Dashing, Swashbuckling Phantom to Die for You Returns for last three weeks

Floating in the Fog: Romance Seethes, Blossoms, Ignites, Inflames Hearts in Spooky  Paris Opera House(The WBT).  Matthew Billman and Kayleen Seidl are Westchester’s Leading Couple. All Photos, Courtesy, WBT by John Vechiolla

WPCNR STAGE DOOR. Theatrical Review by John F. Bailey.

Come my elegant friends to enchantment, mystery, glorious music  awaiting you at the Paris Opera House of La Belle Epoque at the turn of the 19th Century!

The mystique of its Corinthian gilded columns and elegant boxes, the ghostly secrets of its underground depths, magnificent, brooding atmosphere  rendered lovingly by Westchester Broadway Theatre.

Meet the Phantom of your dreams the swashbuckling, trademark cape-swishing intense and dynamic phantom Matthew Billman, (of Brooklyn,NY,USA),  he of the  irresistible baritone that sets women aflutter, that fills the WBT space with his longing, charisma, commitment, and magnetism.

His Phantom is smitten with his femme fatale, the divine ingénue, Christine Daee’ pitch-perfectly played in femininity, looks and soprano by Kayleen Seidl, as the chestnut tressed diva-to-be determined to make it in opera.

Ms. Seidl’s soprano exquisite’ dazzles, glistens ripples tender feelings and swells in splender into breathtaking waves towering, cascading over you powefully lingering in frothy foam of joy, tears, regret — creating in duets with Mr. Billman the jagged edged diamonds of outspoken devotion, anxiety, frustration, raw heartbreak of a love that can never be.

Ms. Seidl will make you weep.

I have to say the electricity the leads deliver makes you root for them.

This is the Phantom that should have been, ladies and gentlemen. Were it not for a quirk of timing this would have been the Phantom that made the Phantom famous on Broadway.

This production holds the  Westchester Broadway Theatre record for WBT’s longest run ever staged of all their 207 productions, nine months from 1992 to 1993. It lured people in because it is so good. Not a revival it is a survivor, hailed as a superior Phantom by critics including yours truly, Mr. and Mrs. White Plains.

That original WBT production  launched a national tour of the Arthur Kopit (Book) and Maury Yeston(music & lyrics) show. Kopit and Yeston were working on this show in  the early 1980s, trying to get financing for it when Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera secured financing first, and Kopit and Yeston abandoned the project in 1983.

Ironically, like the real Phantom, the K & Y musical was buried in the Yeston and Kopit vaults. It was produced out of town in Houston and Seattle and the public loved it.

Mr. Billman’s Phantom is more romantic and seductive, less dark in feel, and contains sensitive family matters, violence (gunshots, explosions) and action. The Phantom is not over-the-top deranged as the Phantoms of the movies.

If you want a Phantom to fall for, Mr. Billman is it. The Phantom is a composite of vampire, mystery man and Superman. Every woman wants a masked mystery man, (preferably in a cape)

If you want a Christine to take under your wing because you think she’s fabulous, well, sir, Ms. Seidl’s Christine is she.

You are familiar with the Webber songs of the Broadway hit, but this Phantom delivers  fascinating new ballads and arias to charm you. The musical placed in an opera house plays like an operetta.

If you like opera and thrive on its high hysteria and over the top drama and splendid tragic endings that uplift and hold out hope, this is the stuff your dreams are made of. If you like romantic musicals with an ending building to the future, well you’re going to cry but you will want to know what the real Matthew Billman looks like under the mask. And the only way you can see that is in the Playbill.

It’s the gilded age in Paris.

Here’s the situation. Phantom begins with a “Thump Thump Thump”  of the live orchestra trending with a doom beat the ill-fated romance of an overture as Parisians stream about the streets in front of the Paris Opera.

Ms. Seidl’s  Christine is singing in the streets of Paris like so many young actors with her marvelous  Melodies de Paris and is noticed by Count Philippe, a bon vivant (Larry Luck) a patron of the opera who gives her his card to introduce her to the new opera managers.

Cut to the opera house: the Phantom commands with his tall, broad-shouldered figure and his cape, which he uses like a sidekick and sings the ominous Paris Is a Tomb giving you an idea of the loneliness of this tortured young man who has lived his live in the catacombs of the Opera House for most of his 20-odd years. He is virile, isolated and all he knows is the opera.

