Monthly Archives: April, 2013

Strange Days

Last night I hunched in my chair following the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in real time on Twitter. It is a tribute to American strength that he was taken alive, and I am relieved that he will not evade American justice. Like they say, ‘hanging’s too good for him.’ And the pattern of the suicide bomber denies the victims their day in court. Thank you to the staff of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for keeping him alive so the world can see him on trial.

Today I woke up around 5am for no reason, then couldn’t focus enough to leave the house till 10. I had some family time and was grateful.

I went to Shaw’s Market in Warwick which was unusually empty for a Saturday. People were really nice. Everything looks different, like it did after 9/11, when I thought about what it is to be American.

In 2001, the current president said that, “they hate us for our freedom.”

But as of today, we don’t know exactly who “they” are. We have enemies, but none of them so far are claiming these two young men whose own uncle called, “losers”.

Strange days on familiar streets. Everyone being really nice in Shaw’s market. Who we love, who we are, we see it now.

At least 2 dead, dozens injured after two bombs explode at Boston Marathon | Fox News

Another day of terror in New England.

 

At least 2 dead, dozens injured after two bombs explode at Boston Marathon | Fox News.

The Adjuncts, United, Will Never be Defeated

I have a soft spot for adjuncts, because more than a few of my friends are in the awkward position of being rich intellectually but poor financially.  What does it say about our priorities when we cannot pay our higher education professionals a living wage?

Adjuncts from more than 20 Boston-area colleges announce plans to unionize – Babson – Your Campus – Boston.com.

Breaking News: Providence Students Win Major Victory!

Kiersten Marek:

The Providence Student Union leads the discussion on how to improve education and make graduation requirements more meaningful. Yay!

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Congratulations to the Providence Student Union, which exposed the inadequacy of the NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program) as a high school graduation test. As a result of their activism, the Boston Globe today opposed the use of NECAP for that purpose.

Instead of just protesting or writing letters to the editor or to elected officials, the PSU engaged in political theater. They invited 60 accomplished professionals to “take the test,” a test made up of released math items. And of that group, 60 percent would not have received a high school diploma.

Way to go, Providence students!

 

Dear Linda,
This just in: The Boston Globe published an Editorial  this morning calling on Rhode Island’s Department of Education to reconsider using the NECAP as a graduation requirement!
You’ve got to read this.

EDITORIAL

Flunking the test

  APRIL 11, 2013

STARTING THIS spring, Rhode Island high school seniors will…

View original 447 more words

Lt. Gov. Roberts: Planning a New Way to Pay for Health Care | Rhode Island Public Radio

Looking forward to hearing more about the new way we will pay for health care in Rhode Island.  There is lots of room for improvement.  I also hope there is going to be something done about high deductible health plans which are leading to more uncompensated care at hospitals, clinics, and private practices.

Lt. Gov. Roberts: Planning a New Way to Pay for Health Care | Rhode Island Public Radio.

Mary Beck, Trig Palin and God’s Agents on Earth

Today my Facebook has a post from the tireless blogger, Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend. MSNBC host, Professor Melissa Harris-Perry is getting flamed for pointing out the obvious truth that citizens bear a collective responsibility for the welfare of our children. Even if they are not our own family, we don’t tell them to go play in traffic. Well, maybe the grouchy guy who listens to Rush Limbaugh does, but we don’t call him an expert.

I replied to Pam–
Rush Limbaugh is childless despite 4 marriages. Glenn Beck has a daughter, Mary, with a disability. Maybe he never took any state or federal benefits and had the means to afford all she needed, but if the wealth ever runs out over the course of her life and she needs medical or social security it will be the community that steps up. The same goes for Trig Palin. Are these activists so sure their own children will never need the safety net they are set on tearing apart?

In honor of the gummint entitlements that make possible benefits such as Meeting Street School, Hasbro Children’s Hospital and public education for all children regardless of their medical condition, I’m re-running this post from 2009…

Recently I got an email from Jim Wallis at Sojourners, a progressive Christian organization.

Glenn Beck has received a lot of attention for his inflammatory rhetoric lately. Recently, he shared a personal story about his daughter who has cerebral palsy, which gets to the heart of his fears about health-care reform:

They [the government] will say exactly what doctors said about my 21-year-old daughter: “She may not really have a quality of life. She may not walk or talk or feed herself. But then again miracles happen.” The “then again, miracles happen” part of that will be left out of the conversation. And I will not be able to see my daughter’s 21st birthday, where I can reflect with her how miracles do happen. Because really, as I was told at the beginning of her life: Well, what kind of quality of life is she going to really have? I don’t know, but that’s for God to decide, not the government. -The Glenn Beck Program, 8/6/2009

I hope everything is well with Glenn Beck’s daughter, Mary, and I can’t argue with faith. I can understand the Beck family praying for a miracle, and I hope it was granted. But in the world of meeting material needs, petitioning God directly doesn’t usually produce a check out of thin air. For that, Glenn Beck would petition his insurance company.

He has faith that the insurance company will be there for him. And that is fortunate. Because if he discovered in his time of need that the insurance he chose wasn’t adequate, he’d have a very tough time getting a new insurance policy for his family, with a newborn needing medical care. If his insurance company stalled on paying, who would he look to? The law, and the government.

