that the three state representatives in Pennsylvania I’ve done regular work with- Rep. Pashinski, Rep. Maureen Madden, and Rep. Jeanne McNeill are all A+ people and fighters for the people of Pennsylvania.

My long-time good friend, Ryan Pfenning, married his now wife Aly on May 12th. Ryan has been one of my loyal and best friends, and having the opportunity to celebrate my 35th birthday at his rehearsal dinner, and his wedding the next day, was an unforgettable experience.

Speaking of unforgettable- his wedding was the first time I’ve been in a wedding. Most of my best friends either just had family in their wedding or didn’t have big weddings. I’m not sure about their judgment for putting a hellraiser like me in a wedding, but I’m thankful they did.

Charlotte. Dear Charlotte. What an awesome town. I found so many great spots, like Pure Pizza and Common Market. I met some really great people. The skyline was amazing. The clash of old, “Billy Graham” Charlotte and the young, “New South” City sprouting up was really cool. I also found some great food in the Latino neighborhood out on Central Avenue. The city was a really nice place to spend my Fall.

I put on a suit a few times. That’s actually big news. I hate wearing a suit. I don’t want your attention for what I wear. I don’t want you to feel like you were so important that I got dressed up, either. I did it a bit more though this year. My general rule is that I’ll get dressed up for weddings (had that), funerals (thankfully, none this year), Presidents (Clinton and Obama at least, neither of which I saw this year), and the Chris Dodd Christmas Party (pictured here). I added swearing ins to that list this year.

Dewey Beach- now that’s a fun town. It had not dawned on me that the Delaware beaches really weren’t any further than the South Jersey ones, and that I could watch the Phillies there too. Like in South Jersey, I got a dolphin show, but I was shocked how close to shore it was. It also seemed to be a hangout for many of my DC friends. It was a fun town.

One more swearing in that I can’t ever forget- it was maybe the most frigid cold night I’ve ever seen, but I got to the Union League in Philadelphia to see my friend Maria McLaughlin’s installation on the Superior Court. If you know Maria or her husband Jonathan, you can’t help but like them. I have great confidence knowing the Judge is hearing appeals and rendering justice in our Commonwealth.

It seems like every two years, after the election, I end up hanging around DC, drinking all the coffee and booze I can. This year I got some good friends together each night, including on this night at the Cap Lounge on the Hill.

For the third time in four years, I got to 40 pro baseball games (majors and minors), this year on the dot. It was actually entertaining this year. My Phillies improved by 14 games from 2017, and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs won the IL North Division (AAA) title. Here’s to an even better 2019.

There’s few things I’ve never second guessed in life. I’ve never second guessed working for Senator Dodd’s 2008 Presidential campaign. It was an honor to work for such an accomplished Senator. It’s been a minute since then, but I always enjoy going to his Christmas Party in DC.

Goodbye Chase Utley, goodbye heroes of 2008. While the ridiculous “hustle love” Philadelphia talk radio had for Chase always grinds my gears, I was truly sad to see his career come to an end. Chase Utley’s play and attitude made Philadelphia baseball cool again. With he and Shane Victorino’s retirement, we’re pretty much down to Cole Hamels and J.A. Happ hanging around from the World f###ing Champions.

My grandmother, Ann Wilkins, turned 90 in March. I’ve been blessed with 35 plus years now with her. She can be an adventure to deal with sometimes, but I appreciate her more and more as the years pass on.

It might have only been for a couple nights, but my friend Nana Addo Opoku was in Easton, and convened a group of us at Ashley’s, out on the deck. One of my great regrets was missing Nana’s wedding in Ghana during the height of the 2016 Election. Now that he’s in Brooklyn, I intend to get up there soon to see him.

Philly vs. Everybody. Super Bowl 52 champs. Villanova Men’s Basketball, NCAA Champions. 53 winPhiladelphia 76ers. Ben Simmons, Rookie of the Year. Nick Foles, Super Bowl MVP. Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Nola, certified bad-asses. Oh, and Gritty.

America starts here.

I got to Gaffney. I saw the “big, stupid peach.” Even as they took Frank Underwood off the show for being a real life creep, I got my last “House of Cards” fix.

It was a tumultuous year for our world. From the daily chaos with President Trump, to the midterm election, to the death of iconic political figures, to gravely serious foreign policy issues, to Brexit issues, market instability, and government shutdowns, it was a crazy year for the world.

