Thursday, September 14, 2017

Random Thoughts: On an interesting Month & Remaining Hopeful....

I begin my final Q3 2017 edition of "Random Thoughts" with this I received earlier in the Month from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County:


 ACTION ALERT

Recent Congressional budget proposals could likely result in some of the most dramatic cuts to food assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in decades.  

SNAP is the single largest program aimed at curbing hunger. This one program puts food into the hands of nearly 42 million Americans, almost half of them under the age of 18.   

Locally, SNAP benefits go to 247,600 people in Orange County - nearly 1 in 12 of everyone who lives in our community. 


There is no way that food banks and other nonprofits could replace the billions in cuts to SNAP benefits.



For Feeding America's statement on committee passage of House Budget Resolution, click here.



This was prompted by the proposed budget cuts of the Trump Administration.   I took time to write to Congressman Rohrabacher's Office underscoring this concern as some 315,000 people are considered "food insecure"--defined as not being able to eat a decent meal on a monthly basis here in Orange County.    Second Harvest--through its' network of 314 agencies throughout the county and its' own outreach efforts--helps with alleviating approximately 200,000 people on a monthly basis.    The figure I have seen nationwide is around 42 Million.      This is as the problem of homelessness was also on tap here in Orange County as I joined the Homeless Forum as agencies provided an overview of the services they provide.


This was also a month that saw America being hit with two major hurricanes which has seen Caribbean Islands totally devastated including the US Virgin Islands.   It was great to be witness to the 5 Living Former Presidents of the United States creating the fund to help with the recovery--and it was  privilege for me to add my voice to help spread the word as I did:


Hurricane Harvey shattered homes and lives. Irma is just as dangerous. Americans lift each other up. Join us to help. #OneAmericaAppeal pic.twitter.com/31tqAoZJkn
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) September 7, 2017


Even if one person was able to contribute because of what I did--it would have been worth it.   I also continued onward with supporting the Daily Outsider as the team was getting ready to be dark--although periodic updates will continue over Twitter which I will support as schedule permits.    

I had the pleasure to be at the Monthly Round table for the El Camino Real District of the Orange County District of the Boy Scouts of America.  I have the pleasure ot serve as a member of the committee.    We are gearing up for Scouting for Food 2017.   I had the pleasure to Chair the campaign for 2016 which yielded some 4,000 lbs which I hope we can build upon--For me it was a very challenging day in some respects as I was dealing with some business fires--yet, the closing of the Door of the Truck granted me some solace that I did make a difference that day.   The Council Chair, Jack Lamey, told me about it and I realized it in a major way and it was on my mind as I addressed the Roundtable.   

This week was also US Constitution Week as I had an opportunity to speak at an event on The President's Pardon Power.   As I prepared for the event, I did some research on the clips from the West Wing--This particular one particularly struck out:   





What I found so amazing was how the creators of the West Wing--including Lawrence O'Donnell who now is a host as MSNBC--anticipated many of the challenging times faced here and now with the profound political divide existing and some potential ways to solve it.    I also was blown away by how The West Wing anticipated the rise of Obama with Matt Santos (featured in this clip)--and how Matt Santos reached out to his Republican Opponent to bring him into his Cabinet.    

As I was working away finishing off final curation on my Social Media Channels and "going dark" to get some projects done, I released this to my Facebook Wall for my Final Facebook thought for the Quarter:





There is a lot to be thankful for--and a lot still to do.     I continue to remain hopeful despite all the profound challenges at hand because as Emel Mathlouthi noted, "...My Word is Free!!!"


Onward to the new quarter with all the great possibilities!!




Tuesday, September 12, 2017

On the Prowl.......







As I was on a brief "prowl" for the day, I ran across this which I wanted to pass on for this mid-week before I "run off"as I remain hopeful despite all the challenges:

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Random Thoughts (W-End Edition): Working Away.....


It was quite a week as I joined Supervisor Lisa Bartlett's Orange County California 5th District Roundtable on Homelessness.  It was a packed two years of ideas & resources.   It is indeed a challenge as I wanted to  share a snapshot of the resources shared:


Lisa Bartlett - Supervisor, Fifth District

September 8, 2017
Thank you all for attending the South County Homelessness Roundtable and Service Planning Area Meeting on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.
Presentation Materials:

Additional Information:


Thank you and feel free to reach out to my office with any questions.
Sincerely,
Lisa Bartlett - Supervisor, Fifth District
LISA A. BARTLETT
Supervisor, 5th District, County of Orange



It has also been a busy week at the Daily Outsider that culminated in a number of key updates which I was privileged to support. It is an issue of special interest to me as the evolution of  #Irma is right now wrecking havoc on Florida as it left a trail of destruction in the Caribbean.   I was so glad to help curate the grassroots response that the team at @DailyOutsider released earlier today...--as I am writing this, Al Jazeerea's live feed on the Daily Outsider is reporting from reporters on the ground as Irma hits.    

