Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Biden And Ryan Share Faith, But Not Worldview"

Ryan: "..."The preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenets of Catholic social teaching, means: Don't keep people poor; don't make people dependent on government so they stay stuck in their station in life," Ryan told CBN. "Help people get out of poverty [and] on to a life of independence."...

K Webster from nyc
Biden is emblematic of his working class roots. He is not calculated and blurts what he thinks - a campaign manager's nightmare.
Ryan is emblematic of his upper class roots. He is polished and calculated -a campaign manager's dream.

I'll take the kinder version of Catholic - one that didn't grow up surrounded by privilege to arrive at a philosophy of self interest couched as valuing "independence". Ryan essentially asks, "Why can't you make it like I did"- never acknowledging that he didn't - that his parents financed his ladder to "success".
Biden, despite his years in politics, still has some of the sheen of working class values: that we help each other get a leg up. Especially in an economy that was just gutted by the Romney's of this world.
Ryan calls it charity - we call it help.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Republican Women more targeted by sexism than Democratic women?

Opinion: Where the Ladies At, GOP?
"....Republican women are in a position of being the punching bag for media who love to hit. Michele Bachmann has her flaws but..."

my response:

K Webster from nyc
It is not acceptable and nor should it be tolerated to have any woman treated as less than fully human. It is hurtful and keeps every girl or adult woman from being ourselves and from lending our minds to creating solutions for our communities.

Sexism is run at any and every female, the more visible, the more she draws fire: focusing on a woman's hair, clothes, relationship to men, looks, motherhood status, perceived anger, perceived sexual appeal, etc. But Republican women are not more targeted by sexism than any other female. Hillary Clinton was viciously attacked as a female - remember?

As to the policies of some of the women the article focuses on - as a whole they are not helpful to most women (as mothers, workers, etc) in the lives we actually lead. Hence the party does not attract most women.

It's the policies of any party that is not attracting women's votes that need review. You can't posit a "special" victimhood for the women who uphold the values of a party that just doesn't have most women's interests at heart as an excuse for those policy failures.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dining with Burlesque at The Bowery Poetry Club?

The Villager: BY K WEBSTER I like the Bowery Poetry Club. I wrote about this important arts space recently on my local blog, Bowery Gals.

I’m very concerned, however, about the club’s impending merger with Duane Park, a Tribeca restaurant with burlesque shows.

Apparently, the Poetry Club has featured artists’ versions of burlesque acts before. Artists try to reinvent old forms hoping to find a fresh edge, though you’d have to work pretty hard to transform this from hackneyed titillation/tired joke into a new thought.

Still, artists can try, and fail, and have it be an honest effort. But the idea of being treated to a steady diet of burlesque shows as part of a high-end dining experience is kind of creepy. It’s just different when you try to make something normal or hip or “just good fun,” when it actually exploits a group of people, in this, case women.

As money speaks louder and louder, the deluge of the sexual exploitation of women and girls grows in direct proportion: Beauty pageants that sexualized 5-year-old girls, millions of trafficked women around the world (and here), the pornography industry, billboard advertising provocatively posed young women (and boys) selling underwear (or anything), prostitution (trafficked women, poor women, child brides, addicted women, abused women, Village Voice ads for escort services, etc.), and all the other overt and subtle ways women’s bodies are sold for off-the-charts profit.

For those of us with children nearby (girls or boys) advertising as if it’s no big deal to have women taking off their clothes as part of the paying customers’ dining experience signals that it’s O.K. for women to be used like a side of parsley. It’s depressingly archaic and stupid, but no less damaging to any hope for a future of relaxed connection across gender.

I don’t blame women — however we figure out to survive sexism will be imperfect. I modeled in art school — for money — and was no less exploited because it had “art” attached to it. I’m also married, which is an institution begun out of the slavery of women.

I don’t think there is an individual solution that gets any of us out of this mess. But I don’t think we want to pretend that agreeing to have female bodies used as commodities is a real choice or a choice without consequence for women. The offer of pseudo-power to manipulate men’s loneliness while being taken advantage of is not agency. There just isn’t a level playing field in gender dynamics. We live in a context of the economic domination of women by men, driven by men (no matter who fronts it).

