Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Republic Cannot Survive Too Much Ignorance

                  


                July, 2016 Egyptian satirist  and talk show host, Dr. Bassem Youssef appeared on Comedy Central's  Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and prophetically stated the following about our presidential election, " Don't underestimate the  power of hate, ignorance and fear." Long after this episode aired those words burned into my brain. People should never blindly follow or put their unquestioning faith in one candidate or human being no matter how hurt or ignored they feel.
               Supporters of Donald Trump believe he will solve every problem the United States may face despite their complete disregard for his extensively documented misogyny, bigotry, racism, admiration for dictators and the greatest disrespect for equality and justice.  The dangerous tentacles of fascism have been unleashed upon the American psyche. The most disheartening part of this election is that most of our citizens fail to fully understand what they've created.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Limitless Love

    
 

      November is Adopt-A-Senior Pet Month. Senior pets are amazing and deserve a special home to live out their remaining years. What can you expect from adopting a senior dog or cat?  During the month of November  most shelters and rescues are reducing adoption costs or waiving fees. Most senior animals have already lived in a home where unfortunately owners had to surrender their animals due to financial or relocation issues.

House trained, senior pets won't chew, bark or scratch every thing in your home.
 Older pets are playful yet quiet and calm with fully developed personalities. Older dogs will understand commands and greet strangers appropriately on your daily walks. Ready to be loved again, they will give back more than you know. Imagine a senior dog or cat as part of your family joining you for the holiday festivities. Even better, just think of how much affection and gratitude a senior pet will feel for the humans allowing them to live out their golden years in peace and comfort. 

     It's true that many people are reluctant to adopt senior pets due to potential veterinary costs. Be honest with the shelter and discuss the history of the pet with your vet. Quality of life in senior pets is just as important as any other time. Most senior animals are healthy and have plenty of energy. Let them bring greater meaning and quality to your life. For more information about where to find a senior pet in your area check out Pet Finder https://www.petfinder.com/  celebrating 20 years of love and research in 2016.


If you are unable to adopt a dog or cat in November consider donating toys, food or other pet supplies. Contact your local shelter to check what they need most. Consider being a rescue volunteer.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"Rolling in the creep"

   



    My earliest  trick-or-treat memory was when at the age of three my Mom dressed me up as mini- Santa Claus including makeshift beard stretched from cotton balls attached with Scotch tape and a big jelly belly of rolled up winter scarves. In full action mode, pillowcase slung over my back, we were off on an incredible spooky adventure.  With my two older sisters in tow, we trekked miles through our neighborhood and beyond gathering our massive bounty of sweet treat treasures. Upon returning home we dumped our overflowing goody bags scattering their contents on our groovy green shag carpet. Admiring its luscious beauty we longed to roll around in our candy crush as if we were the greedy Three Little Pigs in a luxurious chocolate mud bath. Our own personal pots of child's gold. Eyes wide as the moon, we stared salivating over the mouth watering deliciousness of every variety of snack bar, Sweet Tarts, Smarties, Pixie Sticks, gross Necco Wafers, caramels, candy necklaces, wax bottles of  drinkable goo and the occasional sad box of raisins or plastic encased popcorn ball. No rocks.

     The day after Halloween, stuffing my face with Snickers bars and Jolly Ranchers, I manically rode my tricycle on our front porch for thirty minutes like the little boy from The Shining, "Redrum! Redrum!"  My energy level measured  Breaking Bad, "meth addict" on the uncontrollable kid scale. This was soon followed by collapsing into a long sugar induced slumber while watching Sesame Street. C-is for cookie, C- is for coma. Candy wrappers littered our living room like the  driveway of a  Dixie trailer park. Next thing I remember was slowly waking up with sticky orange drool running down my chin. My stomach felt like it had been gut checked by Ronda Rousey and I had a Tootsie Roll lollipop suspended in my ponytail. So once a year let your mischievous monsters and ghostly goblins imagine they inherited Willy Wonka's factory and let it rain M&M's and Skittles. The memories are sure to haunt them forever.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

" Clear and present danger."



