Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Interview - a good movie

James Franco and Seth Rogen as CIA operatives in the funny film, The Interview.

The Interview is hilarious!

I just viewed it on YouTube which steamed the movie starting at 1 p.m. this afternoon.  I clocked in around 1:10 p.m. paid $5.99 to rent the movie and viewed it.  I saw it for cheaper than at the movie theater and that is also cheaper than a senior discount.  LOL!  

Of course, Kim Jong Un probably has my credit card number now, but hopefully with N. Korea's Internet service going in and out he won't have the capability to display it.

I recommend seeing this much talked about movie.  Since I am a proponent and advocate for First Amendment rights and freedom of speech and of the press, I had to view this movie and I am glad I did.

I won't go so far as to say Seth Rogen is a genius but I will say he is brilliant.  And, he has written and produced a brilliant film.  This film is definitely a parody and satire of N. Korea and Kim Jong Un, but it is also a parody of talk shows and talk show hosts and their producers, as well as the CIA.  

And all this along with Katy Perry's song, Fireworks.  You have to see it to believe it.

This film is definitely a "bromance" between talk show producer (Rogen) and talk show host (Franco).  That alone is hilarious.  Seth Rogen plays straight guy to James Franco's egotistical, shallow and sallow, bumbling character.

Franco's talk show host name is Dave Skylark and by the end of the movie the viewer realizes it is a play on the James Bond 007 Skyfall movie, which also adds humor to this movie.

And, the premise of this movie is not so implausible with the recent visit of Dennis Rodman to N. Korea and his friendship with Kim Jong Un.  There is a scene in the movie of Dave Skylark playing basketball with Kim Jong Un in which they bond as friends.  It is eerily reminiscent of Rodman's visit to N. Korea.

There is even reference to Kim Jong Un's "ankles" during the basketball scene.  Again, just hilarious.

If Kim Jong Un had just ignored this movie it would not have become a beacon for freedom of speech and probably not as many people would have seen it.   I urge everyone to see the movie to prove to Kim Jong Un he can't scare us into censoring this movie.  I am glad that Sony has found several hundred movie theaters that are going to show the film tomorrow, Christmas Day, December 25, 2014.  

I am also glad they are streaming it on YouTube.  While the critics have dissed this movie, I found it to be hilarious and not over the top which some Seth Rogen films can be.  It is funny, satirical and pokes fun, not at just Kim Jong Un, and N. Korea,  but also the CIA, talk show hosts and the talk show industry, as well as the producers who create the talk shows.

Also, the ending is not as bad as the critics have said.  Actually, the ending is funny and I won't go into the details, but there is the demise of Kim Jong Un and his face is the last thing we see from that scene.

This movie made me laugh out loud several times and yes, it is a farcical parody, but it is a good one and I think Seth Rogen is brilliant for having come up with the concept, written it, and produced this movie.  

Kim Jong Un, you should have just ignored this movie.  It is much to do about nothing.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Senate CIA Torture Report

Torture is used against terrorist detainees and prisoners of war.

Torture has been used by the rogue nations of the world:  Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan (WWII), N. Korea, N. Vietnam, Russian KGB, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Syria.

And, now the U.S.A.

Yes, the U.S.A. now joins the rogue nations of the world who use torture.  We have stooped to the level of these rogue nations. Where we used to take the high road with our POW's and detainees, now we grovel in the torture mess of the world.

 We hear of the brutal interrogation tactics, nothing less than torture, in graphic detail in the recent Senate Intelligence Committee CIA Torture Report complied at the request of Senator Dianne Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Many of the brutal interrogation attacks (torture) include but are not limited to:

  • sleep deprivation
  • sensory deprivation
  • water boarding
  • chained to walls and floors
  • chained and then hung
  • forced stress positions
  • isolation
  • threats
  • rectal hydration
  • ice baths
  • wall slamming
If you saw the Osama bin Laden movie, Zero Dark Thirty, then you saw the use of some of these torture techniques against detainees in the movie.

Of course, former vice-president Dick Cheney, who coined the euphemism "enhanced interrogation techniques," (EIT) in place of the word torture, has weighed in by calling the Senate report of the CIA to be "bolognie".  He claims, opposite of the report, that the EIT was approved by the Bush administration.  The report claims torture of detainees was never approved by the Bush administration and further more, then President Bush was never informed of the torture techniques used from 2002-2006 during his presidency. 

Private, secret torture prisons were set up by the CIA around the world  because torture techniques could not be used in the U.S. prison system nor could they be used on military base prisons. Some prisons were built in the Middle East such as Abu Gharib, one in Thailand, and several in Afghanistan run by Blackwater, and of course, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.  These prisons have no accountability or oversight and are free to use these torture techniques.  They are free to keep detainees as long as they wish without due process of a trial.

