TruthToTell

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TruthToTell, Monday, June 25−9AM: RELIGION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Will You Speak Up?; TruthToTell, June 18: HEALTHCARE REVOLUTION FOR MINNESOTA: A Unified System Debuts

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

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TruthToTell, Monday, June 25−9AM: RELIGION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Will You Speak Up? - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org


Time was – back in the 1950s – those of us from Catholic grade schools who found ourselves attending public high schools – in my case Central High School from St. Luke’s Parish (now St. Thomas More) in theArchdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis – religious education was continued by way of what were called “Release” classes. Every Wednesday afternoon, the agreement between the schools and the church allowed Catholic students to be “released” from their class(es) early to walk a few blocks to a Catholic Church (in our case, St. Peter Claver – where the “Black Catholics” go. Still do, but very mixed now), sit around talking some catechism and all that for an hour, then woke up and went home. Probably between ten and twelve showed up each week.

This went on for the first year, perhaps another half-year before I gave up on that nonsense.

Meanwhile, in place of the discredited high school fraternity/sorority system that prevailed in Minnesota until thrown out in the early 50s under a somewhat scandalous shadow, came the Hi-Y (boys) and Y-Teens (girls) clubs established under the rubric of the YMCA and YWCA, respectively. About five to seven clubs for each gender and themselves taking on Greek names (Kappa Hi-Y was the one I joined). Of course, we Catholics were theoretically forbidden to belong to one of these because the Y’s are “Christian” – meaning Protestant (horrors!). The Catholic answer to all this were the CYC’s – Catholic Youth Centers – all put together to keep us Catholic and away from all the others. Our school was St. Paul’s true melting pot. About 80% of the city’s Jewish kids attended Central (you’d know many names) and they had their own groups. The boys belonged to AZA, the girls – B’nai B’rith.

All this to say that religion and religion youth groups have forever been part of a teen’s life in Minnesota’s public schools. But, those organizations, while well-attended and active, were off-campus, and, as far as I know, the elementary schools were out of bounds altogether. No religious group claimed the right to use public school resources or spaces for their religious or social activities. Meetings, classes, social events and dances, etc., were all staged elsewhere and the classrooms were free of such intrusion.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has tracked most of this record of court cases and disputes between churches and state institutions. One of their surveys may shock you:

“Federal courts, …civil libertarians point out, have consistently interpreted the First Amendment's prohibition on the establishment of religion to forbid state sponsorship of prayer and most other religious activities in public schools.

“Despite that long series of court decisions, polls show that large numbers of Americans favor looser, not tighter, limits on religion in public schools. According to an August 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center, more than two-thirds of Americans (69%) agree with the notion that ‘liberals have gone too far in trying to keep religion out of the schools and the government.’ And a clear majority (58%) favor teaching biblical creationism along with evolution in public schools.”

This is shocking news, running counter to Supreme Court rulings dating to 1940 that were clearly designed to separate public schools from intrusive religious credos. Until 2001, when, in a 6-3 decision (Child Evangelism Fellowship [CEF] vs. Milford (NY) Central School), the US Supreme Court threw out a district policy forbidding the use of school property for religious purposes, effectively freezing out CEF from establishing its “Good News Clubs” there. Such a ban violated freedom to promote a viewpoint, said the majority. Outside groups could be banned, but not based on their views. The dissenters rabidly stated that the CEF was using Good News Clubs to proselytize, but the majority said that doesn’t matter. A Minnesota case is pending in the Federal Court of Appeals.

Much of this would no doubt be buried in the arcane business of local school governance and the courts were it not for 1) a series of articles by MinnPost.com’s Education Reporter and Columnist, Beth Hawkins, and 2) a new book by investigative reporter Katherine StewartThe Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children. The latter will be in town to appear and sign books and talk about this phenomenon under the auspices of Americans United (for Separation of Church and State). All of this in advance of a Child Evangelism Fellowship strategy conference to be held here in MInneapolis in July.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI will talk with the reporters/authors and an AU representative about the legal history, the political climate and the future of the precedents in the arena of religion on the public schools.

GUESTS:

 KATHERINE STEWART  - Free-lance Investigative Reporter (The New York TimesThe Guardian, theDaily BeastBloomberg View, and Religion Dispatches); Author, The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children.


 BETH HAWKINS – Education/Public Policy Reporter/Columnist and Blogger (Learning Curve), MinnPost.com

 

DEREK BIRKELAND – Board Member/Treasurer, Americans United (for Separation of Church and State) – Minnesota

Katherine Stewart presentations and book-signings:

MONDAY, JUNE 25, 7:30 P.M. – MAGERS & QUINN BOOKSELLERS
 - 3038 Hennepin Ave.  Minneapolis

TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 7:00 P.M.
– COMMON GOOD BOOKS
 - 38 Snelling Ave. S.
– Saint Paul

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TruthToTell, June 18: HEALTHCARE REVOLUTION FOR MINNESOTA: A Unified System Debuts - PODCAST HERE


Listen to or download this episode here: 

Facebook: Search TruthToTell; Twitter: @TTTAndyDriscoll; Email: andydriscoll@TruthToTell.org

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just in time for our next show this Monday on health care comes a StarTribune story about the exponential rise in the number of Minnesotans on Medicaid – to be sure, double the national rate over the last two years, according to Reporter Warren Wolfe’s June 13th article.

