Friday, April 28, 2017

Action Alert: Save Health Care Today!

Call Congress today, Mamas and others,  and tell them to vote No on the GOP Health Plan, which is now even worse with the MacArthur Amendment!  This bill does not lower premiums and it does not keep the promise of access to health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions.  Please call your Congressional representative and tell them to vote no.  They could vote today so please call early!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Action Alert: Call Congress! No MacArthur Amendment! #ProtectOurCare

The GOP is supporting an amendment to their already horrible American Health Care Act that they hope will hurt the sick enough to appease the Freedom Caucus.  This MacArthur Amendment would allow states to apply for waivers that would price people with pre-existing conditions out of any chance of affording health insurance (called community rating, where they can charge sick people more - like 20K per month or 50K per month - for health insurance) and set up state risk pools to supposedly help with this.  Risk pools, however, are the very same fake solution that the disabled and chronically ill faced before the ACA - one which led to ever increasing untreated illness and death.

Tell Congress No!  There will be no MacArthur Amendment!  No community rating to allow the sick to be priced out of health insurance.  

We will not go back.  We will not go back.  We will not go back! 

 Protect people with pre-existing conditions in reality, not just on paper!

Call your Congressperson today, Mamas. Hurry!

Are You An American Citizen, Todd? Can You Show Us Your Papers?

I always thought Todd Hunter was a somewhat better kind of Republican, one who at least cared about the folks in his own community, even if he was not willing to stick his neck out past that.  Guess I was wrong.  Let us make sure he hears it. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Remember Mamas: In The Mornings We Make Phone Calls

Here in Texas, we are on double duty with the Lege in Session.

We have to call the Lege to protect our state and we have to call the Congress to protect our nation.

Today, some reminders:

For the state, call early, first thing today - the House is voting on their version of SB 4 today.  No, no, no, no.  Call your state representative and tell them to vote No.  Our cities need to be safe for everyone, we do not need our police wasting our time trying to be ICE officers when we need them to ticket people who drive dangerously and to protect victims of domestic violence.  Have you called your state representative yet?  Go ahead.  Call now.  I will wait.

Okay.

As for Congress, we still need to #ProtectOurCare:


The GOP has discussed proposals that would allow states to apply for waivers that would price people with pre-existing conditions out of any chance of affording health insurance (called community rating, where they can charge sick people more - like 20K per month or 50K per month - for health insurance) and set up state risk pools to supposedly help with this.  Risk pools, however, are the very same fake solution that the disabled and chronically ill faced before the ACA - one which led to ever increasing untreated illness and death.

Tell Congress No!  There will be no community rating to allow the sick to be priced out of health insurance.  We will not go back.  We will not go back.  We will not go back! Some sources have talked about votes this week so please call your Congressperson today, Mamas - protect people with pre-existing conditions in reality, not just on paper.


Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Foster Care

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and, in the spirit of raising awareness about issues facing vulnerable children in our society, this installment of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features books about children in foster care:

  • Mama One, Mama Two by Patricia MacLachlan 
  • Maybe Days by  Jennifer Wilgocki
  • The Pinballs by Betsy Byars
  • Locomotion and Peace, Locomotion by Jaqueline Woodson
  • Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff
  • Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth
  • The Last Chance Texaco by Brent Hartinger
  • What Child Is This?  by Caroline B. Cooney
  • Quaking by Kathryn Erskine.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Action Alert: Vote No on SB 4

The Texas House votes on their version of SB 4, the "Sanctuary Cities" bill tomorrow, Mamas.  Call your state representatives and tell them we are the Friendship State and do not want hate enshrined in law.  We cannot afford to have our local police forces raiding families instead of enforcing traffic laws.  SB 4 will make us less safe in our cities and it has to go.  

Please call today!

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Freedom To Dumb Down Our Schools Is Not Innovation

CCISD:  Just give us the power to increase class sizes and put non-teachers in your kids' overcrowded classrooms.  Come on.  We won't do it.  We promise.  We just want to fiddle with the calendar and stuff.  Trust us.

