Category Archives: News and Current Events

Nicolle Wallace’s comments on our soldiers at war offends me

photo courtesy of ABC The View
photo courtesy of ABC The View

Is Nicolle Wallace going to be another Elisabeth Hassellback or is she going to drive me insane? I loved watching Elisabeth, which is saying something as I am a flaming liberal.  I disagreed with her, but I at least felt she spoke intelligently and respectfully.

Nicolle Wallace is new to me, like many viewers of the ABC show The View.  The first clip I’ve watched of Nicolle on the show has already gotten under my skin.  I am deeply offended by her and her choice to say:

In this country we don’t all go to war right? The military families go to war. Those mom’s and dad’s of soldiers, men and women, the wives, the kids, they go years without seeing their kids. Those deployments are endless.

I think it’s doing our military a disservice to say they are the only ones at war. To say their families are the only ones in America who are at war with them is just wrong. While I agree they may go through a lot more I disagree with Nicolle’s comments none-the-less.

Nicolle, you’re a conservative right? Well I think your comments are ignorant and foolish and not because you are a conservative, but because you seem to forget one important thing. We are the United States of America. We are one country united in a belief of freedom and democracy. When one man or woman stands behind enemy lines we stand with them. Maybe not in person, but in spirit.

If we didn’t then what is the point in joining the military to defend the people of this great country?  They are fighting for us, but also with us.

I’m sick of political commentators being separatist. There are thousands of men and women around this country who stand behind our men and women in arms. They cook food, they prepare care packages, they send letters, they perform with the USO, they train dogs to go overseas and watch as they are shipped off.  It’s just not right to negate all the other people who support our soldier and contribute to our many war efforts.

I think military men and women and their families deserve 100% of our respect, gratitude and admiration.  That’s where Nicolle and I probably agree.

None-the-less we are all one. We are America.  Remember after 9/11 when you would drive down the road and see flags flying from car windows, bumper magnets supporting our troops, and symbols remembering those we lost.

We can’t separate ourselves from the men and women in uniform or isolate them and their families. We need to stand beside them and behind them. We need to stand as one because they aren’t alone in their efforts to fight for freedoms around the world.

As a child of the military, my dad being a retired Colonel in the army, I grew up seeing just how many men and women dedicate their lives to our army, but aren’t actually enlisted. While they may not be risking their lives like soldiers they may be putting in the necessary effort to build safe tanks or safety equipment that is just as vital. Or they may stand and prey for their neighbors every night whom they love and cherish but know are overseas fighting.

Our military is a team. It’s a family and it’s a country. We are the United States and when one of us is at war we all are at war whether we agree with the war or not.

And I don’t agree with war.

 

Time to Tweet for Good! Join me in supporting clean beaches on Social Media.

8ForTheBay

 

PLEASE READ AND JOIN ME! I WANT YOUR HELP!

As a resident of Los Angeles, California I feel it is my obligation to help keep one of our greatest natural resources clean and healthy.  That’s why I am personally supporting Heal the Bay on September 20th for Coastal Cleanup Day.

If you are reading this, whether you are from California or all the way on the other side of the world in a country like Japan you can help make this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day a huge success.

On this day hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the world join together to cleanup their local beaches, rivers, creeks and watersheds. That includes over 10,000 people in the LA area according to the Heal the Bay website.

I see events like this as having multiple goals.  Personally I see it as a great day to cleanup our beaches and coastal waterways, but also as a way to raise awareness throughout Southern California and the rest of the world about pollution in our waters.

How can you raise awareness from the comfort of your home and help this day become a huge success? Join Heal the Bay’s Thunderclap campaign.

It’s like a giant online flashmob, and if it goes as planned, they will have hundreds of people tweeting the same message about Coastal Cleanup Day at the same time. This could result in #CoastalCleanupDay trending, which is great news for everyone.

