Early Spring in NY 3-22-10

Early Spring in New York City

March 22, 2010

Richard J. Garfunkel

 

We had great fun staying at the Manhattan Club at 200 West 56th Street. It’s a large time-sharing edifice and our room had a wonderful king-sized bed, two bathrooms, a living room and a kitchenette. It was just perfect for our needs

 

I drove into the City in the late afternoon. I did a few errands and met Linda at her office on 55th Street. I parked the car a few blocks over, we checked in, brought our gear upstairs, and made our way out to Columbus Circle late that afternoon. We bought part of our dinner, some shrimp with dill, mushrooms, clam chowder, salad, olives, and cold tortellini at Whole Foods, in the Time-Warner Building on Columbus Circle. Columbus Circle features the statue of Christopher Columbus standing at the apex of a large imposing obelisk, and for all of you out-of-towners, it sits at the south western corner of Central Park. So after standing on an incredible line, which electronically steered us to a myriad of cash registers, we settled our bill, sauntered out into the warm early evening air and made our way back to our suite. Along with some food I brought from Tarrytown and Linda carried over from her office, we ate heartily.

 

The next morning, after a very sound sleep, we were out and about the West Side of NY. We headed again to Columbus Circle, walked north on Broadway, and headed east to Central Park West to the New York Historical Society, where they were hosting a year-long Abraham Lincoln exhibit, which has been on view in since the bicentennial of his birth (1809) and the 150th anniversary of his election in 1860. In front of the Historical Society were a group of men dressed as Confederate soldiers, and I told him of my visit to Richmond’s White House of the Confederacy back in 1957.

 

After touring the incredibly detailed exhibit and going up to the top floor, where they had a small display of FDR’s 1933 early economic advisors (The Brain Trust), we headed west to Zabar’s, a most unique NYC institution. Zabar’s, for all that do not know, is a fabulous delicatessen that features terrific cheeses, smoked fish (lox, Nova Scotia salmon, white fish, etc.), cured meats (salamis, hams, corned beef, pastrami, and much, much more), spectacular breads and other wonderful delicacies. We loaded our basket, paid our bill, and headed back to the Manhattan Club for lunch.

 

After lunch we headed back out to the beautiful and unprecedented weather. We headed south on 7th Avenue bearing east towards Rockefeller Center to see if the skating rink at 50th and 5th was still functional. Even with the 80 F sun beating down on the watery ice, there were skaters doing their loops, pirouettes and glides. The rink had thousands of spectators, and after a slight respite we then headed over to Times Square where more multitudes were people-watching, buying discount theater tickets and awaiting the start of their matinees. Times Square has two great statues of NY legends, George M. Cohan, the theatrical impresario of the first 3rd of the 20th Century and Father Francis Duffy, one of the heroes of NY’s 69th Regiment (The All-American Rainbow Division).

George Michael Cohan was an individual who became the stuff theatrical legends are made of, and he himself made up some of the legends himself! George M. Cohan was not the oldest of the five that I have selected, but he probably made the earliest impact.

Cohan's baptismal certificate — which is his only written birth record — verifies that he was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 3rd, 1878 (died 1942). However, Cohan's family unfailingly insisted that George and his country shared birthdays on the 4th. Although noted for their honesty and knowledge of the calendar, the Cohans were traveling actors and had to make connections all of the time, but certainly found it hard to resist the publicity value of a performer (their son) being born on the Fourth of July. 

Cohan changed the definition of a Broadway leading man. He danced with a style and grace that defied Newton’s Laws, while maintaining that leading man look! In a way he created a unique look that had never been seen before or since. Cohan's dance routines covered the whole stage, even sending him climbing up the side of a wall into a back flip.

There was no other performer, songwriter or playwright like Cohan at that time. Before the emergence of Al Jolson, one could have easily called him the “world’s greatest entertainer. Most veterans of the theater and critics were not sure how to react to his overwhelmingly sincere combination of flag-waving and sentiment bordering on mawkishness and showmanship.

In the early 1960s, a statue of George M. Cohan was erected in the center of Times Square, at the intersection of Broadway and 47th Street. Crowds pass the base of that statue every day, and most pay little if any attention to it. But the visage of the man who once “owned Broadway” still gazes down the street to which he dedicated his life. In a neighborhood caught in an ongoing vortex of upheaval, Cohan's monument provides a much-needed visible link with the past. George M. Cohan became and remained the consummate Irish-American entertainer of his day. He was patriotic and was the embodiment of assimilation from the old world to the new.

Father Duffy, as he was known to almost all New Yorkers in the first quarter of the 20th Century and George M. Cohan also share the distinction of having their statues in Broadway’s theater district. Interestingly, James Cagney had a leading role in both film treatments about Duffy and Cohan.

