Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Goodbye Quad Cities Television

Today marks my last full day in the Quad Cities.

IowaMississippiRiver

Early Friday morning, I’ll be taking off for the 1,000-mile drive to Panama City, Florida, to start the next chapter of my life.

While I’ve spent time in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I’ve never seen the “Emerald Coast”, but I’m told it’s absolutely gorgeous.  And, from this photo, I see that!

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Last week, I signed off as a television meteorologist in the Quad Cities, my home for the past 11.5 years.  That’s the second longest I’ve ever lived anywhere — behind my hometown of Mayfield, Kentucky, where I spent much of the first 30 years of my life.

ABBATG2007

ABBA, my golden retriever, and I arrived in Moline, Illinois, from Salisbury, Maryland, the week of Thanksgiving 2005 when I accepted a weekend meteorologist and weekday reporter position at WQAD.

I sincerely thank news director C.J. Beutien for hiring me and bringing me back to the Midwest.  I had lived in Chicago twice, from 1994-1996 and from 2002-2004, before heading to the East Coast for almost 16 months to the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) Peninsula.

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Former Chief Meteorologist Neil Kastor was instrumental in bringing me to the Quad Cities and, for that, I’m grateful.  We still stay in touch today, many years after he left the news business and the Midwest for Florida.

Along with Neil, I’m still very close with my former “work wife”, Vanessa van Hyfte, who was the weekend anchor when I started.  She welcomed me with open arms and we had some of the most exciting and fun conversations between shows. 🙂

I also consider Julie Sisk, Matt Hammill, and Cassie Heiter dear friends.

I cherished my time with anchors Jason Fechner and Barbara Dawson, morning producer Brian Boesen, (who moved on to anchor at KWQC), and photojournalist Jenny Hipskind.  (This is like winning an award and thanking all the people you care for hoping you’re not forgetting someone!)

Even though we never worked together, I consider KWQC’s Theresa Bryant a dear friend.

I fondly remember much of my time at WQAD (November 2005-November 2012).  With that being said, I was definitely angry with the station for the way it handled my dismissal that fall when it lost the Fox newscast to KWQC.

types-of-anger

It was tacky and unprofessional and the lack of compassion I was shown for my seven years of dedication and commitment was appalling.   However, the station did the same thing to Neil before me and to others since.

Interestingly enough, all of that was brought up to me again about a month ago.  In a disagreement, a former friend said to me, “Maybe you still just have a bone to pick from the station? I don’t know and I really don’t care.”

My response to him was, “my issue over this whole pettiness isn’t with WQAD. It’s with you!”

That got to me to thinking again and, honestly, the whole WQAD ordeal has been water under the bridge for me for a long time.

Anthony CBS4

After a couple of months off to enjoy the holidays, I was honored when WHBF General Manager Marshall Porter and News Director Heather Voudrie brought me on board as the morning meteorologist in February 2013.

CBS4

While I wasn’t getting rich at WQAD, I was financially comfortable.   My new position came with a big pay cut, but I was once again doing what I loved and I didn’t have to leave my family.

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At WHBF, I’ve worked with so many great people over the years.  At the top of the list is my “work wife” and dear friend, Emily Scarlett, who just took a new position with the #1 station in Columbia, South Carolina.

I’ll also remember my close friendships with chief meteorologist Andy McCray and his wonderful wife, Michelle, Jay Kidwell, Jim Neidelman and his adorable wife, Denise, and Katrina, my trusted confidant on the morning show, and her lovely partner.  (Katrina, I’ll always smile at “Breathe” and “Calm down, Lucille!”)

Those are just some of the fantastic people I’ve had the pleasure to work with in the Quad Cities, but I’ve also worked with some real losers.

I’m too much of a gentleman to say more than that, but two of the ones that stand out the most are so emasculated that it would be unfair to point out their deficiencies publicly.

Offended

With that being said, I’ve never worked in a television market as a meteorologist or a weathercaster that over dramatizes and sensationalizes weather as much as some do (or did) here.

Snowflake

That isn’t the case with all local meteorologists.  I didn’t do it and neither did Neil Kastor. I highly recommend now that you put your trust in “Local 4 News” Chief Meteorologist Andy McCray and “Quad Cities Today” meteorologist Kevin Phelps.

They’ve earned my trust over the years as colleagues.

Enough about people, let’s talk weather. 🙂  As I head to the heat and humidity of Florida, I’ll truly miss the snow!

Snowy Moline

You’re probably laughing, but I’ll seriously miss it.

How many times in your life do you get a record-setting 18.3″ in a single storm? For me, ONCE!

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Happy weather, my friends!

May your springs flower with excitement, your summers toast with long sun-filled days, your autumns glow with bright colorful leaves, and your winters crackle with a beautiful fire and a blanket of serene snow covering everything to remind you of the beauty of living in the Midwest!

champagne

Remember me when you pop a bottle of champagne or you open a bottle of Moscato with a nice cheese and fruit platter or enjoy a piece of cheesecake!

Betty Crocker C-O Cheesecake

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — June 17, 2016

I want to wish all the dads out there a “Happy Father’s Day”.  We’re spending it with Ray’s dad, Papa Ray, who’s also turning 80 years old.

There are so many thoughts going through my head almost a week after last Sunday’s horrific massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  I’ll get the heartbreaking ones and the ones that anger me out of the way first.

ORLANDO NIGHTCLUB MASSACRE

It’s been a sad week for the LGBT community.

