Notorious RBG Dead at 87

We all knew she couldn’t live forever, but I, for one, was shocked, surprised, and saddened by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this evening at her home in Washington DC.  I think many of us were surprised, even though we knew she was ill with pancreatic cancer.

I am devastated. She was more important to the nation than many know.

Just leaving a rally, Donald Trump looked like a deer in the headlights when he heard from reporters that Justice Ginsburg had died. Amazingly enough, he was able to make appropriate comments in that moment and later in a written statement.

As I write, people who cared about Justice Ginsburg are gathered and gathering outside the Supreme Court of the United States. They are milling about aimlessly, just wanting to be with likeminded people, at one point breaking out in “Amazing Grace.”

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Notorious, Illustrious RBG, was 87 years young. I say young because she became a pop icon in her 80s, celebrity which she thoroughly enjoyed. Notorious RBG was a riff on the rapper Notorious BIG’s name, and she says they had something in common – they were both from Brooklyn NY.

I also call her young, because she just never missed a beat or a day of work except because of health issues. She was a Super Diva in the gym with a workout a book published about her exercise routine. Dogged by various cancers since 1999 Ginsburg overcame them all except this last. Finally, her health – pancreatic cancer — has interfered with RBG’s 27-year reign on the Supreme Court for the final time.

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Now, all we can hope is that the Republicans will take the same position in the days ahead as they took when Justice Scalia died in 2016. I paraphrase:

We are too close to the presidential election (the election was almost 10 months away) to consider President Obama’s nominee. The people should have a voice, so we will not consider a nominee until after the election.

The election is only seven weeks away. Will the Republicans be hypocrites or honorable people? Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will reveal the answer in the days to come.

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And finally:

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 10.56.12 PMMake your plan to vote and VOTE

early, in person,

by mail, OR

on election day.

I will vote on election day.

What’s your plan?

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Complete 2020 Census, Register, VOTE!

Voting is critical, but so is the 2020 Census. I know I’ve written about the census before, but I can’t stress how important it is, especially to Black, Indigenous, and all People of Color (BIPOC).
Billions of dollars are at stake and if we aren’t all counted, it will negatively impact the amount of federal MONEY coming into our states, cities, and neighborhoods for the next TEN years. It will also affect congressional REDISTRICTING . . . for the next TEN years!
I implore you: Complete the 2020 Census if you have not already. Trump is going to make census-takers stop gathering information ahead of schedule. Be unafraid. Go to 2020Census.gov and respond NOW. It takes less than 10 minutes. . . Really!
Then, make a plan to VOTE on or before November 3. We’ve got to show up at the polls and VOTE, because the current national situation is unsustainable!
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Poor People’s Campaign Says Low-Income Voters Have Potential to Impact American Elections

Recently, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival (PPC), released a report they hope will change how American politicians build their platforms and the issues they address as they campaign. Titled Unleashing the Power of Poor and Low-Income Americans: Changing the Political Landscape, the report, researched and written by economist and Assistant Professor of Social Work at New York’s Columbia University, Robert Paul Hartley, makes a few startling observations about poor and low-income eligible non-voters.

Hartley reports that, “In the 2016 presidential election, there were 138 million voters out of 225 million eligible voters. Twenty-nine million of these voters were poor or low-income and there were an additional 34 million poor or low-income people who were eligible, but who did not vote.

Hartley calculates that non-voting low-wealth people had the potential to change the outcome of the 2016 election if only candidates had bothered to address poor people’s issues in their campaigns. Rev. Barber says, “Not only is it immoral to ignore poor and low-income people, not only is it economically [foolish], it is political suicide to ignore them in 2020.”

The PPC is currently waging concentrated voter registration drives in Texas and across the nation to get non-voting poor people prepared to vote in person or by mail in the November 3 election. The implications for this Fall’s candidates are clear: Ignore the issues of poor and low-wealth people between now and November 3 at your peril.

Dr. Jennifer Wimbish, a member of the Texas PPC Steering Committee and co-chair of the Dallas Poor People’s Campaign noted that the report indicates that “the issues of poor people should be front and center in terms of discussions of those seeking to win in November.”

The issues of poor and low-wealth people include “health [care], jobs, wages, food, [and clean] water,” according to Shailly Gupta Barnes, who wrote the report’s foreword. Denita Jones, a Dallas PPC volunteer, agrees, “My government is failing me and millions like me. We need higher wages, better workplace protections, lower rents, access to quality affordable health care, and fresh healthy food. Real freedom means not having to choose between your health and your rent.” Jones continued, “This [Covid-19] crisis just takes the Band-Aid off a wound that has been festering for too long. It’s time to apply some UV light and disinfectant to the wound of inequality in this country.”

