Though the clinic in Wise is Virginia's anchor, it is only one of four this year; even more in the future if Dr. Vicky Weiss has her way. This weekend's iteration drew attention for a drone demonstration but the primary purpose remained providing care to persons with limited access to health care.
The need is underlined by the flood of participants at every event. Here you see the very last open space in the parking area of the Wise County Fair Grounds being filled just as the gates opened yesterday for this weekend's clinic. The first arrival had been at around 2pm Wednesday, two days before. By 9pm Thursday there were some 800 staged with tickets in hand; at 4:30am Friday over 1,250. By noon the equivalent of about half the population of Wise had passed through the gates for care.
Remote Area Medical (RAM) was initiated by its founder, Stan Brock, to provide service to the world's inaccessible areas. Upon the realization that barriers to access are not just geographical, he began delivery of care to rural and underserved populations in the United States; eventually into urban centers. Now more than 90% of RAM operations are within the United States.
RAM of Virginia was launched in April 2014 on the steps of the state's Capitol Building to alleviate the growing need of affordable health care for thousands of underserved Virginians. Headed by Dr. Victoria Molnar Weiss, the affiliate hopes to expand its operations to host many mobile clinics throughout the state yearly.
If you've been following Congress this week you'll know about the back and forth fight over moving to end the sale of Confederate flag items at National Parks, and to end the decoration of graves with the flag during Confederate Memorial. Politico reports:
The battle was joined Tuesday night, when Democrats offered a series of amendments to prohibit Confederate flags from being displayed at federal cemeteries, and to stop the U.S. Park Service from doing business with enterprises that sell the flags. These flags are typically displayed alongside the centuries-old tombstones of deceased confederate soldiers.
"This House now has an opportunity to add its voice to end the promotion of the cruel, racist legacy of the Confederacy," California Rep. Jared Huffman said in a floor speech before his initial amendment was adopted Tuesday.
The measures passed by voice vote.
But quickly, Southern Republicans approached GOP leadership and said they would vote against the Interior spending bill if that language was included. The amendment was offered Wednesday night after whole and partial congressional delegations from Mississippi, Georgia, Texas, Alabama and Virginia, among possibly others, related their concerns to GOP leaders.
So far, only one Mississippi Congressman has been vocal in indicating that he was opposed to the move to end decoration national cemeteries with the Confederate flag. But reports are that large numbers of Southern Republicans, as many as 100 in total, were ready to revolt against the move.
What members of the Virginia delegation are working behind the scenes to defend the Confederate flag?
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, June 10. Also check out the photo of my favorite Revenue Commissioner, Ingrid Morroy, with Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey, both of whom are on their way to the Arlington County Board after victories yesterday.
Here are a few winners and losers from the primaries held in Virgina last night that I believe are worth highlighting. As always, this list isn't meant to be comprehensive, just some stuff that jumped out at me, so please add winners and losers of your own in the comments section. Thanks.
Winners 1. "Working Families" Coalition; Charlie Jackson: These guys - - Mid-Atlantic Laborers Union/LIUNA, CASA in Action, NAKASEC Action Fund, SEIU Virginia 512, SEIU 32BJ, UFCW Local 400 - waded into four contested Democratic primary contests, endorsing Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey for Arlington County Board; Penelope Gross for Fairfax County Board; Rosalyn "Roz" Dance for State Senate from the 16th district; and Steve Heretick for House of Delegates from the 79th district. They won them all, with a combination of money, door knocking, phone banking, etc. Hopefully, the Virginia Democratic leadership will take notice! Also, Charlie Jackson, the Democratic political strategist and 10th CD Democratic chair who helped mastermind all this, must have a big smile on his face this morning. :)
2. Del. Scott Surovell: Can we say "kingmaker?" He rolled the dice, endorsed Dan Storck over Tim Sargeant for Mt. Vernon District Supervisor, and came out on top last night. Surovell also saw his friend and political ally Paul Krizek sweep to victory. Not too shabby for one evening. Throw in Ben Tribbett as a "winner" here, since he played a role in all this behind the scenes.
3. Team Katie Cristol: Wow, just wow. Cristol came out of nowhere and performed impressively at debates, but she also won the Democratic nomination for Arlington County Board last night because of the strong campaign team behind her (and she also ran a heckuva campaign, let's face it!). That includes the "Working Families" coalition, of course, but also everyone involved (e.g., her husband, Steve; political strategist Ian Redman, volunteers like Brian Devine) in that effort. Nice job!
