Category Archives: Community

Headline of the day: Say adieu to public television


Along with art and humanities programs. . .

From the New York Times:

Trump Budget Hit List Has Programs Long in G.O.P. Sights

  • The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, AmeriCorps and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities could all be eliminated under President Trump.
  • Most of the programs cost under $500 million annually, a pittance for a government that is projected to spend about $4 trillion this year.

Anti-Trump protests continue across country


Agent Orange’s reign is drawing more outrage as a second day of protests, strikes, and other actions are breaking out,

From Reuters:

A second consecutive day of protests against U.S. President Donald Trump’s month-old administration will unfold on Friday in cities across the country, with activists urging Americans to skip work and school in a show of dissent.

Strike4Democracy, one of the groups organizing what it calls the #F17 General Strike, said more than 100 public protests were expected. About 16,000 people responded to a Facebook page for a march at New York’s Washington Square Park on Friday.

“This is how we stop Trump and the entire corrupt political establishment before they destroy us and the planet we call home,” the F17 Facebook page said.

Protests also were planned in large and small cities across the country, including Chicago, New Orleans and Mason City, Iowa.

Strike4Democracy urged Americans to stay away from work if possible and take part in a community service. It suggested people refrain from making purchases and instead donate their lunch money to a worthy cause and contact congressional representatives about the strike.

Map of the day: Where deportation fears soar


Two graphics from the Los Angeles Times about where America’s undocumented are concentrated, starting with this map:

blog-migra

Next, a bar graph featuring the top ten urban regions:

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From the accompanying story, focusing on the megalopolis wherein we now dwell:

Nearly 10% of the nation’s 11.1 million immigrants who are in the country illegally reside in Los Angeles and Orange counties, according to an analysis released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.

The region is home to 1 million such immigrants, second only to the greater New York area, which has 1.2 million. Third on the list was Houston with 575,000. The city of Los Angeles alone has an estimated 375,000.

The data offer a stark sense of the stakes for Southern California and the rest of the nation as President Trump embarks on a crackdown on illegal immigration.

Up to 8 million people in the country illegally could be considered priorities for deportation, according to calculations by the Los Angeles Times. They were based on interviews with experts who studied the order and two internal documents that signal immigration officials are taking an expansive view of Trump’s directive.

>snip<

In 2014, 61% of immigrants here illegally lived in the 20 metropolitan areas, whereas only 36% of the total U.S. population lived in the same regions. All except one of the areas remained in the top 20 over the previous decade.

Charts of the day: How we get, act on online news


Two charts from How Americans Encounter, Recall and Act Upon Digital News, a new report from the Pew Research Center.

The first chart reveals how we get to online news sources:

blog-news

And the second chart shows which of those avenues are more likely to lead us to act, and on which topics:

blog-news-2

Protesters win Mexican gas price hike delay


Following privatization of large parts of the state-owned national oil company, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto gave his people a New Year’s present — a twenty percent hike in the price of gasoline.

First, some background.

Big Oil is still smarting over the 18 March 1938 decision of Mexican President Lázaro Cárdenas to nationalize foreign oil company holdings in the midst of a sometimes violent strike by Mexicans employed by U.S. and Anglo-Dutch oil companies.

The result was the creation of Petróleos Mexicanos, better known as Pemex.

In recent decades, as the neoliberal ideology metastasized, aging infrastructure and politically backed corruption took their toll, as new corporate extraction technologies and aging oil fields caught Pemex in a double bind.

Neoliberalism dictated the solution: Privatize.

So in 2014 Peña won congressional backing to sell off the rights to all new oil fields, leaving Pemex with the aging existing fields and those rapidly obsolescing pipelines and refineries.

Stuck with the increasingly costly side of the deal, Peña ordered the price hike.

The gasolinazo [gasoline punch], which now meant a tank of gas cost more than a minimum wage worker’s daily pay, sent Mexicans pouring into the streets, blocking off roads, barricading the U.S. border, and engaging in violent, sometimes lethal, confrontations with police and the military.

And now their actions have borne fruit.

From teleSUR English:

The Mexican government announced late Friday that it would postpone a second scheduled hike in gas prices, known as the ‘gasolinazo’, in response to the massive protests which have taken place since the first price hike at the start of January.

The Secretariat of Finance and Public credit declared that for the next two weeks the maximum prices for both regular gasoline and diesel fuel will remain the same since prices here hiked upwards of 20 percent on Jan. 1 2017.

The announcement came after protests continued to rock Mexico this week over the massive spike in gas prices which has crippled much of Mexico’s economy and led to massive social upheaval.

Since the Jan. 1 ending of fuel subsidies which led to the price hike, more than 500 people have been arrested throughout the country during protests which saw tens of thousands of people taking the streets, hundreds of gas stations closed, and a reported 250 stores looted.

Protests continued Friday and more were expected for Saturday in anticipation of the hike.

“The austerity measures already announced by the Government of the Republic, as well as the recent evolution of the exchange rate and the international price of gasoline, have created the conditions to keep the maximum prices unchanged during the indicated period,” the secretariat said in a statement release on Friday.

