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Social Issues

Remote Area Medical Treats America's Other World

by: Dan Sullivan

Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 11:14:43 AM EDT

 photo 140720WiseRAM_2_zpse6420519.jpgIt is been called a field hospital, but really isn't. There is some minor surgery, mostly dental, but most care falls into more clinical than surgical. An impressive endeavor in any case and outclasses any medical or dental activity the U.S. military routinely provides overseas. That was striking.

Odd what catches one's attention. The nice tents and orderly processes were expected. What caught my eye was the condition of the Wise County Fairgrounds as the Remote Area Medical (RAM) effort came to an end. The clients left the grounds far tidier than I would have ever expected. In fact, quite clean. A sign of respect? Or just the nature of people in this part of Virginia. Everywhere you go people are friendlier and more open to strangers than in more urban areas.

At the close of this RAM I was told that the last count at mid-morning had been 2,700 and that the total was likely near last year's 3,000 treated. The numbers are misleading. At every RAM, people are turned away and there is no accurate count of those. If the capacity supported more, the numbers would have some meaning. What is clear is that demand is growing either from awareness or economic conditions.

What I didn't know is that Wise is just one of three clinics that RAM has organized in far Southwest Virginia this year. Next: Jonesville, Virginia; 13 - 14 September. Then: Grundy, Virginia; 4 - 5 October. What I didn't expect was the efficiency of the breakdown of the camp. I now want to take part in and watch the arrival and assembly. For those who want to volunteer, information is available at the RAM website. Note that you should register early as registration can close; it closed a month before the clinic in Wise.

Another thing I didn't realize: the State Fairgrounds at the center of Oklahoma City, The Seattle Center in, of course, Seattle, and the Manhattan Convention Center in New York City now qualify as "remote." New York City! Clinics will be held at those locations in August, October, and November respectively. What does this say about health care in the United States? I am not really sure other than something is amiss.  

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The Lies We Tell Ourselves About Migrants

by: Dan Sullivan

Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 07:17:44 AM EDT

July 4 at Monticello photo 140704July4atMonticello_zps2a5cb517.jpgImmigration status neither confers nor denies basic human rights. How anyone arrives in America does not affect their status as humans. We do not have a spotless record and to pretend we do is shameful. Fortunately not ubiquitous, our inexcusable cases of exploitation are a close kept family secret.

Happy Independence Day. This week none other than Rush Limbaugh began framing the right wing excuses for the behavior of Americans in Lawrenceville and, now, Murrieta, north of San Diego. The purpose of Ellis Island, he bloviated, was to halt the spread of disease; poking at a spot that sparks fervor aimed at the children who've crossed our border. He sarcastically mocked the words on the Statue of Liberty. And, he seemed to argue that we are not a nation of immigrants. Tell that to the 11% of Virginians who are.

Recently, while waiting for a connection after a cancelled flight in Budapest, I struck up a conversation with a woman who I'd heard speaking English. Turned out that she is in the process of establishing residency in Germany. A naturalized American citizen, her family immigrated to the United States from Estonia after World War II. It had been a struggle to gain that status and it only occurred by happenstance. Sitting in a park in devastated Tallinn, her father struck up a conversation about his dream with a nun who coincidentally was with a Catholic organization working with sponsors for immigrants to the United States.

The family was eventually granted entry status and guided to settle in a small northwest Pennsylvania town where there was a job for her father. It was a company town, essentially owned by his employer. To "help" them settle, they were given credit at the company stores, payment for which was automatically deducted from his wages. It did not take her mother long to come to the realization that they were gradually falling further and further into debt with small hope of escaping a spiral into tacit servitude.  

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The Quest for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

by: Dan Sullivan

Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:58:38 AM EDT

What a difference a year makes. This time last year there was a sense that comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level may happen in some form. It would be sweeping and, like any compromise, not exactly what everyone wanted. Now we have something worse: only the noise of recrimination.

The Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR) met last year to map out the values and principles held by Virginians and provide a voice to Congress. But now what since reform appears dead in the water? Well, during the Obama administration, more than 2 million mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and children have been deported; more deportations than in any previous administration. That number is hard to wrap your head around and does not convey the individual personal tragedies involved. For example, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reports 72,410 of those deported said that they had one or more U.S. born children. Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens, then, have had their parents deported. So the VACIR has changed its tact and directed its energy toward pressuring the Obama administration to act since the House of Representatives has failed in its responsibilities. They are also looking at ways state legislators can address the issues.

