Michael Bloomberg: Anatomy Of A Coward

August 25, 2011

Remember when we used to hear horror stories about how organized prayer was banned at public events held in communist countries like the former Soviet Union?

Well, welcome to 21st Century Amerika, comerades, courtesy of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg!

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg

It should bring great comfort to those terrorists who played a role in creating the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has banned the participation of all religious groups in the 10-year anniversary memorial services held at ground zero.  He’s also barring political speeches.

A spokesman for the mayor said, “The mayor insists that the ceremonies should focus on the families of those killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center.”

News Flash for the mayor: My guess is every victim of the attack and their family members, along with the vast majority of those of us who watched the horror unfold prayed to our God in our own way on September 11th, 2001 and it’s my guess that prayer would bring as much comfort to these families today as it did then. But God Bloomberg forbid we should allow the anniversary to include an organized approach to a non-denominational group prayer at ground zero itself.

In the days after the attack, then-mayor Rudy Giuliani held an interfaith service at Yankee Stadium. There was no problem and no great organized protest. We went there en-masse to mourn together… and to begin the healing process  together.

And it worked. People from all walks of life, all religions poured into Yankee Stadium… and poured their hearts out in public. Together as one big family. It not only brought comfort to all those who attended, but to the millions who watched the live coverage on TV. But that was then and this is now, right Mayor Bloomberg? At the time, we just didn’t realize we might be offending the very people who attacked us. What were we thinking?

Ten years on, the original Yankee Stadium has been razed by what some call “progress.”    And, ten years on, apparently American pride, common sense, compassion and a sense of “We Are All One Family” has been replaced by political correctness and the sycophants of stupidity, led by one Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City.

To Mayor Bloomberg: You are supposed to be a leader. Yet in this case, you show none of the leadership characteristics Rudy Giuliani did in the days immediately following the attack. Worse, by yielding to the parasites of political correctness, you show little of the kind of “Stand your ground” patriotism so desperately needed in today’s world. Did you learn nothing from the lessons left by your European ancestors from World War II?

This writer was born and raised in the Boston area (as was Bloomberg). As such, it was always

  • Red Sox before Yankees
  • Patriots before Jets
  • Celtics before Knicks and
  • Bruins before Islanders

But we all came together and mourned as one on 9/11.  And, God willing (and to hell with Michael Bloomberg), I will join hands with my New York brothers and sisters in solidarity at ground zero on 9/11/11. And there will be prayers in many languages, representing every religious denomination. Because that’s what people do at a time like this. Unlike cowards who yeild to those who would bully them into submission.   

Edmund Burke said it succinctly: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” But in this writer’s mind, perhaps, the biggest evil to be committed this September 11th would be to prevent good men and women from doing something meaningful to all, at a place called “Ground Zero” in NYC.

 Shame on you, Michael Bloomberg. You are truly a gutless coward, sending the terrorists behind 9/11 (and their followers) the best message they could ask for: “You Won. We won’t pray, because we don’t want to offend you.(But hey, feel free to tie up the streets of Manhattan several times a day so you can pray towards Mecca).” Yes, this is the same Mayor Bloomberg who, on May 28th last year, defended the building of the Muslim Mosque so close to ground zero, saying at the time that he felt the government “shouldn’t be in the business of picking” one religion over another. But by banning all religious groups at Ground Zero while defending the Mosque, that is precisely what he is doing.  

How pathetic Mayor Bloomberg. How pathetic.

Perhaps that earthquake in Virginia earlier in the week was caused by the soldiers in the Arlington National Cemetary rolling over in their graves in disgust at what we have for “leaders” in America today. And who could blame them?

Gerry Ashley

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Now THAT’s a Scary Thought

August 10, 2011

You know, I’m beginning to have some frightening thoughts. For example, on Monday, as I simultaneously watched the President say nothing useful and the Dow plummet nearly 200 points, I found myself thinking that maybe Joe Biden wouldn’t make such a bad president after all.

Yes, I know, good old open-mouth-insert-foot Joe, they guy who, while introducing wheelchair-bound Sen. Chuck Graham, called to him to “[S]tand up, Chuck, let the people see you!”

