We are a country divided

Race, religion, government…all across the board, our once great nation is in a dismal state. Negativity and hatred run rampant. There are people criss-crossing the US right now preaching their hate and one-sided values, fomenting riots and dissent between races, encouraging racism and disparity. We have developed flexible laws, dependent on who you are, and what you’ve done against whom.

Republicans blame Obama, saying he was a racist; too quick to side with blacks, too loose on retribution against whites. The opposite can now be said about our current leader. But this division has been happening for longer than that. While our world has grown, our lives have shrunk. We have all this technology at our fingertips yet people seem to have gotten more small-minded. We should be using this ability to better ourselves, further our knowledge, amplify our compassion, not gain a greater scope for hate.

I understand that the media has played a great part in splitting us. Where once we turned on the news for an hour a day, we now have 24-hour news cycles. Once, the editorials and opinions came at the end of the news; now they are the news. Sadly, we seem to have become of flock of sheep, following along, doing what we’re told, instead of the thinkers we once were.

In the 40s we truly became a world power, allying with other nations to protect our world. In the 60s we railed against Vietnam, race-riots and the KKK. We opened our mouths and our minds; spoke up when we thought something wasn’t right. I know it wasn’t perfect but the different opinions started discussions not disturbances. We were quicker to think than to act.

What happened to the concept of the United States? We stood strong, with allies and against enemies; we were a proud nation of humans who wanted the best for all of us. We seem to have lost that, following along and doing as we’re told, arguing every step of the way instead of trying to find reasonable solutions.

Look, I’m a realist. I understand good and evil coexist in a tumultuous, eons-long tango. The yin-yang balance is eternal. But we seem to be way off kilter right now.

I think Rodney King said it best so many years ago, “Can’t we all just get along?”

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What’s the fate of our National Parks

 

 

I was on Facebook a few weeks ago and came across one of the many petitions that dot the timeline night after night. This one was about something that’s been bothering me: the possible dissolution of some of our National Parks. So I signed the petition and thought no more about it; until I actually got a response from Rep. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Of course, it was mostly fluff, but it gave me the impetus I required to grab a hold and GO. Below is my response, and his original below that, sent via his website since his response came from a DoNotReply address. Btw, if you’re interest in seeing a lineup of our Parks, click here

Thank you, Mr Rubio, for responding to my letter. However, you did not address my original concern: the fate of the National Parks. I’m very concerned about Mr Trump and the current administration’s attempts to remove protection from some of these public gems. It’s very important to me, and many other Americans, that these designated areas remain protected, for ourselves to enjoy today and for other generations to enjoy into the future.

I understand these government officials seek more privatized land to offer to businesses, and to open up more land for possible drilling. The United States is a huge country with plenty of open territory, much of which is ripe with opportunities for alternative energy sources to be explored. Why chose to destroy our beautiful spaces in a continuing search for outdated energies rather than seek to move our country forward and ease the incessant assault on the earth.

This country has had a great history of thinking forward, maintaining and moving us toward the future. Our past leaders realized it’s not all about the immediate monetary gains as much as it’s about setting the United States up for success for generations to come. Please Mr Rubio, I ask that you consider these things when taking a stance.
Sincerely,
Vanessa Ouellette

On Oct 16, 2017, at 6:18 PM, Senator Marco Rubio wrote:

Thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts regarding national parks.  Understanding your views helps me better represent Florida in the United States Senate, and I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

In August 2016, the National Park Service celebrated its centennial year.  Florida is home to more than 100 state parks and three national parks: Biscayne Bay, Dry Tortugas, and the Everglades.  Parks enrich our communities, help our local businesses thrive, and educate Americans about our nation’s history and identity.  I’ve enjoyed these parks with my own family, and I am proud of their ecological diversity and contributions to our state’s tourism-oriented economy.

For this reason, I worked with Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works’ Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) to successfully include authorization of the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016.  I was proud to vote in support of WRDA when it came before the Senate on December 10, 2016, and pleased that President Obama signed this important project into law on December 16, 2016.  CEPP is a vital Everglades restoration project that, once completed, will lessen the discharges from Lake Okeechobee by sending more water south through the Everglades and into Florida Bay, mitigating the environmental and economic disaster affecting South Florida’s waterways. CEPP is essential to water management in Florida, and will also help ensure future generations can enjoy the Everglades National Park.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve you as your United States Senator.  I will keep your thoughts in mind as I consider these issues and continue working to ensure America remains a safe and prosperous nation.

Sincerely,

Marco Rubio
United States Senator

Will the real knee please stand up

Last season, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began ‘taking a knee’ during the Anthem to protest racial injustice, particularly the killing of black Americans by police. Since then, more and more players have begun doing the same, prompting anger and boycotts of the NFL.

