Aug 27, 2007

This message brought to you by Moms Rising

Dear MomsRising Member,

Imagine being told you couldn't take your child to the doctor for a full year. What might happen if your child got strep throat and had to go without medical attention for months and months?

This sad scenario will be a reality for many U.S. families if the rules aren't fixed: Under new rules, made by the President, some children who depend on lower-cost health care coverage will have to wait a full year--with no insurance at all--to qualify for help. This outrageous requirement is part of a slate of changes made to limit the number of children who can benefit from the lower-cost health care coverage of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). We can't believe that in a country where 1 in 9 children go without any health care coverage at all, there is any thought of more limits. This senseless rules change is especially surprising because SCHIP is supported by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Everyone, it seems, except for the President, sees the value in giving kids healthcare. Let's send a strong message together.

TELL CONGRESS THAT KIDS CAN'T WAIT FOR HEALTHCARE BY GOING TO THIS LINK: http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/momsrising/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=12417

When Congress returns from its recess in September, it will take up funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program again. Tell your representatives that they must reverse these new and backward-thinking rules (described below), and fully fund the program.


THE SCOOP ON SCHIP: This federal health care program (one of our favorites!) helps families afford health coverage for their children (and this help is critically important because right now 1 in 9 children are without health care coverage at all!). Here's how it works--it gives funds to the 50 States, who then use the money to create health care coverage programs for kids. Families that don't meet the low-income standards for Medicaid coverage, but still don't make enough to purchase private insurance, can apply for their children to be covered by the state-run plans.

What makes this program so powerful is that it allows states to decide what level of assistance makes sense for their populations--taking into account the state economy, local cost of living, and the total number of uninsured children in their state.

ABOUT THAT 1-YEAR WAIT FOR THE DOCTOR: Sadly, the just released rules undermine a state's ability to administer their program in the best way -- helping the most kids get much needed health coverage. These problematic changes include the following:

* Requiring a 1-year waiting period--with no insurance at all--for some children before they can be covered;

* Pushing states to only cover children whose families are at 250% of the federal poverty level, regardless of the cost of living in that state;

* Tying children's health coverage to private insurance enrollment rates: if private insurance enrollment is down in a state (for any reason), then the federal government won't cover more kids. This just plain doesn't make sense-particularly because private insurance enrollment is often tied to a job so there could be a scenario where unemployment would go up, but help for kids' health care would go down!

As a part of a nation-wide, bi-partisan effort, we've been working long and hard to re-authorize SCHIP this year. MomsRising members have already sent over 30,000 emailed letters to Congress urging them to fully fund this essential federal program. Now, these new administrative rules threaten to undermine that hard work. Let's tell Congress to stop the madness.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS, DON'T LET THE SCHIP GO DOWN: Forward this email to all your loved ones. Let's make sure that kids can go to the doctor when they're sick, regardless of their families' ability to pay.

*Don't forget to email Congress now to tell them all children need health care coverage:

http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/momsrising/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=12417

Best --Katie, Kristin, Donna, Nanette, Joan, and the MomsRising Team

P.S. Want to know how SCHIP works in your state and see if you might be eligible? Check out this great resource from PBS:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/indepth_coverage/health/uninsured/statebystate_children_flash.html

P.P.S. BELOW YOU'LL FIND ARTICLES & RESOURCES ABOUT THIS ISSSUE:
- Administration's letter to health officials:
http://www.cms.hhs.gov/smdl/downloads/SHO081707.pdf

- New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/22/health/policy/22insure.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin and http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/21/washington/21health.html?em&ex=1187841600&en=af37007e15249f06&ei=5087%0A

- Seattle PI: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/328490_schiped.html

- PBS: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/health/july-dec07/schip_08-21.html

- Fox: http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Aug20/0,4670,ChildrenapossInsurance,00.html

-MomsRising is a bootstrap organization which covers a lot of ground with very few staff. Your donations make the work of MomsRising possible. To donate today on our new, secure website go to: https://secure.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/momsrising/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=2156

Aug 23, 2007

Damn the Mosquitoes

It’s rained for 5 days in a row and the standing water all over the place has given rise to a horde of blood sucking creeps large enough to get Rudy Giuliani elected. Should you be caught outside after dusk around here, you’d better have some DEET crammed up your nostrils or those little suckers will fly right up there and then for the rest of the week you’ll be trying to convince people you’re really scratching a mosquito bite and not digging for boogers. Ella is the most recent casualty with no less than 15 bites on her mere 19-inch leg. She has Calamine lotion spots in place of her more recent and more colorful rainbow pox, I have to say I prefer the previous any time – poor kid.

