Category Archives: Health Care Now1

SOTS: The Power of Words (or Lack of Them)

by Fidencio Leija-Chavez, Jr.

I am not a certified English teacher, and I must confess that English is my second language. However, after several years in the U.S. Navy, my community college experience and now pursuing a master’s degree, I recognize the power of words.

Today (Jan. 29) we had the opportunity to hear our Texas Governor present his State of the State address to all Texans. Following his 3,720-word discourse, the power of words resulted in a lack of words and marginal effort.

Governor Perry opened with recognizing his family, past legislators (i.e. Houston’s Sen. Gallegos) and growth of private-sector jobs. He continued by praising CEO’s, companies and state-of-the-art packing plants. While jobs, business, and the economy of Texas occupied the majority of his speech, the Latino community awaited for Governor Perry to unveil his concern and plan for issues that affect Hispanic children, college students and families throughout the state.

We’ll give him partial credit for utilizing the word education ten times, but he never once covered the hot button issues of vouchers and standardized tests. These two will more than likely push the Governor to keep legislators past their 140 days in Austin.

Before we get to social issues that concern the Latino community (and in my opinion – all Texans), he also failed to mention women and veterans. Even more, what about women that are veterans? His speech just dropped another letter grade.

Women are filling our classrooms, leading in small business, and continuously graduating in higher numbers in college. How could they have been left out? Now, our military men and women should be alarmed that our Texas Governor overlooked them when our soldiers are returning with some of the highest rates of PTSD ever witnessed. There are no excuses for forgetting those who have served this country.

Our community inspired four new congressional seats and holds the largest percentage of children in K-12 in the State and our Governor only mentions the word Hispanic twice. Both of those instances were related to the participation of Hispanic students taking the SAT and ACT.

Which leads our community to wonder – why did he not mention comprehensive immigration reform, sanctuary cities, Dreamers, or social issues that affect everyday Hispanic communities?

Governor Perry gave us a one sided State of the State address. He applauded his supporters and defended conservative ideology while failing to recognize issues that matter to the state’s largest constituency & voting base – women, veterans, Latinos and new American citizens. These groups are engaged, united and voting in greater numbers each year, so do not be alarmed as you see them closing the gap and shifting our state to purple as our Governor and Legislative officials fail to recognize them when it matters. Words do matter!

There were 3,720 words used in the State of the State speech by Governor Rick Perry. Below is a breakdown of keywords that were used in present, past and future tense. In addition, the words could have been used in singular, plural, and in conjunction with other words.

Veterans = 0
Women = 0
Community Colleges = 1
Minority = 1
Hispanic = 2
Economic = 5
Private = 5
Business = 6
Education = 10
Fund = 13
Jobs = 16
 

Joining DosCentavos.net as a bloguero is Fidencio “Orale” Leija-Chavez, Jr. Fidencio is a Co-Founder of Latinos. Engaged. United. Voting., a US Navy Vet, a Texas State University Bobcat studying Geographic Information Systems, a graduate of Houston’s National Hispanic Professional Organization Leadership Institute, and a local political pro.

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Moyers Full-Segment: New Face of Reproductive Rights

Thanks, again, to Moyers Media.

The New Face of Reproductive Rights on Moyers

Thanks to the folks at Moyers Media again for providing the link to the video preview of an upcoming program. As we celebrate 40 years of Roe v Wade, it is always good to see the leadership of this movement become more diverse.

Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and Lynn Paltrow, founder and Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, talk to Bill about the how the modern abortion debate connects to other social justice issues.

“Reproductive justice really broadens the movement to incorporate things like socioeconomic status, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity,” says González-Rojas. “It’s really inclusive and much more holistic than looking to protect just the narrow, legal right to abortion.”

Watch on Full-Screen or…

NARAL: 2012 A Record Year of Anti-Choice Attacks

Catching up with news on women’s reproductive rights, NARAL released a report on the status of a woman’s right to choose as we celebrate 40 years since Roe v Wade.

NARAL also released a Congressional Record on choice–who supports women and who does not in D.C..

Unfortunately, it seems the fight to preserve Roe v Wade will continue.

