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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 06:34 PM
Number of posts: 7,404

About Me

Navy brat-->University fac brat. All over-->Wisconsin-->TN-->VA. RN (ret), married, grandmother of 11. Progressive since birth. My mouth may be foul but my heart is wide open.

Journal Archives

'I grew up in care alone - why did no-one tell me I had siblings?'

Note: This story is from the UK, but the same thing happens in the US. It should be stopped!

Ashley John-Baptiste grew up in care believing he was an only child. Then, out of the blue, he received a message from a brother he never knew he had. He set out to explore what being split from siblings means to those who have been in the care system.

As a toddler, I was placed in the care system. By 18, I had been moved between four foster families and a residential care home in south-east London.

It's really hard to describe what it was like growing up in so many different homes. It felt like being under a cloud of rejection - no sense of family, no sense of belonging. I did meet my birth mum when I was 10, but never met my dad. I always wondered why I wasn't adopted - was it ever a possibility?

Living in that residential home with other children gave me my first taste of brotherhood, but we had no control over our relationships in the long term. We would be moved, and disappear from each other's lives.

Children who are placed in care are given "life story" sessions by their local authority - this is where a social worker tells a child what they know about their family background and history. I was around seven when I had mine, and I was told I was an only child.

So it was a huge shock when, in my mid-20s, a man messaged me on Facebook to tell me he was my older brother. I can still remember the visceral sense of confusion I felt when I first saw his message. I had to re-read it several times.


It Sure Looks Like This Arizona Republican Used Campaign Cash To Attend Jan. 6 Riot

It’s no secret that Anthony Kern, who is running for state Senate in Arizona, went to Washington for the infamous “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, 2021. He even posted an image of his flight on Facebook.

But according to new campaign finance data, it appears that he also used campaign money to fund the trip.

Last week, Kern — a former GOP state representative who lost reelection in 2020 — submitted campaign finance data to the Arizona Board of Elections that raises additional questions about his conduct leading up to the U.S. Capitol riot.

The campaign finance disclosure form, which lists Kern’s expenditures and the contributions he received in 2021, shows that his campaign paid for three unusual travel and lodging-related expenses shortly before and after Jan. 6, 2021.

First, on Jan. 4, the day that Kern posted a photo of himself flying to Washington, his campaign paid him $980.96 for an expense described as “Travel - Lodging.”

The next day, Kern’s campaign paid him $478 for an “airline ticket.”


Federal court orders Alabama redraw Congressional map

Federal judges on Monday blocked Alabama's Congressional map and ordered the Republican-majority legislature to redraw a new map that matches the state's demographics, and has two Congressional districts with a substantial amount of Black voters.

The three-judge panel, including two judges appointed by former President Trump and one circuit judge appointed by former President Clinton, said the latest Congressional map violates the Voting Rights Act by drawing only one seat where Black voters make up a majority or plurality of the district.

"Black voters have less opportunity than other Albamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the judges wrote. "Any remedial plan will need to include two districts in which Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close to it."

Alabama's Black residents currently make up 26.8% of the state's population, and account for 34% of the state's entire population increase last decade. The majority were drawn into Alabama's 7th district, which has a Black voting age population of over 54%, according to the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.


Pencils down: College Board announces the SAT is going digital

The SAT, once viewed as a critical step to getting into college, will be shorter and administered online amid a major shift in its format brought on by the pandemic and the test's growing irrelevance.

The paper test currently takes roughly three hours to complete, but the digital version will be cut down to about two hours with more time given in between questions, the College Board announced Tuesday.

“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant,” Priscilla Rodriguez, vice president of College Readiness Assessments at the College Board, said in a news release.

The test will start online in the U.S. in 2024, and internationally in 2023.

The College Board, which administers the SAT, PSAT and other college-entrance exams, announced a number of other changes to the test.


Patriot Front's cameo at March For Life echoes an alarming historical alliance

By Renee Bracey Sherman, founder and executive director of We Testify, and Lizz Winstead, co-creator of "The Daily Show" and the founder and chief creative officer of Abortion Access Front

On Friday, anti-abortion organizers once again held the March for Life, an annual gathering on the National Mall featuring anti-abortion rights leaders and schoolchildren bused in from across the country. Although attendance numbers have waned in recent years, and despite a pandemic, organizers took to the stage Friday to boast about their political wins. Not surprisingly, the decadeslong effort to reshape the Supreme Court and potentially re-criminalize abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade was front and center. The speakers appropriated social justice language, claiming that the anti-abortion rights movement is one of love, “equality in the womb” and “pro-life is pro-woman” and that the “real racists” are those of us who stand against state-sanctioned violence and coercion and believe everyone should be able to decide whether, when and how to grow their families.

That’s the version of the rally they want you to see. What was happening offstage was far more insidious, even as it was historically predictable.

During the rally, videos began circulating on Twitter showing white supremacists, including members of Patriot Front — an extremist outfit that believes the white population is being replaced and needs to get its birthrates up — walking with other March for Life attendees; the uniformed and masked “patriots” carried shields and waved banners that read “Strong families make strong nations.” In other videos, attendees can be seen thanking Patriot Front members for attending and “supporting the right to life,” telling them to “be safe out there” and accepting their flyers. The crowd was jovial; as one woman reportedly told a photojournalist who explained that Patriot Front was a Christian fascist organization, “Well, as long as they're pro-life.”

Of course, after the videos circulated, the national March for Life organization issued a statement disavowing Patriot Front’s attendance, reiterating its stance for “equality in the womb.” However, that condemnation falls flat considering members of Patriot Front have been attending the March for Life since 2017 and made a well-publicized appearance at March for Life’s Chicago event this month.