The nightmare is still settling in for the families of the 49 victims, the 53 people who were hurt, and the rest of the people inside the popular gay nightclub last Sunday morning when a 29-year-old terrorist opened fire with a semi-automatic assault weapon and a gun (a third gun was found in his car) after taking hostages.  He was killed by police.

Pulse

I’ve gone back and changed this part of the blog several times as more details are released.

First, I wrote that the killer’s father said it happened because his son didn’t like gay people.  But, it seems the more his father talks, the more he sounds like a lunatic himself!

Now there are reports that the shooter may actually have been gay, or at least, a regular at Pulse and on gay hook-up sites and apps.

If that’s true, it’s very sad that he was such a self-loathing, closeted gay man.  He wouldn’t be the first person forced into a sad life of hiding the fact that he was gay.  Most of the time, that fear is perpetuated by the views of family, religion, or society in general. This has to change!  However, people in those situations normally don’t resort to such a heinous crime of murder!

CALL IT WHAT IT IS — A HATE CRIME

The shooting in Orlando is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.  This surpasses the Virginia Tech (April 2007) and Sandy Hook shootings (December 2012).

After I started processing the shock and sadness I felt, I was angered by Republican politicians addressing the shooting while ignoring the fact that nightclub and the victims were targeted for being (or suspected of being) LGBT.

hate

Failed Republican presidential wannabees Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee shared these tweets:

Rubio: “Our prayers are with those injured and killed early this morning in horrifying act of terror in Orlando.”

Huckabee: “Please join Janet and me in praying for the victims of the Orlando attack and their families.”

Notice that there’s no mention of where this senseless tragedy took place or why they were slaughtered.  It was because of who they were!

Rubio and Huckabee are just two of the politicians who demonize the LGBT community on a regular basis — except when it gives them face time in front of cameras with empty sympathetic apologies.  The LGBT community needs love and support every day, not when it’s convenient.

Disgusting!

“THESE PEOPLE”

When I shared my blog about the shootings and who the LGBT community is on Facebook last weekend, someone commented, “these people are in our country to harm us and are just sitting back waiting for that call.”

In this case, I know “these people” was referring to Muslims or Middle Easterners.  The shooter’s parents are from Afghanistan.

Still, I was taken aback by the comment and replied, “There are “these people” in every walk of life — they may have different color skin, religions, upbringings, ideologies, etc. The white kid who (allegedly) murdered the innocent black church goers in South Carolina last year is one of “these people”.

Church Fire

In the weeks following the Charleston, South Carolina shootings one year ago today, there were suspicious fires at seven black, or predominantly black, churches in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

Trust me people, hate is very much alive in this country.  We have a major problem and we’ve got to work together to find a solution.  This means all of us.

GUN CONTROL

There’s a lot of debate about guns and gun control.  Some think that when you ask for tougher regulations, you want to take their guns away.

Gun Control

I want people to be checked thoroughly before they legally own a gun.  I want to know if these people have criminal records, if they’re on the “no fly list”, have mental issues, etc.

I don’t care if people own guns for protection or hunting.  But, there is NO reason for the general public to own an assault-style weapon like the AR-15!  None!!!

But, legally, it’s considered the same as other rifles and there are anywhere between 2.5 million and 3.7 million guns in the AR-15 family in civilian use today in the United States.

AR-15

Now, for the first time ever, the family of the gun’s inventor is speaking out.

They told NBC News, “Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47.  He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events.”

My final thought on the matter is that when the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1791 allowing us to “keep and bear arms”, I know that our founding fathers never imagined a weapon of that caliber — a weapon that would be responsible for cutting so many lives short here in America!

The Second Amendment would be worded much differently today and bearing arms would mean something else.

LET ME TELL ABOUT THE LGBT COMMUNITY

In case you didn’t get to read my blog last Sunday that expressed how devastating this massacre is to the LGBT community and who were are, here it is again.  (This will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/deadly-gay-nightclub-attack-were-all-one/

A SAD ENDING TO THIS LOVE STORY 

There have been many stories coming out from family members grieving over the loss of their loved ones.  This one really breaks my heart.

32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero were two of the victims inside the Pulse nightclub.

Juan’s sister, Aryam, says, “They were honestly so in love. They were soul mates. You can tell by how they looked at each other.  It’s a little comforting that they died together.”

Christmas Was Perfect

Look at the caption taken from this Instagram photo of the men with their families, “Christmas was perfect”.  This Christmas won’t be perfect for the grieving families.

As much as I love the holidays, I’m going to make sure that Christopher and Juan are not forgotten this Christmas.

The two men had planned on getting married and their families have decided that they’ll be buried together.

LOVE IS LOVE

Before I married almost five years ago, I found this video and it still makes me smile.  I even borrowed the “sparkler toast” for our reception.

Today, I dedicate it to the memory of Christopher and Juan, the love they shared, and the wedding they never experienced.

Make sure the person you love knows it everyday!  Life is too short.

Ray, I love you!

GAGA HONORS THOSE MURDERED

Lady Gaga addressed thousands earlier this week at Los Angeles’s City Hall at a vigil to remember those killed at the Pulse nightclub.  Gaga read off the names of the 49 people murdered.

The pop star told the tearful crowd, “I can’t help but feel that this level of hatred, like all prejudicial crimes, this is an attack on humanity itself.”

She added, “This is an attack on everyone.”

