Monday, October 31, 2011

Taxing Thoughts

Given the elevation of Mr.Cain's candidacy based in large part on his 9-9-9 plan, here are other proposals that the remaining Republicans are considering:

1. The ABC tax - tax on where your last name falls in the alphabet - A gets taxed at 1% and Z at 26%. The slogan: "I have an A for sale"

2. The Democrat Tax - tax only those states that vote Democratic in the 2012 Presidential election. The slogan: "You have to pay for your mistakes"

3. The Jobs Tax - tax only those who are unemployed - The slogan: "Now that is what we call a true stimulus."

4. The Seven Eight Nine Tax - tax at 7%: The slogan. "This one will make you laugh".

5. The Fat Cat Tax Credit, a/k/a the Meal Creator Plan - 1% deduction for each percentage of body fat over 20%. The slogan: "You can have your cake and eat it too."

So what if Mr. Cain's tax proposal doesn't add up, or Mr. Perry's flat tax falls flat. While these ideas may tax our patience, get ready for more, or less, in the coming weeks.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Skis on the Wall

They sit high on the wall of the living room like treasures from a great archeological dig. Over 7 feet in length, they are remnants from the beginning of time. At least as time is marked in this world. History compressed into 75 years. As the leaves fall from the trees and the cold begins to descend, I wake this morning to thoughts of those old wooden skis.

Every few years, increasing or decreasing in direct correlation to the constraints of the economy, I tell myself that my skis have outlived their usefulness. Too many turns have dulled their effectiveness.Too much effort for declining results. And, as far as I can tell from both the manufacturer's words, and the murmur on the slopes, the next generation that awaits me will change my ski life forever..

I have seen skis grow longer and then shorter underfoot. I have looked on in amusement as the first of my friends was fitted with 'parabolics' and I wondered what prompted such insanity. I have been instructed to keep my legs as close together as possible, and later to take an athletic stance with feet shoulder width apart to best allow my skis to do what they are meant to do.

I have slipped into my boots from the rear and fought to slide into them from the front. I have been comfortable or in excruciating pain depending on the footwear de jour. I have sweated and cursed and been exhausted without ever having gone on the slopes.

I have spent over 3 decades searching for the magic elixir that would transform me from what I am to what I think I am. My old Henke boots, which ended slightly above my ankles, sit in an equally old pair of skis bound together in perpetual readiness. And many other answers that turned into a graveyard of expectations greet me at our apartment's front entrance. Velcroed together to form a bench, they serve now as reminders of my enduring mediocrity.

This morning I perused an article on the history of the last 75 years of skiing and a projection of what the next 75 years will bring. There was talk of future synergy with the aerospace industry. Sensors to give real time feedback, smart clothes to make adjustments to changing conditions, expansion of the ski underfoot to adapt to variations on the trail, boots that will be substantially lighter, and boots and bindings that will be an integrated system and not individual pieces. (SKI magazine, October 2011)

And then I think back to those skis from the 1930's. Somehow there was someone who flew down the trail effortlessly even though logic would dictate that this was not really possible. But that would not have been me. And somehow, no matter how many advances the industry may make in the coming years, and no matter how long I may continue to try, I don't think there will ever be a synergy between me and my equipment.

For no matter how long or short the ski, how it curves and bends or how it reacts to every thought, no matter how flexible or rigid the boot, how it pushes here or pulls there, the one constant that will never change is me. And as the last 3 decades have taught me, until they can figure out a method by which I can replace myself, no equipment can turn this ugly duckling into a beautiful swan.

Monday, October 24, 2011

$ and the 99%

("Hollywood on Wall Street")

Is there no difference between Warren Buffett and Rupert Murdoch? The Michael Moores, Susan Sarandons and Alec Baldwins, by virtue of their wealth, should not be disqualified from being vocal advocates for Occupy Wall Street. Mr. Bruni's conclusion that "protesters would be wise to keep all that glitters...at arm's length" is fundamentally wrong.

The protests are a call to expose greed and corruption, to make it politically uncomfortable for people to run roughshod over the disadvantaged , to make it harder for those who would choose to ignore the human consequences of their selfish actions. When those in the 1% like Mr. Buffett or Mr. Baldwin champion the cause of the 99%, both with their money and with their words, it is not hypocrisy but passion that motivates them. The 1% are not all blind, or deaf or evil.

