|Hope is emerging. We have joined with 100 million Americans by getting our first COVID-19 vaccine.|
Weather: Today it is sprinkling rain but the rest of the week has been glorious. See photo below. I took the photo of my neighbor's house with the beautiful wispy clouds behind while I was walking the dog. It caused me to search out a poem about fair weather and I found this delightful one called "Today" by Billy Collins, a favorite poet. Spring is definitely emerging.
On Friday, another lovely day this past week, I joined my daughter and her sons for a Leprechaun Walk at a nearby park. We searched everywhere as we walked and didn't find any trace of those magical little men. My grandson was pretty disappointed but understood that they are hard to find. I left, they stayed to spend time at the play structure. When they arrived at our house an hour later, my grandson had a leprechaun with him. He found it on the bench at the play area. Ha! All the searching and there it was in plain sight!
Hope: Our Army insurance came through for us again and we got our first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Friday. Both of us left the building feeling hopeful for the future. Though some are saying we shouldn't publish our 'vaccine selfie' we disagree. We are celebrating the hope we feel that a new day is emerging when we can all gather together again safely. Both of us felt a little sick and achy yesterday but now are feeling healthy again today.
|An Army nurse administered our vaccines. Easy-peasy. No pain.|
Hope is emerging for many, many Americans with the passage of The American Rescue Plan: Here are 10 reasons to be ecstatic about TARP. Follow the hyperlinks if you want to learn more:
- It causes a shift in the way we look at government. (NY Times). "The role of government is being redefined. There is now an assumption that government should step in to reduce economic insecurity and inequality."
- 20% of the poorest citizens will see a 20% increase of their income (Tax Policy Center).
- Child poverty will be cut in half (NY Times). Researchers predict it could become one of the most effective laws to fight poverty in a generation.
- Union members will have their pensions restored (Intelligencer). The bailout targets multi-employer pension plans, which bring groups of companies together with a union to provide guaranteed benefits. All told, about 1,400 of the plans cover about 10.7 million active and retired workers, often in fields like construction or entertainment where the workers move from job to job.
- This is the largest investment the government has ever made for Indigenous Communities.
- Most significant bill to support Black farmers since the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 (WaPo). A little-known element of President Biden’s massive stimulus relief package would pay billions of dollars to disadvantaged farmers — benefiting Black farmers in a way that some experts say no legislation has since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Millions will gain health care coverage (Vox). The Covid-19 relief bill increases the size of the subsidy for those already eligible for assistance (people making between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level). It also extends subsidies for people earning more than 400 percent of the poverty level, ensuring that nobody would pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for health coverage.
- The plan will save public schools and universities (Vox). In line with Biden’s proposal, the bill calls for $130 billion toward school reopening, directing funds toward areas such as ventilation system upgrades, reduced class sizes, and personal protective equipment to help make schools safer, and ensures the money is directed toward public schools. At the university level it directs $40 billion in grants to higher education and requires institutions that receive funding to dedicate at least half of it to emergency financial aid grants for students. At for-profit higher education institutions, 100 percent of allocations have to go to student aid.
- One billion dollars set aside for public service (AmeriCorps). The bill proposes an increase to the AmeriCorps living allowance to make service more accessible and inclusive, increase the diversity, cultural experiences, and number of AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serving in communities across the country, and to help stabilize existing national service programs and expand into new communities.
- More COVID-19 vaccines and testing (Vox).
- And so much more: mental health, public transportation, renter assistance, mortgage assistance, child credits increased, help for seniors, unemployment benefits won't lapse, and more...
|Evidence that good things are around the corner. Photo taken in my neighborhood this past week.|
Biden vows America is coming back after a year of pandemic (WaPo). If you haven't seen his whole speech on the COVID-19 anniversary of lockdowns, please watch it here.
|Biden gave us a little hope that we may be able to gather for the 4th of July this year. There is hope!|
- Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline. The sequel to the very popular Ready Player One. I liked but didn't love it. I think the difference is I was prepared for the fun, quirky bits introduced in the first book. The ending was surprising though. Carly and I listened to the audiobook together.
- Currently reading:
- Fury and Grace: 40 Days of Paintings and Poetry from Prison edited by Rev. Riley Pickett and Revs. Layne and Crawford Brubaker. This is the best Lenten devotional I've ever experienced. 55%, print.
- Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell. A book club selection about Shakespeare's family. I am enjoying this a lot. Print and audio, 34%.
- A Promised Land by Barack Obama. We made a bit more progress on this audiobook this week. 20 hours down, 9 to go. 70%.
- This is Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankin. Print, 25%.