All you have to do is signup to share your support for Coastal Cleanup Day on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.). You will help inform the world about how many people value clean beaches.

Join here: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/16062-8forthebay

Invite your friends to join, share on Facebook and retweet as much as possible.

Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston, let me help you with your egg problem

Is it me or does it seem that everyone in Los Angeles lives, eats and sleeps entertainment and celebrities?  It’s a hobby here just as much as a career.  Unfortunately for me, trying to find a hobby is pretty hard.  When you have no clue what type of hobby you are looking for and following celebrities doesn’t suit you, what do you do?

In my life I have done it all or at least tried it all.  I’ve tried dance, color guard, playing the trombone, the piano, and the recorder obviously.  I’ve tried running, kayaking, swimming and frequenting the gym. I’ve tried painting, sewing, and knitting.  I’ve tried reading and writing, but more recently I have tried baking.  I feel like I’ve tried it all.

Baking and decorating cakes and cupcakes is one of the hobbies that I am going to be continuing.  There is something relaxing about baking the perfect cake.  I think it has to do with my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  Baking can be about measurements and recipes. Everything is spelled out for me.  If I follow the instructions exactly I know my cake will turn out perfectly.  If I decorate it slowly and with concentration I know it will be beautiful. It calms me down, which someone with OCD needs because I spend a lot of time with obsessive thoughts repeating in my head.

The issue with this hobby is that baking is expensive.  You have to buy eggs, flower, cake flower, sugar, vanilla, and many other ingredients.  I forgot, you also have to buy all the supplies like mixers and bowls. I’d give anything to just have one ingredient free to help cut the cost of this expensive but needed hobby. I haven’t baked in over a month. Instead I am stuck with exercise and television.

Earlier tonight I was watching episodes of Chelsea Lately that I had on my DVR.  The guest on the episode I was watching was Chelsea’s dear friend, Jennifer Aniston’s partner Justin Theroux.  Chelsea is at her best when she knows her guest and today was no different.

The story they discussed that really caught my attention was when Justin explained how he and Jennifer have so many chickens they don’t know what to do with all the eggs.  Just to get rid of them they take them to people when they visit their homes.  Everyone except Chelsea that is. She wouldn’t use them.

Well, I have a solution for them.  I know this contradicts what I said above, but I think Chelsea can invite me over to her place one day.  Then Jennifer and Justin can come by and bring their eggs.  We can all hang out. Then I can leave with their eggs and bake a fabulous cake.

That’s not weird is it? It can be an egg party. I’m just saying Justin, let me help you out with your egg problem… it has nothing to do with my being a fan of Chelsea, Jennifer and you!

The Little Red Dog dramatically “cancels” balloon release, sparks further frustration

Oh my, what did I get myself involved in?  When I wrote a blog yesterday about The Little Red Dog I thought to myself that I wanted to find a way to voice my opposition to their planned balloon release, which they did have formally planned as can be seen on the screenshot to their advertisement here, which the CEO of The Little Red Dog has admitted to posting (email below) and since has edited it to remove the offensive inclusion of a balloon release after we exchanged a number of emails.

After speaking with the CEO I feel that I was not wrong in the posting of my blog.  The organization did plan to host a balloon release as part of their celebration of having saved 300 dogs in the past 3 years.  I applaud the work they have done to rescue these dogs, but I stand by my belief that there are better ways to celebrate the saving of 300 dogs lives than threatening the lives of thousands of wild animals and marine life.

The CEO has stated they will not be participating in a balloon release. I applaud the organization for this decision.  While the CEO did try to pass this situation off as a simple idea that was floated out in the planning phases of this event and never was formally decided on, it simply appears to not be true. Why did he advertise the balloon release if it was never decided upon? (click here for a screenshot of the ad as of this morning, July 29th).

Regardless it sounds like the balloon release is off. Thank you! I am proud of the organization for making this decision. At the suggestion of a friend of mine I will make a donation to support their work as a thank you for their cancellation.

