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Member since: Sat Oct 13, 2012, 08:33 PM
Number of posts: 23,488

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Nearing death, two people offer a journalist and caregiver life lessons

Evelyn pulled her wheelchair close to the bathroom sink and went through her morning ritual. Combing her black hair. Brushing her false teeth. Putting on her makeup.

"Sit down, I want to talk with you," she said.

I sat on the closed toilet seat, two cameras on my lap, ready to photograph her, as I had so many times before.

"How's your dad?" she asked.

"He is not well," I said. "He is struggling."

She stopped applying her makeup and turned to me. "Look. He is likely not going to make it, and you're going to have to be OK with that."

It was classic Evelyn, blunt and to the point. Her lipstick done, she rolled her wheelchair slowly backward, then reached over and flicked off the light. "Didi, come get me," she called to her caregiver, who was cooking breakfast.

She left me sitting there, alone. She had just said what the doctors would not. My father was dying.

Love. Forgive. Be present. And then let go.

This is a good read, sad but good. http://www.latimes.com/local/great-reads/la-me-c1-caregiver-20141218-story.html#page=1

President Obama's Big Liberal Health Care Rout No One Noticed

Below the Medicare "Doc Fix" Surface: President Obama's Big Liberal Health Care Rout No One Noticed

That most likely means that should Congress choose to offset this deficit increase, they are likely to come either from a further increase in taxes or payments (Republicans have crowed about this bill's provision raising the Medicare Part B rates on wealthier seniors, believing it would help shoot down public support for Medicare ), or in cuts to other programs - and there the largest chunk of spending belongs to Defense.

Sure, they can try to cut the ACA or Medicaid later, but without being able to link it to the scary prospect of Medicare payments going down by 20% or a quarter, they will have a tough time justifying such cuts, and Democrats will have an easier time blocking them. They can try to raise the Medicare eligibility age, but they would have to allow the people in the gap to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act, meaning they will end up making more people eligible for Obamacare! And, they would have to fund that too.

For these reasons, this was a pretty brilliant play on the part of the President and the Democrats. They used the doctors' lobby - which for some reason beyond my understanding often backs Republicans but have been seeking a permanent repeal of the SGR - to neutralize GOP threats against the two (count'em, two) other progressive priorities: Medicaid and Obamacare.

And oh, the law the President just signed also extends the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two more years. You will recall that one of the first things Barack Obama did when he became president was sign a massive expansion of CHIP.

So while the media is either ignoring the story altogether or huffing and puffing about the fact that it isn't mostly paid for, the legislation the President signed yesterday is a massive progressive rout on health care policy: it solved Medicare payments, protected Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act from a politically potent axe, and expanded CHIP. The Rigth simply got rolled (and you can tell they got rolled by the loud houls coming from the Right precisely because they didn't get to cut other health care programs into oblivion).

Well done, Democrats. Well done, Mr. President.

Read More http://www.thepeoplesview.net/main/2015/4/15/president-obamas-big-liberal-medicare-rout-doc-fix

Strong is the new pretty: Photos show the secret side of girls

Sugar and spice and everything nice…

A powerful photo series smashes through those age-old expectations by depicting little girls as they truly are: Brave, joyful, defiant, curious. And even a little bit messy.

Kate T. Parker is an acclaimed Atlanta-based photographer, but she’s also the mother of two young girls. It’s that last role that inspired her beautiful and aptly titled collection, “Strong is the New Pretty.”

“I wanted to celebrate these girls as they are, not how females are expected to be. I wanted to celebrate them, just as they are, and show them that is enough. Being pretty or perfect is not important. Being who they are is,” Kate says, adding, “There’s a lot of pressure for girls (and women) to look a certain way, act in certain manner, and I wanted to let my daughters know that who they naturally are is enough.”

Take a look

The intent of the collection isn’t to pigeon-hole all girls as tomboys and athletes, just as it’s not meant to dismiss outright pink and princesses. Kate says she just set out to show that little girls can’t be forced to fit the confines of a single cookie cutter mold. They are mermaids and skateboarders and everything in between. They are whoever and whatever they want to be.