Meanwhile, in the manager’s office, the wife of the new opera house manager,  Carlotta (Sandy Rosenberg) has fired the long-time manager of the House, Gerard Carriere played stylishly and sensitively by James Van Treuren.

Carriere has for years helped Eric (The Phantom) to live in the depths of the Opera Building and the answer why he has helped  him is not explained. Eric wears a mask.  Ms. Rosenberg does a malicious delicious This Place is Mine a prelude to the conflict to come.

Carlotta who wants to sing lead in her own opera house listens to Christine sing who has used her card of introduction and confines her to wardrobe.

Eric, the Phantom watching from  a place of concealment is smitten listening to her sing to herself. He is smitten. He offers Christine singing lessons.

Christine is equally intrigued with the tall,towering mystery man and especially his moody sensitive brown eyes.  In the first of their duets, Home solidifies the audience’s equally smitten relationship with the two leads.

When the two sing the audience bravos every time they finish with a flourish.

The Phantom brings down the house with his ode to Christine’s talent, You are Music. This is a blockbuster where Mr. Billman just makes the audience soar with the spirit of his caring for Christine.

As the Phantom (who has learned to sing from his mother) teaches Christine her Fa-la-la’s  stage left, their work is seamlessly staged by Director Tom Plum’s two scene-split with intrigue at the Opera House.

Nailing It! Eric prepares Christine for a singing competition at the Bistro which she (Ms. Seidel in white) of course, nails with her Christine Oligato and As You Would Love Paree.

Carlotta jealous of Christine’s talent has plans for her. She gives her a lead role, and after a suspenseful interlude in Christine’s dressing room, Christine makes a serious mistake.

The first act  flies by with the mounting drama, glorious songs and downright lurkiness of it, ending in an opera opening disaster. The audience left with a cliff-hanger for Act Two.

It’s the Phantom to her rescue. Has she lost her voice?  Will she live? What have they done to her?

Second Act: Plot deepens. The Phantom has carried Christine to safety with a marvelous boat  drifting romantically across the lagoon beneath the opera house. The boat with the Phantom poling to a secret refuge, the elegant Phantom’s Bedroom. And who is the mysterious woman on the headboard of the bed?

Mr. Billman and Ms. Seidl sing to each other with a duet to hear, Without Your Music and Where in the World. The WBT orchestra never intrudes, and lays a bed of melody letting the Phantom and Christine just enchant the audience with splendors of lyrics you will hear for the first time.

As the bedroom scene continues we go back into Eric’s past.

Carriere comes down into the bedroom, warning Christine she must leave.  Carriere tells of his past with the woman whose portrait appears on the bed. This backstory is elegantly rendered in a ballet of Carriere’s past with a young dancer,and it reveals the secret origin of The Phantom

Meanwhile the chase is on for Christine.

The drama heightens when Christine in her caring for Eric convinces him to reveal his mask.

What happens next will shatter you, uplift you and bring you to emotional empathy that you will take with you and always remember more than you know.

You will cry at  the duet of the two lovers, where Billman and Siedl play off each other beautifully and bond  together as they part. A triumphant ending worthy of Aida.

James Van Treuren as Carriere, does a meaningful dramatic turn when he reveals his emotions of a lifetime with Eric in stirring duet with the Phantom which unravels the mystery and explores the regret and satisfaction of caring and standing for someone else when no one else would.

I love this staging. The opera house lives!

Set Coordinator Steve Loftus, Set Coordinator/Scenic Artist Carl Tallent and Lighter Man, Andrew Gmoser capture the vaulting, haunting opera stage atmosphere. They especially have made a star in a leading role of the WBT stage transforming it into a bedroom, a boat that is believable visually and more fog than you’ll ever see in London.

Phantom is back at WBT after a December break, for its last three weeks and will be playing through January 27, 2019. On January 31, the Fats Waller musical (the king of ragtime) Ain’t Misbehavin’  premiers for another unique musical extravaganza.

Get on the phone now (914) 592-2222 for tickets. Or go to www.BroadwayTheatre.com.

If you’re fond of a caped mystery man in your life…If you’re enchanted by a wholesome soprano who’ll haunt your dreams,  this is the real Phantom to die for.

