Entries related to things political.

Health, Candidates, and Budgets

Slowly, the electronic devices recharge. It has been a long day. I think Foursquare may have congratulated me on the miles I traveled today. It does that too often. My first event of the day was an Institute of Medicine meeting, Achieving Health Equity via the Affordable Care Act: Promises, Provisions, and Making Reform a Reality for Diverse Patients. It was a thought provoking, jam packed day. It took place at the Mark Twain House and Museum. I've been to other events there, but this was the first time I got a chance to take a brief tour during the lunch break. I did not realize that history of publishing in Hartford, nor various aspects of Mark Twain's finances. It was an odd juxtaposition which I'm still pondering.

From there, I rushed to Orange, where the Ken Lenz declared his candidacy for First Selectman. I got to know Ken a bit during my campaign for State Representative, and I'm glad that Ken is running. He's a good guy and hard worker.

My next stop was the Woodbridge Preliminary Budget meeting. The turnout was light and there was little for comments. One person did ask about police activities beyond the motor vehicle information listed in the budget. I mentioned the What's New section of the police department website.

Now, as my devices recharge, I'll head off to bed and recharge my own batteries as well.

"The Silence of Our Friends"

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,

I have been too busy dealing with the little dramas of my own life to speak up recently. My blog, which has been an important venue for my voice has not been updated in several days. But tonight, I cannot sleep. Rehtaeh is dead, and I most stand vigil. I must speak up.

What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

As I read the news, it struck me how close we all are to a tragedy like this. Rehtaeh could easily have been my own daughter or the daughter of a friend or neighbor.

The first article I read started off,

Rehtaeh Parsons had a goofy sense of humour and loved playing with her little sisters. She wore glasses, had long, dark hair and was a straight-A student whose favourite subject was science.

What if Rehtaeh went to Amity? Maybe played sports or sang in the musical?

The horror of a teen hanging herself because she was raped at a friends house when she was fifteen and the school, society, and law enforcement officials doing nothing to help is striking; a pretty young white successful girl, with so much to offer.

Yet what if it were a young black kid in the city, with his dad in jail and his mother on drugs, getting screwed by a system that doesn't give kids like him a chance. What if he's in a school reformers want to privatize, where they want to focus on a core curriculum of filling in little dots on standardized test forms instead of gaping holes in his personal life and the fabric of his society?

What if it were a fifty-one year old woman, working in a male dominated department who was being bullied out of a job? Would we simply call it a 'personnel matter' and try to work out an agreeable severance package? Maybe some folks would even dismiss the bullying as boys being boys.

The article about Rehtaeh ended off with a reminder to all of us, with a call to speak up, to do something:

On March 3, Rehtaeh posted a photo of herself on Facebook next to a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.:

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

The Bushmaster AR-15 Ploughshare

I just read a question on Facebook, asking, “What would Jesus carry?”

Based on Isaiah 2:4, I am guessing that Jesus would opt for the Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic ploughshare.

“The AR-15 is a lightweight, semi-automatic field cultivation device, with a rotating-lock tines, actuated by direct impingement gas operation or long/short stroke piston operation. It is manufactured with the extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials.”

He might also carry a Glock 19 pruning hook which is ideal for versatile use through reduced dimensions compared with the standard pruning hook size.

Now is the time to take up our ploughshares and pruning hooks as we tackle the big issues facing our nation, like planting, weeding and pruning.

Opening the Supreme Court to the Highest Bidder

The latest news from the Supreme Court is that they are considering eliminating certain political campaign limits. The ‘logic’ is that money is speech and limiting the amount of money that can be spent on campaigns is limiting the free speech of wealthy individuals.

Following this argument to its ridiculous and irrational conclusion, extremely wealthy people should be able to say who the Supreme Court justices should be. Let’s open up Supreme Court seats to the highest bidder. Since the Supreme Court has used similar logic to determine that corporations are persons, we should include naming rights to the seats, similar how sports stadiums are now being named after corporations, or should I say ‘persons’. For example, Justice Scalia could serve on the AT&T Supreme Court Seat and Justice Thomas could serve on the Exxon-Mobile Supreme Court seat.

Each seat would be held until the justice dies, retires, or some other ‘person’ enters a higher bid for the seat. This could be a short term gain for the U.S. Treasury as the seats get initially auctioned off, but longer term, it would most likely have a negative effect as Supreme Court decisions would be bound to reduce wealthy ‘persons’ tax liabilities to the government, as well as other liabilities and responsibilities to the society they are part of.

At least, this would make the Supreme Court more transparent and help cement Justices Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, and Alito place in history as the Supreme Court justices that have sold the American Dream and all it stands for to the highest bidder.

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Testimony Supporting Senate Bill 366


Sen. Gerratana, Rep. Johnson, members of the Public Health Committee. I am writing to you today concerning Senate Bill 366, AN ACT REQUIRING LICENSED SOCIAL WORKERS AND COUNSELORS TO COMPLETE CONTINUING EDUCATION COURSEWORK IN CULTURAL FOUNDATIONS. My name is Aldon Hynes. I live in Woodbridge, CT. I am the Social Media Manager for the Community Health Center, Inc., headquartered in Middletown, CT and am a member of the Connecticut Health Foundation's 2013 Health Leadership Fellows Program. My testimony is based on my experiences with these two organizations, but I am speaking on my own behalf.

Every year, the General Assembly considers many bills. Those that move forward requires fiscal notes from the Office of Financial Analysis. It is my belief that every bill that moves forward should also require an analysis of its health equity impact: how does the bill effect the health of the people of Connecticut, and how equitably does it meet that impact?

SB 366 is a bill that I believe can have a positive impact on the health of Connecticut's citizens and do so in an equitable manner. The better informed Licensed Social Workers and Counselors are in the cultural foundations which affect their care of patients, the better the outcomes we can expect. In addition these outcomes are most likely to assist those from different cultures that experience health disparities, making such training important in achieving health equity. Currently, all staff, especially those in behavioral health, at the Community Health Center are expected to complete yearly cultural foundation training. The cost is minimal and the benefit can be great.

Therefore, I strongly urge you to support SB 366 and to consider all bills in terms of the health impact they have and how equitably they active this impact.

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