This is a followup diary to the one I posted last week, which was itself a followup to the one in January (please see these for more details). Longtime Sacramento-area kossack aitchdee found herself disabled by rheumatoid arthritis, unable to work, and facing immediate tax auction of her modest condo. Serious roof leaks had consumed her savings and now made it impossible to sell the condo for enough to pay the tax liability, so she turned to us fearing that she was about to become homeless.
The good advice she received here helped her file the correct form of bankruptcy just in time. This does NOT discharge her tax debt, but it forces the county to wait one year before the auction. Meanwhile, she's received assistance from another expert kossack in completing her application for SSDI benefits, and is thought to have a good chance of success (because she is so obviously ill in ways that interest SSA). Now, she needs financial help to keep going for the estimated 4-5 weeks until she gets a response. (If the response is negative, she's in trouble and she knows it, but if she is accepted, then she can figure out how to find a living situation that's affordable for her once she loses the condo.)
If you can help at all, now or in a week or two or three, please continue below the fold to learn how. She is so close to being okay, and even small amounts can help her eat, feed pets, keep the lights and water on, get the expired car registration renewed -- all life's expenses that do not wait just because there is no income. And if you have nothing to spare, please consider helping with recs, republishes, mention in open threads, and social media shares and tweets, to help us reach others who might have more resources.
Reposted from ProgressiveLiberal by rebel ga
President Obama appeared at the White House Correspondents' Dinner this weekend. The president was self-deprecating at times. He continued to milk the "Obama as a foreign Muslim" angle to loud laughter and applause. He also bragged some about the success of Obamacare.
It was immediately evident that President Obama is well aware of all the attacks levied against him by right wingers. This was his time to hit back. And hit back he did. "A few weeks ago Dick Cheney said he thinks I'm the worst president of his lifetime," President Obama said. "Which is interesting because I think Dick Cheney is the worst president of my lifetime." It seems President Obama was watching Jon Stewart's takedown of Dick Cheney on this one.
"Just this week Michele Bachmann actually predicted that I would bring about the biblical end of days," President Obama said. "Now that's a legacy. That's big. I mean Lincoln, Washington, they didn't do that." The president also slammed Huckabee for telling folks not to serve in the military till he was out of office.
The room got a bit shocked and uncomfortable when President Obama took a well-deserved swipe at CNN. "I want to thank our host for the evening," President Obama said. "A Chicago girl. The incredibly talented Cecily Strong. On Saturday Night Live Cecily impersonates CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin which is surprising, because usually the only people impersonating journalists on CNN are journalists on CNN."
The president gave a shoutout to ABC and its new show Blackish. He had a warning however. "I have to give ABC fair warning," President Obama said. "Being blackish only makes you popular for so long. Trust me. There is a shelf life to that thing."
The President made fun of the Koch Brothers-dependent Republicans. He made fun of a self-centered Ted Cruz.
President Obama brought Luther, his anger translator to the podium. Their combined performance was epic as the president brought up some serious issues in a rather funny and Saturday Night Live-like manner. Near the end the president encouraged the press to do their jobs. He said our democracy depended on it.
The Support the Dream Defenders group saw the cruelty of Red State governors and legislatures refusing to expand Medicaid. Thousands of people are needlessly in pain, filing for bankruptcy, and dying. Republicans have no sound moral or financial reason for blocking Medicaid expansion.
Note: This is a community diary with contributions from many members of the Support the Dream Defenders group.
1. WHAT WE ARE DOING.
We decided to turn the klieg lights on the governors and legislators - the culprits - by sending Freedom of Information Act requests to each state. Our purpose is to create a national story that is pre-packaged and ready to air by Rachel Maddow, Melissa Harris-Perry, or Al Jazeera America.
Most of the FOIA requests that we sent out went to the Republican governor of that specific state. In states with a Democratic governor, we sent the document requests to the state legislator who joyously boasted about blocking Medicaid Expansion to the media.
Our FOIA requests were simple. We requested the following documents:
1. All documents (i.e. evidence) that show what you, the Governor, have done to find out how many people you are killing because you Refuse to Expand Medicaid.
