Monday, September 22, 2008

And now a confession

Thanks to Lloyd at DemCentral I can admit my love of some songs sung by Toby Keith.

Toby Keith correctly points out the problem of labels- to be 100% supportive of the troops is not to support George W. Bush's policy of preemption (whatever the heck that is), we are complex, the wars are complex, here is some of what he says:

"I get roped into these political arguments, but the truth is I don't see things right or left, I see them right or wrong. If you put check boxes on the left and right for all the big issues, my list will go back and forth all the way down. But all I have to do is disagree with a hardcore, far left liberal on one thing and they just mark me down with all the boxes on the right. And it's pretty much the same thing on the other side...I didn't support the war in Iraq and still don't, but I'm sure I know more about it than he [Sean Penn] does...When he and Clooney get together and say we should go to Africa and stop the genocide, I'll be the one over there performing for the troops when it happens." (my edits, Lloyd has the full quote on DemCentral).

I do enjoy myself some Toby Keith, I admit it, I almost considered buying his most recent favorites album, but thought that I would be supporting him and he represented things that I disagreed with. Happily, I did buy some of the songs on the album (American Soldier- that is one great song "...I don't do it for money, there's still bills that I can't pay, I don't do it for the glory, I just do it anyway..") and now much to Chris' consternation I will likely download the rest of the album.

One thing I will complain about, I like the song "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" sure it is a wee jingoistic, but I was pretty angry after 9/11 and its good to remember.

But when I was at a rodeo lately (yes, I am from Virginia and my friend Johnny is a bull rider) the song was accompanied by horrifying phone calls made by people calling 911 on 9/11/01. I find that over the top for the occasion of a rodeo, especially when the song itself is so resonating. So I know his songs are used not only to remember but to perpetuate the fear, which is not necessarily healthy, in my opinion.

For Marijean

Marijean, I have searched high and low for lard ever since I became aware of your search for the perfect pie crust. I frankly was a bit ashamed that lard is so hard to come by here in Central Virgina.

Happily, my Virginia credentials have returned because I found LARD (ok cut the snarkiness) while on vacation in this store in Burkeville, VA (cleverly the store is called Burkeville Market) the only market for 20 miles. I found lard in almost any variety. So Marijean- thank you for your wonderful posts/tweets and for all of your efforts I offer this photo of lard and the store where one can find it (road trip). :)

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One person's account: Rural Access Medical Care

My Sorenson classmate Aryana Khalid works for the Governor as a Deputy Secretary in the Health & Human Services Agency. Our class has a listserv where we randomly diss each other or have interesting policy discussions. A Newsweek article from about two months ago on health care led to a dialogue on the listserv. I asked if I could use her comment so here goes (Aryana represents herself in the following views):

"We [her husband and her] volunteered at the RAM clinic in Wise this year and I can personally tell you of the joy and tremendous sadness I felt. How wonderful to see so many people give of themselves so willingly and with so much kindness; how sad to see something that I thought would only exist in the Third World. My husband, who isn't necessarily the biggest health person (which is why I took him, I wanted him to see what healthcare is really like in the US), said to me, I can't believe this happens in the United States. I thought we were the most powerful nation in the world, but we don't even begin to take care of our citizens.

I am so very troubled as he is. Most of these people work for a living. They suffer tremendously until something like this comes along. Appalachia is one of the most depressed areas in the country. If you all have seen in the paper recently, life expectancy in this area is going in the wrong direction. Everyone keeps talking about it, but what do we actually DO.

The Governor came out, as did some staff. Dominic came out with Delegate Moran, which was a great. And Delegate Bowling came out as well. But that's it (well I should say, that is all I saw and anyone I spoke to saw), for the entire House and Senate of Virginia. I am scheming ways for how to get more State Reps to come and see this…smile.

There are 6 Mission of Mercy RAM clinics across the Commonwealth each year. Wise is the biggest. There are just so many needs. It seems that whatever side of the aisle you are one, we can all probably agree (I hope) that we shouldn't be treating our working citizenry this way. Their should be options out there. This would include Medicaid and Medicare, but also public-private options to create new and innovative types of health insurance products (like the one coming out from Riverside Hospital System Foundation in Tidewater/Northern Neck). You just cannot fathom how bad it is until you see it with your own eyes.

Finally, there were numerous stories that touched me during my weekend adventure. I will share just one. There was a women who used her brother's frequent flyer miles to fly from NY to Bristol, then hitchhiked to Wise to have what was remaining of her teeth all pulled out. She was going to hitchhike back to Bristol to catch her flight back. Her mouth filled with bloody gauze and in tremendous amounts of pain after having numerous teeth pulled. I worry for her…I hope she made it back ok. And it makes me wonder an even bigger question, how did she get in a situation where the RAM Mission of Mercy Project in Wise, VA was the only place she could get the services she needs. I wonder what that says about our society."

