Bob Hope

CNN: Bob Hope dead at 100

An era has ended. There will *never* be anyone funnier than him or anyone with the kind of talent he had. Best yet, his hummor was clean… which is more than I can say for the person sulogizing him on CNN this morning. (They had one of his comedy writers doing it and he made a very off-color comment, which caused CNN to cut the feed and the commentator to comment that “some people choose the most inappropriate times to try and be funny”.) We’ve lost one of our national treasures. *sniff*

Bob Hope Special

I just watched the Bob Hope special. For those in the Mountain and Pacific time zones, turn on the TV and watch it!!!!! It is so worth watching. He’s the last absolutely funny comedian left and the day he dies will be a national day of mourning. He has done so much more for the morale of US troops than any sitting president and watching his USO footage was the best time I’ve had in ages.

A Different Kind of Protest

A Parade of Hearses Protests L.A. Violence. (Article by staff writer Jill Leovy)

They came in white, silver and black hearses. They wore somber suits and starched shirts. They stood in practiced poses of respectful silence, hands behind backs, heads bowed.

They had, in short, the air of people used to staying in the background as they shepherd others through their grief.

But on Saturday, the dozens of Los Angeles funeral directors, embalmers, morticians, florists, escorts and mortuary counselors ï?? most of them black ï?? were doing something else: They were protesting urban homicide.

The demonstration by people in death-related industries had been organized by several Los Angeles funeral home owners and employees ï?? tired, they said, of young gunshot victims passing through their doors.

It was a strange idea, they admitted. But once word got out, more and more of their colleagues joined in, and the result was a column of nearly 20 hearses streaming through the streets of South Los Angeles on Saturday morning.

Many of those who took part said they have long harbored feelings of unease about profiting from an all-too-common source of business: premature deaths due to a plague of street homicides.

“We know that people are going to die,” said Edith Simpson, a counselor at House of Winston Mortuary. “But making money off senseless killing ï?? that is another thing.”

“We want to show we are not just burying people for money,” said Eric Williams, the mortuary’s office manager. “We are human too. We are not just hearse drivers and money mongers.”

Human, and just as likely to suffer as the people they serve, said Elizabeth Floyd, a funeral director at Rucker’s Mortuary in Pacoima. Her son, Howard L. Baker, was gunned down in 1984 at age 23.

She told of how she got home in time to find him lying on the ground, his eyes open, as if looking to her for help. Now, as a funeral director, every time she serves a customer who has lost someone this way, “it breaks my heart,” Floyd said. “If I could just say something, do something The pain is so penetrating. A hole. An emptiness in your stomach. You are never the same.”

The protest was conducted in a manner only funeral directors could perfect: First, the hearses rolled through the streets, drawing waves from onlookers, and a few baffled stares. Next came sermons and hymns at a graveyard amid bunches of black and white balloons. Finally, there was a release of white doves.

The event was originally planned as a “No Service Saturday” ï?? a day without funerals. But it didn’t work out that way, organizers said. Some funerals took place anyway, and police said at least four people were killed in Los Angeles County from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon. Two were black men, one was a Latino man and one was a Latina woman.

State Assemblyman Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles), who spoke at the event, called the protest “extraordinary.”

Demonstrations against street killings are commonplace in black communities of Los Angeles. There are regular stop-the-violence rallies and candlelight vigils.

But Saturday’s protest shows that such efforts are gaining new backing, Ridley-Thomas said. “People you don’t expect are saying, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” he said.

The hearses took to the streets in an hour when many stretches of South Los Angeles boulevards were empty. The procession passed quickly through light traffic, drawing little notice.

But at some points, small crowds gathered. Pedestrians waved and motorists honked. A few people flashed peace signs, participants said.

The hearses bore signs carrying the usual exhortations seen at South Los Angeles antiviolence demonstrations ï?? “Stop the Violence,” “Stop the Senseless Killing.” But one car also bore a hand-written sign with a more unusual slogan: “Live a Long Time.”

One of the organizers, funeral director Anthony Felder of Spalding Mortuary, stood on Century Boulevard to cheerlead as the column passed. He began talking about his sister, Michelle Alyce Felder ï?? “my best friend in the world” ï?? who was killed at age 23, randomly gunned down at a bus stop.

“Even though we profit from this, there comes a time that those of us who deal with death every day need to take a stand,” Felder said.

“There they go!” he yelled as the hearses rolled past, their company signs in the windows. “Wake up Los Angeles! Wake up!”

Eric Smith, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s dispatch worker, idled his car nearby, waiting for the column to go by.

