All posts for the month December, 2021

When I Worked at the Prison…

Published December 31, 2021 by Nan Mykel

Happy New Year’s Eve….When I worked at the state prison 22 years ago I learned something about the men in prison that I find applies to me now.  They were “protected” from depressing events back home, and were frustrated about knowing really what was going on with their family and friends.

They couldn’t be sure whether family members had died, whether family had sprung divorces,  gone bankrupt, etc.   While in my case that’s a little extreme,  I’m still “protected” from  potentially troubling news.  As a result, I feel a little disempowered as a person.

Horror of horrors, I find myself with a tendency to “protect”  elderly friends– who have moved away– from the obituaries and other news of the passing of  mutual friends.  I have to remember that although everyone ages, at least some of us would still like to be trusted with facts.  To be treated otherwise is to feel discounted and truly disempowered. Remember how they used to keep the news– that oneself was terminal or in fact dying– from patients?

The truth conveys respect.  And no, I haven’t been shafted.  I just recalled a memory of 22 years ago. Read the rest of this entry →

QUICK! Hide the truth!

Published December 25, 2021 by Nan Mykel


A Black principal near Dallas has already been forced to resign in the anti-CRT panic, for writing a public letter after George Floyd’s death that declared, “Education is the key to stomping out ignorance, hate, and systemic racism.”

In another part of the state, a district-level executive director of curriculum has recommended teaching “other perspectives” on the Holocaust to meet the bill’s mandates. Teachers and administrators are not the only ones targeted by the bill and its supporters. “One minute they’re talking critical race theory,” says middle school librarian Carrie Damon. “Suddenly I’m hearing librarians are indoctrinating students. One library in Llano County, about 80 miles northwest of Austin, shut down for three days for a “thorough review” of every children’s book. At the statewide level, Texas Republican State Representative Matt Krause launched an anti-CRT witch-hunt, in advance of a run for State Attorney General, by emailing a list 850 books to state superintendents, asking if any of them appeared in their libraries.

These times are so painful…



Published December 16, 2021 by Nan Mykel

The Week magazine for Dec. 3 contains the following from Stockholm:

Democracy in  retreat:  The U.S. has been added for the first time to a list of “backsliding democracies” by the Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.  America has fallen vicim to “authoritaian tendencies,” the respected think tank said in its Global  State of Democracy 2021 report, and so was “knocked down a significant number steps on the democatic scale.”  The report, issued this week, cited former President Donald Trump’s  baseless allegations of fraud in the 2020 election and his efforts to pressure state election officials into changing vote totals, as well as the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.  Trump’s tactics had “spillover effects,” the report added, providing an anti-democtatic model that was followed by political actors in Brazil, Mexico, Myanmar, Peru, and elsewhere.

Ravitch Re-blog

Published December 10, 2021 by Nan Mykel


  1. Nancy Bailey has assembled a devastating review of a three-decades long effort to destroy the teaching profession and replace it with models derived from the corporate sector. She begins:

    The pandemic has been rough on teachers, but there has for years been an organized effort to end a professional teaching workforce by politicians and big businesses.

    In 1992, The Nation’s cover story by Margaret Spillane and Bruce Shapiro described the meeting of President H. W. Bush and a roomful of Fortune 500 CEOs who planned to launch a bold new industrial venture to save the nation’s schoolchildren.

    The report titled, “A small circle of friends: Bush’s new American schools. (New American Schools Development Corp.),” also called NASDC, didn’t discuss saving public schools or teachers. They viewed schools as failed experiments, an idea promoted by the Reagan administration’s A Nation at Risk, frightening Americans into believing schools were to blame for the country’s problems.

    The circle believed their ideas would break the mold and mark the emergence of corporate America as the savior of the nation’s schoolchildren.

    The organization fell apart, but the ideas are still in play, and corporations with deep pockets will not quit until they get the kind of profitable education they want, for which they benefit.