Medicaid – not to be confused with Medicare – is the federal health program for the poor, but is handled differently in just about every state. In Minnesota we call it Medical Assistance. Of Minnesota’s population of 5 million folks, fully 733,000 of them are on Medical Assistance to the tune of $4 billion per year. This represents a big jump of 125,000 over the last two years and increases the percentage of us on Medical Assistance to fully 15% of all Minnesota’s people, but big in part because Gov. Mark Dayton added 80,000 to the rolls, thanks to the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA).

There’s more to this, but the questions remaining for all of us as the Supreme Courtapproaches a decision on what those who call the ACA “Obamacare,” is what the states’ responsibilities for providing healthcare coverage and access to their citizens, no matter what that decision may be. After all, even if the court throws out one or more of the ACA’s provisions – or the entire law (unlikely) – the need for health coverage for all of us remains as dire as ever.

As it is, most states and health insurers have already implemented many of the law’s provisions – dropping of precondition exclusions, coverage of children up to age 26 under most circumstances, etc. Most major insurers, including Minnesota-based United Healthcare, have no intention of returning to their old ways and exclusions and states have started designing their mandated health exchanges when patients without employer-supplied health plans need some sort of coverage without resorting to the all-too-expensive option of using emergency rooms for routine care.

We know that the public, perhaps even Republicans, support the ACA’s consumer protections:

• Abolishing annual and lifetime caps on benefits paid.

• Ending rescission (dropping people from insurance when they get sick), except in cases of fraud.

• Ending exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

• Ending price discrimination based on gender and medical history. (Higher premiums can still be charged based on tobacco use, age and geographic region.)

• Allowing children to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26.

• Phasing out Medicare’s “donut hole” (the gap in prescription drug coverage).

• Establishing a minimum medical loss ratio – the percentage of premium that must be spent on health care rather than on administration or profit. (source: Growth&Justice)

Most physicians and consumers support some sort of single-payer system – where our tax dollars would pay for health care that would remain delivered by private providers (like Aspen, HealthPartners, and Allina). Many are suggesting this model would be a Medicare-for-all option. Current administrative costs through even nonprofit private insurers (BlueCross/Blue Shield, HealthPartners, Medica and UCare) amount to almost 30% of every healthcare dollar, whereas the administration of Medicare amounts by law to no more than 2%. How much more efficient would that revision be when another quarter of the healthcare dollar could actually be spent on caring for people.

A new 38-page report from one of Minnesota’s premier progressive voice on state economic issues, Growth & JusticeBeyond the Affordable Care Act: An Economic Analysis of a Unified System of Health Care for Minnesota makes a strong, well documented case for a state-based single-payer system, ACA or no ACA. G&J recommends a “unified system” that takes in many other benefits.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI ask the report’s author and advocates to explain the report’s findings and conclusions, the why of this particular recommendation and what the politics might be toward adoption.

On-air guests: 

DANE SMITH – President, Growth & Justice Policy Developers

AMY LANGE, RN, MS, CNM – Policy Fellow on Health Care, Growth & Justice; Author, Beyond the Affordable Care Act: An Economic Analysis of a Unified System of Health Care for Minnesota

ELIZABETH FROST, MD – Family Physician; Board member, Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP)-Minnesota Chapter; Advocate, Health Care for All-Minnesota

TruthToTell, Monday, June 18 − 9AM: HEALTHCARE REVOLUTION FOR MINNESOTA: A Unified System Debuts - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

TruthToTell, Monday, June 18 − 9AM: HEALTHCARE REVOLUTION FOR MINNESOTA: A Unified System Debuts - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

 

NOW: CALL or TWEET or POST ON FACEBOOK AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION Monday morning: Phone: 612-341-0980 

Facebook: Search TruthToTell; Twitter: @TTTAndyDriscoll; Email: andydriscoll@TruthToTell.org 

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just in time for our next show this Monday on health care comes a StarTribune story about the exponential rise in the number of Minnesotans on Medicaid – to be sure, double the national rate over the last two years, according to Reporter Warren Wolfe’s June 13th article.

Medicaid – not to be confused with Medicare – is the federal health program for the poor, but is handled differently in just about every state. In Minnesota we call it Medical Assistance. Of Minnesota’s population of 5 million folks, fully 733,000 of them are on Medical Assistance to the tune of $4 billion per year. This represents a big jump of 125,000 over the last two years and increases the percentage of us on Medical Assistance to fully 15% of all Minnesota’s people, but big in part because Gov. Mark Dayton added 80,000 to the rolls, thanks to the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA).

There’s more to this, but the questions remaining for all of us as the Supreme Courtapproaches a decision on what those who call the ACA “Obamacare,” is what the states’ responsibilities for providing healthcare coverage and access to their citizens, no matter what that decision may be. After all, even if the court throws out one or more of the ACA’s provisions – or the entire law (unlikely) – the need for health coverage for all of us remains as dire as ever.

