Saturday, December 12, 2009

Isn't this an absolutely awesome face!?!?!

With an awesome story to go along with it :) She kind of reminds me of Amerah, maybe when her hair turns totally white :) Click the title link to read the story.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guess Where I Live???

Got this in my feed. Click the title link for the full article including pretty charts...

Red State Reality: Unhealthiest Residents, Worst Health Care

Throughout their all-out campaign to stop health care reform, Republican leaders have relied on questionable forecasts from the Lewin Group, a subsidiary of insurer UnitedHealth Group. Now, another study funded by UnitedHealth has some unwelcome news for the GOP braintrust: the red states they represent are the unhealthiest in the nation. Following on the heels of the Commonwealth Fund's 2009 Scorecard of state health care system performance, the United Health Foundation's report is just the latest confirmation that health care is worst where Republicans poll best.

As Forbes noted:

The annual ranking looks at 22 indicators of health, including everything from how many children receive recommended vaccinations, to obesity and smoking rates, to cancer deaths.

The diagnosis isn't pretty for Republicans committed to denying the health care their constituents need most of all. The 2009 rankings (above) reveal that nine of the top 10 healthiest states voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Conversely, 9 of the 10 cellar dwellers backed John McCain in 2008; four years earlier, the 15 unhealthiest states voted for George W. Bush for President.

With Vermont topping the list and Mississippi bringing up the rear, Americans would do to listen to Dr. Howard Dean and not Governor Haley Barbour when it comes to the health care debate.

Vermont ranked first this year thanks in part to its low rate of obesity, high number of doctors and a low rate of child poverty. New England in general sets a benchmark for the country, the report found. All six New England states are in the top 10. These states have favorable demographics and an excellent public health infrastructure, including a large number of doctors per capita.

Eight of the 10 bottom-ranked states are from the south, with Mississippi coming in dead last for the ninth consecutive year. Mississippi has a sky-high death rate from heart disease and high infant mortality. In general, residents of these states are more likely to be smokers or to be obese, the report found. They also have worse health insurance coverage, fewer physicians per capita and live in areas with high violent crime and more child poverty.

As it turns out, Mississippi residents aren't merely the sickest in the United States. They are also plagued by the worst state health care system in America.

In October, the Commonwealth Fund released its 2009 state health care scorecard. There, too, Mississippi led the Republican south in providing dismal health care. Again, while nine of the top 10 performing states voted for Barack Obama in 2008, four of the bottom five (including Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Louisiana) and 14 of the last 20 backed John McCain. (That at least is an improvement from the 2007 data, in which all 10 cellar dwellers had voted for George W. Bush three years earlier.)

In theory, their steadfast opposition to the health care legislation before the Senate should present a double quandary for the Republican leadership in Congress and in the states. After all, their residents not only need health care reform desperately. As it turns out, the funding for it would come in part from blue state taxpayers.

As the Washington Post noted in May ("A Red State Booster Shot"):

Health-care reform may be overdue in a country with 45 million uninsured and soaring medical costs, but it will also represent a substantial wealth transfer from the North and the East to the South and the West. The Northeast and the Midwest have much higher rates of coverage than the rest of the country, led by Massachusetts, where all but 3 percent of residents are insured. The disproportionate share of uninsured is in the South and the West, the result of employment patterns, weak unions and stingy state governments. Texas leads the way, with a quarter of its population uninsured; it would be at the top even without its many illegal immigrants.

As it turns out, health care reform spending would be little different from the overall pattern of red state socialism. That is, red state residents disproportionately benefit from the steady one-way flow of tax dollars and earmarks spreading the wealth from Washington to their states.

Of course, no amount of data will stop Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warning of a "government-run" plan that "that denies, delays, or rations health care." After all, with his home state's 41st and 45th place rankings in resident health and health care performance, McConnell's nightmare future is Kentucky's horror story present."

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Ok, I know I've been slacking. I own that, but it seems that most of you have been slacking too. Why else would congress be allowed to get away with the crap they are pulling lately? Because we all are slacking. We have forgotten our voice of just a scant year ago. We are not writing, calling, yelling our opposition to their tricks of late. Here's some nice (sic) reading for you this morning...

Right-wing protesters at GOP rally display prominent sign tying health care to the Holocaust.

The big banks are still up to their old tricks

Goodbye to Reforms of 2002

This is the one that pissed me off the most...

New York Businesses Get H1N1 Vaccine

Ok, that's my rant for the day...make a call, write a letter...let them know we are still out here and we are still watching and waiting...oh and yeah, still without a job, still starving and our babies are still going without...but hell yeah, you go on and get your H1N1 vaccine, the country would be devastated if you got sick and died...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's to little to late for us, but finally they did something for the rest of you...

House Votes to Speed Up Credit Card Reforms

Maloney-Frank bill will implement credit card reforms immediately upon enactment

Washington, DC – The House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved legislation sponsored by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Barney Frank (D-MA) that would push up the effective date of credit card reforms scheduled for next year to immediately upon the signing of the bill. Originally passed by Congress and signed into law by the President last spring, the Credit CARD Act had three staged implementation dates: August 2009, February, 2010, and August, 2010. H.R. 3639 moves up the remaining dates by which banks and credit card issuers would have to comply and applies to the largest card issuers that control over 80% of the credit card market. The bill passed by a vote of 331-92.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney said, “Card companies have redoubled many of the abusive practices that brought Congress to pass my original reforms last Spring. Rather than use the time-- time they asked for-- since the bill’s signing in May to prepare for the changes, they’ve raised rates and fees with absolutely no regard for the dire position of millions of their customers.

“I believe the card issuers have heard the message loud and clear today: their practices can no longer be tolerated. These reforms are crucial changes which level the playing field between card issuers and card holders. The reforms force the credit card market to actually function as markets should: by open competition among card offerings, with clear disclosure of interest rates, fees and other features. It bans rate hikes on existing balances, deceptive due-date gimmicks, and requires consumer opt-in to over-limit fees—and allows consumers enough time to switch cards if other terms and conditions change,” Maloney said.

“Consumers, especially in this economy, cannot wait any longer for these protections. I am extremely pleased that this legislation passed today,” said House Financial Services Committee member Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY), who successfully offered an amendment today that will move the effective date of the bill to the date of enactment.

The House also approved an amendment, offered by Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Betsy Markey (D-CO), permitting card issuers that adopt a moratorium on interest rate increases on current balances and new balances incurred before Feb. 22 to be exempt from the earlier effective date for a provision that requires an issuer to apply customer payments to the highest rate balance. Today’s bill also would exempt small credit card issuers that frequently outsource computer programming functions, and gift card providers, due to the fact that gift cards have already been printed and shipped for the 2009 holiday season. Both would have to comply with the later deadlines previously laid out in the Credit CARD Act.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) has introduced companion legislation (S. 1833) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, has introduced an immediate moratorium on retroactive rate increases (S. 1927).

The provisions which will take effect immediately upon enactment include:

·Prohibits arbitrary interest rate increases and universal default on existing balances;

·Prohibits issuers from charging over-limit fees unless the cardholder elects to allow the issuer to complete over-limit transactions, and also limits over-limit fees on electing cardholders;

·Requires payments in excess of the minimum to be applied first to the credit card balance with the highest rate of interest;

·Prohibits issuers from setting early morning deadlines for credit card payments;

·Prohibits interest charges on debt paid on time (double-cycle billing ban);

·Requires issuers extending credit to young consumers under the age of 21 to obtain an application that contains: the signature of a parent, guardian, or other individual 21 years or older who will take responsibility for the debt; or proof that the applicant has an independent means of repaying any credit extended;

·Requires penalty fees to be reasonable and proportional to the omission or violation.

·Requires that creditors periodically review all interest rate increases since January 2009 and reduce rates when a review indicates that a reduction is warranted.

These provisions already took effect last August 20th:

·Provide increased written notice to consumers of any increases in the interest rate or otherwise makes a significant change to the terms of a credit card account;

·Inform consumers of their right to cancel the card before the rate hike goes into effect;

·Send statements to consumers 21 days before the due date of any payments.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Morning Procrastination :)

Here I sit, coffee to my left, jar of peanut butter to the left of that, complete with spoon, Sheryl Crowe on the Finetune player singing "If it makes you happy" can't get much better than that.

The roast is in the oven and there is a load of clothes in the washer and one in the dryer.

