Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wild Woman Summer Enrichment Program For Gifted Girls






Throw in the little one's Red Cross Babysitting Certification Class (check), her volunteering three times a week at the library and probable Cousin Camp and Girl Scout Camp later on, and I think I am providing a decent enough summer of enrichment.

Action Alert: Key States! Alaska, Maine, Ohio, Nebraska, West Virginia!

Alaska, Maine, Ohio, Nebraska, West Virginia: You five states are key. Your Republican Senators do not really want to vote for this travesty of a bill, but they are under enormous pressure from their party to do so.  Please call them and let them know you want them to vote no! Please tell them that you, their constituents, want a bill with no waivers to essential services.  

Help them stand up for you.  They want to but they are afraid.  Call.  Email.  You can do it.

Here is a link from the Friends Committee on National Legislation to help you find their contact information:

https://act.fcnl.org/act/senate_medicaid?_ga=2.91823322.1975578181.1497882527-1681525579.1472658210

Action Alert: Stop The Senate Health Care Bill

The Senate has finally released their previously super-secret health care bill and I dare say it was not worth the wait.

Don't even get me started about the deep harm it will do the elderly and people with disabilities through its draconian cuts to Medicaid.

While neither the House nor the Senate Bill technically allows insurers to refuse to write policies to people with preexisting conditions, and while the Senate Bill further removes the House Bill's waivers to allow states to price people with preexisting conditions out of coverage, none of these protections are worth anything because of what the Senate bill left in:

Annual limits.

Lifetime limits.

The Senate Bill leaves in the provision for states to be able to seek waivers from having to provide essential services.  That means states can just opt not to require insurance plans to cover the costly medications and treatments - many more costly than any but the Gates family could afford without health insurance - that keep many little babies and other people, like my daughter, who have preexisting conditions alive.  Or the plans can cover them up to an annual limit...up to a lifetime limit...

This bill gives expiration dates for people with preexisting conditions who require costly life-saving treatment.

And
That 
Is 
Not 
Okay.

We won't go back.  We won't go back.  We won't go back!

Please email your Senators tonight and call your Senators first thing tomorrow morning and tell them to vote no on the health care bill if it includes waivers to essential benefits!  Lives depend on you making these calls and emails so please make them - there is not much time.

If you live in Alaska, Maine, Ohio, Nevada or West Virginia, your calls and emails are the most important of all. Your Republican Senators do not really want to vote for this travesty of a bill, but they are under enormous pressure from their party to do so.  Please call them and let them know you want them to vote no!  Thank you, Brothers and Sisters!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Taking the "Prevention" out of Crime Control and Prevention District

This evening, the Corpus Christi Crime Control and Prevention District voted to adopt a budget that completely eliminates funding for the Juvenile Assessment Center.

The sales tax the District levies has not produced enough funding to continue funding all of the District's projects at current levels, so the District decided to cut all projects except for the 62 police officer positions it funds instead of making cuts across the Board, to police positions and youth prevention funding.

The Crime Control and Prevention District was primarily created to fund the Juvenile Assessment Center, which a wide coalition of social service agencies across Corpus Christi supported.  The program was wildly successful, decreasing juvenile delinquency rates in the city, assessing youth in trouble and connecting them to all of the services they needed, providing case management to make sure that services worked...it became a national model of prevention that was used in creating countless programs in other communities.

Its effectiveness has been hampered over recent years by continued cuts to its funding so that the courts and police could have more funding. Now the District plans to eliminate it altogether so they can protect all of the police positions for a few more years.

I think the citizens would rather have 50 police positions funded and keep the youth prevention services.  There will never be enough police officers to bring down the crime rate if the city does not prioritize its youth.  We know that prevention works.

Please contact the Mayor and your Council Members and tell them to vote no on the Corpus Christi Crime Control and Prevention District's budget until it restores funding for the Juvenile Assessment Center. 

#SaveTheJAC

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Summer!

In honor of the Longest Day yesterday, this edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club features books about summer and travel and family visits. And!  And!  I found one about raspas! Perfect!



  • The Battle of The Snow Cones/La Guerra De Las Raspas by Lupe Ruiz-Flores
  • Beach Babies Wear Shades by Michelle Sinclair Colman
  • Three Days In A River On A Red Canoe by Vera Williams
  • Just Us Women by Jeannette Caines
  • My Aunt Came Back by Pat Cummings
  • The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
  • The Raft by Jim Lamarche
  • The Sea House by Deborah Turney Zagwyn
  • One Crazy Summer & Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams Garcia
  • Revolution by Deborah Wiles

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Happy Longest Day!

I realize it is the Solstice in the late evening and experience a frequently-felt sort of mother guilt associated with not having planned a lovely core-memory-forming activity for the offspring surrounding this seasonal holiday.  I tell myself I will try to remember next year.  It occurs to me that we may never be home all together on the Solstice again.  More guilt.  More day. More sunshine.  Tomorrow there will be more guilt and more night, no doubt.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happy Juneteenth!

