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AlyoshaKaramazov had an interesting diary yesterday where he proposed that we share uplifting thoughts or stories that celebrate what we stand for as well as focusing on our problems. So here is my story ... I had started it and then just left it in the drafts because it is a little cheesy.

I had a birthday earlier this month ... the almost perfect birthday. I got cards and calls from my children and friends ... but my birth family ignored it so I did not have to be polite, do the pretty with them and then be upset all day. So it was a good day ... I got my hair done, my daughter took me and her ninth month old twins to the zoo in OKC and then to supper. It was low key and relaxed just the way I like to celebrate things.

When I turned 50, I went to a seminar on "Death and Grieving" and joined AARP. I thought it hilarious to thumb my nose at age and convention and say "Here I am! Fat, sassy and 50! Woo hoo

This time, I reached the magic age of 65 ... and my real celebration. I went to a Medicare first appointment ... and it cost me nothing, $0, zip!!! Then I got my prescriptions and those cost me $73.  Double woohoo! It was wonderful.

For the previous 6 years, I had been uninsured and paying out of pocket for my meds and my medical care. I worried every month about how things were going to work since my meds had been going up and up ... not because they were new meds but because the manufacturers could up the price whenever they wanted. It was such a relief to know that for a set amount (including the donut hole), I could rest easy about my medical care.  It was liberating ... I could make plans and even hope that I could achieve them. It was the best.

Then BOOM! Paul Ryan comes back to say that Social Security and Medicare need to be on the table for the government shutdown and the debt ceiling talks! Was that a downer ... just when you think you might be OK for a while, the Rethugs want to kick me behind my knees and bring me down. This wasn't so great.

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Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:16 PM PDT

My Church and Syria

by CorinaR

This will be a hit and run diary but I am so proud of my church that I had to share with you.

Today the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) put out an action alert urging members to contact congress about Syria. He explains:

Yesterday I received a letter from the General Secretary of the General Synod of the Synod of Syria and Lebanon, and he writes, “We urge the international powers to refrain from the use of power against Syria, as any strike from the U.S.A. or any other power will only multiply the suffering and the human destruction. We appeal to all who are able, by the name of the God of love, to help bring violence to an end. Help the Syrians to come together and together build a new Syria.”
And reminds us about the statements the General Assembly made about Syria when it met last summer.
* To support a mediated process of the cessation of violence by all perpetrators,
* To call for outside parties to cease all forms of intervention in Syria,
* To support a necessary and strong role for the United Nations, and
* To refrain from military intervention in Syria
He also urges us to pray.

I don't have any comments, but I did want to share.

I have added a link to the letter from General Secretary of the General Synod of the Synod of Syria and Lebanon. It is a very powerful letter. I hope the link works.

Discuss

Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 11:53 PM PDT

In the Land of Sarin

by CorinaR

                                                WARNING:  Triggers
My daughter sent this to me.  Her friend N posted it on her Facebook page.  N is a pediatric cardiologist who is with an organization like Doctors without Borders, is presently serving in Africa and was last in Palestine. This a video about the deaths caused by the use of sarin gas in Damascus Syria.  It is gut wrenching. I have posted it as a link so you can choose whether to watch it or not.  It is only 3 minutes long, but it will make you weep.

"https://www.facebook.com/...

As my daughter said, "As a mother, it broke my heart. As a human it seared my soul."

This is what war does ...  what the greed for power and control does ... what happens when you see people, the least and the weakest, as collateral damage.

We must weep for them and mourn. We must work to prevent this inhumanity.

Thank you for bearing with me as I weep.

Discuss

A friend is in Dallas today and ran into a scary group at the hotel where she is staying ... the Heritage Action Sentinel Program, HASP (catchy acronym, wouldn't you say for gatekeepers to protect "our heritage").  Apparently "Thousands of Americans Joined Heritage Action’s Defund Obamacare Town Hall in Dallas" according to their PR story. My friend has been through some scary things ... was unwed single mother at 16, begged her way back into school and graduated, went to college and got a couple of graduate degrees, a couple of nasty divorces, a stalker, works for the state department. Did I mention she is AA, a proud woman of color who has made her way in this life. Not much scares her, but she thought this group was scary.

