Posts Tagged United States

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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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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The Rolling Stones Ready to Kick Off 50 & Counting Tour; Depeche Mode Announce Surprise FREE Show at Troubadour

It’s a great time for fans of iconic rock bands like the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Depeche Mode all of whom are set to launch tours in the next couple weeks.

The Rolling Stones have set up shop in Los Angeles where they began rehearsals for their “50 & Counting” North American Tour last week. The tour is scheduled to kick-off May 2nd* at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles (*date tentative due NHL playoff scheduling).

Speculation of a “surprise” nightclub show in the Los Angeles area have Rolling Stones fans running rabid at the mouth as they try to plot the iconic bands next moves. The Rolling Stones have traditionally done a “surprise warm-up” show at a large nightclub or small theater before they kick off a tour. Excitement is high as the Stones have rarely kicked off a North American Tour on the West Coast.

The Rolling Stones 2013 Tour Dates can be found here along with links to purchase tickets. Don’t miss your chance to be part of music history! Grab your tickets before they are gone.

“GRRR!”, the latest from the Rolling Stones featuring two new songs titled “Doom and Gloom” and “One More Shot” is available now on iTunes.

Depeche+Mode+depeche_mode+33434-1021x1024

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

Legendary English 80’s band, Depeche Mode, have kicked off the week with the announcement of a FREE show this Friday, April 26, 2013 at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, CA. The ONLY way in to this tiny, tiny show is to win tickets from Los Angeles radio station, the world-famous KROQ 106.7. Depeche Mode will be playing to an audience of just 400 people, the most smallest show they have ever played in Los Angeles. This will be their surprise warm up show before they launch their world tour on May 4th in France. Don’t fret (well not too much anyway) if you don’t win tickets to see them this week because they will return to Los Angeles at the end of September for three shows at the Staples Center. A full list of tour dates can be found on the Depeche Mode site. Their latest album, “Delta Machine” is out on iTunes now.

Sir Paul McCartney is also in Los Angeles rehearsing for his “Out There” tour which also kicks off May 4th in South America before heading to North America for a tour along with a handful of scheduled European dates. Stop by his site for more information.

The 2013 concert season is shaping up to be a hell of a good ride with so many rock legends hitting the road this year. Now if we could just get our hands on the winning lotto numbers so we could check out all of these amazing artists touring this year we’d be set. Check back as Life On The Scene hopes to bring you coverage of some of these great shows this year!

Who are you most excited to see this year on the concert trail? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

 

 

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Jonas Brothers Release Pom Poms and Announce Summer Tour

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 The Jonas Brothers are back in full swing in the United States after a hugely successful tour of South America. Today, the trio consisting of brothers Kevin, Joe and Nick stopped by 102.7 KIIS FM, in Burbank, CA to world premiere their new single “Pom Poms” with Ryan Seacrest. The band spoke about their new single, unleashed a host of summer tour dates and performed a few acoustic songs live on the radio including a cover of Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You”.

Tickets for the Jonas Brothers tour, which kicks off on July 10th in Chicago, are available for the Fan Club Pre-Sale on April 9th and public on-sale April 13th!  For a complete list of dates see below and for ticket information head over to the Jonas Brothers fan club by clicking here! Don’t wait, get those tickets the instant they go on sale because it won’t take long for these shows to sell out.

The new single “Pom Poms” is available now on iTunes! What are you waiting for? Go grab it! The video will premiere tonight on E! with a behind the scenes look at the making of the video.

Did you buy the single today? What did you think of it? How about the video with all the cheerleaders and the amazing horn section? Let us know what you think of the latest release from the Jonas Brothers in the comments section below.