“If your daughter is obsessed with pink, princesses, and ballet, amazing! Or if she is a soccer playing, tough-as-nails bookworm, great!” Kate tells PopSugar. “Allow your girls to be who they are, whatever that is. Create an environment for them to feel secure and confident in their own selves. Let them know that whatever it is, whoever they are, that’s OK. And not only OK, it’s great.”

Read and See More http://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/strong-is-the-new-03262015pretty-photos-show-secret-side-of-girls/

Girls after my own heart. I was such a tomboy. I played with trucks, one of my favorite vehicles was a tractor that had sparks that flew out of the stack. My greatest joy was when my dad tossed me dress and all into the cab of his truck, way up high in the sky.

There were few trees I didn't climb, and Lol~ some I fell out of. My mom and aunt had to soak my knee one time in the tub for an hour to get all the grit out of the cut. As kids we would go into the pine forest for hours, playing cowboys and Indians. Built forts and made bows and arrows out of branches. On Sundays my mom would pull my dress out of the closet for church. It took me years before I stopped bursting into tears when I saw it and hid under the bed, 'cause I didn't want to wear the stupid dress and I sure didn't want to go to church.

See, we can be anything we want to be. These are awesome photographs of girls, being who they want to be. The beauty and spirit in these photos is awesome.

We are women. We are still fighting after all these years.

My, how we have aged, look at us. Look at us because we are beautiful and strong and determined.

How Gloria Steinem Reacted When People Called Her 'Pushy' In 1971

Gloria Steinem broke down the double standards powerful women face -- all the way back in 1971.

Resurfaced by WifeyTV in honor of Steinem's 81st birthday this past Wednesday, a 1971 CBC Archives clip shows the feminist writer and activist reacting to critics who call her "pushy" and a "bitch." In the interview, CBC director Carl Charlson plays Steinem a recording of an acquaintance talking about the criticisms she often hears about Steinem.

The voice on the recording says that Steinem is often assumed to be a "real bitch" and "very aggressive and pushy." "Everybody’s always asking me about what kind of girl is she?" the woman on the recording says. "You know they have these whole preconceived ideas of girl who gets to where Gloria is in life, what one has to do."


Far too often, women are penalized for being seen as "pushy" or "bitchy." The idea that a woman can't make it to the top of her field while also being nice continually perpetuates sexism in the workplace. And, sadly, this isn't a new concept if Steinem was dealing with it nearly 45 years ago.


Angela Davis speaks on struggles of feminism

"In 1971, I was in jail," said Davis, drawing scattered laughter from the crowd. "While I was in jail, I tried to participate as much as possible in movements that were unfolding in the so-called free world ... There was a huge reproductive rights rally scheduled in San Francisco. I was in Marin County, just across the Golden Gate Bridge.

"I was asked to write a statement that very specifically engaged with the issue of abortion rights. Of course, I was in favor of women's abortion rights, but I did not want to take women's abortion rights out of the context of the broader conglomeration of issues that constitute women's reproductive rights.

"At that time, we had learned that vast numbers of Native American women had been sterilized. We'd also learned about the extent to which Puerto Rican women were used as guinea pigs by pharmaceutical companies in the production of what was then the new birth control pill. So, I wrote a statement in which I tried to make connections between women's reproductive rights and women's right to be free from forced sterilization. The statement wasn't read.

"My position was, I cannot talk about abortion rights in isolation from these other issues. I've come to understand that when we talk about feminist epistemologies, we speak precisely about the ability to think, together, about things that often do not cohabit the same analytical space."



We are rising up again and again and again.Help us.

Edit to add.

We are not as pretty as we were back then. Yes we have aged. Yet our spirit is ageless. We are forever young in our quest.

How the Media Miss the Story

A lot of people in the media miss a story like this because they're lazy. I've seen a couple of articles (here's the worst) about the President's recent commutations and they all zero in on a narrative that was started a long time ago about him being stingy with clemency. All that was required to adopt that narrative was counting.

But if you read the President and Attorney General's comments when they kicked off the Clemency Initiative, you knew what had held things up in the beginning and what they were doing to change the process. It was inevitable that - before his second term was over - there were going to be some big announcements. Furthermore, if you pay attention to what the White House said about this announcement, you know there are more to come.

What the clemency initiative tells us about President Obama

At the end of his first term, President Obama had granted clemency to one person. Of course this led many people to conclude that he didn't care about criminal justice reform or correcting the racial disparities in that system - especially those created by our "war on drugs." As of this week, we know those conclusions were premature.

