Image Credit & Copyright: Bob Franke
I snapped this one in a store at Quincy Market
Yesterday in my post PhotOH! On the streets of Boston: An important message for Congress, written in chalk, I shared one of the two most gripping moments I had in the two days I spent in the wonderful, awe-inspiring city of Boston.
Here, as promised, is the second one. We had just stepped outside our hotel when we heard loud shouting by what sounded like a crowd of people. My first instinct was to look around to see if another tragedy was about to occur, but that only lasted a second or two, because the images below are what quickly appeared before my own very eyes.
It was exhilarating. I’d never been this close up and personal to something like this, and I couldn’t stop smiling. The smiles I got in return made the experience that much more rewarding:
Then today, still floaty and optimistic from sweet memories of that event, I woke up to this bubble bursting news in my morning Los Angeles Times:
Consider two fictitious female job candidates with nearly identical resumes, both vying for an administrative assistant position, one with better grades and a history of volunteering for a gay rights group.
At oil and gas giant ExxonMobil, hiring managers allegedly chased after the less qualified prospect while ignoring the applicant linked to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, according to a charge filed against the company Wednesday.
The complaint from nonprofit LGBT worker advocacy group Freedom to Work and law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, filed in the Illinois Department of Human Rights, accuses Exxon of discrimination based on sexual orientation. [...]
The group alleged that the candidate who volunteered for a feminist college group and earned a 3.9 grade-point average in college received more call-backs than the applicant with a 3.98 GPA and served as treasurer of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.
Please follow the link for more.
First things first:
1. The way I most often cope with just about anything that bothers me is with humor. Please indulge me.
2. I am a huge supporter of the Neptune Society. They were absolutely wonderful and responded immediately when we called them after my dad passed away. They showed up within 90 minutes and were kind, sensitive, comforting, and efficient.
And because they now have our address, they sent us an invitation to consider using their services when the time comes (and we likely will). I scanned part of it to share an image with you (below), because what they didn’t seem to realize was their inadvertent reference to this:
Ring around the rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
We all fall down!
Here is what we received in the mail:
Doesn’t that family look happy playing Ring Around the Rosie? Ashes, ashes… Weee! Mr. Laffy brought that to my attention, and for the first time in two days, we laughed.
Hey, I never said I wasn’t a little demented. And a lot sad and still in shock. Need a release much? Why yes, yes I do.
By the way, Mr. Laffy is a comedy writer/producer. He is a very mellow, sweet, and hilarious guy whose observations have kept me (and TV audiences) in stitches for decades. He’s professionally demented.
The Neptune Society also didn’t appear to be aware of the awkwardness and incongruity of the “WIN A PRE-PAID CREMATION!” promo as if it were some kind of infomercial from beyond… especially so closely following recent events.
Yes, we can still find humor during the darkest, most painful moments of our lives. Hence my pseudonym, GottaLaff… or you cry.
I’ve now done both.
Thank you for understanding.
This popped up in my inbox, via Fox Biz, which of course is an impeccable source:
New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 340,000 last week from an upwardly-revised 363,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to fall to 345,000 from an initially-reported 360,000.
Anyone hear this mentioned today?
Today’s Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:
It is heartbreaking to read of homes destroyed, lives upended, children killed and hundreds left homeless. We know that, without effective action to combat climate change, these events will become more frequent.
And yet the political leaders of Oklahoma are right-wing ideologues who either reject the idea of global warming or question its effects on weather catastrophes. What will it take to get them to realize that their inaction will lead to more disasters?
President Obama and the Democrats cannot wage the battle against climate change without support from GOP lawmakers. How many more of these disasters can we clean up before we run out of resources to do it?
Once again, as in other school tragedies, we learn that teachers at Moore, Okla., put themselves between their students and extreme danger. Once again, parents tearfully thank teachers. And once again, this will soon be forgotten and our politicians will return to bashing teachers.
The tragedy in Oklahoma should become a permanent reminder that we must not allow our teachers to be scapegoated or reduced to numbers on a standardized teacher evaluation form. Teachers who are willing to give up their lives for our children should not be treated so shabbily by a self-serving political establishment.
Dennis M. Clausen
Here is the transcript of the speech, not including improvised remarks. Here are clips of Medea Benjamin asking President Obama, “Will you apologize to the thousands of Muslims that you have killed?” and his reactions.