Smith is 19 and black, a member of the highest-risk age, race and gender group for violent death. At first, he said, he was confused, thinking that he was watching a funeral. But learning the reason, he beamed. “It’s good,” he said. “I think it’s positive. I hope it does something.”

The column zoomed up and down some of the boulevards most notorious for violence: La Brea, Jefferson, Crenshaw, Slauson, Florence, Manchester and Vermont, ending at the Angeles-Rosedale Cemetery at Normandie and Washington.

Organizers had invited some customers to take part. Stephanie Ross, who lost her only son, Christopher Barrett Hayes, 24, to a shooting last month, came to “call on the community to pinch in and help,” she said.

Protesting with funeral directors might seem out of the ordinary, she said. “But, my goodness, these people are who we are calling to help us,” Ross said.

Participants talked about being emotionally affected by their work.

Simpson of the Winston mortuary told how she felt tears rise in her eyes as she counseled a family that had lost three sons in a series of related shootings. Unable to maintain a professional demeanor, she excused herself.

John Terry, the mortuary’s film director, nodded in agreement as he recalled the funeral for the three brothers. “It was hard to keep my composure My chest was tight,” he said.

At the cemetery, Felder, the embalmer and organizer who had lost his sister, took the microphone. He thanked his fellow funeral parlor workers, and called for an end to the killing.

“Brothers and sisters in our industry, you have come out of the closet and shown that we too live in the community that we too are affected,” he said.

He was holding his slain sister’s picture. As he stepped down from the podium, he glanced at it. “Michelle,” he added quietly, “this is for you.”

Did this protest do any good? Well…

Three teens killed after funeral workers protest gang shootings

Heavenly Father, in your Word you have given us a vision of that holy city to which the nations of the world bring their glory. Look upon and visit the cities of the earth. Renew ties of mutual regard which form our civic life. Send us honest and able leaders. Help us to eliminate poverty, prejudice, and oppression, that peace may prevail with righteousness, and justice with order, and that men and women from various cultures and with differing talents may find with one another the fulfillment of their humanity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lord, listen to your children praying
Lord send your spirit in this place
Lord listen to your children praying
Send us love, send us power, send us grace.

I Can’t Believe The Little Brat Won!!!!

Judge grants N.J. student’s request to be named valedictorian

Refer to this post for the background.

Attention Blair Hornstine:

You are a spoiled, litigious, whining, stuck-up, brat who does not deserve any of the honors you are going to receive. Yes, you have a 4.0 GPA, phatty SAT scores, and Ivy League colleges vying for your attention. Yes, you have an immune deficiency and you’ve had difficulties. You also have had quite a few advantages, such as working with tutors and taking fewer classes. You have had more advantages than the students with whom you would have to share your valedictorian title. Yes… you have the higher grades, but they have more classes, meaning that their chances at even competing with you are lessened.

You are obviously too stuck up to care that the students you just robbed of equal honors probably don’t have the advantages you had and probably are working part-time to pay for college. If you (with the help of your equally blinded parents) are seeking $500,000 in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages, you can probably afford those schools without financial aid. The students who would have been your co-valedictorians probably aren’t that well-off and probably are having to rely on some pretty heavy scholarships that would have been contingent on them being named valedictorian. In other words, your selfishness for recognition just sold out your fellow classmates.

You claim that sharing would detract from what you have accomplished. Let me just say that your egotistical attitude and your little quest for glory have detracted from it far more than having to share. Do you really think that your classmates and their parents are going to listen to your little speech? What are you going to do when you get to Harvard and realize that you are not special and you have to actually compete with *other* kids who were the valedictorians of their classes and got that title honestly instead of suing to get it? Are you going to sue the university for not making you feel special enough?

And seriously, $500,000 in compensatory damages with the large punitive sum? Yes, let’s rape the school district’s funds because your stupid pride was hurt. Chica, you are not worth $5,000 let alone $500,000. I’m hoping that the judge who hears your case has a whole lot more sense than the asnine district judge who granted your request.

You say you want to be a lawyer? I pray that every law school you apply to rejects you on the grounds that you have crappy ethics for marring the image of the legal system in this country with your frivilous lawsuits. In fact, I hope that all of those Ivy League schools rescind their acceptance decisions and that you are forced to attend a *gasp* second-tier school where you’ll learn some humility.

