Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Watching Isaac

Watching Isac

This morning I listened to NPR's "All Things Considered" from 9:00 to 10:00.  I was listening for something I Did Not Hear. 

After hurricane Katrina there was a "study" (as if one was needed) to determine the Risk factors of Katrina.  In other words, who died and why.

The three factors in common to the dead they found were:  African Americans, poor people of any color, and those with disabilities.  Ann and I decided then that since we had two out of three, we were expendable to our country and should do our best to aid ourselves and neighbors like us in any disaster.  Yah, we were slow on the uptake.  Native people, homeless people, especially veterans, and poor African Americans already knew.

What do all three of these groups have in common?  They are not as likely as others to own CARS!

So this morning I was listening for the Mayor, a Governor, or a Federal official to say Something about comendering the school busses left sitting in water to drown during Katrina.  I was listening for someone to say they hhad paid Greyhound or Amtrack to evacuate those without cars.  Nope, not One Damned Word!

They talked about how slow the Coast Guard's "Urban Rescue" teams, which were in place, would be to get to people because Isac is such a slow moving storm.  They talked about tornadoes, and casinos, and the fact that people in low lying areas had been "Ordered out".  But No one said a single word about How people who didn't or couldn't drive were supposed to Get out!

I remember talking to a nurse who went to New Orleans after Katrina to help.  She said that in New Orleans at bus stops early in the morning she remembered seeing (this was Before Katrina) 20 or 30 people gathered early in the mornings.  They were maids in wealthier homes, restaurant workers, janitors, all the people who keep a city running on their backs.  So we know who was lost, along with the disabled and poor from the housing projects.

Bottom line?  We know who's expendable.  I will be watching, n o matter Who is President, to see if in this Worse economy, the same people are once again left for the "Urban Rescue" units, who will be slowed by constant rain and tidal surges.

Open your eyes, friends, and we'll see how "family values" play out in this one.

There are so many stories I could tell you about Katrina and its aftermath, but I won't, yet.  This has already become a rant.  I am angry, did ya guess?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Busy Week

Busy Week

1.  Immersion ASL (actually TASL day.  2.  three different people brought clothing and cloth scraps to be divided up and a big load to wash.  I am happy to have these as the warmest clothes go to Native American Heritage Assoc. to help keep people warm on the reservations in South Dakota and I think Montana.  The clothing which will work here goes to Disabled American Veterans Store, and the stained up stuff and leather scraps get the stains washing won't clean cut out and they will become doll clothes.

3.  I have found a Free 1 hour ASL class where the teacher has graciously agreed to work with me or have one of the deaf people in class who is willing work with me.   I went and enjoyed meeting the lady who helped me very much, and appreciated the help of a sighted friend who kept me aware of what was happening in the group.

4.  Lots of political stuff happening.  Am I going to vote in the general election?  If so I think it will be with reluctance.

5.  Went to Farmer's Market got a bunch of different kinds of peppers, cucumbers,  tomatoes, two Winter squashes, all for $17.  Cooked onion, peppers and tomatoes in olive oil and spices, good for many kinds of Summer food.  Still have a bunch of these veggies. To wash.

6.  Worked with new healthcare aide who has no typing or computer skils, how am I going to keep up with ASL?  I get so many new words in a ten hour day that I always need to look up about 30.  I remember the words, but Not clearly how to make them.  I write in Braille those I Do remember.

6.  Hassle with vbeterinarian who I believe is putting in place policies  to make me pay more money than necessary for pet care,  Frustrating, must change vets, but where?

7.  Had Horrible utility bill for last four week cycle, not in line at all with others who have similar sized houses,  Something Wrong!  Dreading calling landlord Monday.

9.  Increasing pressure to save water, some of us are skipping showers we don't really need while the hospitals Still water their lawns, as do citizens who fear the coming fines for those who do so.  Pine and spruce trees dying from two hot drought Summers.  I have watered garden twice with hand held hose,   this week.  With cooler weather, (though we still have periods of heat) we are Finally beginning to have Food.  I could go out and plant bush beans and snap peas, but am So Tired!

Birds are eating a lot of seed because plant sources are drying or dried up. 

We may get rain this weekend, I Hope so!  Rain with no Severe storms to destroy gardens would be Beloved and welcome!

Have ignored E-mails for the last two or three days, my hands painful from TASL, washing, chopping, carrying hose.  Not looking forward to opening That mailbox!
But I am Very Fortunate!  I Have a roof over me, food, time to clean up clothing for others, a living dog, and air conditioning.  I Have enough water to drink and shower when I need to..  Not everyone on our Earth does.
Some of the clothes came from a dunmpster!  I used to be Shocked.  Now I'm just Glad I grew up from a place where Nothing got thrown away, Evereybody could sew or at Least Mend, grow food, and  cook from scratch.  In times like these, I am given the ability to save money and help other people, a great combination!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Learning to Speak TASL About Religion

No one gets bashed, ok?  Just a personal reaction.TASL is Tactile American Sign Language used by the deaf-blind.

