America in Crisis Mode…

It’s stormy here in Maine this morning, thunderstorms passing over one by one and lots of heavy rain showers.  My lawn is dying from lack of water, so I’m actually pleased that everything is getting watered.

I was woken up at 4am this morning by a call from work asking me to go in as soon as I could get there, seems one of the night shift workers had to go home early due to illness and they had also run out of coffee filters and had to send someone to another store to get some.  Our coffee business there is huge.  We sell over 300 cups a morning, and being out was going to piss off quite a few of the guys and gals that stop in regularly for their morning cup o’ joe to kick off the day.  Plus overnight the restock order had arrived and that was sitting in the aisles and behind the counter waiting to be put away. When I got there at about 4:30am it basically chaos.  One one person was there to ring out customers and to try to explain the coffee situation to some grumpy people.  I jumped right in and ended up working til about 8:15, when the first shifters all arrived and were able to take over.

I’m watching The View right now, and they are talking about Trump.  They have his spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee, on and she’s desperately trying to defend in indefensible man.  Saying he doesn’t lie…omg, the guy has been proven to lie 95% of the time!

Yestereday Trump announced he was ending the DACA program.  This program is where people who were brought here as small children, now most are around 22 yrs old, by their parents illegally.  These kids were raised in America, schooled in our schools, played with our kids, and grew up here.  They don’t remember the countries they were born in, some don’t know the language of those countries even.  DACA protects them.  As long as they are either in school, go to college or joing he military, stay registered with the program and pay $500 per year, they can stay and live here.  Ending this program means that they have to leave; they have to return to countries that they know nothing about and have never been back to.  Possibly making them return to nothing, no where to live, no way to make a living, where there will be language barriers and possible hostility directed toward them by the governments of those countries.  Ending this program without creating a pathway to American citizenship for the 800,000 DACA kids who are here is goin got destroy lives, tear families apart and it is just the wrong thing to do.  Anyone can see that it’s wrong.

for example, I wasn’t born in Maine.  My parents were military and I was born on a Marine Corps base in North Carolina.  What if I was suddenly told that I had to leave Maine immediately, and go back to NC?  Would that be fair to me?  Would it cause me great pain and trouble?  I would have to leave the home I have here, leave the friends I have here, leave behind family and go to a place that I dont’ know anything about and try to make it.  Maybe it’s not the perfect example, but just think about it…what if you were told you HAD to leave where you are immediately, leave EVERYTHING behind – including the house that you own here – and go somewhere you know NOTHING about and start from scratch there…with basically nothing.  And what if they didn’t really want you at this other place?  How would that feel?  And how would that affect you?

Ending DACA isn’t right. Creating a pathway to citizenship is what needs to happen for those in the DACA program.  These kids are illegal aliens only by fault of their parents who brought them here.  They did not choose to come illegally, and were not old enough to understand what was being done to them.  I’m sure most of these people brought these kids here seeking a better life for them, fleeing violent places, poverty and hunger.  I’m sure the intentions were good.  But now we have this population of young people who have grown up in America that are being told to prepare to be forced to leave the country at any moment.  How can ANYONE think that this is the right thing to do???

So, that’s just one thing that is happening here.  Of course, our country is a mess right now and Trump just HAD to throw the DACA question into the affray.

We have Texas and Lousianna areas in total disarray at the moment from hurricane Harvey’s wrath.  People are without homes, homes have been destroyed or rendered unlivable due to water damage, mold and pollution.  Some landlords are demanding rent from people even on homes that can’t be lived in.  Stores are jacking up prices – price gouging – for things like water, building materials, and food.   The Governor of Texas refused Canadian assistance, and has reluctantly allowed some Mexican assistance in to the disaster area.  He claims that they can handle this themselves.  He’s a fool.  He’s asking the federal government for $120Billion dollars, with the first installment being $7.8billion having been requested thus far.  This storm aftermath is horrendous, and I believe it will just get worse as time goes on.  People can’t go back to work.  They have no transportation if their cars were lost in the flood – Houston is not known for very good public transportation systems.  Thousands are still in FEMA paid hotels and shelters, with no place to return to because their places were destroyed or rendered unlivable.  Yes, it’s truly a mess.  I hope they can make it through this and find better times ahead.

And we have North Korea threatening us with nuclear weapons, which they claim they can now mount on intercontinental ballistic missiles and hit American shores with if they choose to do so.  The rhetoric between Kim Jong U n  and Donald Trump has been bombastic.  Both posturing and trying to prove who has the bigger balls.  It’s scary.  It’s frightening to think that we are one the brink of the starting of WWIII.

