Woman of the Hour: Wendy Davis

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Well, I was a little late to the Twitter-Wendy love fest last night but I certainly enjoyed it while I was there!  The great thing about social media is the power it gives all of us to unite behind a cause and communicate when all of the so-called 24 hour cable news networks are snoozing.  If you aren’t familiar with Wendy Davis, Texas State Senator representing Fort Worth, who stood for 11 hours filibustering Texas Senate Bill 537, go here for a little bit about her background and if you missed the live stream of her filibuster and the chaos that ensued, get the bullet points here.  And if you’re completely in the dark on what all of this is about and exactly what Wendy’s filibuster defeated, go here.

This has been your lazy bloggers PSA of the day. Carry on.

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Sharing: A letter to Mary Landrieu.

Dear Senator Landrieu, 

How wonderful that we elected you, our progressive option in the Louisiana electoral, to represent us!

A question: Is your goal to promote the notion of the people of Louisiana as under-educated, unenlightened swampers who have such a limited capacity for morality and human rights that we are only able to parrot whatever our neighborhood megalomaniac bible-thumper tells us to? If so, you are doing a fantastic job!

Alternatively, if your goal is to represent the best interests of your constituents — and the very people who actually voted for you — then you best put on your big girl panties and do the hard work. 

I know. It’s tough to do the right thing in a red state. We, your true voter base, appreciate and sympathize with your need to work with what you have. But when has doing the right thing ever been easy? We elected you because we believed you had the experience and backbone to do the right thing in spite of it all. 

Climate change. Marriage equality. Gun safety. 

Do the right thing, Mary. Show the world that Louisiana has not only entered the modern world, but we have elected a Senator with the integrity and principle to stand and be a leader among her peers.

Respectfully,

.

Sent 29 March 2013

 

Yes, she’s a Louisiana treasure.  But she can do better.  Send Senator Landrieu your own thoughts here.

 

house of cards

While I was at work today, I kept thinking about wanting to go out into the Super Bowl crowds and mingling with the locals, tourists and celebrities in town gearing up for the huge event on Sunday. But the traffic and parking and walking and all the money it would cost to fund all those variables was cast aside to spend an evening watching the premiere of House of Cards on Netflix.  I must say, after watching the first 4 episodes of the 13 episode season 1, I made the right choice.

Recently I read that people with access to cable alternatives such as Netflix are “binge viewing”: watching multiple episodes of popular TV and movie series at one sitting. Hence Netflix released all 13 episodes of House of Cards at once. This series is good. With Kevin Spacey as the lead, alongside Robin Wright and Kate Mara and an extensive supporting cast, this series has already developed a few story lines to keep the show afloat. The setting is D.C. and Spacey plays a behind the scenes mover and shaker in the House of Representatives. It exhibits the cut throat tactics and shady deals that makes politics so abhorrent. One such deal blithely disposed of 12,000 jobs in order to move a few pieces on the chess board of political power.

But I won’t get into the details, see it for yourself. Its worth the hour for an episode or 13 if you want to do the whole thing in a day. And with Super Bowl and Mardi Gras in full blast, it might be an option on Ash Wednesday when its too hard to muster the courage to venture outdoors, hungover from the previous 3 week party. Check it out.

Sandy, Katrina and Life Thereafter

I can’t get Sandy and it’s victims out of my mind. I live my life as does everyone else, day after day doing the best I can but always, always in the back of my mind are the people who’ve lost everything to this storm, as many here in New Orleans did to Katrina and the failure of the federally built levees. Every news story I read brings back the memories of life after the storm and I grieve for those going through that hell now, as we did then. I didn’t lose my house, my loved ones, my life as so many did but I lived the days afterward in a broken city. I was lucky. I may have been inconvenienced for several months, I might have suffered survivors guilt and depression but I knew, I knew in my heart that I was one of the lucky ones. Be that as it may, I do believe that my close proximity to disaster, loss, death and despair made me a more empathetic person. I know personally people who did lose everything, who put their lives on the line to help others, who lost their own lives in the face of a disaster.

When I read how Congress has waited so long, so very long – 78 days – , to vote to give aid to the victims of Sandy it makes my blood boil. Yes, we may have lost many more lives to our storm than theirs but that should only make us all more empathetic.  We have lived through disaster, we have slogged through the red tape and politicians bullsh*t and that should make us more empathetic. The comparisons between the storms really don’t matter. This is not a competition as to who suffered more. We all have suffered. It doesn’t matter now who opined that we lived below sea level and deserved our fate and whether or not they say the same about New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. No one – no one- deserves to lose their entire life like this. But, it happens. Through natural means or man-made means, it happens.

We, as New Orleanians, know just how devestating and how damn hard it is to live after a disaster such as Sandy. We lived through the pain, the despair, the hardship, the depression. We lived through months of Fema trailers, garbage, no city services, the stink, the flies, the limited store hours, the food and gas shortages, the lack of medical facilities, the fight with insurance companies and on and on and on. We know the hard, relentless slog of life and the mental fortitude it takes to keep on going. We know what the Sandy survivors are living through right now.

May it never happen to you. This is what I think about at 1:30 in the morning when I cannot sleep. The memories may fade a bit with time, but they never pass entirely.

dinner conversation

Last night I was at dinner in someone’s home and the following is the abridged version of a portion of dinner conversation. I say abridged because I was so mad that one, the guest had the audacity to discuss politics in a room of people this person had never met, save one, and two I didn’t want to go ballistic and embarrass the host so I left.

