Sunday, July 30, 2017

Happy Birthday, Medicare and Medicaid!

On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, providing a safety net for vulnerable Americans needing health care.  

That is what we mamas call a step in the right direction.

Happy Birthday, Medicare and Medicaid!

Cautious But Happy Gratitude

We must keep our eyes closely on the Senate until the Republican majority is out, but Friday was a giant victory for American health care, and a giant win against the genocide of people with serious illnesses and disabilities.

We must keep watch and stand ready to fight further but we did a great job resisting the terrible GOP health care bills.

The very highest credit must go to the activists of ADAPT who, more than any other protestors, risked their lives to resist these bills.  They are the true heroes.

Credit also goes to all the people who kept the pressure on their legislators with visits, calls and emails and to the Democratic Senators who never waivered and the sprinkling of Republican moderates, like Senator Collins and Senator Murkowski, who stood up for their constituents instead of their cruel party.

We must keep watch, but I am happy we have these good days.

Thank you, Mamas.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Paul's Repeal Amendment Voted Down

The Senate voted down Paul's attempt to repeal in two years without replacing, so that is good.  

Keep calling, though. 

The real problem is that if they pass anything, even something that seems much less bad like just getting rid of the individual mandates, they then can go to Conference with the House and put all the really bad stuff right back in.

The only real way to win. here, given the House's willingness to pass all the bad provisions, is if the Senate passes nothing.

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Disability Rights

In honor of today's 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, today's edition of Wednesdays with the Subversive Children's Book Club features books about characters with disabilities, because representation matters.  Enjoy.
Mama Zooms by Jane Cowen-Fletcher
Moses Goes To A Concert by Isaac Millman
Six Dots by Jen Bryant
Ed Roberts:  Father of Disability Rights by Diana Pastora Carson
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten
When We Collided by Emery Lord

Action Alert: More Health Care Votes This Week: Keep Calling

God Bless Senators Collins and Murkowski for voting no on the motion to proceed yesterday.  Unfortunately, Capito and other moderates caved and the motion passed.  

Fortunately, the horrible BRCA Bill, with Senator Cruz' even more horrible amendment, did not pass.

More versions will be voted on this week.  All of them will be bad.  The first may well be a total repeal without replacement bill.  Failing that, Republicans are discussing a "skinny repeal" but have not been extremely forthcoming on what it will include.  The Senate may call votes on many versions of repeal without giving us much or any chance to review the amendments they are adding.

Worse, even if they pass a very watered down version of repeal, the idea is to then go to Conference Committee with the House and figure out something between the horrible AHCA House Bill and whatever the Senate may pass, that they can both agree upon.  Depending on who is on that Conference Committee, that is where everything the moderates took out for the better, could put put right back in for the worse without the full Congress even getting to vote on it again.

And that is why this still looks pretty bad.

If you, my out of state friends, have Democratic Senators, please call them daily and encourage them to use the parliamentary process and call points of order on everything that the GOP tries to get past that is not really a budget matter.  The reconciliation process is really for budget matters and that is what  they can do with a simple majority.  If the Senate veers too far into policy matters, they need a 60-vote majority to be filibuster-proof.  Don't let them get by with reconciliation.  Have your Democratic Senators call points of order whenever they are out of bounds.

Texas Mamas and others in states with Republican Senators, keep calling every day and please tell your Senators to vote against final passage of the health care bill.

This will not keep until next week.  It may not keep until tomorrow.

Please call now and every day.  We are almost out of time.

#ADA27: Celebrate the ADA

Today is the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which brought freedom and equality to people with disabilities in schools, workplaces and communities.  It is one of the most wide reaching pieces of civil rights legislation in American history and its impact on the lives of Americans with disabilities cannot be overstated.  The ADA was achieved through the tireless efforts of disability rights activists who continually put their lives on the line to demand equal rights, alongside legislators and organizers who hammered out the bill and the votes needed to pass it.

Today, people with disabilities face an Administration that wants to role back many of the protections of the ADA, along with the health care victories for people with disabilities that came with the Affordable Care Act, allowing many to survive past the expiration dates insurance companies used to put on their lives.

Tell Congress that we won't go back.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tell Your Texas Representatives: Support Speaker Strauss

Some group has begun cold calling residents with Republican Texas state representatives and bashing the Speaker's efforts to resist Patrick's bigoted agenda.  This group is asking Texans to call their Republican representatives and tell them to oust Strauss as Speaker. 