Already famous in theological circles, Duffy gained wider fame for his involvement as a military chaplain during World War I when the 69th New York (The Fighting 69th) was federalized again and re-designated the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment. When the unit moved up to the front in France, Duffy accompanied the litter bearers in recovering the wounded and was always seen in the thick of battle.

Duffy went far beyond the actions of a normal cleric. The regiment was composed primarily of New York Irish immigrants and the sons of Irish immigrants, and many wrote later of Duffy's inspirational leadership. Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur, the commander of his division, admitted later that Duffy was very briefly considered for the post of regimental commander. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal, the Conspicuous Service Cross (New York State), the Légion d'honneur (France), and the Croix de guerre. Father Duffy is the most highly decorated cleric in the history of the U.S. Army.

From Times Square we headed to Bryant Park and the New York Public Library. Bryant Park, once a horrible place, a former hangout for drug addicts and once nicknamed “Needle Park,” is now a wonderful place to sit down, relax, have a bite to eat, and enjoy nature in one of the busiest parts of NYC.

After walking across the park, we stopped at its Carousel, watching children enjoying their $2 rides, and then walked around to the front of the library and headed north up 5th Avenue. We first stopped at my great friend Alan Rosenberg’s office on the corner of 45th and 5th Avenue. Its tax season, so I assumed correctly that Alan would be there working on his client’s books. He was. After a short and always pleasant visit we head up the avenue to Linda’s office on 55th Street off Madison Avenue. We got a drink up there, washed our hands, and on the way back to 5th Avenue we met a Charlesbank associate who was down from Boston, visiting in New York with his wife and young baby. That was a nice coincidence.

On our way back to the Manhattan Club, we passed the famous Carnegie Hall. (The famous NYC question and answer, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice!” So it was back to our rooms, we relaxed a bit, put up out tired feet that had walked miles, and watched some March Madness on our flat screen television sets.

We were expecting our friends, Norman and Sandy Liss, who arrived at eight o’clock. After our welcomes, we had a bottle of wine and some great cheeses from Zabar’s. At eight-thirty we were off to Patsy’s, which is on 56th Street, only a block away. Patsy’s has wonderful Italian food, and after appetizers of fried calamari and baked stuff clams arregandata, Norman and I enjoyed a terrific tortellini with Bolognese sauce. Sandy had calves livers cacciatora, and Linda had grilled chicken breast tre colore.

It was a great meal, we had a wonderful time, and by eleven o’clock we had been all talked out. So, after a day of eating, hiking all around the city, enjoying the exceptional weather, we collapsed. Sunday morning came very quickly and we went to an invitation only, time-sharing sales meeting. It is hard to turn down a $50 gift certificate for lunch and a $100 Visa card, so we endured the unendurable. In actuality it was a learning experience. We learned that for $50,000 and a yearly maintenance of $2200, one could own a week at the Manhattan Club. It wasn’t too hard to turn that offer down. But, as PT Barnum once sagely said, “There is a sucker born every minute.”

Since there was a half-marathon being run in New York and another parade getting off somewhere else, traffic was too heavy to drive around aimlessly. We headed back to Zabar’s for some more bread on our way uptown. After securing a loaf of seeded rye bread, we turned right onto 79th Street, merged into the West Side Highway, and were home in 35 minutes.  Another great trip was sealed away in my travel journal

Letter on the Supreme Court and FDR 3-10-11

The Supreme Court in the 1930's was dominated by “aged” corporate lawyers who were stultifying needed reform initiated by the New Deal. When law after law was being overturned by being ruled unconstitutional, FDR proposed the the Judicial Re-organization bill. This initiative dealt will reform and overhaul of all levels of the federal judiciary. Historically there was no constitutionally authorized number for the amount of justices. Over the years it had varied. FDR may have been too bold with his action, but as the Chief Executive of the land, action was needed to reverse the affects of the Great Depression. In fact, it may of worked if Majority Leader Joe Robinson hadn't died early in the process. But, in the long run, another Justice Roberts, named Owen switched his vote in the West Coast Hotel v. Parrish Case in 1937. From that change came the oft repeated line, “a switch in time saved nine.” FDR got the last lasugh because almost all the judges resigned with in a few years. Maybe when Roberts switched sides, the other obstructionist judges; McReynolds, Van Devanter, Butler, and Sutherland decided to resign. The recent court ruling that will allow unlimited corporate contributions to political campaigns could be another blow to our electoral process. On top of the courts' rulings that allow individuals to give unlimited sums to their own campaigns, there will be more escalation in our insanely expensive elections. President Obama was right to express indignation. The whole process is out of control, and spending limitations, along with the consideration of federal term limits, should be passed and accepted by the courts.