We must never forget and never stop working to make things better.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Call Out Your Senators In The Local Newspapers on The Health Care Bill

Today is a good day to write a Letter to The Editor to your local paper about your Senators needing to listen to the American people as they craft their health care bill.

This can take less than 15 minutes but makes a big difference as a Senator will have a staffer who reads every piece of media with that Senator's name in it...so be sure to include their name.  Your local paper will probably have an online form through which you submit letters or an email address to which to submit them.
 
Some tips from the Girl:
 
  • keep it around 250 words
  • include both the name of the Senator and the issue for which you are advocating in the letter; example- Senator Murkowski must protect Alaskans with disabilities
  • paragraph 1- explain your issue and give a little background; use last sentence to call out Senator by name to act on the issue
  • paragraph 2- explain your personal connection to the issue, how the issue is important to you and your state
  • paragraph 3 - urge readers to make their voices heard by contacting their Senator; include the phone number and in-district office address of their district office closest to you.
 
 Go ahead and take fifteen minutes to make sure every paper in the country has a call-out letting the Senators know they will be held accountable for what they do to us.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Action Alert: Health Care Vote Looms - Contact Your Senators!

Now is the time to be calling and emailing your Senators (and visiting them if possible) daily about the health care bill.  

They are planning a vote before the July 4th recess and it really could be any day - there is no time to wait.  They need daily calls and emails about the bill.  

They need to know that what passed in the House is not acceptable and that the waivers allowed in the MacArthur Amendment are deadly to people with pre-existing conditions in a way that no dinky risk pool could ever fix.

They need to know that it is not acceptable for them to pass a bill that the American people have not had a chance to vet.  Legislation that so drastically affects the American people should be crafted with total transparency.  The bill should be released so the public can read it, there should be public hearings and our Senators should listen to us about what will and will not work for Americans and adjust the bill accordingly.

Please tell them to vote no on any waivers to the definition of essential services which would send us back to the days of annual and lifetime limits.  

Please tell them to vote no on waivers that would allow the sick and disabled to be priced out of coverage.

Please tell them not to vote on a bill without allowing the CBO to score it and public to read and comment on it.

Contact them daily, at all of their offices and leave messages with everyone.  Email their staffers who deal with health care (beth_nelson@cornyn.senate.gov and joel_heimbach@cruz.senate.gov in Texas) and let them know what we need, Mamas.  What our children need.  If they don't hear from us en masse, they will do what they want, which is getting rid of our health care - Cornyn already said he plans for the bill to be around 80% of what the House bill was, and we know how deadly that bill would be.  They will only listen if they know they have to and they know that when their constituents are calling and emailing every single second.  So call.  Email.  Let them know they will never hold their seats if they do not listen. We can save our children.  Now do it, Mamas- please.

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Democracy!

While I like to save this list as a patriotic post on the 4th of July, we are in some desperate times when citizens need to step up and I do not think we can wait.  

Because your children need you to call your Senators every day about the health care bill and insist on a bill that will protect them if they are or become sick or disabled, because your children need you to protect the safety of the air they breathe and the water they drink, because your children need you to stand up for their friends who are so hurt when people treat them badly because of their race or ethnicity or faith....this edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club is about citizenship and participating in the democratic process.  Save our democracy and start modeling citizenship now.

Primary and Lower Elementary:



  • Click, Clack, Moo:  Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
  • A Is For Activist by Innosanto Nagara
  • The Streets Are Free by Kurusa
  • Si, Se Puede!: Janitor Strike In L.A. by Diana Cohn
  • You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! by Shana Corey
  • Sit-In:  How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • If A Bus Could Talk:  The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
  • Ruby Bridges Goes To School:  My True Story by Ruby Bridges
  • The Ballot Box Battle By Emily Arnold McCully
  • Wangari's Trees of Peace By Jeannette Winter 
 
Upper Elementary and Teen Books:



  • The Landry News by Andrew Clements
  • The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen Cushman
  • Crash by Jerry Spinelli.
  • Standing Up to Mr. O by Claudia Mills.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Pride Month

In honor of Pride Month, this edition of The Subversive Children's Book Club features books about LBGTQ youth and families:


Primary

  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell 
  • Mommy, Mama and Me by Leslea Newman
  • Daddy, Papa and Me by Leslea Newman
  • The Family Book by Todd Parr 
Older Kids & Teens
  • Alice on The Outside and Alice Alone by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 
  • Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee
  •  Magnus Chase & The Gods of Asgard:  The Hammer of Thor & The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
  • Geography Club by Brent Hartinger
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • Luna by Julie Anne Peters
  • Happy Families by Tanita Davis
  • The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle 
  • Girl Mans Up by M.E. Girard











Monday, May 29, 2017

Health Care Action Alert: Time For Constituents of Moderate Republican Senators to Visit and Call - Roll Call: Alaska, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia

It is crunch time, Mamas.

The Senate Republicans are drafting their health care bill and it is up to us to stop them from passing something as draconian as the House's American Health Care Act, which would kill so many of our children with chronic illnesses and disabilities.