    They have gone far in destroying public education and the teaching profession throughout the years, not to mention programs for children, like special education.

    Here are the ideas from that early meeting, extracted from The Nation’s report, with my comments. Many will look eerily familiar.

    . . . “monolithic top-down education philosophy,” which disrespected teachers, parents and communities alike.

    NCLB, Race to the Top, Every Student Succeeds Act, and Common Core State Standards disregarded teachers’ expertise and degraded them based on high-stakes test scores.

    These policies also left parents and communities feeling disengaged in their schools.

    Please open the link and read the rest of this perceptive post.

Unequal punishment–(what’s the real motivation?)

Published December 10, 2021 by Nan Mykel

It takes two to tango…

Texas already had the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S.—and they just got tougher. A new law is now in effect that adds penalties of jail time and a fine of up to $10,000 for anyone who prescribes pills for medication abortions through telehealth or the mail.

Texas bans all abortions after cardiac activity can be detected in the embryo, which typically occurs about six weeks into pregnancy—often before people [sic: women] realize they’re pregnant. Medication abortions via telehealth or mail were already illegal in Texas, and the new criminal penalties took effect on the day the Supreme Court heard arguments in a Mississippi case that ultimately could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that established a constitutional right to abortion. 

In contrast to a surgical abortion, which usually takes place in a clinic, a medication abortion involves two pills, taken 48 hours apart, that manipulate the hormones to end a pregnancy. Many people [sic] prefer this process early in a pregnancy because the pills can be taken at home. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drugs in 2000, and the procedure is effective up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy.  

Texas’ new law, known as SB 4, also narrows the legal window for medication abortion to the first seven weeks of pregnancy. State legislators passed this new law on Sept. 17 during a special session—more than two weeks after the other abortion law, often called the “six-week ban,” took effect on September 1.  Attempts to halt that law as groups challenge it in court have failed.  

Anti-abortion groups in Texas hailed SB 4 as a victory—an important second step, after the six-week ban, in their efforts to curtail all access to the procedure in the state.  John Seago, legislative director for Texas Right to Life, said his group wanted to ensure that law enforcement officials could prosecute people who skirt the state’s strict limits by administering medication abortions.  “This is going to be a future public policy issue around abortion, no matter what happens to Roe v. Wade,” he said. 

So far, no lawsuit has challenged Texas’ law restricting access to abortion pills. Mounting a legal challenge to halt the law is complicated because Texans already are effectively prohibited from all abortions after six weeks.  

“We already have the most extreme abortion ban in the U.S. and yet our legislature made it a priority to add this additional abortion restriction,” said Sarah Wheat, chief external affairs officer with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas…. “Ultimately,”  Wheat said, “Texas’ latest law is a sign of what could happen elsewhere.”  She said it shows there is no end to efforts aimed at making abortions harder to get.

 This year alone, five other states have passed laws against sending abortion pills through the mail.  “Take note of Texas, because what you see is that our politicians, they do not quit…”

The ACLU reports that 1 in 3 women have an unintended pregnancy before the age of 35.

P.S. SB 4  is not sufficiently useful for a lookup.  Try another tracker for more info. — Nan

This story is part of a partnership that includes KUTNPR and KHN.  KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.   Also quoted is Scientific American author,  Ashley Lopez .

Image: milada vigerova-k…


Published December 9, 2021 by Nan Mykel

Just a quick update, because I can’t bear to do much more.  As a chaplain at a hospital in a small city in Northeast Wisconsin, I find more daily heartbreak now than even in the previous months of the pandemic, even during our peak months of November 2020-March 2021.  The numbers are at least as high on our ICU and our general COVID unit.  The difference is in the ages of the people who are dying, and of those who are closest to them.  Last month, we saw many people in their 40’s dying.  Young adults in their late teens and 20’s were their children, and seeing them try to figure out how to mourn was heart-wrenching.  We saw every reaction one could imagine, from denial to self-blame to signs of deep depression.