And men have to take an unflinching look at their participation in the sex industries — i.e., porn has real victims. You don’t want to settle for counterfeit closeness or momentary relief when it comes at the expense of someone else. It is hurtful to women and to men to have the human need for closeness tied to money.

In a culture that increasing targets anything and anyone for profit, we can’t — in the comfort of liberalism — claim that asking women to sell their bodies isn’t harmful. It has to be challenged for what it is: the sexual exploitation of a vulnerable group for the profit of others.

Until women earn the same as men, find employment and respect in any field, are in positions of power in proportion to our numbers, walk down the street without getting surveyed like a piece of meat, are free from the threat of rape or trafficking, until it’s O.K. for men and boys to be close without being ridiculed, until gay oppression ends… enterprises, even those with a posh veneer, that cash in on exposing women’s bodies for profit, just aren’t O.K.

Poetry Club, please rethink this.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Nation: You Swipe Card, Banks Swipe Cash by GEORGE ZORNICK

"Earlier this month, we reported on the Senate battle over "swipe fees," which banks charge merchants for processing credit or debit cards. It appeared the story was over, and an effort by banks to maintain high swipe fees was vanquished — but an eleventh-hour action by the Federal Reserve Wednesday has given Wall Street yet another astonishing victory in Washington...."

K Webster (Bowerygals) wrote:
So these "goods and services" are deserving of off-the-charts profits while middle, working and poor people just keep spiraling into debt? Please please don't try to sell that "trickle down" competition-will-solve-all-our-problems-speak!

Predatory capitalism is not enshrined in the US Constitution. It's a flawed economic system that was good at some things and those things are not compensating for where it's running off the rails now. It's not holy and it is not working. You can't continue to get profit off of people who have no income and the earth can't tolerate much more of the rapacious hunt for pristine "markets".

No one gets to be secure under this system. Obviously the very wealthy aren't or they wouldn't keep trying to make money they cannot spend in their or their children's children's lifetimes. Check out the NYTimes article on the 23% pay raise of the top CEO's while entire countries and states are going bankrupt.

This is just getting stupid.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Walcott: Don't Penalize Parents Who Raise Money for Their Schools

"Walcott: Don't Penalize Parents Who Raise Money for Their Schools
June 22, 2012, 6:37 p.m.
As the gap between middle-class and poor public schools widens because of differing results from parent fund-raising, the city’s Department of Education is directing principals to a fund that was set up to deal with such disparities...."

K Webster
The frenzy of fundraising distorts the purpose of a Parents Association. This should be an organization dedicated to getting resources to parents so they can better think about their children. But, instead of gathering to support one another in the outrageously complex task of caring for societies young, already exhausted parents feel the obligation to find money for their school. Or their lives are so overwhelming they give up and watch as their next generation is forgotten - again.
Institutions set up to educate the next generation are everyone's business - tax those who benefited from this system. The growing disparities are in no ones best interest.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Living by the Clock of the World: Grace Lee Boggs’ Call for Visionary Organizing By: Matthew Birkhold Date Published: April 17, 2012