11% of Virginians were born outside the United States. They, like all Virginians, need the tools and opportunities necessary to build strong families, healthy communities, and a culturally and economically thriving Virginia. For now VACIR is focused on four key areas:

Where do we even begin with Federal reform? The well is poisoned. I will disclose that my bias on this matter begins and ends with the Republican Party, Ronald Reagan, Simpson-Mazzoli, and close personal experiences with immigration and naturalization. Some 3 million immigrants were granted amnesty in 1986. That is the precedent that those who are angry should focus on when crying about today's "failed policies." And the fact is that the reason for the current flood is not anything President Obama has done but a more pedestrian cause: it's the economy stupid; the economy in Honduras, El Salvador and the rest of Central and South America. Places where we meddled, then abandoned; the spawn of Ronald Reagan's foreign policy abetted by Ollie North and "company."

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James Madison University's and Virginia's Shame

by: Dan Sullivan

Thu Jun 19, 2014 at 22:15:20 PM EDT

140619 JMUTonight was WHSV's third installment in a series indicting the James Madison University Administration for failing to take sexual assault seriously. Apparently the McAuliffe Administration fails to recognize the malfeasance that is evident or suffers the same hope that this will simply be forgotten. Suspend and investigate the administrators now!

There is actually much more to be concerned about. Apparently Alger and his crew are completely unfamiliar with the characteristics and behaviors of sexual predators. Generally predators are serial violators. And when allowed to escape appropriate punishment are emboldened to continue, armed with more knowledge of the processes that might result in their apprehension. Predators are stalkers and sociopaths. If the JMU administrators believe that this was just a misunderstanding among friends who had too much to drink, then they are unqualified to protect the students in their charge. In fact, the behavior of those three men typifies that of a stalker who lays in wait for such an opportunity to present itself. It is very unlikely that this was their first or last such behavior. Every indication is that these men should be registered sex-offenders for the good of any community in which they reside. But JMU decided it is fine that they remain on campus despite the threat they present.

...with this verdict, myself, along with all the other females in the student body are torn down enormously. As a senior about to graduate in a few short weeks, I feel as though my last year has been tainted. I do not want to share a diploma with these three boys. I do not want to tell people I graduated from a school that thinks sexual assault and sexual harassment are acceptable. - excerpt from a letter to President Alger from a party to the school's investigation

Below the fold is the full letter to JMU President Alger from a friend of the victim that expresses frustration that the sexual assault of a student was taken so casually and dealt with so lightly. Like JMU advertises, "It's all about relationships."

There is an online petition demanding justice for the victim at change.org.

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James Madison University Administration #Fail

by: Dan Sullivan

Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 13:59:37 PM EDT

JMU Code of Conduct photo 140618JMUSexualAssault_zpsdc24a39a.jpgLess than two weeks ago Senator Mark Warner was asked a question about how to address sexual violence against women on campus. He pointed to the Administrations as the place where a culture that enforces appropriate behavior begins. A WHSV report does not reflect well on JMU's.

In the first of a three part series that began airing last night and continues tonight and tomorrow, a former JMU student tells her story of assault at the hands of three other JMU students while on Spring break in Florida. These were men that she considered her friends and whose video of the assault filtered through the internet before she was fully aware of what happened.

"I'm clearly like not really able to defend myself or fight them off," said Butters, "We were in an enclosed bathroom. It was three of them surrounding me and none of them thought they were doing anything wrong."

But the Administration was slow to act. The event occurred in March 2013 and was reported but the case did not seem to gain any attention until last fall. By the time the three members of the JMU Sigma Chi fraternity were admonished, they had earned their degrees and were allowed to graduate.

Their punishment: expelled upon graduation; not allowed to walk at graduation or allowed back on campus ... but graduated nonetheless.

This ball is not in Senator Warner's court now. This hot potato is Governor McAuliffe's. It is time for him to expel some of the administrators at JMU.  

