THE “SQUAD”

They call themselves “the Squad,” but I think a more apt name would be “The Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse.” For those of you who don’t get the reference check the Bible, which identifies them as “Conquest,” “War,” Pestilence,” and “Death.” This version is “OAC,” “Omar,” “Pressley” and “Tlaib.”

For purposes of this blog I don’t think it would be productive to get bogged down in the appropriateness or lack thereof of President Trump’s recent tweets to the “Four Horsewomen” (“4-H”). We could debate that until “cows come home.” Trump haters are critical of them; Trump supporters see nothing wrong with them, or, perhaps even agree with them. To me, the relevant part of this is the anti-American words, actions, beliefs and attitude of the 4-H.

The 4-H have only been in Congress for a few months, yet during that time they have promulgated a long list of prejudicial, racist and inane statements and actions. On an almost daily basis, one or more of them has come up with something that makes you shake your head. What’s more, they have been aided and abetted by a media that has repeatedly demonstrated its largely ultraliberal bias. Below please find a list of the highlights (or lowlights):

1. They have called Mr. Trump a “racist” and a “Nazi.” This is wrong on so many levels. Firstly, to call anyone a Nazi minimizes the Holocaust, which was horrendous and inhumane beyond belief. Anyone with a smidgeon of historical knowledge and compassion for their fellow man would know that and would refrain from calling anyone that name. Also, as soon as someone calls another person those names all sensible discourse ceases, and nothing gets settled. Secondly, most everyone realizes President Trump is neither a racist nor a Nazi. For example, former presidential candidate and cabinet member Ben Carson categorically denies that he is. He doesn’t just criticize “protected” classes of people. He criticizes anyone and everyone whom he feels deserves it. He is an “equal opportunity critic.” He has a Jewish son-in-law, for God’s sake. Moreover, many of his policies have done more to help women, AAs and Hispanics than those of any other president in my lifetime, if not ever. For example, we are now enjoying record low unemployment among, women, AAs and Hispanics. Moreover, he was a staunch advocate of prison reform. The 4-Hers have even called Nancy Pelosi, their Party’s leader, a racist.

2. They have labeled ICE and CBP agents racists and Nazis. Apparently, they are unaware that many of these agents are women, AAs, Hispanics, and, perhaps, even Jewish. Also, they are just doing their job, enforcing laws that have been passed by past Congresses, signed by past presidents and upheld by the Supreme Court. Again, the 4-H are showing their ignorance.

3. Omar has repeatedly referred to the heinous “9/11” attacks as “some people did something,” rather than identifying the perpetrators as Muslim terrorists and condemning their actions.

4. They refuse to acknowledge Mr. Trump as the duly elected president, calling him the “occupant of the White House.” This is a disrespectful slap in the face to all Americans and the system that elected him.

5. They have objected to illegals being put in “cages,” yet they have refused to vote for more funding to improve the conditions. AOC even had the gall to claim people were drinking water out of toilets, which was a gross and inflammatory lie.

6. They have made many bigoted statements with respect to both Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and Jewish supposed undue influence on the US government (“It’s all about the ‘Benjamins.’ “) They are allied with and supported by the likes of Louis Farrakhan, possibly the biggest bigot of them all.

7. They support ANTIFA, which is nothing more than a bunch of violent thugs. Just a few days ago one of them firebombed an ICE facility. Was the maniacal perpetrator influenced by CNN and the 4-H? Well, CNN has long been a defender of and apologist for ANTIFA, and the perp did have a manifesto of OAC’s policies in his possession.

8. They have advocated the ridiculous Green New Deal, which would tear down our institutions, put tens of millions out of work, and bankrupt the country in the process. OAC claimed that “experts” have predicted the world will end in 12 years and called the battle over climate change “our WWII.” Dumb and dumber.

9. They support those who disrespect our flag, like Colin Kaepernick.

I have just about had enough of the excessive pc that has been taking over our country. Caucasians and GOPers are not allowed to criticize or disagree with anyone who is Black, Hispanic, Muslim, female, gay, transgender, or a Dem. (Did I leave anyone out?) If they do, they are immediately labeled as a bigot, a racist or a Nazi.” On the other hand, any member of those groups is free to criticize them. The effect of this is to cut off all discourse of the issues. What we end up with is divisiveness and violence.

I believe President Trump’s tweets, though sometimes somewhat crude in tone, are consistent with how a majority of Americans feel. For example, take the current case. Presently, patriotism is at a high point. People, like the 4-H, who criticize and disrespect our anthem, flag, military, law enforcement personnel, and/or our system of government, who don’t offer constructive criticism, won’t tolerate even minor dissent, and want to tear it all down are not going to be very popular.

