Harper Lee dead at age 89–it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird

harper lee


Novelist Harper Lee has died at the age of 89.  Lee won a Pulitzer Prize in 1961 for her acclaimed novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

To Kill a Mockingbird essentially awakened a nation to racial inequities in our nation and has been used for more than a half century to teach tolerance and social justice issues in schools nation-wide.

Harper Lee was born and raised in Monroeville, Mississippi.  One has to consider how  brave it was  to undertake such a venture as Mockingbird.  The novel and subsequent movie dealt with all the Southern taboos–race, rape, poor whites,  mental illness, lynch mobs, generational poverty,  and Anytown, Southern, USA.

Not all kids got to read To Kill a Mockingbird.  I lived in a fairly progressive area of Atlanta when the book and movie both came out.  I never read it nor saw it playing in neighborhood movie theaters.  I sure knew when Gone with the Wind came to town, however.   When I came back to Charlottesville, the book was not on my required reading list or even the supplementary list.  I assume now the book was banned.

Ms. Lee tapped into the conscience of a nation like no other novel since Uncle Tom’s cabin.  The difference between Lee and Harriet Beecher Stowe is great.  Lee actually grew up in the region where Mockingbird takes place.  She saw and learned as a child.  Stowe’s novel relied on her imagination.

Rest in Peace, Harper Lee.  May your mockingbirds live on and in the hearts of all of us who have read your novel.  You are a once in a life-time national treasure.


General Assembly: Virginia is NOT for Lovers



 A House panel on Thursday advanced a bill that would allow any individual, business or organization to discriminate against someone for having sex outside of marriage.

The bill says state agencies cannot punish discrimination against anyone who is in a same-sex marriage, is transgender or has sex outside of wedlock.

The legislation advanced 13 to 7 along party lines in the GOP-controlled committee, except for Del. Joseph R. Yost (R-Giles), who voted no. The provision about sex outside of marriage was added to the bill minutes before lawmakers voted.

It is headed for likely passage by the full House next week; Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has said he would veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
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Free speech–the forgotten freedom


From a statement by the group Amherst Uprising:

5. President Martin must issue a statement to the Amherst College community at large that states we do not tolerate the actions of student(s) who posted the “All Lives Matter” and “Free Speech” posters. Also let the student body know that it was racially insensitive to the students of color on our college campus and beyond who are victim to racial harassment and death threats; alert them that Student Affairs may require them to go through the Disciplinary Process if a formal complaint is filed, and that they will be required to attend extensive training for racial and cultural competency.

6. President Martin must issue a statement of support for the revision of the Honor Code to reflect a zero-tolerance policy for racial insensitivity and hate speech.

According to the president of the Amherst College Republicans, the “All Lives Matter” posters were pro-life posters (or antiabortion posters, if you prefer).

These young upstarts really need to take a good look at themselves, then at the Constitution.  Right now I am ready to call to repeal the 26th Amendment.  That would be a good place to start.

“All lives matter” is hardly offensive.  Since when are the students running the colleges?


Demonizing the Poor

I think the Foxies are confused.  I believe the goal, in this case, is to feed hungry children.  No one in America should be hungry.

It seems like too much talk and too much legislation is aimed at decreasing the number of people on food stamps not because America is more prosperous but because some people see think the poor are getting something for nothing.  There is a general tendency, especially among the Faux News types,  to stereotype those who receive food stamps as being lazy.  Sure, some people are lazy.  That adjective really doesn’t fit the majority of people who receive assistance.

Maybe it makes the accusers feel better to belittle those on assistance.  I feel badly for those who don’t have enough to eat.  There are all sorts of reasons why people don’t have enough food.  Probably the most ubiquitous reason is that there is unemployment in the home.  Others might have physical or emotional issues that make it impossible for them to work.  Still others are in school, have huge child care bills, or are just down on their luck.

Perhaps its time to take some pride in America and rewrite the food stamp script.  How about deciding, as a nation, that we have no hungry people?  Hungry people don’t work well and they don’t learn well.  Cutting off food stamps is simply mean and vindictive in most cases.

Good for President Obama for calling out Faux News.  Faux News just has to have someone to hate.

Manassas City: Parrish joins the anti-reproductive rights crew


Against a backdrop of election-year politics, the Manassas City Council moved this week to enact new hurdles for hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and women’s health clinics that want to expand or open new facilities within the city limits.

Residents on both sides of the abortion debate packed the Manassas City Hall chambers April 27 to watch the council update its 69-year-old zoning ordinance to include new rules for “medical care facilities,” which will likely require special use permits to locate anywhere in the city.

Introducing the measure, Mayor Harry J. “Hal” Parrish II sought to frame the issue as “reasonable land-use regulations” intended to allow the council to consider things like parking lot size, hours of operation and access for emergency vehicles before approving the permits, which are also subject to public hearings.

