Wise Women Won't Wait Any More

Wise Women Won't Wait Any More

Monday, July 24, 2017

Since when does taking Medicaid away from children promote education?

By Faith Chatham - July 24, 2017

A lot of heresies come out of the Texas Legislature. We've watched legislators who claim to be "pro-life" ignore infant mortality and maternal mortality. We've watched a man who was already indicted for Security Fraud "serve" as Attorney General. We've seen time wasted during the regular session.  Now we are seeing the special session crammed with so many different items that it distracts people's attention and focus.

Yet, it is impossible to ignore what they are considering, and what they are proposing.
1. The Texas Teachers' Retirement Fund had been grossly underfunded for a VERY VERY long time. Teachers continue to elect Republicans who continue to refuse to fund it. This year some of Austin's "finest" elected officials decided to try to placate teachers by proposing a $1000 a year pay increase which was to come out of the local school districts' funds. Teachers did the right thing. They showed up in force and said: "No Way!" You haven't restored the funding you stole from the schools several sessions ago. They said: Fix our Retirement fund. Restore school funding.

2. In the Special Session they have already backed away from taking it out of local school funds. An alternate proposal was to transfer fund from Medicaid under Health and Human Services to fund the $1000 teachers' pay raise. Ooops. Thankfully, teachers are more concerned for children than many of our legislators. They know that many of the most underserved children in our state rely on Medicaid for speech therapy, and other critical rehabilitate services! The teachers said: NO Way! Don't make these children suffer to fund this pay raise. RESTORE OUR RETIREMENT FUND!

3. The Legislature is attacking the right to organize. They have a proposal on the table to prevent payroll deductions for union dues. The bill would exempt first responders. The First Responders have objected. They know that if they are exempted this year, they may not be exempted next session. They do not like being placed in a special class while all other unions and associations are discriminated against by the legislature!  Teachers and First Responders have already shown up in Austin for this special session saying: NO WAY.

The Legislature hasn't fixed anything so far in this special session. They have proposed things which will things worse.

After yesterday's Senate Hearing they seem to have backed away from forcing local school district to fund a $1000 a year raise for the teachers and they have probably backed away from transferring money from the Medicaid fund, but they have not done anything substantial to fix teacher retirement. They have not dedicated any of the state's funds to funding a deserved raise for the teachers. They have not restored the money they stole from schools a few years ago. They are basically saying: We'll give whatever is LEFT OVER after we compete the budget to schools.  Gee. When they don't have enough to go around, that is a really lame proposal. We'll be sure to give NOTHING toward solving problems they have ignored for much too long.

4. Funding Special Education - The same legislators who propose cutting Medicaid funding for children propose allowing several thousand dollar stipends for parents to choose private schools for special needs children. If the child goes to public school the funding will be only $500 per child!!! Here, is the cherry on the cake -- the real zinger: the private schools for special needs children will have no standards
basically they made suggestions that any reasonable public servant would know would be unacceptable to reasonable Texans. This is a ploy to make it appear that they tried to solve a few of the problems which they have ignored for decades. However, it was not -- it is not a good faith effort. They deserve to be called out for such a pathetic show with has no substance.

5. Infant mortality and maternal mortality are both higher in Texas than in any place in the developed world. A child born in Texas is six times more likely to die in the first year than a child born in California. A woman who gives birth in Texas is six times more likely to die within a year of giving birth than a woman who gives birth in California. California has addressed factors which impact infant and maternal mortality. Texas has "studied it." They are discussing studying it some more but many of the men don't even want to study it. None of them are pushing to implement solutions which have been proven to help keep new born and their mother's alive. One bit problem is that women who are on Medicaid only have 90 days of post-natal care and the rate of death in many new mothers occurs during the first 6 months after birth. Follow-up medical care can prevent some of these deaths. Many of the very same politicians who play to the Pro-Life Crowd and fight against abortion the most publically lead the charge to limit funding for Medicaid and vote against funding initiatives to address the infant and maternal mortality crisis in this state.

Old people, poor people, and children with special needs to seem to be consistent targets for Republican legislators. When Special Education programs work they get defunded.

The bill hasn't passed yet. It should not pass. It should not have even been proposed. These guys in Austin should be watched. We need to watch them closely, like you'd watch a rabid dog. The things they propose have the same impact as bite from rabid dog.

There is nothing Pro-Life about refusing to solve our state's infant mortality and maternal mortality problems. There is nothing pro-life about refusing children and old folks decent medical care. There is nothing pro-life about refusing to fund speech therapy and physical therapy for special needs children. There is nothing pro-life about stealing money from school children and transferring what little funding there is to private institutions who are not given any guidelines.

If the people who were proposing this were totally stupid, we could attribute it to that. Instead they are callous and self-serving. They must be watched. It is our responsibility to see that they are replaced by human beings who have hearts to serve, and compassion, and determination to solve problems for every man, woman and child in this state. When one of them claims to be pro-life and votes to slap down those who are struggling, those who are literally gasping for breath, we need to slap them down.  We need to be sure that every citizen of Texas recognize them as the duplicitous cold-hearted wasteful pathetic panderers that they are.

Friday, May 26, 2017

I Love Congressman Al Green

By Faith Chatham - May 26, 2017

During the past few years, I've had numerous occasions to "cross paths" with Congressional incumbents from Texas.  One stands out. Congressman Al Green won me over several years ago by being exceptionally gracious. I appreciated how easy it seems for him to extend himself  for other people. I've seen him encourage other candidates who are running for Congress. I've seen him step forward to put in a word to help others get podium time, even if their war chests were light and their name recognition a "work in progress." Once a challenger becomes our party's nominee, you'd think that incumbents would do what they could to help them defeat obnoxious GOP incumbents. However, I find that is not the norm. Most incumbent ignore challengers, even after they win their primaries. I've never seen Congressman Al Green snub a challenger. I appreciate that enormously.

I have always found Congressman Al Green to be exceptionally gracious, very intelligent, and solid through and through.  When I look at how members of Congress vote, I'm never surprised by Al Green's voting record. He is consistent. He's for Civil Rights, Human Rights, good affordable education, people having good health care, children and old people not going hungry, and good jobs for everyone and everyone getting paid good living wages in safe workplaces.

He doesn't seem to be a man who waste a lot of time with pretense. It is not necessary for him to spend a lot of time "forging a message." He is driven by a sincere desire to see people being treated fairly in business, in the courts, in the voting booth, in the community, in our schools. When it comes to gender discrimination and racial discrimination, whether in the workplace, education, pay, housing, or governmental contracts, I know how he'll vote. He always votes against it!

Al Green is truly passionate about policies which help people get and achieve what they need and deserve. He doesn't  have to think a lot about how what he says will sound. Instead he concentrates on how to get the job done. Instead of "forging a message", he practices doing everything he can consistently to further what is beneficial for the human beings in his district and across the Lone Star State and United States of America.

He's not a person who blows off his mouth to capture the news cycle. This past week, however, he emerged onto the national stage when he stepped forward and officially called for Impeachment Proceedings to begin in the House of Representative in examining the actions of President Donald Trump.  Others have discussed it. Others have tweeted about it. Others have posted videos about it. Congressman Green officially moved to get the Impeachment Process started.

When Congressman Green had seen enough. when he'd heard enough, when he knew enough,  he did not wait for others to discuss it for many more months. Instead, he stepped forward and called for the Impeachment against Donald Trump to begin, and he called for it to begin right now.

I am convinced that he isn't doing this to tear this nation down. He isn't doing this for partisan purposes. He has taken this action because he knows enough to realize that there is ample evidence to suggest keeping Donald Trump in the Oval Office is places our nation and her people in danger, and there are ample grounds for removing him for office. He knows that intelligence is being shared with governments which are adversaries, rather than close allies sharing our interests. Al Green understands the Constitution of the United States and he sees ample constitutional grounds for impeachment.

Some of the more violent supporters of Donald Trump have stepped forward showing the dark underbelly of racial rhetoric. His action has made him a target for hatred. His life is being threatened. The ugliness Donald Trump encouraged during the primary and general election validated some of the baser instincts in a segment of the American population. Congressman Green is receiving the full force of their wrath.

As for me, I am reminded that long before he stepped forward and called for the impeachment of a man I never thought should occupy the Oval Office, I already knew that "I love Al Green!"