Aug 21, 2007

Opposites

PUA Training = the Opposite of Bombadee's Garden

Aug 20, 2007

Pox

Saturday, we went to the Renaissance Fair with friends and yes, you can check out the website from 1599. But before you click the link, here is the bell on a yarn necklace that the Contessa gave my little buddy Dancing-Boy. He promptly stuck it in his ear and made a midieval i-pod.













***

Last week Ella very suddely came down with spots all over her body, they were even on the bottoms of her feet. She said she felt fine but they were everywhere, I had never seen anything like it before. They weren't at all like chicken pox, they were every color of the rainow and she wasn't even itchy. After a long bath they went away. I guess we'll never know, perhaps she was allergic to imaginary lions.





Aug 17, 2007

Epiphanies


You’d think after RollerCon and then practice last night, today I’d be sick of roller derby. I have to tell you – it just can’t happen. I was so happy to see all my lovely league mates last night, I get so encouraged to work harder every time I see them (as if I needed an excuse to be a workaholic). Last night was also the debut of our new coach, Diamond Dan. Something about having a person yell “Go! Go! Go!!” really amps me and makes me skate harder. Funny, at 34 I’m just now experiencing the significance of cheerleaders, but in my defense I never really played a competitive sport before.


I took Ella to the county fair yesterday and saw something I'd never seen before... baby chicks hatching. I was astonished. I just wanted to stop random people and say "Do you know, over here there are chicks HATCHING right NOW!? Come over here and look! New life! - TAH-DAAAH!" Instead I told my inner 4 year old to pipe down and whispered into Ella's ear about how amazing it all was. I got all teary eyed explaining to Ella about how the fuzzy little chick was being born right before our eyes and how hard she was working to get out of her egg and then she'd have to find the strength to get some corn all by herself.


Aug 16, 2007

I Went to Vegas With 3 Blondes

On the plane ride out I sat next to a very smart woman whose been involved in roller derby long enough to answer my forty bazillion questions about how her very successful league runs. When she said she’d love to answer some questions I bet she had no idea what she was really saying. She very nicely answered every question I could scour my brain for and she didn’t even pretend to not see me the rest of the weekend so that I wouldn’t ask her any more questions. It was very encouraging.

We landed in Vegas at one in the afternoon and it felt like it was 110° in the shade. I had a bout at 5:30 on Freemont Street so we were on a pretty tight schedule. After we checked in and found our room I packed my skate bag, changed clothes and we took the old red double-decker shuttle down to Freemont. I quickly found my team mates and exchanged hugs and nervous smiles, I signed waivers and after doing just those two things I was soaked in sweat. The heat was devastating to me. We suited up and practiced and I was ready to pass out. Let me tell you that Freemont Street is also slippery. My Witch Doctors held there own on the corners and I didn’t give up any speed taking a fall on Freemont sends you sliding and sliding until you hit something, kinda like ice. It was fun but also a pain in the butt when trying to stop skidding, get on your skates and back onto the track.

I played as Minnie Hurl and my number was $1.98, I even wore a price tag on my helmet. I blocked in the 2nd then jammed in the 4th and I was already trying not to have a stroke. After getting my fatigued and boiling ass knocked into the crowd no less than twice I knew I couldn’t jam again, I could barely get my breath so after blocking in the 6th I begged to trade out in the 8th, and just blocked again. It all happened so fast I barely remember anything. Annsanity filmed it, and I am dying to see it. Having endurance and having endurance in 110° heat are two totally different things. So we got beat, but we didn’t get skunked, I wanna say the score was 17 to 42. Afterwards, all I wanted to do was get back to the hotel and let cold cold water run over my shoulders and off my head for an hour or two.

