Friday, September 12, 2008

And the number one threat to PWC is.....

Student Borrowers, the Scapegoats

I'm tired of student borrowers and prior borrowers being marked with a scarlet "W" for "whiners" and "D" for "deadbeats."

Whiners, eh? Whiners. Whiners who don't contribute to society, who default and live off tax-payers' money, who don't deserve basic consumer protections, and who have no say when they have been ripped off by loan companies, the government and schools? Yup, must be us all right.

I've told my own story again and again and again. Feel free to read it. Feel free to read other stories here, including the stories about former borrowers suffering so much under the weight of debt and depression that they turned to suicide. Yes siree, those folks certainly are deadbeats. Because now they are dead. Satisfied?

Now I will tell you why I am offended at being labeled a "whiner" and why Fox News and their bar-time bimbos deserve to be leveled into poverty and despair to get a little better perspective of the people they are calling deadbeats.

You want to hear the sad story of student loan woes along with being ripped off by an accredited academic institution given authority to disburse federal funds and loans? You want to hear a story in tangent with a school that wrote in my loan amounts without my signature? Sure you do. You know you are dying of curiosity. But be careful when you die because you will be right alongside the deadbeats.

I have two kids I dedicate myself to. I work for pay around their schedules. I advocate for the less fortunate. I fight racism and corrupt government. I volunteer and go to church and once in awhile, get my laundry caught up. I belong to civic groups, write poetry, scrapbook, make greeting cards, paint and clean cat pans. I wave at the kids on their school buses, do homework with them, cook mystery meals for dinner, and play with them in whatever ways they wish.

My kids have disabilities and so do I. I was the victim of a violent crime and have worked through that for the past three years. I've received poor medical care and earlier on, NO medical care. I've been the victim of sexual harassment and I've been threatened.

I have survived living below the poverty line, being forced out of places to live because I couldn't afford it, losing my means of transportation while pregnant, having to use food stamps and WIC, living in tenements, working for less than minimum wage, working full-time as an undergrad, and believing I would never, ever own a home. Thank GOD I got through this and my family life is stable because under these circumstances, I can only believe it WAS a god and "his" good people who got me here. I am here, and I can tell people it IS possible with the right kind of help.

But I am still fighting student loans and unethical schools.

I have written to every local, state and federal official and agency I could think of to get my rights and others' BACK because at the moment, no matter what our life circumstances, we have NO RIGHTS as prior student borrowers.

My student loans are at more than $100,000 because of this rip-off school that is allowed to continue to operate in spite of its history, reputation, federal mandates and license fraud across the country. I'm not in default. My next payment of, oh, I don't know, $600.00+ per month is due some time next year when the forbearance expires. The interest is accruing.

"Well you shouldn't have gone there. You should have done your homework." Yeah? Well guess what. When a school has accreditation and is approved by the Department of Education, one should be able to make the assumption that the school is decent. When one is referred there by a talented, fabulous grad school teacher, one should be able to believe in one's choice of institutions. One should be able to believe the testimonies the school publishes. And an award winning student with a Masters degree and a grade point average of 3.97 should be able to do well within any "academic" system, no?

Bzzzzz. Wrong.

This stuff goes on ALL THE TIME in higher education. I attended one of these schools and I've worked for three, all of them private. And I will give you a hint. The bad ones didn't include National American University. I could name the bad ones here, but they have lawyers and I don't. "How much justice can you afford?" Student borrowers can't afford any. For that matter, neither can most instructors who work for these predatory schools. And that's how these schools get away with financially ruining us.

When we are financially ruined, the bar-bimbos sit in front of their cozy cameras judging the rest of us who don't have make-up artists and producers. Why? Their taxes increase. They WHINE about it. But they aren't ruined half as much as we are because THEY won't fall into poverty. They are wealthy and far removed from the rest of humanity. They have their bubble-heads and news networks to protect them.

I'm not telling you this story so you will feel bad for me. Pity is a useless emotion. And I resent pity. I once wrote to a Dept. of Ed rep and pretty much told him where he could stuff his pity. We don't want pity. We want justice. The colleges won't give it to us. The Department of Education won't give it to us. The accreditors won't give it to us. The lenders CERTAINLY won't give it to us. The Ombudsman won't give it us (that office is notorious for telling students to pay up and shut up since they work for the LENDERS). So we are taking matters into our own hands no matter how ineffective they might seem right now. We are advocating for ourselves and for our future generations. We are protesting and writing and coming out from the shame the television bimbos of the world want to put on us. Our time is coming even if it's a long time in coming.

People with tough lives can do one of two things: they can struggle and fight or they can give up.

Take a wild guess which path I have chosen.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

About the Hate Group FAIR

....the group that gave us the immigration policy via Duecaster, Stirrup, Stewart, and Letieq. Note the racist, anti-Catholic, anti-Hispanic sentiments we have heard from Duecaster himself. (As of last night, Duecaster is now a PWC public official.)

It's Time to Fight F.A.I.R.
What You Should Know About the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

FAIR is bringing people to visit Congressional offices to discuss immigrants and immigration policy. As Members of Congress and their staff prepare to meet with FAIR supporters, you should know some key facts about the group's origins and leaders. Did you know that:

The Southern Poverty Law Center has named FAIR a "hate group." The list of other groups which have earned this distinction from SPLC include: the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party, and the Aryan Nations. (Link)
FAIR was founded by a supporter of eugenics, John Tanton, with funds from the Pioneer Fund, a foundation committed to the belief that some races of people are genetically and intellectually superior to other races. Tanton continues as a leader of FAIR and sits on its board of directors.
FAIR employed and continues to employ known anti-Catholic bigots, including Rosanna Pulido, who said of the Catholic Church in the United States: What better way to fill your pews and fill your offering coffers than with inviting in and giving sanctuary to illegal aliens? . . . What is being passed off right now by the Catholic Church is not Catholicism. It has nothing to do with Christianity or the Bible. (Link)And FAIR Executive Director Dan Stein went further, targeting Latino Catholics: Certainly we would encourage people in other countries to have small families. Otherwise they'll all be coming here, because there's no room at the Vatican. . . . Many immigrants hate America, hate everything the United States stands for. Talk to some of these Central Americans. (Link)
FAIR's Executive Director Dan Stein has been an author and editorial board member for the Social Contract Press. FAIR Board member Sharon Barnes has also been on the editorial advisory board. Social Contract publishes the work of numerous white nationalists such as John Vinson, who wrote that God prefers racial separation and that the South should secede from the United States to protect white people. (Link)
In February 2007, FAIR hosted a high profile meeting with Flemish Interest (Vlaams Belang). This Belgian political group is described by the Anti-Defamation League as:[D]eeply hostile to immigrants and minorities, and its members have a history of espousing racist and anti-Semitic views. Flemish Interest recently has made headlines in Europe as one of the founding members of a new racist and anti-Semitic political group in the European Parliament called "Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty" (ITS). (Link)
FAIR has well-documented connections to the racist hate group Council of Conservative Citizens, formed out of the old White Citizens Council. The Council of Conservative Citizens has described black people as "a retrograde species of humanity." FAIR staffer Rick Oltman has spoken at Council events, as did FAIR field coordinator Dave Ray. Similarly, Council leaders Sam Francis and Jared Taylor have spoken at FAIR run forums. (Link)


For All My Friends in Advocacy

Be Not Afraid

You shall cross the barren desert,
but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety,
though you do not know the way.

You shall speak your words in foreign lands,
and all will understand,
You shall see the face of God and live.

Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.

If you pass through raging waters
in the sea, you shall not drown.
If you walk amidst the burning flames,
you shall not be harmed.

If you stand before the pow’r of hell
and death is at your side,
know that I am with you, through it all

Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.

Blessed are your poor,
for the Kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn,
for one day you shall laugh.

And if wicked men insult and hate you, all because of Me,
blessed, blessed are you!

Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.

Evil, Thy Name is Duecaster

Last night, John Stirrup appointed Robert Duecaster, member of Help Save Manassas and FAIR and author of the original resolution in (conjunction with Greg Letieq and John Stirrup), to the 2012 Strategic Plan’s Goal Task Force on Human Services.