Another person involved with the Texas Poor People’s Campaign, Lauren Simmons who lives in Houston’s Third Ward, says, “Covid-19 has impacted our community physically, financially and emotionally. I have seen it up close and personal because I tested positive. I’m not surprised how poorly our [Texas] leaders have handled this issue, especially considering that we have the most uninsured people in this state.” Simmons added, “I’m also disturbed by the push to have children [and] school employees return to campuses that were already underfunded and ill equipped pre-Covid.”

Unleashing the Power of Poor and Low-Income Americans: Changing the Political Landscape can be found here.

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AN OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS and the POSTAL SYSTEM BOARD of GOVERNORS

Last night, I sent the letter below to Marc Veasey, my congressman and to Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and I will send it to Nancy Pelosi and the US Postal System Board of Governors. as well. The letter is long, but it’s important.

If you care about the November elections and the Post Office itself, I urge you to write to your congressional representatives as well. Feel free to use any or all of my letter as a template.

* * *

As you know, the original US Post Office, now the US Postal System (USPS), was founded in July, 1775 with Benjamin Franklin as its first Postmaster General. It’s current iteration, the USPS was established nearly 200 years later, in 1971. However, to most of us, there is no difference, it’s The Post Office, and its mail carriers and blue mailboxes are part of the fabric of our American culture. We know our mail carriers by their creed, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Recently appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy seems not to know or care about the mail carriers’ creed or the jobs they and other postal workers do. Rather, he seems to have embarked on a campaign to destabilize, undermine, and destroy the Post Office. Since his appointment this May, DeJoy has removed  upwards of 670 mail-sorting machines from Post Offices around the country; conducted a massive shuffling of 33 senior USPS officials, including the people in charge of day-to-day operations; eliminated overtime resulting in mail delivery delays; removed mail boxes from the neighborhood streets in some vote-by-mail states; and most recently told post offices to open later and close for lunch. Dejoy’s changes are not improving service, and they are alarming customers, many of whom are no longer getting their mail and prescription medications in a timely manner.

These piecemeal changes and slowdowns are especially alarming just two and a half months before a momentous presidential election. At this point, I am not going to talk about this in political terms; but if Mr. DeJoy continues to hobble the post office just ten weeks before the election, I will be forced to believe his actions are political in nature. Meanwhile, I suggest Mr. DeJoy’s containment or removal. He has no postal service experience and seems to be moving the USPS backward rather than forward.

I am appealing to you because as a registered voter and an American taxpayer, I need to know how you plan to put an end to Mr. DeJoy’s seemingly senseless decisions and restore the USPS to its recent, efficient level of operation.

Pamela E. Ice  Dallas Texas 75211

 

Poor People’s Campaign SaysLow-Income Voters Can Impact American Elections

August 11, 2020 — Dallas

Today the Rev. William J. Barber, II and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival (PPC), released a report they hope will change how American politicians build their platforms and the issues they address as they campaign. Titled Unleashing the Power of Poor and Low-Income Americans: Changing the Political Landscape, the report, researched and written by economist and Assistant Professor of Social Work at New York’s Columbia University, Robert Paul Hartley, makes a few startling observations about poor and low-income eligible non-voters.

Hartley reports that, “In the 2016 presidential election, there were 138 million voters out of 225 million eligible voters. Twenty-nine million of these voters were poor or low-income and there were an additional 34 million poor or low-income people who were eligible, but who did not vote.

Additionally, Hartley calculates that non-voting poor and low-wealth people had the potential to change the outcome of the 2016 election if only candidates had bothered to address poor people’s issues in their campaigns. Rev. Barber says, “Not only is it immoral to ignore poor and low-income people, not only is it economically [foolish], it is political suicide to ignore them in 2020.”

Dr. Jennifer Wimbish, a member of the Texas PPC Steering Committee and co-chair of the Dallas Poor People’s Campaign noted that the report indicates that “the issues of poor people should be front and center in terms of discussions of those seeking to win in November.” The PPC is currently waging concentrated voter registration drives in Texas and across the nation to get non-voting poor people registered to vote in person or by mail in the November 3 election. So, the implications for this Fall’s candidates are clear: Ignore the issues of poor and low-wealth people in the next three months at your peril.