Mamas:  No.  Really no.

Go Vote For A Mayor, Corpus Christi

Early voting has begun.

Action Alert: #ProtectOurCare

The White House is pressuring the GOP leaders in Congress to take another go at depriving Americans of our health care.  The White House has been working with the "Freedom Caucus" to try to come up with a plan that is draconian enough to get their votes.

While plans are still in draft form, the latest proposal is said to allow states to apply for waivers that would price people with pre-existing conditions out of any chance of affording health insurance and set up state risk pools to supposedly help with this.  Risk pools, however, are the very same fake solution that the disabled and chronically ill faced before the ACA - one which led to ever increasing untreated illness and, far too often, to death.

Tell Congress No!  There will be no community rating to allow the sick to be priced out of health insurance.  We will not go back.  Some sources have talked about votes this week so please call your Congressperson today, Mamas - protect people with pre-existing conditions in reality, not just on paper.

Call, call, call....

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Keep The Lights On For Latchkey

The CCISD Superintendent is saying that the school district cannot afford to keep footing the bill for the electricity and custodial costs of keeping school buildings open for Latchkey, a program in which city employees provide after-school care for elementary students at school.  As someone who has taught in CCISD schools, I doubt that is true.  The custodians left at 11pm when I taught a few years ago and we, the teachers, needed to be out by that time.  No one ever turned the lights out on us.

Schools should have programs happening in the afternoons and evenings - they should be the hubs of their neighborhoods, centers of learning, health and community.  Latchkey is an important support for working families, for children.  Having those supports in place is part of education.  Only safe children can really learn and reach their beautiful, strong potentials.

Email your School Board members, Mamas, and tell them to #KeepTheLightsOnForLatchkey.

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

#CallValero

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.

Hurry.




Solidarity,
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:

"Finance
Technology
Capacity building
Trade
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.

International Women's Day: Be Bold For Change

Happy International Women's Day!

The theme of International Women's Day this year is Be Bold For Change.

So many women are finding their voices today in the face of so much injustice.  Women are marching and calling and visiting their governmental representatives in ever greater numbers - we are speaking up and helping each other.  Today in the U.S., many women are participating in the Day Without A Woman.  Others are lobbying, organizing actions and running for office. 

Whatever way you can rise up and use your power to change the world for the better, let today inspire you to do it, Mamas.

#BeBoldForChange

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Republican Health Care Plan

It's not good.  Let's get to work fixing it, Mamas.

Action Alert: Down With SB6!

The Senate Committee on State Affairs is hearing testimony on SB 6, the odious Texas "bathroom bill" today.  Many thanks to those who have traveled to Austin to testify on behalf of trans Texans and intersex Texans and general kindness and decency in Texas.

There has not been one incident of a trans woman ever attacking a cisgender woman or girl in a bathroom ever, but trans women are frequently beaten and murdered and the men's room is no safe or appropriate place for them.  Let Texans pee where they need to pee.

If, like me, you cannot make it to Austin to testify, call your state senator today to protect our trans and intersex brothers and sisters.  This bill is especially rough on public school children who so need our support and loving acceptance in a world that is often so bigoted.

Call, Mamas.

Monday, March 06, 2017

SDG Mondays: Peace, Justice & Inclusive Societies

This edition of SDG Mondays features the 16th of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

This Goal has twelve targets:

 What do you think of this goal and its associated targets? What can you do to help meet the targets?
  

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Rock That Herstory!

