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Global Tentacles

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Giraffe Cave Art at the NamibRand Nature Reserve
Picture credit: Namibnat

 

At first glance this morning, this news appeared to be a positive move, made by someone who had their heart and their power, in the right place, and was a cause for tremendous joy.
But then after reading further and seeking secondary and other stories for reference, it seems that all is not as it appears.
Paul Allen, the Billionaire philanthropist, who is seemingly strongly supportive of protecting Endangered Wildlife, has several not so nice personal blemishes, that must also be considered before we proceed to give him his Best Global Humanitarian Award.
Mr. Allen has introduced a measure to get on the Fall Ballots in Washington State, that will put a hurting on those who use the World’s  most at risk wildlife to make a dirty income.
The measure, called Inititive 1401, has already reached, thanks to all of his volunteers in the field, the necessary number to get on to the Ballot in November.

This is a great thing.

What I am having trouble with, is the dark side of his company Vulcan and his sister Jody, who was the CEO, and has just stepped down after some very ugly issues about wildlife  poaching and sexual harassment were brought to light by accusers who work for Allen’s company.
I will not go fully into these things, as they are well presented in the links below.
What I am interested in pointing out here is this.
When very rich, very powerful people make the news and receive gushing accolades without the public or the press, doing more than just a little background digging into the facts, bad things can happen.
In this case, Allen, who has passionately promoted this initiative in Washington, to save and protect wildlife, seems awesome, but something here is not right, and  it all smells just a little rank, when you learn that he has regularly taken African Safaris and owns Tourist Lodges in Botswana.

Now add to this, the fact that his Company Vulcan,  formerly run by his sister, has been taken to court and accused of smuggling, poaching and more.
All too often, people like Allen and his sister, are unlike you and me, frequently kept safely in a cocoon, so that the scandals, or dirt runs off of them and does not stain their pristine, public images.
My concern and primary reason for writing about this today is, that it would be so much easier to believe Allen and all the others who claim to be truly concerned about the welfare of Endangered Wildlife, if there was not so damn much money involved in all of this.

If, as you do so passionately profess Mr. Allen, you truly do wish to protect Endangered African Wildlife, may I suggest that you dispose of your African Tourist Lodges and suspend your Safari trips?

It would be wonderful to see those with so much wealth, using it to personally educate and enlighten the rest of the world to what is happening to the precious few wild animals that we have left, before they are all gone.

We absolutely must take this message out to the schools, to the young, who will become our next generation of protectors.

Sadly, access to excessive money can turn even the best people’s heads the wrong way and there is just too much at stake here.

The treacherous arms of Global Smugglers and Wildlife Traffickers can have very long tentacles, some are even said to be attached to Global Mobsters, that just may reach into even safe corners, including those of the well protected, well insulated, excessively wealthy.

 

Places to learn more:

Washington Rare Species Trafficking Measure, Initiative 1401 (2015)

Global Efforts to Stop Illicit Wildlife Trade: Are They Enough?

China Promises an End to Its Ivory Trade, While Some U.S. Politicians Pander to Wildlife Traffickers

Paul Allen: Seeking unbroken tall bones?

Paul Allen’s sister steps away from managing $17 bln fortune

Seahawks owner Paul Allen, sister settle as bodyguards claim smuggling, bribery

War threatens existence of wildlife species in South Sudan

Washington State Initiative Aims to Protect Iconic Animals Threatened With Extinction

Paul Allen bankrolls initiative to ban rare-species trafficking

 

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Is Helping The Hungry And Homeless A Crime?

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Arnold Abbott: the Police and the Politics of public feeding.
Picture source: Unknown

 

At first glance this story appears to be just another case of politics bullying charity, but not so fast.

This story should have been written a few days ago, but it was not to be, as I was once again up in Gainesville getting my  melanomas tended to.

Now it’s back to work this morning…

If you have not heard of this man yet, you will.

His name is Arnold Abbott and he is a 90-year-old advocate for the homeless and hungry in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Arnold has for many years been feeding the homeless on the beach at Ft Lauderdale.

There are many who support him in his charitable endeavors, but as usual, there are also those who are very much opposed.

There are kind generous souls in many places around Florida and the Country,  who also do this, some make the news, others do not.

When too many complain, laws get passed and ordinances are put into place, to shut those who feed in public down, not just here, but  all over the country.

In the past ten years, the warmer states in America have been inundated with the poor and hungry.

And, as the economy went South, so did the homeless.

