Feeling The Bern

I’ll admit I’m not big on conspiracy theories. I can accept that Oswald killed JFK even though I find it hard to believe that that little peckerwood could hit the side of a barn within spitting distance with an automatic weapon.

But I digress.

What has me fired up this morning is the aftermath of the fiasco in Iowa during the Democratic caucus. I’m still feeling the Bern — but I wonder if this isn’t the first attempt by the Democratic National Committee to make sure that Bernie doesn’t get the nomination.

Put yourself in the shoes of the establishment elite who make up the bulk of the DNC and who hold the power positions in government, media, businesses and nonprofits in DC and NYC.

Would they like to see a nominee who is a declared Democratic Socialist? Or would they be more comfortable with one of their own? Let’s say a Joe Biden or a Mike Bloomberg.

Here’s from Mark Penn, a talking head on Fox News:

First, in an era of PACS and social media the very concept of starting in a small test market no longer makes sense. These are national campaigns with televised debates and significant budgets; the early primaries should rotate so no region has an advantage and so that the voters in the early primaries are broadly representative of the Democratic primary electorate.
Second, the method used to run the caucuses is inherently suspect. You need to have lots of time to show up to spend hours in the caucus. The screening of who votes has always been loose and the counting of the votes somewhat suspect.

Hillary Clinton always believed that the results of the Iowa caucus, which she lost to Barack Obama in 2008, were unfair but she had no way to check the count nor question the results. All she could do was move on. Most caucuses only get about one-fourth of the vote of primaries.

And third, the demographics of those involved are far from typical. Polling of those participating in the caucuses on Monday night found that 58 percent were women, 96 percent were white and they were overwhelmingly liberal.

The Iowa caucuses are one of the reasons that the Democratic Party is tilted away from diversity and away from moderate candidates as everyone vies for an upset victory.

As to the results, that as of this writing, have not been revealed officially, we have heard that three candidates — former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — all did well compared to the other candidates.

If this holds up this would be a significant result and a big victory for the left of the party, which typically has been dominant in the Iowa caucus.

Moderate votes would have shifted from former Vice President Biden to Mayor Pete. If this is the case, Sen. Amy Klobuchar would not have gotten the vote she claimed in her eloquent “victory” speech on Monday night.

It’s been clear for a while that there are two basic lanes in the party right now — the moderate lane and the left lane and that we can expect one candidate from each lane to make it to the end and battle it out at the convention.

Obviously this is the result billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg needed if he was going to have a chance to carve out more than a niche in the Democratic Party.

So it appears that Joe Biden dodged a big bullet last night, which might of saved his campaign.

But what about Bernie? His polling numbers before the actual voting debacle had him solidly in the lead. So inquiring minds (at least mine) want to know if this was just a predictable result based on the ineptness of Iowa Democratic Party leaders. (Most I take it are old and white, which means, based on personal experience, that most would not have any clue how to use a telephone app. I digress.) Or could this be, and dare I say it, the first of many attempts to deny Bernie the nomination?

The Dems in Iowa say they will release the official results later today. In the meantime, here’s from an email from Bernie’s campaign that I received this morning:

Rob –

Last night was a bad night for democracy, for the Democratic Party, and for the people of Iowa.

But because you have done so much for this campaign, and in the interest of full transparency as we wait for the Iowa Democratic Party to release results, we want to share the numbers that we have at this moment:

As a result of an extraordinary grassroots campaign, fueled by thousands of volunteers who knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors, our internal results sent to us by precinct captains around the state indicate that with close to 60% of the vote in, we have a comfortable lead. Our numbers also show Pete Buttigieg is currently in second, followed by Elizabeth Warren, then Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden.

Let me reiterate that these are unofficial results, but we wanted to share them to let you know we feel very good about where we are at right now as we head to New Hampshire.

Okay. I’m still feeling the Bern. And I’m going to continue to contribute small amounts to both his campaign and to Tulsi. (Hillary appears to hate her with a passion. That’s a good enough endorsement for me.)