Learning TASL Signs for Religion

I am glad to be learning to sign these words.  Religion is a very important part of many people's lives.  And here in the Ozarks, they call it "the buckle of the Bible belt."  Sometimes I feel like people hit one another with that buckle very hard and it often causes hurt.  

But then there are those wonderful people who Live their religious beliefs instead of just talking about them.  These people have no need to swing that buckle around at all and they have my thanks and respect.

As a Buddhist it is odd to be learning all of the signs for only Christian religion.  I have no objection to this, as it is important to me to talk to others about what matters to them.  But Sometimes I wish I knew how to talk about what matters to me. I can say Baptist, I can say Methodist, I can say Catholic and Lutheran and Presbyterian.  I can say Assemblies of God, Bible, Christian, amen, (I'm told that deaf people who are Baptist sign it differently than other Christians)and Jesus.  I can say Christ, Lord, Deacon, Church, and Saint.   But sometimes I feel like sneaking in the question, "How do you say Bodhisattva, or Mindfulness, or Meditation, or Tara.  But I don't.  There is no need to cause my most excellent instructor pain or frustration.  When I was asked what religion I am and I made the ASL sign for Buddhist my instructor didn't know the sign.  When I spelled it she understood immediately and said "Oh" and no more talk about religion, except for teaching me the words I will need to know which  will be most useful in this location.  A friend who is atheist taught me that sign.  Today I was introduced to Jewish for the first time.  I'm a bit scared to ask how to say Muslim, but I will.

A thing I wonder is, given the "unpopularity" of non-Christian faiths, does this attitude come through in signed speech?  I do not want to learn some regional variation which offends people of other religions any more than I want to offend Christians.

There are not many ASL regional variations left now that many deaf people use cell phones to text and ASL is taught on most college campuses.  But when I looked up the sign for Mormon on a website where the instructor was from Utah it was totally different than the one I was taught here.  So what about other religions?  It makes sense to me that some deaf people would pick up the prejudices of those who taught them to speak ASL.  So I guess I'll go to a well known national website to look up those words.

Another thing which was odd was that when I was learning to sign all those words it Felt like stepping into a  foreign culture.  I wanted to sign "Hu?"  "Why would I want to say that?"  I guess it's been a long time since I left that mind set, which I know, is of benefit to Many people.  Don't think I should  try explaining that where Cherokee and Buddhist beliefs agree I tend to think it makes sense, too.  It was just such a Strange feeling, working on getting all of those words right today, like entering another world.

Petitions We All Wish Weren't Needed

Ok, my next post will have Nothing to do with politics, don't despair and stop reading, Please!  Just skip this post if you don't want to know . . .

Next post will be about Religion and learning sign language  for it, Ha!

More Petitions No One Wishes Were Needed

I am not asking Anyone to join or give money to any organization. I certainly Cannot donate to all of the worthy causes I would like to.

