Healthcare Reform

healthcare

Why should you care about healthcare? If you have money, its not even an issue because you can go to any doctor you want. If you have a job, its not a issue since your company provides you with healthcare. If you’re young and healthy, its not even an issue because you probably don’t even go to the doctor on a regular basis. HOWEVER! (And this is a mighty however) If you are any of the above mentioned, in all actuality you should be concerned about healthcare reform. After doing a lil research, I came to a few conclusions:

1. Obama’s plan makes Health insurance more affordable for small-business owners or individuals (so those of you who freelance, have your own production company, run your own studio etc. you guys won’t have to pay WAY more than everyone else)

2. A public option is essential Amnesty believes “A Medicare-like public plan for all remains crucial for realizing the human right to health care in the United States.” I couldn’t agree more. Considering Americans are getting fatter by the second, and baby boomers are getting closer and closer to retirement, we the young, healthy, working individuals are going to have to cough up a lot of cash to cover the rising cost of healthcare. We shouldn’t have to. Nope nope nope.

3. Pre-existing conditions should not determine eligibility for health insurance. It’s pretty shady if insurance companies are denying coverage to people who need insurance the most. I understand that from the business perspective, someone with cancer or heart problems is a “risky investment” but we’re not talking stocks and bonds… it’s someone’s life! Even if you are young, healthy, working, and don’t have any preexisting conditions, you might have an aunt, uncle or sister that has a condition. And losing someone you love because you can’t afford the medicine/treatments/chemo? Not fun.

Let’s help Obama implement his plan. Show your support, Tweet your senator, voice your opinion, create dialogue in your community, and spread the truth.

Here are some links that have been useful:

NY Times Blog

Huffington Post Article

Fora.tv interview with Howard Dean

Until next time… empower yourself with the truth!

xoxo

Raychel

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August 25, 2009 at 2:37 am Leave a comment

Some ill rhymes in some tough times

That’s right y’all.  We finally finished our EQUAL RIGHTS RAP VIDEO!! Check it out and let us know what you think.  If you like it, forward it to your friends!  We want to use this to spread the word about how people can make a difference in promoting equal rights for the LGBT community.

I had the pleasure of doing some door-to-door work with a local LGBT rights group a couple of months ago, and it was so inspiring to see how willing people can be to take a couple minutes and gain a new perspective on their views.  I actually changed a couple people’s minds that day, so I know that if enough people take action on this issue, minds can change and we will see true equal rights.

In case you missed it in the video, check out Equality California’s website at-

http://www.eqca.org

They’re doing a lot of great work on this issue here in California.

Here are some other great organizations working for equal rights –

http://www.hrc.org

http://www.couragecampaign.org

Thanks for watching!

Tara

August 5, 2009 at 4:38 pm 2 comments

The Possibility of Positive Politics – Believe!

The last week or so I’ve been wanting to write a blog entry about the California budget negotiation fiasco that finally came to an end this week.  The problem is, the word ‘budget” is NOT sexy, and more importantly, while it feels counter intuitive to say, getting pissed at decision makers and bitching about how they spend our money is NOT how we’re ever going to make positive change.   All it really does is give us a little adrenaline high meanwhile California continues to spend more per capita on prison inmates than on K-12 students, and the list of problems goes on and on.

What am I trying to get at?  As I’ve been reading over graphs and summaries of the 2009-10 state budget (nerd alert), trying to figure out how to write this, I am realizing that a lot of my beliefs are actually reflected in how these financial figures are playing out.  For example, while the state rehabilitation (prison) budget is still among the largest in the state, it also was the area of the budget that received the largest cuts percentage-wise.

It’s really tempting right now to give you a run down of the budget numbers, but that’s not sexy.  What I am going to talk about instead is the tone of our radical, world changing efforts, and how as fun and personally satisfying as it is for us to get pissed and write angry blogs and call our legislators mean names, that kind of messaging will only further distance us from those whose job it is to represent USIf we want to see our vision for our world, our countries, our states, and our cities implemented, we have to all work as a team and do a better job of keeping it positive.

