Posts tagged with 'National Radio Project'
Health advocate Eesha Pandit and blogger Sady Doyle join GRITtv host Laura Flanders for a discussion of the House GOP’s draconian abortion bill, H.R.3. The bill, which Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has called a top priority, would permanently restrict federal funding for abortion, even beyond the already stringent guidelines set out in the Hyde Amendment.
Doyle launched the #dearjohn Twitter campaign to channel public outrage over H.R. 3, particularly its clause that changed the existing “rape and incest” exception for Medicaid funding for abortion to an exception for “forcible rape.” The GOP ultimately removed the word “forcible,” but the bill’s other far-reaching restrictions remain in place.
Getting the “forcible” proviso removed from the bill was a small victory, but Doyle notes the fight is far from over. H.R. 3 isn’t the only radical anti-choice bill on the GOP’s legislative agenda. Carol Joffe reports at RH Reality Check that H.R.358 (the so-called “Protect Life Act”) would give hospitals unlimited discretion to turn away women who needed abortions, even to save their lives.
Insure pregnant women
A California state senator is taking on insurance companies for denying pregnancy-related health care coverage, Brie Cadman reports at Change.org. State senator Noreen Evans has introduced a bill that would protect insurance coverage for pregnant women in the individual health insurance market. Unlike group insurers and HMOs, private plans in the state are currently not required to cover maternity care. In 2004, 82% of individual health insurance plans in California covered maternity care; by 2009, only 19% of individual plans did so.
The individual mandate component of health care reform, which will impose a tax on people who don’t buy health insurance, is the bete noire of conservative Republicans, and the target of multiple constitutional challenges working their way through the courts. Ironically, as Simeon Talley explains at Campus Progress, the mandate was originally proposed by a Republican as a bulwark against socialized medicine:
Indeed the individual mandate has its genesis on the right. Ezra Klein interviews ‘Father of the Mandate’ Republican Mark Pauly: “We did it because we were concerned about the specter of single-payer insurance, which isn’t market-oriented, and we didn’t think [that] was a good idea. One feature was the individual mandate.”
Medicine and the public good
At truthout, Dr. Andrew Saal remembers what he said when a medical colleague asked him to sign a petition to repeal health care reform:
I centered myself and spoke in calm, measured phrases, with a warm smile. “I believe that the status quo is unsustainable. I believe that caring for those unable to pay is a matter of civic duty and professional honor. And while a pinch of free enterprise may keep the system nimble and foster innovation, at the end of the day, medicine is a social commodity similar to police and fire services.”
Saal’s colleague argues that he should be entitled to charge as much as the market will bear for medical services. After all, he studied hard and went to medical school. Saal sees things differently. He argues that, while doctors are entitled to fair compensation for their skilled services, medical knowledge is social. The doctor who places a cardiac stent didn’t invent the procedure. Saal notes that federal tax dollars fund the basic research that makes medical breakthroughs possible. While the stent itself may have been developed by a private company, the company couldn’t have invented it if the government hadn’t invested untold millions of dollars on basic research.
What’s more, Saal notes, doctors don’t pay the full cost of their schooling. The federal government subsidizes medical education through low interest federal loans, the university system itself, and Medicare reimbursements for interns and residents (doctors in training).
Nail salon hazards
Nail salon workers are exposed to a miasma of formaldehyde, toluene, and other known and suspected chemical hazards. The National Radio Project takes a closer look at the potential health effects of working long hours in poorly ventilated salons.
In California, the issue is of special concern to the Vietnamese community. An astonishing two-thirds of nail salon workers in the state are Vietnamese immigrants, most of them women in their childbearing years. Epidemiologists have yet to definitively prove a link between nail salon exposure and chronic disease, but the suspect chemicals have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals.
The bottom line is that safer chemicals are available. Activists say that regulators should mandate healthier alternatives now.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.
by Catherine A. Traywick, Media Consortium blogger
While Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, was far from the first controversial immigration measure of its kind, it stands out as a hallmark of increasingly visible nativist sentiment. Numerous legal challenges and a federal injunction notwithstanding, the measure continues to inspire copycat legislation and attract millions in donations. Even as Arizona’s legislature attempts to outdo itself by pushing increasingly outrageous bills, as Care2 reports, SB 1070 remains center stage.
Perhaps one reason that the measure has gained such traction across the country is that its crafters have been unequivocal about both their intent and the law’s objective: Attrition through enforcement.