The shift started early in the President's second term when he basically announced an end to the war on drugs saying, "we simply cannot incarcerate our way out of the drug problem." Then last December, he commuted the sentences of eight federal prisoners who were serving long sentences due to crack cocaine convictions prior to the Fair Sentencing Act. Of course there were plenty of progressives who took that as an opportunity to talk about the thousands of others who were not granted clemency and lecture President Obama about the importance of courage.

The pardon attorney, former military judge Ronald Rodgers, sends his recommendations of whether or not to grant the petitions to the Deputy Attorney General’s office, which then sends them on to the White House. The pardon attorney was recommending that the president deny nearly every single petition for a pardon or a reduced sentence, according to one senior official in the Obama administration.

We also know that the President didn't like the kinds of recommendations that he was getting.

The president complained that the pardon attorney's office favored petitions from wealthy and connected people, who had good lawyers and knew how to game the system. The typical felon recommended for clemency by the pardon attorney was a hunter who wanted a pardon so that he could apply for a hunting license.

We are in the process of learning that the work on all this has been underway for quite some time. Armed with a scathing report from the Inspector General's Office that concluded in December 2012, Ronald Rodgers is now gone from the pardon attorney's office and will be replaced by Deborah Leff who has been Senior Counselor for Access to Justice at DOJ, an initiative launched in 2010 to:

Read More: http://immasmartypants.blogspot.com/2014/04/what-clemency-initiative-tells-us-about.html

But this was never about a lack of courage. Instead, its about a cultural bureaucracy that needed to be reformed.


One little thing I found interesting is that he only has a couple of choices for what he wears. His reasoning is that his days are so busy and full of demanding/difficult decisions, he doesn't want to waste time on his attire. Overall, he limits any kind of distraction that would sap the energy he needs to do the job.

Paying attention to that, it makes sense that he wouldn't sit down and videotape a conversation with someone like David Simon just for kicks (as much as he might enjoy that). Everything this man does on the job has a strategic purpose - even the fun stuff.

Read More http://immasmartypants.blogspot.com/2015/03/how-media-miss-story.html

Good read, very good read.

Thank you President Obama and AG Holder.

Chauncey DeVega on 'The Big Picture' Discussing America's Police and Their Debt Peonage Racket

Semi-Open Weekend Thread: Chauncey DeVega on 'The Big Picture' Discussing America's Police and Their Debt Peonage Racket

I had three things that I wanted to communicate in 6 minutes last evening: Ferguson is not an isolated problem; there are deep connections between the shakedown schemes used by America's police against non-whites, and the poor more generally and Jim and Jane Crow; and that "hands up, don't shoot" is the truth.

Because time is a variable in a TV segment, I was not able to get to my last point, but I did pivot to the context of Austerity and Neoliberalism as two of the primary driving forces behind the nationwide violations of civil rights by the prison industrial complex in the United States and elsewhere.

Plus, I got to mention "social control", "the carceral society", and "goons" all in one segment.

Read More: http://www.chaunceydevega.com/2015/03/semi-open-weekend-thread-chauncey.html

Great segment, listen if you can.

The Two Men I Admire Most...In Conversation (updated)

As soon as I saw this, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven

Barack Obama and David Simon talked about The Wire and our failed war on drugs.

I also have to note that, in the midst of this conversation, President Obama points out something that I wrote about a few weeks ago:

How much does having a criminal record affect employment prospects? It outright blocks people from being hired for many government jobs.

In the private sector the question is blurrier. An outright ban on hiring people with criminal records is considered to be a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act,
according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Some states are banning asking about a criminal record on an initial employment application. But in practice, there are plenty of ways around that. Employers are allowed to consider a criminal record as part of a larger application.

That increase from 13% of the population in the early 90's to 20-22% more recently is a direct result of our war on drugs and "get tough on crime" policies that disproportionately affect people of color. And it is likely a huge factor in explaining why the unemployment rate for African Americans has typically been double the rate for whites. From a systemic standpoint, this is where we find the intersection between anti-racism efforts, criminal justice reform and policies to address wage stagnation. What affects one affects all.


the fact that one of the reasons why the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) remains low is that our over-incarceration during the war on drugs has produced a record number of Americans with felony records (mostly brown and black men).

