Author Archives: Mary Turck

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.

Saying no to hate, saying yes to fairness and equality and caring


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Image from August 14 solidarity demonstration in Minneapolis. 

If you have spent the last five days reading and watching and thinking about Charlottesville and the quiet heroism of Heather Heyer and the blatantly in-your-face racism of Unite The Right and the stupidly incoherent racism of the president of the United States, you probably won’t find anything new here. I cannot find anything new to say, but I feel compelled to summarize facts as the president tells lies. That’s a small enough thing to do, but it seems to be all I can do to keep faith with the people who stood up to racism and hate and with a young woman whose life was senselessly taken away by that racism and hate. Continue reading


Filed under race, Tracking Trump

Lessons from Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

an-injury-to-one-vertYesterday, July 31, was Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. Serena Williams wrote an eloquent column for Fortune, explaining just what that means:

“I’d like to acknowledge the many realities black women face every day. To recognize that women of color have to work—on average—eight months longer to earn the same as their male counterparts do in one year. To bring attention to the fact that black women earn 17% less than their white female counterparts and that black women are paid 63% of the dollar men are paid. Even black women who have earned graduate degrees get paid less at every level. This is as true in inner cities as it is in Silicon Valley.”

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Filed under gender, race, work

Retirement is a good time to go to work

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Association House – a settlement house in Chicago, where Chester Kolmodin volunteered for West Town Legal Services. (Photo from Chicago History in Post Cards)

When I read about Jim Scheibel and the Encore Fellowship program at Hamline University, my mind slid back in time, remembering a retiree volunteer named Chester Kolmodin.

I was a young lawyer, just licensed and working at a settlement house in Chicago. My job: directing West Town Legal Services, the legal aid program I had started when I was still in law school. I was the only lawyer. My job included raising the money to pay my munificent $12,000 a year salary, and training and supervising a paralegal to help clients with welfare appeals. Continue reading

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The Anti-Health Care Act and that tax cut for the rich

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Photo by, published under Creative Commons license

Both the House and Senate Republican Anti-Health Care proposals give big tax cuts to wealthy Americans and slash even bigger amounts of money from health care for lower and middle-income Americans. Continue reading

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Filed under health care, health insurance

The Anti-Health Care Act: Pay more, get less

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Photo by, used under Creative Commons license

Jessica Valenti had a premature baby. She says the Republican plan to let insurance companies bring back lifetime caps on coverage would be a disaster:

“In September 2010, a new provision of the Affordable Care Act banned health insurance plans from applying lifetime limits on essential care. Layla was born in August. And so it was just sheer luck that our health insurance at the time did not have a lifetime cap. If it had, Layla would have blown through that ceiling in the first weeks of her life—we would have gone bankrupt trying to save her.

“Care for a premature baby can cost literally millions of dollars, and before the ACA, it wasn’t uncommon for families with preemies to end up financially devastated. In the new bill, the text of which was just released today, that lifetime cap comes back. I’ve always wondered how it is that Republicans who call themselves pro-life could support financial ruin for parents who simply want to keep their babies alive.”

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Filed under health care, health insurance

The Anti-Health Care Act and Medicaid

So Republicans want to cut Medicaid? Who cares?

Lots of people, as it turns out. Those hurt by proposed Medicaid cuts include people with disabilities, babies, nursing home residents, women getting primary care through Planned Parenthood clinics, schools, and state governments. Continue reading

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Filed under health care, health insurance

The Anti-Health Care Act and essential benefits

Both the Senate and House Anti-Health Care Acts allow sates to waive the essential benefits provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Vox’s Sarah Kiff explains: “This means that plans in the individual market could once again decide not to cover maternity care — like 88 percent of plans did before the Affordable Care Act passed.” Continue reading


Filed under health care, health insurance

Philando Castile: Fear and killing and change


Mr. Phil. That’s what the kids at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul called Philando Castile. A parent  called him “Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks.” Will he be remembered as the cafeteria supervisor who gave out hugs and food and love to “his” kids? Or will he be remembered as one more name in the unending litany of black men and women killed by police? Continue reading

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Filed under human rights, police and crime, race

Watch out for TigerSwan: It bites

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“A shadowy international mercenary and security firm” employed by Energy Transfer Partners sent undercover agents to infiltrate protest camps at Standing Rock, harvested information from social media, used aerial surveillance, and eavesdropped on radio communications. TigerSwan, which started life as a U.S. military and State Department contractor, also collaborated closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement to target protesters. Continue reading

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Filed under human rights, media, organizing

Taking down ‘Scaffold’ at the Walker

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Coya Hope’s Twitter post was one of many protesting ‘Scaffold’ in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

A tall gallows structure stands in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, near the iconic Cherry and Spoon, the new Giant Blue Chicken, and the mini-golf course. But not for much longer.  After an outpouring of pain and anger from Minnesota’s Native American community, the Walker has agreed to remove ‘Scaffold.’

Sam Durant, a white Los Angeles artist, first created ‘Scaffold’ in 2012 in Germany, and the sculpture has been exhibited in other cities. The sculpture features gallows from seven hangings. The largest one, which supports all the rest, is a model of the Mankato gallows  on which 38 Native American men were hung on December 26, 1862 in the largest mass execution in U.S. history. The Walker planned carefully for the opening of the new sculpture garden, but they failed to consult Minnesota’s Native American communities.  before erecting ‘Scaffold.’

Over and over, the Native Americans denouncing the sculpture repeat: we were not consulted, we were not listened to, our voices are not heard. Rather than adding my voice to the discussion, I want to amplify their voices in this blog post: Continue reading

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