Epic Fail: Benghazi-Gate Unraveling

27 10 2012

“Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” Alfred Pennyworth, “The Dark Knight” 2008

How can you look into a grieving parent’s eyes and lie?

That is my first question. I said in my last Benghazi-Gate post that “When families begin to call for your head, there is bound to be a reckoning.”

Evidence of this just keeps on coming.

Charlie Woods is the father of Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, who gave his life trying to defend the consulate and safe house in the Benghazi attacks–even after calling TWICE for help. Both calls were denied, and SEAL Woods was given orders to stand down. He disobeyed those orders, and with fellow SEAL Glen Doherty, defended both the consulate and the safe house for 7 hours while the State Department and White House officials watched.

Yet, for 14 days after the Benghazi attack, the White House and State Department did a song and dance about an anti-Islamist video being the cause of the 9/11/12 uprising, when they knew this was not the case. Due in no small part to strong reporting from Breitbart.com, Eli Lake of Newsweek, Fox News, and others in the conservative blogosphere, this blatant cover up might have been allowed to stand.  Once the Congressional Oversight Committee did its investigations, the facts were codified on record, and allowed a deeper unfolding.

Charlie Woods said it best:  “I do not appreciate cowards, and I do not appreciate lies.” Neither do the American people, and the Obama administration and State Department have exhibited both over this last month and a half since the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack.

The video of the interview with Charlie Woods from Fox’s America Live with Megyn Kelly is heartbreaking. Mr. Woods tells his story of the lies and obfuscations from the Obama administration that dishonor the memory of his son, a true American hero.

As more facts are revealed, the falsehoods told by the White House and the State Department continue to unravel, exposing the shocking degree of the cover up.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asserted on Thursday that there was no way they could have sent in outside assistance, because they did not have enough intel at the time to take action, and he did not want to put American forces at risk.

Retired General Bob Scales, appearing Friday On the Record with Greta Van Susteren debunked Panetta’s claims, and confirms the information given by Investigative reporter Jennifer Griffin:

“[T]wo military surveillance drones redirected to Benghazi shortly after the attack on the Consulate began. They were already in the vicinity. The second surveillance craft was sent to relieve the first drone, perhaps due to fuel issues. Both were capable of sending real time visuals back to U.S. officials in Washington, D.C. Any U.S. official or agency with the proper clearance, including the White House Situation Room, State Department, CIA, Pentagon and others, could call up that video in real time on their computers. “

The drones had night vision capabilities, the ability to see through the fog and the fire of battle, and to even pinpoint and target certain weapons (like the mortar shells).

The CIA continues to distance itself of any culpability, placing the failure to act directly into the lap of the Obama Administration. The CIA confirmed that they requested help and were denied. As confirmed by Jennifer Griffin’s on-ground sources, during the attack Special Operator Woods and Navy SEAL Doherty reported back to base, giving relevant intel that would allow anyone assisting to know exactly where and when to strike:

“According to sources on the ground during the attack, the special operator on the roof of the CIA annex had visual contact and a laser pointing at the Libyan mortar team that was targeting the CIA annex. The operators were calling in coordinates of where the Libyan forces were firing from. ”
CIA Operations were denied request for help during Benghazi attack sources say.

This raises other questions: Who gave the order to stand down? Why was help refused, when the technology to assess the situation, and the ability to help was already in place?

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has announced it will hold a closed hearing on November 15 (after the election) into the circumstances surrounding the terrorist attack, including the intelligence and security situation there. There is word that additional hearings are also set to follow.

Of course, President Obama continues to dodge direct questions about this continuing debacle. After doing a fluffball interview with MTV, he sat down with Denver’s local News 9 reporter Kyle Clark who asked direct questions about the Benghazi tragedy:

“President Obama discussed the situation in Libya during a satellite interview Friday afternoon with 9NEWS reporter Kyle Clark, who also asked if it’s fair for Americans to be told to wait until after the election to learn what truly happened in Libya.

“‘The election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened,’ President Obama said. ‘Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do.'” (emphases mine)

“President Obama was directly asked twice whether pleas for help on the ground in Libya were denied during the attack. Both times, he repeated his standard call for a thorough investigation.”

