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I’m voting for Jill Stein as if my life depends on it.
Because it does.
A year ago, I started a new job. It was a lot less money. A lot. Because I was only making $9.50/hr, I wasn’t able to afford the same level of health care insurance as I previously had. Going the Obamacare route was also not affordable to me (note the irony). And this isn’t the time to discuss getting fined for not having health care, though I’m still stunned by the audacity of this.
So here I am, with my bottom of the barrel health insurance. My deductible is so high that I can’t afford a doctor’s visit, tests, etc. It’s here that I need to mention that I’ve had high blood pressure since they’ve started taking my blood pressure. I almost wasn’t cleared to play baseball in college because of it. I’ve been on medication for over 20 years – and it’s been 120/80 since. When I moved to Hawaii for a job, my health care didn’t kick in for 30 days and I was off my medication and the result was terrible headaches and uncontrolled bleeding for any cut or scratch I would get.
I’ve also come to find out over the past few years that Type II diabetes runs in my family. Not a surprise given our industrial food system, but that’s for another time as well. So I have/had also been on Metformin – they should probably just start adding it to our water.
So, when I realized that I could only afford this bottom tier insurance, I informed my doctor’s office of this. I told them that I’ll be able to continue my medication, but won’t be able to come in for all the tests they’ve had me taking over the past few years; at least until I get a better job, which I have been trying to do continuously, even after getting this low-paying gig.
Well, that wasn’t acceptable to my doctor and/or his office manager. I proceeded to get a barrage of emails, phone calls, and form letters. They tried to use intimidation and shame in the guise of “helping” me. I was told that I didn’t care about my own health and eventually they gave me 30 days to start doing whatever they said (i.e. come in for costly tests) or else I would no longer be a patient of the illustrious, on-local-PBS, Dr. Louis Papa. 30 days went by and I received a notice from the Post Office that there was a certified letter waiting for me. Yeah, I never went to get it.
My Doctor of 20+ years kicked me to the curb.
As of writing this, I’ve been off my diabetes meds for a month. My blood pressure medication is due to run out in about 6 more weeks. I’ve been looking for a doctor for a couple of months now. My insurance company gives me outdated lists of doctors who are accepting new patients. When I find one who actually is, my name is put on a list and their scheduler is supposed to call me back for some kind of interview. They’re going to interview me.
I haven’t received a single call-back yet.
I have an amazing wife and a daughter I adore. This disruption in my medical routine is costing me, I don’t know how many years of my life. I’m trying to eat right. I exercise a little when I’m not working 2 jobs and taking classes for a second teaching certification. Of the candidates for President on the ballot in my state, there is only one calling for a true, single-payer, socialized-type system.
So I’m voting for Jill Stein as if my life depends on it. Because it does.
When I knew that Rochester Free Radio was going to become a thing, and that my podcast, The Stuart Bedasso Show was going to become a show on RFR, I knew I had to have a show on Brain Development. Why? Because in my mind (no pun intended), that’s everything. That’s why, as individuals, we are who we are. The brain develops because of genetics and environment, but understanding how each make your brain what it is gives you a chance to be happier. And isn’t that what it’s all about?
Then I had to figure out who to have on? I remember Richard Ryan from when I first started dipping my toe into the education activism pond. This was up his alley…well, relatively. I knew he wasn’t a neuroscientist, but I didn’t want that. My intention wasn’t an anatomy lesson. Anyway, this is what we ended up with. I had a great time and Richard did as well. I hope you find it illuminating. Share it with someone who needs to get their shit together.
Thanks to Susan Ladwig & Ted Brown for joining us on tonight’s Musical Tribute to Single Payer Health Care. Below are some links to what they were talking about.
Excerpt from Ted Brown’s editorial [If you want the full article, email him at Theodore_Brown at urmc dot rochester dot edu]
Here is the musical Damaged Care
Reasons I’M not afraid of Trump winning the election.
1. He’s a pathological liar, delusional, and/or a huckster.
I don’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth. Does that mean I want him as president? Of course not, but by that note, I also don’t believe what he says he’s going to do if elected. There will never be a “wall”. (see below)
2. He’s either clueless about how our government works or is saying the things he says to rile up his “base”.
Either way, the President is not allowed to do a lot of what he says. Seriously, there will never be a “wall”.
3. Whether it’s Trump or Hillary who wins, my ass will be out in the streets fighting whatever bullcrap they bring.
Reasons YOU shouldn’t be afraid of Trump winning the election.
1. See above.
2. He’s had multiple stances on the dog whistle issues.
Abortion, gay marriage, war, etc. He doesn’t hold to any ideology other than himself. And he won’t have any problem pissing off his base if he gets in office.
3. Even Republicans hate this guy.
4. Trump is the latest boogeyman.
How many times are you going to let Lucy pull the ball out from you? Yes, I know. But THIS one is worse. There will always be a boogeyman to scare you. Don’t believe the hype.