Critics have accused Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto and other government officials of ransacking Mexico’s state oil company, Pemex, which has undergone a gradual privatization process in recent years that has broken up the longstanding monopoly.

Lack of health insurance can shatter communities


Lack of health insurance isn’t just bad for the health of individuals and familieies  without it. It can also increase tensions within communities and shatter social cohesion.

From sociologist Tara McKay, Assistant Professor of of Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University, writing in The Conversation, an open source academic written for lay readers.

All links in the article are, unfortunately, to paywalled academic journals:

Dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement plan is projected to increase the nation’s uninsured population by 18 million in the first year after repeal and by 32 million in 2026, according to recent estimates by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). As lawmakers and the American public consider repealing portions of the ACA, it is an important time to reflect on what limiting access to health insurance might mean for Americans and their communities. If a repeal occurs, not only individuals, but also their communities, could be affected.

Whether we like it or not, health insurance affects our lives in significant ways. Sometimes these effects are very direct, determining whether we can afford to see a doctor when we need to. At other times, health insurance affects us in less direct ways by shaping whether providers hire that extra nurse or relocate to a wealthier area of town.

One of the things we’ve paid a lot less attention to is whether the effects of health insurance go beyond things like health and costs to shape other aspects of our social lives. My new study with Stefan Timmermans of UCLA addresses this gap by examining the consequences of uninsurance for cohesion and trust in Los Angeles communities during the 2000s.

Using longitudinal data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (L.A. FANS), we find that people living in communities with lower levels of insurance are less likely to feel connected to and trust their neighbors, even after controlling for several other neighborhood and individual factors that might affect people’s perceptions of and engagement with their communities.

We also test whether broader access to health insurance through a policy like the ACA could strengthen communities over time. This analysis demonstrates that people’s perceptions of their neighbors and communities improve as more people gain access to insurance in their community.

Consequences beyond health care

How does this work?

When large groups of people don’t have health insurance, this places unique financial and organizational strains on individuals, providers and health care markets. Research demonstrates that a lack of access to health insurance negatively affects health, health care access and quality, utilization of preventative services and out-of-pocket costs for the uninsured.

These effects also frequently spill over to the insured, negatively affecting the health and out-of-pocket costs for people living or receiving care alongside large groups of uninsured. Such spillovers come about as providers try to lower their exposure to a large uninsured population by reducing, dropping or redistributing staff and services that are disproportionately used by the uninsured, such as emergency care.

These provider strategies also go on to affect access to health care, quality of care and trust in health care providers for everyone living in a community, not just the uninsured.

Given the particular pressures that uninsurance places on individuals, providers and health care markets, it’s not surprising that we find the consequences of uninsurance go beyond health and health care.

We specifically measured the consequences of living in a community with high levels of uninsurance on residents’ reports of social cohesion, or their feelings of trust, mutual obligation and reciprocity toward their neighbors. Moving from a community where almost everyone has health insurance to one where more than half are uninsured results in a 34 percent decrease in residents’ perceptions of social cohesion in their community, we found.

We tested many possible explanations for this decrease, including differences in the composition of these communities over time, but this result is persistent. There is a social cost for communities that carry a larger burden of uninsured. This 34 percent difference in social cohesion is a substantial difference that has important consequences for other individual and community outcomes pertaining to health, political engagement and more.

New tensions created in communities

There are two primary ways that a lack of health insurance might affect communities.

First, in battles over state and local budgets, attempts to cover the uninsured through the redistribution of new or existing funds may run into political barriers or be forced to compete with other public services such as education and law enforcement. These battles can create competing interests and goals within a community that contribute to the breakdown of social cohesiveness, trust and reciprocity among community members over time.

Continue reading

Headlines of the day II: Slouching toward Bethlehem


Two headlines form the London Daily Mail, starting with this:

More than 2.5 MILLION people across the U.S. march against President Trump with millions more showing solidarity across the world

  • More than 2.5million people across the U.S. took to the streets for the Women’s March against Trump during his first full day in office with millions more around the globe demonstrating
  • One million of those alone gathered in the new president’s backyard in Washington DC on Saturday
  • The Women’s March on Washington is expected to be largest inauguration-related protest in US history
  • More people are believed to be on the National Mall for the DC march than came for Trump’s inauguration
  • In total there are 600 sister marches throughout the country and across the world

And then this, starring the Material Girl:

Secret Service WILL investigate Madonna after singer says she wants to BLOW UP the White House in expletive-filled rant at women’s march

  • The Secret Service has allegedly said it will open an investigation into Madonna after her DC speech
  • The pop icon said she’d thought a lot about ‘blowing up the White House’
  • An estimated one million people participated in the Women’s March on Washington in DC on Saturday 
  • There were also 600 sister marches throughout the country and across the world
  • Pink p***yhats – knitted beanies with cat ears – became the accessory of the march in reference to Trump’s quote ‘grab her by the p***y’ 
  • America Ferrera, Scarlett Johnasson, Michael Moore and Alicia Keys also spoke at the DC event 
  • Their speeches were a call of action to the crowd, asking them to run for office, fight for reproductive rights
  • However, Ashley Judd and Madonna raised eyebrows with their controversial contributions 
  • Judd read a poem saying Trump has ‘wet dreams  infused with his own genes’