       More than likely every media outlet and newspaper at home and abroad will recount dangerous
statements made by Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump during the third and final debate live from Las Vegas, Nevada, Wednesday night.  (Refer to the (AP )Associated Press video above.)
      Why should Trump's comments alarm and horrify all Americans?  Trump defiantly implying he would not accept the results of an American election if he loses November 8th is rejecting the peaceful transition of power which has been a pinnacle of our democracy for over 200 years. Trump has repeatedly complained that the general election "system is rigged" against him often citing the "liberal "media or voter fraud in polling places across the country. It is imperative that Democrats, Republicans and Independents come together to stand against toxic rhetoric eroding our democratic processes. It will now be the absolute responsibility of the GOP to reaffirm for every US citizen that we are a country based on laws accepting the results of free and fair elections. The current Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, Mitch Mc Conelle and all Republican representatives who supported and endorsed Trump must be held accountable for the divisive words and actions of a candidate who is a blatantly unqualified  conspiracy theorist seeking to undermine American institutions at every opportunity. The legitimacy of our elections is a crowning symbol of American democracy for the world. Trump is a disgrace to educated people.
 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"Dreamers and storytellers, and innovators and visionaries."



                                                                   https://www.arts.gov/

               President Barack Obama eloquently stated in the above quote "the arts and humanities, in many ways, are reflective of our national soul."  The history of America is one of "dreamers, storytellers, and innovators and visionaries".  We are a country of creative poets, musicians, film makers, dancers, painters, writers, photographers and although much of our expression is a reflection of our own unique perception we can choose to reveal truth and beauty in the world rather than unleashing hatred and ugliness. When we use our imaginations and feed our minds with creativity we nourish our humanity. Our self-expression through the arts empowers all of us to form our strongest bonds and tear down the most forbidding walls.

         The National Endowment for the Arts or NEA  https://www.arts.gov/  opens doors and breaks down barriers in American communities with opportunities to participate in a variety of arts programs. Please check the website for grants information, research and publications.

  2016 marks the 50th Anniversary of the NEA.  Read President Obama's official declaration of October as National Arts and Humanities Month- https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/28/presidential-proclamation-national-arts-and-humanities-month-2016

Sunday, October 2, 2016

"It takes strength to be gentle and kind."

"Sometimes change is too much to bear, but most of the time change is the only thing saving your life."- Unknown




       October has been designated national  Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month. Why is adopting from a rescue or shelter so critical right now? The facts are heartbreaking. Approximately 2.7 million perfectly healthy animals are euthanized in this country every year. Companion animals like dogs and cats are killed when there isn't enough room to house them in shelters. Most dogs are surrendered  or disturbingly dumped at shelters by previous owners for reasons such as aging, medical expenses or grooming costs, families having children, relocation's or re-trainable behavioral issues. A surprising 25% of dogs surrendered to shelters are purebred. Many rescues are so full of unwanted animals, dogs and cats placed in a shelter have as little as one week to be adopted before they're killed. Despite the success of spaying and neutering programs in the past ten years homeless animals outnumber homeless people 5 to 1. This statistic is tragic for both homeless families and homeless animals. How do we consider this acceptable in one of the most prosperous nations in the world?
         
     Each year it has been a personal mission to share as much information as possible on my website regarding the prevention of animal abuse, ending puppy mills, animal campaigns, shelters as well as the sheer richness and pleasure dogs bring to our lives. From personal experience and avid research, as rescue, police, military, therapy and family companions these incredible animals are intelligent, capable,  protective, trusting and unrivaled in loyal, loving relationships with human beings. Dogs provide physical and mental health benefits beyond  what current scientific methods can statistically measure as new research steadily emerges. What can we do in October and 365 days a year to help these beautiful animals?
        

         *    Decide if adopting a dog is right for you. Do your research. Dogs require time, affection, exercise and grooming attention but like any thing we love they are worth the effort. Check with your local shelter today. Once you adopt make sure an animal is spayed or neutered. Begin your search here:
                PetFinder      https://www.petfinder.com/

         *    If you're unable to adopt do whatever you can to help animals in shelters such as donate supplies or volunteer your time. Call your local shelters and ask them what they need most. Feed shelter animals simply by answering fun questions at FreeKibble.com  http://www.freekibble.com/

         *    Remember if you're looking for a purebred dog such as a Golden Retriever or Beagle 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred. Find a breed specific rescue in your area. Please- don't buy puppies from pet stores or pet shops online. Puppies bought and sold in stores and online are more likely raised in illegal puppy mills.

