My first “real” blog

The Obama Kite

A “Genki Kite” made by David MacBryde and Michael Steltzer on the occasion of Barack Obama’s 50th birthday. It is 450 cm wide. Here it is flying in Washington DC in October of 2011.

To be independent of “politically correct” and “commercially useful” has been a wish of mine for a number of years.  Assisting Democrats Abroad with their useful work is one thing, but making public comments about the politics of the Democratic Party on the pages of the Democratic Party is just not the way to go.  So my blog on the website has always been limited.  I have tried to keep myself “out of trouble”.   Comments and ideas are not appreciated by the leadership of an organization, when they do not conform with the general direction of that organization.  One does not criticize Barack Obama in the middle of the election campaign.  One is held to criticise the Republican opponents and those who criticize Barack Obama.  So where does one go with the politically “incorrect” criticism.  There is no such animal as “falsche Kritik” (“false criticism”). This blog will be a vent for that pressure that has been building up over the past three years.

And running a kite company is wonderful. I have been doing that for the past 28 years.  But there are times, when I like to step outside of the commercial aspect of kiting and just return to the beauty and passion of kite flying and kite making.  So this blog will also be an attempt to go to that space and work with it as I please.

I ask you to bear with me or even bear against me.  An interactive dialog can only be useful!

With high flying democratic aspirations!



6 thoughts on “My first “real” blog

  1. Respected sir, I will be happy to bear with you and bear against you. Open and honest dialogue is how great ideas are given birth and shared. I look forward to learning much. I have been called many things, but never ‘politically correct’. Your observations of how a person is limited to criticizing Democrat opponents or adulating Democrat candidates (or Presidents) speaks volumes about the limits of the Democrat position… There, sir, is the first volley fired across your bow!

    Did you follow the events in Wisconsin? Would you care to talk?

    • Dear Gary!
      You are my first “official” commentator and it is an honor for me that it comes from a fellow kiteflyer, kite store owner, and kite festival organizer. Your maritime location in Newport Rhode Island probably led you to use the expression “volley fired across the bow.” As such I whole heartedly forgive you for using such military terminology. Actually a volley across the bow is a warning shot meaning: stop dead in the water or I will open fire. I don’t think you wanted to go there and I don’t dream of stopping dead in the water ;-).

      When we deal with the history of your harbor and its famous admirals one, of course, has to deal with Admiral Perry and his “Black Ships”. I learned about him at a kite festival I attended many years ago in your town. It was called “Black Ships Kite Festival”. I think it was in 1987. See

      . I still have the festival pin in my collection. It was a golden pineapple. It symbolized the gesture of friendship that the japanese people extended to Admiral Perrys fleet of “Black Ships” when it entered the waters of Japan. However the American gun boats did not react with friendship. Instead they militarily forced the japanese to open up their harbor to trade with the assistance of canon fire.

      The kite festival “Black Ships” in Newport was also a festival of the Japanese community of Rhode Island. A very large tent with Ikebana Art was on the grounds. The winds were beautiful and the kites were marvelous. Tom Casselman was the main kite person there. But there was another store there as a vendor. I rememember helping a local kite flyer with the bridle of his new 7 sisters kite (7 hexagons). I adjusted it and it flew successfully on its maiden voyage. The maker of the kite was so happy, that he gave me his beautiful “kite tackle box”, which I treasure to this day.

      So, dear Gary, you bring back good memories.

      Your political questions are not so clear. As you see I made this “Obama Kite”. I still think he is the better choice for the American people and for the people of the world. But I hate this two party system and this electoral college which hinders the democratic process in our country. Obama avoided going to Wisconsin to support the recall of Gov. Walker because he was afraid it might backfire. They are more interested in counting the potential votes of the electoral college than they are interested in the true battles of the people. Howard Dean would have gone to Wisconsin and stood next to the unions. In 2008 Obama said he would not back down against the demise of collective bargaining. I think he backed down. His lack of support was one of the reasons for Walkers success. And that success has put a lot of wind into the austerity sails of the Republican party. It will not get easier.

