Rumblings…Ramblings and Musings…2013 in Review

English: Depiction of the House vote on H.R. 3...

English: Depiction of the House vote on H.R. 3590 (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) on March 21, 2010, by congressional district. Democratic yea Democratic nay Republican nay No representative seated (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An odd sort of year was 2013.  Bizarre and extreme politics in Washington DC.  Everything New York Sports in the tank.  The tomato blight. Wacky dangerous weather.  Business doing better but not seeing any real breakthrough till way later in the year. Of course I can always mention the continued insanity in the Middle East that has never seemed to settle down since the 1950’s.  Amazing.  Lastly  I thought I’d mention the gun control legislation that was defeated in the Congress even though nearly 80% of those polled favored it.


What can you say about the political climate in the USA this past year?  The radical right as represented by the TEA PARTY tried to bankrupt the country by not extending the debt ceiling and trying to shut the government down.   This was their  way of somehow overturning Obamacare. Seeing how the Senate would never agree to this move, they flirted with a financial disaster for basically no good reason.  Moderate Republicans were jumping off the bandwagon all over the country when it became apparent the tactic was a waste of time and further infuriating the public against the party.  New York’s Peter King and the iconic Karl Rove quickly distanced themselves from the behavior in the House.

English: Karl Rove Assistant to the President,...

English: Karl Rove Assistant to the President, Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think if the TEA PARTY really thinks it represent the majority of Americans, and wields such political clout,  maybe they should split off from the Republicans and create a new third party. Then and only then will we see whether or not they have any power and sway over the electorate or if their “movement” is ore than just a lot of hot air.  I have a feeling in a national election an independent TEA PARTY would be lucky and fortunate to garner more than 15% of the popular vote. Their tactics make no good sense.  As I have stated in the past,  the movement had noble ideals and an interesting modus but when it was hijacked by the radical fringe right and the Republican party proper,  the lofty ideals disintegrated in a haze of “us against them ideology”, veiled racial bigotry and a desire to return to some magical time in American history that never was.  On the left the Democrats spent their time fighting the radical right and expressing their own dissatisfaction with President Obama’s seemingly endless compromises with House Republicans.

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The constant stalemate was making Obama look like an in effective leader…precisely what the radical right was hoping for.  What is the end result of all this political wrangling?  Come 2014 and then 2016,  I believe the voice of the people will be surely heard.  A poll taken just the other day shows Hillary Clinton beating all challengers…Republicans and Democrats except one.  Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.  He would have a very slight lead over her should the election be held tomorrow. What does this tell us?


English: , U.S. Attorney, Governor-elect of Ne...

English: , U.S. Attorney, Governor-elect of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A no-nonsense, get things done, moderate Republican is still a viable candidate in this political climate.  A refreshing change from the extreme positions taken by many House Republicans during the past few years.  Christie might be able to win a national contest, but will the radical right allow him the chance to win the nomination?  Stay tuned for that confrontation.

So what the hell is up with New York Sports??  Yikes!  The Yankees got old, injured and slow. They spent more time thinking about Alex Rodriquez than they did playing the brand of winning baseball that has become the norm up in the Bronx.  Derek Jeter…we love ya babe…even this MET fan loves ya dude…but it’s over.  Nice move getting McCann from the Braves. The Mets?  Ugghhhh.  Just when it seemed like something good was about to happen Matt Harvey crashes and burns with Tommy John surgery.  And their off-season of plenty?  Please!  Another cruel joke played on MET fans by the despicable Wilpons!  Let Sandy Alderson do his friggin’ job!

English: NY Mets GM Sandy Alderson with sports...