In my estimation, of the people who occupy seats in the US Congress, Congressman Al Green is definitely among the creme of the crop. He is consistent. He never falters when it comes to the rights of people, the priorities which address needs of the people rather than feathering the nest of the large donors and members of Congress. He values the Constitution of the United States. He fights for justice for every person. He doesn't back down when he knows something is right. He doesn't pay lip service and lend support to those who harm vulnerable people or foster hatred, facism, or racism. He does not shy away from standing up and speaking up for what is right, and just and true and necessary, even when others remain silent. He respects people. When you respect people rather than power and money, your motivation differs from those who are motivated by their own ambition or for their own self advancement or profit.

I am thankful that Congressman Al Green, a man who doesn't normally seek the spotlight, emerges as a voice coming from the Lone Star State. I habitually monitor how the members of Congress from the Texas vote. I monitor what they say. Much of the time, most of the members, disappoint rather than inspire me, with their votes and their positions.  I suspect that until this past week, many people in the USA had never heard of him. Many from Texas, unless they are from the Houston area,  probably never heard of him. We have 22 media markets in Texas and do not hear a lot about most members of Congress from other parts of the state. It is good that people all over this nation heard from Al Green this week. It's much better to hear from Al Green than from Ted Cruz or Louie Gohmert!

My wish is that someday more people will associatae Al Green and his code of integrity with the Lone Star State instead of the antics of blowhards like Ted Cruz, Louie Gohmert, Rick Perry  and Joe Barton.

Al Green reflects the values of the state I grew up in much more than the selfish, stingy immoral, so called "moral majority" Freedom Caucus.

The Texas that I grew up in is where neighbors lend a hand up to neighbors and strangers when we know they need it. Seeing that value trashed is heartbreaking.

Instead of the "we can do it together" attitude, there is a cancer of faux religiousity which calls for more to be hungry, less to have health care, separating parents from children in the name of national security even when the parents have not broken any laws except for coming here, fewer to afford good education and job training, and for women to work for less pay than men who do the same jobs. A culture of discrimination and intimidation instead of justice and keeping the peace erodes our communities. Many in the Texas Legislature and US Congress favor policies which validate the worst instincts of some of our citizens. Al Green fights against such policies. He is a consistent voice speaking up for equality, fairness, justice, opportunity. My dad would say that what Congressman Green says and proposes is just plain old "common sense" or good old Texas style "horse sense." It makes such sense that it is amazing that so many people fail to comprehend the wisdom and necessity for creating a nation where our policies enable more people to succeed economically instead of making it harder for them!

If thinking about what is going on in Washington depresses you, then I recommend that you start following Congressman Al Green. It will show you that we still have some "good eggs" who aren't spoiled and worthless in the House of Representative. If you need to regain a little faith that Texas can send good people to Congress, then start watching Al Green. You'll see that  some of them still persist in doing what they were sent to Washington to do -- fight for policies which preserve the Constitution, are just to everyone, and which uses the treasury and powers of this nation for all of the people!  If you are tired of those who hog the  limelight and who knock others out of the way to get to onto the front row for photo ops, watch Al Green.  You'll probaby have to google a bit to find mention of him because he is  a man who focuses on getting the job  done for the people instead of posing for photo ops and pulling stunts to grab the news cycle.  I find that exceptionally refreshing. This old Texas gal is comforted to know that Texans have Rep. Al Green in the U.S. House of Representatives. I think the more you get to know him, you'll grow comforted knowing that he's in Congress. He's a man who instead of thumping the Bible and posturing as a "Christian", puts into practices some of the teachings we learned in Sunday School: "care for the orphans and windows," "extend hospitality to strangers", "heal the sick", "do not oppress the poor", "feed the hungry."


Manners + Intelligence = Necessities for Diplomacy

By Faith Chatham - May 26, 2017

Watching footage of President Trump's trip to the Middle East is painful. The reactions of world leaders who encountered him as he pushes himself forward, rudely pushing the President of another nation out of the way to be on the front row during a photo op says a lot about his vast lack of personal skills. One cannot forge important alliances with rudeness. A lifetime of exerting himself to the detriment of all others around him, works against him when he is thrust on the international stage. Instead of concentrating on the art of closing "the deal", he'd be better served to have manner instilled in him so that they are second nature. Habitually refusing to be respectful to those he encounters in the daily course of his business and personal life is magnified when he is in the presence of heads of state who are accustomed to diplomacy and protocol.

It is unlikely that gains are made in important alliances when those who are the decision makers for those nations watch and cringe at the arrogance and ignorance of another world leader. No nation is so great that other nations have to embrace leaders who insult their leaders.

Lack of knowledge of world affairs, history, geography, and yes, basic manners, creats a chasm which defeats most attempted diplomatic endeavors.  In international affairs, most "deals" which need closing are accomplished through good will, trust and diplomacy.

Violating confidential intelligence sources, insult nations from podiums, and being rude to the heads of state of soverign nations defeats the purpose of any international "diplomatic" mission.  Getting your photo taken with a leader is not sufficient to bridge the gap when one's attitudes, actions, world view, and basic manners fall far short from the minimum acceptable standards for those who represent other nations.

The best favor any supporter of Donald Trump could give him would be an etiquitte book. It is obvious that this president of the United States missed many of the lessons most children learn in kindergarten.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My Chocolate Fix

By Faith Chatham - May 16, 2017

This year, I've NEEDED Chocolate more than every before in my life.
I cannot keep anything chocolate here on hand. It gets consumed rapidly.

Last year I stumbled some packets of chocolate drink which were  "add milk" chocolate drinks. I found them very handy, then was unable to find them in stock in my local grocery stores. I discovered that they were nice when added to hot tea. I missed adding a third of  a packet to a cup of tea and to have a hearty drink. 

Now I've found another way to make a really good dark chocolate hot drink without milk.

Per Cup:
1 teaspoon of dark Hersheys powdered cocoa
1 cup of mild hot tea (spice or herbal is great)
Sweeten to taste

Brew the tea and add the dark cocoa and stir. Sweeten to taste.

Pot
1 to 2 tablespoons Hershey's drk chocolate cocoa
Pot of Hot Tea, brewed
Sweeten to taste

The beauty is that a box of Dark Chocolate usually lasts longer than brownies, chocolate cake or ice cream around my house. I have sensitivity to milk and can use it in moderation. By turning my tea into a rich hot chocolate drink, I get the comfort of hot chocolate without the calories of the addition of milk or other side effects.  Ofcourse, there is also the absence of the protein and calcium from the milk also. There are pros and cons to substituting tea for milk, but for some of us, it is a smart move.

At the very least, it gives us another chocolate option for that needed "fix" when everything else chocolate which was in the pantry or freezer is gone!




Dwelling in Caves Does Not Make a Family Terrorists!

By Faith Chatham - May 16, 2017
I've been researching the 1980s for background for a fiction work. It has taken me into the cave dwellers of Afghanisthan. I had an acquaintance in Grad School who was a refugee from a village where they lived in caves. Some of the men of the village had joined the resistance when the Soviets invaded. They were not terrorists, but people who were fighting for the lives of their families. They got caught up in the East/West Cold War dance for power between outside forces.

From what I've been reading lately, forty years later, displaced familes continue moving into  caves. These are not necessarily ISIS or terrorists as much as displaced folks needing housing following decades of warfare in their land. The idea that we'd drop a megabomb on caves assuming that those who dwelled there were ISIS is problematic for me. Yes, we know that terrorists have fleed to the remote areas to hide. But that does not mean that everyone there is a terrorist. That would be like saying that because people who commit crimes live in Arlington and sometimes avoid arrest by living in neighborhoods where they go undetected that everyone in those neighborhoods are criminals. It is absurd to justify bombing an entire apartment building because one person inside is a criminal. I would hate to have a bomb dropped on my apartment building to eliminate one or two shady people, whom many of us have never met or associated with even though he or they may live in close proximity to us.

Governments who do not weigh the cost of "collateral damage" are rogue. Refusal to acknowledge that people from other cultures are as important as we are is arrogance which leads to discounting the importance of respecting each and every life and doing everything we can to preserve the lives of those who are innocent, regardless of how cruel and despicable some may be who live near them.

One of the key differences in our culture is that individuals are judged based on each person's actions, not on family or tribal actions. We don't murder people because their father or sibliing or spouse is a murderer. We don't eliminate entire families because one member is dangerous. To do so is to become more dangerous than those we see as terrorists.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Quick and Easy Way to prepare Steamed Vegetables and Potato Soup at the Same Time

By Faith Chatham   March 26, 2017



Use a stove top double boiler steamer with lid


Wash 1/4 head of cabbage

Peel and slice i3 large sweet white onions into wedges

Wash and quarter 5 large red potatoes with skins

Wash 5 or 6 large fresh brussels sprouts

Wash and separate about a cup of broccoli into flowerettes

Put all vegetables into the top of the steamer

salt vegetables and splash with olive oil


Fill bottom of double broiler with water.