For me, I turned 35, bought a new car after my old one exploded, won and lost some elections, and went to cities, beaches, and ball games a lot, as usual. My food highlight was getting to J.J.’s Red Hots, a “diners, dives, and drive-ins” (did I get that right?) featured spot, while in Charlotte.

2018 was a very good year. Thank you, but next.

So This is Christmas…

Merry Christmas to you all. As a believer, raised Byzantine Catholic, I am of the belief that a little over 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem of the Holy Land, a child was born, sent from God. Maybe you believe he was sent to preach the word of God, and to sacrifice himself to free us from sin. Maybe you don’t, and this is a holiday of nice gifts, good basketball games, and some good Chinese food. To each their own, I love y’all anyway.

Last week was probably the first time in my life that I started to believe that maybe life is just too hard for human kind. With all of the chaos, division, and crisis in our world, maybe we just can’t handle it. It’s not that division is new, for America or the world, but it is pretty crippling right now. We’ve always comforted ourselves with the idea that “we all want the same things,” or “we’re in this together,” or “we’re all Americans,” but none of that stuff is actually true. We don’t want the same things, which is why the government is partially shut down over $5 billion (a decimal point of our budget) for a wall on our Southern border that is at best symbolic. We’re fully freaking out over pulling our troops out of Syria, something the left would normally cheer, because we realize the damage to our credibility when the Kurds are left to die at the hands of our enemies, or our allies in Turkey. The market is tanking, despite the controversial tax cuts for wealthy people last year. Republicans are fleeing the very administration of the man they stood by and vouched for two years ago. There’s so much more going on right now too. Frankly, I think it all gets to be a bit overwhelming for the average person. We spend all day screaming and yelling at each other over each individual controversy. We do this because we’re not in this together, because we want very different things.

All of this division and anger can be pretty jarring, because it literally reminds us that we might not agree with the person next door. It’s important that we remind ourselves this isn’t peculiar, it’s normal. Americans were not a monolith when debating whether we should declare our very independence, or during the Civil War, or whether or not to enter World War II, or on the virtues of Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, or in our present divisions. Israelis and Palestinians live in neighborhoods near each other and disagree over the legitimacy of their government. Koreans don’t all agree on reunifying some day. Almost two in five French people voted for a Neo-Nazi, while the Brits are narrowly divided on whether they should be part of Europe. Puerto Ricans divide closely on statehood, independence, or remaining a territory. Brazil elected a man who wants to destroy their rain forests. It’s only been a few years since Canadians in Quebec almost voted for independence. Division is as human as breathing. It is something we do, uncomfortably, because we all have the sovereign individuality to do so. It is inescapable, even as it cripples our ability to function.

I am worried though. Our problems are fundamental right now. Our world view is in question, and we’re further apart than ever before. Western pluralism, the diversity that we have lived off of, allows us to grow ever more divided, as we welcome more different strains of thought. I’ve always been proud that my great-grandmother came here to Ellis Island from Czechoslovakia, but I’ve often glossed over the fact that we closed off Ellis Island just months after she got here. We did that then largely because of Asian migration to the United States. Today, migration to this country is more global than ever. The diversity of races, religions, languages, and cultures has caused many “traditional” Americans to seek more inward, ignorant solutions. They deny science, diversity, societal change, and basic progress to “maintain” what they think we’ve been. Are they right? I think not. Are they wrong? In the sense that many of their basic experiences have not improved, that they are not feeling the successes of our nation’s prosperity, it’s hard to blame them for feeling forgotten, left behind, and lost in a changing world that they can’t understand.

I know this though- despair brings about hate, and hate makes people do awful things. Surely people who are partaking in the success of humanity don’t join the Ku Klux Klan, Hamas, ISIS, or any other hateful group. Surely people taking part in the prosperity of nations do not vote to “expel the other,” and exasperate division. The failure of the state to both distribute success among both labor and capital, or to show the successes of a global, diverse community have lead the people to accept crackpot regimes, extreme radical parties, and a permanent “war state,” both militarily and in our society.