 

The Death of Henry Wittenberg 3-11-10

The Death of Henry Wittenberg

http://mobile.nytimes.com/article?a=562367&f=31

I met the great and legendary Henry Wittenberg though my wonderful friend, teacher, and mentor, the late Henry Littlefield. He introduced me to him at the New York Athletic Club in the early 1960’s and I later met him 40 years later at the 92nd Street Y, when I attended a forum on Olympic champions with my great Mount Vernon buddy Alan Rosenberg, who many of you know.

I walked up and introduced myself to Coach Henry Littlefield in the AB Davis HS gym in the fall of 1961. Coach Littlefield, I quickly learned, was an outstanding collegiate wrestler for Columbia and a member of the Class of 1954. I had been at the Horace Mann School the year before, and met Gus Peterson, the long-time and elderly trainer for all of Horace Mann’s teams. Since I played three sports at Horace Mann, basketball, baseball, and soccer, I came in frequent contact with Coach Peterson, who was easily in his mid to late 70’s in 1959. I later learned that he had been Columbia’s wrestling coach from 1915 to 1945. Therefore, when I heard Coach Littlefield mention the “Peterson Roll” I asked him whether that wrestling move had anything to do with Gus Peterson. He then related to me all about Peterson’s career and his illustrious place in the history of amateur wrestling. (The roll was indeed named after Peterson!)

Henry Wiitenberg was an outstanding wrestler ay CCNY (City College) in the late 1930’s and their chief rival was Columbia. He told me that one summer he had competed in an AAU sanctioned wrestling meet, and in those days, and even up until the 1970’s, the rivalry between both athletic governing bodies was quite vicious and self-defeating. Even President Kennedy had asked former General of the Army Douglas MacArthur to intervene and bring peace between the warring bodies. I am not sure that Henry even knew that competing in this event would jeopardize his collegiate eligibility. The next year, right before the Columbia-CCNY match, Coach Peterson challenged his eligibility and he was forced to withdraw from the match and the team for the academic year. Obviously this was a bitter blow to Henry and his career.

Later on, after sitting out a year of college wrestling, he was able to compete again. Because of World War II, the Olympic Games were suspended until the Helsinki Games of 1948. Before the Olympic Trials, Henry, who had been undefeated for many, many years, seriously injured his ankle. He was really beside himself and quite concerned that he would not be able to compete. He was already 29 years old, and he felt that he may not have another opportunity. In discussing his problem with a friend and wrestling colleague, he complained that he didn’t know how to re-habilitate his injured ankle. His friend recommended that he call Gus Peterson, who was known to be one of the greatest trainers in the country. Henry told him that he couldn’t call Petersen, because he hated him and then told him about the incident that had happened many years before. The friend convinced him to call Coach Peterson and that he was sure Peterson could be of some help. Henry called Peterson, and to his surprise, Peterson was quite friendly and certainly wanted to help him with his injury. They were able to get together quite quickly. Peterson massaged his ankle daily, administered his own style of therapy and before long Henry’s ankle was in excellent shape. He competed in the trials and went on to win the Gold Medal in Helsinki.

I later spoke to Henry Wittenberg after he moved to Somers, NY. I called him after I had read a major feature on him in the Journal News and I reminded him of our earlier meetings. Henry Wittenberg was quite gracious and we had a long and memorable talk. He was a genuine upfront American hero, who fought for his ideals, was a victim of McCarthyism and always stood his ground. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Richard J. Garfunkel

Comment's on “FDR's deadly Secret” 3-10-11

 

Comments on FDR’s Deadly Secret,

“A Speculation on the Sickness and Death of FDR”

Richard J. Garfunkel

March 10, 2010

 

I just finished reading Dr. Steven Lamozow’s and Eric Fetterman’s book, FDR’s Deadly Secret. The authors speculate, without the access to probably over 90% of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s health records that he suffered from an incurable cancer, and covered up this fact from as early as 1940. They have speculated that FDR’s suffered from a metastasized Melanoma, which had evolved from a lesion over his left eye. They believe that the Melanoma developed into brain and stomach cancer, which affected the sight in his left eye and his digestive system. They build this case by investigating the supposed contradictions regarding testimony by his personal doctor, Rear Admiral Ross T. McIntire, who was recommended to him by Admiral Cary T. Grayson, who had become very close to the new president, and Dr. Howard Bruenn, FDR’s heart specialist. They explore deeply FDR’s available medical history, and they reveal again a great deal of the investigative material developed by Dr. Harry Goldsmith in his book, A Conspiracy of Silence, the Health and Death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Dr. Goldsmith, whom I met at Hyde Park in June of 2008, was a guest on my radio program on August 13, 2008, and that program can be accessed at http://advocates-wvox.com .