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Permaculture Comes to the Valley

by: Dan Sullivan

Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:02:39 AM EDT

Ryan Blosser photo 140522RyanBlosser_zpsff333360.jpgRyan Blosser was raised in Waynesboro and a stand-out basketball player at Fishburne Military School who earned an athletic scholarship to play for a Division I college. That foray lasted a year, after which he began a circuitous journey to a farm in Churchville and Project GROWS in Verona.

People often ask me "What happened to you?" I don't look like the short-haired Fishburne basketball player that I was. - Ryan Blosser

Growing up, Blosser says, local food was Domino's pizza and a gallon of orange juice. He spent all his time at the YMCA indoors. He didn't know he was missing anything. When he went off to college he just did not like the experience. He quit. But basketball had been his entire identity. He met his future wife, Joy, and decided to move to Hawaii. It was on Oahu that his obsession with local food started.

Blosser sees his life as three woven tracks. First there is his need to engage his body somehow physically; an intellectual need, which being a college basketball player did not fulfill; and finally an emotional need. In Hawaii, the guy who had never been outside started to surf. Then he happened on a local farmer's market and he bought and fell in love with a basil plant. Finally while taking a college course on poetry he discovered the haptic poets. The basil plant became his fetishized object.

This is going to really sound really, really "woo woo," but I started to actually connect to the rhythm of the planet, not in that hippie kind of way, but in a real way where you are outside in the water and you actually feel it.

These experiences motivated him. He could grow his plant and eat it too. He could smell it, put it in his food and eat it, all without going to the store to buy it. To that point he had been living off of rice and beer; that was what the money they had bought. Then about 12 years ago, in a corner of his yard, he started an herb garden.  

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Letter to "Bloviating Ignoramus," George Will, Regarding his Opinion Piece on Rape in WaPo

by: FisherShannon

Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 16:49:37 PM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

Shannon Fisher - Richmond-based host of the national radio talk show, The Authentic Woman - Perspectives on the Female Experience in America, and co-founder and past Director of Unite Against Rape for UniteWomen.org - wrote a pointed letter to George Will in response to his June 6 opinion piece in the Washington Post, Colleges Become the Victims of Progressivism, in which he states that being a victim of sexual assault is "a coveted status that confers privileges."

Her letter reads as follows:
"First, I would like to annotate that rape is not a political issue.  To hurl the label of 'progressivism' at policies that clear the way for a victim of rape to report a crime, and to avoid having this report whitewashed by administrators whose primary concern is protecting an institution's reputation, significantly diminishes the significance of the crime.  Supposing that only a progressive would support the punishment of perpetrators of this heinous crime suggests that a conservative would revel in having these crimes masked - and that is simply not the case.  Most humans with a developed sense of empathy would like to see those who violated their loved ones - mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, sons, brothers, fathers - brought to justice.

"Rape knows no gender.  Rape knows no socio-economic status.  Rape knows no political party, nor any religion or ideology.  Rape is indeed ubiquitous, possibly the most ubiquitous human rights violation worldwide today.  It would stand to reason that, regardless of one's political leaning, every ethical person would applaud ubiquitous reporting of such violations.  It appears your disdain for the rise in reports of sexual violence on college campuses is based on a contempt for progressive policies.  While I respect disdain for any political ideology and relish diversity of opinion, I take great issue with your implied correlation between political ideology and response to sexual assault...."

Read Shannon Fisher's entire letter to George Will at https://fishershannon.wordpres...

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Arlington Young Democrats to Host Bipartisan Immigration Panel

by: ArlingtonYDs

Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:50:15 PM EDT

As part of its ongoing efforts to lead the conversation on issues that affect young professionals in Northern Virginia, the Arlington Young Democrats recently announced a bipartisan immigration panel to be held on May 28th.  

The event, which explores the necessity of immigration reform from both liberal and conservative viewpoints, is the first topic in an ongoing series of panel discussions on pressing issues in Virginia and national politics.

Information on speakers and location is available below the fold.

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Kaine, Warner Don't Sign Letter Asking Redskins to Change Racist Name

by: TheGreenMiles

Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:12:53 PM EDT

Half the Senate has signed a letter urging the NFL to pressure the Washington Redskins to change its racist nickname. Conspicuous by their absence were Virginia's two Democratic senators:
Fifty members of the Senate have signed a letter to the N.F.L. to urge its leadership to press the Washington Redskins to change the team name in the aftermath of tough sanctions against the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers for racially charged comments. [...]