In honor of Women's History Month, this installment of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features books about herstory.  Too often, history is written by the oppressors, and it is up to us as parents to right that wrong and teach the history of everyone.  So put on your pink knitted caps, Mamas, and read some herstory for kids:



  • Cool Women: The Thinking Girl’s Guide to the Hippest Women in History By Pam Nelson
  • Rad American Women A-Z:  Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History...and Our Future! by Kate Schatz
  • Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals
  • The Ballot Box Battle By Emily Arnold McCully
  • Dolores Huerta:  A Hero To Migrant Workers By Sarah E. Warren
  • You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer By Shana Corey
  • The Librarian of Basra  By Jeannette Winter
  • Amelia and Eleanor Go For A Ride By Pam Munoz Ryan
  • The Value of Friendship: The Story of Jane Addams By Ann Donegan Johnson
  • Wangari's Trees of Peace By Jeannette Winter
  • Rare Treasure: Mary Anning And Her Remarkable Discoveries By Don Brown
  • Maria’s Comet By Deborah Hopkinson
  • Almost Astronauts:  13 Women Who Dared To Dream By Tanya Lee Stone

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Not Obama. Us.

The president said yesterday that former President Obama was behind the leaks that have been coming out of the president's own administration and that former President Obama is behind the protests happening at Republican town hall meetings around the country.

Impeachment just cannot come fast enough.

Concerned Americans working in the current president's administration are no doubt responsible for the leaks.

We, the American people, are responsible for our participation in trying to get our Congressional Representatives to actually represent us.  We, the people.  That is what democracy is about and the Republicans need to stop complaining about it if they are true Americans.

Monday, February 27, 2017

SDG Mondays: Sustaining the Land

SDG Mondays is back after a long hiatus!  This edition focuses on the 15th of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.

This goal has 12 associated targets:

What do you think about Goal 15 and its associated targets? What can we do to meet those targets?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Protect Our Free And Independent Press

The most important protection that democracy has is a free and independent press.  In America, the corporate take-over of so many media outlets by so few large corporations has endangered this already to some extent, but our free and independent press has never been threatened the way it is being threatened now by the current president's efforts to discredit and exclude any members of the press who report negatively on his work.  The only places where this kind of thing happens are fascist regimes.  The Only Places Where This Kind Of Thing Happens Are Fascist Regimes.

We have often patted ourselves on the backs as Americans when we see this sort of behavior in Russia and China, because our press is free, not controlled by the government.  Now our government is trying to suppress the press just like these fascist regimes suppress theirs.

It cannot be allowed to happen.

Please let the president and your representatives in Congress know that we will not allow our press to be suppressed in this manner.


Action Alert: The Hotel on The Corner of Bitter And Sweet and The High School Full of Horrible

I just read a blog post by Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on The Corner of Bitter And Sweet, a novel dealing with issues surrounding the horrible internment of Japanese Americans.  He was writing in the post about his visit to Highland Park High School in Dallas, which I can tell you from living in Dallas for ten years as a child, is in a separate school district from Dallas Independent School District, set up by an extremely wealthy segment of the city. 

Apparently, the students attending his presentation trolled him by cheering and clapping at inappropriate times so he could not be heard.  Then, after he spoke about the internment of Japanese Americans, the students cheered and clapped about that internment.

The principal did not stop this behavior.

I am going to be giving Highland Park High School's principal a call about this next week, Mamas, and letting him know that I think letting his students get away with that behavior was not okay.  His name is Walter Kelly and he should be able to be reached at school at 214-780-3708.  Feel free to call him with me.  We don't need schools allowing kids to act like that in our Texas.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Global Warming Valentines

Even though it has been very pleasant thus far, I am starting to get really worried about how warm February has been.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Corpus Christi's Little Tea Party

Corpus Christi City Manager Margie Rose was at the local Tea Party meeting last night where Blake Farenthold mocked all of his non-Tea Party constituents and explained his plans to destroy our health insurance.  Why would she legitimize a group like that with her presence?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Farenthold Thinks Tea-Partiers Are His Only Constituents

Farenthold has been in town some this week, but not available to meet with his constituents in his Congressional Office.  Local faith leaders tried to organize a visit to speak to him about immigration policies.  They called his office almost every weekday for two months to try to set up a meeting, at any time that he could meet during the recess at all. They were finally told that he would not have time to meet with them and they would have to speak to his District Director, which they did, on Monday.