Since 1995, states have enacted more than 700 anti-choice measures cumulatively. Each of these measures interferes with a woman’s right to make her own private, personal decisions about her reproductive health. And state governments continue to be dominated by anti-choice politicians, which likely means the trend of legislative attacks on reproductive freedom will continue in the year ahead.

NARAL outlined the War on Women in the report.

Anti-Choice Attacks:

  • 25 states enacted 42 anti-choice measures in 2012. (Readers of the book will note that the numbers are slightly different. That’s because in late 2012, two states enacted two additional measures.)
  • Arizona enacted the most anti-choice legislation in 2012, with four measures. Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin each enacted three anti-choice measures.
  • Since 1995, states have enacted 755 anti-choice measures.
  • 24 states earned a “F” on the women’s reproductive rights report card.

Pro-Choice Progress:

  • 6 states enacted 8 pro-choice measures in 2012.
  • Vermont enacted the most pro-choice legislation in 2012, with 3 measures.
  • 2012 marks the eighth year in a row that Colorado has enacted a pro-choice measure.

Keenan also pointed out states like Arizona, Georgia, and Louisiana enacted bans on abortion care after 20 weeks that are clearly unconstitutional and designed as a challenge to Roe v. Wade. And states like Alabama, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wisconsin enacted abortion-coverage bans in the states’ health-insurance exchanges.

“This is why elections matter,” Keenan continued. “Women continue to face legislative hostility in states dominated by anti-choice politicians. We may have won some battles but anti-choice politicians attack this right relentlessly – if we allow them. It is incumbent upon us to educate the public on these anti-choice tactics and hold these extreme politicians accountable.”

All I can say is that if you’re running for office (especially as a Democrat) and you are part of the attack or just stay quiet, you are doing a disservice to women.    If you are serious about running for office, any office, then you better be in tune with this issue.

3rd Centavo ~ Acuña: Politics is the Art of Compromise?

by Dr. Rodolfo Acuña

The most overused saying among liberals is that politics is the art of compromise, and it gripes me to no end. Liberals repeat it with such smugness as if they were sages. I find it so pretentious — to the point that I consider it a bunch of toro dung.

It is like saying that politics is the art of the possible, an equally absurd, pretentious and irritating notion. What happened to the impossible dream? Shouldn’t we always strive for something better?

If we have to have a standard wouldn’t a better saying be that politics is the art of principle after all politics is not a game. It involves people, and consequences.

In my own little world, I have seen too many Chicana/o studies programs compromised out of existence with administrators convincing Chicana/o negotiators that it was impossible to give them what they wanted, not enough money. At the same time the president of the institution draws down $300,000 a year, and gets perks such as housing, a per diem, and an automobile. One recently retired university president that I know sits on two corporate boards of directors, and draws down an extra $300,000.

This is academe’s version of one potato two potatoes three potatoes, more.

The game gets ridiculous. Faculties at institutions of higher learning supposedly have shared governance. In fact, every committee is merely advisory to the president who can accept or reject the recommendations.

For the past several years California State University professors have been playing footsies with the administration or better still the chancellor’s office over the budget and pay raises. This is a Catch-22, however. Faculty members also say that they are concerned about the escalating tuition; note that students pay as much as 80 percent of instructional costs. So where is the additional revenue going to come from? Professors love students, but not enough to forgo raises or out of principle go on strike to trim back the number of administrators and the presidents’ salaries.

It really gets ridiculous at times. At Northridge, Chicana/o studies was threatened that if it exceeded its target enrollment that the department would be penalized and its budget cut. Our former chancellor wanted to pressure the state legislature to cough up more money by turning back students. The administration minions at the disparate campuses justified this by repeating the party line that numbers do not count. In fact they laid a guilt trip on us saying that Chicana/o studies professors we were not team players because we were admitting too many students.

As a result, this semester we have a crisis. The institution did not admit enough students; the rationale was if we had fewer students, then we would spend less. But it does not work that way. At state universities even the allocation for paper clips depends on how many students you are taking in. That is why most departments are now being told to beef up their enrollment or lose a portion of their department budget.

Good old compromise got us there as well as the illusion that faculty has power. In fact there were other possibilities. Compromise was not necessarily one of them.