2. All documents that show what you, the Governor, have done to find out how many people you are bankrupting because you Refuse to Expand Medicaid.
3. A summary document showing how many people without health insurance have been to a hospital or clinic in your state over the last 12 months.
As you can see from the responses screengrabbed below, not a single one of these Governors cares enough to even try to find out how many people they are killing and/or bankrupting in their state. (To read these letters, it may help you to open each image in a new Tab and then zoom in on the text.)
Maine: Response from the Maine governor in the form of a letter stating that his office is doing nothing to find out how many people he is killing and bankrupting because of his refusal to Expand Medicaid:
Tennessee: Response from the Tennessee governor in the form of a letter stating that his office is doing nothing to find out how many people he is killing and bankrupting because of his refusal to Expand Medicaid:
Georgia: Response from the Georgia Governor in the form of a letter stating that his office is doing nothing to find out how many people he is killing and bankrupting because of his refusal to Expand Medicaid:
South Carolina: Response from the South Carolina Governor in the form of a letter stating that her office is doing nothing to find out how many people she is killing and bankrupting because of her refusal to Expand Medicaid:
Wisconsin: Response from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in the form of a letter stating that his office is doing nothing to find out how many people he is killing and bankrupting because of his refusal to Expand Medicaid:
Missouri: Response from the Missouri senate in the form of a letter stating that they are doing nothing to find out how many people they are killing and bankrupting because of their refusal to Expand Medicaid
Wyoming: And here's the outlier so far, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead's legal counsel apparently advised him to deny that the Office of the Governor of Wyoming is where you are to find records involving the Office of the Governor of Wyoming. In other words, the Office of the Governor of Wyoming does not have any records of the Office of the Governor of Wyoming. [Eye-roll.] We may have to sue the Governor of Wyoming!
Here are copies of all the return receipts for the FOIA requests that we have sent thus far:
As these responses continue to roll in, we will keep the daily kos community posted to what progress is being made. In the interim, it is time for some good news about Health Care!
2. OBAMACARE SAVES LIVES!
On March 25, President Barack Obama explained to the nation, in remarks intended to celebrate the fifth anniversary of ObamaCare, how this law is saving lives. That's not something we didn't already know. Only a Republican would suggest that health care has little or nothing to do with health.
What stood out from his remarks was his claim that 50,000 "preventable deaths" have not happened since enactment of the law. ObamaCare is working, and it is saving lives.
Of course, since the number sounded so reasonable given the millions who now have health care for the first time and the prevalence of high blood pressures, heart diseases, diabetes and cancers in the population, it could not possibly be true!
"That doesn't sound at all like the Death Panels we were told to look for," said every Republican who heard about the President's speech. Well, Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post did a fact check of that number and ended up giving the claim a ...
The "Geppetto Checkmark," of course, is exactly the opposite of a rating of "Pinocchio." About as truthful as you get.
Now, think about the number of people needlessly dying every year because Republican Governors and state legislatures refuse to Expand Medicaid. If we can fight back and force Republican governors to Expand Medicaid, we would see another eight million people getting health care, and save another 17,000 lives annually. And that, my friends, is a fight worth having.
h/t to nightcat for the excellent diary linked above and here.
Sales have been abysmal. I need to raise funds because I do have more book ideas. I also love the hunt of finding news stories and having a reasonable regular income will facilitate my bringing you the freshest news, yes I do screw up sometimes; a product of my exuberance mostly. So please if you would like to participate in enabiling me to continue writing please consider donating:
♥For My Grandfather Michael Murphy♥ He worked on the Central Railroad, in Jersey City, NJ (100 years ago). Unloading box cars with a big hook.
He and his fellow workers, sweltered in the summer and froze in the winter! Videos
My Mother told me that when she was a little girl, the young guys who hung out on the street corner of her Montgomery Street; Jersey City neighborhood would always ask her, "Mary Murphy, what nationality are you?"
And she'd always say, "Proud Irish!"