First Petition:
Conservatives want us to think that Rep. Akin is alone in his extremist views but
he's not--lots of current members of Congress have partnered with him in trying to
redefine rape and criminalize some forms of birth control.
Can you chip in $25 to help spread the word?
click here
Click Here
Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) is on the defensive after he made comments stating that women
who are "legitimate" rape victims can't get pregnant. Prominent conservatives from
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to talking-head Sean Hannity are begging him to drop out
of his race for US Senate.
Here's the thing: Their outrage is disingenuous at best. Why?
 Because Rep. Akin's views are anything but fringe when it comes to Tea Party members
of Congress.
 He, Paul Ryan  and 171 mostly Republican members of the House sponsored a bill last
year that would have narrowed the definition of rape to make it even harder for survivors--especially
lower income rape survivors--to get abortions.
 They felt the need to define rape as "forcible" rape--sound familiar? Akin and 63
others allies in Congress co-sponsored a bill that would have made emergency contraception
and common forms of birth control illegal.
Now, conservatives in Congress are falling over themselves to condemn Akin hoping
their statements will stop the media from focusing on the fact that lots of them
hold many of the same views.
We can't let that happen.
We need to make sure that voters everywhere know how widespread the "Akin problem"
 So we're planning a big effort--partnering with local groups on the ground in these
districts, organizing survivors to tell their stories and running ads online and
on the radio--to get the word out about how many members of Congress have partnered
with Akin to roll back women's reproductive rights. But we need your help to do it.
This will cost us at least $25,000 to pull off.
Can you chip in $25?
Chip in $25 to help get the word out.
Attempts to "redefine" rape aren't new to Congress. And the consequences of doing
so are far more severe than simply making abortion harder to access--they have a
significant cultural effect too. Too many legislators are willing to go so far as
to place even greater burdens and cast doubt on rape survivors just to advance their
agenda of taking away women's rights to control our own bodies.
In fact, changing the definition of rape has been a key talking point for extremist
anti-choice conservatives for years. John C. Willke, former president of the National
Right to Life Committee, has argued pregnancy from rape is rare in part because “when
women are actually raped, the trauma upsets their endocrine system in a way that
prevents pregnancy.”
And a lot of current members of Congress hold equally extreme views and have actively
tried to force rape survivors to take their pregnancy to term, deny survivors access
to emergency contraception and even criminalize some forms of birth control--like
This year's Republican Party Platform even calls for a federal ban on abortion without
an exception for rape or incest.
Conservatives in Congress have been able to advance their right-wing agenda without
any scrutiny for years. But this year, they've taken their efforts to new extremes,
so it's been getting more notice. And we have to keep spotlighting them.
Please chip in to help us spread the word to voters all over the country about how
many politicians hold views just as extreme as Rep. Akin's.
Chip in to help get the word out.
Thanks for speaking out,
--Nita, Shaunna and Kat, the UltraViolet team
John Cornyn, Top Republicans Call On Todd Akin To Rethink Candidacy,
 Huffington Post, August 20, 2012
The House GOP's Crusade Against Reproductive Rights,
 Media Matters, October 6, 2011
Paul Ryan and Todd Akin Partnered On Radical ‘Personhood’ Bill Outlawing Abortion And Many Birth Control Pills,
 ThinkProgress, August 20, 2012
Todd Akin’s Rape Comment Was Bad, but His Abortion Views Are Much Worse,
 Daily Best, August 20, 2012
Report: GOP abortion platform doesn't include rape exception,
 The Hill, August 21, 2012
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Second Petition:
Veterans Administration: End the double standard for veterans traumatized by sexual assault in the military
Sign Ruth's Petition
Teresa -
The first time the U.S. military betrayed me was when I was raped -- twice -- by
my commanding officer in the Navy.
The second betrayal was when the Veterans Administration (VA) denied me disability
benefits for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) -- which I have
because I was raped in the military.
When applying for benefits from the VA, I had to "prove" that my rapes happened,
through testimony from eyewitnesses, my ex-husband and others. This is a higher burden
of proof than for other veterans applying for the same benefits -- and only veterans
applying for benefits because of sexual assault have to meet it. Even more, even
after I had given it what it wanted,
 the VA failed to believe that the rapes had occurred or approve my benefits.
Today, I'm fighting back. I recently testified in front of Congress to show elected
officials how the VA is failing countless veterans like me.
I also started a petition on to build a nationwide outcry against the VA's double standard preventing veterans who have been raped and sexually assaulted within the military from getting the benefits they deserve.
Click here to sign my petition now.
As a result of my rapes, I have endured decades of debilitating PTSD, anxiety, depression,
insomnia, migraines, a sexually transmitted disease, nine miscarriages, suicide attempts,
homelessness and an end to my marriage. It took 23 years, in the end, for the VA
to give me any benefits at all.
And I'm not alone. By DOD’s own estimates, over 19,000 service members
 are assaulted in the military each year. For countless veterans like me, a denied
VA claim is the second betrayal, and can mean the difference between life and death.
And yet
only 1 in 3 applicants receives PTSD benefits for military sexual trauma.
 In comparison, more than half of veterans applying for PTSD benefits linked to other
kinds of trauma are approved.
A few weeks ago, I watched another military rape survivor, Lance Corporal Nicole
McCoy, start her own petition on
More than 300,000 people
 signed it, inspiring me to start my own petition to create change within the VA.
Click here to sign my petition calling on the VA to lift the unfair, extra requirements placed on veteran survivors of military sexual violence applying for disability benefits.
And I know public pressure to change the VA's broken system can work: it has happened
before, when the VA changed the requirements for combat veterans applying for benefits.
The same can happen for veterans who are survivors of military sexual assault --
but only if thousands of people join me by signing my petition.
My belief is that the VA wants me to fade away as quickly as possible, but I'm not
going to let it off the hook. It's really that simple. I will continue to serve my
country and defend the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. My campaign
today is a part of that.
Please click here to sign my petition now, and call on the VA to eliminate double standards and extra hurdles for veterans suffering from military sexual trauma and seeking the benefits they're entitled to.
Thank you.
Ruth Moore

Third Petition

I know that voter ID.'s can be demanded to discriminate against poorer voters.  To get a new state ID., NOT even a driver's license, I have to pay for a cab or pay someone to take me to a License Bureau Office, then pay for the ID.  (under $15) then pay for a cab home.  Added together, the cost of a new ID. Would be between $35 and $40.  And I think a driver's license costs more, but not sure.

On the other hand it is true that some people steal ID.'s and some few people do vote with them or manage to vote twice.  Noot a simple issue, what is?