The same Veep who was caught on mike during the Obamacare signing ceremony telling the President, “This is a big f*ing deal!”

The very same gentleman who was confused enough to think that JOBS is a three-letter word. Ah well.

Regular readers here probably know that I started Obama’s presidency unhappy but willing to give the man the benefit of the doubt and hoping for his success in office. In the intervening years, I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s, well, an idiot. I know that sounds harsh, but really, how else does one describe a man who speaks of 57 states, who is the Commander in Chief of our armed forces and, in a rehearsed speech, mispronounces the word “corpsman” not once, not twice, but three times? What else could you call someone who thinks there is language called Austrian? Who makes jokes about the Special Olympics?

This is a president who, by his abject insistence on “leading from behind,” by his disastrous inaction, by his complete lack of engagement with his job and his nation, has allowed our nation’s  AAA+ credit rating to drop for the first time ever.

When you look at it like that, even Joe Biden looks smart by comparison!

So maybe it’s time for Obama to step down and let his inspired choice for Vice President, good old Slow Joe, fill out the remainder of his term.

At this point, Joe could hardly do worse.

Stoutcat


Bin Laden Dead: Curb Your Enthusiasm

May 2, 2011

On the surface, the news is what we’ve all been waiting to hear for nearly 10 years: Osama bin Laden, the founder of the jihadist terror organization al-Qaeda and the monster behind numerous terrorist attacks, including the 9/11 attack on the US is dead.

All devout Americans celebrate his departure from this light and his descending directly into the bowels of hell.  Michelle Malkin has done her usual stellar job in listing some of bin Laden’s most dastardly deeds, in addition to 9/11. No person with a soul will miss the vicious bastard.

But before we declare today a national holiday, let’s take stock in some additional points that should be taken into consideration:

  • In a report from About.com, as of last week-end, 4683 American soldiers have died in the combined conflagrations in Iraq and Afghanistan since the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) on October 7, 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom (beginning with the invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003).  This does not take into consideration the number of deaths to coalition soldiers from other countries fighting in support of US Troops.
  • According to a March 29th report from the Congressional Research Service, Congress has approved a total of $1.283 trillion for military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Afghanistan and other counter terror operations; Operation Noble Eagle (ONE), providing enhanced security at military bases; and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). This estimate assumes that the current CR level continues through the rest of the year and that agencies allocate reductions proportionately.

Looking at the above, bin Laden’s death comes with a mighty high price tag. But it shows the world, that the United States will not shrink away from a fight when we’ve been attacked. And whether it’s Afghanistan, Pakistan or Any-other-stan, you can’t hide indefinitely.

With the completion of the bin Laden mission, many will deem it time for American troops to leave the region. However, former President Bush added to the agenda as we moved forward. That goal was to establish a democracy in the middle-east region in hopes of creating some level of stability the region. Whether this was his Achilles heel, an idiot’s folly or a shrewd move will be debated for years. The bottom line is American troops are still there and will most likely still be in harm’s way in the middle east for years to come.

The Bottom Line:

When America was attacked at Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941, most of the Japanese celebrated their victorious moment. Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was the only one who saw the bigger, more ominous picture as he (reportedly) said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

Osama bin Laden has now learned the meaning of the term “Terrible Resolve.”  However, we would be fools if we didn’t acknowledge that Muslim extremists are also filled with a terrible resolve now that bin Laden is dead. It would not surprise me if the word goes out from whoever no leads al-Qaeda, to seek revenge on the United States for bin Laden’s death. And the options they could possibly have in their possession already  include dirty bombs, nuclear weapons and who knows what kind of chemical poisons. Perhaps worse, given the porous American border (thank you Congress, Presidents Bush and Obama), these weapons could already be in place in numerous locations around the United States… perhaps even in your town or city.

Now, more than ever,  we need a true leader in the White House, one with the kind of experience and ability to make the right decisions in a timely manner. If President Obama was ever looking for the chance to prove his leadership capabilities, that opportunity now lies at his feet.

I’m glad the monster (bin Laden) is dead. But we’re a long way from being safe, my friends.

