Posts Tagged ‘John Kerry’

Random Friday Thoughts — July 8, 2016

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.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

I want to extend Happy Anniversary wishes to one of the most perfect couples — my favorite President Jimmy Carter and his beautiful bride, Rosalynn.

Jimmy & Rosalynn.jpg

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.

CarterPres

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!  🙂

Happy Anniversary!

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

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.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/forget-marilyn-i-want-my-week-with-jimmy/

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.

Dallas

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.

the real world

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.”

DEM 2016 Debate

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.

The Stevens Family.jpg

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.”

Clinton Stevens.jpg

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.

GRADE:  B

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:

tm

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!

SULLY

You might not remember that it was in January 2009, but I’m sure just looking at this photo, you’ll remember the story.

Flight 1549

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.)

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

While I think the medicine is definitely working, it was already too late for Snowflake.

FIRST LADIES

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.

First Ladies

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.

HIllary Flag

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???? 🙂

PICK HIT

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.

THAT’S IT

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!

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — March 18, 2016

It’s almost the weekend and, as always, I’m ready for it.

Got any big plans?  Whatever you do, or don’t do, enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

SPRING STORMS THIS WEEK

Our first round of severe storms in 2016 brought five tornadoes to northern Illinois and eastern Iowa Tuesday evening.  This required me to go back into work for several hours.  It saddens me to see the widespread devastation, but I’m happy to report there were no casualties!

Of course, the two-plus hours of continuous coverage ticked some people off because watching their regular programs was more important than keeping people safe.

Oh well, people get over it.  We’ll do the same thing the next time there are tornadoes in the area!

PATTI DAVIS & HER FATHER’S AIDS FAILURE

Patti Davis, the daughter of former President Ronald Reagan & First Lady Nancy Reagan is promoting her new book, “The Earth Breaks In Colors” and she’s not holding back on her father’s failure in handling the AIDS crisis.

Nancy+Reagan+Patti+Davis

She says, “I’m not gonna make excuses for, um, the failure of his administration to address the AIDS crisis when it was going on.”   She adds, “I mean, it was a failure. It hurts my heart that that happened, on so many levels.”

RonaldReagan

Davis:  “Presidents get briefings every morning, um, they’re busy, so their time watching CNN is limited, so they do rely on people to bring them information on what was going on. There were people around him who did not want him dealing with the AIDS crisis, and I’m not making excuses for him, I’m saying that’s a flaw of his, and in this case it turned out to be a really tragic flaw because he didn’t really know the extent of what was going on until Rock Hudson died.”

Doris Day Rock Hudson 1985

AIDS wasn’t the only topic Davis talked on when reflecting on her father.

Trump

She also implied that President Reagan would not be behind Donald Trump’s bid for the White House because he supported immigration.

Davis says, “He would certainly not be saying that Muslims should register and let’s build a huge wall and let Mexico pay for it and send them all back.”

A PICTURE SPEAKS A THOUSAND WORDS

Even politicians can put their differences aside!

George W Hillary

This picture was taken at Nancy Reagan’s funeral last week.

“SPOKEN FROM THE HEART” — LAURA BUSH

I just finished reading Laura Bush’s 2010 autobiography, “Spoken From The Heart” and it solidified my fondness of the former First Lady.  As I stated last week, she’s one of my five favorite First Ladies.

Laura Spoken.jpg

When deciding to read the book, I was afraid.  What if she wasn’t as charming as I perceived her to be?  What if she didn’t like Hillary Clinton?  (That’s important to me when both are one my list of five favorite First Ladies!)

My concerns and fears were unfounded and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Laura Welch better.  I would so honored to meet her one day.

In the book, she described Hillary as “gracious and forthcoming” when the outgoing First Lady was giving the future First Lady a tour of the White House.

I loved the touching story of Hillary and her daughter, Chelsea, showing Ms. Bush tomato plants that they had growing on the parapet off the third floor because “you just can’t get good tomatoes.”

President and Ms. Bush would go on to grow pots of tomatoes there, too.

ABBAtomatoes

I love this story so much because I used to grow tomatoes and peppers in pots for Miss ABBA, the golden retriever, before I lived in a house where I could have a garden!

In the book, Ms. Bush says very few bad things about people.  Even when she took people to task for their words or actions, she was cordial about it.

President Obama

Laura Bush on Barack Obama and the 2008 Presidential race:  “And I wondered if Barack Obama, who spent far more time attacking George than he did his opponent, John McCain, would want to amend his words once he discovered the reality of the White House and was himself confronted by the challenges and crises that hit a president every day, all day.”

DONALD TRUMP, THIS COULD BE YOU!

While Laura Bush had just talked about former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Nevada Senator and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and their constant name calling of her husband, President George W. Bush, she stated that the president was always polite and didn’t resort to name calling.

She said, “The president doesn’t have the luxury of behaving like a smart-aleck kid on a school playground; he has to work not just with Congress but with leaders around the world.”

Hey, Donald Trump, listen up.  This could apply to you, too!

FOR THE LOVE OF GEORGE W. BUSH

One thing very clear and so sweet in Ms. Bush’s book is the love between her and her husband.