I’m not sure what happened after that, I think I remember a few beers, black jack a cheap
cosmopolitan and a stripper pole, sorry that’s all I can remember. Friday morning after perhaps 5 hours of jet lagged sleep Annsanity rang our room, when I picked up and croaked “Hello?” all I heard on the other end was “Roller Derby Boot Camp in 10 minutes Bitches!” I didn’t even have time to shave my legs, we pulled on shorts and brushed teeth and packed up skates. We had to find a way out to the Flamingo Banks at the edge of the city. They didn’t run a shuttle ‘because they only wanted the most hard core masochist to show up. We were late, sore from dancing, dehydrated and hung over.

The Flamingo Banks is an outdoor skate rink in the middle of a park also housing some ball fields and a few skate board ramps. It was like heaven. Roller skating on a sealed cement track, painted with the local leagues colors and logo right in the middle, surrounded by a 4’ fence. Open to anyone and everyone FREE. I was astonished, impressed, envious and excited. Goodie Two Skates and her cohort Jawbreaker ran us through two hours of the most intense drills that even in an air conditioned state would’ve kicked my butt but as the sun climbed in the sky and the day heated up I was seriously loosing “it”. It didn’t help that I wore black shorts and a black tank, with my black pads and black helmet.

I have to pause to tell you about
Goodie Two Skates. This woman skates with such reckless abandon that I was in absolute awe. When standing in one spot yelling at us her long black curly hair points in all directions and her smirk hangs crooked. The way she stand screams confidence, she doesn’t suck anything in, paint anything up, wipe anything off and she certainly doesn’t make any excuses. She skated as if she were chasing the devil back to hell. And the way she fell and rolled and jumped with her hair flying in all directions and sweat and determination dripping down her back made me want to be her friend. She was like the feral love child of Pippy Longstocking and Captain Hook rolled into one glorious roller woman. It’s the first time I’ve seen a skater and thought “I want to be like that when I skate.” I later got to watch her skate on Freemont St. but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Back to drills; we skated in packs, we skated in lines, we skated in figure eights, we dropped, and
rolled, went backwards, did whips and pushes, sprinted, raced against ourselves and in general gave everything we had. I skated so hard, I got dizzy and rolled over to the side to get some water and take my helmet off. I had been beaten and was giving up. I sat, peeled off my pads and drank long from a luke warm bottle of water when I heard Goodie Two Skates congratulate everyone for making it through “Boot Camp”. Ten more stinking seconds between me and a proud claim to finish, and now I tell you all right here in front of God herself and the entire internet – next year I will not give in. No matter though, nobody really cared but me. Nine more skaters happily squished up against me while sitting on all our gear for the ride back to the hotel in the back of a truck. That’s just how skaters are.

On Friday afternoon we cooked while sitting in
seats on top of the engine of the old red double-decker bus out to Freemont Street for the last of the Challenge bouts. We saw the mixed gender bout. We watched Team USA beat The World and the crowd barely chanted U!S!A! which made me proud; after all we were the hosts. Then we watched the Referees Challenge: East vs. West but this was most lovingly referred to as the “Guys Bout” There were some girls and they were wild and skated hard and of course guess who was in that one? – Goodie Two Skates! Again she skated with the passion I have only seen Itzhak Perlman have while playing violin. She blocked by throwing her body and soul at those jammers and it was incredible. That bout went into sudden death and the last 60 seconds was skated so hard I thought my lungs would burst in sympathy. Next we watched Team Awesome vs. Team Rad battle it out in the most incredible show of skating skills I have ever seen complete with three leg whips, backwards blocking and more than a few Malachi Crunches.

The rest of Friday was a blur leading up to the Black and Blue Ball. We dressed up, drank and
danced. We twisted, pogoed, two stepped, we found partners to swing with, we got on stage and we took some crazy picks. We became one giant drunken writhing mass of flesh and black and blue fabric and sequins and vinyl and soon the casino had to come up to the second floor and shut the party down. I wasn’t sure why it all ended early until I went down and played black jack. According to the dealer, the chandeliers in the casino were shaking. The casino wasn’t ready for 1500 blockers in prom gear to let loose directly above the casino.

