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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Let’s Give ‘Em A Great Tip

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I was previously involved in advocating for paid sick leave on the federal level and was thrilled when DC passed sick leave leg (only the second city to do so). What I did not know until recently is that some workers were excluded from this critical benefit. Tipped wait staff, bartenders and some health care workers were not covered by this landmark law.

Last week, a bill was introduced (Barry, Mendleson) in DC to address those who were missing out. Nine members of the DC Council signed on to provide the 3-7 days of annual paid sick leave that others have enjoyed since 2008. Additionally, the waiting period for this leave would be reduced from one year to 90 days. As a working parent, I know this would make a huge difference for many DC families.

And let’s think about this, do you want a sick bartender mixing your favorite cocktail or hacking waiter serving your meal? It’s a public health issue as well. Further, I think the tide needs to shif t to protect the little guy who truly makes a business what it is.

Naysayers are moaning about how it will hurt bottom lines… Studies show that it hasn’t- not here in DC, not in Seattle. And it hasn’t been abused.

If you enjoy the DC restaurant scene, show your support. Reach out to the council, especially if you’re a resident.

 
 

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It’s Not What You Think

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Columbine High School shooting
Virginia Tech campus massacre
Ft. Hood shooting spree
Shooting at rally in Tuscan, Ariz.
Aurora, Col. movie theater shooting
Thwarted Family Research Council shooting
Massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary

What do all of these tragedies have in common?

The shooters all had mental health issues. What else needs to happen for us to stop sweeping mental health difficulties under the rug? Do not misundertand. All of these individuals are accountable. My point is many lives could have been saved if concerns about the mental stability of these people would have been addressed or taken seriously. And we still haven’t learned.

Navy Yard shooting spree

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2013 in Education, Family, Health, Politics, Rant, violence

 

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The Oniony Business of Healthcare

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The Affordable Care Act– an astronomical onion if there ever was one with layers that have only begun to peeled away. However, on the tearful journey to its oniony core is the idea that everyone deserves quality healthcare and access to it. It’s not a perk for the entitled. And if I get sick, I should not lose my home, savings and kids’ college fund. So there… I’m all for it but it is an onion nonetheless.

What has it done thus far? Let’s see.

1. Kids can stay on parents’ plan until 26.
2. Pre-existing conditions get covered.
3. 80/20 rule: the majority of your premium is actually applied to healthcare.
4. Medicare doughnut hole gets an overdue filling.
5. Preventive care is covered at no cost.
6. Women’s premiums are in line with mens’.

Don’t get me wrong. The tears are promised. Because enrollment opens on October 1, does not mean the uninsured and underinsured will flock to the online marketplace in droves. Misinformation is abound. Ignorance of the process and those pesky layers, I mean details, will be a challenge.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2013 in Civil Rights, Family, Health, History, Politics, women, Youth

 

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Wrong Place, Wrong Time

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Redskins’ Josh Morgan’s mother was at work at the Pentagon on 9/11 when a plane hit the building. This morning, she was at work at the Navy Yard when an unknown number of gunmen began a shooting spree, killing at least 12 people and injuring others. Mom is fine (but I think I would have her retire).

It is an active investigation with the campus and neighborhood on lockdown, including schools. They continue to search for additional gunmen and are still clearing building 197 where shooting began inside.

I live less than 10 minutes from the Navy Yard and have heard sirens all day. Let’s keep those affected families in our thoughts and prayers.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2013 in Family, Health, violence

 

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So There You Have It…

And it’s bullshit…

Folks keep yammering about people being anti-Walmart but it wasn’t the only business that would be impacted. On its face, it sounds great: jobs, development, opportunity but who benefits? The Mayor is charged with making decisions that benefit the city and all its residents, not a select few.

Guess my email didn’t make a difference. :/ We’ll see just how much DC residents benefit. People, pay attention and remember at election time.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Family, Politics, Rant, Youth

 

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The Maestro

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Today Barry White will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Known as The Maestro, White wrote, composed and produced music for many artists including himself and his Love Unlimited Orchestra. White could be considered an acquired taste and I had forgotten how many of his hits that I enjoyed.