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
USCIS will secure America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information, granting immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship.
Castle Garden From August 1, 1855 through April 18, 1890, immigrants arriving in the state of New York came through Castle Garden. America's first official immigrant examining and processing center, Castle Garden welcomed approximately 8 million immigrants.
Castle Garden; (Castle Clinton or Fort Clinton), was once a circular sandstone fort, located in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, New York City, in the United States. It subsequently became a beer garden, an exhibition hall, a theater, the first immigration station (predating Ellis Island) and finally a national monument. 26 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005-1996 (212) 344-7220
Show this video to The House and Senate. Lets see if it doesn't make even the republicans cry.(Got the idea from a Kossack who commented in one of my diaries that this song makes her cry. I looked but can't find their name).
I finally just got a chance to watch it all the way through and it makes me sentimental too.
So I figured, lets try it out on the gop and see if it makes any changes in their way of thinking.
At least; maybe we can get a couple of them, to cry. I know, I'm so bad! (revenge for gop cuts in social services to the poorest).
Get someone you know to sign the petition too. If everyone signs and has a friend sign the petition, we can reach the goal of 100,000!
Every additional signature, further impacts the Native Foster Care discussion in Washington DC.
The petition can influence potential funding that would be essential for South Dakota’s Tribes to move forward to develop Child and Family Service Programs!
With significant help from A Positive Tomorrow, two South Dakota tribes have been awarded Title IV-E Federal Planning Grants, each worth $300,000, to begin planning the infrastructure of their own child and family planning service programs. This is a great victory for the Standing Rock and Oglala Sioux Tribes as they can now create a foster care run by Lakota, for Lakota children.
In addition to this, five other tribes have applied for the Title IV-E Grants this year, and although they have not received such grants, the Lakota People's Law Project has not lost hope and will be calling an inter-agency meeting with the Department of Justice, the Department of Interior, and Health and Human Services in Washington DC later this month. At this meeting, the funds will be requested so that Lower Brule, Flandreau, Crow Creek, Cheyenne River, and Yankton tribes can begin the process towards the creation of their own foster care system.
Thank you to everyone who has signed the petition. 50,000 Signatures, so far!
This short film; “Hearts on the Ground.” Film director; Kalyanee Mam, documents South Dakota’s Forced Taking of Lakota Children. Free the Lakota Children!
The video, is at the center of a new “Bring Lakota Children Home” Campaign. The epidemic of child taking by the State of South Dakota is tearing thousands of Lakota Sioux families apart.
The campaign, on behalf of thousands of Lakota Sioux families whose children have illegally and forcibly been removed from their families and tribes, demands that President Obama compel the Department of Justice to enforce the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978, and stop the State of South Dakota’s war on Lakota children.
Every day, Lakota Grandmothers are illegally denied their right to foster their own grandchildren.
The South Dakota Department of Social Services rejects grandmothers for such trivial reasons as too few rooms in a home, too small of a home, too old, decades old crimes, and even rumors.
South Dakota continues to violate the federal law by placing 90% of the 750 Lakota foster children it seizes each year into non-Native homes and facilities, instead of with relatives or tribal homes.
Both federal law and the United Nations define this behavior as genocide. Only tribal programs are placing foster children with their relatives.
President Obama has the authority to order three federal agencies (the Department of the Interior, the Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services), to provide resources to train and develop tribal family service programs and foster care systems for the nine Lakota Sioux tribal Councils.
Within a short time, the $60 million in federal funds that currently go to the State of South Dakota’s Department of Social Services to illegally remove Indian children and force them into foster care, can instead be spent and managed by the tribes, as they work to keep children with relatives, while restoring tribal sovereignty.
Lakota children are more than ten times more likely to be forcibly removed from their parents and comprise about 60% of all foster children in the state.
In more than 90% of the cases, simply alleged “neglect,” as opposed to sexual or physical abuse, is given as the reason for the forced taking, sometimes at gunpoint, sometimes while at school, or in the middle of the night. Poverty equals “neglect” in the mind of the State workers.
