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GOP Presidential Front Runner At Rutgers Class of ’16 Commencement Draws Ire

The vast majority of students, faculty and alumni at Rutgers, The State University have expressed outrage over the decision to invite the GOP presidential front runner to speak at the University’s graduation. Responding to pressure from various on-campus organizations, administrators reversed course and said that the candidate would instead address the student body at an optional gathering  at the Rutgers Athletic Center, i.e. “the RAC”, which houses the school’s varsity men and women’s basketball programs. Originally the pre-ceremony commencement speech was scheduled for the football stadium.

the RAC

“Even though I graduated from a fine Ivy League institution like Penn, I look forward to speaking to the young men and women of a quality public college like New Jersey’s state university. And [unlike the Ivy League] most of these kids come from middle class families despite paying tuition and fees up the wahzoo like they would at one of those prestigious rich kid schools. Which is kind of what my whole campaign is about,” the candidate said.

The candidate further expressed discontent with the change of venue for his on campus speech, saying, “I don’t know why some of these kids and profs at Rutgers have a problem with me. I’ll be here to make this school and all of America great again. Who the hell is Rutgers anyway? Some colonial dilettante nobody’s ever heard of? When I’m elected president, we’ll call the place New Jersey U. like every other state in the US does.”

The state’s governor, a staunch supporter of the GOP front runner, was unavailable for comment, but a few students on campus welcomed the news about the university’s choice for commencement speaker. Harvey, from Secaucus Springs, NJ, toasted the news by pounding down a few “jagerbombs” while sitting on the second story deck of his off-campus New Brunswick apartment. “I’ll be at the RAC for sure,” he said. “He says he will make RU men’s hoops great again if elected. They haven’t made the NCAAs since my grandfather was a freshman here. I like it.”

scoreboard

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Remembrance- Memorial Day 2015

Memorial Day 2015

Scroll to the bottom of this page to read about the history of this national holiday of remembrance, plus find contact and resource information of interest to veterans from the official US government website. If you’ve enjoyed reading this page, please like and/or share, and, more importantly, take time to thank and/or do something nice or helpful for a veteran or their family members.Thank you for reading and have a pleasant weekend.

Above artwork origins from l. Parx Turf Club, Philadelphia, PA. Upper r. MLS jersey sleeve patch. Lower r. entrance to the National UDT- Navy SEAL Museum, Ft. Pierce, FL. Note that, unfortunately, the new MLS uniforms no longer feature US and Canadian logo emblems as part of the updated league logo campaign.

Memorial Day History – Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

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NJ Partners In Policymaking Ceremony 2015

On Sunday afternoon, eight dedicated individuals took the next big step towards a more inclusive world on behalf of New Jersey’s community of citizens living with developmental disabilities. Each of the 2015 graduates of the New Jersey Partners in Policymaking  (NJ PIP) training program delivered final “reflections” from the podium with words full of passion, humor, calls-to-action, and even a little poetry!

I am truly grateful to have received training in this one-weekend-a-month program years ago during the 1998 session. I enjoyed the chance to reconnect with Dennie Todd and Jane Dunham, two outstanding individuals who tirelessly dedicated themselves to making the NJ PIP program a dynamic, empowering experience for all participants who pass through it. One of my fellow class of ’98 participants, Peggy Kinsell and I also had the opportunity to meet and greet some of the newest staff members of NJCDD and to chat with the current graduates about, among other things, the fond memories of our past involvement with the program.

    
         
 

Big thank you to the ’15 PIP grad for snapping my photo!

   
 

Good luck to the NJ PIP Class of 2015 graduates as you employ the knowledge and advocacy tools you have acquired to create a better world for your family, friends, and, fellow citizens for future generations to come!

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Blue By You

Upon doing a quick “Googlesearch” of the phrase “blue awareness” you will find a virtually endless amount of background information regarding today’s “Autism Awareness Day”, April Autism Awareness Month, and the Autism Speaks “light up blue” awareness campaign.

You will also find that people are divided in their support for the Autism Speaks blue campaign as expressed in articles like this and also, this. The organization’s use of the multi-colored puzzle piece remembrance ribbons in events such as NASCAR races seems to strike a nerve with people.

In fact, Wikipedia has an entry devoted to the wide assortment of variously colored ribbons and the causes they represent. These include the pale yellow ribbon for October Spina Bifida Awareness Month (I was born with spina bifida), various medical and psychological conditions, civil rights, community and patriotic causes, personal tragedies, etc.

