Ask MeFi: Blogs for binge reading?

Looking for addictive, binge-worthy blogs that I will want to read from beginning to end. Basically, if you couldn’t stop reading, I’d like to hear about it.

I have recently read all of the absolutely fascinating End of Shift Report (written by an ICU nurse) and the engaging, also fascinating Fosterhood (written by a young professional, single foster mother in NYC). I could not put either of these down once I started reading them, but I’ve finished, and now I need MORE.

I don’t have specific topics in mind. I’d just basically like anything with a little bit of drama, good storytelling, some suspense and/or a peek into someone else’s life. Please feed my new addiction. I’ve basically always hated blogs, but these two have turned me onto them and there must be more out there that I’d like. Thanks!

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AP poll finds bare confidence in government, elections

Few Americans have much confidence in the U.S. political system, the government in general, or in either political party.

Most say they’re interested in the 2016 presidential election, but they also feel frustrated, helpless and even angry with the way the election is going, a poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows.

Democrats and Republicans alike feel down in the dumps about the election and about the political system in general.

Some things to know about Americans’ opinions on their government and the political system from the AP-NORC poll:

LITTLE CONFIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT

Few Americans have a lot of confidence in any of the branches of the government. Just 4 percent say they have a great deal of confidence in Congress, while 48 percent say they have only some and 46 percent have hardly any.

The other branches of government fare a little better, but still don’t inspire much confidence. Fifteen percent say they have a lot of confidence in the executive branch, 50 percent have some and 33 percent have hardly any. And 24 percent have a great deal of confidence in the Supreme Court, 58 percent have some confidence and 17 percent have hardly any.

On the other hand, 56 percent of Americans say they have a great deal of confidence in the military.

There are some partisan differences in Americans’ confidence in their government institutions. With a Democrat occupying the White House, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to express a great deal of confidence in the executive branch, 24 percent to 6 percent. And about 7 in 10 Republicans, but just under half of Democrats, have a great deal of confidence in the military.

FEELING BLUE, BUT CAN’T LOOK AWAY

Few Americans have positive things to say about the 2016 presidential election.

Seven in 10 Americans describe themselves as frustrated with the 2016 presidential election, while more than half, including majorities in both parties, say they’re angry.

Only 23 percent say they’re excited about the election, while 37 percent feel hopeful. Just 13 percent say they’re proud.

Still, Americans can’t seem to turn away. About two-thirds say they’re interested in the presidential election, and just 3 in 10 say they’re bored.

At the same time, 55 percent, including majorities from both political parties say they feel helpless about the election.

About half of voters age 45 and over, but two-thirds of those under 30, say they feel helpless.

SYSTEM NEEDS FIXING

Just 10 percent say they have a great deal of confidence in the political system overall, the AP-NORC poll finds, while 51 percent have only some confidence and 38 percent say they have hardly any. About one-quarter say they have hardly any confidence that their votes will be counted accurately, while close to 4 in 10 say they have only some confidence.

Only 13 percent of Americans say they think the two-party political system in the U.S. works fairly well, while 38 percent say it’s seriously broken. An additional 49 percent say the system has real problems, but with some improvements it can still work.

Neither political party inspires much confidence, either. Just 8 percent say they have a great deal of confidence in the Republican Party and 15 percent say that about the Democratic Party. Just 29 percent of Democrats and 16 percent of Republicans have a great deal of confidence in their own political parties.

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SO NOW WE WAIT

Bishop Lynch Retirement Letter to Pope Francis

The letter that was sent to Pope Francis today.

Today marks only the beginning of the end of my service as Bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg. It is not the end. That moment comes when my successor who will be the fifth bishop is installed at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle. But today is still a special moment and I sign the letter to Pope Francis asking to be allowed to retire as required by Canon Law and I thank him for the incredible privilege of serving this terrific local Church.

Twenty and a half years ago when I first appeared at the cathedral for a press conference accompanying the announcement of my appointment, my heart and mind were are odds with one another. My mind said accept the honor with dignity and grace and my heart said it was almost criminal to leave the people of St. Mark’s parish in West Broward who in six months I had come to love. Even after coming here and starting, there was still that strange feeling of almost a “divorce” in which both sides lost something valuable.