“That’s a fancy way of saying it’s public policy aimed at making the lives of immigrants so miserable that they leave on their own accord,” explained community organizer Marisa Franco on Making Contact, a National Radio Project program. Andrea Christina Mercado, organizing director of Mujeres Unidas Activas and another guest on this week’s show, added that the “attrition through enforcement” strategy exemplified by SB 1070 centers on three pernicious tactics:
“…One is to close off all possibility for economic survival, the second part is to deny access to justice for migrants, making it harder and harder to place a wage claim or a police report, and the third is to normalize mistreatment through rituals of humiliation and hateful language.” (more…)
by Annie Shields, Media Consortium blogger
Yesterday, 9th Circuit Judge Susan Bolton struck down many of the most controversial provisions in Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, including the section requiring police to ask anyone they suspect of being undocumented for proof of citizenship. It’s a small victory. Today, a modified version of the bill goes into effect.
Although Bolton’s decision weakened the state law, several problematic provisions remain in place, including one that allows Arizona residents to sue local police for not enforcing SB 1070, as well as one that makes it a crime to knowingly transporting an undocumented immigrant under any circumstance, even in an emergency. ColorLines has a good breakdown of pending lawsuits against SB 1070. (more…)
by Erin Rosa, Media Consortium blogger
Hope for a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year has fallen by the wayside, but the Obama administration is rallying for one last hurrah before mid-term elections in November. Late last week, the White House unofficially announced plans to sue the state of Arizona over the now notorious Senate Bill 1070, a state law passed this year to crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
SB 1070 allows Arizona police to check the immigration status of a person if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that they are undocumented, and forces immigrants to carry government papers proving their identify at all times.
Meanwhile, an estimated 15,000 progressives and 1,300 organizations are meeting in Detroit this week to discuss alternative solutions to our broken immigration system at the second U. S. Social Forum (USSF).
US v. Arizona?
As Jessica Pieklo reports at Care2, “After Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s nonchalant statement on Ecuadorian television last week that the Department of Justice planned to file suit challenging Arizona immigration law SB 1070, senior administration officials confirmed that such a suit would be forthcoming.”
by Erin Rosa, Media Consortium blogger
Anti-immigrant fervor could be more costly than Arizona lawmakers expected. Thanks to SB 1070, a new law that requires immigrants to carry papers at all times to prove their legal status, the state has become the focal point of the national immigration debate. The bill and the buzz surrounding it illustrates a desperate need for a federal fix to the broken immigration system.
President Barack Obama publicly condemned the measure shortly before Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill on April 23, while human rights groups and immigration reform supporters are threatening national boycotts and lawsuits.
SB 1070 makes it possible for local police to racially profile Latinos by allowing them to check a person’s immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” that they might be undocumented. It elicits memories of South Africa under apartheid, when blacks were forced to carry passbooks or otherwise risk incarceration. For a good historical perspective of immigration in Arizona, check out Jessica Pieklo’s blog for Care2. (more…)
By Erin Rosa, Media Consortium blogger
Ed. Note: After a brief hiatus, the Diaspora is back! We’re very excited to have Erin Rosa on board for this project. Please stay tuned for the latest developments around immigration reform every Thursday morning.
Fed up with Congress and frustrated with President Barack Obama’s brief mention of immigration reform in the State of the Union address, immigrant rights supporters are now organizing around the clock to push legislators to move on reform in 2010. It will not be an easy feat.
Congress is already bogged down with health care reform and a lingering economic crisis. While Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) has proposed a bill in the House of Representatives to provide a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, immigration reform could be doomed for 2010 if it’s not introduced in the Senate by this Spring. Otherwise, it’s very unlikely that Congress will get around to debating the issue by the end of the year. (more…)
By Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger
After 30 years, commentator Lou Dobbs—infamous for his tirades against undocumented immigrants—has left CNN, as TPM reports. Dobbs employed disturbing, dangerous, and dated language to slur immigrants, often equating them with disease and infection. There is a connection between this type of demagoguery and violence.
Clearly, the organizing efforts of groups like Basta Dobbs have borne fruit, as even Dobbs admits. GRITtv recently covered the “way the mainstream media equates ‘Latino’ with ‘immigrant’” and Latino organizing efforts to correct this perspective.
