Month: January 2011

Courage vs. Polarization

We’ve seen two demonstrations of extraordinary courage by two ordinary women in the past month.

In December, Ginger LIttleton, who had escaped, put herself back in to harm’s way to try to save her colleagues. With a purse as her only weapon, she attempted to knock the gun out of the hand of a man who was threatening the Panama City School Board of which Littleton is a member. That scenario ended without the loss of any innocent life.

This past Saturday in Tucson, the outcome was not so positive, although the bravery demonstrated by Patricia Maisch was no less admirable, in fact perhaps more so because people around her had already been shot and killed when she took a fresh ammunition clip from the hands of shooter, Jared Loughner.

Unfortunately, Patricia Maisch used the ensuing publicity and media attention to go on a rant about how she believes the rhetoric of the Republican Party was responsible for Loughner’s murderous spree. How disappointing that someone who showed such courage would use that moment to do exactly what she’s accusing the “other side” of doing…ratcheting up the dialog by making accusations at each other.

I wish Ms. Maisch well and hope that she recovers quickly from what will undoubtedly be reactions of post traumatic stress. I also hope that when she comes out on the other side of this experience, she will not find it necessary to polarize or politicize the event, which was clearly the act of a mentally unbalanced person and not of a rhetoric-driven ideologue.

My expanded thoughts about this issue are on The Daily Caller

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The “Downtown Browne” Show…

browne-portrait Technology has benefitted many industries, created many others, and turned the world in to a global marketplace. But no one group or segment of society has reaped more reward from the ability to sit in front of a keyboard to reach out and touch thousands of people, than the political establishment.

The old expression “stump speech” comes from the fact that for a candidate or politician to be heard while addressing their constituents, they’d have to stand on a tree stump to get up above the crowd. Despite all the emphasis on “going green”, there’s not a stump in sight across today’s political landscape. There is however, Facebook, Twitter, and Flipcams.

State Senator Pat Browne, whose 16th District includes parts of Lehigh, Northampton and Monroe Counties, is taking full advantage of these innovations by creating a series of video programs called “The Browne Report”. The latest edition focuses on downtown Allentown and the good things happening there. Included in the 27 minute video are…

** Lee Butz & the Butz Building

** Rev. Bob Stevens & Zion’s Church

** Cosmopolitan Restaurant

** Tamara Weller, Ex. Dir. of Allentown Parking Authority

** APD Chief Roger MacLean & Hamilton Street’s own guardian, Officer Rick Mongolitz

** Ann Vaughn of East Penn Properties

In case you don’t have time to watch the entire program, I’ll share my favorite quote, which I’m somewhat paraphrasing,  from Ann Vaughn who credits Mayor Pawlowski for all his energy and all the money he’s put in to downtown. Or to put it another way… all the money the taxpayers have put in to downtown.

To close on a positive note: I’m not sure if a video about downtown Allentown will bring in any new investors or customers, but I give Pat Browne credit for trying.

Blogger’s Note: This URL does work and will open when you click on it, but it was not suitable for embed.

http://nova.pasenategop.com/browne/2011/0111.wmv

Veteran’s Sanctuary

Veteran's Sanctuary 1-11 Bright white sunlight streamed in to the auditorium of the new Veteran’s Sanctuary in Allentown, PA, lighting the way for the color-guard as they marched up the aisle.

It was gratifying to see the turnout…the large room was filled to capacity, as was the upper balcony that surrounds it. Many VIP’s and elected officials were in attendance including U.S. Senator Bob Casey and Lehigh County D.A., Jim Martin.

Community support is crucial to the success of the Sanctuary and to its residents. During an afternoon workshop, a great deal of emphasis was placed on the importance of the soldiers feeling that they have been accepted back in to their community so they can resume their civilian lives.

As our Vietnam Veterans age, and as our current veterans cope with multiple deployments, the Veteran’s Sanctuary will become an increasingly important safe haven for our soldiers and their families. They are currently trying to raise funds through a “Buy a Brick” campaign. For $100 you can add an engraved brick memorializing the name of a soldier or family member, to the Sanctuary’s outside walkway. This is an effort worthy of our support.

New Beginnings

It’s a testament to the human spirit that at the beginning of each New Year, we go through the same exercise, optimistically looking forward to what we believe will be better times ahead while setting countless resolutions that seldom are in effect when the daffodils bloom. But despite years that are not always better and promises to ourselves that we don’t keep, we repeat the cycle each January.

Nowhere will optimism and resolutions be more important than in our state and federal governments where deficits and entitlement programs threaten to sink a very weak recovery.

Republicans, who won what could be considered a mandate in the House must deliver on their promises or risk losing the ground they gained from frustrated members of their own party as well as Independents.

Appearing Sunday, January 2, on Meet the Press, Pennsylvania Senator-elect, Pat Toomey, highlighted his own agenda…reducing corporate and capital gains tax rates, reigning in regulatory over-reach, and “reforming” the health care bill. All good places to start when it comes to keeping those resolutions made to voters.

Let’s just hope when spring rolls around, congress is not sitting on the proverbial political couch, eating bon-bons, having forgotten all about its promises.

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