All Articles Tagged "virginia"

Virginia House Passes Bill to Outlaw Abortion

February 16th, 2012 - By Brande Victorian
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It’s only a matter of time before the GOP gets their wish of making abortions illegal in the state of Virgina. Yesterday, the House passed two of the most stringent anti-abortion bills that have been seen in a long time, including one that says a person’s rights begin as soon as sperm and egg unite.

In a 66-32 vote, Bob Marshall’s Personhood at Conception bill was passed, followed by another bill requiring transvaginal ultrasounds before women are allowed to abort a baby. That item went through with a 63-36 vote.

In her opposition of the bill, Tarina Keene of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said, “The General Assembly is dangerously close to making Virginia the first state in the country to grant personhood rights to fertilized eggs,” and she’s right. The bill will now go to the Senate which already passed a companion to Del. Kathy Byron’s ultrasound measure. While there is no legislation in the Senate that mirrors the personhood bill, Sen. Bill Stanley, won passage on Tuesday of a measure that would permit wrongful death civil lawsuits against those who kill a fetus.

Totally disregarding the variety of circumstances that lead women to seek abortions, Del. Todd Gilbert had no sympathy for any of it:

“We hear the same song over there. The very tragic human notes that are often touched upon involve extreme examples. But in the vast majority of these cases, these are matters of lifestyle convenience.”

Although he later apologized for his remarks, but it’s clear from the passage of these measures that most in his party agree with him.

Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, although initially defeated, said she’s determined to fight these restrictive bills.

“I cannot sit quietly today and do nothing while this body decides what rights will be stripped away from my daughter and others in regard to their own health,” she said. “I do not want to see a day when the only option for women and men to obtain the contraception of their choice is to leave our state and go to (Washington,) D.C. or to Maryland.”

The state appears to be extremely close to making that a reality; hopefully other states won’t follow suit.

What do you think about these bills? Are you surprised they were passed?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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Mother faces Up to 1 Year in Jail for Booing ‘Racist’ Skit

January 31st, 2012 - By Brande Victorian
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It’s rare that anyone would boo a children’s dance recital but that’s exactly what Jackie Carter, mother of a Kenwood Middle School girl in Arlington, VA, did when the Bowen McCauley Dance Company performed “Little Rabbit, Where’s Your Mammy?” Now, she faces up to one year in jail for her actions.

Jackie first saw the performance involving a white kid and his black mammy singing and dancing to the tune of “Little Rabbit” on the morning of April 29, 2011. She immediately reached out to school officials and the founder of the dance company with no success to discuss the skit which she said was “racist and offensive to African-Americans and African American women especially.” That afternoon, she returned for another performance during which she stood up and booed and also handed out letters of protest. When Jackie returned to see yet another performance  April 30 and began booing, she said she was attacked by Bowen McCauley staff members who began hitting her, blocking her from returning to her seat, and pulling her in different directions. Jackie was subsequently arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, a Class 1 misdemeanor which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. She told Afro her actions were justified:

“The principal told me the Bowen McCauley Dance Company was a partner of the school, therefore, he was not going to challenge it. They left me with no choice.”

The school principal continued to defend the skit in a letter to Kenwood parents on May 2 as well, writing:

“The word ‘mammy’ used in the song is a colloquial affectionate term for mother or grandmother and was used historically and still today in some areas by both African and White Americans, especially in the south. I recognize that the term mammy is sometimes viewed as an offensive term for a Black nursemaid in the southern U.S.”

Jackie, a long-time and well-known stage director in the DC area, isn’t buying it, and neither should anyone else. She wrote that the mammy scene centers on the image of the slave birthing women used as wet-nurses and “the many other unspeakable crimes committed against their enslaved minds, souls and bodies,” therefore it should not be performed. The school may not have listened but Jackie will have another chance to defend her point of view and her actions at her next hearing April 23.

I can’t call this one. Do you think Jackie deserves jail time for disrupting the recital? Were her actions justified?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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Torrential Rains Inundate D.C. Region: 3 Killed, Roads and Schools Closed

September 9th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Washington Post) — Torrential rains swept over the Washington region Thursday, triggering flash floods that killed two people in Fairfax County and one in Anne Arundel, trapped scores of terrified motorists, forced hundreds to evacuate their homes and shut major highways, including Interstate 66 and the Capital Beltway.  The victims included 12-year-old Jake Donaldson, who was swept away by the flood-swollen waters of Piney Branch Creek in Vienna; 67-year-old Arsalan Hakiri, who was killed near his stranded vehicle in Great Falls ; and a 49-year-old man who drowned in Pasadena, Md., authorities said.    Fairfax County Police identified the victims Friday morning after family members were notified. The name of the Pasadena man has not been released.  The Virginia Department of Transportation and State Police ordered the Beltway closed from Route 1 to the Mixing Bowl at Interstate 395, as the waters of Cameron Run spilled onto the highway, VDOT spokeswoman Joan Morris said. Maryland officials closed the Woodrow Wilson Bridge to keep cars off the flooded portion of the Beltway in Virginia. Interstate 66 was also closed westbound near Route 50.