Gerry Ashley


From Ground Zero Japan: A Moving Display Of Loyalty

March 17, 2011

There are some who just don’t get the bond between a man and his dog. But even I was unprepared for the level of “humanity, compassion and loyalty” within the canine community you’re about to witness below.

It’s a video that will move any animal lover to tears: Rescuers searching the remains of the debris that was once a seacoast town in the Arahama area of Japan come upon a dog that has somehow managed to survive the earthquake and the tsunami that followed. The animal is clearly in shock, disoriented and in distress.

The workers attempt to get the dog to come to them so they can take it for food, water and medical treatment. But the dog steadfastly refuses to leave with them. He turns and walks away, walking in a stagger that seems to confirm the exhaustion and confusion that has engulfed it.   

As the rescuers watch the dog walk away, they discuss his plight:

We are in Arahama area. Looks like there is a dog. There is a dog. He looks tired and dirty. He must have been caught in the tsunami. He looks very dirty.

He has a collar. He must be someone’s pet. He has a silver collar. He is shaking. He seems very afraid.

Then, they notice why the dog has walked away from them. There, some 50 feet away from them, another dog lies in the debris motionless.

             Oh, there is another dog! I wonder if he is dead.

Where?

Right there. There is another dog right next to the one sitting down. He is not moving. I wonder. I wonder if he is alright.

The dog is protecting him.

Yes. He is protecting the dog. That is why he did not want us to approach them. He was trying to keep us at bay.

I can’t watch this! This is a very difficult to watch.

Oh… Look! He is moving!  He is alive! I am so happy to see that he is alive!

Yes! Yes! He is alive!

He looks to be weakened. We need to them to be rescued soon. We really want them rescued soon.

Oh good. He’s getting up!

Let me assure you, that there IS a happy ending to this story: Both dogs have now been rescued and taken for treatment and are recovering.

In the military, soldiers take a great deal of pride in “never leaving a  brother behind…”

It would appear that’s true also in the canine world.

I hope, for some of you, watching this video will bring you one step closer to understanding that there’s no such thing as “just a dog.” They come from God, like us, equipped with a heart that is capable of loving, with the courage to defend that which he/she believes in and the compassion and loyalty to NOT leave a friend behind to die alone.

Do they have the same reasoning power of humans? That is, perhaps, open to debate. But they share the basic elements that supposedly make us “human.” They know joy. Sorrow. Happiness, Contentment, Fear, Anger. And for those of you who suffer from one form of depression or another, dogs also share that state of mind.

Watch the video and you’ll witness a prime example of canine loyalty.

Then, to put it into some perspective, think about how many other humans, dogs and other assorted pets didn’t make it through or, worse, made it through but are in a place where time will run out before they are rescued. Welcome to the real toll in terms of human and animal life.

H/T Theblaze.com

Gerry Ashley

Addendum: Having a better understanding about the loyalty of dogs and their ability to experience confusion, disorientation, loneliness, loss and depression, now think about the dogs  who sit in shelters waiting for someone to give them a new lease on life. If you are in a position to provide a home for such a loving animal, I hope this video will move you to do so. I did three years ago last month and my life is forever changed for the better because of it.

If you are not in a position to do that, however, a donation to your local humane society or no-kill shelter is always put to good use.

As for the two dogs in this video… well, I certainly believe in the power of prayer. And that doesn’t cost a dime.


Everyday Heroes: Paying Homage To 1st Responders

October 4, 2010

This past week,  Congress passed (and President Obama signed) H.R. 3978 which is also known as the “First Responder Anti-Terrorism Training Resources Act.” It is essentially, “… An act to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security to accept and use gifts for otherwise authorized activities of the Center for Domestic Preparedness that are related to preparedness for a response to terrorism, and for other purposes.” Source: govtrack.us

The new law expands the ability for first responders to train under more realistic conditions so that in the event of such an attack, they are better prepared to successfully provide critical care at a time when desperately needed.