ON A LIGHTER NOTE….

Offending People

JUST ONE DONALD TRUMP COMMENT (BUT, I HAVE SEVERAL)

If anyone ever says he doesn’t have a sense of humor, I’ll always have this tweet of his to remember.  I’m still laughing out loud over his ignorance.

We might have been born at night, but not last night!

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Please let him become a footnote in American history November 8, 2016.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE FISH

As you know from reading my blog and following me on social media that we love our expanded koi and goldfish pond.

Fish Pond

Now, I have scientific proof that the fish know me, they really know me!

Culum Brown, an Australian biologist studies fish intelligence and he says, “Most fish species are social and have the capacity for individual recognition.”

He adds, “We have known that for more than 20 years. We also know that fish can use facial features to categorize predator and non predators. Fish are much smarter than people think.”

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

Now I know that Pumpkin Pie, the orange koi with the black spots featured above and at the beginning and end of this feeding frenzy video, recognizes me for more than just being the “food man”!

So, she’s not just a Pavlov fish! 🙂

By the way, she’s the one that I rescued from the mouth of a mink late last summer.  You can read about that harrowing experience here.  (Again, the link below will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/my-first-hand-encounter-with-a-predator/

NEW LADY GAGA MUSIC

People waiting for Gaga’s first new album of pop material since 2013’s “Artpop” (not counting 2014’s “Cheek to Cheek” with Tony Bennett) may have to wait until later this year or early 2017!

Sir Elton John reveals that he’s heard two or three of the new songs and they are “absolutely brilliant”.

Until the new music arrives, this is still one of my favorite Lady Gaga songs.

FIRST LADIES

As you know and you can’t escape, it’s an election year.  I’ve been reading mostly autobiographies, biographies, and books about political figures.

I just finished “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli.  It was an easy read because it spent just a few pages or so on each of our president’s wives.

Here are a few tidbits I learned that you may already know. If not, they may come in handy while watching “Jeopardy” one day.

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Martha Washington:  A multi-millionaire (adjusted to today’s dollar) left to her after her first husband’s death.

Abigail Adams:  Very hands-on in helping to shape her husband’s, John Adams, policies.

Martha Jefferson: Died almost two decades before Thomas Jefferson became president, so she was never First Lady, but future First Lady Dolley Madison stood in to entertain at the White House for President Jefferson.

Dolley Madison:  Before being forced to evacuate the White House in August 1814 before British soldiers burned it down, she saved the painting of General Washington.

Elizabeth Monroe:  Ordered her dresses from France at reportedly $1,500 each and wasn’t regarded as too social in her role as First Lady.

Louisa Adams:  Only First Lady born outside of the United States (London, England) and she was the daughter-in-law to second president, John Adams.

Rachel Jackson:  She died days after her husband, Andrew, was elected president, so she was never officially First Lady.

Hannah Van Buren:  She also died before her husband, Martin, became president.

Anna Harrison:  She was the wife of the ninth U.S. President and grandmother of the 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison.  While she was First Lady, she never actually lived in the White House because her husband, William Henry Harrison, died on his 32nd day as president, and she hadn’t moved in yet.

Letitia Tyler:  She was the first First Lady to die while living in the White House (stroke).

I hope you learned something there and I’ll share more First Lady tidbits in the next “Random Friday Thoughts”.

ONE MORE “PULSE” TRIBUTE

Back in 2013, I shared an interview and blog about Eli Lieb, an Iowa singer and songwriter working to make it to the big time.

Eli Lieb Facebook

Since he grew up not far from the Quad Cities, I’ll post the blog again after the video.

His self-titled album was one of my twenty favorites of 2013.

He and Brandon Skeie, both out and proud singers and songwriters released “Pulse” earlier this week to honor the gay nightclub victims.

Here’s that blog about Eli from 2013.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/finding-young-love-a-world-away-from-iowa/

THAT’S IT

Typically, I have less serious material in my “Random Friday Thoughts”, but there is so much to process this week.

Take care of yourself and those around you.

Thank you for checking out my thoughts this week and, as always, feel free to share your thoughts with me.  If we disagree, do it diplomatically.  More gets resolved that way.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Why We Should Fear Marco Rubio

Florida Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio saw a surge in his political profile after last Monday’s Iowa Caucus.

Marco Rubio

He finished third, but it was a major boost to the candidate that had taken a back seat to blowhards Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in the campaign.

However, now that the spotlight is on the rising young star, he might be cracking a bit under the pressure.  In a debate Saturday night before the upcoming New Hampshire Primary, Rubio got frustrated over badgering from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

It prompted Christie to comment, “he gets very unruly when he gets off his talking points.”

Christie is on to something here and Rubio will be the first to tell you that he gets agitated easily and when confronted, he loses it.  He confessed that, as much, in his book, “An American Son”.

I just read it and I enjoyed it.  I’ll have more on that book and the introduction to his family, but first I want to focus on why I think Rubio is not right for America.  Actually, why he scares me and should scare you.

WHY RUBIO SCARES ME…

There are reasons more than being anti-gay.

Overall, I enjoyed getting to know Rubio over 307 pages.  However, I have a couple of issues with his own trustworthiness.

In a recent Republican debate, in his commercials, and in his speech last week after the Iowa Caucus, Rubio bashed Hillary Clinton over honesty.

president-hillary

Yet, nowhere in the book did he mention that he was arrested in a Florida park after hours in 1990 on a misdemeanor charge, yet he shared getting sick on vodka shots on a plane and vomiting on a high-ranking person in the Republican party, talked about going to “foam party” in clubs, and other things he did when he was younger.  Yet, no mention of the arrest?

