Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day this coming Saturday, today's installment of the Subversive Children's Book Club deals with books that have environmental, nature and vegetarian themes.  Save the earth for our children's futures.

Primary & Lower Elementary:

  • I Love Animals by Flora McDonnell
  • Madeline and The Bad Hat by Ludwig Bemelmans
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • How Droofus The Dragon Lost His Head by Bill Peet
  • Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
  • A Prayer For The Earth: The Story of Naamah, Noah’s Wife by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
  • The Big Big Sea by Martin Waddell
  • Three Days on A River In A Red Canoe by Vera B. Williams
  • Pond Year by Kathryn Lasky
  • Wangari's Trees of Peace:  A True Story of Africa by Jeannette Winter
  • Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed The World by Laurie Lawlor
  • City Green by Dyanne DiSalvo-Ryan
  • The Earth Book by Todd Parr

 Upper Elementary and Teens:

  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
  • Exodus, Zenith and Aurora by Julie Bertagna
  • Flush by Carl Hiaasen
  • Girlwood by Claire Dean
  • Scat by Carl Hiaasen
  • Crash by Jerry Spinelli
  • Chomp by Carl Hiaasen
  • The Wheel on The School by Meindert DeJong
  • Owl In The Shower by Jean Craighead George
  • Skink - No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen
  • The Carbon Diaries 2015 & The Carbon Diaries 2017 by Saci Lloyd
  •  Standing Up For Mr. O by Claudia Mills
  • The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
  • Orleans by Sherri L. Smith
  •  The Highest Frontier by Joan Slonczewski

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


On April 3rd, a power outage caused Valero to flare in a highly noticeable manner.  Black smoke billowed through the sky.  Four nearby schools went on lockdown. 

My husband and I were both at work in nearby towns and were unaffected until we got home.  Our daughters were in Corpus, though.  Not anywhere near the zone with the lockdowns but that did not matter...people got sick all over town.  My younger daughter complained that her throat hurt and her eyes stung all afternoon and night.  My older daughter, whose asthma has been so well controlled that she had not had to use her rescue inhaler for months, had to use it three times, and also experienced throat pain and stinging eyes.

Not acceptable.

In the days that followed, I started calling Valero about the issue.  We played phone tag some but eventually I reached a community relations person at Valero named Darcy who, while expressing to me multiple times how much she cared about my concerns, did not seem able to agree that it was unacceptable that the only way Valero can operate is by either:

A.) Exploding and killing large swaths of South Texas when these unfortunate incidents happen (obviously the worst option); or

B.) Flaring (to prevent Option A) in a manner that disrupts our schools and businesses and harms our children as mine were harmed, albeit less severely than explosions of poison chemicals would harm them.

See, she just could not see that Option B was truly unacceptable.  

But I did not give Valero permission to hurt my children.  And it is never okay to hurt children.

Darcy pointed out how they are always looking for new technologies that will decrease the effects of flaring more and I am glad of that but as long as they cannot operate without occasionally hurting my children they have no business operating.

Darcy says I am the only person who called to complain about how the flare impacted my family's health...the only one.  I am surprised by this because a lot of people told me about sore throats and stinging eyes that day.

Also, she remembered my calling to complain when Valero's lessee, Ergon, poisoned our city's water supply in December, so there could not have been very many people who spoke to her then, either (by the way she did not make it sound like they are terminating Ergon's lease or any such thing).  

So, Mamas. Here is the thing:  when Valero hurts your kids, you have to call them.  Talk to Darcy in community relations. I know you are concerned because I hear you talking about it a lot, but it seems that Valero does not hear it.  Let Darcy  know your concerns because as long as she just hears from  me, she is probably not too worried that they need to change anything.

Valero makes us vulnerable.  Let them know that we will not have it.

Battle Stations

The past month has been a rather besieged time for my little family...just lots of day by day learning with some health issues in the family and all the big feelings that come with that, for which all the normal duties of living and earning do not slow down.

A giant bright spot was when a certain Speaker did not have the votes to pass a  certain horrible mangling of our health care.

That was such a victory.

We are doing it, Mamas.  We are making progress.  We must persist.

We all know they will try again but we will be ready for them again.

Even when the kids are puking and sniffling and the sleep it is hard to come by, we persist.

Even when we find our selves using war metaphors although we are Quakers and this disturbs us, we must persist.

Persist, persist, persist.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Action Alert: House Expected To Vote on AHCA - Call to Oppose Today

The House is expected to vote any time now, but probably by tomorrow, on the Republican American Health Care Act, based upon Paul Ryan's frat boy dreams of getting rid of Medicare and Medicaid.

This plan would cause 24 million Americans to lose health care coverage and is opposed by the nation's doctors, nurses, senior citizens and disability rights advocates, as well as advocates for poor children and pregnant women.

Please call your Congressional Representative this morning and ask them to vote against this dangerous bill.

Thank you, Mamas.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Spring!

Happy Spring!  Happy Equinox!  To the longer Light that starts tomorrow!

SDG Mondays: #GlobalGoals

Today concludes our occasional series, SDG Mondays, about the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals went into effect in January of 2016 and are expected to guide all countries in their efforts to eradicate poverty, increase equality and combat climate change over the coming years.

Please take a look at the goals and decide how you can help.  The fight to end poverty, inequality and climate change belongs to all of us.

Stand up.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Set Up A Visit At Your Congressional Representative's Office to Discuss Healthcare & Oppose the AHCA

I encourage citizens who are opposed to the GOP health plan to set up lobby visits with their Member of Congress's Chief of Staff or District Director in their district office about it. 