However, mention the term “First Responder” to many people and you might just be surprised at the look of confusion in their eyes. It’s not a term we use every day. And, sadly, it seems that the only time we pay much attention to first responders is when a tragedy befalls one (or more) of them. Our friend, Canadian Singer/Songwriter Dave Carroll (of United Breaks Guitars fame) has set out to change all that in a big way. More on that in a moment. But first, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page:

Who are “First Responders?”

They are the men and women of our local communities who put their lives on the line for each of us on a daily basis by responding to emergency (911) calls. They are Firemen, Police, EMTs and others who have promised each of us that no matter what the emergency, they will be there for us. And it’s a promise they keep every day of their (and our) lives.

Dave Carroll knows a lot about this from first-hand experience. He’s been a volunteer fireman in his home town of Waverly, Nova Scotia while building his musical career. His brother Don (who shares singing roles with Dave in the band, “Sons of Maxwell“) is a full-time fireman in that same town.

Over the past two years, I’ve written several articles about tragedies that have taken the lives of a number of these hometown heroes. Fortunately, these are not every day occurrences. However, the emergencies in our communities that expose first responders to the danger of accidents, fires, violence, disease (and now, sadly, terrorism) happen on a daily basis. While writing this article, there have been several separate occurrences of sirens screaming past my home. The first was a police car and, later another police car followed by a firetruck and ambulance. None of these first responders know what awaits them, yet they respond without hesitation when needed.

It’s important that we never allow ourselves to forget how fortunate we are that whenever someone is in peril, there are men and women who are our friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters professionally trained in emergency procedures  keeping that promise to “be there” when needed.

Even though the heroes are the first responders, YOU and I play an important role as well: Whenever you’re driving, if you see an ambulance, fire truck or police car with emergency lights flashing in the rear-view mirror, pull over as soon as possible to let them pass. Someone’s life is in the balance and, most likely, seconds count.

Dave Carroll has written and recorded a new song in tribute to First Responders. Appropriately entitled, “Everyday Heroes,” it’s sponsored by Intrado Inc., in Longmart Colorado. For over 30 years, Intrado has been a pioneer in the development of enhanced 911 services used throughout the United States and, now, Canada.  While the song speaks for itself with Dave’s usual musical excellence, the story of how Intrado got involved with him is a fascinating one, best told by Dave himself.

So in another Grand Rants First, here’s Dave Carroll to introduce his tribute, “Everyday Heroes”:

And here’s the video:

Dave’s project to help spread awareness and to pay homage to First Responders is just beginning. Stay tuned for more on this as it develops throughout the US and Canada.

Gerry Ashley


IHOP(e) This Suit Is Pancaked By The Court

September 16, 2010

From the semi-tongue in cheek department: 

According to an International Business Times report, International House of Pancakes (the restaurant chain known for its all-day breakfasts and which, for years, has used the acronym “IHOP”) is suing a church group based in Kansas City Missouri calling itself the “International House of Prayer”. The reason? Because they too are using the acronym “IHOP.” Quick: Circle the syrup dispensers!

Sign created by the author

Apparently IHOP (the restaurant) is afraid people might get confused with the double use of the acronym. 

I can appreciate a company wanting to protect its image, name and likeness from a competitor. But if that were really the case, then why didn’t IHOP go after a chain restaurant called “HOPS” (which DID confuse me at first). 

But what is the likely confusion with a small, one-off church group based out of Kansas City Missouri? There are three IHOP restaurants in the area. Are they afraid people might wander into the restaurant looking for a prayer service? And I’ve thoroughly checked the church’s web site. Not ONE mention of Chocolate Chip pancakes. Or “Rooty-Tooty, Fresh & Fruity Salvation.”

Since we at Grand Rants have been suggesting solutions to the political time bomb that is the current administration, I figured we ought to be able to resolve a simple issue like this, and it didn’t take long for me to come up with I believe to be the best all-around solution: 

I recommend the church group change it’s name to the Diocese for the Enlightened Natural Nazarene in You

That would be DENNY’S for short. 

Once they’ve changed their name, the church could implement an intervention program to break people of domestic abuse. They could call it the “GRAND SLAM INTERVENTION.”  

