Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Random Thoughts.....

We're into the third week of the Trump Administration.   I was blown away by a column by the +RealClearPolitics  Carl Cannon that he titled "7 Days in January".   What he laid out in terms of the parallels with the Film 7 Days in May (that depicted a scamming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs planning a Coup) was chilling.   He also noted how a hope for the President changing not realized--underscored by his flurry of Executive Orders and claims of Voter Fraud along with his praise of Russia during the pre-game Super Bowl Interview.   The President, though, was curiously silent as the land law was passed in the Israeli Knesset that the Israeli Attorney General said he could not defend in Court.

As I write this, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama is now the Attorney General of the United States.   This is after a bitter debate during confirmation that saw Senator Elizabeth Warren Silenced as she sought to have Corretta Scott King's letter entered into the record--Other Democratic Senators ended up reading most of the letter after the Rule 19 of the Senate was used by Senator McConnell.   I lamented at how I asked whether Mr. Sessions will have the guts to stand up to Donald Trump as the Israeli Attorney General has done despite the clear right-wing tilt in Israeli Policy towards the occupied territories.     I also could not help but marvel at the hypocrisy especially as I also saw Senator Hatch citing that debating Senator Sessions' record will hurt Senator Sessions' Wife.    What I found especially ironic and frankly laughable was how Senator Lindsey Graham noted how silencing Elizabeth Warren was long overdue.    Although I view him as having made some very good moves in opposition to Donald Trump, his own misguided views on Iraq in and of itself renders his personal judgment into question.     

I listened to the proceedings of the appeal and the team released a Newsflash on it yesterday.  It was fascinating to be witness to.   Beyond the embarrassing performance by the Justice Department Attorney,  one disturbing assertion was that the President's Actions as he perceives it in the area of National Security were "non-reviewable".    This was as the President himself went after Judges and said that his order could be understood by "even a High School student".    His own Nominee to the Supreme Court Called it demoralizing and disheartening.   When I saw this that, I came to the conclusion that his confirmation will be virtually guaranteed.  

As this was going on, The President was at it over Twitter attacking of all things--Nordstroms--retweeted by the President's Social Media Staff.  The Journalist Marc Cooper wrote this on his Facebook Page--and it was too funny if it was not serious in terms of the strategy the President employs:   
Emergency Alert to All Resistance Operatives and Comrades: The fascist insect enemy has uncovered our covert operational base. Our leadership orders you to immediately destroy all documents and evacuate.
We will rendezvous this evening at 2130 hours in our new base in the FEMA tunnel underneath the KMART #361 as marked on your coded map.
Another Friend responded that as the President did not know what to do about ISIS, Mexico or the ACA, he could sure make sure Nordstrom paid.    I also saw reports that TJ Maxx is also on the prowl to dispose of Ivanka Trump merchandise.     This is as the financial system massive deregulation has begun with potentially disastrous consequences.    

What continues to give me hope, though, is what I am witness to in the Community.  I had the pleasure to join the Point-In-Time Project earlier this month to conduct a Census of the Homeless in Orange County.    The team at +211 Orange County shared this with the volunteer team earlier this month:   

...and we're glad it did!

Dear Volunteers,

On behalf of 2-1-1 Orange County and the County of Orange, thank you for participating in the 2017 Point-in-Time Count & Survey of Orange County. This year, more than 1,000 volunteers turned out – the most volunteers in PIT history! This year 270 maps were walked, counted and surveyed in Orange County. We could not have done this without your help.

The Point-in-Time Count & Survey is a community-wide undertaking made possible only with the support of our dedicated volunteers, agency partners, civic leaders, law enforcement, elected officials, and community funders.  It is a strong demonstration of our shared mission to end homelessness in Orange County. Because of your help in capturing data across 800 square miles in five hours, we will have a snapshot of homelessness in Orange County and data to inform the delivery of programs and services to where they are most needed.

I finished off an article for one of the newsletters I periodically contribute to which I wanted to also share here--especially as we have the Random Acts of Kindness before us later this month: 

On Random Acts of Kindness Week 2017
Brief Reflections
Mike Pouraryan
February 2017

I had the chance to check out the Random Actos of Kindness 2017 at and sign up for it.  As noted on the website, it  “… is an annual opportunity to unite through kindness. Formally recognized in 1995, this seven-day celebration demonstrates that kindness is contagious. It all starts with one act – one smile, one coffee for a stranger, one favor for a friend. It’s an opportunity for participants to leave the world better than they found it and inspire others to do the same…”.  

Although it is a commendable gesture, I decided to embrace this just a bit “early”.
For me, it began on January 28 as I participated in the Orange County California Point in Time Survey.   With two other Volunteers, we embarked on a walkabout in South San Clemente as we sought out the Homeless to count them to understand some of their requirements.    What was so striking was how in the midst of the beauty of San Clemente such pockets of misery exists.   

As we walked and identified the homeless, we left care kits along with donated coats.    I also was on staff the following Wednesday at my local Catholic Parish as we served over 40 Families.   I had the pleasure to help a number of families as I carried their food to their vehicles—on older gentleman I helped with offered me one of the cookies he had picked up.    I had to take a walk around the Parish to compose myself—especially as I also observed another homeless family trying to somehow place the food in the midst of the space they had because they had lived in their car.  

As I geared up to be on the staff for a leadership training retreat in partial requirement of my Professional development commitments for the University, I could not help but wonder why such acts of kindness could not be done always.   I took on this leadership training retreat—where I will also help co-present on Leading Change—to help train the next generations of leaders serving our Youth.   

 I implore all to never wait for such occasions and to always be willing daily to do a simple act of kindness as by making a difference even in the life of one person would constitute success.

I continue to remain hopeful as I begin to take on  what the New York Times' David Brooks Challenge to start asking and answering "The Fallows Question" that I will be working to answer over the ensuing weeks and months.       As I read off his column, I could not agree more as the fact that what change that will occur will be done at the local level.  I have been witness to it as exemplified by what was done with the Point-in-Time Census.

As I depart for a weekend of training in support of leadership development for the Boy Scouts of Orange County Council, I wanted to be reminded of some simple common sense admonitions.   I hope I continue to live up to all the admonitions:  
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