4. Team Christian Dorsey: He went into this as a strong favorite to pick up one of the two Arlington County Board Democratic nomination slots, and he did. Mission accomplished by Lauren Hall, Virginia Robinson, Stephanie Clifford, Ingrid Morroy, and the many others involved in this effort. I didn't endorse Christian, but he's a really good, sharp guy who should make a fine addition to the Board. Mazel tov!
5. The Stolle Family: The Virginian Pilot headline ("Siobhan Dunnavant wins GOP primary, could become 4th Stolle elected") says it all on this one.
6. Arlington County Board Member Libby Garvey: I hate putting her on this list, as i view her as a negative, damaging, corrosive force in Arlington politics. Still, she's got to be happy that the folks most hostile to her lost last night, while someone widely viewed as an ally, Christian Dorsey (for his part, he insists he will be fiercely independent of anyone/everyone, and I hope that's the case!), won. Not a bad night, all in all.
7. Mike Signer: He was determined to get elected to something (e.g., Lt. Governor in 2009), and he finally did...to the Charlottesville City Council. Signer also recently came out with a book, Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father, and became a father (if not a Founding Father - lol) for the first time. Mazel tov to Mike, who's definitely in the "winners" category right now.
8. Bill Howell: He could have been the next Eric Cantor, but instead he won resoundingly by working hard, raising tons of money, not taking anything for granted, and did I mention working hard? :)
9. Hal Parrish: The Republican nominee in the 29th State Senate District probably has a big smile on his face this morning, after watching the anemic turnout in the Democratic primary yesterday (and also the results).
10. Team Steve Heretick: A superb victory over the seemingly invincible Del. Johnny Joannou (calls himself a "D," but more of a Republican or even Tea Partier). Nice job!
11. Team Mark Levine: Very impressive, not sure how they did it exactly, but the multi-page mailer they sent out, telling the story of Mark's heroic efforts to find justice for his murdered sister (and for all women who are victims of domestic violence), has gotten rave reviews. Anyway, great job by Levine's entire team (particularly campaign manager Jacob Weinberg) in putting together a winning campaign here, despite basically zero establishment support, endorsements, etc.! Also, I've got to say, I'm very much looking forward to watching Mark go after far-right-wing lunacy, idiocy, etc. in Richmond. Something tells me I'll be posting a LOT of Mark Levine video in the coming years. :)
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, June 8. Remember, you can vote tomorrow in your regular polling place from 6 am to 7 pm; make a plan now to exercise this fundamental right! Also see President Obama delivering remarks in Krün, Germany.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, June 7. Also, check out the hilarious "No Soliciting" sign Scott Surovell ran into while canvassing yesterday. As Scott wrote on Facebook, "I figure I oughta skip this one." LOL
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, June 6. Regarding that image -- hey Terry McAuliffe, how about pushing to divest Virginia from Dominion and other fossil fuels as well?!?
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, June 2. Also see the video of yesterday's press conference near Memorial Bridge "to urge Congress to pass a bipartisan, long-term federal transportation bill that makes critical investments in America's aging infrastructure."
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, May 29. Also, congratulations to Del. Patrick Hope, who last night received the Aggie Wolf Defender of Choice Award from NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia (photo by Catherine S. Read).
A crowd of over 300 gathered at Staunton's Gypsy Hill Park today to honor our fallen, captured, or missing servicemen and servicewomen. The keynote address was delivered by the Commandant of Cadets, Virginia Women's Institute for Leadership, Brigadier General Terry Djuric who also paid tribute the families of the fallen.
"There are lots of reminders that memorial Day is about more than a day of barbeque. Congress officially set Memorial Day as the last day in May to mark the start of our summer season of fun with the day devoted to the memory of those who perished in the fight for our principles of freedom. On this day of remembrance, the members of VFWs across our nation lead the way in honoring those who gave the last full measure of service." - Brigadier General Djuric
General Djuric paid homage to the present families of the fallen, telling the crowd that to the spouses, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers, every day is Memorial Day.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Memorial Day 2015. Also, later this morning, President Obama will deliver remarks at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2015.
Here's an opportunity to support Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinics in Virginia and preview the Republican plan for healthcare delivery in America. Look for elected Republicans today at Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) when the movie about Stan Brock's organization is screened to benefit the new Virginia affiliate.
