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One more state: Equal Means Equal is taking over Virginia in the name of the Equal Rights Amendment

Westlake Legal Group Kamela-Lopez-Feature One more state: Equal Means Equal is taking over Virginia in the name of the Equal Rights Amendment voting volunteer Politics News & Updates ERA equal rights elections Culture Features Culture
Equal Means Equal founder Kamala Lopez is leading a statewide initiative in Virginia for the potential passing of the Equal Rights Amendment. (Photo courtesy of Equal Means Equal)

Two things can surely make a portion of the United States population happy: free rent and ice cream. Add in advocacy for equal rights and, for some, you’ve got a plan. At least, Kamala Lopez does.

“Who doesn’t love ice cream?” she says with a laugh. The actress, filmmaker, activist and founder of the Equal Means Equal organization, kicked off the Equal Rights Amendment campaign, #IScream4Equality, in Virginia on Aug. 26.

But it’s about much more than everyone’s favorite summer dessert.

“It’s unknown to people that the fate of the Equal Rights Amendment lies on Virginia,” says Lopez. “That’s why we’re coming in to talk to people, wherever they will listen, and let them know that this is in play for the country.”

Equal Means Equal is set to take its ice cream truck, fit with informative and educational volunteers, around to every college campus across the state prior to Election Day on Nov. 5, to inform voters about the state of the ERA in 2019.

In 2017 and 2018, Lopez led voting campaigns in several states across the country, with her efforts leading Nevada and Illinois to become the first states in nearly 50 years to approve the amendment on a state level. This made way for the opportunity of one more state (making 38 in total) to force the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and include an equal rights amendment for the first time in United States history.

Virginia is one of the 15 remaining states that has yet to approve the ERA. Could it be the one in 2019? It should be, says Lopez, but people have to vote to make it happen.

To learn more about the Equal Rights Amendment’s fate in Virginia prior to the 2019 election season, read Jesse Rifkin’s in-depth story from our September 2019 issue.

“We’re not in the business of telling people who to vote for,” says Lopez. “We just want people to vote, and we’re simply telling them that the fate of the ERA is in the hands of Virginia this November.”

So why not give out free ice cream to everyone, everywhere? College students are the campaign’s target audience, says Lopez, thanks to one of the organization’s biggest challenge: apathy.

“After I first found out that [women] did not have equal rights in this country and I started speaking up about it, I would go and speak at colleges around the country and students would say, ‘That was dealt with in the ’70s, so we’re all good.’ But that’s not right,” says Lopez. “If they don’t know about the reality of [the ERA], then how will they know they need to do something about it?”

The truck has stops planned for Virginia State University, Shenandoah University and the University of Virginia, just to name a few. But aside from college campus visits, Lopez and her team are also renting a house in Suffolk, Virginia, to conquer two of Virginia’s districts: 76 and 91, currently represented by republicans Chris Jones and Gordon Helsel, respectively.

The home will act as a temporary headquarters for the team and is offering a free stay to volunteers willing to help with the organization’s local efforts.

“Virginia Equality Warriors,” as the team is calling them, can stay in one of the home’s six beds or two couches for up to two months until Nov. 5, as long as they agree to knock on doors, canvas districts and educate Virginia residents about the ERA.

Lopez can’t promise that it will be easy, but she does believe it will be a fun and informative opportunity for people to engage in important discussions about equal rights.

“I am a little scared too,” says Lopez, when asked about being in a home that is open to volunteers, and making Equal Means Equal’s local presence and activism known. “Especially with what happened in Charlottesville [in August 2017], and as a woman of color. But I am more concerned with what we’ll face out there. I am totally comfortable with debate, I just want to avoid the extremely uncomfortable bullying and intimidation we might face.”

Lopez has been working to coordinate statewide efforts with Kati Hornung, campaign manager for VAratifyERA, and says she has a great deal of respect for all of the effort Horning has already put in. Lopez just wants to see results come November, and make even more voters aware of the ERA’s continuous uphill battle.

“[Women] were deliberately left out of the Constitution,” says Lopez. “It wasn’t an oversight. And now we have to fight because the Constitution is the foundation of America, and half of our nation has been deliberately excluded. Just give us equal rights. That’s all we want. It’s very basic and simple.”