And, then there’s the issue that his parents were Cuban exiles that immigrated to the United States in 1956 instead of 1959, when the guerrilla war reached its peak and Fidel Castro took office as prime minister.

He only “learned” of this when newspapers reported the inaccuracies???  As detailed as the book was, I find it hard to believe this only surfaced once it went public!

So, who has trust issues, Mr. Rubio?

Marco Rubio

In a recent blog, in an effort be more diversified, I crossed the aisle and read Mike Huckabee’s “Do The Right Thing”.  After the Prologue, his close-mindedness bored me.

I also said “Move on Mike.  Your 2016 presidential run is DOA and Iowa doesn’t love you like it did in 2008.  Go home to your family and retire.”  While I can’t take credit for it, his abysmal showing in the Iowa Caucus earlier this week prompted him to suspend his run for president that never really a “run”.  It was more like a limp.

Now about Rubio’s “An American Son”.

It was a much better book and story than Huckabee’s.  In an alternate universe (where Rubio liked gay families and didn’t use the word “conservative” like it was dirty), I could see liking the man.

Just based on the book, I would love to sit down and have dinner with him and his wife Jeanette to show them that I pray to God every night and I’m a kind and loving person that just happens not to fit into the “conservative values” circle.

I enjoyed hearing about his wonderful parents and their struggles leaving Cuba and working all their lives to give their kids a life they didn’t have.

Rubio told a very touching story about a struggling woman looking into the eyes of her newborn child, just your parents did to you.  His “people” (inner political handlers) didn’t want him to tell the story even though it was very heartfelt.  The reason?  It’d make sound like a Democrat!  If human = Democrat, I have two things going for me.

By the way, his wife, Jeanette was touched by it and wanted him to tell that story.  That’s another reason I think I’d like her.

Rubio also spoke about the 2008 election when Barack Obama won.  He became teary-eyed because of the significance of an African American being elected to the highest office in the most powerful country in the world.  That night he “was so proud to be an American”.  He knew he’d have plenty of time to fight the president to turn the country around because it was heading in the “wrong direction”.

CarterPres

I disagree with Rubio on his anti-Jimmy Carter sentiments he learned his grandfather.  Jimmy Carter is still my favorite president that was dealt a bad hand while in office.

Also, we’re at odds when he stated that the way Bill Clinton’s administration handled the Elian Gonzales case “arguably, it cost Al Gore the election” in 2000.

Arguably is right.  We know how that election was lost — Republican shadiness in Florida — “arguably”!

So, the bottom line is, I really want to like Rubio.  But, I’m not willing to give back the rights and happiness I’ve been given over the past few years as an American.

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — February 5, 2016

It looks like I might be back into the routine of writing and sharing my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  This is the third straight week of it. 🙂

So, grab your coffee or your mimosa and check out today’s thoughts and be sure to share yours, too.  If you disagree, that’s fine as long as it’s diplomatically.

DISGRACED POLITICIAN OFFERED A MILLION DOLLARS!

It’s been some time since disgraced and former Illinois Republican politician Aaron Schock of Peoria has been in the news.

The super sexy 34-year-old stud resigned from Congress last March after controversy about his use of federal funds made headlines.

Aaron Schock 2

It wasn’t only social media photos of his lavish trips, but also the interior decorating of his office in “Downton Abbey” motiff that raised eyes on his spending.

Well, now it appears he’s been offered help with his mounting legal fees, which are reported at about $750-thousand!

TitanMen, a powerhouse adult entertainment company, has offered to pay off his lawyers up to a million dollars if he’ll star in a gay porn film!

However, his dad says, “Aaron wears stylish clothing and yet he’s not gay.”

aaron-schock-1

If you don’t know much about Schock’s time in the political arena, he opposed marriage equality, opposed the repeal of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and voted against adding sexual orientation to federal hate crimes statutes.

CANCELLED CONCERT OVER CHAMPAGNE?

It appears that Timbaland likes champagne, but not just any champagne.

Last week, he was booked at a fundraiser at Club Bleu in Detroit to raise money to buy bottles of water and filters for Flint residents that have contaminated drinking water.

He was to DJ for half an hour and perform five to eight songs.  It’s reported that he took the stage and only nodded his head to the beats another DJ performed.  Why?  Because he wasn’t happy to be served Dom Perignon instead of Jay Z’s Armand de Brignac (“Ace of Spades”), which costs about $300 a bottle.

Jay Z Champagne

The owner, Mitchell Jaworski, claims that the music maestro and his entourage “had about 15 bottles of liquor and champagne, which is extremely excessive especially for a charity event”.

Timbaland’s rep says the story “is simply not true” and that the producer/rapper is an “extremely generous person who agreed to a much lower fee for this event to raise money for the Flint, Michigan’s water crisis”.

The fundraiser raised about $3,000.

MY LOVE OF CHAMPAGNE

While I love Moscato and I love vodkas, champagne is right up there at the top of my list.

I mentioned mimosas in the intro and with the talk of champagne, those sound good about right now.  I’d be ecstatic if it was served with a piece of carrot cake just like my 2012 birthday in Vegas!

Champagne

I prefer sweeter brands of champagne.

