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 therapy...it 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.


Xoxo,
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.

Timeless.




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 us...to 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 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 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.

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.

Unacceptable.

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:

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.