The last few days President Trump clarified his tweet somewhat. He said they can “say and do what they want. They can leave or stay, [but they] “should love our country.” Furthermore, he stated he had copies of their most vicious, vile comments concerning the above-listed items. Most of us who have been paying attention are familiar with them.

Moreover, a majority of Americans are fed up with the fake news media outlets, like CNN and MSNBC, that support them, exaggerate their influence and popularity, and seek to foment controversy and violence. According to “The Hill” CNN and MSNBC have used the word “racist” some 1,100 times in covering this story from Sunday through Monday. 1,100 times! In just two days! Enough said.

In fact, I consider the aforementioned to be opinion outlets, not legitimate news organizations. They don’t separate commentary and opinion from real news. Recently, a CNN contributor was actually, admiring certain ANTIFA weapons and also soliciting contributions for them from viewers on the air. Disgusting. Anyone who gets all of their “news” from them is being grossly misled and seriously misinformed.

In my opinion, the House’s condemnation of President Trump and possible impeachment will go nowhere. The former is an empty gesture as most people agree with the substance of what he said and know he is not a racist; history tells us the latter will fail and only serve to boost Mr. Trump’s standing among the electorate.

President Trump is being criticized for “elevating” the 4-H by his tweets. Perhaps, but he also has brilliantly succeeded in maneuvering the entire Dem Party, including the 2020 candidates, to defend the highly unpopular 4-H even though most of them probably don’t agree with their policies. This is in addition to other unpopular policies, such as Socialism, open borders, illegal immigration and MS-13. It may not have been his intention, but there it is.

Douglas Perry, writing in the “Oregonian” reported that Nancy Pelosi has been trying to denigrate the 4-Hers’ influence. She said “they’re four people, and that’s how many votes they’ve got.” But, it’s not working. “Axios” has disclosed the results of an internal Dem Party poll among swing voters in which OAC was identified as the “definitional face” of the Dem Party. Another Dem Party poll of 1,000 likely voters in midwestern swing states disclosed OAC’s approval rating to be a mere 22%. The other 4-Hers had lower approval ratings.

CONCLUSION

How can the Dems win the White House by being tied to these people and the policies they espouse? The answer is, they likely won’t. Stay tuned.

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THIS MONTH IN HISTORY – JULY

Historically, July has been a very active month. Below please find a list of significant historical events that have occurred during the month. Read on, and be edified.

July 1 – Canada Day is celebrated commemorating the union of Upper and Lower Canada and certain of the Maritime Provinces to form the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867.

July 1, 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill authorizing the first income tax levy (3%).

July 1, 1863 – The decisive Civil War Battle of Gettysburg commenced.

July 1, 1963 – The US Postal Service commenced using zip codes.

July 2, 1776 – The Continental Congress adopted a resolution declaring that “these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.”

July 2, 1788 – Congress announced that the US Constitution had been ratified by the requisite nine states.

July 2, 1881– President James Garfield was shot and mortally wounded. He died on September 19.

July 2, 1937 – Pilot Amelia Earhart went missing.

July 2, 1964 – President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

July 3, 1775 – George Washington took command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, MA.

July 3, 1976 – Israeli commandos rescued 103 hostages being held by pro-Palestinian guerrillas on a hijacked airliner at Entebbe airport in Uganda.

July 4, 1776 – The Continental Congress formally approved the Declaration of Independence, making this date the US’s official Independence Day, even though many of the 56 signatories signed the document later. (The exact dates are in dispute to this day.)

July 4, 1863 – The city of Vicksburg, MS surrendered to General Grant giving the Union control of the vital Mississippi River.

July 4, 1959 – A 49th star, representing Alaska, was added to the flag.

July 4, 1960 – A 50th star, representing Hawaii, was added to the flag.

July 5, 1946 – The bikini, named by creator Louis Reard for the Bikini Atoll where the atomic bomb was tested, was introduced in Paris.

July 6, 1885 – Louis Pasteur administered the first successful rabies shot (to a boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog).

July 6, 1942 – Holocaust victim, Anne Frank, and her family began hiding in a sealed-off room in Amsterdam in an ultimately futile attempt to avoid being captured by the Nazis.

July 7, 1898 – President McKinley signed a resolution annexing Hawaii.

July 8, 1889 – The Wall Street Journal began publication.

July 10, 1940 – The German Luftwaffe commenced bombing raids against Great Britain.

July 10, 1943 – The Allies commenced their invasion of Europe by landing in Sicily.

July 10, 1973 – The Bahamas gained their independence after 250 years of British rule.

July 13, 1977 – Two lightening strikes caused a 25-hour blackout in the NYC area. (Did the local birth rate spike in April, 1978?)

July 14, 1789 – A mob of protesters successfully stormed the Bastille Saint-Antoine in Paris, a fortress, a prison and a hated symbol of aristocratic repression. The Bastille’s fall shocked the aristocratic world and signaled the beginning of the French Revolution.