President Obama is leading in the polls, but he could still lose because of voter
suppression laws in key battleground states like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and
Chip in $5 to help convince local election officials to opt out of the Republican
voter suppression campaign.
Chip in $5
Dear MoveOn member,
The latest polls since Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan show President Obama still holding
a narrow lead of 1-2 points in several key states.
 if the election was held today, President Obama could still lose
—because of widespread Republican voter suppression tactics in key swing states.
Republicans are purging the voter rolls, shortening voting hours in Democratic precincts,
kicking Democrats off local election boards, and requiring registered voters to show
photo ID.
There's no bigger priority between now and November than stopping these GOP voter
suppression tactics so that no eligible Obama voter is turned away at the polls.
And MoveOn is one of the few groups in America with enough grassroots supporters
to do something about it.
Can you chip in $5
to help pay for our emergency campaign to stop GOP voter suppression?
We need county-level campaign teams in hundreds of places, lawyers to figure out
the local voting rules, field organizers to cover all the key states, and an ad budget
for targeted local ads urging election officials to do the right thing.
Yes, I'll chip in $5 to stop voter suppression.
Make no mistake: because of GOP voter suppression efforts,
local election officials you've never heard of could easily decide the outcome of
the presidential race.
The battle unfolding in Ohio is a perfect example. First, the Republican secretary
of state tried to set shorter voting hours in Democratic counties versus Republican
counties. Voters freaked out and he backed off, setting uniform voting hours statewide.
That was a great partial victory for voters, but the new hours he set are still shorter
than in 2008, which will
make it impossible for some students, folks with two jobs, and other Democratic-leaning
 to vote.
 And his new rules do not allow for any in-person early voting on weekends, the best
time for many folks to vote.
MoveOn members are pushing to reinstate weekend early voting hours so everyone can
vote, but
it's going to require another major grassroots push.
Similar fights are playing out Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and other key states,
and come Election Day it'll be too late. We have to pull out all the stops now.
Click here to chip in $5 to stop the GOP's voter suppression.
MoveOn is running local campaigns all over the country to make sure local officials
do all they can to protect the right to vote.
You might have seen Pennsylvania MoveOn member Steven Singer on MSNBC's "The Ed Show"
this week talking about the Allegheny County petition he started on, MoveOn's
petition website.
An election official in one Pennsylvania county is refusing to enforce that state's
discriminatory new Voter ID Law, and now
MoveOn members all across Pennsylvania are urging county election supervisors to
instruct poll workers to let all registered voters vote.
They have the authority to make that decision—we just need to give them the political
backing to do the right thing.
We need county-level campaigns like this in hundreds of places around the country
to make a dent in this problem.
Can you chip in $5
 to help pay for the lawyers, field organizers, and ads we need to win?
Yes, I can chip in $5.
Thanks for all you do.
–Ilya, Anna, Steven, Bobby, Stefanie, and the rest of the team
1. "Election 2012 State Polls," Real Clear Politics, accessed August 18, 2012
2. "Masters of voter suppression: Republicans employ many techniques to keep low-income
voters away from the polls,"
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 9, 2012
3. "Ohio Secretary Of State Restricts Voting Hours In All Counties," Think Progress,
August 16, 2012
4. "Keystone to Victory," The Ed Show, MSNBC, August 16, 2012
5. "Delco election official vows to defy ID law,"
Philadelphia Inquirer
, July 28, 2012
Want to support our work?
 MoveOn Civic Action is entirely funded by our 7 million members—no corporate contributions,
no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a
long way..

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ignorance Isn't Bliss for Mo. Rape Victims and Their Loved Ones if This Man is Re-elected

Missouri's Female Voters and Their Loved Ones Take Warning

I spent part of my growing up years with two different kids who were cognitively (mentally) disabled Because they were children of incest.  Is incest Not Ligitimate Rape?  I know a young woman who had an abortion as a teenager to keep from having her father's child.

This "opinion" is simply Medically False and to me, Also Highly Offensive!

I have already passed this mail to all of the Mo. Voters I know.  Could you Please consider taking the time to share it and possibly sign the petition?

Thank you.

Rep. Todd Akin said that women who are the victims of "legitimate rape" can't get
pregnant because their bodies will naturally shut down to prevent the pregnancy.
Now calls are growing for him to resign.
Can you add your voice to the thousands calling on him to step down?
click here
Click Here
Victims of "legitimate rape" can't get pregnant because a woman's body will shut
down and prevent the pregnancy. Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) actually said that--in
other words, he's saying that if a woman does get pregnant, she must not have been
  Even scarier? He's running--and leading--in the race for Missouri Senate.
These comments are shameful, ignorant and dangerous.
Todd Akin must resign right away.
What he said was bad, but it was hardly a gaffe or poor choice of words.
 In 2011 he and Representative Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's VP pick, led the push in
the House of Representatives to redefine rape as "forcible rape" to further restrict
rape survivors' access to abortion. As a state senator, Akin questioned whether anti-marital
rape laws would be abused by women in messy divorces (he eventually voted for the
anti-marital rape law).
Prominent leaders on both sides of the political aisle are demanding that Akin resign--can
you join them and sign this petition today?
 If enough of us join in we can make sure that the media scrutiny of his comments
doesn't fade until he steps down. Anyone who doesn't understand basic biology and
tries to create more hurdles for rape survivors seeking justice doesn't belong in
the United States Congress.
Add your name to the petition.
The sad truth is that more than 32,101 pregnancies result from rape every single
Here's what Akin said yesterday:
"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really
rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the
female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
And while he later stated that he "misspoke," he is yet to apologize or clarify what
it was that he didn't mean to say.
Here's how Ilyse Hogue at The Nation
 sums up Akin's comments as they stand: "In his (Akin's) world view, the rape victim's
body will be the ultimate judge of whether a crime has taken place. If she gets pregnant,
by Akin's standard, her reproductive organs consented to the pregnancy, so she must
have consented to the sex."
The repercussions of his statements are already playing out. Prominent reporters
are now openly questioning whether all rapes are real--increasing an already unreal
cultural burden on survivors brave enough to report them.
If you thought this year could not get any more scary in terms of the assaults on
women, you were wrong. In the summer of 2012 we are debating whether all rapes ought
to be treated equally and which are less "legitimate" than others.
This is dangerous. And it's not a gaffe.
 Todd Akin has a real history of trying to redefine rape to make it harder for rape
survivors to get reproductive health care. Now that he has been exposed in public,
he must resign. Please sign the petition right away.
Add your name to the petition.
Thanks for speaking out.
--Nita, Shaunna and Kat, the UltraViolet Team
The Danger of Laughing At Todd Akin,
 The Nation, August 20, 2012
Republican Senate Nominee: Victims Of ‘Legitimate Rape’ Don’t Get Pregnant,
 Talking Points Memo, August 19, 2012
Growing Number Of Conservatives Call On Akin To Withdraw After ‘Legitimate Rape’ Comments,
 ThinkProgress, Aug 19, 2012
Republican Senate Nominee: Victims Of ‘Legitimate Rape’ Don’t Get Pregnant,
 Talking Points Memo, August 19, 2012
Politico reporter ventures defense of Todd Akin,
 Washington Post, August 20, 2012
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Why Isn't this a Big Election Issue?

