January 2010

Ending My "Abusive Relationship"

I am happy to report that I have taken the first very important steps in ending the abusive relationship I am in. That's right. I am breaking up - with my "too big to fail" bank.

Bank of America, bye-bye. It started out innocently enough. When I first started banking as a young woman, I went to the Norshore National Bank, a friendly community bank in my neighborhood. And then it was bought by a bigger bank, and then by a bigger bank, and then by LaSalle Bank, a large but esteemed institution in the Chicago area, and finally by Bank of America. The transitions were pretty smooth, and frankly, I admit I took the easy way out and stayed put.

Hello, Devon Bank! Yesterday I went to the bank that my parents patronized for many happy years. It's in the neighborhood I grew up in, near my house, in my district. The friendly bankers were happy to see me and helped me open a new checking account. I can still bank on line, get a debit card, and use without charge a network of ATMs that are conveniently located. They gave me a map that I'll keep in my car. Not only that, they will pay me 4.15% interest on my balance up to $20,000 and they gave me a very nice pen set and a clock!

Remembering the Legacy of Dr. King

As we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr., I urge you to remember Dr. King's legacy of non-violence and compassion as he fought for progressive change. Many of you already take part in civic, religious, and volunteer activities as part the MLK Jr. Day of Service, which urges citizens to view the Federal holiday not as "a day off, but a day on."

This MLK Jr. Day, please keep in mind the people of Haiti, as the struggle to recover from last week's earthquake. Over the last several years I have travelled to Haiti many times, and the images of the destruction have broken my heart.

Haiti Needs Our Help

Haiti needs our help. As I'm sure you've heard, a major earthquake has devastated Port-Au-Prince, Haiti's capitol. I've traveled to Haiti several times, most recently in the last year. While there had been glimmers of hope in this country with a difficult history, news of this horrific tragedy breaks my heart.

In my time in Haiti, I was privileged to develop a strong friendship with Dr. Paul Farmer, and have become a passionate supporter of his remarkable organization Partners in Health, which many of you might already be familiar with. Chicago supporters of Partners in Health helped construct a hospital and Women's clinic in Haiti. By supporting Partners in Health, your donation will go directly towards helping those most affected by the earthquake. Please read this message that Partners In Health sent out yesterday evening, and consider giving your support.
A major earthquake centered just 10 miles from Port-au-Prince has devastated sections of the city and knocked out telephone communications throughout the country. Reached via email, Partners In Health staff at our facilities in the Central Plateau report that they experienced a strong shock but no major damage or injuries. We are still attempting to establish contact with other PIH facilities and to locate several staff members who were traveling in and around Port-au-Prince.

In an urgent email from Port-au-Prince, Louise Ivers, our clinical director in Haiti, appealed for assistance from her colleagues in the Central Plateau: "Port-au-Prince is devastated, lot of deaths. SOS. SOS... Temporary field hospital by us at UNDP needs supplies, pain meds, bandages. Please help us."

Donate now to support our earthquake relief efforts.

The earthquake has destroyed much of the already fragile and overburdened infrastructure in the most densely populated part of the country. A massive and immediate international response is needed to provide food, water, shelter, and medical supplies for tens of thousands of people.

With our hospitals and our highly trained medical staff in place in Haiti, Partners In Health is already mobilizing resources and preparing plans to bring medical assistance and supplies to areas that have been hardest hit.

Both our teams in Boston and Haiti are already mobilizing to deliver resources as quickly as possible to the places where they are needed most.

Donate now to support our earthquake relief efforts.

Thank you for your solidarity during this crisis,

Ophelia Dahl
Executive Director - Partners in Health


Progress Illinois Covers the Preckwinkle Endorsement

Progress Illinois Covers the Preckwinkle Endorsement
Progress Illinois' coverage of today's Endorsement Press Conference of Toni Preckwinkle. 
This afternoon, a who's who of Chicago progressives stood shoulder to shoulder with Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th Ward) to lend their support for her bid to unseat Todd Stroger as Cook County Board President.

The Capitol Fax Blog Highlights Jan at the Goodman Theatre

The Capitol Fax Blog Highlights Jan at the Goodman Theatre
 Rich Miller at The Capitol Fax Blog decided to have a little fun with Jan's recent appearance at the Goodman Theatre, highlighting this photo for his regular caption contest feautre.  She was there with Congressman Quigley and Senator Durbin as part of a charity event for members of the armed forces and their families.  

New Year's Blog

My new year began in earnest on Monday, January 4. Full of the spirit of a fresh start, I began with 25 minutes of aerobics on the elliptical machine and lifted some weights. Feeling self-righteous, I luxuriated in one of the best holiday gifts ever from my husband Bob – a one and a half hour massage. I went straight from there to get a manicure, went to Jenny Craig and started on the annual diet, got my hair colored and cut, and now, I am fully ready to launch into 2010! Coiffed and polished, I am heading off to Washington to see about a health care bill.
The challenge is to craft a bill that makes health care affordable and available to all Americans regardless of income or health status or gender or geography, does not compromise women’s access to abortion services, is paid for in a way that does not burden middle class people, seriously controls the unbridled power and greed of the insurance industry – and can get 60 votes in the Senate.  “Ah, there’s the rub.”