Bush_mission_accomplished

I know that she’s his wife and I expect her to say nice and flattering things about him. However, after reading about their love and their life together, I’ll still disagree with him on certain policies, but I’d break bread with him and maybe even find him pleasant!

DISAGREED WITH LAURA JUST ONCE

As I’ve always told people, you can disagree with me as long as you do it diplomatically.  As much I admire Ms. Bush, I disagree with her view on the last presidential debate in 2004 between President Bush and his Democratic rival, John Kerry.

Debate moderate Bob Schieffer asked the men if homosexuality was a choice.

Kerry replied, “We’re all God’s children, Bob, and I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she’s being who she was. She’s being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it’s not a choice.”

Mary Cheney, Heather Poe

I agree with Senator (and now Secretary of State) Kerry.  It’s not a choice.

Was it inappropriate to mention Mary Cheney?  Absolutely not.  Ms. Bush and both Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, blasted Kerry for the comments.

Mary Cheney was an “out” lesbian in a long-term relationship with a woman (they married in the summer of 2012).  LGBT issues were a big talking point in the 2000 election when President Bush was elected and still an an issue in 2004.

Even if we disagree on that, I value Ms. Bush’s opinion and I still think she’d make a great friend!

I’M NOT FEELING “THE BERN”

Five states went to the polls this past Tuesday night and with close wins in Illinois and Missouri and easier wins in the other three states, Hillary Clinton went five-for-five.

On the rival side, a win in Ohio kept John Kasich in the race.  However, a big loss in Florida prompted Marco Rubio to drop out of the race for president.

Marco Rubio

Good riddance!

As I’ve said before, I will not personally attack Bernie Sanders the way I’ve seen him and his “Feel The Bern” followers attack Clinton.

With that being said, I’m rather dismayed by Senator Sanders’ nasty tone toward the Democratic front-runner in recent week.  I know it has a lot to do with the fact that with each primary and caucus, she’s moving closer and closer to the delegate count needed to secure the party’s nomination.

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

But, really?  Be tough and if you’re going to lose, know you fought a good fight with dignity.  Don’t resort to Trump tactics!

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD

I’ve never had a desire to visit any of the biggest studio attractions.

But, let me tell you after seeing this new permanent “The Walking Dead” attraction coming this summer at Universal Studios Hollywood, I might change my mind!

Boo!  Walkers and survival, I’m game!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”

As the sixth season winds down (the finale is Sunday, April 3rd), the second and longer season of “Fear The Walking Dead” debuts one week later.

The six episodes of the first season were enjoyable, but it started out really slow.  But, then again, in the early days of the virus apocalypse, I’m sure the process of walkers taking over and turning was slower. 🙂

However, the trailer for the new season looks incredible and out of this world!

“RECOUNT”

I finally got around to watching the award-winning, HBO movie, “Recount”, about the 2000 presidential election where Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote, but the presidency went to George W. Bush because of Florida’s 25 electoral vote.

If you lived through it, but got bored with it by early December, the battles that both sides went through to get the win for their candidate in the court system were entertaining and frustrating in movie form.

Many in the cast were nominated for Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, and Golden Globe awards including Kevin Spacey, Tom Wilkinson, Denis Leary, Bob Balaban, and Laura Dern.

Dern was the only winner for acting.  She snagged the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

She was insanely entertaining (crazy !) as Florida’s Secretary of State Katherine Harris.

GRADE:  B

One day, I hope to run across “Game Change” with Emmy winner Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in the 2008 presidential election.

“DAMIEN”

The new television series on A&E following “Bates Motel” is a sequel to “The Omen”.  Damien is now grown and just beginning to piece together his violent childhood as the “antichrist”.

The premiere was decent, but it definitely has room for improvement. (I haven’t watched the second episode yet.)

I liked actor Bradley James, who plays Damien, but I want to see more of Barbara Hershey and learn more about her evil connection to Damien.

“BATES MOTEL”

Despite my hopes for “Damien”, ratings may be the killer for the show.  It’s debut only attracted 75o-thousand viewers and by the second episode, the ratings dropped even more to just a little over one-half million people.

It lost about one-half of the viewers that tuned in to see the season 4 opener of “Bates Motel”, which itself was at a series low in ratings!

Norman and Norma were amazing and I can’t wait to see more of their zaniness this season.

You can catch “Bates Motel” and “Damien on A&E Monday nights.

PICK HIT

I’ve blogged many times about my love for the incredible English trio Years & Years.  Their debut album last summer, “Communion” was perfect and ended up being my second favorite album of the year.

I wanted to see them in concert last fall when I was in San Francisco, California, but the show was sold out.  Luckily, I’ll be seeing them in early May in Rosemont, Illinois, when they open for Ellie Goulding on the “Delirium World Tour”.

They just re-released one of their earlier English hits, “Desire”.  It now features Tove Lo, who scored big hits with the #1 airplay smash, “Habits (Stay High)”, and the Top 5 airplay sonh, “Talking Body”.

Here’s the new “Desire” video and trust me, the second half gets rather risque and will shock many people in the U.S.  Maybe that’s why I love it so!

THAT’S IT

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

Anthony