Vigil for Pulse from Perth

As a nation, whenever we are forced to endure the painful aftermath  brought on by those who use murder as a means of expressing their extreme distaste for society, there seems to be that innate need to make some sense of the senseless– or to apply reason to the unreasonable. The irrational ruthless actions of one man sitting alone at the Pulse in Orlando, Florida, will once again stir our collective conscience to ask ourselves why. Why did this happen? Why do they hate? Why do they kill?

For much of the immediate future, there will be those countless supposed expert voices espousing answers and solutions. And unfortunately, there is nothing like a national tragedy during an election year to fuel the self-righteous indignation of that portion of the political class that tend to speak only to our fears. Those same human beings will attempt to convince us of some greater truth concerning the motivations, affiliations, and ideologies of those that engage in  violent behaviors. But in the end, there will only be a whole lot of speculation carefully woven between the sorrow and the tears.

During my own lifetime, I’ve witnessed far too many of these unconscionable  deeds, and when all was said and done, the theories and explanations always fell far short of our need to know why such reprehensible attacks occurred.

Right up until that moment when Jack Ruby fired the shot that would end the life of  John F. Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald seemed to be redefining his role and responsibility in the death of the President. And after years of inquiries and investigations, we are no closer to knowing the workings of the mind of a man whose loyalties and attachments were mercurial and contradictory to say the least. I suspect that ultimately our understanding of Omar Mateen will be no different. He will be just another name in that long litany of those that have unjustifiably bloodied our history and broken our hearts.

So we are left with only a handful of truths concerning this crime and its political ramifications:

  • Most mass killings in the United States have been carried out using legally purchased weapons. So we can probably save some lives with commonsense regulations that do not impinge upon the intent of the Second Amendment.
  • Some individuals should not have access to either airliners or assault rifles.
  • And certain politicians should definitely not have access to either Air Force One or America’s arsenal.
  • But most importantly, we need not ask why–but instead why not?

There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?     Robert Kennedy

Posted by: Chris Poh for American Public House Review





Keep Your Friends Close…

“Keep your friends close, but visit the Republican Caucus every few months.”    Don Barack “Corleone” Obama

As the staff at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel were attempting to best configure the seating arrangements for the sit-down between the Republican Caucus and the Capo Di Tutti Capi of Pennsylvania Avenue, my crew and I were enjoying pints at Mahaffey’s Pub in the gentrified Canton section of “Charm City.” This historic meeting between the President and the “loyal opposition” seems to have been the first stop on Mr. Obama’s  “Got Dem Beleaguered Beltway Lack of Bipartisanship Blues” tour of 2010.

While the early response to the Baltimore bilateral beef session seems to hold some promise of yielding a rare bit of legislative cooperation, I still would have opted against the formal downtown setting in favor of a more welcoming neighborhood locale – and Mahaffey’s would have been the perfect choice.

This gem of a tavern sets the standard for big tent camaraderie and hospitality. It offers a remarkable selection of beer, and with three 10-ounce drafts for only $4 every day during “Happy Hour” – Mahaffey’s has achieved affordable healthcare and effective stimulus in true bipartisan fashion.

“Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But uh, until that day, accept this justice as a gift on my daughter’s wedding day.”       Some future presidential deal for that one elusive Republican vote. 

Posted by: Chris Poh



Would Samuel Adams be the perfect tonic for Presidential summit?

Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a full-blown media frenzy surrounding what kind of beer will be served at today’s White House meeting between President Obama, Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  (Not to overstate the obvious, but I think it is pretty clear that we here at Pub Talk have been further out in front of this story than even the largest of news organizations!)


Today, CNN gets into the act with another story about what kind of beer the White House staff should serve.  I think if you look below you will find some terrific selections already offered by our staff, but the CNN story concerns another angle to this subject that we also covered long before CNN thought to report on it.  As I am sure you know, the President has stated a love for Budweiser products.  That’s all well and good.   But in the midst of trying to defend his status as a natural born citizen, we here at Pub Talk thought he would be best served politically by enjoying something produced by an American company, which Budweiser no longer is.

