Yesterday I spent the day in Leominster Massachusetts birthplace of Johnny Appleseed for their annual Johnny Appleseed fair manning the WQPH 89.3 FM Queen of Perpetual Help Shirley Fitchburg booth promoting Catholic radio for people and praying decades of the rosary on the spot for people’s intentions both online and in person.

At the festival I did a few interviews for WQPH. We talked to Adam Webber of the Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network which provides help for homeless families.

If you want to donate to MIHN their website is here.

I also spoke to Brother Alexis who while from Fitchburg has spent the last 2 1/2 decades in Italy.

I’d also like to thank him for joining me in many of the rosary decades that I prayed for others.

ewtn-interviews-025Our next day started with breakfast at St Bernard’s monastery where Brother Christopher made our crew acquainted with the Benedictine Brew the Monastery’s coffee blend and then we were off to pick up our other pilgrims and run a few errands with our new Bus driver and headed for the EWTN studios in Irondale for our day there.

Benedictine Brew
Benedictine Brew
Benedictine Brew[/caption]

The Site of EWTN was the original location of Mother Angelica’s monastery before she built and moved to the Shrine of the most blessed sacrament in Hanceville. When we arrived Our day began with the Noon mass at the chapel (which is not televised) That is where I met Lucy who you might recognize if you watch the daily mass the short oriental lady who goes every day. It turned out her daughter lives in Fitchburg which was quite a coincidence. Several pilgrims from other groups were just as excited to meet her as the various EWTN celebs and priests and posed for a picture with her that I took for them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We had a late lunch in the small cafeteria area for pilgrims where we met Brother Leo of the “Hey Brother Leo” book series who sat for a brief interview

also on site was Jack Williams from EWTN Radio’s morning glory and open line who would be joining us on Fr. Pacwa’s show later that evening.

this was immediately followed by an hour long talk from Fr. Miguel on God’s calling. Here is a brief excerpt:

After our talk our group was divided into two groups, one went with Fr. Leo and the other with a woman named porta who sat for an interview later on Friday:

sets on wheels
sets on wheels
I was in Porta’s group and she led us thorough the EWTN studio’s where we would be going later in the evening for Fr. Pacwa’s show. A few of us took pictures on the set while it was empty.

She also showed up Mother Angelica’s office which had become a green room for guests.

Most of the various set backgrounds were on wheels so they could be quickly switched for one show to the other. Various other set backgrounds from shows no longer on the air were stored on site.

After that section we were taken to the technical area where the various technicians were located. I asked about hackers and they said while there were occasional attacks they had no luck getting in, of course being EWTN being a religious network the wasn’t a lot of incentive for the various financial hackers to target them.

the Caption Lady
the Caption Lady

As the tour continued I fell behind to talk to various workers who had been there or decades. Many had been surprised to find themselves at EWTN but it had really been a home to them.

When the tour was over we had dinner at EWTN again in the cafeteria area. While there I spoke to the oldest pilgrim in our group.

As well as Fr. Leonard Mary who had been in Fitchburg for a pilgrimage last year who remembered me (I told you the scarf comes in handy)

after dinner we had some free time to pray the liturgy of the hours, visit the blessed sacrament or get confession before the evening’s show.

Our group was the largest of those at EWTN but there were others from Texas and a few individuals who had also come to join us in the audience live.

Two Camera men were on opposite sides to take shots one focused on Fr. Pacwa and one to focus on his guest. Additionally there was one stationary camera set to catch the pair of them. A monitor on the side wall showed us which camera was feeding live at any given time.

The audience for the show
The audience for the show
Before the Show Fr. Pacwa came out in a cowboy hat and gave us some brief instructions or the live show remind us that if we were looking at the monitor rather than the show when the engineer turned to the audience we would be looking away. He joked once the video was available on DVD or online could watch the broadcast freeze the broadcast and look at ourselves on TV to our hearts content.

The show ran an hour, the first guest was Jack Williams who I had interviewed earlier who briefly talked about EWTN radio and plugged our station.

The Primary guest was Peter Williamson who has written a series of biblical commentaries

During the first break they asked who wanted to ask questions. We raised our hands they asked us what the questions were and then had us line up to the side. When our turn would come they signaled go to the mike and Fr would call on us when he was ready.

When he called on me they he asked jokingly if I had been told the EWTN studios were in Alaska rather than alabama because of the scarf.

When the show was over it turned out there was an issue with the initial into of Jack Williams so we watched as they re-recorded Fr. Mitch’s brief into of Jack for the broadcast, made slightly more complicated by him not being there so Fr. had to make sure that he faced toward where Jack was supposed to be.

When that was done Fr. Pacwa started taking pictures with people. that went on for long while. I took advantage of that time to interview his guest Peter Williamson

When I was done the pictures continued unabated. It was as if every single person there wanted a shot but despite the long day Fr. Pacwa did have a few minutes for me.

By this time it was really late so we piled on the bus and said our goodbyes and we headed back for the night, where we at the monastery packed as Wednesday would be our last night there and the next day would start early.

Castle San Miguel
Castle San Miguel
We left the abbey heading for Shirine of the most blessed sacrament, picking up our guest house people on the way.

There is a single entrance to the site down a country road filled with farmland horses and cattle grazing calmly nearby giving no clue as to what is to be found at the end of the road.

There were very few members of the group who had been to the shrine and the Castle that sits upon it but even so it remained an imposing sight as you approach it.

When you walk into the medieval style keep this is what you see

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Conference Room
this is the area used for conferences dining (items are catered and brought in). It also contains the rather large and very catholic gift shop full of coins, prayer cards and medals. As our catholic supply store in the Fitchburg area closed I loaded up on small bottles for holy water to be given out a few of which I filled from the taps connected to huge tanks of holy water kept in the nativity area next to the castle

For those who are not catholic be aware that all such items are just that items that can be bought and sold until blessed by a priest or deacon, once blessed they can NOT be sold either by a gift shop or by the person who had them blessed. No legit catholic gift shop will sell a blessed item.

The Courtyard
The Courtyard

We then filled into the conference room for a talk on the origins of Mother Angelica, her vocation and the Shrine of the most blessed sacrament. I set up a mic for the talk next to her podium so I caught all of her speech but in the Q & A you’ll only hear the “A” not the “Q”

When the talk was over we headed for mass at the lower chapel where Mother Angelica is buried. No photography is allowed there so naturally I have no images to show you. I was struck that not only was the Liturgy of the Eucharist celebrated Ad Orientem but communion was received kneeling at the altar rail with an altar boy holding a salver under a chin, both of which I found very appealing.

Touring the Eucharistic Center
Touring the Eucharistic Center
After mass we had some time before our tour of the John Paul II Eucharistic Center we spent some time at the grave of Mother Angelica. We pressed rosaries against her grave that the station planned to give away and prayed a rosary for the person who would be receiving it.

A bit later we visited the Eucharistic Center. The last time I was there the young knights of the Holy Eucharist were the tour guides, but they had been transferred to Nebraska so a gentleman name Micah gave the tour.

When the Tour was over he took a few minutes to speak to me about his job.

The Vast Collection of Relics of Saints
The Vast Collection of Relics of Saints

When the tour was over and after a quick sandwich we had free time. I spent mine at Mother’s grave with several hundred rosaries saying a Hail Mary over each as I touched them to her grave.

Soon it was time to head back to St. Benedict Abbey where I visited and filmed the famous Grotto.