This morning I woke up with the same battle of heart and mind. The mind said, “Enough is enough and it is time for me to rest and another to lead, be creative, take this local Church to a new level of coming to experience the presence of the Lord.” But my heart said, how can I leave my collaborators in ministry, my priests and deacons and religious women and men, my seminarians, my schools and faith formation leaders and teachers? I love them too much!

If you know me as well as I think you do, you know that while I am relieved, I am not entirely happy. I cried when in July of 1984 I drove out of the gates of St. John Vianney College seminary in Miami to begin my new assignment in Washington. I cried all the way to Hollywood that day but no one was in the car to witness it.

On February 3, 1995 I cried walking from the chapel at the headquarters of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops through a wall of people lining the hallway all the way to the front entrance and the parking lot, all crying as much as I. I cried that time all the way to Lorton and the Auto Train depot where a train would take my car and myself back to Miami for a new assignment.

On January 20, 1996 I cried as I said good-bye to my parish staff and teachers grade school children at St. Mark’s and climbed into my car to drive to St. Petersburg and my new assignment. Those tears lasted half way across Alligator Alley until a Seminole tribe sheriff stopped me and warned me that I was pressing the speed limit a tad too close. Just a warning, not a tearful ticket.

If you get the picture, it is that I do not handle major change and the fondest of good-byes well. I was proud of myself that only once and then unnoticed during the ordination last Saturday of the five new priests did I break down and it was after the greeting of peace with Father Felipe Gonzalez whose parents and family were unable to be with him/us in that moment. But at the end, in my own sacristy I shut the door and let loose knowing that I had ordained to the priesthood for the last time and would not have that privilege for the incredible men coming along in the next few years. They are as close to sons as any unmarried male can have but when I leave, they will be my brothers no longer my sons.

Today is not the time for tears. Work continues unabated. You will see that I will be very reluctant to begin new major initiatives or to spend new monies. If the transition were to take place tomorrow, the new bishop would inherit a great diocese made up of talent and treasure – probably the best in Florida and maybe even in the country. We have accomplished something beautiful for God in the last two decades. And you have helped me even in ways of which you are largely unaware. Rarely disappointed and forever grateful, I cannot thank you enough. You have tolerated my eccentricities and peculiarities, you have been loyal even when I have done something which may have hurt. Together we have lived our mantra to this local Church, “how can I help you.”

Today I think of Sue Tully, Vivi, Carmen, Malissa, Maria, Joan, Betty, Frank, Deacon Rick, and Michael, our team in our version of the “West Wing.” Today at this Eucharist which means “thanksgiving” I think of Monsignor Brendan Muldoon, Monsignor Robert Gibbons, Father Alan Weber, Monsignor Frank Mouch, and Monsignor Morris, absent this moment only because his dear Mom has a doctor’s appointment which cannot be missed. I have been the luckiest person in the Church in the United States to have been assisted by these competent, loving, patient people. Thank you Jesus!

So today for this local Church the clock of expectation and hope starts to tick. We are like that parable in the Gospel waiting for the bridegroom knowing neither the day, hour or time of his arrival. But today we start to pray for him and he will remain in our expectation, hope and prayers until he comes. I shall not end as did President Obama at the National Press Club banquet a few weeks ago by simply dropping the microphone and saying “Obama, out!” Rather I will say, “Lynch, on hold.” Thanks and God Bless all of you.

+RNL

P.S. I want to share with you a video that my staff put together for me that you might enjoy. I did.

 

Lightning lets one opportunity pass, waits for another one vs. Penguins

The opportunity was gone. The chance had slipped through their fingers. The game had been blown.

And now, the players of the Tampa Bay Lightning, were already talking about their next turn.

The Lightning, with an opportunity to get to its second consecutive Stanley Cup Final, were badly outskated by the Pittsburgh Penguins for most of Tuesday night’s game. The Lightning lost, 5-2, to force Game Seven on Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

“We have one game to get to the Stanley Cup Finals,” said forward Ryan Callahan.

“What a great opportunity,” said forward Brian Boyle, who scored both Lightning goals. “This is a terrific chance to do something.”

Never mind that the Bolts managed only four shots in the first period, and only 11 in the first two. Never mind that, after a disallowed goal by the Lightning (offsides), the Penguins made the Lightning play chase.

“We just weren’t skating,” Boyle said. “I don’t know if we didn’t want to get beat. Whatever it was, it wasn’t what we needed to do.”

The situation is almost identical to last year’s series against the New York Rangers. Again, the Bolts had a chance to close out the Eastern Conference Finals, but instead laid an egg in a lopsided loss. This time, ditto.