5. Remember, it’s not how many people vote, it’s who counts the votes afterward.
The fix is in, folks. We’ve seen it during the primary. HC will be our next President.
6. He’s not as popular as you think.
Just because he gets all the free publicity from the corporate cable news channels (do you really watch that stuff?), that’s done for alleged ratings. Turn that crap off. He’s constantly on it, because old people and doctors’ offices always have those channels on.
7. His crash & burn is starting.
First of all, he’s too lousy of a businessman and has treated too many people like dirt. All of that stuff is already coming out and it’s going to be an avalanche if he comes out of the convention with the nomination. Why? Ratings & clicks, my friend. Second, some of you followed this guy as a reality show entity. Great. You maybe saw him once a week, the occasional commercial. Now he’s all over the freaking place and it’s always the same buffoonish behavior. Just when you think you couldn’t be fed up enough… oh, just wait. He’s not going to be able to dial it down as we get closer to November.
Reasons we should be voting for the Green Party’s candidate.*
1. The way the Sanders campaign has gone down should have convinced you that both the Democratic & Republican parties (and their subsidiaries) are counter-revolutionary.
These parties cannot be fixed from within. This argument has been made at federal, state and local levels for years. I have never seen a shred of evidence that this is possible.
2. If all the disgruntled people voted for the Green candidate, at a minimum, the established parties would shit themselves (some of the older folks, literally). And if some polls are correct (!) it could bring a plurality victory – assuming the election’s not rigged enough.
3. Do you want your vote to REALLY count?
The Greens getting 5% of the vote brings Federal matching funds for federal races (for, I think the next 4 years). They don’t take corporate / PAC donations. Think of electoral damage they could do with that kind of funding. Your vote will actually stand for something! You should be voting for 3rd Party candidates for this reason alone.
4. But the Supreme Court!
The Senate confirms SCOTUS candidates. If you’re worried about SCOTUS you should be focusing on the Senate. Remember, Democrats voted for Scalia. Yessireebob. A Democratic President doesn’t mean squat. I expound more on that here.
Today, I participated in a focus group for the Rochester City School District. The topic was whether the District should open a Military School. Before I get to the focus group, let me put this a bluntly and simply as I can…
There should absolutely NOT be a public military school in Rochester (or anywhere else for that matter).
As for the focus group…working the sign in table was a member of the Rochester Police Department. Not a good sign. There were about 30 members of the community in the audience. A few of them, fellow officers. There were also people who I assumed are in ROTC, in full uniform. Of the uniformed people, it may have been 50% of them were people of color. Of the rest of us, I would say over 80% of us were white.
There were different categories you could could put yourself in: educator, parent, community member, etc. I could have gone with a number of them, but I chose educator. So I sat in a group of 5 people with a group leader and an “observer”. All of us were white. The “observer” is a teacher in the district who is also in the military.
In our group, the entire conversation was recorded and we were told that a report will go to specific committees of the School Board and they will be available to the public. I look forward to seeing just how our comments will be represented.
I’m not going to use this blog to describe each person in my group or what they said. But I will summarize the conversation. All 6 educators in that room agreed that the kids in RCSD are under insurmountable pressures, most are dealing with some kind(s) of trauma. We also agreed that there shouldn’t be as huge an emphasis on testing. We were all on the same page with the concept that we should be dealing with the Maslow stuff before we deal with the educational stuff.
[Side note: you may disagree that schools shouldn’t be handling emotional issues, homelessness, abuse, etc., but you literally can’t teach kids who have PTSD. So people in education can’t wait for the rest of you to stop dicking around and get to helping our children.]
In the group, I added my own stuff. What a military school would stress is not healthy for traumatized children. The School Board should be leading the fight against the state and federal governments to end high-stakes testing. The structure of a military school is not developmentally appropriate for our children. Having a school that teaches obedience and compliance instead of critical thinking and peace is not what our children need. We’re talking about a publicly funded military academy while the Regional Academy has been sitting on a shelf for almost 10 years; a school that was developed by over 150 members of the community including educators, parents and Nazareth College.
Except for me, everyone in the group was in the military or had family who is/was in. So I quickly decided not to say the following. It’s unconscionable that the idea would be floated to have the children who are abused, neglected and broken be led to become cannon fodder for our military, so that they can be abused there and spit back out to be neglected as veterans. And children of color, I may add.
I’m sorry, but I don’t thank veterans for their service, because our military does not defend our country, but protects the interests of the ruling, corporate class. I chose not to bring this to the focus group because it was not meant to be a debate, and I did not go there to directly insult life choices other people have made. We were giving our individual opinions and I did not intend for the time to become an argument on this. But when this gets pushed past the committees and comes to a vote in front of the full School Board, I will definitely be there saying these things. And I will also say the following…
Any member of the Rochester City School Board who votes for a public military school should immediately resign, because those who do have given up and have no positive, productive ideas on how to improve this school district.
Which side are you on?
