Archive for the ‘ Personal Projects ’ Category

Response from Senator Bob Casey Jr. on Immigration Policy

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

I wrote a message to my legislators several weeks ago, expressing my concerns about the Trump administration’s policy of separating undocumented families from their children at the border. Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey (D), just sent me a very thorough response.

Dear Ms. Wilson:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the separation of immigrant families by the Trump Administration. I vehemently oppose the policy of family separation, and I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.

I have heard from many Pennsylvanians who are opposed to the Trump Administration’s policy regarding the apprehension and detention of immigrant families upon their arrival in the U.S. On May 7, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a so-called “zero tolerance” policy toward individuals apprehended crossing the U.S. border between official ports of entry. Thousands of immigrant children have been separated from their parents at the U.S. border since October of 2017, and this policy has caused a steep increase in family separations. Under the “zero tolerance” policy, once families are separated, adults go to the custody of the U.S. Marshals and/or to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Children considered “unaccompanied,” either because they arrived alone or because they are separated from their parents, are transferred to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Not only is tearing families apart unconscionable on a moral level, it is also damaging to the development of children. Studies show that the separation of children from parental figures during their youth and adolescence is detrimental to the child’s development of social and cognitive skills. Trump Administration officials, including Attorney General Sessions, have stated that this proposal is intended to deter families from crossing the border into the U.S. I believe this policy is inhumane and intentionally cruel, and there is no evidence to support the assertion that it would act as a deterrent.

On June 20, 2018, President Trump issued an Executive Order that he characterized as reversing his family separation policy and ending the separation of families. While this order changes the most egregious aspect of his policy, the separation of families, it still instructs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary to “maintain custody of alien families.” In essence, it exchanges family separation with family detention. The order also instructs Attorney General Sessions to go to court to seek modification of the Flores settlement, a settlement that outlines basic child protection standards and which limits the length of times that children can be detained.

While it was long overdue for President Trump to change the most egregious element of his cruel family separation policy, substituting a lesser form of cruelty for a greater form is still cruelty. Family detention is far from the only or best solution for the majority of families at the border. In addition, for thousands of children, the damage is already done. Medical experts have said that the long-term impacts of this barbaric treatment could be lifelong health problems, such as heart disease and substance abuse disorders. The Trump Administration has an obligation to ensure that children whose health has been adversely impacted by this policy receive appropriate medical services and must take steps to reunite every child that has been separated from their parents.

I am proud to have joined with many of my Senate colleagues in the minority party in cosponsoring legislation that would end this practice and in sending letters to the Trump Administration urging it to end this inhumane practice immediately. Before the policy of family separation was officially announced by the Trump Administration, I sent two letters to DHS asking for more information about rumors of family separation practices and demanding that DHS refrain from implementing such a policy.

After Attorney General Sessions announced in early spring the new Trump Administration immigration policy, I sent a letter along with 39 of my Senate colleagues to President Trump demanding that his administration end the abhorrent policy of separating immigrant children from their parents. This letter cites research describing the short-term and long-term harm these traumatic separations can do to children and their families and repeatedly asks President Trump to end his practice of family separation. In late June, I signed onto additional letters to the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services asking for an investigation to be opened to investigate the treatment, care and reunification procedures that are in place to carry out the family separation policy. I am pleased that in response to this letter the Inspector General’s Office at HHS announced it is opening an investigation to complete a comprehensive review of the operations of the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program.

Additionally, I have cosponsored bills in the Senate that would expand the rights of children whose families are affected by immigration enforcement proceedings. I am a proud cosponsor of S. 3036, the Keep Families Together Act. This bill is a direct counter to the Trump Administration’s policy of family separation. It prohibits DHS officials from separating children from their parents, except in extraordinary circumstances. Furthermore, I am a cosponsor of S. 2937, the Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections (HELP) for Separated Children Act, which aims to protect children affected by immigration enforcement actions taken against their parents. Through this bill, if a parent is having immigration enforcement actions taken against them, the parent would first be allowed to make calls to arrange for the care of their children and ensure that children can call and visit their parents while they are detained. These protections will provide some small peace of mind for parents and children as they go through immigration proceedings.

On Tuesday, June 26, a federal judge in California issued an injunction in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union that calls for all children who have been affected by the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy to be reunited with their parents within 30 daysI am pleased that this injunction has set specific timeframes for the reunification of separated families. I will continue my strong oversight of the Trump Administration’s actions to ensure it is complying with the court order and that families are being reunited as quickly and safely as possible.

The Trump Administration’s systematic policy of family separation is inhumane and has inflicted trauma on children, parents and families. The administration must reunite all families. I have been vocal in my opposition to the policy and will continue to conduct critical oversight until every family is reunited and treated in a manner consistent with our Nation’s values.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

 For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov . I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.

Sincerely,

Bob Casey
United States Senator

Help Us Make Pets Happy

Sunday, February 4th, 2018

KFP has now joined his Daddy’s videogame streaming marathon, playing “Plants Versus Zombies” right now. They are trying to raise money to help the Animal Coalition of Delaware County, a no-kill shelter that helped us find out kitty 12 years ago.