 

I found their book incredibly depressing, one-sided, intrusive, and bordering on revisionist history. As an historical document it regurgitates many facts and opinions that have been have been stated and speculated upon for decades. With regards to President Roosevelt’s health, their conclusions regarding his performance in office were often one-sided and fraught with political hyperbole. In truth, there is no evidence that even with his declining health, any history would have changed. Few other accounts of the time, articles written by friend and critic, books on the FDR’s life and times, and personal observances seem to agree with their evaluation of his conduct in the long period from 1940 until late 1944.

As to FDR’s physical condition, there is no doubt that he was diagnosed and treated for hypertension, he was under unbelievable stress, medical knowledge of lowering blood-pressure was primitive, and both the campaign effort of 1944 and the trip to the Crimean Conference at Yalta were incredibly draining. It is no secret that he was not well, but all the reports of his effort at Yalta or his meeting with Ibn Saud, on the USS Quincy, indicated that he was quite sharp and alert. He certainly understood the reality the Zionists faced regarding the intransigence of the Saudis. When he asked about the Jewish settlers’ amazing progress in “blooming” the desert, Saud indicated that this was irrelevant to him, as he was a simple Bedouin, and the development of agriculture meant little or nothing to his tribal people.

In fact, from the Quebec Conference, in August of 1943, with Winston Churchill, and MacKenzie King, and the Tehran Conference in December of 1943, FDR was completely in charge and every report from the participants, along with the newsreels of those events, reflect his vigor. These facts seem to be quite different then the information provided in the Lamozow-Fetterman book.

In Mostly Morgenthau and Closest Companion, there seems to be little confirmation of the author’s conclusion about FDR’s health impacting his work until Dr. Howard Bruenn’s early 1944 consultation regarding FDR’s hypertension. There is no doubt that FDR had a long history of sinus-related illnesses and there is ample evidence that he was highly susceptible to upper respiratory infections. He did contract infantile paralysis at an advanced age for infection (39 years old) with the polio virus. At the time of his contraction of polio, no others on Campobello Island or the adjacent areas of Maine off the Bay of Fundy contacted the disease.  He also was constantly battling influenza. But during that period of history many people succumbed to influenza. Many people, less physically strong than FDR, were debilitated by influenza. This debilitation affected their long-term immune systems, and many died of cardio-vascular disease. Certainly smoking, which FDR did, and alcohol consumption, affected the health profile negatively of millions of Americans.

With regards to FDR’s secrecy about his health, he was not much different from any one else. In fact, he was not much different from every president from Grover Cleveland to George W. Bush. It is interesting that Dwight Eisenhower had a massive heart attack in 1948 that was covered up by his doctors. Obviously the stress from his responsibilities during World War II and his post-war assignments, along with his 5-pack a day cigarette habit contributed to his attack at age 58. If it would have been known that he had a heart condition, he would have never been nominated in 1952, only four years later. As it has been well documented, Eisenhower’s eight year administration was fraught will illness, and he was much sicker that period of time than FDR’s almost 13 years. With all the health problems of his first term; a heart attack, severe depression and bowel obstruction surgery, he decided to run again for election. His second term was a disaster and he suffered from a stroke in 1957 and the start of gall bladder disease. FDR’s 3rd term was much more successful than the 2nd term of any president in American history up until Bill Clinton.

As to whether Admiral McIntire was incompetent or incredibly engaged is also basically irrelevant. Obviously the truth is always somewhere in the middle. Dr, McIntire was an Ear Nose and Throat specialist and he treated FDR, who had a long history of sinus and upper chest infection and illness. Therefore, he fulfilled his basic assignment. When FDR showed signs of circulatory problems and hypertension, he brought in Dr. Howard Bruenn who affectively treated FDR until his untimely death.

As to keeping his health information private, FDR knew who his opponents were and how vicious their tactics and actions could be. There are unlimited examples of their efforts, innuendos, lies, fabrications and character assassination for the sake of political gain. It seems that the authors relied upon the words and files of reporter and columnist Walter Trohan, the Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity of his day. FDR got along quite well with Trohan, even though he worked for the Chicago Tribune, and the author’s admitted that he was probably the source of much disinformation and under-handed criticism of the president. There is no doubt that FDR’s political enemies, not unlike the right-wingnuts of today, would use any edge to bring down his administration. FDR had an obligation to his millions of supporters who supported wholeheartedly his ideas and policies.

