I Went To The Jacksonville Trump Rally ~ and had a blast

 

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Terrible at taking selfies, I gritted my teeth.

Disclaimer: I’m a yuge Trump supporter, so everything written here has to be viewed through that lens. The rally was held tonight at 7pm in the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. I was supposed to meet author Linda Wood Rondeau and her husband Steve. In fact I never would’ve printed out a ticket if Linda hadn’t said she was going. They were scheduled to leave  at 4pm. I’m new to Jacksonville and unsure of driving downtown, so I left at 3:25 and arrived just after 4pm. There was already a line and people were being admitted into the arena. Street vendors sold a variety of Trump paraphernalia. A bottle of water cost $3.00. I decided I didn’t need hydration right then.

The line moved quickly and folks were admitted right away. What totally amazed me were the number of supporters who chose to stand for the entire event just so they would be under the podium. My friends Linda and Steve hadn’t yet arrived. I suspected it would not be easy to meet up with them in that crowd, so I looked for a seat. The very best ones were already taken, but I did manager to get one with an excellent view of the podium half way up in the bleachers.

There were plenty of red “Make America Great Again” hats in evidence around the arena. The crowd was much more diverse than is reported in the media. To be sure, white working class males were in evidence. However there were also quite a number of blacks, Latinos, women, as well as teenagers and college kids. Two twenty-something guys ran around in homemade ‘Trump-capes’ like super-heroes.  I found the people around me to be friendly. Active cross-conversations were taking place. Supporters not only spoke to the persons on either side of them, but leaned forward to talk to those in front of them and turned around to address those behind.After all, there would be at least two hours to fill before the opening speeches. The arena holds 16,000 and it was packed solid. My earlier suspicion was correct. I never did find Linda and Steve, though we texted each other for a while.

The opening speeches were rousing, though the crowd didn’t need much pumping up. Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry didn’t run away like John Kasich did at the RNC Convention. Mayor Curry warmly welcomed and addressed the crowd. The local chair of the RNC and Sharon Day, co-chair of the national RNC spoke, the dynamic Florida senator Ted Yoho, as did Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The bottom line seemed to be jobs, national security and personal safety, and the Supreme Court. There was an obvious law enforcement presence and all of the speaker lauded them, as well as giving accolades to first responders, and the military. This was always accompanied by loud cheering from the crowd…and I clapped and cheered along with everyone else.

I was a bit surprised by the pounding music which seemed to favor songs by the Rolling Stones, although there were a few arias by The Three Tenors tossed in. And odd combination to say the least, but also emotionally moving.

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Finally Donald J. Trump arrived with Secret Service agents preceding and following him.

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Naturally Trump spoke about building the wall and having Mexico pay for it. He decried how heroin and crime were coming across the border, saying a nation without borders is not a nation. He said jobs that had been outsourced to foreign countries would come back to the United States. That the American people would win-win-win so much, they’d get sick of winning. He instructed each supporter to not only vote on November 8th, but to bring five people to the polls with them.

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When the crowd left it was dark outside and the atmosphere had changed. Protestors shouted at us, but the police had the situation under control. What shocked me was the number of vendors had astronomically increased and they were hawking tee shirts bordering on the obscene. They yelled at supporters to get our attention focused upon what was printed on the shirts. I won’t repeat any of it here, but many of the blurbs on the shirts involved Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton and were graphic. I hurried to my car without incident. There were few police in the parking lot and few were needed. I got out of the lot relatively quickly…then got stuck in the traffic jam rally goers were creating.

And I kept having the sense that I’d become part of American political history. That sitting there waving my ‘Trump sign’, standing and cheering over and over, I’d become part of a phenomena that had never before occurred in American political history. A phenomena that didn’t’ pay attention to the political rules, and it felt good. Of course this phenomena occurred because the average (and that cuts across all categories of those voters, not just HS educated white males) had been lied to by their politicians for decades. Trump couldn’t do this with out us, and we couldn’t do it without his leadership. It felt real good. And I have to admit, yelling “Lock her up,” is fun.

A Memorial Day Poem ~ the story behind it

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Jean Browder had been looking for a Memorial Day poem to read at her church service. She saw the title of this one listed among many poems for the holiday and it touched her. She clicked on it and was amazed to discover her son had written it.

 

We Never Forget by Mitchell Browder (written on Memorial Day 2001 after a visit to the American Cemetery and War Memorial in Florence, Italy)

 

Brothers and Sisters at rest
we never forget
the gift you give
we still receive how could you know
so young
that your battle
at all cost
must be won Brothers and Sisters at rest
may we, in your eyes
pass your test
and one day, with honor
join your ranks
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Don’t forget prisoners of war. They have  not all been military in a war on terror, and in previous wars. We have and have had journalists taken, medical personnel, missionaries, civilians…
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Rolling Thunder
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Veteran Suicide
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Let’s not forget the first responders (police, firefighters, EMS, equine and canine in the field. We’re losing them at an alarming rate too.