The full transcript of the interview and the video can be seen here. The President looks haggard, tired, and like he doesn’t even believe the regurgitated talking points that are coming from his mouth. He fails to make a convincing argument.

If President Obama wins re-election (which looks less and less likely) then his administration will be under investigation, not just for Benghazi, but for his other domestic policy failures (Fast & Furious, Solyndra/Sun Power). If he is found to be culpable in the cover up of Benghazi-Gate, he could possibly be impeached.

If there is any justice, he will wear his Foreign Policy decisions like an albatross around his neck.

If President Obama is not re-elected, then Benghazi-Gate will be the legacy. A Middle East foreign policy that was supposed to bring peace and new relations with Islamic countries, that only added more fuel to the fire of Islamist hatred, opened America up to further attack (the Underwear Bomber, Times Square Bomber, Fort Hood), and precipitated the death of Ambassador Christopher J. Stevens and three American heroes.

For many, November 7 cannot come soon enough.

UPDATE: More unraveling from Nice Deb and The Blaze. Sources place President Obama in the Situation Room while the Benghazi attacks were happening. According to Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer on Fox’s Judge Jeanine Pirro, “He and only he could issue a directive for Sec of Defense, Panetta to do something.”

Nice Deb nails it: “Once again, Obama voted ‘present’.”





Epic Fail: Benghazi-Gate Cover Up

13 10 2012

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!”

— Sir Walter Scott, Marmion

I was six when the Watergate scandal was raging, so its impact was mostly lost on me. It was only later in life that I understood the gravity of a President willfully deceiving the American people and believing he had done nothing wrong in doing this.

However, no one died in Watergate. Lost reputations for sure, along with the lost confidence of the American people in their elected officials; but no one lost their life.

We cannot say the same with Benghazi-Gate. Four dead Americans: Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods are the result of the Obama administration’s malfeasance toward security and intelligence, and their willful deception about the true causes surrounding this terrorist attack.

The legacy media has finally stopped covering for President Obama and has begun to cover the scandal–three weeks after the attack on September 11, 2012. Our legislative body in the form of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform called for hearings, and on Wednesday, October 10, the Committee took over four hours to grill various State Department personnel on the security failures in Benghazi. The testimony given was both revelatory and  deplorable. Requests for heightened security were made by top security officer Eric L. Nordstrom, but were denied by the State Department. Nordstrom reflected the fatalism of these refusals when he testified, “The takeaway from that, for me and my staff: It was abundantly clear we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident. And the question that we would ask is, again, ‘How thin does the ice have to get before someone falls through?’ “

Tragically, we now know the answer to that question. I recommend you view the hearings for yourself here. They are a strong indictment on the divide between the bureaucratic bubble of Washington, D.C., and the actual people who are putting their lives on the line every day.

Sobering.

If you are not up to speed on the full scope of this debacle, this video from Western Journalism gives an excellent overview on the terrorist attack, the cover up, and what is at stake if this is not fully investigated before the election.

President Obama, who missed 62 percent of his intelligence briefings in 2011 and 2012, initially refused to acknowledge the Libya tragedy was a terrorist attack, preferring to blame it on an anti-Muslim video, and declaring the administration would gain “justice” for the fallen.

Four weeks later, there is little justice and even fewer answers. Marc A. Thiessen rightly compares the Bush administration’s response after 9/11/2001, and the stunning lack of response of the Obama administration toward this crisis.

“Three weeks to reach the “crime scene”? Within days, CNN reporters were able to rummage through the rubble and recover the ambassador’s diary, and Post reporters were able to access and photograph the destroyed diplomatic compound. But the administration can’t get the FBI to the scene for three weeks? It should come as no surprise that the Obama administration is treating the attack as a crime — but it can’t even get the criminal investigation right.”

The real Libya scandal: The failure to respond.”

So far, the heavy lifting has been done by investigative reporting: Eli Lake of The Daily Beast, Fox News, Breibart.com, the Daily Caller, and a host of other conservative websites have uncovered what looks increasingly like a concerted effort on the part of the Obama Administration to obfuscate the truth.