And interviewed Brother Christopher who gave us the history of brother Joseph

From there we were back to the cafeteria at St. Bernard Abbey where I interviewed one of the students who attended the school.

At St. Bernard Abbey
At St. Bernard Abbey
However at this point things took a turn for the worse. Our bus driver had been a tad under the weather on day one, by that evening he was in horrible pain. we had a pair of nurses on the trip who took a look at him and it was decided he needed to get to the local hospital. We had no way of getting him there. The Taxi services stopped running early, there was no Uber or Lyft and we failed to get ahold of the local parish or Knight of Columbus that we hoped to get a hand from. Eventually our driver drove to the hospital in his bus with our nurses with him while the rest of us took up a Rosary Circle. One of the Nurses takes up the story.

In the end our driver got the treatment he needed while a substitute driver arrived from Atlanta while he waited to be treated. Ironically our substitute had driven for our tour leader Maryann before and while our primary driver would have a day of rest we would be getting ready for our trip to the EWTN studio the next day.


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I spoke to Fr. Mitch Pacwa after sitting in on his live show during my Trip to EWTN with the WQPH pilgrimage group.

The most important line? “If you don’t have time to pray they’ll be nothing” Now that’s a priest

I also interviewed his guest that day Author Peter Williamson who is writing commentaries of scripture:

The Show is here you might recognize the fellow in the scarf asking a question on air in at 35:50

Incidentally you also might recognize the room where I interviewed Fr Pacwa as Mother Angelica’s old office at EWTN where she was miraculously a couple of decades ago

If Mother Angelica is ever canonized that room would be full of 1st class relics (Things that were in physical contact with a saint). If that happens I guess I would technically become a 3rd class relic (Something that has been in contact with a 1st class relic).

I interviewed Brother Leo of the “Hey Brother Leo” series of Children’s books at EWTN

It’s important to remember that the Catholic faith is built on reason.

NOTE: You might have wondered what happened to this post. Due to a critical database error this post (originally posted Monday night) my scheduled lead post for Tuesday were both totally destoryed, not even a trace and my 2nd alabama trip post nearly so. That might sound bad but 2 hours earlies I had lost EVERY post from 2016 after Jan 16th so I’m going to count my blessings.

on the set ewtn
on the set ewtn
My Trip to Alabama came about not so much as planned as requested. WQPH panned a pilgrimage to Mother Angelica’s grave to commemorate the nativity of the blessed mother.

With money tight my plans were to give it a miss but Mary Ann Harold of WQPH needed someone to shoot audio and interviews and if you know MaryAnn you will know it’s impossible to say no to her when he is trying to win souls for the Lord. So through a combination of permission to get a week off from work a ride from my brother and an increase in credit card debt not normally encouraged in conservatives I found myself at Logan Airport at 2:45 AM on Monday morning.

airport decour
airport decour

Our group of 30 boarded our flight with Southwest on time (for the first time ever I was in the “A” group so I planted myself at the back of the plane meaning to get 45 minutes of sleep on the flight to Baltimore when the pilot announced that the plane had a fuel leak and we would be delayed as it was repaired and the required paperwork filled out. While this offered excellent opportunities for sleep it meant we might not make our connecting flight in Baltimore to Birmingham which would disrupt our entire schedule. This type of thing seems to happen a lot on our pilgrimages almost as if something objected to it.

Da pilgrimage bus
Da pilgrimage bus

Eventually while I slept the plane was repaired and all the paperwork filled out and when I woke up we were in the air preparing to land in Baltimore. We were very behind and I saw a lot of trouble getting our people and luggage to the next plane but Southwest gave us a hand, deciding to use our current plane for the flight to Birmingham which quite erased the time we lost for the repairs.

After a short wait we were greeted by the large bus to for the 28 of us toward our destinations. We were in two groups. One opted to get more private accommodations at guest houses rentable near Mother Angelica’s monistary

Of of several guest houses near the shrine of the most blessed sacrament.
One of several guest houses near the shrine of the most blessed sacrament.
where over the course of the year pilgrims who want a bit more privacy but quick access to the shrine stay. We also dropped off a pair of priests at a special retreat center for priests at the shrine. Clergy are allowed to stay there free of charge on retreat to help them recharge for their 24/7 vocation.
The retreat center
The retreat center

The rest of us continued to Cullman Alabama to St. Bernard Monastery and school were we had accommodates for three of the four nights of our stay. We were lucky to get that time as a group of deacons were coming to the St. Bernards for retreat that week but there were willing to shoehorn us in to help us out. Yet another of the little things that went right when things seemed ready to go wrong.

Brother Christopher
Brother Christopher
. The plan was for mass at the Monastery followed by dinner but even with the nap on the plane I needed to get a little shut eye but by the time I woke up mass was long over and I just made dinner at the cafeteria where the resident students (who had not arrived yet as it was labor day) normally eat
the chapel at St Bernard Abbey
the chapel at St Bernard Abbey

After dinner we all prepared to crash. In the retreat building there was plenty of religious art and old books. I found a 115 year old volume of Catholic classics and read some Aquinas as I went to bed. It was going to be a very full next couple of days.

The next morning I walked to the Abbey church figuring to catch morning mass, but it turned out the monks had their mass at 5 PM so instead I prayed my morning prayers before the blessed sacrament. Many of the monks were on retreat but I was able to get an interview with Fr Kevin McGrath who had been at the Abbey for almost my entire life and later with our bus driver who owned the company

Little did we know that the curves on the road would not be the only ones facing us and him.


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Baldilocks is tied up and her piece will go up thursday so to tide you over here are a pair of videos from the St. John Paul II Eucharistic Center at Mother angelica’s Monastery:

The role of Saint Juliana and Thomas Aquinas on the feast of Corpus Christi

and an interview with the gentleman who presented the tour

And lets throw in a few photos too

Meet one of the monks/priests at St Bernard Abbey in Cullman Alabama Fr. Ken McGrath

It’s really something to think of a man being a monk since I was five years old but what’s really something is to check out this page and see how many of the monks here are young enough to be my kids.

Orthodoxy creates vocations

 ♫ You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store ♫

Sixteen Tons Tennessee Ernie Ford

Ebeneezer Scrooge:  I have been forced to support the establishments I have mentioned through taxation and God knows they cost more than they’re worth. Those who are badly off must go there.

Scrooge 1970

I’m not going to stand by and allow our kids to go to failing schools

Representative Angela Williams Democrat of Colorado

There was a time when Unions and the Democrat party would rail against monopoly and the symbols of monopoly like the “company store” (not to be confused with the actual “company store” seller of fine linnens since 1911) where the workers dependent on the local company for their wages would spend said wages in a store owned by the company for their basic needs at the price the company set.

How times have changed:

The Massachusetts Democratic Party on Tuesday night voted to oppose a ballot question that would expand charter schools in Massachusetts, putting the party at odds with some of its members in the Legislature.

“Our local communities cannot afford to lose even more money to charter schools,” said former Rep. Carol Donovan, a Democratic State Committee member from Woburn, in a statement. “Already, cities and towns forced to make budget cuts every year due to the state’s underfunding of education and the money lost to charters. If this ballot question passes, it will create budget crises in hundreds of Massachusetts communities, and hurt the students who remain in our local district public schools.”

For those not familiar with Question 2 the Lowell sun reports:

upcoming ballot Question 2 would allow up to 12 charter schools or enrollment expansions every year. Preference would go to school districts whose academic performance places them in the bottom 25 percent of the state.