When providing food to those with none, there is always a risk of offending those who find it unpleasant, even dangerous to themselves, their families, or their businesses.

In the past in some places throughout the state, there have been reports, or incidents of public displays of indecency, or eliminating in public.

There have also been some petty crimes associated with these public feedings.

The list is long for each side.

The point is, there are simply not enough places to provide either shelter, or food for the current abundance of homeless here in Florida, which now ranks third in America, for numbers of  homeless, after New York and California.

The desperate come from all over the country to find relief here, knowing that for one, they will not freeze to death while being homeless and that there are more than just a few places to go to find protection from the situation they find themselves in.

When the two sides collide, as they are doing right now in Fort Lauderdale, is when the public out cries begin and many outsiders, along with the press, get involved.

Many people want the hungry to be fed inside, not out in the public view.

Does it make them uncomfortable in  this tourist rich state to see the plight of those with nothing?

Florida depends heavily on the lavish spending of rich visitors and if they are appalled or turned off by the sight of the poor and hungry being fed, it may hurt this state’s bottom line.

What is that old saying about  “walking a mile in my shoes?”

It only takes ONE big negative life impact to make any one of us homeless and hungry.

Which brings us to the story of Arnold Abbott and his mission in life and to honor his wife, of feeding the homeless and hungry of Fort Lauderdale.

He also works with and teaches the homeless and tries to help find them work.

Much to the great chagrin of city leaders and some businesses, this stubborn World War II Veteran is not going to back down.

As he said today, ” I have fought in the wars, and I know how to do this, I will not stop…..as long as there is breath in my body”

Arnold and his helpers, have been arrested, cited and fined for  “illegal actions on behalf of the hungry in Fort Lauderdale.

The Mayor of the city, Jack Seler, is in a tough place.

He must uphold the laws, to avoid an outbreak of charity feedings citywide, but he also does not like all of the really negative publicity the city is getting.

Being the focus of this heavy heat and intense scrutiny is not new for Arnold, who has fought against the city for more than twenty years to do what he considers God’s work.

Can anyone of us know with any real certainty, that there but for the Grace of God go we?

We must ask ourselves: Is Helping The Hungry And Homeless A Crime?

 

Places to learn more:

Arnold’s Group: Love thy neighbor

‘Chef Arnold,’ 90, Cited Again For Feeding Homeless In Florida

90-Year-Old Arrested For Feeding Homeless Will Continue ‘As Long As There Is Breath In My Body’

Florida Finds Tricky Balance Over Feeding of the Homeless

Arresting Arnold Abbott unconstitutional. He’s won in court 3 times, won 2 appeals.

Arnold Abbott keeps feeding the homeless: Charity or crime?

Arnold Abbott Re-Arrested 

Russell Brand: $4 Billion Spent on Elections, But Feeding the Homeless is Illegal

National Coalition for the Homeless

 

 

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It Must Be Our Choice!

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Brittany Maynard, an end-of-life choice advocate.
Picture credit: The Maynard family

 

On our news this morning was a story that needed to be shared.

As many of you by now know,  I am dealing with Cancer.

Mine is,  as far as I can see, likely under control.

The story this morning was about a very young girl,  whose was not.

She had stage four Brain Cancer and had been told by her doctor that she had six months to live.

This is news that no one her age should ever have to hear.

What she did after that point,  is why you must know about her.

Brittany Maynard lived in California and made the long trip to the state of Oregon to do, once again, what  no one her age should ever have to do, die.

California does not have the law that Oregon does called,  “Death with Dignity.”

In the interview this morning, Brittany expressed her feelings with enormous grace and courage.

Her strength in making this decision was way beyond her tender age.

I am not sure that in her position, I could have done it.

As a former Nurse in California,  I have cared for many Cancer patients and know the excruciating pain that they endure until they either recover,  or succumb to this ravaging disease.

My own mother in law passed away with the same disease, Brain Cancer.

She also did not live in a state with the law that Brittany used to choose her own path to dying.

My mother in law suffered terribly, had great pain and finally went into a coma from which she never recovered.

She lingered for a brief time and then she was gone.

Would she have, if allowed, have made the same choice that Brittany did?

We will never know.

When ever I spent time on the Oncology Ward, the sounds of pain were so very hard to hear.

Imagine how it must have been for those with the disease?

Someone who should know better,  this week told me that Cancer does not hurt.

I beg to differ with this person.

If it didn’t hurt,  why do nearly all of the patients in Oncology have Morphine drips?

But back to Brittany and her decision.

