Saturday, September 17, 2011

Trip to Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre and National Seashore

Thursday, August 18, 2011 A trip to the Drive-In
We borrowed Nana's new SUV. All five of us went to  the Lower Cape. We took an aborted run towards Chatham then  decided to head north towards Wellfleet.  We visited the gift barn in Eastham.  Then  we drove up to the Provinceland sand dunes which we encountered  next to the  ocean on the    North section of  Head of the meadow trail in Truro. It's also known as High Head Beach. I had been  there alone  back in May 1999, but  had not actually visited the ocean. We got to see at least a dozen  seals of two kinds (gray and harbor seals) out in the water. We walked back on the long sand road to our car. 

After leaving the dunes, we sat in traffic (listened to a remake of “Listen to your heart” and Pink’s song “Raise Your Glass” and finally made it the 8:00 showing of  Captain America and the first third of Cowboys and Aliens. Prior to the movie, I bought  food at the restaurant in front of the drive-in.  Stevie was pleasantly talkative although he did get scared by some fireworks.  Stevie  would not really watch the movie so we had to leave early before the second movie finished. On the way home Crystal talked about her experience working at the horse farm  back in 1999. This was the sixth time Crystal and I had been to the Drive-In together. 

How to tell if your a Rhino.: Explaining Political Party Orthodoxy

Republican and Democratic orthodoxy

Orthodox Republicans accept  all or most of these positions
1. No income tax income increases  for the rich.
2. Do not believe in human caused global warming, or simply do not want government trying to manage the problem.
3. Believe in only limited government regulation on businesses except when it helps your bottom line.
4. Believe in maintaining  a strong national defense-this one never changes!
5. No  public financing for elections, and only limited regulation of campaign contributions
6. Do not like unions.
7. Do not believe in universal health coverage
8. Pro-life (though it's OK to not do anything about it, other than appointing conservative judges)
9. Not a fan of  academia or  of the mainstream news media. 
10.No amnesty for illegal aliens, but don't be serious about  enough to solve the problem by  actually deporting   all 11 million of them.

If you can't check at least 9 of these 10 your a Rhino ( Republican-In-Name only).  As far as a I  know, Sarah Palin & Michelle Bachmann can check all of these. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would both get perfect scores as well.   Rick Perry can check 9 out of 10 (he fails on immigration policy). George W. Bush would able to check  9 of 10 as well. Mitt Romney, has at various points not been able to check at least two of these, though Mitt is trying to lean in a more  orthodox direction on most of these items.  John McCain fails this test on at least two of the ten though it's unclear as to what his actual score should be. 

There are a  few other points of orthodoxy (American Exceptional-ism. Gun rights, Enhanced Interrogation), but there begins   to be more free thinking when you get beyond these first ten. Libertarians sometimes clash with social conservatives. Less educated populist Republicans clash with Wall street types.

Foreign Policy is a special case. While it's expected that Orthodox Republicans will  disagree with Obama's foreign policy, it's probably true that some Republicans might agree with aspects of Obama's foreign policy if a Republican President was carrying them out  (For example some aspects of his  Libyan and Afghanistan polices). Republicans are little less confident than they used to be on Foreign Policy after the Iraq War. Orthodox Republicans still believe that the Iraq War was the right thing to do , but recognize that they did lose some Independent and  Blue Dog Democrats votes in 2008 because of Bush's handling of the  Iraq War.

 At the present time, orthodoxy  favors business conservatives over social conservatives which means that it's OK to not be overly concerned about  having prayer in school, or be too worried about gay marriage.  And there is some suspicion of Wall Street among some  in the Tea Party, which isn't true of establishment Republicans. During the  George W. Bush years, there was an indifference to balancing  budgets, and a predilection for earmark spending, however now orthodoxy is moving more towards wanting to actually balance the Federal  budget as a backdoor way of actually shrinking government.

Republicans have found that orthodoxy works for them, because when they walk in lock step they, can keep their coalition together, seem more principled, and have a more energized base. 

What are the litmus tests for being a Democratic politician?

Generally you have to...

