Things That Matter

Some Call Him A National Hero, Others A Militant Terrorist, But For The National Puerto Rican Day Parade Oscar Lopez Is In And Goya And Other Sponsors Are Out

Boss Tweed / vagabond Beaumont / Flickr

After serving 35 years in prison, Oscar López Rivera had his prison sentence commuted by Barack Obama before leaving office.

López Rivera was the longest-jailed member of the group “Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional” or FALN (they really missed an opportunity there to be called “flan”), a paramilitary group whose mission was complete independence of Puerto Rico by any means necessary, as they saw U.S. rule as unjust and criminal.

López Rivera, however, as the New York Times puts it, is “a Puerto Rican militant associated with a group that carried out a deadly campaign of bombings in New York and other cities in the 1970s and 1980s.” The article also mentions that although López Rivera was convicted of several serious crimes, including robbery and interstate transportation of weapons to commit violent crimes, none of his charges actually involved “carrying out acts of violence.”

Before the end of President Obama’s final term, a petition calling for López Rivera’s release received over 100,000 signatures. Campaigns by several celebrities and politicians were also launched to get him released. Many feel the crime he was most penalized for was “seditious conspiracy,” which NPR’s Latino USA’s documentary on López Rivera said amounts to a “thought crime.” The video also discusses the United Nations’ assertion that colonized people have the right to self-determination by any means necessary.

Many Puerto Ricans celebrated his release. Others can’t forget FALN’s crimes.

DSC07260 - Arte Grafitti en Barrio Canas, Ponce, Puerto Rico, en apoyo al preso politico Oscar Lopez Rivera y condenando su encarcelamiento

Upon his release, López Rivera was invited by Puerto Rican Day Parade officials to attend as a “National Freedom Hero.”

Many of these sponsors have not taken kindly to what they see as a convicted felon, and member of a group responsible for the deaths of at least four people, being given an honorary title at the parade.

Among those sponsors, and the first to pull sponsorship, was Goya, whose headquarters are in New Jersey.

[AHORA] Conferencia de Prensa de Oscar López Rivera | Hoy expira su condena #OscarLopez

Posted by Telenoticias PR on Wednesday, May 17, 2017

López Rivera has been defending himself in the media.

Credit: mrcTV

He unequivocally denounced violence in an interview recently with Representative Luis Gutiérrez. López Rivera told the New York Times, “I do not have blood on my hands,” also adding, “All colonized people have a right to struggle for its independence using all methods within reach, including force.”

On May 23, 2017, the The Board of Directors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade posted a response to the controversy around appointing López Rivera and the sponsorship fallout:

“While we cannot predict whether other sponsors and/or organizations might choose not to join us on Fifth Avenue this year, we expect they will do so with the same level of responsibility and professionalism as JetBlue and the Yankees. This community deserves no less. We thank the thousands of individuals, elected officials and community leaders who have expressed their support for the Parade, its 2017 honoree roster, and its commitment to raise awareness about the issues that impact Puerto Ricans across the world, even if some issues might spark a conversation.”

The physical parade goes on, but what will happen to the soul of the parade going forward?

Will it be an inclusive one or one divided by political ideologies, the way so much of this country seems to be at the moment? This could be a moment to come together, but will it be?

We can only hope so.


READ: Puerto Rico Is On The Brink Of Financial Ruin, So It’s Shutting Down A Record Number Of Public Schools


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More Than 360,000 People Have Signed A Petition Calling For Trump Tower’s Address To Be ‘President Barack H. Obama Avenue’

Entertainment

More Than 360,000 People Have Signed A Petition Calling For Trump Tower’s Address To Be ‘President Barack H. Obama Avenue’

There is something so satisfying about being petty or watching a petty situation take place. That is exactly what we are seeing right now with a petition asking for New York City to rename a stretch of 5th Ave. in front of Trump Tower to President Barack H. Obama Avenue. Obama’s name has been used to rename some roads in the U.S. already and people are pushing for that trend to land right on Donald Trump’s doorstep.