If you aren't familiar with PWC committees task forces, you should know that these are the people who recommend policy to the BOCS.

From the job description:


Prince William County is in the midst of developing its fifth strategic plan. Prince William County Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) has drafted four strategic goals for the 2009-2012 Strategic Plan.

Those goals are:
• Economic Development and Transportation
• Education
• Public Safety
• Human Services

Citizen committees can be invaluable to local government because they communicate public concerns and allow what should represent a community voice.

However, nowhere in the job description are there criteria for appointees. This means the people who are appointed have no background checks, have no ethical requirements, can have strong party affiliations, do not have to be objective, and are not required to represent the voices of all.

Robert Duecaster, in addition to writing letters to the Manassas Journal Messenger and Potomac News, posts on Black Velvet Bruce Li under the name "Advocator." Duecaster/Advocator also posts elsewhere on the Internet regularly. He speaks at Citizens' Time and uses rhetoric from hate groups. Some of the quotes come directly from Black Velvet Bruce Li; I am quite sure Greg L. the owner, will remove some of them.

In addition, Mr. Duecaster strongly recommended children of anyone with immigration paperwork issues be denied public K-12 education. Per the U.S. Supreme Court, no child shall be denied a public education no matter what their citizenship. Duecaster does not see an issue with allowing children to roam the streets while school is in session.

Please read the quotes below to understand the kind of person John Stirrup listens to, supports, and models.

I warn you that these are offensive.

Then, please write to your local government and ask that they revise requirements for committee appointments which have been called "gentlemen's agreements." Urge them to consider that hatred, advocating violence, and open discrimination has no place in our government.

Anti Muslim and Insulting Veterans

As a young officer that had to deal with the trash we accepted into the Armed Forces in the early ’70’s, I appreciate Mr. Wilson’s admonitions and thank him for raising the red flags by writing his book during that terrible period.A return to the draft, or any semblance of it is the wrong answer. Giving our leaders a blank check to use (or abuse) the greatest resource this country has to offer (our youth) is a prescription for another disaster. It was that unchecked power to use what was thought to be a cheap and unlimited resource that encouraged the recklessness in Vietnam in the first place. Our politicians should pay dearly for the use of our young people, and dollars seem to be the only entity that gets their attention.

The one event that would trigger greater interest in young people joining the Armed Forces would be to correctly name the present struggle we are in. It is not a “Global War on Terrorism.” It’s a war against Islamic Facsism. Once the enemy is identified correctly, the patriots will respond.Robert L. Duecaster Posted December 5, 2007 9:41 AM

Anti-Affirmative Action, Anti-African American

The doctrine of “affirmative action” or “diversity” is so lacking in merit that those who support it can only ascribe sinister and hateful motives to those of us who understand and point out its insidious and pervasive effects on our government and culture.


Advocator said on 14 Apr 2008 at 10:34 am:
What’s even more ironic is the fact that el Pape will be here bemoaning how some jurisdictions have “treated” the illegals. He’ll disregard the facts that we’ve educated their anchor babies, provided social services, indulged their vulgarities, cleaned up their trash, and provided them with a higher standard of living and more freedoms than their own countries used to give them. He’ll berate us for not embracing them wholeheartedly, for not allowing them access to our universities at the expense of our own children, and for not rewarding them for violating the sanctity of our borders. He’ll be pandering to them to gather members to replace those who left the Church due to the institutionalized approval of his priests’ penchant for little boys’ behinds.

“What I find ironic is that the Pope will preach to us to accept the Illegal Invaders so that his church can replace its members who have left due to the incessant kiddie diddling of its priests.”

Anti-Muslim and Pro-Population Control
Submitted by Robert L. Duecaster (United States), May 25, 2005 at 11:16
The existence of a vaccine conspiracy theory points out one strategy of Islamists that explains why they are so sensitive an alleged effort to sterilize their progeny. They have always emphasized overpopulation and irresponsible procreation as a weapon in the Culture War…

Anti-Children, Anti-ESOL, Anti-Education, Anti-Assimilation

Advocator said on 6 May 2008 at 3:46 pm:In reply to OHNO! [3:17 post]:
Reasons for accounting:
So we can bill the feds for educating them.So we can plan ESOL and remedial classes and teachers.So we can guestimate the no of immunizations we need to protect other kids who may not have immunity to the exotic germs brought in from other climes.So we know how much of our tax dollars are being spent on kids who really shouldn’t be here (even if they are innocent victims of their parents’ transgression).

So legal residents can make a decision on whether or not they want to remain in a jurisdiction that has that expense. It may turn out that the number is so minimal and the expense so low that our time and effort would be better spent on other issues.

Hate-Speech Against Immigrants, Children in Schools, Pro-Population Control, Scapegoating

Posted by ( Advocator ) on June 02, 2008 at 4:40 pm
We need to encourage more of the illegal invaders to leave our community so that we have the money to fund worthy programs like this. ESOL classes and emergency room anchor babies are sucking the lifeblood out of our County.

“Do they not understand that one horrendous crime committed by an illegal is ONE too many? This is why we want them out of our communities and our country. The simple fact is we do not know which illegal alien is going to be the next to commit that crime.

Advocator said on 30 Oct 2007 at 3:33 pm:Does anyone need anymore evidence to convince them that we are not facing just illegal immigration, we are facing an invasion? An invasion of parasites set on reducing this country to the levels of their own.

Advocator said on 14 Apr 2008 at 9:15 pm:Well, Trufe, if indeed we’re headed for a cliff, I’d suggest the Illegal Invaders follow a simple economic principle: Last in, First out.An’ thass right, Trufe, I am bitching about ESOL classes. Those anchor babies be costing me money.

On MJM article on Slashed Adult Day Care Center, Advocating Slave Labor
Advanced Search Feds to bypass laws to build border fenceBy Eileen Sullivan, Associated Press April 1, 2008 47776
We should gather the illegal aliens out of the jails in the country and have them build the fence prior to deporting them. Advocator Posted April 2, 2008 3:54 PM

Advocating Violence

The best we could do for the citizens of Mexico and for our own country would be to distribute hundreds of thousands of M-16 and AK-47 assault rifles to the campesinos so they could get rid of their corrupt leaders themselves. We should issue an assault rifle to every illegal alien we deport back to those cesspools of corruption.
Posted by: Advocator on November 21, 2007 11:04 AMBack to Home Page

Buy guns and ammo during the hiatus Mando. They scare the $hit out of liberal politicians, fat broads, and illegal invaders

Commentary on PWC Schools, Anti-World-Culture, Ethnocentric

Advocator said on 25 Apr 2008 at 2:57 pm:
These little diversions on diversity actually serve a very useful purpose. The astute student will ask himself, “If all these cultures are so great, why are all their adherents busting the doors down to get into this country?” The logical explanation is that all those cultures aren’t worth a Japanese nickel compared to the culture that’s developed in this country.

"Children of the invaders....."

Pro-Violence (against Frank Wolf)

Advocator said on 19 Aug 2007 at 3:23 pm:

While “Trac Ing” and a few others may be just liberal shills for the Zapperteesters masquerading on the blog as racists, the sentiments he/she expresses may well be those of many in the general population, due to the frustration they are experiencing in dealing with this issue. People are angry, and they are prone to direct that anger at the wrong targets - the illegal aliens themselves. As I’ve said before, the targets of your frustration and anger should be those politicians, at all levels, who have allowed this infestation to occur and fester. People like George Allen, recently sighted at the PWC fair testing the public trough to see if he might be allowed back at it to slurp again. People like Frank Wolf, who continues to dodge the problem and put more effort into the Lost Boys of Darfur than the lost neighborhoods of his district. Then there’s Jorge (spit) Bush and his horde of Tex-Mex mafia who profit from allowing open borders. I got a call recently to attend a Bob Fitz Simmonds’ fundraiser where Frank Ostrich, I mean Wolf, was the main attraction. As much as I wanted to attend, I told the polite young caller that I’d better not, as I didn’t think I’d be able to restrain myself from physically assaulting that traitor to the American people. It’s people like Wolf that deserve the full force of your anger, your frustration and your action. The illegals are as much as, if not more, victims of their tyrannical inaction as we citizens are. They should be run out of this country first, then we can start deporting the illegals.
The federal politicians are not the only villains in this invasion. Since 2005, it’s been illegal in the state of Virginia to provide public benefits to illegal aliens. Do you think that law is followed in the counties in NoVA? Do you think any county supervisors have checked to see how (or if) their social services directors have implemented that law? These supervisors the folks responsible for the degradation of your neighborhoods, the proliferation of crime, the dumbing down of your schools, the wasting of your tax dollars. Call them names, not the illegals who are just taking advantage of the situation. Damn them to hell for all eternity for giving away what you, your parents, and all those who came before us built. And when you get the chance, vote them out of office, regardless of what party they claim affiliation. And when you see them in public, urinate on the sumbitches.

