He gave up cable TV and sold his car. He has since found work in telemarketing but he has no plans to pay for cable or a car again. That's because Billy has given up on the idea of job security: "There's just no such thing." No cable, no car, no job security, and yet Billy is confidently middle class.
After Labor Day, Mary McBride and her band take their State Department-sponsored charm offensive to Libya and Afghanistan, among other countries. For the past 12 months McBride and her band have toured their mix of country-western rock'n'roll to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Pakistan and Turkey, among other nations such as Vietnam and Laos. This spring they toured Iraq for eight days. In each trip, they do outreach concerts for abandoned and disabled people in institutional homes, hold workshops with students, meet prominent local musicians, play for international personnel, and appear on local media. "I've never felt as welcome as I have in Pakistan and Iraq," said McBride during a two-hour in-person interview in Brooklyn in June. She has the voice of a full-throated blues singer and a camp counselor's infectious enthusiasm.
When it comes to the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, apparently there is no end to partisan political sniping in Washington even when the casualties include one's own voters beyond the Beltway. Last month, five senior Senate and House Republicans fired a broadside at a heretofore relatively noncontroversial provision of the Affordable Care Act, one that provides federal start-up loans to qualified organizations across the country to establish health insurance cooperatives. The co-ops could be an appealing nonprofit alternative for individuals and small businesses, many owned, it is reasonable to say, by Republican-leaning entrepreneurs. These small-business job creators, lacking the bargaining power of big companies, have been saddled with double-digit health- insurance rate increases in recent years by for-profit insurance companies.
While the nation waits for an overdue Supreme Court decision that will decide the fate of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, another health care drama with wide implications for universal health care is just starting in Vermont. Prodded by a strong grassroots movement, the Vermont legislature voted last year for a single-payer state health care system (Act 48) where every citizen will eventually be eligible for publicly funded health care.
Utah has not had a Democratic governor since 1985. The Republican incumbency advantage there is formidable to say the least. However, this year's Democratic challenger to Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, Gen. Peter Stryker Cooke, wants to change that, and has the chops to do it. Progress in Utah Already In the neighborhoods surrounding the Salt Lake City Country Club, Cooke signs dot the streets. They feature two stars, symbolizing the General's 39-year career in the Army Reserves. Their colors: red and white. 'COOKE' is emblazoned in the middle in bold, blue font. They resemble an American Flag.
Members of the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board are expected to vote tonight on the fate of a controversial Mexican American Studies program. Will they accept the state's ruling that MAS violates the law? Will they vote to dismantle or modify MAS? Or will they further appeal the findings and accept the multi-million-dollar fines?