I’d like to see a campaign in the fall where the candidates at the top of the ticket are not for sale.

Of course that depends in large part on Bernie getting a fair shake this time around from the establishment DNC and the other power brokers who control much of what happens in DC and NYC.

As far as conspiracy theories go, it doesn’t look like we are off to a very good start.



A Bad Day In The Pittsburgh Neighborhood

I grew up in Pittsburgh. So even though I have been away for decades, the murder of 11 people attending worship services at a synagogue in the Squirrel Hill area of the Steel City struck a little too close to home.

And I know. These horrific events occur so regularly now that when the Breaking News logo flashes on CNN it generates as many yawns as it does outrage.

But as a society we should be outraged. And that outrage should lead to something more than an outpouring of “thoughts and prayers.”

I recognize that this is a tough — maybe impossible — problem to solve, given the strong feelings about the Second Amendment and the virtual lock that the National Rifle Association has on lawmakers.


Still, America appears to be the only nation where this type of mass murder happens routinely. And then people huff and puff, but nothing changes until the next time. So it goes. Shouldn’t we as a nation, as the Mayor of Pittsburgh opined, be trying to find ways to keep guns out of the hands of deranged people with evil intent? Seems to me that even strong Second Amendment advocates could live with that.

And the horrific murders in Pittsburgh seem all the worse to me because they happened literally in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Fred Rogers, the legendary public TV host, lived about five blocks from the synagogue where the massacre took place.

Fred Rogers spent a career advocating for and demonstrating the values of civility, peace and inclusiveness.

Gee. Sounds like the polar opposite of the thinking of some deranged idiot whose twisted view of the world was so filled with hatred that he had no qualms about opening fire in a house of worship.

In the aftermath, the Prez said all the right things in way of expressing sympathy to those killed, their families and friends and to the Pittsburgh community and the nation. And then he added that the outcome would have been better if armed security had been present in the synagogue.

Nah. That’s crazy. And it’s really the solution offered by Archie Bunker on the show All in the Family years ago. During a time when airplanes were being hijacked to Cuba, Archie opined that the solution was to give every passenger a gun as they boarded the plane. Then if something happened, they could just fight it out.

I thought that was funny at the time. But I’m not laughing now, especially since this appears to be the policymakers solution of choice.

I wonder what Mr. Rogers would say?

Beer And Happy Places

I spent a delightful day last Saturday, July 7, at Breckenridge, attending that community’s annual beer festival. Breckenridge is one of the happiest places I’ve been fortunate enough to visit. And since it’s only about a two hour drive from my home in Woodland Park, Breckenridge is a neat little mountain ski town that serves as a delightful venue for a short get-out-of-town vacation.

And sampling craft beer from about 50 vendors from Colorado and other parts of the United States, while being surrounded by mountains at more than 9,000 feet and with music pumping in the background, certainly adds to the experience.


Since moving to Colorado from Ohio I find I am more inclined to go to these kind of events. I guess it has something to do with the near perfect weather, long stretches of blue sky and sunlight, and low humidity.

Also, the mindset of people living in and visiting Colorado is different. Given the excuse to get outside, they appear all too pleased to take it. Me included.

And when you add beer to the mix, well, it’s a pretty happy place.


Wildfires and Common Sense

No matter how you look at it Woodland Park, for me at least, is an  ideal place to live. The climate is near perfect, with moderate temperatures, plenty of sunshine and low humidity. And with winters like last one where we netted only around 50 inches of snow, hey, that boarders on the tropical compared to Ohio.

But the downside is that even though we are in the mountains you can argue that this location like other parts of Colorado is actually high desert. So in years like this one where we have had a relatively small amount of snow coupled with thus far virtually no rain you have all the conditions for widespread and disastrous wildfires. Add in the elements of high winds, low humidity and no rain, and well, you aren’t in Ohio anymore and you better be ready to move and move quickly.

That happened right before we moved here in 2012, when the Waldo Canyon fire erupted northwest of Colorado Springs and eventually led to the evacuation of about 32,000 residents, including some in Woodland Park.

