The Thinker: Rich Galen

  
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The definition of the word mull.
Mullings by Rich Galen
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Happy Birthday, America

Rich Galen

Friday July 3, 2020

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    NOTE: This is a reprise of a column first written in 2009.

    ---

  • If you've ever watched PBS on July 4th, you know that, since 1981, your local affiliate has probably broadcast the "Capitol Fourth" program which is the concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol followed by the fireworks which are beyond the Washington Monument on the far end of the Smithsonian Mall.

  • This year, because of COVID-19, it will be a largely virtual event.

  • Alas.

  • Our first Fourth of July in Washington, DC was in 1978. The woman who would become the Mullings Director of Standards & Practices and I took our son, Reed, then a little over two-years-old, to the steps of the Jefferson Memorial where we met some friends to watch the fireworks.

  • In the manner of all way-off-the-charts-smart 27-month olds, Reed watched the fireworks and excitedly pronounced them "Boom Lights."

  • Twenty years later the MD of S&P and I watched them again. But, this time we were on the Balcony of the Capitol, guests of the Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. We could look down and watch the wonderful concert and feel the waves of joy from the thousands of people on the lawn between the stage the steps of the Capitol.

  • When the orchestra struck up the 1812 Overture, we looked up and watched the fireworks rising into the sky with Washington Monument silhouetted before them.

  • In those days I was the executive director of the Republican committee, GOPAC. A few days after that remarkable experience on Independence Day, I was on the phone with the Washington Bureau Chief of NBC News - Tim Russert. [Tim passed away in 2008.]

  • In the course of our discussion I mentioned the fact that my wife and I had been guests of the Speaker at the Capitol. I said that in even in 1998, there were precious few countries on the planet where the son of a Jewish upholsterer from Brooklyn could be on the balcony of one of the most important buildings in the world celebrating the America's birthday.

  • Tim was silent for a time and said he wanted to read me something. It turned out that he had been selected to be the Man-of-the-Year of the Buffalo, New York American Legion.

  • Russert was not a foolish man. He knew he had been named "Man-of-the-Year" so they could have a dinner that people in Buffalo would pay money to attend, thus raising money for the Buffalo American Legion at which his dad - Big Russ - spent a good deal of time. So, he happily accepted the honor.

  • He read to me his acceptance speech which was a recitation of his dad's biography. He had been a gunner on a B-17 in World War II. Been shot down. Been pulled from a burning plane by a Polish guy from Chicago. Had come home and gotten a job "humping potatoes at the Safeway" and then got the job of a lifetime.

  • Big Russ signed on with the Sanitation Department of the City of Buffalo.

  • By this time, we were reduced to two 50-something adult men sobbing along with one another on a telephone call.

  • It wasn't because we were depressed about how hard had been our ascents from our blue collar backgrounds.

  • We were sobbing - this Russian-Jewish son of an upholsterer and the Irish-Catholic son of a sanitation worker - because in America it just doesn't matter from whence you come. It only matters how hard you have been willing to work to get where you are now.

  • We'll watch the 2020 edition of "A Capitol Fourth" from our home in Alexandria, Virginia. The Lad, his wife, and their daughters will be watching from their home out West.

  • As you watch the program and wait for the boom lights; think about that conversation with Tim; then raise a glass to the memories of all those upholsterers and sanitation workers who passed along this great nation to their children, their grandchildren and, if you are as blessed as we have been, the Greatest Generation's great-grandchildren.

  • This may not be the least troubled Independence Day, but there is no place else I'd rather be.

  • Thank you, America. Happy Birthday.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Link to the PBS page "A Capitol Fourth," and to Tim Russert's biography.

  • The Mullfoto is appropriate to the holiday.