Pro-Violence and Extremism
Advocator said on 28 Jun 2007 at 12:28 pm:
Dear Anit-Illegals:
“I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” –Barry Goldwater

The time for talking, writing, and pleading with our elected leaders to do the right thing on this issue is rapidly coming to an end.

Anti-Mart Nohe, BOCS Member and Anti-Woodbridge, Arlington, and Manassas Park

Advocator said on 14 May 2008 at 1:29 pm:

Great quote, Ron, from my philosophical hero. I’ve got no sympathy at all for the liberals who elected Tejada. I’d like to ship the rest of our illegals there so they can pay for their health care, the schooling of their little darlings, the clogging of their traffic court, their translators, and all the rest of the social services and infrastructure they steal from legal, taxpaying residents.Incidentally, our very own little Marty Nohe jumped up last night at Guvnor Goober’s soiree in Hoodbridge and introduced himself and drooled all over the Goober’s plan to raise our taxes.

Advocator said on 14 Apr 2008 at 9:18 pm: By the way, Trufe. I’d be willing to sacrifice NYC, San Fran, LA, a large part of DC., Arlington, and Manassas Park

Anti-Senator Colgan, Elder References, References to All Saints Catholic Church

Che’ said on 17 Mar 2008 at 2:02 pm:For all you All Saints parishoners, I noticed that the Honorable Senator Colgan is back in town. He was the usher at 9:00 mass this past weekend. I suggest politely introducing yourself after church and asking him what happened with the legislation he sponsored. I am curious to see if he is planning on making changes so that the bill will not conflict with federal law, and reintroducing it next session.2. Advocator said on 17 Mar 2008 at 3:31 pm:Yeah, I saw the old man profiling around town in his silver Lincoln Town Car, license plate “1″ (as in “uno”). If you see him, flip him a single digit for me.

Conspiracy Theory Belief

Advocator said on 25 Feb 2008 at 10:54 am:I suspect that this “housing crisis” was planned. Governments at all levels are getting into buying up foreclosed upon houses, ostensibly to offer them to low income families. It’s one more way for the gummint to gain control of property, thus control the wealth, in this country.

Anti-Police Chief Deane

We have laws on the books that are perfectly adequate for addressing the day labor site issue. What we lack are a police chief and leaders with the will to enforce them.

Advocator said on 30 Apr 2008 at 4:00 pm: Anon2 and Riley: That is exactly why I originally drafted the Resolution to provide that every police officer, in every stop of every person, would inquire into legal residence status. Such a policy would obviate the need for cameras, probable cause determinations, and all the rest of that black hole of litigation. Why it got changed, who changed it, and why are a big mystery that’s never been adequately explained.

Origin of the Immigratin Resolution From HSM's Frontline Newsletter

by Maureen Wood, City Council Candidate

Well written, enforceablelaws are among our mostpowerful weapons in thefight to reclaim our broken community.With assistance from the ImmigrationReform Law Institute(IRLI), HSM is working diligentlyto influence our local governmentalleaders to employ all the legal toolsat their disposal in the fight tobring order out of the chaos broughtupon us by illegal aliens.Recently, the HSM legislativecommittee, working with SupervisorStirrup and the IRLI, helpedcraft the Prince William Countyordinance addressing county servicesfor illegals. Special thanks toHSM member Robert Duecaster forwriting the initial draft. SupervisorStirrup used Duecaster’s draft todevelop the final resolution passedunanimously on July 10, 2007 bythe PW Board of County Supervisors.Duecaster also created anonline petition, urging GovernorKaine to implement a statewide287(g) program (see link below).Much effort goes into researchingissues, statistics and data. In futurenewsletters we will be sharing someof that research with you. If youhave any questions, data to share,or if you would like to become involvedwith the legislative committee,please contact me. from the FieldPAGE 3A Fair to Remember

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Help Save Manassas: ADL Report

The ADL has reported Help Save Manassas targets immigrants, uses speech from hate groups, and has local elected officials in its membership.

NOTE: HSM is officially a part of FAIR which has been identified as a hate group. Black Velvet Bruce Li (described below) is a collection of hate speech, violent intent, and discrimination; the blog owner and HSM President are the same person.
Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves into the Mainstream Capital Area Alliance Against Illegal Immigration

In April 2008, ten groups (in addition to an advisory group, the American Council for Immigration Reform) founded the Capital Area Alliance Against Illegal Immigration (the Alliance), a coalition whose mission is to “promote a united strategy of education, outreach and advocacy to end political and legislative support for illegal immigration in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.” To reach this end, the Alliance has stated its opposition to “sanctuary policies” and seeks to eliminate government-provided social services for undocumented immigrants in the Capital region. In the Alliance, anti-immigrant groups, widely viewed as mainstream, are operating in partnership with virulently anti-Hispanic border vigilante groups that monitor undocumented immigrants.

Ostensibly mainstream groups often conceal such connections; one of the reasons that the founding of the Alliance is significant is because it openly reveals these ties. Two anti-immigrant activists, Chris Simcox, leader of the border vigilante Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (and co-founder of the 2005 Minuteman Project) and Greg Letiecq of Save the Old Dominion, comprise the leadership of six of these ten groups. Glenn Spencer, who has promoted anti-Mexican conspiracy theories, is the leader of one of the other Alliance groups, the Arizona-based American Border Patrol. The Alliance formally announced its founding at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 10, 2008, and it has gained coverage in the mainstream media. Rather than discuss immigration policy, the Alliance has promoted classic anti-immigrant themes that demonize individuals. The press release announcing the Alliance’s formation states:

Sanctuary policies undermine public safety, school systems, and hospitals, and erode the overall quality of life for Capital area residents. The growing social, criminal and financial burden of illegal immigration has reached unsustainable proportions. Local businesses, Americans seeking jobs and regional communities suffer as a result of this lawlessness.

The Capital Area Alliance is comprised of the following coalition partners:
American Council for Immigration Reform (Virginia) – A non-profit anti-immigrant group, it acts in an advisory capacity to the Alliance. The Council works with several anti-immigrant activists and groups, including other Alliance partners. It has run ads in the mainstream media, brought activists to Washington, D.C. to lobby, and made contacts with elected officials. The group links its Website to similar anti-immigrant groups, including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and NumbersUSA, and the Council’s blog includes a link to VDare, a racist Website, under the “favorites” section.

American Border Patrol, also known as American Patrol (Arizona) – An anti-immigrant group that uses high-tech equipment to monitor the flow of illegal immigrants across the Arizona border. For more than a decade, group leader Glenn Spencer, who mixes anti-Mexican bigotry with anti-government rhetoric, has warned of a plan by Mexicans to "invade" and "conquer" the Southwestern United States. Spencer moved his group from California to Sierra Vista, Arizona, in August 2002, in order to be, in his words, "on the front lines." He has appeared at events sponsored by white supremacists and racists, and racist and anti-government extremist groups across the country have embraced his rhetoric.