July 16, 1769 – Father Junipero Serra founded the mission of San Diego de Alcala (present-day San Diego), one of many he founded throughout current-day California.

July 16, 1969 – The Apollo 11 mission took off for the moon.

July 17, 1918 – Bolshevik rebels murdered Czar Nicholas II and his family in Ekaterinburg, Siberia.

July 17, 1955 – Disneyland, in Anaheim, CA, opened to the public.

July 17, 1996 – TWA Flight 800 blew up shortly after takeoff off the coast of Long Island.

July 18, 1936 – The Spanish civil war began as a revolt by right wing army officers stationed in Morocco.

July 18, 1947 – President Truman, who had succeeded to the presidency following FDR’s death, signed an Executive Order that laid out the order of succession in the event a president were to die or become incapacitated (vp, speaker of the house, etc.). This order became the basis for the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified on February 10, 1967.
July 18, 1969 – Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car off a wooden bridge on Chappaquiddick Island killing aide Mary Jo Kopechne and ending his chances for the presidency.

July 20, 1969 – Billions of people watched live on tv as Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. (Famous quote – “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”)

July 27, 1953 – The US and Korea signed an armistice ending the Korean Conflict, which had raged on for three years.

July 27, 1974 – The House of Representatives charged President Nixon with the first of three articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice, eventually culminating in his resignation.

July 29, 1976 – David Berkowitz, aka “Son of Sam,” began his murderous reign of terror in NYC, which lasted until August 10, 1977.

July 29, 1981 – England’s Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

July 30, 1965 – President Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965, which established the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

July 31, 1798 – The US Patent Office opened and issued its first patent (for a new method of making potash and pearl ash).

Birthdays – Thurgood Marshall – 7/2/1908; Stephen Foster (wrote some 200 songs, including Oh Susanna, Camptown Races and Swanee River) – 7/4/1826; Calvin Coolidge (30th President) – 7/4/1872; David Farragut (Civil War admiral, famous quote: “Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead”) – 7/5/1801; PT Barnum (promoter, showman and co-founder of the circus) – 7/5/1810; Cecil Rhodes (his will established Rhodes Scholarship) – 7/5/1863; John Paul Jones (father of US Navy, famous quote: “I have not yet begun to fight!”) – 7/6/1747; Leroy “Satchel” Page (AA Hall of Fame pitcher) – 7/7/1906; Nelson Rockefeller – 7/8/1908; John Calvin (founded Presbyterianism) – 7/10/1509; Arthur Ashe (tennis champion) – 7/10/1943; John Quincy Adams (6th president and son of #2, John Adams) – 7/11/1767; Gerald Ford ( 38th president) – 7/14/1913; Rembrandt van Rijn (famous Dutch painter) – 7/15/1606; Nelson Mandela – 7/18/1918; Edmund Hillary (first to ascend Mt. Everest) – 7/20/1919; Ernest Hemingway (Nobel Prize-winning author) – 7/21/1899; Simon Bolivar (aka “The Liberator” or “The George Washington of South America” for his successful efforts to liberate the nations of Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Venezuela from Spain) – 7/24/1783; Amelia Earhart (pioneer female pilot) – 7/24/1898; George Bernard Shaw (playwright) – 7/26/1856; Jacqueline Bouvier (JFK widow) – 7/28/1929; Benito Mussolini – 7/29/1883; Henry Ford – 7/30/1863;

THE HOMELESS CRISIS IN AMERICA

As you read this blog prepare to be appalled, frightened and ashamed. Simply put, in many areas of the country people are living (and dying) as they did in the Middle Ages. Many news outlets have begun reporting outbreaks of diseases such as typhus, typhoid fever, hepatitis, shigella (spread via feces), trench fever (spread through lice), and the plague in CA and other areas. Delightful!

Vantage News has characterized it as the “return of ‘medieval diseases.’ ” Furthermore, don’t assume that these diseases will remain solely in the homeless population. Public health officials have warned it would not be difficult for these diseases to “jump” into the general population. Already, there have been reports of police officers on the beat being infected. In addition, LA Deputy City Attorney Liz Greenwood reported she contracted typhus in City Hall, where she works, and which is infested with rats, last year. The situation was so dire that City Council President Herb Wesson had to close down his office, rip up the carpeting and authorize a thorough cleaning.

We have long had a homeless crisis in America, but now it is approaching existential threat levels. We can debate the causes, who is to blame, and how to fight the problem, but the overriding problem is that so far the politicians in charge, who should have been dealing with this problem, have failed miserably to do so. The US, the richest, most advanced country the world has ever seen, has some 16% of its population living in conditions that characterize the Middle Ages, and we seem powerless to do anything about it.