I may be in a minority here, what’s new, but my personal belief is that dying is each persons decision and no one should have the power to prevent,  or alter it.

Reaching the end of your life, whether as in Brittany’s case, or an elderly person who has had a long and full life, the decision as to when it should end,  should be theirs and theirs alone.

Anyone who disagrees with this,  needs to talk to those suffering with a terminal illness, or better yet, spend an hour or a day in an Oncology wing.

That should do it.

Dear Sweet beautiful Brittany, I did not know you, but I will support to my death,  your right to make that choice and you should not have had to,  in your time of suffering pain and illness,  have had to travel hundreds of miles away to another state,  to complete your final choice.

California and all states,  should recognize this situation and change it, now.

Every state in America needs to have a “Death with Dignity”  law.

I can nearly guarantee that it would happen instantly if and when,  any of those with the power to do it, had a beloved family member who was in Brittany’s  position.

America and  the world must admit that dying is extremely personal and how each of us does it, needs to be the patient’s choice.

We must each have the right to choose our own path to dying.

This is a Human Right and it MUST be our choice!

 

Places to learn more:

Brittany Maynard Could Revive the Stalled ‘Death With Dignity’ Movement

Brittany Maynard, terminally ill, takes own life

Brittany Maynard, 29-year-old right-to-die advocate with brain cancer, ends her life in Oregon

Brittany Maynard, advocate for ‘death with dignity,’ dies

Brittany Maynard – Wikipedia

The Brittany Maynard Fund

 

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Morgan Freeman, a Man For All Reasons and Seasons

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Morgan Freeman as God in Bruce Almighty
Picture credit: Still looking~

 

Seeing a story on the Weather Channel this morning about Morgan Freeman, was both a surprise, as well as a delightful joy.

It appeared to be mostly about his wide range of Humanitarian activism, but was also about the release of his newest film.

Dolphin Tale 2 is being released this week and Morgan is from the original cast and of course, returns as the kindly genius who created Winter’s artificial tail.

You see, Morgan Freeman is someone that I have deeply admired for many years and learning about all of his other passions today, only deepened that admiration.

It does not hurt that his calming, deep resonating voice is as smooth as melted butter.

Morgan who is 77 and lives primarily in Mississippi, does so much for many, it is hard to keep up.

I was not aware of some of his other environmental activities until seeing the story this morning on AMHQ.

Am I surprised?

No.

This quiet man of deep convictions, just goes about doing his job, giving unforgettable performances that will live in our memory banks forever:  Shawshank Redemption, Invictus,  Million Dollar Baby and  Seven.

Oh, this could go on forever….

Shawshank by the way, is still number one  on the IMDB all time favorite film list.

My favorite of his countless great roles, you may be shocked to learn, is when he has played God.

I would like to believe that God would be similar to the character that Freeman has portrayed of him and that he also has a wicked, or wry, sense of Humor.

It comes as little surprise, that just being an actor, is not quite enough to quench Freeman’s seemingly insatiable thirst for giving back.

To call him a world-class Humanitarian is a clear understatement of the man and his many missions.

Morgan’s opinion on Black History Month and Racism is commendable and well-known.

Freeman co-owns a Blues Club and as of this moment, is involved in all of these Organizations:

One Earth, Global Warming, The Grenada Relief Fund, Autism Speaks, Rebuilding Together and Oceana.

This multifaceted man who has meant so much, to so many, has achieved well deserved respect and admiration, that has grown exponentially over the years.

Morgan Freeman truly is a man for all reasons and seasons.

 

Places to learn more:

Morgan Freeman Bio – Wikipedia

Morgan Freeman’s Top 10 films

Morgan Freeman narrates new LGBT equality advertisement

Morgan Freeman on Ending Racism: ‘Stop Talking About It’

Morgan Freeman Global Warming PSA

Morgan Freeman fund for scholarships turns 15

Morgan Freeman proves he’s real-life action hero by landing malfunctioning plane 4 times

Morgan Freeman To Receive AFI Life Achievement Award

Morgan Freeman to Receive an Honorary Degree from Boston University

Rebuilding Together PSA featuring Morgan Freeman

 

 

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Enough Already!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I HATE Politics, all Politics!

So for me to be driven, forced and bullied into creating a NEW Blog about this abhorred, loathed and despised subject, something BIG must have happened.

Well it did.

It seems to me that we, the public, the common people, the ones who pay all of the bills for this Government that appears to have more time off, than any other employees in the world, have little, or no say in what Politicians do, or don’t do.