I’ll admit, before I armed myself with a little bit of knowledge I was one of those incensed. How dare you disrespect the flag and the heroes who died to defend everything she stands for. But then our illustrious leader decided to take a stand against this action, which forced me to look into the real reason why this was happening.

President Trump, who has criticized the protesting players and encouraged owners to fire anyone who takes a knee, went after the NFL again on Wednesday morning. He tweeted: “The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem. Total disrespect for our great country.”

Roger Goodell’s answer, in a letter to team executives and presidents that opened the matter to discussion: “..everyone should stand for the National Anthem. That’s an important part of our policy.” An obvious change of heart from the week before.

So anyway, I now understand the knee thing. I don’t agree with how they’re doing it but I understand the reason why this is happening.  But there are better ways of showing your dissent that won’t anger and divide the country any more than it already is. Start a blog, a personal page, a website to outline the cause. But don’t use your time on live TV, the time that fans are paying for and looking forward to, to air your arguments and views. It makes people dislike you and not pay attention to your grievances. It allows a president to use your cause as his own, for a completely different reason.

That’s what he said

“Basically he said, ‘Well, I guess he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurts,’ ” Dem. Rep. Frederica Wilson said, adding that she listened to part of the call on speaker phone while in a vehicle with the family.

Asked earlier if she was sure the President said that, Wilson told CNN affiliate WPLG: “Yeah, he said that. You know, …that is something that you can say in a conversation, but you shouldn’t say that to a grieving widow. Everyone knows when you go to war you could possibly not come back alive, but you don’t remind a grieving widow of that. That is so insensitive. So insensitive.” The White House has neither confirmed nor denied this account: Trump has categorically denied it.

Absolutely ludicrous. What kind of insensitive asswipe says that to the family of a servicemember who just gave his life for his country? And just like all other media coverage he doesn’t like, this tragedy was part of his “fake news” network. This deliberate ignorance of the facts continued for twelve days as he golfed, argued with the press and misdirected the public. Although he was briefed about this incident daily, he took that long to comment on it at all, choosing instead to continue bashing Obama and further his specific agendas.

How the hell was this human even allowed to run for office? I can’t believe we couldn’t have found something better to represent the people of this country. If this doesn’t show our government is a rigged farce… How have we deviated so far from the possibility of proper leadership, how could we have been forced to elect someone so obviously unqualified, so oblivious to what 95% of his constituents really need.

His callous indifference and false rhetoric will be the downfall of this country and its people, and hopefully him as well.

It IS kidnapping

(not using names for obvious reasons)

It’s the story of a crazy roommate, a momentary lapse of watchfulness and a missing family member. My friend’s deaf and mostly blind dog was taken, and I hope that’s all that happened. No, it has not been proved this human absconded with her, but it’s a series of coincidences that don’t leave much room for doubt.

Apparently said roommate had some kind of ‘psychotic break’ and left the house. Around the same time A lost sight of Z and hasn’t seen her since, in spite of searching—literally—day and night. Yes, the police were called, and animal shelters will be searched today.

Call me evil-minded or pessimistic but, I believe this bitch took Z out of spite. People like that lash out for their own reasons at whatever is most convenient. A has had Z for over 15 years. She’s an integral part of her heart and this separation is painful, at it’s most basic level.

Some may not grasp the depth of our feelings toward our four-legged family members. I chose never to have children for my own reasons, but my love for animals (not palmetto bugs) is intense; as is hers. When my sweet little Choco-kitty went missing last year I was distraught. I still blame myself for leaving the gate open, as we live in a wooded area with plenty of wildlife. No, I never found her, in spite of asking around and calling all the local shelters. At this point I’m sure a coyote nabbed her. But the callousness of someone who would opt to remove a family member as retaliation is immeasurable.

I don’t pray, but I asked the Universe last night to help us find Z, and that this crazy woman did nothing to this lovely creature. I also asked for closure.

Progress made in fighting flames

 

My god these images… You really have no concept of the absolute devastation until you look at stills, not video. A newscast just doesn’t bring home the pain, the burnt landscape, the decimation fire brings; the loss of life, livelihood, and natural habitats.

I’m thankful there appears to be a flicker of light on the horizon, a chance of having a semblance of control. I truly hope it was a complete accident, that it was sparked by natural causes, a blown transformer, and not by another arsonist; another idiotic human with no concept of the big picture and the devastation that could result from a thoughtless act.

I pray for all those displaced, for those who have lost everything, and specially for the firefighters in the middle of this maelstrom. I’m hopeful that all the kindness and empathy that was evident in Texas and Florida makes an appearance in California, cuz they sure are gonna need a hand.

Here’s CNN’s story

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