The fires start for any number of reasons. Nature plays a role, with lightning strikes prevalent and dangerous. But some are caused by people just not having any common sense.

They apparently don’t know how to douse a campfire or how to conduct themselves in a designated area for target shooting without setting the forest on fire. And I guess being a smoker somehow gives them the right to flick the still smoldering butt out the window while driving or when going to pick up the mail. Assclowns.

Oh well. To quote the great American philosopher Forrest Gump: shit happens.

Unfortunately, so do wildfires.

As I write this post, there is a fire raging (photo above with credit to Colorado Springs Utilities and the Woodland Park Community Facebook page) about 15 miles west of my house near the small community of Florissant, with as of now more than 400 acres burning,  roads closed and some residents evacuated. Here’s praying for everyone’s safety and for a quick resolution. What makes this particularly scary I’m sure for longtime residents is that Florissant is just east of the starting point of the Hayman fire, which at the time in 2006 was the largest in Colorado’s history.

I haven’t heard as yet the cause for this fire near Florissant. Let’s hope it doesn’t fall into the assclown category.

But here are some other observations.

  • In a small community like this, timely and accurate information is golden, but not always easy to come by. By the time the Courier Journal, the local weekly newspaper publishes anything, this fire will hopefully only be a bad memory.
  • On the other hand, there is a system called Nixle managed I assume by local government and law enforcement agencies that sends alerts and updates to your mobile phones and email accounts. It’s a valuable service, widely used, and I’m sure greatly appreciated by those who subscribe at no cost.
  • Television stations out of Colorado Springs and Denver and the Gazette in Colorado Springs do a good job of providing as much information as they can when they can. But I suspect that in these situations most people turn to social media, primarily Facebook, for updates and eyewitness reports. Social media have many flaws, but they also are a tremendous resource when people are looking for immediate information.
  • The community really rallies together in times such as these, and the outpouring of volunteers who are willing to donate their time to prepare and serve food to the firefighters and others and who willingly give their money to purchase supplies is truly gratifying.
  • You better be ready to evacuate quickly and know what you need to take that can’t be replaced, such as important records and documents, medication and so on.
  • Times like these remind us how much we depend on firefighters and other first responders. And we don’t say thank you enough or appreciate their skills, dedication and sacrifices. Thank you.

So while our collective fingers and toes are crossed with this current fire, I guess the best we can do is approach the upcoming Independence Day holiday with a sense of optimism and dare I say it, common sense.

A New Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton


For years, while living in Ohio, I got up just about every morning and added my musings to a blog: PR On The Run. Then after punching the publish button I hit the concrete in my neighborhood or trails in a nearby national park for a minimum of a four- or five-mile run, generally with a small group of friends whom I’ve know for the better part of three decades.

Then in 2012 my wife, Mary, and I relocated to a small mountain town near Pikes Peak in Southern Colorado, Woodland Park. It’s called the City Above The Clouds. And at about 8,400 feet above sea level the views are majestic and the weather is generally ideal throughout the year.

And I’m still running, although age and altitude have shortened the distances and increased the times. Still, running (or walking and biking for that matter) in a venue that offers blue sky, almost constant sunshine and low humidity is nearly impossible to beat.

But I stopped blogging, figuring that my brain farts would be lost in the swamp of fake news and the increasing partisan and uncivil discourse that now rules politics and just about all media, social or otherwise. Or said another way, I figured that after years of gingerly putting one word after another first on paper and later on a computer screen that I had run out of things to say.

Now I’ve decided that I’m ready to jump back into the fray and offer my views from this perch high in the mountains above the clouds. Mostly, I’m going to write about matters that interest me, upset me, or that I just plain find unusual, funny or important. And from time to time I’m going to add some content to highlight my hometown of Woodland Park and my adopted state of Colorado.

By the way, the quote above by Izaak Walton was part of the WordPress template.

But, hey. It ain’t a bad reference for beginning a new journey.