Aside from new media and the Congressional Oversight committee, the rest of Washington is giving the appearance of business as usual. And unless directly confronted on the matter, the Obama administration remains in campaign mode. President Obama would rather champion for Big Bird than talk about the breakdown that occurred on his watch. Of course, when anyone from the administration (or campaign) is asked to give an account, they continue to shift the story, and lay blame elsewhere.

In the Vice Presidential debate Thursday night, VP Joe Biden denied that the administration knew anything about requests for heightened security. Hours before VP Biden uttered that stunning lie, campaign stooge Stephanie Cutter blamed the politics of the Romney/Ryan campaign for that fact that Benghazi is even an issue. Fox News’ Bret Baier, (who conducted the interview), reminded Cutter that it might be an issue because four people are dead. Deer-in-the headlights Stephanie merely doubled-down on her claim. I would expect nothing less from a woman who makes her living off spin and slander.

On Friday, The Carney undercut the State Department and the Intelligence Community with more dancing and double-talk:

While all of this has been raging, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has remained largely incognito. She emerged Friday to address the Center for Strategic and International Studies. However, her speech did little to bring clarity or direction. From the Boston Herald:

“‘We do not have all the answers. No one in this administration has ever claimed otherwise.

“‘We are providing the best information we have at that time and that information continues to be updated, it also continues to be put into context and more deeply understood through the process we are engaged in,’ she said.”

The U.S. Intelligence community is not taking lightly these apparent efforts to hang this mess around their neck. In a piece in the UK Daily Mail, it highlights a joint statement by Michael Hayden, ex-CIA director, and Michael Chertoff, former head of Homeland Security. Hayden and Chertoff  call out the Obama administration on their thinly veiled attempts to make Intelligence a scapegoat.

“During the Vice Presidential debate, we were disappointed to see Vice President Biden blame the intelligence community for the inconsistent and shifting response of the Obama Administration to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi,’ they said in the statement.

“Given what has emerged publicly about the intelligence available before, during, and after the September 11 attack, it is clear that any failure was not on the part of the intelligence community, but on the part of White House decision-makers who should have listened to, and acted on, available intelligence. Blaming those who put their lives on the line is not the kind of leadership this country needs.”

EX-CIA Chief slams Biden for throwing U.S. Intelligence Community under the bus

Brutal.

But an even more fatal blow was rendered by Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, when she appeared on CNN decrying the loss of her son’s life, and calling out the administration for its obstructionism and cowardice.

When families begin to call for your head, there is bound to be a reckoning, and rightly so. Let’s just hope it occurs before November 6.





Epic Fail: Benghazi-Gate

28 09 2012

Terrorist Attack on the U.S. Consulate at Benghazi, Libya that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and four other Americans.

During George W. Bush’s administration, I worked in the hotbed of leftism known as West Los Angeles. Lattes, law firms, and liberals as far as the eye could see. Many of the cars bore their political leanings, with hateful bumper stickers reflecting the Bush Derangement Syndrome that was rampant at the time. One in particular said, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

This expression (and the bumper sticker h/t Zazzle) is making a comeback, and rightfully so–but this time, it’s the conservatives that are taking up the clarion call.

The Obama administration has overseen 42 months of 8 percent unemployment, a reduction of our credit rating, median household incomes dropping more than 8 percent, and gas and food prices soaring. This alone would represent an Epic Fail for any administration.

But it is President Obama’s ideological attachment to the Muslim world through appeasement and apology where he has doubled-down on failure.

On September 11, 2012, the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Ambassador Chris Stevens, defense contractor Sean Smith, and two other Americans were brutally murdered. What was the first act of this administration? Well, not much.

President Obama made a perfunctory speech which blamed a video which was critical of Islam. Mind you, this video originally appeared on YouTube in July. As I said on my Twitter feed, “The kicker? They were able to hold their ‘offense’ over this video in check until 9/11/2012, and then they unleashed. Yeah….”

Words like, “spontaneous attack” and “nothing to do with 9/11” were bandied about by the Carney, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the sycophant media. The President of Libya even said that this attack was indeed a pre-planned terrorist plot. He was dismissed as trying to deflect blame and protect his own interests.

To add insult to injury, President Obama trotted off to a campaign fundraiser in Las Vegas the evening after the attacks. Such a stunning show of leadership: The Middle East burned, Obama fundraised.