A petition on MoveOn.org is calling for NYC to rename a portion of 5th Ave. after President Obama.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

The petition started as a joke but it quickly gained attention and speed and has continued to grow. So far, more than 360,000 people have signed the petition and are hoping the Mayor Bill DeBlasio listens to their request.

Some are not sure if it will happen but so many people are really pushing for the change.

Credit: @arosebluch / Twitter

“The City of Los Angeles recently honored former President Barack Obama by renaming a stretch of the 134 Freeway near Downtown L.A. in his honor,” reads the petition. “We request the New York City Mayor and City Council do the same by renaming a block of Fifth Avenue after the former president whose many accomplishments include: saving our nation from the Great Recession; serving two completely scandal-free terms in office; and taking out Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind September 11th, which killed over 3,000 New Yorkers.”

While the petition is being taken seriously by some people, others are just here for the show.

Credit: @ayymiPAPITO / Twitter

We all love to see some next level pettiness and the people who created this petition, and support it, are giving people all kinds of life.

“I saw a comedian joke about how it would make Trump so mad if it was named after former President Obama and thought why not,” Elizabeth Rowin, the author of the petition, told Newsweek.

Some see this as a justifiable bout of karma.

Credit: @PamLukas3 / Twitter

Yet, the request is already failing one key factor for a street renaming in NYC. According to ABC7NY, individuals honorees have to be deceased for two years prior to consideration for such a dedication. There is also a moratorium on street renamings in that part of New York City further complicated the issue.

Regardless of the viability of the street renaming, people are completely invested in this happening.

Credit: @EarlOfEnough / Twitter

It isn’t clear if the letter and petition will or will not be sent to Mayor Bill DeBlasio. He is running for the presidency right now and it might serve as a good way to grab some headlines if he pushes it through. Just imagine Donald Trump having to put “President Barack H. Obama” on his business cards, letterhead, and outgoing mail.

READ: Trump’s Building In Uruguay Is A Bust And It’s Not Even Completed Yet But American Taxpayers Did Pay A Price

An In-N-Out Burger Was Discovered On The Streets Of NYC And Now We Know Why

Culture

An In-N-Out Burger Was Discovered On The Streets Of NYC And Now We Know Why

Lincolnboehm / Instagram

Every now and again, a groundbreaker of a story comes rolling in. Like last weekend, when a mysterious In-N-Out burger was found abandoned on a street in Queens, 1,500 miles from its home-state or any of its outlets.

Picture this – another average Saturday morning in New York City. You’re heading for a coffee at McDonald’s on Sutphin Boulevard. 

You pass a bus stop and the glance down to see a… familiar shape?

Credit: @nypost / Twitter

A pristine In-N-Out Double-Double cheeseburger burger sits quietly in the middle of the road. And it’s perfect. Perfectly untouched, wrapped and lying face-up in Jamaica, Queens, at the wee hour of 6:30 a.m. Such was the strange sight, Lincoln Boehm, 31, recalls. 

“It genuinely shook me to my core,” he said. 

The popular fast food outlet In-N-Out is famously a West Coast chain. 

Credit: TheTakeout.com

In-N-Out has spread to 346 locations since they opened their first outlet in Baldwin Park, California in 1948. However, it’s common knowledge that you can’t find an outlet further east than Texas. So, how a Double-Double had somehow fallen out of the sky into Queens, New York was anyone’s guess.  

A devout In-And-Out fan himself, it struck a deep personal chord with Boehm. 

“This was a startling and somewhat horrifying discovery,” he wrote. “Was this evidence that we really are living in a simulation?” 

But more than anything, he was baffled how fresh the burger still looked; “as if it had come off the grill five minutes ago”. That, despite the closest store being some 1,500 miles away. 

He understood the gravity of this. Since his move to New York nine years ago, Boehm had attempted to bring burgers back from Los Angeles, with no success. “Every time I’ve done it it becomes inedible,” he mused. “The bun gets soggy and it becomes a mess. This one was just in such perfect condition… It just felt strange… ‘

They didn’t touch the mystery burger, but snapped some photos and looked around, wondering if it was some sort of marketing stunt. 

