30 July, 2017

O beautiful for glorious themes
Our history’s refrain,
Despite so many tragedies,
We strive ever to attain.
America! America!
Truth shine its light on thee,
And fill this land with helping hands
From sea to shining sea

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life
America! America!
May Truth thy goals refine
Until all success be nobleness,
And every gain sublime

O beautiful for heroic deeds
Where stunning valor shines,
A testament to Freedom's needs,
That stirs our hearts and minds.
America! America!
Truth mend thine every flaw
Infuse thy soul with self-control,
Thy liberty with law

O beautiful for glory told
Of valiant battles fought
When Patriots from days of old
Risked all and asked for naught.
America! America!
Truth shine its light on thee,
Until selfish gain will no more stain
The banner of the free

O beautiful for Patriots’ dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine iridescent cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears
America! America!
Truth shine its light on thee,
And fill this land with helping hands
From sea to shining sea

First version, April 2012

17 June, 2017

The Illegitimate President

72,734, 751 American voters did NOT choose Donald J. Trump. He lost the popular vote by 9,749,926 votes! He neither represents nor serves the expressed will of the American electorate!

Presidential ticket
% of voters
Trump / Pence
50 + DC
Clinton / Kaine
50 + DC
Johnson / Weld
50 + DC
Stein / Baraka
44 + DC
McMullin / Finn
Castle / Bradley

Five times in American history, the reactionary glitch of the Electoral College has thwarted the will of the electorate. Never has it done so more grievously than in 2016. Neither Donald J. Trump nor his party has any claim to be doing the business of the American people. At best, they are working the will of a distinct minority of 46.78%. 53.22% of American voters chose somebody else.

16 June, 2017

Come Together, Right Now!

This message was sent to Senators Casey and Toomey as well as Congress Member, Rothfus.

While it was great to see the display of unity at National Field last night, it would be better and more significant to see unity, civility, and constructive interaction regarding legislation and governance. 

The sorry spectacle of the AHCA – rushed through the House, and reworked in secret by thirteen male Republican Senators in the Senate – is an egregious example of disunity, incivility, and unconstructive action. It speaks so loudly of poisonous partisanship I cannot clearly hear or confidently heed the professions of unity. The recurring acrimony and ongoing secretiveness exhibited throughout 2017 thus far belie all soothing words.

Knock it off! Work honestly and effectively for the common interest. Govern responsibly and serve the people, not the plutocrats and corporations.  Remember it is “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” not government of the people, by the wealthy, for the corporations.

In the picture at the top of this page, the two co-chairs of the Problem Solvers Caucus, Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Tom Reed (R-NY), called for Congress to tackle comprehensive tax reform and infrastructure investment together. 

The Problem Solvers Caucus shows that there are members of Congress ready to come together to put country over party, and govern responsibly in the common interest. 

14 June, 2017

Cowards, Not Warriors

Zealots usually have some rationale for the atrocities they perpetrate. In their minds and the minds of some others, this makes them warriors for a noble cause. The fact that they almost always attack unarmed, unsuspecting people give the lie to their pretensions.  Just in the last few weeks, the following rationales have been offered by zealots of various persuasions.

1.    A widely-circulated propaganda message put out by the group on social media urged its followers to attack civilians in the West using trucks, knives or guns during the Holy Month of Ramadan. 

2.     Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, who media outlets quickly identified as a known white supremacist and right-wing extremist. “He calls for a homeland for whites, he has anti-Semitic statements praising Nazis,” said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center after examining his Facebook page.

Christian also participated in the “March for Free Speech” in Portland on April 29 with a baseball bat in tow to attack left-wing protesters. Police took the bat away, but Christian spent all day yelling racist slurs and giving the Nazi salute.

3.    A purported Sanders supporter attacked Congressional Republicans practicing for the charity baseball game against the Democrats. 

Bernie Sanders condemned the action, saying: “Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values.”

None of the perpetrators knowingly confronted armed opposition. All of them attacked people they thought to be defenseless. Not a one of them was truly a warrior. All of them were demonstrably cowards with a pretentious and spurious rationale for their atrocious actions. 

