November 30, 2018

But what did they eat?

Folks who weren't aware of or involved in the great WV teachers strike of 2018 probably aren't aware of the huge role food played in it.

(Of course, one might point out that given the huge role food plays in keeping living things alive this shouldn't be a huge surprise...)

During the strike, enemies of the teachers spread the lie that teachers were "striking against feeding the kids," since many WV children rely on school food for a big chunk of their daily nutrition.

Obviously, such people didn't know, or pretended not to know, that teachers routinely feed kids and do all kinds of other things to help them survive. Or that teachers and community members went to great lengths during the struggle to prepare meals for kids while schools were closed.

The other side of the food story was the solidarity shown by others from all over in sending tacos, pizza and such to teachers and school service workers while they were raising hell in the capitol. I'm sure similar things happened at local picket lines.

It's hard to think of a more basic way than food to show solidarity.

Anyhow, from Bon Appetit,, here's an account by Berkeley teacher Jessica Salfia on food and the good fight.

November 27, 2018

Harm reduction done right

In case you missed it, there was an interesting NY Times article about how Dayton Ohio and its county of Montgomery dramatically reduced opioid overdose deaths from last year to this.

Lots of things seemed to come together to make this possible. The most obvious of these was Gov. Kasich's decision to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Dayton mayor Nan Whaley claimed it was the basis for everything they've been able to accomplish, saying

“If you’re a state that does not have Medicaid expansion, you can’t build a system for addressing this disease.”
That's sad but really true. Some of the states that need it most haven't done it year, although that number is fortunately diminishing.

Other factors were harm reduction programs, support groups, a strong program to distribute Naloxone to reverse the effects of overdoses, and, importantly, the growing cooperation between Dayton police and public health workers.

Unfortunately, Charleston WV has been going in the opposite direction, as this WV Public Broadcasting story relates. 

The Times article quotes Sam Quinones, author of “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic,”who told a congressional hearing that "the more cops and public health nurses go out for a beer, bridge that cultural chasm between them," the better the US will be able to deal with the problem.

November 26, 2018

Saving power

"Nations are saved if there is a small minority, a group of people, who represent what the nation is called to be. They may be defeated, but their spirit will be a power of resistance against the evil spirits who are detrimental to the nation. The question of saving power in the nation is the question of whether there is a minority, even a small one, which is willing to resist the anxiety produced by propaganda, the conformity enforced by threat, the hatred stimulated by ignorance. The future of this country and its spiritual values is not dependent as much on atomic defense as on the influence such groups will have on the spirit in which the nation will think and act."--Paul Tillich, theologian, The Eternal Now, 1959