Guess what he did have time for, though?  Tonight he stopped by the local Tea Party meeting to tell his precious little deplorables that all of the constituents who have been trying so hard to reach him about immigration issues and their need to maintain health insurance are just a small vocal minority who he does not have to listen to because they don't matter.

He spent a great deal of time at the meeting discussing his plans to destroy the ACA, especially the parts for the poorest Americans.

He straight up mocked his constituents who have been calling him saying that their daughters (I sort of feel like he was talking about me because I have been calling about this, but I know that terrified mothers like myself are legion) will be dying on the street without the ACA.  

He wanted to know where these dying people were eight years ago.  

What a fortunate fellow to have not known sick people who died for lack of healthcare.  

Of course, they did.  We all know people who did.  The Nueces County Medical Society has some numbers if he wants them, but he knows that.  

He just thinks the danger our children are in is some kind of joke.

Happy World Thinking Day!

Today we, of the Girl Scout movement, spend time remembering that we are sisters with Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world.  We are all in this together, sisters hand in hand.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: #BlackLivesMatter

Today's focus in the Subversive Children's Book Club is #BlackLivesMatter - wherein we feature children's literature full of  strong African American characters, who are far too often under-represented in children's literature. I like these books:  

For Young Readers/Listeners:

  • Sister Anne’s Hands by Marybeth Lorbiecki
  • Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
  • A Pocket For Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
  • More More More, Said The Baby by Vera Williams
  • Just Us Women by Jeannette Cains

For Middle Grade Readers: 


  • Junebug by Alice Mead  
  • One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams Garcia
  • The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
  • Double Dutch by Sharon Draper 
  • Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

For More Mature Teen Readers:

  • Al la Carte  by Tanita Davis
  • Tyrell by Coe Booth
  •  Like Sisters on The Homefront by Rita Williams Garcia
  • This Side of Home by Renee Watson
  • After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Hoopster, Hip Hop High School and Homeboyz (a series) by  Alan Lawrence Sitomer
  • Fast Talk On A Slow Track by Rita Williams Garcia.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Never Again

Today marks 75 years since the Executive Order that caused the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.  Never again, people.  We cannot let it happen again.  No matter who the president is and no matter what kind of executive orders he wants to sign, America cannot be locking people up because of their religion or ethnicity or nationality.

Speak out.  Stand up.

Sweden?

In the car today, my little one and I were cracking up about what Americans would think if people in other countries made up random massacres about us the way 45's administration makes them up about other countries:

We in Belgium grieve for your children.  That is why the chupacabra attacks in Arizona must be stopped...

Brazil is deeply saddened by news of Yetis terrorizing the streets of New York yesterday...

#Nevertheless She Persisted

Just like Senator Warren, we have been warned and it has been explained to us.  And we will doubtless face punishment for using our voices.

We have to persist, though.  The U.S. Senate thinks they can shut up the women who manage to break into their club, the Texas Lege goes all domestic violence breaking tables trying to shut women up...we just can't stand for this.  We can't be silenced anymore.  We must persist.

Get ready to make tomorrow's calls, Mamas.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

ICE Raids

Be careful out there.  You have a right to legal representation.

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Sex Education Valentines

In honor of Valentine's Day, this installment of the Subversive Children's Book Club will be the annual Valentine's Week Installment on Sex Education.  

The rates of sexually transmitted infections among young adults make it abundantly clear that American parents are seriously falling down on the job when it comes to sex education.  Also, we live in Texas, where schools are required to teach the highly ineffective "abstinence-based" version of sex education, so there is no one to take up the slack when parents flake out on this.  

My kid's middle school fed the girls a horrifically shame-y curriculum called Heritage Keepers this year which taught them absolutely nothing about contraception and disease prevention except, you know, no. 

Not good enough.

Knowledge is power, Mamas.  Don't leave your kids with helplessness instead.  

