Update 23:45: The Ohio 12 special election results have changes and the gap between the two candidates has narrowed to 1564 votes. From the Cincinnati Enquirer, this is what to expect: 1,564: Balderson’s margin of victory in the unofficial, final results Tuesday 3,435: The number of provisional ballots to be counted. These include people who …
Aug 30 2014
There has been a slew of stories lately on the medical front concerning treatment of transgender people by medical professionals, emanating from Ohio, Washington, Oregon, California and Massachusetts.
To quote one of the authors of the pieces I shall link to:
There has been a long history of lack of access to basic healthcare and systematic discrimination for transgender people.
–Pat Magee, MSW, for Rage Monthly
Seven stories on the other side.
Aug 09 2014
On July 30 a 15-year old trans girl boarded a Metro green line train in the District of Columbia with a couple of her friends. One might assume that was a peaceful act.
But when 24-year old Reginald Anthony Klaiber of Greenbelt, MD boarded the same car on that train, he reacted to the trans girl violently. At first he disliked her hair color (the girl was wearing a red wig). Then he questioned her clothing. When the girl asked him to leave her alone, her friends say he asked her, “Are you a boy? Are you a boy? …Why are you looking like a girl?”
He came to my friend and said you have red hair. My friend said ok, and then he said, ‘Oh, you’re a man!’
Then he started bothering my friend. My friend got up out of her seat to go by the door while the train was moving and told him to please leave her alone. He faced her and said I will stab you up and blow your brains out.
—Jae-la White, friend of the victim
Jan 19 2011
The writing of this will not cause any aggravation whatsoever for the PR team, publicists, speechwriters, groupies, and fangurls ‘n guize of the former GOP Vice Presidential Candidate who ran in 2008, nor of the millions of armchair instant psychiatrists now on the innertubalas.
Status: All clear, but they’re looking for something
Location: Spokane, Washington
sublocation: Parade Route
Date: Monday, January 17, 2011
Information Wanted, $20,000 reward. Subject Should Be Considered Armed and Dangerous. (But notice we are not saying armed with what so nothing is implied. )
Potential: Could Have
Heroes: 3 City Employees
Outcome: Parade Route changed, Item Diffused
Harrill declined to release details of the device, other than to call it a functional [redacted] that could have caused multiple casualties.
The agency released photos of the redacted [thing with armstraps on it that begins with a “b”] and two shirts found inside
Mar 09 2010
Cross-posted from Sum of Change
Today I dropped in on the health care rally in DC. Everyone who’s anyone was there (not literally, but it certainly felt that way when I was there).
Howard Dean was there. We got to ask him if he thinks the Democratic leadership is prepared to move forward without Republicans and if he agrees with the statement that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer made at the health care summit that everyone shares the same goal of covering all Americans:
video below the fold…
Mar 01 2010
I again write today about what has become a completely inadvertent, but nonetheless growing series of personal anecdotes which reveal both the depths of our broken medical system and the shocking limitations and abuses of a system of social services designed to care for the poor and disabled. In so doing, I have uncovered a tremendous number of objectionable practices that would never be considered acceptable among the more fortunate. Established policies designed to assist and give comfort instead punish the genuinely needy. For example, in the process of applying for a variety of safety net programs, I have been threatened with complete termination of coverage if I didn’t follow every step exactly as requested and in a supremely timely, if not obsessively punctual fashion. In some states and municipalities this sort of conduct would be not just be bad form, it would also be against regulations. Not here.
In the District of Columbia, no one apparently sees the problem in treating low-income and disabled residents like criminals. To make my case once more, let me provide a bit of backdrop. The District is a very unusual place in lots of ways. Though technically it is merely the physical location for the seat of national government, it is governed as a kind of odd mix between a state and a city. Like most American cities, its population consists of an often uncomfortable combination of the affluent and educated, most of whom are relatively financially secure whites, and a core of heavily impoverished and undereducated residents who are usually black. If DC were a state, and much larger based on surface area alone, there would be more of a middle ground between the have-everythings and the have-nothings, but this is simply not the case here.
The District contains its own particular system of distributing food stamps, low-income medical insurance, prescription drug coverage, and providing disability benefits to those unable to work. In roughly six months of trying to work a system that is both ridiculously ineffective and unnecessarily complex, what I have come to realize is that it is also a system based on punitive retribution, which is neither fair to applicants nor particularly effective to everyone. With every step of the process, regardless of what it might be this time, the necessary paperwork I was provided screamed out in bold, block letters, often capitalized lest I overlook it, that I better fill this latest form out perfectly and as soon as possible, else I’d find myself without anything at all.
The existing system itself is so unwieldy that I have often been provided incorrect, or at best inexact information. I don’t fault those who gave me wrong information because learning all the particulars takes months, if not years, and turnover in social service agencies is often quite constant based on the fact that the job promises low pay and high stress. I was, for instance, told that I would only need to re-apply for food stamps once every six months. However, within two months I received a letter in the mail, one printed so cheaply and faintly that often reading the words was a challenge, specifying that I needed to re-certify how much income I was currently making, else I be denied next month’s allotment. The return envelope was just as difficult to read and after affixing a stamp to cover the cost of postage, I took the time to write out by hand the return address, else some postal carrier not be able to discern its destination.