As it is, most states and health insurers have already implemented many of the law’s provisions – dropping of precondition exclusions, coverage of children up to age 26 under most circumstances, etc. Most major insurers, including Minnesota-based United Healthcare, have no intention of returning to their old ways and exclusions and states have started designing their mandated health exchanges when patients without employer-supplied health plans need some sort of coverage without resorting to the all-too-expensive option of using emergency rooms for routine care.

We know that the public, perhaps even Republicans, support the ACA’s consumer protections:

• Abolishing annual and lifetime caps on benefits paid.

• Ending rescission (dropping people from insurance when they get sick), except in cases of fraud.

• Ending exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

• Ending price discrimination based on gender and medical history. (Higher premiums can still be charged based on tobacco use, age and geographic region.)

• Allowing children to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26.

• Phasing out Medicare’s “donut hole” (the gap in prescription drug coverage).

• Establishing a minimum medical loss ratio – the percentage of premium that must be spent on health care rather than on administration or profit. (source: Growth&Justice)

Most physicians and consumers support some sort of single-payer system – where our tax dollars would pay for health care that would remain delivered by private providers (like Aspen, HealthPartners, and Allina). Many are suggesting this model would be a Medicare-for-all option. Current administrative costs through even nonprofit private insurers (BlueCross/Blue Shield, HealthPartners, Medica and UCare) amount to almost 30% of every healthcare dollar, whereas the administration of Medicare amounts by law to no more than 2%. How much more efficient would that revision be when another quarter of the healthcare dollar could actually be spent on caring for people.

A new 38-page report from one of Minnesota’s premier progressive voice on state economic issues, Growth & JusticeBeyond the Affordable Care Act: An Economic Analysis of a Unified System of Health Care for Minnesota makes a strong, well documented case for a state-based single-payer system, ACA or no ACA. G&J recommends a “unified system” that takes in many other benefits.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI ask the report’s author and advocates to explain the report’s findings and conclusions, the why of this particular recommendation and what the politics might be toward adoption.

On-air guests: 

DANE SMITH – President, Growth & Justice Policy Developers

AMY LANGE, RN, MS, CNM – Policy Fellow on Health Care, Growth & Justice; Author, Beyond the Affordable Care Act: An Economic Analysis of a Unified System of Health Care for Minnesota

ELIZABETH FROST, MD – Family Physician; Board member, Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP)-Minnesota Chapter; Advocate, Health Care for All-Minnesota

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TruthToTell June 11: HEALTH INSURANCE COMEUPPANCE: Companies Make the Case for Their Replacement - PODCAST HERE


Listen to or download this episode here: 

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

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Every time I think we may be returning too often and concentrating on the health care issue on this program, I’m upended by the plethora of stories coming from every quarter of the health care universe – most of them unearthing fraudulent or deceptive practices by a healthcare system run amok. To wit:

  1. Locally, the Health Care for All Minnesota group, which under its former banner, Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition, is peopled by a mix of physicians, former healthcare providers and health insurer types, not to mention citizen advocates of extraordinary dedication to the idea that the medical and insurance system in the USA and Minnesota is riddled with uncaring incompetence and a focus on the money to be made or saved by providing the absolute minimum levels of care to everyone – or no care to many while their bottom lines bloat and their collection tactics smell (see Accretive Health and Fairview Medical). Attorney General Lori Swanson’s report has blown up Fairview’s management.
  2. From a Stateline (Pew) report on Medicaid fraud: “Nationwide, the federal government estimates it lost $22 billion of its share of Medicaid funding last year to what it calls “improper payments,” according to its payment accuracy survey. This suggests that the loss to state treasuries was also in the tens of billions.”

    Improper payments refers to Medicaid paying out those billions to fraudulent providers. Do these stories hit the mainstream media? Rarely. How does the public generally view Medicaid (and welfare) fraud? As perpetrated by the legendary “welfare queens” so often heard about in drunken bar conversations and on Fox News. The tiniest percentage of assistance recipients may game the system – but it’s a flea on a pinhead compared to the blanket billions of taxpayer dollars vacuumed up by thousands of doctors, dentists and other providers, each of whom can hit on the Medicaid Fund to the tune of millions per month, compared with a few thousand over a full year for an unscrupulous recipient.

  3. And not so finally, the health insurance industry whose sole purpose for being appears to be in denying, not supplying, health benefits. In fact, an assessment by one of Minnesota best-known health insurance analysts,Kip Sullivan, talks about the new wrinkle in what we used to call HMOs (health maintenance organizations) and are now called ACOs - accountable care organizations – although there are, indeed, some distinctions, namely the size of the risk, the number of enrollees (that’s us) and the provider pool (the medical-dental-hospital community). Beyond this, this will involve Medicare and Medicaid recipients under the new Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare?). We’ll learn more about these Monday, we trust.

    But, the health insurance industry is a study unto itself. We’ve heard for years that any notion of a single-payer or healthcare for all system smacks of socialism or that it would be too costly and that “the Best Health Care System on the Planet” would be fatally compromised. The fact is, the insurance industry has claimed millions of lives and ruined others through its coordinated denial of health care services and exploded costs to the tune of 16% - or nearly ten times the overall national inflation rate – per year. This, from the former CIGNA executive, Wendell Potter, author ofDeadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans, whom Barack Obama cited as an authority in his quest for health care reform legislation. Potter, now a senior analyst at the The Center for Public Integrity, among other positions, was CIGNA’s spinmeister, if you will.