With regards to FDR’s mental condition and attention span, there is very little evidence of any real decline until the last few months of his life. With regards to the Russians, it was Churchill’s trip to the Soviet Union, and his meeting with Stalin, which reflected the type of singular diplomacy that FDR wished to avoid right up to the end of his life. He felt that individual action by Britain or the United States, with regards to the Russians, would weaken the Allied cause, and cause long-term misunderstandings. He also wanted Stalin to understand a western solidarity. Churchill’s meeting with Stalin on October 8, 1944, reflected compromises without the President’s consent. It was Churchill who was making concession in Eastern Europe to protect British interests in the Mediterranean and the Balkans. It was Churchill who eventually appeased the Russians with regards to the future of Poland, and the fate of the “London Poles.” Roosevelt refused to be bound by whatever was agreed to between Churchill and Stalin. Therefore, his health never impaired his judgment regarding continued Allied solidarity or Russian territorial hegemony. As to Churchill’s meeting with Stalin, he never told FDR specifically what had occurred. He cabled FDR on the 11th of October, and stated,”We have found an extraordinary atmosphere of good will here.” Those were Churchill’s words not FDR or Alger Hiss speaking creating policy for the United States.

The author’s seem to intimate that FDR was completely worn down by his NYC campaign effort, where he traveled around the city in a cold rain for many hours. Obviously this effort would have worn down any one, especially a man suffering from an enlarged heart, hypertension and arteriosclerosis. But what they conveniently forgot to mention was that FDR spoke that evening to 2000 members of the Foreign Policy Association in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. He made a rousing campaign address referring to the differentiation between the sensible Republicans, who had supported his effort to re-arm and prepare the country for war, and the majority of know-nothing Republicans who had opposed all of his efforts. He especially mentioned his Republican secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, who was in the audience. It was a forceful, impressive and successful speech, which puts a lie to the author’s assertion that FDR could not read a page accurately because of a tumor blocking his left side vision.

A few days later he went to Shibe Park in Philadelphia and also drove around the city for over two hours. At Shibe Park, in front of a standing-room crowd, he spoke forcefully about how every battleship in Admiral Halsey’s titanic 3rd Fleet was authorized between 1933 and 1938. He also mentioned that all but 2 of Halsey’s cruisers were also authorized between 1933 and 1940. He added that less than three months before the German attack on Poland, Republican members of Congress voted 144 to 8 in favor of cutting FDR’s appropriation for the Army Air Corps (US Air Force). This so-called sickly, non-attentive, out of touch leader went onto Chicago the next day, and spoke in front of 100,000 partisan supporters at Soldier’s Field.

The relevant facts about Yalta would or could not have been any different, regardless of their speculation on FDR’s health. Even though Churchill’s doctor, Lord Moran, understood and observed FDR’s health profile quite well, there is not one iota of evidence that FDR was not aware of the realities we faced with the Soviet Union. The author’s inference that Alger Hiss (page 168) had something to do with so-called concessions to the Soviet Union is specious. The case of Alger Hiss has never been conclusive and when it came to foreign policy, vis-à-vis the war, there is no evidence that Hiss was leaning towards or aiding the Russians.

Their quote by translator Charles Bohlen, is also ridiculous. FDR was dealing with the reality of the conditions on the ground, and the need for help regarding the Pacific War. American Intelligence agencies estimated (probably incorrectly) that there were 2 million Japanese troops in Manchuria available for defense of the home islands. The Kwantung Army’s numbers were way over-estimated. However, as the war situation began to deteriorate, and without the knowledge of Allied analysts, for the Imperial Japanese Army on all fronts, the huge, well-trained and well-equipped Kwangtung Army, could no longer be held in strategic reserve. Many of its front line units were systematically stripped of their best units and equipment, which were sent south against the forces of the United States in the Pacific Islands or the Philippines. Other units were sent south into China for Operation Ichi-Go. Therefore dependence on the Soviet Union’s intervention in the war with Japan seemed quite necessary from the western perspective. According to the Yalta agreement, 90 days after the conference, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan.

In reality the Soviet Union fulfilled all of its treaty obligations up until the end, and with regards to Yalta, little was gained by the Soviet Union, and they conceded that they failed to get any substantive advantages above what they had already achieved.

Key points of the meeting are as follows:

