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.







Dallas County, Come Get Your Guy

Today, out of what I can only imagine was some racist fear of groups of people who were not all white and rich, Representative Rinaldi of Irving, and other areas of Dallas County, decided that citizens in the state capitol today who were protesting SB 4 must be undocumented immigrants committing a crime (what crime?) because he called ICE to come and deport them.  When members of the Mexican American Caucus in the House took umbrage with his racist bragging about this bizarre act,  journalists and other state representatives report that he threatened to put a bullet in another representative's head. He claims it was self defense.  I personally have never found the Mexican American Caucus to be scary folks, but I guess things look different when you are from Irving.

So I think you better get rid of this guy, North Texas folks. Elect someone with a little more respect and courage, maybe?  I think you deserve better.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Wrapping Up The #MothersDayHealthCareRumpus

 Hello, Mamas!

There is not much of May left and we need to get more Mothers' Day cards about health care out to our Senators!

Please participate in the #MothersDayHealthCareRumpus:


1.)  Buy or make some Mothers' Day cards.

2.) In the cards, write polite messages to your Senators that they must not support a health care bill that does not protect people with chronic illnesses and disabilities and they must not pass a health care bill that includes any of the elements of the draconian MacArthur Amendment in the House Bill:

  • There must be no waivers to states from providing essential services (such as medication or care for chronic illnesses)
  • No allowing states to charge people with pre-existing conditions more for health insurance
  • No waivers redefining essential services and thus allowing annual limits 
  • No waivers redefining essential services and thus allowing lifetime limits

3.) Be sure to send at least one card to each of your U.S. Senators during the month of May.

4.) Document your action on social media at #MothersDayHealthCareRumpus, especially Twitter.

5.) Share this information about the Rumpus far and wide and let us make a wild, thumping noise about saving our children's health care!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Poem From Rocks and Dens and Cottages

I keep the glasses on so they don't see the sea in my eyes
The weight on so they catch no undulating suspicion
You say from your lofty planes that it is not like my kind to hide
But what am I to do when you
Have left me here
To bear and love these children of the shores?
Your experiments at gentling these fierce mammals
Took no care for the mottling of DNA, den and sea, that turns to attack itself
Looking for air, fire
If you will not protect these cubs, I can never leave
And did you think, Mother
Aunts
What the un-gentling needed to defend makes of  the likes of me?
How long before I take the comb to my hair and 
Lure them all down the whirling darkness to the deeps?
Do you trust me so much?
You should not
You know nothing of the strength required
Dare not to tell me not to hide when you
Are afraid to look
Better come and heal 
Better come and shield
Your work will be in shambles if you think that I will yield.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope you mothers had a beautiful day and I hope you raised a ruckus with the Congress!

xxoo,
Lone Star Ma

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

#MothersDayHealthCareRumpus Extended - Send More Cards!!!

 Cards for Senators Cornyn and Cruz:




I have been thinking - we Mamas deserve more than one day - we deserve a whole month - the whole month of May!  I am claiming it as Mother's Month in the name of the #MothersDayHealthCareRumpus!  So make or buy more Mother's Day cards and don't stop sending them to your Senators - save our kids' health care!

Remember:

1.)  Buy or make some Mothers' Day cards.



2.) In the cards, write polite messages to your Senators that they must not support a health care bill that does not protect people with chronic illnesses and disabilities and they must not pass a health care bill that includes any of the elements of the draconian MacArthur Amendment in the House Bill:


  • There must be no waivers to states from providing essential services (such as medication or care for chronic illnesses)
  • No allowing states to charge people with pre-existing conditions more for health insurance
  • No waivers redefining essential services and thus allowing annual limits 
  • No waivers redefining essential services and thus allowing lifetime limits

3.) Send the cards to each of your U.S. Senators throughout May - don't forget stamps!  You might want to try sending cards to all of your Senators' district offices as well as to their DC office, if you have enough stamps.



4.) Document your action on social media at #MothersDayHealthCareRumpus, especially Twitter.

5.) Share this information about the Rumpus far and let us make a wild, thumping noise about saving our children's health care!

#MothersDayHealthCareRumpus

Send your cards, today, Mamas!

Five easy steps to a big impact:


1.)  Buy or make some Mothers' Day cards.



2.) In the cards, write polite messages to your Senators that they must not support a health care bill that does not protect people with chronic illnesses and disabilities and they must not pass a health care bill that includes any of the elements of the draconian MacArthur Amendment in the House Bill:


  • There must be no waivers to states from providing essential services (such as medication or care for chronic illnesses)
  • No allowing states to charge people with pre-existing conditions more for health insurance
  • No waivers redefining essential services and thus allowing annual limits 
  • No waivers redefining essential services and thus allowing lifetime limits

3.) Be sure to send at least one card to each of your U.S. Senators by Wednesday - don't forget stamps!