Mr. Potter joins our discussion along with local insurance whistleblower, David Feinwachs and Dr. Ann Settgast of Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP). As usual so much to cover, but important in its own right and as a set up for the following Monday’s show on a report – Beyond the Affordable Care Act Web.pdf – issued by our local progressive policy group, Growth & Justice on which we’ll feature G&J’s president, Dane Smith and the report’s author, Amy Lange, RN, MS, CNM and Growth & Justice Policy Fellow on Health Care, and Dr. Elizabeth Frost, also of the PNHP and HCAMn.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI start this week with the status of state and national health insurers as we work our way toward full implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act – unless it’s thrown out in the middle of our conversations with our reform advocates.

On-air guests: 

WENDELL POTTER – former health insurance executive turned whistleblower; author of Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans (Bloomsbury Press hardcover, November 2010, now in paperback)

DR. ANN SETTGAST - practicing physician in Internal Medicine and board member, Physicians for a National Health Program

DR. DAVID FEINWACHS – Attorney; former Corporate counsel for Minnesota Hospital Association – Fired as a Whistleblower over indiscriminate taxpayer payments to HMOs

TruthToTell, June 18: HEALTHCARE REVOLUTION FOR MINNESOTA: A Unified System Debuts - PODCAST HERE

On-air date: 
Mon, 06/18/2012
Listen to or download this episode here: 

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Facebook: Search TruthToTell; Twitter: @TTTAndyDriscoll; Email: andydriscoll@TruthToTell.org

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just in time for our next show this Monday on health care comes a StarTribune story about the exponential rise in the number of Minnesotans on Medicaid – to be sure, double the national rate over the last two years, according to Reporter Warren Wolfe’s June 13th article.

Medicaid – not to be confused with Medicare – is the federal health program for the poor, but is handled differently in just about every state. In Minnesota we call it Medical Assistance. Of Minnesota’s population of 5 million folks, fully 733,000 of them are on Medical Assistance to the tune of $4 billion per year. This represents a big jump of 125,000 over the last two years and increases the percentage of us on Medical Assistance to fully 15% of all Minnesota’s people, but big in part because Gov. Mark Dayton added 80,000 to the rolls, thanks to theAffordable Healthcare Act (ACA).

There’s more to this, but the questions remaining for all of us as the Supreme Court approaches a decision on what those who call the ACA “Obamacare,” is what the states’ responsibilities for providing healthcare coverage and access to their citizens, no matter what that decision may be. After all, even if the court throws out one or more of the ACA’s provisions – or the entire law (unlikely) – the need for health coverage for all of us remains as dire as ever.

As it is, most states and health insurers have already implemented many of the law’s provisions – dropping of precondition exclusions, coverage of children up to age 26 under most circumstances, etc. Most major insurers, including Minnesota-based United Healthcare, have no intention of returning to their old ways and exclusions and states have started designing their mandated health exchanges when patients without employer-supplied health plans need some sort of coverage without resorting to the all-too-expensive option of using emergency rooms for routine care.

We know that the public, perhaps even Republicans, support the ACA’s consumer protections:

• Abolishing annual and lifetime caps on benefits paid.

• Ending rescission (dropping people from insurance when they get sick), except in cases of fraud.

• Ending exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

• Ending price discrimination based on gender and medical history. (Higher premiums can still be charged based on tobacco use, age and geographic region.)

• Allowing children to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26.

• Phasing out Medicare’s “donut hole” (the gap in prescription drug coverage).

• Establishing a minimum medical loss ratio – the percentage of premium that must be spent on health care rather than on administration or profit. (source: Growth&Justice)

Most physicians and consumers support some sort of single-payer system – where our tax dollars would pay for health care that would remain delivered by private providers (like Aspen, HealthPartners, and Allina). Many are suggesting this model would be a Medicare-for-all option. Current administrative costs through even nonprofit private insurers (BlueCross/Blue Shield, HealthPartners, Medica and UCare) amount to almost 30% of every healthcare dollar, whereas the administration of Medicare amounts by law to no more than 2%. How much more efficient would that revision be when another quarter of the healthcare dollar could actually be spent on caring for people.

A new 38-page report from one of Minnesota’s premier progressive voice on state economic issues, Growth & JusticeBeyond the Affordable Care Act: An Economic Analysis of a Unified System of Health Care for Minnesota makes a strong, well documented case for a state-based single-payer system, ACA or no ACA. G&J recommends a “unified system” that takes in many other benefits.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI ask the report’s author and advocates to explain the report’s findings and conclusions, the why of this particular recommendation and what the politics might be toward adoption.

GUESTS:

DANE SMITH – President, Growth & Justice Policy Developers

AMY LANGE, RN, MS, CNM – Policy Fellow on Health Care, Growth & Justice; Author, Beyond the Affordable Care Act: An Economic Analysis of a Unified System of Health Care for Minnesota

ELIZABETH FROST, MD – Family Physician; Board member, Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP)-Minnesota Chapter; Advocate, Health Care for All-Minnesota

TruthToTell Monday, April 16-9AM: EARTH DAY AND JUSTICE: Challenges Bloom; TruthToTell Monday, April 9: GMOs and OUR FOOD: What’s Safe, What Ain’t?