The word compromise is insidious. President Barack Obama has been trying to play Henry Clay and show that he is a great compromiser – forgetting that he is not bargaining for a used car.

President Obama compromised and got his Obama care package. A half a loaf is better than none my Democrat friends repeated, smiled, and nodded. But, according to the New York Times, “Americans continue to spend more on health care than patients anywhere else. In 2009, we spent $7,960 per person, twice as much as France, which is known for providing very good health services.” An appendectomy in Germany costs a quarter of what it costs in the United States; an M.R.I. scan less than a third as much in Canada.

The U.S. devotes far more of its economy to health care than other industrialized countries. It spends two and a half times more than the other countries do for health care; most of it is funneled through giant health corporations. Why do we pay more? Could it be because Obama compromised on the single payer?

I have been to France, Spain and Germany; I can testify that the quality of care is on a par and often better than in the U.S. and the earnings and prestige of doctors is equivalent or better.

Why is this? Could it be that they don’t have giant medical corporations making tremendous profits? Just Blue Cross of California has annual revenue of $9.7 billion. This not for profit corporation made $180 million in excess profits in 2010.

The only conclusion that I can reach is that Obama was suckered into believing compromise was necessary and that politics was the art of the possible instead of sticking to principle.

Let’s be honest for a moment, immigration was put on the back burner until the Democratic party realized that in order to win that Latinos better be invited to the dance.

However, Mexican Americans, Latinos or, whatever we call them, play the same ridiculous game as white people do.

Go to the neighborhoods, ask Central Americans if they are Mexican, and they get insulted. Ask Cuban Americans if they are Mexican, and they get insulted. Many resent the fact or want to ignore that Mexican Americans make up two-thirds to 70 percent of the Latino total.

So, let’s not rock the boat, Mexicans will call any politician with a tenth Mexican blood a Latino and call them compadre. They are happy to be called anything but Mexican.

I don’t know how we are going to get out of this bind when we have to vote for people without principles. Are we going to support a Marco Rubio or a Ted Cruz because they have Spanish surnames, or George Prescott Bush because his mother was Mexican, and forget that he was once called ”the little brown one.”

It gets ridiculous — like that game played in the Huffington Post’s Latino Voices that features articles asking, do you know that this actor or actress has Latino blood? It is as stupid as the game of compromise or the art of the possible.

It reminds me of my grandfather and uncles who worked on the railroad (Southern Pacific) for fifty years who would say that a certain foreman was simpatico, they just knew he liked Mexicans. Why shouldn’t he? Mexican workers bought his lottery tickets and junk jewelry.

Support should be based on principle. I support Central and Latin Americans not because their numbers swell opportunities for politicos, but because they have suffered European and Euro-American colonialism, and come to this country for a better life. They deserve what every other human being should have.

We are not going to get a thing through compromise. Every time I look at John Boehner, Eric Cantor and their buddy in the Senate who reminds me of the bloodhound Trusty in “Lady and the Tramp”; I am reminded that a fair deal is based on integrity. I would not want any of these jokers to come to dinner – not in my house!

Before we start compromising and calling anyone our amigos remember that Boehner called a 2007 bipartisan immigration bill “a piece of shit.” This is what he thinks about us. I use the generic word Latino because I care about my Latin American family – not because I want to be Italian.

Obama is now at a crossroads. He is going to have to make a decision, and that decision does not only encompass immigration and gun control. It is about whether politics is the art of compromise, the art of the possible, or whether it is about principle.

My advice is to tell his three Republican amigos to take a hike and mint the damn trillion dollar coin. It is better to be right and to be respected than to be liked.

Rodolfo Acuña, Ph.D., is an historian, professor emeritus, and one of various scholars of Chicano studies, which he teaches at California State University, Northridge. He is the author of Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. Dr. Acuña writes various opinions on his Facebook page and allows sites to share his thoughts.

Cargas Gets Nod From Medical and Science Leaders (CD-07)

The following statement was released by 40 renowned scientists and physicians seeking a new direction in Congress.  They have found that new direction in James Cargas, the challenger in Congressional District 7.