Cover and steam over heat until vegetables are tender.


Serve steamed vegetables


Turn the Vegetable Stock in the bottom of the broiler into Potato Soup


Before serving the steamed vegetables,
transfer 1/2 of the potatoes and 1/3 of the onions to the stock which is in the bottom of the double broiler.

Salt and pepper stock to taste.

Mash up the potatoes into smaller chunks with a fork

.
Add in Mashed Potato flakes to thicken until broth and vegetable mixture reaches potato soup consistency

.

I also like to add in a small amount of the broccoli for color


The soup can be served immediately or cooled and refrigerated to serve later. If refrigerated, when heated if soup is too thick, add water.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Never Underestimate A Fat Woman!

Faith Chatham Jan. 28, 2017

Message to Judge Bailey Moseley: Never underestimate a fat woman!

I have not seen Bailey Moseley since our high school days in the 1960s. However, my memory of him from those days doesn't place him in the category of lean and trim. I remember him as a studious, and rather non-descript teenager. Like most of us, he was a kid with potential and the average basket of adolescent flaws.

His tweet referring to the Women's March, if even if in jest, is unfortunate. Some folks inherit dna that makes being slim easier than the dna inherited by others. Personally, I am a fat woman. I thought of myself as a fat ugly person for the first thirty years of my life, even though photos of me as a teenager and young adult show that I was not particularly ugly and I was not fat. Now that I am old and I am definitely fat, I am strong enough to know my worth despite physical challenges.

I would LOVE to have been marching with those women but realized that mobility challenges would have made it more difficult that was prudent. Even though my feet were not actually marching, everything else about me was there marching with them, before, during, after and probably forever.

However, there is a lot that fat women, skinny women, young women, average women,old women, single women, married women, working women, stay home moms, stay home empty nesters, retired women, smart women, not exceptionally bright women, tall women, short women, white women, black women, immigrant women, native American women, Asian American women, Latina women, oh, and read this and know that it is true -- EAST TEXAS WOMEN can do whether we are in the streets, at our computers, out shopping, in public office, teaching, preaching, or merely the woman who you depend on to serve you coffee and pie.

Even though we were not "Buds" in HS and I have not seen you in over 50 years, I really didn't think you were someone stupid enough to refer to one woman, let alone millions of women, as "FAT".
Any smart man knows better than to call any woman, even those of us who are of ample porportions "FAT." Any smart person (of any gender) knows the force and determination of a pissed off woman. Most women, even those who are of perfect proportions (whatever that is). get pissed off when referred to as "FAT". Any smart person knows to be wary of a pissed off woman.

East Texas women are noted for being easy to get along with until they are disrespected. There is a level of tolerance folks get because smart people know to pick their battles and let certain things slide up to a point. Then when someone steps over that line, and the tolerance ends, history demonstrates that is it wise to LOOK OUT. When things move beyond that line, there is something that happens. It's not planned. It's not premediated. When that watershed moment occurs and determination sets in, things happen. That's when talk stops and action takes over.

Since Bailey is from a long line of East Texas women and his entire existence is dependent upon and interconnected with East Texas women, I trust that he is wise enough to realize that he is in exceptionally deep water. He had best begin dog paddling with all his might. College degrees, years on the bench, and membership in good ole boys clubs will not insulate him from encounters he cannot avoid by those who can wear velvet gloves or boxing gloves whenever and whereever he encounters them. If he hasn't been to confession lately, he'd probably better go. If he hasn't sought spiritual direction from a wise counselor lately, he probably should set down with one and seek a path out of the mire he has jumped into. He will need assistance from a power much greater than he is to get out of this one.

Best wishes Bailley. You are going to need every ounce of goodwill you can muster!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Quick And Easy Empty Nester Chicken and Dumplings

By Faith Chatham Jan. 25, 2017

Here is another cold weather quick and easy empty nester comfort food. This recipe is for one or two people. For one use two frozen buttermilk bisquits. For two servings use three frozen buttermilk bisquits.

Empty a large can of chicken with broth into a pan.

Add the bisquits and run both sides of the bisquit in the broth.

Sprinkle cracked black pepper generously over the top of the bisquits/broth mixture. (Do not add additional salt. The bisquits and broth has enough sodium)

Place in over and bake until biscuts are done.

Remove from oven. Cut biscuits into fourths before placing in bowl (s) to serve hot.

You get all the flavor of chicken and dumplins without the hard work.
This is a great way to get a serving or two instead of making a family size pot which will really tempt you to eat more than you should!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Watch Us Roar! We Will Not Be Silenced Anymore!

By Faith Chatham Jan. 21, 2017
Some people don't vote. Others vote and do nothing else. Then there comes a point where those who previously were silent step out and actively express their political views and determination. This is one of those watershed times when the genie will not go back into the box. Trump claims to represent a small sliver of America who professed to be the silent marjority. In reality, there are many women in the streets who had been silent.

We are the ones who were told not to discuss rape, sexual assault, incest, domestic violence, sexual harassment, work place discrimination, economic injustice. NO MORE. We have only just begun and you haven't seen anything yet. This is just to show you the tip of the iceberg of people who are standing shoulder to shoulder because we are fully Americans and will not be intimdated. We stand for ourselves and for those unable to stand up for themselves.
Across this nation and around the world we stand in solidarity. Bullies have told us we should unify. We are. It's not the unity you tried to force upon us. Instead of empowering the sexual predator we are standing for decency and justice.

Day 1 brought more people into the Washington Mall than were there for the Inauguration. Those numbers are multiplied by hundreds of thousands more in venues in cities across the nation. We have only just begun. Watch us roar. Watch us organize. Watch us alert others. Watch us enlist others. Watch us equip others. Watch us elect others. Watch us defeat others. Watch us change the culture and preserve what is worthy and revamp what is not!

We hold every individual who voted for Donald Trump accountable for every shred of damage he and his team does to this nation and the people of this country. Actions have consequences and as we bear the brunt of the consequences of your action, we are giving you a taste of what consequence your act has for you. It may be having to cook your own supper. It may be not having the comfort of our company, service or wisdom. It may be not having us spend our money in your firm or give you a job or contract. It may be you not being re-elect to public office. There are lots of consequence. Some will be public. Others will be private or even intimate. As your actions have multiple of consequences to many people,l pay back will take many forms. There are millions of women and enlighted men who are prepared to weigh the circumstance and act within the law to respond (react) accordingl

The one sure thing is that this is only the first cannon ball in the squimish Until Donald Trump and his "team" are out of the White House we will persiste. You'll probably be more relieved that we will be when he is finally out of office. Life is not returning to normal any time soon and we will not be the only people distressed.
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Monday, January 9, 2017

Choosing Dangerous over flawed

By Faith Chatham - Jan. 9, 2017

Sarah Lerner sums it up:
"“Perfect is the enemy of the good.”
Those are the words I keep coming back to after the improbable, yet all-too-cliche, election of Donald Trump. Of course we empowered the least qualified and most dangerous man to the highest office of the land. Because his female opponent wasn’t perfect."

In a similar vein, I have been struggling with the quandray of how people can sit in the same church pews, participate in the same liturgy, and internalize it in vastly different ways when it comes to applying faith to political action and social justice. Some of the most scripturall literate, generous, devout people I know voted for Donald Trump.

I know that if a man were to put his hands up the skirt of a woman in the church or a woman were to grope a man's crotch these very same individuals would be meeting with the Senior pastoral staff and lay leaders to ensure that such unacceptable behavior ceased, and that if the perperator had any position of authority, that role be terminated. However,, they were able to listen to the tapes where Donald spoke of groping women and of pursuing a married woman despite her not showing any interest in him. They voted for him despite over a dozen women coming forward and sharing that he had groped them.

I know these people would be furious if they learned that a pastor, or large donor, used their authority to be in the dressing room of teenagers when they were not fully clothed; yet these same people vote for him despite numerous accounts of him barging into the dressing room of beauty pagent contestants, includng teen contestants. They voted for him despite release of tapes where in his own words he explained that being able to be in the dressing room when beautiful women were undressed was one of the benefits of pagent ownership.

