A new HuffPo article is up. The War On Poverty. The War On Hunger. The War On Discrimination. The War On Racism. We absolutely love to declare war on things here in the U.S. Maybe it’s because “The non-violent police action against racism,” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, or maybe it’s because Americans love to do everything to extremes. You only need look to sports to confirm this. We took rugby, a sport where the players tape their ears down because of the very real chance of those ears being ripped off, decided it was too docile, and created the NFL.
A few days ago, as I was discussing politics with a friend, I realized something that shocked me. I have always considered myself a republican, and I have always espoused the conservative views that were part and parcel of such an ethos. Amazingly, though, as I was listening to myself debate climate change, abortion, and home-state surveillance, I suddenly realized that the progressive views of the Democratic Party were spewing from my mouth-hole, not the well-hewed tenets of the G.O.P., and even worse, I had no inclination to stop these rogue thoughts from bubbling out. Continue reading “Epiphany of a Republicrat” »
Prophetic words. More and more lately, this quote has been echoing in my mind. I heard these words many years ago during a trip to the theater, when that sort of thing was still required if one wanted to see a new movie. The awe and wonder of the big screen was one of my favorite things, and I especially loved sci-fi (if you can identify the film that the quote is from, kudos – you are a true movie buff). The quote was uttered after a devastating set of events that resulted from progressing for the sake of progress without stopping to consider the consequences. It’s a question we rarely ask any more, at a time when, tragically, we should be asking it the most.
The Internet. The explosion of the information superhighway has been a boon for so many different industries – medical, financial, technology, and, of course, communications.
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.
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.