A local journalist has taken the lead in drawing attention to the victims of drone strikes in Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Persistent drone attacks in this region have terrorized the community and disorganized the society that is the basis of support for the people. Noor Behram has dedicated himself to bringing the tragedy imposed on his community by a foreign army pursuing its own aims. He has compiled a dossier of photographs of child victims of the attacks, and of the general devastation of destroyed homes and lives.
According to Shahzad Akbar of the Foundation for Fundamental Rights in Islamabad, Noor came to town a year ago with his photos and asked for assistance in finding a venue where he could show his photos. When he couldn’t get a gallery to support a showing, he set them up on the street. Since then, his pictures have appeared in numerous news outlets from the Guardian of London to Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC. On October 7, 2012, posters made from these photos adorned and identified our buses as we headed for South Waziristan with Imran Khan’s Peace March.
Noor attended a meeting we held with some family members of victims of drone attacks. During the introductions, he busily sifted through a large envelope full of photos. When he spoke, he held up the images that would illustrate his words. Noor says that he has about 100 photos of children who have been killed by drone attacks, but there are many more whose bodies were torn to pieces by the Hellfire missile that took their lives, or who were already buried by the time he was able to arrive.
Gary was born in Rochester, NY and raised in rural Chili.
He attended St. Helen school in Gates, and was a member of Boy Scout Troop 157
He graduated from McQuaid Jesuit High School in 1972 where he played football and was an undefeated City-Catholic League wrestling champ.
Gary was fortunate enough to be accepted at the University of Rochester where he played offensive guard for the Yellow Jackets football team.
Wishing to pursue a career in law enforcement he transferred to RIT and earned a bachelors degree in Criminal Justice.
Gary began his law enforcement career in the New York Attorney General’s Office as a criminal investigator. He was also in the Rochester Police Department, Irondequoit Police Department and settled in the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office under Sheriff Andy Meloni. He had many assignments ranging from patrol deputy to watch commander. This included assignments in the western part of the county where he had responsibilities in Parma, Ogden and Greece. He was also heavily involved in the training program for Critical Incident Management and Command Post Operations. This training emphasized cooperation between emergency medical services, the fire services and law enforcement during critical incidents such as active shooter, terrorist and mass casualty scenarios such as chemical spills.
Gary retired after more than 29 years of service rising through the ranks to become a watch commander and head of the Internal Affairs Unit.
During this time he became an FAA certified pilot and worked as a private contractor traffic watch pilot, FAA certified flight instructor and commercial Part 135 pilot to help pay for his daughter’s education.
Upon retirement he continued work as a pilot and returned to school going to St. John Fisher College to work on a masters degree in preparation to enter the private sector. Always interested in helping others he studied human services administration and served on several local non-profit boards.
Gary has on many occasions given back to the community in a host of capacities, including being a member of the Center for Dispute Settlement’s Police-Community Advisory Committee, a school tutor for underprivileged children, a tax-preparer for low income families and senior citizens, a volunteer advocate for women’s issues and as a hiking trail maintenance worker for the ADK . Gary has also served on a variety of church committees and is a supporter of the Greece Historical Society.
Gary is a long time Greece resident who resides with his wife of 36 years, Kathy, a life-long Greece resident. Kathy retired from the Rochester City School district where she helped children with hearing challenges as an educational audiologist. Their daughter Colleen attended Greece schools and is a now a special education teacher.
About Matthew Martin Nickoloff
If there are a “chosen few” then I am not one of them, if an “elect” well then I have not been elected. I am one who is knocking at the door. I am one whose foot is on the bottom rung. But I know that Heaven’s bottom rung is Heaven though the ladder is standing where I work by day and at night sleep with my head on a stone. -Wendell Berry No one ever told us we had to study our lives, make of our lives a study, as if learning natural history music, that we should begin with the simple exercises first and slowly go on trying the hard ones, practicing till strength and accuracy became one with the daring to leap into transcendence, take the chance of breaking down the wild arpeggio or faulting the full sentence of the fugue. And in fact we can’t live like that: we take on everything at once before we’ve even begun to read or mark time, we’re forced to begin in the midst of the hard movement, the one already sounding as we are born. Everything else seems beyond us, we aren’t ready for it, nothing that was said is true for us, caught naked in the argument, the counterpoint, trying to sightread what our fingers can’t keep up with, learn by heart what we can’t even read. And yet it is this we were born to. We aren’t virtuosi or child prodigies, there are no prodigies in this realm, only a half-blind, stubborn cleaving to the timbre, the tones of what we are, even when all the texts describe it differently. And we’re not performers, like Liszt, competing against the world for speed and brilliance (the 79-year-old pianist said, when I asked her What makes a virtuoso?—Competitiveness.) The longer I live the more I mistrust theatricality, the false glamour cast by performance, the more I know its poverty beside the truths we are salvaging from the splitting-open of our lives The woman who sits watching, listening, eyes moving in the darkness is reheasing in her body, hearing-out in her blood a score touched off in her perhaps by some words, a few chords, from the stage, a tale only she can tell. -Adrienne Rich