Interested volunteers can sign up for the ice cream truck or to stay at the Equal Means Equal Suffolk home through the website.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A Hit-Making Music Star Announces That He is No Longer a Man

Westlake Legal Group hollywood-595645_1280-620x433 A Hit-Making Music Star Announces That He is No Longer a Man Uncategorized transgender sam smith pronouns Music LGBT Hollywood gender neutral gender identity Front Page Stories Featured Story Entertainment Culture celebrity Allow Media Exception

 

 

Every generation has its revelations.

For some among the most recent batch, profundity seems directly linked to single syllable words.

On Friday, music star Sam Smith released something brand new.

His latest project isn’t an album, video, or tour; it’s a request to be referred to by certain pronouns.

That would be, the gender-neutral kind.

He’s finally come to terms with it.

Sam described the new acceptance on Instagram:

“I’ve decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out. I’m so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I’ve been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f*** it! I understand there will be many mistakes and misgendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now.”

The “Stay with Me” singer said he can’t wait to find out what it’s like to be neither boy nor girl:

“P.S. I am at no stage just yet to eloquently speak at length about what it means to be non binary but I can’t wait for the day that I am.”

It appears that, for some, a wholly new defining moment of life has entered the zeitgeist: When you’re ready, you make the announcement — are you an “h” subjective pronoun person or an “sh”? Or do you like “they” best of all?

Sam’s gone with option C, and he’s flyin’ high due to the newfound freedom:

“Love you all. I’m scared sh**less, but feeling super free right now. Be kind x”

He also included a list of “activists and leaders of the non binary/trans community” that have helped him find his way to clarity.

Those included television actor Laverne Cox (here), the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, Mermaids UK (which “[supports#transgender & #gender variant children & their families”), and @transnormativity.

That last one appears to be the account of an individual serving as an exemplar on the web for the gender neutral and fat-shamed:

View this post on Instagram

there is no singular way to be

A post shared by being queer is not a sin (@transnormativity) on Aug 19, 2019 at 2:50pm PDT

It’s a new road ahead for Sam Smith. We’ll see how the change manifests itself in the future.

-ALEX

 

Relevant RedState links in this article: here.

See 3 more pieces from me:

Make Your Mark: The Pasadena Rose Parade Invites Men Who Identify As Women To Be Its Next Queen

This Video Of Parents In The Armed Forces Surprising Their Little Children Will Leave You In Tears

Hollywood’s Rosanna Arquette Apologizes For Being White. She Announces Her Shame & Disgust Over Her Birth

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below.

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The post A Hit-Making Music Star Announces That He is No Longer a Man appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group hollywood-595645_1280-300x210 A Hit-Making Music Star Announces That He is No Longer a Man Uncategorized transgender sam smith pronouns Music LGBT Hollywood gender neutral gender identity Front Page Stories Featured Story Entertainment Culture celebrity Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Amid Absolute Absurdity, Thursday’s Debate Spotlighted America as a Shining City Upon a Hill

Westlake Legal Group usa-1149896_1280-620x410 Amid Absolute Absurdity, Thursday’s Debate Spotlighted America as a Shining City Upon a Hill Uncategorized Liberty immigration Illegal Immigration Front Page Stories Featured Story elections debate Dave Rubin Culture Campaigns Beto O'Rourke Andrew Yang Allow Media Exception 2020

 

 

During Thursday night’s Democratic debate — due to which Dave Rubin lamented he picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue — there was, as expected, mucho goofiness.

Our rich Uncle Bernie called Trump the most dangerous president in history:

And Beto O’Rourke — who seems absolutely hellbent on losing as steeply as is mathematically possible — taped what BlazeTV called a campaign ad for Donald Trump. The anti-privileged millionaire privileged millionaire vowed to take away your hunting rifles because, prior to now, “they’ve” been allowing you to shoot each other:

But there was at least one great thing offered during Thursday night’s showout blowout: Andrew Yang’s truly American story, about an actual immigrant participating in actual immigration — that would be, rather than what many Democrats and media figures have been inaccurately calling “immigration,” which is in fact its opposite.

In a bizarre move, the term has of late been employed to mean “choosing to not take part in our immigration system.”

But Andrew conjured it correctly. His origins are inspiring:

“My father grew up on a peanut farm in Asia with no floor. And now, his son is running for president. That is the immigration story that we have to be able to share with the American people.”

