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Archive for June, 2012

We’re heading into triple digit territory today. I watered the garden and all my pots, caught a couple of Japanese beetles chewing away on a basil plant, and heard all about the beautiful red fox that was strolling up our hill while Bob was showering. Today is a day to stay home, in the air conditioning, and finish putting napkins away and chairs in their usual spots. To finish reassembling the house, post-party. And to celebrate the SCOTUS decision upholding almost all the principles of the Affordable Care Act.

Why was I nearly crying while listening to Nancy Pelosi talk about Teddy Kennedy? Why did I take this so personally? It’s hard to say. The drunk driver who hit the Flapper head-on in 1949 when I was a baby had no car insurance, it wasn’t mandated back then. And I always thought the analogy for the High Court was more like auto insurance and less like broccoli. Now if a small percentage of the nearly 50 million who are uninsured in this country fail to get health insurance, they will be taxed. OK, and the problem is? Part of being a citizen of these United States is paying your taxes, and did we have a choice when Bush marched us into Iraq? And hearing Mitt talk about not wanting government to come “between you and your doctor,” made me laugh. Don’t the Republicans want exactly that, to mandate ultrasounds and building codes/requlations for out-patient surgeries? To tell doctors they must document a patient’s record in a certain way, to make sure that each patient has been offered the chance to see and listen to a small heartbeat?

It’s Etch a Sketch time again; Govenor Mitt really wanted the individual mandate in MA, but Candidate Mitt wants us to think it’s the end of the world. In fact, for women this is just the beginning since they represent 19 million of the uninsured today. “Up to 10.3 million of the low-income among them will now be covered by Medicaid by 2014 when the law goes into full effect.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/brycecovert/2012/06/28/obamacare-decision-why-women-are-the-big-winners-health-care-supreme-court/
I have to imagine that maybe I would not have been raised by foster parents if our family had not lost everything after my father’s unsuccessful brain surgery and death. If my mother had her extensive physical rehabilitation covered after the accident in our Year of Living Dangerously. And to think that over 60 years later, a devastating diagnosis or an accident could still result in bankruptcy for American families. The rest of the civilized world had some form of universal health care for their citizens by the end of WWII. Maybe that’s why I was crying.

President Obama said yesterday that the ruling was “…a victory for the country, (people would not need to)…hang their fortunes on chance, or fear financial ruin if they became sick.” I truly hope the GOP leadership has some cooler heads going forward, because Mitt, you were right. We don’t want government coming between us and our doctors, just us and our insurance companies. Like the fact that Anthem recently partnered with CVS, what’s that all about? Shouldn’t the FTC look into this? But who am I? I only pay taxes!

Thank you Justice Roberts, for doing the right and proper thing. Thank you for really valuing the American family, in all its myriad forms. I knew that after Gore vs Bush and Citizen’s United you began to see the forest through those tea party trees.

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It’s another beautiful Blue Ridge morning. A crisp north wind has banished the humidity and rabbits are hopping all over my sun-drenched lawn. But hearing the news about Nora Ephron gave me chills and made me pause to listen to her incredible voice. http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-nora-ephron-20120627,0,4888846.story She was about a generation ahead of mine; she was our trailblazer. She helped to define my tribe of women, she coaxed us along and prodded us to laugh at ourselves. And somehow I wasn’t surprised to find out that when she was fresh out of Wellesley College and looking for work in NYC, Newsweek told her “Women don’t write here.” Maybe going to an all female college helped her to just accept that fact and start off in the mailroom? My very first job fresh out of college was with the ironically named Manpower. Refusing for years to learn how to type or ever consider being in a secretarial pool, at least I could test other’s typing skills.