My suggestion was to go with something brewed in Hawaii.  It serves the duel purpose of being American, and showing a strong working knowledge of his own home state.  But there are apparently other options coming from other areas of our great brewing nation…

In a letter to Obama dated Wednesday, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal strongly urges the president not to drink Budweiser, now owned by a Belgian company. Nor should the White House consider serving Miller or Coors, Neal writes, both owned by a United Kingdom conglomerate.

Instead, the White House should serve the three men — all with ties to Massachusetts — the local favorite, not only because of its popularity in the region but also because it remains the largest American-owned and brewed beer, Neal says.

Samuel Adams Jim Koch has even offered to brew a special batch just for the occasion.  I suppose that is not such a bad idea, but I still think a Hawaiian brew would be the right choice to help settle many of the President’s current political issues…or whatever you call them!

By Dave McBride.  Follow Dave on Twitter!


Setting Sail With John McCain

We left Newport under threatening skies on a northerly heading up Narragansett Bay. Our charter on that  morning in May of 2000 was the restored 58 foot Elco motor-yacht Rum Runner. In the waters just beyond the Navy War College were anchored the Iowa and Forrestal. Our captain skillfully maneuvered our craft in between these two historic grey ladies of naval warfare. 

As I looked up at the flight deck I recalled scenes of the inferno that engulfed John McCain’s A-4 Skyhawk after a missile accidentally fired from another aircraft struck his plane’s fuel tanks, as he was awaiting clearance to take off for a bombing sortie over North Vietnam. 134 sailors and airmen lost their lives and hundreds more were injured as a result of the Forrestal disaster on July 29, 1967. This event as well as the five years of captivity in Hanoi did much to prepare Captain John McCain for his dedicated, resolute and occasionally brash career on the floor of the United States Senate. 

This past August I was again cruising the waters off Coddington Cove. It is no longer possible to gain easy access to this or any other military installation in the United states. The events of 9-11 have, for better or worse – literally and figuratively, limited our ability to freely navigate many channels. But our presidential candidates remind us often about the gravity of the situation, and the sacrifices that must be made in order to safeguard the republic. They and their operatives also remind us ad nauseam about those individual life experiences that make them capable and ready to serve as president.

As I review the resumes of our current candidates I am satisfied that both are competent enough to hold court in the Oval Office. Hell, anyone that is able to outlast their opponents in the grueling and unremiting primary process is probably able to give at least a fair accounting of presidential performance.

But then there is the matter of constitutional ascendance. On this front John McCain has so far proven the depth of his political savvy and expedience in his choice of Sarah Palin; but as a matter of providing for the responsible protection of this nation – one might question his powers of reasoning and good judgement. 

If these are truly the most grave and dangerous times since the Second World War, as both candidates would have us believe, they owe it to every American to make sure that their potential successors are well versed in international affairs and immediately qualified to take command of our armed forces. Furthermore, while we must value and respect every person’s relationship with the divine, those who profess that God might have a hand in directing our use of military force may not be suited for the position of commander in chief.

Those who died at Yorktown, Antietam, Meuse-Argonne, Guadalcanal, Normandy, Incheon, Khe Sanh, Basra and on the decks of the Forrestal perhaps deserve better!

Posted by: Chris Poh, Publisher

What’s next for David and Goliath?

Make no mistake about it, Barrack Obama’s victory was an upset of nearly biblical proportions.  A rookie senator taking down a popular and well know member of one of the country’s most powerful political families is an amazing achievement.  But it didn’t come easy, and someone as big as Hillary Clinton will not fall very easily at all.  So what is next for this David and Goliath?

It is hard to look into the mind of Senator Clinton and see if she really would want to be vice-president.  She and Obama have fought an often personal fight and as a result her role in an Obama administration would likely be much smaller than her role as the nation best known senator.  But it may be her best path to the oval office.  What is certain is that it is hard to figure out what she really wants.  However, looking into the mind of Senator Obama may even be tougher.

Would he need her or even want her on the ticket?  Three months ago the answer was easily no.  But that was then, and so much has happened since.  Three months ago, Hillary Clinton had not won big in major states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Three months ago, the media had not yet latched onto to this theory that working class white democrats would not vote for Barrack Obama.  Three months ago he didn’t need Hillary Clinton.  But that may not be the case now.