Andrew truly is proof that the American dream is alive and well for those who believe in a better life — in this greatest country on earth, what Ronald Reagan called “a shining city upon a hill”:

Being that — were he to receive the nomination — he would ultimately face the GOP incumbent, Andrew understandably tried to contrast himself with Trump. Unfortunately, he did so in a way that made absolutely no sense, given that the purpose of a border barrier is to prevent people from sneaking into the country, not keep people from actually immigrating:

“[I] am the opposite of Donald Trump in many ways. He says, ‘Build a wall;’ I’m going to say to immigrants, ‘Come to America, because if you come here, your son or daughter can run for president. The water’s great.’”

A wall doesn’t keep out immigrants; immigrants come in through immigration. Oh well, it was a Democratic debate; rightfulness could only last so long.

Nonetheless, his story is inspiring. And here’s a bonus: While some on the far Left — including the mayor of New York — have claimed America “was never great”…

…Andrew praised the U.S. and spoke of its “continued” success:

“This country has been a magnet for human capital for generations. If we lose that, we lose something integral to our continued success.”

America is indeed a nation of immigrants, and Andrew Yang is a reminder of that.

It’d be great to see more similar moments during the debates; lamentably, we’re more likely to hear Julián Castro champion taxpayer-funded abortions for men who would otherwise eject infants from their peeholes(?):

Goobers gonna goob.

-ALEX

 

Relevant RedState links in this article: here.

See 3 more pieces from me:

The Fight Continues: Arnold Schwarzenegger Claims President Trump Is In Love With Him

Joy Behar Knows: If The Hurricane Had Hit A Country Full Of Only White People, Trump Would Let Them All Come Here

A Television Icon Laments America’s Divide, But There’s A Greater Lesson – A Forgotten One We Learned Long Ago

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below. For iPhone instructions, see the bottom of this page.


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The post Amid Absolute Absurdity, Thursday’s Debate Spotlighted America as a Shining City Upon a Hill appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group usa-1149896_1280-300x199 Amid Absolute Absurdity, Thursday’s Debate Spotlighted America as a Shining City Upon a Hill Uncategorized Liberty immigration Illegal Immigration Front Page Stories Featured Story elections debate Dave Rubin Culture Campaigns Beto O'Rourke Andrew Yang Allow Media Exception 2020   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hilarious! Trump Tells A Joke, And The Washington Post Fact-Checks It

 

Westlake Legal Group 46FE2905-7DA1-4824-91F7-1D89E40E91C6 Hilarious! Trump Tells A Joke, And The Washington Post Fact-Checks It Trump Derangement Syndrome progressives President Trump Mainstream Media Joke about energy-efficient lightbulbs Front Page Stories Featured Story fake news donald trump democrats Culture Allow Media Exception

President Trump Official White House Photo

 

During a speech at the Republican retreat on Thursday night in Baltimore, President Trump explained why he’s not a fan of new, energy-efficient lightbulbs.

In the clip below, he tells his audience, “The light’s no good. I always look orange.” And the crowd loved it.

Clearly, the President was joking. But that didn’t stop the Washington Post from fact-checking his comment.

Yes, really.

In an article entitled “Trump blamed energy-saving bulbs for making him look orange. Experts say probably not,” writer Rebecca Tan weighs in:

The comment drew laughs from the audience, though it was not immediately clear whether the president meant it in jest or in earnest. The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

It is true that bulbs have different light temperatures, but the effect this has on someone’s complexion is typically not very significant, said Jocelyn Augustino, a D.C.-based freelance photographer.

“When you go into a family’s house, just because there are tungsten lights, I don’t think you look around the room and think everyone looks orange,” she said.

In situations where the president is being photographed or filmed, professional photographers will know to adjust the white balance so that it is accurate to what is being seen in person, she added. “It’s video or photo 101.”

Tamzin Smith, a portrait photographer in Rockville, Md., pointed out that Trump’s orange complexion is visible even when he is photographed against white backgrounds. If bulbs were responsible for casting a warm glow, anything white in a photo of the president — including the background, a white shirt, or even his teeth — should also be orange.

“You can see that even when his teeth are white, his skin is orangey-red,” Smith said. “It’s definitely not the lighting.”