For a moment lets forget that the charter schools ARE in the local community and that they are in fact public schools within the local districts and consider what the committee woman is saying.

She is advocating that any child of a parent who can’t afford to pay twice for school (once for taxes and once for private school)  should be subject to a monopoly where regardless of the quality of the product, the safety of the environment where the product is produced or the end result of the use of the product every such child MUST use it.

That is the very definition of a company store.

Moreover said expansion gives preference to those places where the Monopoly has failed.

It’s interesting to note that, unlike the opposition, the support for Question 2 is bipartisan uniting Massachusetts GOP governor Charlie Baker:

“Closing the achievement gap and ensuring a quality education for all of the Commonwealth’s students is one of my top priorities,” said Governor Baker. “And charter schools, which are producing great academic outcomes, are one of many tools that must be part of the solution.”

‪And longtime democrats like state Senator Michael Rodrigues

“Public charter schools have helped to close the achievement gap by providing kids with longer school days, more personal attention, and outstanding results,” said Sen. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport). “Lifting the cap, and providing more kids with the quality public education they deserve, isn’t about politics – it’s about what’s best for children.”

This is precisely what I saw at Amplify Choice in Denver where Democrat State Rep Angela Williams (now running for state Senate made a presentation on the difficulties of passing Charter school and school choice legislation

And boldly declared during her presentation:

It’s also why parents like Chhorvivoin Sumsethi are manning phone banks to pass it

Her child has been stuck on the waiting list for Lowell Community Charter Public School for two years. She has lost hope, she said, because it seems to take forever.

“I truly believe in competition for improvement of quality of education, and I feel that regular public schools don’t have enough competition,” she said. “And private schools — how many people among the general public can afford that?”

But as long as the Union owns the Public School company store and the Democrat party owns the unions Democrat voices like Rep. Frank Moran of Lawrence and Senator Rodriguez will be the exception rather than the rule.

Until that changes it will take ballot questions like question 2 to give Massachusetts voters a chance to decide if the Union company store has gets any competition.


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and if you want to fight the MSM company store join the Have Fedora Will Travel pledge drive to send me to cover Donald Trump on the road

This election has been one of confusion.

We see the MSM spinning and editing Donald Trump for electoral purposes

We see polls showing results all across the spectrum

We see huge crowds at Trump events & diddly for Clinton yet we’re told she’s a shoe in

We see talking heads saying a lot of things but not actually reporting a lot of things.

I’ve reached the point where I have no idea what’s actually going on. I hate that and I suspect you do too.

Rather than just bitching about it I propose a solution.

DaTechGuy’s 20 (or 30) days of Trump

 

My proposal is that I follow the campaign for 20 (or 30) days.  Report at each stop , do my patented interviews with those who attend Trump events, get credentialed at pressers interview campaign people (& Mr. Trump himself if he is willing) and basically report first hand on what I see and what is going on rather than counting on the MSM or anyone else doing so.

I submit that I am an excellent choice for this because:

My biases are out there, I endorsed Ted Cruz Sept of 2015 and then Trump July of this year. I have been both willing to praise and critique Trump.

I have interviewed Trump fans all over you can directly see my work and how I approach it.

I have questioned Trump at press conferences and have covered such events live in the past so you’ve seen my work and what I do.

It’s been shown that I don’t edit my videos so you will see what is actually shot

And while many have disagreed with me over the years I’d like to think I have a rep of saying things as I see them and not being for sale to anyone except you the reader.

 

What it would involve:

I would be thinking of either a 20 day period from October 18th to November 6th  or a 30 day period from Sept 13 to Oct 12th  (I have a commitment to cook at a Knights of Columbus Charity dinner Oct 16th so I have to be home for that).

Basically I would travel by air, living out of my suitcase flying to the various cities where Trump is appearing, renting cars to head for and hit Trump events, Shooting videos and writing stories and then back to the airport for the next leg all the while finding time to eat, sleep and get laundry done in between so people are willing to approach me to be interviewed.

This would not be cheap.  I would not only have to spring for hotels, rented cars, meals, cleaning, gas and internet but I’d also have to replace my pay from my overnight job that I would have to get a leave of absence from.

It will also be tiring but I can’t see it being more tiring than working overnight 5 days a week.

 

What it will take:

There is no way I can even think of doing this unless I have the cash on hand in place to pay for it, particularly as I can’t guarantee that I’d have a job to come back to if I do this.

So I’m leaving it up to you dear readers.

If I can get $20,000 in pledges by Sept 7th and have them redeemed by Sept 10th I figure I can afford to do the 30 days of Trump coverage listed above, being able to pay expenses while still being covered if I have to risk my night job to do it.

If I can get $15,000 in pledges by October 10 and have them redeemed by October 15 I can do the shorter 20 days of Trump.

(If I raise the full $35 K I’ll do both adjusting the schedule slightly to allow myself to make it home for my son’s birthday)

Now I know this is not an insignificant amount of cash but it’s also going to be a significant amount of work and travel not to mention a lot of time spent away from my wife and family including my son’s birthday depending on which way this goes.  Furthermore you will know that you’ll be seeing things as they are from a person you presumably trust.

So here is how it will work, if you are willing to pledge an amount toward this project contact me by filling out this form  

Once I get the required pledges I’ll contact you for payment and then contact my employer to get a leave of absence (or give notice if necessary).

If I don’t get the required pledges or if people don’t come through with the dough in time to do this, then I’ll stay put and keep doing what I’m doing.

We often hear people say they want honest reporting on the campaign as opposed to what the MSM offers well if you’re willing to support me in doing it, I’m willing to provide you with it.

I got to Redstate a tad late on the final day as I had crashed the night before quickly and needed to pack. The Hotel agreed to hold our bags as checkout time was noon and our flight wasn’t until 6:50 pacific. As soon as I was done I headed over to Redstate and the interviews began

I talked to Kevin Boyd who had also attended Amplify choice

And then managed to speak to Katie Pavlich

It was interesting to note the fame she had gained over the last few years didn’t keep her from manning the registration table greeting people as they came

Followed swiftly by Ed Morrissey who also talked a little Pope Francis with me

But the interviews were not confined to TV personalities and bloggers I talked to attendees such as Todd

and Joan

who had offered me & dawife a ride to the airport which would have been our backup emergency plan

In between interviews I also saw the presentation of Senator Cory Gardner

Sen Cory Gardner
Sen Cory Gardner

And Carly Fiorina, whose speech I was tweeting out as it happened

It’s my opinion that other things not withstanding the highlight of redstate was when Leon Wolf opened things up to the crowd, I wrote about that here.

And later interviewed Leon about it.

One of the most interesting interviews of the trip was with Kelly Maher who not only talked policy but carries a Wallaby in her purse

For those of you who skip the interview I wasn’t kidding

Welby the Wallaby at Redstate
Welby the Wallaby at Redstate

But in the end my flight time ruled the roost so I had to head out but I managed to catch Pundit Pete who had attended both Amplify choice and redstate on the way

I caught the springhill suite shuttle back to the hotel and after gathering our stuff waited a bit while they made one more run before taking us to union station. As Valery & I waited Amelia Hamilton showed up with Kimberlee Kaye and together they were my final interview of the trip

From there came the shuttle, the train the airport and the flight. Denver was behind us and the storms that had been hitting New England ahead but our oldest and his friend were there to pick us up and get us home and by 3:30 AM on Sunday I was able to put my head to pillow and sleep in my own bed.

As good as the week was, that was a real pleasure.