GOD BLESS AMERICA

 

Blizzard of 2016 ~ NYC up and running in 24-hours

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Avenue S, Brooklyn ~ 24-hours after blizzard

 

With over two-feet of snow (Central Park measured 25.1 inches), you’d think New York City would be stopped in its tracks. Not so. The city was up and running the very next day. This is due to pre-planning and snow removal crews that know what they’re doing.

The city-wide 24-hour travel ban helped in the clean up. I had to laugh having read a piece calling the police hauling away 25 drivers who disregarded the ban evidence of a “nanny-state”. I’m pretty conservative politically. Yes, there are a few of us in New York City. Let me tell you, the travel ban is not evidence of tyranny. Seriously, we must use some common sense. Eight million people live in New York, with over 6,000 miles of the world’s busiest streets, 840 miles of subway tracks (much of it above ground in the outer boroughs) , not to mention railway tracks anchored to Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station.

The 25 drivers who ignored the travel ban should be ticketed and fined. The Sanitation department had the Herculean task of plowing and salting not only the major avenues (some of them four lanes), but also the side streets and dead end streets. This they did in 24-hours. Plows and sanders shouldn’t be slowed down by selfish drivers on the road, or have to go around those vehicles.  With freezing temperature and winds whipping snowfall sideways at speeds up to 40 mph, police had to deal with the homless who were in crisis during this blizzard.  The gas and electric companies had to come to the aid of buildings that had lost heat. The travel ban was for the public good and of public safety. By Sunday, the next morning, anyone who had to report to work, could. Residents could get to local stores, if need be. It wasn’t business as usual, but it was on its way back to normal.

With a city the size of New York, the only way to deal effectively with a blizzard or hurricane is to have a travel ban during the worst of the storm. That’s the how essential city services get out in front of it. However, just to keep things in perspective, this wasn’t the worst NYC blizzard on record. February 11-12, 2006 recorded a record 26.9 inches of snow; and December 26-27, 1947 recorded 25.8 inches.

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The Broad Channel One Year After Sandy.

The weather’s been up and down in Gotham. Nearly 60 degrees one day and then freezing the next. Several days ago we had a glorious day and I decided to take a drive to the Broad Channel for a look-see.

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This might just be the most peculiar neighborhood in Queens, and not just because it sits smack in the middle of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, surrounded by water on all sides. It’s connected to the rest of the borough by two bridges and one subway. The bridges offer magnificent views of the bay.  The entire community is about twenty blocks long from north-to-south and four blocks wide from east-to-west. Man-made canals have been dug which separate the dead-end residential streets. Residents tend to love their boats and many have them moored in the canals.

 

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Broad Channel’s mostly middle-class residents tend to be stalwart and have made a definite commitment to live here. There is no natural gas line running into the community which forces home owners to use more costly propane to heat their houses and to cook in their kitchens. With water everywhere the eye can see, as might be supposed this is an area prone to flooding.

It goes without saying Broad Channel was hit hard by Super Storm Sandy. Most of the residents have pretty much recovered. Life seems to be bustling. Stores and restaurants are open and doing business. The outside of homes in most of the community are in good shape. I did see one man with the outside of his house in tact, carrying lumber into the interior. I saw renovated houses with debris in the back yards.

 

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Some residents have not fared so well. Either they didn’t have the financial resources to rebuild so quickly, or the damage to their homes was too extensive. Still, all of the houses I saw needing repair had permits nailed to the outside and their owners were doing their level best to bring them back.

 

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Not everyone seemed happy with the government’s efforts to help the community. Several homes had “STOP FEMA NOW” signs prominently displayed in their front windows.

 

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Residents are outraged by the new federal law, the Biggert-Waters Act which astronomically raises flood insurance rates for the purpose of keeping FEMA afloat. However, FEMA was supposed to do a feasibility study that was never done and the fed seems to be cherry picking how they will implement the law.

This tempest in a teapot goes far beyond the Broad Channel with senators from Massachusetts, Oregon, and Louisiana vociferously questioning FEMA.

The larger question seems to me to be should a politician be held to promises made before an election? Many who are in the political game as a career believe politicians who tell the truth do not get elected or re-elected. When do the American people want to hear the truth: before or after an election? Before or after a crisis? Eventually the truth will come out. Your elected official isn’t gonna do what was promised. When that happens why not throw the bum out. And here’s a novel idea: don’t vote for the guy who promises pie in the sky. Vote for the realist. Look for a candidate with a record of success in government, business. Vote for a candidate whose word is good.