Boehm later posted a photo of the burger to Instagram. 

The sight of the lonely, picture-perfect burger soon caught the American imagination.

Credit: lincolnboehm / Instagram

It was dubbed the internet’s ‘new favourite mystery’, with hundreds of people confused and demanding answers. 

Naturally, Twitter broke out into a million conspiracies. 

Some leapt to the conclusion he’d stumbled across some sort of masterpiece.

I mean it’s New York. People make art out of everything so it’s not much of a stretch for people to have thought that maybe, just maybe, this was some sort of avant-garde art installation.

Others suspected the cheeseburger was some sort of party favor of the rich and famous. 

Credit: @leighmunsil / Twitter

Again…it’s New York. There’s rich and famous people on literally every corner so it kinda makes sense that maybe, just maybe, In-N-Out would do a pop up for som big celebrity event.

And others had much more convincing theories. 

Credit: @_TheOnlyJuan / Twitter

Now this…if only.

Even the In-N-Out Vice President of Operations, Denny Warnick, had this to say to VICE: 

“We were surprised to hear recently that one of our Double-Doubles was found on a street in New York. Because our burgers are only cooked fresh to order in six states, it must have taken considerable planning for that burger to make the trip from the grill all the way to the Empire State.”

But despite the frenzied speculation, the world was no closer to an answer. Boehm, least of all. 

In his words, “I assumed this was just a mystery that would consume a part of my brain until the day I die, much like how the JFK assassination consumed my parents’ generation.”

But to give up, friends, is to underestimate the power of the internet. After two full days of media madness and social media buzz, Boehm has since provided an update. 

We have satisfying news – the mystery of the burger has since been solved.

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Credit: Giphy

Yup, we can all of us breathe easy again. Let the Earth spin on.

Two days later, at 9:56 p.m. Boehm received a DM from a girl claiming to be the burger’s former owner:

Credit: Vice

He was sceptical at first – she hadn’t been the first to claim the burger as hers. However, upon further questioning, her story started to come together. She backed it all up with a digital papertrail of Instastories, receipts, screenshots from her JetBlue flight, and more. 

The culprit introduced herself as Helen Vivas, a 16-year-old high schooler from Flushing, Queens. 

Turns out she was catching a flight back home to JFK that morning and had made a pit-stop at an In-N-Out Burger in Encinitas to pick up some snacks. 

She had stopped by the Encinitas outlet just before her flight. 

Credit: Vice


She’d eaten one burger on the plane and held the other three poised on her lap in a paper bag. Once she’d landed and made it to in Jamaica, she had suddenly caught sight of her bus and broke into a run.

It was then that her beautiful, slightly greasy paper bag broke and unleashed the Double-Double into Queens. She managed to catch two burgers before they hit the ground rolling, but hadn’t been quick enough on the DD. And that was that –  mystery solved. 

But hang on… how’d the burger end up so freakishly perfect? 

Turns out, it was all about prep. At the In-N-Out counter, she’d told the staff that she wanted to bring her burgers on the plane. Her Double-Doubles were ordered with no sauce and her cheeseburgers had been “packed fresh” with veggies separate. Ahaaa!  

Ready for a wholesome turn? 

Surprised by how his whole story went viral, Boehm had decided to milk some good out of the whole incident. 

He’s since started up a Shopify store that sells t-shirts about the incident with all proceeds going to the New York City Foodbank to help feed the homeless.

Credit: Ja-m-aica-queens

The caption for it reads: 

“…How it got there I honestly don’t know, but for whatever reason it has captured the imagination of America, so I’m trying to use this publicity for good by selling these commemorative t-shirts with ALL proceeds going to the New York City Food Bank that helps feed the hungry in this city I call home.” 

READ: We Asked, And These Are The 14 Weirdest Junk Food Meals You Eat

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