I find it impossible to process this and make sense of it. Among my closest associates, people I admire for truly living their faith by not only study, but by being generous with their material resources and time,, serving in the community, and being there ready to lend people who need a helping hand, yet despite all of this are able to compartmentalize enough to still pull the lever to give Donald Trump control over the Attorney General, the DOJ, to be able to fill over 100 Federal Court vacancie where the judges will hear sexual assault, sexual harassment, and domestic violence cases.

I am uncomfortable in the pew because my mind keeps trying to make sense of this. Somehow it seems that the very best amound us,, those who truly apply their minds toward learning what religion should mean and applying it in their daily lives instead of being just pew potatos who show up on Sunday and lay it aside once they leave the church house... Somehow I cannot help but question if the best among us can know what is known about Donald Trump and can vote to give him this level of control over people's lives, then perhaps what we do "best" is greatly flawed as a faith community.

I am part of a congregation where we do not discuss politics in the Sunday School classes or from the pulpit. However, as individuals we get to know each other andwith such knowledge come knowing partisan prefence. My perception is that I am in the minority. I am not uncomfortable because I am in the minority. I am accustomed to that. This year however, it goes much farther than Democrat or Republican. It reaches to the core of who we are as decent human beings, what is acceptable in those old fashioned terms we call "common decency" and how we relate to others. I know we are not supposed to judge and I am acutely aware of my many shortcomings. I probably have many more than many of the individuals I know in my church who voted for Trump. However, I find that empowering him once it is known how he conducts himself with women and girls (and people who are disabled or are minorities) propels me to distance myself from the appearance that I condone such behavior. My faith and spiritual formation teaches me to denounce the kinds of practices he boast are his because he is a celebrity.

Those who rejected Hillary because she was "flawed" and empowered him despite his being perverted and aggressive and criminal perplex me. I cannot process this and come to grips with how we can study the same words, worship in the same ways, serve side by side, and asipre to similar ideals and yet come to such vastly different conclusions when we enter the privacy of the voting booth.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Quick and easy pecan praline biscuits.

By Faith Chatham Jan. 6, 2017
Note: I rarely post recipes but today I think we deserve all the comfort we can get. Here is a quick and easy one.
Quick and easy pecan praline biscuits. For this recipe you can use those really cheap canned biscuits. The ones that usually come out dry and tough will be delicious in this recipe. I use my ceramic lined pan because it is really easy to clean up and nothing sticks to it.

Cut up 4 or 5 pads of butter halfing them and scattering them on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle 1/4 to 1/2 cup of brown sugar over the butter in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle in a handful of pecans. Open a small can of 5 or 6 biscuits.

Rub the top of each biscuit and get it coated with the sugar and pecan mixture and place it with the bottom in the sugar butter oecan mixture.

Bake in. 350 degree oven. When done empty onto a plate and empty all remaining of the sugar pecan mixture from the bottom of the pan onto the top of the biscuits and serve warm.

They will be moist and crunchy from brown sugar pecan mixture. Enjoy.

Great for cold mornings when you need comfort food or for serving midafternoin when unexpected company stops by.

I Want to Wake Up in an Alternate Universe

By Faith Chatham Jan. 6, 2017
I usually have a few frends over on Epiphany evening. This year I am not. However one tradition of that gathering got me thinking . each guest was given 2 pieces of paper and two envelopes and asked to write down their wish for the world and then one wish for an individual. We sealed the envelopes and guests would draw them and read ine and others would guess who wrote it.
Since I am observing Epiphany at home alone ths year my personal wish is for myseIf.
My wish for the world is that everything that occurrred after 7 p.m. on election night is a bad dream and we wake up and realise that America's heartland is not overly influenced by White gun totting Protestant preachers and scary duck dynasty mentality voters.. Instead we would know that most Americans from every walk of life refused to be misled and cockoed by false claims and fake news,and instead embraced the canddiate who was most qualified,most ethical, most dedicated to public service instead of personal gain and glory. My wish for the world is that a lunatic not be in clontrol of the world economy and nuclear football.
My wish for myself is similar. I'd like to really be in one of those parallel universes that are hinted of in the plots of sci fi novels and movies. They show how different decisions and actions set into motion different outcomes in parellel universes.
I want to be out of the one we are in where the news is full of neo nazi and Russian influence in our national leadership and images of Donald Trummp about to take contol of the American Presidency with power to appoint judges, heads of agencies and to be Commander in Chief over the US military with US intelligence reporting to him.
I wan to wake up and be fully conscious in a different parellel universe than this one!
I want to be =in the parallel universe where the president elect has assembled a team of the bestsuited, most qualfied, nominees who are dedicated to fulfilling the constitution and legislative mission of each bureau and agency knowing there will be no lining if the pockets through their position for themselves or anyone close to them.sophers and citizens and statemen and stateswomen and public servants rejoice in the inauguration of the woman whose life has always reflected a commitment to enabling as many people as possible to thrive and succeed and soar to their highest, most fulfilled best!
I want to be in the universe where we are confident in the compassion of our top leader(s) instead of fearful because we know how debased and selfish he is and how he is surrounding himself with others who are neither qualified, skilled for the job and who are positioned to further their own financial enrichment more than the nation's common good.

I want to wake up and be in the universe where the people about to fill cabinet and other appointmented positions are the creme of American instead of the scum of the earth.
I want to be in a world where the emphasis is on preserving what is good and improving what isn't quite what it should and can be for the good of everyone, especially for those who are young or generations who come after us instead of skimming off the best for ourselves at the expense of everyone else.
I want to be in a world where political correctness is merely a guideline based on decency and those who cross beyond it are rejected because of how they act, rather than promoted because of how much they own or "who they are." I want to be in a universe where fairness is a value that is practiced instead of scorned and being a deal maker is less important than actually enacting publc policy which works for this nation and for every person in it.

I want to be conscious and present in te universe where little girls and women of my generarion stand together knowing that the best person for the job this time is elected because she is the only man or woman who is as fully capable of leading this nation and world at this point in history.
I want to be in the parallel universe where the president elect has assembled a team of the bestsuited, most qualfied, nominees who are dedicated to fulfilling the constitution and legislative mission of each bureau and agency, knowing there will be no lining if the pockets through their position for themselves or anyone close to them.

I want to be in that parallel universe where Donald Trump is left to his personal devices to work out hisoersonal financial doldrums without it impacting American securty or the American taxpayer.

I want to wake up in the parallel universe where we know that our national leadership is in good hands and is operating for the good of the American citizens. I want to wake up in a universe where I am inspired to do what I can to improve my community in each and every way I can because I am confident and inspired by the people our country has elected to public office and I have confidence in the good judgement of those who live with and around me..
Most of all Iwant ot wake up andrealize that what seems real is merely a bad dream.

The Diary of Anne Frank Part 1 of 2

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Shadow of Anne Frank over the 2016 Election - Part 2 of 2

By Faith Chatham - Dec. 1, 2016


In my journey to discover if the Frank family truly sought political asylum in the United States, I discovered that the NY Times, Time Magazine and Reuters covered the story when documents were uncovered in 2007. Her father, Otto Frank appealed to his college friend Nathan Straus, Jr. for a $5000 bond and affadivits to help get his family into the United States. Straus was the head of the federal Housing Authority, a personal friend of Eleanor Roosevelt's and his father was a co-owner of Macy's Department Store.

In their 2007 story when the documents were uncovered the New York Times story said:
 “Page by page, the papers illustrate the tortuous process for gaining entry to the United States in those days. Even with powerful connections and money, European Jews could not overcome the State Department's restrictions against refugees, said two Holocaust scholars who examined the documents.”

The New York Times Reported:
By June 1941, no one with close relatives still in Germany was allowed into the United States because of suspicions that the Nazis could use them to blackmail refugees into clandestine cooperation. That development ended the possibility of getting the Frank girls out through a children's rescue agency.

Because of the uncertainty, Otto Frank decided to try for a single visa for himself. It was granted and forwarded to him on Dec. 1. No one knows if it arrived. Ten days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States and Havana canceled the visa.

In a 2007 Time Magazine article it was reported that:
Straus and Frank's brother-in-law, Julius Hollander, regularly corresponded with two private Jewish agencies, the National Refugee Service in New York and the Boston Committee for Refugees. Straus also contacted the State Department on Frank's behalf. Hollander and his brother arranged affidavits from their employers, Jacob Hiatt of E.F. Dodge Paper Box Co. and Harry Levine of the New England Novelty Co., both of Leominster, Mass.

On 4 September 2015, Anne Frank's step-sister, Eva Schloss,, drew direct parallels between the Syrian refugee crisis and the Jewish refugee crisis of World War II:

"You must not be selfish and you must share whatever you have and help in a desperate situation. They need help from you.