My only hope this Christmas season is exactly in the thing that I denied exists above- our shared humanity. We are not hard-wired to hate in our every day life, and if we just interact more, we’ll realize it. I had a beer tonight and talked to my Republican bartender friend as a person, not some horrifying other. When we live our every day lives, and talk to each other, we suddenly don’t have the time, desire, or ability to hate each other. While living on social media may make us feel more partisan, more divided, and more distant from each other, it also gives us the opportunity to connect globally, to see things we may not have otherwise, and to access other points of view we may not have otherwise. Connecting with the world has allowed me to discuss politics, theology, popular culture, economics, and war with friends from Tehran to Taiwan, from Moscow to New York, from Berlin to Montreal. Just getting out and talking to my friends here in Easton has allowed me the opportunity to see other perspectives. One of my best friends here is currently in Afghanistan, serving as a U.S. Marine, and our views on the world are very different- but listening to him tell me his experiences has given me a great, different perspective on life and the world.

We do not share the same hopes, dreams, and goals in this world, our ruggedly different outlooks on the world, our individuality, prevents that. It is impossible to have a globally shared vision, and for that reason I am very afraid this Christmas. Our challenges are great, and the pathways to solve them are different. That is inescapable. My hope is simply in the billions of interactions that every day people have every day. Maybe, just maybe, our desire to not live in constant chaos, constant contradiction, and constant conflict with each other will save us. Maybe getting to know people different than us will save us. Maybe the every day compromises we make with each other will win out as the example. Maybe not though. Maybe we’re doomed to argue ourselves to death on Facebook over our differences. Maybe the despair of our own lives will eat us alive. I don’t know right now. I can only hope not. Maybe our divisions do define us, but maybe our desire to live peacefully in our own way define us too. Only time will tell.

The political scientist in me forecasts doom and gloom this Christmas. The faithful believer in me hopes we can find a better way. The world is a contradictory place, and sometimes all we can put our faith in is exactly the things we swear to be impossible. To my family, to the friends I’ve made along the way, Merry Christmas, and I love you all. To those of you reading me, peace be with you, Merry Christmas to you too. May we all leave the world better than we received it.

Thankful

I’d like to think I’m a thankful person, but the truth is that I take a lot of things in my life for granted. I’ve been blessed with many great things in life, whether it be my family, a comfortable middle-class life, intellectual and athletic abilities, decent health, a solid education, friends, second (and third) chances, or even just the chance to be alive. When you live every day in relative peace and tranquility, it becomes your norm, and you take it for granted. It’s not to say I haven’t had trials and tribulations, it’s to say I’ve lived my life free of oppression and despair. I should be thankful for that, every day.

This Christmas though, I am happy for my career in politics. Since I was 19, I’ve lived around political campaigns, and the people in them. Many, many of those people are not like me. I’m not calling them better or worse, but they’re there for very different reasons and motivations, and their different perspectives have enriched my understanding of life. Learning from their experiences, I think I’ve grown to be a better man than I might have grown up to be, as I was as a 19 year old intern on my first campaign.

I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities, and some not wonderful ones, to see the world through different eyes. I’ve worked with people who had undocumented relatives they desperately wanted to save from deportation. I’ve worked with people struggling to speak their own truth, and come out as who they are. I’ve worked with war refugees, who’s entire families were on “kill lists,” forcing them to leave their countries and seek asylum here. I’ve worked with people who grew up in poverty in southeast Washington, New Jersey, Appalachia, and Philadelphia. I’ve worked with Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. I’ve worked with a Latin American member of his nation’s Congress who was assassinated when he went home. I’ve worked under some of the most accomplished members of our Congress in my lifetime. I’ve worked for career teachers. I’ve worked for Muslims, Catholics, Jews, and Protestant Christians. I’ve worked for Midwesterners, Northeasterners, and Southerners. I worked for the first African-American Congresswoman in New Jersey history. I’ve worked for prosecutors, and alongside ex-felons. I’ve worked for Latinos, African-Americans, and white people. I’ve worked for winners and losers. I’ve worked for incompetent people, evil people who left their jobs in shame, and some of the finest people I’ve ever met. I’ve worked for Senators, Governors, Congress people, cabinet secretaries, state legislators, local officials, unions, and even a President. I’ve probably worked for or on a lot of cool things I’m forgetting right now.

Politics hasn’t made me rich, God knows that, but I’d like to think it’s enriched me as a person ten fold. I’d like to think the people I’ve met professionally, in addition to the people in my personal and private life, have all left an impression on me in some way. I’d like to believe the pathway I’ve chosen in life has made me better than perhaps I would have been otherwise. Lord knows I’m not a perfect person, that my vices and flaws would leave me unacceptable to some. Nevertheless, I’d like to think those of you who have gifted me with your presence have made me a better person than I would have been, and that this better person has helped make the world a better place than it would have been otherwise. We’ll all die, and we’ll all make mistakes on the way there, I’m not really worried about that. I’m just thankful that my pathway has forced me to take stock of different positions in life than my own, and maybe changed my view of the world for the better.