Then we have ANOTHER very major hurricane bearing down on the southeastern coast, mainly Florida.  Hurrican Irma is coming in at a Category 5 hurricane, with wind speeds of 185mph, and gusts of up to 240mph.  Just what we need here right now, more destruction and devastation from mother nature.  Another natural disaster.  I have many relatives and friends in Florida and am worried about all of them.  I can only hope they are all preparing for the worst, evacuating as needed and protecting themselves.  All we can do is wait and watch and see what the storm does.  It’s not like we can turn it off…it’s coming whether we like it or not.  Sadly.  And behind it is ANOTHER hurricane as well, Jose…which we don’t yet know what direction that one will take, that still remains to be seen.

Where is our leader in all of this chaos?  What has he got to say to calm the nerves of Americans?  He’s hiding, tweeting about stupid stuff and not doing his job.  He probably has NO IDEA of HOW to handle all of these crisis situation at once. We haven’t seen his ugly face in days.  He SHOULD be front and center; on television speaking to a very nervous, scared and anxious nation.  He should be FAR MORE concerned about the health and welfare of his citizens who are in crisis around the country.  From the flood zones to the many huge wildfires in California and the West.  Yet, he is in hiding and he can barely handle a single situation, let alone multiple things happening.   I truly believe he is hiding, has secluded himself in the White House and is hoping that the generals will somehow hand it all for him.  God knows he doesn’t have the foggiest idea of what to say, even his tweets don’t make a lot of sense.  No, we are on our own, we have no leader here.  Just a fake “president” who is very, very inept.

Pray for America…please.  We need it bad right now.  So much is happening, and happening very fast, that it’s hard to know what to worry about in any given moment!

 

 

 

The Insomnia Files

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I’m awake. I should be sound asleep, dreaming of sex or something equally as deviant. But, hell no, I am wide awake and just wishing I could sleep some more; hoping that maybe after I write a little and just chill that I’ll be able to fall back to sleep for a few hours.

The news in America is just so troubling. From Trump’s continuous blunders and embarrassments to the devastation from Hurricane Harvey on Texas and Lousiana, you just can’t escape it. Every news channel is focused on these points; these topics of communal interest.

I, like everyone here, am so saddened by what is happening in Texas/Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast of Texas. From Corpus Cristi to Houston, and every small town and city in between there has been so much loss and destruction. This hurricane is the single largest natural disaster that the USA has ever witnessed or experienced on her own soil. And my fear is that we are only at the beginning of the losses – there will be so much fallout from the storm in the form of human suffering, pollution, ecological disaster, more fires, massive loss of personal property and real estate, and more. Yes, I think things will get much worse there before this is all over with.

The water is still mostly there, stagnant and putrid. The rescues continue with people still being IN the water, standing in it, sometimes neck deep. Animals are still being found, some lost, some abandoned at the last minute, and all needing food and care. Humane societies from around the country are trying to help out; some even taking in many animals to care for and help find homes for. I am sure there will be dogs headed up to Maine, I saw where the Maine shelter was preparing for them. I might even have to find room for one more little fur baby in my home for one of them.

My employer donated half a million dollars to the Hurrican Harvey relief effort; $250K to the Red Cross for use specifically for their efforts in Texas/Louisiana and another $150K to our company employee fund that will be used to help employees of the company who are affected by the storm. I thought this was very generous of them. And it makes me a little proud. At work, we are asking customers to join us by donating their change to the cause. I don’t mind asking knowing that the company themselves have made this huge donation as well. Basically, I ask each customer that comes through my line to donate the change rounded up to the nearest dollar, like if the sale is $5.47 I would ask that they donate .53 cents to the relief fund, rounding up so that the customer pays an even $6.00. Most say sure and are glad to do so. The money we raise at the counter there will go to the Red Cross’s efforts in the hurricane zone as well.

I can’t even bring myself to comment on Trump’s actions and behavior during this whole crisis. Let’s just say I believe it’s just plain – using one of his own favorite words – SAD.

Hopefully, our government will not make this a huge political battle to get funds to assist the victims and to rebuild the area.

Of course, the immigration debate and the government’s threat to deport all illegal immigrants will directly affect the rebuilding efforts. Ten percent of the population there is illegal, and most of them are construction workers. It’s just a shame that it will all become such a political battle that will severely affect so many innocent lives.

