What you need to know: Helping Las Vegas & Puerto Rico

This blog entry is just for informational purposes.

Las Vegas Shooting

On Sunday, October 1st 2017, a gunman opened fire on the audience of a country music festival taking place in Las Vegas.

The local police department put out a press release indicating United Blood Services started taking donations at 7 a.m. on Monday at two locations: 6930 W. Charleston in Las Vegas and 601 Whitney Ranch Drive in Henderson. UMC will also be hosting a blood drive in conjunction with United Blood Services. It will be held at UMC’s Delta Point Building located at 901 N. Rancho Lane.

donate-blood

You can support organizations that are helping the victims of the shooting, such as the Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada, which provides free services to people who don’t have health insurance; the American Red Cross Southern Nevada chapter; and the National Compassion Fund, which supports victims of mass crimes through direct donations.

People are also raising money to help victims through crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe and YouCaring.

Here are some mental health resources in case you or someone close to you, or that you just met needs them:

Additionally, if you want to push for stricter gun regulation laws, you can call your local congressman. Make sure you keep the communication short and to the point and that you contact the one that represents you. Here is how.

Crisis in Puerto Rico

The U. S. Territory of Puerto Rico is facing a growing humanitarian crisis after the desolation brought on by Hurricane Maria.

Donations can be made at the following sites:

You can also use the GoFundMe’s Hurricane Maria hub if you want to control where the donations should go.

You can also volunteer to help. The Federal Emergency Management Agency directs aspiring volunteers to register here, and you can also look at a list of opportunities at the  National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

Everything helps.

Praying for Paris. Our hearts are breaking for and with you.

Sometimes I can’t find the words, Taylor Nation.

(Source: Taylor Swift via Twitter)
(Source: Taylor Swift via Twitter)

According to various reports, from 87 to 112 people were killed in the recent attacks on Paris where gunmen opened fire on civilians at a rock concert, a soccer game, and around four venues that were bars or restaurants. You can read more on CBC News. I’ve been left kind of speechless. There is no sense to make from it. Please give what you can to the French Red Cross.

If you want to go beyond hashtags and statuses, then I ask you think globally and act locally. We may not be able to do much to end the hatred and intolerance miles and miles away, but we can help it end in our community. Hatred is everywhere. We start at home. And we do it because we cannot claim to be ignorant of what it can potentially become in the end. I don’t want to simplify the deaths of over hundred people and the suffering of even more to a simple hallmark card wish, but I have little wisdom to share here.

Pray for the people of Paris.

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • November 22: The American Music Awards. Taylor is nominated for six awards: Artist of the Year, Favorite Album Pop/Rock for 1989Favorite Female Artist Pop/Rock, Song of the Year for “Blank Space”, Collaboration of the Year for “Bad Blood” and Favorite Artist Adult ContemporaryVote!
  • November 28: The 1989 World Tour – Sydney, Australia – ANZ Stadium.

(Sources: CBC News)

The war outside keeps raging on: The Invisible Children movement against Joseph Kony

InvisibleChildren.com

Hello, everyone

Here at the Swift Agency, one guy who is not immune to the news around the world, we’re going to step outside the usual Taylor Swift & The Agency updates for this post. I will apologize to people that have been asking me to speak now about this because I always do research before I post stuff.

Joseph Kony is a man in charge of a guerrilla movement in northern Uganda. He has been known to recruit very young people by force and by kidnapping into its army. He also has been identified as the person in charge of various atrocities that I won’t name here. He has terrorized villagers in at least four countries in central Africa for nearly 20 years, killing tens of thousands of people. The International Criminal Court has charged him with war crimes. He is the top most wanted person in the ICC’s list. You can read the full story on The New York Times. I can’t bring myself to put the picture of this person on my site. Sorry.

KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.

