Just spent some time walking through Boston <3
Help me understand which part of this I’m supposed to be enraged about—and upon whom the hammer of my rage should descend. According to the article:
Every law enforcement agency ever has been capable of extraordinarily invasive searches. The question is when these capabilities are used.
Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick gives an op-ed in the Huffington Post about the Affordable Care Act. Here are his words as found on the Huffington Post website.
As the Affordable Care Act (ACA) takes effect this month, it might be helpful for people to know how its prototype in Massachusetts is working, after nearly seven years.
Virtually every resident in the Commonwealth is insured. More private companies offer insurance to their employees than ever before. Over 90 percent of our residents have a primary care physician. Primary care is less likely to be delivered in expensive emergency rooms. Preventive care is up. Health disparities are down among women, minorities and low-income people. Most importantly, on many measures, we are healthier.
Those are the facts. The stories are better. I met a young woman named Jaclyn, a cancer survivor who got life-saving care through our version of an exchange. She had no way to afford care before health care reform — it saved her life.
A self-employed man named Ken ignored his gastrointestinal symptoms for years because he couldn’t afford to see a doctor or pay for possible treatments. Once insured, he was seen and treated for Stage III colon cancer and is cancer free today.
Over all these years, expanding health insurance to everyone has added only about 1 percent of state spending to our budget. Those budgets have remained responsible, balanced and on-time.
Expansion hasn’t hurt our general economy. Unemployment has remained lower than the national average and economic growth has been higher. At one business incubator, a young entrepreneur told me he moved his start-up to Massachusetts because he wanted to be sure his young family had health insurance while his business got off the ground. Today that young man’s company is employing others.
The nation’s great health care challenge, with or without universal coverage, is controlling health care costs. Though health insurance premiums had been rising faster than inflation for many years before our reforms went into effect, we are now getting control of them. Average base rates increased more than 16 percent three years ago. They average less than 2 percent today. Some of that progress is the result of tools made available by the ACA. Indeed, early results show that for some individuals and small businesses, premiums may drop as much as 20 percent percent because of Obamacare.
In other words, health care reform works in Massachusetts. And it will work in America. We need it to. In one form or another, health care significantly affects business, household and government budgets, people’s ability to get a job, and a child’s readiness to learn. Accessible, affordable, quality care in all cases improves lives and in many cases saves lives. It gives peace of mind and economic security to families. It increases productivity for large and small employers as well as for students. It creates jobs and contributes to our economic strength. It’s a powerful statement of who we are.
As the ACA is implemented this month, the entire country will begin to enjoy the benefits that we have seen from health care reform here in Massachusetts, and much more. Small businesses benefit from the ACA through new tax credits that make health insurance more affordable. With more carriers and plans to choose from, there is a more competitive rate-setting environment. People with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied insurance. People who get really sick can no longer be kicked off their insurance. And kids can stay on their parents’ plans a bit longer, until they can get their own.
Tea Party Republicans don’t want the Affordable Care Act. Do they really mean they don’t want these kinds of improvements in the lives of millions of Americans? I don’t think so. Would they rather we address these issues with a government program instead of through the market-based, individual choices that are the framework of the ACA? I don’t think that’s true either. Have they proposed an alternative way to accomplish these goals? Nope. Despite a presidential election, a decision by the United States Supreme Court, and over 40 failed repeal attempts, it’s clear that what Tea Party Republicans don’t like about Obamacare is the “Obama” part of it.
In Massachusetts we’re proud to be home to many “firsts.” The first Thanksgiving. The first battles of the American Revolution. The first public library, the first typewriter and the first subway. Even the first chocolate chip cookie. Recently, the first state to achieve universal health care, the model for the ACA.
Firsts are hard. There are and will be challenges. But it has been and will be worth it. Just ask Jaclyn or Ken or any of your neighbors.
The time for common ground, to meet in the middle, to have mutual agreement is now. It’s the nature of things for people, for groups to disagree, that’s an inevitability of life. People, however, can and are capable of compromise. What makes a government stable is balance and moderation, just like all things in life. A government is like a scale, for it to be in order, it must be equal on both sides. “It is in giving, we receive.” - St. Francis of Assisi. Let’s keep that in mind. What makes this Nation exceptional is our diversity, WE ARE a Nation of ALL people.