I live in a state, as do most of my readers, since this is a Texas blog, where my Senators are not very likely to listen.  They have thrown their lot in with evil and, while I will never stop trying to help them learn to work for good instead, change takes time and they are deep in the grip of wickedness.  

There are, however, Republican Senators who still care about their constituents in other states, who are not comfortable with legislation that takes us back to the days when people with preexisting conditions died for lack of health coverage.  They are under incredible pressure, however.  Some Congressional aides let it slip during the House vote that Congresspeople who did not vote with what the president wanted were told quite clearly that the president would block projects needed in their districts.  Many in Congress caved, thinking their constituents would care more about a bridge than a disabled child.

We have to make the Senate see that this is not so.

We only need two or three Republican Senators to block a bad bill.

We may be in Texas but we know people in other states.  Among us, we know people in Alaska, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.  Those are the states we must focus on because they have Republican Senators who are moderate and might be convinced that their constituents care more about sick children than the president's threats. Reach out to them, please.  Contact every friend you know in those states and ask them to contact the Senator(s) on the list below and urge them not to pass a bad health care bill.

Here are the Senators who need visits from their constituents to help them stand strong against the president and Paul Ryan:

  • Alaska - Lisa Murkowski
  • Louisiana - Bill Cassidy
  • Maine- Susan Collins
  • Nebraska- Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer 
  • Nevada - Dean Heller
  • Ohio - Rob Portman
  • Tennessee - Lamar Alexander
  • West Virginia - Shelley Moore Capito.


Citizen lobby visits to the staff of elected officials are extremely, extremely effective.  Studies show that only seven visits on a single issue have a huge impact on the way an elected official thinks they need to vote in order to be re-elected.  Please have your friends in those states call their Senators' offices first thing in the morning to make an appointment to speak with a staffer this week.  Setting up the visit takes persistence and follow up. Please encourage them to get their friends to do the same.
At their visit, they should politely explain their problems with the House bill, let them know they do not want their Senator to vote for anything like 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 Senator to support like universal health care with a conservative. You have to present yourself as someone whose vote they can win.)


The Friends Committee on national legislation has this to say about lobby visits:

https://www.fcnl.org/updates/lobby-visit-roadmap-129

They are a Quaker group and they have this to say about health care:

https://www.fcnl.org/updates/protect-health-care-for-all-621


Here are some facts I put together that people could revise and add to and make into a fact sheet if it reflects their concerns:


The American Health Care Act passed by the House: 


  • would have caused 14 million Americans to lose health insurance within the year and 24 million would lose coverage by 2026 according to estimates by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates
  • was opposed by the AARP due to the impact it would have on Medicare and Medicaid access and stability
  • 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
  • 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
  • would restrict access to critical mental health services
  • 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
  • would allow gap surcharges and wellness program “incentives” that 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
  • was 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
  • the MacArthur Amendment was passed in an attempt to make the bill palatable to the Freedom Caucus.  This amendment allows states to opt not to require insurers to provide essential services (like..cancer treatment...and not just in the exchanges...in employer-sponsored health plans as well) if they don't want to and allows "community rating" so insurers in those states can charge so much extra to people with preexisting conditions that even though insurers cannot technically deny people insurance because of preexisting conditions, they can jack the cost up to so many thousands of dollars each month that no sick person will ever be able to afford insurance anyway.  Also, through its waivers to states to re-define essential services, it could take away the very greatest protection that the ACA provides to people with serious illnesses and disabilities...the ban on annual limits and lifetime limits.  These bans have saved the lives of so many people and now they are in jeopardy again.

  • Representative Upton's amendment to create an 8 billion dollar fund to help people with preexisting conditions pay for their insurance when the MacArthur Amendment prices them out is 8 billion for the whole country over 5 years. That cannot pay for anything like what people with serious illnesses and disabilities need.  Risk pools don't work.


 Citizen lobby visits should be arranged post haste but daily calls to these Senators are also a good idea.  Constituents should let them know how the loss of insurance for people with preexisting conditions will affect their lives.  Every single day.
Another strategy that should be launched right away is writing Letters to The Editor of the newspapers in the Senator's state.  This can take less than 15 minutes but makes a big difference as a Senator will have a staffer who reads every piece of media with that Senator's name in it.
Some tips (actually developed by my daughter who rocks like that ):
 
  • keep it around 250 words
  • include both the name of the Senator and the issue for which you are advocating in the letter; example- Senator Murkowski must protect Alaskans with disabilities
  • paragraph 1- explain your issue and give a little background; use last sentence to call out Senator by name to act on the issue
  • paragraph 2- explain your personal connection to the issue, how the issue is important to you and your state
  • paragraph 3 - urge readers to make their voices heard by contacting their Senator; include the phone number and in-district office address of their district office closest to you.

Please share all of this information with your friends in the targeted states who care about health care. Please, if you are in those states, follow through.  I know it may seem like a lot.  I know it may be out of your comfort zone. It is, however, about the lives of our sons and daughters and we can make an impact to keep them safe.  

We must.

Do it now, please.  There is not much time.