         *    Support spaying and neutering programs in your city and state. Population control is critical to preventing overcrowded shelters and senselessly killing healthy animals later. Read more about spay/neuter benefits here : ASPCA  http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/spayneuter-your-pet

          *   Use your own resources to help animals in need such as posting information on your Facebook, blog or Twitter page. Urge communities to offer programs which spay and neuter animals for reduced price or free. Population control is key.


        *  Teach children the importance of compassion and care for all animals. Dogs rely on our love and kindness for their survival. Please, do whatever you can to help even if you're unable to bring a new canine companion into your home this month.

     *  Please, take time to thank those brave enough to work in clinics, shelters and rescue organizations  each day. Most of us can't even imagine the amount of courage it takes to desperately try and negotiate temporary foster or permanent homes before an animals time runs out. Please, think of those doing a job most of us could never bear to do but know must be done. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Moving forward together..."



                 What organization has gathered over 7, 000 current and aspiring world leaders from 196 countries to create real effective change? Get to know the ONE YOUNG WORLD forum. Co-founded in 2009 by humanitarian and business leaders Kate Robertson and David Jones, ONE YOUNG WORLD https://www.oneyoungworld.com/ will hold  "The Summit 2016 Ottawa"  in Ottawa, CANADA, http://ottawa.ca/en  SEPTEMBER 28th - OCTOBER 1st.


       ONE YOUNG WORLD,  based in the United Kingdom, gathers young women and men from countries across the globe to exchange ideas, debate, empower, connect and inspire the next generation of informed leaders. ONE YOUNG WORLD participants become local Ambassador's following a world summit initiative which takes place in designated locations each year. Those in attendance are 18-30 years old and have demonstrated leadership ability in the areas of climate change, hunger relief, global health and community service. Please check the official website for additional details or to apply for 2017. https://www.oneyoungworld.com/


Saturday, September 17, 2016

" Let your voice be heard."

                              
                                                 http://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/




                 The fourth Tuesday of September has been designated by the National Association of Secretaries of State http://www.nass.org/   as National Voter Registration Day.  Visit National Registration Day.org http://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/about/  to register to vote or find out how to help others get registered in your community. Our right to vote is one of the most fundamental and powerful tools we have to empower ourselves and preserve democracy in the United States. Additional education and voter registration resources can be found here:


ROCK THE VOTE  http://www.rockthevote.com/

PROJECT VOTE http://www.projectvote.org/

TURBO VOTE https://turbovote.org/


Unsure if you're already registered to vote in your state? Confirm registration by visiting

 I WILL VOTE https://www.iwillvote.com/

Monday, September 12, 2016

" Creating our gender equal world."

He for She



                                                   http://www.heforshe.org/en

    On September 20th, 2016  HE for SHE    http://www.heforshe.org/en will celebrate its 2nd birthday with festivities in New York City. Created in 2014 by UN WOMEN http://www.unwomen.org/en,  HE for SHE gives a strong platform for spreading innovative ideas and taking positive actions to ensure worldwide gender equality. Gender equality is defined as the achievement of  women and men sharing the same freedoms, economic rights and opportunities of choice across all sectors of society.

    HE for SHE is headed by Political Scientist, Elizabeth Nyamayaro  who presented her May 2015 TED TALK entitled, "An Invitation for Men Who Want a Better World for Women." to an inspired audience. It can be viewed in its entirety at this link:
  https://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_nyamayaro_an_invitation_to_men_who_want_a_better_world_for_women?language=en

  Why should men and boys be educated about gender inequality and take action to support women and girls?  It's simple. We are your daughters, wives, partners, girlfriends, sisters , aunts and mothers. We are half the world .  We cannot end sexism, misogyny, bigotry and racism without empowering each other. We cannot change gender inequality alone.  

Facts About Gender Inequality


The United States is one of only four countries in the world that fail to provide paid maternity leave for all workers. 

