Author name: Bridge Editor

Art of Binghamton Sept & Oct.

Art of Binghamton is a premiere gallery experience showcasing various mediums of artwork from acrylic paintings to photography, all created by local artists. Each piece is a unique representation of Binghamton’s past, present, and future vision, with the artists’ pride and love for their hometown reflected in their work. This show features an eclectic group

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The A.C.A. is a paper tiger, we need Single Payer Health Care

The Affordable Care Act was an improvement in a totally broken national health care system. Among other benefits, it increased access for millions through the expanded Medicaid program. It prevented the denial of coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions. However, it was a “band-aid”. We need a real solution. We need universal health care NOW.

Almost 30 million Americans still have no health care coverage. Many millions more live with the risk of bankruptcy due to deductibles, coinsurance requirements and copayments. Thousands of American businesses who admirably help pay for employee health coverage are made uncompetitive relative to their overseas counterparts. Many thousands of churches, school districts and county governments struggle to maintain employee health coverage and balance their budgets as their premiums increase unpredictably and far exceeding the cost-of-living. The solution to all of these problems is SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE.

The solution to all of these problems is the United States coming together, Democrat-Republican-other, youth-aged and in-between, black-white-brown-yellow, rich-poor, gay-straight-trans-bisexual, legal citizen-illegal immigrant, male and female standing up in solidarity to DEMAND SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE NOW! In 22 countries with health insurance for all, people live longer than people in the U.S. and spend ½ the amount that we do. Indeed, 1/3 of our premium dollars are wasted on private insurers’ billing, marketing and salaries.

While the corporate masters of Congress prevent a federal solution, New Yorkers already have a single payer bill (the Gottfried-Perkins’ “N.Y. Health Act”) awaiting approval in our state legislature. In 2017 the New York Assembly passed the Act by a margin of 2 to 1. Now we need the NY State Senate to do the same. Some naysayers and concerned citizens ask, “How will this Single Payer Health Care system be funded, especially since it includes prescription drugs, dental, vision and hearing care coverage? The answer is – a graduated assessment on payroll and non-payroll taxable income. It will be based on “ability to pay”. 80% of the premiums will be covered by employers. All of the funds will be placed in a NY Health Trust Fund, administered by the NYS Health Department, overseen by consumers and providers.

Another logically asked question is – what organizations support the NY Health Act. The list continues to lengthen, but already includes the following – NYS AFL-CIO, NYS Nurses Assoc., Citizen Action, United Federation of Teachers, League of Women Voters, NYS Academy of Family Physicians, Public Citizen and over 100 NYS legislators. There is, of course, strong resistance to the passage of the Act among well-lobbied legislators. The lobbyists have the greater access to power. However, WE are the ultimate power. WE determine who represents us. WE need to step up. WE need to speak up. WE need to hold the feet of our representatives to the fire of public outcry for change. WE need to reject their complicit, self-serving actions. WE need to question their authority and motives. Health care is a human right, not a commodity for those who can afford to pay. People are the Power. Let’s unite and wield it!

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Tiniest Teachers offer the Greatest Lesson


It took me by surprise.  I couldn’t see the value of the forest due to the matter of the trees.

Recently I’ve been getting compassion fatigue taking a nursing home resident to church with me.  I’ve been feeling helpful, and she would always voice her gratitude as we left services, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that she was her own worst enemy and that I was complicit in her demise.  Jane (not her real name) is morbidly obese and would spend her time during the after-service social hour having numerous helpings of cakes, cookies and bagels with extra cream cheese.  I felt pained from this dilemma until reading Alain De Botton’s latest novel, called The Course of Love.

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Organizing – Let’s try a little tenderness

Maya Angelou – It is almost impossible to grow up. Most people just get older.

Rancor for the ‘other’ has been an effective tool of the Right to mobilize supporters. Many adults, harboring unresolved anger and mistrust look to strong-man saviors. Exploiting fear, these “saviors” maintain most in socio-economic stress and propel us all to potential global destruction. Those people, on the other hand, who hope for equity and sustainability offer the Left significant opportunity. Organizing them would be based instead on a shared empathy. But empathy requires emotional development, and that is not easy to accomplish.

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Nonviolent resistance twice as effective as war

            I financially support and post pieces on independent media, because I believe mainstream media is part of how militarism remains entrenched in our society.  So when I learned from a recent presentation by Kevin Martin, President of Peace Action National, that The Washington Post published January 18, 2016 an article by Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan entitled, “How the world is proving Martin Luther King right about nonviolence”, I was pleasantly surprised.

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WANTED: Gardeners not Prisoners


There are more full time prisoners in America than full time farmers according to Bill McKibben in his latest book, Oil and Honey. I want to help change that. The farmer and writer, Masanobu Fukuoka best explains why. “Farming is the cultivation of better human beings.”
‘Better’ to me means being more compassionate, productive and healthy. ‘Better’ to me means not being a financial burden to society. ‘Better’ to me means being more integrated into a community capable of sustaining itself in times of economic and/or environmental crisis.
Following is a proposed community action project designed to address this concern. Specific project decisions will be made by consensus and in compliance with Broome County Corrections Administration requirements.

County Jail Gardening Project

In a time when people with college degrees struggle to get gainful employment, it is obvious how difficult it must be for an applicant with a conviction in their record to get a job. This, in addition to the fact that our nation’s incarceration rate often leads the world, disturbs me a lot. Great human resources are lost as too many unlucky men and women are being both economically and socially disadvantaged by the current system. This project is designed to reduce this waste of human capital by building mutually beneficial relationships between non incarcerated and incarcerated members toward a more resilient community.
Our project’s mission is to build human resources through gardening activities that join incarcerated with non incarcerated community members. Beautification, job training and growing community resilience are the goals of the project.
If you’re a gardener or want to learn how to garden and are interested in social justice community action at the Broome County Corrections Facility, please get back me at 607 797 9126. After preliminary application and I.D. checks are done, a four hour security orientation session (sometime in May or early June) is required. If you want to help build community in a new and sustainable way, this project is for you.

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I really can’t, I’m no Mahatma Gandhi


June 24, 2012

Do you really know Gandhi or even Martin Luther King, Jr.? You may think you do, but I believe that in some cases, we need to demystify our heroes so that we can more easily support their actions.
Recently we at were given a little book, What Gandhi Says About Nonviolence, Resistance And Courage by Norman G. Finkelstein, to review. The book is quite readable as it “fleshes out” the self-contradictory nature of this Indian icon who nonviolently led his people to independence from imperial England. Subsequently, Gandhi’s actions served as a template for M.L.K., Jr.’s anti-segregation mission in southern America. Appropriately, both men are held in the highest esteem worldwide. I wonder if their mythic stories have inadvertently caused some of us to feel less able to emulate them.

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