I try to start from this perspective – everyone believes that they are doing the right thing.  I personally think we in California should raise motor vehicle taxes and repeal Prop 13 to close the deficit, but I still believe that Joe Blow conservative republican in the state assembly truly believes that he is doing the right thing by not raising taxes and making deep cuts to social services, and he believes it because the majority of those that voted for him probably believe it too.

So how does this get us any closer to a solution?  Starting on the common ground that we all believe the other is acting from the heart is huge.  It gives us room to have adult conversations as opposed to 3rd grade arguments.  If we start by believing that our decision makers want to do the right thing, then we can offer our support for them doing the right thing, and not start every effort as a smear campaign.  It allows us to work in alignment instead of in opposition.

In my organizing experience, it’s always been funny to me that when I throw a scenario campaign at someone and ask how they would go about targeting their decision maker, they always give me this elaborate story of how they will get an article written to call the decision-maker out, and get a bunch of petitions signed, and do a big protest etc, without ever considering the option of just asking the decision-maker first and saving themselves all the trouble.  Maybe they’ll just say yes!

It’s been engrained in us to think that our decision makers are evil bastards who only have their personal ambition at heart.  I am not saying that it’s not true in some cases, but the more we can assume the best-case scenario, the further we’ll get.  Maybe we could have preserved more education and social service funds in the budget if, instead of having angry living room conversations and making demanding phone calls to legislative offices, we would have gathered to show support for our legislators in their desires to protect the programs that we value most.

Even if taking a more sunshine-y approach to how we work toward a better future doesn’t yield the specific policies we want right away, it will surely lower our stress levels and help us to all like each other more, and that can only lead to better things.

Anywho, I’d love to hear what you all think about how the CA budget turned out, as well as any ideas as to how we can avoid these drastic cuts next time around!

Tara

July 31, 2009 at 12:24 am 1 comment

Sarah Palin needs a swift backhand. Like, now.

Sarah Palin Satire CartoonThis heffer: Sarah Palin is attacking clean energy. She wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post stating Obama’s clean energy plan is basically a “cap and tax” plan and it will only increase taxes on energy. She proposes we drill, baby drill. Ugh that statement has to be THE stupidest catch phrase the Republicans have ever used. People are smart and are learning how to read through politician’s lies, ahem, I mean lines. Obviously Sarah Palin wants to monetize Alaska’s oil reserves. Hey guys, let’s get our dependency off of foreign oil. Yeah, thats right, come to mama. It’s soooo obvious the only reason she’s blasting Obama’s clean energy plan is so she can fatten her pockets with big oil money. 

She wants America to get off foreign oil, use all the oil we have here, and then… what?  That’s what I thought. SHE MAKES ME SO FURIOUS!! 

Whew, OK I’m back. Had to let that out.

Why would anyone criticize the shift to alternative energy? By turning our focus away from fossil fuels and towards solar and wind power, we are doing 3 things:

  1. Creating jobs
  2. Saving the environment
  3. Leading the way for other countries to follow

Palin needs a backhand. Someone needs to shut her up and let Obama do his work. The Waxman-Markey bill is a small stepping stone towards the path of energy independence. If we let her kick this stepping stone, then we’ll all be kicking rocks 10 years from now when dealing with the repercussions of global warming. 

This article has a more in-depth look as to exactly why she’s attacking the bill, and what the consequences will be if we back away from it. And This article tells you more about ACES. 

It’s just so funny to see Palin talking in circles and carefully avoiding the phrases “global warming” or “greenhouse emissions” when attacking the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES). Palin claims that it will cost thousands in tax dollars, yet fails to mention the financial costs of climate change. Maybe if consumers and businesses are seeing higher energy bills, it will force them to CONSERVE energy, not be so wasteful, and seriously consider alternative energy for their homes and businesses. The Huffington Post says:

“But in a new non-partisan analysis, the Environmental Protection Agency reiterates… GDP would increase by more than $5.1 trillion by 2030, says the agency, and costs to families would be no more than $140 per year. That doesn’t take into effect reduced energy costs from energy efficiency and greater use of solar and wind sources.”