Today, Osama bin Laden is dead, and so are most of his top lieutenants. There have been no large-scale attacks on the United States, and our homeland is more secure. Fewer of our troops are in harm’s way, and over the next 19 months they will continue to come home. Our alliances are strong, and so is our standing in the world. In sum, we are safer because of our efforts…
Today, the core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on a path to defeat. Their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety than plotting against us. They did not direct the attacks in Benghazi or Boston. They have not carried out a successful attack on our homeland since 9/11. Instead, what we’ve seen is the emergence of various al Qaeda affiliates…
Moreover, we must recognize that these threats don’t arise in a vacuum. Most, though not all, of the terrorism we face is fueled by a common ideology – a belief by some extremists that Islam is in conflict with the United States and the West, and that violence against Western targets, including civilians, is justified in pursuit of a larger cause. Of course, this ideology is based on a lie, for the United States is not at war with Islam; and this ideology is rejected by the vast majority of Muslims, who are the most frequent victims of terrorist acts…
Beyond Afghanistan, we must define our effort not as a boundless ‘global war on terror’ – but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America. In many cases, this will involve partnerships with other countries…
But despite our strong preference for the detention and prosecution of terrorists, sometimes this approach is foreclosed. Al Qaeda and its affiliates try to gain a foothold in some of the most distant and unforgiving places on Earth. They take refuge in remote tribal regions… [P]utting U.S. boots on the ground may trigger a major international crisis. To put it another way, our operation in Pakistan against Osama bin Laden cannot be the norm…
To begin with, our actions are effective… Simply put, these strikes have saved lives… Moreover, America’s actions are legal…
To say a military tactic is legal, or even effective, is not to say it is wise or moral in every instance…
[B]y the end of 2014, we will no longer have the same need for force protection, and the progress we have made against core al Qaeda will reduce the need for unmanned strikes…
America does not take strikes when we have the ability to capture individual terrorists – our preference is always to detain, interrogate, and prosecute them. America cannot take strikes wherever we choose – our actions are bound by consultations with partners, and respect for state sovereignty. America does not take strikes to punish individuals – we act against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people, and when there are no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat. And before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set…
[I]t is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in all wars. For the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, these deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred through conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq…
To do nothing in the face of terrorist networks would invite far more civilian casualties… So it is false to assert that putting boots on the ground is less likely to result in civilian deaths, or to create enemies in the Muslim world. The result would be more U.S. deaths, more Blackhawks down, more confrontations with local populations, and an inevitable mission creep in support of such raids that could easily escalate into new wars… But by narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us, and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life…
Any U.S. military action in foreign lands risks creating more enemies, and impacts public opinion overseas. Our laws constrain the power of the President, even during wartime, and I have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. The very precision of drones strikes, and the necessary secrecy involved in such actions can end up shielding our government from the public scrutiny that a troop deployment invites. It can also lead a President and his team to view drone strikes as a cure-all for terrorism. For this reason, I’ve insisted on strong oversight of all lethal action….
[N]ot only did Congress authorize the use of force, it is briefed on every strike that America takes. That includes the one instance when we targeted an American citizen: Anwar Awlaki, the chief of external operations for AQAP…
This week, I authorized the declassification of this action, and the deaths of three other Americans in drone strikes, to facilitate transparency and debate on this issue, and to dismiss some of the more outlandish claims. For the record, I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen – with a drone, or a shotgun – without due process. Nor should any President deploy armed drones over U.S. soil.
But when a U.S. citizen goes abroad to wage war against America – and is actively plotting to kill U.S. citizens; and when neither the United States, nor our partners are in a position to capture him before he carries out a plot – his citizenship should no more serve as a shield than a sniper shooting down on an innocent crowd should be protected from a swat team
Please go here for the entire transcript.
Medea Benjamin may have made some valid points, as did the president. But heckling often ends up working against the heckler, at least that’s the way it looked from the reactions that came my way on Twitter. On the other hand, it does get a whole lot of attention from the media.
President Obama eventually became impatient with the interruptions and politely told a very persistent Medea Benjamin to STFU:
“This is part of free speech, is you being able to speak but also, you listen, and me being able to speak.”
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Lt. Col Barry Wingard is the lawyer for Gitmo detainee Fayiz Al-Kandari. For their ongoing story + related topics, please click on the link below:
Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
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