However the debate on Biggert-Waters turns out, the fact remains that one year after Sandy, residents of New York City who were most hit are still struggling. The federal government promised the sun, moon, and the sky prior to the presidential election, which they obviously have not delivered. The Red Cross pulled out long ago. Now it’s mostly neighbor helping neighbor. Local churches and the Salvation Army have been at the forefront.

If you want to help contact…

Occupy Sandy. This was the name given to the recovery effort in its first days and it now has a website. http://occupysandy.net/

The Salvation Army New York City still has boots on the ground. http://www.use.salvationarmy.org/use/www_use_GNYD.nsf/vw-dynamic-index/7E58E6D68DAB0CA0852579AC00520BEA?openDocument

Do You Know Where Your Kidz Are???


My adopted daughter chose to return to the life she had befor the adoption..the life of the streets. She ran away seven days ago.. She’s only 14.

I’ve been searching Facebook to find her. I’ve found a kidz culture that’ll knock the sox off most parrents.

Some kid (he is probably over 18 and selling drugs) had a party last night that he publicized on Facebook. My run-away daughter was at that party…so were a lot of kids…their parents had no idea.

These kids don’t think they can be found out…but they haven’t met me yet. I’m an anomoly! My kid’s mom writes crime fiction. The underbelly is not unknown to me. I know the streets better than most parents. I did what my heroine (a private detective) woulda done.

Lest you think these kida are wash-outs…many of them area college bound, some of them high achievers. How did they get to this party??? They lied to their parents.

Updates to come….

Heroes For A Day

My huband Joseph and I adopted three half-sisters from foster care 7 years ago. They had been horribly abused. Abject pedophiles had access to them…two men, from what we can tell. One, due to our efforts was sentenced to ten years in prison.

The two oldest girls were the sexually abused ones. The little one was physically abused and went hungry a lot, but was not sexually abused. And she’s the one of the three who’s making it.

The oldest is in Manhattan somewhere. She phones now and then. She’s selling her body in the sex trade and pedling drugs on the side.

The middle one just took off with some guy she met on Facebook. She’s left a few phone messages. We don’t have a clue where she is. She’s been gone five days, going into the sixth day.

Funny thing is, I wrote a manuscript four years ago about a girl who is found murdered not far from where we live by a man she met online. I’d been getting it ready for submission when my daughter ran off. Life can mirror fiction, just as fiction can mirror life.

I’ve been very affected by the 9/11 anniversary this year. I’ve played a number of the songs from the Concert For New York City — in 2001 just after the terrorist attack.

I find myself playing David Bowie’s Heroes, from that concert. It resonates with me in my own personal hell. I want to swim like the dolphins swim. I want to be free like the dolphins, and yet I am chained to the computer combing Facebook, looking for anyone who might know where my daughter is.

My husband and I were heroes for a day, adopting them, having dreams for them…and then the evil of the world consumed them again…swallowed them.

I write of this evil in my Christian crime fiction novels…for which I’m seeking a publisher. I tell stories of  the evil consuming children, devouring them while so many of us are playing at church. We’re so pioulsy polite, and the enemy, the destroyer is glad we are…as we’re largely ineffectual against him.

We’re afraid to touch the girl in the sex trade and if we won’t touch her, how can we give her a hand up and out? We don’t understand when she rejects us and the wonderful Christian life we offer…and runs back to hell. And it’s hell on earth. It’s all too easy for us to heap judgement upon her.

The old addage, hate the sin/love the sinner, is all too true. We must hate the life she’s run back to, and yet somehow try to communicate to her how worthwhile she is.

To see the David Bowie music video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xdo5f_ozf6E

Gritty Crime Fiction Demands Justice For The Victim(s)

Gosh, I’ve been reading edgy crime fiction for years, both Christian and secular. Truth be told, until very recently I read a whole lot more secular crime fiction than Christian. Well, let’s be honest, there wasn’t a lot of gritty Christian crime fiction out there. Now things have changed. Christian writers are penning edgier crime ficiton novels.

I love a gritty crime scene, a lurid murder, a rollicking good autopsy scene. Why would that be?

There’s something in me that cries out for justice for the victim. I can handle a hero who smokes like a chimney and drinks too much, or a heroine who’s not much of a wife and mother. They can have major flaws. If I’m going to be a fan of the book, the one thing the main character must show is a passion for justice for the victim.

 
Some would ask, why do these authors have to tell you every single gory detail of the murder?
 
Well there’s something cathartic in telling the story. Crime victims who go to survivor’s groups like to tell their story, often over and over. It’s healing for them to share the details of the horror, fear, intimidation, and humiliation they’ve been through.

In my writing, I hope I’m an advocate for the crime victim. I strive to create heroes and heroines who demand justice for the victim(s).