Single women with children make 60%  of what men make.
Single women without children make 90% of what men make.
Women with partners make 73% of what men make.   (Source MomsRising.org)


Every 9 seconds a women is beaten or assaulted in the United States.
Every day in the US more than 3 women are murdered by their partners or boyfriends
http://domesticviolencestatistics.org/domestic-violence-statistics/

In a Global Gender Gap Index, the US ranked 20th out of 142 countries for the largest education, economic and leadership disparity between women and men.
https://www.weforum.org/reports/global-gender-gap-report-2015/


4 out of 5 victims of human trafficking are girls.

Women hold only 4.8% of CEO positions in S&P 500 companies

 43 million human beings are currently displaced by conflict or persecution. Half  of all refugees are women.

62 million girls worldwide are denied an education. (Source: UN Foundation)


Please visit the HE for SHE website above or check out #HEforSHE for more information. Together we can create a gender equal world.

   

Sunday, September 4, 2016

"Your story matters."

 National Suicide Prevention Week September 5th-11th





                                                       

         You Rock Foundation http://yourockfoundation.org/   turns tragedy into hope with painful, inspiring and healing testimonies by professional artists who have struggled with depression or thoughts of suicide. Founded by graphic designer, mental health advocate and self-described "music addict", Joseph Penola  https://medium.com/@joseph_penola  the nonprofit organization allows people of all ages and backgrounds to personally connect with musicians like Bert McCracken, lead singer and song writer for THE USED http://www.theused.net/ .  A love of music is an underlying theme for You Rock Foundation but those seeking assistance, educators, parents or the curious will find excellent,compassionate resources. Together we can end the stigma of mental illness.  #YourStoryMatters #StopSuicide on Twitter.

  For additional mental health and suicide prevention information visit :

 Mental Health America  http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/

 Crisis Text Line http://www.crisistextline.org/

 Suicide Prevention Lifeline http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

 Veterans Crisis Line https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/


Sunday, August 28, 2016

"We empower each other."

                       Sexism is real. Sexism is global. The fight against it should be too.






                      Co-founded in 2004 by thousands of activists and humanitarian, musician and U2 front man Bono https://www.one.org/us/person/bono/, the ONE Campaign  https://www.one.org/us/ is a nonpartisan, nonprofit international advocacy organization striving to end extreme poverty and preventable diseases with economic justice and equality. As part of a world leaders initiative millions of men and women launched the "Poverty is Sexist" action plan educating global citizens of the well researched and documented relationship between equal opportunities for women and extreme poverty. Did you know half a billion girls and women are unable to read? 62 million girls are denied the right to education. Did you know there are over 155 countries that have laws discriminating against women?
         "Poverty is Sexist "encourages all world leaders to create and support policies which provide educational and economic empowerment including equal representation in governments. Did you know in many countries women are still denied the right to own a business or property? Many women and girls are denied the right to decide when to give birth or whether they marry. Fighting hunger and disease is a daily reality for many girls. Did you know 40% of African women are anemic due to malnutrition which results in 20% of maternal deaths? 74% of new HIV infections in Africa are female adolescents.

      Making headlines this week Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau https://www.liberal.ca/rt-hon-justin-trudeau/  an outspoken feminist and  women's rights advocate responded to the campaign with an insightful, inspiring letter. A copy of Justin Trudeau's intuitive feedback to those of us who requested world leaders support through  ONE can be viewed in its entirety here: https://www.one.org/us/2016/08/25/trudeau_letter/

Sunday, August 21, 2016

"The women behind the mission."

"Know how to learn. Then, want to learn."
-Katherine Johnson, American physicist, mathematician 