According to their website:

We take the conservative policy visions outlined by our sister organization, The Heritage Foundation, and make them a reality. We ensure members of Congress hear directly from their constituents, including over 700,000 members of The Heritage Foundation and millions of others around the country who believe in our principles and share our vision of America’s future.
To accomplish this, the do nifty things like give people points for six different categories
 Here are the categories and some example work in each:
•Local: going to meetings and building your local conservative network.
•Media: letters to the editor, radio call ins, Op-Eds.
•Congress: call, email, or meet with your Members of Congress.
•Recruit: invite others to become Sentinels and earn 10% of their points.
•Online: Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and comments on heritageaction.com.
•Other: working for conservative accountability? Earn Sentinel points.
In order to remain a part of the Sentinel super doper merit based club, you have to have so many points each year.  

It seems that the Heritage Foundation has figured out how to appeal to people with limited lives that want to feel important and useful and to be a part of something BIG. It's a little scary that I can understand how they recruit and keep people and that I can even sympathize with their victims who are scared that they will become the next victims ... but they do not understand their present status and that the devil comes in fine clothes with sweet lies and not in the scary liberal hippy dippy guise that they fear.

The Sentinel organization has training sessions in many different places ... I noticed Texas, Virginia, the Carolinas, etc. I imagine it is nothing new but they do make it sound attractive and it seems as if people are so ready listen to nonsense if it makes they feel better. And people like my friend and me find them scary and just walk around and away from them.

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Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 08:12 AM PDT

Sticker Shock ... with Update

by CorinaR

This is a short diary because I am in shock.

Yesterday I refilled two of my prescriptions ...  Levemir Flex-Pen and Novalog Flex-Pen.  Both are insulin and I have been taking them since 2007.  Since I am not yet 65 and have had no insurance since January 2008 and no longer qualify for charity meds and hated the begging for drugs process, I have been paying for them out of pocket (mostly, although I do have the Walgreen card which saves me a little bit on scripts).

When I went to pick up my scripts, I found out that the Novlog had gone from about $250 to $329 since I bought it last about 2 months ago. Since I had started buying it, it had gradually been going up, $10 here, $20 there but $80 in a single bound was a rather stiff jump.

I understand the need for profit and for research dollars, but I don't understand how the price for an established medicine goes up so much so suddenly. Is this a new way to undermine the establishment of the new health care law (I don't like "Obamacare" and can't ever remember the acronym) or a way of killing off indigent sick people?

I imagine that for people that have other diseases and take super expensive drugs, this might be small potatoes but it was not for me. Still, it seems rather odd that a well established drug that has not had any changes in formula, delivery system or even the design of the box should increase in price so seemingly arbitrarily and suddenly.

The good news is that I turn 65 in October and will have medical and drug coverage again. The bad news is that I fear all drugs will increase in price until those of us on the edge will fall completely off.

Thanks for letting me vent ... I am still not over the sticker shock.

UPDATE

The mystery has been solved thanks to etbnc who linked me to this story U.S. Insulin Prices Rise as Sanofi, Novo Nordisk Await Rivals in BloombergBusinessWeek.

Discuss

Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 09:34 AM PDT

Reading

by CorinaR

Lately, I have been thinking about reading:  what we read, why we read, how we respond to what we read, how/whether our world is shaped by what we read.

I grew up very poor ... we had a flush toilet but it was outside and three houses shared it. We had no television until I was 12 and no telephone until I was about 18. My first language was Spanish as was my mother's (first and mostly only language). She dropped out of 3rd grade when she was still in Mexico.  My father went all the way to 8th grade and he as very proud of that. My parents had good brains but did not value learning, so ours was not an educated household and reading was pretty much non existent. (Much later, my favorite memory of my mother is when she was 93 and visiting me.  I came home to find her on the couch reading Hilary Clinton's autobiography, the Spanish-English dictionary on one side, her cane and Webster's on the other. She too had discovered reading!).

I still remember the thrill of reading my first book ... not just looking at the pictures or remembering or making up what the pages were supposed to say, but actually seeing the letters, putting them together into words, stringing the words into sentences and then making sense of the whole thing -- the picture expended by the sentences and the pages connected to make a story.  It was the most thrilling experience of my life.  

I became an avid reader but our house had very little in the way of reading material, no newspapers or books, the few books (the Bible and hymnals) were in Spanish; moreover, at 7 years old, I had not yet learned about the public library. So I read whatever I could find ... labels on cans, on boxes, the little care instructions on items from the store, signs on the walls of places we happened to pass. My father's boss gave him an old set of Compton's picture encyclopedias for children and an old dictionary ... so I read the encyclopedia and the dictionary.  I had a great vocabulary for an 8 year old, too bad that I could not read the diacritical markings and could not pronounce them (I still have trouble with the spoken words).