Useful, basic classics:


  • It’s So Amazing:  A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families by Robie H. Harris
  • It’s Perfectly Normal:  Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris
  • The Period Book: Everything You Don’t Want to Ask  (But Need to Know) by Karen Gravelle
  • What’s Going On Down There? Answers to Questions Boys Find Hard to Ask  by Karen Gravelle
  • The Care And Keeping of You:  The Body Book for Girls by Valorie Schaefer.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Pins

I married my husband twenty-two years ago today right next to (it was locked and we could not get inside) the underground part of the Student Union Building that had formerly been called the Rock Bottom Lounge -  where we first met at the University of North Texas in Denton. We had met there during college when I was making the rounds to talk to student organizations about the dangers of bigotry towards Muslims, and on making sure we did not end up with Muslim internment camps, during the first Gulf War (the more things change and all).  He was the head of a student organization that did literature in performance that let me come speak and he adjusted the microphone for me (I'm really short) and then teased me for the rest of my life for not remembering him very well from that first meeting.  Though I still have the clothes I wore at it crumpled up in the back of my closet even though they have not fit me for decades.

We are not a perfect match.  We are not either of us easy-going or mild mannered.  We are complicated.  We push each other in ways good and bad. We love each other but are not all that talented at either romance or contentment.  

We are partners, though. Usually we are partners in the struggle - trying to make the world a better place and to help the vulnerable - though he will sulk for a season when things get bad after an election the way they are now before picking up the struggle again. We are partners in coping with the hardships life has thrown at our family.  Partners in raising two daughters who are so amazing that our partnership must be considered one of the most successful of all time - I mean, have you met them?

What we have is family - the love of it, the work of it.  I am happy to give all of my decades to that endeavor.  I am glad he is in it with me.


Happy Anniversary, Lone Star Pa.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Valentine Aunt

I mailed valentine books out to my nieces and nephews today.  One great aunt failing I have realized too late is that I have not kept a record of which books I have sent to which sobrino/a.  So now I always worry that I am sending something I may have already sent.  It is kind of too late to fix, though.

Vengeful ICE?

There were multiple reports of very targeted ICE raids in the Austin area this week.  It is hard not to wonder if they were payback for the Travis County Sheriff standing up for immigrants.  It is frightening to think what will happen next - it is already so bad for so many people.

Constituent-Bashing

Cornyn has also been complaining about how much his constituents have been calling him.  He thinks it is an Establishment Plot.  Henry, at his San Antonio office, says there have been Robo Calls...he thinks...he thinks they sort of sounded like that.  At any rate they got so gosh darn many calls asking him not to confirm Betsy DeVos as education secretary that no one could get through to tell him what a splendid guy he is.  


But it is us, the mothers of Texas, who were calling him.

And he confirmed her anyway.

And he does not want to hear from us.

So we are going to have to fire him.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Cornynsplaining

Cornyn's San Antonio staffer has gone from monosyllabic I-am-barely-listening-to your-concerns communication to long-winded mansplaining of Cornyn's positions.  That is probably a good thing.  Keep calling, Mamas.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Cutting All The Women Open Is Not A Good Thing

And as for our other disgraceful Senator, a high c-section rate is not a sign of a superior health care system, Ted.  C-sections are for terrible emergencies and you should not have a lot of those during natural processes.

Chastened?

Not in a long, long time, Senator Cornyn and likely never again.  You, Sir, should be chastened and you should watch your disrespectful mouth.

Don't. Mess.With. Texas. Women. We will un-elect you fast and no one will make you tacos ever again.  You will find yourself so unloved that you will have to move to places where Snow Falls From The Sky.  And people eat "Cheese Dip" with no chiles in it.

And, yes, we are granting Senator Warren honorary Texas Woman status because we would much rather have her for our Senator than you.  She can have tacos.  Queso.  But none for you, Senator Cornyn.  None for you.

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Black History Month 2017

In honor of Black History Month, this installment of the Subversive Children's Book Club features books about important events and people in African-American history.  Some are non-fiction and some are historical fiction about true historical events and movements, but not necessarily real characters.  Enjoy.
 