Defend DC (Washington, D.C.) – Its leader, William Buchanan, serves as the Alliance’s Washington, D.C. spokesman. The group’s founding goal was to prevent the establishment of a day labor center in a specific area of Washington, D.C. To that end, the group held a joint demonstration with Help Save Maryland, another Alliance partner, at a Home Depot in Washington, D.C. in December 2007. The group’s information packet reveals its ideology: “Illegal alien workers are incompatible with a decent neighborhood. Public urination, public drinking, sexual harassment, and property intrusions are only the beginning…The fabric of the community slowly unravels.”

Judicial Watch (Washington, D.C.) – A conservative non-profit group that seeks to act as a government watchdog. It files lawsuits and engages in various types of campaigns to “root out government corruption.” The Judicial Watch Website was the first to feature the Alliance’s press release. Judicial Watch has, for years, been waging its own campaign against the “illegal alien invasion,” claiming that undocumented immigration is an economic and security threat. The group’s staff officially participated in the Minuteman Project, a month-long border vigilante exercise along the United States-Mexico border in Arizona in April 2005.

Maryland Minuteman CDC (Maryland) –A chapter of the border vigilante Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a national group led by Chris Simcox and headquartered in Arizona. The two-year-old chapter mainly exists as a Web entity; its page is currently updated with news stories rather than actual chapter activity. In 2007, the chapter was more active. It held meetings, co-sponsored an anti-immigrant rally, and encouraged members to attend an anti-immigrant rally in Washington, D.C., staged by the Dustin Inman Society, a Georgia-based anti-immigrant group.

Virginia Minuteman CDC (Virginia) – A chapter of the border vigilante Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a national group led by Chris Simcox and headquartered in Arizona. Chapter leader George Taplin has appeared in a mainstream documentary about immigration, spoken at several community events pertaining to immigration, fought to close a day labor center in Virginia to reduce the numbers of undocumented workers in the area, and has been quoted in mainstream media outlets. In May 2007, the chapter sponsored the founding meeting of Help Save Virginia Beach, a group created to encourage the training of local police to enforce federal immigration law.

Help Save Maryland (Maryland) – In its mission and activities, the group supports anti-immigrant policies, including empowering local law enforcement to initiate deportation proceedings, closing day labor centers, and removing benefits to undocumented immigrants. The group has chapters in 10 counties. Chuck Floyd is the Alliance’s Maryland spokesperson, and group member Pree Glenn-Graves, who runs the Prince Georges County chapter, was a vocal participant at the Alliance’s press conference at the National Press Club. She stated, “We're going to start getting overrun in Prince George's County. I can see it happening…I see it happening. Even our Kmart [sic] has been converted to Spanish. Everything is in Spanish and English.” In April 2008, Joe Guzzardi, the editor of VDare, a racist Website, quoted group leader Brad Botwin in an article he wrote and posted to VDare. Guzzardi’s article, which supported anti-immigrant activity, is featured on the Help Save Maryland blog.

Save the Old Dominion (Virginia) – This group is itself a coalition comprised of seven anti-immigrant groups: Help Save Loudoun, Vienna Citizens Coalition/Group, Help Save Hampton Roads, Centreville Citizens Coalition, Help Protect Culpeper, Save Stafford, and Help Save Manassas.

Three of these groups--Help Save Loudoun, Vienna Citizens Coalition/Group and Help Save Manassas--are positioning themselves as independent members of the Alliance. Greg Letiecq, an anti-immigrant leader and head of the Virginia-based Help Save Manassas, is the executive director of Save the Old Dominion and also serves as the Alliance’s Virginia spokesman.

Help Save Loudoun (Virginia) – Member of Save the Old Dominion; also a member of Help Save Virginia, an anti-immigrant coalition containing four subgroups (Help Save Herndon, Help Save Loudoun, Help Save Fairfax, Help Save Hampton Roads). Help Save Loudoun contains both a grassroots component (“formed to address and troubleshoot community improvement issues”), and a political action committee. The latter was “formed to promote the election of public officials who are dedicated to implementing immigration law enforcement measures at the local and state levels; and reversing the trend of illegal migration into Northern Virginia.”

Vienna Citizens Coalition, which also appears to be the Vienna Citizens Group (Virginia) -- Member of Save the Old Dominion; it describes itself as a “multicultural group, of varying ages and stages in life” and the Website also states, “We can turn the tide on crime, day laborers, vagrancy, and zoning problems in Vienna. It's up to us to take this stand and take back our town.” The group claims to meet once a month.

Help Save Manassas (Virginia) – Member of Save the Old Dominion. Greg Letiecq, the Virginia spokesperson for the Alliance, runs Help Save Manassas and Save the Old Dominion. Letiecq has attracted hundreds of people to Help Save Manassas through his personal blog, “Black Velvet Bruce Li,” reportedly one of the most highly trafficked blogs in the state. Having just commemorated its one-year anniversary in April 2008, Help Save Manassas, which claims to have 2,000 members, including elected officials, has proven to be one of the most influential and active entities in the anti-immigrant movement in the Capital region. Its legislative committee worked with a member of the Prince William County Board of County Supervisors and the legal arm of FAIR to draft a resolution that “seeks to deny services to illegal immigrants and sharply increase immigration enforcement by police.” The resolution was unanimously passed in July 2007. A group newsletter includes language representative of Letiecq’s ideology:

Our county has been under assault from the influx of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who have taken advantage of our lax enforcement of the law at the federal, state and local levels. These border crashers have contributed to rising crime rates, increasing burdens on our schools, hospitals and public services, and the very destruction of our American culture.
Press Release:
Anti-Immigrant Groups Borrow From Playbook Of Hate Groups To Demonize Hispanics

About This Report
Coalitions Highlighted in Report
America's Leadership Team for Long Range Population-Immigration-Resource Planning
Capital Area Alliance Against Illegal Immigration
Groups Highlighted in Report
New Jersey Citizens for Immigration Control
The Dustin Inman Society
Mothers Against Illegal Aliens
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)
Choose Black America
You Don’t Speak for Me
Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (ALIPAC)
Grass Fire
Anti-immigrant rhetoric in media and politics
Download Printable Version
En Español (.PDF)

Um....a political rally at a school during school hours?

This party crap has gone too far....once again. Talk about indoctrination! If they want kids to learn about politics, let them take a damn field trip.


School Use For McCain, Palin Rally Bucks Rule
By Tim Craig and Michael Alison Chandler

Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, September 9, 2008; B01

Sen. John McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, are holding a campaign rally at Fairfax High School tomorrow morning in violation of a school system policy, prompting some teachers and community leaders to question district officials.

According to the Fairfax County policy, which addresses how the community can use school facilities, "School buildings and grounds may not be used for campaign activities during school hours."

Superintendent Jack D. Dale said he made an exception to the policy because he thought it would be a good learning experience for students. "We are not participating in a political rally," he said. "We are letting our kids have new educational opportunities." He alerted the School Board about the event yesterday during a meeting at the school administration building.

McCain campaign officials said they negotiated openly with school and Fairfax City officials and the local leaders suggested the high school. Fairfax City owns the high school building but contracts with the county to operate it.

Dale said he made the same policy exception for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Obama held a town hall meeting at Robinson Secondary School in July, with about 2,000 participants. School was not in session, but an arts program and some other activities were being held in other parts of the school, Dale said. The policy does not address summer school activities.

Still, some Obama supporters and community members are crying foul.
Several teachers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they fear retribution, raised concerns about the political event.

"This is in the middle of a school day. The entire school day is going to be disrupted, and this gives an indication of support for his candidacy. That bothers me," one Fairfax County school teacher said.

School spokesman Paul Regnier said that the school day would not change for most students. But seniors, who study government, would have the option to attend the rally. Most attendees will be McCain and Palin supporters, who can obtain tickets through the local Republican committees or the McCain campaign.

Del. Kristen J. Amundson (D-Fairfax), who served on the Fairfax County School Board from 1991 to 2000, said she was shocked that school officials authorized the event.

"This is almost unprecedented, to have a rally in a school building in the middle of the school day with kids present," Amundson said.

Amundson said that for years, Fairfax school officials have resisted calls to hold political events while students are in class.

