Recently, I had the honor of authoring a guest post for my friend Lene over at The Seated View. She so graciously allowed me to write whatever I wanted, and I decided it was time to show the world just what it would be like if people like me were no longer able to obtain narcotics in this country. You can check out the post, my book, Lene’s great books, and more, over at her website. Happy reading!
ISIS. I only need to say the word, and horrible images of prisoners in orange jumpsuits being violently beheaded come to mind. The man dressed in black with a British accent, telling us that we have to “pay the price,” for arming the “Peshmerga against the Islamic state.” In the video showing the beheading of David Haines, the executioner holds the British Prime Minister personally responsible for “entering voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State.” The executioner then goes on to talk about how David Cameron, the British PM, is afraid to say “no” to the Americans and how the British citizens will pay the price. In order to illustrate that ISIS is serious, they claim that British citizen Alan Henning is next to be killed. Henning was captured in Syria, but no one knows exactly how. If you ever need a reminder, ISIS and their clockwork release of brutal, torturous, executions is a visceral memento of just what we are up against in the Middle East, and the extremes to which our enemy will go. According to the Art of War by Sun Tzu, one should know his enemy, so let’s talk about ISIS.
September 11, 2001. 9-11. To borrow a phrase, it’s a “date that will live in infamy.” We collectively share what happened 13 years ago, the events that changed our world forever, but each of us also owns a personal narrative from that fateful morning. Where I live, in the suburbs of New York City, we were especially hard hit, and from my town alone we lost 77 people. Financial jobs were status quo here, and “Cantor Fitzgerald” is a name that still evokes an emotional gut punch when heard in passing. Don’t misunderstand; I’m not making light of any other town’s grief or claiming sole dominion over feelings of loss for our small berg. I only tell you this to set the stage for the drama I will unfold here, for the first time ever.
Liars, liars, pantaloons on fire! The truth is most everyone secretly hates summer as much as I do.
We know we’re supposed to revel in the ‘beautiful’ weather and bask in the heat of the yellow sun and sip a glass of lemonade with a dog playing Frisbee. Also, maybe a girl in a sundress dancing around as well. Actually, that might have been a laundry detergent commercial I saw.
In the wake of the Ray Rice video and his subsequent suspension from the NFL, a new report claims that one in five women in the U.S. have been raped. Talk about a horrible statistic. One in five women. That means 20% of all females in the U.S. have been sexually violated at one time in their lives. In addition, 43% of all U.S. females report being sexually assaulted in some way. More than likely, that means someone in your family, be it your mother, grandmother, sister, or aunt, has been a victim of this horrible crime. That’s how common it is.
Yesterday, as you probably already know, we lost a legend of the comedy world. Joan Rivers, the guest host of the tonight show and purveyor of all things fashion on the E Channel, passed away last night after a routine procedure went terribly wrong last Thursday. She was put under general anesthesia and when she didn’t regain consciousness, she spent a week in the hospital before finally succumbing to brain death. Joan Rivers was a pioneer for women, especially in the entertainment industry, and her comedy will be missed. One thing though, above all else, set Joan Rivers apart from her peers – she never cared about being “PC,” or politically correct, and she never apologized for making an off-color joke.
Originally, I had this post scheduled for Labor Day itself, but then the tragic Steven Sotloff news came over the wire, and I pulled it. So, here it is, in honor of Steven Sotloff and everyone else who works, a history of Labor day.
For most people, Labor Day signifies the official end of summer and a welcome three-day-weekend. One last chance to fire up the grill and party down, before school and work and the seriousness of winter days creeps back in to our lives. As the name seems to indicate, though, Labor Day is actually a day to remember the many working men and women that have made our country what it is today. Not the way you think, though.
*Video link below
I can’t believe I’m about to say this but the news today is that ISIS has just released a new video that shows a second journalist, Steven Sotloff, being beheaded. James Foley, a fellow journalist, was beheaded on August 19, 2014, and it shocked the nation. The group, ISIS or ISIL, did warn us, though, that a “second message” was coming, and this appears to be it.
First, let me say that Steven Sotloff was just 33 years old, younger than I am now, and was a journalist for many years already. He worked for Time and several others magazines, and has appeared on CNN and Fox News more than once. Sotloff was kidnapped when he crossed the border into Syria from Turkey on August 4, 2013, or thereabouts. His family decided to keep the incident under wraps, feeling that would provide the best chance for Sotloff’s safe return. When the video of James Foley was released, though, Sotloff appeared in it and a member of ISIS threatened his life unless airstrikes were called off. As we all know, the airstrikes continued, and Sotloff has now apparently paid the price.
Well, here we are at the end of Labor Day weekend 2014. The summer was mild in New York, and we are probably in for one heck of a winter, but, that’s fine with me – that’s the way I like it. Anyway, on to the post and the Fall, here is the week in quotes. Not much to speak of, but, then again, it was a holiday.
There’s almost no issue that inflames people more than the state of welfare and entitlements in this country, and today a new wrinkle has been revealed in the long-standing debate. A report issued by the U.S. Census indicates that 110 million Americans are now receiving government “means-tested” assistance of some kind. This means that more than one-third of this country is receiving federal housing subsidies, SSI, food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, temporary assistance, and/or welfare benefits. Now, I’m sure that some of the recipients of these benefits are good, hard-working, people who need a helping hand, but that doesn’t mean the system isn’t broken. Both sides of the debate, liberal and conservative alike, have extreme ideas when it comes to reeling in or expanding welfare, but I believe that a common sense middle ground can be found. Remember, politicians like to keep us divided so that we won’t suddenly realize we are all being duped. Entitlement reform is one of the areas that suffers regularly from this practice of distraction.