Then there is this...the four to six page paper due at midnight tonight expecting me to relate Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory to my decision to enter a master's program looming all around me, books stacked in every available space on the desk. I say "available space" because there is a cat in the window, one on the printer and one on the cpu all staring at me wondering what I am going to do. I can not wrap my head around that subject, much less four to six pages, and I can't find any research to give me any ideas. I guess it's not a very important subject for research...why any middle aged woman in her right mind would decide she needed a masters in mental health counseling.

It seems as though every assignment so far has been designed to make you drag your laundry out for all the world to see and analyze it...crap, I need a therapy session or six :)

Did I ever tell you I'm one of those who can't do anything unless she's under the pressure of a deadline? Don't worry about me...I'll be cranking it out ninety to nothing probably right up until 11:59 :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Postcards from Amerah

Please keep Amerah and her sister in your prayers. These are trying times for the both of them.

She sent this to me today and as always managed to give me a smile and a laugh despite it all...

"Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his cof­feepot with water to pre­pare his morn­ing cof­fee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging lib­eral fought for min­i­mum water-quality stan­dards. With his first swal­low of water, he takes his daily med­ica­tion. His med­ica­tions are safe to take because some stu­pid com­mie lib­eral fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his med­ica­tions are paid for by his employer’s med­ical plan because some lib­eral union work­ers fought their employ­ers for paid med­ical insur­ance — now Joe gets it too.

He pre­pares his morn­ing break­fast, bacon and eggs. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man lib­eral fought for laws to reg­u­late the meat pack­ing industry.

In the morn­ing shower, Joe reaches for his sham­poo. His bot­tle is prop­erly labeled with each ingre­di­ent and its amount in the total con­tents because some cry­baby lib­eral fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks out­side and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some envi­ron­men­tal­ist wacko lib­eral fought for the laws to stop indus­tries from pol­lut­ing our air.

He walks on the government-provided side­walk to sub­way sta­tion for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him con­sid­er­able money in park­ing and trans­porta­tion fees because some fancy-pants lib­eral fought for afford­able pub­lic trans­porta­tion, which gives every­one the oppor­tu­nity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excel­lent pay, med­ical ben­e­fits, retire­ment, paid hol­i­days and vaca­tion because some lazy lib­eral union mem­bers fought and died for these work­ing stan­dards. Joe’s employer pays these stan­dards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employ­ees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unem­ployed, he’ll get a worker com­pen­sa­tion or unem­ploy­ment check because some stu­pid lib­eral didn’t think he should lose his home because of his tem­po­rary misfortune.

It is noon­time and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is fed­er­ally insured by the FSLIC because some god­less lib­eral wanted to pro­tect Joe’s money from unscrupu­lous bankers who ruined the bank­ing sys­tem before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fan­nie Mae-underwritten mort­gage and his below-market fed­eral stu­dent loan because some elit­ist lib­eral decided that Joe and the gov­ern­ment would be bet­ter off if he was edu­cated and earned more money over his life­time. Joe also for­gets that his in addi­tion to his fed­er­ally sub­si­dized stu­dent loans, he attended a state funded university.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the coun­try. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating lib­eral fought for car safety stan­dards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.

He arrives at his boy­hood home. His was the third gen­er­a­tion to live in the house financed by Farm­ers’ Home Admin­is­tra­tion because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans.

The house didn’t have elec­tric­ity until some big-government lib­eral stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Secu­rity and a union pen­sion because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating lib­eral made sure he could take care of him­self so Joe wouldn’t have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps say­ing that lib­er­als are bad and con­ser­v­a­tives are good. He doesn’t men­tion that the beloved Repub­li­cans have fought against every pro­tec­tion and ben­e­fit Joe enjoys through­out his day.

Joe agrees: “We don’t need those big-government lib­er­als ruin­ing our lives! After all, I’m a self-made man who believes every­one should take care of them­selves, just like I have.”

Janann W. Ransom"

Take care of yourself woman, you know I'm prayin' for you and sister too.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Guest Post

It seems as though I'm not going to post anything. Adrienne contacted me asking if she could write up a post for me to post on here. I wrote her back saying "as long as it pertains to social work' and this is what she wrote. I have to admit I wasn't sure if I would post it and even after reading it I still wasn't sure. Then I read it again. I think I will leave it up for awhile to come back to when I need to be reminded or when I'm having a bad day or I'm feeling particularly cynical. Thanks Adrienne, it's great to see social work from someone else's eyes every now and then.

What Social Work Involves

When you earn a degree in social work, you plan to help those who are less fortunate than you. You have visions about making a huge difference in people’s lives and of them being eternally grateful to you. But, a social worker’s life is nothing spectacular like the movies – you are not a hero or heroine who steals the show. Instead, you are the constant but steady presence in the lives of people who need help and are desperate for it. You may not make their life out of the ordinary, but you sure do much to make it bearable. So if you’re thinking of going in for social work, here’s what the career involves:

* Long hours, long lasting memories: Yes, you may have to work long hours, but the memories you form stay with you for life. Some may not be all that pleasant, but the success stories of people you have helped linger and come back to soothe you when things don’t seem to be going too well. The good times make you stick through the bad ones, no matter how tough things are.
* Grateful people, angry people: You’d be surprised at how grateful people are when you make a positive difference in their lives with your help and encouragement. But that’s only one end of the spectrum. On the other, you have those who take out their anger against the system on you – as far as they’re concerned, you’re the scapegoat who is to blame for all their troubles. So you must be prepared to deal with all kinds of people in the same frame of mind.
* Average salary, above average relationships: The pay’s not much, but the relationships you form with people are truly rich and rewarding. When you bond with your clients, especially when there are children involved, and help them get back on their feet and past their struggling days, you cement a lasting friendship that stands even though you are no longer a regular presence in their lives.
* A sense of satisfaction: And last and most important of all, when you help other people and feel that you are making a difference in their lives, you feel a sense of satisfaction, one that makes you feel good about yourself and what you are doing with your life. It is true that there is more joy in giving than in receiving, because when you give your time and effort to help people as a social worker, you feel yourself being filled with an inner peace and contentment that cannot be bought at any price.


This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of accelerated online degree . Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Postcards from Amerah

Being southern women and totally dumbfounded by the entire incident Amerah and I present to you another southern woman's letter to Joe Wilson...

"Joe Wilson, Member
United States Congress
212 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D. C 20515-4002

903 Port Republic Street
Beaufort, South Carolina 29902

Mr. Wilson:

I am an 80 year old mother and my older child is 51 years old; but, if ever I were to hear him call anyone a liar or rudely and obstreperously tell someone they were telling a lie, I would slap his face.. My two children, 41 and 51 respectively, are very well reared as was I. I can remember as a little innocent child calling someone a liar.. I only did it one time because the lecture in the form of a lesson in proper decorum sank in, and to this day, I have never called anyone a liar. My mother considered this the ultimate in rudeness and disrespect, not only for the person I called a liar, but for me, myself.

Having learned that lesson at such an early age, it made me cringe when you, at age 62, and a former military man, yelled to the President of the United States of America, “You lie.” As a military man, you know the chain of command; and, you were addressing the Commander in Chief of the United States of America. Of course, President Obama who is a very refined gentleman did not respond and he kept right on target delivering the most brilliant speech I have ever heard. I can say this with a degree of authority because I have been witness to every presidency since Herbert Hoover. Never in the hallowed halls of Congress have I witnessed such coarse, gross, despicable behavior.

I don't know if your mother is alive or not, but if she is, I'm certain that she hung her head in shame knowing that all over the world you have disgraced her, yourself, your wife, your four sons, your office, your constituency and your country. Children of good breeding, who are properly reared carry the teachings of their parents throughout their lives. At 80 everything I do is tested against, “what would my mother think of that?” I would never defame her precious memory by demonstrating lack of self control and a knowledge of the social graces that separate women from ladies and men from gentlemen.

My mother was a proper Southern genteel lady who commanded respect because of the way she carried herself. I would think that your being from the South, you would have gotten some of that good ole Southern hospitality and gentility that seems to be characteristic of intelligent people of the South.

I do so hope you will listen to the foreign media as I did late last night. You are an international disgrace because from Ireland to China and England, your crudity was the main topic of conversation.

I note that you have a law degree. I wonder how proud your alma mater, University of South Carolina Law School, was of you tonight as you showed to the world that education without character is vacuous and meaningless. There is a popular expression of people with degrees who lack common sense, they are referred to as “educated fools.”

