I hope you’re enjoying your week following the Fourth of July weekend.
I loved the cooler temperatures last weekend, but the heat and humidity definitely returned to the Midwest.
As always, I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts and many of you did last Friday, so thank you again.
I want to extend Happy Anniversary wishes to one of the most perfect couples — my favorite President Jimmy Carter and his beautiful bride, Rosalynn.
Thursday marked the couple’s 70th wedding anniversary.
After the couple married in their hometown of Plains, Georgia, they lived in several different parts of the country when President Carter was in the Navy. After that, they returned to Plains to run the family’s peanut farm and business before moving on to Atlanta to become to Governor and First Lady of Georgia.
As I’ve written before, as a 12-year-old boy, I accompanied my grandmother, Helen, who was mostly illiterate into the voting booth in November 1976 in Mayfield, Kentucky, and placed my first presidential vote for the former Georgia governor.
I want to think that my vote was instrumental in him winning my state’s nine electoral votes.
I went with her again in 1980 and, again, voted for President Carter.
I’ll be visiting Atlanta in early September for the first time and I can’t wait to see the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. I’m so hoping that the former President and First Lady will be speaking at the Carter Center while I’m there.
So, President and Mrs. Carter, I’d love to treat you to an anniversary lunch or dinner if our path’s cross in Atlanta this September! 🙂
In case you missed it, here’s the blog from four years ago confessing my admiration for President and Mrs. Carter. (It’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place in this week’s blog.)
SAD STATE OF THE WORLD
I already had this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts” ready to post when the bloodshed in Dallas, Texas, became the top story.
A sniper (or snipers) opened fire on about 100 police officers at a demonstration of around 800 people in Dallas. Eleven police officers were shot and, at least, five were dead.
The group gathered to protest two police-related deadly shootings this week — one in Louisiana and the other in Minnesota.
At least three people were in custody after an exchange of gunfire with police at a parking garage downtown.
This story is changing by the minute and will continue to do so throughout the day and weekend.
America and the world, violence is and has always been a part of our existence. But, the lack of empathy and the total disregard for life and our fellow man has to change.
I’m a realist and I know how this will play out, but I truly want society and mankind to prove me wrong!
STOP THE HATE
(This part of the blog was already written before the Dallas shooting spree.)
It’s been almost a month since the deadly shooting at the gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida.
49 people were gunned down and another 53 were injured.
There have been many vigils and memorials in the past few weeks.
Now, heavyweight producer Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story”, “American Crime Story”, “Scream Queens”, and “Glee”) is behind a very powerful and beautiful 18-minute video tribute featuring Hollywood stars sharing the stories of each of the 49 victims’ lives with their photographs.
The video may be long, but that time pales in comparison to the lifetime that each of those 49 people will never experience now.
I hope you take the time to watch it.
So touching and heartbreaking!
THOSE “DAMN EMAILS”
“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”
Those words came from Senator Bernie Sanders on October 13, 2015 (my birthday) in a Democratic debate with Hillary Clinton, the presumptive U.S. Presidential nominee, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Clinton quickly replied with a chuckle, “Thank you. Me, too. Me, too.”
Now, almost nine months later, the debate is over with FBI Director James Comey stating in a press conference with his agency’s decision, “Our judgement is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
But, Comey did call Clinton’s handling of private emails “extremely careless.”
Yesterday, while being grilled by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he basically said that none of the Clinton documents in the investigation had headers stating it was “classified”.
Now that precedence is set, hopefully every Secretary of State from John Kerry forward will learn from this and new guidelines will be instituted that can keep up with the always changing internet world.
BENGHAZI — FOUR YEARS LATER
If you asked Americans what country Benghazi is in or where to find it on the map, most would not know. From a security standpoint four years ago, our own government didn’t seem to have it (and several other places) high on their radar either.
It didn’t seem like a priority until September 11, 2012, when Islamic militants killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans there.
The U.S. government, the Obama administration, and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted formal responsibility and she said this of the blame game, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.”
Hearing were held and many studies were conducted (even independent ones). Yet, in this presidential election year, people are still looking for the “silver bullet” to implicate Clinton for this tragedy.
Dr. Anne Stevens, the sister of Ambassador Stevens, is that family’s spokesperson and she says the latest reports added nothing new because it was already established that Benghazi was not secure.
Stevens adds, “I do not blame Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta. They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world. And their staffs were doing their best to provide what they could with the resources they had. The Benghazi Mission was understaffed. We know that now. But, again, Chris knew that. It wasn’t a secret to him. He decided to take the risk to go there. It is not something they did to him. It is something he took on himself.”
And, when asked what Chris would have thought about this year’s upcoming presidential election, she says, “I know he had a lot of respect for Secretary Clinton. He admired her ability to intensely read the issues and understand the whole picture.”
Sadly, many people are keeping this tragedy alive, not because they are saddened by the loss of Ambassador Stevens and the three other men, to make it another piece of this year’s election puzzle.
It’s time to make security changes to ensure this doesn’t happen again, and, most of all, it’s time to move on people.
“13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI”
When it was announced in late 2014 that director Michael Bay would be bringing a movie about the Benghazi tragedy to the big screen, I didn’t have any interest in seeing it.
He’s famous for making popcorn movies geared toward teenage fanboys and fangirls (“The Transformers” series and “Armageddon”).
However, once I heard that the movie wasn’t just propaganda (it was released two weeks before the Iowa Caucus on February 1, 2016, which is the kick-off to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election), I decided I would check it out on DVD.
It’s much better than I expected it to be. From a Hollywood telling of real life events, it was definitely a great thriller. It ended up making about $70 million in theaters with a $50 million budget.