What is happening to Lakota children and families in South Dakota today is precisely the sort of activity that Congress intended to stop when it passed the Indian Child Welfare Act.
The Act mandates; that when states remove Native American children from their parents, they must be placed with relatives from their extended family, or with other members of their tribe, or with members of other tribes.
Only; when an active effort for such placements fail, are states allowed to place Native Americans in white foster homes, or state run foster care facilities.
The Department of Social Services in South Dakota continues to deny child placements to willing and capable relatives, while “stripping” parents of all parental rights to ever see their children again, for “violations” as trivial as failing to show up at parenting classes.
South Dakota designates every Native child in its foster care system as “special needs,” receiving up to $79,000 from the federal government for their care annually.
Then forcing many to take mind-altering drugs, even some as young at 18 months of age. Medicare spending for foster care child prescriptions in South Dakota increased more than 1,000 percent in the recent decade, while suicide rates for young Lakota children are 12 times the national average, and among the highest in the world. Some of the suicides are clearly related to the forced medications.
More than a century after being forced from their ancestral lands onto reservations, the 70,000 members of the Lakota Sioux nation remain the poorest, most oppressed people in the United States.
Let's turn around 150 years of cruel abuse to Lakota families. Thanks!
Brandon Coats suffered a devastating injury at age 16 that left him in a wheelchair with barely 20 percent of his motor functions intact. But after years of grueling therapy, he was able to develop enough upper body function to use a computer and was eager to put that hard-won skill to work. Credit where credit is due: Dish Network stepped up, took the risk on a disabled employee, and the investment paid off handsomely. Within a few months, Coats was a top customer service rep, and even as the Great Recession spelled layoffs for millions, he was earning praise and promotions.
But after three years of admirable performance, Dish randomly checked Coats' precious bodily fluids and decided they didn't like his muscle relaxer:
At first, Coats used prescription drugs to combat the spasms, but over time their efficacy waned. Then his doctors recommended he start using medical marijuana. Coats joined Colorado’s medical marijuana registry in 2009, hoping that the cannabis would alleviate the persistent spasms. Medical marijuana changed his life. Smoking a small amount of cannabis each evening proved effective treatment, enabling him to go to work without discomfort the next day.
So he was summarily fired. The company got away with this scot-free, because court after court ruled it's perfectly legal to discriminate against an employee for using a prescription drug. How did we ever get to this absurd state of affairs and what should be done about it? That and more below the big orange event horizon.
Last night, a friend on Facebook messaged me the above editorial. I'm finding it hits home, not only for me, but also for anyone who has held a serving position in this country. Because the image may be difficult to read, here is the text:
Poor Tippers Need To Understand Reality
I want to share my thoughts after a rough night, to educate some people on the etiquette of tipping. I am a server, not a servant. I will be happy to get you what you need to make your dining experience great, but I will not be disrespected. I am a college graduate trying to make ends meet and save money to go to graduate school.
As a server, I make $2.13 an hour. My checks are zero after taxes, so all the money I make is from tips. However, even if I make 20 percent tips all night, I will walk away with only fifteen percent, because I tip out roughly five percent to bussers, bartenders, and food runners. So to those people who tip me $2 on $62, $5 on $75, and those multiple people who stiff me, I pay out of my pocket for you to come eat. I hope you enjoyed it. -Courtney Stansell, Indianapolis
Thank you, Courtney Stansell.
Many are shocked to discover the majority of American servers are making $2.13 per hour base pay. Some of us remember making that amount 25 years ago. Much of the public is also unaware that, in addition to poor wages, most servers receive no benefits, no overtime pay, no sick pay, no sick days, no vacations (paid/unpaid), and no insurance.
The demeaning treatment of servers by some of the public is shameful. It's nothing new to many who work directly with/for the public. The difference is, servers have to put up with harassment and abuse from strangers in order to receive the tips they need to pay their rent, buy their groceries, and put gas in their cars. (And most servers will tell you, they make the least in tips, if at all, from the customers who treat them the worst.) At least in other jobs, regular minimum wage workers know their paycheck will be the same whether or not they have to put up with customer abuse. Not so with servers. They are often totally dependent upon the moods of the customers (and sometimes the chefs) as to whether they'll take home enough to pay the bills.