GREAT NEW DANCE ALBUM

While we’re just now getting underway in 2016, I found my new favorite CD of the year.

Actually, listening to “Matter” by the Brooklyn-based singer, St. Lucia, will have you checking to make sure we’re not enjoying the most fantastic music of the 1980s.

st-lucia-matter-new-album

St. Lucia is South African-born Jean-Philip Grobler and his band.  Their sound is heavily influenced by Grobler’s 1980s childhood influences: Phil Collins, Lionel Richie, and Fleetwood Mac.

Most of the eleven songs on his second album are very upbeat and very synth-heavily.

My favorites are “Dancing on Glass” (which I’m sharing with you),”Home”, “Rescue Me”, and “Physical”, which is very energetic, but ends very chill.  “The Winds of Change” is very similar in composition — higher beats-per-minute, but ends chill.

“Help Me Run Away” is so retro in feeling that it makes me giddy every time I hear it.

And, the ballad, “Love Somebody”, with the finger snaps and St. Lucia’s vocals, is mesmerizing.

While the album takes me back to the romanticism of the second British invasion of my teenage years in the 1980s, several songs vocally remind me of another New York-based band that’s on hiatus — the Scissor Sisters.

I know singers and artists may not like comparisons, but I mean that as a compliment.

In today’s sad state of Top 40 radio, I’m not holding my breath that “Matter” or St. Lucia will be burning up the airwaves this spring and summer and that’s a tragedy!

GRADE:  A

“AN AMERICAN SON” BY MARCO RUBIO

In my last blog, in an effort be more diversified, I crossed the aisle and read Mike Huckabee’s “Do The Right Thing”.  After the Prologue, his close-mindedness bored me.

I also said “Move on Mike.  Your 2016 presidential run is DOA and Iowa doesn’t love you like it did in 2008.  Go home to your family and retire.”  While I can’t take credit for it, his abysmal showing in the Iowa Caucus earlier this week prompted him to suspend his run for president that never really a “run”.  It was more like a limp.

Up next, Marco Rubio’s “An American Son”.

Marco Rubio

It was a much better book and story than Huckabee’s.  In an alternate universe (where Rubio liked gay families and didn’t use the word “conservative” like it was dirty), I could see liking the man.

Just based on the book, I would love to sit down and have dinner with him and his wife Jeanette to show them that I pray to God every night and I’m a kind and loving person that just happens not to fit into the “conservative values” circle.

I enjoyed hearing about his wonderful parents and their struggles leaving Cuba and working all their lives to give their kids a life they didn’t have.

Rubio told a very touching story about a struggling woman looking into the eyes of her newborn child, just your parents did to you.  His “people” (inner political handlers) didn’t want him to tell the story even though it was very heartfelt.  The reason?  It’d make sound like a Democrat!  If human = Democrat, I have two things going for me.

By the way, his wife, Jeanette was touched by it and wanted him to tell that story.  That’s another reason I think I’d like her.

Rubio also spoke about the 2008 election when Barack Obama won.  He became teary-eyed because of the significance of an African American being elected to the highest office in the most powerful country in the world.  That night he “was so proud to be an American”.  He knew he’d have plenty of time to fight the president to turn the country around because it was heading in the “wrong direction”.

CarterPres

I disagree with Rubio on his anti-Jimmy Carter sentiments he learned his grandfather.  Jimmy Carter is still my favorite president that was dealt a bad hand while in office.

Also, we’re at odds when he stated that the way Bill Clinton’s administration handled the Elian Gonzales case “arguably, it cost Al Gore the election” in 2000.

Arguably is right.  We know how that election was lost — Republican shadiness in Florida — “arguably”!

NOW, WHY RUBIO SCARES ME…

Overall, I enjoyed getting to know Rubio over 307 pages.  However, I have a couple of issues with his own trustworthiness.

In a recent Republican debate, in his commercials, and in his speech earlier this week after the Iowa Caucus, Rubio bashed Hillary Clinton over honesty.

Yet, nowhere in the book did he mention that he was arrested in a Florida park after hours in 1990 on a misdemeanor charge, yet he shared getting sick on vodka shots on a plane and vomiting on a high-ranking person in the Republican party, talked about going to “foam party” in clubs, and other things he did when he was younger.  Yet, no mention of the arrest?

And, then there’s the issue that his parents were Cuban exiles that immigrated to the United States in 1956 instead of 1959, when the guerrilla war reached its peak and Fidel Castro took office as prime minister.

He only “learned” of this when newspapers reported the inaccuracies???  As detailed as the book was, I find it hard to believe this only surfaced once it went public!

So, who has trust issues, Mr. Rubio?

CHER ON REPUBLICAN FRONT RUNNERS

Cher 

“THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL”

This coming-of-age dramedy didn’t burn up the box office (actually it’s a $2 million movie that only made $1.8 million), but it has a 94% positive on the film site, Rotten Tomatoes.

One reason it didn’t make money is probably because it was so hard to market and that’s sad.  The movie is hilarious, thought-provoking, and scandalous.

Bel Powley stars as 15-year-old Minnie, in 1976 San Francisco, who’s aspiring to be an artist. She loses her virginity to an older man (Alexander Skarsgard of “True Blood”) who’s very close to her and her mother (Kristen Wiig).

As the parent of a teenage girl that turns 15 this summer, the movie’s premise is frightening. 🙂  However, as a movie lover, it’s fantastic.