She wants the rally canceled or moved, noting that an e-mail advertising the rally asks people who show up to "please wear something red to remind everyone to keep Virginia red this November."

Fairfax City Mayor Robert F. Lederer, a Republican who helped plan the event, defended the rally, noting Obama's appearance at Robinson.
"This is something that I see has broad support for its educational component," Lederer said. "The Obama people did it this summer. I think the precedent was probably set during that period, whether it was a good decision or not."

Dale said any security or other costs are paid for by the campaigns.
Lederer said residents should be proud that McCain (R-Ariz.) and Palin chose to have their rally in Fairfax City. "It would be disappointing to me if this becomes a partisan, bickering affair where, if you are for one, you are for the rally, and if you are for the other, you are against it."

Principal Scott Brabrand sent out a message through the school's e-mail system yesterday to alert parents about the rally.

Fairfax High School parent and Obama supporter Pearl Johnson, whose daughter is a student at Fairfax High, said she had mixed feelings when she learned about the event. She thought it would have some educational value.

"But it did come to mind, if they are doing a McCain and Sarah event during the school day, are they going to do the other side? What message are you sending?"

Staff writer Michael D. Shear, traveling with the McCain campaign, contributed to this report.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Anger Management

I very rarely get furious with particular leaders. Most politicians, though they are politicians, do both good and bad. I'm never one to say, "You know, those damn Democrats are ruining the nation," or "Those Republicans are a bunch of so-and-so's." I try to look each leader as an individual. And typically if I pick out a politician I vehemently disagree with, I'm not left with a permanent bad taste in my mouth and mind. Yes, Tom Davis annoys the hell out of me, but even he has some redeeming qualities. Yes, Teddy Kennedy is repulsive on several levels, but he does some good. You see, I don't believe anyone is all good or all bad.

Yes, I rant at "Congress" or "The BOCS" or "The Department of Education," but these are entities, not individuals. And these rantings usually mean, "Please change your collective policy." It's nothing personal.

But in the case of John Stirrup and Corey Stewart, two out of a larger BOCS, for me, it IS personal--that is, it's personal because their actions spit in the face of my beliefs and my right to protest their actions. It's not personal in terms of their home lives. I really could care less what color Corey Stewart painted his bathroom or what John Stirrup does in the bedroom or whether or not Stirrup spanks his horses or Stewart his kid. That's not where I am coming from.

Allow me to explain.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to really examine my deep-seated anger at John Stirrup and Corey Stewart. I jumped right in to this self-examination because they are two exceptions to my ability to dismiss anger and irritation and move on to perhaps more productive dialogue with them personally. So I started to wonder why, I, a person who does indeed spout off but doesn't really personalize politics, can't seem to loosen my anger towards these two men. So I did a little comparison.

First and foremost, Stewart and Stirrup have the most power to affect our daily lives. I think we sometimes forget that "all government is local" and what that means to our communities. Our PWC officials can make or break our economy, our quality of life, our sense of security, and to some extent, our families. While state and federal government certainly feed into the local government, the buck literally stops at our BOCS. Local government is up-close and personal.

We expect a lot from our local leaders. Especially lately, PWC is pretty vocal about what those expectations are. We want to feel safe, and we want nice neighborhoods.

The BOCS is tasked with listening to a variety of constituents and problem solving to the best of their ability. And like any government body, partisan politics and local pettiness get in the way. So I won't deny I expect quite a bit, but not an unrealistic bit, from the Chair and Vice Chair of our BOCS. I expect them to problem solve in a responsible manner for the good of everyone who lives in their county.

One of the most important things a local government should provide is a sense of security. And right now, we do not have it. Our economy has gone downhill. Our neighborhoods are clearing out. Our schools are still over-crowded and our property taxes have increased. And right in the middle of it all, we have a Chair and a Vice Chair still fostering not peace but dissension, polarizing, and outright violent, hateful rhetoric.

They do this every time they re-inflame the immigration issue here on the local level instead of acting federally. They bring this HOME to us when they have already passed their resolution but continue to do things like brag about minorities leaving the community, supporting hate groups, and encouraging outside lobbyists whose agenda is more than just questionable. This is the way Stirrup and Stewart threaten our sense of security.

Anger is a secondary emotion usually based upon other emotions such as hurt, disappointment, frustration, etc. But anger can also be based on fear. And in my ruminating, I found fear is a tremendous motivator for my anger. And I have good reason to feel afraid. Look at websites out there. Really listen to the words Stewart and Stirrup are using. Look who they endorse and associate with. This fear isn't unfounded and I'm not paranoid. Neither is the immigrant community and its supporters.

I fear these two people in power who have brought more hatred and poverty to our county than anything else by paying for a program that could have been done cheaply, effectively, and efficiently without tearing apart our neighborhoods .

I fear the groups these two men support. I fear the kind of discrimination and polarization Stirrup and Stewart encourage by listening to their special interest groups and not to the general public who hold more concerns than their own.

I fear living in a culture where systematized racism is acceptable. I fear for my neighbors and friends who could be victims of an unjust, counter-productive, expensive policy and victims of violence.

I fear for the innocent who have been violated because Stewart's and Stirrup's lack of responsibility and lust for power and fame have overcome the rights of the people to be heard. I fear a local government that can justify ignoring thousands of protesting people right outside their chambers. I fear officials who would disenfranchise the weakest among us: the poor, the elderly, the sick and the disabled. I fear officials who do not make practical recommendations and solve real problems instead of propagandizing issues for their personal gain and prejudice.

I fear the return of the Civil Rights era and having to repeat the kinds of social chaos that period represented. I fear people who endorse using guns, weapons, violence and ignorance to achieve their ends.

No amount of police community presence will alleviate these fears. The only people who can alleviate them are sitting on the BOCS.

Make no mistake. Fear does not give me a sense of helplessness or paralysis. Fear fuels my anger and tells me: we don't have to live like this.

Fear is toxic and catching, and I don't want anyone to die of the disease these two leaders have spread. I will do what I can to make sure it doesn't happen any more than it already has. Because, you see, I'm afraid but I'm not cowardly. And neither are the people who think like me.

Can the same be said for Stewart and Stirrup?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Learn How YOU Can Make a Difference!

SALT Fall Conference: What can one person do to fight poverty and homelessness?
Join with 1,000 other social justice advocates from around the diocese to make a difference! SALT is a non-partisan legislative network working primarily at the state and local levels. SALT’s action alerts and special events provide both new and experienced advocates the tools they need to promote compassionate policies to meet basic human needs. Come to SALT’s Fall Conference on Saturday, October 25, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at St. Thomas á Becket Parish in Reston to learn how to get involved. For more information, go to or contact John Horejsi, SALT Coordinator, at

Food or Rent?
For many of us, higher inflation means that we carpool, go out to eat less, and buy more generic brands. For poor families, the choice is often more dire, between food for their children and a roof over their heads. Low wages for the working poor and meager benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, combined with high rental housing costs, mean homelessness for many Virginia families. What can you do? Join SALT, and be an advocate for social justice on behalf of the poor and vulnerable. Our 2009 legislative agenda calls for a modest increase in TANF benefits and a rental assistance pilot program for low-wage earners. Come to SALT’s Fall Conference on Saturday, October 25, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at St. Thomas á Becket Parish in Reston to learn how to make a difference. For more information, go to or contact John Horejsi, SALT Coordinator, at

9610 Counsellor Dr. • Vienna, VA 22181 • 703-255-7074 • E-mail:

Friday, September 05, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Can We PLEASE Stop the Stereotypes?

As we can see from my friend Kathleen's email, stereotyping and extremism do nothing to solve problems. They only cause more conflict, resentment, and social problems.

I HATE abortion. However, painting all of any population as "the pro-abortion crowd" or the "pro-illegal crowd" or "Republican Right-wingnuts" or anything else doesn't get anything accomplished. As I have said again and again, if we don't concentrate on the surrounding issues that encourage abortion, we will never be rid of it.

