We have some much to tell you this month…better get started!
Don’t forget to thank all those moms in your life.
Our meeting will be held In Person and thru Zoom.
The link is listed below.
HERITAGE MONTH (See below)
Come to the Starlite Ballroom
Or Join Our Zoom Meeting:
Time: Wed., May 12 at 7:00 PM
Click on the link below:
Meeting ID: 818 8566 5595
Dial in only: 646 558 8656
Please login prior to start time. We will begin login at 6:45 pm.
Early login gives you time to resolve problems that may arise while connecting. It also enables us to admit you before the meeting begins. You will be on standby until admitted to meeting.
|BLACK LIVES MATTER|
|After watching with anticipation and anxiety, the verdict being read at the conclusion of the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, after re-experiencing the horrific 9 minute and 29 second video of cruel and emotionless indifference for the life of another human being, a Black man, I was overwhelmed with emotion – first relief then joy.|
I watched the celebrations that immediately followed, where sentiments of justice and accountability were often expressed. Yet it wasn’t long before the inevitable uncertainties and questions were asked… is this an inflection point or an anomaly in the long history of systemic racism in America? Only time will tell.
Many of us in Solivita are active on NextDoor, and I was pleased to see the Blog from NextDoor administration “Standing in solidarity with Black neighbors” posted during the trial. This Blog post made clear NextDoor’s intention to align community guidelines and policies with their company values and support for the Black Lives Matter movement; and went further to state that All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter content will be explicitly prohibited when used to undermine racial equality or the Black Lives Matter movement.
NextDoor also has an anti-racism hub, which I’ve found to contain helpful content such as:
What is unconscious bias? Office of Diversity & Outreach, University of California, S.F. CA
How Racial Bias Works and How to Disrupt it TED Talk by Jennifer L. Ebherhardt
White Privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
To drive lasting change for racial justice and equity, we must continue to Stand in Solidarity. Make your voices heard with elected officials, whether Democrat or Republican, that all forms of discrimination and inequality are not acceptable.
And as Darnella Frazier, the brave young woman who was just 17 when she recorded George Floyd’s murder on video, reminded us with her courageous actions… if you see something, be a witness, and say something!
Hope to see you in the Ballroom on May 12th! Sincerely,
Brian Fillette, President, Solivita Democratic Club
|By JOE TOBIN, SDC Member|
For twenty years I worked in Boston and often walked to the city’s waterfront for lunchbreak. On one walk some part of my brain signaled me to stop and pay attention. Quickly turning my head, I noticed the empty storefront I often passed now had Russian artifacts in its front window and a dangling chained sign inscribed “The Russian-American Center.” The office building itself was aptly named “Russia Wharf” — the site where early American ships trading between Boston and St. Petersburg loaded or unloaded cargo. Curious, I walked in, browsed around and chatted with the founder, Peggy Coleman, before I left.
During my years working in Boston, I frequented the Center as my “Boston home.” Peggy started the Center in 1991, at a time when the newly formed Russian government was on a learning curve in governing. It was also helpful to Russia that the two presidents, Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, had a good working relationship. During Clinton’s administration, the State Department sponsored a well-developed program that flew Russians to American cities, including Boston, to participate in specialized workshops that could be helpful in sectors of a changing Russian society.
One morning Peggy phoned me to ask if I knew anybody who would host a Russian for a month for this government program. Being newly divorced and liking the challenge, I agreed. When I found out his placement was to be across the street from my office building at the transportation control center of the Metropolitan Boston Transportation Agency’s (MBTA), it made my hosting all the easier and I had full responsibility for him — unlike the guests that would follow him. On his arrival I met Michael at Logan Airport and the adventure began. We hit it off right away.
Michael was a wonderful and easy guest. Two bonds drew us quickly together — trains and automobiles. Since his father was an English professor, communicating was easy. On one weekend trip we visited an antique automobile and old gun museum on Cape Cod, staying until closing time. His mentoring at the MBTA went extraordinary well (It also helped that the top MBTA executive in charge of his placement knew my uncle quite well during his pre-planning session). Traveling home on the train, Michael would tell me his day’s activities. On his departure at the airport, I watched his small commuter plane taxi on the runway and wonder how it would take off with all the luggage he packed. Others would follow.
