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  • PNCi-Minnesota Sunday Cartoon

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    Noland Comics by Shea Thomas

    President Obama Saved My Life – Open Enrollment Ends

    When Barack Obama was first elected president it was with a surge of support from liberal supporters. Advocates for everything from free speech, peace movements, closure of Guantanamo Bay prison, and restoration of civil rights removed during the “War on Terror” expected to see large changes.

    I have lived long enough to see how few electoral promises get brought to fruition. My expectations were not very high. As the focus of president Obama turned to the passage of some sort of health care reform, I watched as many of the most progressive features of the Affordable Care Act were removed or crippled in their ability to really provide affordable care for the breadth of the American people. In the end at least a bill was passed and put in place.

    This bill as passed the congress was meant to benefit people like myself and my spouse. Most of our lives we have been self-employed and fall into that category of the “working poor”. When our kids were at home we qualified for subsidized medical assistance. As our children left the nest we found ourselves making too much income to qualify for health care assistance, and at our age (approaching sixty) and with some underlying pre-existing conditions, unable to afford or be approved by any insurance company.

    After several years without any health insurance and thankfully only minor health problems we looked forward to the arrival of comprehensive health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The months of public accusations and scare tactics attacking the arrival of “Obama Care” were not enough to scare us into trying to survive until we qualified for medicare in five years!

    When the initial open enrollment period online opened, the reports of problems signing up caused us to decide to wait. A quick look at the program disclosed no coverage was to begin until at least January 2014 anyway, and as reported signup problems persisted the deadline for eligibility for earliest January first coverage kept being pushed back. After Thanksgiving I resolved to get us signed up, whatever it took!

    I am web savvy so when I started having problems signing up I was able to figure out what they were about pretty fast. That does not mean it was easy to get past them. Their database did nor recognize my address, 1 ½ Street, as valid. Neither would it recognize my road’s other name, County Road “K”. I had filled out the entire form, bypassing the message that I had entered a undeliverable mailing address, only to find I could not proceed to actually choose a health plan.

    I got on the phone to the health plan phone bank help line. Over the next week I talked to at least four different phone representatives. Each was completely polite and as helpful as they could be, considering they were talking to someone getting more and more frustrated! Thankfully I was able to call during off-peak hours so I had practically no wait time to get through. Each of the first three calls involved going over the problem, where it was at, what I encountered and where it was left. The first two times were spent going over trying to “reload” my basic account information, which was where my address error was. The third time the assistant left me with the advice that I would have to delete my account and start over. After now spending over six hours on the phone, starting our application over was not what I wanted to hear! I fumed a couple of days, then finally deleted my profile and started over again. This time as soon as I encountered the address problem, and the previously recommended solution did not work, I called into the help desk again. This time I assertively explained the problem, its history, and demanded to talk to a supervisor. I was eventually connected with a supervisor.

    They were really understanding of my frustration, and he volunteered to take over my application and enter information on his end so he could see exactly the problem, do some work-around magic, and move past it. We stayed on the phone for another ninety minutes until my application was complete, and for the first time I could see the health plan options available, and at what subsidy level was appropriate for our family income.

    Continue reading

    Prominent Pagan musician arrested on child pornography charges

    New Orleans musician Kenny Klein was arrested Tuesday morning on 25 counts of possessing child pornography. Mr. Klein was a frequent guest of Pagan gatherings, such as last year’s Sacred Harvest Festival in Minnesota.

    *This article has been updated.

    Louisiana State Special Victims Unit began investigating Klein after receiving a tip he was downloading child pornography. A search warrant was granted and police found a large number of sexually explicit videos and photos of children under the age of 13. Mr. Klein admitted the computer the material was found on was his and that he used the computer to download and share child pornography.

    Reaction from area Pagans has been largely shock and anger.

    “I’m so angry about this, I wish I had never met him at [Sacred Harvest Festival],” said Emma Lauren.

    Klein is an elder and a High Priest in the Blue Star Wicca tradition and is credited with turning Blue Star from a local coven into a full tradition with covens across the country. The Twin Cities area hosts a Blue Star Wiccan coven.