Clearly there is a hole in the system. But there is a bigger question to be answered here.
How is it, restaurant owners are more entitled than other business owners to rake in profits while paying sub-minimum wages?
Customers have been footing the bill and responsibility for servers to make fair wages, for as long as most can remember. Meanwhile, restaurant owners and managers are also benefiting by having servers to do regular $7.25 minimum wage 'side work' like cleaning bathrooms/toilets, floors, taking out trash… for $2.13 p/hour, in between serving you your food. The system is off. It's wrong. Food servers are pressured to show up to work sick (and contagious) for fear they'll lose their jobs if they don't. Restaurant owners are taking advantage of servers and the laws that fail to protect restaurant employees. According to the EPI (Economic Policy Institute), the Department of Labor investigated 9,000 restaurants between 2010 and 2012, and found 84 percent were abusing the system.
The two memes in this diary have inspired thousands of Facebook responses. Here are just a few found on Being Liberal:
Laura xxxxx I have never tipped out of obligation and never will. Regardless of their wages. If I were to receive crappy service (and it was the servers fault...) I leave a low, or 0% tip. I tip when I receive good service. When the server is gone above the call of duty. That is what tipping is supposed to be about. If I allowed to tip cashiers I would. Sometimes they really deserve it.
Bruce xxxxx They deserve tips. They have to deal with assholes like you. ^
Jacki xxxxx Most people who think they tip based on service, don't really.
First of all, most of what a server does for you is behind the scenes, like making your salads and putting in your order, so you don't really know what kind of "service" you're getting anyway.
Secondly, the most common things people complain about at restaurants, like food taking a long time or not being cooked properly, are not the server's fault at all. In addition, the kind of time and effort the server can spare for you depends entirely on how many tables the server has, which information you are not privy to and which is outside the server's control.
Bottom line: if you don't want to tip well, you'll find an excuse not to, no matter if it's the server's actual fault or not. Generous tippers usually find reasons to tip well.
Robert xxxxx When people claim that prices will shoot up at restaurants (if owners pay full minimum wages instead); they simply aren't taking into account exactly what happens already. If you tip 20%, and the law changes to stop tips and pay people accordingly, those workers would receive an increase of 20% of each tab. This would be offset by a 20% increase to every tab. In other words, the customer will pay EXACTLY the same amount, and workers will be GUARANTEED a proper wage instead of having to pray that people don't stiff them.
Joe xxxxx I live in San Jose CA. Minimum wage is here is $10 per hour. In California minimum wage applies to wait staff. I haven't seen one restaurant close its doors due to paying their servers minimum wage. Just saying...
A personal favorite:
Antony xxxxx We have a $16.87 minimum wage in Australia and tips are not expected. Why should someone’s livelihood be reliant on another's whims?
* Tipped workers’ wages typically fall at the bottom of the income ladder, even after accounting for tips.
* “Ensuring fair pay for tipped workers is also a women’s issue. Women comprise two out of every three tipped workers; of the food servers and bartenders who make up over half of the tipped workforce, roughly 70 percent are women.”
* The poverty rate for tipped workers (12.8 percent) is nearly twice that of working people subject to the full minimum wage (6.5 percent).
* The public subsidizes the incomes of tipped workers twice: directly, when we leave a gratuity, and indirectly, as 46 percent of them rely on public benefits to make ends meet.
Here is an informative 95-second video that gives some insight into the tipped employee world. If you leave the video on, several more short informative videos by EPI will follow:
This is a fascinating and disturbing topic that carries so many variables. It's clearly time for change. This country is long over due for a raise in minimum wage. We can help others by making sure that fight includes a raise for all American workers.
One group dedicated to the cause is Facebook's Raise The Minimum Wage, created by the same activists and meme-makers who run Occupy Democrats. Check them out sometime.