English: NY Mets GM Sandy Alderson with sportswriter Tom Verducci in 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Colon…good…Granderson…good…is that it?  This team has so many holes in it it’s a wonder they don’t all carry around cans of inflate-a-tire! Which brings us to another couple of car wrecks.  The New York Giants…0-6…end of 7-9.  OK OK a nice recovery from horrible to miserable. Tuck probably gone…Nicks?  Shortly thereafter.  Somebody better do something about that lousy offensive line.  They managed to make a great QB look like garbage. The JETS?  Yuck!  Give us an offense PLEASE! Rex is back and he’s making nice nice with Mr. Idzik.  Hey John…you’ve got a chance to make the Jets contenders this off season.  Don’t blow it. Hopefully you won’t follow the Mets lead. That brings us to the state of NY basketball.  Are you kidding?!??!??!  The Knicks were serious contenders…back in 1973 I think it was.  What a friggin’ mess! No reliable point guard.   JR Smith has played lights out….as in the D A R K!  I always thought of him as a disaster waiting to happen.  Well it’s happened.  can’t shoot…can’t defend…can’t keep his big mouth shut.  Head butt anyone lately?  When Tyson Chandler went down I knew we were in trouble for real. The house of cards has come crashing down.  I was born in Brooklyn and though I am a Knicks fan,  I’d like to see the Nets be good.  Unfortunately they sucked before Lopez went out for the season and I fully expect them to continue sucking.  The Rangers?  I’m tired of the awesome potential.  How about some wins?  The Islanders?  YIKES !  Maybe they’d do better on some other Island…Tahiti perhaps. They’ll be in Brooklyn soon.  Have a nice trip!  And the New Jersey Devils>  Wow.  A perennially competitive team, winner of multiple Stanley Cups can’t seem to get out of their own way.  Enough of NY sports.  It’s depressing.  Maybe sometime in February we’ll look back and say it turned out better than we thought.


2013 was the fifth consecutive growing season on Long Island marred by the TOMATO BLIGHT!  Boooooo!  8 years ago we were getting so many tomatoes we simply couldn’t eat, cook or freeze them fast enough.  The blight has reduced our yield by more than 40%.  We tried all of the tips and tricks.  Nothing seems to help.  Hopefully the pathogen that causes this situation will just dry up and go away!


Man this weather is N U T Z. When it should be cold it’s warm and when it’s supposed to be warm it rains. One day in December it was nearly 70 degrees and the next day it was 29. Can you say climate change? I could be wrong but I see it getting worse.  Bigger and more nasty storms pounding the country.  Those tornadoes in the midwest and south were epic.  They caused serious damage and loss of life.  Up here on Long Island we’ve had to deal with massive hurricanes and Atlantic storm surges.  Don’t forget Katrina down in New Orleans. Out in California crazy dry spells and massive fires.  Meanwhile special interest groups fight any attempts to do something about the situation.  Scary scary scary.


So a liberal democrat gets elected in NYC after 12 years of Bloomberg. I think Bloomberg for all of his faults was an amazingly good Mayor.  DiBlasio seems to have good intentions and reasonable plans but I can only hope he can be as effective and as strong a leader as Mayor Bloomberg was during his tenure.


Funny how the USA seems to get involved in the WRONG WARS.  We attack Iraq when the enemy was in Afghanistan.  We teeter with Iran and yet we allow a lunatic to poison thousands of his own citizens in Syria.  I am really glad I am not the person making the decisions of where we should deploy troops…create drone strikes…invade territory etc etc etc.  These are all insane situations caused by insane people.  I hope for the best.  I hope that the people in power do the right things. Is there much else the average man on the street can do?

This year the $25 I  donated to Kick-starter to help get Good Ole Freda off the ground gave me some tangible results.  I got the DVD and it was really entertaining.  Freda was the Beatles Fan Club secretary and then later Brian Epstein’s secretary. She’s a pretty “normal” down to earth sort of girl considering she was one of the Beatles inner circle. It’s an interesting look inside the workings of the early days in Liverpool.


OK…2014…here we are and here we come…to all my family and friends and readers of this blog…good luck and hopefully this year will turn out to be a positive for you and yours in the ledger of time.



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7 Responses to Rumblings…Ramblings and Musings…2013 in Review

  1. Joanne F says:

    I hope it’s not too late for a reply. This came in just as I was receiving bad family news and I got sidetracked. I came across it as I was clearing out old emails tonight. So, if you’ll permit me, here goes…

    Chris Christie, I think, is not going anywhere national — and that’s a good thing. The George Washington Bridge fiasco, combined with new revelations that NJ suffered unnecessarily worse damage from Hurricane Sandy due to his cutting infrastructure funds, will be his undoing. The GWB story gets thicker and deeper and sleazier by the day, and now that the feds and Port Authority are investigating, he can’t control the results any more. This fiasco demonstrates his hard-right abuse of power. While he has made himself appear to be a moderate, he is anything but. He has tried to bust his state’s unions (remember him shouting in the face of a teacher?), he opposes increases in the minimum wage and equal pay for women, he vetoed a gay marriage bill that was passed handily in both state houses (but not enough votes to override), and he is a classic Republican bully. Watch the news in upcoming months. My prediction is that he’s going down.