In July the Bride will be starting her first job in her EM field, well technically. She certainly worked summers and years before in other medically related fields. But the years of residency training have all led up to the day she will walk into a new ER, baby bump first. And part of her reasoning in choosing this career was the work-life-balance thing. Recently, an Atlantic article has been getting a lot of buzz about this very issue – one I had fought and thought was pretty much over and done with. Titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” by Anne-Marie Slaughter http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-can-8217-t-have-it-all/9020/

I know I know, Adele is singing about a bad boy, but didn’t we raise our daughters to think they really could have it all? Slaughter had her dream job in DC, she left academia at Princeton to mingle with the super powers of foreign policy planning
as the very first woman director of public policy at the State Department under Hillary Clinton. She left her teenage boys during the week and only returned home to NJ on the weekends and she talks about the toll that decision had on her family.”I could no longer be both the parent and the professional I wanted to be—at least not with a child experiencing a rocky adolescence. I realized what should have perhaps been obvious: having it all, at least for me, depended almost entirely on what type of job I had. The flip side is the harder truth: having it all was not possible in many types of jobs, including high government office—at least not for very long.”

One of the hardest things Slaughter found to write in this story was that she actually wanted to be home. So have we sold our daughters a feminist myth? Certainly the life of an academic, and a Dean, is conducive to balancing a family because the hours are flexible. But one wonders why women are not equally represented in board rooms and legislative offices all over our country. Certainly other countries value parents more by allowing for more flexible schedules and longer child care leave and most importantly, providing excellent early childhood day care. In Canada, women have paid leave for up to a year after their babies are born. My daughter will be returning to work 8 weeks after she gives birth. Her husband is an excellent photographer, and captured the new Doctor with her Grandmother Doctor! Ada received her doctorate in marriage counseling at the age of 65.

So do men even think about the work-life-balance today? Do they truly want to share in the raising of their children? I can only hope we have raised a generation of young men who do consider these things. My generation ushered in the pill and free love with its kissing cousin, the ability to file for a divorce because of “irreconcilable differences.” We wanted what they were having; we wanted it all for our daughters. So I’ll leave you with another classic Ephron quote: “Marriages come and go, but divorce is forever.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nora-ephron/the-d-word_1_b_779626.html?ref=topbar

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What’s a person to do when they’re lying awake in bed at midnight buzzing with happiness and the let-down of a stressful but fun weekend? Why, get up and watch Pierce Morgan interview the Dalai Lama of course. Oh, and check in on my friend Karen’s Daughter-in-Law. I mentioned this gal before, Kath Younger (KERF) is our town’s famous food blogger, as big online as that Pioneer Woman out west, except that Kath is adorably real! And yesterday, she and her husband Matt documented the Bride and Groom’s baby shower here http://www.KathEats.com/party-hoppin

It all started on Friday, like any good Jewish celebration relatives started streaming in from points north and festivities were planned. The Rocker got his first glimpse of his sister’s 30 week belly at Barbecue Exchange in Gordonsville, a truly unique and delicious experience!

Saturday night we met friends on the mall for dinner. The weather couldn’t have been better and my Grand Dogs were very well behaved. How long does it take for the conversation to turn to medicine when 4 doctors walk into a restaurant? I always try to postpone the inevitable, but it never works. Once, when the band stopped by on a grand tour, we played a game of Trivial Pursuit with a group of medical students after dinner. I called it the artists vs the scientists, and the artists won! Ah those were our glory days! But this weekend the doctors were in; so sprinkled among the baby talk were consults on broken fingers and poison ivy.

Many thanks to the Groom’s Mom for co-hosting a great baby shower; and to Ashley East, Dinner at Home for the yummy salads. The baby-clothes-line-art-activity went particularly well (thanks Pinterest), in fact we couldn’t decide on a winner. And I am humbled by Kath’s opinion of my carrot cake. (photo courtesy of KERF) This 3 layer, toasted coconut, cream cheese frosted carrot cake has a special meaning for us. I found the recipe years ago in a Junior League cookbook, and I would make it once or twice a year with my daughter since she could stand on a stool and help. We’d bring it to birthday parties, we’d deliver it to a funeral, we’d demonstrate its deliciousness to visiting French students; its secret is that it is overloaded with carrots. I still use the 1960’s avocado green Sunbeam hand mixer to whip it together. Of course, the Bride would always get to clean the frosting bowl. Baby girl was kicking up a storm this morning as they packed up all their presents and the dogs for the return trip to Nashville. Sweeter they couldn’t be!