Dash: But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special.
Helen: Everyone’s special, Dash.
Dash: Which is another way of saying no one is.

The Incredibles 2004

Last Sunday when I woke up after getting home from Denver I turned on the TV as I got dressed for the Madonna Della Cava festival and noticed a commercial playing attacking Charter Schools and question 2 which began with the words.

“400 million dollars, that’s how much charter schools will drain from Massachusetts public schools this year”

Under normal circumstances this would be more background political noise that I would ignore but I had just come back from the Amplify choice conference put on by the Franklin Center where we spent a day and a half listening to speakers talk about Charter Schools both in Denver and across the nation.

And having attended said conference I knew that best the “Save our schools” crowd was being deceptive and at worst they were lying through their teeth because that statement ignores a cogent fact about charter schools…

Charter schools are public schools.

That would seem to be a rather important fact for that argument but an ad saying: “400 million dollars, that’s how much money will be spent on some public schools instead of others this year”  is unlikely to scare voters.

From that point the ad argument doesn’t get better.

400 million syphoned from local districts that desperately need it.

Except for the fact the Charter Schools are still part of the school districts that they are located in.

400 million that won’t fund more science and technology…

Actually the 400 million will just fund science and technology at a different school as anyone who joined me in visiting the Denver School of Science and Technology last week would know and met Sheila…

…and some of her classmates

The three wise young women
The three wise young women

…would see that science would not suffer, it will prosper.

arts or preschool, counseling or smaller class sizes

In fact charter that money would not only fund smaller class sizes which are the norm at charter schools but would fund them for groups that traditionally don’t get them as this enrollment chart shows:

In fact the STRIVE charter schools in Denver enrollment is 97% of color reflecting the neighborhoods they operate in.

$400 million unavailable to the 96% of students who don’t attend charter schools

That sentence is funny , it would be just as accurate to say to describe the $1.013 billion budgeted to the Boston Public schools as….

$1.013 Billion dollars unavailable to students who don’t attend Boston public schools”

…which again isn’t going to scare anyone.

The “save our schools” ads when they finish with

“Let’s improve public schools for all students, not just a select few.”

Forgetting for a second that by this argument your public school should not get a new lab because said lab is not for all public school students, just for the select few that go to it. It ignores that fact that the rising tide of Charter schools tends to lift all boats as evidenced by the results in Denver before expansion of charter schoolsDenver mid 2000'sand after
denver after

What is this ad actually arguing? It’s arguing to keep schools that are failing from having to compete with schools that are not, and it’s counting on the fact that most of the people seeing this ad, did not attend the Franklin Center #amplifychoice event this year.

Or to put it another way this “save our schools” ad is completely dependent on its audience being uneducated and uninformed about the results charter schools bring to protect failing public schools

Rather ironic isn’t it?

If you want to find out more about charter schools check out the #amplifychoice hashtag here or check out these posts at DaTechGuyblog:

Denver Day Two The Zoo and then Six #AmplifyChoice Conference Interviews

Denver Day Three Part 1: Panels and speakers

Denver Day Three Part 2: Da Writers at #AmplifyChoice

Denver Day Four Part 1: #AmplifyChoice on the Road


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The bus from the Springhill suites hotel took us to the Grand Hyatt where Redstate was taking place on the 2nd floor:

Red state
Red state

I arrived in time to catch the tail end of Amb John Bolton’s presentation

Amb John Bolton at Redstate
Amb John Bolton at Redstate

Ken Cuccinelli

Ken Cuccinelli at Redstate
Ken Cuccinelli at Redstate

and colorado GOP Senate Candidate Darryl Glenn who impressed everyone who heard him

Darryl Glenn
Darryl Glenn

But since the full speeches of them all are available in better quality online I went straight to what I do, interviews

I started with Dave who I hadn’t seen in years.

And Diana

I also talked to Amanda of the Future female leaders who provided Ice Cream

and local write in candidate for state senate in district 21 Kara Palfy

Dave Weigel of the Washington Post was there

My primary camera died during the interview so I continued it with my emergency backup camera and spliced the two of them together.

There was a table for Bill Whittle.com and while Bill wasn’t there Carla was

and as promised Larry O’Connor

I love that he brought up the Breitbart table interview, it’s one of the highlights of what I do

Matthew Bellis of Liberty Healthshare also gave me a few minutes

I was invited to a reception that night put on by Liberty Healthsare and Valery who had been doing other things the last two days decided to join me.

As she arrived I managed two more interviews one with Casper Stockham candidate for Congress CO-1

and radio talk show host Steve Kelly who was broadcasting live during the presentation

But for all of the pleasures of seeing interesting events and learning new things, and the joys of meeting new people and seeing old friends the highlight of both Redstate and Amplify choice was the same, the chance to introduce these friends I’ve met from blogging to my wife Valery and vice versa.

Nothing tops that.


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Day Four in Denver and the last day of Amplify Choice started with a Bus Trip to a pair of charter Schools in the Denver area and me being me I took advantage of the time waiting for the bus after mass to interview bloggers Art Gallagher

and Mark Lerner

some bloggers during the wait for the bus

and then on the bus to interview Aaron Gardner

Once we got to STRIVE Prep the CEO Chris Gibbons gave us a presentation

Chris Gibbons of STRIVE Prep
Chris Gibbons of STRIVE Prep

He discussed STRIVE, how they operated, the various cost saving functions (for example the multiple schools shared a single administration, cafeteria and gym) The college acceptance rate (97%) and took multiple questions from the audience.

When the presentation was done I interviewed the community outreach manager for STRIVE

I was very impressed at the idea that even though there is a waiting list for all the grades for the school that they go door to door to recruit students so the whole community knows the possibilities.

We then headed or the next school when Will Franklin who I interviewed the day before produced a Drone with a camera on it from his backpack to take aerial photos of the schools.

We then walked to the nearly adjacent Denver School of Science and technology, Where we were given a brief introduction of their methods

As we were going upstairs for our final presentation I spoke to one of their graduates Shelia who was college bound.

once upstairs we had a second presentation where questions were taken. Here is a brief excerpt.

at the end Shelia and two other students who had graduated and had internships in companies also took questions.

The three wise young women
The three wise young women

All three where immigrants or children of immigrants and all had excelled. What impressed me the most was when I asked the responsibilities of a work environment was not unfamiliar thanks to the expectations from their time at the School of Science and Technology.

This officially concluded Amplify choice but there was still the bus trip back and there were still interviews to get one on the way back to the bus with Rich Eber:

And one on the bus with blogger and radio talk host Abdul Hakeem Shabazz

When we got back to the hotel those staying for the box lunch stayed. Others were heading to Union Station and their outgoing fights including Darvio Morrow who would be my last very brief interview of Amplify choice cut off by loud cleaning and the impending bus trip.

But there was no more time, the bus was leaving, Amplify choice was done, it was time for Redstate


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The speakers and the presentations are obviously the meat of the Amplify Choice conference but no less important are the writers / blogger who attended and I spoke to as many as I had time to.

Since there wasn’t a lot free time I struck the lunch ine:

I spoke to Kemberlee Kaye of Legal Insurrection

and Ernesto Cullari

And Will Franklin

We would see him again tomorrow

Once the presentations were over it was time to clear the room for dinner so I packed up as soon as I could and caught managed to talk to Heather Kays

We saw a glimpse of her during the Ben Scafidi interview and she was on the panel of reporters who cover the subject as well (Incidently her piece at Watchdog.org Teachers and tummy tucks: Buffalo’s $5 million bill for cosmetic surgery is a must read.)

and of course old friend and past Magnificent Seven writer AP Dillon

Her going onwards and upwards is the reason why we are interviewing Da Magnificent Prospects

Just before the dinner keynote & managed to grab Fay Anderson

Her point about the safety of charter schools as a motivation for parents was repeated in the keynote and is well made.