In this blog I am not going to attempt to solve the homeless problem. The origins and solutions are far too complex for me, an ordinary citizen, to do that. My main objective is to report the gravity of the problem, which, as I said, has reached crisis levels. The resolution lies in the hands of the politicians who run these cities, who heretofore, have been incompetent and ineffective, and who need to take corrective action NOW.

For purposes of this blog I will focus on California, which seems to have the dubious honor of being the poster boy for the problem. Health officials report that about 1/4 of the country’s 550,000 homeless are in CA. But, don’t think that the problem is limited to CA. It’s present, to varying degrees, in cities in Oregon, Washington, NY, Washington, DC., and elsewhere, as well.

Every night the news programs show pictures of tents set up on sidewalks, in CA’s major cities, such as LA, SF and Sacramento, trash in the streets, homeless shooting up and using the sidewalks as toilets, and used needles lying in the streets. Worse, there have been reports of vermin, such as rats, and various health-related communicable diseases, as noted above. Glenn Lopez, a physician with St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, who treats homeless patients in LA, calls the streets a “Third World environment.” Welcome to the 14th century.

According to CNN there are some 60,000 homeless in LA County. (I question the validity of any statistic relating to homelessness, since I don’t believe anyone has ever conducted a reliable census of them, but I will work with that number.) Moreover, according to CNN, although the county has spent “hundreds of millions” of dollars on the problem in just the past year (on what, I can’t imagine) nevertheless, the total has risen 12% during that time. Homeless people just keep pouring in. To be sure, many of them are illegals, who are attracted to the area because of the mild climate, free social services, sanctuary policies and permissive government, but a goodly number are also from other sections of the US, even other parts of CA. No one knows the actual numbers, which is part of the problem. We just know they are there.

CNN has reported the following:

1. In LA’s Skid Row tents line the sidewalks for block after block.
2. Some homeless have even tethered their tents to buildings and fences.
3. Pet owners have created dog parks for their pets.
4. One of their reporters observed some women washing their hair and laundry under a fire hydrant.
5. These are indications of permanent, not transient, residence.
6. There are reports that many of these people have resisted moving into public housing. Inexplicably, they prefer to remain where they are.
7. Police report that the elaborate set up of tents has hindered their ability to detect crimes, such as drug dealing, human trafficking, assault, and rape. As one might expect, the most vulnerable are women, children and the elderly, who are easy marks. Moreover, criminals have been charging “rent” to live on certain blocks.
8. The sanitation Department claims its ability to collect trash is being hindered, because its men cannot always discern trash from someone’s belongings.
9. Many who have mental and emotional health issues cannot be identified and treated.
10. Politicians, notably the Dem presidential candidates, have been touting grandiose plans to deal with the issue, but little or nothing has been and is being actually accomplished.

So, what causes one to become homeless? Contrary to popular thought, the homeless are not all lazy bums who just want to hang out and mooch off society. For the most part, the homeless do not get that way by choice. The most common reasons are job loss, drug or alcohol addiction, a serious illness not covered by healthcare (or a lack thereof), divorce and/or a dispute with a family member who basically kicks them out of where they are living. As you can see, these circumstances can befall anyone. Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck and do not have a sizeable financial cushion to deal with hard times.

One group of people that has been affected adversely by the homeless crisis that has not gotten a lot of notice are the small business owners whose establishments are in the areas of these tent cities. These homeless camps have been destroying their businesses. Who would want to pick their way through the encampments to patronize their businesses? Essentially, they have been powerless to do anything. The local politicians have been no help. In fact, they have deemed that the homeless are entitled to camp on the public sidewalks, and they cannot be removed forcibly. Lately, some of them have taken matters into their own hands. Some of the “outside the box” deterrents, include putting up barriers, such as fences and walls, and planting cacti and other thorny bushes.

CONCLUSION

In my opinion, the homeless problem, at least in the various CA cities, has been exacerbated by the misplaced priorities of the politicians who control the state and those cities. As it happens, the Democrats have been in total control for a long time, but I would feel the same way regardless of who was in charge. Apparently, the governor and the mayors are more concerned with issues of lesser importance to most voters, such as climate change, political correctness, and Governor Gavin Newsome’s longshot/no shot presidential campaign than in implementing the hard, decisive choices necessary to deal with this existential issue. For example, NBC News has reported that LA Mayor Garcetti cannot even handle the simple, mundane task of collecting the garbage. It has been piling up in the streets for months.

Furthermore, the politicians need to rethink their sanctuary policy and other permissive, pc policies, which I maintain have attracted many homeless. There are simply too many people in need of social services, and they are overwhelming the system. There is not sufficient infrastructure or money to accommodate all of them.