Despite the fact that this Benghazi debacle precipitated similar attacks in Cairo, Egypt and other U.S. embassies in the Middle East and Africa, our news media was obsessed with 1) blaming the video, and 2) pretending the world was not burning. Both of these takes outraged me greatly. Had this been the George W. Bush administration, there would be an immediate tie-in to the 9/11 date,  calls for investigations, and round-the-clock op eds about how the world hates us because of Bush.

The targeting and subsequent arrest of the filmmaker who made this video, and the administration’s attempts to  strong arm YouTube to pull the video down (they did not), continued to reflect the doubling-down on a ridiculous meme to cover over what was a horrific terrorist attack, on top of assaulting the First Amendment. Then there were the videos released in Palestine, featuring President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, effectively apologizing for the anti-Muslim video and for free speech.

President Obama even had the unmitigated gall to speak before the United Nations General Assembly and say “Peace is hard.” Gee, no sh%t, Sherlock! Then went into a defense of the Islamist crazies by saying, “The Future Must Not Belong to Those Who Slander the Prophet of Islam,” and tripled-down on the video meme. All of this while snubbing an urgent request by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with him in New York about Iran’s race toward a nuclear bomb, yet making room for the culturally relevant nags of The View.

Two weeks of this dog and pony show has come crashing down on the Obama administration and the State Department, and not a moment too soon.

The on-top-of-it activists like Breitbart were out of the box to immediately call foul. The rest of the media started to show up a few days later. Eli Lake’s well-executed story in The Daily Beast showed U.S. Officials knew within 24-hours that this was indeed a well-planned and executed Al Qaeda terrorist attack.

“A spokesman for the National Security Council declined to comment for the story. But another U.S. intelligence official said, “I can’t get into specific numbers but soon after the attack we had a pretty good bead on some individuals involved in the attack.”

U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiiliates.

In the days following U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s tour of the Sunday shows, the administration continued to flip, flop, deny, and lie. As the Ogden Nash’s poem says,  “Golly, how the truth will out!”–thankfully, their lies continued to be exposed.

Breitbart hit it out the park again, Joel Pollack revised a BDS-ism for his title to fit this current scandal: “People Died, Obama Lied“:

“Worse, the Obama administration inflamed the supposed outrage over the film by telling the world that the U.S. condemned it and was not responsible for it–even buying airtime on Pakistani television to broadcast that apologetic message.

“It also sent a signal that American principles of free expression were up for negotiation by suggesting that free speech did not include the right to insult other people’s religions, and Islam in particular.

“Now, as new details emerge every day about what the Obama administration knew and when, it is clear that President Barack Obama lied shamelessly to the American people about a terror attack that claimed American lives.

“The lies were repeated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice, among other officials. That the lies were likely told for political reasons is not an excuse but cause for additional alarm. (emphasis mine)

“The reason the Obama administration believes it can get away with the lies is that it has done so before–and the media have generally looked the other way.”

Finally, Michael Graham of the Boston Herald joins the truth team (NOT Obama’s): Prez Weaves a Web of Lies:

“Last week, Obama sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton out to say the FBI was on top of the investigation in Libya. FBI Associate Deputy Director Kevin Perkins told Congress on Sept. 19 that an investigation was underway.

“Actually, Mr. President . . . no. As of this writing, no FBI agent has even arrived in Benghazi. CNN reports the “crime scene” has yet to even be secured.

“And on Tuesday, Mr. President, you gave a speech at the United Nations about the violence against America, in which you mentioned YouTube a half-dozen times, but didn’t use the word “terrorist” or “terrorism” once.

“Actually, Mr. President . . . that’s just pathetic.

“Karl Rove just said ‘Mr. Obama has taken ordinary political differences beyond anything we’ve seen.’

“I’m with Rove. I’ve seen ‘spin,’ I’ve seen parsing ‘the definition of “is,”‘ but I’ve never seen anything like this avalanche of outright lies.”

Neither have I. I am paying attention, and I am more than outraged.

Are you?





11 09 2012

I originally wrote this for September 11, 2006, but the thoughts and exhortations are just as true six years later as they were when I wrote them. On this 11th anniversary of the 9/11 Tragedy, let us remember the courage and the coming together of a nation. But most of all, let us remember those who died and those they left behind.