When I discovered the library, I went crazy -- reading at least a book a day, sometimes more when the moon was full and I could get to the window and read by the moonlight. When I got my textbooks at the beginning of the school year, I would read them from cover to cover, and then re-read as assigned during the year.

I read and had no life outside of my assigned chores and my imagination ... I had no friends and mostly escaped my family by reading (since I was the identified victim and life was dreary and often emotionally numbing).  I hid in the tree in our backyard to read and escape from the reality of my life. In my imagination, I flew to wonderful exotic places where there was no strife, where I was loved and a vital part of the scene, where I was witty and respected and understood. The harder my life became, the more I read.

By the time I was 13, I had read Fanny Hill an erotic novel published around 1750.  I have no idea how I got a hold of it, but I read it and knew that I should not tell anyone that I had it. I did not really understand what Fanny was experiencing, but knew it was my naughty secret, and I had so few things that were my own.  I also read War and Peace.  Again, I understood enough to know that I did not understand but was determined to read every last word ... and so I did.

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This is  a short diary. A friend who teaches Chicano Studies posted this article from HuffPo http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... and I thought I would share. The article is worth reading and if you have not watched the PBS documentary A Class Apart, it is well worth looking up. (Link is further down)

Frequently we forget our heroes, especially those that were early in the fight.  Gus Garcia is one of those.  Every Mexican American and most Hispanics should know his name and his story ... unfortunately it is not a story that is told often, neither is it a story that is in any history book. Mostly Hispanics tend not to be noticed, as the article states:

The fact that he [Gus Garcia]is not a household name is no surprise to us.

We register on the American Imagination in three phases.

First, we are invisible.

Then, we are vilified.

Then, we are accepted, but as only a consumer group.

We are never imagined as Intellectuals. This step is key to fully entering the American Imagination. But we are at a point in history where we can achieve this, and the story of Gus Garcia is powerful and tragic enough to get us there.

In 1954, Garcia argued and won the landmark case, Hernandez v. Texas, which established Mexican Americans as a protected class and served as a vital precedent for civil rights. He died in 1965, on a bench in Ben Milan Park in San Antonio, homeless, suffering from alcoholism and mental illness.

One of the comments was from a relative:

rubiograce

22 hours ago (10:21 PM)

Mr. Gus (Arguindegui) Garcia was my Uncle. My Father, Homero (Arguindegui) Rubio looked so much like him. They were both originally from Laredo,TX. I wish I could personally thank Eva Longoria for buying the rights to make this film. I am also from Corpus Christi,TX. His story has a sad ending but what he did and how he stood and defended the Mexican Americans was heroic. During the trial he needed to use the bathroom and was told the bathroom for Blacks and Mexicans was in the basement. The bathroom on the same floor was for the White folks only! How about that!

Apparently, Eva Longoria wants to make a movie of his life possibly based on the PBS documentary A Class Apart http://www.pbs.org/... and Texas Senator Sylvia Garcia wants to name this Saturday, July 27, the first annual Gus Garcia Day. There are some events scheduled in Houston.

I will leave you with a quote from Gus Garcia when he first went to argue his case before the Supreme Court:

The Justices asked: "Can Mexican Americans speak English?' and "Are they citizens?"

It was Gus Garcia who set the tone of the proceedings with his now famous reply, "My people were in Texas a hundred years before Sam Houston, that wetback from Tennessee."

Sorry I have to post and run but I am taking care of 7 month old twins and running ragged.
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This is a true story about Hilda the Fish.  Hilda was an Oscar, a gold and black South American fish that is very popular for aquariums.  

Some time ago, when Clinton was still president, my teenage son had a tutor for German.  She was a German woman who went to the same church we did and loved my son ... he takes after his Schultz grandmother in looks and wanted to learn German ... so he and Hilda were close. Oh, he also loved fish ... to keep, not to eat.

Hilda's daughter was moving out of state and had some fish that she could not move, so Hilda offered them to my son instead of throwing them out. Of course, he said yes. So his trusty mom drove him over to get the fish.

Thus begins the story of Hilda the fish.

Poll

What do you think is the moral of this story?

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| 10 votes | Vote | Results

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:37 AM PST

Just What is Happening?

by CorinaR

I don't normally get involved in meta diaries and I try to stay away from pie fights ... I am simply not clever enough or involved enough.   BUT what is happening?  Both Jim and Melanie in IA are now banned????!?!

I don't understand the rules and  certainly don't understand what happened.  But right now I feel as if something is going on below the surface or behind the scenes and it feels rather unpleasant. Were they secret trolls, embedded spys, or do they have the cooties in some way?