When I asked if I could use her comments, she replied yes and followed w/ this:

"I was OUTRAGED to see what I saw. My husband was horrified. You just don’t expect it in this country. It’s not right, no matter what side of the aisle you are on. And if you think it is right, then I just don’t have words…I just hope that those folks never experience what these people go through day in and day out. I have felt so guilty the since that weekend anytime I complain about my life. I have no idea what it’s like to have a difficult life. One day, I truly believe, things will change. We will make healthcare a priority in this country…it may not be in my lifetime…all I know is there are a lot of health advocates out there, including me, who will die trying. We should not leave people on the outskirts of society alone…we should help them."

Yard Signs

Campaigning is three things- identifying your voters, persuading your voters and getting those voters out to vote. The Obama campaign has strategically focused on increasing the number of voters identified. The voter registration aspect to his campaign has been phenomenally successful and exciting to watch.

One thing the Obama campaign does not care about is signs, bumper stickers or loot in any way. Here is a silly blog post on the Obama campaign's disdain for swag.

As some may know, I love signs, I love signs so friggin much that I have 89 in my trunk (and 99 wire thingys). Do you want a tri sign? Let me know, if you are close I may just drop it by your house. The signs have Obama, Warner and Perriello on them. I love it because I dont have to have three signs in my yard.

Still I am not having luck w/ tri-bumper sticker, my car is officially a Charlottesville car w/ the gazillion stickers. Actually I decided to take two of them off to emphasize my Obama/Perriello love. Creigh's bumper sticker can go up after November 4th and Mark Warner will go up again if for some reason he goes down in the polls.

Single Obama signs are hard to come by in the ville. The grassroots campaign office has ordered them intermittently and sold them to pay for their expenses, which many did out of pocket for months. The campaign says feel free to buy them but we are not giving them out because we are trying to buy air time, commercials and pay for the many field offices registering voters (three in our area alone). Understandable, at least I know that is their stance, but I love to win sign wars AND elections!
I appreciate this austerity.

Do signs matter?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lets try to write

Social media is making me tired. I claim to know VERY little, yet I am on twitter, flickr, facebook, linkedin and myspace (but those last two I dont check very much). So blogging requires thought compared to all of those mediums.
But it is September and a lot is happening so there must be something to write about that will not enrage me (bailout, election, ...).

I am really enjoying my job, my favorite aspect is the research even if sometimes I procrastinate. I worked years at legal aid (not in Charlottesville) and research is not a valued tool. So my bosses are working hard to break me of the quick fix/answer born of years of legal aid work. Plus I have been pleasantly surprised by the wonderful lawyers I have encountered who have so willingly helped me. Its a remarkable community of lawyers in Charlottesville, and LARGE.

The City needs good candidates for the Citizen Advisory Panel for the Charlottesville Police Department. Being the doer that I am, I absolutely want to apply however I am managing a lot right now and the thought of starting something that is brand new is daunting. I want the CAP to be strong and valid, but also advocate for the police department to the community through outreach and other grassroots avenues. Please apply if you want to make a positive contribution to the community.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tour organizers cool to Armstrong return

Obviously, I am giddy over Lance's return to cycling. I despise the organizers of the Tour de France, I blame them for the prevalence of doping in cycling, the organizers are the biggest hypocrites in any sport (and coming off the Beijing Olympics that is saying a lot).

The organizers are quick to point out the suspicions (none confirmed) that dogged Lance during his 7 Tour Victories. I have no idea whether he doped, I dont really care at this point. People have admitted doping in their wins at the Tour, but those people remain integral members of the Tour, while some never were punished (Riis). I am sick of the organizers ruining cycling w/ its weird brand of retribution and history of hazy enforcement. If everyone is playing by the same rules, everyone should be allowed in.

Perception v. Reality and the Media

I love The Fix, a column in the WaPo online. He is also on twitter and I loved following his Convention tweets during speeches.

The Fix's column today demonstrates what Obama/Biden are up against:
As McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said in an interview with Post editors last week: "This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates."

Like Bush before him, McCain doesnt seem to care about the issues or the truth, he cares about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates. See I am actually worried about the issues confronting our country and care, diplomacy, judicial selection, bipartisanship...bridging our differences.