As the Girl Turns

On today, the fifth anniversary of 9/11, we remember the 2001 atrocity committed against our nation and the world.The previously “friendly skies” of United and American were turned into weapons at the hands of Islamic-fascists, destroying the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and close to 3,000 lives.

Along with the lives lost, our illusions that our nation is a safe place were permanently shattered.

Five years later, we are still fighting a global war on terror against those who want to destroy us.Some feel its a failure, others feel we need to stay the course and are gaining ground.I’m not here to argue the validity of either viewpoint.My focus has been on what five years of terror threats and the federal and local action and reaction to it has produced.

Three weeks preceding the 9/11 anniversary, a terrorist plot in Britain was thwarted.Radicals who were…

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In My Orbit: A Tale of Two Videos

17 08 2012

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s actually a tale of three, but I loved the title and didn’t want to change it!

It is the story of my life that in most social and business situations, I am among the few, if not the lone Black person. It is more a point of curiosity, than a point of discomfort, and when I am among the chosen few, I sometimes sit back and observe the level of discomfort among the other Blacks in the same situation. I find this kind of sad–something I’ll expound upon on another day.

My friends have always been people of different races, and I am happy to say I have never experienced racial animus in my 27 years of working life. I have been persecuted for being smart and efficient (too many times), but never, ever, because I was Black.

This doesn’t mean I’ve never experienced racism, been called a nigger, or had negative fallout from being Black; that would be unrealistic and untrue. I’m just saying that compared to what my parents and grandparents had to walk through, my life thus far has been a cakewalk.

My mother grew up in the deep South (Arkansas and Tennessee), suffered under Jim Crow, and had lots of racist horrors perpetrated against her and those she loved. So while I could not agree with her perspective on all white people, I did understand her mistrust and hostility toward them; except at the voting booth: Mamma made sure Richard J. Daley stayed in power by voting straight Democrat every election. Heck, the way Chicago runs elections, she’s probably still voting, even though she passed in 2001. This type of disconnected political thinking exemplifies by some in my family (and other Blacks) has always befuddled me… but I digress.

Now to Video #1, which I cannot embed here, unfortunately, but here is the link: The Daily Caller: Toure-Niggerization of Obama.

The video comes from MSNBC’s “The Cycle,”, which should tell you all you need to know right there. Apparently the co-host Touré  said that Governor Mitt Romney was using racial code against President Obama.

How Touré and his ilk come to these perspectives mystifies me. These Gen X and Gen Y Blacks who grew up with more privilege than my mother could have ever imagined, who didn’t have to use the back door or sit in the back of the bus, yet somehow they look for, and find racism under every rock.

Here is my theory: we have become so far removed from REAL racism, that we feel the need to dig it up as the excuse for all ills against Blacks in general, and this so-called Black President, in particular. It makes no difference that he is doing an abysmal job (unemployment above 8 percent for three years, 1.5 percent GDP growth), and that he seems to care less about the rule of law or actually working within the bounds of his office, using executive privilege like “get-out-of-jail-free” cards.

Yet, this meme is being plugged among the mainstream media, and among Black communities. Setting up the President as some new Black martyr, to cover up and excuse what is simply fecklessness, lies, and overreach.

Which leads to Video #2, another MSNBC laughfest, which has Ron Reagan (son of the late President Ronald Reagan and now a liberal commentator), saying he is “astounded” at the level of disrespect from Republicans toward President Obama. Why? It must be because he’s Black!

I snagged the video off a relative’s Facebook page where said relative ranted (and used scripture) that we need to respect the office of the President, and that this treatment of President Obama is obviously racist. I rebutted this view in the comments, then left the page. This is also a discussion for another day.

It continues to amaze me that when it is mentioned that our economic situation is dire, and the two wars we are in continue  to drag on and on, that Blacks and others always want to blame George W. Bush. But when it comes to the maligning and disrespect of the office of the President, President Bush is conveniently forgotten.

One of my nephews expressed outrage when Representative Joe Walsh famously yelled, “You Lie!” during President Obama’s 2009 State of the Union. My nephew immediately labeled Representative Walsh as a racist. When I mentioned in the comments that worse things were said and done to President George W. Bush, my other nephew commented, “Well, he was an idiot!”, as if that excused what was done toward President Bush while he held that same office.