A clear case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

The post Hilarious! Trump Tells A Joke, And The Washington Post Fact-Checks It appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group 46FE2905-7DA1-4824-91F7-1D89E40E91C6-300x263 Hilarious! Trump Tells A Joke, And The Washington Post Fact-Checks It Trump Derangement Syndrome progressives President Trump Mainstream Media Joke about energy-efficient lightbulbs Front Page Stories Featured Story fake news donald trump democrats Culture Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Desperate Presidential Candidate Julian Castro Fundraises off His Cheap Shot Memory Attack on Joe Biden

Westlake Legal Group JuliancastroAPimage-620x317 Desperate Presidential Candidate Julian Castro Fundraises off His Cheap Shot Memory Attack on Joe Biden Texas Social Media Politics North Carolina Media Julian Castro Joe Biden Joaquin Castro Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post elections democrats Culture Cory Booker Congress Campaigns Allow Media Exception 2020 Elections 2020 Democratic debates 2020

Democratic presidential candidate and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro listens during a discussion about homelessness at Cross Roads House, a transitional housing shelter, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Portsmouth, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Julian Castro proved one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt at Thursday night’s Democratic debate.

He’s as classless and nasty as his twin brother Joaquin, who is a member of Congress.

You’ll remember last month that Julian endorsed his brother’s despicable campaign to intimidate Trump donors in his Congressional district into silence by way of doxxing those who had contributed the maximum amount to the President’s reelection campaign.

As if that wasn’t sleazy enough, last night during the debate Castro delivered a low blow to Joe Biden that had pretty much everyone coming down against him. For those who didn’t watch the debate, here’s what happened:

At issue is Biden’s plan to allow for a so-called “public option” for Obamacare that would allow people to have government-run health insurance or keep their private insurance plans. He said anyone could qualify and “buy in,” and that “anyone who can’t afford it gets automatically enrolled in the Medicare-type option,” meaning they wouldn’t have to pay.

But Castro, pointing to his poor grandmother’s struggles with diabetes, criticized Biden’s plan for leaving 10 million uninsured people and said former President Obama “wanted every single person in this country covered. My plan would do that. Your plan would not.”

Biden bristled: “They do not have to buy in. They do not have to buy in.”

That’s when Castro sprung.

“You just said that two minutes ago. You just two minutes ago they would have to buy in,” Castro said.

Biden started to say that “poor people anyone like your grandmother who has no money,” but Castro was busy zeroing in on his memory as jeers and cheers erupted from the crowd.

“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago?” Castro said. “I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in. You’re forgetting that.”

Watch:

As it turns out, a review of the tape showed Castro was the one who forgot what Biden said “two minutes ago”:

Castro’s vicious attack against Biden based on his age reminds me of other Democrats who question President Trump’s mental health. There’s just no call for it.

I know conservatives and Republicans alike have joked about Biden’s numerous gaffes over the years, but over the summer so many of them happened in a row that I stopped chuckling and started wondering if there was something else going on, something more serious and troubling concerning Biden’s health and age.

Also, while it’s true that Castro’s attack on Biden is a blue on blue thing, and as a Republican I should be rooting for the candidates to destroy each other, I feel that there are some lines that shouldn’t be crossed – and this is one of them. If these types of attacks between candidates are allowed to stand in the primary unchallenged, imagine what it would be like during the general election campaign season when the floodgates open with Democrats lining up to smear Trump with questions about his mental health and Republicans questioning Biden (assuming he’s the nominee) about his memory?

There are ways for people to raise questions about Biden’s health and age without making complete a**ses out of themselves. But just like his brother Joaquin, there are no lows to which Julian will not sink, and no apologies in the aftermath which will be given.

In fact, Julian Castro is so proud of himself over his attack (which he absurdly claimed was not about his age), that he is now fundraising off of it:

“I had a critical choice to make on the debate stage last night,” Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary, said in an email to supporters. “I could either play it safe and give Vice President Biden a free pass like everyone else. Or I could speak up, challenge the conversation, and demand answers for you and your family.”

“I’m not in this race to play it safe. This fight — our fight — is too important to me to stay quiet when what I hear doesn’t add up,” he continued. “I spent every second on that stage fighting for you — and now I’m being attacked for it.”

“This is now the biggest obstacle I have ever faced. Can I count on you to take a stand for me with $5?”