McCain has in the past garnered my respect for promoting issues cross party lines(even if I disagreed with him). Since the convention, McCain has lost control of his candidacy, his handlers are making the decisions, not him. This is how GW Bush let the country be run and now we have a national debt that can cripple the security our families are trying to provide for our children. Someone who can so quickly be overrun by partisanship to get elected is not an ethical candidate, not someone who can be trusted with the title of President of the United States.

What is going on with the media? Why would they let themselves be led around by the nose by the Karl Roves of the McCain campaign? The campaign is not telling the truth, this willful ignorance is what got us into the Iraq War, hasnt the media learned its lesson? Just because they say its true- doesnt mean it is true.

Finally, the Obama-Biden campaign has had nothing to do w/ Palin rumors. It's despicable how the Republican/Righty bloggers/ and some members of the media associate these rumors with the campaign- if they repeat it enough people will think it is true. The Republicans have been lying for 8 years, the McCain campaign already states this is not about issues but framing the opposing candidate in a negative way- they will stop at nothing- including intentionally misleading the media and Americans to vote for McCain. The media doesnt have to buy into the BS, just like the American people do not.
VOTE OBAMA! Together we can bring meaningful change to Washington.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Just in time, I found my livestrong bracelet and wearing it again and viola Lance Armstrong comes back to racing- coincidence? I dont know but I am pleased as punch!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

few items

1. I appreciate whoever made sidewalks on River Road happen, thank you.
2. I do not appreciate anyone who wants to build on a steep slope on Coleman Avenue, all the steep slopes in my neighborhood that are developed have this awful erosion problem combined with cracking pavement.
3. The new Indianapolis stadium is really impressive & I love that football season is back.
4. I cant do everything and I am frustrated by that.
5. hoping to ride the bike at least three times this week, felt awful last week, hope that is over as well.
I apparently can only write in 140 spaces/bullets. Its twitter- seriously I am much more interesting on that than the blog at this point. Perhaps soon I will return to my blogging. I have so many things I want to write about-
- bipartisanship is very difficult right now
- Twin Lakes State Park- if you havent been to a state park- check it out the Parks are really nice.
local issues- none of which I can think of right now- except racial disparities in Charlottesville, seems like I will need more than a blog post on that topic.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

FV pt 2 w/ qualification

Having expounded on Palin and her choice to pursue the Vice Presidency, I do agree with the Obama campaign and those who believe private matters are private. I do wonder about Palin's judgment, and if she rightly doesnt address my concerns, then I will look at what she says/does to see whether she otherwise has poor judgment. I am not voting for McCain, I proclaim no neutrality. Instead I am just curious and trying to determine what McCain is thinking.

Family Values

Being a mom is the great joy of my life, it is one of the great challenges of my life. Growing up in a nontraditional family made me long for a traditional family, a family that would not be judged harshly. I worried about these things when I was little. I am better now, but I seem to have a traditional family. What the hell is traditional? I have no idea. I know now all that teenage self doubt was irrelevant.

Having said that, I feel pretty strongly about Sarah Palin's private choices. I remember discussing Obama's choice before he decided to run and the worry that Michelle had and the concern him and Michelle had about the children being in the spotlight. Of course the couple prayed about the decision and certainly were guided by a higher purpose.

I have not had that context w/ the Palins. I imagine there was significant prayer involved in her decision-making and that the prayer led her to take McCain's offer. So I assume she must feel strongly she is doing this for God, or a higher purpose. I am not demeaning that, it is a legitimate way to make decisions.

I really want to know though- WHY? Why is she forsaking her family for the selfish pursuit of politics?

As some know, I received a neighborly phone call while pursuing the democratic nomination to run for City Council. This person demanded I stay home with my children and not pursue local politics. I tried to tell her reasons why I was running (primarily to benefit my children and their peers) and that my husband is an engaged and active father who supports my decision. She would not hear my explanation. So I understand to a degree that many will judge, and often harshly no matter what a mother is doing or worse, NOT doing.

I want to hear, and I promise to listen and be respectful, why does she believe it is ok to leave her troubled family and campaign for Vice President, a 24 hour a day job?
During the RTD panel, a woman stated strongly that a choice to run for office inherently is not putting your family first. I disagreed, as I can be quite disagreeable, but we came to common ground- I can understand her point, and she could understand my point.

I am a mother- I understand work-life balance, I cannot understand a mother taking on such a terrific challenge when there is so much at home to be taken care of (nevermind placing the 17yo in the media spotlight). Fathers? I expect they too would recognize the need and be present and available for the children. Ultimately, parents must work together to protect and nurture their children.

I am open to constructive feedback and may change my mind if Palin and her family explain this in a non-Stepford way.