While I oppose the Neoconfederate Reactionary Agenda of the contemporary Republican Party, I condemn in every respect the use of violence against any of the Republicans now in power. Ballots, not bullets, are the proper means for depriving them of their power to harm America and planet Earth. Arguments, peaceful demonstrations, phone calls, letters to Congress and Editors are all legitimate means and measures. Violence and incitement to violence are not justified in any circumstance. 

Sectarian creeds do not convey legitimacy on cruelty, aggression, murder, and mayhem. Authoritarian political ideologies are abhorrent on their face, and they do not confer honor on adherents who attack others in their name. Unless there is an actual war in which people risk life and limb in combat with armed and aware opponents resorting to force does not make one a warrior in the service of any cause noble or ignoble. Violence against the defenseless is an act of cowardice and covers the perpetrator[s] with shame.

Therefore, let me state emphatically and without qualification that the moment one resorts to aggression against peaceful people of differing views or hues one confesses and demonstrates the total illegitimacy of one’s positions and ideological professions.  

12 June, 2017

They Are Magic

Written in honor and celebration the Pittsburgh Penguins’ second straight Stanley Cup triumph. They showed it was true that “Destiny had a new home.”  As Ron Cook aptly said, “The Penguins were issued so many challenges in the glorious hockey season that ended Sunday night, seemingly too many, but they failed at not a single one of them.” No, they most certainly did not!

Larry Conley 12 June 2017 


They made a stand
And they soared free
It always was in their mind
They knew they could break the bind
Their hearts and their aim stayed true!

Achieving their dream
Started 107 games ago
There was no other path to take
They refused to give themselves a break
Their hearts and their aim stayed true!

We have to believe they are magic
No one could stand in their way
We have to believe they are magic
They never let their aim stray
And soon all their hopes would thrive
Destiny would finally arrive
They kept the dream alive
Their hearts and their aim stayed true!

They took a stand
And now they’re home free
The planet alignment -  so rare
There's jubilation in the air
And their hopes came true.

Despite any setbacks, they came through
They rose from every stumble and fall
They kept going through it all
Their hearts and their aim stayed true!

We have to believe they are magic
No one could stand in their way
We have to believe they are magic
They never let their aim stray
And soon all their hopes would thrive
Destiny would finally arrive
They kept the dream alive
Their hearts and their aim stayed true!


11 June, 2017

Bravest and Best


You call out to us all, with your hearts on fire
You rise to the challenge and go down to the wire
Oh, you come on strongly and play with courage and speed

Give a lifetime of thrills and a trove of dreams
Actions speak language of courage, and you speak it loud and clean
It can't be wrong, that your hearts are strong; you are a team
You're simply the best, braver than all the rest
Braver than any hockey team I have ever seen yet
Your strength is your heart, and the daring way you play
You tear defenses apart, guys, and you fill them with dread

In your heart, at the start of every game and every play
On the ice, you fly, and opponents get blown away
When I cheer you on I couldn’t be in a better place
You're simply the best, braver than all the rest
Braver than any hockey team anyone has ever seen yet

Your strength is your heart
And the daring way you play
You tear defenses apart,
And you fill them with dread

Each time it seems your opponents are taking control
The team digs deep and plays with the strength of an indomitable soul
I can feel that spirit even though I'm at home
So, guys, don't ever let up – don’t ever give in
You're simply the best, braver than all the rest
Braver than any hockey team anyone has ever seen yet

Your strength is your heart
And the daring way you play
You tear defenses apart,
And you fill them with dread

Oh, guys, you're the best!


3 F Hockey

In Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Penguins must play 3F Hockey: Focused, Fast, Fearless Hockey.


Winger Conor Sheary said: “It’s a good thing that we have two opportunities, but we don’t want to let this one slip away,” he said. “If we say, ‘Oh, we can win on home ice,’ that can get us into a trap.”
In Game 6, the mindset must be on winning the Cup at the earliest opportunity to do so. This is the first closeout game of the ultimate round. The Penguins must keep this first and foremost in their mind. They must demonstrate it in every second of their play. That means they must, as Coach Sullivan repeatedly says, “Just play.”
Center Matt Cullen said after practice Saturday in Cranberry. “We have a group that, we understand where we’re at.”