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WPCNR CYBER DETECTIVE. From Aaron Wordin, PC Ventures. January 6, 2018:

Editor’s Note: Aaron Wordin a frequent commentator on People To Be Heard, seen above on  the WPCNR WPTV interview program, forwards this computer scam alert today:

Throughout the day, I’ve received four automated/”robo” calls from a voice purporting to be from Apple support, claiming that my iCloud account was compromised.
The number is 212-336-1440.
This is NOT Apple Support calling, this is an out-and-out scam to harvest your personal/credit card information.
Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, etc will NEVER call you unless you’ve scheduled a callback from their legitimate tech support department.
If you’re ever in doubt about how to get in touch with any company’s Tech Support, check out this web site:www.gethuman.com – not only does the real number come up, but there are often shortcuts posted to help you navigate the queue and get live human assistance more quickly.

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Hold On, Folks, Six Weeks to Spring Training USA

OLD AL LANG FIELD, St. Petersburg, Florida

Pitchers and Catchers Report for Spring Training February 14.

WPCNR VIEW FROM THE UPPER DECK By “Bull” Allen. January 6, 2019:

Editor’s Note: As the sun came out late this morning in White Plains New York, USA, and the damp wet cold weather of early January, and the endless stream of football  wraps up, and the shutdown continues, I was reminded by my calendar that 106 years ago, Charlie Ebbets began to build Ebbets Field in Brooklyn—the world’s best ballpark for his then Brooklyn Superbas.

Ebbets Field 1955

Now Ebbets Field is just a memory, but back in 1913, it was a sign of hope in Brooklyn, USA.

 It was a day of hope  then and this lead to the thought that, hey, this is January 6—it is just 6 weeks until major league baseball teams report for spring training.

So I got in touch with Baseball’s Babbling Brook, “Bull” Allen who is hanging out in Florida awaiting the big league clubs with his buddy, Phil The Scooter and The Old Redhead at another ballpark of memory where the Bronx Bombers used to train. Come in, Bull”

“Hello there everybody, this is Bull Allen greeting you in beautiful sunny St. Petersburg Florida, Al Lang Field from the gondola overhanging the empty stands of beautiful Al Lang Field.

This is just a reminder that those of you across the nation that pitchers and catchers will report to spring training camps this year in just six weeks.

Help is on the way! Baseball is on the way, and it cannot come soon enough!

It happens every spring, and they made a movie about it. It’s baseball that’s fun, because the games don’t mean anything except to the players.

They are in competition with one another, and it makes for great involvement by the fans.

As I look out at the empty stands now and feel the warm breeze off Tampa Bay soon to be the home of foul blasts down the leftfield foul line, I’m looking forward to our first broadcasts back to you folks up in Newww Yawk. 

The fans love these exhibition games down here. The youngsters love watching players so close they can talk to them and dream of what a great season it’s going to be.

You know I can hardly wait.

The crack of the bats lining hanging curve balls from nervous rookie pitchers sending towering drives out to the plain green fence in left; the fine running catch by the new outfielder brought in a trade; the first appearance by the veteran starter trying to prove he has at least 20 solid starts left in his aging arm; who will be the new Yankee shortstop.

Every team up yonder in the north has the same questions about their beloved ball club.

I will miss  the Met-Yankee spring training exhibitions (they do not play each other this spring).  I wonder whether the Mets have tightened up their porous infield and added speed and savvy to their outfield.

Of course we’ll be seeing clubs we do not see too often during the regular season, Phillies, Pirates, Braves, the Cardinals and the Nationals.

The home opener is the earliest it has ever been March 27 at the Stadium with the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees play a lot of home games in April. Why does baseball schedule games in the northeast in April it is crazy. (We all know last spring was fraught with rainouts, snowouts, and low attendance).

But spring training is coming up. Just 6 weeks folks. And Sterling and Waldman will be on the Yanks Radio Network just filling us in on the spring training chatter as the lazy spring training radio broadcasts fill us with the hope of spring and the greatest season—the baseball season.

It happens every spring.

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Westchester County Association Asks Input on County Issues To Ask the County Executive About.

The Westchester County Association is hosting Westchester County Executive  George Latimer on Thursday, January 10, 2019, 8:00 AM at the Westchester Marriott Hotel, Tarrytown. 

There will be an opportunity to pose questions to the County Executive  based on the input you provide us in this brief survey. Please note that answers are anonymous.  Your input is important and we greatly appreciate your participation. 
To give your opinions, print out and E-Mail your answers and comments to
1.The County Executive and Legislature have recently approved a $1.9 billion operating budget for 2019 which includes a 2% county property tax increase.  Which of the following best reflects your thoughts on the budget?