Coercive psychoanalysis techniques were used to induce psychological regression in detainees according to the Senate report.  The CIA interrogators hoped to bring a superior outside force to bear on the detainee's will to resist.

They used academic research on interrogation, "learned helplessness," or other methods that can't be tested in an ethical way in the real world and provide little guidance for effective questioning.

Military psychologists and the American Psychological Association are outraged that these types of techniques were used as methods of torture against detainees.  Psychological techniques are to be used to help not to torture.

The Senate report findings conclude that the brutal techniques used against detainees were torture and did not add valuable information to what had been already obtained through less coercive means.

Severe stress disrupts people's ability to think quickly and some experienced interrogators emphasize the value of establishing rapport with a detainee and obtaining information on the basis of trust rather than cruelty.

Under torture, a detainee will say anything the CIA operatives want to hear to stop the torture.  Torture also creates hate on the part of the detainee and causes more resistance to information wanted or completely false information given during torture.

Our country completely overruled the Geneva Conventions, partly written by the U.S., and is accepted internationally as the accepted treatment of prisoners of war and detainees.  No longer can the U.S. insist on the Geneva Conventions being followed for U.S. soldiers as prisoners of war because we have ignored it when it comes to our detainees.

The use of torture by the U.S. has opened the door for beheadings and torture being used against our soldiers and hostages.

To be fair, the report did not interview the interrogators or CIA operatives that used the torture methods and it is why there has been an outcry from the CIA that its side was not included in the report.

The CIA has come out with rebuttals and Republican politicians have come to the CIA's rescue by publicizing findings of their own.

But, the fact still remains, torture was used in secret for many years against detainees and we can't now complain when our soldiers and hostages are tortured or beheaded.

What values does the U.S.A espouse?  Do we want to be known as a rogue nation that tortures or do we want to be known as an humanitarian nation that that respects all life?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Eric Garner - "I can't breathe"

Eric Garner being arrested by NYC police officers

"There is something rotten in Denmark."   Denmark being New York City this time.  Again, within ten days we have a grand jury find 'no indictment' in the death of an unarmed African-American while being arrested. Eric Garner, a African-American male lost his life when he was arrested by the NYC Police department.  

What makes this arrest different than Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, is that this arrest was completely videoed by a passerby on his cell phone.  I have watched the video.

Eric Garner, under suspicion for selling loose cigarettes (selling them tax free) in Staten Island does resist arrest.  He tells the police officers not to touch him and at that point a swarm of police officers attack him with one officer putting Garner in a choke hold. Garner is wrestled to the ground, in a choke hold, with an officer pushing his face to the ground. Garner gasps out eleven times, "I can't breathe."  But, the police officers push him even further into the ground and do not heed his pleas.

What is so horrifying is watching these police officers literally kill Garner before our eyes. The video is disturbing and difficult to watch.  I find it horrifying to watch the breath and life squeezed out of Garner by the police simply over suspicion of a misdemeanor in this arrest.

Yes, there is something rotten in our country and it is blatant racism.  The NYC coroner's office ruled Garner's death a homicide.  So how could a grand jury exonerate the officer that held Garner in a choke hold?  Why were the other officers in this arrest given immunity?  If they were given immunity that suggests wrong doing.   Who is going to pay for this homicide?  

Many have argued that Garner was obese, had asthma and possibly a heart condition and this is what caused his death.  Had Garner not been arrested in this manner, I don't think he would have dropped dead from obesity, asthma, or a possible heart condition.

Many have argued if he could gasp, "I can't breathe," then he wasn't being strangled and losing his life at that point.  He could get breath out, but he couldn't get breath in to replace it.  That is how he died from the choke hold.

Yes, again, Garner should not have resisted arrest and he would be alive today if he had followed the police officers' commands.  But, again, an African-American man dies because he questions his arrest.   But, what if Garner was truly innocent?   He was being arrested on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes, not the definite act of selling loose cigarettes.  Garner was not caught red handed.

What has happened to innocent until proved guilty?  No man of any color should lose his life over being arrested for a misdemeanor or being arrested at all, for that matter.

And, here in lies the problem.  Yes, African-American mens' lives are seen as less worthy than those of white men.  Our rule of law system is not working correctly.  How can a grand jury watch a man being killed before their eyes on this video and not find the police officer guilty of homicide?  

The prosecutors are not prosecuting these cases when it comes to African-American men being killed by white police officers.  They are not getting indictments because they don't want to get indictments.  Most prosecutors and police forces have a symbiotic relationship. They are co-dependent on one another to get convictions and/or protect one another.  And, when it comes to a white police officer killing an African-American male during an arrest, the prosecutor protects the police officer at all costs.  This relationship between prosecutors and white police officers needs to change.