GRADE:  A-

IOWA CAUCUS AFTERTHOUGHTS

It’s cool that Iowa still kicks off the official presidential election voting season with its caucus.  However, I’m not fond of the caucus process, but Iowa is not the only state that does it.

Ted Cruz upset Donald Trump on the Republican side, but the true winner in that race was Marco Rubio with his strong third place showing.

I’ve comment before that the Trump-Cruz circus would make it very easy for Rubio to secure the Republican nomination.  We’ll have to see if his momentum can carry on into New Hampshire and Super Tuesday on March 1, 2016.

AP Hillary Iowa

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton officially won the caucus becoming the first woman ever and she won it with the slimmest margin ever.

I’m happy, as a Clinton supporter, that the race was close.  With all of the momentum that Sanders had going into the caucus, it could of a had a much different outcome!

To be honest, they were both winners!  (And, trust me when I say that, I’m not one of those people that think everyone that participates deserves a ribbon or trophy!)

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

How successful are Iowans and the Iowa Caucus in picking the candidate for president.

Since 1972, the success rate for predicting the a Democratic candidate is 43% and it’s 50% on the Republican side.

More importantly, the Iowa Caucus predicts which candidates are likely to drop out because of the lack of support.  And, that’s true — goodbye Martin O’Malley and good riddance Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum.

COMEDIC LOOK AT THE IOWA CAUCUS — AND IT’S REALLY FUNNY!

If reading about politics bores or you, let comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert tell you the story in a much more humorous way.

This makes me laugh my butt off every time!

Iowa NH

NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY

A thousand miles away from Iowa, the country’s first primary takes place Tuesday, February 9th in Hew Hampshire.  If you believe polls (and I do to a certain extent), it’s pretty much a certainty that Sanders will win and Trump has a pretty good chance.

For Hillary supporters, here’s some good news.  The last three presidents, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, all finished second in New Hampshire.

It looks like there’ll be other causalities after the votes are counted in New Hampshire.

After his loss in Iowa, Ben Carson cut his campaign operations “a little more” than half, which was mostly people that worked on the Iowa campaign.

I also predict that Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina will seriously have to re-think their future in the race — the one they don’t really have!  I didn’t mention Jim Gilmore because considering him a real candidate is a joke.

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK 

As always, I appreciate you taking the time check out my random thoughts.  I always welcome your feedback, whether you agree or disagree.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

 

Diversity in America & the 2016 Presidential Election

Politics and the 2016 presidential race is the hot topic during these cold winter months.

You can’t get away from hearing about it on television, the radio, and, especially, on social media.

Pretty much all of the attention has been focused on Iowa and New Hampshire because they are the first states to hold caucuses (Iowa, February 1) and primaries (New Hampshire, February 9).

As I write this, I want to throw out two things here to be fair — (1) I’m a Hillary Clinton supporter and I’ll be as objective as I can.

Hillary AP

And, (2) while many “candidates” are at odds with my marriage and my family, the amount of support for Donald Trump scares me.

You may have noticed that “candidates” is in quotation marks because Jim Gilmore, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, and Martin O’Malley have no chance of winning.  You could probably safely add Jeb Bush and Chris Christie to this list, too.

Now, the points of the blog — the importance of Iowa and New Hampshire, why the faith in those two states may be overrated, the polls, and the media needing a story.

Another disclaimer here:  I work in the television news business as a meteorologist, so I have no control in what candidates or stories we cover.

Iowa NH

Iowa and New Hampshire are a thousand miles apart, but they gets plenty of national publicity in the long election campaigns because unknown national candidates can gain traction there (Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Bernie Sanders in 2016).

While Huckabee is DOA in Iowa this time around, the state is still important to Trump and Ted Cruz, who are battling it out on the Republican side and for Clinton and Sanders on the Democratic side for the same reason — bragging rights.

It can definitely boost national recognition and campaign contributions.

For us in the Illinois Quad Cities, bordering Iowa gives us a chance to see candidates that may be history by the March 15th Illinois primary.  (For those unfamiliar with the Quad Cities, it’s two larger cities in Iowa and two in Illinois on the Mississippi River separated by bridges — even though other communities feel they should be part of the “Quad” Cities.)

That’s why Iowa and New Hampshire are important.  Here’s why they really aren’t vital to the scheme of things on a national level.

Iowa has a population around 3.1 million people and New Hampshire 1.3 million. Combined, that’s 4.4 million people.

322.2 million people live in the United States, so those two states amount to 1.3% of the country’s population.

However, if you look closer at the population of those two states, you’ll find that Iowa is 91% white and Hampshire is 94% white.

diversity

I even saw a story refer to Iowa as “lily white” and New Hampshire as “lily whiter”.  It is what it is, but that’s not a true representation of America.

The demographics for our country are crudely broken down as:  63% White, 17% Hispanic, 13% African American, and 5% Asian.

For those reasons, I find it hard to put a lot of faith that Iowa and New Hampshire will decide the next election when you look at population and demographics.

And, then there are the polls!  I look at them, but I don’t cry over them.  It’s all about who is conducting them and how the questions are asked (or how you think they are asked).

RCP Sunday.jpg

For example, in Iowa, Clinton and Sanders are within points of each other in most polls, yet there are others that show Clinton with a commanding lead.

It’s a given that Sanders is easily winning New Hampshire (19-point lead).  The polls show it and the media is serving it to you on a platter!