Appropriately named “Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS)” by Charles Krauthammer, BDS started manifesting sometime before the 2004 elections, and became a full-blown epidemic once President Bush’s reelection was secured. Terms like “BushMcHitler”, T-shirts that read: “BuckFush”, “Kill Bush”, and assassination artwork and films all targeted our 43rd President. It was all Bush-bashing, all the time, and rarely did I hear any protest about “respect” for the office of the President, even if we disagreed with his policies. Crickets, from the Left and in many cases on the Right–no one was clean.

Michelle Malkin recently reminded us of exactly how hateful the climate was, and how conveniently Dems and Leftists forget this, now that they are trying to protect their pet President. How Quickly They Forget.

Dems and Leftists also acquire convenient amnesia about President Obama having a fully Democrat House and Senate at his disposal for the first two years of his presidency. Despite his promise of a  “laser-like focus” on jobs, he decided to push through a bloated stimulus, where Solyndra, SunPower and foreign companies got much of the money, and to work at instituting Obamacare, which is already costing us more than it’s actually giving back.

If President Obama was any color other than Black, we’d be calling for his impeachment and doing all we could to get someone else elected. But not so. Any criticism or obstruction to this President is because Republicans, the Tea Party, and anyone who disagrees with his policies are simply racists.

Which leads me to the Video #3. I found this gem via HotAir. Ms. Kira Davis‘ “Open Letter to Toure of MSNBC” says it much more succinctly and articulately than I ever could. This young, Black, conservative woman remained respectful, while speaking truth to power.

Ms. Davis opens up a greater argument: all this irresponsible, and dare I say, illegitimate bandying around of these terms cheapens and waters down what was truly reprehensible and racist in our past, and any acts of present-day racism that still exist. This nonsense needs to stop, and it needs to first stop with the people who were (and still are) affected by it.

I’ve said it before, and I say it again: This is not a fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream, but a perpetuation of a fraud.

Wake up, my people.





In My Orbit…

9 05 2012

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So The Girl has been vacating and marinating under the Central Coast skies, joining hubby in his geek pursuit of Military Radio collection, and visiting with his family. All-in-all, a nice little respite, where I got more sleep than I have in several months now–so it’s all good.

Time Passages

Now it’s back to life’s realities, and one of those is dealing with death. A few weeks back for In My Orbit, I paid tribute to Jack Gilbert and my cousin Ricky. Jack Gilbert’s memorial service is this Saturday, and it will be fitting to be part of a more public tribute to such a good man.

When you get to my age, you start marking time by these passages, and two more have made me reflective: Maurice Sendak, and Digby Wolfe.

Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of Where The Wild Things Are, In The Night Kitchen, and Outside Over There, died yesterday at the age of 83.  I loved Sendak’s work–it spoke to me as an introspective, bookish child, and the illustrations inspired me as a young artist. My first college major was commercial art with an emphasis in illustration; but I found I was much better at painting with words.

His books, along with Florence Parry Heide and Edward Gorey’s The Shrinking of Treehorn, and Julian Scheer’s Rain Makes Applesauce were part of the formative alchemy of who The Girl is today. Had I had children, I would have read his books to them too, passing on these shaping works to another generation.

I had the privilege of taking a class with Digby Wolfe in his last year of teaching at the University of Southern California, and went on to do one semester of focused study under his tutelage.

Digby Wolfe was one of the creators of Laugh-In, and his wit was just as sharp and fun 30-years in, as it was when he wrote the show in the 60s. He also had a depth of insight about character, and writer motivations which helped to make me more conscious and more directed in my own writing. Digby died of lung cancer on May 2, at the age of 82.

It was interesting that as a successful Renaissance man (he was an actor and singer as well) he spent the balance of his life as an academic, albeit a non-traditional one. He taught in the Watts Writer’s Workshop, then at USC, before he left Los Angeles for the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque.  The obit in the Los Angeles Times said it best:

“‘He wasn’t an academic in any traditional sense,” Jim Linnell, dean of fine arts, said with a laugh. “He was a provocateur and a satirist. Having Digby in an academic program kept things lively, challenging and constantly pushing the boundaries of getting work done.'”