Check in with the guys on Twitter for the latest links to watch the full video tonight. You can follow Kevin, Joe and Nick for all the latest Jonas Brothers news! #POMPOMS #JONASBROTHERS

JONAS BROTHERS LIVE TOUR DATES

10 JUL 2013 – Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island, Chicago, IL, US
12 JUL 2013 – Klipsch Music Center, Indianapolis, IN, US
13 JUL 2013 – DTE Energy Music Theatre, Detroit, MI, US
14 JUL 2013 – PNC Pavilion, Cincinnati, OH, US
16 JUL 2013 – Blossom Music Center, Cleveland, OH, US
18 JUL 2013 – Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto, ON, CA
19 JUL 2013 – Darien Lake PAC, Darien Lakes, NY, US

20 JUL 2013 – Nikon @ Jones Beach Theatre, Wantagh, NY, US

22 JUL 2013 – Bank of America Pavilion, Boston, MA, US

23 JUL 2013 – Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT, US
25 JUL 2013 – PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ, US
26 JUL 2013 – Borgata Event Center, Atlantic City, NJ, US

27 JUL 2013 – Mix Tape Festival, Hershey, PA, US

29 JUL 2013 – Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, VA, US

30 JUL 2013 – Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, US
31 JUL 2013 – Red Hat Amphitheatre, Raleigh, NC, US
02 AUG 2013 – Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach, FL, US
03 AUG 2013 – Live Nation Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa, FL, US
04 AUG 2013 – Chastain Park Amphitheatre, Atlanta, GA, US
06 AUG 2013 – Gexa Energy Pavilion, Dallas, TX, US
07 AUG 2013 – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, Houston, TX, US
09 AUG 2013 – Comerica Theatre, Phoenix, AZ, US

10 AUG 2013 – Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, NV, US

13 AUG 2013 – America’s Cup Pavilion, San Francisco, CA, US

14 AUG 2013 – Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, US
16 AUG 2013 – Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk, Los Angeles, CA, US

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Enter to Win Spring Shopping Spree from Neiman Marcus and Women’s Forum

Today I came across two great Spring sweepstakes! Here in Southern California we’ve definitely got Spring Fever with amazing warm temperatures this week. I know I’m ready for some fun new Spring & Summer clothes to kick off the season! How about you? I know much of the United States is still buried under cold snow from the recent storms but this is a great way to cheer you up and start thinking about the warmer weather to come.

Hurry over to Women’s Forum on Facebook http://bit.ly/XosTbh and enter for your chance to win a $500 Visa gift card to kick off your Spring shopping and say goodbye to winter. What would you buy? I think I’d start off with new patio furniture to extend our outdoor living space for the summer season. The contest is open to residents of the United States who are eighteen and older. The contest closes on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013.

NMThe second sweepstakes I came across is a $5,000 Shopping Spree on NeimanMarcus.com! Wow! You could definitely buy new summer clothes for the entire family with that fantastic prize. Head over to their website to enter for your chance to win this amazing prize! The contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada who are eighteen and older. The contest ends on April 15, 2013, better known as Tax Day in the USA!

Don’t forget to share these great contests with your friends & family. Maybe they will share the prize with you if they win! Good luck to all who enter. Have you come across some great contests? Share them in the comments below!

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High Dollar Challenge Butter Coupon!

UNLOCKEDHere is a short but sweet post to help you save money this Holiday season. If you use Challenge butter in your household now is the time to stock up. Go to the Challenge butter page on Facebook by following this link , make sure you “like” the page and choose the “click now to save $2.00” picture (like the one on the left). If you are on a PC once the coupon starts printing, remember to hit the back button and you should be able to print it twice. Now watch your local grocery store for a great sale on Challenge butter! Wal-Mart and Target generally carry this item at a great everyday low price too. Remember, prices vary by region. Let us know if you score a super deal on butter.

After you have printed your high dollar $2.00 off Challenge butter coupon, click the drop down arrow toward the top of the page where it says “save $2” and there are links for a variety of other butter coupons for various regions and stores in the United States.  Even more ways to save money!

The Incredible Edible Egg on Facebook has reset their .55/2 dozen Eggs coupon , and of course you have to “like” their page to gain access to the coupon .  It’s pretty rare for them to release a coupon again after already doing so recently but tis the season of giving so print it twice while you can. Perfect for baking those Christmas cookies and Holiday treats!

Speaking of Target, I scored a great deal on household items, pet food and groceries today with a variety of coupons that resulted in a $43.00 savings off my bill and I received the $10.00 gift card after spending $50.00 so I already have a credit towards my next trip to Target! Today was the last day to use the $10.00 gift card after spending $50.00 coupon and I had two of them with me so I gave my extra one to the lady standing in line behind me and she was thrilled! Don’t forget to check Target.com for their great coupons that you can stack with your manufacturer coupons.