After more than a week of daily phone abuse, yesterday was the very last straw, I could take no more.

Can you say Political ROBO calls?

Spending hours  on the phone with various Government Agencies and our Phone Company yielded ZERO results, because you see, no one is breaking any laws.

So, yesterday, I vented my fury over the complete lack of any semblance of control in our own home and began this NEW Political Blog:   http://politicalpanderings.wordpress.com/

As you will immediately gather by the graphics and appearance, yes it is somewhat satirical!

My hope is, that if you feel the same way, you will come and lend your voice, to what will be a Word Press version of a Blogging Smack Down, until Election Day in November.

If we are truly a country born of Freedom and Democracy, shouldn’t that include our right to peace in our own homes?

Am I the only one who is tired of being the whipping post for a few powerful politicians, who it seems, answer to no one?

They fear no form of legal reprisal and are running amuck at our expense, literally.

Reading the first post on this NEW Blog, should explain everything.

But for now, Enough Already!

 

 

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Nurse Napping

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Nursing is not easy, you must be dedicated to serving.
Picture credit: Wikipedia

 

A new friend told me about this story yesterday and I did not sleep much wondering why it had never made the news here?

This was not the kind of story, that could have been forgotten, at least not by me.

If this had happened in the United States, it would have been on every Channel for days on end, as is every other horrific story.

We would have seen it, all day, every day, night and day.

But, there has been nothing on our local News here about this.

So, while I was not sleeping last night and dwelling on this story, something occurred to me.

Could racism possibly have been involved here?

Because these Nurses were all Indian?

God, I truly hope not.

These innocent women were Nurse napped from a hospital in Iraq, it is said, about the beginning of July, yet even though I have multiple Google Alerts arriving in my email daily, geared to Global Culture and Events, this story never came up once, not once!

The 46 Indian Nurses were taken from a Hospital in Tikrit, (Saddam’s old home town) to Mosul by the ISIS.

They were returned recently, apparently unharmed, to an International Airport in Kochi, to the as expected, great relief of their families and friends.

The Nurses were joined on their return home flight,  with 137 Indian National’s who had also been held hostage by the terrorists.

There is some inconsistency in the length of their captivity, but sources say that the Nurses had apparently been held for anywhere from a week, up to a month.

Later, a second group of about 50 other Nurses, with the assistance of Iraqi authorities, were quietly evacuated from the danger or conflict zone.

They were taken to a safe location, over a land route, in small groups.

Once again, has this happened to a group of American Nurse’s  anywhere, it would have been covered by every News Media Agency, Globally.

Why was this group of Indian Nurses being kidnapped, not made public knowledge here?

As a former Nurse, I can only offer this to end an unnerving story.

Nurses do one thing very well, they take care of those who are sick and need help.

Shame on everyone in the News Media for not making this a Top Priority story, everywhere.

Healers who only help others, have got to be as important as the legions of criminals who now hold our Planet hostage.

This Nurse Napping should have been front page News all over America and the World.

 

Places to learn more:

Nurses Kidnapped By ISIS In Iraq’s Tikrit

Another batch of 50 nurses evacuated from Iraq

ISIS snatches Indian nurses, MEA claims they are safe

Nurses return home, joy erupts among family members 

Indian nurses who were kidnapped cross into Iraqi Kurdish region

 

 

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My Father

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My father Robert M. Skirvin, Sr. in his uniform of the US Navy.

 

This is the first Memorial Day that I have known who my father was.

His identity was just learned this past Christmas Eve, after a lifetime of searching.

So on this day created to Honor all those who serve or have served this country in the military,

I am proud to,  at long last, be able to Honor him.

Robert Melville Skirvin, Sr. was born in Bloomington, Indiana and served in the United States Navy.

For all of you who put your lives in mortal danger, on a daily basis, while being separated from your family and loved ones for such long periods of time in service to your Country, we owe you everything, we owe you our very lives.

Memorial Day is not about hamburgers, it is about Heroes.

It is about those who proudly put on the uniform of a branch of our military every single day and who give everything, so that we may all be free.

It is terrifying to ponder what this country,  or even the entire world,  would be like today, without the sacrifices that each of you unselfishly makes for us.

To all who serve, or have served, we Honor you on Memorial Day everywhere in America and indeed, throughout the World, for what you do and have done.

May God Bless you all~

And to the father that I never knew, I am so very proud that your were a part of this and although we never met, I love you.

 

 

 

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