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.