This new month seems to be bringing us the deaths of patients in their 30’s.  A couple of nights ago, a woman of 39 with two kids, ages 5 and 9, and a devastated husband.  My colleague who responded after midnight when she took a nosedive gave the kids prayer blankets, and helped them gather up the drawings they made for their mom, which were taped up on the walls of her room.  She was never aware of them in the last 10-14 days of her life, though, since she was intubated, sedated and paralyzed with medications.  He offered the prayers her husband and family requested, and went home to try to rest, but that was interrupted a few hours later by a call to our sister hospital, where there were more deaths.

Now I am watching the pain of a family whose beloved husband and son is only 34, and isn’t going to live much longer, and that of a 31-year-old woman patient with three little kids and a very broken husband, parents and best friend, keeping vigil as we allow them in one at a time to spend time with the beloved one, wearing proper PPE, of course.  It feels like a little taste of hell for them, I know, as well as for the poor exhausted nurses and respiratory therapists.  It feels like this will never end.  This is the first time I have seriously contemplated completely retiring.  I have loved working part-time, but don’t know if I am up to the task of doing this for the long-term.  I don’t know how our care team does it, with the physically challenging care, overtime, lack of breaks, and constant loss.  We’ve lost several to other work settings, because this is just too much.

Please hope/pray for an end to this horror show.  We are wrecking our health-care staff, and it doesn’t have to happen.  That’s the hardest part, knowing that, had these folks chosen vaccination, their kids wouldn’t be motherless, their young spouses wouldn’t be widowed.  The world has gone wrong, and the sorrow is everywhere.  I am fortunate that I work only three days a week and one overnight on-call every week, but it’s still more than I can bear sometimes.  Like today.

This content was created by a Daily Kos Community member.

To defeat bullies, punch them in the nose with facts

Published December 8, 2021 by Nan Mykel

Bravo. Sensible!


With the proliferation of social media, it has never been easier to lie, misinform and disinform. To autocrats like Vladimir Putin, who was trained as a KGB agent on disinformation, it is like shooting fish in a barrel. People might say Putin is not such, as he stands for election, but jailing your opponents and controlling the airwaves, does not lend itself to a fair election. This is disinformation in its own right.

The only way to beat bullies who lie, misinform and disinform, is to not believe them and do our homework. Folks like Trump, Kim, Xi, Cuomo, Morrison, Johnson, Nunes, Gosar, Taylor-Greene, Cawthorn, Gohmert, DeSantis, Abbott, et al, do not want to be questioned on facts. They do not handle it very well.

I have many favorite stories about the last former US president not being aware of details, but when one reporter questioned him after the umpteenth…

View original post 560 more words


Published December 7, 2021 by Nan Mykel







(First verse after my writing resolve for 7 days:)


Fast is young

Slow is old

Broke my foot

Can’t be bold.


I see me limp–

someone impaired


As though I cared.


But I do!  I do!

As someone feeble

I still envy

other people.


Nan   Day 1  Dec. 7, 2021

Sorry, I can’t find image source–not mine

Don’t Know if These were posted

Published December 6, 2021 by Nan Mykel

THE big red cat sleeps dreaming on our cot.

Is her world the same as mine or not?

I don’t like the dog that barks all night,

nor does she

She hates fleas and mites, and I agree.


CRUMPLED pages lie beside my keyboard. The notion lingers that if I can just find the right voice, the right cross between irony and sorrow with a little joie de vivre thrown in, then the words would spew out…[too much like a volcano? Vomit?]…spill out onto the fresh white pages.


SOME SAY cats don’t like

to make eye contact.

Mine does.

We have stare-downs

whenever we’re both awake.



EVERY closet is a walk-in closet if you try hard enough.

–(The Captain’s Speech  6/7/21)



Here I be



I be

But I am me

So you see…


A bird with only one wing

Can sing

But not fly with its kind.

Is a bird with one wing

Any good?


Does God love

a race horse

With a broken leg?

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