The budget is too high, The budget is too low.
The budget is appropriate?
2.Should the County enter into a public-private partnership for the management of Westchester County Airport?
Yes No No opinion
500 characters left.
3.A proposal has been put forth to develop 60 acres of unused land owned by the County (known as “North 60”) into a $1.2 billion life science and technology center.  Which of the following best reflects your thoughts on the project?
Move ahead with the current approved developer

Re-issue an RFP for the project

Lease the property for another use

No opinion
4.One suggested way to increase revenue to the County is to request approval from NY State to raise the County sales tax.  Do you support that idea?

Yes No No opinion
5.What do you think is the most important role of County government ?

Deliver state mandated social services

Public Safety

Road and infrastructure maintenance

Economic Development

No opinion
6.Do you feel the current County administration fosters a business friendly environment?
Yes No No opinion
7.What do you think the County’s most important priorities should be for 2019? 

8.Are you considering leaving Westchester County in the next 1-3 years?
 Yes No Undecided
9.Any additional comments or questions that you have for our County Executive?
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WPCNR DOWNTOWN DAILY. From  Westchester County Industrial Development Agency (Edited) January 4, 2019:

Westchester County published details of the $46.9 million in tax incentives granted to 7 major developments, (one of which, The Broadstone has been started), in White Plains this week.

The County Industrial Development Agency has awarded the tax relief to–

The Broadstone,  $223.4 million, mixed-use development on the corner of Mamaroneck Avenue and East Post Road in White Plains, featuring 434 rental units in three buildings and 8,000 square feet of commercial/retail space. Twenty seven of the units will be affordable. The project is being developed by Lennar Multifamily Communities. Jobs created: 700 construction and 20 permanent. Total IDA incentives: $31.75 million.

440 Hamilton Avenue, a$203 million mixed-use development in downtown White Plains featuring 468 rental units in two towers and 2,240 square feet of commercial/retail space. Thirteen of the units will be affordable. Jobs created: 659 construction and 31 permanent. The developer is Rose Associates. Total IDA incentives: $5.02 million.

The Collection, a $136.2 million mixed-use development in White Plains consisting of 276 rental units in two buildings on Westchester and Franklin Avenues. Seventeen of the units will be affordable. The project, which is being developed by Saber Chauncey WP, will have 24,526 square feet of commercial/retail space. Jobs created: 250 construction and 91 permanent. Total IDA incentives: $3.35 million.

City Square, $146.5 million development transforming the former Westchester Financial Center in downtown White Plains into a mixed-use complex. The project, which is being developed by Ginsburg Development Companies, includes renovation of Class A office space at 50 Main Street, new restaurants and retail space along Main Street and Martine Avenue and conversion of the office building at 1-11 Martine Avenue into 188 rental apartments. Eleven of the apartments will be affordable. Jobs created: 300 construction and 15 permanent.  The office space retains 750 jobs. Total IDA incentives: $3.77 million.H

97-111 and 100-114 Hale Avenue, a $48.2 million rental project in White Plains featuring 127 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments in two buildings of seven and eight stories. Thirteen of the units will be affordable.  The developer is Hale WP Owner LLC whose members include Martin Berger of Saber Realty, the developer of The Collection in White Plains and the Rivertowns Square mixed-use retail complex in Dobbs Ferry.  The development will include various green building features including a green roof on both buildings. Jobs created: 180 construction and 15 permanent. Total IDA incentives: $1.16 million.

138-158 Westmoreland Avenue, a $19.3 million mixed-use development in White Plains, with 62 rental units, of which six will be affordable, and 4,300 square feet of commercial/retail space. Jobs created: 40 construction and 16 permanent. The developer is Westmoreland Lofts. Total IDA incentives: $867,000.

Tax incentives offered by the IDA include sales tax exemptions and mortgage recording tax deductions as well as tax-exempt bonds with interest rates lower than conventionsl debt. These benefits are provided at no cost to the tax payers of Westchester.

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RUDY COOMBS 44 years with Youth Shelter of Westchester is interviewed by John Bailey SATRUDAY NIGHT on White Plains TV’s PEOPLE TO BE HEARD AT 7 PM ON FIOS CH.45 and ALTICE CH. 76, or anytime on www.wpcommunitymedia.org. WPTV Photo by Diana Das

Mr. Coombs explores the impact of incarceration on teens from 16 to 25.

