This is my 90th blog post and like most journalists, I identify mistakes all over and somehow — often through publicity — try to get them fixed. But not on this milestone. There’s too much good to write about.
I also want to point out the page CohenConnect Headlines Sitemap has a list of all the blog posts Iâ€™ve written and published over the past 3+ years, in chronological order. Nobody — early readers nor myself — can remember everything I’ve done and there hadn’t been a place to look. The right side of what you’re reading (or bottom on mobile) just show the past 10 and the most popular. A regular â€œsitemapâ€ of category words is well below, on the bottom of the right side (or the bottom on mobile). But the â€œsearchâ€ box also works very well, contains both categories and tags, and maybe more.
So staying positive, let’s honor some heroes with this post. These days, there are too few and far between. I remember years ago, while working at WCAU in Philadelphia, Larry Mendte saying on the air with such certainty, â€œHeroes never admit they are,” or something to that effect.
I’ll start by setting something straight. Two survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Florida posed for a picture with the caption Prom 2018, but they won’t be going together.
Prom 2018 pic.twitter.com/jK5be0WFLn
— Cam Kasky (@cameron_kasky) April 23, 2018
That’s despite what Pink News in the UK reported Tuesday, to the disappointment of Cameron Kasky and David Hogg’s many fans.
The publication describes Kasky â€œlovingly hugging Hogg, who contrasts Kasky’s sloppy smile with a stair which pierces your soul.â€
Monday, Kasky posted the picture on Twitter. Click here for that original article, which may not be true, but contained a lot of positive reaction from hopeful supporters.
Yesterday, the Miami Herald wrote,
â€œRebecca Boldrick, Hogg’s mother, told TMZ.com that Hogg has another date for the prom.
â€œJeff Kasky, Cameron’s dad, told TMZ, â€˜Cameron and David love each other very much, as do the 20 or so other kids that are part of their group, but not in a romantic type of way.â€™â€
Then, Cameron’s mother, who has been a friend for about 40 years, posted a picture of the two of them titled â€œMy dateâ€ Tuesday night. I’m not naming her because she has not put her name out in the public.
You watched Kasky dress down Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in a CNN town hall for refusing to refuse contributions from the National Rifle Association. In fact, what it took for Cameron to try to get a simple â€œyesâ€ or â€œnoâ€ answer to his question from a sitting U.S. senator and former presidential candidate from his own state was amazing!
Fellow survivor Hogg also became a gun control advocate and activist against gun violence, but he has been more controversial. New to Florida — his family moved from L.A. at the start of high school — he chose to attend Stoneman Douglas because of its TV production classes.
Hogg may be most famous for what The Washington Post called his â€œdust-up with Fox News host Laura Ingraham,â€ who used this tweet to â€œmake fun of the teenâ€™s public lament about being rejected by colleges to which he had applied.â€
David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA…totally predictable given acceptance rates.) https://t.co/wflA4hWHXY
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) March 28, 2018
(It really won’t matter because he plans to take next year off after high school to campaign in the midterm elections.)
The next day, Ingraham apologized to Hogg but not anybody else she’d put down over the years, including LeBron James, and by then it was too late.
Any student should be proud of a 4.2 GPA —incl. @DavidHogg111. On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland. For the record, I believe my show was the first to feature David…(1/2)
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) March 29, 2018
… immediately after that horrific shooting and even noted how "poised" he was given the tragedy. As always, he’s welcome to return to the show anytime for a productive discussion. WATCH: https://t.co/5wcd00wWpd (2/2)
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) March 29, 2018
So, knowing how TV and news are businesses that revolve around money (Where have you heard that multiple times before?), he urged his 700,000+ Twitter followers to boycott Ingraham’s advertisers.
Pick a number 1-12 contact the company next to that #
Top Laura Ingraham Advertisers
4. @Allstate & @esurance
6. @RocketMortgage Mortgage
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) March 29, 2018
The Washington Post noted, Hogg called the apology an insincere â€œeffort just to save your advertisers.â€
Then, â€œIn a matter of days, Ingraham lost more than a dozen advertisers, including Johnson & Johnson, NestlÃ©, Hulu, Jenny Craig, Ruby Tuesday and Miracle-Ear.â€
The following message was issued earlier today to employees of Liberty Mutual Insurance by David Long, Chairman and CEO: pic.twitter.com/FVyIBZrnC0
— Liberty Mutual (@LibertyMutual) March 30, 2018
That weekend, Hogg told CNN,
â€œItâ€™s disturbing to know that somebody can bully so many people and just get away with it, especially to the level that she did. … No matter who somebody is, no matter how big or powerful they may seem, a bully is a bully, and itâ€™s important that you stand up to them.â€
He even went as far as to compare the tweet and Ingrahamâ€™s criticism of him, saying they â€œwere in line with bullying statements she had made about others: a conflict with gays while she was at Dartmouth in 1984 and, recently, responding to LeBron Jamesâ€™s political statements by saying that the NBA star should â€˜shut up and dribble.â€™â€
â€œIâ€™m glad to see corporate America standing with me and the other students of Parkland and everybody else. Because when we work together, we can accomplish anything.â€
Then Ingraham took a week off. Fox claimed the vacation had been planned.
