Someone emailed me this photograph of Connecticut leaders playing solitaire during discussions on Budgets. The email prompted me to do some research.
Is it true?
One of the first things you should do when you get one of those chain emails is validate whether the email is really true. It is gossip if you forward it otherwise. A quick Google Search and a search on Snopes.com usually provides quick verification.
According to Snopes, this picture is true and unaltered. In fact, Snopes had a good deal of information about the photo, the photographer, and the situation. But, keep in mind that this is a picture of the Connecticut House of Representatives not of the U.S. Congress.
Who Took the Picture?
According to Snopes, Jessica Hill took the picture. She is a contract photographer and photo editor in Connecticut. You can see some of her pictures and read about her on her website:
She has a gallery on her website, and I really like many of her other photographs as well:
According to Snopes.com, Jack Hennessy was the first person in the picture playing. According to Snopes.com and Courant.com, Jack issued an apology letter. You can read the comments for yourself, but it sounds like it generated a mixture of feedback. I guess the true test is whether or not he was reelected, and according to the CT Mirror, he was reelected in 2010.
You can read more about him here:
According to Snopes.com, Barbara Lambert is the other person in the picture. According to Greenwich Time, she was not apologetic. She said that she knew the information behind the issues, and she had already made up her mind on the decision. According to Wikipedia, she did not attempt a reelection after this incident (not that her decision had anything to do with the incident).
Here are some other articles on the issue:
- Wikipedia: Barbara Lambert
- Greenwich Time: Legislators caught in the shuffle
- merriemarie’s clog: State Legislators In Now-Infamous Solitaire Photo Identified
- Michelle Malkin: Solitaire-playing lawmakers defend their “momentary diversion”
What Can We Learn?
First, be careful when you play solitaire! Solitaire can wreck havoc on your PR. Seriously, we have to watch our appearances. Even if what you are doing is legitimate, you may have to ask what if someone were to walk up behind you and see your screen. What would they think?
Second, take it easy! Don’t assume that you have caught someone slacking off. Are they on a break? Just make sure that you understand the whole situation. I am not saying that Jack and Barbara didn’t deserve all of the flack they got, but I don’t know enough to make a judgement call. It would be a horrible thing if either one had been up all night studying to know all the issues and for a brief moment they took some time to relax.