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’sFacebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

TruthToTell Monday, April 16-9AM: EARTH DAY AND JUSTICE: Challenges Bloom - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

 

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Earth Day is upon us again.

Most previous Earth Days have attempted – often quite successfully – to raise awareness of our individual responsibility to protect the environment, to protect the planet from global warming and other climate change issues, reducing the carbon in our lives – our air and water and atmosphere.

We’ve seen efforts at encouraging energy audits of our homes and businesses toward conserving energy and work us away from fossil fuel consumption and on to use of solar and wind alternatives on massive and neighborhood scales.

We’ve seen local community groups zero in on urban and community gardening as another way of achieving organic dominance over processed farming and foods.

What we have likely not spent enough time on is advocating for, nay, demanding, polluting corporations and governments to stop fouling the air and water in the most poverty-stricken of our neighborhoods and communities, invariably dominated by families and businesses of color. That’s the American Way – and it has ever been thus. It has and always be a matter of environmental justice.

Dating to the beginnings of the industrial revolution – the mid-19th Century – our cities’ and rural manufacturing might and energy production have been placed where they knew you’d find the least political power and organized resistance to the foul air and water created by their operations. This, of course, resulted in wide disparity in the health of families raised and reproduced in the shadow of those facilities pouring hundreds of killing chemicals into the essential elements of life: the air our children breathe and the water they need to survive and lead healthy lives.

Any wonder why there’s been a 600-700% increase in asthma rates among children over the last 30 years and an exacerbating rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among older people, who, for several generations were already on their way by smoking those oversold cigarettes. (Check out the maps - the industrial northeast has the highest rates of asthma.)

But these were often, nevertheless, the job-producers in many towns and cities. So, just as the mining initiatives and waste-burning facilities of today and yesterday hold the promise of employment, so did they more assuredly promise the highest of risks to the health of their workers and those community members and politicians who believed themselves tied to their success. They still do.

This year for Earth Day, we take on the subject of environmental justice and the manner in which official state, county and municipal government continue to ignore the effects of their environmentally dangerous decisions on their less-powerful constituents’ health and wellbeing and the will they lack to curtail the pollution destroying all of living matter in all of our rural and urban areas – in Minneapolis, currently, the Hennepin County garbage burner (HERC) and Northern Metals Recycling. We look, too, at the complicity of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) in either ignoring or actually aiding the permitting of such facilities to continue their deposits of dangerous chemicals into the air and/or waters of our urban and rural living venues.

Still, organizations concerned with our sustainability and safety are making some strides toward resolution at the community level as well as policy advocacy in lawmaking and rulemaking circles locally and statewide. An event celebrating the day and those efforts will be held on Earth Day itself, April 21st(22nd in some places), at the Urban League in North Minneapolis, Its organizers and speakers join us Monday morning.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with several advocates taking our elected representatives and their corporate collaborators to task for the damage that never seems to end for those living in and around the worst of them.

GUESTS:

KAREN MONAHAN – Environmental Justice Community Organizer, Sierra Club North Star Chapter

LOUIS ALEMAYEHU – Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota (EJAM) officer; Board member, North American Water Office; Writer, educator, activist, poet, father, grandfather of African and Native American heritage

SAM GRANT – Principal, Ujima Consulting and Movement Center for Deep Democracy; Founder and consultant with Full Circle Community Institute and Afro Eco

INVITED:  Congressman KEITH ELLISON

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Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

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The complexity of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and food literally boggle the mind.The biochemistry involved in plant and animal genomics and transgenics – or the business of modifying the genes of any species – has turned ugly with growing resistance to the toying around with the genetic makeup of our crops and livestock and the rabid refusal of the genetic modifiers like Monsanto Chemical Company to label their foods – fighting with millions in lobbyist money all efforts by food safety experts, organic consumer advocates and respected groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists to pass state or federal legislation requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods.

That would seem a simple and responsible step toward gaining the confidence of consumers and such. Of course, no such foods could ever again be considered organic.

But what is the big deal?

Well of course, money for the inventers and sellers of chemicals that Monsanto and others peddle modified seeds to millions of farmers who see these additives as boosting yields and profits. But what is there to hide from a public that deserves to know what the hell they’re eating?

If they won’t say, then it can’t be good. Or can it? Well, we don’t know, do we?

The government seems clearly on the side of the modifiers. Its websites are loaded with terms that any wordsmith like this writer would see as advocacy for one point of view versus another – and the FDA’s and the USDA’s attempts at explanations are peppered with encouragement for accepting the benefits of genetic modification – both in pooh-poohing the safety issues (the evidence is never conclusive, is it, as to the harm GM foods might be causing) or in the dangers to the environment, animals and plants from all this playing around with biology.

But, woe to the organic farmer who tries to keep genetically modified seeds from blowing onto his property. If anything he grows shows signs of patented genes designed by Monsanto – never mind that nature did the stealing – the chemical company will sue. Hell, Monsanto has already scared off legislation in some states by threatening to sue of labeling requirements are passed.

