When I Questioned the Feds and Why You Are Needed Now

This week, CongressDaily published some of my conversation with Secretary of Agriculture Vilsak. I hope someone in power will read it and understand that we can’t just talk about the health of our children and invent new programs to “help” them.  It is a question of where we are putting our money.  All the jumping jacks and walks to school must be supported by healthy food!!!  The love of a fresh spinach salad with a whole grain roll will last long after they leave school.  Yes, walk to school, but many children are greeted by donuts and Fruit Loops.

Good quality food costs money and it is worth it to spend it on our children!  Please, please make your voice heard right now!  The easiest way is to go here to send an email where it matters most or to telephone the Capitol Hill switchboard at 1-800-815-3740 and ask to speak to your U.S. House Representative.  Tell him or her that you want an additional dollar per lunch allotted in the reauthorization  of the Child Nutrition Act,   that, in addition to the extra dollar, you want the following:

  • Increased quality of meals served in the school meal program; including less use of highly processed foods which are high in fat and sodium, increased fresh and high quality fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, and reduced overall sodium content.
  • Strengthened nutrition standards for school meal programs and competitive foods.
  • At least $50 million mandatory funding for Farm to School programs. (Healthy Schools Campaign)

Say Bye Bye to the Health Care Insurance Industry, PLEASE

medical_clipart_stethoscopeIt is time for a Single Payer Healthcare System. Obama promised us something good when it came to health care, but he wants to keep the insurance companies satisfied. He’s selling out already. He admitted that if he were “starting from scratch” this is the kind of health care system we would have. Let’s start from scratch and kick those insurance companies to the curb. Lets see those kahones of yours Mr. President! I’ve been praying and voting for health care for everyone for as long as I can remember (no thanks to the Clintons, who promised universal coverage and failed). After watching a wonderful interview by Bill Moyers, I was convinced that the single payer system is the way to go. Read the transcript if you can’t watch the video. All of your questions are addressed candidly such as: Will there be long lines to see the doctor?” (Maybe. All docs will remain private, but there may be some longer waits for some of us) and “Won’t the government be deciding our medical care? (No. The doctors will be back in charge of treatment, not the insurance companies or the government. In fact, many doctors are already in favor of this plan because it will mean they can get back to treating patients instead of figuring out loopholes in insurance claims). Will it cost us more? (No. In fact, 95% of Americans will be paying less for medical care, and we’ll all have it!) The insurance companies are for-profit administrative jungles designed to deny us health care. That is the best way they make money. The billions and billions of our money put toward their administrative entanglements will go directly to medical care. Our libraries, police and fire stations are already functioning well under this same system. We need it now! The biggest problem is getting rid of the insurance industry altogether and this is precisely why this better system is not even being considered! This is wrong! Tell your representatives to put Single Payer on the table!!!

Oh Happy Day!

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Yeah! Barack Obama won!!! I feel so relieved, so happy, so much safer. When I woke up in the morning after election day, I found myself singing — really! I was humming and singing all day (part of that might have have been from the nookie I got the night before). Around the neighborhood, people were happy, giving thumbs up, raising their arms in victory. In some ways, it feels surreal. I have been voting in every election since I turned 18. That’s 21 years. I feel like it has never gone my way. After all, the last campaign election I actually worked on was Paul Simon’s. I had pretty much lost my faith in humanity. I wasn’t optimistic about this year’s election. To coin a phrase, I didn’t have the “audacity of hope”. Frankly, if George W. could be elected for a second term, and then Palin could be nominated for V.P., anything was possible.

In many ways, I feel a vibe in our community that is directly opposite the vibe I felt when O.J. Simpson got acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and Ron Goldman (a childhood friend of mine). I was so resentful of the Black people I saw high-fiveing each other . I felt hurt by the suspicious looks I got from the African-Americans I worked with. The whole city of Chicago seemed to be on edge for a long time after that verdict. We were divided by color, and it hurt inside (I don’t want to stir up trouble again, I actually believed Mark Furman wrongly and unjustly planted evidence, but that Simpson was guilty just the same. No matter what, two people had died and I didn’t understand the joy anyone could feel over anything related to the situation).

My point is, it is so wonderful to live in a city united. A city ready to be protected by an intelligent, thoughtful, optimistic, charming and gorgeous (oh sorry, is that relevant?) new President of the United States. Thank you citizens of my country, you have renewed my faith in humanity. You have brought hope back in my heart.

It’s Ok to Be “Pro-Palestinian Rights” and “Pro-Israel”

Contrary to what Presidential candidate McCain and his cronies would have the public believe, it is NOT inconsistent to be a friend to Israel and a friend to the Palestinians. McCain “accuses” Presidential candidate (and hopefully soon to be elected) Obama of praising Rashid Khalidi, a pro-Palestinian scholar and activist. This accusation is supposed to scare all the old Jewish people (in Florida mostly) so that they will vote for McCain who touts himself as a better friend to Israel. Frankly, I don’t know Khalidi’s work. However, I do know that it is not inconsistent to be pro-Palestinian rights and pro-Israel. In fact, human rights are a cornerstone to the Jewish beliefs. Personally (and I am a Jew), I want Palestinians to have all the human and civil rights Israelis are entitled to, whether it is in their own state or in Israel. A lot of people believe this. So, McCain, when you wag your finger and shout that big bad Obama is pro-Palestinian rights, you don’t scare me. What scares me is that you are implying that Palestinians should not have rights! What’s wrong with you? Don’t you believe in human and civil rights? Oh, I almost forgot, you’re a Republican. Peace.