A while back I published a rant at President Obama for doing things like making a name for himself as a Senator by speaking up for those left homeless or in trailer park ghettos by hurricane Katrina, then doing nothing to help them as President.  I also completely disagree with Failing to tighten regulations on banks and insurance companies who we bailed out because they were "too big to fail." 

If President Obama wants to get re-elected here is an area where he could make a Big difference for thousands of Americans.

By the way, I also Thanked the President for the Affordable Care Act, (Obama Care) for the intelligent way he went about getting rid of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rule for gay and lesbian military personnel, and for help in fighting the "Lord's Resistance Army" so long as it wasn't a covert grab for minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I "watched" the video, but most of it was silent.  I know the links don't work from a blog post, can someone tell me how to fix this?  It Should be a big election issue.

Rebuild the Dream

When you joined our campaign to get rid of Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting
Director Ed DeMarco, you joined a campaign that's being powered by people like Jaime
Gonzalez. Jaime is an underwater homeowner and Rebuilder who is helping to lead this
This past week, we released a new video telling Jaime's powerful story and calling
on President Obama to fire DeMarco and deliver for struggling homeowners.
Watch the video and share it with friends.
Almost 120,000 of you have signed our petition, and thousands more have written letters
to local papers or called the White House.
Ed DeMarco is standing in the way of help for homeowners and hundreds of thousands
of jobs. Not only did he kill a popular green jobs program, he's blocking targeted
principal reductions that would help people keep their homes by resetting their loans
to today's fair market value, instead of the artificial bubble rates.
This guy needs to go.
We're keeping this big story alive by telling the individual stories of people like
Jaime. Help keep the pressure on by hitting share after you watch.
Colin and the rest of the Rebuild the Dream team
P.S. --
Also, don't miss Van's Huffington Post piece about underwater homeowners and the big election story that the media's missing.
Rebuild the Dream is a platform for bottom-up, people-powered innovations to help
fix the U.S. economy. You can
follow us on Twitter
, and
like us on Facebook

Sunday, August 19, 2012

How About Some Good News?
“I have been waiting for this moment for fifteen years. I can’t bring my daughter
back, but I am so proud that Janey’s name is on this bill to inspire others to work
for justice.”
-- Retired U.S. Marine Sergeant Jerry Ensminger (second from right)
Start a Petition
Is there something you want to change? It takes about 3 minutes to create your own petition on
Click here to get started.