This is the stuff of Orwellian tales – the willingness of a chemical firm to take some poor schlub to court over the infiltration of some other guys modified seeds into the crops next door even when he never wanted them in the first place – and getting the court to actually back the crushing by big brother corporations over this “mistake.”

The bigger deal is the total lack of control over the ethical use of GMOs by the public, especially the regulatory agencies and an apparent willingness to spend millions keeping it that way.Some international scientists are meting as we speak but not in the United States. No. These are mostly Asian and European scientists gathering in hand-wringing sessions and submitting scientific analyses about the need for keeping a keen eye on the ethics and biology of all this modifying of  plants and animals – even if the idea is to make them resistant to diseases and insects.

You wouldn’t believe the depth of research and discussion taking place over the entire field.

This is why this should be a very short hour given the amount of information available and the arguments flying back and forth over the rampant use of this chemical technology and the complete lack of understanding by an unwary public as to the short- and long-term ramifications of consuming the modified meats and vegetables so prevalent on our local food shelves these days.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query three men immersed in this field and representing diverse perspectives on the farming and consumption of genetically modified organisms and foods and the impact of all of this on the ecology and legality of critical pollination.

GUESTS:

 DR. DAVID ANDOW – Entomologist; Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Insect Ecology, University of Minnesota; Coordinator of the International Project on GMO Environmental Risk Assessment Methodologies (GMO ERA Project)

 GEORGE BOODY – Executive Director, Land Stewardship Project (LSP); MS in Horticulture and Human Nutrition; BS in Biology, University of Minnesota

 RONNIE CUMMINS – Executive Director, Organic Consumers Association; former director, Jeremy Rifkin's Beyond Beef Campaign & Pure Food Campaign; author of books on Central American culture; co-author, Genetically-Engineered Foods: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers

READ MORE ABOUT GMO’s HERE:

 Genetically Modified Food - GM Foods List and Information

Millions Against Monsanto Minnesota

Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC)

U.S. Human Genome Project

TruthToTell April 16: EARTH DAY AND JUSTICE: Challenges Bloom - AUDIO PODCAST BELOW

On-air date: 
Mon, 04/16/2012

 

 

 

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

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Earth Day is upon us again.

Most previous Earth Days have attempted – often quite successfully – to raise awareness of our individual responsibility to protect the environment, to protect the planet from global warming and other climate change issues, reducing the carbon in our lives – our air and water and atmosphere.

We’ve seen efforts at encouraging energy audits of our homes and businesses toward conserving energy and work us away from fossil fuel consumption and on to use of solar and wind alternatives on massive and neighborhood scales.

We’ve seen local community groups zero in on urban and community gardening as another way of achieving organic dominance over processed farming and foods.

What we have likely not spent enough time on is advocating for, nay, demanding, polluting corporations and governments to stop fouling the air and water in the most poverty-stricken of our neighborhoods and communities, invariably dominated by families and businesses of color. That’s the American Way – and it has ever been thus. It has and always be a matter of environmental justice.

Dating to the beginnings of the industrial revolution – the mid-19th Century – our cities’ and rural manufacturing might and energy production have been placed where they knew you’d find the least political power and organized resistance to the foul air and water created by their operations. This, of course, resulted in wide disparity in the health of families raised and reproduced in the shadow of those facilities pouring hundreds of killing chemicals into the essential elements of life: the air our children breathe and the water they need to survive and lead healthy lives.

Any wonder why there’s been a 600-700% increase in asthma rates among children over the last 30 years and an exacerbating rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among older people, who, for several generations were already on their way by smoking those oversold cigarettes. (Check out the maps - the industrial northeast has the highest rates of asthma.)

But these were often, nevertheless, the job-producers in many towns and cities. So, just as the mining initiatives and waste-burning facilities of today and yesterday hold the promise of employment, so did they more assuredly promise the highest of risks to the health of their workers and those community members and politicians who believed themselves tied to their success. They still do.

This year for Earth Day, we take on the subject of environmental justice and the manner in which official state, county and municipal government continue to ignore the effects of their environmentally dangerous decisions on their less-powerful constituents’ health and wellbeing and the will they lack to curtail the pollution destroying all of living matter in all of our rural and urban areas – in Minneapolis, currently, the Hennepin County garbage burner (HERC) and Northern Metals Recycling. We look, too, at the complicity of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) in either ignoring or actually aiding the permitting of such facilities to continue their deposits of dangerous chemicals into the air and/or waters of our urban and rural living venues.

Still, organizations concerned with our sustainability and safety are making some strides toward resolution at the community level as well as policy advocacy in lawmaking and rulemaking circles locally and statewide. An event celebrating the day and those efforts will be held on Earth Day itself, April 21st(22nd in some places), at the Urban League in North Minneapolis, Its organizers and speakers join us Monday morning.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with several advocates taking our elected representatives and their corporate collaborators to task for the damage that never seems to end for those living in and around the worst of them.