Explains how Youth Shelter of Westchester and the Eagle Academy turn youths around in the inner cities.

How the two organizations work with parents and the courts to rescue youth and have created graduates with great futures.

On This week’s PEOPLE TO HEARD, Westchester County’s Most Insightful Interview Program from White Plains TV

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The Most Significant School Budget White Plains has ever faced.

Schools Open. Board of Education Returns to 2019-2020 School Budget.

WPCNR SCHOOL DAY. News & Comment By John F. Bailey. January 2, 2019:

The Board of Education returns to action Monday with a presentation of the school long range budget plan to the Board Finance Committee.

The budget plan may take into account future possibilities of construction and upgrading of district buildings, or entire new buildings, or possible expanding enrollment.

At last look, the district demographic predictions do not foresee growth beyond the present enrollment of 7,245.  Nonetheless, every elementary school is virtually filled to capacity.

With the city of White Plains envisioning approximately 6,000 new apartments being added over the next five to 10 years, and despite builders’ claims the surge in apartments will not add significantly to school enrollment, the question has to be addressed:

If the enrollment goes up by 500 to a thousand new students reflecting new entry level students, should elementary schools be expanded by building additions?

Should faculty be expanded to keep class ratios 1 teacher to 22 as they stand now?

Should the district at long last establish an in-district school for the disabled, or classes for the severely disabled to alleviate the pressures of sending students to private facilities for the disabled that costs the district up well over $30,000 per student. 

Will the speed of technological change, mean a sharp increase in wi-fi and tech upgrading district-wide? These are expensive and relevant issues to consider.

As long as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s tax cap remains in effect, school district budgets will be held in check.

Had the tax cap not been in effect the last 8 years, the White Plains School Board, more frugal than most districts in Westchester, would most likely have grown to over $230 Million. This year the budget is $218.9 Million.

Last year the Governor’s education tax cap was 3%, however the White Plains City School District chose to keep growth in the budget to 2%, and the commensurate school property tax increase to 2.9%.

This year the tax cap may be higher. And, the school district has to negotiate a new contract with the White Plains Teachers Union, which will probably add a 3% increase in teacher salaries to the budget. This is a key year for the new Superintendent of Schools.

If the district increases the school budget by 4%, assuming a significant teacher settlement, this will take the school budget to $ 227 Million from the present $ 218.8.

A 5% budget increase (not unreasonable considering some of the potential needs I just mentioned at the top of this article), would put the budget at $230 Million.

Now school district may also consider another strategy of creating contingency funds devoted to certain district improvements  like technology upgrades, construction additions school-by-school, and significant faculty increases. 

Such a significant increase is definitely possible at this time  to comply with the New York Stated Education Department language other than English regulations which given the White Plains School District Dual Language strategy of growing the dual language expansion grade-by-grade each year appears a district strategy that is committed to at this time.

It is hard to believe the district will expand the budget by 5% approaching the levels of growth before the tax cap went into place. A 5% increase in the White Plains School Tax would cost the homeowner of a median homeowner approximately $500 more in taxes on the median priced $650,000 White Plains. And considerably more for homes priced over that $650,000 home.

If they keep the budget at a 2% growth rate the budget goe up $4.4 Million to $223.2 Million, a perhaps palatable 3% tax increase.  If they up the budget 3%, the total goes up $6,600,000 to $225.4 Million, and perhaps roughly a 4% property tax increase.

I am doing simple baseball statistics here to illustrate how much impact even the slightest increases in the budget inflate it.

The $6.6 Million increase in the budget should take care of some contingency funds as well as the teacher contract, and the start of whatever five year “Must Do” projects that the district sees forthcoming.

This is the year to do that:   to start to pay for the projects they think they need: bond issues? Construction plans? New tech? Dealing with demographic issues? Benefits?

The budget year 2019-2020 planning will be the most significant the City School District has ever done.

The creating and planning of the 2019-2020  is the most significant management,  budget creativity, negotiating and marketing task any Superintendent of Schools has ever  faced in White Plains.

Citizens wanting to follow the budget action closely and add input can do so on the following dates:

January 14, 2019: Presentation of the Long-Range Plan; Review of Budget Parameters.