“Over the past six months, it’s become increasingly clear that strong winds of change have begun buffeting this country, and affecting all of us,” Dobbs said in his last live broadcast for CNN. Other commentators belonging to the old school of racist separatism ought take note. It’s a new day in the USA. (more…)
by Nezua, TMC MediaWire Blogger
Last Friday, 13 people were killed at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, New York. The event shocked the nation and was “the worst mass shooting in the United States since the 2007 massacre at the Virginia Tech college,” as New America Media reports. Because the violence erupted at an immigrant service center, the immigrant community has been especially affected, and immigration opponents are predictably using the tragedy to justify, or at least voice, their vitriol toward the undocumented population.
The impact of the Binghamton shootings on the U.S. immigrant community, already aggravated by ICE raids that funnel them into an abusive system, evokes multiple concerns. One is of further violence. But a grim possibility has also emerged: Immigrant activists who want to become integrated members of U.S. society might stop patronizing the places that can help them do just that, as Public News Service reports. Facilities like the American Civic Association provide many services for the immigrant community, one of which is improving their English. It’s hard enough for those with a limited grasp on a new language to navigate life in a new country. If immigrants fear the places that help them learn, it only makes their lives harder.
When issues like immigration become politicized, nothing is off-limits. Even the national census is “morphing from sociological project into a political one,” according to RaceWire’s Michelle Chen. Conservatives fear losing votes and political power to regions where “illegals” are counted as a part of the census (As if they didn’t lose the Latino vote all on their own in 2008). Civil rights and immigrant advocates fear a worse miscount this year of the Latino population than 2000′s 3 per cent under count.
Erin Rosa reports on possible census-count solutions for the Colorado Independent. Rosa writes of “Ya es hora! Hagase contar!” (It’s time! Make yourself count!), an “unprecedented media campaign” that encourages Latinos to participate in the census.
The Colorado Independent has a few interesting articles on immigration this week. In Bush Admin’s Environment Waivers Remain Intact at Border, a contrast is drawn between President Obama’s recent speech in Germany about walls “between races and tribes” being “the walls we must tear down” with the controversial construction of a border wall in southern stated. Construction proceeds, despite President Obama’s professed philosophy. And in Senate kills immigrant in-state tuition bill, Wendy Norris writes about Colorado’s legislative “companion to the federal DREAM Act” that would have provided college tuition equity to undocumented Colorado high school graduates was lost on a 18-16 vote.” One Democrat explained her vote against the bill as a practical one: Because children of immigrants are at risk for deportation, the bill is “at odds” with federal law.
This type of legislative deadlock doesn’t escape Ezra Klein of the American Prospect, who comments on Senator John Mccain’s “testy” rejoinder to a number of Hispanic business leaders who questioned when reform would come. “Where the reformers will turn,” Klein asks. In 1986, a particular alignment of politicians enabled the last major reforms in immigration law to pass—a configuration of forces not currently in place.
So, who will reform immigration? It’s an important question. The terrain is dangerous because there is no clear consensus or policy to rely on. In the legal gaps that this absence creates, questionable legislative bridges spring up, like agreement 287(g), which enlists local law in enforcing federal immigration violations. The most famous symbol of 287(g) is, of course, Sheriff Arpaio, who has left an entire community “terrified and afraid to call the police.”
“We’re dealing with a climate of hate, people don’t understand they’re being moved by people who hate,” says Phoenix attorney Danny Ortega. “Then you’ve got the Joe Arpaio’s of the world making it politically popular to hate.”
The power that can be leveraged by law and political agenda is vast and must be closely monitored. Immigrants, especially women of these communities, have long been a target of such iniquities. National Radio Project reports on yet another instance in a long line of oppressive reproductive health policies that target women of color and the immigrant community.
Going back to RaceWire, Michelle Chen follows up on President Obama’s Aunt Zeituni’s fight for citizenship, and how anti-immigrant groups have fixed upon her case as a high-profile example of how immigrants “game the system.” The article outlines precisely how ludicrous this stance is.
Finally, make sure to check out In These Times‘ thoughtful review of the new “immigration/baseball drama” Sugar, by Brooklyn-based filmmakers Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden. Reviewer Brandon Harris writes that “Sugar’s experiences reveal the labors of all immigrants who struggle to adjust to the harsh realities of American life on the margins.”
That phrase could apply to many today. And to many who paved the way for us today. It is a story we must not forget.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration. Visit Immigration.NewsLadder.net for a complete list of articles on immigration, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy and health issues, check out Economy.NewsLadder.net and Healthcare.NewsLadder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and was created by NewsLadder.