And my last interview of the night was James Foytlin

Now some of you might think that these are a lot of interviews, I suspect that if you do so, you’re new to this blog because I still had two more days in Denver to go and you ain’t seen nothing yet.


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After a pleasant reception at the end of day 2 for attendees on Day three in Denver the Franklin Center event began in earnest with the speakers.

It started with a presentation from the Colorado League of Charter Schools which documented the improvements in Denver since the rise of Charter Schools.

The fact that if a Charter school doesn’t perform it closes makes a huge difference in terms of performance, the people involved know their jobs and business are on the line.

The Next speakers were State Rep Angela Williams & Dr John Evans who talked about the political struggle to get these things into law Rep Williams (who is running for state senate) noted the need to keep people at the table and Dr. Evans talks of the various struggles.

The compromises involved in getting bills passed is considerable. The way I see it the problem is less the local pols who either having children or friends with children in the system have an intrinsic interest in success but the national groups have an intrinsic interest in seeing it fail.

The independence institute came up next with three speakers Pam Benigno

Ross Izard

and Erick Valencia who I didn’t managed to get an interview with

The Blaine Amendment designed as an Anti-Catholic measure which failed on the national level but was pushed as a requirement for statehood by congress has been used as a club against the progress of charter schools. On the bright side it likely means that Islamic schools pushing sharia are not going to be funded either which is something that didn’t come up in any of the panels but which hit me right off. It also struck me that if, as the various presentations suggested that losing regulation was such a benefit for charter schools why not repeal these rules altogether for all schools?

There were many other presentations including the makers of Frack Nation

Education writers at Amplify Choice
Education writers at Amplify Choice
(who advised us to tell a story with clear heroes an villains) A talk on home schooling (which was due to a suggestion by one of the attendees, A strong talk on the constant legal battles on the state level (Since the federal win on Zelman vs Harris was 5-4 I expect to see the left go federal again) A presentation on what was done in Douglas County (where accountability is king and every single innovation involved long protracted legal fights) and some panels consisting of some of the writers who attended (those interviews will later) but from my conversation with the writers who attended the most popular speaker, bar none was Professor Ben Scafidi

His presentation was on statistics and the raw numbers and was DEVASTATING. It displayed that the schools systems were adding administration at a rate MUCH greater than the increase in students and teachers. His presentation was very tweetable

Even more devastating was the fact that even in states and districts like Louisiana and DC where the student population fell, the number of administrators still soared. It’s basically a jobs programs for bureaucrats.

At the end of the evening was dinner presentation by Ed Choice formerly the Freeman (as in Milton Freeman) foundation which talked about how this fight for school choice will makes all the difference for those who are trapped in bad schools and poor education.

Bottom line I learned that there is a lot going on in the fight for school choice that I had no idea about. I’m pleased to say that I came away much better informed.

A postscript. Just a few days later back home I would see a Wisconsin State legislator on CNN defending rioting and looting while talking about people who have no hope to get out of poverty. the presenters at Amplify Choice are fighting hard to give that hope through educational opportunities that are not defined by class or race lines.

I wonder how many of those office holders decrying such situations spend their time on the federal state and local levels fighting against groups like Ed choice and people like our presenters to maintain the status quo?


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During my stay in Denver I went to daily mass on a regular basis, you would often see the homeless congregated there.

Christopher approached me asking if I knew if there was a soup kitchen nearby. Not knowing denver I couldn’t answer that question but I did know there was a McDonald’s next door to the Basilica so we went there and he spoke to me over breakfast

There are in fact such places in Denver such as the Denver Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen and a list of such services avaialbe in the city can be found here.

Normally I would have gone in sequence with a post on day 2 of the Amplify Choice event but something happened at Red State Yesterday that deserves some attention.

Red State has had some interesting speakers and interesting topics, right now as I’m typing there is a great panel on Corporate welfare that really hit the spot on the issue.

But in terms of national and media interest the story they want to talk about is Donald Trump.

We have seen expressions of both support and opposition to Donald Trump by speakers here and from the people I’ve interviewed here have varied their opinion on the subject but yesterday the gathering took an interesting turn.

Due to health issues Governor Greg Abbott of Texas who was scheduled to speak just before lunch 11:30 Am till Noon Denver time was unable to come. Leon Wolf of RedState took the stage and made that announcement to the disappointment of the audience.

But to the surprise of everyone, rather than breaking for lunch early or putting together an impromptu panel, he decided to open up the floor to any attendee to give them feedback on what has happened so far or any subject they wished.

Given the current media line on the GOP vs Trump this in effect invited people to address the elephant in the room and immediately he was asked about reconciling the need to stop Hillary with his unwillingness to support Trump.

Leon didn’t dodge, he explained that in his opinion while Trump had a higher ceiling than clinton in terms of being a quality president, he believes Trump has a lower floor, that being said he said that he respect people (like myself) who decided in the end to go with Donald Trump and urge others to do so.

He noted that there were a lot of people on both sides of this issue here complementing both those in their “Make America Great Again” stuff and those opposed, he also expressed his appreciation that everyone has been polite and respectful to everyone else here.

In the end he suggested to the audience to give your vote to someone who has earned it.

There were were a few more question both along those lines and others but for my money that moment was special, not because of what he said, if you read this blog you know I disagree with him on the question of Trump, but because the folks at Red State were daring enough brave enough and respectful enough to their audience who had paid money to come here, to put themselves out there not knowing how it was going to turn out.

As I’m finishing this post Carly Fiorina is on stage giving a killer speech with lines such as “We are living in a season of House of Cards.” (referring to the Clinton scandals) “It is not feminism to trade on your husbands name and fame… it is opportunism not feminism” on Hillary Clinton riding on Bill’s coattails and protecting him from the consequences of his actions and “Mrs. Clinton I’m a #feminist & I’m not voting for you” on Clinton’s statements that feminists are for her and “Power concentrated is power abused” on what the Constitution and the founders vision of it is all about. It’s been a great speech and continues to be so

But for my money, that speech pales before the moment when the guys at Redstate showing their integrity faced their audience during a polarizing time when they didn’t have to.


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Day two in denver began, after daily mass, and the interview I posted with Fr. Scott yesterday with a trip to the zoo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Alas the shuttle from the hotel doesn’t make it to the zoo but does make it to the city park where we can walk to the zoo from.

The park is beautiful but the problem is there are a ton of geese

Which makes for a fun game of dodge the geese droppings, but if you finish the game you eventually get to the zoo and meet with some delightful volunteers like this one

and of course interesting animals like the Komodo Dragon

After a hot walk back to our starting point we headed back to the hotel where Valery headed up to the room while I set up in the lobby to begin interviewing the people coming for Amplify School choice hosted by the Franklin Center and I spoke to and finally met Josh Kalb who invited me

and then we began interviews with my fellow attendees Steve Frank now with California political review: and facebook is here

He’s been doing this before there was a net to do it with

And Tom Balek whose site is Rockin’ on the right side

and yes he has a band to go with it.

After the reception I spoke with some old friends like Galts Girl Michelle Ray:

And new friends like Shelby Blakely whose blog is PolitiCulture Upstream

When I meet an intelligent young lady like Shelby I regret DaSons weren’t here along with DaWife.