Got that? Castro says he selflessly (and erroneously) took an cheap shot against an aging candidate because he’s looking out for the voters, not for himself.

What bull crap. I know they say all is fair in love, war, and politics, but these type of gutter tactics are what people whose polling numbers have consistently been in the basement do when nothing else works.

His desperation shows. And it stinks.

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Desperate Presidential Candidate Julian Castro Fundraises off His Cheap Shot Memory Attack on Joe Biden appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group JuliancastroAPimage-300x153 Desperate Presidential Candidate Julian Castro Fundraises off His Cheap Shot Memory Attack on Joe Biden Texas Social Media Politics North Carolina Media Julian Castro Joe Biden Joaquin Castro Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post elections democrats Culture Cory Booker Congress Campaigns Allow Media Exception 2020 Elections 2020 Democratic debates 2020   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Desperate Presidential Candidate Julian Castro Fundraises off His Cheap Shot Memory Attack on Joe Biden

Westlake Legal Group JuliancastroAPimage-620x317 Desperate Presidential Candidate Julian Castro Fundraises off His Cheap Shot Memory Attack on Joe Biden Texas Social Media Politics North Carolina Media Julian Castro Joe Biden Joaquin Castro Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post elections democrats Culture Cory Booker Congress Campaigns Allow Media Exception 2020 Elections 2020 Democratic debates 2020

Democratic presidential candidate and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro listens during a discussion about homelessness at Cross Roads House, a transitional housing shelter, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Portsmouth, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Julian Castro proved one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt at Thursday night’s Democratic debate.

He’s as classless and nasty as his twin brother Joaquin, who is a member of Congress.

You’ll remember last month that Julian endorsed his brother’s despicable campaign to intimidate Trump donors in his Congressional district into silence by way of doxxing those who had contributed the maximum amount to the President’s reelection campaign.

As if that wasn’t sleazy enough, last night during the debate Castro delivered a low blow to Joe Biden that had pretty much everyone coming down against him. For those who didn’t watch the debate, here’s what happened:

At issue is Biden’s plan to allow for a so-called “public option” for Obamacare that would allow people to have government-run health insurance or keep their private insurance plans. He said anyone could qualify and “buy in,” and that “anyone who can’t afford it gets automatically enrolled in the Medicare-type option,” meaning they wouldn’t have to pay.

But Castro, pointing to his poor grandmother’s struggles with diabetes, criticized Biden’s plan for leaving 10 million uninsured people and said former President Obama “wanted every single person in this country covered. My plan would do that. Your plan would not.”

Biden bristled: “They do not have to buy in. They do not have to buy in.”

That’s when Castro sprung.

“You just said that two minutes ago. You just two minutes ago they would have to buy in,” Castro said.

Biden started to say that “poor people anyone like your grandmother who has no money,” but Castro was busy zeroing in on his memory as jeers and cheers erupted from the crowd.

“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago?” Castro said. “I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in. You’re forgetting that.”

Watch:

As it turns out, a review of the tape showed Castro was the one who forgot what Biden said “two minutes ago”:

Castro’s vicious attack against Biden based on his age reminds me of other Democrats who question President Trump’s mental health. There’s just no call for it.

I know conservatives and Republicans alike have joked about Biden’s numerous gaffes over the years, but over the summer so many of them happened in a row that I stopped chuckling and started wondering if there was something else going on, something more serious and troubling concerning Biden’s health and age.

Also, while it’s true that Castro’s attack on Biden is a blue on blue thing, and as a Republican I should be rooting for the candidates to destroy each other, I feel that there are some lines that shouldn’t be crossed – and this is one of them. If these types of attacks between candidates are allowed to stand in the primary unchallenged, imagine what it would be like during the general election campaign season when the floodgates open with Democrats lining up to smear Trump with questions about his mental health and Republicans questioning Biden (assuming he’s the nominee) about his memory?

There are ways for people to raise questions about Biden’s health and age without making complete a**ses out of themselves. But just like his brother Joaquin, there are no lows to which Julian will not sink, and no apologies in the aftermath which will be given.

In fact, Julian Castro is so proud of himself over his attack (which he absurdly claimed was not about his age), that he is now fundraising off of it:

“I had a critical choice to make on the debate stage last night,” Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary, said in an email to supporters. “I could either play it safe and give Vice President Biden a free pass like everyone else. Or I could speak up, challenge the conversation, and demand answers for you and your family.”