And Patriot Front wasn’t the only white nationalist group in attendance; the Groypers, a white nationalist group led by Nick Fuentes, who is being investigated over the role he is alleged to have played in the Jan. 6 insurrection, also attended, donning crucifixes and “America First” flags.


The backlash against rightwing evangelicals is reshaping American politics and faith

What if I were to tell you that the following trends in American religion were all connected: rising numbers of people who are religiously unaffiliated (“nones”) or identify as “spiritual but not religious”; a spike in positive attention to the “religious left”; the depoliticization of liberal religion; and the purification and radicalization of the religious right? As a sociologist who has studied American religion and politics for many years, I have often struggled to make sense of these dramatic but seemingly disconnected changes. I now believe they all can all be explained, at least in part, as products of a backlash to the religious right.

Since the religious right rose to national prominence in the 1980s, the movement’s insertion of religion in public debate and uncompromising style of public discourse has alienated many non-adherents and members of the larger public. As its critics often note, the movement promotes policies – such as bans on same-sex marriage and abortion – that are viewed by growing numbers of Americans as intolerant and radical.

In a 2002 article, sociologists Michael Hout and Claude S Fischer argued that a significant trend in American religion – the skyrocketing number of people disaffiliating from religion – could be partly explained as a political backlash against the religious right. In the two decades since this article was published, a wealth of additional evidence has emerged to support its general argument. Sociologists Joseph O Baker and Buster G Smith summarize the sentiment driving this backlash: “If that’s what it means to be religious, then I’m not religious.”

While pathbreaking, this research has been relatively narrow in its focus. This is because it has typically started with the puzzle of the rising “nones” and worked backward in search of a cause, landing on backlash against the religious right. I wondered what would happen if we flipped this question around, and started with the rise of the religious right and public concerns about its radicalism. We could then consider the varied ways that backlash against it has manifested, including but not limited to the rise of the “nones”.

I'm not a "none", I'm an Orthodox Christian, but I'm seriously backlashing!

A rookie cop mistook my sons for gang members and searched them at gunpoint. Where's our justice?

My boys were taught that the police officers who protect and serve our communities are to be respected and trusted. That trust was destroyed on Jan. 8, 2018, when they were stopped at gunpoint, forced to lie on the ground, handcuffed and searched.

On this cold, rainy night the boys had spent the evening with their grandparents and were walking the short distance back to my house. This walk home turned into a nightmare that still haunts them to this day because an inexperienced police officer in Springdale, Arkansas, overreacted to a dispatch report about some alleged gang members who had fled during a traffic stop earlier that evening.

When officer Lamont Marzolf encountered my kids, who were just 12 and 14 at the time, he could have acted in a professional manner, asked them some questions, and it would have been readily apparent (1) they didn’t come close to matching the description of the suspects, and (2) they were just young kids walking back to their mom’s house after spending time with their grandparents.

In a just and reasonable world, this conversation between my children and officer Marzolf would have resolved the situation and everyone could have gone on with their lives. Instead, he jumped out of his patrol car, drew his weapon, pointed it at my children and escalated the situation beyond all bounds of decency.

Let's talk about lousy training! And these were even white kids! Qualified immunity is BS

Trump Supporters Left Death Threats for Election Workers. We Called Back.

“Well, Tennessee is watching you, Mr. Rick,” a voicemail said. “I'm just right over the border. We're watching you all closely.”

Another one had a similar message: “Hey Rick, watching this video of you on YouTube. You need to get your act together or people like me really may go after people like you.”

And yet another: “I hope they hang your fucking ass.”

After the 2020 presidential election, hundreds of threatening messages, emails, and voicemails were left for elections workers across the country. This is especially true in election hotspots like Georgia’s Fulton County, where officials were harassed for months over the phone and by email. Local law enforcement has not held anyone accountable, and some workers fear continued harassment in future elections.

Importantly, these calls weren’t anonymous. Instead, they were made by people from across the country who believe the false conspiracy that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump—and that election workers in Fulton County were to blame for massive electoral fraud.


Some types of baby formula in short supply, frustrating parents

Some kinds of baby formula are getting harder to find in parts of the country, leaving parents of young children frustrated and scrambling for alternatives.

"We've noticed it being difficult to find maybe a couple months ago — two, three months ago — and then just recently we can't find it," San Francisco resident Irene Anhoeck told CBS News.

She and her husband, Mario Anhoeck are the parents of Marlo, a 10-month-old boy. And since she can't breastfeed, the couple have fed Marlo a liquid infant formula from Similac, which they said is now in short supply.

"We've tried all the local Targets. We checked Costco, Costco online, Walgreens, Long's. Can't find it anywhere," Irene Anhoeck said.

Many parents around the country are reporting the same thing: bare shelves or very low stocks of baby formula — from New York to Washington state. The Infant Nutrition Council of America acknowledged there are some supply issues.


Plowy McPlowface has a job to do

This week, another winter storm is streaking across the northern Plains and the Midwest, dropping a few inches of snow. And it's so cold outside, iguanas are falling out of trees.

But this won't stop Plowy McPlowface, one of Minnesota's famed snowplows. Through frosted windows and low visibility, these trucks plow on. Here's what it is like to drive in such harsh conditions.

"Your visibility is low, it's snowing, freezing, your windshield wipers are clacking along trying to keep the windshield clean."
Dan Pendergast is one of the drivers of the 800 snowplows in Minnesota. And in the Twin Cities where he drives, they can see as much as 51 inches of snow in a single season.
"Here in Minnesota, things can happen so fast. It can switch from rain to snow to ice very quickly and it's hazardous," says Pendergast.
In Minnesota, snowplows are given names and snowplow drivers are local celebrities. Plowy McPlowface, Darth Blader and F. Salt Fitzgerald, just to name a few.

Might as well have some fun with miserable weather
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