February 11, 2019: Non-Instructional Budget for Facilities,Athletics, Technology, Transportaion

February 25, 2019: Instructional Budget Presentation (faculty)

March 11, 2019: Presentation of Preliminary Superintendent’s Budget

March 18, 2018: Budget work shop with Board of Education and Administration

April 8, 2019: Adoption of 2019-20 Budget and Property Tax Report Card

May 21, 2019: Budget Vote

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So you think 2018 was a bad year? Worse than 1814? Worse than 1830? Worse than 1859? 1861? 1865? 1894? 1917? 1929? 1941? 1968? 2001? Stay calm and keep living your life and think for yourself.

WPCNR MILESTONES. News and Comment by John F. Bailey. December 31, 2018:

1918 has been a bad year. But, but, but America has had bad years before. Much worse years.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, the British burned down the White House. Had we had today’s nation press and HNNs (Hysterical News Networks) I can imagine how commentators would say “The American nation is not going to last much longer, it’s only a matter of time before the former Tories return the colonies to England.” Well, that didn’t happen.

Prejudice, racial injustice unprecedented?  2018 compares little to 1830 when President Andrew Jackson, a known Indian-hater,  upon discovery of gold in North Georgia removed the Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole Indians and moved them to beyond the Mississippi on a march known as the “Trail of Tears.”

You think the federal courts and the Supreme Court is prejudiced now in 2018?  The Supreme Court of 1857 took up the case of Dred Scott a slave  who went to court to become a free man, having lived in Wisconsin a free state with his owner. The Court decided that, under the Constitution, Scott was his master’s property and was not a citizenof the United States. The Court also declared that the Missouri Compromise, which prohibited slavery in certain areas,unconstitutionally deprived people of property  their slaves. 

The Dred Scott decision was a serious blow to abolitionists, divided the country and lead to the next bad year: 1861 when the Civil War started. The Supreme Court than described as stacked with five southern judges, essentially ruled that Dred Scott was not a person, put property.

(Today’s Supreme Court has made an even more amazing decision they decided that corporations had the same rights as a person, allowing them to contribute any amount of sums to political parties and campaigns.)

1865: This was a year that started so well. The South had surrendered, ending the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln had been elected to a second term, the slaves had been freed. The stage was set for the nation to start anew eliminating the racism of the past. But Lincoln was killed. This lead to a rise of the Ku Klux Klan gangs of the south who murdered thousands Negroes in the South until President Grant prosecuted these vigilanties, jailing over a thousand Klansmen.

1894. Do you think 2018 is anti-union? There are movements to limit union-influence by our present Supreme Court and governors who should know better. But the robber barons of the 1880s and 1890s worked their employees 6 days a week, 12 hours a day.

In 1894, George Pullman hired Pinkertons to deal with striking workers who refused to work because Pullman cut their wages. A number of workers were killed by the Pinkertons and the strike spread nationally halting mail West of the Mississippi.

Federal troops were called out by President Grover Cleveland. Thirty striking workers were killed by troops and 57 injured across the nation. That was using federal troops against workers in support of a private corporation. Today, federal troops have not been used against American citizens yet.

1917: The United States abandoned isolationism and entered the First World War, which set the stage for the Second World War due to its punishments of Germany that lead to the rise of the infamous Adolf Hitler.

1929: The Great Crash started a severe 12 year Great Depression, the “recession” of 2008-2016 hardly compares. Significantly aggressive investments without merit or backing lead to both prolonged periods of misery for the every day citizen, with little punishment for the financially corrupt captains of industry.

1941: The United States was attacked by Japan and also declared war on Germany. A two front war which the U.S. had no idea they would win. But American citizens through themselves behind the war effort and pulled this conflict of all conflicts out. The present conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan hardly compare to what was at stake in World War II, but the U.S. failure to recognize the antagonism of Russia and China to our interests, influences on our elections, have to be dealt with, and the naivete of our present leader contribute to a threat to our way of life.

However, it is not the government responsibility to keep our data safe: it is the responsibility of the banks, the web giants and the networks to make sure their security is beefed up. American naivete and greed at the top continually neglect security.

1968: How bleak was it then? The Street riots in Detroit that burned down have the city. The riots outside the Chicago convention that culminated from the rising protests against the Vietnam war lead to an atmosphere of anarchy leading to a switch Richard Nixon as President, whose irresponsible compulsion to win at all costs, compromised and made him the only President to resign. Yes, 1968, a very bad time when America was against each other: Hawks vs. Doves, with the media cheering on the discord, and taking sides.

2001: A clear blue sky on a beautiful Tuesday and 9/11 happened out of the sky, entering America into two decades of conflict.