With that said, since I wrote a blog strongly advocating against the decisions that were made by this organization I feel it’s only fair to allow them to defend themselves. In an email sent out to their list serve (and myself) the CEO makes the following claims:

I wanted to let you all know about our Founder’s Day on August 2nd.
We are celebrating saving 300 dogs in the last three years and placing
them into loving homes.

I thought it best to address the hate email campaign started by ________. We did float the idea of doing a balloon release as a small
part of our celebration. ____________, who was not copied on our email immediately screamed at me all in CAPS, throwing a tantrum that is unacceptable for anyone past the age of four. It continued, I asked her to stop emailing me. She continued anyway.

When ________ got no response from us, she launched a full assault
campaign, never bothering to consider that the release may not still
be a part of our plans. After we floated the idea, we didn’t get a
lot of interest so we scrapped it. Many of you have written professional and kind emails, seeking only to inform, we appreciate that and the kind words about the good work we do. Some of you have made this a personal attack. I would defend your right to think and say anything you want, but we don’t do drama and like many of you, we do try to professionally and positively educate and would never do to anyone what has been done to us.

Most of all, I am sorry for _____ that she has nothing better to do
with her time than to try and smear a charity who does good work and that only wished to take one afternoon to celebrate the good work our volunteers and fosters do. Again the release would have been a smart part of that celebration.

Now ______ is likely to defend her actions as concern, but there is a
right and a wrong way to inform people. Funny, I have never see ________ forward any of our emails that asked for a volunteer or foster or a donation for a sick or injured dog. I only heard from Marie once this year before this, she was seeking help in finding a dog for one of her adopters, and help placing a military dog. We immediately offered to take the displaced military dog and offered a dog that fit what she
was looking for. That is what we do; help. It is too bad that Marie
cannot use her energy and resources for good rather than bullying
people who don’t deserve it.

Wonder if ______ will tell people she was wrong with as much
zeal-guessing not.

I have attached a flyer, we would love to see you there.

PJ Rosch
CEO & Top Dog,
The Little Red Dog, Inc.

My mind was blown by this response. I received this same email from Mr. Rosch and I didn’t honestly feel comfortable with it.  I am not here to participate in petty personal attacks. I simply wanted to know whether they planned to go forward with a balloon release and if so I wanted to let them know my personal feelings about the issue as a resident of Southern California. Not only was it rather unprofessional, regardless if it is true or not, but it equates a persons passion to save all living creatures as a hate campaign.  That’s just not right. It’s also not right to send out an email personally attacking an individual for standing up for something they believe in.

That’s why I’ve hidden the name of the person Mr. Rosch is accusing of making this all up, even though there is proof that The Little Red Dog had planned to move forward with their balloon release as recent as this morning.

The woman who Mr. Rosch references in his email wrote back to all involved in a great way:

Dear Ms. Rosch,Your plan was ill-fated because it would harm animals.  That was a statement of the fact and will always be.You did receive information from us, but you ridiculed them all and showed no interested in being educated about how harmful balloons are to wild animals and environment.  You clearly stated that you had no plan to forego the balloon release; this is what you wrote to someone who also asked you to stop, thus your new claim that it was not a final plan is false:  ” Do a little research on the material that is used at these events before you express your concern.  Neither plastic nor rubber are used.  Why not take the time to foster, volunteer or donate next time instead of voicing your concern?”I have nothing to defend myself about.  There was no “campaign” organized by me as you allege, Mr. Rosch.  I shared my concerns with my fellow animal advocates.  I sent them ONE email about your horrid plan, which they also became concerned about and took actions on their own.  
I’m glad that this outcry from the community eventually became a wakeup call for you — a call to withdraw your ill-planned balloon release.There’s only one person who’s running a defamation “campaign” here, and it is you, Mr. Rosch.  Your personal attack and false accusations are not only immature, but slanderous and merely reflect your lack of dignity.
ONWARD.