It is not inherently wrong to be wealthy. It is only inherently wrong to have no compassion for the plight of your fellow human beings. That, Mr. Bruni, is the difference between Mr. Buffett and Mr. Murdoch, between right and wrong and between those that stand with the 99% and those who don't. And money has nothing to do with it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Occupy Washington

("Obama's Job Plan, Now Piecemeal, Is Blocked Again by Senate Republicans")

There is plenty of unhappiness to go around these days, as the Occupy Wall Street movement voices its frustration. I understand and appreciate that it is for the public to express grievances and the politicians to address them. But in the actions of the Republicans in the Senate, there is a villain that should be the specific and relentless focus of attention.

Occupy Washington. Don't let the jobs plan suggested by Obama fall to the wayside because the Republicans can and will prevent even a substantive vote on its passage The overall $447 billion plan never had a chance because of lock-step Republican opposition. Now, even piecemeal suggestions are rejected out of hand. This should create an unrelenting moral outrage. How can there not be hell to pay when a .5% tax starting in 2013 on income over $1,000,000, which would pay for thousands of jobs for teachers, firefighters and policemen, is so easily and cavalierly procedurally cast aside?

Occupy Washington until the voices of the people are heard. Let all the millions who believe that government should be held accountable to the people, hold them accountable. Let the failings be subject to the bright lights and the people's mic. Let's not allow the Republicans in Washington to do business as usual any more. Not at the expense of the 99%.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Let's Get Ready to Rumble

I never thought I would say this, but I can't wait for the next Republican debate. Almost devoid of policy positions (try to find an answer among the responses on how to remedy the foreclosure problem) and long on quirky personalities, it makes for perfect prime time entertainment.

In fact, the Obama machine challenged its constituency to tune in last night. As a marketing tool, it asked for pledges based on how many times a catch phrase, like "9-9-9", or "repeal", would be repeated throughout the evening.

We all understand that 60 seconds is not enough time to give a serious answer to serious problems. But the Republicans long ago discarded any pretense of trying to supply serious answers, relying rather on slogans and fabrications. Watching Romney and the gang that couldn't answer straight go through 2 hours of finger pointing and hair pulling, was a welcome relief to the agony of having to listen to McConnell, Cantor and Boehner on a daily basis.

One particularly animated exchange, involving Romney and Perry, led to physical contact (a definite no-no in this arena). I could only marvel at how perfect a choice Las Vegas was to host this spectacle. The one thing missing was that most famous of introductions, "Let's get ready to rumble". Maybe next time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Continuing Conversation with David Brooks

("The Great Restoration")

Mr. Brooks couches his disdain for the Occupy Wall Street movement in flippant denunciations. He likens it to the days of Woodstock and sit-ins which he suggests were mere distractions that led to nothing except an almost uninterrupted era of Republican Presidents. He dismisses the protesters as having less impact on the minds of Americans than any other major story. He chastises the movement for its pessimism and anger. And then, in the intended cruelest slight, he says that its loud and boorish message contrasts to how "quietly and untelegenically Americans (are) trying to repair their economic values".

I suggest to Mr. Brooks that he has not been paying attention. This movement is all about repairing economic and moral values in our country. This movement is all about the recognition and resentment that the American dream has been nearly destroyed by years of abuse and neglect. This movement is all about making people less hesitant and fearful of what tomorrow may bring. This movement does not seek to denigrate or damage the fabric of our society but to elevate it. This movement is all about America's resurrection and restoration not its demolition.

And if Mr. Brooks can't see that this movement is growing in numbers and intensity every day, or hear that its voice is growing more important, not less, then the fault lies with him, and others like him who refuse to listen.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Science Experiments

("In the Collapse of the Red Sox, a Chemistry Lesson")

Chemistry and personality imbalances. It reads like a failed science experiment. It all makes for such an interesting discussion, but in reality not an apt axiom at all. 2 pitches, each with 2 out and 2 strikes in the 9th inning of the last game of the regular season for the Rays and the Red Sox was all it took. Suddenly, a late season slide was no longer a footnote for a team that stumbled into the playoffs, and maybe to a world championship. Now it was a collapse with Shakespearean overtones. I don't buy it.

I remember the Yankee teams of the late 70's. It seemed like everyone hated everyone else. Steinbrenner hated Martin. Martin hated Jackson. Jackson hated Munson. The Bronx Zoo.