“I’m not in this race to play it safe. This fight — our fight — is too important to me to stay quiet when what I hear doesn’t add up,” he continued. “I spent every second on that stage fighting for you — and now I’m being attacked for it.”

“This is now the biggest obstacle I have ever faced. Can I count on you to take a stand for me with $5?”

Got that? Castro says he selflessly (and erroneously) took an cheap shot against an aging candidate because he’s looking out for the voters, not for himself.

What bull crap. I know they say all is fair in love, war, and politics, but these type of gutter tactics are what people whose polling numbers have consistently been in the basement do when nothing else works.

His desperation shows. And it stinks.

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Desperate Presidential Candidate Julian Castro Fundraises off His Cheap Shot Memory Attack on Joe Biden appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group JuliancastroAPimage-300x153 Desperate Presidential Candidate Julian Castro Fundraises off His Cheap Shot Memory Attack on Joe Biden Texas Social Media Politics North Carolina Media Julian Castro Joe Biden Joaquin Castro Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post elections democrats Culture Cory Booker Congress Campaigns Allow Media Exception 2020 Elections 2020 Democratic debates 2020   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Local nonprofit debuts chorus for those with early onset Alzheimer’s

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-32 Local nonprofit debuts chorus for those with early onset Alzheimer’s vocal practice Singing seniors Senior Living News & Updates memory loss memory impairment Encore Creativity for Older Adults Culture Features Culture chorus Alzheimer's
Photo courtesy of Encore Creativity for Older Adults 

Vocalist Jeanne Kelly has always had a passion for the arts. From performing with the Washington Opera to teaching students at the Baltimore School for the Arts, her love for music has never faded. 

In 2001, Kelly was invited to participate in a study funded by the National Endowment for the Arts by gerontologist Dr. Jean Cohen, who was hoping to understand the relationship between creativity and aging. What Cohen found by observing several choral groups and other professional organizations is that after nine months of singing, older individuals showed better signs of overall health compared to the control group, with fewer falls, less need for long-term health care, less doctor visits and higher morale. 

Five years later when the study was officially published by several research publications, Kelly decided to do something with the results, in the form of Encore Creativity for Older Adults, a nonprofit based in Annapolis dedicated to providing seniors with excellent and accessible artistic opportunities

“The best part about working with older adults is none of them are forced to be there, like you see with young kids,” explains Kelly. “They take in everything, they want to be challenged, they want to sing a demanding repertoire and be respected. I thought Encore could do that.”

Since its inception, Encore has become the nation’s largest choral program for individuals ages 55 and older, with 22 choral programs in five states, serving over 1,250 singers. And now, right here in Northern Virginia, Encore is giving individuals with early onset Alzheimer’s the opportunity to sing in a formal chorus led by a professional conductor. 

The idea for the group, titled Sentimental Journey Singers, stemmed from a moment last year when one singer was worried about performing at the annual concert at The Kennedy Center due to his recent diagnosis of early onset dementia. 

“Our motto is, ‘Sing for life,’ and we weren’t living up to it before starting this program,” says Kelly. “These people often get to a point where they can no longer sing with Encore because they can’t handle the repertoire. So I wanted to give them a place they could go.” 

According to a recent article published by Brain: A Journal of Neurology, musical memory is considered to be partly independent from other memory systems, and tends to be one of the last things to leave the memory for people with the neurodegenerative disease. 

Encore partnered with Insight Memory Care Center in Fairfax to bring Sentimental Journey Singers to life this fall, with practices officially starting on Sept. 9, and continuing through Dec. 1, when the group will perform a holiday concert at Saint George’s United Methodist Church. 

The chorus is led by conductor Mary Ann East, who was initially attracted to the program when she saw firsthand how vocalists of Encore were benefiting from the various choral groups. 

“What we’ve seen is that music can increase social opportunities for them and take away from that sense of loneliness many of them feel,” says East. “I really think Sentimental Journeys will bring a lot to these folks.”

Kelly and East are hoping to attract individuals who are still living at home and seeing signs of early onset Alzheimer’s, other branches of dementia or any other forms of memory impairment. In addition to East at the helm, music therapist Rachel Thompson will double as the pianist. 