Cargas has been a long-time advocate of returning federal science funding to levels similar to that of the Clinton Administration as a way to support our Texas Medical Center and keep good knowledge-based jobs in Houston.  Sustainable funding of research will also allow America to regain its lead in science and innovation, and develop new medicines, new treatments, and new medical technologies.  The endorsements have been primarily in response to Cargas releasing his plan.

Even more scientists, researchers and physicians and members of the medical center community have shown their support of James Cargas through an on-line petition. 

Statement by Houston Scientists and Physicians in Support of James Cargas

Voters must decide: Should we continue to defund our nation’s scientific and biomedical research programs, or should we restore the longstanding policies that have been an economic success and made Houston a world leader in science and biotechnology?

Our endorsement of James Cargas for Congressional District 7 is based on a simple choice: Houston deserves someone that will protect and strengthen vital research funding.

Throughout their crusade to “starve the beast” and reduce the size of government, Congressional Tea Party extremists, including John Culberson, have cut funding for scientific and medical research. A few “earmarks” to pet projects do not make up for the jobs or millions lost. Federal grants are awarded based on tough peer review; they are not handouts to political favorites. We have witnessed the disastrous consequences of highly rated research projects going unfunded and labs getting closed.

By failing to even allow for inflation adjustments to federal funding, the Tea Party puts their ideological goals ahead of common-sense policies that save lives, create jobs and support the economy. In Texas, every $1.00 spent on research generates $2.49 in economic development – including good knowledge-based jobs.

James Cargas understands all this. Cargas’ proposal is to restore funding to the previous Clinton administration levels and increase funding by 7.5 percent annually thereafter. This proposal will get the Texas Medical Center off life support, reverse the layoffs, and allow it to maintain its world-class status. Therefore, we as Houston scientists and physicians, strongly support James Cargas. Please be sure to vote.

Signed,
Dr. Michael S. Beauchamp, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy
Dr. Eric Bershad, Assistant Professor of Neurology
Dr. Melissa Bondy, Professor of Epidemiology
Dr. William Brinkley, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Dr. Suncica Canic, Professor of Mathematics
Dr. Charles Cleeland, Professor of Cancer Research
Dr. Steven Cox, Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics
Dr. Robert Curl, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Professor of Natural Sciences Emeritus
Dr. J. David Dickman, Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Manolis Doxastakis, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Dr. William Doyon, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Fabrizio Gabbiani, Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Andy Groves, Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Joanna Jankowsky, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Kresimir Josic, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Dr. Ioannis Kakadiaris, Professor of Computer Science
Dr. Weiji Ma, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Mirjana Maletic-Savatic, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Stephen McCauley, Assistant Professor
Dr. Nicholas Mitsiades, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Biology
Dr. Mary Newsome, Assistant Professor
Dr. William Ott, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Dr. Emmanuel Papadakis, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Dr. Claudia Pedroza, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Robert Raphael, Associate Professor of Bioengineering
Dr. Peter Saggau, Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. David Shine, Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Harel Shouval, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy
Dr. Stelios M. Smirnakis, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Neurology
Dr. Jose Suarez, Professor of Neurology
Dr. Andreas Tolias, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Kimberley Tolias, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Nikos Tsekos, Associate Professor of Computer Science
Dr. Eroboghene E. Ubogu, Associate Professor of Neurology
Dr. Chethan P. Venkatasubba Rao, Assistant Professor of Neurology
Dr. Xin Shelley Wang, Associate Professor of Cancer Medicine
Dr. Elisabeth Wilde, Assistant Professor
Dr. Anthony Wright, Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy
Dr. Marwan Yared, Professor of Pathology
Dr. Jokubas Ziburkus, Assistant Professor of Biology and Biochemistry

Houston Deserves Better!

James Cargas offers substantial public service experience. He has served in the U.S. House of Representatives as a deputy press secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a law clerk, Clinton White House as an aide, and U.S. Department of Energy under Secretary Bill Richardson as a political appointee. He is currently the Senior Assistant City Attorney for Energy for the City of Houston. James and his wife, Dr. Dorina Papageorgiou, a neuroscientist are members of the Greek Orthodox Annunciation Cathedral.

Make a contribution to the Cargas campaign!