1. Favor some kind of attempt at universal health coverage
2. Be pro-choice (it's OK to say your personally opposed to abortion). 
3. Be willing  to raise taxes on rich people, and be rather  indifferent to that fact that the poor and lower middle class don't pay much income tax, though usually taxes of any kind are OK at the state level.
4. Like vigorous government regulation, sometimes even when it is anti-growth.
5. Believe in  some form of leniency or amnesty for undocumented immigrants. A particular blind spot for liberals..
6. Support  unions, especially teacher unions.  
7. Agree that  humans cause at least some of the Global warming problem, though this one has gone to the back burner.
8. Be OK with  government Stimulus spending, have an inordinate faith in Keynesian economics, and not recognize that businesses create most jobs, not government.

Anybody running for the President in the Democrat party would probably be able to check all these.   But there is diversity of  opinion- liberals would  prefer a single payer health plan.   Moderate  Democrats like    balanced  budgets, and establishment democrats are OK with America's role as the world's policemen, while Liberals want us to stop fighting wars. Some Democrats support Israel, some don't. 

Democrats have always had more problems with  staying in lockstep, because on the Presidential  level, voters don't usually vote for liberal candidates, but will vote for moderate  Democrats.  Obama was the exception to the rule, the first clearly liberal president since at least Lyndon Johnson.  It is hard to govern completely as a liberal president in a relatively conservative nation , and Obama has sometimes had to govern from the center, which angers his base, but has done nothing for him with Republicans, or Independents.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Eulogy for Joseph Michael Sheehan (1927-2011)

 Eulogy for Joe Sheehan (1927-2011)

Joe’s Goddaughter, Mary Galuardi wrote on Facebook (of all places)  "My Uncle Joe defines  a Good Man"
Where does this  quality come from Joe, gave all credit for who he was to his parents, Joe and Mary Sheehan.

Joe's life was a struggle for independence.  A childhood illness kept Joe from finishing school.  Eventually medication enabled him to work.  Joe soon learned to trust in God and in God's angels, people like his sisters Michaela, and Elizabeth, or his friends like Ken. 

I have met religious people, holy people, they believe in god and practice their religion faithfully, but usually they have some doubts ,but Joe was of a  different order.

Joe a had  complete and total  trust in God, He believed that every step away that God keep him upright, that God would keep him in his job or help him keep his apartment.

The last year of his life was a struggle for Joe, He was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.  But still he believed that God would keep him safe. He believed that God would send his angels Michaela, Elizabeth and others people like Ken. You would think it a burden to see someone in the nursing home.  But it was not, Going to see Joe was love’s  labor.

Joe didn’t drink, but lived his life with all the enthusiasm of someone who did.
Instead, Joe’s vice was coffee, he would drink endless cups of coffee, and always tell the waitresses-to keep the coffee coming.     I heard a story for the first time yesterday.  Going to his mother’s funeral, Joe had the limo driver divert the limo to the Dunkin donuts to get coffee…
.My brother James and I were close to Joe, and we would get together with Joe to have coffee or food usually in Harvard Square.    Joe called it the Harvard Square Club.  He would appoint either Jimmy or I treasurer.  His joke was that the Treasurer was the person who paid for the meal. 

Joe loved to sing and break out into song, often with singing songs that I have never heard of .
My brother, Jimmy  found with this song I hadn’t heard of in honor of Joe- It is called the “Parting Glass”. 

Of all the money that e'er I had,
I spent it in good company.
And all the harm I've ever done,
alas it was to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit
to mem'ry now I can't recall;
So fill to me the parting glass,
Good night and joy be to you all.

[So] fill to me the parting glass
And drink a health whate’er befalls
And gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all

Of all the comrades that e'er I had,
They're sorry for my going away.
And all the sweethearts that e'er I had,
They'd wish me one more day to stay.
But since it fell unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
Good night and joy be to you all.
CHORUS [omit “so”], [instrumental break, humming]

But since it fell unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
Good night and joy be to you all.

Joe   is now with his family, his other family, his mother Mary and James, His siblings, Mary, Jim, Bill and Anne, His brother in law –Gene . This is a joyful moment.