              On August 26th American physicist, mathematician and space scientist, Katherine Johnson will celebrate her birthday. Among her many accomplishments was devising crucial calculations responsible for putting our astronauts on the moon.
             Johnson's brilliant mind established the trajectory for the first Mercury Mission https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mercury/missions/manned_flights.html as well as Alan B Shepard's May 5th expedition in 1961. Shepard was the first American and second person in the world to ever travel into space and back. Katherine Johnson's calculations were so accurate that even after after the first computers were used in 1962 for astronaut and Ohio native John Glenn's http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/nasa-knows/who-is-john-glenn-k4.html journey into orbit,  NASA https://www.nasa.gov/  requested Katherine Johnson double check all of the computers conclusions.
        Although Katherine Johnson may be readily recognized in the scientific community too many Americans are unfamiliar with her incredible story as a pioneering African-American teacher and mathematician. Making it's debut in January of  2017, HIDDEN FIGURES the movie based on the book of the same name features a remarkable cast lead by Golden Globe winners Taraji P. Henson (EMPIRE, Hustle & Flow), Octavia Spencer (The Help, Get On Up) and American recording star, Janelle Monae. The cast is rounded out by Hollywood notables Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons and features a musical score by acclaimed producer, artist Pharrell Williams and world renowned composer Hans Zimmer. HIDDEN FIGURES is directed by Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent )
              HIDDEN FIGURES, the amazing nonfiction book written by Margot Lee Shetterly is available here: /http://margotleeshetterly.com/hidden-figures-nasas-african-american-computers/



       

Saturday, August 13, 2016

"Our time is NOW."





                                             AMA       http://www.ama-assn.org/ama


          Rising sea levels and an increase in the intensity of storms are the result of human created and some natural global warming but perhaps the most serious consequences of climate change is the greater emerging threat of deadly diseases.
      As evidenced in the CDC( Center for Disease Control)  http://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/ chart above the relationship between heat, water and environmental change is unprecedented. New and old diseases once thought safe are re-emerging due to melting permafrost or disease spreading insects. The link to the CDC includes access to new information from the APHA (American Public Health Association) https://www.apha.org/  The video above is from a CDC- AMA (American Medical Association) http://www.ama-assn.org/ama webinar regarding Zika virus. http://www.cdc.gov/zika/about/
        The United States has taken measures to decrease carbon emissions, increase alternative energy sources and enact policies that reduce risk and avert future harm but more work is needed now. Contact your state elected officials to ensure legislation is passed or created for preventative protections, common sense actions and maintaining research funding moves forward quickly to safeguard our health and environment. Each individual state has its own considerations but collectively we need to push for immediate action.

   State representatives contact information can be found at USA.gov.

  USA.gov  https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

                   

     

Sunday, August 7, 2016

"That is our home."

"The human brain now holds the key to our future. We have to recall the image of the planet from outer space: a single entity in which air, water and continents are interconnected.
 That is our home."- David Suzuki, scientist, environmental activist
                                                     







                 Established in 2012, GLOBAL CITIZEN has initiated over six million petitions, emails, phone calls and social media posts moving closer to the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. A global community of  advocates continues to put pressure on world leaders emphasizing efforts for policy change and financial responsibility. Hunger and poverty is reality for millions of children and families. In fact, GLOBAL CITIZEN  utilizes a combination of grassroots organizing and major action events affecting over 600 million lives with more than 25 billion dollars committed towards improvements in health, education, our environment and challenges facing women and girls worldwide.
                The 2016 GLOBAL CITIZEN Festival will take place on September 24th in NYC's Central Park. (See video above for performers.) The festival raises awareness and promotes activism. By doing something we already love we have the opportunity to benefit the lives of others. For more information regarding the 2016 GLOBAL CITIZEN Festival check out the following link https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/festival/2016/education/


               GLOBAL CITIZEN headquarters are located in New York City with offices in CANADA, the United Kingdom and Australia. How do small actions make a huge impact?  Find out how to get involved at GLOBAL CITIZEN  https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/about/who-we-are/

Sunday, July 31, 2016

"Remember Your Power."



                                http://www.rockthevote.com/?referrer=https://www.google.com/



         The right to vote in the United States is one of the most fundamental rights we have guaranteed by our Constitution.http://theusconstitution.org/text-history/1621/yes-there-right-vote-constitution Those eligible to vote should have every barrier removed in order for their voice to be heard and ballot counted. Making headlines once again are court judges striking down unjustified restrictions imposed based on state government leadership, district or skin color.