The personal attacks are unnecessary and I couldn’t agree more with this response.  I was personally attacked and accused of conducting a hate campaign against The Little Red Dog last night on twitter due to the blog I posted last night. My blog states two things clearly:

1. I support The Little Red Dog’s mission 100%

2. I don’t support their decision to host a balloon release

None-the-less I received countless tweets from the organizations twitter account @littlereddoginc accusing me of not caring about the dogs they save and for conducting a hate campaign. Maybe they should read what people are actually saying. There is nothing involving hate written by me. There is nothing but support for the dogs the organization rescues and the wild life the organization threatened.

Let’s pull our acts together and realize that all sides of the situation want the same thing… to make the world a better place for a living animals.

It’s funny because Mr. Rosch also wrote me saying:

Bobby, thank you for our response. I did not realize our event on OC Register still listed the release. I have augmented it.
 
All of our social media is handled by volunteers who work full time (we hope to be big enough that one day that we will have these people on staff), I am sure of them will get back to you if you have asked a question. We take our mission very seriously, and would never attack anyone, while I understand your networks may take issue with the release, we find it better to get all of the information up front, inform & educate professionally and politely, and be accepting of everyone. That how I was raised and how we raised our kids. We do not like discrimination of any kind and I think it is safe to say there are always many sides to the story.
 
Again, I appreciate you reaching out. Best to you
 
PJ Rosch
The Little Red Dog, Inc

 

While I am sure Mr. Rosch does work professionally, I have yet to see professionalism by the organization in the responses to this issue. All that had to be answered was the question, “is your organization going to be participating in a balloon release.” 

These responses weren’t necessary.

Use Red Dog

 

Did you read what I actually said? Where is the hate? Read my blog, I 100% said I support your work. Implying that I do not find the rescue of 300 dogs in 3 years to be okay is just disrespectful and flat out false. I’m disgusted by this organizations misrepresentation of what people are saying and their inappropriate response to civil disagreements.

I wish I had been responded to as calmly as I had reached out to them about the issue. No personal attacks were made by me and I went as far as to offer to brainstorm alternatives to replace the balloon release.

At the end of the day with the Balloon Release canceled though I now change my call to action to donate $25 to The Little Red Dog as a thank you for making the decision to cancel the balloon release and to congratulate them for their hard work on behalf of over 300 dogs in need. I made my donation this morning!

Tell The Little Red Dog That Releasing Balloons is not okay!

It’s always a sad day when a great organization makes a bad decision. We know that it happens everyday because organizations are run by individuals and individuals are only human. None-the-less it takes other individuals to make change. I hope you will join me in writing and calling The Little Red Dog, an organization based out of Laguna Hills, CA,  to tell them a balloon release event is not acceptable.

The Little Red Dog has a mission that I stand behind with all my heart.  They claim the following:

Dogs are man’s best friend, but it is not always the other way
around. The Little Red Dog was founded in memory of a little red American Pit Bull Terrier who did not make it. If you are familiar with the Michael Vick dog fighting case chronicled in The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption. The Little Red Dog was brutally beaten to death by Vick and his cronies because she had the audacity to not to want to fight.

The Little Red Dog fights for all the dogs, red, blue, tan, white, brown, black and all colors in between. We do not discriminate against ANY breed; that’s because we are a real rescue, and we will help as many animals as we can. Our primary goal is to get them into loving homes. Our hope that some day all of
them make it out, but most of all, we will never forget the Little Red Dog and many others who did not.

I was living in Richmond, VA when Michael Vick was arrested and taken to trial. I value the efforts of all those who tried to rescue the dogs victimized by Vick and his dog fighting ring.  None-the-less one right doesn’t cover a wrong.

On August 2nd at the organization’s Founder’s Day event they plan to sale biodegradable balloons for $5 to be released into the air by participants. This is wrong!