"These people have had the courage to do a very difficult thing- to take your family and your whole life to another country requires bravery and strength. This is history repeating itself.

"These Syrians are valuable, educated people. These are doctors and nurses who are only too willing to help our society and they will become leaders in the community if you let them."

Anne’s mother, Edith, wrote to a friend in 1939:
 "I believe that all Germany's Jews are looking around the world, but can find nowhere to go."

In closing, I am acutely aware of how important it is for us to be discerning, to distinguish fact from fiction, to not allow fear to overrule compassion and to not allow compassion to unduly endanger us. 

There must be a balance so that policies do not label victims as criminals and  are not so overly restrictive that their enforcement means certain death for the innocent and vulnerable. 

American policy rejected admission of the Frank children to safety in the United States, leading to their deaths in a German death camp, citing the possibility that some relative of a refugee remaining in Europe might be used as a spy for the Nazi’s.  As a child, she wrote a diary which has captivated generations. If the Frank family's petitions for political asylum in the United States had been approved, it is probably that they would have joined their relatives in Boston. Today she might have been a 70+ year old New England author with an even richer body of work instead of being a child who perished in a Nazi death camp.

Fear is a paralyzing force. It sometimes comes from being touched by evil. Other times it prompts us to be overreaching in our denial of refuge and kindness,

When political leaders play on our fear or prejudice to gain power, inciting people to greater selfishness and hatred, as we have witnessed this year in the 2016 Presidential Election, it takes on a life force of its own. 
We have to be careful if we are to remain alive and we must be wary not to allow fear to rob us of active compassion if we are to remain human.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful

By Faith Chatham - Thanksgiving Day 2016
I am thankful today for people who are kind.

I am thankful for people who understand that no one exists merely to "serve them"
or for their personal gratification.
We may serve and we may gratify, but that is not the reason any of us exist.

I am thankful for those who are clear enough in their own minds and hearts
and consistent enough externally
that I do not have to expend excessive amounts of energy
trying to understand where they are coming from
or what hidden agenda may detour others (me) who are proceeding along some of the same paths
of their journey(s).

I am thankful for no longer being so young
that I am still trying to prop myself up by accomplishments, externals, or other things.

I am thankful that I am part of a network of people of various ages,
and that so many of us with grey hair are still on the road of investigation and awe.

I am thankful that there are experiences, encounters, successes and failures,
overcoming and coasting in the "afterglow" behind me
that give both stability and wisdom and expectation to the present and future.

I am thankful that neither God nor that basic Franciscan formation
or the joy of work has ever failed me.
Sometimes the people or institutions or organizations associated with those have come up short,
but they were merely attachments to the whole,
and despite the illusions which seem to indicate otherwise, never really "in charge."

I am thankful for light and color and sound and touch and taste.
They create mosiacs which can be entertaining, communicative, comforting or poignant or energizing.

I am thankful that sunsets and sunrises are still new every morning,
that all of us require grace and forebearance and compassion,
that laughter is common and humility not rare among those in “my circle.”

I am thankful that so very many people in my world understand that we are each a part of each other
but none of us are here totally for anyone else’s domination, command or control.

I am blessed by many,
encouraged by some,
and esteemed by a few.
For me this is balance.

I am at times “in awe” of some of you.
Occasionally I am even a bit in “awe” of what comes through me,
especially when in concert with you.

I am thankful for the ability to pick and choose what I work on,
who I work with,
and where I work
and what I work for!

I am thankful that enough people know me
that I do not have to be perpetually presenting myself or “selling myself”
to become involved in projects and causes which matter to me
and where the gifts, abilities and contacts which revolve around me
can easily be part of the mix which makes things better.
I am thankful for the ride we have been on together.

I am in awe of our “Hillary journey” because
I know we are drawn together by shared values,
determination to make the world a better place,
where truth is not shifting political sands but reality based on facts
and substantiated by data and track records.

I am thankful for leadership and comradery.
I am thankful for kindness and for your commitment to kindness.
I am thankful that “kindness” does not morph into silence
or suffering fools to placate
rather than to transform and protect those deserving our support.

I am thankful that we are still growing together as we mourn and
we are working despite the darkness
and endeavoring to keep the wolves at bay
while we are attempting to raise the "window shade" to another, hopefully, better day.

I am thankful for a few of the people who “broke my heart” in previous eras,
because today it is stronger and wiser
and they mattered enormously while we were enmeshed in the same adventure.

I am thankful that despite how sad I am, have been, or can be,
or how long a list I have of things and people that inspire (merit) thanksgiving from me,
I continue to think of others which haven’t been listed yet.

I am thankful for the discernment and ability to include or exclude people, things, causes, experiences
from my plate, wall, circle, portfolio at times and sometimes forever.

I am thankful for knowing others who are discerning in their associations.

I am thankful that I am at last old enough and wise enough to realize
that none of us have to attempt being all things to all people
or allowing all people to take anything they want
any time they wish from us
any way they desire.

I am thankful that despite the deterioration of my body by age,
there are things I still need to learn,
experiences I still need to taste,
and people I still need to meet and be pressed close to for a while.

There is a line in a Phillips, Craig and Dean song that sums up my philosophy of life:
I am thankful that “God’s grace come up fresh every morning.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Hillary Brings Us Together



This is a 15 min audio op ed paying tribute to the determined people who have been in the trenches volunteering this year. It is a recording of the op ed posted Monday titled: Despite this Bloodbath of an Election, We're Not As Divided as They Make Us Out to Be.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Despite this bloodbath of an election, we're not all that divided after all

By Faith Chatham - Nov. 7, 2016


Donald Trump is obnoxious, but I didn't go vote against him. I went and voted for the person who is the most qualified, most ethical, most compassionate, who will do the best job. I voted for Hillary because I know her. I know what she cares about. I know what she fight for. I know what she gets done. I know what we need and I voted for her because I know she knows what we need.

I get it that many in the media aren't that cozy with her. I suspect because she has learned to keep many of them at arm’s length, many of them mistakenly assume that everyone else in America is cool to her. They assume that those who support her are choosing the lesser of two evils. I think they are wrong. I don't see evidence to substantiate that.

The pundits talk about how divided the nation is. Hillary's race for President has drawn us together. We’ve come together in GOTV efforts and in Social Media Collaboration. My Facebook network alone has grown to 4,315 “friends”. However, every day for months I've seen 30 to 100 "friend requests" and most of them come from people having from 100+ to 300+ mutual friends. That says there is a lot of agreement among lots of folks about what kind of world we want, who we respect, and what values matter.

I don’t think my social network has grown from a couple of thousand to over four thousand in a year because of my good looks or winning personality. It has grown because folks know that I am a staunch Hillary Clinton for President Supporter. It has grown because folks know that I work to get decent, smart deserving Democrats elected to Congressional seats in Texas. It has grown because other folks share some of my dreams, frustrations, and determination to make this a better place without destroying what we hold dear. It has grown because we have much more work to do. It has grown because we are not nearly as divided or apathetic as we made out to be.

I suspect that everyone reading this has also gained “new contacts” on social media because of your support of Hillary Clinton. I have heard several say they support her as the lesser of two evils. However, most of the folks I know support her because of who she is, the work she’s done, the preparation she always brings to the table when something important is being considered. We may not be the “rah, rah, jump up and down and scream crowd” that photographs great at rallies.” Frequently one of more of us has to have a chair to sit part of the time when we participate In “Visibility events”, but that doesn’t diminish how enthusiastic we are about her. Yes, we are TIRED of this election. Many of us are worn out, but that is not the same thing as being unenthusiastic about Hillary.

I've always known a few folks who volunteered or were on staff with national campaigns. This year I KNOW A LOT OF FOLKS who have left their homes and jobs and gone “on their own dime” to volunteer for Hillary. These are not affluent folks. One is a retired school teacher. She's been to Iowa, NY, and CA and now she is in Ohio. I'm still paying off my credit card bill from National Convention in Philadelphia. That was no "cheap trip" and she was there too. She's dipped into her retirement and savings to get Hillary elected because she BELIEVES IN HER THAT MUCH. I have another friend who is a self-employed single woman whose business makes no income when she is out of town. She's been on the campaign trail as much as she's been in her office this year. That is because she knows Hillary and believes in her. I know several women who have maxed out as donors for Hillary whose major income is our Social Security checks. Pundits say Baby Boomers are cool toward Hillary. Not all of us, not by a “long shot.”