Yet, you’re not hearing about Clinton’s 22-point lead in South Carolina, the 33-point lead in North Carolina, and the 36-point Florida lead.  It would deflate the underdog Sanders’ story and the media loves a good story.

We really won’t know the outcome and the accuracy of these polls until people get out to their caucuses and primaries.  It’s very important to make your vote count.

The campaigning process for the presidential election is getting longer and longer because there’s so much money to be made and wasted.

These are my thoughts.  If you agree or disagree, let me know.  Just do it diplomatically.

Anthony

 

My Early November Random Thoughts

Happy November!  Are you gearing up for the holidays?  Which is your favorite?  Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve?  It’s been a while since I just blogged just about random things that go through my mind, so here goes….

POOR NEW YORK

When Hurricane Sandy slammed onto the New Jersey shores October 29th, it didn’t wash away the cast of the MTV show, “Jersey Shore”.  I’m kidding!  In reality, we saw all of the horrible images of the flooding, the wind damage, and the heavy snow across the East Coast.

And, of course, there were many fake pictures surfacing.  However, none of the pictures captured the magnitude of “The Perfect Storm” like this one.  Who knew they had so much to deal with?  The media (well, except Fox News) just doesn’t show you everything. 🙂

ELECTIONS ARE BEHIND US — FINAL THOUGHTS

Can you believe that 2012 is almost over and that the election is behind us?  Congratulations President Obama on getting four more years!  Now get more things done this time, so those that say you haven’t done enough can zip it!  And, it’ll set the stage for a Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential bid!

And, entertainment icon Cher can breathe a sigh of relief and continue prepping for her much delayed new album and tour.  From this past tweet, you know she’s happy that President Obama was re-elected!

LAST ELECTION COMMENT

With a record number of people voting early across the United States, maybe we should make it mandatory that all Floridians vote early.

As we know, the 2000 election came down to Florida.  And, several days after the 2012 election, Florida was still the only state that had not declared a winner although it’s pretty much a win for President Obama, who leads by about 51,000 votes.  (Actress Roseanne Barr got 8,000+ votes in the Sunshine State!)

I really haven’t looked into why it took so long and it really doesn’t matter this election, but seriously there is a problem with that state and its election board counting votes!

TOP SELLING ARTISTS IN ENGLISH MUSIC HISTORY

The “UK Official Singles Chart” is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and the top-selling male singles’ artist is Elvis Presley with sales of more than 21.6 million.

He’s followed by Cliff Richard, Michael Jackson, and Elton John.

The runner-ups for top-selling female artist are Rihanna, Kylie Minogue, Whitney Houston, and Lady Gaga.  They all trail the top-selling female artist for the past 60 years with singles’ sales of 17.8 million — Madonna.

Overall, of all singles artists, Michael Jackson is fifth, Madonna is in fourth place, Cliff Richard is in third, Elvis is second, and the top-selling singles’ artist in U.K. history is the Beatles with sales at 21.9 million!  Are you shocked?


BARBIE PULLS A “DEXTER”

I know that Halloween is over and we should be thinking happy thoughts and not morbid ones, but this is too good to pass up since I didn’t do a “this & that” blog in October.

So, in that vein, here’s to Thanksgiving.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN GOD?

I just read an article about the existence of God and according to the May 2011 Gallup poll, 92% of Americans believe in God.  That is the lowest number of believers since Gallup started asking this question in 1944.  In August 1967, 98% of Americans believed in God.

More women believe in God than men and the age group that had the least belief in God (84%) was the 18 to 29-year-olds.

The South (96%) had the most believers, while the East (86%) had the least.  That doesn’t surprise me, nor does this statistic from that 2011 Gallup poll.  By political party affiliation:  98% of Republicans, 90% of Democrats and 89% of Independents believe in God.

ANOTHER UNRELATED THOUGHT ABOUT GOD

I promise that I have no agenda against God, but I saved this on my computer one day from Facebook and I just came across it and since I’m doing random thoughts, it would be a perfect time to share it.

CHRISTMAS CARDS

I love sending out Christmas cards and this year instead of sending out my typical store-bought boxed cards, I ordered personal photo cards.

Do you still send them out?  This is basically the only time that I use the USPS and I might not be alone.  In 2000, there were 55.1 billion stamped letters mailed.  In 2010, that number had dropped almost in half to 29.8 billion.

Here are the two new stamps for the holidays this from the USPS.

DECORATING FOR CHRISTMAS

While I know that Christmas is still about six weeks away, I’m taking advantage of the warm weather later today to hang lights outside.  As soon as I’m done emceeing a benefit fashion show fundraiser in Davenport, Iowa, I’m coming home to decorate outdoors.  I’d rather do it today when temperatures are around 70 degrees rather than tomorrow when it’s rainy, windy, and much colder!  Yes, that’s my official forecast.

To get you into the holiday spirit or if you just want a laugh, here’s a cute Christmas parody of Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.  (You only have to watch the first two minutes since the last 30-seconds is a commercial!)

“THE NEW ME”

“Malibu Country”, the new ABC Reba comedy is a hit!  It won its time slot on its debut night, November 2, 2012, with almost 9 million viewers.

And, the new song that you can download on iTunes is incredible and I feel as Reba is speaking to me.

In 2013, I’m ready to find “The New Me”.

Happy November, my friends.

Anthony

Sour Orange Juice & Fruit Pies

*Note:  Once you start reading this, you’ll realize it was originally posted in October 2012.*

I always try to find a silver lining in every situation.  While I’m a realist, I will sometimes sugar coat things for some people who can’t handle the truth.

