Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Uncensored Thoughts on Living in SusqueValley

Someone posted on a bulletin  board for academics how to balance a great job and a yuck location.  Here is what I wrote back:

Some people would say I have a yuck location: small town in mid Atlantic state. Not a great college town (no indy bookstore), but some college town qualities. I TAKE recycling to Saturday recycling and it is this totally social time. I will see 15 people I know, 2/3rds of them university people. I have been here ten years, raised my kids so far here, and it is a good place for me. Three-four hours to big cities, lots of natural beauty, etc.

But we loose people all the time, younger, gay, needing more cosmopolitan atmosphere, people of color who are not welcomed enough OR who just don’t feel at ease.

For people who complain ‘there is nothing to do” I am kind of dismissive. Between this university and others, you can go to SOMETHING almost every night.

BUT, I grew up in a lilly white suburb of a sunbelt city. “Pinko commie” was how my HS classmates often taunted me. I went to college in the mid west. I’ve lived in European cities too. But, when we got the offer to come here, I sort of made peace that it is my destiny to be a bright light of minority thinking and being in a sea of Sarah Palin’s “real America.” But that is a fantasy too, the “real America.” There are interesting folks and quriks and interstitial moments everywhere.

But the life of the missionary of enlightnement and tolerance among the savages of wonderbread cuisine, unproblematic flag-waving, and we-don-t-like-furgners squints is not the life for everyone.

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Who Are You Fighting For? Health Care and Public vs Private Tragedy

Organizing for America- the organizing branch of the Obama campiagn that stuck around afterwards, has a great example of using technology to rally people.

I wrote the following to Chris Carney and as I got into it I wanted to give it a broader audience.

Dear Rep. Carney,

I am here for Betsy and Lisa [Names changed]-

We must pass health insurance reform now.  Too many people and businesses face warped incentives or grim and miserable health due to the burdens of our perverse and broken system.

Betsyworks full tie in a private child care facility.  She is a single mom.  She often baby sits infants for many families and is always willing to help people with sick children or other events.  Her selflessness allows others to pursue their careers as professors, doctors, and business leaders.  Her employer, a day care center subsidized by a local employer, does not provide coverage.  She had such severe back problems she could not sleep.  Friends pooled $300 to help her see a chiropractor.  She limited coverage now, but is still an injury away from financial crisis.

Lisa has leukemia.  She works cleaning people’s homes.  She cleans and cooks for her husband every day, even when he has been furloughed or been between jobs.  She stays married to a disinterested, neglectful and nearly abusive husband because she could never afford individual coverage, or even get it with her leukemia.  Where is her freedom to live her life?  The combination of patriarchy and our health care system is deeply unfair and sexist.  I think only the strength of her personality and her adult son keeps her husband from raising his hand against her.

Millions are uninsured.  In 2009, one study found 45,000 Americans died due to lack of coverage. [1] They used a rigorous method used by researchers in 1993 who found around half that number then.  Among those 45,000 are more than 2,000 uninsured veterans.[2] On 9/11, 3,000 of our citizens were innocent victims and became iconic heroes.  We endure 15 9/11s every year through 45,000 private tragedies of martyrs to a broken healthcare system midwife by a corrupt political system.  We have marshaled billions of dollars and 100,000s of soldiers to avenge the fallen of 9/11.  Meanwhile, we engage in trivial “death panel” and “reconciliation” food fights at home while our fellow citizens are chewed up and spit out as corpses by the broken health care system.   Why should the public tragedy of 9/11 count for so much more all these years than the sum of 45,000 private tragedies year in and year out?

Where is the justice in that? How is that fair?


[1] Heavey, Susan.  Sept 2009.  “Study Links 45,000 Deaths to Lack of Health Insurance.”  Reuters.  http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE58G6W520090917

[2] Physicians for A National Health Program. Nov 10, 2009. “Over 2,200 veterans died in 2008 due to lack of health insurance.”  http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/november/over_2200_veterans_.php\

Note: Cross-posted at: Spilling Ink.

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Local Health Care Forum

Helping to Publicize…

On behalf of the Central Susquehanna Citizen’s Coalition, I would like to
invite you to a forum entitled

“Re-Imagining Healthcare in Pennsylvania: The Next Five Years and Beyond”

to be held next Thursday, May 7, at 7:00pm, in the Union County Government
Center at 155 N 15th St, Lewisburg.

A panel of five healthcare professionals will discuss the current state of
healthcare in PA and proposed solutions for the future, to be followed by a
interactive discussion with the audience.  The panelists are

* Allison Clark, ACTION Health
* Jill Fecker, A Community Clinic, Inc.
* Chuck Pennacchio, Healthcare for All Pennsylvania
* Andrew Sandusky, Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians
* Amy Wolaver, Dept of Economics, Bucknell University

Healthcare reform is coming in 2009.  This is a crucial time for all to
become informed and engaged in the issue.  This event is hosted by CSCC, an
all-volunteer grassroots organization that reaches out to connect, inform,
and encourage the Central Susquehanna Valley to participate in the
democratic process.

Please share this information with anyone who may be interested.  For more
information, visit our website at http://www.csccnow.org.

–Ben Vollmayr-Lee

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