Guest: I was at the VA hospital today for (some random event) and was able to see the blueprint of the new hospital.

Me: Oh really, tell me about it…

Guest: Well on Banks street, the old oak trees were saved, and some of the buildings will be built around the oaks, so there will be a corridor down the middle – a shaded promenade with benches and such.

Me: That sounds nice!

Guest: While I was there today, some of the (nameless) dignitaries were discussing how the Charity Hospitals were being dismantled and they were looking at private corporations to take over the care of the patients.

Me: Oh really? Well after Katrina, when Charity hospital was closed down, all the patients had to go somewhere so they were seen at Ochsner, East Jefferson – it didn’t work well and those hospitals lost a lot of money…

Guest: Yeah, one of the doctors at (nameless hospital) was telling me how after the storm, a gun shot wound patient broke into some pharmacy storage area to take medicine, so that didn’t work out too well with “those” (emphasis guest) patients at the private hospitals. So its going to be difficult for “those” (emphasis guest) patients to find somewhere to go.

Me: I honestly don’t see how the state could possibly shut down the Charity Hospitals? What are they going to do with the new hospital? Sell it?

Guest: Well there will be no more Charity system, they are doing everything right now to close all the hospitals. It won’t be an issue especially if Obamacare is defeated in November when Romney wins.

Me: Its called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Plus there is no guarantee Romney will win.

Guest: Well if Obama is re-elected, there are ways to defeat the health care bill.

Me: Oh Really? You know, we really shouldn’t be going there (having political discussion with strangers) at dinner…

Guest: Well how do you think Obamacare is going to be funded? The federal government will need to put up $50 billion dollars they don’t have to pay for it…

At this point I excused myself and helped clear the table and began washing dishes. The guest continued carrying on political discussion with the others remaining at the table which I could hear from the kitchen. I did as much as I could to assist the host –  but very soon after when another guest excused themselves it was my cue to leave too.

I find it extraordinarily disturbing that there is a subversive political process going on which is hell bent on obliterating health care for the poor and uninsured in Louisiana. There has already been a loss of thousands of state jobs, and this current round will result in 1500 more people out of work. How does this contribute to the tax base, the spend and growth economy, putting people out of work, regardless of the fact that these are hard working and dedicated state employees?  Where are all the students of health care, physicians, nurses, allied health, going to go for training? Not to mention all of the sick, sick patients and not just the victims of and perpetrators of violent trauma: there is no plan in the foreseeable future for the state to pony up through Bayou Health or any other fee schedule to reimburse the private hospitals that will wind up caring for the uninsured poor. And once these private hospitals begin to see red, what will happen to the patients? Will they just start dying in the streets? Where is the social justice in that?

There is a call to action out there, let your voice be heard. Representative Jerome Richard from Thibodaux has called to convene a special session to address the recent bulldozing of healthcare, among other things. Contact your state legislators and senators, and demand they go to special session in November to reverse the evisceration of health care in this state. You the citizens elected the legislators and they answer to you, compel them to do their job and do what’s right by their constituents and not the special interests.

*****UPDATE***** This link will take you to an online petition through Change dot org requesting the legislature to convene a special session to find out what in God’s name is going on with the railroading of health care in Louisiana – please consider signing it – thanks

Council Members Need To Remember Who They Work For

Due to personal reasons I’ve been away from New Orleans for the past two weeks and will be for an unforseen amount of time. The world is turning outside hospital windows but my world is the ICU waiting room and measured by the time between visiting hours. Needless to say, politics is the farthest thing from my mind and I watch very little TV and read very little online. THIS, however, caught my limited attention span when I logged onto my igoogle page and I am quite pissed off by it. I have very little patience for silly political antics and it’s even more pronounced now that I have life and death issues to deal with. Councilpersons Hedge-Morrell and Johnson need to be reminded who they work for (US!) and get back to it. It makes me very angry to see such blatant disregard for their constituents and such obvious grand-standing. It’s unprofessional and childish.

GET BACK TO WORK.

P.S. – I don’t know what I’d do without Gambit.

OWS: Hot Chicks Transcending the Label

Whether or not you agree with the politics of Occupy Wall Street you have to acknowledge it as a cultural phenomenom.  The park has become a microcosm of activism spawning similar scenes in cities all over the world and I’m really quite mesmerized by the diversity and the logistics of daily living in the midst of protest.

The video above, Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street. was shot by Steven Greenstreet who admits, “Our original ideas were admittedly sophomoric: Pics of hot chicks being all protesty, videos of hot chicks beating drums in slow-mo, etc.” but he says it evolved into “something more”. I came across the video on Lost in E Minor where the writer says, “I was ready to hate on this video accompaniment to the Tumblr Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street for being sexist, and a lot of people have, but I actually find it a bit inspiring. I think it’s done tastefully, and the beauty of these women lies more in their words, actions, and sense of hope than in their physical attributes.”

I agree. As I watched the video I saw young women working for a cause they believed in and trying in their own small way to make a better world. The initial impetus for the  making of the video may be flawed in some people’s opinions but the result is inspiring. The women themselves elevated the video to a higher purpose. Good for them.