Being a one-issue voter does not help eradicate abortion or any other evil. We need to stop putting issues and concerns in boxes. We need to start examining the bigger picture, studying the whole, and then attack the diseases not the symptoms.

Abortion is a symptom of a larger disease perpetuated through ignorance, fear, and isolation. And if we do not vote for the best political package deal we can get, we make the problem worse.

If we want to eradicate abortion, we must support social programs that work. We must support diverse education without inflicting particular doctrine on public policy. However, we can influence our government for the better by trying to reach a reasonable consensus. This doesn't mean promoting abortion or bombing abortion clinics. It means using our God-given brains to work with one another instead of attacking one another (which only leads to more violence and death).

We will NOT get everything we want (for example, no one will never convince everyone to stop having sex or using contraception or screaming "I'm pro choice!" or "I'm pro life!"), but each of us at least can take steps towards the final goal: loving and protecting ALL life through moderate, peaceful actions. Doing so means we--every one of us--must value infants, children, adults, the elderly, the disabled....everyone.

We must listen to one another and try to remain open to viable solutions.

May we have peace and resolution instead of accusations.

Do you guys get the On Point talk show on NPR down there, and if so, did you hear it this morning?

I caught about ten minutes of it, and I've been foaming at the mouth all day. Here's the transcript of the part I heard:

CALLER CAROLINE: …I would like to ask her: If Sarah Palin were a Democratic candidate with a tiny special needs child at home and a 17-year-old daughter that's expecting a baby that's unwed, how the Republican Party of family values would view the fact that the mother went to work just a few days after the special needs baby was born. So that's what's happening with the Republican Party, and I would like her to comment…

TOM ASHBROOK: …We'll put it to her. Are you a Republican, Democrat, independent, what?

CAROLINE: Former Republican, due to this, exactly what we're describing.

ASHBROOK: Phyllis Schafly, what do you say…?

PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY: If Sarah Palin were a Democrat, she would have aborted the baby. That's the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.

She also stated that Barack Obama was an elitist due to his background. When Tom Ashbrook asked her which background she was referring to, the part where he was raised by his single mother or his grandmother, she said he was elitist because he went to school on scholarships. Here's the e-mail I sent to the wack-a-doodle today.

Dear Ms. Schlafly,

When I became pregnant at the age of 17 (the same age as Sarah Palin's daughter), I chose to keep my child rather than abort him. I am a Democrat.

As a young and very poor mother raising my child on my own, I put myself through college, first through the help of Pell grants and then through full academic, merit-based scholarships based on my 4.0 GPA. Today, I am a nurse anesthetist. I earn a great salary, I will not lose my home to foreclosure, and I do not have to worry about how I will heat my home this winter. I am a Democrat. Am I, too, like Barack Obama, an elitist because I went to school on scholarships?

Surely, in your heart of hearts, you are capable of recognizing how uninformed, unintelligent, and, for lack of a gentler way to put it, embarrassing to the Republican party, your statements on NPR were today.

You are able to recognize that. Aren't you?

Kathleen Callahan
Pepperell, MA

Here's a link to the program, if you want to listen to it yourself, as well as the comments people have been making all day.

I'm still foaming at the mouth...


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Living with ADHD and Depression

Since we got back to the topic of ADA and medication yesterday, I thought I'd talk a little more about ADHD, depression and medication in the adult body.

Let me say first that some people don't believe in ADHD. Well, some people don't believe in other diseases either. They don't believe, for example, that alcoholism is a disease. Se la vie. You'll never convince some people of anything; thus I won't waste my time trying to do so here.

I also won't waste my time presenting anything other than my own experiences. If you want to learn more about ADHD and depression start here and here. Then go here and here. There are plenty of other resources out there, and not all of them are published by the drug companies.

Let's start with ADHD. ADHD for me has meant a kind of dreaminess that started when I was a child. I'd zap out in the classroom. Who cared about Raggedy Ann when the larger questions of life were there to tease me, a five year old? Why are we on the planet? To know, love and serve God as the catechism taught me? There had to be more. I was right.

Some shrinks say contemplating the meaning of life can be a sign of early depression which I also have had throughout my life. I don't equate questioning life and philosophy with a disease, however. What an unhealthy thing to do! Besides, I am a writer. Poets in particular are expected to have a certain amount of angst and melancholy. Melancholy, brooding, and withdrawal are okay in small doses. In larger doses, though, they become counter-productive. That's depression. And that can lead to anxiety, which I've also had.

My depression never put me in the hospital, thank God. In high school, though, it kept me in bed with the covers over my eyes. I ate a lot. Dark thoughts sauntered in, but I was able to talk them away for the most part. I got things done but barely. I went to school and got good grades but I was bored and depressed. These two conditions, in my mind, are worse than melancholy. I hated being bored more than most people (ADHD). And I hated hating being bored. I felt like I had nothing in common with my peers....another stereotypical trait of moody artists. But too much isolation is also not good. I skipped school quite a bit to escape these feelings.

I managed my ADHD in college by writing myself schedules, staying busy, and loving my new learning. My colleagues were from all walks of life, and I loved that as well. I no longer had to worry about being the only introspective poet because I had artists, musicians, writers, and linguists all around me. I managed the depression with a low dose of antidepressants and a good doc.

Stress, life, and hormonal changes, though can exacerbate these conditions and I found it harder to cope the older I got. More than one doctor told me, that my PMS (which intensified the depression) would get better after I had kids. Bzzzzzzzz. Wrong. Enter post-partum depression and after, more biological malfunction. I cried a lot and ate a lot.

It wasn't all in my head. It was in my body, my metabolism, and my neurons.

That said, living with ADHD and routine depression isn't a tragedy if you have the more moderate kinds like I do. Sure, it's inconvenient. Yes, it's stressful. Of course it's a huge pain in the ass. Yes, it causes other health-related problems. But it's not insurmountable. In fact, I don't think it's really that much different from other people's life challenges. We all have them.

I can usually talk myself out of my down modes. If I can't, I walk myself out of them or work myself out of them. The worst thing depression itself has ever done to me is keep me on the couch with a messy kitchen calling my name while I ignore it. Or I cry more over what feels like nothing in particular. Or I eat too much and too often. And I've sometimes had to kick myself out of bed in the morning. That's pretty common behavior for commuters, however. Once I'm out of bed and awake, I love mornings. I get things like housework and writing done in the morning.

Incidentally, ADHD is often discussed in the context of house cleaning. Serious ADHD contributes to a disorganized home. I learned in college, though, that if my home was disorganized and messy, not only would I get depressed, I would get confused. Thus, I love a neat and orderly living space. This isn't easy with two messy children, however. My husband and I are teaching them to be less messy, that all members of the family must clean, and that really, those crumbs under the table will not clean themselves up.

Laundry has always been painful for me. It's boring. I've compensated somewhat by talking on the telephone while folding. The down side of this is that I don't always have people to call when I have to do laundry. It's not really fair, for me to constantly call my friend and say, "Hey. Talk to me so I can finish my laundry." Though I have to admit, I've done this to my best of friends. She doesn't care much and will hang up if she wants.

My other recourse is telling myself I only have to put away one basket of clothing. This helps make the job seem less daunting. If I feel overwhelmed, I can't even start the task. But one basket seems reasonable.

My husband also has given me good advice (and help around the house). He said if I devoted one hour per day to housework, I would feel better about our living space and our home. He's right. And I can usually manage at least one hour a day. It's amazing how much you can get done in an hour when you focus!

I've been in treatment for both ADHD and depression for years now. While I take medication for hormones, depression and anxiety, I manage the ADHD with compensation. I wish I could manage the other conditions without medication, but I can't. Oh well. I don't have to take blood pressure or cholesterol medication. I don't have to take insulin. So these are my meds. Again, se la vie.

My med treatments have ranged from good to bad to terrible. My advice to anyone who needs medication is to make sure the doctor tests you thoroughly, knows his meds, and sees you at least once a month if not more. If you have a med change, there is no such thing as "bothering" the doctor. People react differently to various medications and those reactions, if negative, can cause lifelong damage. I know this from experience and it's not an experience I would want anyone else to have.