    I think the Tea Party is on its way out, too. I think America has had enough of their obstruction, their nonsense, their hypocrisy and their misspelled signs (which speak volumes about them on so many levels). This is a group that knows very little about the government they claim they disdain yet they want to control, starting from the election of their first Congressmembers, who demanded to be sworn in immediately — even though the Constitution calls for the date upon which newly elected members of Congress take office. That’s bad, really, really bad. And it only went downhil from there. I admire their ability to organize and even elect candidates, but I detest the dangerousness of their movement. I think America gets it now, too, especially after the government shutdown.

    I bet that Freda DVD was great. I just got my copy of Rolling Stone with the Beatles cover story. I’m reading it slooooowly so I can savor it. 🙂

    I didn’t garden this year, but I’m sorry to hear you and Tara continued to suffer tomato blight. When I was gardening in Massapequa Park, I grew tomatoes without any problem, but I was growing on a very small scale. I think you and Tara have a large plot and are full-fledged farmers, aren’t you? 🙂

    Well, once again, Joe, great job capturing the big issues of the year. Thanks for letting me submit a late post.

    • joeref says:

      Thanks for your’s never too late!

      2013 was a crazy year for a lot of reasons but I do have hope that 2014 will be better.

      I like Chris Christie but he like every politician, like every human being, has his faults.

      I don’t think the Tea party is going anywhere anytime soon. They may be a vocal minority but their members are very committed and very organized. I have a feeling a strong charismatic leader will emerge to lead them and who knowsteer them back onto the original noble path.

      Good Ole Fred was very entertaining.if you are a Beatle fan as I know you are.

      Gardening is a year to year proposition. Some years the eggplant is greatsome years the lettuces are rally nicesome years the peppers are lousy. It’s really a result of the weather and other environmental issues. You do the best you can from what you’ve learned but then a little luck takes over! hopefully the tomato blight will end!

      Joanne please submit whenever you can! Always great reading what you have to say about everything!. 😉

      • Joanne F says:

        Thanks, Joe, I really appreciate your kind words.

        I agree with you on 2013, and I, too, hope 2014 will be a better year.

        I hear what you’re saying about Chris Christie, but I have to say that the GOP plays a very dirty game of politics. I say this from experience, having been a victim of Jeb Bush’s dirty Republican games in Florida. Without repeating the whole story here, you can read about my firsthand experience with this on the Notes page of my facebook wall. It’s a note entitled, “Why I hate the Republican Party. (It’s personal. And after reading this, you may, too.)” or something like that. (And while you’re there, if you haven’t read the story about me and my uncle who died in WWII, please read that one, too: “Uncle Fred and Me”. I consider it the most important piece I’ve ever written.)

        But I digress. I have found the “win at all costs” mentality of the GOP to have gone too far. For example, in the GWB matter, the mayor of Fort Lee, a Democrat, refused to openly support Christie for re-election, so they caused the GWB to be shut down, wreaking havoc on Fort Lee for days. (You should read the arrogance in his staff’s emails about it! Absolutely appalling!) Now, you may find this more acceptable if it was a tight race, but Christie was ahead of Buono by multiple double-digit points. Why be so spiteful? These people are bullies. Political bullies.

        Honestly, the Dems are not like that. And maybe that’s why we lose more, even though more people vote for us. I’m still waiting for the meek to inherit the Earth. 🙂 Anyway…

        And speaking of that, you forgot to mention the new Pope in your wrap-up! Man, I may be an atheist, but I’m likin’ on this guy! He’s really getting all those phony Christians in a frenzy! hahaha!

        Oh, to know what Freda knows! What a fabulous time to be connected with The Boys! Everybody so young and innocent then, even the times (which obviously were starting to change, with assassinations, wars, etc.). I’m still reading the Rolling Stone story, and finding so many revelations in it. I’m going to save it with my other Beatles paraphernalia collection. I hope you got your copy.