  • There was an agreement that the priority would be the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. After the war, Germany would be split into four occupied zones.
  • Stalin agreed that France might have a fourth occupation zone in Germany and Austria but it would have to be formed out of the American and British zones.
  • Germany would undergo demilitarization and denazification.
  • German reparations were partly to be in the form of forced labor. (see also Forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union). The forced labor was to be used to repair damage Germany inflicted on its victims.
  • Creation of a reparation council which would be located in Russia.
  • The status of Poland was discussed. It was agreed to reorganize the communist Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland that had been installed by the Soviet Union “on a broader democratic basis.”
  • The Polish eastern border would follow the Curzon Line, and Poland would receive territorial compensation in the West from Germany.
  • Churchill alone pushed for free elections in Poland.[7] The British leader pointed out that UK “could never be content with any solution that did not leave Poland a free and independent state“. Stalin pledged to permit free elections in Poland, but eventually never honored his promise.
  • Citizens of the Soviet Union and of Yugoslavia were to be handed over to their respective countries, regardless of their consent.
  • Roosevelt obtained a commitment by Stalin to participate in the United Nations.
  • Stalin requested that all of the 16 Soviet Socialist Republics would be granted United Nations membership. This was taken into consideration, but 14 republics were denied.
  • Stalin agreed to enter the fight against the Empire of Japan within 90 days after the defeat of Germany.
  • Nazi war criminals were to be hunted down and brought to justice.
  • A “Committee on Dismemberment of Germany” was to be set up. Its purpose was to decide whether Germany was to be divided into six nations. Some examples of partition plans are shown below:

Of course this is not an argument against whether FDR was ailing, whether he knew what his long and short turn prognosis was, or what ultimately caused his death. He certainly had lost weight, he certainly had problems with his circulatory system, and he certainly was suffering from the affects of stress. His active schedule, with his obvious limitations caused by his lower body paralysis, affected his overall health. All of that is undeniable. Could he have suffered over the last few years of his life from various Transcendental Ischemic Attacks, or TIAs, which affected his speech? I am sure no one will ever really know. The knowledge of TIAs and their affect on the brain was still way off in the future. Did FDR and his doctors keep his medical history private, and possibly secret? I am sure he and they did. Did he do it to protect himself from his political enemies? That is certainly possible. One cannot remove from one’s thinking that FDR was a highly secretive man, who trusted few people, and had a long career marked by a high level of discretion. In fact, his White House filing system was divided into three sets of files, and all of his personal documents were divided so that not one secretary or filing clerk could read the whole document. The authors’ seem to want to convince us that FDR was completely in control of his health, that he knew of his fatal condition, that he misled America and his supporters, and that he was unable to perform his job in the last two years of his life. They go from being medical researchers and detectives, to historical critics. I believe their conclusions are unsubstantiated and colored by their pre-conceived political perspective. Up until the very end, there is no doubt that FDR was tired, worn down, and ailing, but any thought that his leadership or mind was affected is, from my perspective, political slander.

 

 

 

 

The Advocates 3-10-10

Wednesday, March 10, 2010, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting my show, The Advocates on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  My guests are Britton Manasco, and Dr. Lewis J. Perelman.

Our subject will be a two-part program: the role of government; what it must or must not do, what it can achieve, what if it fails, what are our best realistic hopes for the future and how these limitations or potentialities fit in with President Obama’s initiatives.

Britton Manasco is based in Austin, Texas and is executive director of the Liberated Minds Institute (www.liberatedminds.org), a think tank and research firm that focuses on raising the entrepreneurial and financial IQ of the young. LMI is a clearinghouse and an information resource, which draws on the best minds, models and tool-sets regarding entrepreneurialism and economic education for teens and young adultsManasco also is a former journalist who has written for the New York Times , the Economist , Harvard Business Review , Far Eastern Economic Review , Business China , and Reason Magazine .  Britton Manasco, Founder and Principal, Manasco Marketing Partners ph: 512-301-4881; cell: 512-415-7936,

email: Britton@ManascoMarketing.com web: ManascoMarketing

His blog is Illuminating the Future and sign up for Elevation Quarterly

 

Lewis J. Perelman is a Washington-DC policy and management consultant. He received his bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics from the City College of New York, and went on to study space and planetary physics at Columbia University and Harvard University.  He later earned his doctoral degree in administration, planning, and policy from Harvard, where his studies focused on sustainable economic development.

 

Dr. Perelman has over thirty years of professional experience focused on the processes of innovation, sustainability, and resilience—as a consultant, analyst, author, publisher, and teacher.   His clients have included nonprofit organizations, businesses from small start-ups to major corporations, and public agencies from the local to international levels.  He has held senior positions in several research institutes and think tanks, and is currently a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Regulatory Science in Alexandria, VA.  Dr. Perelman has been author, contributor, or editor of 12 books and over 100 other publications, including his best-selling book School's Out.

 

Recently, as a consultant to several associations, research institutes, and public agencies, Dr. Perelman has been working on the needs for technology and infrastructure development related to energy, climate, and national security issues.

 

Meanwhile, the mission of The Advocates is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy” issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow.

 

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. All of the archived shows can be found at: http://advocates-wvox.com.  Next week WVOX will be devoted to its annual Saint Patrick’s Day forum and celebration, and on March 24th, I will be talking with author Andrew Valentine about the “Power of Myth in our Culture, and how it Affects Public Policy Thinking.”