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They’re at it again in the District. Republicans would like to have the Justice Department’s 80,000 documents related to that vaudevillian program of gunrunning called “Fast and Furious.” I wrote about it here: https://mountainmornings.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/unintended-consequences/

Our President told them to just hold on a minute, and issued his Executive Privilege, which means they can’t have them. Ouch. Remember back in 2007 when Justice fired 9 judges and the Democrats thought this was a political move? The shoe was on the other foot as a Democratic Congress asked for some clarity from President George W Bush. He issued his privilege to keep Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten from testifying in front of Congress. It’s nothing new, in fact our first President thought it up!”President George Washington set the precedent in 1796 when he refused a House request for documents relating to how the Jay Treaty with Great Britain was negotiated.” http://edition.cnn.com/2012/06/20/politics/executive-privilege-history/index.html?hpt=hp_mid

Isn’t this akin to a parent saying “Because I’m your Mom/Dad and I said so?” Now since all of you were kids at one time or another, I’m sure that tactic still irritates you. It’s the absolute last move in any disciplinary chess game. Ironically, we’ve all had to use it ourselves from time to time. Trust us, you’ll understand it when you’re grown. Kids can’t think ahead, not logically at least until a certain age. Hence the temper tantrum. And that’s what’s happening now.

Yesterday, by a vote of 23-17, the House Oversight Committee is recommending that Attorney General Eric Holder be cited for contempt – even though the President has said these documents are confidential. And this sets up our political landscape for a long-winded fight right before an election. The party of the NRA wants to know why the ATF was so loosey goosey with all those firearms. Now I’m all for quality control, maybe even calling in some outside consultants to figure out what went wrong. Although it seems pretty obvious to the casual observer; give Mexican drug lords more guns? Our gun culture, our failed war on drugs, our woefully inadequate Congress – where to start. Ms Bean agrees with me
It’s just that at some point, the boys will be boys club on the Hill has got to stop bullying from their pulpits and go about the business of running our Country before we sink into an even deeper economic hole.

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“Not everything that glitters is gold.” That’s my Rocker on the acoustic to the right, doing some harmony. And yes, a certain hockey team licensed it – go TPM!!

And unless you were unconscious this week, you must have heard about President Obama’s Dream Act. Bypassing our do-nothing Congress, Obama finally proposed that we stop deporting children whose only crime was that they happened to arrive on our shores via their undocumented parents. If you are under 30 years old… – well here are the criteria:

Came to the United States under the age of 16.
Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of the memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of the memorandum.
Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.
Have not been convicted of a felony offence, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety.
Are not above the age of 30.

“Now they will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings; and will also be allowed to apply for authorization to work in this country.” http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/06/the-dream-order-is-another-reason-for-congress-to-act-on-immigration/258653/ I’ve always thought it was strange you could serve our country in the Armed Forces while being illegal, right? It’s like signing up the Irish off the boat to fight in the Civil War.

The day it happened I stopped at Whole Foods and told the cashier and a manager who were admiring my grocery tote with a picture of Michelle Obama on a swing. Quite often I feel as if I’ve entered an Anne Tyler novel whenever I enter Whole Foods. I said, “Did you hear what her husband did today?” And honest to God, they stopped what they were doing, got tears in their eyes, and goose bumps on their arms. We almost had a hootenanny moment together.

But hey, what if you happened to arrive in the good ole USA at 18? Or maybe you just turned 31…I’m not so sure this dream act is enough, but it’s a start. And here’s to our nation of immigrants. Where the son of a Kenyan, a mixed race man from Hawaii can become President, and the great-great-grandson of Miles and Elizabeth Romney, Mormon converts from England, can challenge him.

Mitt would rather trace his roots to Mexico, where his English ancestors were sheltered when polygamy became outlawed. Funny how we don’t hear about the dreams of his fathers. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18422949 Listen up Trump – here’s a birth certificate!

