Posts Tagged ‘Voting Rights’

It’s been a busy weekend.

Looking at houses we know we’ll never get, unless we promise our first-born child, and having the Grands sleepover! Bob measured the Love Bug on our wall and guess what? She’s tall enough to sit in a car without a child seat, but not quite old enough. It’s the age old story of being a pre-teen – wanting braces even though your teeth are straight. And the L’il Pumpkin told me he’ll be glad to be back in school so he can do harder math problems?!?!

Obviously, the red hair is the only thing he got from me.

But we’ve had a grand time grandparenting. The Bug helped me feed our ravenous birds and she also helped PopBob make ravioli! Her brother gave me a hand with the pesto, wanting to know exactly how a Cuisinart works. I mean I can barely work my vintage machine! Will he be an engineer or a chef? Only time will tell.

I’ve realized lately that my obsession with our sideyard birds is nothing new. We started our little family in the Berkshires on the edge of a wildlife sanctuary for birds called Canoe Meadows. We had Guinea Hens and Cardinals galore in our backyard. When we moved back to NJ, we had migrating waterfowl like Herons, Osprey and Egrets flying over our house on the Shrewsbury River. And of course when we built our small house in the Blue Ridge, it was alive with Woodpeckers!

Here in Nashville, in our city farmhouse, we have Mockingbirds, Cardinals, Wrens, lots of Mourning Doves, Finches, Bob Whites, and even a red-winged Blackbird. I’ve managed to also feed a few squirrels! In fact when we went glamping a few weeks ago, bird song was almost non-existent in the forest – it was too quiet. Here in the city, the symphony begins at 4 am, and never stops! It blends with construction noise and leaf blowers, it wiggles the leaves of our holly bushes.

Here we are already, mid-summer and six months into the Joe Biden Presidency. I’ve tried to extricate myself from the news cycle and read up on “what to do with a hundred zucchinis.” The Olympics have started, and we love to watch, but I’d rather just see the personal stories of the athletes. This one was homeless for two months, that one overcame depression. Today I watched the US women’s rowing crew team beat the Romanians. And I saw the small crowd at swimming cheer for “DR JILL BIDEN!”

I’m glad she is there in Tokyo, but maybe she could Zoom with Joe. She should tell him if we don’t pass the “For the People Act,” making it easier to register to vote, expanding mail-in voting, and making early voting the law of the land, we can say goodbye to our democracy. Should I repeat that, because it’s true.

“Should it become law, the legislation would effectively set a national floor on ballot access, requiring all federal elections to start with an identical set of rules. States and other federal jurisdictions could tweak them to provide more access, but not less. Some states like Colorado and Minnesota have rules that are more generous that the bill mandates; others, like Texas and Tennessee, make it much harder to register and vote than the bill envisions.”


Since many Republicans are still addicted to Mr T, and they are enjoying restricting voting rights in many southern state legislators, the time to act is NOW.

Because if we can’t make voting our constitutional right and duty, if we can’t assure voters that their vote was counted, nothing else matters. Nothing. The GOP will keep a stranglehold on any progressive agenda, like gun violence. Even LGBTQ rights and Women’s rights, HUMAN Rights will suffer. Our planet will suffer! Do you want to go back to the good old bigoted days?

Tonight I made the famous mid-summer Triple P – Pesto Pasta Primavera, with my basil and Bob’s bounty. Zucchini, peppers, onions and peas, plus some asparagus from the store. We’re heading over to a friend’s house because life is starting to feel normal again. If only this crazy housing market could slow down!

Building Boba Fett!

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The South doesn’t do snow.

Bob and I were supposed to be Grandparenting this morning, but the temperature plummeted and ice is supposed to turn into snow, so the Grands are home from school with the Groom. He is a great Dad and told us he can work from home; also pancakes are his specialty!

And in light of the racist slurs that came from Mr T yesterday, I made Bob sit down on the couch this morning and put Netflix on his iPad. I heard that President Obama was going to be David Letterman’s first guest on his new gig, “My Next Guest” https://www.netflix.com/title/80209096

Cue the bluebirds. We laughed, we even teared up a little, as we listened to Obama talk about bringing his oldest to college. They were having fun with each other and when Letterman told him he really respected Obama – as a man – and embraced him, I felt so much longing for those days. For a President that could make me dream again.