Once again, we see an example of the failure of socialist policies. They sound good, but, ultimately, they don’t work. Never have; never will.

Remember my opening line? Are you appalled, frightened and ashamed? If not, you should be. This is supposed to be America, but, for some, it is the Third World. The calendar says it is the 21st century; but, for some, it is the 14th century.

HAS (“SLO”) JOE LOST HIS “MOJO”

Joe Biden’s enigmatic campaign is continuing on a most rocky road. Let’s review. First, he had trouble deciding whether or not to run. Then, his much-balleyhooed roll-out drew a relatively sparse crowd, in Philadelphia, no less. You may recall, on that same night President Trump outdrew him substantially at a routine rally in Montoursville, PA, which is in the middle of nowhere.

Then, he stubbed his toe at the first debate, and Harris made him look old, uncertain, weak, and out of touch. Then, he made an unfortunate slip-up with his comments about working together with segregationist Senators and was immediately taken to task by Cory Booker. Immediately, much of the media, sensing a “hot” story, and most of the other candidates, smelling blood in the water, piled on. Then, he issued an apology for the latter comments, which, I believe, rather than resolving the matter, made it worse.

Along the way he has flip-flopped on so many policies that I have lost track, such as border security and enforcement, the Hyde amendment, late and post-term abortion, healthcare, and many others. His endorsement of free healthcare for all, including illegal aliens, seems to be particularly ill-advised and irresponsible. It seems like every day brings another Biden issue, either a flip-flop, an ill-advised comment, an apology, or a combination of the above.

Biden has appeared to be unprepared for the reality that, as the front runner, everyone will be out to “get” him. He reminds me of a zebra on the Serengeti plain in Africa being besieged by a pack of hyenas, nipping at him here and there with the expectation that, eventually, he will wear down and give up the fight. He is spending all his time on the defensive rather than doing any real campaigning.

What does he stand for at this stage of his career? I don’t know. Do you? Does he?

He is supposed to be the moderate in the race, the voice of experience, the steady hand at the helm of the ship. So, far he has been anything but those things. He has allowed himself to be dragged so far to the left that if he does get to the general election as the nominee he will need a GPS to find the middle where most Americans reside.

All that said, despite his continuous fumbling, bumbling and stumbling, according to the latest polls he is still the front runner for the nomination and the best bet to defeat President Trump in the general election. As of July 7 the ABC/Washington Post poll has him defeating Mr. Trump 53-43. (That same poll showed Harris, Sanders and Warren each either tied with Mr. Trump or ahead of him within the margin of error.)

One might consider that puzzling, but I attribute it to a combination of Biden’s name recognition, the recognition that each of the other candidates is flawed in some way, and the questionable reliability of polls, particularly this early in the process.

CONCLUSION

The conventional wisdom among Democratic campaign strategists, and even among the candidates, themselves, is that the current field is too crowded and unwieldy, and that it will be winnowed considerably before the Iowa caucuses. Those whose campaigns have failed to catch on by then will see their fundraising dry up, and they will be left with no choice but to withdraw. Already we have seen the first shoe to drop – Eric Swalwell. Others will soon follow.

For instance:

1. Mike McCauley, a South Carolina-based strategist who worked on Kerry’s and Obama’s campaigns, is even more aggressive. In his opinion, the winnowing will occur by Thanksgiving. He adds that any of the lesser candidates still hanging on after Iowa will be doing so out of “vanity” or for a “cabinet tryout.”

2. “Politico” reports that it has polled several campaign officials, party operatives and officials, as well as Dem activists. Although no one would speak on the record, the consensus was that the winnowing would commence after the next debate scheduled for the end of July. Longshot candidates, such Hickenlooper, Delaney, de Blasio, Gillebrand and Messam, will likely begin to see their financing dry up and be forced to bow to the reality of the situation.

3. According to a recent Hill-HarrisX Poll some 3/4 of Dems and left-leaning independents were of the opinion that there were currently “too many” presidential candidates.

4. Jed Ober, former deputy director of delegate operations for Clinton in 2016, opines that “the reality is there won’t be [even] 12 that [will be] really in the running come Iowa. Max, it [will be] six or seven and it [will] come down to fundraising by that point.”

5. Many observers feel that “Super Tuesday” will be the death knell for any fringe candidates that have managed to hang on through the early primaries. These candidates will simply not be able to mount effective campaigns in so many states simultaneously, and National Committee member Bob Mulholland predicts they “will never get [even a single] delegate.”

Personally, I believe that, shortly, candidates will commence dropping out for the reasons cited above. Many, if not most, of them had no business being in the race anyway. By the end of the primary season, I can see the field being reduced to two or three as we separate the pretenders from the contenders. Who will be the survivors? Your guess is as good as mine. The more intriguing question is will Joe Biden be among them?