As I tended to on-going commitments, I recently reached out to Senator Harris and Congressman Rohrachber on the issue of Net Neutrality. Both Responses are quite interesting and I wanted to feature--the responses are pre-programmed as I know they have to deal with millions--but at least it is worth noting to get a sense of both sides of the political divide: 



Challenging times!!!
September 8, 2017
  
Thank you for contacting me to express your support for net neutrality. I always appreciate hearing from California constituents and welcome the opportunity to respond on this important issue.
Nearly fifty years ago, California researchers built a prototype interoperable computer network. Today, that network is the internet—an engine of unprecedented innovation, creativity, and prosperity. The internet has transformed our society, connecting us with loved ones, enabling entrepreneurship on a level playing field, and providing instant access to a global audience. A free and open internet is a powerful tool, particularly for historically disadvantaged communities. Anyone can use the internet to make their voice heard, regardless of their gender, the color of their skin, who they love, or where they were born. And any business, no matter how small or new, can use the internet to connect with consumers and thrive.
In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted commonsense rules to protect the internet’s openness. Those net neutrality rules, called the Open Internet Order, provide that the gatekeepers to the internet—cable companies and wireless providers, for example—cannot block, slow down, or otherwise interfere with lawful online services. Those rules guarantee that the online marketplace remains a level playing field, where you—not your service provider—get to choose the next global sensation.
The new leadership at the FCC recently proposed a radical regulatory reversal, effectively eliminating the Open Internet Order. I strongly oppose the proposal, and as your senator, I will fight to protect net neutrality. Just as importantly, I have exercised my right as a member of the public to comment on the FCC’s proposal—joining the over 700,000 Californians who have urged the FCC to maintain net neutrality. I encourage you to continue making your voice heard.
The internet is one of California’s greatest gifts to the nation, and to the world. As Californians, I believe we have a special responsibility to safeguard the internet’s freedom and openness.
Once again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3553.

Sincerely,
Kamala D. Harris
United States Senator






September 8, 2017










Dear Mr. Pouraryan:

Thank you for contacting me with your views regarding 
Federal policy relating to internet access and “net neutrality”.  I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns.

As you may know, in 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a set of regulations known as the Open Internet Order.  Among other things, these rules reclassified broadband internet access service (BIAS) from an information service to a telecommunications service under the Communications Act of 1934.  Because telecommunications services may be regulated much more stringently than information services, the FCC was then able to implement restrictions on internet service providers (ISP) to impose what is now commonly known as net neutrality.  Those regulations included, among other things: (1) a requirement that ISPs disclose information regarding the management of their networks, (2) a prohibition on mobile and broadband ISPs from blocking lawful websites, content, apps, and other web-based products, and (3) a prohibition on unreasonable discrimination in the transmission of lawful network traffic.  On May 18, 2017, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would reexamine the 2015 Open Internet Order.  The proposed rule would, among other things, reverse the Title II utility designation and seek public comment on the merits of other existing regulations.

I believe internet’s success, to a large degree, is attributable to the “hands off” approach employed by the federal government prior to the 2015 Open Internet Order.  Federal regulation rarely if ever encourages innovation and growth in any given industry.  Thus, I support the FCC’s reversal of its 2015 decision.  Should Congress consider legislation regarding net neutrality, it would be under the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  While I do not serve on this committee, I will keep your views in mind should any piece of legislation on this subject receive a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives. 

Again, thank you for giving me the benefit of your views.  Please continue to keep me informed on any federal issue of importance to you.  




Sincerely,

Dana Rohrabacher
Member of Congress


I end with this "thought 4 the Week" as the new week dawns:




Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Random Thoughts (Mid-Week) : Working Away....


5 Winning Lessons From the Golden State Warriors
How to Improve Your Live (An Image Courtesy of Success Magazine)  


September has begun in earnest.   I decided to begin my first "Random Thought" for the Month with an image courtesy of Success Magazine to be hopeful (Please click on the link in the Caption to read up the 8 simple ways to help improve your life).   It was a bit of a challenging day for me at the Second Harvest Food Bank Conference at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest.   The first keynote, Joel Berg (the man who helped created AmeriCorp) laid out some stark realities.  I personally was shocked as I noted how 42 Million People go hungry in the United States and as the Trump Administration has proposed 169 Billion Dollars in Cuts.    I also had the chance to join the Scouts' Scouting For Food Monthly Chair Meeting as I brought myself up to speed on the latest.   I hope we can help the Council exceed the goal of 60,000 lbs last year.  

There were two major developments as well while I was on the road.  The first is Hurricane Irma  (and just landed as I was working away)  that is set to pound Puerto Rico and threaten Florida.      This led me to create this clip of highlights I captured from   Al Gore's Book which I created with Animoto:





Then there was what Mr Trump  did about the Dreamers.    What was disappointing was how he did not come out to make the announcement himself--but had the Attorney General do it because of the claim that it will not stand up in Court based on the threatened lawsuit by 9 State Attorney Generals led by Ken Paxon of Texas.   This is in spite of the Economic Arguments as underscored by this open letter by Business Leaders--and I added my name to it:



August 31, 2017
To: President Donald J. Trump
To: Speaker Paul Ryan; Leader Nancy Pelosi; Leader Mitch McConnell; and Leader Charles E. Schumer

As entrepreneurs and business leaders, we are concerned about new developments in immigration policy that threaten the future of young undocumented immigrants brought to America as children.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows nearly 800,000 Dreamers the basic opportunity to work and study without the threat of deportation, is in jeopardy. All DACA recipients grew up in America, registered with our government, submitted to extensive background checks, and are diligently giving back to our communities and paying income taxes. More than 97 percent are in school or in the workforce, 5 percent started their own business, 65 percent have purchased a vehicle, and 16 percent have purchased their first home. At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count DACA recipients among their employees.
Unless we act now to preserve the DACA program, all 780,000 hardworking young people will lose their ability to work legally in this country, and every one of them will be at immediate risk of deportation. Our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.
Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.
We call on President Trump to preserve the DACA program. We call on Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act or legislation that provides these young people raised in our country the permanent solution they deserve.

I am a loss to explain why 800,000 people are being given a death sentence.  I made it a point of answering the President's Tweet by noting how he was weak.    As I was reflecting upon this past 24 hours, I ran across this that is ever so powerful that I identified with as I continue the on-going work for all the properties at the Daily Outsider:


This is also as there is the issue of what to do about North Korea (which our team at Daily Outsider will work on ) as the President wants to cut off trade and blaming everyone.

It is not easy to be optimistic, but I see no other choice.....