As a writer, I was blessed to have that support and influence, even for a brief time.

Chain of Fools

So I was fortunate to miss the Occupy LA/Immigrant Rights protest on May Day. While this local counterpart managed to remain low-key (what a shock), their brother organizations in Seattle and Cleveland did not fare so well. Downtown Seattle saw millions of dollars in commercial and personal property damage, and 25 arrests. But Cleveland takes the cake.

Five OWS Cleveland protestors plotted, then attempted, to blow up the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge, 15-miles outside of downtown Cleveland. The smooth criminals rigged explosives that they thought were packed with C-4 at the base of the bridge, and tried to detonate them using a text-message code.

Of course, when you announce such an intention to a G-Man, you are bound to fail. Apparently an undercover FBI agent had infiltrated their pack and managed to thwart the plot by supplying phony explosives, and then calling in the posse. Good times!

OWS Cleveland’s official word is that they do recall these guys at their events, but they do not support bombing bridges. One of the suspects actually signed the lease to property where the OWS Cleveland protestors camp; so I think guilt by association can be proven here. What surprises me is the light press this continues to receive.

Now, had this been a right-wing group, or people who claimed to be a part of the Tea Party? It would be the Trayvon Martin news cycle all over again.

Rich Lowry calls it like he sees it, in an opinion piece in the New York Post; give it a read, if only to get the other viewpoint on these protests and the type of people it attracts.

Clowns to the Left of Me

From my house, that’s the direction toward Downtown L.A., where our idiot City Council wages war against sanity, commerce, and anyone finding or keeping a job in Los Angeles.

Their latest campaign involves banning single use plastic bags in an attempt to supposedly reduce litter. The law of unintended consequences comes into play here. According to the Los Angeles Times, Crown Poly, one major manufacturer of plastic bags, estimates they may have to lay off 20 to 130 employees because of this action. With unemployment numbers in Los Angeles city in the 10-11 percent range, you would think they would take pause at this action. But “think” and “Los Angeles City Council” are often mutually exclusive.

One of the useful idiots, Councilman Paul Koretz, compared the company to makers of horse-drawn carriages who were phased out with the introduction of the automobile.

“‘I’m the last one to allow for layoffs in L.A. city, and I fight them hard,’ he said. ‘But I’ve never stood and said that if a job doesn’t make sense anymore, that we’ve got to keep that job.'”

Who says it doesn’t make sense? The majority of these bags are made from recycled material–heck, some of the grocery stores have recycle kiosks for unused bags, along with other things recyclable.  How many people are employed in this enterprise? I know a few, and their jobs are on the chopping block too.

I’m all for environmental awareness, but like what they did in the San Joaquin Valley to save a Delta smelt, this smacks of foolishness that will further cripple the city and the State.





In My Orbit…

16 04 2012

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There’s been so much floating in my universe, that it has been hard to know where to begin to write. Of course, that results in not writing about anything, which is no solution either. So I have decided to begin categorizing all of my happenings under certain headings within “In My Orbit” (borrowing shamelessly from Douglas Adams, one of my favorite authors). It gives me an excuse to write more, and not feel torn about what to include and/or exclude.

Life

“We have no control over when or how we die, but we do have control over how we live.” — from Fried Chicken and Sympathy

My world has recently been impacted by the death of two dear people: a wonderful man named Jack Gilbert, and my cousin, Ricky Morgan.

Jack Gilbert, 2011

They say dogs know a good person, and dogs and cats loved Jack. Captured by his good friend and mine, Sarah Lucy Beach.

I met Jack Gilbert through Premise, an entertainment industry prayer fellowship. He was one of its leaders, both in role, and in example. I left Premise for a time, and it was due to Jack’s encouragement that I chose to return. Jack shaped lives through his deep commitment to Jesus Christ, and his teaching of screenplay writing at places like Warner Bros., Act One, Azusa Pacific University, and Columbia College Hollywood, among others. But he impacted through his quiet presence, his wisdom, and his delight of the arts, literature, and especially Casablanca! He delighted in bringing people together, whether it was a prayer group, writer’s group, book salon, or a movie. Jack was a great listener, a solid mentor, and from my relationships with others who were his friends, an excellent person. He embodied a life well lived, and his passing has left a huge void not only in the entertainment world, but many lives.