They are getting close: 65 percent of the way there! Only a few donations will help them make their goal.

Please check it out, donate to help homeless pets, and listen to KFP getting silly with his daddy!

https://tiltify.com/@toanstation/thank-you-acdc

Share the love!

Help Pets Who Need Homes

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Join my husband, Toanstation, in supporting the Animal Coalition of Delaware County’s pet rescue efforts. Watch live gameplay, or even join him, and give to help ACDC find forever homes for animals on Feb. 3rd & 4th.

https://tiltify.com/@toanstation/thank-you-acdc

Letter on Environmental Issues & Sen. Casey Reponse

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

A couple weeks ago, I sent some letters about environmental issues that had been written by the Environmental Defense fund, including one expressing concerns about Scott Pruitt as the new Environmental Protection Agency administrator. Here is Senator Robert Casey (D-PA)’s response. I appreciate how detailed it is!


Dear Mrs. Wilson:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding environmental policy under the Trump Administration and the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.

President Trump’s statements denying the reality of climate change are short-sighted and threaten to undermine the progress that Pennsylvania and the Nation have already made to address environmental issues. His statements ignore the growing evidence that indicates that adding large amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide or methane, to the atmosphere is a leading cause of climate change. Greenhouse gas pollution poses a threat to public health and the environment, particularly for vulnerable populations like children with asthma or the elderly, and failing to act on climate change could lead to, among other things, disruptions in food production, malnutrition, water scarcity and childhood stunting.

We as a Nation have a moral obligation to address this issue. I believe that we must rise to the challenge and revitalize our economy by increasing our efforts in the areas of energy efficiency; developing and adopting cleaner ways of producing electricity; and creating jobs. I support the need for a comprehensive climate change plan and EPA’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from new and existing power plants.

As Pennsylvania transitions to clean energy, there must also be a strategy to maintain multiple forms of electricity generation including clean coal, nuclear energy, natural gas and hydropower. In addition, I believe that we should be encouraging the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage technologies, which will enable fossil fuel power plants across the world to dramatically reduce carbon pollution. Finally, it is critical that the Administration and Congress focus on policies that help those workers in the energy sector who have been adversely affected by changes in the energy economy.

On December 8, 2016, President Trump announced he would nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be the next EPA Administrator. Mr. Pruitt’s record is clear: he fought to dismantle the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, anti-pollution programs that target ozone and mercury in the air, the agreement to clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed and denied the science of climate change. Attorney General Pruitt is also leading the effort to overturn the Clean Power Plan, which is vital to getting control of our energy future and creating clean energy jobs. I do not have confidence, based on Attorney General Pruitt’s record, that the EPA under his leadership would enforce our environmental laws like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. Therefore, I have determined that I will vote to oppose the confirmation of Attorney General Pruitt to be Administrator of the EPA.

Please be assured that I will remain committed to defending sound environmental policies while cultivating new clean energy jobs, re-energizing the manufacturing sector in Pennsylvania and revitalizing the national economy. I will keep your views in mind as the U.S. Senate considers Cabinet nominations, as well as legislation related to climate change.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov. I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.

Sincerely,

Bob Casey

United States Senator

Response from Rep. Patrick Meehan

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Yesterday, I was pleased to receive a response from my congressman, Patrick Meehan, regarding my concerns over possible cuts to the school lunch program and, specifically, to those programs, such as CEP, designed to fund school meals for low-income communities. You can read my letter in my previous post. Now, while his letter doesn’t specifically mention CEP, it does indicate that he shares the concerns about funding for school lunches for needy children. Hopefully, he will continue to vote in line with what he says in this letter.

I have now signed up for his newsletter and am also following him on Twitter, so I can keep up to date with news about what he’s doing in Congress.


February 21, 2017

Dear Mrs. Wilson,

Thank you for contacting me regarding childhood nutrition. I appreciate hearing from you and having the benefit of your views.

I share your concerns about America’s youth and ensuring at-risk kids do not go hungry. I voted against cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) because I felt the proposed bill would hurt many of the families and children who the program is intended to help in the first place. Compromise legislation was later reached to ensure taxpayer dollars are used wisely and appropriately while meeting our responsibility to needy families. It passed on a bipartisan basis and became law.

As Congress works on Child Nutrition Reauthorization this year, please know that I will keep your concerns in mind as we work to ensure no child in America goes hungry.

Again thank you for contacting me regarding this issue. I appreciate hearing from you. For more information on my work in Congress on your behalf, please visit my website www.meehan.house.gov, where you can sign up for my e-newsletter. Please follow me on Twitter @RepMeehan.

Sincerely,

Patrick Meehan
Member of Congress

Letter to Congress on Funding CEP

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

Recently, I read an excellent article in the Huffington Post about the School Lunch Program and how important it is to continue a little-known aspect of the program, the Community Eligibility Program, established by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The article also referred to high-profile comments from some congressmen about the possibility of defunding the program.