"The N.F.L. can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur," said the letter, which was circulated by Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, and endorsed by Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, the majority leader. "We urge the N.F.L. to formally support a name change for the Washington football team." [...]

All but five Senate Democrats - Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas - signed the letter. It was not circulated among Republicans.

Of course "Redskins" is racist.  
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Video: Faith Leaders Stand Up for Medicaid Expansion in Missouri. What About Virginia?

by: lowkell

Tue May 06, 2014 at 18:05:02 PM EDT

In Missouri, people are willing to risk arrest to stand up for people without health care coverage.
On a day where Missouri passed an irresponsible tax cut overriding a Jay Nixon Veto, elderly and others have taken to the capital to demand that Missouri take the Medicaid Expansion.

As a result, state capital police were called to help clear them out.

So...what about here in Virginia? How determined are we that our fellow Virginians gain access to affordable, quality health care? So far, it's been far too quiet as far as I can determine.

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Video: 60 Minutes Segment Highlights Need to Expand Medicaid in Virginia

by: lowkell

Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 20:39:58 PM EDT

I'm going to quote Rep. Gerry Connolly's Communications Director George Burke on this one: "The CBS 60 Minutes segment on the dedicated staff of the Health Wagon serving the desperate medical needs of many uninsured in Southwest Virginia is a damning indictment of Virginia Republicans' refusal to pass Medicaid expansion in the General Assembly."

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Republican Refusal to Expand Medicaid Means 266-987 "Needless Deaths" Per Year in Virginia

by: lowkell

Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 13:23:01 PM EDT

While Virginia Republicans grow their beards, act like stupid frat boys (or actually 7th graders), and generally treat the entire issue of Medicaid expansion like a joke, back in the real world, these Republicans are hurting hundreds of thousands of Virginians. Actually, they're not just hurting them, they're doing far worse than that, at least according to the paper, Opting Out Of Medicaid Expansion: The Health And Financial Impacts, in the publication Health Affairs, "the leading journal of health policy thought and research."
We estimate the number of deaths attributable to the lack of Medicaid expansion in opt-out states at between 7,115 and 17,104.  Medicaid expansion in opt-out states would have resulted in 712,037 fewer persons screening positive for depression and 240,700 fewer individuals suffering catastrophic medical expenditures. Medicaid expansion in these states would have resulted in 422,553 more diabetics receiving medication for their illness, 195,492 more mammograms among women age 50-64 years and 443,677 more pap smears among women age 21-64. Expansion would have resulted in an additional 658,888 women in need of mammograms gaining insurance, as well as 3.1 million women who should receive regular pap smears.
That's right, Republican obstinacy and "Obama Derangement Syndrome" is not just hazardous to people's health, it's deadly. Here in Virginia, you can see the results in the table below (click to "embiggen"). That's right, we're talking about 266-986 "needless deaths" in Virginia every year - that's as many as 19 Virginians every week - dying needlessly due to one reason only: Republicans' obstinate, cold-hearted, ideologically-and-politically-driven refusal to accept our own tax dollars back and expand Medicaid in Virginia to nearly 300,000 people who would qualify. It's beyond appalling, bordering on pure evil. And no, corporate media, it's not "both sides," it's one side only - Speaker Bill Howell and company.


Oh, and one guess where the the Virginians who most desperately need expanded access to Medicaid live? That's right, in some of the "reddest" areas of Virginia politically speaking. Which means, yet again, that we have a case of Republicans politicians not only failing to represent the best interests of their constituents, but actively working to harm those constituents. Of course, one could ask why those constituents keep voting to reelect people who repeatedly, on just about every issue, fight against them. And the answer would be...actually, just read "What's the Matter with Kansas?" and you'll get the idea (in short, Republicans are masters at riling people up against the "other," at fostering fear and ignorance - and then preying on it, etc.).

h/t: Daily Kos

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Virginia GOP Backs Firearms Background Check Bill? Say What?

by: AndyG

Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 11:23:18 AM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

As hard as it may seem to believe, there was a firearms background check bill that sailed through the Virginia General Assembly this year, with unanimous/bipartisan support. So, how did that amazing thing come about? Let me explain, but let's start with a little background.