When a team is winning, it is an interesting cast of characters. It is a group that may not get along well off the field, but has a beautiful symmetry on it.

When the losses mount, the manager has lost control of his players, the players have lost the motivation, their contracts are too big or too long, their bellies are too full, and their egos are too large.

If those 2 pitches had been different, we would not be talking about the dissolution of a franchise gone wrong. If Beckett were about to start the first World Series game, if Lester were to record the last out in another title run, we would not find the clubhouse beer, chicken and video games to be a recipe for disaster. Rather, in the coming weeks we might have seen a lite beer commercial with Francona, Lackey Lester and Ellsbury discussing whether there is in fact more room for the chicken because the beer is less filling.

Like George, Billy, Reggie and Thurman, this Red Sox crew was only as good or as bad, cohesive or cataclysmic as the last pitch. Or 2 pitches to be more exact.


She is an explosion of energy. She is out of bed in the shower getting dressed brushing her hair and out of the door allatonce. With me as her useless companion, she has too much on her plate each and every day. And so she must be in ready-to-go mode from the moment her eyes open. This morning, dressed in enough layers to ward off the coming of the Ice Age, she flew down the steps and headed to the mountain, about to embrace the brisk fall weather while sitting suspended in air for an extended period of time. It is only then, perched high above the ground on a ski lift, and waiting for the "faux" rescue that occurs annually as part of her ski patrol refresher, that Joanne will be compelled to stop moving.

Of course, there is the other side of that equation. The yin to this yang  occurs, as regularly as day meets the night.. The train loses its steam, the fastball becomes an "Eephus" pitch, the balloon deflates. And bedtime arrives, early and all at once.

But it is the continuous force of her being that is so compelling. This is not a pitcher who takes a day off, who coasts during the middle of the season and gets ready to turn it on in the playoffs. Over the course of almost 35 years, I have not witnessed a single slow down, or work stoppage. Neither rain, sleet, snow, nor the unrelenting aggravation of having an unequal partner, neither mental fatigue or troubles that are part of the human experience, have caused a change in the game plan. Every day, she is who she is as she knows no other way.

I have not always understood or appreciated this. Sometimes, I have bridled at the intensity. My laziness stands in stark contrast. As I brush around the edges of my tasks, I often wonder why I do not receive constant kudos for a job badly done. At least, I say to myself, I did something. And so, this is the life my wife has signed up for, willingly or not. And the one she accepts, each and every day.

And tomorrow will be no different.  She will do a thousand little things and then a thousand more. She will put her foot to the accelerator and push through everything that confronts her. And she will go and go. Until she can go no more.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Center of the Center of the Universe

So, I don't understand why I am the only one who has not been interviewed yet. I mean, I am the reason that all of this is happening. I am the one who has had my life forever changed. I let everyone in. I told them it was ok to come. This is my story. I am Zuccotti Park, although some people call me Liberty.

Let me start at the beginning. Well, really at the beginning as far as the world is concerned. I live in the center of the universe. Sure, times have not always been so good here. There was that day about ten years ago when my neighbors near the water were attacked, and literally destroyed. Everyone, including me, was covered in a blanket of death and destruction. I was scared and depressed and all who came to visit me for the longest period could only talk about those terrible moments. But, as the years passed, life returned to normal.

On most days the people who would come to visit me spoke mainly in terms of what they had and what they had accomplished. I heard of homes in the Hamptons, of promotions and of money, lots of money. There had been that time when I learned of things like derivatives, default swaps and for a moment there was fear of a total collapse. Those who visited seemed frozen, unable to figure out what had gone wrong or how to stop it. But suddenly, that fear went away. The talk soon returned to the home at the shore and to even more money than before.

I can't say I have had a lot of good friends over the years. Some came to see me regularly. Most of the time though, I have been visited by those who are just passing through on their way to something more important. I have always been kind of an afterthought. But no more.

It all started off innocently. A few people, really just a few, had been turned away from one of my neighbors, and had no place to go. They came to me, asking if it was ok if they hung out with me for a little. I had never turned anyone away before, and I was certainly not going to start then.

They were different from almost anyone else I had ever met, certainly from anyone who had spent much time with me. They were unhappy, very unhappy with almost everyone I knew. They told me tales of deception and greed. They talked of being forgotten and abused. And they didn't want to leave.