HILLARY DRAWS FOLKS TOGETHER FROM DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS

I've seen a JP friend and an attorney friend travel to Swing States to volunteer. On my Social Security income, I've done what I can here in Texas. We are not alone. There are lots of others with us. We may not be the "rah rah crowd" but we are persistent. We are determined. We didn't wait for a national campaign staffer to come organize us. We organized each other. We didn't wait for the campaign to ship yard signs, stickers and posters for us to use for GOTV efforts. We scrounged around and got what we could, ordered what we needed, pooled resources and saw that other folks had what they needed for rallies, house meetings, visibility events, etc. We went to Club Meetings, Democratic Party Meetings, Volunteer Fire Department Meetings, Rallies, House Party’s, Back yard Meet and Greets, Convention, parades. No one was paid to organize us. We cared enough to see the bases were covered no matter what!

A lot of us work for her differently than we did for other candidates when we were younger. I hope we are working smarter. We do what we can, when we can, however we can. Understanding how critical it is this year, propels us to push persistently and to cover bases without waiting for official staff to be deployed to our state or neighborhood by “the campaign”. We haven’t waited for the campaign to buy us signs or stickers or banners. If they are available, we use and share them. If not, we create and find money somehow to pay for them. We’ve done this before. We know what it is like to come up short on Election Day and we are determined not to experience that again this year. We didn’t wait around for the campaign to release advertising with our Vote For Hillary Democratic Message. We wrote our own and distributed it on social media, in posters, postcards and flyers. We incorporated what they supplied when we got it if we liked it. We talked. We phoned. Those who could walk, walked. Others of us rode shopping carts through big box stores giving out campaign buttons which were icebreakers allowing us to get in a 30 second or one minute elevator speech.

I think the media has missed the real story this year. The real story is about the school teachers I had lunch with Saturday. They taught all week and showed up at the polls to volunteer for Hillary Saturday and Sunday at early voting sites.

It’s about those Texans who live far away from the nearest Clinton Field Office, and who didn’t have a staffer around to organize rallies or phone banks in their neighborhoods. They didn’t let that stop them. They did it themselves. In Marshall, Texas there is no Clinton HQ but they have met every Monday night all year and held phone banks. They organized rallies on the Court House Square and they made sure that notices got into the paper. In Longview, the women came together and opened a Headquarters. They invited Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez to come speak and held a rally. Another group organized a rally at the Gregg County Court House which inspired groups in neighboring counties to organize their own rallies. In Smith County, and in other communities, the churches chose a Sunday and arranged buses and car pools to transport their members to Early Voting after Church. They called it “Souls to the Polls.” Throughout East Texas, men in pickup trucks circled early voting places with big signs in the back of their pickup trucks. On one side was “Vote for Hillary Clinton /Tim Kaine”. On the other was “Vote for Shirley McKellar for Congress”. This is the real story. These folks weren’t paid. They were determined and enthusiastic for Hillary. They are doing what they can to get a better person elected to Congress!

I’ve seen and heard of neighbors walking other neighbors through the process of registering to vote and helping first-time voters get familiar with the process before they vote for the first time. Instead of going to vote alone, lots of folks made an event of it and invited friends to go vote and have lunch together afterward. Voter Registration Teams have registered High School and College Students, shoppers at box stores, and newcomers in the neighborhood to vote. We’ve seen a record turn out for Early Voting nation-wide this year, and I don’t think the surge is the same ole same ole Republican voter.

Tuesday night, the TV pundits will continue saying that ’Hillary was elected by people who really didn't want to vote for her.” They'll be wrong. She is being elected by people who know that she is the best person for the job. Every person who pulls the lever for her is voting for her. Don't be misled by pundits who are still miffed because she didn't entrust her message to them so that they could filter what she said. Instead this time she went direct to the people using social media more than large media events controlled by TV and Newspaper chains. She is a smart woman. She has learned more than a thing or two in the years she's been in the public's eye.

I have too. I don't swallow everything others tell me. I look around. If what I see doesn't mesh with what I hear, I question what I hear. I'm seeing people who are thrilled that Hillary Clinton decided to run for President. I am seeing people who are thrilled that they got to vote for her for President. I'm seeing people who care enough not to stop working, who care enough to give sacrificially, who don't stop even when tired, and who check out the facts and share them.

This is truly a different kind of election cycle. Yes it has contained the Trump side show. But I think the real story is with the Clinton folks. It's about folks who truly care and who don't wait for others to do what is necessary to get her into the Oval Office. For everything done by her campaign, there will be thousands of other things done by volunteers all over this nation. They aren't expecting anything in return. They aren't in line for staff positions or contracts. We are working our hearts out because we have seen her work her heart out.

Yes, she learned that money is necessary in politics. When she left the State Department she went on the speaking circuit and earned as much as they'd pay. She had millions of dollars of campaign debt in '08 when she suspended her first presidential campaign. She was smart to create a cushion this time. She was smart to find something which was LEGAL which could generate substantial income during the short time between when she left the State Department and when she’d have to file for a place on the ballot to run for President. Why is it that the same folks who think Trump is OK because he appears to be a tycoon criticize her for earning speakers fees when she was no longer in public office! The warped standard applied to her inspires us to work harder, to stand stronger, to be relieved each time we see the projections of the number of electoral votes she'll probably get tomorrow.

FLASH: If you don't like her, speak for yourself. If you aren't enthusiastic, own your own feelings. Don't project them onto the rest of the world. Most of us are too busy working to have room to carry around your emotional baggage. We have our own and ours probably doesn't match yours. However, we aren't alone. This year my social media network has grown by over 3000 new friends and they came because of Hillary. We are a bigger, more connected network. We are drawn together by shared values. We are not nearly as divided a nation as FOX NEWS, CBS and CNN keeps saying that we are.

I'm looking forward to what we continue doing together after Tuesday. Tuesday night's election returns is only a starting point.

Yes, I know a some people are motivated to vote because they despise Donald Trump. I know many more who are voting for Hillary Clinton because we really want her in the Oval Office. Some are glad that a women will finally win. More of us are excited that HILLARY CLINTON will finally be the woman who will win!

I know there is a lot of discontent in our nation. There are things I don’t like which are going on in this nation. There always has been and always will be. But that is not why I am enthusiastically, without reservation, supporting Hillary Clinton for President. I support her because there are things I love and cherish here in American and I respect her to pull us together to improve what needs improving without destroying what is precious and necessary. The growth in most of our friends list alone is evidence that she inspires people to come together. I suspect when you look at the growth in your “friends list”, many of your new additions are folks who are there because you both support Hillary for President. When that many people come together because of one woman, there has to be a lot more consensus than most of the media acknowledges. We aren’t nearly as divided here in American as the pundits make us out to be!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Faith's Venting

By Faith Chatham Nov. 6, 2016
I am disgusted with cloaking public policy in religiousity. Neither the so called "pro life anti abortion" camp nor the "pro choice" camp are black and white positions. Making abortion illegal does not prevent abortions. It is probably more of a position in favor of returning to the world of 'coat hanger abortions" than it is an abortion prevention reality. Only a very small percentage of those who support "a woman's right to choose" are actually "pro abortion."

Very few of those who call themselves "pro life" actually support public policies which help children after they are born, so they are not, in my opinion, truly "pro life."

Hearing folks who consider themselves "Christian" call women who have spent their lives fighting for Civil Rights, Women's Rights, and for better education for children, and fighting childhood poverty as "babv killers" is distasteful and inappropriate in society, let alone in "Christian circles."

In Tyler last month I encountered a volunteer in a Roman Catholic booth at the Smith County Fair who claimed that "Hillary Clinton had killed thousands of children!" I'm very Catholic in my religious expression. I was an Anglican Franciscan Oblate Sister for 15 years. I was appalled with this encounter in Tyler. What children has Hillary Clinton killed? How many has she saved? I suspect she is responsible for saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in various ways. Such a bigoted and unsupportable statement coming from a volunteer who thinks she is representing Christ troubled me.

In the 105 Texas House Race in Grand Prairie/Irving, Rodney Anderson's canvassers are calling Terry Meza a "baby killer" because Meza, like many women in American, favors funding Planned Parenthood. Family planning and screening services by Planned Parenthood have contributed to the health of hundreds of thousands of women. The best way to prevent abortions is informed fact-based access to birth control. Terry Meza is my friend. I know that she still mourns the loss of the daughter she miscarried almost 30 years ago. Baby Killer? Absolutely not. Those who are spreading these inflammatory claims on the campaign trail think that they are being "Christian". I think they are practicing misguided cruelty.

