Crossposted from the Rio Arriba Community Health Council Blog. To the average American working outside of health administration, the anti-Medicare crusade waged during the primary by the always entertaining but rarely sensible crop of Republican presidential wannabes made absolutely no sense. Why would any competent candidate want to campaign against a program beloved by one of America’s most reliable voting blocks? Why not just amputate your own head? Apparently, the wing of the Party that uses money and media to manipulate election results has rediscovered the time-worn political maxim (at least, until the general election) that you don’t win elections by loudly proclaiming your intent to rob voters’ of retirement security.
Meet Mr. G. He’s been teaching high school in Santa Fe for twenty years. You might ask,”Is that a neck brace he’s wearing?” Now that you mentioned it, yes. Mr. G. is wearing a neck brace. This is the story of how, after an excruciating year of teaching, Mr. G. discovered he’d been standing at the blackboard with multiple neck fractures.
One week after Jews all over the world nosh on Haman’s hat, dress in kooky costumes and party until we no longer recognize the difference between the ancient Persian equivalents of Hitler and Einstein, our preparation for Passover begins. On Shabbat Parah we study the enigmatic commandment to purify ourselves from contact with the dead through the sacrifice of a young, unblemished, red cow. In many ways, this reading seems to continue the comedic inversions and paradoxes of Purim, the Jewish Mardi Gras. But surprise and delight at our continued presence on earth gives way to thoughtful reflection on emancipation from slavery and the attendant new-found responsibility we incur as a nation of free citizens. Observance takes a serious turn.
This Sunday, I published an editorial in the Albuquerque Journal North explaining why I terminated a pregnancy at 16. I was inspired by Democratic Representatives Gwen Moore (WI) and Jackie Speier (CA) who stood up on the House floor in the middle of an assault on Planned Parenthood and the definition of rape and described their own decisions to end a pregnancy. I intend to mail a photocopy of my editorial to the Congresswomen. I hope every woman who has ever faced this decision will do the same. If we refuse to be intimidated or shamed, then we can’t be intimidated or shamed.
On Thursday, February 17, I received one of the best phone calls of my life. I wondered who was calling me from the (306) area code. Where was that anyway? “It’s mrghhtbfxr,” said the voice on the other end of the line. “Who?”
Far from being a “job-killing health care law,” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is one of the largest job creation bills New Mexico has seen since the days of Franklin Roosevelt. PPACA also contains a number of common sense insurance reforms that take effect immediately. In the exclusive video below, Senator Jeff Bingaman describes some of the most important reforms and what they mean for New Mexico. (Ironically, he was suffering from a cold when I interviewed him.)
Please feel free to share this video with friends who want to know how they will benefit from PPACA
The transcript follows below:
RACHC: We all know about the “death panels.” Can you tell us some other aspects of the health care reform bill, ones that are maybe a little more real? Senator Bingaman: Well the health care reform bill, I think, is a very major benefit for us in New Mexico.
As the two year reign of the Prince of Orange (Boehner) begins, my cochlea cringes in anticipation of the bombastic pre-2012 negative advertising Rove has promised to produce beginning November 3rd. We should consider a grassroots effort to amend the Constitution. Donna Edwards has proposed a 28th Amendment, titled the Free Speech for People Amendment very much like NSP’s own ESRA (the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the US Constitution). Perhaps the Network for Spiritual Progressives can help her start a movement! We have reached a Dred Scott moment.
Last night, Jon Stewart snagged an exclusive interview with President Barack Obama on filibuster reform which the President supports. A few weeks ago, I visited Washington and dropped in on my New Mexico Congressional delegation. Senator Tom Udall shared his thoughts on The Constitutional Option, a rules change he is proposing at the beginning of the next Congress to reform filibuster abuse. My exclusive video interview of Senator Udall on filibuster and health care reform is posted below. President Obama’s high profile interview last night on filibuster reform is a wonderful sign for liberals.
This week I am in Denver at a different kind of Health Care Reform rally. Community Health Coalition activists from across the nation are meeting with one another and with the bureaucrats who write and enforce the regs. We are learning how health care reform regulations will be rolled out, what they will mean for our country, and how to incorporate them into our organizing practice. This is not a sign-waving rally like the beautiful event I attended in DC on October 2nd. We are sitting, not marching.
This diary is dedicated to Father Paco Vallejos, who has facilitated my own journey from tolerance to empathy. Several weeks ago, I interviewed Bishop Gene Robinson, a leader in the modern civil rights movement for Tikkun Daily. Bishop Robinson, who delivered the inaugural prayer, is the first openly gay Episcopal Bishop. You can read the first installment of my interview about Obama and “the Left” here. LR: My second question for you is a little bit more spiritual in nature.