Keep dreamin

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Well, not necessarily. Sometimes the Mama knows better. Back in the day though, I loved watching Robert Young verbally duel it out with his TV family. Yes folks, it was black and white and we had maybe 3 stations?

Today we celebrated Father’s Day in Annapolis with 2 and a half fathers. The Groom is about to become a Dad since his Bride is now 29 weeks along. I watched him with his own father and saw the easy camaraderie, the funny asides. I wanted to tell him not to worry, this is how you raise a girl:

Dance with her on your feet
Hide tiny presents around the house
Play ball in the late spring afternoon
Put her hair in French braids
Tell her about the stars and the planets
Listen to her between the words
Let her paint your toenails
Give her butterfly kisses

I know you’ll be a great Dad!

20120617-233932.jpg

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Last night the humidity broke and I met three friends on the historic pedestrian mall for shrimp and grits, perfect almost summer evening. As we picked a little, we talked a little about the latest scandal in this university town. On Sunday the UVA Board of Visitors announced a parting of the ways with our beloved President, Teresa Sullivan. Less than 2 years into her 5 year contract, it came as a shock to faculty, students and the community at large. People were talking about how they waited for graduation, for people to disperse around the world on their summer programs, and that fact, that lack of transparency, is what is still setting our little city on simmer.

The official reason, as stated in letters to faculty (full disclosure, Bob got one) was that they were experiencing “philosophical differences.” However, in a bold reporting move our little freebie weekly http://www.readthehook.com/104213/cabal-hall-why-does-darden-trump-carrs-hill dug up some new Albemarle red clay dirt. Her departure was “… less a mutual agreement and more of a palace coup orchestrated by alumni and friends of the Darden School.” Now Darden is the Business School here in Mr Jefferson’s village; it is quite exclusive competitive and sits high on a hill overlooking the university. Needless to say, many of the strings the Board has to pull come from behind the Darden curtain where alums of the $50,000 a year program go on to become 1 percenters in big time financial fields where money and power collide.

What makes a good university president? My brother Mike, the former President and General Manager of an NFL team once told me it takes “ruthlessness.” I may have said this before, but I’ll always remember that. He had dropped out of college to start working in the sports field, and was now teaching a business course at the University of Minnesota. Unlike Mitt, my brother truly was a Horatio Alger story. I was visiting the Flapper who had been relocated to a beautiful lakeside condo nearby for her golden years. In true outlier fashion, Mike said that every great university president has to have the connections and bring in capital; ruthlessness is what it takes to make money. But a media scholar here asks, “What does she (the Board’s Rector) want? … a top flight scholar and administrator with a sterling reputation who’s able to gather support from every constituency in the university?…If she wants that, she just fired her.” So who’s right? And what was Sullivan’s crime? It’s only in the last decade we’ve seen women rise to the very pinnacles of ivy towers, and maybe the formula for educational excellence has to shift.

And in yet another local university news headline, lawyers for the Lacrosse player who beat Yeardley Love’s head against a wall are asking for a change of venue in the civil case her mother has brought against him. He was found guilty in the criminal case if you recall; this is a “Wrongful Death” suit claiming 30 Million in damages from her daughter’s ex-boyfriend’s reckless indifference in leaving Yeardley, after beating her, to die. Love’s mother has recently filed a second law suit for 30 Million naming the “…Commonwealth of Virginia, University of Virginia head men’s lacrosse coach Dom Starsia, associate coach Marc van Arsdale and UVa Athletics Director Craig Littlepage as defendants.” I don’t know, do you think the media frenzy the Lacrosse case has engendered means our fair citizens cannot come to a fair opinion? I think Cvillians want to know the facts. For instance, did the President mishandle this high profile case? I don’t think so. Were her sympathies with the student-led “Living Wage” campaign? And if so, good for her! Philosophical or financial, everyone is agreed, Mr Jefferson’s Academical Village has suffered some major blows. http://www.cavalierdaily.com/

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