Watch on Vimeo

HOW TO HELP:

Join TRI or Donate to Invisible Children: bit.ly/yp5Ffv
Purchase KONY 2012 products: invisiblechildrenstore.myshopify.com/
Sign the Pledge: causes.com/causes/227-invisible-children

Update: Everyone has their opinion, and as such I am also going to post a contrary view – not favoring Kony, but doubting whether the ideals of the Kony 2012 movement are ideal.  You can read a critique at visiblechildren.tumblr.com/. However, I was talking this over with a friend and the bottom line is who do you believe? Myself, I think the best you can do is raise awareness enough to bring the politically powerful interested. Personally, I also think a prayer would help but that’s just my opinion.

Taylor Swift performed in Brisbane, Australia for a second night on March 7. Update: The Arm Lyrics were: “The war outside keeps raging on. STOP KONY 2012” from Safe And Sound, by Taylor Swift, the Civil Wars and T. Bone Burnett.

Coming up in the Calendar!

(Sources: KONY 2012Invisible ChildrenNew York Times)

Fan Spotlight: Taylor Talk!

Hello, Taylor Nation!

It’s long overdue, but there is one podcast that discusses all things related to Taylor on iTunes: Taylor Talk. The show started with its first podcast back in November, 2011. It’s four hosts, discussing the current news and rumors going around on the Taylor Nation and giving their opinions.

In their usual order of introduction, they are:

  • Adam: He acts as the program director and producer. The show is sponsored by his site, TaylorSwift13.org. Most often than not, he’s trying to put order which means he’s always in danger of being overpowered by his co-hosts.
  • Belle: She’s very knowledgeable and has followed Taylor since her beginnings, plus she still keeps in touch with all things Taylor. She’s very good at dispelling rumors and has a very good grasp of Taylor’s personality.
  • Jencita: One of the most informed Taylor fans and a mistress of promotion. She was born to be a publicist or a promoter. She’s got a very quick wit, which makes her Adam’s person to watch since she’ll usually turn the tables on him in the funniest way possible.
  • Maya: One of the sweetest fans you’ll ever meet, Maya is also one of the most dedicated Taylor fans. She’s always up to date on all the news and she’s also a part of another great site, @TSwiftOnTour, keeping fans updated on concert news while the concert is still going on!

The show nowadays tends to run a little long, so make sure you have some time available to hear each episode. On certain topics, they follow a round table format in which everyone gets to chime in. You’ll find they don’t always agree with each other. I’ll be honest, sometimes I don’t agree with any of them. Nevertheless, they’re always well informed and the opinions (for the most part) are sound. Everyone’s entitled to their say, and although some of people play favorites between which host more closely represents them, it’s good to hear what they all have to say.

You can subscribe to them on iTunes here: Taylor Talk: The Taylor Swift Podcast

They’ve got some featurettes a bit geared toward the younger crowd at the end such as If Swifties Ruled The World? and What Would Taylor Do? If that’s your cup of tea you can send suggestions for them via mail at TaylorTalk@TaylorSwift13.org.

Note: This is not an endorsement. This is someone’s hard work that I think it’s worth mentioning. My spotlight may be more of a small flashlight, but it’s mine – I don’t do these by request.

Coming up in the Calendar!

(Sources: TaylorTalk.orgTaylorSwift13.org)

Why did the blog go dark? The strike against SOPA/PIPA

Hello, internet denizens!

Don’t worry. We’re still the Swift Agency, one guy who will still blog about Taylor Swift and the Agency, but once in a while there’s something that shakes up the internet and I feel compelled to participate. This is a movement against SOPA, a bill sent to the US Congress known as the Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA, a similar bill sent to the House of Representatives. It was shelved, but it could return in some form. The problem with the bill is not what it intends, but the power it gives mainstream media over the sites you can visit and over what you are allowed to do on the internet.

Yes, I am Canadian 🙂 But this site resides in the USA. I would be naive to think that this will not impact the internet in a global form.

A movement to strike in protest to this bill has gone viral. Some sites have taken the approach of a complete blackout (no service) on Wednesday, January 18. I’ve decided to not take down the whole site and instead go for the announcement, the ribbon you see at the top right and the symbolic darkened look. Here’s the official explanation from sopastrike.com:

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/31100268 w=600]

Watch on Vimeo

For more information on this movement, read sopastrike.com.