Last week, President Obama signed into law a new bill that will provide health care
to thousands of veterans and their families who were made seriously ill by contaminated
water at the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina.
Retired U.S. Marine Sergeant Jerry Ensminger -- who started the petition on
that called for the new bill -- was right there.
Jerry agonized for decades over why his daughter Janey died of Leukemia at age 9.
He discovered that Janey was only one of many to get sick and even die because of
what is called the largest water contamination incident in American history.
After more than 135,000 people signed Jerry's petition,
Congress passed "The Janey Ensminger Law," named after Jerry's daughter
 -- now as many as one million people can get help paying for medical coverage from
the contamination at the military base.
Jerry's not alone. members are winning campaigns that don't just change
the world, but that actually save lives --
see the inspiring list of other recent victories below.
 We can't wait to see what members like you will do next.
Thanks for making all this happen,
- Michael and the team
Louisiana charter school ends unlawful discrimination against pregnant students.
The Delhi Charter School in Louisiana ended its official policies of suspending pregnant
students and mandating pregnancy tests for students "suspected" of being pregnant.
The move to eliminate the policies (which violated three federal laws) came after
more than 126,000 people
 signed a petition started by Teen Parent Ambassador for Brigham Women's Hospital,
Natasha Vianna -- herself a former teen mom.
Special needs won't prevent 4-year-old Amelia Rivera from getting the kidney transplant
she needs.
More than 50,000 people
 signed Sunday Stilwell's petition asking the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
to allow a life-saving transplant for 4-year-old Amelia Rivera. The hospital just
reversed its earlier decision not to allow the procedure because she is cognitively
impaired. Now, Amelia will get the care she needs.
Milton Hershey School accepts 13-year-old student initially rejected because of his
HIV+ status.
Lawrence Stallworth knows what it's like to be HIV-positive as a young man. When
he heard that the Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania had
 rejected a 13-year-old just for being HIV-positive, Lawrence started a petition
to get the school to reverse its position.
More than 29,000 people
 signed Lawrence's petition, and the school will allow the boy to attend in the fall.
United Airlines issues a refund to man with a heart transplant.
United Airlines refused to let Greg Boros purchase insurance for his airline ticket
because he had a pre-existing condition -- a heart transplant. After Greg's doctor
said he wasn't well enough to fly, United refused to refund the cost of Greg's ticket.
More than 1,500 people signed a petition started by a family friend of Greg's, and
United reversed its position and refunded the airfare in full.
3-year-old with rare condition will receive life-saving surgery she needs from a
world-renowned expert.
It looked like Evangeline Burrors would have to settle for less-than-expert care
for her life-threatening brain disease. But after more than 700 people signed a petition
started by a family friend asking Kaiser Permanente to cover her care with a renowned
expert just two miles way, Kaiser relented -- and Evangeline will get the treatment
she needs close to her home.
Prescription companies in Alameda County, CA are now responsible for proper disposal
of medications.
Instead of letting old medications contaminate waterways or endanger people who abuse
prescription drugs, the companies that make these drugs will now have to dispose
of them properly. Thanks to the 500 people who signed a petition on, people
can now send their medications back to the manufacturer for proper disposal.
The University of Michigan Hospital becomes a safer place for Latex sensitive patients.
Frances Janis was alarmed when her son -- who has a life-threatening allergy to Latex
-- was almost exposed to it, again and again, while he was admitted at the University
of Michigan Hospital for major surgery. Frances' petition helped get the hospital
to create a safe Latex-free medical environment for patients who are allergic to
the substance.
Start a petition
 from future weekly updates..

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Voting Prayer Back into the Schools

Prayer Voted Back into the  Schools

This month Mo. Voters voted to replace the current section of the Mo. Constitution which already protects religious freedom with another section, saying that prayer is allowed in schools.

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a United Methodist minister who is a spiritual advisor to inmates of correctional institutions, as the amendment passed does not protect their right to religious freedom.

The Mo. Constitution currently protects the religious freedoms of inmates. It also  refers to praying to "Almighty God" leaving out atheists or those of most Non- monotheistic religions.  It leaves them out because it says that school prayer or prayer in public places shall "not cause a disturbance".  What if your belief requires you to leave class and pray outside?  What if you are Santero and have asked that a chicken be sacrificed to ask for devine help in taking a test which will determine whether or not you are "tracked" for college?  Who decides what is "causing a disturbance?"  

Discussions with friends and relatives who voted for this measure have raised several issues. 

Discussion 1.  "I voted for it because not to would interfere with free speech."

But do you truly think someone is going to stop a child from praying silently before a meal or test?

"It's possible, kids can be cruel."

True, kids can find Any reason to bully anyone who is different.  I think, though that a school authority would protect the rights of a student to pray silently, unless that student does something unusual.  Maybe I'm wrong, but the State Constitution already protects the rights of people to pray in public places.  The only ones who can't right now are those who are members of religious minorities in Mo. 

Discussion 2.  I've read that in other states accommodation has been made in schools for Muslim students to have a separate place where they can unroll their prayer rugs and pray during the school day.  This is "politically correct" so why not be "politically correct for everyone?"

I can agree with that but if it's Really inacted that way we're all going to have to get used to a Lot more diversity than most people want to admit exists.  Even in places like Springfield there are Sikh students, Hindu students, Atheist students,  Muslim students,  Jewish students, Native American students, and Buddhist students, in addition to the majority Christian population.  In Kansas City or St. Louis there would be even More diversity, Orthodox Christians, Roman  Catholic Christians, Protestant Christians, toungue speaking Christians.  And their might be Orthodox Jewish students as well as members of Reform Jewish sects.  There will be all sects represented within Islam.  What if these groups of Christians, Jews, and Muslims do not want to pray with those who share their religion but pray differently?

Discussion 3.  Why shouldn't religious freedom Continue to be allowed prisoners?  In Springfield they have the Federal Medical Center which houses prisoners from all across the country who are physically ill or awaiting psychiatric evaluations to decide if they are competent to stand trial.  You have all of the religious and non-religious diversity of the Entire USA. There.  Why suspend the religious freedoms of inmates?