4.) Document your action on social media at #MothersDayHealthCareRumpus, especially Twitter.

5.) Share this information about the Rumpus far and wide (you may need to copy and paste the link) and let us make a wild, thumping noise about saving our children's health care!

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Got Your Cards? Please Spread the Word! #MothersDayHealthCareRumpus

Do you have your cards?  Can you copy this link and send it to all your allies and all your resistance groups today, please?

Five easy steps to a big impact:


1.)  Buy or make some Mothers' Day cards.


2.) In the cards, write polite messages to your Senators that they must not support a health care bill that does not protect people with chronic illnesses and disabilities and they must not pass a health care bill that includes any of the elements of the draconian MacArthur Amendment in the House Bill:

  • There must be no waivers to states from providing essential services (such as medication or care for chronic illnesses)
  • No allowing states to charge people with pre-existing conditions more for health insurance
  • No waivers redefining essential services and thus allowing annual limits 
  • No waivers redefining essential services and thus allowing lifetime limits

3.) Be sure to send at least one card to each of your U.S. Senators by Wednesday - don't forget stamps!


4.) Document your action on social media at #MothersDayHealthCareRumpus, especially Twitter.

5.) Share this information about the Rumpus far and wide (you may need to copy and paste the link) and let us make a wild, thumping noise about saving our children's health care!

Monday, May 08, 2017

The Love Language of Pencils

I got a lot for my Baby.  Good luck on these horrible STAAR tests, kids!

Action Alert: Oppose Texas HB 3859

Texas HB 3859 could be voted on today, Mamas, so call your state representative early this morning!

This devasting bill would, in the name of so-called religious freedom, allow adoption and foster agencies receiving state funding to discriminate against LBGTQ parents and parents who do not meet their religious profile.

This means that not only would these agencies be free to refuse to allow LBGTQ people and people who are not the-agency's-kind-of-Christian as foster and adoptive parents (which is bad enough when we are a state in crisis with children sleeping on camp cots in CPS offices every night because there are not enough foster parents out there), but also that the children in the care of these agencies could be forced to participate in the "religion" sanctioned by the agency - so Muslim and Jewish children forced to eat pork and attend so-called Christian church services that revile them, sexually active teens being denied access to birth control, LBGTQ youth being sent to suicide-inducing conversion"therapy"....the list of horrors the bill would allow is pretty extensive.

Why is the agency's religious liberty important but not the child's? Why should our tax dollars be used to support the child abuse that conversion "therapy" is said to be by every legitimate mental health association in America?

More and more of Texas' foster care and adoption system is being forced to contract with these private and often discriminatory agencies daily so this affects much more of the system than the bill's author would have us believe, plus it even allows provisions for child welfare workers themselves to discriminate (though the public child welfare workers have seen too much to do anything like that).

Call your state representative today and stop this bill!  Tell them to vote NO on HB 3859!!!!






Sunday, May 07, 2017

Action: Mothers' Day Health Care Rumpus!!!!!

It is time to tackle the Senate and this is a start:  please join the Mothers' Day Health Care Rumpus! You do not have to be a mother to join and your Senator does not have to be a mother to get  cards.  Five easy steps to a big impact:


1.)  Buy or make some Mothers' Day cards tomorrow or the next day


2.) In the cards, write polite messages to your Senators that they must not support a health care bill that does not protect people with chronic illnesses and disabilities and they must not pass a health care bill that includes any of the elements of the draconian MacArthur Amendment in the House Bill:
  • There must be no waivers to states from providing essential services (such as medication or care for chronic illnesses)
  • No allowing states to charge people with pre-existing conditions more for health insurance
  • No waivers redefining essential services and thus allowing annual limits 
  • No waivers redefining essential services and thus allowing lifetime limits

3.) Be sure to send at least one card to each of your U.S. Senators by Wednesday (Monday or Tuesday are great too) - don't forget stamps!


4.) Document your action on social media at #MothersDayHealthCareRumpus

5.) Share this information about the Rumpus far and wide (you may need to copy and paste the link) and let us make a wild, thumping noise about saving our children's health care!



Thursday, May 04, 2017

Hold The House Death Panel Accountable

There is no more time for tears - we have to tackle the Senate.  

The first step in that, though, is holding the House of Representatives accountable for their evil Nazi ways.  Why, yes - I said Nazi.  The Nazis started with killing people with disabilities and chronic illnesses which has clearly been the Speaker's wet dream since he was a frat boy and now the House is working hard to follow in their footsteps.

We will vote them out in 2018 but we will make it very, extremely clear that we are voting them out before the Senate votes on the Health Care Bill. Our Senators need to see by our repudiation of the House just what will happen to them if they walk this plank.  We are a stormy swallowing sea into which they do not want to fall.

