Posts Tagged ‘VA’

On Saturday, Bob and I met the other in-Laws, Grandma Shavaun and Grandpa Mike, at Monells for brunch. We enjoyed a serious, family-style Southern meal that included the Bride, Groom, kiddos and another group at the same table. Lots of biscuits, bacon, chicken, corn pudding and cinnamon rolls were passed along with the requisite eggs and pancakes!

The Groom’s parents had arrived from VA to help celebrate a certain little Pumpkin’s birthday.

On Sunday, the Love Bug’s little brother had his 3rd birthday party at a gymnastics training center with the whole preschool class in attendance. Lots of jumping, swinging, balancing and climbing ensued while parents milled about talking about the latest childhood illness or the best barbecue. Just as I was uploading a picture of my grandson to Instagram, sweaty and smiling, a news alert popped up on my Iphone. Another shooting.

I wonder if the Bride and the Rocker remember me dragging them to a Town Hall meeting with my friend Betsy. Do they think about collecting all those toy guns at the community college, where we handed out teddy bears in exchange for water pistols. I wrote about that Republican congressman in the paper, the one who didn’t want to receive all those toy guns at a Town Hall, because he voted against the assault weapon ban. His incumbency was over at the next election.

Researchers have also examined the laws: a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity magazines was passed in 1994. It was lifted in 2004.
Experts said lifting the ban helped to usher in a new era of mass shootings. With these weapons, individuals could shoot faster and for longer periods of time – and consequently were able to kill more people in their attacks.   http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41890277

We forget that once upon a time we didn’t sell these deadly Ruger AR-556s. President Bush didn’t exactly lift the ban, he just let it run out. He could have pushed to extend its life, but instead it’s now much easier to mow down a large group of people in a very short amount of time. Killing people is all this rifle is good for, so maybe just maybe soldiers should be carrying them, but Joe the Plumber? http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/11/everything_we_know_about_the_sutherland_springs_shooter_an_ar_556.html

America the beautiful, where our health is regulated and our guns receive the finest care.

I felt sick serving birthday cake. It’s hard to explain the combination of helplessness and hopelessness that sinks into one’s soul at the news of another mass shooting in the middle of a 3 year old’s party. But here are some numbers to contemplate:

This particular AR-556 was manufactured in Mayodan, NC after the state that gave us a bathroom bill offered the gun company, Sturm, Ruger, & Co. “…as much as $13.7 million in tax breaks, after a bidding process in which the state raised its offer three times.” The CEO of that company made over 4 Million dollars in 2016. The company employs over 2,000 people in their factory that used to dye yarn for textiles; “At the beginning of October, 11,600 Americans had been killed by gun violence so far in 2017.”

And THREE of our worst mass murders have occurred in the last 16 months thanks in large part to the availability of the AR-556.

  • Pulse Nightclub, Orlando  =  49
  • Las Vegas Concert  =  58
  • Sutherland Springs, TX  =  26

And it’s the mental health of our legislators that I am calling into question. If only Dr Seuss were still alive, he could write a new book. You could be shot here or there, you could be shot anywhere.

The sound of thunder woke me early this morning. Please vote today, vote for your grandchildren. Vote for a sane gun policy. Get out your umbrellas, a little rain shouldn’t stop you.




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I’m not talking about college hoops. Although I must say I felt rather conflicted when VA beat Duke for the ACC title 72 – 63 on Sunday. And it was the first time since 1976 that UVA brought that trophy home. When your husband and daughter went to Duke undergrad, and you find yourself living in Charlottesville because that’s where she went to medical school, along with the Groom who is a “lifer” (both VA undergrad and med), you can understand why my alliances were in conflict.

The madness I’m referring to is the third death that’s been reported of a critically injured person from the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX. When we heard that two people died on the scene, my ears tingled. Remember the Rocker is there playing in Nicole Atkins’ band. I didn’t panic, I didn’t call him immediately. In fact, my first reaction was rage. How could the police have chased this drunk driver right into a crowded street, right into a line of people waiting to get into a club? Yes, the drunken/killer made the decision to drink and get into a car, he was responsible for dozens of injured people and now three deaths.