Then there could be variations of their Ultimate Skillet program to break people of bad habbits like smoking, drug and alcohol addiction.  

And to top if all off: Free Redemption on your birthday! 

Problem solved.  Next? 

If you will excuse me, I have to go now to attend the grand opening of my new business: 

Created by the author

Gerry (“Come to IHOP to get your i-Phone”) Ashley


James Taylor And Carole King – A Troubadour Reunion, 40 Years In The Making

June 26, 2010

The dictionary defines a troubadour as  “one who composes or sings verses or ballads.”

History has been littered with them. Some better than others.  But to dismiss  James Taylor or Carole King as merely troubadours would be like saying a Ferrari is merely a car… a Lear Jet is merely an airplane.

Few recording artists have sold more records. Even fewer songwriters have had a greater impact on the lives of the boomer generation.

Carole King had already been established for a decade  before James Taylor hit the scene. Together with her then-husband Gerry Goffin, King was responsible for many of the Top 20 hits of the Pre-Beatles era, including songs for  Little Eva (“The Locomotion”), and her first hit composition (at the tender age of 18), “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”) by The Shirelles.

As the 60s progressed, so did  her songs, which were recorded by such groups as The Beatles, The Monkees, Blood Sweat & Tears, Dusty Springfield, Steve Lawrence, Aretha Franklin and others.  In fact, from 1955 through 1999, King penned or co-wrote 118 songs that made it into the Billboard Top 100, making her the most successful female songwriter of that era.

By the late 60s, however, musical styles were changing.  King divorced Goffin and went out on her own.  By 1971, she had updated her songwriting to reflect the changing times and recorded the landmark albumn, “Tapestry” which remained number 1 on the Billboard charts for 15 weeks. It also remained on the charts for 6 full years making it one of the best-selling albums of all time.

The album spawned a number of hits for her (“It’s Too Late,” “I Feel The Earth Move,” “So Far Away”). But the song that was supposed to be her first single was delayed by King so a young singer she had met could release his own rendition first. The singer: James Taylor. The song became one of his trademark tunes: “You’ve Got A Friend.”

This began a bond of friendship that has lasted over 40 years. Taylor, of course, has been a prolific songwriter on his own, writing from (by his own admission) a self-centered position. But it’s his introspective angst that has yielded his most lasting songs. From the tormented “Fire and Rain” to the biorhythmic high of “Whenever I See Your Smiling Face,” it turns out that many of us shared the same angst and the same highs. His music chronicled our lives as did King’s.

Over the years, the paths of Taylor and King have crossed musically and socially.  Two and a half years ago, the two agreed to do a concert together to mark the 50th anniversary of Hollywood’s Troubadour night club where (as Taylor puts it)  they “had played repeatedly, evidently.”

The two were accompanied by Taylor’s original backup musicians, Lee Sklar (Bass Guitar), Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar (Guitar) and Russ Kunkle (Drums):


When all was said and done, Taylor and King enjoyed themselves so much, they decided it was time to tour together. And it’s turning out to be one of the most successful tours of the year.  Several charities are benefitting tremendously from the tour as well. According to Ally Schweitzer of The Washington Post, Taylor and King have announced they have raised $1.5 Million  for The Natural Resources Defense Council, The Alliance for the Wild Rockies as well as other groups.

James Taylor and Carole King are currently touring the United States. It’s an evening to remember.  Literally. You will remember where you were and who you were with through all the sounds and music these two icons have provided for over 4 decades.  This is an opportunity that may not come again.  A great concert by two great music icons, with a portion of the ticket prices going to charities we can all feel good about. That makes it a win-win-win, in my book.  You can check the tourdates and cities at www.jamestaylor.com or www.caroleking.com (remember she spells her name with an “e” at the end).

For those of you who can’t wait to see them or can’t get to a city where they are performing, you can purchase a CD and/or a DVD of the acclaimed “Troubadour Reunion Concert” through either web site. Also, PBS is airing the concert throughout the month of June. Check your local listings for dates and times of the broadcast.

Gerry Ashley

Photos: Screen shots from the concert DVD “Live At The Troubadour” (see above for ordering information)