At each practice, East will lead the group in physical warm ups with coordination and breathing, conduct vocal exercises and work through a repertoire of familiar music, which includes songs by The Beatles and holiday classics to be performed at the final performance in December. Volunteer singers from the other choral programs will be on-site, too, in addition to the caretakers of each performer if they choose to join. Before the first practice began, Sentimental Journey Singers had eight singers and seven caretakers signed up for this season’s session. 

According to Kelly, music is one of the most uplifting forms of therapy she can suggest for older individuals and with Sentimental Journey Singers, the performers will get more out of it than just vocal practice.

“Music allows them to forget their agitation, and we aren’t going to talk about Alzheimer’s,” says Kelly. “We are going to celebrate singing and the joy you get from it, that’s the most important thing.” // Insight Memory Care: 3953 Pender Drive, Suite 100, Fairfax; $195 for 15 weeks of rehearsals

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

3 competitors weigh in on the 2019 Northern Virginia Senior Olympics

When the Olympics roll around every two years, spectators continue to be amazed at the physical abilities of athletes, regardless of their age or chosen sport. But Olympians can really be any age, even if they’re not on the world stage … right?

The 2019 Northern Virginia Senior Olympics (NVSO) are set to kick-off this weekend, from Sept. 14 to 28, and the event could be the biggest one yet . The Olympics take place over a two-week period at over 25 locations across Northern Virginia with 50-and-older competitors participating in every sport from Wii Bowling and cribbage to shot put and miniature golf.

After 37 years of hosting, the nonprofit organization has gathered many fans, volunteers and multi-sport competitors.

We spoke to three of the inspiring competitors, all of which got involved with NVSO for different reasons, and asked them why they think the Senior Olympics are so important. Highlights from our conversations are below.

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Alease Brooks, 86, has competed in the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics for 16 years. (Photo courtesy of Robert Paine)

Alease Brooks

2019 Torch Bearer and multi-sport competitor
Attendees of the NVSO for the past 16 years have probably met this year’s torch-bearer, Alease Brooks. She’s a go-getting, nonstop 86-year-old who believes the secret to her great health and happy spirit is staying busy, keeping herself active and finding something to be positive about every day.

This year she is competing in 13 events, including pickle ball (in three different variations), shot put, discus and javelin, long jump, standing long jump, the 800-meter walk and 1600-meter walk, and the 60-meter dash and 200-meter dash. When she’s not actively training for the upcoming competitions, she teaches two group fitness classes, one in aerobics and another as a chair-exercise class, in her living community and spends weekends with her family.

Have you always been this active and athletic?
I was always active when I was young, and I was always doing something. I grew up with four brothers so we were like tomboys, and I grew up playing baseball with them all the time. When I taught high school, I also taught physical education and health, so I was always doing something and I liked being busy.

How does it feel to be this year’s torch bearer?
I am excited and motivated beyond words. I was so honored and thrilled when they chose me, and I was shocked that they even asked me, because there’s so many people they could have asked. [NVSO] keeps me going and I think it makes a lot of older people so happy.

If you were to inspire someone to get active or join the NVSO, what would you tell them?
I just really, seriously believe that you should do what you can do, while you can do it. When I can’t do exercise, I’m alright, because I’ve done it while I can do it. So do what you can, while you can. I even encourage young people to do it. When I play pickle ball, the young people are always asking me questions ad I just say, “Stay active. Even if you’re retired, just stay busy.” There are so many things that people can do, and older people are doing more these days because there are so many things to do. There’s no reason not to do something.

Any words of advice for our readers from an Olympian?
I seriously think the key to healthier living is exercising. I don’t take any medication, and I think it’s because I exercise and I keep positive. My doctor even says, “If only all of my patients were as active and as busy as you!” And keep positive. There is something positive in every day. Every day of my life, I am just so happy. Every day I am grateful, and I think that’s the most important thing for me. Give back to other people, be positive and always find something to do.

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Herb Levitan, 80, has competed in the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics for 14 years. (Photo courtesy of Robert Paine)

Herb Levitan

Multi-sport competitor of 14 years for NVSO
Although Herb Levitan had jogged and played multiple sports as a kid, he never formally competed in sports when in high school or college. But that all changed when he retired in 2005. Levitan decided to get involved in NVSO through the swimming events, the 50-yard freestyle and breast stroke to be exact, as well as the basketball free throws and the softball hit-and-throw event.