I was shocked. My whole life, when it got dark, everybody always cleared out. I was alone each and every evening to contemplate the events of the day. All the conversation and noise would end. But, not that first night, and not every night since. I had guests who had decided they were not going anywhere. Kind of like the last line in "The Big Chill" only this was reality.

And I didn't know how to react. In many ways, this was much more interesting than anything that had ever happened to me. Now there was constant activity here, and there was much animated talk.

In looking back, those first few days were relatively peaceful. Every once in a while, someone from the press might stop by to interview one of my guests and to find out what all the noise was about. I can't say that I fully understood the "big picture" or that this would not be over one day soon. Then came the march.

Suddenly, that evening in middle of last week, I was swarming with people. Crowds were lining up for blocks to get in. Thousands upon thousands were chanting slogans and demanding attention. There were union representatives and celebrities in my midst. And there were cameras everywhere.

Now, others like me are springing up all over the country. They are taking in strangers every day, and more and more are coming. It turns out that I had become home to a movement.

I have come to like my new friends. Sure it can be overwhelming. Who wouldn't long, at least a little, for the peace and quiet of the old days? But there is an energy and a vitality here that I have never felt before. And my eyes have been opened for the first time. For so long, I had heard only one side of the conversation. No more, and never again will that be true.

Yesterday was a little scary. You see, many are more than a little annoyed with my new friends. They want them gone from here and gone from the conversation. They said my guests had made me too dirty and had to leave, at least for a little while. And when they came back, they were to be only passing through really. But the truth is that my friends had never treated me badly. They had been respectful and had always cleaned up after themselves. Now, challenged, they went to the task of making me cleaner than when they first arrived. By yesterday morning, you could have eaten off my floor. I was as fresh and pure as new driven snow. And for now anyway, my guests are allowed to stay.

And so, I remain home to a strange and wonderful crowd. Someday soon it may all change. Certainly when the cold and the rain sets in, some will leave. And by the winter, I expect that life will be what it was before. And that I will be visited by only a few each day. And that the talk will turn, eventually, back to second homes and bonuses. But life will never be the same for me again. For now I can always and forever say, I was once the center of the center of the universe.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


The darkness of night still controls, but her day has already begun. She readies herself for the tasks that lay in front of her. It is life in a new universe, and she is grateful for the opportunities that have been presented.

She has always been grateful, fully aware of all that has been given to her, and all that she has earned. She understands this is a world where circumstances have not always been kind to others. She has been drawn, from the first, towards those in need. For her, ingrained in her substance, is a desire to assist.

And so, before the first hint of daylight has emerged, she is already moving about. She will get across town, and then onto a train that will take her most of the way on her journey. She is now about 6 months on the job and she should have a quiet confidence in her abilities. But that is not her nature and so there is always a nagging concern that she is not doing enough. She is a worrier. She inherited that quality from me, and for that I apologize.

I recently met her at her place of employment for the first time. I was surprised that the children, her patients, seemed so high functioning. But my daughter does not see people in terms of their disabilities, only by their abilities. She has the capacity to find what lays beneath the surface, that struggles to emerge. That is why, when she is able to bring forth the small miracles she witnesses every day, she is not surprised at all.

On this her 26th birthday, she will do the best she possibly can at her tasks. She knows no other way. She has been a committed sibling, a committed daughter, a committed student, a committed friend, a committed athlete and a committed worker throughout each and every day of her first 25 years. She strives, each and every moment, to make herself, and the world in which she lives, better. She knows no other way.

And so, on her birthday, I write this to her to tell her of the love and admiration I feel. I have been most fortunate to have a front row seat to everything that is my daughter. And I am thankful each and every day for the privilege that I have been given. I love you very much, and wish for you only that you maintain all the qualities that make you exactly the person you are today.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


("Democrats Try Wary Embrace of the Protests")

They are, at the moment, a very uncomfortable fit. The Occupy Wall Street ever growing contingent, and the Democratic party are not in a warm embrace, but should they be? Certainly there is a genuine distrust of everything government, and its failures to address the overwhelming needs of the 99%. But if the Occupy Wall Streeters have any friends in Washington, they can only be from one side of the aisle. While the Democrats have done a very poor job of effectuating their intended goals, at least there is a common theme in some of their messages. Raise taxes on the rich, regulate the big banks, provide stimulus so that we can end this frightening period of contraction and of separation between the few at the top and everyone else. Yet there are too many in the Democratic party who, like the Republicans, are too tightly aligned with big oil, big business and big banks and who have not strongly advocated for policies that benefit the 99%.