So it was a bittersweet interview, because I miss that man, and nobody mentioned Mr T at ALL. Which was refreshing, but in his absence, in his void, lies uncertainty. Like children of alcoholic parents, we the American people never know what to expect from his mouth or his Twitter fingers. We were getting so close to a deal on DACA yesterday, that I have to think Mr T’s racist remarks were calculated for his base. Just another bright shiny object to deflect the press. We already knew he was a bigoted nationalist, now I wonder if this president is either terribly sinister, stupid, or suffering from Alzheimer’s. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/12/trump-denies-he-called-countries-s–holes-rejects-senators-daca-deal.html

I did not, will not and could not watch Mr T sign a proclamation for Martin Luther King Day earlier. Instead, to commemorate Dr King’s life, I hauled myself out to the outskirts of  Davidson County and registered myself to vote in TN. And I have an idea about what to do on Monday. I will print off voter registration forms and leave them at our local coffee shop.

I recently left a book there with a post-it that said, “Free book from your local Book Fairy.” In Ireland they have a Book Fairy group that does this all the time, and you’re supposed to try and do it without being caught. Yesterday I noticed someone had left another free book in their window. It felt so good to know a mitzvah was being paid forward.

It should not be so hard to vote in this democracy. That bears repeating, “IT SHOULD NOT BE SO HARD TO VOTE IN THE USA!!” President Obama talked about strengthening the habits of the heart; the more we help others, extend our hands and really connect with others, the more we advance our democracy and our own humanity.

My Nana had a saying, “When you throw your toast out on the water, it comes back with jelly on it.”




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Did you know that Thomas Jefferson was the first President to propose and use ballot initiatives while WE the people are voting for our elected officials? And next week, for the first time since the killing of 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, CT between the ages of 6 and 7, the state of Washington will have 2 questions on the ballot about guns.

Initiative 594 would require all firearm sales, including those at gun shows and conducted online, to be predicated on a background check of the buyer. Initiative 591, however, would disallow background checks for gun purchases unless explicitly required by the federal government. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/16/us-usa-firearm-measures-idUSBREA3F1XL20140416

62% of voters in that state favor expanding background checks according to polls, but since they can vote on both questions it may be confusing. Will Washington be the fifth state to close the gun show loophole, along with New York, Connecticut, Colorado and Delaware? Considering the most recent school shooting in Marysville, it is a timely question.

When we were young, we had fire drills in school. An alarm would go off and everybody had to proceed calmly towards the door, file into the hallway one by one in a straight line and convene outside in the parking lot. Teachers counted heads to make sure everyone was present and accounted for. They tell me we had atomic bomb drills too, hiding under our desks, but I don’t remember those. I do remember filing upstairs at Sacred Heart School for our first dose of a newfangled Polio vaccine

But today teachers and students are practicing what to do should a person with a gun walk through their front doors. It’s conveniently called a “Lockdown Drill.” Think about that for a second, our children are taking time out of their day to play hide and seek in a pretend scenario with a crazed maniac.

In this Washington Post article a teacher talks about having to keep her 4 and 5 year old students hidden and quiet in a classroom closet for 13 minutes!  13 minutes…”16 tiny bodies sitting crisscross applesauce, hands in laps, plus two adults…Instead of controlling guns and inconveniencing those who would use them, we are rounding up and silencing a generation of schoolchildren, and terrifying those who care for them. We are giving away precious time to teach and learn while we cower in fear.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/rehearsing-for-death-a-pre-k-teacher-on-the-trouble-with-lockdown-drills/2014/10/28/4ab456ea-5eb2-11e4-9f3a-7e28799e0549_story.html

She has a point, a very valid point. Instead of rehearsing for death WE the people should start screaming. I was sickened to learn that three states have ballot initiatives to try and curtail a woman’s ability to choose to have a child. TRAP laws and Personhood amendments galore, our glorious, religious right/wing/nuts would love to have government by and for WE the people control our sexual and reproductive health. But, hey keep your hands off our guns! They would rather have our teachers and children terrorized in school – and believe you me, WE are more likely to be gunned down outside a school in this country –  than propose universal background checks for gun owners. How sick and sad is that.

A ratio of 3 to 1, three states against choice to one that is trying to tackle gun violence. After Newtown, President Obama said “Shame on us,” if this tragedy doesn’t result in new gun laws. Shame on us indeed.

I teach in a country awash in weaponry. Maybe that moment I stood alone in my classroom was when I was closest to the truth. In 13 minutes, according to my gruesome and involuntary mental calculus, a single gunman with his effortlessly obtained XM15-E2S rifle and 26 rounds in each of two additional magazines could potentially kill 78 of us.    Proponents Of Increased Gun Control Laws Demonstrate In Washington

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Morning All. Today is National Voter Registration Day so do yourself yourself a favor and check to see if the rules have been changed in your state. And if so, become acquainted with said new rules – like picture ID and/or your original stamped birth certificate, along with your energy bill and a library card maybe? Maybe you moved? Or maybe you got divorced this year and changed your name back to your birth name, or maybe you got married and adopted his name, you’ll need those papers…And if you don’t have one of those things you will now need to show at the voting booth in November, today is the day to get them together and register people! http://nationalvoterregistrationday.org

The deadline to register is usually 21 days before an election, which would make this year’s date for a November 4 election to the  US Senate and House of Representatives October 14th in VA SO we have 15 weekdays to get everybody registered. Remember Nate Silver has said that the GOP has a good chance of taking over the Senate.