The implication of this was quite clear. The instant I could be have my monthly allocation reduced, or even trimmed from the rolls altogether, the better. I do certainly recognize that we’ve all been hurting and will continue to suffer so long as this recession, or at least the lingering effects of it doggedly persist, but I hardly think the solution is in weeding out those who depend on these services, particularly since so many of them are the very definition of working poor with their own children and families to support. When I had the benefit of an increased income and decent benefits, no one ever made me certify that I still needed them. I was trusted, for the most part, to not abuse the system. Now, I am automatically suspect.
The low-income health care coverage I use via the District’s own program is sufficient, but hardly convenient. After filing for disability, I assumed once granted it that I would also receive Medicaid. Medicaid, while it certainly contains its own limitations, still provides a greater sphere of coverage than the DC program. Medicaid would allow me to have my prescriptions filled at a conventional pharmacy like a CVS, Rite Aid, or Walgreens, whereas the only way to get my medications via the other coverage plan is to visit the sole pharmacy in the District that stocks the drugs I require on a daily basis to maintain my health. It is located in a tremendously inconvenient part of town to get to, based on where I live, and it takes thirty to forty-five minutes via public transportation to arrive. Often I end up expending the better part of a morning from start to finish once one factors in sitting in a waiting room, trying to be patient while the drugs are filled. As it turns out, no one told me that according to District-only procedure I needed to apply for Medicaid separately and go through another time-consuming process. Of course, this is a means of saving money and reducing cost on their part, but in my opinion, it is silly to assume that someone who is DISABLED and has to subsist on a minimal monthly allowance wouldn’t need basic health insurance as well.
To chalk this up to something as relatively straightforward as racism, classism, abelism, or the like would only be confronting a small sliver of a larger problem. I fault those who set policy in the first place, whomever that might be. To return to my own struggles once more, I believed originally (and even wrote in an earlier entry) that one of my medications was available to be filled at the low-income on-site pharmacy, though there was often a substantial delay in getting it in stock. As it turns out, I was once again told wrongly. The drug is not stocked at all because with it comes the threat of a hypertensive crisis if very specific dietary restrictions are not adhered to exactingly. Obviously, no one wants the bad press or potential lawsuits that might transpire if a patient had one of these (or if, God forbid, he or she died as a result), and this goes for doctor and District government alike. But to be deathly afraid of litigation, regardless of how baseless it might be doesn’t so much reflect upon a problematic legal system as a complete lack of basic trust and compassion for our fellow beings. We could make sure that frivolous malpractice lawsuits were minimal, but unless we get to the reason why people file them in the first place, any legislation passed into law will not achieve its purpose.
Returning again to my medical situation, the particular medication I take is absolutely essential to assure my continued basic functionality and it works so well that the difference between not being on it and being on it is like night and day. That I am able to manage the restrictions competently speaks partially to my willful desire to stay healthy, but also that I am educated enough to recognize what foods I need to avoid and to do my research accordingly. The assumption in not stocking the med, regardless of whether or not it could really help someone in need, is that a person with barely a high school diploma, having grown up in utter squalor and with all the problems that result from it might not have the same capacity and level of personal responsibility as me. Yet again, here we have a punitive, blanket response when basic compassion and an examination of people on a case-by-case basis would be much more effective. Once more, we opt for the quick fix instead of really examining the full picture.
As for whether Congress will pass health care legislation, I’ll leave that never-ending speculation to someone else for today, at least. What I do know is that whatever reform measures we pass will need to take into account whether we treat fellow human beings as numbers, money drains, or as only waiting for the next opportunity to take a mile once we grant them an inch. We certainly don’t seem to wish to grant anyone who we perceive as other than us the most basic of trust, nor do we take into account that all humans make mistakes, are fallible, and aren’t perfect. We read about drive-by-shootings, petty crime, and drug deals and think that anyone born into such circumstances must be guilty by association. Fifty-two years after the film Twelve Angry Men was released, we’re still stuck in that same way of thinking.
Juror #8: Look, this kid’s been kicked around all of his life. You know, born in a slum. Mother dead since he was nine. He lived for a year and a half in an orphanage when his father was serving a jail term for forgery. That’s not a very happy beginning. He’s a wild, angry kid, and that’s all he’s ever been. And you know why, because he’s been hit on the head by somebody once a day, every day. He’s had a pretty miserable eighteen years. I just think we owe him a few words, that’s all.
Juror #10: I don’t mind telling you this, mister. We don’t owe him a thing. He got a fair trial, didn’t he? What do you think that trial cost? He’s lucky he got it. You know what I mean? Now look, we’re all grown-ups in here. We heard the facts, didn’t we? You’re not gonna tell me that we’re supposed to believe this kid, knowing what he is. Listen, I’ve lived among them all my life. You can’t believe a word they say. You know that. I mean, they’re born liars.
