Living in Broken America

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By Cindy Robinson

The United States of America is broken. We live in a country that is failing its citizens. Growing up I learned about the different political parties representing our country, that each has its own ideals based on their moral beliefs. We learned the purpose of having a fairly equal representation of those parties in our governing offices is to work together, to compromise on issues affecting our country and its citizens – things like healthcare, wages, housing, and protecting our population.

However, our political parties of today have long forgotten the art of compromise, their primary goal is only to further their own agendas and keep the pockets of those already rolling in wealth well lined. Our parties no longer work together to help the American people. They merely work against the opposing party to prevent any positive change for the American people without any regard for the impact these decisions will have on Americans.

An article recently posted on PBS.org pictures hunger in America, showcasing how a variety of families survive on their meager earnings and the small amount of government assistance each receives.  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/picturing-hunger-in-america/#the-rundown . The article also highlights how those in need spend endless hours waiting to get any assistance they are applying for. How is an unemployed person supposed to effectively search for a job that will sustain them when they spend half of one day waiting to turn in paperwork to apply for food stamps only to be told they need to wait further to actually receive the aid if they are approved? Then that person spends the better part of another day waiting to turn in paperwork for the next type of assistance they may be applying for.

Back in December Congress voted to end the extension of unemployment benefits for more than one million Americans. The rug was instantly pulled out from under anyone on unemployment. Instead of receiving a bi-weekly unemployment claim, they were mailed a surprise letter indicating their claim had ended, even if they had money remaining on their claim. While I understand, and support one of the opinions behind this move – to get those off unemployment that are just milking the system, its overall effect has been to send more Americans into the system of applying for benefits, increasing the burden on our already overtaxed economy.

I am one of the more than one million Americans affected by this vote. I was laid off by my employer of nearly 8 years in 2013 when they decided to close their California office and move operations east. In addition to constantly applying for as many jobs in my field as possible, I have spent the better part of the last two months seeking assistance of every kind possible that I could locate with almost no results. I started with dialing 211, the United Way, which is supposed to be a collective listing of resources that a person in need can contact in their area. The people that answer the phones are woefully under trained. I called twice in fact and each time they looked up resources by my zip code and simply told me there wasn’t any rental assistance available in my area and they also weren’t helping with gas bills right now. They neglected to tell me that there is an entire list of resources available on my county website and that while some agencies are approved to offer rental assistance, they are out of funding right now and the same goes for utility bill assistance. I only discovered that these resources existed because I am a tech savvy person. What happens when an elderly person or anyone who isn’t tech savvy calls and receives the same answer? Does that person just give up because they were told there aren’t resources available?

America-BrokenWhile I am finally being called in to interview for some great companies in Southern California, those who are hiring are also being very thorough and going through long lists of applicants to decide who is right for the job. Long gone are the days when you’d interview and be hired on the spot or within a couple days, organizations are now taking weeks to make a decision.

During my research for great resources to help sustain my household during these challenging times, I entered a contest on 102.7 KIIS FM, Los Angeles hit radio station hoping to win a $1,000 prize. I discovered there is also a Ryan Seacrest Foundation and sent in my information to them. I never heard back from them, even though I provided information on the deadline I was facing.

I’ve reached the point where I am losing everything. The long list of resources who’s primary goal is listed as preventing homelessness don’t have any assistance to offer, decisions on jobs applied to are moving forward slowly so I am losing my rental home of six years.

I’m a college educated administrative professional with strong computer skills combined with great social media and freelance photography skills looking for a job in the Inland Empire area of Southern California along with a needing a new home that will accept me, a child, cats, dogs and an alligator lizard.

download It seems the only true assistance out there today is community, people helping people as our government and assistance organizations continue to fail us. Today’s headlines focused on the story of Shanesha Taylor in Arizona, a homeless mother of two, who left her young sons in the car while she went into a job interview. While I don’t condone leaving young children unattended, why aren’t there more readily available resources in this situation? How is she supposed to get a job and take care of her family if there isn’t child care to support her so she can go on an interview? Luckily for Shanesha, Amanda Bishop stepped in and set up a fundraising effort on youcaring.com and quickly raised $70,000 for the mother of two.   http://ktla.com/2014/04/01/homeless-mom-arrested-after-leaving-kids-in-car-during-job-interview/#axzz2xhHpgbUy She’s one of the lucky ones who had a kind stranger step in to help her during her time of need.

So I’m asking each one of you that read this to please help those in need around you, even if you don’t know them. We’re all battling something but if more of us work together, lives can be saved, lives can be improved. Be grateful for what you have and share your extras with those who need it.

 

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FREE Pizza! Who wants one? Hungry Howie’s Has One For You

Hungry Howie’s pizza is offering up a free small cheese pizza to customers this week who head over to their Facebook page, like the page and submit their name & email address for the coupon to be emailed to you. The catch is, you have to get the pizza this week as the coupon expires this Thursday, October 17, 2013 at close of business.

