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

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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

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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

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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

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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 401kcalculator.org, 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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The Anti-Health Care Act: Pay more, get less

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Photo by ccPix.com, 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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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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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

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