I didn’t know him half as well as others did, but he left a great impression by the weight of his presence and his life. Jack was always a man of grace, nobility, and gentle strength. What I would describe as “Meekness”. Matthew 5:5 says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Jack did inherit the earth, not through a powerhouse position or personality, but by just being, Jack. Now, he has received his ultimate inheritance! It’s bittersweet. He is in Heaven, which is awesome for Him, but the world has lost a tremendous presence and talent. But like all who leave a legacy of righteousness, their work and worth continues, long after they have left this earth. I know that will be the case with Jack.

His close friends and family held a private funeral service, but because of the wealth of his life through his investment in people and the community, there will be a more public memorial in May, that I plan to attend. The older I get, the more deaths I face, the greater importance I place on honoring those who have passed on.

My cousin Ricky died suddenly on Good Friday, and it broke my heart. He was a favorite, and more like another brother than a cousin. Ricky lived with us for a time when I was younger, and he and my brother Theodore were constant companions and running buddies. I probably heard more than a six-year-old should hear about the misadventures of young adult men, but I enjoyed being the mascot. Unlike my sisters, Theodore and Ricky liked my company, and they treated me like a person, rather than a kid who was underfoot.

Mike (left), Aunt Allene (middle), and Ricky at the Foxx Family Reunion, 2005. R.I.P. my cousin.

Ricky was hilarious. He had a sharp wit, a great laugh, and a radiant smile that charmed everyone. Ricky, his mother (my aunt) Allene, and his brother Mike moved on to Northern California, and his absence left a huge hole in my young life. When I moved to California in my adult years, I was able to reconnect with him. He had since moved to Southern California, and with my sister June and her daughter Gabi, we went to visit him and his then-wife. I was writing Fried Chicken and Sympathy during that time, and he was able to share stories, give insight, and piece together some family history that had been missing.

The last time I saw him was at our Foxx Family Reunion in 2005. He looked rested and happy, was his usual chipper and hilarious self, warm, welcoming and loving, as always.  I still cannot believe he is gone, and it is still up in the air about whether there will be a service or memorial where the rest of the family and friends can mourn his loss.

Whether that happens or not, Ricky knew Jesus too, so I will see him again in Heaven, where we can laugh together.

I am thankful for the personal impact of both these men, and that through their death, as well as in their life, they continue to instruct. As Psalm 90:12 states, “So teach us to number our days,that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I am more attuned to counting the cost of my life.

The Universe

Part of the counting of my days is my work with job seekers and career transitioners. One of the ways I do this is my participation (and sometimes chairmanship) of CareerCamp events in Southern California.

CareerCampLA is coming up this Friday, April 20 from 9 am to 12 pm, at Los Angeles Southwest College, 1600 West Imperial Highway, Los Angeles, CA 90044.  Do I need to say it is well worth your time? Trust me, it is.

The day is geared toward “Building the Career That You Deserve” through workshops, seminars and breakout sessions. The agenda is set by the attendees, so you get your most burning questions answered. CareerCamp is a positive event focused on you and your needs in developing your career.

What I love about CareerCamp is that it’s NOT a job fair, but a workshop designed to hone your skills and give you the information you need to make the next step in your career. That next step may be starting your own business, or changing careers–it’s less about enabling and more about empowerment. If you want to be empowered to make the changes necessary to discover your career direction and life’s passion, then register here.

Everything

My world has been transformed by Yoga, and now I am able to lead others through its transformative work. I teach classes at CorePower Yoga in Sherman Oaks on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. I also teach a Soul Flow class in Northridge on Thursday nights. The Monday 12:00 pm class, and the Soul Flow class are only $10–you can’t get out of Starbucks that cheaply, and its positive effects are better and last longer!

Like the CareerCamps, it is a privilege to help others on a journey of discovery that moves someone closer to their authentic self, and offer inspiration that helps them get a better handle on their purpose in life.

Speaking of that… time to rocket off to CorePower for my Monday classes. Hope to see you around my universe.

 








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