If you were playing to the media and to the camera for attention, you succeeded because your worldwide legacy will be that you were the ill-suited and ill-placed person who demeaned himself in the halls of Congress for the first time in U S history.

Written with embarrassment for my country,
Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration

****Editor's Note:

Tell Congressman Joe Wilson what you think of his comments:

DC Address:

The Honorable Joe Wilson
United States House of Representatives
212 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-4002

DC Phone:


DC Fax:


Email Address:

WWW Homepage:

District Offices:

903 Port Republic Street
Beaufort, SC 29902

Voice: 843-521-2530
FAX: 843-521-2535"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New? Blogs for You this Morning

I'm pretty sure I've told you of Ornery Bastard before. Prepare yourself for profanities before going over there, but not only is he worth the read, the people leaving comments to his ravings are too. One of the worthiest is Elizabeth whose blog is The Middle of Nowhere. I particularly enjoyed her comments over at Ornery Bastard(kept me from having to comment). Her post titles alone make me want to go back over and over :) Have fun!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rest in Peace Senator Kennedy

Today, for those of us who are totally on the left side of the fence, is an almost crippling day, because last night we lost our greatest political power. I know brain tumors are more often than not, a lost cause, but somehow I believed he would come through it and not leave us. Here's the statement from his family:

"Edward M. Kennedy – the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply – died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port. We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him."

His obituary from the New York Times and a video chronicling his life are here and more here

Senator Kennedy's Senate page

A 54 page pdf document of Senator Kennedy's many accomplishments

Monday, August 24, 2009

Postcards from Amerah--A Seniors' version of "Jesus Loves Me"

"Senior version of Jesus Loves Me"

Here is a new version just for us who have white hair or no hair at all. For us over middle age (or even those almost there) and all you others, check out this newest version of Jesus Loves Me.


Jesus loves me, this I know,
Though my hair is white as snow
Though my sight is growing dim,
Still He bids me trust in Him.

Though my steps are oh, so slow,
With my hand in His I'll go
On through life, let come what may,
He'll be there to lead the way.

When the nights are dark and long,
In my heart He puts a song..
Telling me in words so clear,
"Have no fear, for I am near."

When my work on earth is done,
And life's victories have been won.
He will take me home above,
Then I'll understand His love.

I love Jesus, does He know?
Have I ever told Him so?
Jesus loves to hear me say,
That I love Him every day.

Thanks, always come through just when i need it :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

U.S. Uninsured Workers--New Report from Cover the Uninsured

Click the title link for everything you need to support your argument for the healthcare bill.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Postcard from Amerah--A Woman's Only Flaw :)

One Flaw In Women

They fight for what they believe in.

They stand up to injustice.

They don't take "no" for an answer

when they believe there is a better solution.

They go without so their family can have.

They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.

They love unconditionally.

They cry when their children excel

and cheer when their friends get awards.

They are happy when they hear about

a birth or a wedding.

Their hearts break when a friend dies.

They grieve at the loss of a family member,

yet they are strong when they

think there is no strength left.

They know that a hug and a kiss

can heal a broken heart.

Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you

to show how much they care about you.

The heart of a woman is what

makes the world keep turning.

They bring joy, hope and love.

They have compassion and ideas.

They give moral support to their

family and friends.

Women have vital things to say

and everything to give.



Monday, August 3, 2009

News from the Child Welfare League of America

Today's email from the Child Welfare League of America

"House Finishes FY 2010 Appropriations On Deadline

Before leaving for the August break, the House of Representatives completed action on the last of the 12 appropriations bills when they approved the Defense appropriations. The Senate has one more week before they break until Labor Day and they are likely to approve all twelve bills out of committee and approve at least four bills by the full Senate. So far, Congress appears to be on track to complete action on appropriations by the start of the federal fiscal year on October 1.

The House approved H.R. 3293, the appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS), on Friday, July 24 by a vote of 264 to 153. The spending totals in the bill are close to what the Administration had requested. Overall, the bill spends $160 billion in discretionary dollars, an increase of $5.6 billion from this year's funding level. The bill also provides $567 billion in mandatory funding, most of which applies to HHS and represents mandatory funding for Medicare and Medicaid. Part of the mandatory funding is for entitlements under Title IV-E foster care, adoptions assistance, and subsidized guardianships. Title IV-E is expected to total $7.2 billion, an increase of $146 million from 2009. According to budget projections, $4.6 billion will be spent on foster care including administrative costs, $2.4 billion will be spent on adoption assistance along with administration costs, and $49 million will be spent on the new subsidized guardianship program (kinship care). Adoption assistance is the fastest growing of the three, and the guardianship program is still in its start-up phase. All the cost projections for the Title IV-E programs are just projections since claims could increase or decrease according to need and the number of eligible children.

The House Labor-HHS bill also funds Head Start at $7.2 billion, an increase of $120 million, while child care remains at the 2009 level of $2.1 billion in discretionary funding. Child care receives an allocation of $2.9 billion in mandatory funds for a total of slightly more than $5 billion. Both Head Start and child care received $2 billion each as part of the stimulus package enacted earlier this year, and that is not included in these totals.

The Senate was also moving on the Labor-HHS bill with the full Appropriations Committee voting out its bill by the end of last week. There will be some differences in spending levels and priorities when the Senate completes action on their bill and writes the final committee report.

Health Reform to Wait Until After Recess

As Congress begins to leave for its month-long August recess, it became clear last week that neither the full Senate nor the full House will vote on comprehensive health reform legislation before returning in September. Lawmakers do not seem particularly rattled by the slipping timeline, and vow to continue significant work and movement on health reform in the fall.

The House bill that was produced by the three committees with jurisdiction over health reform, the America's Affordable Health Choices Act (H.R. 3200), was introduced on July 14 and has since been voted out by the Ways and Means Committee and the Education and Labor Committee. H.R. 3200 would place shared responsibility on individuals, employers, and the government to ensure that the vast majority of Americans have health coverage. Exceptions to the requirement would be available for individuals facing hardship and the smallest businesses, with other small businesses able to get a tax credit. Effective in 2013, Medicaid would be expanded by the House bill to cover all individuals falling below 133% of the federal poverty level ($14,400 for an individual). To cover more of the uninsured and provide choice, an insurance exchange would be created whereby individuals and small businesses could purchase coverage, with the option to buy a public plan. Certain benefits would be mandatory--including preventive services, rehabilitative and habilitative services, mental health and substance abuse services--and, for children, vision, hearing, and oral health services.

The third committee to approve the House bill, the Energy and Commerce Committee, postponed markup for the majority of last week to hold behind the scenes meetings between committee leadership and members of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition. A deal was reached Wednesday afternoon and the committee resumed consideration of H.R. 3200. The deal slashes the total price tag of the bill by decreasing subsidies to low-income families and exempting additional small businesses from the employer mandate to provide coverage, among other changes. During markup, Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) offered an amendment that was accepted on therapeutic foster care (see article below).

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of six senators from the Finance Committee continued discussions to finalize the committee's health reform package. The committee was leaning towards not including a public option, as both the Senate HELP and House tri-committee reform bills have. Also different is that the Senate Finance reform plan will not include an employer mandate in the form of penalties, but rather will offer incentives for employers to provide coverage to their employees. The Finance Committee negotiators had not yet come to consensus on how to finance its package, but a possibility gaining traction is to tax high-end insurance policies totaling over $25,000. Late last week, the Finance Committee received a preliminary score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) indicating that their plan would cover nearly 95% of Americans at a cost of less than $900 billion over 10 years, all of which is fully offset.

The Finance Committee reform package, once voted out of committee, will have to be merged with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee bill, which the HELP Committee passed on July 15. Lawmakers are hoping that this reconciliation would be possible over the August recess.

Therapeutic Foster Care Amendment Added to House Health Reform Bill

On Thursday, July 30, when the House Energy and Commerce Committee resumed markup of its health reform legislation, H.R. 3200, Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) offered an amendment that was accepted by voice vote on therapeutic foster care. Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) provides intensive, individualized services in a community-based environment for children with severe mental and behavioral health needs. It is an evidence-informed placement that has produced positive outcomes including improved social skills and psychological adjustment, reduced behavioral problems, and placement stability. The U.S. Surgeon General's 1999 report on mental health recommended TFC as a promising, effective intervention for children with serious emotional disorders.