Parrish, who is the GOP nominee in the hotly contested race to replace retiring Sen. Charles J. Colgan, cast the tie-breaking vote on the issue, joining fellow Republicans Marc Aveni, Vice Mayor Jonathan Way and Councilman Ian Lovejoy in supporting the changes.

Republican Council Members Mark Wolfe and Sheryl Bass joined the panel’s only Democrat, Ken Elston, in opposing the measure. A second reading and vote on the zoning ordinance is scheduled for May 11.

All three of the Democrats competing in the upcoming June 9 primary to run against Parrish in November – Del. Michael Futrell, 2nd, Atif Qarni and Jeremy McPike — were present for the vote and quick to criticize Parrish’s decision.

“He’s created this façade that he’s moderate and he really isn’t,” Qarni said. “And this vote is just an example of that.”

Hal Parrish needs to understand that he just lost himself a lot of votes in the 29th Senate District.  He needs to understand that he aided and abetted people who are pushing their own religious agenda down the throats of others.  Parrish needs to understand that his gentlemanly ways that have made people like him will not sweet talk voters out of making him pay at the ballot box.   I cannot vote for him now.

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Mother in yellow beats son

Go woman in yellow, go! She did what a parent should do when they catch their kid being a thug. That was tough love. When interviewed, she said he was her only son and she didn’t want him to become a Freddie. Sometimes that’s what it takes.

Now, when will so bleeding heart do-gooder start whining because she beat her kid about the head and shoulders? Don’t worry. It is coming. It’s about time people stand up and applaud parents for a good whack here and a good whack there rather than parent-shaming that goes on nowadays.

That kid had it coming. I think that woman was a good mother. She did what needed to be done. Get your ass off the street. She might have saved his life.

This is a discussion America needs to have. What she did was not child abuse in my world.

Confession: yes I have done that to both of mine–not regularly but in extreme times.

Mothers, don’t let your sons grow up to be thugs.  The mother in yellow was a hero.

MO GOP attempts to remove steak and fish from SNAP card choices

loaves and fishes

Apparently there will be no fishes and loaves for Missouri’s poor.  Lawmakers have decided to tinker and chisel away at what food stamp recipients can  and cannot purchase with their SNAP cards.  According to Washingtonpost.com:

In 2013, Fox News proudly broadcast an interview with a young food stamp recipient who claimed to be using the government benefit to purchase lobster and sushi.

“This is the way I want to live and I don’t really see anything changing,” Jason Greenslate explained to Fox. “It’s free food; it’s awesome.”

That story fit a longtime conservative suspicion that poor people use food stamps to purchase luxury items. Now, a Republican state lawmaker in Missouri is pushing for legislation that would stop people like Greenslate and severely limit what food stamp recipients can buy. The bill being proposed would ban the purchase with food stamps of “cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood or steak.”

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Paradoxical mental health expectations: not so enlightened?

mental illness

Americans like to think that they are enlightened as far as mental illness goes.  They no longer keep crazy old Aunt Sally locked in the attic.  People are encouraged all the time to seek mental health treatment.  “Go for professional help” is code for get a shrink.   People confess to taking Zoloft and other anti depressants like they are popping an aspirin.   Some folks even discuss what their psychiatrists tell them as a conversation piece at cocktail parties.   Is all this feel-good talk about our national mental health simply window dressing?

Yes and no.  Actually, our treatment of mental illness is, if you will pardon the pun, schizophrenic.  On the one hand, mental illness is treated like its just one of the conditions that affects the human body, like heart disease, TB,  diabetes or chicken pox.  Our HIPAA laws protect mental health conditions like any other disease, in fact often times more than other diseases.

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Pope Francis discourages “breeding like rabbits”



Pope Francis gets pretty chatty on the papal plane.

He’s talked to reporters about jobs, homosexuality and women’s role in the church. He’s spoken out about the War in Iraq and terrorism. He’s even addressed his own retirement. And on his flight back from the Philippines this week, he started chatting about the church’s position on birth control, saying some think that to be good Catholics, “we have to be like rabbits.”

Here’s [sic] his exact words from the Vatican Insider:

I believe that three children per family, from what the experts say, is the key number for sustaining the population. The key word here is responsible parenthood and each person works out how to exercise this with the help of their pastor. … Sorry, some people think that in order to be good Catholics we have to breed like rabbits, right? Responsible parenthood: This is why there are marriage support groups in the Church with people who are experts on such issues; and there are pastors and I know that there are many acceptable solutions that have helped with this. And another thing: For poor people, children are a treasure, prudence is needed here too, it is true. Responsible parenthood but also recognizing the generosity of that father or mother who see their child as a treasure.
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More from UVA: It isn’t fair…or is it?


With doubts now clouding the gang-rape allegation at the core of the Nov. 19 article, many fraternity and sorority advocates are asking why the university must continue a seven-week suspension of social activities at the Greek-letter organizations, which U-Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan announced on Nov. 22.