When an African-American male is killed by a white police officer a special prosecutor must be brought in to handle the case.  No more can the given prosecutor of a community/city handle these cases before the grand jury. It is obvious the prosecutors and police are in bed together.

Yes, our country has the rule of law, but it must be applied equally to all citizens no matter the race, class, or gender of the accused.  

The profiling of African-American males must stop.  Our culture has been conditioned   since the days of slavery to see African-American men as sub-human animals. Even with the end of slavery, our culture has continued to be conditioned over the years to believe that African-American males are dangerous, out of control, up to no good, and committing crimes.  This is not so for the majority of African-American males who live peaceful and law abiding lives.

Yes, "there (definitely) is something rotten in Denmark."

Video taken of Eric Garner's arrest

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ferguson, MO - a hotbed of racial divide


What a mess Ferguson, MO is today.  There is so much wrong with this Michael Brown killing, both on the part of the Ferguson police, the prosecutor, and the protests of the community.

The Ferguson Police

First, Michael Brown, an unarmed young man, is killed in an altercation with a white Ferguson policeman.  Michael Brown does have to take responsibility for robbing the convenience store of cigarillos.   Had he not done that, this tragedy probably would not have occurred.

Although he was unarmed, testimony of Officer Wilson and other witnesses claimed Brown reached into the police car and tussled with Wilson for his gun and was ultimately shot in the finger/hand.   Again, that is something Michael Brown has to take responsibility for.

Officer Wilson's claim that Brown was punching him in the face so badly that Wilson feared he would be punched out don't seem to go with the photos taken of him that day.  There is not even a bruise on his face; no black eye etc.  How hard could Brown have punched Wilson if he ended up with no bruises?

And, according to the testimony of Wilson and of witnesses,  Michael Brown, who had run down the street,  then turned around and "charged," at Officer Wilson. Other witnesses testified that Brown had his hands up in surrender when he turned around.    Wilson, believing his life was in danger, shot the fatal bullets that killed Michael Brown.  All this took place in a flash - ninety seconds -and a promising African-American young man lay dead on the ground.

Where was Officer Wilson's stun gun?  That is something all police officers throughout the U.S. should have on them at all times.  Had Officer Wilson stunned Brown instead of shooting him, Brown would be alive today.  

Why was Officer Wilson alone in the police car?  Why didn't he have a partner with him? Police are suppose to work in twos.  Why not in Ferguson?  

And, why isn't the Ferguson police force more diverse?  Why are there not more African-American police officers on the Ferguson police force?

Our police departments have been militarized as never before.  Our police culture is to shoot first and ask questions later. This is something all police departments throughout the U.S. have been trained to do.  There needs to be a huge paradigm shift and police officers need to be trained differently.  They need to be trained in how to diffuse a situation rather than escalate it.  

We have seen the same thing unfold time and time again.  The African-American male is seen as the aggressor, even if he is just asking the police why he is being stopped.  If he challenges the police in any way, the guns come out and the shooting begins.

Does this happen to white perpetrators?  Certainly not as much.

The Prosecutor

Prosecutor McCulloch should have been recused from handling the Michael Brown case because, as everyone knows,  years ago, his father had been murdered by an African-American man.  That, right there, is conflict of interest in such a high profile case.

A special prosecutor should have been brought in to prosecute this case so that fairness was assured by someone neutral, someone who had no ties to the Ferguson community, and someone who would not be seeking election to office in this community.

It is frequently said that a grand jury can indict a ham sandwich.  That certainly did not happen here.  The grand jury proceedings here in Ferguson were most unusual with every bit of evidence in this case being given to them.  They became both judge and jury deciding on Officer Wilson's fate, something that is not their duty to do.

I was shocked that there were leaks to the media during this grand jury proceeding;  a procedure that is suppose to be secret. That, in itself, illustrated the bias and unfairness of these proceedings.  Prosecutor McCulloch wanted a 'no indictment' decision from this grand jury and he manipulated evidence and leaks so that he would get the decision he wanted.

Should this have gone to trial?  I believe so because there was so much conflicting testimony by witnesses, this needed to hashed out in a trial where both sides could give evidence to what occurred that day and at that moment of death.

And, the timing of Prosecutor McCulloch's announcement of the indictment was manipulated to help raise the anxiety and hot tempers of the African-American community. For at least two weeks prior to the announcement,  the media reported they were being told that a decision from the grand jury was due any day, any moment.

The endless waiting for the decision just served to rile up the Ferguson community that much more.  