I am asking you, Mamas, to do the opposite.  

If you live in a district with a Republican state representative (I do - Hunter), please call your state rep. and ask them to support the Speaker.  Tell them how much we mamas appreciate the Speaker.  Tell them we wish they could be less cowardly and more like the Speaker.

The Speaker is a Republican, too, but he has something of a moral compass. Imagine that.

Blake Wishes He Could Duel Women Senators Who Oppose Genocide

Once again, I am humiliated by my Congressman.  This week Blake Farenthold called Senators Collins, Murkowski and Capito, who said they might vote against BRCA "repugnant" (because apparently listening to your constituents and not wanting to kill hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people is repugnant to him) and added that if they were men, he might settle things with them "Aaron Burr style" (does the Congressman admire Aaron Burr?  Really?).

While I am pretty sure I would get a visit from the FBI if I said something like what the Congressman said, he is totally offended that his comments got a ton of negative attention in the media and has now said he was obviously being tongue-in-cheek (ew)  and that the comments meant nothing.

But he also said the President's pussy grabbing remarks were just "locker room banter" and meant nothing.

I wish my community would help me elect an actual adult to represent us in Congress.

Action Alert: Health Care Vote Today - Call Your Senators And Tell Them To Vote No!

The lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans with serious illnesses and disabilities are on the line today.

The Senate votes any minute now on a motion to proceed on the health care vote.  If that vote passes, as it very well might, they will vote on the horrible BRCA health care bill which would take us back to the days of lifetime limits on coverage, limits which, prior to the ACA, resulted in the deaths of people with serious illnesses very frequently.

If their BRCA vote fails, they may vote on a straight repeal of the ACA with no replacement which would also take us back to the days of lifetime limits.

Or they might vote on....anything.  The Freedom Caucus, which seems determined to enact genocide on disabled Americans by stripping all protections, could add any amendment they like to make this horrible legislation even worse.  They could vote without our even being able to see the legislation first.

Please call your Senators right now, Mamas, and tell them to vote no today!!


Monday, July 24, 2017

Wall Endangers Butterflies

News accounts report that the director of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas found workers clearing brush on their property without informing her that they would be there first.  It appears that the workers were sent by the Feds.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Action Alert: Ramp Up The Health Care Calls This Week

McConnell has spent the days since he delayed the health care vote promising Senators things that their constituents need and the President has spent a good deal of time, according to a Congressional staffer, making it clear that legislators who do not vote with him do not get federal funding for regional projects they need.

Even the Republican moderates who do not want to vote for this monstrosity of a bill are under a great deal of pressure to do so.

The Senate is going to try to vote again this week and we have to stop them, Mamas.  Please call your Senators and tell them to vote NO on BRCA, the Senate Health Care Bill.  Call first thing in the morning and every single day.

Also, if you know anyone in Maine, Alaska or West Virginia. please ask them to call their heroic moderate Senators (Collins, Murkowski, Capito) and tell them to stay strong and vote no.

We can't go back, Mamas.  Please keep the pressure on.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Vaccines

Thanks to the dangerous ignorance of the anti-vaxxers there has been an outbreak of mumps at UT.  These outbreaks get scarier and scarier as our vaccination rates dip.  We have to get rid of ths scourge of ignorance that is endangering our babies.

In the spirit of vaccine promotion, this installment of the Subversive Children's Book Club features children's biographies of Jonas Salk, American Hero.  Do not get pulled in by the dangerous pseudoscience, mamas - vaccinate your children!  Enjoy!

  • Splendid Solution:  Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio by Jeffrey Kluger
  • Jonas Salk:  Conquering Polio by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson
  • Jonas Salk and The Polio Vaccine by John Bankston
  • Jonas Salk:  Creator of the Polio Vaccine by Salvatore Tocci
  • Jonas Salk and The Polio Vaccine by Katherine Krohn

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

#ProtectOurCare - Keep Calling

Never underestimate the wickedness of the GOP-controlled Congress.  Without the votes to pass their genocidal health care bill, they are floating a yet more genocidal idea - to just repeal the ACA without a replacement.  Such a strategy contains no mercy for the people with serious illnesses and disabilities who could die without health care. 