Teal Ribbon

I think it’s safe to say that anytime a group launches some sort of “awareness campaign” focusing on a specific cause or community they need to show a willingness to change with the times. The community affected by a particular situation or set of circumstances or conditions needs to have an authentic, active role in guiding the campaign toward its goals. If several years pass and we’re still talking of “awareness” without pointing to hard evidence of societal growth, greater knowledge and positive action, then bright lights and colored ribbons become mere symbols of empty-headed fads and crass commercialism.

Old Photo, 2011 Maybe?

If you decide to support a cause by wearing a colored ribbon or otherwise engage in some similar activity, make it a starting point towards making things better for yourself and others. Learn about local neighborhood organizations, schools, groups, advisory boards, councils, etc. who might require volunteer help or donations of money, equipment, office supplies, tools, or building materials. If someone speaks in an ill-informed manner about an issue you care about, or perpetuates an injustice, learn how to communicate to them via speaking, writing, etc. in a way that helps them to focus on a more desirable pattern of thinking and behaving.

Make yourself aware that there is always room for improvement. Be forever determined to find a better way.

 

 

 

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Final Blog Post

 

The creators of “bobsfreeblog” have only very recently learned of the eventual possible deletion of this blog account due to readership inactivity. According to the guidelines established by WordPressSubscriptionServices.com the number of total reader likes/shares must reach a minimum of 15 percent of total views of the published blog. If this blog does not receive 85 total likes and/or shares by 12 midnight EDT the account will be deleted. The creators and designers of “bobsfreeblog” would truly appreciate your likes and shares so that our readership can enjoy the “observations, reflections and commentary” this blog has provided these past few years. Thank you for your support. As always comments are appreciated.

Please don’t let the sun set on this blog! Thank you for reading.                               

 
 

 

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Good Citizenship Starts At Home

A couple years ago, I was enjoying food and beverage at the local tavern (an historic former stagecoach stop in its own right) while one of the young patrons discussed a weekend visit with his girlfriend to the nearby National Constitution Center. They commented on their good fortune of being born on American soil in light of the fact that one of the exhibits showcased questions faced by immigrants subjected to the required test for obtaining US citizenship. A BloombergView article from yesterday’s newspaper reminded me of his comments, as it made an interesting argument calling for a mandate for all American school children to pass such a test.

As a former public school educator, I’m sensitive to the standardized-test-overload faced by our nation’s students and teachers. However, Bloomberg‘s idea has great merit if we were to creatively extend our implementation of it just a bit. Consider this: shouldn’t our elected officials be subjected to such mandatory testing? After all, Congress makes our laws; state legislators draw and re-draw voting districts, so a basic knowledge of the workings of our government and it’s pertinent historical development seems reasonable.

Classroom civics classes likely require some sort of Federal funding for textbooks, computer technology, field trips to the statehouse, etc. to teach the subject properly. So make it mandatory for state legislators to achieve a minimum average score for their home state to receive the specific education funding. And publish the test results in the local media. Everyone, big and small, needs to put head and heart to the lofty task of living the life of a productive, responsible, freedom-loving American. Because wherever you may find yourself in this world, good citizenship starts at home.

Philadelphia Union MLS Team Logo Incorporates The “Don’t Tread On Me” Snake Design of Colonial-era America

Nos Sunt Unum!

We are one!

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South Jersey Suburb Confidential: Lord of the Hornets!

One of the eeriest symbols of this crazy winter manifested itself up the street late last year. The gradual defoliation of autumn eventually reavealed a basketball sized abandoned hornet nest very high up in a neighborhood tree. During my late morning coffee and newspaper ritual I’ve found myself fascinated by the size and sturdy workmanship of this flying insect habitat. I have no idea when  exactly it all started of course, as it remained hidden from view by thick green leaves throughout the spring and summer months.

hornets nest landscape
hornets nest close up

On very windy days, I would watch it sway menacingly back and forth, feeling certain that eventually it would come ripping down from the fragile branches. The photos below (taken today) show a more gradual fate than I had envisioned for the nesting place’s final days. The huge mounds of snow and ice accumulating atop the nest during the snow storms of the past few weeks have resulted in seepage of water all down through the lower parts. The round entryway therefore appears to be the weakest part of the structure and has now become a gaping, wide open flap.

hornets nest after

hornets nest close up

According to Wikipedia, the inhabitants seldom return to a nest, even if it were to remain intact (that’s a relief!). However, the queen supposedly hibernates throughout winter so that a new nest can be constructed elsewhere nearby. Yiiikkes!

As I’ve said, the strenght of this natural structure is incredible and I imagine a tiny piece of  the top portion will remain for quite some time after most of it is all gone, perhaps to be picked at by birds or squirrels. Who would’ve anticipated such a cataclysmic winter, much less this additional bit of strange, natural drama outside our window!

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