Category Archives: Monday’s Best

My Legislative Experience

Cross-Posted with Fluffy2Fit.com

Today I was lucky enough to shadow a State Legislator for the day.  It was part of Shadow the Legislature hosted by Sen. Jill Tokuda.  There was a mix of college students within the University of Hawaii system.  We were all paired with either a Senate or House member.  The day was intended for us to get a glimpse into an average day of lawmakers as well as to get an understanding of how the Legislature operates.

Hawaii State Legislature

I had the honor to be paired with Senate President Shan Tsutsui.  Sen. Tsutsui represents Maui’s 4th District and was named Senate President for this session.  He takes over the role from now United States Congresswoman, Colleen Hanabusa.  The day started with an 8am entrance into Sen. Tsutsui office.  The spacious office featured two conference rooms and a few large couches.  I was introduced to the staff and was told the Senator was actually en route to Oahu on a flight from Maui.  I then saw my Ewa District Senator, Will Espero.  We chatted for a moment before he was asked by Sen. Tsutsui’s office if he would be willing to introduce me during the Senate’s session.  He agreed and we spent a few more minutes enjoying the continental breakfast which had been prepared for us.

Desperate America Report Founder, Ryan Adverderada

Sen. Espero and I have spoken often in the past as I have been a sign waver for him as well as interviewed his son Jason when he ran for office in December.  Sen. Espero is a nice man and a sharp dresser!  After the breakfast, Sen. Espero left for a few meetings while I went to an informational meeting.  The meeting provided an introduction to the Public Access Room which allows people to research bills as well as to get any info on legislators or legislation.  By 10am a few of us decided to take a tour of the Capitol.  Our tour guide, Carolyn, was funny and very informative.  We viewed both chambers from the gallery as the workers prepped for the upcoming session.  We then visited the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s offices.  The Hawaii State Capitol is quite a sight.

I returned to Sen. Tsutsui’s office and was formally introduced to the Senate President.  We chatted a bit as we made our way to the Senate floor.  Since Sen. Tsutsui convenes the session, I sat next to Sen. Espero.  Introductions were called and Sen. Espero stepped forward to introduce me.  He noted my work on his campaign as well as other campaigns in the area.  He even dropped a mention of my Desperate America Report website!  The Senate Chamber itself is an awe-inspiring area.  From the Senate floor, the ceiling lights resemble a spaceship preparing to land.  Sen. Espero and I joked about Sen. Sam Slom being the only Republican in the Senate and his need to run to various committees to serve as the minority member.

Sen. Tsutsui then took me to lunch.  We enjoyed a feast at a local chinese restaurant called Little Village with his aide, Ross.  There we chatted about sports and some of the issues of my area.  The day ended with a Senate Education Committee hearing.  The hearing went as usual with Sen. Slom racing into the room for a vote before speeding away to another committee hearing.

The day was amazing at every turn.  I hope to one day return to the Senate floor, this time as an elected Hawaii State Senator!

Mahalo to Sen. Tokuda for hosting the event, Sen. Espero for the kind introduction, and finally, Sen. Tsutsui for he and his staff’s hospitality and kindness.  The experience gained was priceless and I am a better person for it!

 

 

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Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech”

Today we celebrate the life of one of America’s greatest men.  Today we attempt to remember what the Civil Rights leader hoped the future would bring.  Today we simply try to be King like.

Below is the famed “I Have a Dream” Speech.  The remarks are 17 minutes long and took place at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.

2010 in review

Here is a review of 2010 for this site.  First of all, thank you to everyone who made 2010 such an amazing experience.  I started this blog back in March of 2010 in order to push people to get involved with government and politics.  All the comments, emails, and messages really push this site forward.  Once again, thank from the bottom of my heart!