The issues of poor and low-wealth people include “health [care], jobs, wages, food, [and clean] water,” according to Shailly Gupta Barnes, in the report’s foreword. Denita Jones of Dallas agrees, “My government is failing me and millions like me. We need higher wages, better workplace protections, lower rents, access to quality affordable health care, and fresh healthy food. Real freedom means not having to choose between your health and your rent.” Jones continued, “This [Covid-19] crisis just takes the Band-Aid off a wound that has been festering for too long. It’s time to apply some UV light and disinfectant to the wound of inequality in this country.”

Another person involved with the PPC, Lauren Simmons who lives in Houston’s Third Ward says, “Covid-19 has impacted our community physically, financially and emotionally. I have seen it up close and personal because I tested positive. I’m not surprised how poorly our [Texas] leaders have handled this issue, especially considering that we have the most uninsured people in this state.” Simmons added, “I’m also disturbed by the push to have children [and] school employees return to campuses that were already underfunded and ill equipped pre-Covid.

The complete report, Unleashing the Power of Poor and Low-Income Americans: Changing the Political Landscape can be found here. It’s worth a look.

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It’s Not Too Late to Complete the Census Online at 2020Census.com!

 

The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions in federal funding every year, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade. That’s the next TEN YEARS folks!

That’s why I keep bringing up the Census. It’s really, really important to you, me, and everyone. Now, you can complete it online at 2020Census.com.

The 2020 Census will affect Redistricting.

The U.S. Constitution mandates that the country count its population once every 10 years. The results are used to adjust or redraw electoral districts, based on where populations have increased or decreased.

State legislatures or independent bipartisan commissions are responsible for redrawing congressional districts. The U.S. Census Bureau provides states with population counts for this purpose.

2020 Census’s Impact in Your Community

School lunches. Plans for highways. Support for firefighters and families in need. Census results affect your community every day.

The results of the 2020 Census will inform decisions about allocating hundreds of billions of dollars in  to communities across the country—for hospitals, fire departments, school lunch programs, and other critical programs and services.

It’s about the MONEY, honey! Complete your Census at 2020Census.com.

 

Something is “Bad Wrong” in the White House

What is wrong with this man? In the face of a worldwide pandemic, that continues to ravage these United States, Donald Trump has turned his back on the coronavirus/Covid-19 crisis. Of course, he thinks it is a hoax that will “one day just magically go away.” Is that because it turns out that it affects blacks, Latinx, and native Americans at a greater rate than the majority population?

Trump also has turned his back on the police/public safety crisis across the country, reignited by the horrific May 31 Memorial Day murder of George Floyd. Trump has turned instead toward further dividing, frightening, and confusing the nation by painting the Black Lives Matter protestors as rioters and thugs and championing the traitorous confederacy and its statues and battle flag that are ubiquitous across the United States. He suggested that NASCAR driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace should apologize for the noose found in his NASCAR garage as if it was Wallace’s fault that the noose was there.

I ask, again, what is wrong with Donald Trump? I know he is not finished yet, but for the moment I am, because at Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota – property stolen from the Sioux Nation – while the coronavirus was spiking in numerous states, Trump held a 7,000-person, no-mask rally at which there was no social distancing on July 4. There, in his dark, foreboding Independence Day speech, he said that “a left-wing cultural revolution. . . is determined to tear down every statue, symbol and memory of our national heritage.”

Except that the statues and symbols Trump is defending are those of the confederacy, a failed bunch of traitors who fought to keep my forbears enslaved and tear the United States asunder.  Their statues and symbols are certainly not my national heritage. As a matter of fact, I want to see them removed from every public place from the U.S. Capitol to the smallest little town square on the West coast. I am an American, and the symbols of the confederacy are not what I hold dear.

Now, Trump is insisting that children and teachers across the nation must return to their schools in August or lose whatever federal funding the schools receive. This demand and threat despite the coronavirus/Covid-19 spikes across the country.

Will somebody, please tell me What. Is Wrong. With. This. Man?

The Worst that Could Happen

We all thought the coronavirus-Covid-19 pandemic was the absolute worst thing that could happen, especially to African American people. But we were wrong.

On February 23, 2020, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by a former policeman and his son near Brunswick, Georgia. Arbery was jogging and unarmed. Few outside of Brunswick knew about Arbery’s death until May when the alleged perpetrators were finally charged.