I think it's appropriate to talk about challenges this morning as the kids head off to a new school year. Students suffer from these same ailments and more. I feel like I can relate to them better because I've struggled myself and I know it's not impossible to succeed in spite of illness. I also know there many more horrible things in life, people who have it a million times worse than I do, and that my own experiences can help make a difference. I hope to pass this positive energy on to my children as they make their own way through the world which is, after all, a complicated and challenging place for everyone.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Not Everything is Poetry

Hand on a hairy
elevator. My husband's
silently breathing.

Leave me alone now,
but not with my thoughts.
They call that depression.

His Holiness,
The Venerable

Cartoon Network
Radda Radda, Chowder
God, I hate that!

This morning to my friend:
"I feel generic as corn flakes."

If you must work in the negative,
could you at least be a vacuum?

This is how I amuse myself.
Too bad YOU aren't amused.

Remember Your Mothers, Grandmothers and Great-Grandmothers

This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

Lucy Burns
And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

Dora Lewis
They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

Woodrow Wilson and his cronies tried to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. The doctor refused. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.

The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.'

Some women won't vote this year because--why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining? ________

If for no other reason, vote out of respect for ANY of those who have suffered for our rights to do so.

Information disseminated courtesy of League of Women Voters

Friday, August 29, 2008

Important Information for those with Disabilities!

Please write to support this legislation which goes a long way to protecting us from unfair employers, schools, and other industries!

Thank you to both parties for supporting this bill and working together. This bi-partisan effort gives us hope that we can make the United States a fair and just place to live.

Also thank you to the PWC Disabilities Service Board for this important information.

Senate Set To Move On ADA Reform Measure.

WASHINGTON—The outlook for Senate legislation that would extend the coverage of the Americans with Disabilities Act remains bright despite the shrinking legislative calendar, according to Capitol Hill observers.

That's because the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, shortly before the Congress began its August recess, enjoys broad support among senators who have signed on as co-sponsors as well as the wide range of ideologies they represent.

Both presumptive major party presidential nominees—Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Barack Obama, D-Ill.—are among more than 60 co-sponsors of the measure.

Additionally, similar legislation won overwhelming support in the House of Representatives earlier this summer (BI, June 30).

The bill would instruct courts to interpret the definition of disability under the ADA broadly. Like the House bill of the same name, the measure would make clear that the use of mitigating measures, such as diabetes medication, would not remove an individual from the ADA's protections.
Sen. Harkin said the bill comes in response to a series of court decisions that unfairly restricted the scope of the ADA's protections.

The measure, which is bypassing committee consideration and moving directly to the full Senate for consideration after Congress returns next month, should receive a favorable reception there, say observers.

"I think it's pretty clear that it's going to pass the Senate," said Lawrence Lorber, a partner in the Washington office of Proskauer Rose L.L.P. With more than 60 co-sponsors representing every point on the political spectrum and "with no indication that anybody is opposed to it, I assume it would pass with at least as overwhelming as the House bill," he said.

"We're optimistic this can be the vehicle that can move forward and restore the original intent of the ADA," said Keith Smith, director-employment and labor policy at the National Assn. of Manufacturers in Washington.
"We're definitely optimistic that the Senate will recognize the importance of this and move forward," Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Lorber pointed out that the Senate bill "differs in one pretty dramatic respect" from its House counterpart, as Sen. Harkin explained when he introduced the measure.

"The Senate bill builds upon the success of the House bill," said Sen. Harkin. "However, it seeks to broaden the definition of disability in a way that maximizes bipartisan consensus and minimizes unintended consequences.

"Our bill leaves the ADA's familiar disability language intact: A person with a disability is one who has a physical or mental impairment that `substantially limits' one or more of the major life activities of the individual," Sen. Harkin said. "It does not substitute the term `materially restricts' as in the House bill. Instead, the bill takes several specific and general steps that, individually and in combination, direct courts to take a more generous meaning and application of the definition."

"The biggest difference between that bill and the House is the definition," said Michael Eastman, executive director-labor law policy with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington.

He said both bills reflect common ground reached by business groups and the disability community. "Both the Senate and the House bills embody that common ground. We're comfortable with both of them," Mr. Eastman said.

The Senate bill "makes clear what the intent of Congress is," said Mr. Lorber.

NAM's Mr. Smith stressed that both the House and Senate bills arose from discussions between employer groups and organizations representing the disabled.

"The real thing that needs to be celebrated here is the process" by which the business and disability communities worked out a compromise, he said.

"This is the result of detailed negotiations."

"The NAM is very supportive of this," said Mr. Smith.

"At the end of the day, we support both bills," said the Chamber's Mr. Eastman.

He said the Chamber was "certainly hopeful" that the Senate would deal with the measure quickly.

"Our goal has been to try to get this on the president's desk this year," Mr. Eastman said.

ADA highlights

Highlights of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, S. 3406, as introduced in the Senate:

· Defines a person with a disability as one who has a physical or mental impairment that "substantially limits" one or more of the major activities of the individual.

· Holds that mitigating measures such as medication cannot be considered when determining if a person is entitled to protections of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

· Instructs courts to interpret the definition of disability as broadly as permitted by the ADA.

Source: Library of Congress'

Freedom of the Press?

ABC Reporter Arrested in Denver Taking Pictures of Senators, Big Donors
Asa Eslocker Was Investigating the Role of Lobbyists and Top Donors at the Convention

by Brian Ross
Published on Thursday, August 28, 2008 by ABC News

DENVER -- Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he and a camera crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel. Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he was attempting to take pictures of Democratic senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel. (ABC News)

Police on the scene refused to tell ABC lawyers the charges against the producer, Asa Eslocker, who works with the ABC News investigative unit.
Big Brother supports the lobbyists. We knew that, of course, but now they legally penalize people trying to identify lobbyists? The reporter didn't even know who pressed the charges? Is this legal?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Putting it All Together

I hate putting things together.

My husband told me yesterday at work he put together eleven chairs.

This kind of activity would make me want to barf.

I don't mind taking things apart. But following diagrams feels like trying to complete surgical procedures from a textbook. The shapes run together. Three-dimensional pictures look three different ways to me. So I can never figure out which part belongs in which slot which way. Any open-skinned patient I had would die.

The same thing happens to me at gas stations except no one dies. You know those diagrams on the pumps, the ones that show you how to insert the card correctly? Well, the picture of the magnetic strip looks left AND right to me, card name on top AND bottom. I usually try all my options which takes up more time, much to the chagrin of the people behind me whom I know are muttering, "What is WRONG with that woman? Is she three- dimensionally dyslexic or what?"

Maybe I am. It might have something to do with my astigmatism but I don't know.

In high school, I flunked the spacial relations aptitude tests. My reading scores were high, but apparently I couldn't tell which way a gear would turn if a smaller gear pulled from the top and a larger gear pulled in succession from each side. Fortunately, gears aren't part of my daily life except for the gears that turn in my head. And I've given up on trying to figure out how THOSE work.

Once I put together a three-shelf bookcase. I was so proud of myself. Except when I looked at the final product, I noticed I had put the back panel on backwards. The shiny part faced the wall, the pressboard the bedroom. I couldn't remove the tiny nails from the wood without damaging the whole thing, but I figured by the time I filled the befuddled furniture with books, that little mistake wouldn't make much of a difference. After all, the most daunting part of the project, figuring out the angle of each board and its relationship to the other pieces of wood, had been a success. I think I still have that shelf.

A hundred years ago in high school shop class, I made a wooden duck paper-holder with a clothespin beak. I filed the sides rounder than they should have been (angles not being my thing either), but I was proud of my little ducky that shone more than the other kids'. Four coats of shellac made that little guy gleam. The other kids only had time for two.

I don't have the duck anymore.

Disassembling goes better, especially if I know I can throw the pieces away. There is nothing so stress relieving as indiscriminately pulling out nails without having to consider their natural shape. Bending is okay. Leaving large holes in a wall is not okay which is the down side to my hardware-happiness. It's better for me to remove nails from old pieces of wood. Unfortunately, this opportunity doesn't come along very often. The need to put things together (and correctly) is usually in higher demand. But if you ever need nails pulled out, I'm your woman.