The whole Paula Deen situation really bothers me. The controversy surrounding Deen is disturbing. There was something in my gut feeling, in my soul that made me feel uneasy in regards to how the media and the general public treated her and the story. One might ask; why should a Person of Color feel remorseful towards Deen?
I’m a Person of Color and I come from an urban community. Living and growing up in an urban city, you hear racial slurs all the time that are being used by People of Color. We hear it in music, in social media, and in many aspects of urban life. Musicians, particularly rap artists use racial slurs in their music all the time and gain fame, celebrity-hood, and prosperity through their music. This type of language is frequently used in rap and hip-hop culture. People of Color, urban people, not all, but many use racial slurs in their every day language.
I’m not saying any of this is right or wrong, but I’m merely stating facts in order to offer perspectives and thinking.
There’s a whole separate discussion over the use of racial slurs by Peoples of Color, and the value it has on them. Whether it’s right or wrong, that’s for individuals to decide. It’s up to groups who are of Color to decide for themselves what racial slurs mean to them and the value and merit it has in their lives and in society in general.
This is such a complex topic that you could write a book about it.
Deen stated that she wasn’t sure if the the “N-word” was offensive to Blacks because she hears it all the time by the young people working in the kitchen, and I found this interesting.
I’ve found that Whites who grew up alongside People of Color, from my personal experience, who use the “N-word” with friends, who are of Color, nothing bad really happens to them. It seems that Whites who grow up in communities of Color seem to become “one of us” in a weird kind of way.
This Paula Deen situation has been blown way out of proportion and turned into something that it isn’t. This discussion shouldn’t even be about Deen and what she did in the past, but about the complex nature of race and ethnicity in the country.
It didn’t feel right to me how “militant” liberals and progressives were all up on this story and started twisting it to their own personal agenda. Although I label myself as centrist and a moderate, I really dislike it when liberals and progressives attempt to define me as a Person of Color, or try to tell me what to think or how I should think.
I really don’t need individuals of such ideologies trying to tell me that I should think badly or negatively of Deen or that I shouldn’t be quick to forgive her because she’s just being remorseful of the national pressure and attention she’s receiving.
"Militant" liberals and progressives don’t define who I am nor do they speak for me as a Person of Color. I am my own person. I don’t need to be told what to believe as a male Person of Color.
A great Jewish philosopher over 2,000 years ago once said, “Let the first without sin cast the first stone.”
Religious or not, I think it’s worth considering applying these valuable words in one’s life.
As a child of an immigrant family and with my Brown skin, I’ve felt in the past, “unkindness” from “older” Whites who are from a “different time and society.” I’ve been asked several times in my life if I speak English. I’ve also been asked where I come from, as in, what country I come from. Even though I was born and raised in this country. These are just some examples of past experiences. This may not seem like much, but it does hurt. I try to get over that hurt by putting myself in their shoes. That’s how I try to live my life.
As much as I may have been hurt by these types of people, I’m always willing to forgive such individuals. I understand that they were brought into a different World from the World we live in now. However, this is in no way an excuse for such people or actions, but it does offer perspective and thinking.
A point I thought might be interesting to bring up is that some of the racism and prejudice I’ve seen in the past was directed towards Whites. Although, this is another separate and complex topic to discuss, I just thought this is something to think about. I personally believe that it’s completely wrong to say that White people can’t experience racism or that it’s impossible for them to experience it. I’ve seen it myself. That’s coming from a person who comes from a place where Whites are minorities.
The community I come from and live in is mostly composed of Latinos, Asians, Middle-Easterners, and East Africans.
I see racial, ethnic, and culture tensions in the community. I hear a lot from older Whites about how their community has been taken from them and how it feels like they’re in a foreign country. They complain about how no one speaks English. They go crazy about how all they hear is Spanish and can’t find anyone that is an “American” in the city. They go on and on about how the city they once knew is no longer there.
I’m an active member of my faith community and I see the same thing happening there too. Latinos and Asians account for the vast majority at my parish. The parish I’m a part of offers Catholic religious services in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. The three priests on staff are all foreign born and are of Filipino, Nicaraguan, and Vietnamese descent.
The Whites who once are what made up this Catholic parish, are not at all too happy at this set-up and change. This has led to divisions in the community.
Although I totally went off topic here, there was truly merit to going off track. The controversy surrounding Paula Deen is not an anomaly or a rarity. It happens all around us. We sometimes probably don’t even realize it. The media and the public acted as if the issues surrounding the controversy haven’t existed for quite some time.