Hogg, now 18, has already made political change.
When Leslie Gibson, who was running unopposed for the Maine House of Representatives, described fellow Parkland student Emma GonzÃ¡lez as a â€œskinhead lesbian,â€ Hogg called for somebody to challenge the Republican. He got not one but two other candidates, and Gibson dropped out of the race in response to public reaction critical of his comments.
Today, a little more controversy. The conservative network The Blaze is reporting,
â€œThe Zionist Organization of America is calling on Parkland survivor and activist David Hogg to change the name of his forthcoming book, as it believes that the title shows â€˜shocking insensitivity to Holocaust survivors.â€™
â€œRandom House publishers announced Thursday that David and his sister Lauren had penned a deal with the publishing house to release a book, #NEVERAGAIN: A New Generation Draws the Line, June 5.â€
Lauren is a freshman survivor.
Today @lauren_hoggs and I are announcing our book #NeverAgain that tells the story of the foundation of this movement for those we lost. Lauren and I will be using the money made from the book to help heal the community. #NeverAgain out June 5th https://t.co/Vh2gWVWNGq
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) April 18, 2018
â€œa statement of generational purpose, and a moving portrait of the birth of a new movement.â€
â€œIn times of struggle and tragedy, we can come together in love and compassion for each other,â€ David told Entertainment Weekly. â€œWe can see each other not as political symbols, but as human beings. And then, of course, there will be times when we simply must fight for what is right.â€
Sister Lauren added, â€œItâ€™s amazing to see that so much love can come from so much loss. But from our loss, our generation will create positive change.â€
But I’ve had an issue with using the phrase â€œnever againâ€ since it has always referred to one event: the murders of 6 million Jews and millions of others in the Nazis’ organized extermination campaign during World War II. Personally, I think the book title should be changed, and don’t think the phrase should be used in any other matter, but don’t doubt Hogg’s sincerity about the gun issue.
The ZOA said in part,
â€œBy co-opting â€˜Never Againâ€™ title for his book opposing guns, David Hogg trivializes the holocaustâ€ and the Hoggsâ€™ book title â€œoffends Holocaust survivors, Jews, and all human rights-loving people.â€
Those are sections the Glenn Beck-founded network chose to highlight, due to its own agenda.
Click here for the complete press release issued yesterday, which also said,
â€œThis statement should not be construed as in any way lessening our shock, outrage and pain regarding the Parkland school shooting. ZOA completely sympathizes with the loving, bereft families and all the infinitely precious victims of the Parkland shooting, all other school shootings, and all other shootings. All affected by these tragedies are in our hearts and prayers. …
â€œIt is an expression that should never be politicized or co-opted by anyone, regardless of political affiliation. …
â€œThe Holocaust was unique and unprecedented, in that: it involved a â€˜final solutionâ€™ designed to murder every single Jewish man, woman and child; Jews were the only people killed for the â€˜crimeâ€™ of existing; the murder of Jews was an â€˜end in itselfâ€™ rather than a means to some other goal; and the people who carried out the â€˜Final Solutionâ€™ were primarily average citizens â€˜just doing a job.â€™ None of the other terrible slaughters and genocides this world has witnessed share all these characteristics.â€
We’ll see what happens.
A third of the 20 founding members of the group Never Again MSD is activist Emma GonzÃ¡lez, who has also had to deal with criticism of her bisexual orientation, hairstyle and more, including this.
The Washington Post reported,
â€œA doctored animation of GonzÃ¡lez tearing the U.S. Constitution in half circulated on social media during the rally, after it was lifted from a Teen Vogue story about teenage activists. In the real image, GonzÃ¡lez is ripping apart a gun-range target.â€
I guess you could say desperate liars were targeting her because they had nothing better.
The group was promoting the March 24 â€œMarch for Our Livesâ€ rallies in which even the president’s daughter, Tiffany Trump, supported. I traced how this posting came to be.
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) March 25, 2018
Kasky, Hogg and GonzÃ¡lez — along with fellow students Jacqueline Cohen and Alex Wind — even made Time magazine‘s list of the 100 most influential people in the world for becoming prominent activists, organizing protests, and speaking out publicly to demand stricter laws on gun control.
