Wednesday, June 28, 2017

June Reading

I have mostly been reading health care bills and reports on their progress, but I have also indulged in some summer fiction and memoir.
I have enjoyed some Cassandra Clarke Novels this month - Star's End and Our Lady of The Ice.  My favorite science fiction writers always seem to be women.

I read an excellent YA novel called Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton was kind of a masterpiece of a novel about women and mothers and oppression and society.

I have just started a memoir of/by Gail Sheehy called Daring: My Passages.  I originally picked it up thinking my mother might like it as I remember her liking Sheehy's other writing, but so far it is reading like something I should pass on to my newspaper editor friend instead, though maybe that will change as the book moves on to other seasons of the author's life.

What are you reading this month?

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns

This edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns:  A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan.  This is a beautifully illustrated book with charming rhymes that tie each color to an aspect of a little girl's Muslim faith and culture.  It is one of the most engaging books about colors I have read and includes a glossary so parents and children who may be unfamiliar with some aspects of Muslim faith and culture can learn what different words mean. It is a sweet addition to any child's library, made even better by the fact that there is so little representation of Muslim culture in most American children's literature.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Not Looking

Reviewing other times of great turmoil and change in history, such as the peace movement during the Vietnam war and Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, it is alarming how the average American who wants to be decent but clings to their privilege and tries not to think about the harm inherent in the status quo seems to have become more hardened to information that should be transformative than was true in the past.

When the television brought the atrocities going on in Vietnam into American living rooms, it made comfortable people uncomfortable and eroded support for the war.  When television brought images of African American children being tear gassed and attacked with hoses in the streets, it made comfortable people uncomfortable and support for segregation and voter suppression eroded. The really monstrous people were unchanged, but large majorities of Americans started to change. The humanity of the protesters and the inhumanity of those attacking them shamed people into trying to do better, not that those efforts are simple or fast or complete.

For a long time, in many different situations of bigotry, the remedy was so often exposure.  Most people who had accepted a bigoted narrative could not hold on to it so harshly once they personally knew someone who was hurt by it and could see that the person was a human just like them.  Separation of races and classes and gender roles promoted bigotry, but integration and exposure promoted progress.

Today, that seems to have changed. 

People watch videos of polite and compliant African Americans getting gunned down by police during a traffic stop with children in the backseat and convince themselves that they see something else and exonerate the police officer.  People watch news footage of disabled Americans risking their lives to protest bills that will take them back to the days when their survival was threatened and their ability to work and be independent in the community was non-existent - they watch a senator have those peaceful protesters dragged out out of their wheelchairs and improperly transported to jail with no care for their respirators or feeding tubes and they claim it is fake news.  People ignore the evidence of their own eyes and are only made uncomfortable by those who keep insisting that they see - not by seeing, which they seem to have figured out a way not to do.

I think it may have to do with the vast amount of media with which everyone is saturated today and the way many people no longer really take in credible news anymore because the right wing has become so good at convincing people that spin is facts - a combination of information overload and a lack of critical thinking skills, however willful.  Certainly this Age of the Web is a new era for humanity and it is understandable that we have been a bit destroyed by the pace of change, but we are going to have to find a way to hold on to our humanity within its onslaught.  So far, we are not doing that.

When exposure does not help anymore, and only really results in the vilification of those who say "look!", we are entering more dangerous territory than I think we have yet seen.

Monday, June 26, 2017

CBO Score - 22 Million Would Lose Health Insurance Under Senate Bill

The Congressional Budget Office score on the Senate Health bill is out and it estimates, based on the best data available to anyone at this time, that 22 million more people would be uninsured under this bill than are insured today.


Please call your Senators and tell them that you expect them to be more responsible than the House, which ignored the CBO score of its bill and tried to undermine the CBO's credibility for political purposes.  Please tell them you expect them to heed the data and vote no on BRCA until it protects vulnerable Americans and does the job of making health insurance more, rather than less, available to all.

Call Your Senators, Mamas

The Senate could vote on the health bill at anytime, Mamas.  Because of its deep Medicaid cuts and the horrible waiver to essential benefits that it contains which undermines all protections for people with preexisting conditions, this bill would be a disaster for American families, most especially for our children and family members who have serious illnesses and disabilities (which could happen to anyone at any time) and for the elderly (who we all will become if we are fortunate).

We do not have much time, so please call your Senator right away today and tell them to vote no!

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:

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.


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 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. 


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 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 ( and 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:


  • 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