On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old, unarmed first responder was murdered in her own apartment by Louisville, Kentucky Metro Police who broke into her home with no warning.

Then on Monday, May 25, 2020 – Memorial Day – 46-year-old George Floyd was handcuffed and lynched. In public. In the light of day. On a Minneapolis, Minnesota, street. By a Minneapolis policeman . . . as three other police officers stood by watching. How do I know this? Because I saw the wrenching cellphone video of the episode that 17-year-old Darnella Frazier had the presence of mind to record and share.

How do you think these murders make me and my fellow African Americans feel? Because, lest you forget: we are Americans. More than anyone else, with our literal blood, sweat, strength, and amazing resilience, we built much of this country. It is ours as much or more than any other American’s. We supposedly have the same rights as everyone else; and I guess we do. Until we don’t.

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PLEASE: Stay Home, Stay Safe!

Dallas County, Texas’s shelter-in-place order in response to the coronavirus began on March 23 and was initially to stay in effect until April 3.  The order has now been extended to April 30.

I consider myself somewhat of a homebody, and I’m in a decluttering phase, so I need to be here doing that work. But it isn’t even Easter yet, so April 30 seems a long way off. I am sure that by taking a daily walk, focusing on my household projects, and watching my favorite TV shows with a little Netflix and Amazon Prime thrown in, I can make it through to April 30 without having a meltdown. But I’m worried that this stay at home business will extend through May, so I’m taking things one day at a time.

* * *

The first week of shelter-in-place, the traffic in my neighborhood was normal, everyday coming and going. Judge Clay Jenkins and the County Commissioners have given us all a great help: No meetings of more than ten people can be held, and a six-foot distance between people must be observed; all businesses selling non-essential items are supposed to be closed; restaurants and bars can only sell carry-out food; and all that’s open now are the grocery stores which sometimes only have empty shelves where eggs and milk should be.

Now, during the day, car traffic is almost non-existent on the side street next to my house, but in the evening the traffic is heavy. Where are all these people going? Don’t they understand we are supposed to stay home?

Texas Governor Greg Abbott finally issued a state-wide shelter-in-place order back in March which includes the closure of all but essential businesses. Unfortunately, his attorney general, Ken Paxton, thinks gun stores are essential businesses. Despite that bizarre decision, there is hardly anywhere to go or any reason to get in one’s car and take to the road. I think – and hope – more and more of us are staying home, sheltering in place so we can stop this coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx have told us: the only things we can do to stop the spread of the coronavirus is

1) Physical (social) distancing, i.e., stay a six foot distance from each other,

2) wear a face mask on the occasions when you must leave home and be around other people, and

3) stay home unless it’s VITAL that you leave.

Let’s all do ALL of these things, please, because if the coronavirus hasn’t come to your city, suburb, town, or rural area . . .  yet, I’m afraid that all you have to do is wait.

It’s the holy season. Passover began last week, today is Easter, and Ramadan begins April 23. Enjoy your holiday celebrations, and please:

PLEASE: Stay Home and Stay Safe.

P.S. – Here’s a little tutorial about wearing face masks. They seem so simple, but using one actually is complicated!

$1.5 Trillion and Your Future Are on the Line, So Complete Your 2020 Census Now

The coronavirus has brought most of our worlds to a halt, but the 2020 U.S. Census is still going on now! While you’re working from home, and maybe homeschooling your children, you can also complete your 2020 Census questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail.

If you haven’t filled out your 2020 U.S. Census form, take a few minutes to do so right now. It will take you less than 10 minutes; I’ll wait.

What? You didn’t receive a Census invitation? They were mailed out in March. If you didn’t receive one, it’s okay. Go to https://www.census.gov/ and fill out your census form OR you can respond by telephone or mail.

The 2020 Census will count everyone living in the United States and its five territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

Your participation in the census is critical because the census results will impact us for the next 10 years. The Census will

  • impact Federal funding for things like Medicare and Medicaid, SNAP, and CHIP;  
  • determine your state’s number of seats in the House of Representatives;
  • Impact educational funding in your city, state, and region; and
  • influence important business decisions such as where to create economic and employment opportunities, where to open new locations and hire additional employees in your neighborhood.

Participating in the census is important for everyone, and it is especially important that black, African American, LatinX, and brown people fill out their household’s census form so we don’t get under counted and so that monies flow to neighborhoods of color as well as to majority ones.

Please fill out and submit your household’s 2020 Census form.