"...Grace Lee Boggs recently told .. activists should turn our backs on protest organizing because it “leads you more and more to defensive operations” and “Do visionary organizing” because it “gives you the opportunity to encourage the creative capacity in people and it’s very fulfilling.” ... ...we need to understand ... historical perspective ...also need to understand how visionary organizing differs from protest organizing...the way history develops means that ideas that were progressive or even revolutionary in one era, can become mental roadblocks to progress in another era. ... Rebellion, Revolution & the Clock of the World ...the present is the culmination of thousands of years of human responses to structural conditions. These responses include consent to state policies, rebellion against them, and revolutions. In the development of human history, ...rebellions were important because, contrary to consent, they represented moments when oppressed people stood up to assert their humanity by protesting what society has done to them. .. They do not yet see themselves responsible for reorganizing society, which is what revolutionary social forces must do.” ... ...revolutions create new societies because they begin with “projecting the notion of a more human human being” whose development has been limited by structural conditions. Revolutions ...create societies more conducive to human development. A revolution is not for the purpose of resolving past injustice. ... ...Grace and James asked, “What time is it on the clock of the world?” They answered by visualizing 3,000 years of human history on a clock where every minute represented fifty years and argued that the age of revolutions was only four or five minutes old. Scientific revolutionary thinking, as represented by Marx and Engels, was just wo minutes old, and the epoch of global revolution represented by the anticolonial struggles of the 1950s-60s was a mere thirty seconds old. In 1974, the US Civil Rights Movement began merely 15 seconds ago..."
Wonderful read. Thank you. It makes me rethink the question: How much is "enough"? Capitalism breeds insecurity for everyone, even the wealthiest of the wealthy, so greed and confusion ensue in a fruitless effort to quench a bottomless pit of fear for survival. It doesn't matter that someone has twenty mansions -there is no security in this system. So how do any of us truly understand that whatever "comfort" we try to buy it won't work? There is no "back door" to get out of class oppression. As long as anyone is targeted everyone is vulnerable. We probably all have to shift our mind set to a search for having the largest, most human life possible. Not look for "formulas" for what we should "sacrifice". For those currently in poverty (either by global or US standards) "enough" might mean "more". For the middle/owning class it will mean "less". For those of us who have any class privilege it is key to uproot our own fears of survival and honestly take on our own confusions. It is helpful to remember that for the poor, survival has often depended on helping each other and on building relationships - they know this. We have a lot to learn from this group. As someone who was raised poor I remember well the feeling as a child that it must be okay with society that my family was on the edge. How do we make it concretely clear to people that we see what is going on and it is NOT okay with us. Not just ask them to "live simply" or to "sacrifice" or tell them they are "privileged" compared to the rest of the world. We have to acknowledge the terror of living so close to that edge. It would be useful to notice that all of us tried to navigate this ruthless system with the tools we were raised with. Now, we have a chance to challenge it with fresh thinking and a fierce refusal to participate blindly. And not fall into the trap of unawarely buying into the ethos of this brutal system by an intention to target any human with destruction. This system is already on a juggernaut towards it's own self-destruction. We can guide it's demise as best we can. We each get to take seriously our "responsibility for reorganizing society" so that we can finally try to be a "more human human being".

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Timothy Dolan Authorized Payments to Abusive Priests, Documents Show

"Cardinal Timothy Dolan approved payments to suspected pedophile priests to leave the ministry when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee, new documents reveal..."
K Webster from nyc
Paying off an abuser so he can go elsewhere to molest other (not-Catholic?) unsuspecting children is NOT the high moral ground...despite the very excellent cost savings to the Church. I do believe Jesus would have not have weighed the financial costs to the Church but the moral ones. And his brand of justice looked quite different.
It is breathtaking how entitled this male dominated institution and it's mouthpieces harbor, reward and/or protect child molesting priests- all the while harassing Sisters who work behalf of the poor for being too "radical" on women's issues. These men have the temerity to claim the right to control women's bodies when they clearly cannot control their own nor their brother priests.
Abortion is not an easy choice for any woman - and men who have the gall to assume a high moral tone don't risk their lives to bear children. Take on the men in your ranks for their transgressions and we'll be more apt to listen to your issues with ours!
As for NPR bias, this news organization did stories on several examples of institutionalized pedophilia. Deal with the issue -not your feelings of victimization. k webster from NYC Sorry Ed from Larchmont, but even if you are right, this is still inexcusable. The Church is known for being authoritarian when it chooses. It could have immediately removed these men to a place where they wouldn't be in contact with children. There was no "rush" in that sense. Why didn't the Church hierarchy set up a center-away from children- to help them? Invariably these men had been targeted as children themselves. Instead, after the damage was done, they rid themselves of these clearly troubled men and sent them off to prey on other children. This didn't "end their obligations" - to anyone. How in any sense was this a morally acceptable solution?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Bowery Poetry Club, etc...