Time wrote in an article, How we chose the 2018 TIME 100 list of the worldâ€™s most influential people: â€œBarack Obama, who has said that his greatest frustration as President was the failure of commonsense gun-safety laws, draws inspiration from the Parkland, Fla., teenagers who organized the March for Our Lives: â€˜They have the power â€¦ to reject the old constraints, outdated conventions and cowardice too often dressed up as wisdom.â€™â€ Click here for the Time article about the Parkland 5.
Mashable went back further, writing the former president…
Young people have helped lead all our great movements. How inspiring to see it again in so many smart, fearless students standing up for their right to be safe; marching and organizing to remake the world as it should be. We've been waiting for you. And we've got your backs.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 22, 2018
and first lady…
I’m in total awe of the extraordinary students in Florida. Like every movement for progress in our history, gun reform will take unyielding courage and endurance. But @barackobama and I believe in you, we’re proud of you, and we’re behind you every step of the way.
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) February 22, 2018
â€œboth tweeted support for the Parkland teens following the deadly shooting, and wrote them a handwritten letter in praise of their â€˜resilience, resolve and solidarity.â€™â€
Notice the dates on everything. The attack took place on Feb. 14.
Mashable included a typed version of the letter, for those of you having trouble with Mr. Obama’s handwriting, and also a look at celebrities joining in at the March for Our Lives.
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s the letter @BarackObama and @MichelleObama wrote to the #ParklandShooting survivors. In it, the former president and first lady tell the teens that they’ve “inspired” them, and commend them on “awakening the conscience of our nation.” https://t.co/FOQYVguNFw pic.twitter.com/xEPHE6iUL2
— Mic (@mic) March 21, 2018
Even former NFL placekicker Jay Feely needs a lesson on seriousness, after The Sporting News showed a tweet he posted. It showed a â€œphoto of him holding a gun while standing between his daughter and her prom dateâ€ that was intended to be a joke.
— Jay Feely (@jayfeely) April 22, 2018
Feely should know better. He’s from Florida, grew up there and spent a year with the Miami Dolphins. The next day, he clarified what had happened.
The prom picture I posted was obviously intended to be a joke. My Daughter has dated her boyfriend for over a year and they knew I was joking.
I take gun safety seriously (the gun was not loaded and had no clip in) and I did not intend to be insensitive to that important issue
— Jay Feely (@jayfeely) April 22, 2018
On a more positive note, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports the prom will be an â€œover-the-topâ€ party with a touching tribute, and students promising the best prom ever, after 17 people were shot to death at their school on Valentine’s Day. Four seniors were killed. So were seven freshman (that will be some prom in three years), plus three other students and two adults.
Eventually, the prom committee wanted to recognize the tragedy that’ll mark their high school memories. There will be a memorial near the entrance to the ballroom. It’ll also include two members of their class who died in 2016 of cystic fibrosis and suicide. The memorial will be surrounded by couches and designated as a quiet place to sit and think.
Inside, the prom will be stopped by 17 seconds of silence.
It also won’t be expensive. The cost: Just $30 per ticket, and $50 for non-seniors. The hotel, DJ, florist, decorator, and other vendors are donating their services for free or at cost, and the hotel is giving families of the senior victims a free weekend of their choice.
Good for all of them!
Marjory Stoneman Douglas survivors, along with high school students from around the country, were not even born 19 years ago during the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colo.
(I remember it like yesterday. I had returned from vacation, was working at WCAU, and our news anchor Renee Chenault happened to be from Littleton. She ended up going there to report from her hometown, but being local news, did not get the publicity of Katie Couric for touching the hand of a victim’s father on the Today show.)
There were an estimated 150,000 students protesting on Friday’s anniversary at more than 2,700 walkouts, according to organizers.
The Chicago Tribune, in an Associated Press article published Friday afternoon, said,
â€œIn a new wave of school walkouts, they raised their voices against gun violence. But this time, they were looking to turn outrage into action.â€
The students, â€œturned their attention to upcoming elections as they pressed for tougher gun laws and politicians who will enact them. Scores of rallies turned into voter registration drives. Students took the stage to issue an ultimatum to their lawmakers.â€
Activists behind a March 14 protest, a month after Stoneman Douglas, estimated it drew nearly 1 million students.