Then, announcing the decision at 9 pm, Monday evening, I believe, was Prosecutor McCulloch's manipulation so that anger would spill over into the chaos, rioting, looting and burning that occurred.

I don't see Prosecutor McCulloch as trying to maintain calm in the Ferguson community but as a perpetrator to setting off the rioting that occurred.  I think it was part of his 'grand plan.'

Protests in the Ferguson community

Peaceful protests against Officer Wilson have been going on in Ferguson since August 9, when Brown was killed.  Because the grand jury had so much evidence thrown at them, this process took three months and this also helped to work up the community.

Then, the community has McCulloch announcing the 'no indictment' at 9 pm in the evening, tempers are flaring anyway, and the chaos and rioting begins.  

Brown's step-father, trying to console his wife and Michael Brown's mother, did not help matters by screaming to burn down the city.  The shock of the announcement boiled over and the protesters went nuts. 

What is especially sad, are the businesses the crowd burnt down where mostly African-American businesses.  The protesters were destroying themselves.  

It is sad, that African-Americans destroy when something doesn't go their way.  How much more relevant and important their protest against the 'no indictment' of Officer Wilson would have been if it had been peaceful.

Their burning and destruction just adds to people's perception that African-Americans break the law and 'go crazy,' in these kinds of situations.

And, as this rioting and burning was going on, where was the National Guard?  There is poor leadership on the local and state level in Missouri and no one is exempt from the responsibility of protecting the Ferguson community.

How this grand jury was handled, the announcement of the decision, and the protection of the citizens of Ferguson was woefully incompetent.  

Ferguson is just an example of the racial divide that permeates our country today.  White police officers do see African-Americans' lives as cheaper than white lives.  African-American lives do matter, yet they don't seem to when they come in conflict with white police officers.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Wise Words - Wake-up America!

With the recent elections for governors, house and senate members, the people have spoken.  The message was a repudiating NO! to the Democrats and now we have divided government more than ever.  The Republicans have taken over the Senate and House of Representatives.

Pray, that the Republicans will govern wisely and for the betterment of our country.  Martin Luther King Jr.'s words resonate today just as importantly as the day he said them.  

Have we moved forward and evolved as a country since the life of MLK, Jr?   It think not.  It is time to Wake Up America!

"The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. 

We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned 

the simple art of living together as brothers.

~ Martiin Luther King, Jr.

Copyright (c)  2014  Suzannah Wolf Walker   all rights reserved

Sunday, October 26, 2014

My answer to Kaci Hickox

Nurse and recent Ebola healthcare worker from W. Africa, Kaci Hickox, is currently in a 21 day quarantine in NJ.

Kaci Hickox is a nurse who has recently been on the front lines of fighting the Ebola virus in western African nations.  I applaud her for her courage to help those with Ebola in Africa.

But, my applause ends there.  She is currently complaining and is threatening legal action because she is in quarantine for 21 days against her will after returning from Africa.  She says she is asyptomatic, therefore not infectious, and has been having her temperature taken several times a day.  She has tested negative to the Ebola virus so far.

Kaci believes it is against her basic human rights to be quarantined. 

Well, Kaci, my answer is this, it is time for you to grow up, woman up and gain some maturity.  Now you must muster up some more courage to ride out a quarantine for 21 days. You have come back from the Ebola ravaged western African countries.  You have been exposed to the Ebola virus and therefore you may become infectious.  In the highly populated area in which you returned to the U.S, you darn well should be quarantined for 21 days.

Until the 21 days is up, you don't know for sure you haven't contracted the Ebola virus.  So far, Kaci, I'm not impressed with the people who have contracted the virus, because they did not self-quarantine themselves.  Had they done that, others around them would not have contracted the disease and/or be in quarantine today or being monitored today.

Amber Vinson came to my home state, Ohio, three miles from my home and brought the Ebola virus here.  I am not pleased with her.  She tried on dresses at a bridal shop, and now those dresses need to be burned and the bridal shop needs to be sanitized.

Those of you who have become exposed to Ebola because of your work in Africa, should not be questioning a 21 day quarantine.  We have not been able to determine when during the 21 days an exposed person can contract the virus.  So far, not one of the health care workers have been able to self-quarantine themselves.

Quite frankly, I find you, Amber Vinson and Craig Spencer, three health care workers, to be selfish, self-absorbed brats.  All you care about are your basic human rights not to be in quarantine.  What about the basic human rights of 250 million people living in the U.S.?  We have basic human rights also.  What about the basic human rights of Americans not to have an Ebola epidemic/pandemic started here on our shores.