I think my time out in the field will come to an end soon. Probably after 2020. I’m on the old end of the pool at this point, so I need to be in an office or headquarters, and maybe have a little life stability. At 35, that’s not too much to ask.

Thank you to you all. Merry Christmas.

Time to Stop Doubting Nick Foles

On their way to last year’s Super Bowl Championship, the Eagles were home underdogs against the Falcons and the Vikings, then were record-breaking underdogs in the Super Bowl against New England. Why? Nick Foles was playing quarterback instead of Carson Wentz. The Eagles won all of those games of course, and Foles won the Super Bowl MVP, beating Tom Brady.

I’m not sure why everyone is shocked that Foles lead the Eagles to a victory at the Rams? What have the Rams won that Foles-lead teams haven’t? I mean, really, if he beats Houston on Sunday at home, is it anymore shocking than if he loses? At this point, doesn’t the guy have to be close to a jump ball in big games? He seems to run the Eagles offense smoother. He steps up in big spots. He plays fearless. I’m not advocating that he’s a Hall-of-Famer anymore than I would for Cole Hamels in baseball, but they were probably the two coolest customers in big spots that Philadelphia has produced in my lifetime.

When Foles was quarterback with Chip Kelly as coach, I was convinced he would fail. I think if that had remained the norm in Philadelphia, he would have. I think a lot of people haven’t accepted that Foles, in this conditions and this moment, is simply different. It took me a minute to believe. After Super Bowl 52 I won’t doubt again.

What I Want in our Next President

On Friday night I attended Senator Chris Dodd’s annual holiday gathering, as I have most years in the decade-plus since his 2008 campaign gave me my first “major” political gig. I go in part to see people (though less and less of my former co-workers attend), and in part out of respect- one of the most accomplished Senators of the last century actually employed me and invites me to join in the company of that room. It’s an honor, and one of only four reasons I put on a tie (funerals, weddings, and Presidential visits being the others).

There is a common theme in Presidential candidates I tend to like and support, one that Chris Dodd personified- experience, achievement, gravitas, accomplishments. This was true of Hillary Clinton, Wesley Clark, John Kerry, and obviously for Dodd. Chris Dodd authored or lead passage on the Family and Medical Leave Act, Dodd-Frank, the 2008 Mental Health Parity Act, Part of the Affordable Care Act, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, the India/U.S. Nuclear Accords, TARP, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, the Class Action Fairness Reform Act of 2005, the Help America Vote Act, the Child Care Act, and numerous other pieces of legislation I can’t remember or name, but impacted millions of lives for the better. His career was one of achievement, he got things done, even when it wasn’t front page news. That’s what I tend to seek out in political leaders I support.

I am not looking for the 2020 Democratic nominee to inspire me. I’m not looking for a generational shift. I don’t care much for their rhetoric. Surely any Democratic nominee will come to the debate with a universal health plan, a climate change/energy policy, ideas to lower the cost of higher education, and a host of other liberal policy plans that we desperately need, even if they are just copied from their colleagues. I don’t give a damn about that, so long as they’re in the realm of reality. I care about how they’re going to get the plans passed and enacted into law. Show me your revenue streams to fund your ideas, tell me your Congressional allies you will work with. In a post-Trump world, cleaning up for a disaster administration, I need to see that you actually know what you’re doing. This is not a time for on-the-job training, just because I want to feel good and inspired by my choice. I’ll take an imperfect vessel if it can actually get us through the rocky waves of the world Trump is leaving us.

I recently attended George H.W. Bush’s lying in state at the Capitol, and they gave us a card on the way out that essentially had his government resume on the back. During the Cold War we tended to nominate and elect very experienced people for President, something that has become less common since then. Perhaps Americans would be much happier with their country if they’d seek that out again. The challenges we face today are every bit as complex and dangerous as they were then. Whether it’s Putin, Climate Change, automation, terrorism, globalization, nuclear proliferation, cyber warfare, or any of the other major global issues, we need someone ready for the job on day one. I don’t care how old they are, or exactly what’s on their resume. I do care that they have demonstrated the intellect, the grit, and execution to get things done. I do want to see that they have plans, not just words about what our road ahead shall be.