There is still a bit of wild wonder left to the Bowery and its environs. Not the showy, frenetic kind that’s manufactured for us now. But the authentic kind that grows out of the hard –won, steady efforts of an artist insisting on showing their mind. Not hoping for fame or money in that moment, just working because you have to try once more to feel that alive: on the edge of what you know and what your willing to dare not to know.
A few Sundays ago Bowery Poetry Club held a reading of Daniel Wolff’s work. He’s one of those guys who everyone wants to know- so easy going and personable it can almost make you forget that he is also a delicate thinker of deep intelligence and heart. These were bird poems. Just that. Gorgeous and true, they gently communicate an awe of these creatures and a terrible pity for the rest of us. The humor: wry, sly and deliberate. And an almost imperceptible joy that slips out between the lines. It is such a relief to be required to pay close attention to grasp the meaning of something.
The poems were read by a unique cast of artist and activist voices: John Sayles, Maggie Renzi, Michelle Montas, Dennis Boutsikaris, and Jonathon Demme, among others. It was lovely to hear the variations on Daniel’s “voice” and to hear what each found in the work. Humbling to watch the more famous among us get so beautifully behind the poems -everyone making way for the words they were asked to steward in that moment.
You want to read the poems again in the quiet, when nothing else is tugging at you.
It was followed by a preview of Jonathon Demme’s unflinching documentary about the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans (Daniel co-produced). Told through the lens of one of its citizen’s, Caroline Parker, it is an elegant reminder of why we build community - our only real power. And like everything Daniel tends to be involved with – imbued with a willingness to see what they were looking at.

That night reminded me of what I love about this neighborhood. Like how a few years back, Loudon Wainwright held an unannounced (to the public) busking for his new collection –High Wide & Handsome- The Charlie Poole Project. If you were lucky you happened upon this wondrous event - free and there for the taking. There they were, playing and singing their hearts out in the scruffy backyard of a low-income senior nutrition center. So much sheer joy and mischief- you can’t make that up - you either feel it or you don’t.
(High Wide and Handsome clip)
And then there was discovering Steve Elson and Erik Friedlander, music heavyweights, pouring out soulful sax/clarinet and cello sounds respectively in nearby M’Finda Kalunga Garden. Playing full out for a local public school in a sukkah (with its required “roof open to the skies”) for the Jewish harvest festival. The music simply enveloped neighbors out for a stroll, drawing them to the fence with the passionate and deeply human echoes of Jewish life.
Or those brass players who suddenly appear on Rivington Street to make rowdy upbeat sounds together, just for the thrill of it.

The Bowery Poetry Club anchors the arts community by insisting that poetry and music are not a luxury, but an essential that everyone is entitled to. Art is one way people thrive and think afresh. This neighborhood can still surprise you in this way: artists doing their work and generously giving it to anyone who will stop by long enough to pay attention.
I’d like our arts institutions (not just those funded by hedge fund guys) – but our places -to be preserved and protected so that our culture – working artists’ culture- is not forgotten or smoothed over. And offered to anyone who will dare to notice.

K Webster

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Catholic group criticizes Paul Ryan - Politico

Cardinal Dolan weighing in on Republican's devasting policies for the poor -
guess whose side he's on?

Apr. 14, 2012 - 9:43 AM EST
Just compare the two quotes.

From the Catholic group "Faith in Public Life":

“Simply put, this budget is morally indefensible and betrays Catholic principles of solidarity, just taxation and a commitment to the common good. A budget that turns its back on the hungry, the elderly and the sick while giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest few can’t be justified in Christian terms...”

and Dolan:

"...commending the Wisconsin Republicans’ “continued attention” to Catholic social justice “in the current delicate budget considerations in Congress,” and praising his attention to fiscal responsibility, the role of the family, the dignity of human life and attention to the poor."

Just asking...

Since when does a righteous moral stance require consideration of "delicate budget considerations"?

Which statement could you hear coming out of Jesus's mouth?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cardinal Dolan's Faith and Politics

WNYC News Blog
Cardinal Timothy Dolan Says Faith Has a Place in Politics

Sunday, April 08, 2012 - 04:37 PM
By The Associated Press

Comment from K Webster:

What exactly was Sen. Santorum's "good point" on Kennedy's speech? Kennedy, faced with tremendous anti-Catholic bias, chose to uphold the best of what the US tries to be: a place of religious tolerance where no one religion holds sway over any other -while never ever disavowing his own faith.

As to Dolan's views on contraception, it never fails to amaze how the Catholic Church feels no hesitation to find comfort in US law when it suits. Like filing for bankruptcy to avoid paying settlements to children who were sexually abused by their priests and subpoenaing those victims' organizations. But claims it's a violation of religious freedom to provide equal treatment to women for health care -as our laws would stipulate or claims it's a violation of "sovereign immunity" to be required to report the crimes of pedophiles to the authorities -as our laws would stipulate.