(I find it interesting The Chicago Tribune used an Associated Press article, while I learned Chicago’s Fox TV station asked the other Fox stations for a story they could post on their website, because they were apparently unable to write one of their own. Were there no rallies anywhere near Chicago? Probably plenty, considering the numbers above! At minimum, I would’ve shown the big one around town and then another in a zip code they wanted to target for ratings. Even chopper video would’ve done the job except for hearing the students tell their reasons for walking out, firsthand. But we know how Fox stations operate with sharing web articles. It seems at this point, they’ve become dependent on their sister-stations rather than even try to do the work. I love how so many of today’s young people are the opposite of this kind of corporate laziness!)
The Washington Post noted, â€œCritics have questioned whether … the high school students demanding that the nationâ€™s gun laws be strengthened are mature enough to understand the complex policy positions they have staked out.â€
Isn’t this exactly what we want from our young people? To think, investigate and reconsider if necessary? And don’t these particular students who experienced what they did have unique insight on the issue? Yet some people feel the need to criticize them. Maybe it’s because they need to be heard. Maybe because these grown-ups really have not grown up and are jealous. Or maybe because â€œthe kids are alrightâ€ and and it simply bothers them because they have issues of their own.
How much are they bothered?
Click here for â€œTed Nugent says Parkland students â€˜have no soul,â€™ calls them â€˜mushy-brained childrenâ€™â€ (The Washington Post, March 31, 2018).
Nugent, perhaps the NRAâ€™s most outspoken board member, told a San Antonio radio station, â€œThese poor children, Iâ€™m afraid to say, but the evidence is irrefutable. They have no soul,â€ after discussing with the host their belief the teenagers have been manipulated by left-wing ideologues.
â€œThe lies from these poor, mushy-brained children who have been fed lies and parrot lies,â€ Nugent said. â€œI really feel sorry for them. Itâ€™s not only ignorant, dangerous and stupid â€” itâ€™s soulless. To attack the good, law-abiding families of America when well-known, predictable murderers commit these horrors is deep in the category of soulless.â€
Click here for â€œHow the Parkland teens became villains on the right-wing Internetâ€ (The Washington Post, March 26, 2018).
If ardent NRA supporters don’t lose now, or in this year’s midterms, or even the 2020 presidential election, they should absolutely know the demographics of this country are changing. Eventually, they will lose to people who have felt real pain and others of that generation. It’s going to happen, whether they’ll consider themselves martyrs, or if they’re even alive to feel any suffering from their defeat.
Also a hero: Last week, the pilot of Southwest Airlines flight 1380, Captain Tammie Jo Shults, landed her plane calmly and successfully, on just one engine, here in Philadelphia. She saved 148 lives.
The trouble on the flight from New York to Dallas started when one of its engines appeared to explode in midair. The only person killed was passenger Jennifer Riordan who was partially sucked out of a broken window. That was extraordinary despite the tragedy.
Please see below a statement from the Captain and First Officer of Flight 1380. pic.twitter.com/RjoCpucGGS
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) April 19, 2018
Here’s our statement following an emergency airworthiness directive issued by the FAA. pic.twitter.com/s0m4P6p4I6
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) April 21, 2018
According to The Guardian, â€œThose present recalled that after the plane had landed, Shults walked through the aisle to talk to them, to see how they were doing.â€
Talk about responsibility AND customer service!
Turns out, The Guardian continued,
â€œShults was one of the first female fighter pilots in the US Navy and was elite enough to fly an F/A-18 Hornet. She flew training missions as an â€˜enemy pilotâ€™ during Operation Desert Storm, as women were then still excluded from combat missions.â€
Also not to be forgotten is the heroism of Waffle House diner James Shaw Jr. Early Sunday morning, outside Nashville, he was sitting with a friend at the restaurant counter when police said a gunman wearing nothing but a green jacket opened fire outside.
As CNN reported, â€œGlass shattered, dust swirled and Shaw said he saw a man lying on the ground.â€
Four people were killed.
BREAKING: 3 persons fatally shot & 4 others wounded at the Waffle House, 3571 Murfreesboro Pike. Gunman opened fire @ 3:25 a.m. A patron wrestled away the gunman's rifle. He was nude & fled on foot. He is a white man with short hair. pic.twitter.com/d1qxRxsGNx
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) April 22, 2018
CNN continued, Shaw
â€œbolted from his seat and slid along the ground to the restroom, he said. But he kept an eye and an ear out for the gunman. And the moment the shooter paused, Shaw decided to ambush him … before more lives were lost.â€
He charged at the man with the rifle. They fought. Finally, Shaw said he managed to wrestle the barrel of the rifle from the gunman, tossed it behind the counter and the shooter escaped.
Investigation on going at the Waffle House. Scene being processed by MNPD experts. This is the rifle used by the gunman. pic.twitter.com/lihhRImHQN
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) April 22, 2018
â€œThe gun was hot and he was naked but none of that mattered,â€ Shaw said, with a burn on his hand a wound on his elbow where a bullet grazed it.