Baldwin's amendment provides a basic definition of TFC and protects reimbursement for TFC by stating that nothing in the Medicaid statute prohibits Medicaid for paying for the treatment contained in TFC. CWLA worked in strong partnership with organizations such as the Foster Family-based Treatment Association, the Alliance for Children & Families, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare and thanks Baldwin for her strong support of vulnerable children and youth and TFC programs.

Rhode Island Approved for Kinship-Guardianship Option, More Pending

The Children's Bureau has approved Rhode Island's amended state plan that will allow that state to utilize Title IV-E funds for the new kinship-guardianship option as provided for through last year's Fostering Connections Act (P.L. 110-351). Seven other plan amendments have been submitted. In addition to Rhode Island, the others that have submitted a plan amendment are the District of Columbia and the states of Connecticut, Maine, Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Connecticut is the most recent plan amendment submitted. More states are expected to take the option.

The kinship-guardianship option became effective shortly after Fostering Connections was signed last October, but there is no timeframe or deadline for states to take the option. While some were expecting states to act more quickly, it has been less than one year since enactment of Fostering Connections, and that enactment coincided with the recession. Factors that may inhibit states include some states requiring legislative changes, other states contemplating dramatic cuts in human service funding, and other states awaiting greater instruction and clarification from HHS on issues such as whether or not children already in kinship placements and otherwise eligible being covered once a state has taken the option or whether coverage extends only to new kinship arrangements established after a state plan has been amended.

A state has to first submit an amended plan and then it must be approved. There are a number of actions states must take to use Title IV-E funds for the kinship placements including: outlining how they will assure the child and the relative's eligibility, meeting new case plan requirements, and meeting background check requirements. There are also major budget considerations for states depending on how they currently fund kinship care or if they even have a kinship placement option in place.

The official calculation by the CBO anticipated savings from the kinship care option due to expected shifts in reduced administrative costs. Such results may vary by state circumstance. Some states have used all federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to pay for kinship placements. In those instances, since TANF is an entitlement of federal funds that a state receives annually at the same fixed level, a state may have to spend state general fund dollars to match the new kinship option. Kinship care is an important permanency option and the goal of advocacy groups including CWLA is that eventually all 50 states will take the Title IV-E kinship-guardianship option.

Webinar Explores Fostering Connections Act's Impact on Older Youth

The National Foster Care Coalition, in conjunction with the National Court-Appointed State Advocate Association, is hosting a webinar on the Fostering Connections Act provisions impacting older youth. This is a free, one-hour webinar review of the provisions for older youth, and an opportunity to discuss strategies to support and effectively advocate for older youth. Much of the discussion will be based on a new report on the frequently asked questions on these provisions, available through the link below.

The webinar will be held on August 5 at noon Eastern (11 am Central, 10 am Mountain, 9 am Pacific) and will be held again on August 19 at 4 pm Eastern (3 pm Central, 2 pm Mountain, 1 pm Pacific).

Register for the August 5 session.

Register for the August 19 session.

Download the FAQ Report.

Study Reaffirms Mental Health Needs for Transitioning Youth

A study funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that will be published in Children and Youth Services Review found that 45% of youth with prior involvement with the child welfare system had at least one mental health problem as they transitioned to adulthood. The study sampled over 5,000 children from 92 child welfare agencies across the country. More than a quarter of the youth were in the clinical range for depression.

The study also examined the youths' surrounding life circumstances, finding that at least 60% lived in households at or below the national poverty line and over a quarter were living with at least one child. The study's authors call for researchers, policymakers, clinicians, and service system administrators to acknowledge these extreme needs and work better with this vulnerable population.

One piece of legislation that Congress is working on to address this is the Healthy Transition Act, H.R. 2691. The bipartisan bill, reintroduced by Representatives Pete Stark (D-CA), Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), and Dave Camp (R-MI), was first introduced in the 110th Congress in conjunction with a Government Accountability Office report finding that in 2006, at least 2.4 million young adults aged 18 to 26 experienced a serious mental illness.

To help this population access needed services and make a successful transition to adulthood, the bill would provide planning and implementation grants to states to develop statewide coordination plans to help adolescents and young adults with serious mental illness. States would be urged to target specific populations, including but not limited to those involved with the child protection and juvenile justice systems. The legislation would establish a federal committee to coordinate service programs helping young adults with mental illness, and provide technical assistance to states. A Senate companion bill has not yet been reintroduced. CWLA strongly supports this legislation, along with our friends at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the American Psychological Association, First Focus, and Mental Health America.

CWLA Continues Survey on Prevention

Last fall, CWLA posted a brief poll on our website asking what the White House Conference on Children and Youth should focus on. In the poll, individuals were asked to select three top issues. Prevention of child abuse and neglect was ranked by 16% of respondents as the number one priority--coming in ahead of other critical areas such as strengthening child protective services (14%) and youth transitioning out of foster care (11%). As a result and to continue the process, CWLA is going to use these survey findings to gather more information on each of the critical issues. We are asking you to take a new three-minute survey focused on prevention. Take the prevention survey and tell us what prevention services exist in your community. Are there waiting lists? How would you describe prevention?

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress

August 1-September 7: House summer break
August 8-September 7: Senate summer break
October 15: Deadline for budget reconciliation instruction"

Monday, July 27, 2009

Picture of the week

Courtesy of the Mudflats blog:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Postcards from Amerah

After being interviewed by the school administration, the teaching prospect said,
"Let me see if I've got this right, You want me to go into that room with all those kids,

1. correct their disruptive behavior,
2. observe them for signs of abuse,
3. monitor their dress habits,
4. censor their T-shirt messages,
5. and instill in them a love for learning.

You want me to..

6. check their backpacks for weapons,
7. wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and
8. raise their sense of self esteem and personal pride.

You want me to.....

9. teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and
10. how to register to vote,
11. balance a checkbook, and
12. apply for a job.

You want me to

13. check their heads for lice,
14. recognize signs of anti-social behavior, and
15. make sure that they all pass the state exams.

You also want me to

16. provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and
17. communicate regularly with their parents in English and Spanish by letter, telephone, conferences, email, homework hotline, web page, midterm newsletters, and report card.

You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps.

You want me to do all this and then you tell me. . ."I CAN'T PRAY!!!!!"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Got one for ya...

Denny Bush "No Stranger to the Hard Times" He's the father of one of my newfound Facebook friends :)

Thanks, Denny, I needed that today!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pure Poetry...

I have to share this post with you. If you are a social worker then you will get why...

One Little Polish Girl's post from June 30, 2009

"Last Friday, we all spent the day painting the walls of the building I work in. Today we are rearranging the cubicles and there is much crashing, pounding and bashing going on. Everyone was dreading this day because of the interruption it would cause to their work and because they were afraid they would lose precious space. Turns out, they are gaining space and some privacy so the overall atmosphere in here today is cheery!

I've told you before that I work for a small not for profit social service agency. We are a rag tag bunch to be sure. At first sight, we don't look like your average social work types and, more often than not, people mistake that for a lack of professionalism. The bottom line is that here at KHDS we believe, first and foremost, in the people we serve. We work with alcoholics, mentally ill, developmentally disabled, drug addicted, homeless, unemployed, uninsured people. They don't always look clean or smell good or speak clearly and, sometimes, they are beliggerant and ornery. They hang out outside our building, come in and mess up our rest rooms and, once in a while, walk out with someone's purse or jacket. Other agencies put limits on the amount of time their clients can be in their buildings or when they can show up at all. Other agencies have nice carpeting and furniture and real plants in their lobbies bathed in track lighting. We have a fake ficus on a used end table. We believe that any funds we recieve is best used in programs that help those we serve and not in the interior design of our building. We also believe that if you are wearing a suit it's likely you haven't done much hands on social work in a while.

That's why this recent coat of paint and the moving about of some cublicle walls has been so invigorating. The physical participation in doing it has brought us closer together as a team and the actual visualization of our handy work made us proud.

At the end of the day, we may not look like much but we'll charm you with our personable natures and wow you with our skill. We're here to help and that's not just a saying. We really do. So don't mind that there is a tear in the seat of the chair you may sit doesn't matter. What matters are the people who come through our door each day who leave just a little healthier, a little calmer, a little less lonely and a whole lot more confident that they really do have a purpose."

I so want to work at her agency :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Postcards from Amerah...LMAO!