Each new guest still rode the train to Boston with me and then went to a downtown hotel to start the weekday with their fellow Russians who were flown to Boston from various parts of Russia. These groups were supervised by a private organization contracted by USAID. All my guests liked the workshops, especially when they visited some of the Boston-area businesses, sightseeing historic sites and a clambake on a Boston-area beach. Good food was an integral part of the program.
On weekends, the guests were flexible. One of my guests wanted to attend an evangelical church. My dog-sitting neighbors volunteered to host him for a morning and took him to their church. Rather eerily, It just so happened that on that Sunday, an evangelical minister from Russia was preaching that day – and my neighbors, all musicians, had him for breakfast as well. My guest was thrilled at the attention he received. I also learned there were three Chinese restaurants in his northern city of Murmansk.
My friends also asked me what was the top Boston attraction the Russians wanted to see. The answer. “Where is Filene’s Basement”? For those who do not know, it was a downtown Boston department store with three basement stores, markdowns aplenty and clothing galore. And those Russians rummaged through the clothing bens and bought just like all Bostonians did at the store.
The program came and ended so quickly — like so many good things do. The Center is now winding down its operations. The USAID program plans are filed away in some storage facility. The whereabouts of most participants unknown. On the positive side, it will be a welcome change when Presidents Biden and Putin meet this summer and can agree to lower the temperature in the room, eliminate the “cat-and-mouse games, and promote realistic diplomatic, trade and military relations, as Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin achieved in the 90s. The dialogue be will tough going, but …. hope springs eternal!!!Read More
YOU DON’T BELONG HERE: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War.
By Elizabeth Becker.
The biographies center around female correspondents during the Vietnam War, their trials by fire since women were never allowed in military conflict and their unique reporting of aspects of the war. I learned a lot. As an alternative, you can watch the interview with the author on C-Span’s “QandA” internet site. The book but is worth reading for both men and women.
Florida lawmakers took up a wide range of issues during the 60-day Session.
The 2021 Legislative Session ended April 30 with a traditional hanky-dropping ceremony in the fourth-floor rotunda of the Florida Capitol.
Lawmakers took up a wide range of issues along with passing a budget for the fiscal year that will start July 1, 2021.
Here are 10 big issues from the session:
BUDGET: Buoyed by billions of dollars in federal stimulus money and rebounding state tax revenues, lawmakers passed a record $101.5 billion budget for the upcoming year. The budget includes such things as bonuses for first responders, providing services to more people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and addressing effects of rising sea levels. Also, lawmakers scrapped proposed cuts in Medicaid funding for hospitals and nursing homes.
COVID-19: Lawmakers passed a measure aimed at shielding businesses and health-care providers from lawsuits related to people getting sick or dying from COVID-19. Also, they approved making permanent a ban on COVID-19 vaccine “passports.” Gov. Ron DeSantis in early April issued an executive order to prohibit businesses from requiring people to show they had been vaccinated to gain entry — the issue that has become known as COVID-19 passports.
EDUCATION: As part of a more than two-decade effort by Republicans to expand school choice, lawmakers passed an overhaul of school-voucher programs. In part, the plan would increase an income threshold so that a family of four making nearly $100,000 a year could qualify for vouchers. In higher education, the Senate considered controversial changes in the Bright Futures scholarship program before largely backing away amid an outcry from students and other opponents.
ELECTIONS: Despite fierce opposition from Democrats, the Republican-controlled Legislature passed a wide-ranging elections bill that includes placing new restrictions on voting by mail. Supporters said the bill, which addresses issues such as the use of drop boxes for mail-in ballots, is needed to ensure election security and integrity. But Democrats contended that it is designed to place barriers to voting and likened it to measures aimed at Black voters in the Jim Crow era.