The Church hierarchy, dominated by men and male culture, has clearly demonstrated they have no ability to think outside of their own self-interests. They would willingly risk women's lives, health and ability to determine their own futures as mothers, they exploit the labor of nuns, lie for and protect victimizers, harass organizations who defend the victims of their priest's abuse and shield themselves from any responsibility. All to hold onto earthly power and prestige.

Far from washing the feet the survivors of abuse as did the Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Ireland, Dolan and his brethren instead attack U.S. elected officials who intend to insure women have equal access to health care and uphold our laws that would have criminals brought to justice.

Dolan says: "U.S government is engaged in a "dramatic, radical intrusion of a government bureaucracy into the internal life of the church" ...

Your own base has been calling out loud and clear -perhaps you are in need some dramatic radical intrusion?

Zuccotti Park Owners Were Right to Eject OWS Protesters: Judge?

WNYC News Blog
Zuccotti Park Owners Were Right to Eject OWS Protesters:
Monday, April 09, 2012 - 11:14 AM
By WNYC Newsroom

Protesters face off with police after the police in riot gear removed the protesters early in the morning from Zuccotti Park on November 15.

The owners of Zuccotti Park, Brookfield Properties, were within their rights to eject protesters from the park last November in order to clean it, a Manhattan judge ruled last week.

The judge issued his ruling Friday as he refused to dismiss trespassing, disorderly conduct and other charges against an Occupy Wall Street protester.

The judge wrote that "it is clear that when the defendant was ordered by the police to vacate the park, he was not legally entitled to refuse."

The judge further ruled that there was no evidence that Brookfield's move was applied to the defendant and other protesters because of a disagreement with their message.

With the Associated Press

Comments [1]

K Webster from NYC:

The "Law"...

Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place. - Mahatma Gandhi

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual. - Thomas Jefferson

Possession isn't nine-tenths of the law. It's nine-tenths of the problem. - John Lennon

For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future. - John F. Kennedy

Apr. 09 2012 01:57 PM

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mula's Story

Mula’s Story
Mula, a devout Muslim, came of age during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. While battles were waged in the countryside, he taught children at the local madrasah (school). At 14, Mula was one of the few literate people in his village.
As the Russian army approached, the slightly built but fiercely loyal boy wanted to join the resistance. He abandoned teaching in defense of his country. Overwhelmed by the well-armed attackers, he was badly wounded. A brave uncle dragged the barely alive boy to safety. Though Mula’s injuries were severe, he had to be moved frequently — just ahead of the advancing Russian army. There was no time to let his family know what happened.
His father was determined to learn if his beloved son was alive. He saddled his mule and rode for miles, searching over mountainous terrain. He finally discovered his injured child in a hospital run by French doctors. Upon arriving at his son’s bedside, the once-determined father fainted at the sight of Mula’s wound.
Though gravely injured and far from home and family, what grieved Mula was seeing his elderly father weakened and disheartened.
Mula’s leg was shattered and a section of bone was missing. In order to heal or walk again, his father knew his son had to leave Afghanistan. The father bribed a taxi driver to take Mula cross-country, past three Russian checkpoints and through the Khyber Pass. Mula finally made his way to a Pakistani medical center and refugee camp.
After spending a year in the camp, braving persistent visits to the Red Cross and enduring terrible pain, a United States bone specialist saw his file and felt he knew what to do with the injury. The doctor’s own family had fled Latvia during the Russian invasion years before. Mula was brought to the U.S. for necessary medical treatments. He spent months in a rehabilitation facility. Lying in a hospital bed, he learned English by watching cartoons.
A local town business arranged for his health insurance. Two years and two American families later, another family took him in and helped him get his green card. Sadly, he could not return to Afghanistan as long as the Russian army remained.
I asked Amy, Mula’s “foster” mom, how they became family.
“Mula came to us through our church, … the wife of our minister … appealed to the Mission and Action Committee to have the church sponsor him so he could stay in this country…. We had a large farm house and after talking it over, my husband and I asked to meet him.”
Were there any fears about taking him in?
“… With a son in third grade I was very concerned about how this young man who had endured war, been physically wounded, and possibly emotionally scarred, would influence our own beloved son.”
And then?
“When he walked through the door of the church sitting room and looked at us with warmth and hope and openness… I knew it would be all right. And it was more than all right. Mula gave our family at least as much as we gave him.”
The family soon deepened its commitment and trust in one another. Mula said, “My life will never be the same because I knew them.”
Years later, Mula joined the U.S. government in an effort to fight al-Qaeda. He lost many friends in the struggle, including the brave uncle who pulled him to safety.
He married, had a family and settled down in the United States. A short time ago he reached out to help American friends who were struggling to raise their granddaughter. His close relationship, love and respect for the entire family enabled him to offer and be accepted to parent the child.
“[Mula] has kept his faith strong and his heart open,” Amy said.
He is now off to Afghanistan, risking his life in the ongoing battleground. He wants his homeland free.
“I think Mula is an epitome of the American story,” Amy said. “He’s an example of what I hope America means to the world.”
* names have been changed to protect privacy of subjects
About the Author:
Kathleen Webster is a community organizer in New York City’s lower Manhattan. She is the Co-Chair of an activist community garden on the Lower East Side and the Chair of the Chinatown Working Group’s Education and Schools Working Team. She is an artist, organizer, former construction worker, mom, wife, and daughter and proud of her working class Buffalo roots.