Discussion 4.  "I believe in the separation of Church and State. I think we're opening up a can of worms, trying to be politically correct.  And I don't trust rural school authorities to protect the rights of minority students and atheists."

Reply:  "Kids are so internet savvy that they know how to protest if their rights are being trampled.  There are organizations like the ACLU to protect them and their parents can defend their rights to school authorities, too."

More discussion.  "What if a teenaged student doesn't want to practice the religion of his/her parents?  In Mo. A teenager can legally become an "emancipated minor" at 17.  What if a 17 year-old doesn't choose to practice her/his parents' religion?  Whose rights will the school authorities be likely to try and enforce?"     

Discussion 5.  "We are both adults who remember when school prayer was compulsory.  And it was always Christian prayer even in St. Louis.  So I guess it comes down to a question of trust.  Do we, with our experiences, trust school and other authorities to protect the rights of students belonging to  minority religions and atheist students?  I have to answer NO, I don't trust them."

Reply:  "Well, I don't either and that's my problem with this amendment.  I remember being a Jew in Joplin Mo. And sometimes it got Ugly and scary."

Personal opinion: I don't think our country wants to admit how diverse we truly are.  It will soon be the case that white men will be a minority population.  Certainly, there are many white men who are living and coping in the now, and getting along with their brothers and sisters as fellow Americans.  But there is a contingent of European Americans, male and female, who are frightened of the demographic changes taking place in the US.  Some African Americans share this fear, as their numbers are eclipsed by people of mixed race or those who have immigrated from other countries.

I do not trust people in authority to protect the rights of All students equally.  And I think we should keep things as they are, (students may pray on school grounds After school or silently During school and prisoners of all religions are entitled to religious counsel, if they choose it) or we could be opening up a Huge can of worms!  What if every atheist and religious group mentioned above Truly insisted on equal rights?  Who is going to police that?

I voted No on this amendment for these reasons, not because I'm against anyone's religion. 

When it has rained this Summer, (very seldom, we are still at Least ten inches short of what is considered "normal" rainfall for the area)  I have gone outside to breathe, feel the rain, and say Thank You, sometimes singing a song of gratitude softly, sometimes sending my thanks and happiness up to the clouds in silence.

I'm Glad I'm not in school now, if this amendment becomes law.  Probably it will and there will be court cases.

What do You think? Are today's school students savvy enough to protect their rights?  They are certainly more savvy than my generation.  But are middle school students, for example, able to withstand peer pressure and uphold their rights not to pray or to pray differently than the majority of students?    

Friday, August 17, 2012

Killing the Disabled by Omission?

I don't know this young man, but it seems he's capable of a lot.  If I had cancer again I would Not expect a heart transplant.  But should One hospital have the right to kill me because I am deaf-blind?  I think not.

This is admittedly a complex issue.  An organ transplant is expensive.  Some people feel that No One should be denied an organ transplant.  Others feel that Only a Perfect and healthy and employed person who can pay all bills should be allowed an organ transplant.  I am in between these two extremes.

Please check ou the petition from the mother of a 23 year-old disabled man and if you think his life is worth saving, Should be saved, please Go to the trouble of looking up this organization to make the links work.

Thank you.
My son will die without a heart transplant, but the hospital says he can't have one -- because he's autistic.
Sign My Petition -
My son, Paul, will die without a heart transplant.
But the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania refuses to put him on the transplant
list -- because he's autistic.
Paul is only 23, and he's amazing. He was diagnosed with a deadly heart condition
four years ago, but he battles through it with a smile. He's smart and creative --
we just self-published a story he wrote, and he's working on a sequel. He loves his
nephews. And the whole family loves him.
I don't know how to tell my son that his doctors refuse to give him the operation
that could save his life.
I promised Paul that I would fight for him with every breath, no matter what it takes.
But I'm afraid my voice alone isn't enough.
I started a petition on asking the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to put my son on the transplant list -- will you sign?
Paul's doctor says one of the reasons he doesn't qualify for a transplant is that
he can't name all the medications he's on. This is ridiculous, because Paul takes
19 medications.
My son has faced discrimination because of his autism all his life, but this time,
that discrimination could kill him.
I was devastated when I found out the hospital wouldn't help Paul -- it was the worst
moment any mother could imagine.
But then I read about another mom who got her mentally disabled daughter on the list
for a life-saving kidney transplant after more than 50,000 people signed her petition
 That's what inspired me to start my petition for Paul. I know that if enough people
sign my petition, the hospital will give my son a chance to survive.
Please sign my petition asking the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to put my son, Paul, on the list for a heart transplant that could save his life.
Thank you,
Karen Corby
Start a petition

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Drawing the Right

There are a lot of big claims made in this E-mail.  I am going to have to check out the sources myself.  But if true, I can't say I'm surprised that candidate Romney who is still perceived as a moderate, from his days as Governor of Mas. is trying to draw in Tea Party votes.