He told reporters,
â€œI figured if I was going to die, he was going to have to work for it. … I was just trying to live.â€
This laptop bag, empty except for a handwritten ID card bearing the name Travis Reinking, was found by a citizen near the I-24 Old Hickory Blvd interchange. Unknown whether it was discarded before or after the shooting. Reinking is believed to have been in that area Sat. night. pic.twitter.com/yduQlXvAFE
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) April 23, 2018
Travis Jeffrey Reinking, 29, was arrested Monday, after a 34-hour manhunt.
BREAKING: 5 more warrants have now been issued against Travis Reinking charging 4 counts of attempted murder and 1 count of unlawful gun possession in the commission of a violent felony. 1 of the attempted murder victims is hero James Shaw. Reinking's court date is now May 7. pic.twitter.com/YI1NT4qWcf
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) April 24, 2018
NBC News pointed out he went from wearing only a green jacket to a green â€œsuicide smock â€” a padded gown made from heavy-duty polyester that is held together with Velcro strips.â€
If you are of a certain age, you remember Schoolhouse Rock! from ABC on Saturday mornings. The jazz musician who was instrumental in that cartoon series died Monday in Mount Bethel, Pa., 92 miles and an hour-and-a-half drive from Philadelphia.
Bob Dorough was 94.
Schoolhouse Rock! ran from 1973 to 1985. The cartoons, including â€œMy Hero, Zeroâ€ and â€œThree is a Magic Number,â€ (the first in the series) were written and performed by Dorough.
His biography says he â€œentertained and instructed unsuspecting children.â€
Schoolhouse Rock! came back for another five years in the 1990s and its 40th anniversary was marked with a DVD edition of the entire five subject series.
Has a Schoolhouse Rock! tune ever helped you on a test? Do you have a favorite? I especially liked how a bill became a law (â€œI’m Just a Billâ€) and â€œConjunction Junction.â€
Finally, there’s the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, site of last night’s Sixers playoff game where they eliminated the Miami Heat. Actually, the topic is replacement names, and Wells Fargo is not a very good corporate citizen.
I have always been against companies buying names for stadiums and liked it when NBC Sports, before losing the NFL in 1998, made it a point of not referring to the names of stadiums but just the city, unless there was confusion between different stadiums.
Philly.com says its readers suggest either Wilt Chamberlain, Sam Hinkie or Ed Snider.
The stadium, where the Flyers played hockey until their season ended earlier this week, is named for Wells Fargo which is a big bank in Philadelphia and many other cities. Before that, it was named Wachovia. Before that, First Union. FU Center had something special to it. And before that, CoreStates. Just shows you how banks take each other over and waste money having to change the names on every branch and piece of real estate, including the ones they sponsor or use to advertise.
Speaking of money, Wells Fargo was in trouble yet again for what the website called â€œscams that targeted its own customers,â€ specifically its mortgage and auto insurance practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency made the accusations and ordered the bank to make restitution, plus pay the regulators $1 billion in fines. Wells Fargo did not admit or deny any allegations.
Just two years ago, Wells Fargo’s employees recused of secretly opening more than 2 million deposit and credit card accounts to meet their sales targets and receive bonuses. The bank had to pay $185 million to settle those allegations. It also fired about 5,300 employees for doing what may have been their jobs. In that case as well, Wells Fargo did not admit or deny allegations.
San Francisco-based Wells Fargo has been the nation’s third largest bank by assets.
FYI, the late Wilt Chamberlain played for the San Francisco/Philadelphia Warriors and the Philadelphia 76ers, and is widely considered one of the greatest and most dominant players in NBA history. He still holds the single-game scoring record, having scored 100 in one game. It happened March 2, 1962, in Hershey, Pa. against the New York Knicks. The Philadelphia Warriers moved west to San Francisco after that season.
Sam Hinkie was General Manager and President of Basketball Operations of the Philadelphia 76ers. He graduated from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and led the Sixers to some lousy seasons, but the team rebounded from what he left behind. In 2015, ESPN named Hinkie’s Sixers as the major professional sports franchise that had most embraced analytics.
And the late Ed Snider helped build the Spectrum and owned the Flyers, the Wells Fargo Center and a lot more. Wikipedia noted, â€œIn a 1999 Philadelphia Daily News poll, Snider was selected as the city’s greatest sports mover and shaker, beating out legends such as Connie Mack, Sonny Hill, Bert Bell, and Roger Penske.â€
Click here for several other readers’ thoughts on new names, some more serious than others!
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