Can someone please clarify what Jim and Melanie did and why they were banned when they always seemed like pleasant and rather innocuous (for want of a better word) people.

Are we even allowed to ask questions?

I wait with bated breath to see if this also gets banned ... it would seem part of this pattern.

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Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:49 AM PST

Dogs Can Be So Clever

by CorinaR

Like most of us here, I have been hyperventilating about the fiscal cliff, the GOP internecine struggles, the Progressive dislike of the current compromise, the inequality of our system, global warming.  It is understandable since I I am here and I care ... damn it. BUT, I need a break. So let me tell you about my clever dogs.

Some background first.  I live with my daughter (long sob story about how my wonderful daughter took me in has been told) who had twins on December 14.  Right now, I help her take care of the babies when she lets me (for she is jealous mom) and I will be nanny when she goes back to work.

So what does this have to do with our clever dogs other than giving me an opportunity to play with images in diaries and post a picture of my grandchildren?
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Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 07:08 AM PST

Gift subscription ... Oh, my!

by CorinaR

A short diary to say thanks ... but since my gift elf is "An anonymous benefactor,"  my only option is to say thanks to all.

Last year when al the gift subscription push was going on, I held back because I had been taught that I should not put myself forward and that accepting charity was wrong.  I can still hear my father's voice saying "I would rather let my family go hungry than accept charity."  So I have made do ... and clearly seeing a few ads was not a big price for the pleasure of being here, reading and learning and being a part (insignificant) of this wonderful community.

Then this morning, I found the email in my mail box.  A gift from someone who is both generous and thoughtful. I opened DKos to get my morning jolt ... and no ads!  I did not know what I was missing.  Thank you for thinking of me.

Thank you, muchas gracias, merci,  eskerrik asko, nitsíniiyi'taki, gràsce, doh je, moltes gràcies, si yu'os ma'ase', tak, lac jak, dank je wel, dankon, mahd-lob, efcharisto, yaddung jee, yaddung jee, toda, dhanyawaad, askwali, köszönöm, go raibh maith agat, nihwee-deebiru, chjóonte, kúta'ùná, tlazohcamati, ahéhee', obrigada, najis tuke, spasibo

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Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 06:25 PM PDT

Crafty People Please Avoid Hobby Lobby

by CorinaR

For those of us who like to do crafts or sew or just think about that sort of project, Hobby Lobby has sometimes been a convenient place. For me it was the only place in town until very recently.

I have never been very happy with them because they push the envelope about being "Christian" somewhat like Chick-fil A.  I once thought I might enjoy working there until I picked up one of their applications which required me to sign a statement that I would not ever attempt collective bargaining and other good things.

Now, they have filled a law suit so that they do not have to provide "the morning after pill" to their employees because it would violate their religious liberty.

According to Think Progress ( http://thinkprogress.org/... )

Hobby Lobby, a large chain of crafts stores owned by conservative evangelical Christians, filed a federal lawsuit against the contraception mandate today, claiming they should have the right to deny coverage for emergency contraception to over 13,000 employees across 40 states. Hobby Lobby’s owners, the Green family, claim the Obamacare requirement to provide employer-based coverage for that contraceptive service violates their freedom of religion and speech
The story is also covered in  Bloomberg BusinessWeek News(http://www.businessweek.com/...).  Locally, WPEC-TV in Oklahoma City carried the story (http://cbs12.com/...).
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, alleges the Health and Human Services mandate is unconstitutional and requests an injunction to prohibit it from being enforced. Hobby Lobby is self-insured and will be required to comply with the mandate by Jan. 1, the start of its health insurance plan year.

"We are confident that the court will act quickly," said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in Washington, which represents Hobby Lobby. Duncan said 27 other lawsuits have been filed nationwide over the mandate, mostly by nonprofit groups.

"This mandate violates the religious liberty of millions of Americans," Duncan said. "The government has turned a deaf ear to the rights of business owners."

Duncan said the lawsuit does not challnge rules regarding other preventive birth control measures.

Hobby Lobby calls itself a "biblically founded business" that is closed on Sundays. Founded in 1972, the company now operates more than 500 stores in 41 states and employs more than 13,000 people.

The lawsuit also was filed on behalf of another of the Green family's businesses, Mardel, Inc., a bookstore and education company also based in Oklahoma City that sells a variety of Christian-themed materials. The company operates 35 stores in seven states and has 372 full-time employees.

It is election time and our energies need to be there, but we also need to be aware of how women are being undermined everywhere.
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