Southern women appreciate their natural assets:

Clean skin.
A winning smile.
That unforgettable Southern drawl.

Southern women know their manners:
"Yes, ma'am."
"Yes, sir."
"Why, no, Billy!"

Southern women have a distinct way with fond expressions :
"Y'all come back!"
"Well, bless your heart."
"Drop by when you can."
"How's your Momma?"

Southern women know their summer weather report: Humidity

Southern women know their vacation spots:
The beach
The rivuh
The crick

Southern women know the joys of June, July, and August:
Colorful hi-heel sandals
Strapless sun dresses
Iced sweet tea with mint

Southern women know everybody's first name: Honey

Southern women know the movies that speak to their hearts:
Fried Green Tomatoes
Driving Miss Daisy
Steel Magnolias !
Gone With The Wind

Southern women know their religions:

Southern women know their country breakfasts:
Red-eye gravy
Country ham
Mouth-watering homemade biscuits with momma's homemade jelly

Southern women know their cities dripping with Southern charm:
Foat Wuth

Southern women know their elegant gentlemen:
Men in uniform.
Men in tuxedos
Rhett Butler

Southern girls know their prime real estate:
The Mall
The Country Club
The Beauty Salon

Southern girls know the three deadly sins: Having bad Hair and nails
Having bad manners
Cooking bad food

Only a Southerner knows the difference between a hissie fit and a conniption fit , and that you don't "HAVE" them, you "PITCH" them.

Only a Southerner knows how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc., make up "a mess."

Only a Southerner can show or point out to you the general direction of "yonder."

Only a Southerner knows exactly how long "directly" is, . as in: "Going to town, be back directly."

Even Southern babies know that "Gimme some sugar" is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl in the middle of the table.

All Southerners know exactly when "by and by" is. They might not use the term, but they know the concept well.

Only a Southerner knows instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who's got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad.. If the neighbor's trouble is a real crisis, they also know to add a large banana puddin!

Only Southerners grow up knowing the difference between "right near" and "a right far piece." They also know that "just down the road" can be 1 mile or 20.

Only a Southerner, both knows and understands, the difference between a redneck, a good ol' boy, and po' white trash.

No true Southerner would ever assume that the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn.

A Southerner knows that "fixin" can be used as a noun, a verb , or an adverb.

Only Southerners make friends while standing in lines, ... and when we're "in line," we talk to everybody!

Put 100 Southerners in a room and half of them will discover they're related, even if only by marriage.

In the South, y'all is singular, all y'all is plural.

Southerners know grits come from corn and how to eat them.

Every Southerner knows tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that red eye gravy is also a breakfast food; and that fried green tomatoes are not a breakfast food.

When you hear someone say, "Well, I caught myself lookin'," you know you are in the presence of a genuine Southerner!

Only true Southerners say "sweet tea" and "sweet milk." Sweet tea indicates the need for sugar and lots of it -- we do not like our tea unsweetened. "Sweet milk" means you don't want buttermilk.

And a true Southerner knows you don't scream obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 MPH on the freeway. You just say ,"Bless her heart" ... and go your own way.

To those of you who are still a little embarrassed by your Southerness: Take two tent revivals and a dose of sausage gravy and call me in the morning. Bless your heart!

And to those of you who are still having a hard time understanding all this Southern stuff, ... bless your hearts, I hear they are fixin' to have classes on Southernness as a second language!

And for those that are not from the South but have lived here for a long time, all y'all need a sign to hang on y'alls front porch that reads "I ain't from the South, but I got here as fast as I could."

Now...... Shugah, send this to someone! who was raised in the South or wish they had been! If you're a Northern transplant, Bless your little heart, fake it. We know you got here as fast as you could

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hey, It's Me, Prin :)

I bet you forgot about me, didn't you? You thought I fell off the edge of the world or something, didn't you? Nope, just basically slackin'. Sometimes you just need to do that to regenerate.

The move, while as traumatic as any move after 11 years, went about as smooth as a move can go. We are in our new "entire" house. Except for the few years we had grandma's house, this is the first time we have had something other than an apartment complex type apartment or a duplex. We took pictures and as soon as we get them developed I'll post them. There are three bedrooms, so we each have one and there is one left for an office, yay! For the first time in 11 years I have bookshelves! Granted, they are boards and blocks, but I kind of like the way they turned out. The best thing about them is that there are no more floor to ceiling boxes with books all over the place. It sure doesn't look like I have that many, but then I did donate about half of them. For the first time the walls are not all stark white, in fact I don't think there is one white wall in the entire place. There are actually a few that are pale yellow, which I love! Remember I told you about our galley kitchen in the old house? The one that only one person could be in at a time. Our new kitchen is HUGE! It even has a bar in the middle of it! When I first saw the house all I could see was "potential" and that's the best part. The owner also said when we get ready he would sell it to us for just what he has in it. Awesome! k, that's enough about us. On to the email I got this morning that spurred me to write.

It has been so long since I lived in an all white community I sometimes forget that they still exist. I know they do, but I just prefer not to dwell on it or venture into them. I got this from The Color of Change this morning and for once it didn't happen in the south, hallelujah!

View more news videos at:

"Two weeks ago outside Philadelphia, 65 children from a summer camp tried to go swimming at a club that their camp had a contract to use. Apparently, the people at the club didn't know that the group of kids was predominantly Black.

When the campers entered the pool, White parents allegedly took their kids out of the water, and the swimming club's staff asked the campers to leave. The next day, the club told the summer camp that their membership would be canceled and that their payment would be refunded. When asked why, the club's manager said that a lot of kids "would change the complexion ... and the atmosphere of the club."1

A "Whites only" pool in 2009 should not be tolerated. The club's actions appear to be a violation of section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act.2 Whether or not any laws were violated, a "Whites only" pool should be something every American condemns.

Please join us in doing exactly that, and please email your friends and family and invite them to do the same. Your signature will also be used to call on the Department of Justice to evaluate suing the facility under federal law. It takes just a moment to do both, here:

Obama is President but that doesn't mean that suddenly all is fine when it comes to race in America. This is a vivid reminder of what we know still lies beneath the surface.

We all know stories like this one -- similar incidents play out quietly every day in different communities across the country. The difference in this case is that folks got caught and there was a contract in place that makes for a potentially illegal act.

Standing up now isn't just about making things right for these kids in Philadelphia or bringing consequences to this swim club (called the Valley Swim Club). It's about creating a climate of accountability everywhere. If we can publicly shame the Valley Swim Club and hold them accountable for this incident, it will make others think twice before engaging in what appears to be blatant discrimination.

Please join us in condemning the Valley Swim Club's behavior and calling on the Justice Department to investigate whether they violated civil rights laws. And please ask your friends and family to do the same.

Thanks and Peace,

-- James, Gabriel, William, Dani and the rest of the team
July 10th, 2009"

Thank God for Girard College who stepped in and offered them the use of their pool.

""We had to help," said Girard College director of Admissions Tamara Leclair. "Every child deserves an incredible summer camp experience."

The school already serves 500 campers of its own, but felt they could squeeze in 65 more -- especially since the pool is vacant on the day the Creative Steps had originally planned to swim at Valley Swim Club."

Oh, and here's Valley Swim Clubs CYA statement:

"The club issued this statement late Thursday, responding to the allegations of racism:

The Valley Club is deeply troubled by the recent allegations of racism, which are completely untrue.

We had originally agreed to invite the camps to use our facility, knowing full well that the children from the camps were from multi-ethnic backgrounds. Unfortunately, we quickly learned that we underestimated the capacity of our facilities and realized that we could not accommodate the number of children from these camps. All funds were returned to the camps and we will re-evaluate the issue at a later date to determine whether it can be feasible in the future.

Our Valley Club deplores discrimination in any form, as is evidenced by our multi-ethnic and diverse membership. Whatever comments may or may not have been made by an individual member is an opinion not shared by The Valley Club Board.

Daniel Veres, a 16-year old Hispanic teen who is also a member, says the entire situation is just a misunderstanding. "We're not judgmental, we're just friendly," Veres said of the mostly white club."

I'll let you chew on that for a bit while I move on to other things...

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has a new report out. "The report describes the unique and crucial role played by defense attorneys in juvenile court proceedings in providing comprehensive legal representation to children charged with offenses." You can access the full report here It's well worth the read.