I would like to believe we have had a victory in defeating their bill and that they will not drum up enough votes for anything this draconian...but I just cannot underestimate their ability to do genocidal things to the poor and the sick.  Please do not you underestimate them either.

Keep calling your Senators.  Tell them no repeal unless we get a much, much, much  better replacement that truly protects people with preexisting conditions.

Please call every day, Mamas.

Thank Strauss, Ask Him To Keep Up The Good Work

Lone Star Ma does not generally have a lot of respect for the political behavior of Republicans but Speaker Strauss showed a lot of backbone in the recent Session of the Lege and stood up to a lot of bad things that Patrick has been pushing hard.  

We can be sure that Abbott and Patrick and the little Texas tea party of homophobic white supremacists who like to call themselves the Freedom Caucus have some unpleasant political consequences in mind for the Speaker's insistence that the House of Representatives is not their...well, you know.  It cannot be easy for him to keep standing up to so much pressure within his own Party, so he needs some support to keep doing it. 

Please call Strauss a bunch this week, Mamas, and tell him how much we appreciate him standing up and insisting that the House represents the people and not Patrick. Please tell him we really want him to keep doing it.

Positive reinforcement.  You know it works, Mamas, and he needs some.

Special Session Starts Today

The Special Session of the Texas Legislature starts today and it is has all sorts of nasty things on the agenda as you can imagine.  After the way the Regular Session went, I fear that our legislators may hurt each other if they have to be around each other more.

 Some legislators got worse and worse about going along with Patrick's reprehensible agenda (cough - Hunter, cough - Lucio) during the Regular Session and some who we could always count on to represent vulnerable Texans with their votes surprised us with a bad vote here and there (cough- Chuy), so all bets are kind of off.

Call your Representatives and let them know what we will have and what we won't have, Mamas. 

Y'all Means All.

Wall Endangers Ocelots

Trump's border wall would cut through the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, endangering efforts to bring the ocelots of South Texas back from the brink of extinction.

Tell Abbott Our Representatives Work For Us

Governor Abbott said this week that he is keeping a list of legislators who oppose his legislative agenda, implying that there will be consequences.

Where does he get off threatening the Representatives of the people?

We elect our legislators to represent our agenda, not Abbott's agenda.  He does not get to threaten them for doing  our will instead of his.

Please keep the Governor's phone line (512-463-2000) busy making sure he knows that today, Mamas.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Wages of Pseudoscience

There is an outbreak of mumps at UT.  I wish the anti-vaxxers would get the hell out of my state.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Read The Bill. Call Your Senators.

The Senate released its new version of the health care bill yesterday and it is not better.  Well, it does include more money for opioid addiction and that is better, but it is the same (massive cuts to Medicaid) or worse (endangering coverage for people with preexisting conditions even more) in every other way.

Please read the text of the bill and call your Senators. Please ask them to vote no.

Lone Star Facts on Fridays Returns

Soon, the Special Legislative Session will flood us once more with a whole mess of unpleasant facts about the Lone Star State...things like our having the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world and our increasingly high number of unvaccinated children and the way our foster children are not even allowed to be vaccinated anymore and are about to be subjected to the horrible child abuse of gay conversion just does not even seem bearable that we must endure a Special Session of Wickedness here while still dealing with a Congress of Wickedness as well.  But such is our reality.  

You, Gentle Readers, know that I am not one to turn my face from reality and choose pleasant distractions over action for social, economic and environmental justice.  I do not recommend that you cover your ears and lose yourself in adult coloring books and Pinterest, for instance.  We must face reality.  We must pay attention.  We must act.

That said, there is nothing wrong with simple pleasures and diversions in reasonable measure and, at a time when there is so much about Texas to fear, it is nice to be able to think of some things about us that are simply fun and interesting as well.  To that purpose, I am bringing back a long ago series on this blog as a bit of a re-run if you will (since most of these things have not changed in a decade):  Lone Star Facts on Fridays.  This series brings you a tiny factlet about the Lone Star State's geography and symbols each Friday - the names of our rivers, our state insect - tiny tidbits of that sort. 

Look for our first addition of this second run on Friday, a week from today.  I hope these morsels help to keep your spirits up.