 

A Wedding in South Beach, Port Lucaya and Dancers from Funland 3-5-10

A Wedding in South Beach, Port Lucaya and Dancers from Finland

March 5, 2010

Richard J. Garfunkel

 

It was an uneventful flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport on Jet Blue to Fort Lauderdale. I alternated reading Dr. Steven Lamozow and Eric Fetterman’s book on FDR’s sickness and death and our personal television. Now that’s flying. We have rarely flown into Fort Lauderdale Airport, but it is much closer to Weston, our ultimate location, and we had to eventually return our rental car back to Fort Lauderdale, because we were going to fly to Freeport on Grand Bahama Island from there.

 

Meanwhile the airport was incredibly crowded with people returning from winter holidays and because some flights were starting to back up because of poor weather in the Midwest. This weather would eventually get to Tarrytown, our home town, and our neighborhood would receive over 21 inches of snow.

 

The lines for the rental car jitney, and the Avis counter were monumental, but Linda’s excellent planning included applying for an Avis Preferred Customer card. Did that come in handy! We not only got to the head of the line, but wound up getting a brand new Infinity. What a powerful car! We headed up to Weston on route I-595 and it wasn’t too long before we were comfortably ensconced in our suite at the Mizner Estates.

 

We were also able to attend the marriage of Barry and Jill Reed’s daughter Dahlia to Paul Levine, at the landmark Temple Emanu-El Synagogue on Washington Street in South Beach. It was a lovely ceremony and the bride looked beautiful and the groom was handsome and charming. The Reeds looked great and I was able to see their families once again. I had met Barry, who was originally from Mount Vernon, actually when I was in college. He was a good friend and neighbor of my old buddy Lew Perelman. But he had moved out of Mount Vernon to New City in our sophomore years at AB Davis High School, and I actually met one of his older brothers before I met him a few years later. The ceremony went well, the food was great and we were able to be home before 11 pm.  

 

Through the next week we enjoyed some sunning, a lot of tennis at the great Weston municipal har-tru courts, and some beach time in Fort Lauderdale. We walked up and down Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard, along the windy boardwalk in Hollywood, where all the French-Canadians hang out, and a wonderful antique car museum in Fort Lauderdale. The late Arthur O. Stone, who died at age 89 a few weeks ago, assembled a great collection of 32 antique, pristine Packards. They were marvelous, and some are valued in hundreds of thousands of dollars. If one likes beautiful automotive works of art, go visit the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum at 1527 SW 1st Avenue. Arthur Stone, who started his collection in the 1940’s, also was an avid disciple of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and has a whole room devoted to memorabilia dedicated to the world’s greatest leader.

 

We spent some time with our friends Barbara and Roland Parent. Barbara and I have known each other since our days at ABDavis/MVHS where she was the top cheerleader and I was one of her great fans. Roland, a former merchant marine officer, and a partner of a consortium of ship’s pilots at Port Everglades, is retired these days, and builds exquisitely accurate models of maritime ships. They are museum quality, and he has created another career building ships for grateful clients.

 

We all went out to dinner at the St. Tropez, a French Bistro, on Las Olas Boulevard. We enjoyed wine, onion soup, salmon, casseroles, and steak. After the food and drink we were all satiated and tired, so we bid a fond farewell and headed back to Weston. We also went to the insanely large and crowed Saw Grass Mill Mall. If one is really bored, and the weather in Fort Lauderdale is not for the beach, go there once. That is all.

 

Eventually it was off to Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. Fort Lauderdale Airport was now crawling with travelers stranded with the storms that inundated the northeast. We made our way to our 40 seat, DeHaviland DHC-8, 2-engine BahamasAir prop plane. I hadn’t been on a turboprop plane since a Convair 440 flight to Buffalo, in March of 1967, from Boston with various stops along the way. It seems that BahamasAir got rid of its all-Boeing 737 jet fleet in 1991 and now concentrates on local service within the islands and to and from the United States. Freeport is only 27 minutes and 97 miles from Fort Lauderdale. The flight was a bit noisy, but the weather was quite clear, and the flight was smooth and uneventful. Grand Bahama is the fourth largest island in the 600 island nation. It has about 46,000, residents and its three major population centers; Freeport, Lucaya, and West End Town.

Our time sharing is at the Taino Beach Resort which is located in Port Lucaya. Lucaya is an important tourist destination on Grand Bahama Island. It has beautiful beaches and contains several big hotels including the most popular, five-star Our Lucaya hotel chain made up of the Reef Village and Radisson hotels and the Lanai Suites located at Lighthouse Point. Count Basie Square in Port Lucaya provides regular live entertainment targeted at cruise ship patrons. Unfortunately Taino Beach is separated from Lucaya by the Bell Channel waterway and to get to the other side of the channel one must take a ferry ride around the bay. It costs $5 for a roundtrip, but it runs all day on the hour.