        Well, onward and upward with 2014, right? I’m glad to close out 2013, and look forward to happier days. Again, thanks for bypassing me with the wet noodle for commenting so late. 🙂

      • joeref says:

        I think ALL POLITICIANS play dirty. It’s the nature of the beast. Having said that the Republicans in the last 20 years have been particularly offensive but hey that’s the way the world works. If you can get away with something that advances your agenda, usually they do it, regardless of party. They all want to win at all costs…be they conservative southerners of progressive easterners. Winning is what politic is all about. Everything else, unfortunately, is secondary.

        A wise man once noted that the Dems/liberals lose because they are more concerned with living day to day. They are not as involved with the politics of power and big picture. Maybe true. But then Obama and his gressroots people showed up and it’s onbious they have taken to the guerilla tactics of the radical right as well. They ALL want to win.

        I did forget the Pope. I love this guy. Hopefully he will actually make the church’s ideals part of the everyday life we all lead and not just some antiquated dogma that no one listens to anyway. Good for him. Rock on Francis!

        Good Ole Freda was an interesting piece. I dug it. Everyone I know who has seen it enjoyed it.

  2. Joanne F says:

    “ALL POLITICIANS”? Ouch, that hurts. I was an elected official (1998-2002) and I never did anything wrong. Even when the GOP tried to fine and censure me — just because that’s what they do — I was exonerated for not doing anything wrong. And I know/knew many politicians who did not do anything wrong.

    Let me give you a high-ranking example: Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a Congresswoman from Broward County, Florida (my former county), and head of the DNC. She is one of the greatest straight-shooters I know. We went to school together at UF, and I have watched her work up the ranks with great aplomb and devoid of scandal. I admire her very much for these accomplishments.

    How about Barack Obama? Have you heard anything dirty on him? I think that’s one of the reasons why the GOP can’t stand him, because they can’t get anything on him, like they could with Clinton. And look what they got with Big Dawg, a sex act. I don’t approve of that (although that is between him and Hillary), but is that all you got? Despites millions of taxpayer dollars wasted investigating him (thank you for nothing, Kenneth Starr), all they got was a BJ. Wow.

    I agree with that wise man you were quoting, to the extent that working people like Dems are usually so busy trying to eke out a living and raise their families that they don’t have the time to get involved. And you’re right that Obama has done a fantastic job of organizing (you know, from his days of being a community organizer, which the GOP makes fun of; only this time he’s done it on a national scale), although I’m not aware of any guerilla tactics. If Dems will just go to the polls in greater numbers than they already do, they will win. But you must remember: Dems get more votes at the polls, even in lower turnout elections, than the GOP. Why do they lose? Gerrymandering, Voter obstruction. They need to super-elect, which isn’t fair and isn’t representative democracy. Alas.

    Well, I hope you will reconsider some of your thoughts about politicians. It’s sad that most people have negative thoughts about those who choose to serve their communities, and there certainly is no shortage of pols who have earned that bad reputation. But not all are bad. Just some.

    BTW, this bridge scandal with Chris Christie is taking on a life even I never imagined. The latest is that his political retribution was not against the mayor of Fort Lee, which did sound like a bit of overkill, but rather the state house and senate representatives of Fort Lee who blocked some of Christie’s candidates for Supreme Court positions. The day before the bridge was ordered blocked by his chief assistant, the state’s Judicial Committee refused to allow one of his appointments to come out of committee and onto the floor for a vote, and he went batshit crazy, calling them animals, etc. The next day the email went out, “Time for Fort Lee to get some traffic congestion” (or words to that effect), and the bridge closed. Interestingly, Christie started this political battle a couple of years ago when he refused to permanently appoint a sitting NJSC Justice who was a noncontroversial black Dem. (In NJ, supreme court justices get a temporary appointment of a couple of years, then a permanent appointment.) You might think that is his prerogative, but this was unprecedented in the history of NJ. NO Supreme Court justice who served well without controversy was ever refused permanent appointment, even if they were in the party opposite the governor.

    It seems Christie’s hardball tactics may have gone too far and are now coming back to bite him. It couldn’t happen to a more-deserving bully. Keep watching the news on this, it’s far from over.