Since we’re talking about the movie here, John Krasinski looks incredible with his newly buffed physique.
TICKETMASTER & FREE TICKETS
The concert movie giant is trying to make good after a losing a lawsuit over the crazy fees it charges.
Ticketmaster has already released two waves of tickets totaling almost $15 million, but it’s only for select concerts and venues.
It’s a nice gesture, but it’ll not likely benefit most of the customers it ripped off over the years, including myself.
Here’s a July 1st post from Ticketmaster:
Ticketmaster, I have an idea if you really (and I stress, REALLY) want to make good on redemption from your shady activities that got you sued.
Since you’re only offering select number of tickets anyway, let us pick the general admission seats to the concerts we’d want to attend — if seats are available.
For instance, there are two shows that still have plenty of cheap seats open in Las Vegas when I’m there later this month. Let me use my free vouchers there.
Just a thought!
You might not remember that it was in January 2009, but I’m sure just looking at this photo, you’ll remember the story.
This is US Airways Flight 1549 resting on the Hudson River after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City.
Shortly after take-off, the plane hit a flock of Canadian geese, which caused engine failure.
57-year-old Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and 49-year-old First Officer Jeff Skiles skillfully saved all 155 passengers on board in this amazing, unpowered emergency water landing.
Director Clint Eastwood and Oscar winner Tom Hanks are bringing this amazing story to the big screen September 9th.
The movie also stars Aaron Eckhart as Skiles and Oscar nominee Laura Linney as Sully’s wife, Lorraine.
FISH POND UPDATE
It appears that the anti-viral chemical we’re using in the fish pond is making a difference!
As I told you in last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, we had four larger koi to die in about a week’s time and then we quickly treated the pond with an agent to fight viruses in case the last fish we acquired were sick.
Sadly, Snowflake, another of the larger koi, died last weekend. (She’s on the left here. Pumpkin Pie, my favorite fish, on the right, died two weeks ago.)
While I think the medicine is definitely working, it was already too late for Snowflake.
For the past three weeks, I’ve been sharing tidbits from the book I read called “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli.
I’m wrapping it up this week.
Eleanor Roosevelt: She worked for the advancement of women and civil rights for black Americans. Many saw her and FDR as a team in politics. She loved press conferences — she had 348 in the three terms as First lady. She also ended Prohibition by serving wine in the White House in 1934.
Elizabeth “Bess” Truman: She and President Harry Truman made it no secret that they closely worked together for his policies. She didn’t travel by air and mostly took the train. Unlike her First Lady predecessor, she hated press conferences and only gave one!
Mamie Eisenhower: Her favorite color was pink and she surrounded herself with it. She saw her role as wife as secondary and supportive. She made many “best dressed” lists, but often bought clothes off the rack. While she exuded a “soft” side, White House staff saw her as militaristic.
Jacqueline Kennedy: She worked hard to restore the White House (she didn’t like the word “redecorate”). She was the first First Lady to hire her own press secretary and she was very into art and not just what was popular at the time.
Lady Bird Johnson: Her first name was Claudia. She borrowed against her inheritance, so her husband, LBJ, could run for Congress in Texas in 1937. She also borrowed money to buy an Austin radio station in 1942 and when television took off in the 1950s, her broadcasting complex made her a very rich woman. She’s best known for supporting the environment and for starting Highway Beautification projects.
Pat Nixon: Thelma was her first name. In her renovations of the White House, she made it more accessible for disabled and the sight-impaired. She responded to her correspondences individually and she was also a well-traveled First Lady visiting 83 nations.
Betty Ford: Her real name was Elizabeth. She was widely lauded (and likely mocked) for her frankness — about her kids, health problems, and her life, including using Valium. She wasn’t afraid to share her views even when they contradicted President Gerald Ford’s stances.
Rosalynn Carter: Her first name is Eleanor and she gave the valedictory speech at her high school graduation of eleven students in Plains, Georgia. As First Lady of Georgia and the country, she worked very hard for mental health reforms. She also fought to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified. She also played a big role in the Middle East Peace Talks at Camp David by making many trips back to Washington D.C. during the lengthy process to stand in at events for President Jimmy Carter.
Nancy Reagan: She wasn’t shy about asking for White House renovations and new china even as the country was in a major recession. She was often criticized for influencing her husband, especially in his second term. The “New York Times” even wrote about her “Associate Presidency”.
Barbara Bush: She worked hard during her White House years for literacy and to bring attention to the fight against AIDS. She was heavily into volunteerism before she became First Lady.
Hillary Rodham Clinton: As First Lady, she was seen as highly ambitious because she was a strong woman that worked on policy for her husband. To counter criticism, she lightened her hair, wore a more feminine wardrobe, and cut back on her public speaking. To top it off, she even added her married name publicly to her already establish name of “Hillary Rodham”.
This book was updated in 1993 and it didn’t have chapters on Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.
One last interesting comment that the author made was “By 1993, the credentials of First Lady Hillary Clinton looked very much like those of the President.”
Prophetic much???? 🙂
I saw Cardiknox, the pop duo of Thomas Dutton and lead singer Lonnie Angle, open for Carly Rae Jepsen in New York City in March on the “Emotion Tour”.
They are full of energy and their debut album, “Portrait”, is fantastic.
Here’s their new video, “Wild Child”.
PICK HIT BONUS
I also want to share the first song and video from the album, “On My Way”, which is one of my favorite songs of 2016.
The video is amazing because it definitely looks like it done in one take with no edits.
With all that’s going on in the world, I hope you can make your little part of this f**ked up world a little brighter! ☮