GUESTS:

KAREN MONAHAN – Environmental Justice Community Organizer, Sierra Club North Star Chapter

LOUIS ALEMAYEHUEnvironmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota (EJAM) officer; Board member, North American Water Office; Writer, educator, activist, poet, father, grandfather of African and Native American heritage

SAM GRANT – Principal, Ujima Consulting and Movement Center for Deep Democracy; Founder and consultant with Full Circle Community Institute and Afro Eco


56:35 minutes (51.81 MB)

Andy’s Blog: The Conservative Knows - Almost Better Than We

 

Some believe MoveOn and progressives should not be quoting conservative Barry Goldwater, who famously is quoted saying: "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”

 

But, Goldwater is a perfect resource for what could happen to an old conservative who not only moderated as he aged, but actually supported Clinton, I believe. Better that it come from another conservative than some secualr lefty like me. 

 The MoveOn quote is merely a portion of the few choice words Goldwater uttered in reaction to the preponderance of religious influence.

Here’s another: “On religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom.”

I say:

This is an old war in every country. Religious zealots have forever believed they should be in charge of the corporal world around them and elsewhere. Not that most of it was a spiritual belief system driving this, but a zealotry of religious overlay on the secular diversity around them. That’s where politics stepped in to create the schism between Christians and Jews, Catholics and Islam, the pope and Henry VIII, the Catholics and Martin Luther (and John Knox and John Calvin, evangelists in their own day), between the Coptics and Rome, between Rome and the Byzantine rites, between Roman orthodoxy and Greek and Russian orthodoxy. The Puritans and other Americans. It’s what the Inquisition was about. Note the dominant presence of Catholicism in that history. Note the domination of evangelism in rightwing politics in this country, yes, but the role of Catholicism in anti-human rights initiatives yet again. Witness the attempted hijacking of Far Eastern/Asian cultures by Spanish and Portuguese Jesuits in the 16th and 17th Century.

Today, it's Opus One and a plethora of evangelists and archdioceses gamnely attempting to stop human rights in their tracks - especially any human right and proven science associated with sex and marriage.

Human rights = equals freedom FROM religion, not freedom OF religion. Most religious conservatives hate human rights - because it means losing control of the masses to secular humanism - a death knell for religious dominance over irreligious politics.

TruthToTell Mon, March 5@9AM: REDRAWING MINNEAPOLIS WARDS: Arranging the Power Bases - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

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TruthToTell Mon, March 5@9AM: REDRAWING MINNEAPOLIS WARDS: Arranging the Power Bases - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

Now that a state panel of judges has issued new district boundaries for our state and federal legislative offices after the decennial census has revealed the usual ten-year shifting of populations, it’s time for local governments to complete their redistricting of city council wards, school districts and county commissioner districts. In the case of Minneapolis, districts for the city’s separate Park Board must also be redrawn. The Minneapolis Charter requires it redistricting to occur in the first year ending in “2” following the Census. (Because its charter requires redistricting to occur in years ending in “1”, St. Paul’s Charter Commission completed its nominal redraw last year. Few changes in ward boundaries there.)

The Minneapolis redistricting process is a truly complex one from almost any perspective. Because that city is governed by a so-called Strong Council-Weak Mayor governance system (a subject for another day’s discussion), its 13 wards are powerful entities overseeing the political landscape which includes one of this nation’s most diverse populations, albeit mostly clustered in specific sets of neighborhoods. When combined with several other state and federal requirements such as ensuring that communities of interest and commonality be preserved, meeting the numbers requirement – i.e., 29,429 residents in each ward and 63,763 in each of the six park districts – makes redrawing the ward boundaries a dicey business.

(Readers and listeners and citizens can access ALL maps and detailed explanations about this critical process with which all will have to live for another ten years HERE.)(Watch our guests, Chair Barry Clegg and Adosh Unni explain process HERE.)

Needless to say (but we will), most of the communities of interest are ethnic in composition – and with a 10-year surge in East Africans (mostly Somali), Latinos, and Southeast Asians joining with African Americans and Native Americans to form such commonalities, keeping such communities together is a serious chore for the 25 members of the Redistricting Commission – a combination of the existing Charter Commission plus additional members appointed for this task.

Well-organized testimony from Latinos and East Africans, especially, has pushed the commission into considering some fairly major changes to the commission’s original draft ward maps. White folks on the fringes of the city have not shown up in great numbers and the wards thereof reflect both that and the minimal movement of their populations.

The point of all this is, of course, to increase representation of those groups both on the City Council and in public policy clout, the usual theory of strength in numbers operating here.

Two hearings were held in cramped quarters last Wednesday (North Side) and Thursday (South Side) where testimony from Somalis and Latinos came in goodly numbers, each schooled in what to say about the Commission’s draft map and offering alternatives to maintain common interest cohesion in their respective wards. The following day at a regular Commission meeting, new maps submitted by the chair and others tried to reconcile split neighborhoods and communities, especially on the South Side and up in the Harrison and North Loop communities.

Theories abound as to the advantage of so-called “packing” of like peoples in a single ward which, although likely more able to elect one from among their number but the possible limitation in representation to a single councilmember versus “cracking” – the deliberate splitting of like peoples into fragments where their political clout might be so diluted as to render them powerless, both in electing one of their own and in pushing the City Council (or Park Board) into policies favoring their interests. We’ll talk about those pressures. Clearly, most ethnic groups wish to stay together, and hang the competing theories.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI try to both make sense of this complex process with a few representative members of the Redistricting Commission and citizen activists advancing their maps and suggestions for population distribution.

