Lip Service

“May we think of freedom,
not as the right to do as we please,
but as the opportunity
to do what is right.”

Peter Marshall

 

Lip Service

 

Today is Memorial Day. Celebrated to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. First known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Did you know, that as of today, only 13,289 veterans have been tested for the Coronavirus and out of those tested, there are 1,129 known deaths? That’s almost a 9% mortality rate. A rate which is most likely higher due to the fact that currently, the VA has no exact number of how many veterans have died from the Coronavirus. Some 25 or more states are not even counting veteran deaths from the Coronavirus.

These veteran deaths are only deaths reported in VA hospitals not veterans who died at home, on our streets from homelessness or in civilian hospitals. To put this into perspective, just one State run veteran facility in Holyoke, Massachusetts, a 247-bed facility, 88 veterans have died. The majority of veterans dying are over the age of 65. Their living conditions are poor and many veterans have preexisting conditions such as respiratory diseases as well as conditions caused by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

With the lack of accuracy about the veteran deaths from Coronavirus, and the amount of deaths happening, my question is, where is the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilke and President Trump? Why are they not addressing this problem?

It breaks my heart to hear once again, we are letting down the people who are supposed to matter most. There’s just no excuse for us treating them the worst, when they have given us the most.

As our politicians and White House officials show their celebration for this national holiday and tell all our veterans, “thank you for your service “, in my opinion, they’re just offering nothing more than lip service.

Shine  On

Worldwide Messenger

“If you want somebody to change their mind,
it’s no good in arguing,
you have to reach the heart.“
Jane Goodall

 

Jane Goodall

I first learned about Jane Goodall back in the 1970s through a National Geographic television show. At the time, the 26-year young woman was making a name for herself with what would become a 60-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees.

Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall was born in Hampstead, London, on April 3, 1934 and grew up as a very shy child. At a year old, her father gave her a stuffed chimpanzee named Jubilee. She has said her fondness for Jubilee started her early love of animals. Then on her seventh birthday, she received a book that would forever change her life, the book was Doctor Doolittle. The drawings in the book of chimpanzees inspired her to pursue a life as a primatologist and anthropologist. If not for this book and its drawings, her fascination with chimpanzees might never have inspired her to travel to Africa at age 26 and study the life and habits of these primates.

At one point in Jane’s life she had considered studying fossils and becoming a paleontologist. But that career had to do with dead animals. She wanted to work with living animals. Her childhood dream was as strong as ever: “Somehow I must find a way to watch free, wild animals living their own, undisturbed lives. I wanted to learn things that no one else knew, uncover secrets through patient observation. I wanted to come as close to talking to animals as I could, to be like Doctor Doolittle. I wanted to move among them without fear, like Tarzan.”

When Goodall first went to Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, Africa in 1960, she was the first woman in the study of primatology, a male-dominated field at the time. She is quoted as saying, “. . . women were not accepted in the field when I started my research in the late 1950s.” She was also the first female scientist to record and understand the communication and life of the chimpanzee.

Through her lifelong dedication and knowledge, she has educated and enlightened the world about chimpanzees. On numerous occasions she has saved the lives of young and old chimpanzees. She has reached out politically through her organizations to raise awareness and funding for further research of chimpanzees.

By 1977, thanks to Goodall’s hard work and renowned research she established the Jane Goodall Institute, which supports her Gombe research. She is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. “Chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans have been living for hundreds of thousands of years in their forest, living fantastic lives, never overpopulating, never destroying the forest. I would say that they have been in a way more successful than us as far as being in harmony with the environment.”

Goodall’s tenacity, love and respect for not only chimpanzees but the environment has made a huge impact on the killing of chimpanzees in the 1970s and 1980s. She has always believed that everything on Earth is interconnected. Goodall has advocated that every day on this earth we make choices that not only impact ourselves but our planet. By making daily small changes to our lifestyle, we stop destroying not only wildlife but our future. “I think my message to the politicians who have within their power the ability to make change is, ‘Do you really, really not care about the future of your great-grandchildren? Because if we let the world continue to be destroyed the way we are now, what’s the world going to be like for your great-grandchildren?’