-Ryan Adverderada

Founder, Desperate America Report

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 8,900 times in 2010. That’s about 21 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 131 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 26 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was November 2nd with 194 views. The most popular post that day was Two Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot for Hawaii.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were digg.com, en.wordpress.com, twitter.com, facebook.com, and healthfitnesstherapy.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for slovenia, desperate america, honolulu hale, adeja johnson, and dan inouye.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Two Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot for Hawaii October 2010

2

Honolulu City Council District 1 Candidate Websites November 2010
2 comments

3

Special Comment: Hawaii’s Public School System is Flunking! April 2010
1 comment

4

Hawaii Office of Elections Releases Complete List of Candidates July 2010

5

Who will be Hawaii’s next Governor? July 2010

Monday’s Best: Adeja Johnson Foundation

Always looking to shed light on a great cause, this Monday’s Best was suggested by a few of Desperate America’s dedicated Twitter followers.  The story of Adeja Johnson and her fight against Sickle Cell Anemia hit a cord and the foundation bearing her name, created by her mother, instantly became something worth writing about.  The plight of Adeja and her mother Bridgett is one filled with hope and inspiration.  Today’s edition of Monday’s Best features the Adeja Johnson Foundation and its fight to educate and help families affected by this disease.

Sickle Cell Anemia is an inherited blood disorder that affects the red blood cells.  People with sickle-cell disease have red blood cells that contain mostly hemoglobin S, an abnormal type of hemoglobin.  Sometimes these red blood cells become sickle-shaped (crescent-shaped) and have difficulty passing through small blood vessels.  When sickle-shaped cells block small blood vessels, less blood can reach that part of the body.  Tissue that does not receive regular blood flow will eventually become damaged.  This is what causes the complications of sickle-cell disease.  Currently, there is no universal cure for the disease.  A simple blood test can check if someone has the sickle-cell trait by sending an electric charge through a hemoglobin solution.  Depending on how the cells react, the results can detect normal hemoglobin, sickle-type, and other types of hemoglobin.

Adeja Johnson was still an infant when Bridgett brought her into the doctors noticing that Adeja was crying more than the average baby.  It was soon discovered that the young Adeja suffered from Sickle Cell Anemia SS, the worst case of the disease.  Many hospital visits later, a few concerned doctors entered Adeja’s name for a chance to participate in a clinical trial at Duke University.  Three weeks later, a phone call came in that confirmed her inclusion in the program.  On May 27, 2009, Adeja underwent a Cord Blood Transplant.  The transplant was a success and her condition improved at a remarkable pace.  However, in December of the same year, she began complaining of severe headaches.  A visit to Duke University discovered a brain tumor.  The tumor resulted in seizures.  Adeja’s saga took a turn for the better as she was able to fight past the tumor and return home at the beginning of this year.  However, as of May 27, 2010, Adeja has been in the hospital with liver problems.  She is still fighting and her mother Bridgett remains strong.

Sickle-cells block the flow of blood vessels. Colder weather make the condition more painful as the blood vessels contract due to the cold.

Bridgett founded the Adeja Johnson Foundation in the hopes of establishing awareness within the community about Bone Marrow, Cord Blood transplants and other procedures to help find a cure to diseases that have yet to be neutralized.  The foundation is looking to expand into community programs to bring attention to sickle-cell anemia, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases.  A larger goal is to be an organization that can assist families affected by these diseases.  The Adeja Johnson Foundation is still in the early stages of development.  The group’s website has valuable resources to information on sickle-cell anemia as well as steps to take if a loved one is affected by the disease.

The Adeja Johnson Foundation needs everyone’s help.  The community needs more groups like this.  There is no excuse for why a disease like sickle-cell anemia remains unsolved.  People like Adeja and Bridgett serve as inspiration to the rest of us as people who face difficult circumstances but keep their steely resolve.  We can all learn a lesson from this family.  Keep Adeja and Bridgett in your prayers and hopefully we will one day find a cure.

*For more information on Sickle Cell Anemia, visit Sickle Cell Disease Association of America.

*Donate to the Adeja Johnson Foundation.