This is an event hosted by an animal rescue organizations that take on kill shelters, but now are participating in an activity that can kill countless marine life from fish and turtle to birds and other animal life.

As I explained an in email to the organization I support their mission with all my heart as an animal lover, owner of two beautiful dogs (one of which I rescued this year) and a supporter of no kill shelter.  With that said I do not understand how an organization that doesn’t believe in harming, endangering or killing innocent animals would participate in a balloon release endangering marine wildlife.

With an organization having many dogs waiting to be loved and all of the dogs are said to have recently been rescued from kill shelters across Southern California (according to their website) I feel that the organization should care about the well-being of all animals and not just a select handful of dogs, as important as it is for them to be rescued?

I appreciate that The Little Red Dog has let it be known that they will not be using plastic or rubber balloons and do not wish to harm the environment.

Too bad they still will be harming the environment.  Using “biodegradable” balloons doesn’t erase the problem you are creating. They don’t disappear overnight. Not to mention if you have ribbons or any plastic clips to close the balloons those also pose significant risk to marine life and birds.

To help The Little Red Dog straighten out their priorities, I strongly suggest they read the article “Plastics and Their Impacts in the Marine Environment” by Anthony L. Andrady, Program Manager and Senior Research Scientist, Chemistry and Life Sciences Division, Research Triangle Institute, North Carolina. He states:

“Latex rubber balloons are an important category of product in the marine environment.  Promotional releases of balloons that descend into the sea pose a serious ingestion and/or entanglement hazard to marine animals.  Based on the fairly on the fairly rapid disintegration of balloons on exposure to sunlight in air, the expectation is that balloons do not pose a particular significant problem.  In an experiment carried out in North Carolina it was observed that balloons exposed floating in seawater deteriorated much slower than those exposed in air, and even after 12 months of exposure still retained their elasticity.”

Biodegradable doesn’t mean the materials vanish overnight. By releasing balloons into the air this nonprofit organization is trying to good but is actually doing a very bad thing. There are a hundred ways to remember those animals that may have passed away or to make a statement for your organization.  Try bubbles for instance!

I have a lot of experience in the area of events like this and if you need help brainstorming last minute alternatives I would go as far as offering my help.

I, in good conscious, could never support this organization as long as it aligns itself with such reckless actions. I will also ask my friends, family and social networks to spread the word of this potentially horrible event that threatens our coastal animal life.

To let The Little Red Dog know that you are against the balloon release write info@thelittlereddog.com or call 949-378-6103. There is also a contact form that can be found on their website here: http://thelittlereddog.com/contact.

You can tell them on twitter at @littlereddoginc or on Facebook here! 

 

Virginia, soon to be for ALL LOVERS, and not just the selected few!

When I woke up this morning I was struck with excitement.  It’s an excitement that I use to feel back when I was studying political science in undergrad at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).  It’s an excitement I get every time I realize how great of a country we live in.

We have our faults in America, but we also have a system of government, while frustrating, that is structured in a way that is intended to protect the basic civil and human rights of all citizens.  Our government, its officials and guiding principles are there to make sure no population, whether gay, straight, black, white, Muslim, Christian or otherwise are marginalized and treated as a lessor human-being than all other American Citizens.

Back in 2006 when I was finally old enough to vote in the United States I got to vote against the Marshall-Newman Amendment, a constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage and prohibits same-sex couples from attaining any other form of legal family status.  The amendment passed and I felt rejected by the very state I called my home.

Virginia, a state that has the slogan, Virginia is for Lovers decided to deny love between two people simply based on their sexual orientation.  Virginia was no longer for lovers no matter what the state wanted to project.

I moved away in 2007 and swore to never look back.  I wanted to live where I was accepted. I wanted my tax dollars to go to a state that valued my citizenship.  I wanted any revenue from a future wedding I may have to go to support local businesses in states that support same-sex couples and our basic civil right to marry the partner we love.