UPDATE: Question: Why would President Obama do this interview now? He's laying the groundwork and setting the stage. Somethin's up.


Enough Said~

President Barack Obama - The Right Man For This Moment In History

Just after the election I saw the President in a press conference and in a few interviews and from listening to him and observing him something was quite evident about his appearance- he seemed as if a giant weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He seemed solid and strong and he had a sense of peace about him that seemed new to this moment. It was clear to me that this now so called lame duck president was aware of something that I wasn't and that brought a sense of relief to me.

Many people who come to this site have also expressed that if only this president had experienced cooperation and support he could have accomplished so much more. I also share in these sentiments. But I think it's very important to note and to realize that the resistance President Obama has faced is exactly what needed and needs to take place. You can't treat an infection or an infestation unless you know that it's there and if you don't get down to the root or the cause it will continue to fester. This infection or infestation can only continue to survive in the shadows and the darkness where it is able to do it's damage. As soon as it is exposed to the light of day it wants to scramble back as hide in the shadows.

Another important understanding about this resistance that is now being exposed is that the resistance will want to rise up to the level of that which it is facing. Another way of expressing this is that the depth of goodness and intelligence and strength that exists in the person of Barack Obama has called forth a barbaric and primitive resistance that attempts to be as potent as the force that it is opposing. What this means is that the presidency of Barack Obama has exposed this massive amount and degree of vulgarity that we are seeing in this country. It is being brought out of the shadows and it is now being fully exposed to the light of day.

Many people who come to this site have expressed the similarity we see today to the time of the Civil War. That war manifested due to a rise in tension that necessitated some major event to take place to attempt to address that tension. The Civil War was fought by the Confederacy in large part to prevent exactly what has taken place today where we see a man of color living the White House in the position that can be seen as the most powerful person in the world.

Damn good read http://www.thepeoplesview.net/main/2015/3/15/president-barack-obama-the-right-man-for-this-moment-in-history

#Ferguson town leadership was running a multi million dollar racketeering & extortion scheme

Where are the arrest warrants for those involved in the shake down of poor black people in #Ferguson Missouri? In a city with a population of 21,000 people, 16,000 have outstanding warrants. Nearly everyone was criminalize. The police and courts made it a crime to exist in black skin. We live in a country where a state government is running a multi million dollar racketeering & extortion scheme targeting black people & no one is arrested. Kwame M. Kilpatrick was convicted of racketeering, fraud and extortion but Ferguson town leaders got severance pay. It’s disgraceful when those in power see a crime and squeeze their eyes shut because the racketeer & extortionist have white skin. But when you’re white, it’s alriiiight.

All of the bogus arrest records should be thrown out. The Ferguson leadership ran a straight GANGSTA racket. They use police to target poor blacks, arrested them and then the courts shook them down for money, gave then criminal records which was sure to keep them from voting and they’d stay in power…until Darren Wilson murdered Michael Brown and the corruption was exposed.

Huffington Post: To give some context as to how truly extreme this is, a comparison may be useful. In 2014, the Boston Municipal Court System, for a city of 645,000 people, issued about 2,300 criminal warrants. The Ferguson Municipal Court issued 9,000, for a population 1/30th the size of Boston’s.

Ferguson and the Modern Debtor’s Prison

Debtor’s prisons are supposed to be illegal in the United States but today poor people who fail to pay even small criminal justice fees are routinely being imprisoned. The problem has gotten worse recently because strapped states have dramatically increased the number of criminal justice fees….Failure to pay criminal justice fees can result in revocation of an individual’s drivers license, arrest and imprisonment. Individuals with revoked licenses who drive (say to work to earn money to pay their fees) and are apprehended can be further fined and imprisoned. Unpaid criminal justice debt also results in damaged credit reports and reduced housing and employment prospects. Furthermore, failure to pay fees can mean a violation of probation and parole terms which makes an individual ineligible for Federal programs such as food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Family funds and Social Security Income for the elderly and disabled.

Read More: http://3chicspolitico.com/2015/03/16/ferguson-town-leadership-was-running-a-multi-million-dollar-racketeering-extortion-scheme/
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