And finally Sonja Harris who blogs all over Texas including at Texas GOP votes, Conservaties in action where she’s known as Red Sonja, and fights for the cause of life.

I have three cameras with me here but one look at her camera makes me jealous.

Several of them also sat for audio podcast interviews that you’ll have to listen to future podcasts to hear

I also ran into many old friends from Rob Eno to Bridget Fey and former Magnificent Seven writer AP Dillon and also Kira Davis who to my shock & hers has family in Fitchburg and would occasionally visit.

It was a great pleasure to see them and meet others and I really enjoyed having the chance to finally introduce DaWife to some of my net friends.

All were anxious to see what the Franklin Center had in store for us the next day, they would not be disappointed.


There will be a lot of expenses involved in a week in Denver not the least being missing a week’s pay from my job. If you’d like to help me cover them please consider hitting DaTipJar below

Also today week 3 of our 6 week tryouts for Da Magnificent Prospects, You can check out their work Monday evening, Tuesday at Noon, All Day Thursday and Saturday at noon. If you like what you see from them consider hitting DaTipjar in support of them (and please mention their name when you do) as both internet hits and tipjar hits will be part of scoring who stays & who goes.

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After mass today the celebrant Fr. Scott sat for a quick interview

A Catholic priest never knows what kind of parish or situation he will end up with.

Here is the Stained Glass window I mentioned in the interview

Genesis 14:18-20
Genesis 14:18-20

Here is the passage it refers to in Genesis Chapter 14 verses 14-20:

When Abram heard that his nephew had been captured, he mustered three hundred and eighteen of his retainers, born in his house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He and his party deployed against them at night, defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. He recovered all the possessions, besides bringing back his kinsman Lot and his possessions, along with the women and the other captives. When Abram returned from his victory over Chedorlaomer and the kings who were allied with him, the king of Sodom went out to greet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).

Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these words:

Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth;

And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your foes into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

and if you’re interested (and even if you’re not) here are some photos from the Sacristy of the cathedral

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Union station WAY after dark
Day one in denver (I don’t count yesterday when we got Union Station at 10:30 & to the Hotel at just before 11 PM Denver time) started with a trip to the Basilica for AM mass as DaWife snoozed. The Hotel operates a shuttle for free in a 3 mile radius so that really came in handy. If I had that last time I wouldn’t have ended up in the clash between the occupods & the police.

I took a lot of pictures after mass.

I’m still got a few folks on my indulgence list to take care of over the next few days.

After the shuttle took me back and the wife and I had breakfast Stop two was a walk to Coors field:

assorted denver 2 030

where I filmed this clip before dabattery died

The park was beautiful the seats spacious compared to fenway and incredibly comfortable. I loved that they have a “rockpile” bench seating was $1 for kids under 12 or elders over 55 ($4 otherwise) so even the poorest and particularly young kids can always see a game in person and I really loved the deal where they had a designated drive setup where if you pledged not to buy beer after the 4th inning you got a free soda (saving dawife & I 10 bucks on a day when it was 91 during the game and the fans made a beeline for areas in the shade.) but it was very odd to see a stadium with so many empty seats.

Alas for Colorado while they jumped into an early lead against the rangers their bull pen cracked at a critical moment turning a 5-1 lead after 5 into a 7-5 loss despite putting two on in the ninth. They had an interesting program where

We then stopped at the 1 up bar for a quick bite, the food was meh, but the arcade and pinball selection was excellent and if you are a fan of pintastic this location near coors field is a must visit.

The wife and I walked the 16th street mall a bit stopping at Tattered Covers book store for a souvenir for our oldest and to avoid a thunder storm before heading back to the hotel. On the way we were stopped by an earnest young girl asking us to sign a postcard for the gov on Utah asking him to oppose exploiting resources on federal land. The young lady must have approached me due to the fedora, grey sideburns & doctor who scarf and must have been startled to hear me tell her: “Sorry I support that kind of thing.”

The hotel has a fridge in the room so we hit a local supermarket via the hotel shuttle service before heading back to crash.

Now with all batteries charged the plan is to do a few things with the wife in the AM then start interviews with people coming for the school choice event as they arrive in the afternoon both for the site and the podcast.

I suspect with a lot of bloggers here the upload speeds (already kinda meh) are not going to improve so don’t be surprised if a lot of this stuff goes up back in MA but I’ll do what I can.


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Today I’m off to Denver to prepare for an event on School Choice for watchdog.org to be followed by a day covering RedState which starts at the very minute that the school choice event ends.

I’m hoping to pick up some interviews with bloggers, visitors to red state, key players and people involved in school choice. I doubt that I’ll end up in the middle of a confrontation between the police & occupods or have the occupods try bum rush our conference, twice or experience odd confrontations with “independent” Catholic schools and their students like the last time I was there (and if they do I doubt they will telegraph it) but you never know.

So if you are in Denver this week and see a portly fellow in a Fedora with a 12 ft long multi colored scarf who is NOT in any way high, it’s likely me, particularly if he has a woman with him talking about fabric to wit.

Don’t be surprised if you see a few quilt shop photos too.

If you spot me, come and say hello. I’ll likely be at the Rockies Rangers game on Tuesday as well.

See you there.


There will be a lot of expenses involved in a week in Denver not the least being missing a week’s pay from my job. If you like what you see please consider hitting DaTipJar below

Also today week 3 of our 6 week tryouts for Da Magnificent Prospects, You can check out their work Monday evening, Tuesday at Noon, All Day Thursday and Saturday at noon. If you like what you see from them consider hitting DaTipjar in support of them (and please mention their name when you do) as both internet hits and tipjar hits will be part of scoring who stays & who goes.

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State Sen Jim Rubens in Hollis
State Sen Jim Rubens in Hollis
While all the focus right now is on the National convention there is still local politics going on and there are plenty of divides there.

In NH former State Senator is putting up a primary challenge to Senator Kelly Ayotte. He made an appearance in Hollis NH and I managed to get there to cover some of it before I had to head for work and got the tail end of his speech

He then took questions on political promises and the clash between establishment vs grassroots

On Race Relations

On the 2nd Amendment and guns

I think that’s critical along with this question on life and planned parenthood

I’m committing to you on camera.

one from me on targeting police

On illegal immigration and sanctuary cites and had an interesting take on the effect

and then sat for an interview with me before I had to run to work

as a rule such a primary is an uphill climb and while my opinion on Senator Ayotte is not as harsh as many in the room it’s my opinion that as Scott Brown learned if you don’t have the pro-life and the pro 2nd amendment conservatives turning out in a general election you lose.

Mr. Rubens web site is here.


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At Pintastic NE 2016 There were some big names in Pinball one of them is Jersey Jack of Jersey Jack Pinball

That’s Dr. Rick Lewis of the silverball Pinball Museum with him.

This is his Wizard of Oz game in play

and here are the guts

The Charity Project Pinball that places machines in children’s hospital around the nation returned

And there were plenty of individual players like Howie

and Mike

But it wasn’t just individual players, there was also associations like the Southern New Hampshire Pinball Club.

If I had a few extra bucks and more time I’d have joined on the spot

And there were plenty of parents and children there which is why Maggie the Clown, Lee Lee and Jane were there

But in end the real stars are the volunteers and organizers who brought plenty of their own machines for people to play for hours on end at their own expense, helped keep them running and full of credits for all three days and then after many days that ended at 3 AM had to get up early on Sunday to pack up their machines to take home.