If you want a great lesson on just how this health-care reform is going to work, read this. Don't just skim it, if you want the lesson :)

Get your free clean energy sticker here from, the one's that brought you the great Obama sticker last year.

And lastly, for now, you know you need a good belly laugh. Mudflats blog is always good for that. I suggest you put them in your reader, especially now that Palin has resigned. Here's just one recent post:

First Term Quitters Hall of Fame
from The Mudflats by akmuckraker

A number crunching Mudflatter sent the following:

On a hunch, I reviewed online lists of all the men and women who’ve been elected governor of their state since the year 1900. Pored over them for a few hours. Over 1200 politicians have taken that first-term oath of office. Some soon died in office. Many resigned to accept other positions in government, including Spiro Agnew who was “tapped” by Nixon after being the Governor of Maryland for about five minutes. On a handful of occasions, a first-termer was dragged off to the slammer or impeached. One was incapacitated by a nervous breakdown and one left just as impeachment came knocking on his door. So—how many out of over 1200 just up and quit before the end of their term?

Three: Jim McGreevy, Eliot Spitzer and Sarah Palin.

[h/t Mudflatter WalterNeff]"

Some other great titles from Mudflats blog:

GOP Candidates Tell Palin ‘Talk to the Hand!

Palin’s Milllllions of Dollars!

Palin Wonders Why Sudden Resignation is Such a “Darn Big Deal?”

Threatened by Palin, a Blogger Speaks Out. Shannyn Moore, Meet the Press.

**Disclaimer** I did not proofread this 20 times like I usually do, so If a link is not working let me know and I will fix it later. Thanks

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sonya Sotomayer Awesome!

Finally something to get me off Facebook :) I thought you might not know much about President Obama's newest Supreme Court nominee, so I thought I would enlighten you with the emails I received overnight.

From MoveOn:

"Ten Things About Judge Sonia Sotomayor

1. Judge Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the bench than any Supreme Court justice in 100 years. Over her three-decade career, she has served in a wide variety of legal roles, including as a prosecutor, litigator, and judge.

2. Judge Sotomayor is a trailblazer. She was the first Latina to serve on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and was the youngest member of the court when appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York. If confirmed, she will be the first Hispanic to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

3. While on the bench, Judge Sotomayor has consistently protected the rights of working Americans, ruling in favor of health benefits and fair wages for workers in several cases.

4. Judge Sotomayor has shown strong support for First Amendment rights, including in cases of religious expression and the rights to assembly and free speech.

5. Judge Sotomayor has a strong record on civil rights cases, ruling for plaintiffs who had been discriminated against based on disability, sex and race.

6. Judge Sotomayor embodies the American dream. Born to Puerto Rican parents, she grew up in a South Bronx housing project and was raised from age nine by a single mother, excelling in school and working her way to graduate summa cum laude from Princeton University and to become an editor of the Law Journal at Yale Law School.

7. In 1995, Judge Sotomayor "saved baseball" when she stopped the owners from illegally changing their bargaining agreement with the players, thereby ending the longest professional sports walk-out in history.

8. Judge Sotomayor ruled in favor of the environment in a case of protecting aquatic life in the vicinity of power plants in 2007, a decision that was overturned by the Roberts Supreme Court.

9. In 1992, Judge Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate without opposition after being appointed to the bench by George H.W. Bush.

10. Judge Sotomayor is a widely respected legal figure, having been described as " outstanding colleague with a keen legal mind," "highly qualified for any position in which wisdom, intelligence, collegiality and good character would be assets," and "a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess and integrity."

Judge Sotomayor is an historic, uniquely qualified nominee to the Supreme Court. Let's get the word out and make sure we get a prompt, fair confirmation on her nomination."

From AlterNet

Sonia Sotomayor's Background Will Affect Her Judicial Decisions -- and That's a Good Thing

From Emily's List

"Not only did President Obama nominate a candidate with more federal judicial experience than any Supreme Court justice in 100 years, but he also chose a nominee with an astute understanding of the law's effects on Americans' lives. Judge Sotomayor was raised by her mother in housing projects of the Bronx; her American story and extensive legal career make her an exceptional candidate for the top court. She graduated summa cum laude from Princeton and was editor of the Yale Law Review. In 1997, Judge Sotomayor was nominated by President Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, where she currently serves.

Her compelling story and unique perspective will help ensure that women's rights are protected and that women's experiences are brought to bear in the highest court in the land. If confirmed by the Senate, Judge Sotomayor would make history as the first Hispanic, as well as the third woman, ever to sit on the court."

See a video of the White House press briefing from CNN here

For a comprehensive biography from the Associated Press go here

Monday, May 18, 2009

An Awesome Filly named Rachel Alexandra and President Obama's Speech at Notre Dame

Full rundown of the race here

Full text of President Obama's speech here

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hilarious and yet, oh so painful to watch...

I found this over on Markham's Behavioral Health this morning. I have tears streaming down my face as I type this. It reminds me so much of the time the boy was about that age and we had been out all morning trying to get some assistance for the rent or something. We had gotten on the bus before breakfast so we could make the appointment on time and it was about noon. As we were leaving the place, having been turned down for assistance, we happened to pass a store that had sodas prominently displayed and the boy decided he had to have one. I thought I had enough money to get us back home because the boy was at the age where some bus drivers would still let him ride free and some made me pay for him, so I really didn't know. We were in "Buckhead" the pissy part of Atlanta and he was throwing an ungodly three year old fit, bucking, screaming, running back towards the store, crying for that damn soda. There were two "Buckhead" pissy women watching us...not offering to help, just watching and judging. So, naturally I couldn't knock the hell out of him :) and drag him off kicking and screaming to the bus. So I did the next best thing...I walked away from him, not far enough that he couldn't see me or I couldn't see him, just far enough so I could regain my composure and could not reach him to knock the hell out of him. What does he do when I let go of him? Naturally, he makes a beeline back to the store. By that time I had decided the bus driver was just going to have to understand because I knew the boy was really hungry and that's what was making him act that way, so I bought him the soda and we went on our merry way. The boy was happy and calm and I was rational once again. By the time we got to the bus stop we were our normal selves and were laughing and having a grand ole time while we waited for the bus, the incident all but forgotten. The boy had completely converted from the devil's spawn in action to the complete angel that he normally was. The story doesn't end there. I noticed about that time a cop pulled up behind us and just sat there with his window rolled down. It never occurred to me that he was I guess, given the situation and where it took place it should have but, I learned a long time ago that it is best to just ignore cops, unless you need one. I clearly didn't, by then :) After a couple of minutes of observing and listening the cop said "Could I speak with you?" Oh, Lord, my...heart...sank. I just knew I was going to jail for child abuse or something. He turned out to be the nicest cop I have ever met. He explained to me what I had been accused of and I told him our entire story...all of it :) He ended up giving me $20 and his personal phone number and telling me that he could tell just by observing that I was a good mother having a bad day and that if I ever needed his help to call him. I still have his number to this day. He even gave us a ride home. While I was relieved I didn't go to jail, the boy had to understand on that day, the consequences of his actions and what could have happened because of his fit. I called his Uncle Joe (6'4, ominous and a teacher to boot) and told him what had happened and he came over after work, had a serious talk with him and gave him a few good hard whacks on the behind. The boy never again threw a fit like that in public...during adolescence he threw plenty inside the house, but that's another story, so I guess it all worked out. I don't know what it is about 2, 3 and 4 year old fits that makes parents lose all reasoning, training, control and parenting abilities but they sure do, so I can completely empathize with this guy...and yes, giggle, um, laugh out loud too...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rest in Peace, Frank...

Some of you know we lost our mayor this past week. He was the best mayor this town has ever had. He was a man of dignity, ethical principle and genuinely wanted the best for our town. I wish I could find the link to the program WLBT did on him last night. It was awesome. It was said in that program that Frank was really a social worker in disguise as a politician. I remember thinking that very same thing not long ago. I've included a video of him in order that you might share in his awesomeness. I can't get but one video to post so click the title link for a list of all the available videos.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Women's Media Center Training

I sure wish someone I know would go do this and come back and train me :) Click the title link to be taken to the application page.