It’s turned very cold here at night. Temperatures are dropping down into the 40’s at night, brrrr…chilly willy! I wake up mornings and I’m damned near freezing! But I have yet to turn on my furnace! I refuse to start burning valuable oil, which has now skyrocketed in price because of the hurricane. They shut down all of the refineries in the Houston – Corpus Cristi area, which is where most of our heating oil and gasoline fuels come from. I ordered a load of heating oil this last Tuesday and got it at a price of $1.90/gal. Today, just a just 4 days later it’s up over $2.30/gal. And gasoline, OMG, that has gone crazy high! I paid $2.11/gal at the beginning of the week, and last night I passed the station where I usually fill up and it was at $2.67/gal.!!! That’s one helluva increase in just those few short days!!!! So, burning oil right now is a commodity that I can do without. I’ll just wear extra layers in the mornings and shed them as it warms up. The daytime temps have been up around 70-75.

With Fall coming in so early the leaves on the trees have even begun to change. It is pretty early for this to start happening here, which means that peak leave change and peak colors will be fairly early as well. I’m hoping to take a drive up to the White Mountains this season to see the foliage there. Maybe go over to Cathedral Ledge and check it out from the cliffs.

I finally got to the doctor for the pain in my arms and neck. And now I have a brace on my left wrist, immobilizing it pretty much. That seems to help. That and the addition of a non-narcotic pain reliever called Celecoxib. Between the two I’m considerably less pain and discomfort. The doctor ordered x-rays of my c-spine area, and I haven’t heard back on those yet. We’re not sure if the pain is being caused by nerve damage in the c-spine, or if it’s carpal tunnel type stuff that’s happening.

Also had my blood drawn for my quarterly level testing to make sure I am staying healthy and my medications are working properly to keep my HIV suppressed. I meet with my specialist about that this week. I’m feeling just fine, so I am not worried as I am sure the tests will show that I continue to be healthy and my virus is being kept in check.

I’ve been spending a good amount of time online and on Skype with my sweetheart. She was out of the country for a little while, traveling for her work. We managed to stay in touch thanks to Facebook’s messenger even during that time. I’ve really gotten spoiled by being able to Skype video call with her quite a bit. She’s really become the Rockstar in my life, and I’m so friggin happy about that!

Alright, it’s dawn here in Maine. Looks like it’s going to be a nice clear day, not much for clouds in the sky that I can see. I’m not sure what the day will bring, but probably some garden work and a run to the post office to mail a package to start off.

Here’s a new pic of the front of my house with the freshly painted porch and some new flower baskets and hangings.  The old place is looking pretty good!   Peace!  ~MB

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Harvey’s Devastation of Texas…

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Texas…the news coming out of Texas due to the direct hit by Hurricane Harvey is devastating.

We have a “president” that has not got the slightest clue as to what to do or how to act in any situation like this…He made an “appearance” in Texas, away from the actual disaster area, and he used it to once again continue to bolster his ego.  He spoke about it being “epic” (which it is) and about the affects on real estate and business, how bit his “turn out” was in Texas today and how “expensive” this was going to be…he showed NO empathy toward actual people or the HUMAN suffering that is happening there right now.  I was NOT impressed at all.  He has NO idea how to be empathetic toward human suffering; he himself does NOT know WHAT suffering IS or FEELS LIKE…he’s a rich, codified baby.

Trump wants to continue to worry about his rating and TV photo ops instead of worrying about what the hell he is going to do, and how he is going to react to this very devastating natural disaster.

Hurricane Harvey has devastated a large part of our country.  Tens of millions of people have been directly affected, losing all of their belongings, their livelihoods, and some their very lives.   It is horrible…beyond horrible.  There really are NO WORDS to describe this at all.  No words.

The positive side of this is that it’s other citizens, the people of Texas and beyond, that are heroically carrying out rescue mission after rescue mission.  These incredible individuals are stepping up to what is probably the biggest challenge of their lives.  And they are doing it honorably and without thought for their own personal safety.  People from all over Texas, and around the country, are going to Houston, Rockport and Corpus Cristi with trucks, boats, kayaks, canoes, rubber rafts, 4-wheelers, jet skis and anything they have that will help to rescue people and animals from the horror they are stranded in.  Even the American Cajun Navy has responded in full force.  Some are standing in water neck deep; others trying to live on the roof tops.  And these private citizens are flocking there to rescue them!  It’s EPIC alright, and epic show of human caring and kindness for their neighbors!  THAT is the biggest story of this whole catastrophe.  You can see many videos of these heroic efforts, hear interviews and see the devastation on YouTube and Facebook.