The trailer for the movie quickly frames what should be our national shame and how opponents to providing access to medical care use pride to rally those who would benefit most to rail against their individual interests. RAM was established to bring free aid to the developing world. But that international delivery has been cut back in places like Africa because the organization has been overwhelmed by the need right here. 60% of the RAM clinics are now held in the United States. Four are scheduled in Virginia during 2015.
The showing will be at the Dickinson Fine and Performing Arts Center at PVCC Main Stage in Charlottesville, Virginia today at 3pm. After the screening there will be a question and answer session with Dr. Victoria Weiss, Virginia RAM, and Stan Brock, RAM Founder and President as well as a reception with light refreshments. Ticket sales will benefit the new RAM Virginia affiliate. $10 Adults and $5 Students.
There was a time when we could be confident that politics ends at the water's edge. There was a time Republicans would pretend to honor the founding fathers, emulate conservative icons like Goldwater and Reagan, and respect the Constitution. Instead they throw tantrums and stomp their feet hiding behind "patriotism."
Treasonous interference of the Executive might be the cherry on top of what is now a six year campaign to discredit each and every thing that President Obama accomplishes. There is even a whiff of that stench all the way down through the Virginia General Assembly. However, with two more years left to deny Obama a legacy, their desperation promises a continued effort to dismantle the Republic that may yet yield even greater absurdity.
Imagine in the run up to that great Bush Iraqi strategery debacle if Democrats had penned a letter to Saddam telling him "Hey, this guy is nuts and if he invades your country we have the option to tighten the purse strings on the military. Hang in there, he won't always be President." Or if upon election as Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi had invited the President of France to appear before a joint session of Congress to "advise" our President on how to proceed with our foreign entanglements.
Tom Cotton is the new poster child for patronizing veterans. Being a veteran doesn't confer competence in foreign affairs or the Constitution. And now we are reminded that not all veterans are patriots. The damage to America's stature is difficult to measure. What he has done is quite simple: he has put the world on notice that our foreign policy is at the mercy of waves of "populist" fervor and political expediency.
Both Goldwater and Reagan called for enforcement of the Logan Act. It was a founding father's administration that initiated enactment. But it would be inconvenient for Republicans to remember those facts.
The end result is this: if Iran needed a rationale for building a nuclear arsenal, it now has it.
Turns out they were right. There is a self-anointed death panel and it meets in this building. Recall they said that healthcare would be rationed? Now that they've managed it, they are quite proud of their accomplishment. What Republicans really relish is the surreptitious method: don't decide, just deny.
Millions and millions and millions of your federal tax dollars have been flushed down the Potomac only to be harvested by wiser state legislatures. What could have been a catalyst for not only broad medical service sector growth but also the survival of rural medical clinics and hospitals was set aside for base political posturing. This should have been a simple financial decision. Instead it was a cynical sacrifice of their voiceless, powerless constituents for the protection of their own political hides.
Let's consider the costs because they are not limited to those dollars passed on to other states. Some number amounting to just under 5% of Virginians are without healthcare coverage because Medicaid expansion has been denied. That doesn't mean they go without healthcare. In many cases it means they go without healthcare until there is a crisis and then an emergency room visit and expensive procedure are required. Who pays for that? You can make up all kinds of voodoo financial and economic formulas but the costs get passed to those who are covered in increased insurance premiums and/or copays and/or deductibles. And maybe more importantly, in scarcer medical service resources. Visit an emergency room for the Republican version of healthcare delivery in the unregulated free market. They simply don't understand that the risk pool is the risk pool. No one in America is denied care in an emergency and those emergencies are exponentially more costly than preventive care. Republican denial of coverage poisons the well that feeds the pool. Welcome to the Teapublican Utopia.
On the other hand, some number amounting to just under 5% of Virginians now have healthcare insurance through the Federal Marketplace established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. That hasn't solved every problem but it goes a long way in that direction. While some are subsidized, these policies are not some government giveaway. They are a way Americans can take responsibility for their financial exposure. Republicans talk about individual responsibility in a vacuum. They like to preach about it but don't want to facilitate it. The fact is that 60% of bankruptcies in the United States involve medical indebtedness. Healthcare insurance builds a firewall between personal financial survival and insolvency leading to financial disaster.
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