With the fatality rate as high as it is from this virus, a 50%-90% fatality rate depending on which news organization I listen to, this virus must be stopped at all ports of entry into the United States.  We don't know enough about this virus to be sure you won't come down with the virus or infect anyone.

And, yes, I do know how it feels to be quarantined and isolated.  Ten years ago I contracted the c.diff infection.  The doctors were never able to determine how I caught it.  I went into the ER room at the Akron General Medical Center in Akron, OH,  having a severe colitis attack and that was when the c.diff infection was discovered.  We have no idea how long I was walking around, infected, and not knowing it.

I was immediately put in an isolation room in the Medical Center for five days. And, yes, the doctors and nurses came in dressed in the Hazmat suits you all wear in Africa.  Talk about scary and embarrassing.  It was.   There was a big red isolation sign on my door and no one but nurses and doctors in protection gear were permitted to enter. 

 At the time this happened I was teaching (I am retired now), and I did not think twice about my unfortunate situation.  Were my basic human rights taken away?  Yes, they were. I could not leave the room nor the hospital, nor have any outside visitors, and I was told if I did leave on my own, I would be arrested by the police and returned to the hospital until the isolation time (5 days) was over.  

Did I like being isolated?  No. It was quite lonely and I could not have any visitors.   Would I rather have been recuperating those five days at home?  Yes.  But, the doctors and nurses took this seriously.  I could not return to home nor to work because I could infect students and/or staff or anyone else for that matter. 

And all this over an infection that doesn't even kill, which Ebola does.  So, if you think I don't understand what you are going through, I do.  I want you in quarantine for the 21 days and I don't care about your basic human rights in this situation.  The greater good of the country is more important that your basic human rights.  

So you are quarantined for 21 days.  Oh, what a sacrifice you are making.  What about the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan for us?  What about the soldiers that have returned home maimed and broken from these wars. What about the soldiers that experienced mustard gas?   What about the soldiers that will never be the same again?

What about the wives and children of these service men who have sacrificed their lives by now having to live with a husband and father with tramatic wounds and/or PTSD?

And, you are whining about 21 days in quarantine?  Pluuuueeeease!

I have no respect for your request of a hearing so you can leave quarantine.  I have no respect for health workers, who understand how dangerous Ebola is because it kills in such a horrible and bloody way, and refuse to cooperate with quarantines especially in some of the most populated areas in the U.S.

Your lack of courage and sacrifice for your country is unacceptable and unconscionable.

Update:  October 31, 2014.  I find it very sad that you refuse to cooperate with state health officials in NJ and Maine.  To defy these health officials is unprofessional and a disgrace.  No one is taking your freedom away.  We ask that you be prudent and remain quarantined until the 21 incubation period is over.  Yes, we understand the science and that this virus is only transmitted through bodily fluids entering the body.  But, we don't know enough about this virus and how it works in every situation.  We don't understand yet, why some exposed to it come down with the virus and others don't.   We don't have any answers to those exposed and what happens when they sweat.  Sweat is a bodily fluid. We also know that the virus is active on dry surfaces, but science is not able to tell us for how long.  We do know that you can become infectious anytime during the 21 day incubation period.  I sincerely hope you do not come down with the virus, but you must understand your community's concern about possible exposure to and contracting the virus until the 21 days are over.  We understand you feel well and are asymptomatic, but your unprofessional behavior is frightening to your community.  You need to be understanding of your community's rights not to be around someone who has been exposed to the virus until all these questions can be answered scientifically.  You are creating more harm than good.

Copyright (c)  2014   Suzannah Wolf Walker   all rights reserved

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ben Bradlee 1921 - 2014

Benjamin C. Bradlee, Vice-President at Large, of The Washington Post.

Legendary Ben Bradlee, a legend in his own time, passed away October 21, 2014.  He is being remembered as the most charismatic and luminescent journalist of his time.  He believed that journalism and its gate-keeper role was essential to ensuring democracy and a democratic nation.  With his death, a golden era of journalism has passed.

At the time of his death he was vice-president at large of The Washington Post, his beloved newspaper that he came to in 1965 as a news editor.  His star rose to the position of executive editor of the Post from 1968-1991.  

He believed in and supported aggressive but meticulous reporting from all his reporters.  He also supported the use of 'anonymous sources'.  In fact, Bradlee, Woodward and Bernstein were to only ones who knew the identity of "Deep Throat," the anonymous source during the Watergate reporting. Katharine Graham, the Post publisher, never knew his identity.

Bradlee and Katharine Graham, publisher of the Post, held stewardship over the paper during two of the most defining moments in the paper's history - the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate scandal.  It was during this time that Bradlee rose to national prominence.