    --END --


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June 2020

06/31/20 - What Does He Know NOW?
06/26/20 - What a Week
06/19/20 - You, Sir
06/15/20 - Early Polling
06/12/20 - Separation Exhaustion
06/08/20 - Which Side Are You On?
06/01/20 - Kent State


May 2020

05/28/20 - 100,000
05/25/20 - Memorial Day - 2020
05/22/20 - Hydroxychlo - whatever
05/18/20 - The Circumstances of No Pomp
05/12/20 - Absolute Power Corrupts ...
05/05/20 - The Rise of Reed Galvin
05/01/20 - Get Used to It


April 2020

04/27/20 - Dying for a Haircut
04/24/20 - Shine a Light at the Night
04/21/20 - Ain't We Got Fun
04/17/20 - Re-Opening
04/13/20 - Cheerleader-in-Chief
04/09/20 - Biden vs Trump
04/06/20 - It Only Works When it Doesn't Matter


March 2020

03/30/20 - I'm Sailin' Right Behind
03/26/20 - 3.28 Million
03/23/20 - OK, Boomer
03/18/20 - Bye, Bye, Bernie
03/16/20 - Virus/Debate
03/12/20 - Bernie, Bernie, Bernie
03/09/20 - Coronavirus
03/04/20 - Super Tuesday
03/01/20 - Biden Wins Big


February 2020

02/26/20 - Debate #10
02/24/20 - Bernie!
02/20/20 - Debate #9 - Pregame
02/17/20 - Next Up: Nevada
02/10/20 - The Political Coriolis Effect
02/5/20 - Iowa, a State of the Union
02/3/20 - Big, BIG Week


January 2020

01/27/20 - Impeachment Trial - Day 5
01/24/20 - Impeachment Trial - Day 3
01/22/20 - Impeachment Trial - Day 1
01/16/20 - No Heat, No Light, No Debates
01/13/20 - Off the Ledge
01/09/20 - Off the Ledge
01/06/20 - Hard Questions; No Easy Answers
01/02/20 - Finally, the Election Year


December 2019

12/30/19 - Fifty Years Ago
12/25/19 - Christmas 2019 - Six Words
12/19/19 - Walk Time
12/16/19 - When You're a Jet You're a Jet all the Way
12/12/19 - Impeachment Moves Ahead
12/09/19 - Bulldozers and Airplanes
12/05/19 - Impeachment (Ver. 1,205,736)
12/02/19 - How Many More Democrats?
November 2019

11/21/19 - Political Ambassadors
11/18/19 - Impeachable? Maybe
                 Ugly? Absolutely

11/14/19 - And So it Begins
11/07/19 - Is Past, Prologue?
11/04/19 - One Year to Go


October 2019

10/31/19 - A Reason to Celebrate
10/21/19 - Doral
10/17/19 - Pennant
10/14/19 - Meanwhile, the Dems
10/09/19 - It's Government, but is it Good Government?
10/04/19 - Slow Down, You're Movin' Too Fast
10/01/19 - 2019 Subscription Drive


September 2019

9/30/19 - Main Event
9/26/19 - Impeachment - I
9/23/19 - Bullying Ukraine
9/16/19 - Iranian Drones
9/13/19 - Democratic Debate - III
9/12/19 - Boone
9/09/19 - NOT a Sharpie Column
9/03/19 - Aaaaand ... They're Off!


August 2019

8/29/19 - Back to School - 2019
8/26/19 - G7
8/22/19 - Rooting for Recession?
8/15/19 - Campaigning in Iowa - I
8/12/19 - Jeffrey Epstein is Dead
8/08/19 - It's Not All Trump's Fault
8/05/19 - Running with Trump
8/01/19 - The Democrats' Debate II


July 2019

7/29/19 - The Debate Effect
7/25/19 - The Mueller Hearings
7/22/19 - A Brief History of Technology
7/18/19 - Tranquility Base Here
7/15/19 - The Socialist Envelope
7/11/19 - Acosta
7/8/19 - Good Vibrations
7/4/19 - Happy Birthday, America
7/1/19 - Busy Times


June 2019

6/28/19 - The Democrats' Debate II
6/27/19 - Debates: High-Risk, Low-Reward
6/24/19 - Democrats' Dismay
6/20/19 - Crocodile Tears
6/17/19 - Deter, Safeguard, or Defend
6/10/19 - Military Service Fantasies
6/6/19 - Overlord
6/3/19 - California Dreamin'