Since the Brady background check system came into being in the late 1990's, just over 2.1 million people - who had lost their right to own firearms due to felony convictions, severe mental illness etc. - were prevented from buying guns from licensed dealers. In all these cases, the buyers had to fill out forms and voluntarily subject themselves to a background check, which they failed and were then denied the gun purchase. However, during the same time period, an unknown number of ineligible buyers were able to purchase guns from "private" or unlicensed sellers without having to divulge even the most basic identifying data, such as name, age or state of residency. Estimates vary slightly, but the volume of sales transacted by unlicensed sellers is thought to be about 40% of all gun sales. The pro-gun lobby would have us believe that, despite the fact that millions of licensed dealer sales have been blocked, due to the buyer not being eligible, felons, mentally ill people and other prohibited individuals do not take advantage of this huge, unregulated marketplace to obtain guns that they have no legal right to own.

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VA Business Coalition Launches Campaign for Medicaid "Private Option" Plan

by: lowkell

Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 11:39:30 AM EDT

Whatever it's called, the bottom line is that we need to expand Medicaid in Virginia - end of story. Of course, I'd much prefer a strong "public option" - or better yet, single payer/universal coverage - over any "private option" for health care in this country. For now, I suppose this will have to do...

Va. Business Coalition Launches Advertising, Social Media Campaign to Support 'Private Option' Plan to Close Virginia's Coverage Gap

Richmond, VA – A non-partisan coalition of Virginia business and community leaders today announced it is launching a statewide radio, online and social media advertising campaign to galvanize support for a Medicaid 'Private Option' plan to close Virginia's coverage gap for the uninsured.

The campaign encourages Virginians to join the coalition through its website, www.ahealthyvirginiaworks.com, where they can also contact their legislators and urge their support for a free market-based solution to close Virginia's coverage gap. The coalition's radio ad can be heard here: soundcloud.com/healthyvaworks/a-healthy-virginia-works-radio. The coalition has also launched a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/healthyvaworks) and Twitter page (twitter.com/HealthyVaWorks), both of which the coalition is promoting through targeted statewide advertising. 

"Virginia businesses and taxpayers are sending $5 million every day to the federal government to expand health insurance coverage for working people in our state," said Michel Zajur, President of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "We think the fiscally responsible approach is to reclaim that money and use it to promote a healthier workforce in Virginia. At the same time, we can seize this opportunity to introduce a new private model into our Medicaid system so it's more efficient and sustainable for the long term." 

The coalition released the names of nearly 450 businesses, hospitals, organizations and individuals who have joined the coalition in support of a market-based solution to Virginia's coverage gap. The complete list of coalition supporters can be found here: www.ahealthyvirginiaworks.com/supporters.

"Every day, more businesses are coming on board to join our coalition and help send a clear message: Virginia's business community wants to bring our federal healthcare dollars back to Virginia to help our economy remain competitive," said Laurie Moran, President of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce. "Expanding access to health coverage will promote a healthier, more productive workforce, and it will reduce the cost of healthcare premiums for Virginia’s job producing businesses," she added. 

Speaking about the significance of today's announcement, Alan Witt, CEO of PBMares, said, "The growing ranks of our coalition is a clear sign that the business community is coming together on this issue and that we want a solution sooner rather than later. Businesses are paying too much to subsidize uncoordinated care for the uninsured. It's not good for people's health, and it's damaging our economic competitiveness. If we want to remain the number one state for business, we need a solution to this problem – a solution based on the principles of the free market and privately managed care. That's what the Senate private option does, and that's why we're supporting it."

 

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A Healthy Virginia Works is a coalition of business and community leaders and citizens seeking to reform and replace traditional Medicaid in Virginia in order to improve access to quality healthcare in the Commonwealth through a free market-based healthcare plan. The coalition is a project of the Virginia business community, including the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, Dickenson County Chamber of Commerce, Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce and Washington County Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit the coalition's website at www.ahealthyvirginiaworks.com.