INDEPENDENCE DAY

Today, July 4th, we celebrate our independence. There will be family gatherings, parades, carnivals, barbecues, fireworks, and, of course, political speeches. Many of us will go to the beach or play golf (weather permitting) or attend concerts, plays or baseball games. Many of us remember, with nostalgia when MLB celebrated Independence Day with a doubleheader, but those days appear to be gone for good.

The Automobile Club and the TSA have both predicted that this extended holiday weekend will be among the busiest travel periods of the year. This year the 4th has fallen on a Thursday, so many of us will make the holiday into a four-day mini-vacation. If you will be travelling, good luck at the airport or on the roads.

Hopefully, some of us will take a few minutes to reflect on how our country was “born.” Who were the “founding fathers” we hear so much about? Who were the heroes of the revolution? How much do you know? Let’s find out. As always, no peeking at the internet, and don’t ask “Alexa.”

1. The primary author of the Declaration of Independence was
a. George Washington
b. Henry Lee
c. Benjamin Franklyn
d. Thomas Jefferson

2. The oldest continuous Independence Day celebration is in what city?
a. Bristol, RI
b. New York, NY
c. Waterbury, CT
d. Philadelphia, PA

3. The origin of the song, “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” was
a. American troops during the Revolutionary War
b. French troops during the RW
c. British military before the RW
d. Hessians at the battle of Trenton, NJ

4. The movie, “Independence Day” starred
a. Tom Cruise
b. Will Smith
c. Morgan Freeman
d. Daniel Day-Lewis

5. The first person to sign the Declaration of Independence (and the only one to do so on July 4) was
a. Thomas Jefferson
b. Patrick Henry
c. Benjamin Franklyn
d. John Hancock

6. Each of the following was a member of the Committee of Five (assigned to draft the Declaration), except:
a. George Washington
b. Roger Sherman
c. John Adams
d. Benjamin Franklyn

7. Who was the only President to have been born on the 4th of July?
a. John Adams
b. Grover Cleveland
c. Calvin Coolidge
d. James Polk

8. Each of the following Presidents died on July 4th, except:
a. John Adams
b. Thomas Jefferson
c. James Monroe
d. James Madison

9. Each of the following is considered to be a “Founding Father,” EXCEPT:
a. John Adams
b. Andrew Jackson
c. Alexander Hamilton
d. James Madison

10. The “Star Spangled banner” was written by Francis Scott Key during which war?
a. French and Indian War
b. American Revolution
c. Civil War
d. War of 1812

11. The origin of the nick-name “Uncle Sam” is purportedly:
a. The Continental Congress
b. The Sons of Liberty
c. Meat packer who supplied meat to the US Army
d. British troops during the RW

12. Who, along with John Adams, is responsible for designating the bald eagle as the US’s National Bird?
a. George Washington
b. Thomas Jefferson
c. Benjamin Franklyn
d. Patrick Henry

13. Which state was the last of the “lower 48” to join the Union?
a. New Mexico
b. Oregon
c. Hawaii
d. Arizona

14. How many persons signed the Declaration of Independence?
a. 13
b. 26
c. 40
d. 56

15. Which was the first state to ratify the Constitution?
a. Virginia
b. New York
c. Delaware
d. Massachusetts

16. Purportedly, the Independence Day Nathans Hot Dog Eating Contest was first held in
a. 1876
b. 1930
c. 1945
d. 1916

17. Who was one of only two signers of the Declaration of Independence to be elected President?
a. John Adams
b. Andrew Jackson
c. Alexander Hamilton
d. Aaron Burr

18. Although July 4 is recognized as Independence Day, the Continental Congress approved a “resolution of independence” on this date.
a. June 15
b. July 1
c. July 2
d. July 3

19. Washington, DC became the capital in
a. 1776
b. 1800
c. 1820
d. 1920

20. The 14th state of the union was:
a. Maine
b. Georgia
c. Florida
d. Vermont

ANSWERS: 1. (d); 2. (a); 3. (c); 4. (b); 5. (d); 6. (a); 7. (c); 8. (d); 9. (b); 10. (d); 11. (c); 12. (b); 13. (d); 14. (d); 15. (c); 16. (d); 17. (a); 18. (c); 19. (b); 20. (d)

CONCLUSION

Well, how did you do? I’d like to know.

Now, some Independence Day-related trivia with which you can impress your friends:

1. Although we consider July 4th to be the official date of our independence, most historians now agree that the Declaration was not actually signed until August 2.

2. On July 4, 1777, the city of Bristol, RI celebrated the first anniversary of ID with a thirteen-gun salute. The city’s annual ID parade, which was first held in 1785, is the oldest continuous ID celebration in the US.

3. In 1778, to mark the second anniversary, George Washington issued double rations of rum to the Continental Army troops.