Losing Bialystoker; Losing the Love in L.E.S.

Losing Bialystoker home; Losing the love in L.E.S.
March 1, 2012 | Filed under: Talking Point |

BY K WEBSTER | Every life matters or none do.

My mother battled with Alzheimer’s disease for over almost six years while living with my family. She has now lived in a nursing home for more than a year. She has severe dementia and her body is twisted into contortions called “contractions.” It’s a yoga pose that she could never have done, even in her youth. She struggles to communicate in a language that she is no longer in command of and a memory that can’t remember. In this last period, she was admitted into hospice care, which means she is leaving this earthly life soon.

Nurses and aides now do what I used to do. They daily perform the most intimate tasks of care. Their generosity and compassion is boundless and unstinting. They have become family to us. They go the extra mile on her behalf. I love these women with all my heart. In the words of that football coach: “I’d go to war with these [women]”. And they are in a “war” with bedsore wounds that could make a soldier cringe. Their goodness is exploited. They know it, but continue to make the human choice to stay big-hearted. Most come from cultures that still think that caring for elders is a sacred obligation. Lucky for us that they do.

So far, she has beaten the odds. She pulled out of the last decline, her wounds healed (the doctor could not believe it). We strung Christmas lights in her room and kept adding to them every day until now we are in danger of blowing a fuse. They are spectacular. She wakes up and her face brightens and she says, “Oh my,” or “Those are beautiful little adults.” The words aren’t “right” but they convey the message clearly.

It’s tempting to laugh when she makes “mistakes” with the phrases she comes up with. But we don’t. It is such an openhearted effort. The kind a small child makes: tender, not cautious or careful, but daring and wonderful and human. It is a gift to be with her. It’s a pause from the world of “important business.” We get to remember how astonishing life is. It has never been clearer to me that each of us has a chance to be fully alive at any moment. With dementia you live in the moment because the last moment is forgotten — though the feel of connection remains. Present joys are precious — what Virginia Woolf called “Moments of Being.”

What I find most heartening is her reaction to people who enter her room. She says, “I love you” or “I love him” or “You are my favorite dress.” She is pure love. Increasingly, any bitterness, sorrow, reproach drops away and she is left with pure love. It’s shockingly beautiful.

I want her to have a chance at her own fight to be alive “even” in this condition. (Ever notice the arrogance of the phrase “diminished” existence?) She seems to want to. And every morning that she wakes up with that twinkle in her eye (that easily matches that of the Christmas lights) is a victory. A bit of life well lived.

I was inspired to write this after seeing Millie Munschein’s photo in this newspaper’s Feb. 9 article “Last-ditch effort to landmark L.E.S. Bialystoker Home.” The image showed Millie speaking at an Aug. 2011 rally to save her home, the nursing home.

When I see Millie Mundschein I see my mother and your mother — all of us someday. I see the closing of the Bialystoker for what it is: a humiliating defeat for our community. And a shameful abuse of the elders who lived there.