In 1971, Bradlee and Graham were issued subpoenas by the Nixon administration to appear in federal court to quash the publication of the Pentagon Papers, which told the truth about the Viet Nam War that Nixon did not want to come out.

The case went on to the Supreme Court which ruled that The Washington Post, along with The New York Times, could print the Pentagon Papers. Thus, Bradlee and Graham scored a victory for freedom of the press.

Just about a year later Bradlee and the Post were embroiled in the Watergate scandal. Bradlee staunchly supported and backed his two young, green news reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, as they went on to report the break in of the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Headquarters.  They were able to connect the break in to the White House and then to Nixon himself.  They simply followed the money and brought down a president. Nixon resigned as President of the U.S. in disgrace on August 9, 1974 and Vice-President Gerald Ford became President of the United States.

Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward, reporters of the Watergate scandal, in the Post newsroom. 

Woodward and Bernstein's reporting earned them the Pulitzer Prize in journalism.  In fact, under Bradlee's tenure, the Post won a total of seventeen Pulitzer Prizes.

The only dark spot on Bradlee's career was the 1981 Janet Cooke scandal.  Janet Cooke, a feature writer for the Post, wrote the story "Jimmy's World," in which she chronicled the life and times of Jimmy, an eight-year-old heroin addict, living on the mean streets of Washington, DC.  

Bradlee was a staunch supporter of Cooke and her story and published it on the front page of the Post.  Cooke won a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting, but it was later discovered that she had invented and made up the entire story. Jimmy, the eight-year-old heroin addict, had never existed.  Bradlee had to see that the Pulitzer Prize was returned and, of course, he fired Cooke. It was the one dark moment in an otherwise illustrious career.

Under his tenure, Bradlee turned the Post into one of the most important newspapers in the country and nearly doubled its circulation and number of newsroom reporters.

Before his tenure at the Post,  Bradlee was managing editor of the Boston Globe. He went to Washington D.C. in the early 1960's as Washington bureau chief for Newsweek magazine.  It was during these early years in Washington that Bradlee became good friends with JFK and he and his wife and the Kennedy's often socialized together.

Bradlee was married three times throughout his life, and his present wife is Sally Quinn, news reporter and columnist for the Post, whom he married in 1978.  He also leaves children from his present and previous marriages.

The world of journalism was forever changed and made better by the fortitude, determination, perseverance, effervescence,  and charisma of Ben Bradlee. He was larger than life and he will always be remembered as a shining force in the journalism profession.

Bradlee is given the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, in 2013.

Copyright (c)  2014  Suzannah Wolf Walker   all rights reserved

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Drop in Time

I only knew you for a time

A drop in time

How fleeting the time

splashed by

As concentric circles

Rippled out into the depths

Of my heart and soul

Only a drop in time

Leaving a lifetime of ripples

Copyright (c)   Suzannah Wolf Walker   all rights reserved

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Ebola Crisis

As I am sitting here watching and listening on television to the congressional hearings on the ebola virus with the CDC (Center for Disease Control)  doctors, and I am shocked to hear how ineffective our government and country is about stopping this virus in its tracks.

I am also shocked because I just googled 'ebola virus' and got an eye full.  This is a such a horrible and insidious virus that the photos of the blood blisters and lesions on the skin of sufferers is so sickening I can't even put the photos on this blog.

I cannot believe how blase the CDC and our government has been about the transmission of this virus.  Ebola is on the verge of explosion in this country and I don't believe we have been or are doing enough to end this virus.

For the life of me, I can't believe this horrible virus has been around since 1976 and no one in this world has discovered or found a vaccine for this.  Since it originated in Africa, I think the world did not care enough to eradicate this virus because it was confined to Africa.  As long as it was far away we didn't care because it wasn't on our radar.  How could we have turned a blind eye to Africans and allowed them to die from this?  What the world has done is unconscionable.  

That said, why is the U.S. and other world nations not taking more stringent actions to stop this from traveling outside of Africa?  Why are people flying to the U.S. from the western African nations not being quarantined for the 21 day incubation period?  

Why was the man who flew into Dallas from Liberia not quarantined immediately and if not, why was the Texas Presbyterian Hospital so unprepared for this man in the ER?  The CDE is not giving forthright answers and does not seem to have its 'act together,' and able to put forth credible answers

How can our country be so ineffective with such a dangerous and insidious virus?

The second nurse in Dallas who contracted the ebola virus and who has been transferred to Emory University Hospital for treatment of the virus had no business being on a commercial air flight from Dallas to Cleveland and then Cleveland to Dallas.  What was she thinking? She is a 29 year old nurse, not some young kid just out of college.  Even if the CDC was not stopping her, she should have had enough sense in her own right as a professional not to get on a commercial flight.  How could she have been so unprofessional and endangered more than a hundred lives of those on the plane?