BOOYAH! Game recognizes game. 

images

Lets focus on the positive. Support The American Clean Energy and Security Act by calling your representative and simply letting them know you support it! Spread the word about clean energy, and defuse the lies Palin is trying to spread. Be ahead of the game and start conserving energy. Be the change you wish to see in the world. (Had to slip that last one in somehow) 

❤ Raychel


P.S. Read this mock article based off Palin’s Huffington Post Article… so funny!

July 21, 2009 at 6:57 am Leave a comment

Can Universal Healthcare Cure Apathy?

I know this is how I feel

I know this is how I feel

Back to the grind after an enjoyable weekend celebrating our nation’s b-day. I spent the weekend camping by the lake with family, lounging with a brew and riding my cousin’s jet ski. Was I scared I would break a limb? No – because I am lucky enough to have health insurance.   And since I am young and healthy, I don’t have to worry about paying a lot for healthcare. So while I was out glossin’ over the cut, I didn’t much have the head space to care about insurance company lobbyists in DC spending the Holiday trying to decimate Obama’s universal healthcare plan.

Then I check my email this morning to find one of my usual call-to-action emails with an unusually catchy headline – “Thomas Friedman called us out.” Thomas Friedman, well-respected NY Times columnist and author of many bestsellers, blasted young people for not stepping up to the plate enough on the landmark energy bill in Congress last week. The Green movement has been (rightfully) dubbed the movement of our generation, and yet Friedman claims that we aren’t loud enough.

If that is true on as hip an issue as the green movement, it’s even truer on healthcare! Why should we care? We’re young and healthy! But in fact, young adults are the most uninsured age group. 28.6% of 25-34 year olds are uninsured!

We’ve got a great opportunity to pass a policy that would make healthcare affordable for EVERYONE, but big insurance company lobbyists and right-wingers are fighting it HARD CORE. For details on the two plans, look here. Co-Op Plan

Friedman says we should “get out of Facebook and into somebody’s face.” I think he’s right (and I realize I am saying this on a blog), so here’s a real-life, in-person opportunity for you to get in some decision makers’ faces.

This Thursday, MoveOn.org is hosting rallies across the country in front of Senate offices to make sure our support is felt viscerally, not just virtually.

Find one in your area here.

…and while we’re at it, we still need that Climate Bill Friedman was talking about to pass the Senate, so you can do some virtual nudging on that issue here.

Of course young people care…but we’re also comfortable in front of our computers. Let’s stay healthy and go outside! It’s summer! See you on Thursday.

-Tara

July 7, 2009 at 6:28 am Leave a comment

H to the izo… as in H20

070309-aniston_0Ahhhhh. That’s me drinking my sweet, 1.5 Liter bottle of Electrolyte enhanced water from Trader Joe’s. Snobby and pretentious? Some might say. I’m a water elitist. But one thing I am not, is a water waster (OK made that word up.) There are many countries and places in the world who have no access to clean, drinkable, running water. Although the tap water in LA tastes like rusty old pipes, it still won’t give you chlorea like the water in Angola. According to the BBC  “Humans have available less than 0.08% of all the Earth’s water. Yet over the next two decades our use is estimated to increase by about 40%.” We have to take action now. Individually, conserve water. Collectively, clean up air pollution. (water and air are inseparable) Most importantly, get clean water to communities living without it. No lie: 

children dirty water

 Of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation, 90% are children under 5 years old.

1.4 million children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unclean water and poor sanitation – 4,000 child deaths a day or one child every 20 seconds. This equates to 160 infant school classrooms lost every single day to an entirely preventable public health crisis. (WHO/WaterAid)

Households in rural Africa spend an average of 26% of their time fetching water, and it is generally women who are burdened with the task.

On a personal note, I went to Mexico like three years ago and forgot to order my drinks without ice… oh my gawd does it feel like hell when you get sick from bad water.  

sprinklers

Most of us in the world are privileged enough to take hot showers, use washing machines, wash our dogs, water our plants and water our lawns. But do you ever think of what life would be like if you did not have such privileges? If you care about human rights like I do, then clean water for everyone in the world should be a top priority. There has to be some serious changes in the way our world functions. Did you know that over 70% of water consumption is for agriculture? It’s really sad to think that children die on a daily basis because of lack of access to clean water!!!! All the while we go about our business using as much water as we please, sometimes even letting it run while we brush our teeth. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of all sickness and disease, and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. 