The Penguins’ best plaelyrs took control of this one. Phil Kessel scored his ninth goal of the playoffs. Kris LeTang scored his second and Sidney Crosby his sixth.

Boyle scored twice to help the Lightning came within 3-2, but the Penguins scored two goals in the final 3:48 (one an empty netter) to even the series.

“I don’t think we were attacking enough, and obviously we weren’t creating enough in their end,” Callahan said. “We were a lot of one-and-dones, not getting pucks through. We spent a lot of time in our own end.”

“Their best players played better than ours for 40, and ours probably played better than theirs for 20,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

So far, the Bolts have had trouble getting to the dressing room. They’ve given up five goals in the last 90 seconds of a period.

“I guess you can sit here and say giving up a goal in the last minute is not ideal,” Cooper said, “but I just think giving up goals is not ideal. Whether you score them in the first minute or the last minute, it doesn’t matter. You are still giving up a goal. Unfortunately, you put yourself behind three, regardless of when they score them, (Pittsburgh) still scored three. It’s tough to form a comeback. Just like when we scored four a couple games ago and it’s tough for them to comeback. It’s magnified because it’s the last minute, I guess, but 3-0 is 3-0 no matter when they score.”

The teams play Thursday night at 8.

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Donald Trump’s campaign investment tops $43 million

Donald Trump poured more than $7.5 million of his own money into his presidential campaign in April, bringing his total personal investment to more than $43 million since he declared his candidacy, new campaign finance reports filed late Friday show.

The billionaire businessman, who swatted away 16 Republican rivals and relied heavily on wall-to-wall media coverage of his outsized personality and often inflammatory remarks, reported spending about $56 million during the primary, which lasted until his final two rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, dropped out of the race at the beginning of May.

In April alone, Trump spent nearly $9.4 million, according to his monthly filing with the Federal Election Commission. Trump’s largest expense in April, about $2.6 million, was for advertisements. The campaign also spent more than $930,000 on direct mail. Other big-ticket items included roughly $585,000 in airfare paid to Trump’s TAG Air Inc.

While much of Trump’s money has come from his own pocket, he reported about $1.7 million in donations last month. Those contributions have come largely from people buying Trump’s campaign merchandise, including the red “Make America Great Again” ball caps, and giving online through his campaign website. Trump didn’t begin developing a team of fundraisers until recently, after he became the presumptive GOP nominee.

Almost all of Trump’s personal investment has come in the form of loans. That leaves open the possibility that he can repay himself now that he’s aggressively seeking donations. A new fundraising agreement he struck with the Republican National Committee and 11 state parties explicitly seeks contributions for his primary campaign.

Yet Trump said in a statement this week that he has “absolutely no intention” of paying himself back.

Instead, he will be able to use any primary money he raises, in increments of up to $2,700 per donor, on expenses such as salaries, advertising and voter outreach over the next nine weeks. After the GOP convention in late July, Trump will officially become the nominee and be restricted to spending money that’s earmarked for the general election.

His likely rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has a head start on building a war chest for the November election. She partnered with Democratic parties months ago and has been raising millions of dollars for them. In April alone, she collected almost $800,000 in campaign money for the general election.

By contrast, Trump will hold his first campaign fundraiser next week, an event in Los Angeles where the minimum price of admission is $25,000, according to the invitation. Those donations are to be split among Trump’s campaign and his Republican Party allies.

In addition to the Trump campaign’s financial health, the filings also show that when Cruz dropped out, money wasn’t the issue: He had $9.4 million in his campaign coffers at the end of April, just days before his defeat May 3 in the Indiana primary prompted him to end his bid. At the time, Cruz said he left the race because he saw no path forward.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Today is Give Day. Please take this opportunity to support the Palladium!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 3 is Give Day Tampa Bay – and the Palladium, your favorite venue for music, community events and so much more – needs your support.

 

Join thousands across the region who take pride in their community by contributing online to their favorite nonprofits during this special 24-hour region-wide philanthropic event. The Palladium is part of what makes Tampa Bay great.

 

Participate in Give Day Tampa Bay by donating to the Palladium! Your support helps sustain the Palladium’s ability to continue offering the finest in diverse, affordable entertainment provided by both emerging and internationally-renowned artists. Thanks for your support!

 

To give online, simply click on this link!

 

 

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