During the last six decades, her groundbreaking work, has evolved into a personal quest. To empower others to make the world a better place for all living things. She travels the world tirelessly lecturing and spreading her knowledge of our closest relative, the chimpanzee. “You cannot share your life with a dog, or a cat, and not know perfectly well that animals have personalities and minds and feelings.”

Goodall has become synonymous as the leader in researching primates as well as conservation issues throughout the world. If you ask me, Jane Goodall is the Mother Theresa of all creatures big and small. If you ask her, she humbly replies that she feels like she’s been chosen as a worldwide messenger.

Shine On

Designated Survivor

 

“Without truth, there can be no trust.”
Tom Kirkman

 

KIEFER SUTHERLAND

Back in 2016, there was a new ABC television show I enjoyed watching, Designated Survivor, staring Kiefer Sutherland. If you’re not familiar with this show, you can now watch it on Netflix.

The show begins when an attack on the night of the State of the Union address claims the lives of the President and most of the Cabinet. A Housing and Urban Development secretary, Tom Kirkman is catapult to the oval office as designated survivor.

With the onset of two White House staff members testing positive to the Coronavirus, I can’t help but remember this riveting show and began thinking: Who would become our Designated Survivor if both Trump and Pence become unable to perform as President and Vice President?

The procedure for Designated Survivors originated in the 1950s during the Cold War because of possible risk of nuclear attack. There have been several changes to how our country would handle such an emergency. Under the Presidential Succession Act, the Vice President, Mike Pence would be the first in the line of succession to the presidency, followed by the speaker of the House, Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and the president pro tempore of the Senate, GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley. After those three officials are the Cabinet officials. The Secretary of State is fourth in the line of succession, followed by the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General, with the Secretary of Homeland Security — the most recently created department — in the last place.

In order to be the designated survivor, a cabinet member must be eligible to be President. For example, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, can’t be the designated survivor, as she was born in Taiwan and is thus constitutionally disqualified from serving as a designated survivor.

Shine On

Paradise and Joyfulness

“I’d rather have roses on my table
then diamonds on my neck.”
Emma Goldman

 

Paradise and Joyfulness

Today on my walk, I came across some birds of paradise that were in full bloom. I couldn’t resist taking some photos of this exotic looking flower which happens to be the official flower of Los Angeles.

How did this South African flower become LAs official flower? Well, back in 1952, Mayor Fletcher Bowron decided to name the bird of paradise the official flower of LA, after heavy lobbying by seed company president and civic booster Manfred Meyberg. Soon after, the plant and seeds from this orange and blue flower became a hot item in nurseries throughout California.

The bird of paradise flower is so named because its magnificently colorful petals resemble a colorful bird in flight. The flower is a symbol of paradise as well as a symbol of joyfulness.

How apropos for Angeleno’s official City flower to be a symbol of paradise and joyfulness.

Shine On

Time Traveling

“Once confined to fantasy and science fiction,
time travel is now simply an engineering problem.”
Michio Kaku

Mr Peabody

Mr. Peabody, his boy Sherman and the “Wayback Machine”

The concept of traveling backward and forward in time has always held my fascination. My interest began as a child. Introduced to the idea of time travel by none other than Mr. Peabody and his Wayback machine.

Conceptually, time travel goes back several centuries. Long before H. G. Wells wrote the book, The Time Machine, Japanese, Hindu, and Buddhist all wrote about time travel. In more recent times, people such as Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku have discussed the possibilities of traveling back and forth in time.

Time travel will forever be one of my favorite genres of novels and movies. Whether I’m reading Stephen King’s novel 11/26/63 or watching, Midnight in Paris, and Back to the Future for the hundredth time, the idea of going back to a time before I existed will always hold my interest in time traveling.

Shine On