"The Progressive Women’s Voices program has become a cornerstone of The Women’s Media Center. In our first year of the program, we intensively media trained 33 women who have gone on to earn over 1000 media hits year to date. Our inaugural class was a stellar group, with experts in foreign policy, reproductive rights, environmental issues, racial justice, voting rights, the history of feminism, immigrant communities, outsider cultures, national security, and many more areas of expertise. With our training and help, in 2008, our PWV women wrote Op Eds in the Washington Post and The New York Times, features for Elle and New York magazine, were quoted in USA Today, Forbes, Variety, Mother Jones, the Wall Street Journal, Slate, Salon, The New Republic, the Los Angeles Times, on the Associated Press and Reuters wires, appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, MSNBC, CBS Nightly News, Fox News, ABC News, CNBC, The Tyra Banks Show, PBS’s “To The Contrary,” Bill Moyers, on numerous NPR shows, and in hundreds of other significant media outlets.

We are “changing the conversation” by making sure that there are plenty of qualified, authoritative, progressive women experts available to editors, reporters, producers, and bookers. For the women chosen to participate in our 2009 Progressive Women’s Voices program, we provide intense media training sessions in New York, with weekly calls, and continued support and resources for media bookings.

This program was made possible through primary support from the NoVo Foundation, and additional funding from the Better World Fund of the United Nations Foundation, the University of Phoenix, the Charles Lawrence Keith and Clara Miller Foundation, the Friedman/Kiehl Fund and private donors.

Progressive Women’s Voices starts with training.

* In-person intensive training: The Women’s Media Center hosts all participants for three weekends of intensive training in New York City, and pays all travel and acommodation expenses for participants. This training includes message development, media techniques, rapid response, on-camera training for television, radio training, op ed writing, blogging and more
* Weekly interview practice: All PWV women participate in weekly simulated hostile radio show interview scenarios on conference call lines to practice interview techniques and get feedback from classmates. We have received extensive feedback that this preparation is extremely helpful in prepping for media that is not ideologically identical to your own
* A strong network of progressive women: Our participant listserv and Facebook group facilitates ongoing dialogue, allowing participants to share their successes and challenges. We have also seen our classes of women hire, promote, and generally help and support each other, personally and professionally.
* Web platform: The WMC invites many of our PWV women to participate in writing our WMC Exclusives and Commentaries and promotes those through our online contacts and media contacts. All participants also have an opportunity to blog for the WMC.
* Ongoing WMC strategy and support: The WMC helps each participant to prep for interviews and media opportunities, providing message feedback, editing, and technical support.
* Promotion and Pitching: From January through December of 2009, the WMC will be dedicating its staff to outreach on behalf of PWV participants to our contacts at all levels of the media, promoting the Progressive Women’s Voices participants as a polished source of expert commentary.

This is not just a training program – it is a stepping stone to changing the conversation and the view of the world as presented in the media.

The Women's Media Center is looking for talented, opinionated, progressive women who are willing to speak out about the issues that matter. Whether your expertise is war or peace, health care or technology, chances are you watch the news, and realize that progressive women’s voices, like yours, are missing.

The WMC will host three classes of Progressive Women’s Voices women for 2009. Each class will have about ten women from around the country. Travel and accomodation expenses are paid for three weekend trips to New York City to be trained by the WMC staff and consultants."

Sam Carr's up on the Blue's Page

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation - 1870

Celebrate Mother's Day as it was originally intended...took this from CodePink's website. Click the title link to go there.

"Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

God Don't Like Ugly....

and this is ugly on so, so many levels.

seems as though the town of Victorville was fining the bank daily for code enforcement and the bank decided it would be cheaper to just level them and start over with clear land. When I first heard this story on Inside Edition it made my stomach churn. Just demolish 20 or so 400K homes (before the market crash) WTF? Once I watched all the videos (yes there are more) it seems as though they did remove appliances and such but I'm not really sure. All I could think about was why didn't they just sell them for what they could get out of them instead of demolishing them. I just don't understand the reasoning. Then I read more and did a little research and at least now I understand...snark.

Examples of what people are doing to their homes when they get the foreclosure notice.

This is how only one of the banks that received the TARP money are making decisions. Truly, I'm afraid to dig too deep....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Yesterday Sojourner Truth took her rightful place on earth. She became the first African American woman to be memorialized with a bust in the U.S. Capitol. Now, I don't know if you've ever heard Ms Truth's "Ain't I a Woman" speech but I was fortunate enough to have gone to an HBCU where reinactments were done by students every spring of many/all the great speeches given over the years by black women. I will never forget the first year I went and a student with a loud booming voice gave Ms Truth's speech with such love and conviction, as if the very words of the speech were not enough. It had the same effect on me it must have had when Ms. Truth actually delivered the words herself at a women's rights convention in 1851. I will never be as I was before I heard that delivery. Here it is in it's entirety taken from Duane and Eva Bristow's (neighbors) family webpage.

"Sojourner walked to the podium and slowly took off her sunbonnet. Her six-foot frame towered over the audience. She began to speak in her deep, resonant voice: "Well, children, where there is so much racket, there must be something out of kilter, I think between the Negroes of the South and the women of the North - all talking about rights - the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this talking about?"

Sojourner pointed to one of the ministers. "That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody helps me any best place. And ain't I a woman?"

Sojourner raised herself to her full height. "Look at me! Look at my arm." She bared her right arm and flexed her powerful muscles. "I have plowed, I have planted and I have gathered into barns. And no man could head me. And ain't I a woman?"

"I could work as much, and eat as much as man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne children and seen most of them sold into slavery, and when I cried out with a mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me. And ain't I a woman?"

The women in the audience began to cheer wildly.

She pointed to another minister. "He talks about this thing in the head. What's that they call it?"

"Intellect," whispered a woman nearby.

"That's it, honey. What's intellect got to do with women's rights or black folks' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half-measure full?"

"That little man in black there! He says women can't have as much rights as men. ‘Cause Christ wasn't a woman. She stood with outstretched arms and eyes of fire. "Where did your Christ come from?"

"Where did your Christ come from?", she thundered again. "From God and a Woman! Man had nothing to do with him!"

The entire church now roared with deafening applause.

"If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right-side up again. And now that they are asking to do it the men better let them.""

There is no transcription of the actual speech but Frances Dana Gage's version is the generally accepted one, even though there is some controversy about her version because she did not write it up until 1863.

Books by Sojourner Truth


This Far by Faith-PBS series

The Art of Truth Gallery

The Narrative of Sojourner Truth Awesome!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Blog for Fair Pay Day 2009

Click the title link to be taken to Womenstake the blog for the National Women's Law Center. There you can follow what people are saying on twitter and get the list of blogs who have participated so far today. I'm sick. I have plenty to say but just don't have the brain power, besides I'm sure on that list there are plenty of blog posts that express my feelings on the matter. Thanks.

Monday, April 27, 2009

100 All-Time Best Productivity Tips for Working & Learning from Home

Was referred to this by an email from the Best Universities/Top Ten Online Colleges site Normally I stay away from online colleges because they will kill your email box and clog up your phone line trying to recruit you but if I could live my life this way I would be set :)

"If you work at home, you know that the dream of having a home office can quickly turn into a nightmare of distraction and an unhealthy work-life balance if you don’t keep your productivity under control. By following some of these simple tips, you can help ensure that your home office is a productive one. Read on, and you’ll learn 100 of the best tips for getting things done at home, whether you’re working or learning.

Office space

Keep these tips in mind when settling into your office or learning space at home.

1. Set aside a space: Create a designated space, preferably a room to be your workspace.
2. Physically separate yourself: Train your mind to set yourself apart from your home life when working: close your door, and separate yourself from the rest of the house.
3. Invest in a good chair: Get a mesh backed or leather chair to support your back.
4. Pick a quiet spot: It’s obvious, but important. Set your home office up in an area that will be away from the distractions of home.
5. Highlight your accomplishments: Surround yourself with the things you’ve done — diplomas, important photographs, and other reminders of your success.
6. Create a bright and cheerful environment: Make your home office cheerful to avoid stress and stay happy throughout the day.
7. Use a laptop: With a laptop, you have the freedom to work anywhere you’d like to.
8. Have a separate computer: Use a separate computer for work and leisure.
9. Get out: Go to a coffee shop, the beach, anywhere you can get good work done for a change of pace.
10. Put plants in your office: Soak up stagnant air by keeping plants in your office.
11. Use caller ID: See who is calling and avoid answering for telemarketers or others who will waste your time.
12. Keep a dry erase board: Use a dry erase board to keep your tasks and reminders in easy view.
13. Keep things clean: A tidy desk will help control stress and keep you more productive.
14. Consider a standing desk: With a standing desk, you can stay more alert and active in your work day.
15. Stay away from your couch: Sit at a desk rather than working from your couch or bed.
16. Set boundaries: Make sure that those in your home know when you’re working and that you’re not to be bothered.
17. Clear your desk of nonessentials: Put away everything you don’t really need.
18. Get a great coffee maker: Many people love using coffee to boost productivity, so invest in a high quality coffee maker.
19. Use noise canceling headphones: Keep noise and distraction out by using headphones that keep things quiet.
20. Use a separate phone: With a separate phone line, you can keep personal calls to a minimum during your working hours.