GUESTS:

BARRY CLEGG – Attorney and Chair, Minneapolis Charter and Redistricting Commissions

TERRA COLE – Redistricting Commission Member and Candidate for State House of Representatives in a North Side Minneapolis district.

LYALL SCHWARZKOPF – Longtime Minneapolis Official – Charter/Redistricting Commissioner, Former Minneapolis City Coordinator; former State Representative; retired Chief of Staff to the Governor

MARIANO ESPINOZA – Former Executive Director, Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network, Representing the Latino Community map activists

ALSO:

MIKE DEAN – Executive Director of Common Cause-Minnesota will call in to talk about process and how citizens can dive into this morass of maps and manipulation of populations.

Submitted Maps (click on link)(Latest Commission plan to come):

Original Minneapolis Council Plan

"Coalition" Plan

"United Communities" March 3 Plan

TruthToTell March 5: REDRAWING MINNEAPOLIS WARDS: Arranging the Power Bases - AUDIO Podcast Below

On-air date: 
Mon, 03/05/2012

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now that a state panel of judges has issued new district boundaries for our state and federal legislative offices after the decennial census has revealed the usual ten-year shifting of populations, it’s time for local governments to complete their redistricting of city council wards, school districts and county commissioner districts. In the case of Minneapolis, districts for the city’s separate Park Board must also be redrawn. The Minneapolis Charter requires it redistricting to occur in the first year ending in “2” following the Census. (Because its charter requires redistricting to occur in years ending in “1”, St. Paul’s Charter Commission completed its nominal redraw last year. Few changes in ward boundaries there.)

The Minneapolis redistricting process is a truly complex one from almost any perspective. Because that city is governed by a so-called Strong Council-Weak Mayor governance system (a subject for another day’s discussion), its 13 wards are powerful entities overseeing the political landscape which includes one of this nation’s most diverse populations, albeit mostly clustered in specific sets of neighborhoods. When combined with several other state and federal requirements such as ensuring that communities of interest and commonality be preserved, meeting the numbers requirement – i.e., 29,429 residents in each ward and 63,763 in each of the six park districts – makes redrawing the ward boundaries a dicey business.

(Readers and listeners and citizens can access ALL maps and detailed explanations about this critical process with which all will have to live for another ten years HERE.)(Watch our guests, Chair Barry Clegg and Adosh Unni explain process HERE.)

Needless to say (but we will), most of the communities of interest are ethnic in composition – and with a 10-year surge in East Africans (mostly Somali), Latinos, and Southeast Asians joining with African Americans and Native Americans to form such commonalities, keeping such communities together is a serious chore for the 25 members of the Redistricting Commission – a combination of the existing Charter Commission plus additional members appointed for this task.

Well-organized testimony from Latinos and East Africans, especially, has pushed the commission into considering some fairly major changes to the commission’s original draft ward maps. White folks on the fringes of the city have not shown up in great numbers and the wards thereof reflect both that and the minimal movement of their populations.

The point of all this is, of course, to increase representation of those groups both on the City Council and in public policy clout, the usual theory of strength in numbers operating here.

Two hearings were held in cramped quarters last Wednesday (North Side) and Thursday (South Side) where testimony from Somalis and Latinos came in goodly numbers, each schooled in what to say about the Commission’s draft map and offering alternatives to maintain common interest cohesion in their respective wards. The following day at a regular Commission meeting, new maps submitted by the chair and others tried to reconcile split neighborhoods and communities, especially on the South Side and up in the Harrison and North Loop communities.

Theories abound as to the advantage of so-called “packing” of like peoples in a single ward which, although likely more able to elect one from among their number but the possible limitation in representation to a single councilmember versus “cracking” – the deliberate splitting of like peoples into fragments where their political clout might be so diluted as to render them powerless, both in electing one of their own and in pushing the City Council (or Park Board) into policies favoring their interests. We’ll talk about those pressures. Clearly, most ethnic groups wish to stay together, and hang the competing theories.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI try to both make sense of this complex process with a few representative members of the Redistricting Commission and citizen activists advancing their maps and suggestions for population distribution.

GUESTS:

BARRY CLEGG – Attorney and Chair, Minneapolis Charter and Redistricting Commissions

TERRA COLE – Redistricting Commission Member and Candidate for State House of Representatives in a North Side Minneapolis district.

LYALL SCHWARZKOPF – Longtime Minneapolis Official – Charter/Redistricting Commissioner, Former Minneapolis City Coordinator; former State Representative; retired Chief of Staff to the Governor

MARIANO ESPINOZA – Former Executive Director, Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network, Representing the Latino Community map activists

ALSO:

MIKE DEAN – Executive Director of Common Cause-Minnesota will call in to talk about process and how citizens can dive into this morass of maps and manipulation of populations.

Submitted Maps (click on link)(Latest Commission plan to come):

Original Minneapolis Council Plan

"Coalition" Plan

"United Communities" March 3 Plan


55:55 minutes (51.19 MB)