You can visit their webpage for a list of locations to see if there is one near you. When you complete the form on their Facebook page it does require you to select your store location so if yours isn’t on that list then it isn’t part of the promotion.  A free little pizza sounds like a quick dinner option to me this week! Just add some garlic bread and a salad at home and you’re all set.

Hungry Howie’s is also a big support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation so your “like” on their Facebook page during the month of October will also generate a donation to the NBCF. There is also a donation link directly on the page if you care to donate more to a great cause.

 

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The Rolling Stones Unleash Crossfire Hurricane

 As part of the ongoing celebration marking the Rolling Stones 50th anniversary, the stadium rockers will release Crossfire Hurricane next week in the USA which documents the key periods of the Rolling Stones’ career and their incredible journey.

As quoted from the Rolling Stones press release, “Directed by Brett Morgen, Crossfire Hurricane provides a visually stunning and an amazing  perspective on the Stones’ unparalleled journey from blues-obsessed teenagers in the early 60’s to rock royalty. It’s all here in panoramic candor, from the Marquee Club to Hyde Park, from Altamont to Exile, from club gigs to stadium extravaganzas.

With never-before-seen footage and fresh insights from the band themselves, the film will delight longtime devotees, as well as a new generation of fans, with its uniquely immersive style and tone. Crossfire Hurricane places the viewer right on the frontline of the band’s most legendary escapades.

As befits the first rock band to reach the 50-year milestone with their global stature now greater than ever, the film combines extensive historical footage, much of it widely unseen, with contemporary commentaries by Mick JaggerKeith RichardsCharlie WattsRonnie Wood and former Stones Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor. Period interviews, extensive live performance material and news archives give the production a truly kinetic aura and no-holds-barred approach.

Bonus features on the DVD and Blu-Ray include previously unreleased concert footage -  “Live in Germany ‘65”, NME Poll Winners concert footage from 1964 and 1965, a new interview with director Brett Morgen, “The Sound and Music of Crossfire Hurricane”, footage from The Arthur Haynes Show (1964), and the theatrical trailer.

Crossfire Hurricane received its worldwide premiere at the London Film Festival in October, where Mick JaggerKeith RichardsCharlie Watts and Ronnie Wood all hit the red carpet.”

Crossfire Hurricane is now available to order in the USA digitally on iTunes, Blu-ray and DVD.

The Rolling Stones are currently in the midst of their 50 & Counting North American Tour which hits Anaheim, CA on May 15th. So far stops around the country have included guests like No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani, Katy Perry and Tom Waits along with the live debut of Emotional Rescue. There are scattered seats left for some of these shows. Don’t miss your chance to witness rock royalty live! Stop by Ticketmaster today and see if you can grab a pair of tickets before they disappear.

 

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FREE Seventh Generation Sample, McDonald’s Coupon

I found a few good deals today while scouring the internet. You can get a free sample of Ovaltine Stick Packs by visiting their Facebook page, liking the page and clicking on the “stick pack” tab. Then fill in your details and your done! Here’s the link to make it quick & easy for you. Ovaltine FREE sample Supplies are limited so hurry over to request your sample.

Target is currently offering a free sample of Seventh Generation all natural personal care. This sample is limited to certain zip codes but you will have to visit the site and enter your zip code to see if you qualify. Luckily, my zip code qualified and after answering a few simple questions I was able to choose either a face product or lotion. Visit the Target Sample Page now to see if you qualify before these disappear!

Image courtesy of http://www.mcdonalds.com/

 

McDonald’s is also offering a rare $1 coupon on their new 250 calorie Egg White Delight breakfast sandwich. For a limited time, you can try this new sandwich for just $1 with the coupon! Visit the McDonald’s site here and click on the blue diamond with the $1 in the middle to claim your coupon. I don’t expect these will last long so print it while you can.

I also found a good coupon for Earthbound Farms organic carrots .75 cents off. That’s posted on our Facebook page. Visit us on Facebook to grab that coupon. I know Walmart in my area stocks these carrots and with this coupon they will be free or nearly free!

Have you come across any great deals this week? Please post them in the comments section below to share with our readers!

 

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Rolling Stones to Offer a Few More $85 Seats

rolling-stones-announce-north-american-tour-datesAfter whipping Los Angeles into a frenzy over the weekend by playing a “surprise” club show at the Echoplex on Saturday, today the Rolling Stones announced that a small number of the hard to come by $85 tickets may become available for some venues after production sets up the show. If you are interested in trying to obtain these tickets, which are only available in pairs and must be picked up in person with a valid I.D., register here to be notified if any become available.

For those of us who couldn’t get into Saturday’s show, take a look at Getty Images Photographer Kevin Mazur’s coverage of the rare club gig here. Celebrity guests in attendance included Johnny Depp, No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani, Bruce Willis, Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen and star of the CBS hit show, NCIS, actor Mark Harmon.