Now we enter 2019. Looking back at each of those years, we can see that America’s survival was in doubt in all of those years.

Today we live in a distracted society with a leader who is an expert at distracting us from issues we need to be thinking about. His ability to distract the public and influence them is unwittingly enabled by the media whose fragile egos are consistently pricked by his taunts, and they make the story the threats to their sovereignty as journalists.

Freedom of the press only survives if you use it. Just keep on pressing. You have to have a thick skin.

You need to simply ferret out facts and keep pursuing the dialogue. The minute you start feeling as a reporter that you know what the situation is, you’re lost. You don’t. They will lie to you.

When Drew Pearson was writing Washington Merry Go Round he was hated by every politician in Washington because he wrote what no other reporter or editor would dare write.  When Walter Winchell wrote against the danger of Hitler in the 30s, he was the only one doing it. Isolationists and industrialists in America warned against antagonizing Germany. The State Department did nothing to support the Jews in Germany, even though they were informed by the ambassador to Germany of how Jews were being persecuted in the mid-1930s.

The press today has to guard against spreading too wide a tent of “experts,” and “commentators.” They have to have as good reporters as the administration has spokespersons.

Kellyann Conway, who made the rounds of talk shows this weekend was devastatingly effective in polishing up the Trump position on the shutdown; his “success” in the economy; in pointing out the Democrats have “quit,” not being willing to negotiate. You cannot treat a seasoned public relations pro like Ms Conway by saying “that’s not true,” or “saying how can you say that?” 

In 30 seconds she had leveled three excellent planks for the 2020 Trump Campaign, Economy, Energy, Enterprise. The Democrats need to dishevel Ms. Conway. And simply not act bewildered.

The Democrats have been maneuvered into a corner and they are not coming out for “the bell.”

Killer Conway had the audacity to say with a straight confident voice on Bloomberg Radio that Trump was willing to compromise indicating the democrats would not. She is good. She is really good.

Trump is good. He is really good at selling the big lie. Scrapping it. And telling an exact opposite Big Lie. And the Bigger the Lie, the more you want to believe it’s true. He varies his lies with the reactions to previous lies. He plays you. Just as he plays the press.

How do we go about our daily lives against the hourly assault on our sense of well-being?

You have to keep an eye on the same tactics your local politicians are practicing. Just because they treat you nice, that does not mean they have your best interests at heart.

You should ask questions of school officials and local government officials, with the knowledge they will tell you what will ease your mind, so you have to maneuver them as they maneuver you. By trying to answer specific questions, if you are tough enough you may get them to start a task force and put you on the committee, or hold a meeting with your group

Inclusion of all stakeholders is a political technique to not change things too much.

I also think we need to concentrate on our families and bring them closer together.

Make more phone calls to relatives and you will be surprised after just a few moments how, no matter how much the person’s life style  may irritate you,you will find common ground.

Estranged from a distant sister? Call her up and tell her you’re sorry for not being more supportive and in touch and that is a start.

Put your troubles in perspective. You can deal with them.

The last day of the year and the first day of the next year are good times for discussing your personal issues and figuring out what things you could do to make things better. I am going to try and put all my dates and commitments on a overall calendar, the very day I make them. (I am always forgetting appointments.)

I found an old Apple TV box my wife thought was thrown out. I found it behind the Tv where it had obviously been knocked between TV and wall by a cat. This lead to a savings of $150 on a new box.

It also shocked my wife that I found a way to move the gigundus tv without disconnecting. This lead to giving my wife a project which she loves, accessing hard-to-access protocols by punching in passwords. She loves those puzzles. And she got it working. I pointed out how this was a successful joint project we had achieved. I wa smet with the usual eyebrow roll.

I also resolve never to upgrade to a new Wordmith version again. I am currently trying to figure that out.

So keep your focus locally go to more community meetings. Watch your politician’s achievements, and how much they really make your life better.

Read a newspaper. Follow my website and have lunches with friends more often.

Sample more craft beers. Discover vintage cocktails.

Do not watch news networks.

Go shopping to the supermarket with your spouse.

Go to more museums.

Live, do not live vicariously by watching television series.

Go to the theatre.

Go to baseball games.

Walk around New York City more.

It’s the greatest City in the world.

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www.wpcommunitymedia.org AND www.whiteplainsweek.com


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WPTV Photos by Diana Das















www.wpcommunitymedia.org anytime

Mike Witt in White Plains TV Control with John Bailey

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