Paul Ryan is bad for America.
He's anti-choice, and would give big tax cuts for millionaires, while raising taxes
on the middle-class. He's a Tea Party favorite who takes donations from the billionaire
Koch brothers, and he introduced one of harshest and most inhumane budgets in recent
history. His ideological hero for many years called selfishness a virtue and charity
an abomination.
But most people don't know just how bad Paul Ryan is.
 So we made this list of 10 things to know about Mitt Romney's Vice Presidential
pick, Paul Ryan. Read it,
then click here to share this list as an image on social media
, or just forward this email! The future of America is on the line—from a woman's
right to choose to our economy.
10 Things to know about Paul Ryan
His economic plan would cost America 1 million jobs in the first year.
 Ryan's proposed budget would cripple the economy. He'd slash spending deeply, which
would not only slow job growth, but shock the economy and cost 1 million of us our
jobs in 2013 alone and kill more than 4 million jobs by the end of 2014.
2. He'd kill Medicare.
 He'd replace Medicare with vouchers for retirees to purchase insurance, eliminating
the guarantee of health care for seniors and putting them at the mercy of the private
insurance industry. That could amount to a cost increase of more than $5,900 by 2050,
leaving many seniors broke or without the health care they need. He'd also raise
the age of eligibility to 67.
He'd pickpocket the middle class to line the pockets of the rich.
 His tax plan is Robin Hood in reverse. He wants to cut taxes by $4.6 trillion over
the next decade, but only for corporations and the rich, like giving families earning
more than $1 million a year a $300,000 tax cut. And to pay for them, he'd raise taxes
on middle- and lower-income households and butcher social service programs that help
middle- and working-class Americans.
4. He's an anti-choice extremist.
Ryan co-sponsored an extremist anti-choice bill, nicknamed the 'Let Women Die Act,'
that would have allowed hospitals to deny women emergency abortion care even if their
lives were at risk. And he co-sponsored another bill that would criminalize some
forms of birth control, all abortions, and in vitro fertilization.
5. He'd dismantle Social Security.
 Ironically, Ryan used the Social Security Survivors benefit to help pay for college,
but he wants to take that possibility away from future generations. He agrees with
Rick Perry's view that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme" and he supported George
W. Bush's disastrous proposal to privatize Social Security.
He'd eliminate Pell grants for more than 1 million low-income students.
 His budget plan cuts the Pell Grant program by $200 billion, which could mean a
loss of educational funding for 1 million low-income students.
7. He'd give $40 billion in subsidies to Big Oil.
His budget includes oil tax breaks worth $40 billion, while cutting "billions of
dollars from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies
that would serve as substitutes for oil."
8. He's another Koch-head politician.
 Not surprisingly, the billionaire oil-baron Koch brothers are some of Ryan's biggest
political contributors. And their company, Koch industries, is Ryan's biggest energy-related
donor. The company's PAC and affiliated individuals have given him $65,500 in donations.
9. He opposes gay rights.
 Ryan has an abysmal voting record on gay rights. He's voted to ban adoption by gay
couples, against same-sex marriage, and against repealing "don't ask, don't tell."
He also voted against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Obama signed
into law in 2009.
He thinks an "I got mine, who cares if you're okay" philosophy is admirable.
For many years, Paul Ryan devoted himself to Ayn Rand's philosophy of selfishness
as a virtue. It has shaped his entire ethic about whom he serves in public office.
He even went as far as making his interns read her work.
If there was ever any doubt that Mitt Romney's got a disastrous plan for America—he
made himself 100% clear when he picked right-wing extremist Paul Ryan as his running
Paul Ryan is bad for America, but we can't beat him if Americans don't know everything
he stands for.
Share this list with all your friends by
clicking here
, or simply forward this email.
Thanks for all you do.
–Justin, Carrie, Steven, Stephen, and the rest of the team
1. "Ryan's Budget, Robin Hood in reverse," Economic Policy Institute
2. "12 Things You Should Know About Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan," Think
Progress, August 11, 2012
3."Ryan Budget Would Raise Some Taxes; Guess Who Gets Hit?," Off the Charts, April
12, 2012
"Middle class could face higher taxes under Republican plan, analysis finds,"
The Washington Post, June 19, 2012
4. "Statement on Mitt Romney's Selection of Rep. Paul Ryan for His Vice-Presidential
Running Mate," NARAL, August 11, 2012
"Paul Ryan's Extreme Abortion Views," The Daily Beast, August 11, 2012
"Paul Ryan Sponsored Fetal Personhood Bill, Opposes Family Planning Funds," Huffington
Post, August 11, 2012
5. "12 Things You Should Know About Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan," Think
Progress, August 11, 2012
"Ayn Rand would have HATED Paul Ryan," Daily Kos, August 12, 2012
6. "Pell Grants For Poor Students Lose $170 Billion In Ryan Budget," Huffington Post,
March 27, 2012
7. "Ryan Budget Pads Big Oil's Pockets with Senseless Subsidies," Center for American
Progress, March 20, 2012
8. "Koch brothers have Paul Ryan's back," Politico, August 11, 2012
9. "Paul Ryan as VP Matches Mitt Romney on Homophobia,"
The Advocate, August 11, 2012
10."Paul Ryan And Ayn Rand", The New Republic
, December 28, 2010