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Westborough, US
Saturday, March 23, 2019

Congressional two-step: Cut taxes, then entitlements

Elder rights groups are warning that the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (HR 1) will be financed by gutting entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

My cloak of invisibility

One chilly, blustery day, I was browsing in a bookshop when a willowy young woman breezed in. I immediately noticed that she wasn’t dressed appropriately for the weather. More than that, in my opinion, she wasn’t dressed appropriately for any public viewing: flimsy, slippery beige T-shirt clinging too revealingly to her torso, her tiny black skirt like two napkins stitched together, long bare legs, model-perfect make-up, every hair in her puffy dark bob in its assigned position.

Treating poor people as “passive” health care consumers

By Al Norman In 2009, a state legislator who chaired the House Financial Services Committee on Beacon Hill introduced a bill that would "automatically enroll...

Daydreamers, Inc.

One day, as I sat at a window, gazing toward the back yard – in other words, daydreaming – I suddenly saw: A great business opportunity! We often hear that “thoughts have energy.” We know about the power of positive thinking. We send happy thoughts to friends and family far away. Whenever we have a thought, it’s released into the atmosphere and goes about its work, we don’t understand exactly how.

Brains and potatoes

One day in a bookshop, I overheard a six-year-old girl and her four-year-old brother discussing which is better, movies or books. He said movies. She said books. “Movies,” she explained, “turned your brain into a potato.”

Foreclosing on seniors

My friend Bob is 73 years old. He lives alone with his dog Moxie in a small town in western Massachusetts. For all his adult life, Bob has worked as a builder and carpenter. When things were going well, Bob had a construction crew that could repair anything from roofs to basements. Bob can no longer climb up ladders, or exert himself. His gait is unsteady, and he has survived a bout of cancer that doctors said would kill him years ago. His income now is $16,000 a year from Social Security, which puts him about 133 percent over the federal poverty level.

Walking a mile in their shoes

I have been working in affordable housing for over 25 years. I know about aging and disabilities.  I also know about reasonable accommodations and modifications. I know that not all limitations are obvious to others and I know that many disabilities cannot be seen.

Clean repeal, skinny repeal. It all came to nothing

How often do we get to see elected officials voting on Nothing? That’s what it came to in Congress the other day. The U.S. Senate could not muster the votes to even discuss “repealing and replacing” the Affordable Care Act. But they exerted more pressure on their members, and finally managed to vote 51-50 to begin to debate some version of repealing the Affordable Care Act. They came up with a replacement bill that would have allowed insurance companies to offer cheap, “stripped down” policies that did not meet federal standards. But that bill lost by a vote of 43 to 57. With conservatives and moderates balking at the “replacement” bill, the leadership turned to a new option: repeal Obamacare. No replacement, just what they called a “clean repeal.”

The Warrior Queen, the Harmonizer, the Snark, etc.

Don’t we all know that feeling? Aren’t we all a bundle of contradictions? Don’t we all contain multitudes? Don’t we all surprise ourselves by dealing differently, at different times, with situations that seem to be alike? Don’t we sometimes make a remark that feels outrageous and wonder, “Where did that come from?”

War on poverty now a war on the poor

The federal War on Poverty has turned into a war on poor people. The battle lines have shifted from alleviating poverty, to eliminating poor people. Instead of attacking poverty, the field has been reversed, and the attack is on poor people themselves.
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