May 2019

5/30/19 - Mueller Speaks
5/27/19 - Memorial Day - 2019
5/23/19 - A Clowder of Cats
5/20/19 - Spahn & Sain and Pray for Rain
5/16/19 - Then There Were 23
5/13/19 - Biden Widens His Lead
5/9/19 - That "I" Word Again
5/2/19 - Dems One - Barr None


April 2019

4/29/19 - Devotion to Socialism or Wanting to Win
4/25/19 - Requests, Demands, & Subpoenas
4/22/19 - Get Off the Impeachment Train
4/18/19 - Hung Jury
4/15/19 - Senior Citizenship
4/11/19 - Dis-Barred
4/8/19 - Kirstjen Nielsen: You're Fired
4/1/19 - April ... Ah, You Know


March 2019

3/28/19 - Opening Day 2019
3/25/19 - That's Over. Nothing's Changed.
3/21/19 - Why?
3/18/19 - Those Iowa Caucuses
3/14/19 - Cheating
3/11/19 - Democrats and Socialism
3/7/19 - Gone Fishing
3/4/19 - Just Walk Away, Don J.


February 2019

2/28/19 - Michael Cohen Speaks
2/25/19 - Managing Expectations
2/21/19 - The Mueller Report (1)
2/18/19 - Presidents I have Known
2/14/19 - Enough, Already, with the Wall
2/11/19 - Gals-Gals-Gals
2/6/19 - SOTU - 2019
2/4/19 - Blackface


January 2019

1/31/19 - Disrupter
1/28/19 - It Ain't Over
1/24/19 - Polling the Shutdown
1/21/19 - The Shutdown Offer
1/17/19 - The Fixer Fixed the Polls
1/14/19 - Pelosi Can't Afford a Wall
1/9/19 - Nine Minutes
1/7/19 - Relevance
1/3/19 - Shutdown


December 2018

12/27/18 - Trump in Iraq - 90 Points
12/24/18 - Christmas 2018 - Six Words
12/20/18 - The "I" Word - II
12/17/18 - The Nay-C-A
12/13/18 - The "I" Word
12/10/18 - Close, but No Cigar
12/6/18 - A State Funeral
12/3/18 - H.W.


November 2018

11/29/18 - The Election of 2018 is Over
11/22/18 - Thanksgiving 2018 - Rainbow Shiny
11/19/18 - January 3
11/16/18 - I was Right, This Time
11/12/18 - The War to End All ...
11/08/18 - Elections? What Elections.
11/05/18 - And ... Down the Stretch They Come
11/01/18 - Steve King


October 2018

10/29/18 - On Being Jewish
10/25/18 - Simultaneous Bombs
10/22/18 - Permanent Final Week
10/18/18 - Oil Without Saudi
10/15/18 - 45750
10/8/18 - Moderates?
10/4/18 - That Blue Tsunami
10/2/18 - End Game
10/1/18 - The 2018 Subscription Drive


September 2018

9/28/18 - The Kavanaugh/Ford Hearing
9/24/18 - Supreme Court
9/20/18 - Razor's Edge
9/17/18 - Statute of Limitations
9/13/18 - A Poll Dump
9/10/18 - Whodunit?
9/6/18 - Senate Judiciary Hearings
9/3/18 - Back to School - 2018


August 2018

8/30/18 - Monkey Around
8/27/18 - We Make History
8/23/18 - The I-Word
8/20/18 - Zero Shades of Grey
8/16/18 - 82 Days & Counting
8/13/18 - Stiffing a SCIF
8/9/18 - Ohio-12
8/6/18 - A Tweet Storm
8/2/18 - Audiences, Crowds, and Mobs


July 2018

7/30/18 - Good Numbers, Bad Numbers
7/26/18 - Putin isn't Coming
7/23/18 - Trump's Brove Affairs
7/19/18 - The ServPro President
7/16/18 - CNN is Not an Enemy of the People
7/12/18 - America's Resting Face
7/9/18 - SCOTUS Pick
7/4/18 - Happy Birthday, America
7/2/18 - Ghostbusters


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