So give a bow to Gabe who goes through so much for all of us to have a great time.

At Pintastic NE 2016 there were plenty of vendors with all kinds of products for your Pinball needs

Like Mezel Mods

And The Boston Pinball Company

Goto Amusements

Some vendors were players who had developed solutions to pinball problems they ran into and turned them into business like Kahr Circuits

Others had grand ideas and returned from last year Pintastic in triumph like the Pinbox 3000 people

At lest one vendor was there not just to promote their business (Rock Fantasy) but to enjoy the games for himself.

I opened a comic store a year after him, if I had been more sucessful that might have been me with more hair.

And finally the bottomless pit of treasures showing that there is more to pintastic than pinball alone

If you are a pinball fan these are the type of people who will help keep you running and make your experience even better, and the Hobby is all the better for them being there for us.

I spent Friday and Saturday at Pintastic New England 2016 This weekend I attended Pintastic New England at the Sturbridge host hotel in Sturbridge on route 20 just a little ways from Old Sturbridge Village.

This years edition like last years had a plethora of games, vendors and fun for all who showed up.

I’ll be putting up interviews during the course of the week but for now feel free to check out these photos from Friday and Saturday and remember life is more that politics.

Cardinal Borusa: As I believe I told you long ago, Doctor, you will never amount to anything in the galaxy while you retain your propensity for vulgar facetiousness.

Doctor Who: The Deadly Assassin 1976

As you, dear reader might have noticed I have an odd and occasionally twisted sense of humor that has its roots in a combination of the Three Stooges, Monty Python, augmented with a bit of the Marx brothers, 60’s TV military humor (F Troop & McHale’s Navy and Hogan’s Heroes) and assorted British Humor (Black Adder, Yes Minister, Red Dwarf) for good measure.  This sense is occasionally wildly inappropriate & even bordering on a violation of the 2nd Commandment requiring confession although I insist that God has a sense of humor evidenced by his creation of man).

What you may not know is that it occasionally takes a large amount of effort to resist deploying that humor either verbally or physical when such things occur to me on the spur of the moment.  One such moment took place at the during the CIS event at the National Press Club.

During a rather excellent presentation I found the call of nature stronger than the pull of Mark’s presentation and had to excuse myself hurriedly to the rest room, arriving there I found the men’s room was being cleaned and at the time I did not know the location of the alternative.

That’s when it hit me.

I was in Washington DC, a bastion of ultra liberalism, furthermore I was in the national press club and organization whose members have adopted liberal identity politics even to the point of the absurdity that if one does not accept the far left’s meme on the Transgender bathroom business you were a bigot, practically an unperson.

What would happen if instead of asking one of the very friendly staff of the press club I simply used the ladies room?

How would the press club react?  How COULD they react?  Surely the fact that I wearing a fedora , dressed in a suit and tie and clearly had not shaved (I forgot to pack razors) had no bearing on my sexual identity?  In fact those members of the press club unfamiliar with Doctor Who in general and the Fourth Doctor in particular might have decided my long multi colored scarf  (known as a  “doctor who” scarf) was a sign of membership or at least affinity in the LGBT community.

After all there are many events at the press club, many highly populated by liberals, what would a liberal woman say seeing me in the ladies room?
Would she dare question me, confront me, or even give me an odd look? Would she dare say a word to the people in charge?  Or would the fear of being accused of a proper lack of diversity drive her to silence?  She might find herself ashamed at even thinking such a thing and instead brag to her friends how accepting it was for her to be “comfortable” with a 270 man in the ladies room with her. Accommodating me was the ultimate in virtue signaling and if she was a proper liberal, particularly a liberal reporter tell the story with pride to everyone she knew.

On the other hand what if she DID report me?

Would the staff dare confront me? What would they say if I refused to give an explanation?  What would they do if they asked me my sexual orientation and I told them it was bluntly that not only was it none of their bus but how DARE they even question me upon it?  How would such a story play in the very papers where the member of that press club excoriate those who insist that there is in fact such a thing as men and women and act accordingly? Would they risk being seen as on the wrong side of an issue that the Democrat party is playing for all it is worth?

The comic potential for this decision was seemingly limitless!

Alas it was not to be, my comedic nature was overcome by my sense of prosperity, particularly as an invited guest and instead I asked someone where the other men’s room was and went there.

But I can’t help but think that it would be an interesting experiment, not only at the press club but at any liberal institution to see what might happen in that situation.

It would be fun to find out wouldn’t it, but it will take someone less invested in proprietary to do so.


While CIS kindly sponsored my attendance at their event there are still quite a few incidental expenses involved, not the least of which was the loss of two days pay from my regular job (my thanks to them BTW for permitting me the time off to accept CIS’ invitation)

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One thing about being in DC is that you are never short of interesting people to talk to on my way to breakfast on Friday I noticed a woman with a huge amount of medals on her chest which led to this interview

You can find out more about the Daughters of the American Revolution here

On the last day of the CIS conference there was more interesting interviews

After his presentation at the CIS seminar Dr. Steven Camarota kindy made time for an interview:

Later on I had a chance to not only interview but say hello to Jessica Vaughn who I knew through my days at WCRN

my final interview was Leo Hohmann (whose badge didn’t match his name) of World Net Daily one of the very first online papers

Previous interview posts from CIS event
Mark Kirkorian Cis
Senator Jeff Sessions
Bloggers Mickey Kaus, Yid with Lid and John Hawkins
Patrick Howley, Brandon Darby and Bob Price from Breitbart


While CIS kindly sponsored my attendance at their event there are still quite a few incidental expenses involved, not the least of which was the loss of two days pay from my regular job (my thanks to them BTW for permitting me the time off to accept CIS’ invitation)

Additionally and as you might have noticed with 2016 nearly 50% complete our annual goal for DaTipJar is only at 19.6%

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The Breitbart crew particular Breitbart Texas was well represented at the CIS reception on Thursday and several of their people sat for interviews with me. The first was Bob Price

Of course the topic of immigration is right in the wheelhouse of Breitbart Texas

Old Friend Brandon Darby also gave me some time and some interesting perspectives as well

I also had the pleasure of meeting Breitbart’s Patrick Howley for the first time. His usual beat is the election and we talked about his coverage

I’d like to thank the Breitbart folks for giving me time at the end of a long night

I will be posting more interviews later in the day if you are burning with anticipation and simply can’t wait the interviews are now available on my youtube channel

Previous interview posts from CIS event
Mark Kirkorian Cis
Senator Jeff Sessions
Bloggers Mickey Kaus, Yid with Lid and John Hawkins

Update: Welcome to readers of Breitbart.com who came from this story about my interviews with their people.

For those Breitbart readers who might be coming to this site for the first time

The last batch of interviews with Dr. Steve Camarota, Jessica Vaughn of CIS & Leo Hohmann of WND are avaialble here

You will find a collection of thousands of such short interviews I’ve done over the years from Andrew Breitbart to Barney Frank on my youtube channel here.

I have a large collection of interviews with ordinary americans who came to see Donald Trump during rallies in NH & Massachusetts here

You can find me questioning Donald Trump at Press Conferences in Derry NH here and Worcester MA here.