In 2014 we witnessed Wendy Davis being dubbed "Abortion Barbie." Wendy has a tubal pregnancy which cost her a child she dearly wanted. Another child had a serious neurological deformity. Wendy deserved to be able to keep both losses private. Eventually she shared them because the name calling escalated to such proportions that it negatively impacted her children. Many of those who hurled the accusations at Senator Davis thought they were expressing their religion. I think it distorts religion rather than expresses it.

When a legislator votes against food stamps, education, health care or job training and claims to be "pro life" for voting against funding for Planned Parenthood, I do not see them as truly being "pro life."

Religious supported hospitals which have policies which require saving the unborn even when it costs the life of the mother are not "pro life." Difficult choices are usually not "one size fits all." They should not be dictated by politicians. They should not be imposed in top down policies which override the decisions of physicians and their patients.

My mother had a very difficult pregnancy with me. Many doubted that she would safely carry me full term. Speculation was that the baby would be greatly deformed because of her participation in a medical trial before they knew she was pregnant. More than one physician considered terminating her pregnancy. My parents were not given the facts and allowed to make a decision. I think they should have been. Obviously, I am thankful that I am here, but i do not think that saving the unborn baby's life should have outweighed saving the life of a 30 year old mother of three small children.

This is nothing new on the campaign trail. When Dick Army was running against Congressman Tommy Vandergriff in the 1980s Army's campaign released a coloring book calling Vandergriff a baby killer for his pro choice position. Vandergriff was a Sunday School teacher at First Methodist Church in Arlington, and the accusation cut deeply and was unfair. Army won the election and rose to Speaker of the House, but those of us who knew Tommy Vandergriff remembered that coloring book and Army never gained our respect.

Is saving one life more "pro life" than saving another? I don't see a black or while clear line here. Grey's count too and hurling names at people is not compassionate or constructive.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Prospects for Democrats Regaining Congressional Seats in Texas

By Faith Chatham - CFO Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC - May 13, 2016
LINK to donate: bit.ly/5forTX
Democratic Nominees are running in 29 of Texas' 36 U.S. House Districts this year.A state where less than 8% of the Federal Delegation women but is over 51% of the population is female, Texas voters have the opportunity to add five more women to their Congressional delegation.

THE WOMEN

The Texas female Democratic Nominees who are challenging GOP incumbents for seats in Congress include:

Shirley McKellar PhD.
Dr McKellar is a retired officer in the US Army Nurse Corp A nurse clinician, McKellar led in the implementation of women's health services for the US Military in the European Theatre. Shirley is challenging GOP incumbent Louie Gohmert for the 1st Congressional Seat.

Tawana Cadien, RN. Tawana is also a nurse clinician nursing administrator. She is one of the first graduates of the Thurgood Marshall School of Public Affairs to earn a Masters of Public Administration. Tawana is challenging GOP incumbent Mike McCaul for the10th District seat.

Jan McDowell, CPA. Jan is a community activist who understands the dollar and cents value of clean air and water. We need someone in Congress who can read a balance sheet and has understands the difference between short term cuts which cost more in the long run. Jan is challenging GOP incumbent Kenny Marchant for the 24th District Congressional seat.

Ruby Woolridge is challenging GOP incumbent Joe Barton for the 6th Congressional District Seat. Ruby is an ordained (Methodist) Minister who is currently serving at the Potter's House and is a public school teacher. She is a strong advocate for veterans. Her son Troy was injured on active duty in the middle east when he was in his twenties. He died of his injuries last year after years of rehab and disability. Ruby was his caretaker.

Kathi Thomas is a business owner and former county chair. She is challenging GOP incumbent Roger Williams for the 25th District Congressional seat.

Democratic Incumbents Congresswomen Shelia Jackson Lee (District 18) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (District 30) are running for re-election in "safe Democratic majority districts."

To donate directly with one click to the campaigns of these women congressional challengers and Hillary Clinton and the federal pac which supports progressive candidates running for Federal offices on the ballot in Texas go to: www.bit.ly/5forTX. You can also choose to give more or nothing to some and less to others. You are given the option of making a one time donation or splitting you gift into monthly installments

Link to Donate: www.bit.ly/5forTX

THE LANDSCAPE

Texas is frequently dubbed a “red state” but demographically, it is much more blue than is reflected in the election results. A combination of apathy, savvy marketing/outreach by deep-pocketed special interests, and gerrymandering with an abandonment of the fight by most progressive donors has enabled some of the most obnoxious Texas politicians to win and retain seats in the state and federal government. Being under indictment for fraud, bribery or political corruption seems to be a plus for many of the State’s GOP incumbents. Yet there is a bright ray shining through the darkness in the Lone Star State.

Democrats turn out in higher numbers during presidential election years. All of the 11 current Democratic US House members except Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson were initially elected in Presidential election year. Texas has 11 districts that are majority Democratic and one truly swing district (23). Most of the other districts have had no serious resources devoted by progressives in Congressional challenger races for many election cycles. In 2014 on average apx. 2 ½ cents per voter was all the funding received by non-incumbent Democratic nominees who were challenging GOP/TeaParty incumbents for Congressional seats in the primary and general election combined. For 2 ½ cents it is impossible to even effectively communicate with those who already know they want to vote for you, let alone convince others that you are the best candidate. Most GOP incumbents in Texas have gotten a free walk to re-election for decades. They amass large war chests and use them to help fund down-ticket candidates. The outcome of most election in Texas have little to do with “merit” or “integrity” and more to do with non engagement from the left and business “as usual” from the right.

Democratic "normal GOTV efforts" in Texas
Examination of voter rolls shows that as Democrats stop running in contested Democratic primaries for state and local offices, Democratic voters stopped voting,. Most did not become Republicans. As spending and outreach ceased by progressives, apathy won and more and more Texans appeared on the rolls as folks who used to vote but do not any more, In presidential election years more will show up than in other election years. The state Democratic Party has a long history of focusing more attention on internal party affairs than on prioritizing winning General Elections. However, there are some encouraging developments this year.

2016 is a year of opportunity for reclaiming seats from GOP incumbents in Texas. It will require funding. In 2015 Republican candidates for Congress in Texas received $4 to every $1 donated to Democratic Congressional Candidates, During the FEC financial report ending March 31, 2016 the gap had narrowed. Republican received $2.82 dollars for every dollar donated to Democratic candidates. The gap is still deplorable, but the trend is headed in the right direction. The quality of the Democratic Nominees is substantial. Their challenges can be addressed by generosity from donors — large and small. Outside money will not come gushing in to Texas Congressional races. However, Texans have the resource to fund these races. Small donors and deeper pocketed donors uniting with the unique synergy of the 2016 Presidential race and the impact of both of the top of the ticket candidates on the electorate can realistically turn additional districts blue.
Source: FEC.gov

Factors for Optimism
1. A push on increasing Democratic turnout for by mail ballots paid off in the 2016 Democratic Primary. Significant increases in Democratic voters by mail occurred in the counties which invested in the BY MAIL campaign. Historically, Republicans have had by mail margins high enough to claim numerous seats in Texas. This improvement removes the GOP/Tea Party’s advantage in several of Texas’ largest counties.

2. Texas State Law was changed allowing the State Party to hold primaries in counties without Democratic County Chairs. Glen Maxey worked tirelessly to get legislation passed which allowed every registered voter in Texas to vote in a Democratic primary this year even if there were no county chair in their county. Once the law was passed, Glen faced the monumental task of getting the paperwork filed and to recruiting workers and polling places in counties without a chair, Although the actual number of voters involved is rather small, the change is enormous. At the last SDEC meeting several new county chairs were sworn in who stepped up and volunteered to serve from counties where they previously had been unable to vote in a Democratic Primary. It is a constructive beginning. For decades Democrats have ignored most of the rural counties. Cumulatively, rural voters determine the outcome of many elections. To overcome the GOP incumbent advantage, reaching out and increasing Democratic turnout in rural counties is essential.

3. Demographic shift in population, age and income impacts the state. Texas’ white majority is dwindling. The Republican base is aging and dying off faster than the Democratic base in Texas. The percentage of Latino and Black Texans is increasing. Both Democratic and Republican parties try to enlist Hispanic voters. Republicans have skillfully used social issues to depress Hispanic voter turnout. In the 2014 Governor’s race many Hispanics were conflicted between their religious beliefs regarding abortion and the Republican hardline anti-immigrant posturing. A percentage of them simply stayed home. In 2016 Republican rhetoric repels and motivates many who stayed home to get involved. Blacks and Texans of Hispanic lineage are among Hillary Clinton’s most enthusiastic supporters. With Donald Trump at the top of the Republican ticket, it will be much easier to engage Tejano, Hispanic, Muslim and Black voters in Texas.