 

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MasterCard Priceless Presents Bon Jovi

MasterCard Priceless Los Angeles presents GRAMMY artist Bon Jovi live in concert on Saturday, December 1st at the Paramount Studios back lot in Los Angeles. Wednesday, November 21st is your last chance to win a pair of FREE tickets. Wouldn’t that make a great present to start off the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with?

Sign up now so you know when to log in for the chance to get your complimentary tickets! When you sign up you will also receive a code to watch a live stream of the concert if you don’t win tickets.

The New Jersey natives are playing a handful of shows before 2012 ends including the Concert for Sandy Relief benefit in NYC on 12.12.12 with Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Alicia Keys, Billy Joel and more.

In 2013 Bon Jovi will head out on a coast to coast Because We Can tour of the United States.

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INXS Confirm End to Their Touring Days

In a statement released early Tuesday in Australia, iconic rock band INXS announce the end of their touring days after 35 years in the music business. From INXS.com,  “We understand that this must come as a blow to everybody, but all things must eventually come to an end. We have been performing as a band for 35 years, it’s time to step away from the touring arena”.

The confirmation comes after a confusing weekend that included a surprising teary goodbye on stage in Perth, Australia by INXS drummer, Jon Farriss at the end of the Matchbox 20/INXS tour of Australia which caused speculation of  a band split picked up by news outlets everywhere. Fans & friends of the band were further confused by personal emails and texts from band members to people around the globe denying the end of the band.

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The statement continued, “Our music will of course live on and we will always be a part of that.”

“We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the friends and family that have supported us throughout our extensive career. Our lives have been enriched by having you all as a part of the journey”

INXS forged their reputation as one of the world’s greatest live bands, relentlessly touring the US, Europe, South America, and the Far East constantly throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, fuelled by the success of records such as Listen Like Thieves, Kick, X, and Welcome To Wherever You Are.

That hard earned and hard won live reputation took INXS to the very pinnacle of the live world touring circuit with such memorable performances headlining iconic venues across the world …  in the UK [Wembley Stadium 80,000], the US [Texas Stadium 60,000] and Rio De Janeiro [ Rock in Rio 120,000].

But with the high, came a bitter and cruel blow … the loss of their charismatic and irreplaceable front man Michael Hutchence in November 1997.

‘It’s been 35 years for INXS as a live touring band and unbelievably it’s been 15 years ago since we lost Michael’ said Jon Farriss.

We lived for each other in the trenches and we loved each other. It was the six of us against the world and then suddenly and inexplicably we were but five. We were lost right at the moment we were on top.’

The band struggled to deal with the enormity of it all and the easy solution was to just call it a day.

‘We never took a soft option, it was the adversity, the challenge and the struggle that forged us into the live working band we became. And this was as big as it could possibly get when it came to a challenge’ said Andrew Farriss, ‘and in the end we decided for a whole bunch of reasons to march forward. To us there was no other option . families always move forward’.

To live to 80 plus is a life well lived. To lose Michael so young was a tragedy for all of us. But with this band, their legacy, their music was just so damn good, it was always destined to live beyond all of us.

The last 3 years has seen a resurgence of INXS with their songs being hammered on radio and a rise in audience numbers with the live show. The song ‘Original Sin’, with Rob Thomas on vocals, reached number 1 on the Billboard dance charts.

As Jon Farriss says, ‘INXS’ touring days could never last forever. We wanted it to end on a high. And it has’

Music critics and fans alike have chided the band for years in their decision to continue making music after the death of Michael Hutchence. For the remaining members of INXS, it was the only job they had ever done, the job they truly loved and excelled at. Michael’s decision to leave this world didn’t mean they had to stop doing the only thing they had ever done – rock as an amazing live band. The band tried a succession of different singers in the last 15 years including Terence Trent D’ Arby, Noiseworks Jon Stevens, rebuilt a great fan momentum and had a hit with Rockstar INXS winner, J.D. Fortune  and the song Pretty Vegas and the last year with Irishman Ciaran Gribbin at the helm.

On a more personal note, I hope they choose to continue working in the music business in some fashion and remember to call their old friends if they visit the USA because hanging out with these Australians for drinks and laughs are some of the best times I’ve had.

INXS images courtesy of Cindy Robinson, Ciaran Gribbin images courtesy of Esther Oliver

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