    Klein has also written several Pagan books published by Minnesota based Llewellyn. Other publishers include Immanion Press, Delphi Press, Siento Sordida and Knickerbocker Circus Publishing.

    Harmony Tribe, the organization responsible for producing Sacred Harvest Festival issued this statement: “Harmony Tribe is deeply disheartened to learn of the arrest of one of our proposed guests for the 2014 Sacred Harvest Festival, Kenny Klein. We hold the safety and the comfort of our guests above all else. As a result of the arrest and the pending investigation against Mr. Klein, he will not be appearing as a guest for our 2014 festival as formerly planned.”

    Immanion Press, publisher of Klein’s Book The Flowering Rod issued this statement: “Immanion Press is shocked and dismayed to learn that Author Kenny Klein has been arrested for Child Pornography. As a publisher and as contributers to the Pagan community, we don’t condone such behavior. We feel that any author (regardless of who publishes them) is a role model and representative of the Pagan community and as such needs to always remember that how they behave effects the perceptions of the pagan community by the world at large and also effects the safety of our community.”

    Immanion also stated, in a blog post, that they are pulling The Flowering Rod from their catalog. ” At Immanion Press we do not believe in knowingly supporting acts of behavior that violate the Pagan community or how it is represented to the world by our authors. We are committed to publishing books that help the communities we are a part of, but we also believe that any author is a role model and should behave accordingly.”

    Llewellyn Worldwide, publisher of three works by Klein, said, “Llewellyn is deeply disappointed to learn of the allegations against one of our authors.  The situation is regrettable but we cannot comment on allegations.”

    Anne Newkirk Nivin, with PaganSquare and Witches & Pagans magazine said, “We are alarmed and saddened this morning to hear that prominent Pagan Kenny Klein was arrested in New Orleans on Monday on 25 counts of possessing child pornography. Kenny’s blog at our site at PaganSquare has been suspended until his trial (and should he be convicted or plead guilty, permanently.) As publishers and members of the Pagan community, we strongly condemn any form of predatory behavior towards our most vulnerable community members — our children — and support the work of law enforcement and the criminal justice system to root out, prosecute, and punish these crimes.”

     

    As this story broke early, PNC-News does not yet have responses from the organizations mentioned in this article. When we get those responses, we will update this article.

     

    Editor’s Note: I spent time with Kenny Klein during last year’s SHF and at other Pagan gatherings over the years. I found him to be funny and polite. Although every person is innocent until proven guilty, his admission of guilt speaks strongly.

    PNC-Minnesota Sunday Cartoon

    0148resized

    Noland Comics by Shea Thomas

    Follow the Moon: Astrology of intention and mindfulness

    by Teri Parsley Starnes

    Teri’s interest with astrology lies with helping people see how following a practice of intention and self-awareness leads to a fuller relationship with Mystery. Astrology is a wonderful tool for this. Her weekly column orients readers to the seasonal energy of
    each month’s Sun sign in order to set magical/mindful intention for the lunar month beginning at the New Moon.

    Each week Teri will write about the unfolding energies that support and challenge our intentions. The ebb and flow of the lunar cycle resides deep in our souls. Through following the phases of the Moon, we remember the natural cycles that guide us.

    Continue reading

    PNC-Minnesota Sunday Cartoon

    0147resizedNoland Comics by Shea Thomas

    Follow the Moon: Astrology of intention and mindfulness

    by Teri Parsley Starnes

    Teri’s interest with astrology lies with helping people see how following a practice of intention and self-awareness leads to a fuller relationship with Mystery. Astrology is a wonderful tool for this. Her weekly column orients readers to the seasonal energy of
    each month’s Sun sign in order to set magical/mindful intention for the lunar month beginning at the New Moon.

    Each week Teri will write about the unfolding energies that support and challenge our intentions. The ebb and flow of the lunar cycle resides deep in our souls. Through following the phases of the Moon, we remember the natural cycles that guide us.

    Continue reading

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