Monday’s Best: AbolishCancer

For the next few weeks, the “Monday’s Best” series will be taking on cancer.  The never-ending search for a cure to cancer has led to many telethon and numerous money drives over the years.  The battle has really evolved into a money game.  Cancer centers and organizations are scouring the globe for more and more funding.  This funding goes towards research/development and facilities/staff.  The ever-growing presence of the internet has led to many foundations and groups going to the web to find funding and ideas.  However, one group is trying to capitalize on the emergence of social media to secure donations to different cancer foundations.  This group is utilizing Twitter to provide an opportunity for every day individuals to donate reasonable sums of money to a foundation of their choosing.  Desperate America would like to honor AbolishCancer as Monday’s Best.

AbolishCancer allows everyday people to make a difference in the fight to find a cure.

The brainchild of Darah Bonham, AbolishCancer aims at combining interest in social networking and crowd sourcing to help support finding a cure for cancer.  The group does not benefit any specific cancer group or foundation.  Instead, Twitter users are encouraged to donate to the group of their choosing and can serve as a daily sponsor for AbolishCancer.  Daily sponsors are usually asked to put up $1 for every new Twitter follower of AbolishCancer for that specific day.  For instance, if Joe Shmoe sponsored for a Friday, and AbolishCancer gained 300 new followers, Joe would then donate $300 to any cancer group he so chooses.  The concept allows for more of a direct influence from participants and sponsors.  The concept also allows more organizations precious advertising time and much-needed funding.

The idea of using a social media networking site to find interested individuals does not seem like a novel concept.  However, the problem has always been finding a successful plan and getting enough people to support the cause.  As with any social media network, Twitter has its fair share of attention seekers who seem more concerned in posting their every move rather than learning and growing from interactions.  AbolishCancer has found a nice blend of quick marketing in Twitter and great insight in a Blogspot site.  The blog allows the group to highlight and explain how average people are making a difference.  The blog also helps AbolishCancer explain the different causes and foundations that are receiving donations.  The group has all the makings of becoming a real force in the social media world.

AbolishCancer may not have any real name recognition or may not have raised millions of dollars in donations.  However, the group has shown that anyone can make a difference and that every little donation gradually chips away at the goal.  At the start of June, AbolishCancer had already raised over $11,000 in donations for various causes.  The amount of money and the number of foundations will continue to grow as more and more people get involved in the fight to cure cancer.  Let this day serve as a call to action.  While finishing up celebrations for Independence Day weekend, remember that there are millions of Americans who need our help.  Get involved today with AbolishCancer or just find a local cancer foundation to help out.  Every little bit helps.  One day we will live in a world without cancer.  One day we will AbolishCancer!

Monday’s Best: Our Public School

Everyone can remember sitting around a table with friends or colleagues and complaining about not being able to find information on a specific topic.  Everyone has wondered when a website would be created that would gather all the best minds and ideas from a certain field and have that information easily accessible for the rest of the world.  Well the newest member of Desperate America’s Monday’s Best has brought that type of thinking to the problem of fixing the public schools system.  Our Public School was founded by a small group of educators and administrators that felt the need to address a decaying public school system and to find new solutions and new voices to fix the problem.  The board members of the organization feature an all-star list of educators and business professionals.  A familiar name in the mix may be Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, sister of President Barack Obama.

The group’s founders have gained a wealth of knowledge on their travels and prescribe to the notion that the key to a great education is great educators.  OPS pushes this vision forward by acting as a resource for teachers and other educators by providing a database of ideas and successful practices.  The group strives to build a team of experts who can assist educators.  Our Public Schools has created a web site that allows educators to identify, interpret, and implement the best practices to address their specific needs.  The organization envisions a day when an entire community comes together to be accountable for the state of our public schools.  OPS is attempting to bring in business people, religious leaders, politicians and every day citizens to build this team.

To this point, Our Public Schools has already begun launching a campaign nationwide aimed at identifying and gathering successful education practices to build its database.  The campaign kicked off in May 2009 and has started in Hawaii.  The group also utilizes Facebook, YouTube, and other forms of media to highlight the work of successful schools and organizations.  This work has allowed others in the community to become familiar with the cause of OPS.  To understand the vision of the organization, visit their mission page today.

