Archive for September, 2013


September 26, 2013

“Sexist and Infuriating”

Letters to the Editor for 9/19/13 edition of the Sierra Star

Dear Editor,

Mr. Cavanaugh’s column in the Sep. 3, Sierra Star, “Astute politician,” managed to greatly offend members of the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business. Women in Business is a group of area businesswomen, meeting once a month to network, learn, support and mentor in the business community. We are a diverse group of women. Although we are not a political group, the women encompass a broad spectrum of interests, passions and political opinions.

Women in Business did not, as Mr. Cavanaugh states, “co-sponsor” the recent Economic Development Committee luncheon at which Congressman McClintock was the speaker. He was invited to speak by the chamber on issues relevant to the local economy. We merely held our monthly luncheon at the event. We felt it was a good opportunity to communicate with other business people and to hear the Congressman’s remarks.

As informed citizens should do, we listened and learned in a respectful manner. Our presence at this luncheon certainly did not indicate our support of any or all of the Congressman’s positions. That was not the intent of the luncheon in the first place.

Did Mr. Cavanaugh’s presence indicate he was in agreement with the speaker? That seems to be your logic, Mr. Cavanaugh.

Why Women in Business was singled out (both Rotary clubs were also in attendance) is beyond us. Your assertion that we would place “politics above gender” is sexist, infuriating and unsubstantiated by any facts. Your remarks were misguided and undeserved. We believe a public apology is in order.

Karen V. White, Amy Hogan, co-chairs, Women in Business

Published in expurgated form in the Sierra Star 9/26/13

“Bedtime Manners”

I am happy to respond to Ms. White’s and Ms. Hogan’s request for substantiation of my assertion in the 9/3/13 Sierra Star that characterized sponsorship by “Women in Business” of Congressman McClintock’s recent Oakhurst appearance at the Country Club as having placed “politics above gender.”

As the father of four women and grandfather of four more, I feel it important to herein include without edit the rest of that observation as stated in my column: “–placing politics above gender in their support of McClintock, who refused to vote for the “Equal Pay for Women Act” and the “Violence Against Women Act”, while being completely supportive of the anti-gay “Defense of Marriage Act.”

As far as Ms. White’s and Ms. Hogan’s obvious attempt at now scurrying away to distance themselves from McClintock’s politics — for which he is not asked to apologize — and their expressed chagrin as to why “Women in Business” were “singled out”, I would wish to place into evidence a full-color flyer urging attendance issued by the Oakhurst Chamber of Commerce on August 21st with only “Women in Business” listed in large, bannered, headlined font and no other organization similarly featured or even mentioned.

WIB Final

Referencing the verb “co-sponsored”, I offer the following definition of “sponsor” from the Cambridge American-English Dictionary: “Sponsor – To support a person, organization, or activity by giving money, encouragement, or other help.”

And at the risk of again being labeled “sexist”, I can only suggest Ms. White and Ms. Hogan exercise a bit more caution the next time they jump in bed with an activity — political or otherwise.

Peter Cavanaugh

“Déjà-Vu — All Over Again”

September 20, 2013

Boehner Final.jpeg

There’s been nothing like it since “The Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.”

And so we witness another futile fight against the unstoppable forces of predestined inevitability.

On June 11, 1963, Governor George Wallace became a national symbol in bold defiance of federal law when he attempted to block the entrance of two black students to Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama. It was a symbolic effort to honor his inaugural promise to support “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” Confronted on the spot by Deputy U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach supported by a phalanx of Federal Marshals, Wallace abandoned his one-man blockade and many years later in 1979 stated, “I was wrong. Those days are over, and they ought to be over.”

Whether House Speaker John Boehner will eventually experience a similar “Road to Damascus” conversion remains to be seen, but he now embarrassingly stands in open rebellion against the expressed will of the American people in abject surrender to the most conservative elements of his hopelessly divided, morally bereft Republican Party.

Even while remaining under attack from ultra-extreme fringes calling for his immediate ouster as Speaker, Boehner announced in an abrupt turnaround that, while still not allowing a House vote on Immigration Reform for fear of instantaneous majority passage, he would yield to Tea Party pressure and approve a vote on defunding The Affordable Care Act of 2010 as the cost of approving a stopgap spending measure.

The government will theoretically run out of money at Midnight September 30th, so you might not have to bother looking for your Social Security check in October if Republicans don’t get their way.

No Medicare payments. Or extended Unemployment Benefits. No Food Stamps for anyone. No Army. No Navy. No Air Force. No government!

Hey, No I.R.S!

Down with all “Takers.”

Up with “Freedom” – finally honestly and openly defined as “keeping all our money instead of paying taxes.”

It’s a matter of principle!

“Limit” government?

Hell, let’s just blow the whole thing up!

Or maybe that won’t happen till a few weeks later in mid-October, when raising the debt ceiling to pay for things already purchased becomes hostage as it did thanks to the GOP in the summer of 2011 – resulting in the first downgrade of credit in U. S. Government history. Factoring everything, a new study by the Bipartisan Policy Center indicates that fiasco will cost taxpayers $18.9 billion over 10 years as a consequence of higher interest rates on government borrowing.

Experts warn that inability to make a deal this time around may well lead to an immediate risk of U.S. government default, a major financial crisis and downward economic momentum well on the road to deep and prolonged recession.