The poor animals that were left behind really tug at my heart.  To see pictures of dogs TIED up, with no way to get themselves to higher ground because they were LEFT tied up!  That should be a criminal offense in my opinion.  There were animals left in cages to drown. Horses left in stalls, with no way out.  And numerous other varieties of pets left in less than opportune conditions for survival.   Luckily, there are many that have gone to rescue these animals, hauling them out by boat and by simply carrying them through the high water.  It’s so sad to see the fear in the innocent animals’ eyes, wondering what is happening and where their owners went to.  I fear that many may never be reunited with their owners – and if owners left them behind to die then maybe they don’t need to be returned to those kinds of people anyway.  I’m sure you can give me excuses for it, but I find it unconscionable to leave a loyal pet behind…I would die with my dog rather than leave her to die alone and scared.  No matter how risky, I would take my dogs with me and chance it.

This Hurricane Harvey is going to push America to her limits.  We have never had a natural disaster here of this size, intensity or magnitude.  It will be a huge undertaking and challenge to handle all of the aftermath; all of the destruction, loss of life and loss of property.  It will take decades to rebuilt the intrastructure and for people to rebuild their homes and lives after the initial storm is over.

It will be many weeks before people get resettled into new living spaces, some temporary, some more long term.  And that is probably an understatement.  People lost EVERYTHING in this hurricane.  The lost homes, personal property and dignity.  They lost friends, relatives, children, grandparents, pets and everything beloved to them.  Businesses cannot function, most were destroyed by wind or water and will not reopen for weeks, months, a year or more — maybe never again.  This means thousands without jobs…maybe millions…the numbers will be staggering and are yet to be discussed here.  It’s a bit strange how no one is discussing numbers in all of this…except Trump exclaiming how “expensive” this is going to be.  He’s only concerned because it might cost HIM some personal money I bet.

Oil refineries are shut down.  No production.  Thus gasoline and heating oil prices are increasing daily here – and around the country.  No one knows how long they will be shuttered, or what it means to our national supply of these vital fuels.  And winter is coming here in New England.  This hurricane will affect ALL of America in some way or another.

Personally I have done several things.  I bought heating oil for my home today.  I saw it increase by 20cents in the last 2 days, so I figured I should fill my home heating fuel tank before it becomes unaffordable to me to do so.  I ended up paying $1.90 per gallon for #2 heating oil.  My tank is nearly full now, I will top it off full on Oct. 1st.

I filled my Envoy with gas today too.  Two days ago I paid $2.11/gal. and today I paid $2.33/gal at the SAME station, Irving.  So, gas and diesel pricing is on the rapid rise as well due to this hurricane.

Have written emails to my representatives, urging them to do whatever they can do to help get federal funding for Texas released as soon as possible.  Don’t play politics and make it contingent on “other” budget line items, just give them the goddamn money they need to rescue, recover, rebuild and deal with the repercussions of this horrific natural disaster.  It’s called Disaster Relief for just that reason – it should be used for those purposes and not held hostage by political in-fighting over budgets and line items.

I have remained actively vocal on Facebook.  Posting updates about the storm, photos, videos and sharing stories about the responders and the victims.  I’ve urged people to love each other more. To unite and help each other get through this.  I’ve raged against Trump and the horrible politicians of this country who are so callous about the hurricane and who are already balking at letting federal funds and other assistance go to these people.  I will continue to do all of this; continue to speak out and be vocal whenever and wherever I am able to do so.

I’ve considered trying to pull together a team to go to help in Texas  But I do not currently have a truck, boat or other equipment that they need so badly.  I would simply be in the way at this point. But in the future there may be a place for me there; something I can go and do to help them out.  Volunteerism is what is going to help these people the most over the long haul – that and federal financial assistance for food and supplies to live.  Donations are badly, badly needed there.  Everything was lost…so they need basically everything!  From toothbrushes to blankets.  Some have no shoes.  Most have just the clothing they are wearing when rescued.  They need dog food, cat food, litter and pet care supplies.  Everything we take for granted and use daily – they lost and do not have!  So, IF you can help; if YOU can do ANYTHING – even the smallest of things, like a $5 donation, please, please do it.  And keep doing it until they are out of the woods.

My heart goes out to Texas and all of her people, to my Texas friends and relatives, I send you all must love and wishes for healing and perseverance.  Stay strong. Texas Strong.

For donations and to offer help here are just a FEW places you can start:

Humane Society of the United States – Hurricane Harvey animal rescue/disaster relief

Save the Children – direct response for children affected by Hurricane Harvey

American Red Cross – Hurricane Harvey direct response

How to donate to victims of Hurricane Harvey

Peace to all.  ~MB