HD134: Ann Johnson on Health Care

This morning I awoke to an ad attacking HD134 candidate Ann Johnson for Obamacare. The right-wing opponent said “Obamacare” a few times, as if that is a negative thing. An hour later, I look on Facebook and find what could count as a strong response from Ann Johnson. Here’s the video:

Event: GOLDEN Dinner and Tejano Dance – September 14

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. 

GOLDEN: Giving Others Life to Dream Every Night Dinner & Tejano Dance is a Go Gold initiative organized by a group of individuals concerned about the awareness of childhood cancers in the Latino community.

All proceeds raised from ticket sales will go directly to the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO). whose mission is to address the needs of families through programs that emphasize information, advocacy, awareness, and research.   ACCO provides:

  • Free Kits to families affected by childhood cancers in Spanish & English.  Kits include books and videos to help family members cope with cancer.
  • Funds for child cancer research
  • Literature about chldhood cancers

Your contribution will help fund ACCO initiatives.   $15 will put one of the many available books in the hands of a child with cancer, $25 will give a book to the child’s teacher, and $100 will give a full set of materials to a family in need of them.  More information about materials can be found at http://www.acco.org

Local organizations that provide resources to families and childen affected by childhood cancers will be present to share resources and promote volunteer oppurtunities.

Go Gold and join us for this very worthy cause:  “because kids can’t fight cancer alone.”

BBQ Dinner & Resource Expo   6pm-7:30 pm

Tejano Dance                                7:30 pm-11pm

BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE 

Be prepared to dance the night away to the best Tejano hits.  Cash bar will be available.

The suport of the following organizations is greatly appreciated:

Camp Innovation

H-E-B

Latinos. Engaged. United. Voting

Mia’s Closet

National Hispanic Professional Organization

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church

HCC Set to Add $425 Million Bond to Ballot

There’s no doubt that our community college systems are bursting at the seams and Rick Perry and the Republicans at the State Capitol have cut deeply into investment in higher education. And the results are quite noticeable as those of us served by Houston Community College System may get to vote on a $425 million bond package in November.

HCC officials say the bonds are needed to cope with exploding enrollment, rapidly-changing technology and shrinking state funding. In the last five years, enrollment has increased from 50,000 to 75,000, straining classrooms and campuses to their capacity, said HCC spokesman Dan Arguijo.

Anyone who feels investment in higher education should be a priority has some very good reasons to vote yes on this bond, if approved for the ballot by the HCCS Board.

As an example of the need for more space, HCC board chairman Mary Ann Perez pointed to HCC’s Coleman College for Health Sciences in the Texas Medical Center.

Built for 1,500 students, the facility now holds 3,500, leading to parking shortages, crowded classrooms and the turning away of 9 out of every 10 nursing applicants, Perez said. The bond proposal allots $120 million for a new health care education and early college building.

The plan also emphasizes workforce development in energy and the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math, Perez said.

“Houston is the energy capital of the world. The only way to maintain our leadership is to have a well-qualified and trained workforce,” Perez said. “Right now, we are simply unable to support student demand.”

Money would be designated for renovations or new construction at all six HCC colleges, including $27 million for a new workforce building in Stafford, $40 million in North Forest for workforce and early college buildings, and $53 million for a new westside campus at Westheimer and Eldridge Parkway.

There’s some opposition coming out of those served in Alief because they feel some of the promises made by HCC when they took them into the district have not been met. But the cash seems to be in the pipeline. Alief must be made a priority before some of this new bond money is expended on newer facilities. Still, there must be some strong demand for a westside campus.

It seems to me that this would be a worthy investment with a small increase in the property tax. Now that I actually live in the big city, I get to vote on this. Let’s see what the Board decides on Thursday.

 

Event: North Harris County ~ Health Care For All Event

Here’s an important event my friends in North and North East Harris County may be interested in attending.

Health Care for All – Texas Single-Payer Health Care

When:  Tue, August 7, 7pm – 9pm
Where:  4884 Louetta Rd. spring, TX. 77388 (map)
Description:  Watch a film on Canada’s switch to a single payer system. There will be a short talk followed by discussion. Check out http://www.healthcareforalltexas.org. All are invited. Please contact Ashley Williams at (713) 530-8143 or email ashley@votebradneal.com for further information or questions.