As of July 1 of this year voters in VA need to present a valid photo ID card at their polling place, and it could be one of the following:

  • Valid Virginia driver’s license or DMV-issued photo identification card
  • Valid Virginia DMV-issued Veteran’s ID card
  • Valid U.S. Passport
  • Employee photo identification card issued by employer in the ordinary course of business
  • Other government-issued photo ID card (issued by the U.S. Government, the Commonwealth of Virginia, or a political subdivision of the Commonwealth)
  • Virginia College or university student photo ID card
  • Virginia Voter Photo ID card issued by any local general registrar’s office

  Another change this year for VA’s voters is Gov McAullife’s initiative to restore voting rights to convicted felons who have served their time in prison. “Nine months of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration so far has restored voting rights to 3,200 ex-felons, Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney said enthusiastically to members of the Lynchburg Voter’s League Thursday. That total, which he said is three times more than any previous governor, is only an appetizer…His office helped secure a change in the criteria for drug offenses to nonviolent offenses, which drew applause.” http://www.newsadvance.com/news/local/restoring-voting-rights-to-ex-felons-the-topic-of-state/article_dec5ea20-3fa3-11e4-9e28-001a4bcf6878.html

The kickoff for voter registration will be all afternoon on the Historic Downtown Mall, near the Post Office and Free Speech Wall. If you have not yet registered to vote, remember that your vote is your voice. On the day after our President has started bombing Syria without a vote from the House, we should all be enraged engaged with this upcoming election.

The question on this year’s Albemarle County ballot is:

Question: Shall Section 6A of Article X (Taxation and Finance) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to allow the general Assembly to exempt from taxation the real property of the survivng spouse of any member of the amed forces of the United States who was killed in action, where the surviving spouse occupies the real property as his or her principal place of residence and has not remarried?    tumblr_nbyk9pjnfn1qz8q0ho1_500

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Pro-Life and Pro-Gun is an oxymoron

Lots of early voting has been going on, lots of absentee ballots. Tomorrow is the day, and I don’t believe the polls. Only one third of cell phone-only owners were called; and who only owns smart phones and can do without land lines? Right, young people. I don’t know anyone under 40 who uses a land line. No one.

But if you didn’t vote early, know your rights tomorrow. I’m in TN with the Bride who already voted early. She said the Latino man in line in front of her was denied the right to vote because he didn’t have the necessary photo ID. In TN, you can show your concealed hand gun permit in order to vote, but not your student ID. You can show your gun permit, even if it has expired!

Let’s get out the vote people. If you believe that legislators have no goddamn business trying to eradicate Roe vs Wade; if you believe that religious ideology has no place in our public policy; if you believe that health care is a fundamental human right – then you better get out there tomorrow and pull that lever. or touch that screen.

If your normal polling place is out of power, then find out where you can vote. We do need to take back our country, we need to overturn Citizens United and give it back to the people. I, for one, do not want to go back to the 50s. Let’s go forward.

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Yes folks, It’s almost February and it will be 65+ degrees today in the Old Dominion. Who needs Florida, right? Too much sunshine and you run the risk of skin cancer, or even lethargy. I do however wish the media might stop grumbling about the big Newt vs Mitt controversy, and bring the spotlight on the seriously malicious tactics some states have been employing to curtail voting rights. The Chairman of the Democratic Party of VA, Brian Moran sent out this action alert:

“….Republicans are pushing legislation to prevent thousands of Virginians who do not have government-sponsored (picture) identification from casting a regular ballot on election day. They want to make people who register to vote wait five days before casting an absentee ballot. They are also trying to make it illegal to help more than two people with an absentee ballot application in the same election year.” Today there is a rally in Richmond. Will we even hear about this on anything other than NPR?

Write to your legislators! Call your local town councillors! Don’t be afraid, this is a serious attempt at pushing us back to the 1950s, to discourage participatory democracy. Then when you’ve had your say, make a feel good winter salad tonight and boycott the FL returns. Cooking always helps!

Butternut and Kale Winter Salad: Easy peasy, just roast the delicious small chunks of squash, toss with organic kale that you chiffonade into slices, and toss with yummy chunks of a good cheddar cheese and some chopped almonds. How simple. Squeeze half a lemon on top and maybe a TB of EVOO and Voila! Yes, I speak French, wanna make something out of it?

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