Our Public Schools has begun a campaign to raise money that would allow members to travel around the country and document the best practices and the top people.  Currently, OPS is searching for interested people to join the cause and provide support by submitting ideas and practices in action.  The group is also asking for $10 donations to be made to OPS.  The goal of the organization is to get 100,000 members to each donate $10.  This type of money would go a long way to building a better site and reaching more people across the country.  Our Public Schools needs all the help it can get to really become the organization it is striving to be.  This help needs to come from the community.  Politicians, artists, business owners, educators, and everyone else in the community needs to band together to ensure a strong public school system for future generations.  This country will only be as strong as its weakest link.  Our Public Schools is looking to strengthen that weak link.

Get Involved: Complacency is the breeding grounds for Incompetence!

Monday’s Best: Common Cause

Aloha and welcome to another installment of “Monday’s Best” brought to you by Desperate America. After last week’s special comment, today we celebrate and put the spotlight on an organization that is dedicated to voicing the concerns of all Americans. Today we spotlight an organization that was founded to help citizens stay involved in how the country is run.  Common Cause is this week’s “Monday’s Best.”

John W. Gardner started Common Cause in 1970 to help bring the public into the political discussion.

Originally founded in 1970, by John Gardner, Common Cause became a vehicle for citizens to have their voices heard during the political process and keep politicians accountable for public interest. Common Cause is focused on creating and fostering an environment of accountability and honest government. 4,000 members were in place as the organization launched in 1970 as a people’s lobby. It now boasts a membership of 400,000 and 36 state offices in addition to the Washington D.C. office. The organization has a local Hawaii chapter that helps promote seminars and events discussing varying topics such as corporate lobbyists and fair elections. Currently, Common Cause is working on strengthening public participation, promoting fair elections, fight for independent media, and working to curb the money flowing from corporations into the government for lobbying.

Common Cause has an array of chances for the public to become involved. Alongside of local meetings or seminars, Common Cause offers memberships for a low-cost of $15 for students and $40 for individuals. There are also family membership packages as well as high-end packages. Visit their membership page for more information. Common Cause also features a special “Take Action” page on the organization website. This area lists different initiatives that Common Cause is currently undertaking. The page offers online petitions or letters that allow interested individuals to participate and add their name to the cause. The section also offers resources to find local elected officials and ways to contact them. Common Cause has a very easily navigated website. For more about getting involved visit Common Cause today!

Common Cause is a worthwhile organization whose sole mission is to bring people into the discussion. It is an organization that hinges on public support and donations. If anyone is looking for a way to get involved with the community, Common Cause is a great way to get started. Hawaii needs more people to get involved. America needs more people to get involved. Whether its Common Cause, Pixel Project, or any other worthy organization, the citizens of Hawaii and the rest of the nation need to be involved. Once again, congratulations to Common Cause for their extraordinary efforts. They are truly Monday’s Best!

Get Involved: Complacency is the breeding grounds for Incompetence!

Monday’s Best: The Pixel Project

Desperate America is always looking to bring more attention to the people and organizations whose focus is on moving society forward and making sure every voice is heard and protected.  Today we discuss the work of The Pixel Project. The Pixel Project has not been on the scene for a very long time but has a dedicated staff of volunteers that have helped bring the group into the main stream.

Started in January of 2009, The Pixel Project aims to bring the discussion on violence against women(VAW) to the forefront and to promote an open dialogue between the sexes.  The brainchild of Regina Yau, the Pixel Project was founded to assist Malaysia’s Women’s Aid Organization.  According to Yau, the idea was conceived utilizing the time-honored tradition of showering.  The Pixel Project has benefited greatly by incorporating the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence(NCADV) into the fold.

The Pixel Project calls on all citizens of the world to stand up for women's rights.

Utilizing a large number of volunteers, the Pixel Project uses social media networks to spread their ideas and missions and to reach new people.  The organization has volunteer twitter users update the Pixel Project twitter account, which boasts nearly 5,000 followers, with links to domestic violence and sexual assault hotlines around the world.  Articles pertaining to violence against women are also tweeted and retweeted.  Many of the Pixel Project’s twitter following also retweet the messages which allows for a larger audience for the organization.  On Facebook, the Pixel Project features a following of over 2,400 users and offers information and links to the main website.