The leadership of the Sigma Chi International Fraternity, which has a chapter at U-Va. that dates to 1860, is saying the university is considering proposals to give police “unfettered access” to private fraternity houses and to require that chapters make alcohol-detecting breath-test devices available during parties.

In a letter to U-Va., the Sigma Chi leaders asserted their opposition to any police-access proposal that would violate members’ constitutional protections.

In addition, requiring undergraduates “to assume the role of policing their friends with breathalyzers is an unnecessary elevation from the responsibilities they presently have when they consciously decide to invite other students into their homes for social gatherings,” wrote Michael A. Greenberg, grand consul/international president of Sigma Chi, and Michael J. Church, executive director.

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Charles C. Johnson blubbers like a baby



It’s 7:30 p.m. on Monday night, and the day’s most vilified blogger is driving somewhere in California, though he declines to specify where, and with whom. As he talks into the telephone, he confesses he feels hunted: He’s recording the conversation. Someone has already hacked him that day. He’s deluged with threats. His mom, he said, “is worried about me and worried about herself.”

This is Charles C. Johnson, the one-time Daily Caller contributor who just outed a woman he claims is Rolling Stone’s “Jackie,” whose widely-trumpeted gang-rape account at a University of Virginia fraternity has now come under suspicion. And today, Johnson sighed, has been quite a day. Jezebel called him “vile.” Slate called him a “vicious troll.” The Frisky called him a “complete piece of s–t.” Others, some of whom criticized Twitter for failing to censor his allegedly revelatory tweets, have been even less kind.

Whine.  Johnson seems to be one of those who can dish it out but doesn’t know how to take it.  He has been vile.  He had defied acceptable public behavior.  He has been called out.

Before the Rolling Stone article, I mercifully had no clue who Charles C. Johnson even was.  I had never heard of him.  In fact, the first I heard of him was on Moonhowlings.

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Can the TRAP laws be recinded?


The Virginia Board of Health decided Thursday to move forward with a review of rules for abortion clinics, the latest step in a lengthy process that could roll back controversial regulations finalized last year.

The move was a victory for Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who campaigned on a promise to reverse the rules, which regulate abortion clinics as if they were hospitals by dictating such details as hallway widths and the number of parking spots. Opponents of the regulations say they were intended to block access to abortion by closing down clinics that do not meet the requirements.

“These clinics provide essential preventive care and cancer screenings to many women and families and unfortunately were facing closure due to onerous regulations that were the result of politics being inserted into the regulatory process,” McAuliffe said in a statement.

However, groups opposed to abortion did not necessarily see Thursday’s action as a defeat; they said the review approved by the health board leaves open the possibility that restrictions on clinics could be strengthened. The restrictions, they said, are meant to protect women’s health and safety.

“We don’t know what will happen at the end of this process. This is simply a reopening and reviewing of the standards,” Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia, told reporters after the meeting.

The biggest bullshit in the world is out of Victoria Cobb’s mouth.  TRAP laws (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) are for one reason and one reason alone–to stop abortion.  That’s the only reason.  Wide hallways and designer parking lots are just BS and help no one.  Let’s face it, people having medical procedures not related to abortion can run into emergency problems.  Can someone please explain to me why these laws aren’t in place for all medical facilities that provide out-patient services?  They can’t.  The requirements are bogus and help no one.

Good for Governor McAuliffe for prioritizing getting rid of these ridiculous laws.

Protesting the protestors

View image on Twitter

9:01 this morning


D.C. Police said protesters continue to slow traffic in the city.

Protesters had previously blocked the 14th Street bridge but that has since reopened.

At 9 a.m., D.C. police said no arrests have been made because the group continues to move along, heading eastbound on Constitution Avenue. Police have temporarily closed Constitution Avenue in both directions between 9th and 12th streets as the protesters move through that area.

D.C. Police officials said as long as the protesters are not standing still, they won’t be arrested. If the protesters fail to obey three warnings, given by police on the scene they could be arrested, according to D.C. Police. But so far, no warnings have been given.


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UVA assaults: A national disgrace

phi psi 2


The harrowing account of a gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house described in a new Rolling Stone article roiled the campus Friday, with students, faculty members and parents questioning the administration’s response to the allegations.

The article, in the pop culture magazine’s December issue and posted online this week, describes a brutal sex assault that allegedly occurred in the Phi Kappa Psi house in 2012. The victim, who is given an alias in the article, said a member of the fraternity led her upstairs during a party and took her to a dark room, where numerous men pinned her to the floor and attacked her.

The victim later describes a underwhelming response from university officials, whom she contacted about the attack, according to Rolling Stone. She did not file a police report.

After the story appeared online, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) called for the university to begin a thorough investigation into the matter, and Charlottesville police said they are investigating the allegations at the request of the university’s president, Teresa Sullivan.

U-Va. Vice President Patricia Lampkin said the article has “deeply affected” the university community.

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