Saturday was spent in meetings and eating fabulous food. Saturday night we watched some
pick-ups at the Flamingo Banks. This was a wonderful event. Each roller woman brought two shirts to the banks, one black one white. The crowd was split down the middle and two long lines were formed and then every 5 girls participated in continuous jams, ending at the back of the line. There was only ten seconds between jams and so the action was non-stop and amazing. All skill levels played and everyone cheered for everyone. This was a perfect picture of a relaxed skater practicing among friends.

Saturday night we took a harrowing ride to the Double Down for a derby wedding with a cabbie who barely knew the road we were looking for much less where the Double Down was. I had to call information for him (no kidding) all the while Annsanity is telling him “The legitimacy of my baby is in your hands! I gotta get married at midnight!” We arrived at 11:57pm and promptly sent Joel across the street to buy a twelve pack because the bar was too packed to actually get inside to get a drink. But we all got married promising to support and love each other except when kicking each others asses on the track and then we all kissed and went drinkin’.

Sunday, I finally caught up on my sleep and we did a little Vegas. Annsanity and Joel left early for home so Boom Boom Martini, Stiletto Steel and I met up with Marshal Law for lunch at the little cafĂ© on the street at the Paris. Stiletto got to see the fountains and I got a great glass of wine and a chicken sandwich with caramelized onions and apple. Later that night we caught a hypnotist’s show at the Hard Rock – very funny stuff.

Somehow I missed some things. There was just so much and it starts to run together. Of course it doesn’t help that there were lots of drinks in between all these things (after the skating that is). There were marketing meetings and antics in and by the pool and dinner and drinks at the Peppermill with Bob Noxious of Flyin Squirrel. There was bad karaoke and women with moustaches drawn on in pen. There were short skirts everywhere and dancing and a bull ride at the Rockhouse Bar. Of course it was all fun because of the company I had. Thank you ladies for going with me and thank you to all those whom we met, see you again next year, when I’ll be bringing more friends and skaters and maybe even a fan or two (Dan? Jeff?)


Aug 9, 2007

That's 40,000 wheels all turning left

It's finally here. I am going to Las Vegas for this.
Thank you Honey.

Aug 8, 2007

Ragamuffin Couture

The latest couture for macaroni and cheese dining is the reverse cotton athletic tee worn over the head. Paired with Curious George underpants and tennis shoes (not pictured) today’s fashion forward child is guaranteed to be the talk of everyone at breakfast.

Aug 7, 2007

Society in Decline?

National News:
TX District Attorney Kills Self as Police Arrive "A prosecutor killed himself as police tried to serve him with an arrest warrant alleging he solicited sex with a minor, authorities said. Louis"Bill"Conradt Jr., 56, chief felony assistant district attorney for nearby Rockwall County and former district attorney in Kaufman County, died Sunday...

...Conradt was Kaufman County's elected district attorney for more than two decades before resigning in 2002 to run for a judgeship. He lost and later took the Rockwall County job."

***
National News:
Sister Sues NBC After Brother Kills Himself "...Conradt Jr. became a target in a program in which NBC and the activist group Perverted Justice set up shop for four days last November in a two-story home in Murphy, Texas.

Perverted Justice staff posed as boys and girls online and arranged to meet men there.

Two dozen men were arrested, but the district attorney refused to prosecute any of them, saying many of the cases were tainted by the involvement of amateurs and that he lacked jurisdiction in most cases because neither the suspects nor decoys were in the county during the online chats.

The
city manager was fired for approving the arrangement without telling the mayor or the city council... "

***
Murphy Local News:
Murphy sex sting: Who benefits? By BYRON HARRIS "...All say they are in business to help the public, but each gets another reward from the TV show:

• Perverted Justice gets money.

• NBC gets ratings.

• The Murphy Police Department got famous.

"Murphy, Texas is a well-known name now," District Attorney Roach said. "Not for the reasons they would have liked, but it certainly is."...

...So what's the difference between "To Catch a Predator" and a reality TV show?