4. By the end of the 18th century many major cities were marking the day with various celebrations and parades. Today, many major cities hold massive and elaborate fireworks displays. In addition, many private organizations, for example, Macys, the Boston Pops, and many baseball clubs, entertain the public with fireworks displays. Macy’s fireworks celebration, generally considered to be the most famous, has been nationally televised every year since 1976.

Sadly, many private citizens, who are not properly trained, set off their own fireworks, sometimes with unfortunate results. Every year we read or hear about some tragic accidents involving loss of limbs or even death. Remember the case of NY Giants defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul? He lost part of few fingers (and nearly his life) and almost ended a most promising football career.

5. In 1870 Congress designated ID as a federal holiday. In 1938 it granted federal employees a day off with pay on that day.

6. With respect to the “Star-Spangled Banner:

a. It was composed by Francis Scott Key from a British prisoner ship in Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812. (Key was not a prisoner, himself. He was on the ship to negotiate the release of a prisoner.)
b. He wrote it as a poem named “The Defence of Fort McHenry.” Later, it was set to a tune, which, ironically, is an English drinking song, with the strange name of “To Anacreon in Heaven.” In case you’re wondering, the song was the official song of a gentlemen’s club in 18th century London.
c. Key wrote four verses and a fifth verse was added later, but, of course, we only sing the first. Does anyone know the words of the others? I don’t, but I will say that all five verses end with “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
d. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson declared that it should be played at all official events.
e. The “Star-Spangled Banner” became the national anthem in 1931.

7. This year, President Trump will be initiating a special celebration, “Salute to America” to be held in Washington DC. It will include, among other events, a parade of military vehicles, speeches, fireworks, and a flyover by the Blue Angels. It is intended to be a celebration of America on its “birthday,” but some have objected to it as political theatre and an unnecessary expense.

8. Some notable events that occurred on this day:

a. 1802 – The US Military Academy at West Point opened.
b. 1817 – The ground was broken for the Erie Canal in Rome, NY.
c. 1826 – Former Presidents and Founding Fathers John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both die.
d. 1939 – Baseball legend Lou Gehrig delivered his famous “luckiest man” speech before a packed house at Yankee Stadium.

9. Finally, a development that I and many others find most disturbing. Suddenly, a small, but vociferous, segment of the PC/twitter crowd has decided, for reasons known only to them, that the original flag, aka the “Betsy Ross” flag, is racist. Why? Not sure, except, perhaps, because it was conceived during a period when people owned slaves. Personally, I think they have lost their minds. In any event, Nike had intended to honor our country’s birth with a special sneaker with a likeness of this flag on it, but apparently, the company has been cowed by these protesters into withdrawing the special sneaker. Too bad. It would have been a nice gesture. Once again, a small segment of the population is dictating to the rest of us.

Enjoy yourself on the 4th, but, above all, be safe. If you travel, drive defensively and if you must handle fireworks, BE VERY CAREFUL!

MY HERO

July 5 will mark the four-year anniversary of the most horrific day in the lives of my wife and I, a day no parent should have to endure. Eventually, the ordeal had a happy ending, but it was touch and go for a while. Subsequently, I shared our experiences in a blog entitled “My Hero.”

As the aforementioned anniversary approaches I would like to re-publish the blog at this time. (Some of you were not following my blog four years ago and may not have seen it.) I believe it is as inspirational now as it was then. Perhaps, you could forward it to a friend or relative who has suffered a stroke and might benefit from reading it. So, read and enjoy “My Hero.”

“Who is your hero? Who has inspired you by exhibiting extreme courage and achievement in the face of adversity? Is it a historical figure, like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, or, a religious figure, like Moses, Jesus or Muhammed, or maybe, a civil rights icon, like Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela? Or, perhaps, it might be an ordinary person you know or know of who, while not famous, has accomplished something so truly remarkable, against such long odds that you are truly inspired. Not all of us can point to such a person, but I can. It is someone very close to me that I have known all his life. It is my son, Matt.

It all began on July 5, 2015, a day I will never forget. Like the JFK assassination and the 9/11 terrorist attacks I will never forget where I was and what I was doing when I heard the awful news. It was a typical summer’s day in the NY area, bright and sunny. Matt was enjoying a family day with some friends and his lovely wife and two children at a local club. Suddenly, after swimming in the lake he became dizzy, lost vision in one eye and collapsed. He had suffered a dissection of his carotid artery, which had triggered a massive stroke.

Luckily, there was a doctor present. He immediately recognized what was happening and knew exactly what to do. This doctor accompanied Matt in the ambulance and stayed with him at the local hospital to ensure the ER doctors gave him the clot-buster shot and other appropriate treatment, including emergency surgery to remove the clot within the five-six-hour window that is considered to be optimal for treating strokes. This certainly mitigated the effects of the stroke and may even have saved his life.