“You have an opportunity in front of you, and you just have to treat it like a Game 7. To be honest, our last game, we treated like a Game 7, and we brought out a really good game.”
“That’s the mindset we have to have going into [Game 6]. We’ve already talked about it, and we will continue to talk about it. It’s important that we try to seize the opportunity we have in front of us.”
The Penguins must approach Game 6 like they did Game 5. They must be on the offense, be on their toes and dictate the terms., As Coach Mike Sullivan always says. “If we play that way, play with that mindset, we’ll be all right.”

This also means not taking stupid penalties, especially too many on the ice penalties. It means not being baited into needless fights and other stupid actions. It means an energized, Power Play with a lethal scoring intent. It means winning half chances and spending most of each period in the offensive zone.

“We have to bring our best game,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “The elimination game is always the most difficult to get. First and foremost, we have to understand the challenge. I believe our players do.

“I really believe, in these types of games when the emotions are high and the stakes are high, it's about focus. It's about attention to detail. It's about effort, and it's about execution, controlling what you can out there. That's where our whole focus is.”


“It’s established NHL biology that Crosby has eyes in the back of his head, but the way he brings out the occasional lethality of the flying Sheary and the routinely astounding Guentzel puts No. 87’s singular gifts in a context not approached with any of his various other wingers.” Sid and the Kids are the most lethal line in the NHL when they are playing to their full potential. And the driving force of that lethality is speed. Speed kills when it is deployed by a line that also has superb skills. For the Penguins to win in Game 6, Sid and the Kids and the rest of the Penguins must exhibit speed such as they did in Game 5. If the do so, the Preds will be ripped to shreds!
Sid and the Kids along with Malkin, Kessel, Rust, and Hagelin must bring speed to bear in Game 6. They have the capability to do so. When they do, the Predators will be at a disadvantage as every other team before them has been.

I am confident Coach Sullivan will emphasize this and Crosby will exemplify it. These two set the tone for the Penguins and due to the splendid harmony among the team, that tone plays out with wondrous variations and vitality.


“In the first three rounds of these playoffs, the Penguins have squandered their first opportunity to eliminate an opponent.” That is, one of two streaks the Penguins must end on Sunday. The other that they must terminate is the home team winning every game in the Finals. Then, there is the streak they must extend: their four previous Stanley Cup triumphs have happened on the road. There is no good reason to change that.

Whether one calls it desperation or determination, the Predators will be especially ferocious in Game 6. Lax officiating has let them get away with virtual thuggery, and it remains to be seen if vigilant NHL officials show up for game 6.  The NHL let its officials get away with such a departure from norms once the postseason begins? Why are we at a point where we all just sort of go along with officials not doing their jobs when the games matter most? And the situation is getting worse.” The slogan for this malfeasance is “letting the players settle this one.”  The problem is some coaches and some players deliberately set out to foul and, even injure, key players on other teams. Sidney Crosby has been subjected to near constant mugging. Things that are worthy rules during the regular season should be properly and consistently upheld during the playoffs. If they are not, then the playoffs do not constitute hockey, but some other game that resembles hockey as much as rugby resembles soccer.  [http://thecomeback.com/nhl/referees-quiet-whistles-ruining-playoffs.html]

It is clear the Predators and their coach wants to be physical. That is a euphemism for intimidatingly rough even if that requires bending the rules of proper hockey play to the breaking point and beyond. Thus, the Penguins must be fearless. They must face the threat of improper play by thugs on skates and find a way to make these scoundrels pay on the scoreboard. They have done so all season long, and I believe they will do so in game 6. When desperation meets an unconquerable will, it is usually the will that wins. As Winston Churchill once truly said in a far more momentous context: “As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us.” According to Coach Sullivan, the Penguins have just the faith in one another and the unconquerable will to win Churchill describes. Also, empowering the Penguins is their courageous character. According to John Wooden: “Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.” The Penguins have both in abundance. Therefore, I believe the Penguins will rise and shine in Game 6 and win their fifth Stanley Cup on the road in Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.