We checked in, had lunch, spent some time on the beach and we were eventually able to get into our rooms at 4:00 PM. We had a beautiful view of the resort, and the ocean from our balcony. We spent the week playing tennis, sitting at the pool and the ocean and meeting fellow tourists. We met people from all over the states and the world, including couples from South America, Canada, and Finland. We had a spate of cool weather, wind, and some rain, but generally the weather was good enough for tennis and soaking up rays on the beach. I was able to finish FDR’s Deadly Secret by Lomazow and Fetterman, which expostulates that FDR died of cancer and knew about it for years. They do an intensive medical review of FDR’s health, but their conclusions are speculation. I spoke to Dr. Steven Lomazow on the phone a number of months ago, and he denied that his book was politically motivated. But his co-author, Eric Fetterman is an editorial page editor for the New York Post, and I found their conclusions biased, politically slanted and in contradiction to almost all of the universally accepted evaluation of the last two years of FDR’s life and term in office. I also read an interesting book by Hal Vaughan, entitled, FDR’s 12 Apostles, about how FDR recruited Robert Murphy, and how Murphy assembled a staff of diplomatic spies that paved the way for our successful invasion of North Africa. It’s a good read, and it dovetails with one of my essays on General Mark W. Clark, who started his heroic WW II career by landing in North Africa in mufti (disguise) by submarine and small boat to meet with the Vichy French military leadership. It deals with Operation Torch, spies from all of the powers, internal French politics, the role of French Admiral Darlan, his assassination and our eventual landings in Morocco and Algeria. I also finished an interesting book, A Fine Romance, by David Lehman, which was given to me by my son Jon. It’s about popular Broadway and Tin Pan Alley music authored by Jewish song writers and lyricists from Irving Berlin to Jerome Kern, the Gershwins, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Oscar Hammerstein II, and up to Lerner and Loewe and Leonard Bernstein.

He explores the history, personalities, the influence and the connection of their style of music to the popular culture and to other important musical giants like Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, and Hoagy Carmichael amongst others.

We had loads of fun with a wonderful couple from, Heinola, Finland. We struck up a conversation on the beach and we learned that Jari and Sirkku Kovalainen were celebrating their 25th anniversary in Freeport. We learned all about Finland, and we found out that the Kovalainens were great amateur dancers who loved competition and looked for venues to dance everywhere they went. We both danced with them at the Count Basie Square in Port Lucaya and at the Wednesday Fish Fry along the beach. They were great to watch, and they received plaudits and huzzahs from all of our fellow tourists who got a chance to see them in action.

Jari and Sirkku are youth leaders in Finland, they have grown children, and their dancing has kept them in excellent shape. They, like us, are great fans of Dancing With the Stars. They love American movies, and I recommended that they see The Red Shoes with Moira Shearer, a 1948 cult film classic about ballet. We ate with them at the China Café and Pisces at Port Lucaya. I also introduced them to American-style egg salad, made with chopped onions and mayonnaise. I think they liked it. Jari is an avid stamp collector, and that has been an interest of mine for over 50 years. So we talked about the world-wide interest regarding postage stamps, and what we both collect. I gave him some of the American stamps, which I always carry with me and I promised to look for some of my old Scandinavian issues which I could part with and send to him in Heinola. All in all, we had much in common. By the way, they communicated quite well in English. I cannot say that I was able to retain any of the Finnish words I learned, but it’s tough to teach an old dog new tricks. Coincidently we met a young woman who was wearing a Block Island sweat shirt, lived in White Plains and often shopped at our friend Becky Keating’s shop, the Beachcomer, on Block Island. She is also a former nurse at the White Plains Hospital, where the Keating’s son is an emergency room doctor.

So after two weeks of following the sun, we packed up, said our goodbyes and headed off to the airport with our driver. By the way, one of our drivers, Jayson Scott actually lived in Mount Vernon, and his daughter plays on the championship Mount Vernon women’s basketball team. What a small world. After a 20 minute ride to the airport, we went through security, customs, and eventually boarded a Delta twin engine medium sized jet for New York. The jet holds 76 passengers, was half full, and we were able to stretch out in the emergency row seats. It was a civilized 2 hour and 16 minute flight back to Kennedy. We landed a long way from the terminal,  had to deplane on the tarmac, and entered the airport through a basement door, but our luggage slid into the carousel immediately, We found our ride, and our driver negotiated the Friday night rush hour traffic and we returned home to the deep snows that smothered Watch Hill the previous week. But it looks like an early spring, and our timing to Florida and the Bahamas enabled us to miss the worst of winter’s most recent blast.