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.
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.
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.
By Ryan Koronowski, April 2, 2013. Source: Think Progress
A technicality has spared Exxon from having to pay any money into the fund that will be covering most of the clean up costs of its Arkansas pipeline spill.
The cleanup efforts themselves took a sobering turn as crews found injured and dead ducks covered in oil.
The environmental impacts of an oil spill in central Arkansas began to come into focus Monday as officials said a couple of dead ducks and 10 live oily birds were found after an ExxonMobil Corp.
Sheldon Whitehouse helped create legislation that keeps thousands of Rhode Islanders from falling into the Medicare Doughnut Hole, a kind of financial and medical hell where you must pay for all your prescription drugs out of pocket. But the real question is: can he convince people to stop eating doughnuts all together? Then we’d be talking real change — LOL! From the Whitehouse Press Office:
Senator Whitehouse to Provide Cranston Seniors with Update on Medicare Doughnut Hole Savings
Providence, RI – This Monday, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts will meet with Cranston seniors to commemorate the three-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and give an update on how the law is saving money for Rhode Islanders.
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. Senator Whitehouse heard from many Rhode Islanders who were hurt by the doughnut hole, and successfully fought to eliminate it as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts is chair of the RI Healthcare Reform Commission, an appointment made by executive order of the Governor. The commission is the body in state government that is leading an open and collaborative process, overseeing the implementation of health reform in Rhode Island.
At Monday’s event, Senator Whitehouse and Lieutenant Governor Roberts will provide an update on how much money seniors in Cranston and across Rhode Island have saved as a result of the new law.
EVENT: Whitehouse and Roberts to Provide Update on Medicare Savings
WHO: U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts
WHEN: Monday, April 8th
WHERE: Cranston Senior Center
1070 Cranston Street
As we saw in the previous postTom Sgouros explained in detail why it was wrong for Rhode Island to use the NECAP as a graduation requirement. It was not designed for that purpose, and many students will fail who should have passed.
State Commissioner of Education Deborah Gist said Sgouros was wrong because he is not a psychometrician. She did not explain why he was wrong, not did she understand that psychometricians would likely agree with Sgouros.
The Providence Student Union thought it was wrong that a single high-stakes exam should determine whether they graduate.
To prove their point, they invited legislators, educators, and community leaders to take the test. The test was made up of released items. The results will be released later this week.
Hats off to the brave adults who took the risk.
Here is the students' press release:
Although much belated, I wanted to post my favorite hot fudge recipe as a follow-up to my last ice cream post. Although I don't own the Joy of Cooking, I scanned this page from my Mom's copy (note chocolate stains on page) years ago. The recipe has been an institution in my family, and although was used most frequently as a topping for peppermint stick ice cream during the Christmases of my childhood, has found a place in my year-round dessert repertoire.
by Emily Esfahani Smith
Religion, God, transcendence, spirituality: do these things exist independently of the human mind or are they products of neurochemical firings of the brain? When Saul had his revelatory experience on the road to Damascus, had he fallen under the spell of a seizure, as some have claimed, or was it a flash of the divine that caused his conversion to Christianity?