But that cop who was in pursuit presumably wasn’t impaired.He must have had some training about how to apprehend a guy fleeing a sobriety checkpoint that wouldn’t involve chasing his car into a crowd and killing innocent people.  http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-17/news/chi-sxsw-austin-car-hits-crowd-20140317_1_southern-mississippi-sxsw-austin

So I casually texted the Rocker, “How’s SXSW going?” This wasn’t his first time at the Austin festival. The Parlor Mob blew through town a few times in the past…”It’s fun for us!” You can see they were head bangin, long hair, hard rock playing back then!

Here’s a clip from a month ago with Nicole. That’s the Rocker over there on the left. His hair is considerably shorter…My son texted back, “Just played the last show, we leave for Dallas tomorrow morning.”

Being on tour, on the road day and night isn’t easy. Don’t cry me a river, but I’m serious. They drive all day, do a sound check, maybe get something to eat and by now the bar food isn’t bad, then they play till the wee hours, get some sleep and get up early to hit the road again. I know he’ll be staying with his sister in Nashville this weekend. At least they didn’t get this last snowstorm. I just hope he has a little time to play with our Love Bug. She’s just starting to sing, and her dance moves are adorable! http://mercylounge.com/calendar/venue/highwatt/2014/03/22/nicole-atkins/

So stay warm and safe out there on the road son. Tell me if you met Lena Dunham, or you listened to Edward Snowden’s Skype chat. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/03/10/288601356/live-edward-snowden-speaks-to-sxsw And GO DUKE!

The morning aviary view

The morning aviary view

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We lost an hour on the clock this morning, and if the polls prove to be true, the whole country will be watching VA turn blue on Tuesday. I don’t know about your state, but we’ve been flooded with phone calls and TV ads to get out the vote in this off-year election for Governor, and it’s become apparent that Democrat Terry McAuliffe holds a double digit lead among women against his anti-choice, pro-gun, climate change denier Tea Party opponent, Ken Cuccinelli. 130508_ken_cuccinelli_terry_mcauliffe_ap_605

While McAuliffe is ahead in all the public opinion polls and while he and his allies have greatly outraised and outspent Cuccinelli and the outside groups backing the GOP candidate, this is expected to be a low-turnout, off-year election which tends to trend older and slightly more conservative.http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/10/30/how-close-is-the-race-for-governor-of-virginia/

But in addition to voting for Governor, we also have a few down-ballot boxes to tick; on Tuesday Virginia elects two other statewide officers, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. In addition, some other delegates to the state house are busy trying to defend their majority. With over a two to one margin, it’s unlikely the Republicans will lose the house.

Still, we Dems just might win the top trifecta of seats in VA, thanks to women voters. Which would mean we’d never have to suffer another humiliating vaginal probe ultrasound bill, or personhood bill, or a bill that adds exorbitant regulations and building requirements for reproductive health care clinics, or a bill that will try to tell doctors where they can practice….thereby changing our purple mountain’s majesty deep blue. Or maybe orange?

November Sunrise

November Sunrise

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My Mother, the Flapper was also known as Grandma Gi. In order to provide for her family, she worked as a bookkeeper for many years. Widowed three times, she adored President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In fact, his picture hung in our kitchen, right next to the Crucifix. When she traveled to the Berkshires to help me with the newborn Bride, she was a retired 70 year old. Because Gi was a radically committed, life-long smoker, and Dr Bob knew about the hazards of second-hand smoke before the Surgeon General, she was banished to the porch for her bi-hourly habit. Now Septembers can get mighty cold in MA. This is why you see her holding my baby, over 30 years ago, wearing a face mask. Gi, aka the Flapper, had contracted pneumonia and had to return to her Condo on the Lake.