Doing my own research on the program, I learned that roughly 6 million children received free lunches in impoverished school districts back in the 2014-15 school year and, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, that number was expected to increase.

Our legislators will be actively discussing the budget soon. Now is a good time to make certain they understand their constituents’ priorities. Following is a letter I sent to both my senators and to my congressman. You can find out how to contact your legislators at at USA.gov.

Feel free to use my letter as a starting point, and to share it with your friends!


Dear Legislator:

As the mother of a first grader, I know the importance of proper nutrition to a child’s health. That’s why I urge you to look out for low-income children through continued funding of the Community Eligibility Program, established by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-296), which provides free lunches to the most poverty-stricken eligible school districts.

You are no doubt aware that the CEP benefits more than 14,000 high-poverty schools in more than 2,200 school districts across the country, serving more than 6 million children. Because of this program, eligible schools have greatly increased access to healthy meals while reducing paperwork for parents/guardians and administrators alike.

Thanks to the nutrition provided by the CEP, students whose schools use the program benefit from stronger thinking skills, behavior and health, all of which impact academic performance. According to the 2014 paper, “Nutrition and Student’s Academic Performance” by Wilder Research, multiple studies have demonstrated the academic benefits of healthy eating, while other studies have shown the negative impacts of junk food on academic performance.

Reducing the funding for CEP would create a hardship for the school districts and children who have come to depend on it. In contrast, continuing full funding of CEP will lead to countless benefits for the children, their schools, and by extension, our nation. Please keep CEP in mind while assessing priorities in upcoming budget discussions in Congress.

Sincerely,
Alyce Wilson

I’m Back!

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

Time has a way of slipping away, especially when you are the work-at-home mother of a busy 5-year-old, as well as being the editor of a weekly literary magazine (Wild Violet) and the head of Press Relations for Otakon.

I never intended it to be so long between entries, but I intend to get back in the game. In fact, I even have a plan.

When the Yahoo! Contributor Network closed its doors last year, the rights to all of the material I’d published with them reverted to me. I spent weeks laboriously downloading all of my articles, then left them in a folder, unsorted and forgotten.

This week, I began looking through them and discovered quite a bit of “evergreen” material which should still interest readers. My goal is to republish material in this blog related to writing, literature, pets, lifestyle and pop culture. I will republish material related to parenting in my book project blog, BelatedMommy.com.

Occasionally, I will also provide some insights on my latest writing project, a book of essays about my growing boy. If you’re interested in these topics, please consider subscribing to the blog, and you’ll receive a notification every time a new article goes online.

I’m looking forward to a more productive rest of the year!

Video Competition

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Thanks to a tip from a friend, I entered a video competition held by an organization called Baby Steps. Finding out about the contest just 48 hours before the deadline, I still managed to put together a decent two-minute video. Fortunately, I had plenty of raw footage, and KFP readily helped me shoot some more to fill in where I needed it. Maybe my undergraduate degree in Broadcast/Cable will finally pay off!

Please pop over to Facebook and check it out. Hopefully, you’ll like it. My entry is called “Puppet Problem Solving”:

http://on.fb.me/1c22MbO

Scroll to the bottom of the screen and look for a still showing KFP with two puppets.

After you’ve viewed it, if it made you smile, please vote by clicking on the box in the upper right-hand corner of the video. Judges will select the top prizes based on criteria such as creativity and production values, but they’ll also award a special prize for the video that receives the most votes.

‘Silver Pen’ Rejection

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

I just received a form rejection from “Silver Pen” magazine, run by Silver Blade, which was one of the magazines I’d submitted to in October as part of 31 Queries in 31 Days.

Five more poems available to send out again!

New Year’s Resolutions 2014

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Looking back at 2013, I had many successes. I built on my existing author’s platform, connecting with more users/potential readers on Twitter, Google Plus, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest.

Thanks to the 30 Queries in 30 Days Project and its extension, the 31 Queries in 31 Days Project, I received acceptances from Miracle magazine and Five poetry magazine and secured an editing gig for a series of children’s books.

I published my second non-fiction book, Dedicated Idiocy,  a Kindle-only book, and made progress on my current work-in-progress, Now with Kung Fu Action Grip, a collection of writings about my 3-year-old son.

This year I have two main goals:

1) Complete and publish Now with Kung Fu Action Grip.

2) Complete and publish my new poetry anthology, Owning the Ghosts.

In addition, I want to build on my successes by sticking to three good habits:

3) Post at least once a week on this blog; my blog for my book for older parents, Belated Mommy; my Goodreads author’s blog; and my personal blog at LiveJournal.

4) Write at least one poem a week.

5) Apply to at least one writing job or send at least one submission a week.

In general, I will also be striving to continue to build my author’s platform and to find creative and results-driven ways to promote my published works.


And an exciting update: I learned that I’ve been selected as one of the finalists to be included in the Project REUTSway anthology, from the November YA writing challenge. I will keep you posted on the book as the project progresses!

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