And who could forget his My First, My Last, My Everything as “The Biscuit’s” theme music on Ally McBeal…

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in History, Music, Relationships

 

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Where Were You?

Twelve years and almost five hours ago, I was on 295 South en route to work when the radio show was interrupted saying there had been a terrible accident and a plane hit one of the Twin Towers. Of course minutes later, the second one was hit and our cushy American existence was shaken.

While people in my mother’s generation remember where they were when they learned JFK or MLK were assassinated, for me it is 9/11. I remember frantically sprinting into my office in heels with everyone wondering What the hell?!? I remember all of the hours of horrible footage that we watched and the surreal feeling. My daughter was four and I remember thinking there were mothers around the world who repeatedly have to explain these inexplicable events to their children, or to themselves because their children were victims. I also remember my daughter’s questions.

This morning, a moment of silence was recognized for the tender ache that we collectively own alongside those who experienced it first-hand.

I’d love to hear from you…Where were you and what was your lesson?

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in women

 

Working to Live or Living to Work

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The jury is still out on the living wage bill in DC. Mayor Gray has until next week, Sept. 16, to sign or veto.

Everyone has an opinion , particularly those not directly impacted by the pending legislation. My mother attended her neighborhood civic association meeting this past weekend at which her council member spoke (who opposed the bill). I asked my mom if she talked about the bill, not exactly… Alexander went on about the importance of jobs and employment in the city. Never about Walmart’s policies or more importantly what exactly is in the pending contract that is for district workers/residents.

I wondered aloud if those 300 jobs they keep promoting that Walmart will create, if it is specified that they go to DC residents and further those in that particular Ward. Also, will the jobs be fulltime or just shy, that famous trick so benefits are not earned. My mother brought up the point of utility bills and taxes. I was unaware that sometimes a city will bear the cost of utilities on behalf of an organization/corporation for the benefit of its business. Further, said entity could be excused from paying taxes for a given amount of time. I’m familiar with the tax breaks, more with regard to nonprofits. But if you give away the store, what’s left? What does the city or its residents receive in the deal?

I digress- this was the direction of our conversation. You know how I feel about the bill. Let’s see what the Mayor thinks about it…

A good article from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute.

 

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Real Talk: Syria

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Last week I asked my daughter if her AP Government and Politics class was discussing Syria. She said they had and commented that this country is always making others’ business our own; I agreed. She was not convinced that the United States should get involved. I am still on the fence.

I have had my head in the sand, so to speak, not wanting to absorb the enormity of this situation. As I expressed to my daughter, if the Syrian government is responsible for the chemical attack on its own people, something must be done. It is despicable that such a thing could be done to innocent civilians including children, let alone to fellow countrymen. Further, why did they do it? The two of us agreed that it seemed to be a test of the weapons (which is some word that has yet to be created). If so, what or where is the next target? For these reasons, I believe our President is looking at options. However I am unsure of this proposed action. It is always interesting that the U.S. wants to dole out punishment…

Having such a conversation with my teenage daughter is awesome and humbling. I am excited to hear her opinion and logic but humbled to have the responsibility to talk her through the realities of the world and its ugliness. I watched as she tried to wrap her mind around the atrocity committed and how power could be abused.

With a Congressional vote on the horizon and a resolution on the table, I am worried about all of it. This morning en route to my son’s school, I saw protesters across from the Rayburn Building with “Hands Off Syria” and “Stop War” signs- and I wanted to join them.

I just want to disengage, to stick my head back into the proverbial sand.

 
 

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Thoughts On Love

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This morning my five year-old burst into my room to give me a kiss before he made a beeline to the flat screen.

As he kissed my cheek, he asked, “do kisses go straight to your heart?”

I said, “Yes.”

“Why? Because your heart is filled with love?”

I sleepily nodded.

“What happens if it breaks?…your heart?”

I opened my eyes. Now there’s a question.

“Do all of the pretty things come out?” He waited.

I paused to consider this at 7am. “Your heart can mend, it can be fixed.”

He nodded. “I don’t want mine to break.”

Neither do I, I thought as he scurried off the bed.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in Family, Motherhood, Single Parenting, women, Youth

 

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