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New Polling Reinforces VA Voters Overwhelmingly Support Medicaid Expansion

by: lowkell

Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 17:29:05 PM EST

From Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia:

RICHMOND, VA — New Public Policy Polling in five Virginia House of Delegates districts shows broad support for proposals to close the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians through Medicaid expansion.

The polling found double-digit margins of support for closing the coverage gap and majority support for the measure in districts where Medicaid impacts a high percentage of the population. Additionally, Virginia voters strongly support their elected representatives working toward a budget compromise that includes accepting federal funds to close the coverage gap and advance health care for hundreds of thousands of hardworking Virginians.

This polling follows a proposed House budget that attempted to block funding for Planned Parenthood’s nonprofit centers and a series of sexist comments from GOP leadership.

Statement from Cianti Stewart-Reid, executive director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia:

“The voters of Virginia couldn’t be more clear. In every district polled, the number of Virginians supporting expanding Medicaid to improve access to healthcare for hardworking people in our state far outweighed the number of those who opposed it. “Virginians are tired of politicians in Richmond playing politics with our health — that’s why those voters also showed strong support for a budget compromise.

“As the leading advocate for Planned Parenthood health centers in Virginia, we see firsthand the need for affordable and high quality lifesaving preventive health care, like cervical cancer screenings, breast health exams and birth control. It’s time for Virginia to expand Medicaid and accept federal dollars, which are already set aside, so that hundreds of thousands more Virginians can afford the quality health care when they need, without facing devastating medical bills.”

Background

More than 24,000 women and men across Virginia come to Planned Parenthood health centers every year – not to make a political statement, but to get high-quality, affordable health care.

  • Planned Parenthood’s seven health centers in Virginia see 17,793 patients for birth control information and services, conduct more than 7,500 breast and cervical cancer screenings.
  • One in five women in the U.S. has visited a Planned Parenthood health center at least once in her life.
  • More than 90 percent of the services Planned Parenthood health centers provide are preventive (cancer screenings, STD tests, birth control, etc.).

Virginia women and families need — and support — more access to health care, not less.

  • In all five districts recently polled by Public Policy Polling, voters supported closing the coverage gap by double-digit margins.
  • More than half of all pregnancies in Virginia are unintended and in 2008, there were 375,500 women in need of affordable contraceptive services and supplies.
  • Rural women — specifically in the Alleghany, Rappahannock, and Southern Virginia market regions, have seen a huge increase in the distance they must travel to receive OB-GYN care due to closures.
  • According to ACOG, in 2011, 39 percent of Virginia’s counties did not have any OB‐GYNs.
  • In 2010-2011, 18 percent of women aged 15-44 in Virginia were uninsured.
  • Virginia ranks in the worst category for rates of breast cancer deaths among both African American and white women.

According to the Shriver Report, released last month by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress, one-third of all American women are living at “the brink of poverty,” meaning that they earn less than $47,000 per year for a family of four. “Forty-two million women, and the 28 million children who depend on them, are living one single incident—a doctor’s bill, a late paycheck, or a broken-down car—away from economic ruin,” the report reveals 

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Will Wonders Never Cease? Top VA Repubs Call for Fitzsimmonds to Resign Over Misogynistic Remark

by: lowkell

Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 12:49:05 PM EST

Amazing.
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William Howell and two of his lieutenants are calling on the state Republican Party's treasurer to resign over his use of a slang term for female genitalia in a Facebook discussion about a female GOP legislator.

"The comments made recently by Bob FitzSimmonds are offensive and have no place in mainstream society or our political discourse," reads a statement issued by Howell, Majority Leader Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights and Fairfax County Del. Tim Hugo.

"These comments are not representative of the House Republican Caucus or the Republican Party of Virginia," continued the statement issued Thursday. "They do not reflect our values or principles and they are deeply inconsistent with the tone and tenor we believe is appropriate for public debate."

Of course, Fitzsimmonds is just one of many, many Virginia Republicans who have made misogynistic and otherwise bigoted (e.g., homophobic) remarks. For instance, Sen. Stephen Martin (R) earlier this week called women "the child's host (some refer to them as mothers)," while raging against pro-choice advocates as "very sick people." When are Republicans going to denounce HIM or call on HIM to resign?!?