Yes, the nurses and doctors in Texas, as the nurses and doctors in Africa, are heroes.  But the 29-year-old second nurse has null and voided her hero status by thoughtlessly and ignorantly getting on that commercial air flight.

And, of course, the Texas Presbyterian Hospital was not prepared enough to know how to deal with the man from Liberia.  If they weren't prepared enough or didn't know what to do, why did they not seek help from Emory University Hospital which successfully treated the two medical people working with the Africans who had contracted the virus?  Why didn't they seek help from the CDC?  Why not get help from the National Institute of Health (NIH)? 

Everyone in this country thinks they know it all.  Why aren't we as a nation getting help from the workers on the front lines of this ebola virus in Africa?   All you have to do is look at the picture above of the worker in the protective suit and copy from that on how to dress and protect our medical people from the disease.  If everything isn't covered then you've got it wrong.  

All I have to do is look at the news reels and video from the workers in Africa to know the neck and legs should not have been exposed by the nurses in Texas.  It also seems that simple common sense was not used in our experience so far with the disease. Now we may have spread this insidious disease to other parts of the nation.

What I believe needs to be done:

1.  Not allow any more flights from the western African nations into the U.S.  The stopping of ebola in its tracks is more important than anything else.

2.  Anyone here in the U.S. believed to have been exposed to the virus should be in strict quarantine for the 21 day incubation period.  This is national security.

3.  Anyone with any type of elevated temperature should immediately be put in quarantine until it is determined they have not contracted the virus.

4.  No one exposed to the virus or with an elevated temperature should be permitted to travel on public transportation or be in public places.

Update:  October 23, 2014.  The CDC announced this morning that persons coming from the western African nations with the ebola virus may now enter at all ports of entry throughout the U.S. where they will be checked and monitored for the 21 day incubation period of the virus.

Update:  October 22, 2014.  The federal government has put restrictions on those traveling from western African nations that have the ebola virus to only enter the U.S. at five airports so that they can be monitored for the ebola virus.  Finally, the U.S. is taking control of those entering the U.S. from western Africa.  The five airports:  JFK, Newark, Dulles, Chicago and Atlanta.

Update:  October 17, 2014.  Thank you Amber Vinson for bringing Ebola to Ohio.  How could you have traveled here on a commercial air flight when you had been exposed to the Ebola virus?  You should have been quarantined for 21 days by the CDC and if not by them, then you should have had enough sense to quarantine yourself.  And, you had no business getting on a commercial air flight and exposing nearly 800 people to this deadly virus. You have endangered your own family by being here over the weekend plus everyone you came in contact with while you were here.  Your unprofessionalism is staggering. As far as I am concerned you are the worst type of nurse, who doesn't have enough common sense to realize that if exposed to Ebola you could become infected with the virus.  You have now endangered so many here in Ohio. Several schools have had to shut down because employees were around you the weekend you were here.  Let's hope no one here in Ohio becomes infected with this deadly virus.  If anyone does, it is on your head and shoulders and your fault. You are no hero!

Copyright (c)  2014  Suzannah Wolf Walker   all rights reserved

Sunday, August 31, 2014


The only opinion about your dream that really counts is yours.  The negative comments of others merely reflects their limitations not yours.  ~  Cynthia Kersey

I Touch the Sky

I reach to touch the sky

To ever expand my vision

And reach.

I touch the stars

And gently pull a star

To my heart;

Oh! The dreams within me

Become forever imprinted on my heart

I cradle my dreams within

And nurture them;

They can come true because

I touch the sky.

Copyright (c)  2014  Suzannah Wolf Walker   all rights reserved

Sunday, August 17, 2014



"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts  It is more important the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.  It will make or break a company . . . a church . . .a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannon change our past . . . we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.  I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.  And so it is with you . . . we are in charge of our Attitudes."

~ Charles Swindell

Copyright (c)  2014  Suzannah Wolf Walker   all rights reserved

Friday, August 15, 2014

Another tribute to Robin Williams

O Captain! My Captain!

From the film: The Dead Poet's Society
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
                         Here Captain! dear father!
                            This arm beneath your head!
                               It is some dream that on the deck,
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                            But I with mournful tread,
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.

I don't think the death of an artist and performer has ever resonated so much with us  as the the passing of Robin Williams.  I think most Americans felt his passing in their hearts and souls because he made us laugh and he made us think with the dramatic roles he played on the screen.  His photo, articles about him and television news reports about him are everywhere.  Entire magazine editions have been created in his honor.  The last time I remember this much coverage of a death is the death of President John F. Kennedy.  Yes, Robin Williams is of Camelot.  He represents the best of  America.  He represents the best of the gifted and talented.