I also don't mind stomping on things.

If we have to assemble furniture at home, I'm usually the material holder and the tool hander. I can recognize basic tools, and I can even explain how to use them. But I am all thumbs when it comes to the hammer. When I hang pictures on the wall, I usually hammer with a stapler. When my husband does it, he measure, levels, looks for a stud, and uses a drill and/or hammer.

Once, someone made fun of me for driving in tent stakes with a rock instead of the already provided rubber mallet. I told them I wanted to be more in tuned with nature. I think I would be dangerous with a gavel.

My husband has a lot of patience. He is methodical, linear, and literal, especially when it comes to putting things together. I guess this is why he is so good at his job.

My job is to scramble his brain a bit. It's good for him.

Like I said, my husband has a lot of patience.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Off Topic with Citizen Tom

I'm not sure how Tom and I got so far removed from his original posting, but since we both seemed to have nurtured it, I thought I'd move the posting here to separate it from our original discussion.
On Homosexuality: Imposing Our Beliefs on Others

Hi Tom--
As to imposing our views on others, it happens all the time whenever a law is passed that we don't agree with. Abortion laws are one example that have been disputed for decades. Paying for war is another. We are all imposed upon one way or another through government which is why we have have so many disputes.

I don't see homosexuals endorsing their sex lives. I see them promoting their rights to be who they are and have the same protections heterosexual couples do. Again, recall that interracial couples went through this same process. Whether or not we agree with homosexuality doesn't really play into the debate. This is a matter of legal protection for all.

For the record, I'm neither lesbian nor bisexual. I believe I was born this way. But labeling and discriminating against what we consider "genetic abnormality" is a slippery slope. Children born with extra limbs, for example, are "genetically abnormal". Some people choose to abort babies with such "abnormalities" instead of supporting them throughout their lifespan. Imagine if we denied every person with a genetic "abnormality" the same rights as others?

"Normal" is a subjective term. By all rights, I am not considered "normal" because I have brain oddities that cannot be cured. However, these are abilities in many ways because I think differently. So long as I am not completely out of control, why should I be cured? I like my differences in many ways. Should I have fewer rights than anyone else? Should I be forced to have a lobotomy because some people think I'm a weirdo? If that's the case, there would be millions of artists, writers, thinkers, and musicians slated for brain surgery. Einstein would have been one of the first in line.

In addition, think of everyone you have known that has been considered "different" whose "abnormalities" are not considered anything other than strange personality traits. Should we deny these "different" people rights because we perceive them as "weird"? Not to bring in Hitler again, but the most obvious example of social engineering is the Holocaust. The Nazis aimed to create an Aryan race. Homosexuals were only one of their targets.

Sex is often not practical. Neither is marriage. Neither is bearing children. Neither is commuting in heavy traffic to earn a living. In fact, at least half of what we do in life isn't practical. So this really isn't a valid argument. Furthermore, there is the argument that homosexuality is an evolutionary pattern that reduces over-population. Hence, children are more protected from poverty and birth control/abortion becomes less necessary.

Finally, in many species, homosexuality is considered normal, biological behavior.

Women in the Military

Since we are a product of our biology, I am not sure how you get from women in the military to social engineering. One could argue that excluding women and using men only is social engineering and encourages discrimination against women. Furthermore, nurses have served in the military for decades. Should we eliminate them because patients might fall in love and never return to active duty? This tension between the sexes is out of hand. We must learn to live with and work with one another or we will doom ourselves in war and in society.

Look, we have different private parts. Not to be silly, but should we make sure all men have the same sized "members" because if they don't, their machismo is at risk, and therefore, less endowed men might feel emasculated and not fight as well? This isn't about genitalia. The government isn't risking anything by working with people's different physical make-up unless those people cannot physically do the job---which means, again, they should be able to serve in a different capacity. If you are that worried about women serving next to men, put the women in tanks with other women. (BTW, both men and women in my family serve in the military so you are treading on thin ice here! LOL!)

Indoctrination in Public Schools

Parents have the choice of sending their children to public or private schools. They can home-school if they want. But children--all children--are entitled to a public education per the law in order to provide a firm educational footing and reduce the likelihood of failure and poverty.

Again, I don't see the connection between personal choice and indoctrination unless teachers are ranting about their sexual preferences (which no one should do anyway because that is considered harassment).
Politicians all have their pet "groups" as you note. Some of these pets are nurtured through personal beliefs and others are just sanctioned pandering. Public schools, however, are public. I wouldn't consider them a special interest.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Exciting? Risky?

My friends and family worry about me.

They think because I am opinionated and open, I risk being targeted. And while that is probably true to some extent, I pointed out I am no Martin Luther King, Jr. whose dedication to freedom, equality and service has been my inspiration for decades. As I said to my husband, I believe my role is to serve and to make people (including myself) think. This begins with serving my family the best way I know how and extends to serving my community as best I can.

I guess people read the newspapers too much or watch too much television. They think I lead a risky life. I've also been told I live an "exciting" life and I just laugh. School meetings, doctors' appointments, homework-nagging and house cleaning are hardly the prototypes of excitement. When I'm not with my family, I fit in other things that amuse me.

This past Saturday, for example, I attended an educational workshop sponsored by the League of Women Voters. I am blogging this morning. I write letters and poetry. I read. I occasionally speak at Citizen's Time. I try to hike and exercise when possible. I paint and scrapbook when the mood strikes me. I take photographs of pretty things. I go to church and once a month or so watch kids in the nursery and activity room. I volunteer and work for pay whenever family obligations subside.

My vacations are relaxing, low key and local. I shop at the Salvation Army. I struggle with laundry and dislike extensive cooking. I'm not complaining in the least, but really, how exciting is that? Any kind of "excitement" goes on in my head, not my daily life. Is that really so weird or brave or risky?

Maybe people who think other people who participate in democracy are different somehow. But I don't think "we" are any different than anyone else except we do things like write letters and make phone calls. Really, how much time and effort does that take for anyone who makes the time to read a newspaper? It doesn't take extensive research or brain power or talent.

Unfortunately, it often takes MORE time to register to vote and show up at the polls than it does to more actively participate in government! This weekend, for example, I learned that felons are labeled so for life even if they did time for a non-violent crime. Felons lose their civil rights and in Virginia, must jump through tremendous hoops to earn back their right to vote. Most felons don't understand the process, and since it takes a Governor's pardon to get it done in addition to a long waiting period, who can blame them when they end up not voting for decades or for life?

Of course, these are extreme cases, no matter how pervasive. Other things get in the way of voting: apathy. The DMV losing registrations. Misunderstanding the registration forms. Not knowing absentee ballots are more available than they used to be. The list goes on, and until recently, I didn't realize I was one of the many who didn't vote in my younger years simply because of the (often faulty) process which overwhelmed me.

Taking part in our democracy shouldn't be so daunting. Certainly, it shouldn't be considered some kind of exotic lifestyle or time-consuming commitment! After all, if some mom with a computer can write short letters, what stops anyone else from doing the same?

I say, if you think my life is so "exciting," join in! Make a call to your Congress Person. Write a little letter. Comment on a blog. It really IS that easy and not as risky as people like to believe.

Dear Senator Biden

Fax 1 page to Senator Joe Biden

Dear Senator Biden:

Congratulations on your recent selection as running mate to Senator Obama. Having the audacity to hope, I look forward to your administration making positive changes in this country.

Senator Biden, I hope you will bring to Senator Obama's attention the predatory nature of student loans and unethical schools which have driven our younger and vulnerable generations into debt and hopeLESSness.

Postsecondary student borrowers and their families have no consumer protections, which has proven to be a disaster for them and our economy much like the mortgage industry has caused. The disabled, for example, have lived with lifelong debt because the Department of Education has randomly and inconsistently defined "disability."

Thank you for your time, and I hope you can do something about this crucial issue.


Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt