Monday, 2 December 2013

fast sunday in a tent

i'm tired of making excuses for why America is failing in a million different ways. my heart hurts in this current situation where we could have humane immigration reform if Bohner would allow for a vote. i don't know what i can do but talk about this and fast with those who are fasting.  i think president uchtdorf is inspired when he said after his meeting with pres obama:

Latter-day Saints “of all people, should be cognizant of issues surrounding immigration. Look at our history; look at the pioneers who came here. It was not too long ago...The strength of the United States for all the nations around the world was always to be a melting pot where everyone can come together and then be an American.”
DJ, one of the core fasters on day 21 today, went to the hospital on saturday night and came back on sunday.
After being examined by the medical staff on duty at the fast tent, DJ Yoon was taken to the hospital yesterday and due to low sodium was placed on an IV and admitted. This morning doctors examined DJ and released him with the understanding that he can continue on the fast as long as his condition is constantly monitored and no more physical activity. Currently, DJ is in the tent resting and determined to continue fasting until medically determined that he should end his fast
solidarity fasters
i'm inspired by their determination and i believe that change can come.  that it is the morally right thing to do.

in mormondom we fast every first sunday of the month for 24 hours.  its a spiritual and a practical practice.  we donate the money we would have used on food to help those who are hungry and remember what it feels like to be without.

fasting has never really be my strongest suit.  i can get hangry and moody.  but i've also had profound spiritual experiences while fasting.  in fact, i believe that i've witness miracles in part because I/we wanted them so bad i?we fasted for them. they say that "prayer is a form of work" and is the way to demonstrate the submission of our will to God's.  fasting to me feels like real serious prayer.  it provides me an opportunity to put the will of my spirit over the will of my body.

i think that once we understand our real relationship with God (they are our parents and we are their children) prayer can become as instinctive and natural as talking to your best confidant, parent, and friend.  fasting helps me remember this relationship and is an incredible source of clarity.

i think fasting can force the hand of God, kinda.  in my view of God, we are deeply loved and known. the whole purpose of this life is for us to learn to be godly and loving.  it is what God wants, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life."  so, i believe that when a group of people unite in a sacrifice like fasting and beg for intervention, God won't ignore us, or they'd cease to be God.

i had the fun honor of singing with Peter Yarrow from Peter, Paul, & Mary last night in the tent.  he told of his experience singing on the mall in 1963 with Martin Luther King.  he said that as they sang, Blowing in the Wind and If I Had A Hammer, the large crowd sang along and sent up a sound that was unreal.  he said he thought it was because the lyrics resonated.  as they sang that day, Mary took Peter's hand and said "we are watching history be made".  he laughed and said little did we know.

may that same surprise be ours on the issue of immigration!  please, if you can join us in fasting and prayer.  there are now thousands of people fasting around the country.  with that much unity and love, hearts are going to have to soften.  And if you are able, come to a meeting at the tents in front of the Capitol building at 3rd and Jefferson SW.

Blowing in the Wind
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?

How many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

How many years must a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
How many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?

How many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
How many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?

How many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

Friday, 29 November 2013

Act! Fast!!

yesterday i had the good honor of having thanksgiving In a tent on the National Mall with Cristian Avila, Eliseo Medina, and Dae Joong Yoon. they have been fasting for 18 days and will not eat until immigration reform make it through the house. i spent about 20 mins with Cristian, and i couldn't stop crying. he is fasting because his father crossed the border illegally years ago. while he was in the US and Cristian was still in mexico, he would send his son stuff. he got a pair of shoes from his dad once, and he wouldn't take them off. they got holes, and he didn't care, he'd fix them. he just wanted to be with near his dad. when he was 9 he moved here illegally. he went to a jesuit school in phoenix (he's a brophy boy) and at some point joined the LDS church. 

he said he never really understood what his father went through until one day saw a documentary. his father won't talk about it, even still. but whatever any of us imagine that journey was, we all know it was horrible. Christan said it woke something up inside of him. that life is to be of giving and sacrifice. if his dad was willing to do that for him, he would do this for the 11 million undocumented people. he is sick of living in fear. he wants to be a marine -- which i told him i would talk him out of for medicine or something-- but it just made me cry. he loves the idea of America.

i've met people all around the world, and everyone has an idea of what America is supposed to be -- and it is a beautiful place. Christan, Eliseo, and Dae believe that we can make the place a reality if we just unite in prayer and fasting and "put our shoulder to the wheel".

its ridiculously humbling! i felt like i was having water with Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela. i felt like i shouldn't be at the table. the room was filled with people who have been living in the shadows, feeling like their were criminals simply because they want to realize the American dream. its nuts.

Cristian asked me to ask all of my friends to fast this Sunday in solidarity with them and to pray to know what you can do to make these dreams reality. I am. I hope you will join me. And if you are in DC, join me on the Mall at 6 on Sunday for a "fast and testimony" meeting. (3rd and Jefferson)
Here is their declaration:

Fast for Citizenship: The Moral Obligation to Pass Immigration Reform (

What is our faith, our words and our history worth if not translated into action, sacrifice and redemption? The world has witnessed the beliefs and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez translate in courageous acts of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance to gain justice for a community of people who were underserved and discriminated against. We now humbly attempt to follow the examples of these great teachers and the teachings of Scripture to align our own hearts with the heart of God, who desires justice for immigrants and immediate justice for the 11 million undocumented immigrant brothers and sisters within our borders. Our faith requires nothing less. Today begins our vow to abstain from sustenance.

Where Cesar Chavez ended his 36 day fast for the rights of farm workers in 1988, we continue decades later to sacrifice our own comfort to underscore the moral crisis afflicting workers, children, mothers and fathers, living under an immigration system unwilling to recognize their existence and the legitimacy of their familial ties with integrity and empathy.

We have heard the word “wait” in the past. Dr. King heard it. Chavez heard it. Gandhi heard it. Our communities of immigrants continue to hear it while they bear witness to families divided by deportations, students trapped in limbo bearing the weight of anxiety beyond their years, and workers brutally exploited and relegated to invisibility.

Yet like them, we refuse to dwell on the frustrations of “wait.” We rise with them and declare our moral obligation, grounded in the words of God spoken through the prophets, to move the compassion of elected leadership in the House, and to inspire a resilient movement to cease the deportations, suffering, sorrow and fear and usher a new structure of laws for the good of our country men and women and the sake of our values.

Our voluntary sacrifice represents the urgency, the passion and commitment of a community of all religions, races, and political affiliations, to enact common sense immigration reform this year.

On this day, we begin our journey. We will fast and pray until the bonds of families are no longer broken. We will fast and pray until immigration reform is no longer a notion, but a reality. We will fast and pray until citizenship is no longer a dream for 11 million aspiring Americans.

Friday, 22 November 2013

the chart that explains what is wrong with the American healthcare system

obvious right??


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Service and Americanism

i've lamented for over 12 years now, that our when the president of the US went to see the smouldering remains of the twin towers and hundreds of dead Americans, he told us to go shopping.  i'd hoped he would have told us to serve each other.  something like:
... so we will not let this attack instill fear into our people. 
terrorism is simply a psychological WMD.   
where fear is, faith cannot exist.   
America is a nation of people who believe in a more perfect union, in peace, and in equality.   
so, i implore every American, dedicate yourself to giving at least 4 hours a week in service to your community.  there is work for all of us to do, its time we set about doing it and show these heathens that we are a civilized, peaceful nation. a place, that many of us believe is destined to be the place on Earth that ushers in a peaceful world, the bulk of us crave.
i challenge every American to sacrifice 10% of their time, talents, and any financial gains to help these victims and then end this violence.  we will NOT fight this blood-thirsty clan of egomaniacal selfish rich kids, with any new taxes.  this must be a war of the people.   
these terrorists are stateless actors.  they are driven by a lust for power and a greed that is unparalleled.  we cannot fight this battle like any other battle.  since it is a psychological agent, the "infection" (terror) is planted in our minds.  the only way to keep that from taking over for each one of us to do what we can to make this country a more perfect union. 
we had a hotly contested presidential election and the country is notably divided.  we will not win this divided.  tonight i'm announcing my intention to create a bi-partisan commission to identify what went wrong with our intelligence community to let this happen, who are these people and how to do we get them, and more importantly how we can unite.  for we must unite or we risk losing what so many who went before gave their lives to protect: the land of the free and the home of the brave. 
let's have dinners, prayer breakfasts, and service weekends now.  and while we are at it, let's create a national strategy to lead the world to peace.  peace is possible, and it is time that those who claim to worship a "Prince for Peace" to stand up and behave like it. 
please, sit down tonight with loved ones and identify what you can do to bring peace and restoration to this country.   
over the course of the following months, we will be listening sessions with various sectors of society to identify how we might partner to usher peace more boldly forward. 
we will stand together.  that is my promise to you.  i was elected to a divided country, but we can unite with compassion towards each other.  because when we stand together, we cannot be beaten. we waste the lives of these humble Americans if we don't. and it will be to our own peril. 
instead, we will reach out in love to each other and weave a net of safety and peace.
12 years later:
  • suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death  for Americans 25-34 years old
  • 3rd leading cause of death for 10-24 year olds
  • 4th leading cause of death for Americans 35-54
  • gun violence is up, mass murder rampages are up
  • even with the massacre of school children american's won't give up their own WMD's
  • "being American" is defined by a list of negative attributes:
    • fat
    • loud
    • selfish
    • entitled
    • bullish
    • gluttonous
    • stupid
stories like this one below can help remind us what it really means to be American.  

we can do better than we are.  isn't it about time?

Friday, 8 November 2013

Groundbreaking Federal Interagency Report on Women and Trauma-informed Approaches

You are invited to download a groundbreaking report, Trauma-informed Approaches: Federal Activities and Initiatives—the second and highly anticipated Working Document Report of the Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma. Completed on September 30, 2013, the report documents the projects, programs, and initiatives of more than three dozen federal agencies, departments, and offices—one of the largest interagency collaborations in federal government history.  With agencies’ commitment to implementing gender-responsive, trauma-informed approaches, this report addresses the growing national interest in this issue, the work of the Federal Partners Committee, and the specific progress that participating agencies have made over the past  three years (2010-2013), since the Committee’s publication of its first report in 2011. This new report, developed with support from SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care, clearly demonstrates the application of trauma-informed approaches across a wide range of settings and systems and encourages other governmental and nongovernmental agencies to implement a cross-sector, interagency, inter-systems’ realization, recognition, and response to trauma.  Download the report through the links below.

The report has been uploaded on two sites from which your agencies may link:

DOJ’s National Institute of Corrections:  

The National Center on Trauma-Informed Care (NCTIC) page on the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD):  

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Free the Mind

I had the good fortune of seeing this movie recently.  It was amazing to watch a movie about something I know so well and to finally feel like someone else knew it too.  I'm grateful for movies like these being made that help me feel more normal about my own response to trauma.

There are so many of us walking around with these injuries.  I believe that the more our society can understand trauma and its effects, we will be better able to respond and prevent it.  Understanding is a key step to empathy: the balm of Gilead for PTSD.

Please go see this when you can.  Here is a list of the screenings.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Culture of Contracting

I'm watching the hearings about and can't stop wondering a simple question.

What the government needed was really great internet coding to create a tight and secure system for people to buy health insurance.  So, why didn't they hire a bunch of the best and brightest programmers into the government.  Build both an amazing site, and an amazing team.  That team could then help modernize all of government.  All for the low-low cost of their salaries and benefits.

They just said has cost $500B so far.  I bet the team could have been hired for life for that amount and gotten much more done, in a much better way.

So, why are we contracting rather than hiring?

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

how sinister is the shutdown?

i can't shake the feeling that someone is betting to win financially on a US default.  this type of economic upheaval always benefits someone ... or so it seems.  so, who is beating against America on this one?

congressman are living off the government but punishing those of us who work.  these guys just hang out like a fraternity in high school, with free fancy dinners, private dorm, a high dollar gym, amazing health insurance, and they make 4x's the average american.

in this 5 minute video, Congresswoman Speier explains clearly some of the damage the shutdown has had on our domestic security:

DC seems to have become the axis for the vortex of the global economy.    cranes dot the skyline as they elevate it to heights l'enfant warned Americans to avoid.  we are selling national treasures to the most mediocre of bidders, destined to pay the highest bribe rather than contribute the most good.  (btw -- sign this petition to help stop the selling of these treasures)

vince gray (this is a primer to his (& posse) scandals) is using this time of chaos to perform a heroic hail mary before he is indicted for selling the city to the sleaziest of bidders.  the man has promised to create the greenest world capital, but has appointed a zoning commision who insist on a 3 story underground parking garage for every high rise they build.

someone is gaining something from all this ... who is it?

Friday, 11 October 2013

National Coming Out Day

today is national coming out day*, in fact the 25th anniversary.

i'm queer.

i've been queer since the day i was born.  i believe that i was queer even before i was born.  that whatever this combobulated mess of carbon and energy is that makes me, me ... is still a mystery to me, but i know one thing.  i'm queer.

i'm not really sure what queer even means.  i've been smeared as a queer plenty of times.  i play sports.  i love dresses and elegancy. cooking, fashion, and prancing, running, jumping, leaping, sailing, swimming, scubaing, gardening.  i love worms and soil.  i like being alive, sometimes.  i kinda figure if i have to be here, might as well make the most of it.  i hate categories.

i claim queer because it provides to the listener the confusion i feel when asked.

we all have a purpose.  in fact, we all have the same purpose, to love and be loved.

love conquers fear.  love is kind, pure, wonderful, peaceful, cooperative, humble, joyful, silly, warm.  we can project those feelings out from ourselves into the world.  we can look at what we need, and try to give it to someone.  we can turn our focus inward or outward it doesn't matter, if you look for love you can find it.  and if you look for fear, you can find that too.

love is the antidote to fear.  families are torn apart by something as beautiful as love.  it  makes reason stare!

i did a gender edit on the Mormon church's proclamation on the family.  when the mormon patriarchal culture is removed from the text, it teaches a much kinder philosophy:

ALL HUMAN BEINGS -- each oNE of us -- are created in the image of God. We are all, spirit children of heavenly parents, who love us.  We each have a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and future identity and purpose. 
IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, we, as spirit children knew and worshipped God and accepted a plan. This put us on a path to obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize our divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally. 
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood. 
Parents have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.  Parents will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations. 
THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage is an essential ordinance. Children are entitled to parents who love each other and are committed to loving them.  Parents must remember that the next generation is always closer to God than the previous generation, so your child is your King or Queen in the making. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, parents are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Parents must remember that their primary responsibility is the nurturing of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, parents are obligated to help one another as equal partners. 
WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. 
WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

ahh, much better ;) 

this video is of a mormon family with a teenage son who is gay and out.  the mother explains a bit of how having a gay son changed how she saw the world and the gospel.

this is a guide for family and friends of LDS LGBTQ folks -- you can get it for free by providing your email address. you may then be asked to participate in the follow-up/evaluation research.  or you can go to this site and order it for $10. 

may we please please please stop fighting and have a loving, solutions focused conversation?  can we lay down our weapons of war, bury our hatchets, and humble our pride to ask for the forgiveness we each need?

imagine if each person who read this blog called someone that they owed an apology, and paid up.  it would be contagious.  we could start a pandemic of forgiveness.  it would probably counter our pandemics of suicide, untreated mental illness, and violence.

imagine if we returned to those we judge and rejected and repented of one of the few crimes Jesus Himself explicitly commanded against?

can we listen to the pain we've caused with understanding rather than protection and projection?

let's have a real conversation about how to heal things.  it starts inside the family and works its way out.

U2 ~ "One" '92 (Directed by Anton Corbijn) by seasonwitch


Learn about Coming Out Day

Living Openly

However you identify, HRC and its Coming Out Project hope these guides help you meet the challenges and opportunities that living openly offers to each of us:

Are You a Straight Ally?

Check out A Straight Guide to LGBT Americans to learn about the emotional spectrum that people typically feel after someone comes out to them and find easy ways to learn more and demonstrate your support for LGBT Americans and equality.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

waking up

waking up out of this darkness ain't easy.

it requires a full turn.  a whole new type of vulnerability. the type of vulnerable, when you are completely/entirely seen, known, understood, and beloved.

it seems to also require the seeing of the invisible.  not just seeing "them", but ensuring that they too are completely/entirely seen, known, understood, and beloved.

the turns brings about peace.  first from within and then can be spread out.  peace will reign one day.
in order for it to happen, we first have to believe such a day is possible.  then decide that not only is it possible, it's inevitable.  then do your duty to make the inevitable, reality.

frankl talked of an ability to find peace in the concentration camps.  peace and joy run so much deeper than circumstance.  the patience can last an eternity, or it can seem, because once there is peace and joy you hold eternity in the moment.

i saw my good friend lora's brother today.  seeing erik was wonderful.  it reminded me so much of a time in my life that was full of hope and surety not only that a better day was coming, i was going to help build it.  i was so excited about this adventure we were all on to build a peaceful world.

life can start again.  i believe in resurrection and i believe some resurrecting can happen now.  i believe it is, in part, a return to the pure and true self.  the hopeful, optimistic, compassionate, forgiving, happy-go-lucky, fun-loving, jovial, trusting, creative, honest, true self.

seems like it shouldn't be such a hard task.  but right now, finding all this hope and happy is pretty tricky.

wake up videos:

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Lora Dianne Hansen Warnock

Lora was my roommate on and off through college and one of the best friends I've ever had.  We shared many adventures, tomfoolery, and spiritual experiences.  She helped me lay a strong foundation and helped me marry science and religion.  We served our missions at the same time and wrote regularly.  She was the first of our troupe to leave on that mission, and she has done it again.  When I can, I will write some of my memories of her.  I very torn up by this loss. She was/is beloved by so many, and I will miss her and regret not being better in touch at the end of her shortened life.

Lora Dianne Hansen Warnock
1971 ~ 2013
With heavy and full hearts, we announce the passing of Lora Dianne Hansen Warnock on August 30, 2013, after a brief and courageous battle with cancer. 

Lora was born February 04, 1971 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Edyth and Keith Hansen and was raised in Salt Lake City. As a young person she developed a love for figure skating and quickly discovered she was at home on the ice. She was a talented and committed figure skater throughout her youth. She graduated from Bingham High School in 1989 where she participated in numerous activities including cheerleading. 

In 1992, Lora made the decision to serve a mission and was called to serve as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lisbon, Portugal. She served in the Azores as well as several areas in and around Lisbon. She loved her time as a missionary and she served faithfully in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of Portugal. Her missionary service inspired and blessed her family significantly.

Lora studied at Brigham Young University and graduated with a B.S. in Psychology in 1996. She continued her education at Utah Valley Community College and graduated with a nursing degree in 1998. She worked for several years at Alta View Hospital Women's Center. The highlight of her time as a nurse was working for her father Dr. Keith Hansen. Nursing came naturally for Lora and she was blessed with an innate desire and ability to serve and help others. Her patient, kind, and down to earth personality endeared her to all who knew her. 

In September of 1999 Lora met her eternal sweetheart, Mathew Warnock. Even though he lived 1,500 miles away in Houston, Texas, the distance could not keep them apart. They were married in the Salt Lake City temple on September 23, 2000. Lora moved to Houston while Mat finished his orthopedic surgery training. They settled in Houston and began their family and were blessed with four beautiful children, Joshua, Rachel, Keith, and Kathleen. She served her family tirelessly and blessed all who knew her. Of all the titles she held, none was more important to her than that of Mother. She was adored by her husband and children and she loved each of them. 

Lora handled her sickness with the same beauty, grace, and faith that characterized her life. Her faith and strength, in the midst of overwhelming illness was inspiring. Even in her final days her thoughts and prayers remained focused on the well-being of her family. Although her family will miss her terribly, they know the truth of what she so faithfully taught them, they will see her again! 

Lora is survived by her loving husband, Mathew, and four beautiful children, Joshua, Rachel, Keith, and Kathleen, of Cypress, Texas. She is also survived by her five siblings, Kathy (Kenny), Jodie, Erik (Kristen), Brad (Katie) and Keith (Mandy). She is preceded in death by her parents, Keith and Edyth Hansen.

Graveside burial services will be held Saturday, September 14, at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 East 10600 South, Sandy, Utah at 12:00 p.m.

Friday, 23 August 2013

The Affordable Care Act and Expanding Mental Health Coverage | The White House

Last June, the President hosted the National Conference on Mental Health to talk about how we can raise awareness of mental health issues and make it easier for Americans of all ages to reach out and get help. The President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget proposal includes a strong focus on mental health by investing in helping teachers and other adults recognize the signs of mental illness in students and referring them to help if needed; supporting innovative state-based programs to improve mental health outcomes for young people ages 16-to-25; and helping to train 5,000 additional mental health professionals with an emphasis on serving students and young adults. 
ACA and mental health panel
Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Christen Linke-Young, Director of Coverage Policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Health Reform; Pamela Hyde, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Stephanie Valencia, Special Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement discuss the Affordable Care Act and mental health at the White House, August 21, 2013.
But we know that it’s not enough. If we’re going to help more Americans seek treatment, we also need to make sure they have coverage when they do. That is why implementation of the Affordable Care Act is a major focus of our mental health agenda. Today, health care providers, mental health advocates, and individuals who have personally experienced mental illness came to the White House to talk about the intersection of two important Presidential priorities: the Affordable Care Act and mental health. The gathering focused on the mental health benefits in the health care law and what we all can do to help Americans get the affordable health care coverage – including mental health care coverage – they need.
The Affordable Care Act is already helping to make health care more accessible and affordable for American families. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act:
  • 71 million privately insured people have gained improved coverage for preventive services
  • 105 million Americans have had lifetime limits removed from their insurance
  • 3.1 million young adults have gained insurance through their parents’ plans, and
  • Over 6.6 million people with Medicare have saved over $7 billion in prescription drug discounts.
The Health Insurance Marketplaces, opening in just a few short weeks, will give individuals and families the chance to learn about and shop for affordable health insurance options. Millions of Americans who don’t have insurance will be able to go to and comparison shop between an array of private health insurance plans.  And eligible individuals and families can qualify for tax credits that will make private insurance even more affordable.
The Affordable Care Act builds on the Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act to expand mental health and substance use disorder benefits and federal parity protections for more than 60 million Americans. New health plans are now required to cover preventive services like depression screenings for adults and behavioral assessments for children at no additional cost. And starting next year, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny health care coverage to anyone because of a pre-existing mental health condition.
This Administration is committed to helping people with mental health and substance abuse issues get the care they need, and the Affordable Care Act is playing an important role in achieving this goal. To learn more about the Affordable Care Act and to sign-up for updates, visit
Cecilia Muñoz is the Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Related Topics: Health Care

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

bedbugs post

weird thing has happened, a friend told me she wanted to read something from my bedbug post on my blog.  i thought, that's rad.  bad news though, the blog is no longer there.  i never deleted it.  but the post is missing.


Erik, yo no tengo el Facebook

i'm writing this because an old friend is trying to find me but can't is relying on facebook as our way to connect.  only, no puedo. por que no tengo el facebook!  i was going to try and explain why i'm anti-the facebook and i found these two videos ... they do a better job than i every could


Erik! I'd love to talk with you to.  I don't use Facebook.  You can reach me at teabelly at gmail punto com

I hope this finds you.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

human tree

mercy & healing
release, restore, and rejuvenate
trust, strength, vitality, altruism, community, unity

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Build No Harm

the following is something a bunch of neighbors wrote together.  we were going to try and get it published, but then stuff happened (helena died etc) and it never went anywhere.  but i find it worth sharing.

Anyone else noticed that there’s an awful lot of building going on around here? Seems like you can’t turn a corner in DC without seeing yet another newly-erected crane looming above.  Probably because there are 57 construction cranes peppering our skyline, symbolic of the rapid changes taking place across the District.  

the block we love so much!
We certainly feel it (I’m trying to think of the actual emotion that we are feeling: scared, frustrated, worried, apprehensive, oppressed? ) in our neighborhood. We live in Eckington, the neighborhood that abuts the north side of “NoMa,” a newly-created neighborhood near Union Station.  Historically known as Swampoodle, developers decided to change the name to be more like New York City.  Because doesn’t every Washingtonian want to be just like NYC? (sarcasm)

The pace of so-called development is staggering. As the development increases the famous Dave Thomas Triangle cluster at the intersection of Florida and New York Avenues gets worse.  Traffic accidents and fatalities have increased. 

Developers build to maximize profits by “developing” up every last inch of space on the plot – At Elevation, the building actually juts out over Florida Avenue.  Soon cars will drive underneath apartments. No streets are widened to accommodate the thousands of new habitants. They forgot to consider that humans need green space, so now they are spending $50 million to build a park (mind you the same developers are fighting the $45 million price tag to turn McMillan Park into a 27 acre greenspace.   Most of the $50 million will be used to buy back land from the existing developers, who scooped much of it up at fire-sale prices from the district government just a few years ago!  
Historic Firehouse at Q and N. Cap

The developers are encroaching on our historic neighborhood. NoMa got full, and the developers we write about got into the game late.  B&B Development clearly cut a sweetheart deal when they purchased 50 FL Ave. NE.  They are rushing a zoning amendment through the zoning commission to turn the historic Ice House into a 9-story condo with a 3 story parking garage just 16 ft from a row of historic homes that were build around 1903. 

The land for this project is zoned for industrial/commercial, services that the MidCity East survey demonstrates the community desperately needs.  We need gyms, hardware stores, ….  Our community also needs entry-level and trade jobs.  

B&B is playing a game of smoke and mirrors with the residents of Eckington.  They failed to provide the notice required to all residents within a 200 foot radius of the building.  They pretend to be providing necessary retail, but when pressed we learned that it was just two stores that would be added, a coffee shop (no thanks I have Big Bear Cafe) and one other retailer in 7000 sq ft of a 9 story condominium: Hardly mixed-use in our humble opinions. 

l'enfant had a vision
we can actualize it!
In a rush we filed for Party Status, we only had 20 days to get all of this together, which is evidence of the true community we have built here.  In Eckington, we are working hard to keep all of our neighbors in the neighborhood.  We are a group of people from every income bracket and other way we classify people.  There isn’t a Black Q Street and White Q Street, we are all Q St. Which is why we are fighting this together.

This development will permanently damage our homes, and may even cause their collapse.  Just this week on Q St a developer destroyed a rowhouse trying to flip it quick.  The historical façade went crashing down and threatens the integrity of long-time resident Kenny [last name]'s home.  Just the vibrations from the demolition caused heaps of cracks and concerns for him.  He called DC??  Who agreed and put a stop order on the house, but it was either too late, or they didn’t obey the order.

There is no question that digging down three floors only 16 feet behind our property lines (which start with retaining walls) will harm the very foundation of our homes – not to mention the destruction to our retaining walls. 

Q St NE is working hard to fulfill the Mayor’s vision of making DC the greenest and best place to live in the world.  Many of us have already installed solar and many more of us are making plans.  We face regular power outages in the summer and are hoping that by getting a high concentration of solar we can create a micro grid and save some of our food during our annual Independence Day Black-out.  B&B’s solar study showed that during the winter months, those of us on the South-side of Q St. will not have any sunlight at all, all day, for about 8 weeks.  In the spring we will have about 30% of the sun we currently enjoy and by summer we will be fortunate enough to have almost all the sun we now have in December.

We have peach and plum trees in our back yards.  We share our yards to grow vegetables, working together and utilizing everyone’s talents to produce flowers and delicious healthy foods.  Imagine what our garden will look like when a 9 story condo blocks all of the sun from our yards.  

We can do better. We deserve better.  We have been the victims of DC corruption for too long.  Remember it is our neighborhood that Council Member Harry Thomas, Jr  stole his money from.  It had real impact on our children.  Its time the District stand with us.

We don’t want Eckington turned into Crystal City or even be part of NoMa. We want investment in our neighborhood, but it should be in something that increases our quality of life, rather than hurts us. You have awakened a sleeping Tiger.  May we have time to change the direction of the District to build without harm!  

July 11th at 441 4th St. NW suite 220 at 6:30 (until about 10:pm
) a Zoning Commission hearing will be held to determine if there developers can build their enormous carbon footprint.  Please join us in opposition and ask them to BUILD NO HARM!

Friends of Q Street NE

Thursday, 27 June 2013

i miss you something fierce Helena!!!

obit by Tami et al,

Helena Ponkanen Andelin

1949 ~ 2013
Our beautiful, faithful mother Helena Mirjami Ponkanen Andelin passed away in Salt Lake City at the age of sixty-four on June 22, 2013 of an unexpected stroke. She was born in Joensuu, Finland on April 7, 1949 to Finnish Karelian parents, Antti Olavi Ponkanen and Alina Halonen, the fifth of six children. At age 13 Helena joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She immigrated to the U.S. to attend BYU, where she fell in love with Brian Berry Andelin. They married on January 25, 1972 in the Los Angeles Temple and had seven children.

As a young girl, Helena loved playing in the forests near her home, picking berries and flowers, and playing in the snow. She spent her life surrounding herself with beautiful things while seeking to enrich the lives of others through love and service. She loved the landscape and people of each place she lived: Finland, CA, MO, OR, TX, AZ, VA, and UT. She graduated from LDS Business College in Interior Design and loved learning and reading. She had been a member of the Utah Opera Guild. Her life work was that of a mother and a disciple of Jesus Christ. She loved serving her family and serving in the church. She was a modern pioneer who loved her family and made great sacrifices so they could enjoy the blessings of the gospel. She was eternally grateful to the LDS missionaries in Finland who taught her family. She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her. 

Preceded in death by Brian B. Andelin, parents, brother Martti Ponkanen. Survived by children Karina (Karl) Brown of Nibley, UT; Tami (David) Owen of Draper, UT; Clark (Jessica) Andelin of Mexico, MO; Tanya (Dave) Gibson of Baltimore, MD; Joseph (Ivonne) Andelin of Draper, UT; Todd Andelin of Salt Lake City, UT, Brian Andelin of Provo, UT; twenty grandchildren, sisters Pirjo (Tero) Tarma of Finland; Raija (Bob) Maddock of Salt Lake City, UT; Liisa (Val) Higginbotham of South Jordan, UT; and brother Matti Ponkanen of Finland.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, July 1, 2013 in Salt Lake City, UT at the Emigration 21st Ward on 2nd Avenue (100 North) between J (650 East) and K (700 East) Streets. From Temple Square, go east on South Temple and turn north on K street to 2nd Avenue. Viewings will be at the same location on Sunday, June 30 from 6-8 p.m. and Monday at 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. prior to funeral. Interment at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Online condolences at

Saturday, 22 June 2013


An important statement from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng. Please add your voice to their call by signing the petition.

From June 2013 to June 2014, the world will approach the 25th anniversary of China’s crackdown in Tiananmen Square in 1989, when the Chinese military opened  fire, killing thousands of students and other peaceful demonstrators.
iconic tiananmen sq photo
Today there are calls from incoming President Xi Jinping for a “renaissance” in China, and the realization of the China dream.  At the same time, many in the Chinese leadership and media have recognized that the dream for China cannot become a reality without social and political reform.
We have taken President Xi Jinping’s statements as a small opportunity for hope that China, in expanding its role as a world power, will begin to throw off some of its more oppressive practices.
We find reason to hope that he and others in the Chinese leadership will hear the voices of ordinary citizens across the globe, when we say that the China dream will not and cannot be realized while its citizens are subject to “thought reform” through the oppressive laogai labor camps.
Since China’s Cultural Revolution literally millions of Chinese citizens have been forced into slave labor camps for offenses related to thought and expression. In recent times these include increasing percentages of innocents, including lawyers who tried to defend their own rights and rights of others, ordinary public who tried to uphold their rights and were abducted and sent to jail to be persecuted; and those who  have done nothing more than state their loyalty to their religious leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, participate in Christian religions which have not been “authorized” by the Communist Party, or practice Falun Gong, a spiritual meditation system based on the ancient traditions of China itself.
ap photo
tiananman sq 89
Reports from former inmates of the laogai camps detail prisoners living on the edge of starvation and exhaustion in infested and horrific environments, while being forced to produce commercial goods — goods that we have unknowingly purchased in Western stores. Uncounted numbers of prisoners, credibly believed to be in the tens of thousands, have been executed and their organs harvested for sale — a practice so despicable it is nearly beyond our comprehension.
As we approach this historic anniversary, today’s world’s leaders have the opportunity to distinguish themselves from leaders of the past who, for the sake of economic progress or in the name of “national security”, have turned a blind eye to atrocities committed by Chinese leaders against their own citizenry. We ask our leaders to speak on our behalf to President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party. Tell them what they already know — that the dream of China can be realized only when its citizens’ universal human rights and dignity are upheld and respected. And that the laogai system and the brutal repression of freedom of thought, conscience and speech, the most basic of human rights, will remain a festering sore on the China dream until it is addressed and removed.
God Bless You,
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Chen Guangcheng

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Build No Harm

Eckington is Zion to me.