However, the Republicans have only the words of the Tea Partiers. They warn of attempted "class warfare" and of the need to protect the "job creators". For those like Cantor and Cain, their fondest wish must be for a cold and wet fall in the Northeast so that the heart of this movement is driven by Mother Nature into silence.

The Democrats are hurting. They have seen the promise of 2008 disappear and now face the real and growing possibility of a calamity in 2012. They need the energy and commitment of those who find fault with the system to be directed at attacking those whose message is antithetical to their cause. They need those whose voice is heard on the streets to be translated into Democratic votes at the ballot box come election time. They need the 99% if they are to stand the best chance to avoid humiliation.

The Occupy Wall Street group has seen the decimation created by the Bush era mistakes of deregulation, unfunded wars, tax cuts for the wealthy and pharmaceutical company handouts. They have watched in the era of Obama as the Republican party has watered down health care reform, threatened to throw this country into default, and taken steps each and every day to dismantle as much of the social safety net as possible. The aims of the Republican party are not those embraced by those in Zuccotti park in New York and in all the other Zuccotti parks that are multiplying around the country.

For now,it is nothing more than the possibility of a tentative and tenuous alliance between the protestors and the politicians on the left. Like all new romances, it has an uncertain future. But just because there is potential peril ahead, does not mean that a happy and productive marriage will not result.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dispatch from an Occupied City

From Zuccotti/Liberty Park, 9 October 2011
by Richie Jay

What struck me this evening--more so than at Wednesday's march when tens of thousands of people took part, including more well-established and traditionally-structured organizations like labor unions and nonprofits--was that a big part of the Occupy Wall Street movement (or event or gathering or moment or protest...), in New York City at least, is not politics, or policy (although these are important), or even the grievances of its participants (which have actually been laid out quite clearly by the participants in their Declaration of the Occupation).

Rather, it is the act of democracy itself, the structures of self-governance--some rather elaborate, like the hand signals, vocabulary, and procedures used to conduct daily General Assemblies--and the unwritten codes of conduct, morality, and altruism that 'govern' Liberty Park. As much as it is a movement to change the system, it is also an experiment in creating a new and better system just beyond the reach of the old one, a one-square-block city-within-a-city that plays by its own rules, while still adhering to the 'non-negotiable' rules of its surrounding society to ensure a peaceful co-existence across its porous borders. It is also a space for conversation, where dialogue is encouraged, harsh judgment is generally frowned upon, and random strangers literally approach you to ask you why you're there and what you'd like to see change in our country.

These photos and videos do a poor job of capturing what I observed, but what you'll see is a miniature city, complete with basic services and sanitation, clothing distribution, food preparation (accommodating dietary restrictions), health care, a library and educational lectures, entertainment and performance, meditation and spirituality, media and communications, foreign and domestic ambassadors (to provide assistance to 'residents' as well as 'visitors,' though I'm pretty sure they would not make that same distinction), and meetings and governance...all with a purposeful geography, with different activities occurring in different places at different times (i.e. no food prep in the library, no loud concert during General Assembly).

So while I think questions about what Occupy Wall Street stands for and what it hopes to accomplish are valid, it's important also to ask what they have already created and why they have captured so much attention and support.

It's an awfully unique place with a distinct culture. If you're in NYC, you should take a moment to check it out. There are occupations in several cities around the country, but I don't know if they've placed nearly as much focus on building an intentional community, in addition to simply building a social/political movement.

(Apologies if I sound like a student of geography when writing this. I was, in fact, a student of geography.)

Link to the whole album of photos and videos here.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

("Wall Street Weeks")

It is the end of apathy, of helplessness, of hopelessness.

It is a statement mourning the death of compassion, the loss of dignity and of fundamental rights.

It is a call for sanity, for justice, for a right to believe again.

Its leaders are all who feel the pain.

Its list of grievances are on the faces of those forgotten and cast aside.

Its demands are for those in power to stop looking away.

Its purpose is real.

Its cause is right.

Its moment is now.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

One Voice

I could hear the words tumbling out of my mouth faster than my brain could process. I was not making sense to myself, and so I could not be making sense to the listener. When the last of the questions was answered, I was thanked politely and not even asked my name. I am most certain that my interview for the German television station did not make their evening news.