If your Congressperson voted for this deadly monstrosity of a bill, call. Today, tomorrow, the next day.  Let them know they are out, out, out.  Let them know every day.  Write letters to the editors of your local papers about how out your Congressperson is if they voted for the bill - be sure to mention them by name.  

If we want the Senate to listen, if we want to stand beside our sick and disabled brothers and sisters and keep their health care safe, we have to raise a ruckus.  We have to get their attention.

We have just this chance left.  Don't miss it.  We move as one.  Call.


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Action Alert: Stop That Vote!!!! #ProtectOurCare

The House is expected to vote on the GOP health care plan tomorrow, as they appear to feel they have enough votes to pass it.  The bill did not get voted on in its original form because the House Freedom Caucus thought it was not harsh enough and some Republican moderates were actually concerned about all the people who would lose their health care under it.  That bill, the so-called American Health Care Act:


  • 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
None of those things have changed. 
 
What has changed is that the MacArthur Amendment was passed in an attempt to make the bill Draconian enough for 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 pre-existing conditions that even though insurers cannot technically deny people insurance because of pre-existing 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, 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 limitsThese bans have saved the lives of so many people and now they are in jeopardy again.
 
This strategy worked and the  Freedom Caucus, happy to be able to cull more sick babies and people with disabilities, stepped right up to support the bill.
 
The moderate Republicans were still troubled by the whole part about letting the sick and disabled die and letting 24 million Americans lose coverage over the next decade.  So Representative Upton offered an amendment to create an 8 billion dollar fund to help people with pre-existing conditions pay for their insurance when the MacArthur Amendment prices them out.  Except that this is 8 billion for the whole country over 5 years.  How much cancer treatment will that pay forNot much, Mamas.  Not much. Not for that many people. Unfortunately, it gave the much-pressured moderates a straw to grasp to say that they are still doing something for people with pre-existing conditions and they have grasped it.
 
Even though the Congressional Budget Office has not even had a chance to calculate how many people would lose their insurance under this plan and what it would cost the nation.
 
The Speaker thinks he has the votes.  The House says they are voting tomorrow. 
 
Please, please, please stop this, Mamas.  Call your Congresspeople and leave messages tonight.  Call again at 8am in the morning.  Email.   
 
Please tell them to vote no.

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Solidarity

In honor of May Day on Monday, this installment of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features books about labor organizing.  
 
Solidarity forever!
  • Harvest of Hope:  The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull
  • Dolores Huerta:  A Hero To Migrant Workers by Sarah Warren
  • Side by Side/Lado a Lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez by Monica Brown
  • Si, Se Puede!/Yes, We Can!: Janitor Strike in L.A. by Diana Cohn
  • Click Clack Moo:  Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin
  • Woody Guthrie:  Poet of The People by Bonnie Christensen
  • Mother Jones and The March of The Mill Children by Penny Colman

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Action Alert: No Lifetime Limits, No Annual Limits

The GOP healthcare plan could allow states to decide not to require insurers, even employer-based insurance, to provide the essential benefits required under the ACA.  This means we could go back to the days of annual limits and lifetime limits on health insurance plans which means that people with life-threatening pre-existing conditions that require expensive treatment could use all of the coverage that is available to them staying alive for a few months and then not be able to get treatment.

Please call your Congressperson today and tell them to vote NO.

 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Action Alert: No Licensed Baby Jails!

In December, a Texas judge ruled that family detention centers could not be licensed as childcare facilities under current law, something the state was trying to do to push back against all the accusations of illegal child abuse...hoping to make the child abuse seem legal and all. The state was not trying to make the family detention centers follow the rules of licensed childcare facilities - just trying to let them get the designation without following the rules.  Not cool.

Even more not cool, though, in an attempt to get around the judge's ruling, the Texas Senate is trying to fast track a bill, S.B. 1018, that would give family detention centers explicit permission to not follow the rules of licensed childcare, which they are not doing anyway, and to still get designated as licensed childcare facilities.  This is all so that the federal courts cannot rule the whole model of family detention centers to be the child abuse and violation of international law that it is (see the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of The Child).

The bill, no surprise, was drafted by lobbyists of the private prison company GEO group which, guess what?  Runs family detention centers on contract.

If the bill passes, it will be a free pass for mamas and babies to be held in illegal prisons indefinitely by the federal government again.  This must not happen.  Call your state senator right away, Mamas, and tell them to vote no on S.B. 1018.  There has been some talk that the Senate might suspend its own rules so it can be voted on immediately Monday, which may or may not happen, so call first thing, please, and tell your Senator no suspension of rules and no, no, no on SB 1018!  Hurry!


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.