Practice these good habits to stay productive and happy in your home office.

21. Get dressed: Every day, bathe and make yourself presentable enough for a surprise visitor or trip out of your home so you’ll be ready for anything.
22. Stay logged out: Avoid logging into IM, social media sites, and other distractions.
23. Carefully separate work and personal life: Don’t get sucked into working around the clock when you’re at home.
24. Create rituals: Give yourself a daily signal that it’s time to start working.
25. Eat first: Don’t fall victim to low blood sugar — eat before you start working.
26. Get ready for the day: Practice good grooming — change out of your pajamas, have a shower, and breakfast before you get down to work.
27. Commit to tasks: Don’t let yourself slack off if you’re having a rough day, or you may find that you just can’t get anything done.
28. Give yourself a weekly review: Every week, take time to think about what you’ve gotten done.
29. Use distraction reducing tools: Make use of tools that will clear your digital desktop of everything that’s not important.
30. Turn your phone off: Turn off your phone when you need to minimize distractions.
31. Simplify everything: Focus only on what really matters.

Time management

Use these tips to make sure time doesn’t get away from you.

32. Set time boundaries for online use: Limit your online use by setting specific times when you’ll be available to chat and check websites.
33. Keep regular hours: Carefully schedule which hours you’ll work, and which hours are personal time.
34. Work when you’re most productive: If you’re most productive around 1AM, schedule your most important work for that time.
35. Give yourself limits: Always have a finish line for when you have to stop working.
36. Do important tasks early: Take care of important tasks before you get hit by the lunchtime slump.
37. Take sprints: When your timer is ticking, focus and work in a sprinting mode.
38. Schedule fun time: Take time to do the things you enjoy on a set schedule.
39. Unplug and work on battery power: Create a sense of urgency to get things done by working on battery power, where time is limited.
40. Use timers: Give yourself short times to do a frenzy of work by setting a timer.
41. Group your errands: Keep your out-of-office time to a minimum by doing as many errands as you can at one time.
42. Keep emails short and sweet: Master the art of the five-sentence email.
43. Just do it: Practice willpower and keep yourself on track to just getting things done.
44. Be a good boss to yourself: Don’t let yourself become a slacker, but don’t make yourself a slave to work either.
45. Give yourself deadlines: Make yourself accountable by setting hard deadlines for getting things done.
46. Check email on a schedule: Check email just twice a day to keep it from taking over your online life.
47. Get up early: If you start working at noon, you’ll feel cheated and sluggish when 5:00 comes around and you want to stop working.
48. Use short bursts of productivity: Give yourself just a small time of focused work activity to get things done.
49. Ignore distractions: Stay away from your inbox, Twitter, TV, and other things that demand your time.
50. Track your time: Use a time tracking tool to stay on top of what you’re getting done and when you’re doing it.
51. Take breaks: Don’t let yourself get sucked into work. Remember to refresh yourself with breaks every hour or so.


Follow these tips to help your organization breed productivity.

52. Keep lists: Keep lists that detail daily tasks, hopeful tasks, and anytime tasks.
53. Write things down: Write everything down right as you think of it.
54. Keep a calendar: Stay on top of what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it.
55. Get your to-do list out of your email: Stay organized by keeping all of your tasks in one place.
56. Create a tickler system: Use a tickler system to make sure you stay on top of important tasks and events coming up.
57. Designate days for tasks: Do certain things on specific days to stay on track.
58. Carefully process tasks and information: Have a place for items in your notes and inboxes.
59. Keep notes handy: You never know when inspiration will strike, so keep a notepad at the ready.
60. Keep files: Minimize clutter by creating simple files you’ll actually use.


A happy work environment is a productive one, so follow these tips to make sure you’re happy with your work at home.

61. Go out for lunch every once in a while: Even if you mostly eat at home for lunch, it’s good to get out and visit with a friend or colleague occasionally.
62. Remember what it’s like to work in an office: Be grateful that you get to work at home!
63. Listen to music: Keep your creativity flowing with upbeat music throughout the day.
64. Stop working: When your work is done, leave it and don’t come back until the next day. Make notes for yourself if you need to remember something.
65. Work in a group: Study or work with a group of people to support each other.
66. Just say no: If you don’t have the time or resources to do a task, just don’t do it.
67. Get out and enjoy the weather: Take advantage of your flexible schedule and carve out some time to enjoy the weather or special events that you otherwise wouldn’t get if you were working in an office.
68. Do what you love: Do what you love, and you won’t mind working.
69. Reward yourself: When you’ve finished an important task, reward yourself with something quick but enjoyable, like a walk around the block or a check on social media sites.
70. Watch TV: Take advantage of the fact that you can work when you choose, and do what you like at certain times during the day.
71. Develop relationships: Nurture connections and network.
72. Make time for others: Respond to emails, and keep in touch with people.
73. Remember to be grateful: Say thank you to your clients, coworkers, employers, and other people you may work with regularly.


Follow these workflow tips to keep everything running smoothly.

74. Outsource: Whenever possible, get someone else to do work for you, like a bookkeeper or delivery service.
75. Stop multitasking: Multitasking is inefficient — focus on one thing at a time.
76. Do your hardest work first: Tackle the work that you’d most like to put off early on, so you won’t be dreading it all day.
77. Set priorities: Keep in mind the tasks that are most important in order to prioritize your day.
78. Take small steps: Don’t try to tackle a huge task all at once: break it down into small, manageable tasks.
79. Make your online life simpler: Reduce the amount of time you spend online by simplifying.
80. Learn to let go: You don’t have to be a perfectionist — just get things done.
81. Make it easy to get started: Give yourself a small way to start up a task.
82. Eliminate unnecessary tasks: Just say no to things you don’t really need to do.
83. Use technology: Fully utilize web meetings, email, and voicemail to communicate effectively.
84. Give yourself daily goals: Have specific goals in mind for every work day.
85. Create an action plan every evening: Before you stop working every day, plan out what you’re going to do the next day.


Working or studying from home is a special challenge to parents of young children. Follow these tips to stay productive.

86. Hire a babysitter: Consider child care, even if it’s just for limited hours.
87. Make naptime work time: Use your child’s nap times to get work done.
88. Keep your children occupied: Set up an area for your child to play with lots of toys, or even a mini office for them to imitate you working.
89. Take turns: If you and your spouse both work or study at home, switch off times when one works while the other watches over children.
90. Work late at night: If your schedule can handle it, get your work done when the house is asleep.
91. Manage your interruptions: If your baby starts crying, instead of immediately running to tend to it, take a few seconds to write down the task you were on or the thought you were forming, so you can get right back on track.


Follow these tips to keep yourself healthy and productive while working or learning at home.

92. Stay active: Make sure you take time to be active throughout the day, whether it’s a morning walk with your dog, or a trip to the gym.
93. Give your eyes a break: About ten minutes of every hour, your eyes need to be away from your computer.
94. Keep water at your desk: Stay hydrated and healthy by always keeping water to drink at your desk.
95. Fidget: Don’t stay perfectly still when working at your desk.
96. Stretch: Sitting at your desk all day or all night can take a toll on your body, so be sure to get up and stretch every now and then.
97. Eat a full lunch: Don’t just snack throughout the day; take the time to sit down and have a healthy lunch.
98. Stand up for phone calls: Whenever you get a phone call, get up and walk around the house.
99. Take a micronap: Doze off for a few minutes and wake up refreshed, ready to tackle your work.
100. Be careful not to munch all day: Avoid eating all day while you’re distracted with work: stop to eat instead of multitasking."

Then there was this one that came today from 15 iPhone Apps Created by College Students in case your interested.

As someone who has speculated about a masters program for social workers online I can tell you're pretty much screwed. There are programs out there just be sure that the program is CSWE approved before you invest anything or you will have invested your time and your money and not be able to get a master license.