As President Obama properly observes, “We have not seen this in the past, that a budget is contingent on us eliminating a program that was voted on, passed by both chambers of Congress.”

But that’s where we seem to be — locked in a renewed confrontation with fantasy driven, tri-corner hat sporting, Obama hating, pretentiously posturing, self-designated “patriots” who clutch to their hearts a Federal Constitution they seem amazingly incapable of fully understanding, truly appreciating or ultimately defending.

An ever-careening cartoon.

It would be laughable if it were not so terribly tragic.

“Those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists — they have a static and inward-directed view of things.” “ I have never been a right winger” – Pope Francis I –New York Times (9/19/13)

“Goodbye Hannah Montana”

September 10, 2013


With every tune came a memory.

Joining the Sierra Oakhurst Kiwanis last weekend at the Oakhurst Community Center for their 11th Annual “Run For The Gold”, I received a rare opportunity to play “DJ” again – spinning only music from the 50’s and early 60’s to properly match dozens upon dozens of ageless classic cars shimmering in proud display.

As closing strains of “Venus” by Frankie Avalon (Chancellor Records – 1959) filled the air, I briefly reminisced about all those early “Beach Party” movies featuring Frankie and, of course, everyone’s favorite Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeer– Annette Funicello. Even as I said her name, my mind flashed back fifty years.



I had started my radio career five years beforehand at WNDR in Syracuse and was still doing both a morning and afternoon show there in September of 1963. But WNDR’s signal didn’t reach Utica, New York, fifty miles to the east. Consequently, WTLB reigned supreme in the Utica-Rome market, also enjoying extended listenership through much of the historic Mohawk Valley toward Albany.

At the invitation of WTLB’s Program Director, I would occasionally jump into my ’63 Chevy SS Super Sport Impala (425 hp) (9 miles per gallon) and head down the Thruway to pull a Sunday afternoon air shift. The format was much looser in Utica and a young, imaginative DJ could experiment with interesting techniques and approaches.

It was upon such an occasion I received a call on our WTLB “Hitline” from a young female purporting to be – Annette. Believing the caller to be charmingly fraudulent, I cheerfully expressed my disbelief, concluding with a challenge to prove her identity with an immediate visit to the station. Fifteen minutes later, accompanied by a protective cohort of several large male cousins, there was Annette — spending a few days in Utica visiting her family.

Interspersed with a few tunes, I interviewed her on the air for two and a half hours. I mean, come on! It was Annette! Having become known as “America’s Sweetheart”, she still exuded that untouchable, unknowable virginal innocence I had always associated with female Mouseketeers and all Catholic High School girls.

“M-I-C”—–See you later!”
“K-E-Y”—–Why? Because my body is the Temple of The Holy Ghost
and/or Walt Disney and they won’t share me.”

But how things change.

Contemporary Disney darlings from the revived “Mickey Mouse Club” (’89 to ’96) included Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, while Lindsay Lohan starred in Disney’s remake of “The Parent Trap”, “Freaky Friday” and, with a title unintentionally prophetic, “Herbie: Fully Loaded.”

While Annette’s beach movies at their hottest were considered “slightly spicy,” Christina, Britney and Lindsay have left illusions of perpetual celibacy far behind. But the transformation of Disney’s All-American, clean cut, utterly wholesome “Hannah Montana” to the real life Miley Cyrus on this year’s MTV Music Video Awards must have witnessed poor Walt Disney spinning away in his rumored cryogenic chamber faster than light speed squared.

Joining Robin Thicke in live performance of his undisputed #1 Summer of 2013 hit, “Blurred Lines” (introduced to Sierra Star readers in a characteristically predictive column way back in early June), Miley was agonizing in her sad professional determination to turn from sweet to slattern without the talent to pull anything off other than clothing.

What was dependable in the past is dicey in the present.

Ask retirees of International Business Machine, long considered a paragon of corporate stability and trustworthiness.

Here’s a headline from last Sunday’s Huffington Post: “IBM To Move Retirees Off Its Health Plan Due to Rising Costs.” The article went on to explain that 110,000 former employees will shortly have to pay a significant portion of premiums for medical, prescription drug, dental and vision coverage. Other large employers are also moving away from formerly guaranteed health benefits, including American Airlines, as the United States remains the only nation in the entire industrialized world without some form of universal health care for its citizens.

The first serious step in that direction, our Affordable Care Act of 2010, is under renewed attack again by a retrogressive Republican Party determined that only the strongest deserve to survive as a matter of natural order and national priority.

Last week, former President Bill Clinton initiated a series of discussions aimed at explaining various components of the Act, legislation made even more complicated by necessary adjustments, capitulations and compromises demanded by bitter partisan opposition to its passage.

Summing things up, Clinton stated, “The current system is unaffordable and downright unhealthy for millions of Americans” and emphasized, “other prosperous countries cover everybody and do it at far less cost”, even though the United States ranks first “by a country mile” in the percentage of income spent on health care.

Those who scoff at “ObamaCare” are either embarrassingly clueless or intentionally misleading, depending upon the reliable ignorance of “low information voters” to join them in pejorative, mocking dismissal of remarkable, life saving legislation long overdue.

There are times when change is good.

This is one.