Primary and Lower Elementary
 
  • If A Bus Could Talk:  The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
  • Ruby Bridges Goes To School:  My True Story by Ruby Bridges
  • Sugar Hill:  Harlem's Historic Neighborhood by Carole Boston Weatherford
  • The Case For Loving by Selina Alko
  • Sit-In:  How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson  
 Upper Elementary
  • The Watsons Go To Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine 
  • Moses:  When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
  • Fires of Jubilee by Alison Hart 
  • Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  • From Slave Ship to Freedom Road by Julius Lester 
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
 Teens
  • My Mother The Cheerleader by Robert Sharenow
  • Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  • Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Patillo Beals.

The President of the United States Threatened My State Senator

South Texas is just not having that.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Cornyn Ignores Constituents to Support DeVos

So apparently Cornyn neither cares about public education nor about what Texans want.  Please give him a call, Texas Mamas, and let him know what the results of that choice will be. 

Oozing Bright

I know the rodent saw its shadow and I see
The winter curls of branches, dried twinings of vines but I
Can feel the stirrings of sap
In my veins today
See doodle bugs, those beetle-y harbingers of springtime
All over the sidewalks, rushing around in the warmwind

Buenos Dias

Buenos Dias, Mamas.

I have been away from the blog for some time again, just with so much else to do.  I have been making my phone calls and writing my letters, though.  We can't stop, every day we must do something.

So much has happened... from the park rangers going rogue and rising up to lead the resistance with hero attorneys and, more surprises, Teen Vogue (seriously - have you seen the stuff they are publishing?) on the good side...to so, so much tragedy and hate on the bad. 

I work hard to keep love and hope in my heart.  You can't really survive as a Mama without hope, you can't possibly give up because no stakes are higher than what you risk when you allow yourself to become a mother to someone you might lose.  So many mothers have always faced that loss, that fear, with fierce hope and courage and now the fingers of that fear reach out to more of us, to many of us who used to have the privilege not to be so afraid every moment.  That privilege can always be taken away, though.  We must always know that when anyone has to fear such loss, we all do.

And we should care.  Regardless.  We should be tender enough of the hearts of other mothers everywhere to always care and work hard for each other.

Make it a daily discipline, Mamas, for all of us.  Call.  Write.  March.  Do what you can - at least one thing each day.  Rest, too.  Stay connected to sunshine and salt air and growing vegetables.  The struggle is long, not something you can ever have the luxury of believing that you can finish again, because it is always with us and we must always do the work.  Build a life with community so that you can keep resisting the darkness, every day.  I am part of that community for you , I hope, and I hope you are part of it for me.

xoxo, 
Lone Star Ma

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Stand Up Together

We are all here together, holding hands in the dark.  We will hold tight and stay standing.  I am here.  I am thinking of you.

XO,
Lone Star Ma

Friday, January 13, 2017

Action Alert: #SaveThe ACA

The Senate sucks.  Call the House today, Mamas.  Call your Congressperson and ask them Not to vote to repeal the ACA, budget-wise or any other way, without a good plan in place to replace it - one that protects the chronically ill and disabled and those with pre-existing conditions.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Action Alert: In The Mornings, We Make Phone Calls

Cruz, Cornyn.

Call them about not repealing the ACA without a plan to make sure the chronically ill and disabled can still get health insurance.  Today, as soon as their offices open, before you get busy at work.  

Call about Jefferson Sessions, who should not be in charge of justice in our nation because he does not believe minorities should get to vote without suppression and his only problem with the KKK is that he heard some of them smoke weed.

Call about not appointing Trump's horrible cabinet picks like Betsy DeVos, who should not be Secretary of Education because she does not believe in public education. 

Keep calling, Mamas.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year!!!

I wish everyone a happy, beautiful year full of love and peace and health and safety.

I hope you enjoy wonderful time with your families.

Remember, though, that we have lots of work to do.

Fail the obedience tests that fascism sets us, every time.  Do not be silent, about anything.  The small things do not stay small.

Rise up.

In Solidarity,
Lone Star Ma