  3. joeref says:

    OK maybe not ALL politicians…that’s a glaring glittering generality…let’s say most…present company exempted. OK you’re right. She seems pretty clean but then again I don’t know her! LOL
    Obama may have Nothing “dirty”in a scandalous way, but he is in pursuit of power like they all are. Not necessarily a bad thing. It’s what you do with the power that matters. I’m sure there are many Tea party and other right-wingers who feel he has abused his power simply because they don’t agree with his policies and modus. Apparently most of the country agreed or they wouldn’t have elected him again.

    Dems and Liberals are busy living their lives but if they cared enough they could change things. There is an awful lot of apathy in the world and has been as long as I can remember.

    I’ll reconsider my comments about Politicians…OK..I agree…they’re not al badl…just most! hahahahaha
    From what I’ve seen there is nothing too damaging to Christie yet. There is no direct evidence linking him to it…nothing that proves he actually ordered or sanctioned it, tho I wouldn’t put it past him. Once again…get the power….keep the power…flaunt the power.

  4. Joanne F says:

    You’re funny, Refano! But at least you are willing to reconsider.

    Now, let me challenge you a little more: “Most” are bad? They’re all in pursuit of power? OK, let’s discuss. (If you don’t mind.)

    I think there’s a good number who are bad in one way or another, and those bad ones always seem to color the rest of them with the “bad brush”, so to speak. But I actually believe most are not bad at all. Let me take someone I intensely dislike: Pete King, my own congressman. He hasn’t done anything scandalous or illegal, and I don’t think he’s a bad guy, even if he sounds and acts like a thug, although he definitely abused his power with his Muslim witch hunts. But not an abuse of power that rises to the level of a charge, just someone making an ass of himself — just because he can. He’s no Darrell Issa, who has definitely abused his power in his phony, contrived “investigations” of various and sundry non-issues like Benghazi. Issa is a great example of how elected officials can and do abuse their power to the extent that he should be charged. Setting up phony testimony, refusing to receive testimony that doesn’t fit his narrative — in other words, using his office to perpetuate lies — that should be a chargeable offense. He’s a pox on all politicians.

    Do you see the GOP trying to rein him in from that? Do you see any Dems engaging in the same behavior? In fact, when a GOP congressmember does wrong, do you see their party demanding they resign by their leaders? Or do they wait until the scandal is so out of control that they have no choice? (E.g., Mark Ensign, Larry Craig.) Do you see the Dems wait? Or do they put pressure on their own to resign for even the stupidest things, like Anthony Weiner?

    There IS a difference between the parties and how they handle scandal and power.

    As far as running for public office in pursuit of power, do you really think Obama ran to pursue power? Or might he have run to try to help the country? I know when I ran for office I did so to help my community, and I like to think my voting record helped the community quite a bit. I think Obama’s attempts to shepherd certain legislation (e.g., “Obamacare”), the way he has run his administration and made administrative policy, have been more for “the people” and less for special interests. And yet he gets a bad rap from the farther left for not doing more to rein in certain special interests (e.g., the banks). It seems like he gets grief for what he DOESN’T do. But I think he tries to do what is best for most Americans, including those in the opposition party.

    I am not shocked to see some politicians let the power of their office go to their heads, but I am disappointed in their lack of self-control. I remember when I was elected, it was quite heady to be in the newspaper, to be called on for quotes, to go to various public events, ec., etc. It’s a challenge to keep your wits about you, but it can be done. Pols need to remember it’s not about them, it’s about the collective they’ve been elected to represent.

    Finally, on Christie, I agree with you that up until now, there is no concrete evidence that he is connected to this. I think this will be uncovered in time, though. He ran a very top-down administration and campaign, and everything his staff did was pre-approved by him. That’s how the GOP rolls. Plus, he is known to be a vengeful bully. So I am waiting patiently as the evidence unfolds. In the meantime, a second investigation was opened today regarding his misuse of Hurricane Sandy funds. He used federal funds to create post-storm tourism ads, which you’re not allowed to do. In the scheme of things, it’s namby-pamby compared to Bridgeghazi 🙂 , but it’s still a violation of federal law. (I predict that one will be resolved by him having NJ reimburse the feds for the funds used for the ads.)

    Anyway, thanks for letting me ramble on about politics. As you can probably tell, it’s one of my favorite subject matters. (Because it matters.) 🙂

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