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.

Tiny Tim needs the Children’s Health Insurance Program

Dickens - Christmas Carol. Date: 1843-44

Image via Fotolia

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health care for 9 million children and 375,000 pregnant women in working families who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough for private insurance. Working families like Bob Cratchit’s family.

You remember Bob Cratchit. He worked for old Ebenezer Scrooge, and he didn’t make much money. Not enough money to pay for medical care for his crippled son, Tiny Tim. Continue reading


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Scrooge’s Republican tax plan: Die, and reduce the surplus population


Old Scrooge, before he repented, thought the poor and disabled might as well die and reduce the surplus population. He would have loved this tax bill, which is likely to reduce the surplus population by, among other things, reducing access to chemotherapy for Medicare patients with cancer.

The tax bill also eliminates tax deductions for medical expenses.  You might call that the Tiny Tim deduction: Continue reading

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Tax cuts: ABCs and BS

If you are confused about the “tax cut” bill, you are not alone. I took two semesters of tax law way back in the day, and I do my own taxes every year, so here’s my explanation of just one of the ways the “tax reform” cuts taxes but actually leaves you paying more. Continue reading

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Trump budget: Small towns don’t need clean water

Want to open the faucet and see brown, gritty, unsafe water? Move to St. Joseph, Louisiana, where the town’s water system is irreparably fouled by decades of neglect. The impoverished town is not alone, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting:

“St. Joseph, population 1,029, is one of thousands of small towns across the country that have no access to safe, clean drinking water. The reason: The towns can’t afford it.”

The state of Louisiana stepped in to fund a new water system for St. Joseph. Many other towns turn to the Rural Utilities Service, a USDA program that disburses loans and grants to small towns (population 10,000 or less) for water systems. Or did – Trump’s budget will close down the entire program.

The USDA Rural Utilities Service budget last year — FY 2017 — was only $498 million. This year the Trump administration budget cuts out the program entirely. Zero dollars. Zero help for small towns. Zero future for a program that has been wildly successful. Continue reading

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Yom Kippur and Puerto Rico

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UPDATE WITH CORRECTION 10/6/17 – see below:

Yom Kippur is a day of fasting and repentance. It is a day to reflect on what we have done wrong in the past year, and to ask forgiveness. Unless you are the president of the United States. Then it is a day to attack anyone who dares to call you to account.

Lin-Manuel Miranda has it right – Trump’s disgraceful attack on the mayor and people of Puerto Rico follows weeks of the Trump administration’s neglect and mishandling of hurricane preparation and relief efforts. Here’s a short list, followed by a list of ways you can contribute to help rebuild Puerto Rico: Continue reading

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Helping after Hurricane Harvey


Texas National Guard Soldiers respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tim Pruitt) Photo used under Creative Commons license.

Just a couple of quick notes to anyone who wants to know how to help after Hurricane Harvey – because there are so many ways to do it right, and just as many ways to do it wrong. Here are five ways to do it right: Continue reading

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Joe Arpaio and Donald Trump have a lot in common


Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaking with supporters of Donald Trump at a rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore, used under Creative Commons license.

Donald Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio today. That’s an affirmation of Trump’s admiration for Arpaio’s long career of self-promotion, abuse of power, racism, and cruelty. The New Yorker concluded that Trump probably pardoned Arpaio because the former sheriff ” represents in miniature what the President would like to be more maximally—a successful American authoritarian.” Continue reading


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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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Retirement is a good time to go to work

Association House and playground

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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