4. Hillary at the top of the Democratic ticket will draw more minority voters that Sanders. During the primary in Texas, despite the large number of older white women which remain a strong part of Clinton’s base, larger numbers of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians turned out as delegates for Clinton at senatorial conventions than for Sanders. In the Tarrant (largest part) of Senate District 9, in the Clinton delegation:

60% minority; 40% whlte

60% female; 40% male

11% under age 36

14% LGBT

in the Sanders Tarrant Senate District 9:’

74% white; 26% minority

59% male; 41% female

24% under age 36

18% LGBT

This is a snapshot of 3/4th of one urban Senate District (Tarrant 9). (Dallas Senate 9 did not break down their delegates demographically.)

Hillary attracts more minorities and women than Sanders. Hillary attracts young voters but Sanders attracts twice the number of younger voters. Hillary’s following among women is 1/3 larger than Sanders. Sander’s following among men is 1/3 larger than Clinton’s. Both resonate with LGBT voters. Hillary has fewer problems with minority voters than Sanders (74% for Clinton and only 26% for Sanders.)

With Clinton at the top of the ticket, the large minority population of Texas should place more races in play in the state if the “coat tail effect” carries over to down-ticket (especially Congressional) races. The party is working to enlist younger and minority voters into the Party. Older female voters remain the most loyal dependable voting block of Democratic voters. The majority of this “most loyal” voter demographic group are Clinton supporters. This is a good sign for down ticket candidates, especially for older, educated, highly qualified candidates who are challenging GOP incumbents.

Despite the spin that “Sanders is defining the issues”, there is solid evidence that Clinton delegates have more education than the majority of Sanders or Trump voters. Clinton supporters value “problem-solving” and pragmatic incrementalism. They trust her experience, the through vetting given her, and appreciate her ability to get policies and programs implemented. Many of Clinton’s supporters do not think that Bernie has changed Hillary’s positions substantially. They see her as a progressive political leader who has always worked to increase minority voter participation, fought for accessible affordable health care, denounced discrimination by championing the rights of women, minorities, LGBT and handicapped individuals throughout the world.

National Pattern

In the Primaries and Caucuses held thus far this year, more Republicans turned out in their primaries than Democrats in theirs in states where Sanders had more votes than Hillary. In the states which Clinton carried, she got more votes than the leading Republican and more Democrats turned out to vote than Republicans overall. This is a very good sign because she has carried more states than Sanders and she has carried larger states than Sanders. It is unlikely that she will carry Texas in the General Election. Having Cruz off of the ticket is beneficial. If she selects a young, Latino favorite son from Texas as her running mate, that may bring Texas into play. A Clinton/Castro ticket may not turn the state blue enough to garner the electoral votes from the Lone Star State, but the activity may be a shot-in-the-arm for some Congressional races and help Democrats gain a few additional seats in Congress in Districts the national pacs are not targetings as Red to Blue.

THE MEN

Texas has also nominated several strong, highly qualified Democratic men for Congress this year. In addition to the 8 Democratic Congressmen who are running for re-election, there are men running in 12 of Texas’ Congressional Districts. One district is a truly Democratic majority district (15). Congressman Hinojosa is retiring so that is an “open” seat in a majority Democratic District. Vicente Gongalez and Juan "Sonny" Palacios are in a run-off for the Democratic Nomination for US-TX 15 Congressional District on May 24th.

Former Democratic Congressman Pete Gallego is challenging far right-wing Tea Party incumbent Wm. Hurd for the seat in Texas’ only truly swing district.

The 23rd Congressional District has more land mass than any district in Texas. The land mass of 9 states will fit into this incredible Congressional District which runs from the outskirts of San Antonio to the outskirts of the City of El Paso. It includes National Parks and most of the Texas/Mexico border. Gallego has continued as a private citizen to work to further the interests of the people of the district.

Hurd has focused only on divisive religious positions and has ignored the economic and environmental needs of the District. Gallego, as a private citizen, is credited with bringing passenger air service back to a poorly served part of the district. Despite Gallego’s deplorable vote on the Three State Nuclear Waste pact while he was an incumbent, Gallego is much more of a champion for the District's National Park (Big Bend) than incumbent Hurd. Gallego has proven to be much more responsive to the needs of the people of the district than incumbent Hurd. This race is targeted by the DCCC as a Red to Blue District and will probably be the only non-incumbent challenger Congressional race in Texas to receive funding from the DCCC and the Democratic Majority PACs.


James Cargas qualifies as an environmental/developmental rock star. Cargas is one of our state’s leading pragmatic visionaries. An Oil and Attorney, James worked on Capitol Hill as an intern as an undergraduate and returned, after he graduated from the University of Michigan, during the Reagan administration while Jim Wright was Speaker of the House to serve as Press Secretary to a Michigan Democratic Congressman. He graduated from The American University’s Washington College of Law where he served as President of the Environmental Law Society and Article Editor of The American University Journal of International Law and Policy and The American University International Law Review) in 1992. During law school, he was law clerk to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Admitted to practice law in Texas, West Virginia, Washington D.C, and Michigan, he represented large interstate pipeline companies before leaving the private sector to join the Clinton administration on the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, promoting clean wind and solar energy, hybrid vehicles and sustainable resource development. He left to work on the Gore Presidential campaign and returned to serve under Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. He was hired in 2008 by former Houston Mayor Bill White as the City of Houston’s energy counsel, and continued as counsel to Mayor Parker. During his stint with the City of Houston, Cargas has negotiated energy contracts and helped the City of Houston become recognized as the governmental entity that has purchased the most sustainable energy in the nation, exceeding the purchases of the DOD and EPA. Cargas is married to a medical research scientist doctor and is especially cognizant of the roadblocks facing medical research in the USA. Cargas is the Democratic Nominee challenging GOP incumbent John Culberson for Texas' 7th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Bill Matta, PhD is challenging GOP incumbent Bill Flores for the 17th District US Congressional Seat. Matta is one of three Democratic Nominees in Texas who are retired military officers with doctoral degrees. A navigator in the USAF, Matta served with NATO in Bosnia, at the US Air Force Academy and at the Pentagon. A graduate of UT Austin, Matta has pursued a dual career track, blending his military service with teaching. Currently he is the chair of the Linguistics, Speech and Engilsh at McLennan County Community College.

Mark Gibson JD is a retired Colonel and Brigade Commander with the US Army. He earned is Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law, and his Master’s in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He earned his BBA in Management Information Systems from University of Houston, As a Senior IT Manager and small business owner, Mark Gibson, understands the challenges facing business owners. He fights for veterans and military families, is committed to fighting for equal rights for women, pledges to”push for absolute assurances of banning weapons from schools, synagogues or worship centers, shopping malls, stores, and our schools” and will fight for breaks for small businesses and term limits.

Gibson is challenging GOP incumbent Pete Olson for Texas' 22nd District Congressional seat.

Mike Cole, Democratic Nominee for Texas’ 14th US Congressional District
running for U.S Congress in Texas. Cole is challenging GOP incumbent Randy Weber for the 14th US Congressional Seat. An educator, Cole’s struggle with onset juvenile diabetes gives him insight into medical challenges which reach far beyond what is normal for a young man. He is skilled at engaging others in projects that enhance and improve people’s lives.

He is running an energetic campaign against Randy Weber which involves college students and senior citizens.

The 14th is a coastal district. Challenged by natural disasters and the aftermath of BP’s Horizon Blowout/Oil Spill, the district requires diligent service by a Representative who will balance the economical developmental needs with the environmental challenges facing people of the district.

Mike Cole, Tawana Cadien, James Cargas and Pete Gallego are the Democratic Nominees who are positioned to give better service to the people of the Texas Gulf Coast and US Mexican Border. You can help them directly with one click using this link:

http://bit.ly/4TXCoastDs

To split your donation between the four coastal candidates and the federal PAC which supports progressive challengers for federal office on the ballot in Texas use this link http://bit.ly/4TXCoastDs

It is not necessary for Texans to live under the skewed worldview of the Tea Party and the state's GOP incumbents. We do not have to continue subjecting this nation and the world to the stupidity that passes between many Texas so-called public officials. It will not be easy, but it is definitely "worth it!" The key is setting aside defeatist attitudes, stepping forward and doing what we can when we can and enlisting and welcoming others to do what they can.