Lone Star Ma

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Orthodontic Woes

The Lone Star Baby got her braces yesterday and she has not been a happy camper.  In addition to the usual soreness which comes with braces, she got a TPH appliance on her upper palate and it caused her a lot of trouble that the office really did not warn us about at all.  It made it hard for her to swallow, even liquids, and tore up her tongue.  Of course, the office was already closing when we got home.  I called them this morning and took her in and much to my surprise, the main orthodontist in the practice, who had not been the one to look over things yesterday, had the appliance re-made and re-adjusted several times until it was in a position that was more comfortable for the Lone Star Baby.  She really went to a lot of trouble to help my little one out - I was surprised and grateful.

The Lone Star Baby is still quite uncomfortable in general and sick of soft foods and unhappy with her speech and appearance...the regular woes of new braces.  Hopefully she will feel better soon.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: A Wrinkle In Time

Today's edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle.  I re-read this classic, which I have read numerous times just to myself as well as to several siblings and both of my own children at different times, recently when I encountered some publicity about the coming movie and it definitely stands the test of time.

Equal and The Same are two different things.

Love prevails over hate.

Love is the true magic...the true power.  Always.


Thursday, July 06, 2017

Standing on Sidewalks with Signs

Mostly the people honk and wave and give you thumbs up as they drive by

You on the sidewalk with health care signs 

Especially all the people with disability placards on their cars
Some few cars with Trump stickers give you a thumbs down 

Or a crude gesture

But the teens in their backseats wave secretly, letting you know

A better day is coming 

If you can just survive this one

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Artist Girls

 The Art Center's abstract show opened today and the Lone Star Girl and the Lone Star Baby both had pieces in it, so we went to the opening.

The Lone Star Girl with her piece, Size Exclusion Chromatography:

The Lone Star Baby with her piece, Bloom:

The Lone Star Baby with her piece, Seratonin

The Lone Star Girl with her piece, Electrophoresis (the top one):

And...the Lone Star Girl's  Electrophoresis got an Honorable Mention!

I am so proud of the girls for being so creative and for being so brave to enter the show.

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: She Persisted

In honor of Independence Day yesterday, this edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features Chelsea Clinton's homage to the persistence and resistance of American women (and, possibly, Senator Warren and her own mom) - She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed The World.  The book is diverse and intersectional and bursting at the seams with herstory- quite enough to inspire persistence in the next generation of American girls. 

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy 4th of July - Keep Moving Forward

We found the origins of our democracy in Athens, an ancient Greek city-state with the earliest records of such a system.  Theirs was a direct democracy and thus suitable only for small populations, so we took on the idea of a republic, a representative democracy, from ancient Rome when we formed our own.  As in our own democracy, the Athenian model fell short of a true egalitarian government because votes were only for Athenian citizens and only certain genders and heritages and circumstances were deemed worthy of citizenship.

Here in the United States, we did much of the same.  We have denied the full rights of citizenship to multiple groups of people upon whose backs our nation has been built.

But the long arc of progress is a true curving towards the recognition of all peoples - we cannot really grow without each other.  We have made progress.  We have extended the rights of citizenship to groups we once oppressed, recognized the rights of people we once scorned...not perfectly, too slowly, not without struggle, but we arc ever towards a more egalitarian world.  

Each time we move forward in a jump towards a truer democracy, the shock of change pulls out the backlash, the clinging of those who are afraid that if others gain, they will lose.  Our democracy becomes, as it now is, more tainted with the fascism of the grasping.

The ideals of democracy are what is right about this country, but only when they apply to everyone.  We can't be a nation worthy of those ideals while we continue to leave so many behind.  To be true patriots, we must commit, every day, to resist the powers that would restrict the equal participation of all people in the American Dream.  We must commit, every day, to the expansion of equal rights under the law and equal access to both the work of and the fruits of democracy, for each of this struggle we who are patriots must "mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Portrait of the Artist At 13

This Is A Good Weekend To Write A Letter to The Editor About Healthcare

This is a good weekend to write a Letter to The Editor to your local paper about your Senators needing to vote no on the Senate Health Care Bill, which would cause 22 million Americans to lose health insurance. The Fourth of July is coming up and protecting the right of the American people to health care is the patriotic thing to do - nothing would promote the general welfare more at this point. Our Senators are coming home for the 4th of July recess and they need to hear from us.

Writing a letter to the Editor 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 Lone Star Girl:
  • keep it around 250 words
  • include both the name of the Senator and the issue for which you are advocating in the title; 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.