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Virginia To Launch Online Database of Slave Names

September 9th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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By J. Smith

This Wednesday, a searchable database of about 1,400 slaves and 180 owners will become available at vahistorical.org, The New York Times reports. They are the preliminary results of a research project conducted by scholars at the Virginia Historical Society with a goal of going through eight million documents, some dating back to the 17th century.

“’Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names’ is searchable by locations, professions and first and last names, among other keywords,” the Times reports. “Listings for Thomas Jefferson’s holdings do not yet mention Sally Hemings, but they do include ‘Thurston the son of Isabel’ and ‘Bec daughter of Minerva.’ A search for nurses brings up Judy, near age 10, valued at $900, working at a plantation near Fredericksburg, Va., with dozens of other slaves including Jef Davis, Magnus, Fenton and Jinney.”

Procured through wills, family Bibles, memoirs and other correspondence, the high resolution scans have potential to answer a lot of questions and close many historical holes, “providing links that families have been looking for, literally, for generations,” Paul A. Levengood, the historical society’s president, told the Times. “Descendants of plantation owners may be dismayed to learn how many slaves lived at the properties; in some cases legends have persisted that the families only had loyal servants.”

Eye witness accounts of history are social treasures, especially for a group of people so deprived of such gems. And it will only continue to unfold as the full eight million page roster of documents will eventually make its way to the Web.

Region Shaken, Unhurt

August 24th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Wall Street Journal) — For a moment, however brief, New York shook.  Office floors roiled like ocean waves. Residences rocked, knocking pictures off the walls. Cellphone service was suddenly spotty. And the streets teemed with workers from evacuated buildings, the wail of emergency vehicles ringing around them.  “Our building was in a bowl of Jell-O for like 10 seconds straight,” said Sarah Abramson, who works in a seven-story building in Dumbo, Brooklyn. “No one knew what the heck was going on.”  And then, just like that, normalcy resumed.  The ripples from a 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered near Washington, D.C., struck the New York metropolitan region Tuesday, disrupting the city’s normal rhythms shortly before 2 p.m. The temblor was felt from New Jersey to Connecticut, upstate New York to Long Island.

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A Day After Quake, Washington Awakes to closures

August 24th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Washington Post) — An unsettled Washington region awoke Wednesday to the closure of many area schools, some federal buildings and landmarks including the Washington Monument, a day after a rare, powerful 5.8-magnitude earthquake rattled the eastern third of the United States and unnerved tens of millions of people from Georgia to New England.  The early-afternoon quake, which damaged older buildings and shut down much of the nation’s capital Tuesday, was followed by several aftershocks, including a 3.4-magnitude temblor early Wednesday. The U.S. Geological Survey recorded it at 12:45 a.m. Eastern time 39 miles northwest of Richmond. Like Tuesday’s quake, it was a shallow one, occurring three miles below the surface.

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Earthquake Rattles, Puzzles East Coast

August 24th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(AP) — For a few minutes from Georgia to Maine, the question rang out: What was that? The answer — a rare East Coast earthquake, magnitude 5.8 — was far down on the list for most not used to the earth shaking beneath them.  In Washington and New York, their nerves still raw, thoughts instantly turned to terrorism. In small towns and rural areas near the epicenter and elsewhere, guesses ran the gamut: A truck crash or train derailment. A plane breaking the sound barrier. Worse, a nuclear reactor exploding.  There ended up being no known deaths or serious injuries, but cracks appeared in the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral, which had three capstones break off its tower. Windows shattered and grocery stores were wrecked in Virginia, where the quake was centered. The White House and Capitol were evacuated.

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Va. Death Row Preps New Drug Combo

August 18th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Washington Post) — A 30-year-old Williamsburg man sentenced to death for the 2001 rape and murder of an elderly woman could become the first Virginia inmate executed using a new combination of drugs.  Jerry Terrell Jackson is scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday night at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) denied his request for clemency last week. Now only the U.S. Supreme Court can intervene.  If the execution goes forward, it would be the first time the state has used pentobarbital, a powerful barbiturate, as part of its lethal mix of drugs. Virginia, and many other states, previously had used sodium thiopental as the first drug in a three-drug procedure until the drug’s only American manufacturer stopped producing it this year.

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Possible Slave Quarters Found at William and Mary

August 10th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Washington Post) — Archaeologists at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg have uncovered the brick foundations of a Colonial-era structure that may have housed slaves who cooked and cleaned for students and faculty.  The remnants sit next to the Wren Building, the core of the historic campus. Scholars believe that they are the traces of an outbuilding — sleeping quarters, perhaps, or a kitchen or a laundry — built in the 18th century for slaves who lived and worked at the college.

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Va., Md. May Ask for No Child Waiver

August 9th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Washington Post) — School leaders in Virginia and Maryland said they are likely to seek exemptions for the most stringent requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law after an announcement Monday that the Obama administration will offer flexibility to states willing to modernize their accountability systems.  Education Secretary Arne Duncan is exercising rarely used executive authority by inviting states to apply for legal waivers. The move comes after efforts to update the federal law stalled in Congress this year, frustrating educators across the country.  “I applaud the secretary for recognizing that relief is necessary” said Patricia L. Wright, Virginia’s superintendent of public instruction.

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