INSURANCE: After years of debating the issue, lawmakers approved ending Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system. Under the bill, motorists would no longer be required to carry personal-injury protection, or PIP, coverage. They would have to carry bodily-injury coverage. Also, lawmakers approved changes in the property-insurance system, including allowing larger annual rate increases for customers of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
PROTESTS: DeSantis quickly signed a controversial law-and-order measure that was sparked by nationwide protests last year after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The law creates a new crime of “mob intimidation,” enhances riot-related penalties and makes it harder for local officials to reduce spending on law enforcement. But opponents said the measure is rooted in racism and would give police too much leeway to arrest peaceful protesters.
SOCIAL MEDIA: After former President Donald Trump was blocked from Twitter and Facebook early this year, Republican lawmakers passed a plan to crack down on social-media companies. The plan, a priority of DeSantis, includes barring social-media companies from removing political candidates from the companies’ platforms and threatens hefty fines. Critics questioned the bill’s constitutionality and described it as a “big government” move.
TAXES: In a major win for business groups, lawmakers passed a plan that will require out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Floridians. The roughly $1 billion a year generated by the change will be used to replenish a depleted unemployment trust fund. Later, it will be used to offset a cut in a commercial rent tax. Florida businesses have long argued online retailers enjoyed an advantage because they didn’t collect sales taxes.
TOLL ROADS: Two years after then-Senate President Bill Galvano pushed through a law to build and expand toll roads, lawmakers largely scrapped the plan during this year’s session. That included nixing the idea of building a toll road from Collier County to Polk County. Lawmakers, however, decided to move forward with projects such as extending Florida’s Turnpike west from Wildwood to connect with the Suncoast Parkway.
TRANSGENDER ATHLETES: After the issue appeared dead in the Senate, lawmakers in the final days of the session passed a bill that would ban transgender female athletes from competing on high-school girls’ and college women’s sports teams. While bill supporters said transgender female athletes could have a physical advantage, opponents said the bill targets youths already at risk for suicide, ostracism and bullying.
Journalist Christiane Amanpour will join United Facts of America
Christiane Amanpour is one of the most lauded voices in media across the world, and I’m so excited that she’s agreed to join our first-ever virtual fact-checking festival, United Facts of America. Christiane is CNN’s chief international anchor of the network’s award-winning, flagship global affairs program “Amanpour,” which also airs on PBS.
Neil Brown, president of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, will talk live with Christiane about her storied career, the problems of eroding trust in journalism, and, of course, the importance of facts.
United Facts of America is a four-day, virtual festival May 10-13 that will focus on facts and truth. As a registered guest, you’ll have the chance to hear from Christiane, Dr. Anthony Fauci, CNN’s Brian Stelter, Dr. Daniel B. Fagbuyi, The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson, NBC News’ Brandy Zadrozny, author Steven Hassan, Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner.
And you’ll get to meet some of my favorite fact-checkers from PolitiFact, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and FactCheck.org.
We’re so excited to welcome Christiane that we decided to make it easier for loyal PolitiFact readers like you to attend. You can use the promo code “FACTS2021” for $15 off the ticket as a way to celebrate our newly announced guest! (Be sure to click on the blue “Enter Promo Code” link when you go to select your ticket.) We attached a draft version of the schedule below, but don’t worry, we’re recording sessions in case you can’t attend each one live.
Thank you so much for your support of facts and independent fact-checking.We can’t wait to see you on May 10!
Angie Drobnic Holan, Editor-In-Chief, PolitiFact
Each day of the festival features more than two hours of lively, thoughtful conversations about facts. Days are broken down by theme: democracy, COVID-19, technology and culture. More speakers will be added as they are confirmed.
Monday, May 10: Facts and Democracy — 3-6:30 p.m Eastern time
Wednesday, May 12: Big Tech, Big Questions — 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Eastern time
Thursday, May 13: Speaking the Truth — 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Eastern time
PS: This virtual festival is for everyone interested in fact-based expression, civic engagement and the role of facts in a free society. We’re still adding to the schedule, but see all of our confirmed speakers and sessions here.
That’s it for this month. Thanks for your support!,
Solivita Democratic Club
Ellis Moose, III