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Frank Batavick
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Related: Frank Batavick by Frank J. Batavick | CNBNewsnet I was in the check-out line at the supermarket doing our weekly grocery shopping. Alongside of me screamed the headlines of the “National Enquirer”: “CORRUPT” was in 72 point type and accompanied by a photo of Hillary Clinton with arms outstretched and a “what-are-you-gonna-do” look on her face. The smaller headlines around her read, “On the Take: $139 Million for Political Favors,” “Fraud and Bribes: Foundation Used as Slushfund,” “Top Aide Exposes Crooked Hillary,” and “Breaking News: New FBI Indictment.” Talk about over-kill! I then started to think about how many... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
by Frank J. Batavick | CNBNewsnet Dear Donald Trump, I really like your “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan, even though you “borrowed” it from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign. No big deal. I know how hard it is for some folks to come up with something original. However, I do have a number of important and honest questions for you. If you wish to “Make America Great Again,” then: Why are your Trump-branded men's suits, dress shirts, and ties made in China and Bangladesh and all of Ivanka Trump's clothing line (shoes, dresses, purses and scarves) made in China?... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
Attention Trump supporters! Hop into my time machine and transport yourselves back to early June 2015. Now, what if I had told you back then that the candidate you would eventually champion for the U.S. presidency would also have the solid support of the KKK, North Korea, ISIS, a European fascist, and the Chinese Communists? What would your reaction have been? Still the simplistic “Anyone but Hillary”? I doubt it. I think you would have thought me delusional, but that’s exactly what’s happened. Last February, white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, David Duke told his radio audience,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Frank J. Batavick | CNBNewsnet When I was teaching a Mass Communications course at McDaniel, I covered many topics that should have been incendiary— Internet privacy, violent video games, media bias, censorship—but was barely able to get a rise out of the students. No incensed comments. No outrage. It wasn’t until I showed a video from the Media Education Foundation that things got tense. Titled Mickey Mouse Monopoly, the documentary tackled sexual and racial stereotyping in Disney’s animated features. Though the film had some heavy-hitter psychologists and media scholars and under-girded its arguments with supportive clips, the students weren’t buying... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Frank J. Batavick | CNBNewsnet The term "failed social experiment" has taken on the character of an epithet in our fractured political climate. Republicans have used it to decry everything from the "Common Core" curriculum to Affirmative Action policies in higher ed. There is no doubt that some progressive attempts at social engineering have less than spectacular results. President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty can’t be considered a success, though a host of unexpected events exacerbated the problem, from the hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs to off-shore sites to the drug epidemic and its misguided sentencing guidelines. These factors decimated families... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Frank J. Batavick | CNBNewsnet We should all be familiar with the iconic World Trade Center at Baltimore's inner harbor. At 32 stories, it has towered over Harbor Place for almost 40 years. Now I'd like you to picture eight such buildings, cheek to jowl, and perhaps a few storeys higher. Next conjure up another grouping of similar buildings a few blocks away, different in style, but just as densely packed together. Then, think of riding for 50 minutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic on an expressway with the view almost never changing—repetitive clusters of 20 to 30 storey buildings, most of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
It was the first day of our eagerly-awaited trip to China, and I wanted to check my email and catch up on the news back home by reading the on-line versions of this paper and the "Washington Post.” I tried to connect to the Internet, using the password given us by the pleasant young man at the reception desk, but was having no luck. Once I reached the desired websites, I couldn't get them to build any content. I finally went back to the desk and told the clerk of my problem. Without hesitation, he gave me a broad smile... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Frank J. Batavick | CNBNewsnet We are all on the same arc—birth, life, death. Of course, we don’t have any control over the first stage, and sometimes the last can come unexpectedly, like a clap of thunder. But we can all be rulers of our own domain during the middle stage, especially if we subscribe to humorist Leo Rosten’s belief that “The purpose of life is not to be happy—but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.” It turns out that this philosophy is also essential to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Frank J. Batavick | CNBNewsnet If you had a choice of superpowers, would you rather be invisible or able to fly? In 2001 actor and comedian John Hodgman conducted an unscientific poll on this topic for National Public Radio’s This American Life. Responders had to pick just one of these superpowers and they’d be the only person in the world to have it. The answers were very telling about a person’s moral bent. Those who chose invisibility more often than not did so to spy on exes, peak into showers, sneak into movie theaters, or shoplift. The fliers just wanted... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Frank J. Batavick | CNBNewsnet Earlier this year I attended an exhibit at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore. Titled “From Pen to Press: Experimentation and Innovation in the Age of Print,” the display focused on how the old world of hand-written manuscripts coped with the radical changes wrought by Guttenberg’s printing press. As with many innovations, mechanically printed books were considered a passing fancy. A German Benedictine abbot, Johannes Trithemius, wrote a treatise in 1492, “De laude Scriptorum Manualium” or “In Praise of Scribes,” in which he opined that, “Printed books are a fad.” To gain acceptance, some of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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The tranquil Sea Isle Beach, Sea Isle N.J. (photo credit Sea Isle City) Frank J. Batavick | CNBNewsnet The placid ocean shimmered in the evening sun. Undulating ribbons of foam-kissed waves gently petted the shore. Long fingers of color — moss green, marine gray, midnight blue — softly vibrated across the surface like rippling beach chair fabric. As a laughing gull soared silently above, a 40-something, bikini-clad woman — tall and tan and middle-aged and lovely — came ambling by ... texting … tap, tap, tapping … staring at her iPhone. And nature gently wept. Forgive my tortured prose, but... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
Photograph of Princeton Battlefield State Park, Princeton, New Jersey, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Author Frank J. Batavick | CNBNewsnet On each patriotic holiday my wife gets up early to put out the flags. Back on July 4, 2007 we were living in a town just outside Princeton, N.J., and she retrieved the bundle of 30-inch tall American flags that we stored in the hall closet. Some were freebies from past parades and others used to belong to her dad. These are a bit faded and frayed and at least two have only 48 stars, but they represented a way for... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Frank J. Batavick | CNBNewsnet It was a little over 150 years ago on April 7 that Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, marking the end of the Civil War. We have just about closed the book on our nation’s Civil War sesquicentennial. But has the war ever really ended? It is not difficult to answer this somewhat rhetorical question. There are too many symbolic and actual instances of the South’s refusal to concede defeat, from Confederate flags in yards and on license plates to objections to the Affordable Health Care Act on the basis of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Frank J. Batavick | CNBNewsnet You can call it misinformation, spin control or propaganda. Regardless, there are things that some people insist on believing that collide with the inconvenient truths of history. The assertion that this nation was founded on Christian principles flies in the face of the fact that many of our founders were Deists and not pure-bred Christians. Thomas Paine, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, and James Monroe may have been baptized into the Anglican Church, but as contemporaries during the Age of Enlightenment, they adopted a belief in the primacy of human reason. For... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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by Frank J. Batavick | CNBNewsnet Imagine laughing at death that's delivered from the air. In 1939, the renowned radio dramatist Arch Obler wrote a short and startling play for the NBC network. He centered the plot of "The Laughing Man" on a book that had been discovered in the ruins of a civilization some 20,000 years old. Those who studied the book found its narrative totally incredible. It described warfare between races and abetted by amazing flying machines that dropped "horrible tearing things" on the beings below. The play's narrator found the idea so absurd that all he could... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
Orson Welles, March 1, 1937 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Author Frank J. Batavick CNBNewsnet The Germans always have a word for it. In this case it is wunderkind or wonder child, and it applies to any youth who has skills and accomplishments far beyond his or her age. There are many prodigies in human history, but few as fascinating as Orson Welles. On my 50th birthday I was living in Bloomington, Indiana, the home of Indiana University and the Lilly Library. Among its many treasures are the papers and effects of Orson Welles. I decided to treat myself on my big... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Author Frank J. Batavick CNBNewsnet I am the grandson of a one-time illegal alien. The Batavicks (née Batović) have been in the U.S. since 1910 when my grandfather and his brother jumped ship in Yonkers, New York and made their way to Philadelphia. Like many immigrants, they were escaping the poverty and endless wars in a homeland that considered them nothing more than cannon fodder. Nicholas and his brother George hailed from Croatia, a region of Yugoslavia and then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The country’s unfortunate geography had made it a welcome mat for the conqueror of the moment... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Author Frank J. Batavick | CNBNews Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, is a big fan of Ayn Rand and Objectivism, and his approach to creating a national budget reflects his beliefs. But what exactly does this mean? Imagine this: The legions of heaven gathered for the big debate. The topic- Social Justice vs. Objectivism, or more precisely, the belief that everyone should have equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities vs. the belief that we are only entitled to what we’ve earned and need not care about the welfare of others. A Higher Authority had chosen his only... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Author Frank J. Batavick | CNBNewsnet On March 2 I planted my garden. Or to be exact, I started an array of seeds that would comprise my garden once sprouted and grown into strong seedlings. I sowed bell peppers, eggplant, basil, parsley, four varieties of tomato, and a selection of annual flowers, like Zinnias and Marigolds. I have two large planters in the basement that I bought at an auction over 20 years ago. They have built-in fluorescent lights with industrial quality timers and I’ve rigged each planter with electric heat tape. In them, I sit Styrofoam trays, each with... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Frank J. Batavick | Columnist CNBNewsnet Sometimes it feels as if our nation is lost hopelessly in the mirror maze of a fun house. Even when easy and logical courses of action lie before us, we illogically take wrong turns and end up where we started. Déjà vu meets déjà vu on a regular basis here. On December 2, two radicalized Muslims committed a horrific act of terror in San Bernadino, California, claiming the lives of 14 people and wounding 21. The perps were a Chicago-born, Pakistani-American male, Syed Rizwan Farook, who traveled freely to the birthplace of radical Islam,... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Frank J. Batavick | Columnist CNBNewsnet I saw an editorial page cartoon of Hillary Clinton in a basket powered by three, small hot air balloons. The balloons were labeled “Tax & Spend” respectively, the two sandbags hanging over the side of the basket were labeled “Debt,” and the basket itself carried the legend “Obamanomics.” To top it off, the caption from Hillary’s mouth ironically read, “We can’t go back to the old policies that failed us before.” Any reasonable person would look at this cartoon and assume that President Obama had not been a good steward of the economy and... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Frank J. Batavick | Columnist CNBNewsnet If you want to study the velocity of change in this country, just compare restaurant menus from the early 1950s with today’s. Back then our Main Streets sported steak and chop houses, Italian and Chinese restaurants, seafood eateries, and the dependable diner. Fast food in the form of burgers and shakes was still an unexplored notion. Gino’s Hamburgers didn’t open its doors until 1957 and McDonalds was still marching east. Families seeking respite from tuna noodle casserole dinners could find only a limited menu in restaurants. For entrees, they had their choice of baked... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Frank J. Batavick | Columnist CNBNewsnet The slow, staccato sound of the drums of war that began faintly a year ago is now echoing off the studio walls of the Sunday talk shows. The President’s critics claim that his “lead from behind” strategy on Syria and the Islamic State isn’t working, and that we need a change. Amid the undisguised admiration for the unfettered Czar Putin and Russia’s indiscriminate bombing campaign, there is the demand that we do more; be more proactive. Often overlooked is that these Russian bombs have fallen largely on anti-Assad rebel forces that we’ve equipped and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Frank J. Batavick | Columnist CNBNewsnet The Egyptians levied them on cooking oil. The Greeks and Romans enacted them to fund their military adventures and extend empire. Even one of the apostles was once involved in this unholy business, and when the British applied them to a favorite beverage, it helped gave rise to American independence. I’m talking, of course, of taxes. After enjoying a spate of fun holidays that started in late November, we now face a date that few welcome— April 15. Aside from tax software vendors, local accountants, and those who prefer to use the IRS as... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City
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Frank J. Batavick | Columnist CNBNewsnet It lurks deep in the temporal lobe of the brain’s cerebrum. It is almond-shaped and scientists call it the amygdala. It is where the emotions of fear and anger reside. A protective mechanism shared by all, it requires the right cue to spring into action. The terror attacks in Brussels and the saturated media coverage that followed were the trigger this time. Like a clarion call, the attacks first summoned fear. Fear of injury, of death. Fear that our own family members may be endangered. Then this fear turned to anger when images of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2016 at CNBNEWS.NET/Gloucester City