While CIS kindly sponsored my attendance at their event there are still quite a few incidental expenses involved, not the least of which was the loss of two days pay from my regular job (my thanks to them BTW for permitting me the time off to accept CIS’ invitation)

Additionally and as you might have noticed with 2016 nearly 50% complete our annual goal for DaTipJar is only at 19.6%

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While CIS kindly sponsored my attendance at their event there are still quite a few incidental expenses involved, not the least of which was the loss of two days pay from my regular job (my thanks to them BTW for permitting me the time off to accept CIS’ invitation)

Additionally and as you might have noticed with 2016 nearly 50% complete our annual goal for DaTipJar is only at 19.6%

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During the CIS reception on Thursday there were several bloggers in attendance who sat for interviews.

The first was John Hawkins from Right Wing News

You will note that old friend Jeff Dunetz of the Lid blog walking in not knowing I was mid interview, he sat with me as well

It’s worth noting that he also did a 2nd longer audio interview that will be available in this week’s DaTechGuy off DaRadio Podcast

I must admit despite my delight at seeing old friends I was particularly pleased to meet one of the pioneers of blogging Mickey Kaus who gave me 10 minutes at the end of a very long evening.

His blog is of course Kausfiles and he’s been doing it before most people knew what a blog was.

I will be posting more interviews later in the day and tomorrow if you are burning with anticipation and simply can’t wait the interviews are now available on my youtube channel

Previous interview posts from CIS event
Mark Kirkorian Cis
Senator Jeff Sessions


While CIS kindly sponsored my attendance at their event there are still quite a few incidental expenses involved, not the least of which was the loss of two days pay from my regular job (my thanks to them BTW for permitting me the time off to accept CIS’ invitation)

Additionally and as you might have noticed with 2016 nearly 50% complete our annual goal for DaTipJar is only at 19.6%

If you like the interviews you see here over the next day or two and the work done here by me and my magnificent seven bloggers in general please consider hitting DaTipJar




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Before the start of the CIS reception on Thursday Senator Jeff Sessions graciously sat for a brief interview

You might note the interview seemed to end abruptly. I actually asked a question concerning his endorsement of Donald Trump during the primary season but alas I was using my backup memory card which filled up and crashed during his answer, and due to time restraints I didn’t wish to take more of the Senator’s time to reshoot to the exclusion of other guests. If you wish to hear my question and the start of his answer before it died out it’s here.

The meat of his answer that didn’t make it was that Mr. Trump was addressing issues that are impacting working class middle american who have sadly been neglected.


While CIS kindly sponsored my attendance at their event there are still quite a few incidental expenses involved, not the least of which was the loss of two days pay from my regular job (my thanks to them BTW for permitting me the time off to accept CIS’ invitation)

Additionally and as you might have noticed with 2016 nearly 50% complete our annual goal for DaTipJar is only at 19.6%

If you like the interviews you see here over the next day or two and the work done here by me and my magnificent seven bloggers in general please consider hitting DaTipJar




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I am in Washington today for an off the record Seminar at the National Press Club hosted by the Center of Immigration Studies which invited me to attend. The head of CIS Mark Kirkorian graciously sat for a brief interview

While the contents and the sessions of the event itself are all off the record, I was permitted to interview attendees and speakers individually both at the opening reception and on the day of the event. Those interviews will follow in subsequent posts. If the anticipation is burning within you and you can’t wait for the blog posts, all of my day 1 interviews are now available on my youtube channel

Incidentally if you wish to be well informed on the issue of Immigration you can find the CIS blog here

UPDATE: 6/19 Having got home from my trip I started to import the audio from my interviews to audacity to include them in my podcast, when I tried to import this one I noted that for some reason it seems to stop a 2:45 even though the interview was five minutes long. Playing the raw file Mp4 file back for some reason at that mark it simply stopped recording and only displays the video. My guess is it was an issue during import since all my other files (other than when the cards ran full) worked properly however because the import was rushed to make room and the file size was of the Mp4 was consistent with the full interview I had no reason to suspect there was any issue and simply did my mass upload of all interviews as I normally do. My apologies to Mr. Kirkiorian and to you dear readers for not noticing this fault until now.


While CIS kindly sponsored my attendance at their event there are still quite a few incidental expenses involved, not the least of which was the loss of two days pay from my regular job (my thanks to them BTW for permitting me the time off to accept CIS’ invitation)

Additionally and as you might have noticed with 2016 nearly 50% complete our annual goal for DaTipJar is only at 19.6%

If you like the interviews you see here over the next day or two and the work done here by me and my magnificent seven bloggers in general please consider hitting DaTipJar




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Two weeks ago my wife’s birthday came up and my planned gift was to drive DaWife to various quilt shops where she could pick up and check out fabric for her quilting our 96 Corolla decided otherwise so we spend a lovely hour at a rest area waiting for AAA with a lovely view of discarded syringes and empty booze bottles but yesterday we tried again this time taking along her sister and her 2014 Jeep Cherokee.

Our first belated stop due to bad directions) was Merri’s Stitches in Portsmouth NH

maine nh 001

I spoke to the owner, you will find at quilt shops that the owners are invariably there.

This would be the first place that I would see a Tuffet. It would not be the last.

From there we went down the road to Seacoast Sewing and quilting also in Portsmouth.

maine nh 004

Again we talked to the owner

She told us about their 2nd location in Maine but while we were heading in that direction it would be too far off our path to make it.

maine nh 006At this point we made the one detour for me. St. Joseph was not open that morning so I could not go through the holy doors to earn the daily indulgence available in the Year of Mercy but my wife checked online and discovered the Immaculate Conception Parish in Portsmouth was named as a place of pilgrimage so the Holy Doors were available there so off we went.

It was dark inside but I immediately noticed the altar

maine nh 011

Even with the altar table in front of it, the Holy of Holies with the blessed sacrament dominated as it should

maine nh 007

I filmed a bit but the lighting was bad

Our next stop planned stop was out of Business so we headed to Maine towards Knight’s quilt shop but on the way we stopped at
York Village Marketplace where my wife’s sister had heard they sold cribbage boards made by inmates that her husband had expressed an interest in getting.

It’s an interesting place, half wood items and half model train/slot racing store, the person there didn’t want to go on camera so I did it myself

The Next Stop was down Rte 1 a bit to Cape Neddick, to Knight’s Quilt Shop where there were more tuffets

maine nh 018

More interviews (the owner didn’t want to go on camera but Debbie did.

and a front porch for Husbands to sit where I took the liberty of recording part of my podcast.

maine nh 020

By then everyone was hungry, the folks at Knights suggested Mike’s Clam Shack in Wells.

maine nh 026

Nobody would be interviewed but the food spoke for itself.

maine nh 024

maine nh 025

The next stop was Kathie’s Quilt Shoppe in Sanford Maine.

maine nh 028

We made it just before they closed but Kathie gave me an interview anyway

and of course more Tuffets which are apparently all the rage

maine nh 029

Our last stop was Marden’s Department store in Sanford Plaza which has a huge fabric department.

What we didn’t know is they actually close early on weekends so by 5 pm we were heading south, but not before I let DaWife and her sister walk the beach in Ogunquit Maine, Hampton New Hampshire and Salisbury Massachusetts so they could say they walked the beach in three states in one day before finishing with Supper at Happy Jacks back home

Now let this be a lesson in two respect. One might argue that it’s rather cunning to give DaWife a gift that involves no cash layout other than what she would spend anyways, but the real lesson is that the investment that your spouse appreciates the most is time.

That’s how you get to year 28 of a marriage

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I speak to John Sacco of Magnificat Magazine at the Catholic Men’s conference last week.

There is also a kids magazine called Magnifikid I did a later audio interview about it for WQPH that you can listen to here.