Sure, a governor from a swing state may help the electoral strategy or a southern senator may better balance the ticket.  But will they really have a greater impact than Clinton?  Can anyone besides Hillary deliver to the Obama campaign the 18 million people who voted for her better than she can?  Those questions are what must be keeping the Obama campaign up at night.  But the really difficult question has to be; Can David and Goliath ever fight together and win?

by Dave McBride of the American Public House Review

Published in: on June 5, 2008 at 8:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Senator Edward Kennedy diagnosed with malignant brain tumor

News is breaking as we speak that Senator Edward Kennedy has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.  The Massachusetts Democrat had been hospitalized over the weekend due to seizures and had remained in the Boston hospital for tests.  Only a few minutes ago, doctors announced that the results of the test were worse than many had hoped.

Regardless of one’s political feelings, you can not deny the historical impact Sen. Kennedy has had on the country, both politically and culturally.  Despite his reputation as the “Liberal Lion”, Kennedy has actually been quite bipartisan in his legislative efforts.  But at the core, he is undeniably a principled man who fought his life in the political arena.

His political and public life is not over by any means.  But for many of us who follow politics, our last memory of him may very well be his speech he gave endorsing democratic candidate Barack Obama.  He spoke like a man half his age.  His words and energy shook the very ground with inspirational vigor.  But truth be told, Kennedy never seemed to slow down even a little bit.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the senator and his family.

Posted By: David McBride, Director of Marketing – American Public House Review

Published in: on May 20, 2008 at 1:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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President Bush changes the direction of the presidential race

I am sure many of you have already heard about the thinly veiled attack President Bush launched against democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama yesterday from the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.  If you have not, here is the quote…

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.

Now, I am not here to debate whether the president is right or wrong in his historical interpretation, or if he is right correctly representing Senator Obama’s foreign policy.  Nor am I going to enter the debate over whether it is appropriate to make such political statements in a foreign country.  Instead, I am simply here to thank the president for taking the nonsense out of the political discussion, even for a short while, and sending the pundits back to topics of substance.

We are no longer hearing 24 hours of coverage dealing with various exit polls, angry former pastors, or lapel pins.  For now, it seems the constant questioning of the democrats about the “dream ticket” will be on hold.  Instead, President Bush has forced us into a discussion that is worthy of a presidential election of this magnitude.  Now, we are finally talking seriously about foreign policy.  Sure, this may not have been the best way to begin this discussion, but I will take what I can get.

posted by Dave McBride of the American Public House Review

Why does Rev. Wright continue to hurt Obama?

Rev. Jeremiah Wright has finally broken has silence.  After weeks of staying silent and letting the story play out into political history, he has brought it back to the forefront in dramatic fashion.  But for democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, his “friend” now seems much more like an enemy.  However, if the media were truly paying attention Wright’s weekend vanity tour should help the senator more than it hurts him.

Since the reverend’s comments first came into the public’s view weeks ago, the media and Obama’s opponents have done all they possibly can to confuse where Wright’s words end and Obama’s begins.  Despite the dozens of times the campaign has spoken out against them, the media has decided that whatever nonsense comes out of Wright’s mouth is the responsibility of Barack Obama to answer to them. 

But if you saw yesterday’s bizarre appearance in Washington, you would see once and for all that whatever place Rev. Wright held in Sen. Obama’s heart or mind years ago he is not in that same place now.  What we saw yesterday was a man hell bent on destroying his so called friend’s political future.  Time after time he denigrated and insulted Obama for a cheap laugh.  Whatever friendship existed before, it has clearly been tossed aside now.

If Obama really wants to sever these ties with which the media and his political opponent insist on binding him to Wright, he should use this opportunity not only to denounce Wright but to strike back.  Because if Senator Obama does not feel now, after being run through the mud yesterday by a man looking to bring him down, that he should get aggressive and defend his integrity then perhaps it would be fair for voters to question his resolve.