The truth is I wasn't sure what world I had just entered. Was this, as the Donald would mockingly and dismissively suggest, nothing more than a very large gathering of the "Dating Game"? Or was it, as the banner proclaimed, our American Fall, an extension of the Arab Spring and European Summer?

Hours later, I stood within a few feet of Michael Moore, and became part of his human microphone as he, and then we, spoke of an American greed that had gone too far. We were one voice, the sounds of frustration echoing through Wall Street.

The reports were that this was a rally of 30,000. And that there were others like us in at least 27 cities who, in their own words and with their own thoughts, were part of the United Voice of America.

I don't know whether the sounds and the sights on the streets of Manhattan reached the chambers of Congress today, or whether they ever will. The great fear is that the very large voice of corporate America will continue to drown out the shouts of disenchantment and disillusion. All I know for certain is that, by the end of the day, this felt like something much greater than a march to nowhere.

This was, as I discovered and the rhythmic chants proclaimed, "what Democracy looks like". And to that German television crew, these are the feelings I was trying to convey but couldn't.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mr. Vice President

"I now introduce to you the Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States, the governor of the State of New Jersey, Chris Christie".

When those words are uttered in the summer of 2012, don't act surprised.

Christie has advised that he is not chasing a Presidential bid because he has an unfinished job in his home state and he does not want to spend so much time away from his family. By next summer he will announce that he has made sufficient progress in New Jersey that he can move on. Further, the campaign from summer to fall on the lower part of the Republican ticket will require much less absence from home than the 13 month slog he would now face if he threw his hat into the ring.

The Republicans will not commit another Palin-esque disaster next year.. Christie has positioned himself as a kind of super-hero by staying out of the fray for now. There will be a renewed frenzy to enlist him for service in 2012.

Further, if Christie were, at 50 years of age, to become Vice President, he would set himself up for a Presidential run in 2020 while still under 60. Even were the Republicans to lose in 2012, he would undoubtedly become the standard bearer for the party with a significant likelihood of ascending to the role of Republican candidate for President in 2016.

Despite present protests by Christie to the contrary, despite his assertions that his personality and the number 2 spot on the ticket are an ill fit, the governor of New Jersey has short term aspirations far beyond the Garden State. And so, when a smiling and waving Christie walks on to that stage, with his family in tow and his ego as his constant companion, don't act surprised.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Suppression not Fraud

("New State Rules Raising Hurdles at Voting Booths")

It is but another example of turning fiction into fact. As the Republicans created the death panels so have they now imagined a non-existent voter fraud problem. All those proven to have committed this offense could be stuffed in a rather large phone booth. Yet the result, in state after state controlled by a Republican legislature is the potential disenfranchisement of those they fear the most: the poor, the elderly and the minorities.

The mid-term elections have unleashed the power of the Republicans to control the debate, and worse to manipulate the system to their own purposes. Their concern is not that people without the right to vote will cast ballots against them, but rather that those with the right to vote will do so.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Weighting for Christie

("The Round and the Oval")

It is the substance of a candidate's issues not issues with that candidate's substance that will ultimately control. If Chris Christie is chosen as the Republican candidate, President Obama will not attack him for the largeness of his girth but for the narrowness of his vision.

There is a love affair by the Republicans with the next flavor of the month, and Christie is the next in line. After having tried and discarded Palin, Bachmann, Trump, Pawlenty and Perry as alternatives to the sour tasting Romney, the bombast of the governor of New Jersey, combined with his evident mental acuity leaves the party in almost a frantic panic to woo and win him over.

But behind the bravado, there is anger and an oversized ego. Here is a governor who allowed $400 million in a federal educational grant to be lost over what he improperly categorized as a "clerical error", who turned back $6 billion of federal and Port Authority financing for the Hudson Tunnel project that would have provided an estimated 6000 jobs to a state desperately in need of both the tunnel and the work, and whose actions in regard to medicaid waivers resulted in a failure to receive a 9 to 1 federal match that will lead to greatly diminishing the ability of many women to obtain quality health care. Our teachers are being mistreated and our educational system is in regression. The governor has alienated the unions and almost every person, politician or not, who has the audacity to disagree with him. Here is a man who has created nothing but enemies.

In the end it is not the weight gain that should worry us, but rather the weight of the losses from the misguided policies and out of control personality of Mr. Christie.