The Stones kick off their 50 & Counting Tour this Friday, May 3rd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Saturday night’s setlist included the following songs. I’m sure fans of the band can expect to hear these along with many other great songs rotated into the set as the tour gets under way. The only special guest the band have confirmed to date is guitarist Mick Taylor.

You Got Me Rocking
Respectable
She’s So Cold
Live With Me
Street Fighting Man
That’s How Strong My Love Is
Little Queenie
Just My Imagination
Miss You
Love In Vain (with Mick Taylor)
Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor)
Start Me Up

ENCORE
Brown Sugar
Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Grrr! is available now via the Rolling Stones store in a variety of formats including the standard, deluxe and super deluxe editions, t-shirts and digitally via iTunes for those who need immediate “Satisfaction”. Check for concert tickets for your city here

 

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H.I.M. Release Tears On Tape

HIM-1-300dpiFinnish rockers H.I.M. are back after a long time off with their 8th album Tears on Tape via Razor & Tie in the U.S. & Canada.

Tears On Tape was recorded in their home country with long-time producer Hiili Hiilesmaa and mixed by long time-band associate, Tim Palmer (U2, Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam, Robert Plant).

It’s been three years since the band – Ville Valo on vocals, Linde Lindström on guitar, Burton Puurtinen on keyboards, Migé Paananen on bass and Gas Karppinen on drums have toured the USA. Drummer Gas Karppinen suffered from carpel tunnel syndrome which forced the band to take a long break while his health and ability to continue drumming were evaluated. It also gave the band time to pause and reflect if H.I.M. would carry on. Luckily for fans of the love metal band, Gas is back in fine drumming form and the band are on the road! After a handful of European record release dates, the band are due to hit the USA for a quick run of shows before they return to Europe for the summer concert festival circuit. The band have hinted at an autumn return to cover the USA more extensively, but nothing has been confirmed at press time. Most of the USA shows are SOLD OUT but check Ticketmaster for any last-minute ticket releases.

HIM Tour Dates
May 3 – Los Angeles, CA- House Of Blues (SOLD OUT)
May 4 – Los Angeles, CA- House Of Blues (SOLD OUT)
May 5 – San Francisco, CA- The Fillmore
May 8- Chicago, IL – House Of Blues (SOLD OUT)
May 9 – Toronto Canada -Danforth Music Hall
May 10 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza (SOLD OUT)
May 11 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza (SOLD OUT)
May 12 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre Of Living Arts (SOLD OUT)

At first listen, Tears On Tape seems to be a lighter offering than H.I.M. fans are used to but after a few spins it reveals the bands signature heavier sounds in the carefully mixed layers of each song. Ville’s vocal range and Linde’s shredding, dark guitar chords lead you through an album of haunting lyrics. This album follows in the path of their last effort, Screamworks: Love & Theory in Practice. My favorite is the heavy, hard-hitting tracks on Venus Doom. I can’t wait to see some live shows with the new music because that’s when the bands heavy hitting sounds really emerge! Don’t miss your chance to see this band live.

Check out the video for the first single in the USA, title track Tears On Tape. You can grab your copy of the album on iTunes

 

For a look back at H.I.M.’s last visit to Los Angeles, please check out my photos here. I covered the event for CFM Music Scene which sadly lost their archives a while back so the full article is no longer available.

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Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez – Back Together?

2135_1367249581Justin Bieber has recently posted a couple of images of him with Selena Gomez on his Instagram, the latest showing him shirtless, suggesting the couple are back together. He’s deleted the others, only leaving this one.

Is he trying to generate some positive press after his attempts to take a young monkey on tour with him that he left in Europe? What happened to that monkey Justin? Did you find responsible wild life care for it? Or perhaps trying to erase the memories of his recent European meltdowns, the drugs found on his tour bus (how convenient they searched the bus while everyone was in the show so no one could be charged) or the constant chaos when he’s at home in Los Angeles – either Justin is getting in trouble or his friends driving his cars are getting in trouble.

Selena, on the other hand, who has grown up in the public eye over the last several years as a Disney darling has turned into a classy young lady so I can’t help but wonder what she sees in him. Her recent quips on David Letterman about making Justin cry were pretty, well, awesome! It allowed her to give a dig at him without getting nasty but keeping it light & humorous in the conversation with Dave.

Selena’s new single “Come & Get It” is out now on iTunes with an album due soon. Her Stars Dance tour is scheduled to kick off in Europe in August and hitting the United States this autumn. Hopefully this will keep her busy enough that she won’t have time to see much of Justin Bieber who seems headed down the path to self-destruction lately!

Seeing this image of Selena back with Justin only brings to mind one thing, the song “Stupid Girl” by Garbage.

 

 

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