Now, years later, my heart is starting to race with excitement. The political process has played out.  While a majority in the state, back in 2006, were bullying the minority into accepting their religious views against same-sex marriage as our reality by using our voting system as a method of intimidation, the state is firing back by ruling against the ban.

This day, July 28th, will be a day I will never forget.  The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in my home of Richmond, VA ruled in favor of same-sex couples’ freedom to marry upholding the previous marriage ruling that came out of Virginia in February.  

Soon, LGBT individuals in the state of Virginia will see their civil rights realized, but even more importantly we will now be equal to the other citizens of our state. No longer will we be told we are not good enough to be recognized for our love. No longer will we be told that a straight couples love for one another is any more or less valid than ours.

What makes me more excited, if LGBT couples are allowed to marry in Virginia I will no longer have to worry about hospital visitation issues if I am ever sick and in Virginia.  Hospitals in the state currently have the right to deny same-sex partners from visiting loved ones in the hospital due to family only rules.

According to Freedom to Marry’s website:

The decision is not effective immediately. Buzzfeed‘s Chris Geidner explains, “According to the court’s judgment in the case, the judgment will take effect after the mandate is issued in the case. The mandate, under the court’s rules, will be issued ‘7 days after expiration of the time to file a petition for rehearing expires, or 7 days after entry of an order denying a timely petition for panel rehearing, rehearing en banc, or motion for stay of mandate, whichever is later.’

Here are just a few of the social media photos that made my morning a bit brighter.

 

10442336_685938458147145_8839480148453380861_n
A photo compliments of Southerners for the Freedom to Marry
10534072_10154460729490093_423310427020477492_n
Photo credit: Freedom to Marry
10556262_10152562891394339_8395049509997613963_n
Photo Credit: Equality NC
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Photo Credit: Human Rights Campaign #MarriageMomentum #Virginia

 

And the case goes on for Laurence Einuis

I’ve received a few questions about what is going on with Mr. Laurence Einuis and the ongoing case against him.  Rumors have swirled for a few weeks that an attorney review was scheduled for July 2nd, but no one seems to be able to find information on that court date.

CoverAccording the Criminal Case Details provided by the General District Court of Fairfax County Virginia Laurence Einuis was charged under code section 18.2-374.3 which accuses him of using communications systems to facilitate certain offenses involving children (for a full explanation of the charge click here). This charge is a class 5 felony charge which means if found guilty Einuis would face a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than 10 years, or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.

The offense date was filed as June 2, 2014 and the arrest date was June 5, 2014 by Detective Nick Boffi.  According to Detective Boffi’s LinkedIn profile he has been with the Fairfax County Police Department just shy of 22 years having joined the force in October of 1992.  With close ties to the high school world of Northern Virginia, having graduated from Chantilly High School in 1990, it comes as no surprise to me that he works to protect children in the wonderful county of Fairfax.

On June 6, 2014 Einuis was arraigned in courtroom 2k at the Fairfax County Court.  On July 2nd he was scheduled for an attorney review which is listed as having been continued.  His next court date was scheduled for 2:00 pm EST for the preliminary hearing, but it has been continued already.  The continuance is listed as agreed upon by both the defendant and prosecution.

 

The next preliminary hearing is now scheduled for August 26, 2014 at 2:00 PM EST.  Einuis will be represented by Defense Attorney Gary Moliken.  Not much information is available on Mr. Moliken at this point, but I will do some investigation.

 

For those of you just learning about this case Laurence Einuis was the director and teacher for West Springfield High School’s band program.  He was arrested in early June after a parent found inappropriate messages sent from Einuis to an underage student. A second victim has stepped forward, but information is not yet available on those additional charges.

Stay tuned for more information and to read about the allegations against Mr. Einuis check out my previous postings here!

To read the case details visit the Fairfax County Court website or you can review a PDF of the case details here: Laurence Einuis Case Information as of 7/25/2014.