Let's also not forget that House Speaker Howell himself had this little incident, in which he demeaned ProgressVA head Anna Scholl as  apparently not being smart enough to understand anything but "little enough words." Finally, we haven't even mentioned the actual policies Republicans push with regards to women's health and reproductive freedom, most of which seem to be aimed at wildly unhelpful things like defunding Planned Parenthood, requiring intrusive and medically unnecessary ultrasounds, selectively harassing women's health clinics, and keeping poor women and their kids from gaining access to high-quality and affordable health care. Hence, the "war on women" phrase, which Republicans get so indignant about, probably because they know they have no substantive response to it, and also because it kills them politically. And yes, they richly deserve to be hurt politically for this extremist, anti-women lunacy.

P.S. The sad thing is, Fitzsimmonds' comments (and Martin's, and Howell's towards Anna Scholl, and so many others) actually ARE "representative of the House Republican Caucus or the Republican Party of Virginia" and actually DO "reflect {their} values or principles."

UPDATE: RPV Chair Pat Mullins, who has never seemed bothered by all sorts of offensive remarks (e.g., by Ken Cuccinelli, EW Jackson, Mark Obenshain, etc, etc, etc.) has commented and revealed the REAL reason why top Republicans are calling for Fitzsimmonds to resign -- because his remarks "give the media and Democrats an excuse to talk about anything other than the impact of their disastrous policies on our Commonwealth and country." Hahahahaha.

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PHOTOS: Virginia Women Visit Virginia Senate To Tell Senator Martin Women are People, Not "Hosts"

by: lowkell

Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 15:06:36 PM EST

From Anna Scholl of Progress Virginia:


Comments are latest example of disregard for women’s health care 

Richmond, VA - Virginia women visited the gallery of the Virginia Senate today to stage a silent protest against Senator Martin’s recent comments referring to pregnant women as merely a “host.” The women wore shirts emblazoned with “Not A Host” as they sat in the gallery.

Four female Senators criticized Senator Martin’s callous remarks on the floor, calling his comments insulting and misogynistic .

“Senator Martin’s offensive comments are merely a symptom of the disregard and disrespect anti-choice politicians show Virginia women,” said ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl. “Virginia women deserve better than politicians who dismiss their reproductive rights and throw up barriers to access for reproductive health care.”

“Senator Martin was brazen enough to make his views public, but politicians in Virginia are working behind the scenes to restrict women’s access to reproductive care,” said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “Anti-choice politicians are championing measures in the Virginia budget to cut men and women from accessing high quality care at Planned Parenthood, force low-income women to carry a severely incapacitated fetus to term, and block over 100,000 women of reproductive age from accessing affordable health care.”

 

 

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Virginia GOP Sen. Steve Martin Calls Women "the child's host (some refer to them as mothers)"

by: lowkell

Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 14:47:24 PM EST

Another Republican shows his utter contempt for women, referring to them as "the child's host (some refer to them as mothers)."  Note that Sen. Steve Martin (R, of course) has attempted to cover his tracks, changing "the child's host" language to "the bearer of the child." Unfortunately for Martin, there's such a thing as "screen shots," so he can run but he can't hide.  Here's the current language on his page...we'll see how many more times he tries to change it, or delete it or whatever. Also, I can't wait to hear the condemnations from other Virginia Republicans for Martin's appalling misogyny. We're waiting...

P.S. Martin also calls pro-choice advocates "really sick people." 

I received a Valentines Card today with a two tone red heart on the front above the words, "Don't break our hearts." Inside was the following message:
"On behalf of women's Heath advocates across Virginia, we are disappointed in your record of voting to restrict access to critical healthcare for women and families. All women deserve access to their full range of reproductive health options - including preventing unintentional pregnancies, raising healthy children, and choosing safe, legal abortion - and your votes only make it more difficult for Virginians to plan and provide for their families. We are watching your actions closely, and hope that you will reconsider your position on this critical issue. Please don't break our hearts.

- The Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition" 
 
~ How very heart warming - all while using ill defined terms. "Raising healthy children" in the context of access to abortions speaks only to the ability to "kill unhealthy children." Do they not see the sickness of that argument?

If it's your expectation that I should support such nonsense, I will be breaking your heart.