Constituent lobby visits are one of the most effective ways to communicate with Representatives. It has been shown that as few as seven visits from constituents on a single issue to a single Representative really influences how they feel they need to vote to be re-elected. We need the Congress to hear from a diverse group of constituents who would be impacted by the bill and from community leaders who clearly have influence - we need clergy, senior citizens, people with disabilities, doctors, nurses and families who need mental health treatment to visit. 

Setting up the visit takes persistence and follow up. 

At your visit, you politely explain your problems with the bill, let them know you do not want them to vote for it and that we need them to work for a better bill and leave behind a relevant fact sheet for them to read. It is not helpful to ask for things it is unrealistic to expect your Representative to support like universal health care with a conservative Member. You have to present yourself as someone whose vote they can win. 

Here is something you could revise and add to and use as a fact sheet if it reflects your concerns:

Oppose The American Health Care Act
·      The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 14 million Americans would lose health insurance within the year under this bill and that 24 million would lose coverage by 2026.

·      The AHCA is opposed by the AARP due to the impact on Medicare and Medicaid access and stability.

·      The AHCA would result in Medicaid cuts that would put at risk the health and safety of 17.4 million children and adults with disabilities and seniors by eliminating much-needed services that allow individuals to live independently in their homes and communities.

·      The AHCA would  re-instate, but under-fund,  high risk pools for people with chronic and complex health care conditions which were used and  have been proven ineffective prior to the Affordable Care Act.

·      The AHCA would restrict access to critical mental health services.

·      The AHCA would greatly eliminate income-based subsidies, replacing them with age-based subsidies which would price many working families out of adequate health insurance for their children and price disabled individuals out of comprehensive coverage that they need to survive.

·      The AHCA’s  gap surcharges and wellness program “incentives” would also disproportionately impact individuals with disabilities who may lose employment due to hospitalizations and who may not be able to reach wellness benchmarks due to their conditions.

·      The AHCA is  opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Hospital Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Osteopathic Association, the American Lung Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, America’s Essential Hospitals, National Nurses United, the National Physician’s Alliance, and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

·      Instead of supporting this dangerous legislation, please listen to the expertise of doctors and nurses and experts on the health care needs of children, the elderly and people with disabilities to craft a bill that protects the progress we have made and takes American health care forward instead of backward.

Protect disabled, elderly, and sick Americans – Vote against the American Health Care Act.

The Republicans are trying to get the bill through fast so please try to visit right away if you can.  

It is also not too early to start visiting Senators if you can.


Lone Star Ma

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Women In Science

In honor of Women's History Month, this installment of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features books about women in science, because science is not a liberal conspiracy and it is not just for men, either.  Enjoy!

  • Of Numbers and Stars:  The Story of Hypatia by  D. Anne Love
  • Maria's Comet by Deborah Hopkinson
  • Black Stars:  African American Women Scientists and Inventors by Otha Richard Sullivan 
  • Rare Treasure:  Mary Anning and Her Remarkable Discoveries by Don Brown
  • Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World by Laurie Lawler
  • The Watcher:  Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps by Jeannette Winter

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

You Don't Get To Tell Your Constituents To Shut Up, Sir

Republican Representative Joe Barton told a constituent to shut up when the constituent expressed their frustration over Representative Barton's refusal to support the Violence Against Women Act in a town hall in Frost, Texas last week.

No, sir.  You do what your constituents say, no the other way around, sir.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Congressional Budget Office Evaluation of GOP Health Plan Grim

The CBO came out with its budget and coverage evaluations of the Republicans' proposed American Health Care Act today. While it does appear to save some money, if you don't mind doing that by taking away people's ability to get medical treatment, the number of people who would lose coverage under it is terrifying: 14 million people by next year and 24 million by 2026.

They are trying to rush it through before Easter.  Please call your Congressional Representative and convince them to oppose this dangerous legislation.

Girl Guides of Canada Cancel Travel to U.S.

The Girl Guides of Canada have canceled all trips to the United States, citing concerns over travel restrictions and the need to make sure no girls get left behind. Now countries have to have travel bans about us.

SDG Mondays: Global Partnerships.

This edition of SDG Mondays features the final 17th goal of the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

This goal has five associated financial targets, three associated technology targets, one associated capacity building target, three associated trade targets and seven associated systemic issue targets:

Capacity building
Systemic issues
Policy and institutional coherence
Multi-stakeholder partnerships
Data, monitoring and accountability
What do you think of this goal and its associated targets?  What can you do to help meet those targets?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Strong Girl Characters

In honor of Women's History Month, and International Women's Day, this installment of the Subversive Children's Book Club features fiction books with strong girl characters.  Enjoy!

Primary and Lower Elementary:

  • A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams
  • Madeline By Ludwig Bemelmans
  • Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
  • Mirette on The High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully
  • Chester's Way by Kevin Henkes
  • Just Us Women by Jeannette Caines
  • Rumplestiltskin's Daughter by Diane Stanley
  • The Ramona Books By Beverly Cleary
  • Tatterhood and the Hobgoblins Retold by Lauren Mills
  • Little Women By Louisa May Alcott
  • The Anne of Green Gables Books By L.M. Montgomery
  • Seven Brave Women by Betsy Hearne 
  • Becoming Naomi Leon By Pam Munoz Ryan

Upper Elementary and Teen:
  • The Tequila Worm By Viola Canales
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by  Jacqueline Kelley
  • Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
  • The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  • Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  • One Crazy Summer & P.S. Be Eleven By Rita Williams-Garcia  
  • Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes 
  • The Betsy-Tacy Books By Maud Hart Lovelace (the later ones) 
  • The Alice Books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor  
  • Like Sisters on The Homefront by Rita Williams-Garcia
  • The Highest Frontier by Joan Slonczewski.