Here’s a controversy that the media and the public are getting riled up about. However, is there even any real awareness of the political, economic, and social injustices that effect Peoples of Color in this Nation? Maybe, maybe not. The fact of the matter is that there are real injustices groups of Color experience in modern day United States.
The “N-Word” has different meanings and means different things to different people, White or Black. One meaning of the “N-Word” can be used as a form of affection towards others and the other meaning is used as an attack on others.
Here’s a question I have for people. “Are all people racists / prejudice?" That’s something I always like to think about. This is something I believe people should consider thinking about in their own lives.
Am I racist if I believe White people who are “all talk” about racial issues, ridiculous? Am I a racist if I think White people who are these “big anti-racial activists,” silly? Am I a racist if I believe White people should stay out of issues that effect People of Color? Am I racist if I would only marry a Latina?
Something to think about.
Although I don’t believe or disbelieve in conspiracy theories, I find it very thought provoking the idea that this story and many other stories like it are merely a means to separate and divide people. A way to distract people from stories and events that “truly effect” society. Take what you want from it, but just a thought.
We have all made mistakes, committed immoral acts, hurt others, failed to do good, and so on. Who are we to “throw the stone” at Deen? Who are we to “point our fingers at her?”
We are imperfect. We make mistakes.
We can all agree her words and actions in the past are regrettable. However, we all have regrettable words and actions in our past as well.
Paula Deen deserves forgiveness and needs forgiveness. I forgive her. I hope you forgive her as well.
Peace. Paz. Shalom. Salam.
As the feast of the Three Kings has passed, the Christmas season has finally come to a close. Now we’re in a new year and I’ve taken some time to reflect on some things.
Have you noticed how selfish and ungrateful people are depicted in Christmas commercials every year? I just noticed, and it’s got me thinking and talking.
There are these commercials out there where people are dissatisfied with the gifts they’ve received and are shown returning them. Some other commercials are of people procrastinating with their Christmas shopping and are seen giving people not the best gifts.
There’s this guy who wears an “ugly” Christmas sweater and when he opens the mail, it’s yet another “ugly” Christmas sweater. He then proceeds to return it. There’s this other commercial where the guy waited until the last-minute to do his Christmas shopping and sends out a gift filled with pens and pencils.
I always wonder, are these just stereotypes or real depictions of American life? I honestly think these are just stereotypes that the mainstream media keeps pushing on us. The stereotypes of the lazy, dumb, and procrastinating American male doesn’t apply to all people.
Why do we return gifts? Why can’t we just accept it or just donate it? I understand that if we’re not going to ever use it, it’s better to return it. Also, I think most people would just return it in exchange for stuff they want.
As for donating it, that’s a good idea and I think people should do that to any unwanted gifts. Although, there’s other ways to donate to the poor and the needy so that’s not a necessary route to take.
My point I’m trying to make is that be thankful and grateful for what you received this past Christmas. If you need to return it, take a couple bucks of the money you for got out of the return and donate it. Or, you could also purchase an item or items that can be enjoyed or used by more than one person such as an iPad or something like that. Get me?
Well, Happy New Year everyone!
What is this “War on Christmas” I keep hearing about? What is this “war” really? Are people really offended by the words, “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays?” What has this country come to? Why are people being offended by harmless words in this joyous time of year? People are silly, I’ll tell you.
I know I’m going to offend people by saying this, but if you’re offended by the words “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” than I think there are some problems you need to work out.
However, there are those who don’t celebrate it, and I understand that. I also know that as an American Christian, I’m in a “privileged position” to not be “offended” by the greeting “Merry Christmas.” I can’t put myself in the shoes of those who are not like myself (non-Christians), so it’s difficult for me and other American Christians to know what it feels like when the core majority of the American population celebrates a holiday that you simply don’t take a part in.
Christmas is both a secular and a religious holiday. Whether you like it or not, it is. Christmas was originally a pagan holiday celebrated by the Romans way before we started celebrating it as the celebration of Christ’s birth. Christmas has gone through so many transitions and it has always been both a secular and a religious celebration.
The term “Happy Holidays” is simply a shorter way of saying, “Happy Holy Days.” Just look it up. So, if you’re offended by “Happy Holidays” and you’re religious, than you must be out of your mind.
Why can’t we all be friends and simply all be happy together? Why can’t we just forget about what separates us and sit down have a good time?
I just don’t know anymore, I just don’t.