October 06, 2017

Leaving kids behind?

While congress has been busy doing whatever it is it does lately, one thing it didn't do is reauthorize the Children's' Health Insurance Program, which provides coverage to millions of children in working families nationwide and to around 38,000 children in West Virginia. The deadline to reauthorize the program was Sept. 30.

To their credit, both of WV's senators support the program and were disappointed by the failure to reauthorize the program. Senator Manchin had this to say:

“It is shameful that Congress is so dysfunctional that we cannot even manage to reauthorize funding for a program that ensures 9 million children across America have access to health insurance. More than 21,000 West Virginia children are enrolled in CHIP and to let this funding expire is nothing short of negligent. The least we can do is put partisanship aside to protect our children, the most vulnerable among us. In the coming days, I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure no child in West Virginia loses access to healthcare.” 
And Senator Capito said this:

“I understand the benefits the Children’s Health Insurance Program offers to many students in West Virginia. This is why for two decades, dating back to my time in the West Virginia State Legislature, I have championed this important program and support ongoing efforts to reauthorize it. The legislation to reauthorize CHIP that is advancing in the Senate has strong, bipartisan support."
Despite the missed deadline, the bill has recently made some progress in the senate, although it's a long way from being a done deal. 

Here's hoping this gets fixed before millions of kids get thrown under the  metaphorical bus. This might be the time to make some more noise.

October 04, 2017

The art of watching bad news...or not

The cascade of bad news, human-generated and otherwise, has been pretty overwhelming lately. The two main Dylan songs going through my head lately are "Everything is Broken" and "World Gone Wrong."

Today I ran across some useful information that might help in dealing with bad news in the media. For one thing, being glued to the set while ill **** is going down can cause serious and acute stress. One study conducted in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing found that the stress reactions of news junkies glued to the TV were as bad or worse than those of people actually much closer to the real event.

A good guide to dealing with breaking bad news can be found in the On The Media blog's resource, The Breaking News Consumer's Handbook, which starts with the reminder that early news reports are likely to get things wrong. Among other points is a warning to be skeptical of anonymous sources and hoaxes. There's also good advice about not uncritically retweeting or otherwise posting information that may be unreliable.

Finally, here are some suggestions from the American Friends Service Committee's Media Uncovered project.. Here's one suggestion: "Turn off the TV, put down your phone, and do something else."  The bad news will still be there. But rather than being glued to the set (or phone) it might be good to take some time to reflect, to spend time with those you care about, consider taking positive action, and send your best to those suffering from the crisis at hand.