Lucky for me, I never smoked and my only banishment, while visiting the new Love Bug, was to my beautifully appointed, upstairs suite for sleep. I’m recounting those first few days in Nashville, because yesterday I had lunch with friends and happily offered up the replay. How I looked into my Grand Daughter’s eyes and saw the Bride. Like a beautiful work of art, after decades of overpaint, varnish, dirt and maybe even cigarette smoke is removed by a master restorer, I could glimpse the brush strokes of the original artist. Dark, and soulful, inquisitive and beckoning, her eyes spoke to me. And looking back through the lens of time, I could feel the steely determination of my Mother, to walk again when she was told she would be in a wheelchair for life. The utter devotion of my Nana, who held me tight, saving my life when a drunk driver rammed into our car in 1949. The unequivocal righteousness of my Great Grandmother, who sheltered coal miners and marched for their rights, even though she herself could not yet vote. Little Love Bug, I am happy to report that our President is soaring ahead in the polls on the women’s vote in this battleground state.

And it’s not just because the President knows our Constitution backwards and forwards, and wants to keep government and religion separate, thereby protecting our reproductive rights. “Women registered voters trust Obama more than they do Romney to handle the economy, 52 to 39 percent.” FDR came from a wealthy family, yet he understood that government needs to care for 100% of its citizens and he almost singlehandedly pulled our country out of the Great Depression. I’m thinking I may have to frame a picture of Obama for our kitchen. L’Shana Tovah to our Jewish friends and family too.

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Breaking news; “Board of Health Rejects Grandfather Amendment in Vote to Apply Proposed Regulations to Existing Women’s Health Clinics.” Wait you never heard of it? http://www.naralva.org/media/press/20120914.shtml

TRAP is a new word or acronym for me. I’ve only recently fully understood what it means. To be trapped, one thinks of being caged, like a wild animal. And in fact, that is exactly what many of these TRAP laws are trying to do – keep women in their place, barefoot and pregnant, and out of abortion clinics. TRAP stands for “targeted regulation of abortion providers.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/14/virginia-abortion-clinic-regulations_n_1884897.html

Last week with very little fanfare, in my fair state of VA, the state for lovers, our Republican Ultrasound Gov McDonnell and Republican AG Cuccinelli shoved their TRAP regulations down the throats of our Board of Health. After voting to declaw the regulations by allowing existing clinics to be exempt, or grandfathered in, and only adopting the TRAP laws for NEW building, the BOH did an about face on Friday. It makes me wonder what type of leverage the 2 most powerful men in the state used on the Board so that they would change their decision? Oh wait, you can find anything on the internets:

“Funny thing is that the board made this decision after board members received a letter from the attorney general informing them that the state wouldn’t represent them if they were sued in response to the decision: Board member James Edmondson Jr. said that they were ‘warned’ that they could be left to defend themselves on the decision, and may have to cover their own legal fees.”

Now VA may have to close most Planned Parenthood clinics rather than totally retro-fit every facility in order to meet building codes previously only used for hospitals….
“The board’s 13-to-2 flip-flop provoked an outraged chorus of “shame, shame,” from abortion rights advocates gathered in the meeting room. Security swiftly ushered protesters out of the room, as one woman yelled, “‘You don’t give a shit about women living in Virginia!‘” http://feministing.com/2012/09/17/friday-vote-on-new-trap-law-may-decimate-abortion-access-in-virginia/

T – Target
R – Republicans
A – About
P – Patriarchy

I like that better. Stand up to these bullies. Private, out-patient surgical buildings owned by doctors or hospital groups that provide mammograms, colonoscopies, dental surgery, and even plastic surgery are not required to submit to TRAP laws, which should tell any discerning person something. The Director of VA’s NARAL, Tarina Keene said, “There’s no doubt in my mind that this is an attack on Roe, you can ban abortion by making it inaccessible.” If you want to take action, start here: http://www.naralva.org

If you believe that our legislators have the right to tell our doctors and nurses and the women of this country how, when and where they may access health care, well then I hope you are reading this. Maybe, since all of this targeting seems patently illegal, in the future the urologist who is about to perform a procedure on you in her office will have to switch you over to a hospital’s OR…and maybe make you wait awhile to contemplate your vasectomy?

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