Posted by David McBride, marketing director at American Public House Review

Published in: on April 29, 2008 at 2:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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One more example of the erosion of presidential politics

For years, we have expected presidential debates to be mostly serious affairs, so much so that many found them boring.  Two or more candidates would take to a stage and be questioned on policy issues by some network political wonk and many would tune out after only a few minutes.  Well after last nights democratic debate in Pennsylvania, those days can now be viewed as the good old’ days.

What we saw last night was nothing short of a seismic shift in the way network televised debates will be presented.  Instead of a 90 minute break from the normal nonsensical campaign bantering of surrogates and the infantile back-and-forth silliness we all have come to expect, we got more of just that sort of thing in this debate.  Thanks to Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, discussion of policy and real issues, like the economy, Iraq, healthcare and anything else that matters to people’s lives, took a back seat and were pushed aside.

The first question should have given us an insight into what was coming.  Charlie Gibson, with his glasses perched on his nose so as to appear like the candidates fourth grade history teacher, asked if they would put the other on the ticket as a running mate.  But he didn’t specify who the question was for, so as the two senators paused in an attempt to be polite to one another Gibson gave a snarky “Don’t all talk at once” type jibe.  Either Gibson choked on the very first question, or he was hoping this would happen so he could put them both down right off the bat.  It was ridiculously awkward moment, but as the next 50 minutes would reveal, it was just the type of table setter he was looking for.

The first six questions, encompassing nearly the entire first half of the debate, was completely devoid of policy issues or anything else one would expect to find in a debate.  Instead we got regurgitated “gotchas” that have all been discussed and answered over and over for weeks.

There was an obvious plan to what ABC wanted out of this debate.  They were going to corner Obama and watch as Clinton slapped away, like an episode of Jerry Springer.  For example, the moderators used a taped question from a Pennsylvanian about Obama and his lack of a flag lapel pin, as if that were of any consequence to why I can’t afford to fuel my car.  Of course no one bothered to point out that Hillary Clinton was also not wearing a pin, because that just wouldn’t have fit the script.  It was painfully pointless and depressingly hard to watch.

But it will be up to bloggers and newspapers to point this out.  The television media will never criticize one of their own as soon they will also be called on to perform such a task.  Will this new “reality television” style of political debates be what the future holds?  Let’s all hope not.

Published in: Uncategorized on April 17, 2008 at 2:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Can the Democrats afford to keep this battle going?

This presidential primary season began with most of us assuming Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination quickly and the Republicans would go on battling it out perhaps all the way to the convention.  Even after Iowa little had changed in that thinking.  Obama looked like an easy winner and no one thought Mike Huckabee would walk to the finish line without first having to fight off John McCain in the west, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney in the northeast and Fred Thompson in the south.

But we could not have been more wrong.  McCain walked to the finish line, while the Democrats can’t even seem to locate the track.  But is this long fight between the two popular senators really damaging the party’s chances to win in November?  That is the question that seems to get asked of every pundit on cable news.  A few of them think it is not hurting the Democrats chances significantly, that exposure can only be a good thing and that the general election is too far off to worry about now.  But I just can’t agree with that assessment.

There are good primaries and there are bad primaries.  A good primary battle is a policy-based primary battle.  In the Democrats case this would be an ideological left versus center battle, think Jerry Brown against Bill Clinton.  It would be a fight where the direction of the party is defined for the general election.  In the past Democrats of fought over foreign policy, trade agreements, and other such topics and came out of the primary process with a nominee whose ideas are supported by the majority of the party and have had the benefit of months worth of debates, stump speeches and town hall meetings to introduce those ideas to the voters.  This would be a long, hotly contested but good primary.

But that is not at all what we have here.  Clinton and Obama are remarkably close on many policies.  Sure there are small differences in healthcare proposals and even some big differences in foreign policy.  But that is not what the media is discussing when covering these two candidates.  Instead we have tax records, former pastors, and exaggerations.  These are the things that can not help a candidate in November.  They can only hurt. 

This is why it is perfectly fine for many in the party to call for this to be decided sooner rather than later.  Perhaps it is not decided just yet, but if the Democrats continue on this path past early May and onto the convention they will be handing a big advantage to the Republicans.  Since these two candidates are so close on policy, the Democrats must ask themselves if this is really worth it.

Published in: Uncategorized on April 5, 2008 at 2:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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