Juror #9: Only an ignorant man can believe that… Do you think you were born with a monopoly on the truth?
Jan 08 2009
While those of you attending the Inauguration may be staying over for a few days, either before or after, you may find this a restful and enlightening venue to stop in and visit.
1/1-31 Georgetown: The Peace Mural, the unbelievable 2,000 paintings exhibition of art on war, peace, and torture that the Vietnamese-American artist Huong has on display in a 10,000 square foot gallery on M Street in Georgetown: Peace Mural Foundation
Jan 04 2009
The following is a Twofur of Information:
392,000 Pending Appeals to VA for Help
It’s not easy to get the runaround when you have a traumatic brain injury from george’s war.
America’s promise to “Support the Troops” ends the moment they take off the uniform and try to make the transition to civilian life.
Oct 29 2008
A whole bunch of vital races tend to get lost amidst big media’s obsession with the minutiae of the ‘big’ races, especially in presidential years. One of those races is mentioned this morning in the Seattle P-I –
The campaign to be the state’s next commissioner of public lands is one of the tightest and most polarized political races this year.
It is also the least understood, though the office determines the management of 5.6 million acres of state timber and aquatic lands, shorelines and agricultural fields for a trust that funds public schools and universities throughout Washington.
Crossposted from La Vida Locavore, more below the fold…
Mar 02 2008
Timothy Gatto posted a column at SmirkingChimp.com Thursday that really, I think, illustrates the fraudulence of this year’s presidential election. No matter who wins, we’ll be stuck with a president who shall do little or nothing to alter the terrible course our once-great nation has been dragged on these last seven years. It really is like being given a choice between Coca Cola and Pepsi; no matter how you vote, you’re still casting your ballot for empty calories and other toxic wastes that serve only to slowly destroy the body.
I think it’s time to face facts: the Democratic Party as we knew it is no more. It has ceased to be. What we have left is a pale imitation of the Republican Party. And 2007 is a perfect example. What Progressives really need to do is bring back the Progressive Party. Read on, and I’ll explain further.
For a little while now I have been doing my own part to accomplish this goal on my discussion forum. But my efforts are neither original or the first to be made. Already some states have revived the Progressive Party, including Washington and Vermont. In the latter state, Progressives have gotten a number of members elected to the legislature, and are now running their own candidate in the gubernatorial election.
What does this mean for Vermont? Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature are forced to work with the Progressives to get anything done. The political power the party has in this capacity is, therefore, significant — and growing.
This did not happen overnight, but it did so with surprising swiftness; the Washington Progressive Party reformed in 2003, according to its web site, with assistance from the Vermont chapter. So all this has taken place within the last five to seven years. Not bad for a revived political party that, nearly a century ago, made history by causing an incumbent Republican president to come in last in a three-way election.
Whatever doubts you might have about the effectiveness of bringing back the Progressive Party, the examples of states such as Washington and Vermont should ease or eliminate them. Allow me to paint a portrait in your mind. It’s not very likely to happen, but let your imagination loose for a bit as I describe this scenario:
The Congressional Progressive Caucus, made up of seventy-one House members and one senator (Vermont’s Bernie Sanders). Frustrated with the refusal of Democratic leaders to end the occupation of Iraq, impeach the Bush-Cheney regime, and pass progressive legislation. Imagine if, some day soon, each and every member were to leave the Democratic Party and register under a newly revived Progressive Party. Like I said, not likely, but suspend your disbelief for a few minutes and bear with me. Imagine the sheer power Progressives would have, especially over Democrats.
“We’ll caucus with you, so you keep control of the House,” they say to the leadership. “But here are the things you must do for that to happen.” And then the Progressives would trot out their list of demands. If the Democrats balk, the Progressives caucus with no one, and control reverts to the GOP. Do you think the spineless, conniving Democratic leaders would dare let that nightmare come to pass? I don’t. No, they’d fall all over each other to please the Progressives, desperate to retain their tenuous hold on power in the Legislature.
This is, of course, wishful thinking on my part. But consider the headway already made in just a handful of states by the Progressive Party. Yes, it would take years to achieve results on a national level. We’d have to start locally, of course, work our way up to county and state-level offices. And then, once each state in the Union has enough of a party presence, run national-level candidates.
This is already happening. It has already achieved tangible results. It is now time for Progressives in every state to ask themselves if it’s worth the heartbreak, frustration, and continuous disappointment by sticking with the Democratic Party. If you’re interested in bringing back a political party to your state that can give real political power to Progressives, you could do a lot worse than to start exploring ways to revive the party that bears our name. If you’d like to give it a try, you may either register an account at my forum or, better yet, establish contacts with the Vermont and Washington state parties to learn how you can bring it to your community.
If we’re to eradicate movement conservatism once and for all, we need to create a strong, energized Progressive movement to counter it. It’s worth trying.
Feb 09 2008
I’ve just finished about two hours of making phone calls for Obama in Washington state, ahead of tomorrow’s caucuses. They are going to be a nightmare, and Hillary may win them because of it. Be on guard for that.
More after the jump.