So the question is not ‘who will you trust, God or the Government?’– the question is how much you trust your insurance company. Because when you or your family have a serious health problem you will be in no shape to go shopping on the free market.

God helps those who help themselves, they say, and maybe God blesses us when we help each other. I don’t know how long private insurance covers a child with cerebral palsy, but there are Government programs to help people with disabilities. It’s possible that Mary is benefiting from one of these programs. They exist because private insurance was not willing to meet the need, so a public option was created.

God loves us all, but insurance companies have to collect more money than they disburse, and they maximize profits by denying care. They don’t get into philosophical arguments about quality of life, they just refuse to pay the bills. Then you have to appeal to the Government. So it’s in our best interests to keep our Government strong and regulate our insurance providers, so that they have to uphold a standard of care.

Glenn Beck has faith in God, but who are God’s agents? Blue Cross, Tenet and Cigna? It’s not a debate about God vs Government– it’s how much you trust private insurance. If your trust is not blind, you’ll want the Government on your side.

UPDATE: The passage of the Affordable Care Act, nicknamed ‘Obamacare’, provides protection for people with disabilities, like Mary Beck, who cannot now be denied insurance due to a pre-existing condition. As wealthy as her family is, she most likely will need the support of a government program, such as Medicare D, at some point in her life. Health care reform is beginning to change the focus of private insurance from paying for procedures to maintaining wellness. Ordinary working Americans cannot meet all the needs of a child with a disability without government assistance. I’m skeptical that even the Becks, with their millions, are immune from the contingencies we all face.

13,000 People Helped Out of the Doughnut Hole by Sen. Whitehouse

RI Seniors:  Help!  We’ve fallen into the Doughnut Hole and We Can’t Get Out!  Please, Senator Whitehouse, come to our aid!

Senator Whitehouse responds below.

Over 13,000 Rhode Islanders Benefitted from Medicare “Doughnut Hole” Fix in 2012

New Interactive Map Highlights Savings for Each Zip Code in State

Cranston, RI – During a visit with Cranston seniors today to commemorate the three-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts discussed how the health care law is saving money for Medicare recipients in Rhode Island. According to new data, 13,834 Rhode Island seniors saved over $8 million dollars through prescription drug discounts in 2012.

Interactive Map: Click here to see how much your community saved.

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, thousands of Rhode Island seniors fell into the so-called Medicare “doughnut hole” and were forced to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs. In 2010, Senator Whitehouse successfully fought to eliminate the doughnut hole as part of the Affordable Care Act.

“Over the years, I’ve heard from hundreds of Rhode Island seniors who were hurt by the doughnut hole,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “Seniors should never have to choose between putting food on the table and paying for the medication they need to stay healthy. Fixing the doughnut hole was one of my top priorities when I was elected to the Senate, so I’m proud to see the Affordable Care Act saving Rhode Island seniors millions of dollars every year.”

“While much of the country is still trying to figure out the Affordable Care Act, here in Rhode Island we have been fully committed to ensuring that Rhode Island is a national leader in implementing health reform since the law’s passage in 2010,” said Lt. Governor Elizabeth H. Roberts, chair of the RI Healthcare Reform Commission. “And for Rhode Island seniors who are already benefiting from provisions in the law, such as closing the prescription coverage gap or ‘donut hole’, health reform has improved their lives.”

The doughnut hole exposes seniors to the full cost of prescription drugs after they and their plan spend a certain amount of money ($2,970) for covered drugs in a year, but before they hit catastrophic coverage ($4,750).  The Affordable Care Act closes the doughnut hole in phases over a ten-year period.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, in 2011 and 2012 seniors in the doughnut hole received a 50% discount from the drug manufacturers on all brand name drugs. Starting this year, the federal government will subsidize an additional 2.5% of brand-name drug costs for seniors in the doughnut hole. These subsidies will increase each year until the coverage gap is closed in 2020.

In 2012, Rhode Island seniors in the doughnut hole saved $579 each on average.

Rhode Islands Scary State Treasurer – Forbes

Just what kind of fees are we paying in Rhode Island under the current treasurer’s “alternative” investments?

Rhode Islands Scary State Treasurer – Forbes.

When profits cloud your vision: tar sands

Kiersten Marek:

More on the Exxon oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas.

Originally posted on Human Beings and Fish:

It’s fitting that I concluded yesterday by writing about the lack of positive headlines. The first headline that I saw is maddeningly negative, so much so that I want to walk to work everyday for the rest of my life. I never want to be in a driver’s seat anymore. I would rather ride my bike or take a train. However, this will not happen. I will continue my same hypocritical route to work everyday because that is the American way. This is one of those days when I hate being a part of the human race.

The headline that spurred this rant is “Not Just Toxic, But Exempt.” The article beneath the headline shows a picture of an ordinary front yard in Mayflower, Arkansas, except that there is an worker in a hazardous materials suit cleaning up a spill from the out-of-commission Pegasus pipeline.

tar sands

This pipeline carries heavy crude…

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Exxon’s duck-killing pipeline won’t pay taxes to oil spill clean-up fund

Scary pipeline oil spill in Arkansas.

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