Probably because I am a teacher, my favorite role of his is as the teacher in "Dead Poet's Society."  His portrayal of the nonconformist teacher who would rather be fired than compromise in his beliefs in his students ability to rise to any heights they wanted to, his strong belief in his unorthodox teaching methods, and his inspiring his students to challenge the notions of what is expected of them, resonated with me as a teacher.

Carpe diem!

Broken Hearts


Torn and broken  hearts

within a circle;

Crying out for help.

See me, notice me!

I am human;  I feel

the deep, dark, vacuous vessel

within me more than the light.

Darkness envelops me

as I am clawing, climbing, convulsively

grabbing to reach the light and

propel myself from the dark abyss.

Will it ever happen?

Hearts of shattered glass;

Can they ever really be mended?

Shards of my jagged heart

are scattered about,

I desperately gather them up.

When will I be whole again?

Copyright (c)  Suzannah Wolf Walker  all rights reserved

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams - Our most favorite and talented clown!

A brilliant star has burned out and the world is the darker for it.  Our favorite clown, Robin Williams, has apparently taken his own life, according to authorities.  He made us laugh, giggle, cry, and howl.  There was no other comedian, past or present, who could tickle our sides quite like Williams did. 

 His performances, because they were definitely great performances, in every movie he made, drew us in to look at the world in a different and unique way and inspired us to look closer for the true meaning and depth of life.  He was not going to let us get away with the superficial meanderings on the road of life.  He forced us to look at love, poetry, romance and laughter in new and creative ways.  He made us aware and mindful of what truly was important in life and did it in such a comedic way, that by laughing at him we were able to laugh at ourselves.

Williams has been described by all as a comedic genius.  And, that he was.  His wit and cleverness hit like lightening and he could improvise on a flash of a moment with anyone he was around.  His brain and thoughts were on overdrive and we could hardly hear fast enough to keep up with his wit.

We know also of his depressive disorder, and his his drug usage to fill the dark hollow vessel within him that he felt, but we knew nothing about.  

The true definition of depression is that each one that suffers from it does so because they have been forced to face reality - sometimes a reality that is sad and painful but real.  They have faced reality up close and personal in a way others have not.  The rest of the world lives happily on in a bubble of illusion, never understanding the hurt and pain in the world, but only a pin prick burst of the bubble away from a reality they might not be able to handle either.

Who is to say, when faced with a brutal reality of life, and the pain of that deep hollow vessel, that the taking of one's life might be the course taken also?

True genius, really, is just a sword's edge or a hanging thread from depression and mental disorders.  If Williams had not had the depressive disorder, would we have had the comedic genius that he was?  Would we be able to have the genius without the depressive disorder?

In true genius and brilliance, are the highs and lows necessary for the genius to be revealed.
And, once revealed, wouldn't  the genius be enough to satisfy Williams?

Robin Williams was a round peg everyone tried to push through a square hole as he was growing up.  Fierce and quick comedic wit is what kept the round peg from being pounded into a square shape.  Williams beat and won out over conformity with his comedic talent.

But, throughout his life and his brilliant career, the deep dark hollow vessel remained deep and empty inside.  He put on the clown's face and never revealed to us his pain time after time.  As he grew older and matured, he did stop to discuss his drug rehab experiences, always assuring us with a joke that he had conquered his demons.

By his sixth decade, Williams was exhausted from the cycle of depression, working through therapy and comedy to briefly conquer it, only to have it return, and the cycle continue.  How much longer would this go on?  

He put on his clown face and had us convinced he was fine - successful and strong.  The mask hid the fear, the terror, the anxiety, and the panic of the deep empty vessel that always rang hollow and seemed to question his talent and confidence.  

Robin Williams was exhausted.  Sixty years of facing life's realities and trying to make fun of it all.  He needed to finally rest from it all.

The song, "Be a clown, be a clown . . ."  echoed through his ears as he pulled the belt strap around his neck, hanging himself, and finally feeling peace flood his body instead of pain.

Update:  August 15, 2014.  When someone takes their own life our first question is always "why?"  Williams' wife has provided a clue as to why.  She has announced Williams was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease.  To a comic who used facial expressions and physical pratfalls as part of his comedy this must have been devastating to him. To know that  he would slowly be turning to stone as Parkinson's disease slowly petrified his body was most likely more than he could bear.  Anyone would be depressed with this diagnosis.  His body eventually would become a hard, empty stone vessel.  That would be a living death to a comedian.   Hopefully, Williams is in a better place and finally at peace.

Copyright (c)  2014  Suzannah Wolf Walker