The full breadth of the 99% share a common garden behind Ms Jackie's house.  We work together and are learning how to grow organic vegetables and flowers together.  Ms. Kim does all her weird experiments on the soil with the help of Joseph and a few other kids.  We watch each other's kids houses, and people.  We watch after and take care of each other.  We celebrate birthdays, Easter, Christmas, Passover, Chanukah, Kwanza, 4th of July, Memorial Day, seriously ... this block has a tradition for each of these holidays.  Its amazing!

Like many families, we have had this party we've talked about throwing for about four years now, but just have never gotten around to organize ... because every night is kinda like a party ;)

We go through spurts of energy where we decide we are going to get spiritual and read the bible together ... but then we get worried people will differ to much about dogma and decide it doesn't matter that much.  Maybe more fun to keep it light.  ;)

Still,  Laffe keeps us all one our toes and honest. Not a date goes by that I don't get teased.  But I know she always has my back.  Because she is there, I don't experience one fear that has stunted me my whole life.

My neighbors are family.  Through thick and thin, we are here for each other.  And now some developer has looked over our little kingdom and decided he wants to taken position of the whole of it, with a 9 story condo.  If I wanted to live in Crystal City, I'd live there!

It will block out our sun entirely for the winter months.  We will get partial sun in spring and fall, and nearly all the sun we used to get typically in the summer.  If I wanted to live in Anchorage, I'd live there!  (I mean I do want to live there in the summer, don't get me wrong, but I'd never survive an Alaskan winter)

The city is encouraging people to produce their own electricity and take some pressure off the grids, which yall know sucks around here.  So why in the world would they want to put that massive foot print behind a bunch of housing trying to install solar?

Its so crazy because we "want new residential like a hole in the head" as one member said in our Eckington Civic Association Meeting: which I don't think we joke about around here.  But we do want jobs!

Here is a letter my neighbors and I put together over the weekend.

Dear Neighbor,

We are hoping to unite our neighborhood around opposing the construction of another condominium building in South Eckington.  As one neighbor said at last week’s ECA meeting: “We want more residential like we want a hole in our head” – which around here isn’t something we joke about.  

We are concerned by the negative impact more residential can have on our neighborhood. Some include:

  • Impact on Florida Avenue, New York Avenue, and NorthCapitol Street traffic.  Pedistrian safety is at an all time low in this corridor.  One neighbor calls it a Cluster-Effe.  The impact of an additional 50 families would bring us to a crushing point.  They want many more than 50 people living there.  Don't forget, we will soon have Elevation to add to the mess.  David Thomas Circle will be like Mumbai
  •  Impact on electrical grid.   We have annual mid-summer blackouts as it is.  We have frequent loss of power during storms.
  • Impact on water supply. 
  • Loss of privacy for homes on the southside of Q Street NE
  • Loss of views from rooftops of Q St NE
  • Noise and light pollution

Additionally, we are worried that during construction the foundation of our homes can be negatively impacted or worse.  As we saw in the building collapse in Philadelphia and even further down Q St, the vibration from and impact to the surface so close to homes could cause houses in desperate need of repair to collapse.

We need jobs!  The space is zoned to be a hub of employment: industrial. Why would the city get rid of this prime real estate already zoned to help tackle the problems of today’s youth: unemployment, to residential?

We could have any number of jobtraining and apprenticeship programs for trades related to the rehabilitation and restoration the community so desperately needs. Along side locally own private-businesses.  Or a business incubator, or a teaching training site in partnership with Teach for America.

We are asking all of our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens who believe in smart growth and development rather than destruction and abuse.  We ask that you stand with us to demand that they Build No Harm! (Shout out to our compatriots in NW!)

Across DC developers and corrupt politicians are trying to ramrod enormous energy guzzling behemoths of days gone buy (pun intended) on some of our nations treasures.  McMillan Sand Filtration Site!  (This is the history of the site ... I don't want to get off topic but this should be a national travesty!)

The property I'm writing about today was built in 1923 as "The Ice House". It was where all Washingtonians got their ice.  The Huff family owned and operated it in such a way that even the developer reminisced about his childhood memories of picking up supplies for birthday parties and what not.  Imagine the stories those walls could tell.

The property is zoned for what we need here industrial commercial, just check out the MidCity East survey and see what you learn.  A super majority of the community is in agreement that we don't want more residential.  Some few who plan to flip their houses for a profit , and show up at meetings, want it because it will increase their property values. Those of us who call Eckington home don't really want our property values to go up any higher, it only means higher property taxes.

The ANC is voting on Tuesday the 18th to support or oppose the project.  I don't have the details of the meeting but plan to post them here.  Please, if you agree with what we are saying, and you can make it on Tuesday, we'd love your moral support.  We feel a bit like David and Goliath, we are just praying that there really are more of us than them.

this is the MOST beautiful of all the views of it.
mostly like deseret towers
but those were only 7 stories and had cool architecture