      But I don’t even know where you are at seeing as you have never been called “politically correct”. Put your cards on the table. What does a kite shop owner from Newport have to say about all those drones killing innocent people. How about the torture of the whistle blower Bradley Manning and his prejudgement by our President. Life is not very pretty eventhough kiteflying is!


  2. Hi Michael;
    Wow! Where to start? Let’s start with the good stuff. That’s my video! That was a great time. I remember well the Seven Sisters kite you describe, made by Ron Martinelli. Tom Osborne of Outermost Kites is the other Kite Retailer you remember being at Black Ships.

    I should offer a disclaimer that I am not a shop owner and I do not live in Newport. I live on the other side of the bay and farther north, but Newport is my ‘home’ kite flying field. I still love making kites and teaching kite flying of all kinds to anyone and everyone.

    I have never been called politically correct. I know what I think, and I know why I think it. I have read the Constitution and the Federalist Papers and I read various Blogs and I have formed a few opinions. People who like to consider themselves compassionate and tolerant have no problem telling me that they hate me for having a different opinion. That is certainly their prerogative, but it tends to limit conversation.

    Why was there a recall for Governor Scott Walker? Because he balanced the budget without raising taxes. The vast majority of the people who own property, pay taxes and aren’t members of public sector unions were very happy with what he did. The public sector unions, not so much. Unions have a built-in advantage, a built-in labor force to get signatures on petitions. All perfectly legal, no question. And the unions collected twice as many signatures as they needed on petitions to recall Governor Walker. The burden of qualifying those signatures falls to the Incumbent, not the Board of Canvassers. Respectfully, it seems a bit inequitable.

    Funny thing. Despite the best efforts (and money) of the unions, Scott Walker was re-elected by a greater margin than he was the first time. Could it be that the people of Wisconsin appreciated what he did? Could it be that the people of Wisconsin were not to thrilled at the efforts of union outsiders to overthrow their election?

    President Barack Hussein Obama, alleged supporter of unions and working people everywhere, flew over Wisconsin to get to Minnesota to attend a Fund Raiser. Then he flew back over Wisconsin to get to Illinois to attend another Fund Raiser. He stayed away from Wisconsin. One interpretation is that President Obama knew the unions were going down in flames and did not want to get tarred by that brush. One has to suspect that a person of principles would have gone to Wisconsin to actually support the folks and organizations they say they support.

    The two-party system and electoral college are indeed archaic and inelegant, but they have served the USA well. Reasonable people can say that the two-party system did not mature until 1824 and it gave the United States the Civil War, but it still seems to be a workable model.

    Bradley Manning was tortured? I will have to research that. It does make me wonder about innocent people who might have endured similar or much worse treatment because of what he did. It also makes me think of others who might have suffered or died because President Obama had to take credit for discovering the new Underwear Bomber. Gee, it was not our operation, it was not our guys, and a clandestine operation is completely blown.

    The Pakistani who delivered Osama bin Laden to President Obama on a platter, gave the USA DNA confirmation of the target, how is he doing these days?

    Drones killing innocent people? Well, sir, it could be a lot worse. If they were captured, they might be sent to Guantanamo to be interrogated. They might even be water-boarded! Drones eliminate that vexing problem for President Obama. And he is going to close Gitmo 2-1/2 years ago, right? That would be just before he cut the deficit in half, right? Aw shucks. Guantanamo is still open and the deficit is nearly doubled. Hmmm…

    On the subject of Republicans and austerity, should Germany bail out Greece?

  3. Thank you for the link and the information regarding your kite activities. I am afraid that is where the common denominator ends. There is no use for a further discussion.

  4. Hello Michael, I am quite glad to see that you are well and invoved as ever. I share your politics and wish more of our generation did also.I was in Japan recently and saw Modegi and a few other Taco Kichis..Flying kites over these many years has been a passport to many places and cultiures.Something so simple and shared by many cultures I will keep the faith if you will too. Tom Casselman Newport RI USA

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