"I would say that this is an investigative TV show investigating online predators," Hansen said.

"A reality show is produced by the entertainment division."

Murphy police have not returned phone calls from News 8. Chris Hansen told an audience that some of the Murphy cases may be taken up by another prosecutor.

News 8 has learned that the Dallas County District Attorney has been given some of the cases, but hasn't decided yet whether to accept them. "

***
Murphy Local News:

Collin County Update on the Criminal Investigation Regarding the Murphy, Texas NBC Dateline Program: Update on the Criminal Investigation Regarding the Murphy, Texas NBC Dateline Program.

June 1, 2007 - Gregory S. Davis, First Assistant District Attorney for Collin County, Texas, has issued the following statement:

“The Collin County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the 23 cases in question, and declined prosecution because they failed to meet our evidentiary standards. We don’t anticipate any further action on these cases.”

There will be no further comment on this matter.

Eric Nishimoto Public Information Office210 S. McDonald StreetSuite 626McKinney, Texas 75069
http://www.collincountytx.gov/

***
Murphy Local News:
Murphy Rolling Ridge Residents Angered By NBC Dateline Sting Operation: "...Mayor Bret Baldwin and Councilmember Eric Barna both stated they were not alerted to the sting operation in advance and that it was not discussed with council. Mayor Baldwin indicated that he learned about it on Saturday afternoon after receiving several calls from angry residents. He noted that he confronted the City Manager about the situation and was told, "Anyone who interferes with the police investigation in any way will be arrested.” He said that "Anyone" was emphasized to include Murphy residents or the Mayor himself.

Mr. Daniel stated, “This isn’t about getting sexual predators off the streets of Murphy. To the contrary, we are inviting them to come and visit. This is about ratings for a television show and publicity for a small town police department. I’m disgusted, just disgusted.”

Another unhappy resident said, “These are not Murphy residents being arrested. They are perverts coming from other parts of Texas or another state to our neighborhood. This is not the activity and image we want for our families. Why is it appealing to our City Manager and Police Chief to have Murphy, Texas exposed on national T.V.? What could they possibly be thinking?”

***
Murphy Local News:

From Monitoring - A Reporter's Blog
A view of Murphy, Texas by the Murphy Monitor newspaper

Internet Predator Sting, Four Months Later: "When the sting was in progress in November, 2006, it set off an intense debate in the community. Among the issues brought out in the town hall meeting: Citizens said they didn't feel safe because the Internet predators were being lured to their town. Some said the Murphy Police Department shouldn't work with Perverted Justice. On the flip side, many citizens fully supported the operation, with several residents offering their houses for the next sting. They said it was important for the police to do everything they could to take the Internet predators off the screen, so to speak.

In November, Murphy was a town divided..."

Aug 2, 2007

Mystery - solved

I made a breakfast of waffles with strawberries, whipped cream and sprinkles on top. I found it well received by La, her imaginary brother Arthur, and their friend Beddermish who is very tiny. Arthur goes almost everywhere with La and if he’s not with her she knows exactly where he is, sometimes he’s at school and sometimes he’s visiting his Grandma. These are places La wishes she could go. Beddermish is new; he’s just visiting for breakfast this morning. La said Beddermish is left over from one of her dreams last night.













10:42 update: Dan called, "Betameche" is the character Jimmy Fallon plays in the movie Arthur and the Invisibles.

Aug 1, 2007

Why Verizon Yahoo Should Get Screwed









You may or may not have noticed a new link in my blog roll over there on the right. It’s BBC news, one of the few news organizations to have any pride in actual news. Amazingly enough when I visit BBC and click on the little America icon on the left, not only am I reminded there is another America to the south of us and things happen there too, but I don’t get treated to such blaring headlines as:


“'GMA' Host Robin Roberts has breast cancer”

“What’s you man’s fighting style?”

“Star Jones admits to gastric bypass”

“Chief Justice Roberts leaves hospital”

Second page "Thousands line up for “Idol” auditions”

Third page “Plus-sized girl’s band takes cue from ‘Idol’”

One must actually click all the way over to the fourth page before finding “Taliban: 2nd Korean hostage killed”