Mixed Feelings on “Happy XMas (War is Over)” Re-Make

I am a John Lennon fan. I actually like Miley Cyrus too. I love the song “Happy XMas,” John Lennon’s anti-war, Christmas classic. I listened to Miley’s rendition with Sean Lennon and Mark Ronson on Saturday Night Live. I really liked it.

So what’s there to write about?

You can re-make any song you’d like, but some songs just belong to their moment. John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s rendition of this song had a meaning, an actual point- to protest the Vietnam War. While we have troops abroad at Christmas of 2018, we are not embroiled in a national debate over the justness of a full scale war. There aren’t large-scale protests in the streets over our continued presence in Afghanistan. We aren’t losing thousands of young, American G.I.’s every month. The moment we’re in isn’t the moment of that song.

One could argue that as long as there is war in the world, which is all of our human history, one needs to hear that song. By that standard, Miley Cyrus did a great job. This re-make just felt slightly off for me, even if masterfully done.

One Month of Christmas, Day 11

Welcome to the “oops” edition! I missed yesterday, so today gets two posts. Here’s the post for Wednesday, December 5th, 2018…

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Oh, Dubliner

How can I forget thee? I can’t, so I went there last night and had a few drinks and some corned beef and cabbage. I’ve seen plenty a Senator there over the years, but last night it was the Chuckster- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who was in and out in about three minutes time, while I was outside on the phone. I guess he was in a rush…

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The Phillies Were Right to Hold the line on Corbin

So the Washington Nationals tried their hardest to remain relevant in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, paying Patrick Corbin the bank, and giving him the desired sixth year. Obviously I would have liked to sign him, but I’m glad the Phillies didn’t go six years to do it.

Obviously this doesn’t look like “spending a little stupid,” and Corbin is good, but even the deepest pockets in the NL East have to pick their battles. Save that extra year to get Harper. The Nats don’t have the fanbase to sustain contracts like Scherzer and Corbin, even though attendance has improved. They’re a stagnant, underachieving team that has an owner who’s very rich, but not richer than John Middleton. Use the cash we didn’t spend on Corbin to bury that team once and for all, and take the face of their franchise.

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Don’t Feed the President’s Ego

Donald Trump thinks he behaved during George W. Bush’s state funeral. No, really, just ask him. By not making a total fool of himself, he thinks he did well. I guess if you ignored his twitter account, maybe- but you can’t do that. And besides that, why are we giving credit for him not attacking Jeb all week. I mean really, the man’s a child. Treat him like one.

One Month of Christmas, Day 10

Happy December 4th, 2018. Here’s today’s random thoughts…

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R.I.P. Mr. President

So last night I went to the U.S. Capitol and paid my respects to President George H.W. Bush in the Capitol rotunda. It took me about 90 minutes to get through the line, and I spent a few minutes there at the casket, then moved along. It was the quietist I’ve ever heard the Capitol.

When I was five, the 1988 Election captivated my mind. I obviously knew nothing about it yet, but it was interesting to me. It’s weird to bury powerful people from my childhood, as it does really mark the passage of time.

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Don’t Lock Him Up?

Apparently Robert Mueller doesn’t want to lock up Michael Flynn, because he cooperated fully and he served the nation in uniform. He probably gave Mueller some great information. All the redactions suggest some juicy stuff is in there.

Luckily for Michael Flynn, Robert Mueller is a better man than he is. While he could have made an example of Flynn, he chose not to. He didn’t lead an arena in chanting to lock Flynn up. He allowed him due process. He treated him humanely. It was the right thing to do.

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Tonight’s a light night for writing. I’ll be back at it more tomorrow.

One Month of Christmas, Day 9

Happy Monday, December 3rd, 2018. Here’s today’s random thoughts…

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In DC

I’m in DC- it was a lovely night being an Eagles fan in enemy territory. The Eagles and Redskins are playing on Monday Night Football. I must say- nobody gave me an issue. A few beers and some food later, all’s well.

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Compassion for the Homeless? Not Here…

I just walked past a group of homeless people sleeping on Pennsylvania Avenue. They’re just laying on the sidewalk. I’m walking to the Capitol to see a President’s farewell and these people aren’t even treated as people.

Who are we?

