New York City Running around New York trying to catch up with the city, a couple of things bare comment.
Talking to Steve Early, the “embedded” labor activist about his new book, he asked me about the expansion of home health care organizing and whether there was an upside. It was an excellent question, and I answered that virtually the entire private sector market was unorganized, so there was much to be done there. I also speculated that though I hadn’t checked closely in the bill, I assumed that any health care reform would finally allow for expansion of reimbursed state by state home care in so many under served, poorer states. According to the New York Times, I was wildly wrong. I had not realized that both the Senate and House versions of the bill contemplated paying for the savings with cutbacks equaling over 10% of the home health care allocations. I was shocked. Both as a health care quality issue and as a savings issue compared to nursing home and hospital stays, most experts concede that home health care has been a wildly efficient way to deliver health services. Hopefully, this is the start of some pushback!
There’s always payback as well. A 4-year volunteer in New Orleans ACORN’s Katrina Recovery program always stays with his sister in the Bywater where she has a B&B. Turns out Betty Carol also has a B&B in the East Village at 244 East 7th. The young actress/residential manager met me at the door and almost immediately blurted out that she was from Houston and was thrilled to find someone here from the “home country!” Bill White, the Mayor of Houston, was also a Katrina-hero by most of our reckoning offering immediate housing assistance to Katrina survivors, opening up the arms of the City, and jawboning the businesses and others to provide a real welcome. He seems to have decided to run for Governor of Texas now, rather than the US Senate. Hooray! White could bring a refreshing sense of purpose and program to the highest office in the great state of Texas for the first time since Ann Richards graced the seat, which was almost 20 years ago.
Finally, Community Organizations International / ACORN International has an organizer from Honduras who has been there recently renewing her visas, so I have benefited by constant reports on the citizens outrage at the military/business coup and usurpation of democratic norms in this poor, Central American country. For a while it had appeared that the United States was standing firm with other Latin American countries in their unanimous condemnation of the coup and the sham elections conducted this week to implement the military action with a new puppet government. It now appears that Secretary State Hillary Clinton and the US Government have folded like a cheap suit and are trying to lead the way in pretending the new government is legitimate even while the unelected imposter is still seated and the elected president is holed up in the Brazilian Embassy. What a farce! Besides exposing our weaknesses, this also exposes our lack of core democratic principles. We don’t seem to want to do right, we just want the problem to go away, no matter what. Meanwhile our organizer and friend Suyapa reports that demonstrations continue by people still rallying against this business and military affront to all of the values we hold most dear. Why can’t we do better than this and use our power for something important?