My wife and I were eating dinner with friends at a local restaurant when we got the shocking telephone call that Matt had suffered a stroke. It seemed impossible. Matt was only 40 and in excellent physical condition. He worked out regularly, ran and practiced jujitsu. The caller did not know any details, not even if Matt were alive. If you’re a parent, you know that type of telephone call is as bad as it gets. Luckily, our friends insisted on driving us to the hospital in Westchester to which Matt was being transported (the Westchester Trauma Center). I don’t think I was in any condition to drive. We arrived at more or less the same time as Matt. We were able to see him and ascertain that although he was in very serious condition, he was alive. After the surgery he was only able to breathe with the aid of a ventilator, and his skin was the color of white porcelain.

Over the next few days the medical news was very dire. The doctors confirmed that Matt had, indeed, suffered a massive stroke. He was not conscious; he was paralyzed on his right side; he might need a craniotomy; he was blind in his left eye; and he had only partial vision in his right eye. He was in such bad shape that I felt elated a few days later when I squeezed his hand and felt him squeeze mine back.

The doctors told us he was facing a long, arduous recovery, one –
two weeks at the hospital followed by six to nine months at a rehab facility. In addition, they said there was a good possibility that he would never recognize us, speak, or be able to walk unassisted. As far as returning to a normal life as a husband and father and resuming his career as a senior research analyst, that was seemingly too unrealistic to even contemplate. (Later, Matt told us that one of the doctors had flat-out told him he would not recover sufficiently to do so. When we asked him if that had bothered him, he said “no, I knew he was wrong.”) I realize that doctors feel compelled to disclose all possibilities, but there is a natural tendency to focus on the most negative ones, and that was an extremely disturbing prognosis.

Over the next year. Matt made a remarkable recovery. He was discharged from the hospital in only six days and transferred to Burke for rehab. Not only did he have to rehabilitate himself physically, but he also had to rehab his mind and his memory. At first, he didn’t even recall very basic elements of his life, such as the names of his wife and children and his current address. He had to relearn how to speak. His rate of progress was beyond anyone’s most optimistic expectations. He attacked his rehab with a vengeance. He attended every session. He never once told them he was in too much pain, too tired, or not in the mood, as many rehab patients do. Many times he would cut short our visit by telling us he had to leave for a rehab session. If they told him to do ten of something, he would do 15. He would complete the most tedious and frustrating of tasks without complaint. His course of rehab included robotics, which helped considerably. Of course, it helped that he was only 40 years old and in excellent physical condition, but, nevertheless, he astounded the doctors, the therapists, and, indeed, even us with his progress. In August 2016, after less than one month at Burke, he was discharged. For a while, he continued to undergo private rehab once a week. Now, he exercises by running.

CONCLUSION

Matt’s astounding recovery included the following accomplishments:

1. He completed his rehab at Burke and returned home to his family well ahead of schedule.
2. The day he was discharged he accompanied his wife and son to Nassau Coliseum, which was over a one-hour drive, to see Billy Joel’s last concert there.
3. He climbed up to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
4. He has resumed his career as a senior research analyst at a Wall Street firm. This is a remarkable achievement since his job is very demanding, requiring many hours of complex analysis, a high level of prolonged concentration, high-level meetings with clients, and travel.
5. He has completed various half marathons. How many non-stroke victims can say that?
6. Most importantly, has resumed his role as husband and father, and my wife and I have our son back.

During his recovery period Matt was fond of saying his full-time job was to get better. He applied the same single-minded determination and dedication to that task as he has to everything else in his life. He is not yet all the way back, but if you were to meet him today for the first time you would likely not realize that he had suffered a massive stroke only a few years ago.

My wife and I know that Matt was extremely lucky that there was a doctor present who ensured he received the immediate care he needed as well as an amazing support system of friends, relatives and colleagues, and, for that, we will be eternally grateful. However, the determination with which he attacked his rehab virtually willing himself to get better was nothing short of amazing!

We have always been very proud of Matt, but, now, he is and will always be, our hero.”

Even now, four years later, it is hard for me to read that blog without getting emotional. We know we dodged a major bullet. Matt has pretty much returned to normalcy, although he is still blind in one eye and has a weakness in his right hand. However, I remain optimistic that one day medical science will progress to the point that he will regain his sight. Who knows?

We have suggested to Matt that he could become an inspirational speaker to give others the benefit of his experience. Although he has made a couple of appearances with a friend who was also a stroke victim, for now, he has chosen to focus on his family and career.

Alternatively, his experience would make a fine inspirational movie, although Hollywood would probably dismiss it as too unrealistic. In any case, read it and be inspired.