And yes, I know you have an immune deficiency. So do I. I missed 3 weeks of school during AP tests during my senior year in addition to other times when the flu or a cold flattened me worse than everyone else. In college, I was hospitalized for a week during the last quarter of my senior year and barely made it to classes for the rest of the year because I was so tired and my stomach was refusing much of what I was placing in it. During my first year, I had almost a constant case of bronchitis or pneumonia and my second year, I was barely passing all my classes because my depression was so bad. I graduated with honors and having to share my cum laude distinction with others (who had a much easier time than I did) didn’t detract from my personal sense of victory that I had because *I MADE IT DESPITE EVERYTHING*. If a personal sense of victory isn’t enough and you need people to constantly praise you, you really need to work on your self-esteem.

I hope that your classmates egg you while you speak. I hope that enough people are outraged by this and that they write to all the schools that accepted you to tell them to rescind their acceptance decisions. I hope you lose your stupid lawsuit and I hope that the judge in that case tells you how much of a sniveling little brat you are and that you deserve *NONE* of the money for which you are suing. I hope that your parents have to pay the legal fees for the school district for letting you do this. Most of all, I hope that everyone at the college you attend recognizes you and tells you to your face about how much of a spoiled brat you are and how you don’t deserve to be there.

Is This Really Something To Fight About?

Girl sues to be lone valedictorian.

According to CNN:

Blair Hornstine’s latest report card had four A-plus grades in five courses. She scored a 1570 out of 1600 on the SAT and is deciding whether to attend Harvard, Stanford, Duke, Princeton or Cornell — all of which have accepted her.

But despite her best-in-her-class grades, her school district wants to name her co-valedictorian with two other students.

Hornstine, the 18-year-old daughter of a state Superior Court judge, has asked a federal judge to intervene, saying that being forced to share with students with lesser grades would detract from what she has accomplished.

She has also filed a notice saying she plans to sue the school district in state court claiming the dispute has humiliated her. She said she would be asking for $200,000 in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages.

Her school district looks at the disagreement another way: Because of an immune deficiency, Hornstine is classified as a disabled student and has taken a class load that doesn’t include physical education and involves her spending part of her school day studying at home.

The two other Moorestown High School seniors with nearly perfect grades could not match her grade-point average, officials said, because classes like gym receive less weight in calculating the GPA.

“After reviewing these issues, I was concerned about the fundamental fairness of the academic competition engaged in for the valedictorian and salutatorian awards,” Superintendent Paul Kadri said in a court filing. “The level of competition … had been compromised.”

U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson set a hearing for May 8, and the Moorestown Board of Education planned to consider what to do about the situation at a May 12 meeting.

Graduation is June 19.

Hornstine, who said she plans to become a lawyer, is not the first student to sue over the right to be valedictorian of a high school class.

In the last year alone, judges have been asked to consider similar cases in Ohio, Washington and Michigan. In two of the cases, students who wanted to be included as co-valedictorians were allowed by judges to be included. The third case, in Michigan, involves a student who wanted an A changed to an A+ so he would be more likely to be valedictorian.

Maybe it’s just me but… is this really so life-threatening that you have a federal judge intervene??? This kid is spoiled! I mean… she thinks “being forced to share with students with lesser grades would detract from what she has accomplished” and she’s suing the school district in state court for millions for humiliation. The school district is being a little strange in saying that they need to level the playing field because this girl didn’t have to take gym (thus having a GPA that is a little more skewed because of less classes etc.) but she also has an immune deficiency and can’t take gym.

As far as detracting from her accomplishments, she’s got a nearly perfect SAT score, she has 5 of the most prestigious schools in the country vying for her attention, she has a 4.0 — and she’s doing it with her immune deficiency problem. The fact that she is graduating and doing all of this says enough about her abilities and how capable she is. Being co-valedictorian with two other students who might have had just as many difficulties as she did isn’t detracting from anyone’s judgement of her capabilities. She says she wants to be a lawyer — would I really want to hire a lawyer who sues over something as frivilous as this??? I mean… she doesn’t have a leg to stand on because her school isn’t breaking any disability laws and her humiliation is her own swelled ego’s fault — not the school district.

Granted, her grades are the best in the class, but she also has a different standard. Would she prefer to be disqualified because she didn’t take gym? My high school also didn’t have valedictorians and salutatorians because we had so many people with 4.0’s. (We didn’t weight honors in our GPA’s or give extra points for +’s.) Instead, anyone with a 3.5 or above could audition to give a speech at graduation. I remember that one of our speakers *gasp* had a 3.7 GPA but was still a better speaker than the other two.

OK… Jen’s nerves are worked. Back to making bread.