I know that people don’t have to agree with me about music, movies, food, politics, marriage equality, and the list goes on.  And, that is what makes America a wonderful country.  We have the freedom to choose what we believe and to educate ourselves about things that we don’t understand.  It’s called living.

As educated as I think I am, I don’t think I will ever understand how some in society can harm gay people with fists, baseball bats, or knives, and beat them down with hate and words.

Maybe one day, I’ll have a conversation with failed presidential and senatorial wannabe Rick Santorum.  And, then after our talk, I would like to ask him if I really pose that much of a threat to traditional marriage, the future of this country, and his relationship with God.

Another person that I would love to sit down and have a heart to heart with is former beauty queen, orange juice spokeswoman, and outspoken homophobe Anita Bryant.

Some people may remember her for winning the Miss Oklahoma crown in 1958 and becoming the second runner-up to Miss America at the age of 19.  Some remember her for the 1960, #5 pop hit, “Paper Roses”, that would become a hit for Marie Osmond in 1973.

But, most people recognize the beautiful woman from her orange juice commercials for the Florida Citrus Commission that hired her in 1969.

Anita Bryant is a religious woman and she used her celebrity to talk about God.  And, I’m perfectly okay with that.  However, even as a 12-year-old back in 1977, what I remember most about the woman is the uproar across America she caused over her campaign against “homosexuals”.

35 years ago,”gay rights” was not part of America’s every day language.  Gay people were still on the “fringe” of society.  Being equal was not even a consideration, but only something in some old document that our forefathers signed in the late 1700s.

Even in 1977, gay people were police officers, florists, waiters, and teachers.  Basically, they were just like everyone else.  But, that was too much to handle for Anita Bryant.  When an ordinance was passed in Dade County, Florida, that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, Bryant led the charge to overturn that.

Bryant stated, “what these people really want, hidden behind obscure legal phrases, is the legal right to propose to our children that theirs is an acceptable alternate way of life. […] I will lead such a crusade to stop it as this country has not seen before.”

She established a group called “Save Our Children”.  “As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children”.  Bryant said that recruitment would lead to child molestation.  Southern Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell headed down to Miami to lend his support for cause.

Bryant spent a lot of time and energy in demonizing gay people with comments like, “”If gays are granted rights, next we’ll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nail biters.”

Spreading fear against the gays worked.  In the largest special election in Dade County history, 69% voted to overturn the ordinance.

That stunning defeat only ignited gay rights activists.  Hundreds and then thousands of protesters started turning up at events that featured Bryant.   A week after the special election, around 6,000 people marched through downtown Houston as Bryant arrived at a banquet.

I am a firm believer that every American should have the right to peacefully protest something they are against.  Do I think (or did I think) that Anita Bryant was a modern day Adolf Hitler.  Hell, to the no.  She was just a hater that had a forum to spread her distorted view of life that didn’t mirror her life.

Celebrities like Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Jane Fonda, Mary Tyler Moore, John Waters, and Carroll O’Connor (“Archie Bunker”!) all spoke out against this agenda that Bryant was pushing and boycotted Florida orange juice.  Gay bars stopped serving screwdrivers and added the “Anita Bryant”, which was vodka and apple juice.  Proceeds from the drink went toward the fight against Bryant.

Bryant didn’t back down and neither did those fighting her hateful message.  The protests against her reached a climax in Des Moines, Iowa, 35 years ago today on October 14, 1977.  While appearing on television, a Minneapolis gay rights activist “pied” Bryant!

Right or wrong, that stunt raised the profile of the fight even higher.  As much as I detest the message Bryant was sending, her response “in the face” of being publicly humiliated was witty, but derogatory.  Bryant quipped before breaking down in tears, “at least it was a fruit pie.”  As you may or may not know, gay men were/are referred to as “fruit”.

The good news for Bryant is that her campaign ignited the Briggs Initiative in California in 1978 where, if passed, it would ban gays or lesbians and possible anyone that supported gay rights from teaching in California public schools.  The late, great Harvey Milk, President Jimmy Carter, former President Gerald Ford, and former Governor and future President Ronald Reagan were all against it.

Luckily, California voters said, “no way”.  That measure was defeated by a margin of 58-42%.

In 1979, after losing money because of Bryant’s political crusade against gays, the Florida Citrus Commission fired Bryant.  Financial troubles followed and her 2o-year marriage crumbled, and the Christian Right criticized Bryant for wanting a divorce because it would lead to “the deterioration of the family”, which Bryant spoke about heavily in her Christian ministries.  They saw her as a hypocrite.

Bob Green, Bryant’s late husband who died this past January, said this in 2007, “Blame gay people? I do. Their stated goal was to put her out of business and destroy her career. And that’s what they did. It’s unfair.”

Sadly, I find that very hypocritical.  It was okay for him and his wife to go around spewing lies and hate about how evil gay people were and Bryant worked to try and get the Briggs Initiative passed in California.  And, then he had the gall to paint gays as villains?

It’s 2012 now and I’d love to sit down with Bryant over mimosas, screwdrivers, or just orange juice, to see how she really feels today.

Robert Green, Jr. earlier this year said, “I think she is certainly more willing now to live and let live, I guess.  She’s about 70, and she’s still amazingly energetic, and she would be putting a lot more energy into fighting gay rights if she still felt as strongly.”