The organization faces an uphill battle in their quest to end violence against women.  Traditionally, many areas around the world have turned a blind eye to the issue and have periodically condoned the action.  This is where the Pixel Project does most of its work.  Volunteers and staff members do their best to increase visibility on cases of VAW in certain areas of the world.  The group looks to tackle the issues of forced marriage, dowries, and rape.  The main tactic in the fight against VAW is to increase participation of men with the organization.  The Pixel Project encourages men to talk about VAW and to teach younger generations about gender equality and respect.  The Pixel Project is currently running a campaign for followers and volunteers to vote for a male celebrity to join the cause.  The winner will work with other intellectuals and celebrities to assist in the effort of education and awareness.  To participate in the vote, visit the Pixel Project’s, Voter’s Choice Campaign 2010.

The Pixel Project has a tremendously hard-working staff and will continue to increase awareness around the world on the issue of VAW.  It is the hope of Desperate America that more individuals will get involved in the cause and educate their family and friends.  This is an issue that everyone should be involved with.  It is time to do your part in bringing the society forward.

Get Informed and Get Involved!

***For more information on VAW, please visit the Violence Against Women Online Resource.

Monday’s Best: Project Vote Smart

Desperate America is always looking to bring more attention to the people and organizations whose focus is on moving society forward and making sure every voice is heard and protected.  It was suggested by a regular visitor to the site that there should be a weekly spotlight of these people and organizations.  Always trying to be the pulse of the people, Desperate America instantly seized on the opportunity to help bring attention to great causes.  Today is the start of something called “Monday’s Best” on the blog.  The idea is that every Monday, an organization or an individual will be featured on the blog.  There will be a brief history of the mission and also a glimpse into the problem that is being combated.  There will also be links to the honoree’s site and links to more information about the topics covered.

Today we will start our “Monday’s Best” series with Project Vote Smart.  In 1988, an organization was formed with the intent of providing information on political candidates.  The organization hoped to have easily accessible information available to the voting public.  An initial volunteer staff of 200 people conducted a phone hot-line for state elections in North Carolina and Nebraska in 1990.  The organization provided information on the biography, campaign finances, performance evaluations, issue positions, and voting records of each candidate.  For the two months leading up to the elections, volunteers operated a phone bank of eight lines around the clock.  The initial two days after the project was announced provided more than 2,000 callers.  The success of the experiment led to three important self-imposed regulations for Project Vote Smart: a decision to remain independent by not taking donations from organizations that lobby in support or against a candidate, mandate that any new board member be countered by someone of a differing political view, maintain a staff primarily composed of volunteers with a small salary offered to a few workers.

Project Vote Smart is an organization committed to voter education and involvement.

The project expanded to the colleges and universities in 1992 by opening an office with 200 interns at Oregon State University.  However, even with a total staff of 450, the OSU office was unable to cope with the over 200,000 calls to the hot-line.  Seeing this problem, the organization opened a second office at Northeastern University in Boston for the 1994 elections.  The growing popularity of the organization led to a need for construction of a Project Vote Smart campus.  In 1999 the organization built a facility that would allow for the housing of dozens of student intern and volunteers.  The facility, named Great Divide Ranch, allowed for a larger web capacity, and more office and housing space.

Project Vote Smart prides itself on being an independent and trusted source of candidate information.

Currently the organization has information on all state and federal elected officials.  Nominated judges and city/county candidates have also been added.  Programs have been started that go into community libraries and make the information even more visible to the public.  The web site now features listings of nearly every federal, state, and local race in the country.  In a democracy, voter education and voter participation are paramount.  Project Vote Smart has done a superb job of getting people informed and involved in the political process.  Hopefully the organization will continue to be a source of independent reviews of our candidates and elected officials.  As citizens of this great country, we must all do our part to ensure a prosperous future.

Get Informed and Get Involved!