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You Have to Cheer for Ewing

I went to see the Georgetown Hoyas beat the Liberty Flames tonight. The Capitol One Arena is nice, and the Hoyas need to start filling it. That will mean tournament wins, Final Fours, and yes, a title. Georgetown expects to win, not just games against Liberty, but big games too. Tonight was an expectation for the Hoyas.

I’m not a fan of the Hoyas, but I’m pulling for Ewing. How many Hall-of-Famers go coach their alma mater? The risk of fraying the relationship is too much for most. That he’s taking it on is enough for me to pull for him.

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May Jean be the First

Jean Segura is coming to Philadelphia. The two-time All-Star will be the Phillies shortstop in 2019. Juan Nicasio and James Pazos will join the Phillies as well.

I’m in a minority that is sorry to see J.P. Crawford and Carlos Santana gone, but don’t mistake me as opposing the trade. I think Crawford will blossom, and Santana is still a positive player. I think Segura is good now. If you want to win now, you need players like him.

If you want to sign Bryce and Manny, you do this.

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Paying my Respects to 41

As I said above, I’m going to see George H.W. Bush’s body lie in state at the Capitol- in fact, I’m in line now. It’s not bad, slightly cold, but the line is moving. I’m signing off for tonight to do this.

God speed, sir: God speed.

One Month of Christmas, Day 8

Happy Sunday, December 2nd, 2018. There are 23 days until Christmas. I’m on the way home from dropping my sister back at Philadelphia and just listened to the Sixers win their 17th game. #TrustTheProcess.

Here’s tonight’s random thoughts…

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Wild-Eyed Critics Need to Lay Off of Susan

My new Congresswoman, Susan Wild (D-PA-7) has already run afoul of my “friends” (to be read- lunatic Berners) on the Socialist-Left. Congresswoman Wild did join the Progressive Caucus in the House (which to be fair, isn’t as selective as it once was), but that’s not enough for them. They’re angry she joined the New Democratic Coalition Caucus, or as they call it “The Wall Street Dems” conference.

I voted for Susan in the Fall, but have some misgivings. This isn’t one of them. She didn’t run as an anti-capitalist screecher in the primary or general election. She’s not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and never claimed to be. Her joining an ideologically diverse Caucus is not a bad thing.

I’ve appeared on these types of freaks’ radar before, most notably their anti-Bernie hit list in 2017. Susan, keep doing you. You won doing so.

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LOLOhio State

To hear Ohio State fans tell it today, it’s not a big deal to lose to Purdue by 29, or deserve to lose to Maryland, or to win a crappy conference. To hear the Buckeyes fans tell it, they should be the #3 team in the land, over an undefeated Notre Dame. They look and sound ridiculous.

The Big Ten sucked this year. Wisconsin was trash. I love Penn State, but they weren’t that good. Michigan State was terrible. Michigan was a wildly overrated, poorly prepared team, when it mattered. Ohio State has no signature win, really. They won an overrated conference. They lost by 29 to Purdue. Not only are they not better than Notre Dame, they’re not better than Georgia and Oklahoma.

The committee got it right- but it doesn’t matter. Alabama is going to kill any #4 team that gets in.

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I Was a 41 Fan

I liked George H.W. Bush. I liked him as a young kid. I like him now. In 1992, I forced my Clinton supporting parents to get me a Bush-Quayle sign in 1992 (9 year old me believed in supporting the President). I wrote his White House after the 1992 Election, and got back a photo of him at the Grand Canyon.

I grew to appreciate his Presidency more as the years past. I find some of the far-lefty attack articles on him this week to be beneath the dignity of a response. President Bush 41 had plenty of faults. On the whole, I don’t think he’s on the negative side of the ledger though.

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You Like the NFL for the Reasons I Don’t

I watch the NFL for the same reason I watch cop shows- you can’t take your eyes off a wreck. The NFC stinks. With a win, the Eagles could pull within a half-game of the Wild Card. With another win next week, they could lead the division. The Eagles and Cowboys might both make the playoffs, with like nine wins.

I’m sorry, this slop is trash. I like excellence, not parody. I like the longer term rebuilds in MLB and the NBA. This over-night change crap in the NFL is garbage.

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DC Trip 1 Starts Tomorrow

Tomorrow I hit the road to DC, my first of two December trips to the nation’s Capitol. I’ll be doing a Georgetown game, meeting with a couple of Chiefs-of-Staff on the Hill, having a Happy Hour, and having some Russia’s best (vodka). I’m also going to try to get to President Bush’s lying in state. Should be a good trip.