Sunday, July 31, 2016

"Remember Your Power."


         The right to vote in the United States is one of the most fundamental rights we have guaranteed by our 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


            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:

            Need to register? Make it entertaining and informative by checking out
            Rock the Vote  
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

        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:


Brennan Center for Justice

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:


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   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 was launching Juno 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   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.  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.