                   North Carolina     http://www.reuters.com/article/us-north-carolina-voterid-idUSKCN10923Z

    Wisconsin    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2016/07/30/3803491/wisconsin-court-strikes-down-voter-id/

            Check your state. Voting should be free, fair and accessible. How quickly and easily will you access a place to vote? Will you have to wait in line for an extended time? Are there enough hours and provisions (special needs parking etc) available?  What are the requirements and deadlines? Voter registration information can be found here: https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote

            Need to register? Make it entertaining and informative by checking out
            Rock the Vote http://www.rockthevote.com/?referrer=https://www.google.com/  
Rock the Vote is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that has assisted more first time voters than any other organization since its inception in 1990. The website helps to register visitors as well as answer ballot, candidate and legislative questions. (photo above is author, comedian, actor and Vote Rocker, Chelsea Handler)
                     Voter registration information is also available at
                                                  TURN UP THE VOTE http://www.turnupthevote.org/

        State legislatures may be needlessly constructing limitations on citizens voting rights with over 30 states adding roadblocks to the polls.  In person voter fraud has been proven to be almost non-existent even though it is often cited as a reason for additional restrictions. Information regarding voter fraud  and voter suppression can be accessed here:

Ballotpedia  https://ballotpedia.org/Voter_fraud

Brennan Center for Justice  https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/voting-rights-elections

Monday, July 25, 2016

" What is the quality of your intent?"



" The measure of a country's greatness is its ability to maintain compassion
 in times of crisis."
-  Thurgood Marshall, former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, civil rights advocate




        When we discuss crime or injustice within our own family or social network most individuals tend to cite personal experiences. The harmful difficulty with personal experience is we often fail to fully understand or empathize with actual American communities. We view the world through  our own biased lens. Compiling and presenting as much factual information  to the public as possible is crucial for our own awareness. Change comes from our own education. Without statistics, observations and first-hand accounts our perception of reality is acutely limited. We cannot change what we don't know. We will not change what we can't acknowledge. 

The Marshall Project as presented in their mission statement is a "nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create a sense of urgency about the U.S criminal justice system." By partnering with public forums, esteemed journalists and various news organizations The Marshall Project  has created an indispensable resource for criminal justice reform, literacy and verification. Explore The Marshall Project website here:

                                          https://www.themarshallproject.org/#.vV6gbSzUw

Sunday, July 17, 2016

"Change is sometimes painful."

“In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.” - Carl Sagan quote from "Dictionary of Science" -professor of astronomy, author



      During an election year it's important that Americans take the time to examine why they're supporting a particular candidate. Our government is supposed to be working for us. Ask yourself, "How will this candidate affect our country as a whole?" Think big. Ask people around you why they've chosen a candidate and you often hear "because my spouse likes them", "my parents always voted for this party", "my boss will vote for that person.", "I don't like the other candidate so I won't vote." and the worst answer of all, "it doesn't matter." We aren't voting for high school prom king and queen. Why are YOU voting for a  particular candidate? What do they have to offer you?

     If you're concerned about the economy then voting for a candidate that supports increasing the minimum wage, income equality, increased job growth and family leave are important. Which candidate has a plan? If you're concerned about  personal rights and freedoms then voting for someone with a strong civil liberties track record such as protecting freedom of speech, freedom of the press, protecting a woman's right to make her own health care choices, marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws are crucial. If children are a priority then support the candidate who offers comprehensive healthcare plans, increased educational opportunities and debt free college programs. If your concern is for our international security choose the candidate who has the most experience and a proven diplomatic record. Choose a candidate who offers unity over divisive rhetoric and compassion over hatred and fear. Do they have the temperament and demeanor to be president? Two of the most critical issues all Americans need to face right now is climate change and gun control legislation. Where does your candidate stand? Do they have an economic plan which protects the environment or do they disagree with 97% of scientists worldwide by stating global warming is a "hoax started by the Chinese"?

      It's important that people take a long, hard realistic look at the people they vote to represent them in government at all levels including state and local offices. From experience talking to good responsible people we are failing as a country to research ballot issues. We deny factual information in favor of conspiracy theories or half truths because we're too afraid to consider our own  personal motives. This election will require all American voters to think about what kind of precedent we are setting for generations to come. Change is sometimes painful but it's also necessary for our continued progress. A great research and educational tool available to the voting public is BALLOTPEDIA.ORG  https://ballotpedia.org/Main_Page   BALLOTPEDIA provides up to the minute statistics on state ballot issues as well as comprehensive public policy and federal information. The most consequential question we should ask each other as U.S citizens before an election is- "Are we informed?"