You can count on me to never get in the way of you "preventing" an unintentional pregnancy." I'm not actually sure what that means, because if it's "unintentional" you must have been trying to prevent it. And, I don't expect to be in the room or will I do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive. However, once a child does exist in your womb, I'm not going to assume a right to kill it just because the bearer of the child (some refer to them as mothers) doesn't want it to remain alive. 
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PHC to sexual assault survivors: "If you were telling the truth, God would have kept you conscious"

by: Epluribusunum

Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 13:29:17 PM EST

( - promoted by lowkell)

The administrators at Loudoun County's Patrick Henry College have had a tough week.

Beginning on Sunday, PHC founder and chancellor Michael Farris posted a public statement about the recent disgrace of two important leaders within the religious homeschooling and "parental rights" movement, both of them because young women have come forward with testimony of sexual misconduct and abuse of power. Former Home School Legal Defense Association attorney Doug Phillips resigned last fall from the separatist group he had founded after it was revealed that he pursued a sexual relationship with a young woman, under 18, who was under his "authority." Bill Gothard, leader of an influential Christian Patriarchy instruction program, is slowly being exposed as a predator who has for decades sexually molested young women sent to him, often at his personal invitation, to be his interns.

Farris did not dispute the misconduct of these men, seeming to accept evidence of their "protracted patterns of sin." Instead, he tried to distance his own kind of "leadership" from theirs. But his statement is very strange. Attempting to avoid criticism of the authoritarianism that undergirds his own position, it ends up reading as if he thinks these "leaders," these powerful men, should rightly have such control over the women and children under their authority, and that maintaining this position of male authority is a "basic strength." The only problem with these men is that their strength was allowed to "get out of control." The statement then ends with a lighthearted punchline normalizing the idea that men naturally want to pursue young women, but are inhibited by the fear that their wives will shoot them.

What came the next day must have been a surprise, although one is at pains to imagine why.

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PHC to sexual assault survivors: "If you were telling the truth, God would have kept you conscious"

by: Epluribusunum

Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 13:29:17 PM EST

( - promoted by lowkell)

The administrators at Loudoun County's Patrick Henry College have had a tough week.

Beginning on Sunday, PHC founder and chancellor Michael Farris posted a public statement about the recent disgrace of two important leaders within the religious homeschooling and "parental rights" movement, both of them because young women have come forward with testimony of sexual misconduct and abuse of power. Former Home School Legal Defense Association attorney Doug Phillips resigned last fall from the separatist group he had founded after it was revealed that he pursued a sexual relationship with a young woman, under 18, who was under his "authority." Bill Gothard, leader of an influential Christian Patriarchy instruction program, is slowly being exposed as a predator who has for decades sexually molested young women sent to him, often at his personal invitation, to be his interns.

Farris did not dispute the misconduct of these men, seeming to accept evidence of their "protracted patterns of sin." Instead, he tried to distance his own kind of "leadership" from theirs. But his statement is very strange. Attempting to avoid criticism of the authoritarianism that undergirds his own position, it ends up reading as if he thinks these "leaders," these powerful men, should rightly have such control over the women and children under their authority, and that maintaining this position of male authority is a "basic strength." The only problem with these men is that their strength was allowed to "get out of control." The statement then ends with a lighthearted punchline normalizing the idea that men naturally want to pursue young women, but are inhibited by the fear that their wives will shoot them.

What came the next day must have been a surprise, although one is at pains to imagine why.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1115 words in story)
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The purpose of Blue Virginia is to cover Virginia politics from a progressive and Democratic perspective. This is a group blog and a community blog. We invite everyone to comment here, but please be aware that profanity, personal attacks, bigotry, insults, rudeness, frequent unsupported or off-point statements, "trolling" (NOTE: that includes outright lies, whether about climate science, or what other people said, or whatever), and "troll ratings abuse" (e.g., "troll" rating someone simply because you disagree with their argument) are not permitted and, if continued, will lead to banning. For more on trolling, see the Daily Kos FAQs. Also note that diaries may be deleted if they do not contain at least 2 solid paragraphs of original text; if not, please use the comments section of a relevant diary. For more on writing diaries, click here. Thanks, and enjoy!

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