But, do not despair! There are small actions we as individuals can take to preserve Earth’s most precious resource. 

Check out the 100 ways you can save water. My top 5 are

  1. Turning off the water when brushing your teeth and shaving
  2. Take showers between 5-10 mins
  3. When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet.
  4. Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators 
  5. Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.  

Check out this organization ——> Charity: Water http://www.charitywater.org/whywater ($2o can give a person in Africa clean, safe drinking water for 20 years…. and you spend HOW MUCH at the bar in one night??) A United Nations report predicts that access to water may be the single biggest cause of conflict and war in Africa in the next 25 years…

Here are a few more links to find out more info on the water crisis:

http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

http://www.grist.org/article/2009-05-12-water-childhood-deaths

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drinking_water

Clean air and fresh water: we need those suckas to live! 

Treat water like the precious resource it is… because without it life on Earth doesn’t exist! Think about all the money you will be  saving on your water bill. I’m telling you, going green and being conscious of your resources will keep the dough in your pocket. And do good. Word is bond.

❤ Raychel

July 2, 2009 at 6:41 am 2 comments

Ain’t Nothin but (GAY) Mammals

Love comes in many forms for many species

Love comes in many forms for many species

Did you know that humans aren’t the only animals that mate with members of the same sex?

Research has been done that shows in areas where a specie of animal has become so populated relative to its food supply that it endangers its own survival, the animals will start to mate with members of its same sex.

So what is my point?  I don’t want to put people in boxes, but I am going to anyway and say that a lot of people who are against equal rights (not separate but equal) for the LGBT community are the same people who want to deny global warming and the dangers of our rapidly increasing human population on this planet.  Maybe that is because if they acknowledged the legitimacy of both of these issues, they would realize that the only answer to maybe abolishing homosexuality would be to revert to cave(wo)men lifestyles and stop having a bunch of kids (read: sex).

Okay maybe I am reaching…but seriously.  It is bewildering that still today so many of us still think that homosexuality is unnatural and that a whole set of people deserve less rights than the rest of us.  Take the time to have a conversation with someone who is against gay marriage and ask that person why.  They’ll usually tell you one of 3 answers –

  • 1.    my religion says its bad
  • 2.    its about the word “marriage.”  “Marriage” is between a man and a woman.  They can have something else.
  • 3.    and the perennial favorite reason for any stance on any issue – THE CHILDREN!

Then ask that person how Joe and Jason from Bakersfield’s marriage has affected their children or their church or their lives.  A moment of inward reflection.  “I guess it hasn’t,” they’ll likely respond.

It’s these kinds of conversations that are going to move this issue.  It is already happening, and it can happen faster.  This week a familiar face among the Washington elite and not usually one to take a bold stand, Senator Chris Dodd, “came out” in support of gay marriage, which I have to say is great to see.

So if you’re for equal rights for all, check out the websites below for ways you can help in having some of these simple conversations with voters.

Human Rights Campaign

Equality California

Courage Campaign

If you are still unsure about the issue, I ask you with all due respect to ask yourself a few questions that align with the 3 reasons stated above –

  • 1.    Is it not true that Jesus taught us to love all our fellow human beings equally?
  • 2.    Is it not true that your church or whichever Institutions you have faith in will continue to marry people as they see fit?  That it is only under the law that marriage would be equally available to all?
  • 3.    If you knew (and this is true) that the California Superintendent of Schools says that, should gay marriage become legal, nothing in the curriculum would change about how kids learn about marriage, would you worry less about your kids?  And besides, don’t you want your kids to grow up embracing ideals of tolerance and respect for all?

So let’s move on already and LET LOVE BE!  After all, you and me baby ain’t nothin but mammals.

-Tara

June 24, 2009 at 2:43 am Leave a comment

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