Sunday, July 10, 2016

" In peace "

"To reconcile conflicting parties we must have the ability to understand the suffering of both sides....But how many of us are able to do that? "
                       - Thich Nhat Hanh, peace activist, teacher, author, poet



                            

                     It has been less than a month since the horrible mass shooting of 49 men and women in Orlando, Florida. A week ago innocent citizens in Bangladesh, Turkey, Syria and Iraq were senselessly slaughtered. Within a matter of days Americans have witnessed the murder of two African-American men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile followed by the brutal slaying of five Dallas police officers: Lorne Ahrens, Michael Smith, Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarripa and Brent Thompson-  moments after participating in a peaceful protest march. 
                 Many people are mourning in silence choosing to privately process such terribly tragic and purposeless acts of violence. Please, remember that not all silence is dismissive of pain and suffering. Silence can be a true act of deliberate stillness- a contemplative centering so that effective actions and discussions will be taken. Wounds fail to heal without our quiet reflection and we must honor the varying ways we grieve. Sending peace and love to those who are hurting in the United States and to those experiencing deep sorrow around our world.


#BlackLivesMatter, #AltonSterling, #PhilandoCastile, #Dallas, #DPD  #Orlando, #Bangladesh, #Istanbul, #Syria, #Iraq, #PEACE #NICE #BatonRouge #Munich

              

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

"Across the sea of space..."

            "This is the one time I don't mind being stuck in a windowless room on the night of the Fourth of July."- Scott Bolton, principal investigator of JUNO from Southwest Institute in San Antonio, TX 



           While most Americans celebrated our 240th birthday at music concerts, baseball games or running around the backyard twirling sparklers, an international team at NASA https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/ was launching Juno http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/nasa-knows/what-is-juno-k4.html into Jupiter's orbit. 

        Check out all of the incredible details including the Juno spacecraft origin, updates and the amazing team of researchers behind MISSION JUNO at the official website https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/   Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral AIR FORCE STATION on August 5th, 2011 and arrived on July 4th, 2016. (videos above courtesy of YouTube)

     Planet Jupiter is the best example of what is known as a "gas giant".  Learning the history of Jupiter will help scientists uncover more about the hundreds of giant planets discovered orbiting other stars. After a five- year journey to our solar systems largest planet the Juno spacecraft completed a successful orbit insertion verified by NASA's navigation facilities around the world including NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/  While in the polar orbit the spacecraft will study the polar magnetosphere, magnetic field and gravity field. The more scientists discover about the composition of Jupiter the more we understand our own planet and solar system. 

     

Saturday, June 25, 2016

"Eight is not enough."



            The American Bar Associationhttp://www.americanbar.org/aba.html  provided judge Merrick Garland http://www.biography.com/people/merrick-garland-561802 its highest rating. Garland was effortlessly confirmed by a bipartisan vote for the Circuit Court. On March 16th, following the death of  Antonin Scalia, February 13th 2016,  President Obama nominated Merrick Garland which under our Constitution is customary as well as necessary when a Supreme Court seat is vacated for any reason. Despite an impressive record and impeccable credentials only a few Republican lawmakers have even agreed to meet Merrick Garland. let alone consider confirming him as the ninth US Supreme Court justice. http://www.supremecourt.gov/ 

.
 Why do we need nine?  Without nine justices our Supreme Court is operating at a diminished capacity. Important determinations will have to be made in upcoming Supreme Court cases this week. All United States citizens have continuously updated information available to them at 


Get the facts at WE NEED NINE. ORG http://weneednine.org/   

         Contact your elected officials and tell them #DO YOUR JOB. The historically unprecedented obstruction by Republican lawmakers is preventing our country from moving forward and keeping pace with the rest of the developed world..  Regardless of your party affiliation this act of obstruction effects all Americans and generations of Americans to come.

   Those lawmakers who are intentionally harming the lives of American voters and the progress of our country should be voted out.  https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials   




Video of Minnesota Senator Al Franken courtesy of YouTube

Saturday, June 18, 2016

"Love conquers hate."

"I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person."
- poet, essayist, journalist and humanist, Walt Whitman - "Song of Myself"



                 The very definition of dehumanization is to deprive human beings of human qualities. Men, women and children become the "enemy", " other", "different". When we deny human beings have rights, suffer, feel pain, love and are loved we take away the qualities that allow us to share our humanity. Dehumanization causes us to no longer view people as individuals but as targets, targets of unjustified rage, hatred, targets of greed or targets of lesser value than ourselves. Human beings are reduced to a number- a number of victims or a number of casualties. Our mental disconnection between number and human being allows us to justify hatred, bigotry and intolerance. This is our greatest tragedy. There is a deep sense of numbness in our numbers. When we listen or read news stories from media sources, facts are reported. Part of those important facts is relaying numbers-a number of missing, a number of wounded, a number of dead. It is precisely this disconnection that promotes a separation of ourselves from other humans. We lose our compassion.
      Twelve innocent people were killed at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater.in 2012. Later that same year in December, twenty children and six adults were brutally murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. One year ago this week nine members of a Charleston, South Carolina church were slaughtered.  In the early morning of Sunday, June 12th, forty-nine human beings, forty-nine brothers, sisters, friends, lovers, co-workers were senselessly gunned down in an Orlando nightclub massacre. The victims of those horribly violent crimes were human beings who woke up on the morning of their deaths to live their lives as any other day, never suspecting for one moment that their lives would be taken away by a man with a gun.  A man with a gun, a man with an assault weapon who had no right or justification to take their lives. Each human being who had their life cut short had the RIGHT to freedom, to love and be loved, to dream, to pursue happiness, to hope, to dance, to worship, to sing, to cry, to LIVE.
They didn't want to die nor did they deserve to die.

     Please visit the  HRCHuman Rights Campaign website  http://www.hrc.org/ which has posted a memorial with the names and photo's of the forty-nine murder victims in Orlando on June 12th. Look closely at the pictures of the beautiful men and women who had their lives taken from them, taken from their families, taken from their communities.  Look at their smiles. Look into their eyes. Read the individual biographies.They were mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, students, soldiers, lovers and children. They are all of us.


    Please take a moment to watch the short video clip taken from C- Span http://www.c-span.org/ during a fifteen hour marathon of Senate Democrats pleading with Senate Republicans to enforce laws and continue to enact common sense gun control measures preventing further gun related mass murders. Connecticut Senator, Christopher Murphy describes the life of Dylan Hockley. Dylan was a student at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Monday, June 6, 2016

"More than you know...."




 
                 My heart was shattered by the death of a beautiful, soft, sweet, soulful brown eyed cocker spaniel a few years ago and it still hasn't mended. Such is the power of love. Pets- our dogs, cats, horses, hamsters, lizards, ferrets and more have been honored with an Appreciation Week, (June 5th thru the 11th) and a World Pet Memorial Day, (June 12th.) Why? Don't be so cynical. As astrophysicist, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson reaffirms in the Nova http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ feature above we have a special relationship with our four legged friends stretching far back in human history.
          Dogs are not only trusted, affectionate, loyal companions, hunters, guides, searchers and field workers, they are keenly intelligent therapists, intuitive healers and protective guardians. Pets can serve as important sources of social and emotional support. Individuals facing significant health challenges such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or severe depression have shown remarkable improvement in overall quality of life from pet companionship. According to research published by the American Psychological Association  pet owners were just as close to key people in their lives as to their animals indicating no evidence that relationships with pets came at the expense of relationships with other people or that people relied more on pets when their human social support was poor or unreliable.  The results of the study were reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published online by the APA .http://www.apa.org/

     According to researchers studying human-pet relationships, " We observed evidence that pet owners fared better both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences than non-owners on several dimensions.” said lead researcher, Allen R. McConnell, PhD, of Miami University in Ohio. “Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extroverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners." Sounds like caring for a pet has resulted in a wonderful list of physical and mental health benefits. Personally, pet ownership was an enriching, unforgettable experience prompting one simple warning: Be prepared to have your heart broken.

 The month of June also features:

Adopt-A-Cat Month

National Pet Preparedness Month 

Animal Right's Awareness Week (19-25)

Take Your Dog to Work Day  June 24th
             


World Pet Memorial Day  June 12th