At 80 years old this year, he had planned on competing in a multitude of events, including rowing, the 10K and 20K cycling races, orienteering, Wii Bowling, eight-ball pool, the football and Frisbee throws, softball hit-and-throw, bocce and handball, seven different swimming events, basketball friend goals and free throws, four track and field events, as well as three pickle ball events.

Unfortunately, a recent eye injury has cause Levitan to be on the sidelines this year, but he is looking back fondly on his 14 years of competing, and looks forward to celebrating 15 years since he started in 2020.

That’s a lot of events you had planned! How often do you exercise and train?
I exercise and train by swimming just about every day, and cycling wherever I go about town. I usually play pickle ball twice a week, and practice shooting basketball free throws and using the gym’s weight machines when I am waiting for my turn in a pickle ball game. The only other times I do the other events are at the NVSO, and it shows. But I do really enjoy the benefits of cross-training and the camaraderie among the participants in various sports of the NVSO. And if I try something new, there are always several people eager to provide advice and instruction for the asking.

What is one of your favorite memories with the NVSO?
In trying to identify a particularly memorable moment or event, I recall seeing a fellow participant’s great pleasure on being enthusiastically cheered by his grandchildren at a field event. The pride that grandparents and parents express in their children and grandchildren’s academic, musical and athletic accomplishments is common place, a widely accepted phenomenon. But what gives me particular pride and motivation to continue participating in the NVSO and other senior athletic activities is the pride, pleasure and enthusiasm that my children and grandchildren, as well as my spouse and other family members and friends, express in my participation and modest accomplishments. It is these expressions of interest, in addition to my own sense of well-being, that motivates me to workout, train and continue to participate. I hope I am setting an example that motivates them to be physically active and to explore new ways to remain active as we age.

If you were to inspire someone to get active or join the NVSO, what would you tell them?
The Northern Virginia Senior Olympics is just about the least expensive, high-quality fun you can have at the local level, and it provides opportunities to participate in many events that are not offered at the state or national Senior Games. If one has experience with an event similar to the NVSO, it offers an opportunity to meet and enjoy the camaraderie of others with similar interests and get a sense of the level of your achievement. If one has never had experience with an event offered by the NVSO, it is an opportunity to try out something new, with little or no investment in equipment, but ready access to the facilities and equipment needed. One might discover a new interest worth pursing or perhaps a new passion. This happened to me with pickle ball as interest in this new sport was taking off, and more recently with orienteering.

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Andrew Leighton, 72, has competed in the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics for 22 years. (Photo courtesy of Robert Paine)

Andrew Leighton

Multi-sport competitor for 22 years
Andrew Leighton got involved with the NVSO after his wife handed him an entry form on his 50th birthday (the first year he would be eligible to compete). He decided to compete in tennis and ended up walking away with a gold medal that year. Ever since, he has competed in the NVSO as often as he could.

Playing pickle ball is where he feels most comfortable now at age 72, as it helps him stay in tune with his competitive spirit that he had in high school and college. About eight years ago, Levitan was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but he hasn’t let it slow him down. Instead, he has taken up a schedule of rowing three times a week, and it inspired him to sign up for the rowing event this year. Otherwise, he’ll be competing in pickle ball and rowing events for 2019.

Talk to me about your Parkinson’s diagnosis. How has that impacted your activity level?
What we know now is that exercising can quiet one symptom, and there is evidence to suggest that it can stop the progression of the disease. So as a result, I simply view every day as a little contest between me and Parkinson’s. If I exercise, I win the day. If I sit on the couch, I lose the day. And I can say, there are no days where I sit on the couch. It also helps to be social and be out with people. Parkinson’s wants to quiet you down, slow you down, shorten your step, to make you crouch over, and it wants to keep you at home. And NVSO is the exact opposite of all of that.

If you were to inspire someone to get active or join the NVSO, what would you tell them?
The NVSO is a very friendly operation, and you are absolutely going to make some new friends. They’re waiting for you, you just have to enter. And the variety of things you can do is enormous and so convenient. You can sign up for anything you want. That’s why I entered for rowing. At $15 to enter for as many events as you’d like, why shouldn’t I?

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Elizabeth Heng Shuts Down AOC’s Meltdown Over Critical Ad by Reminding Her Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings

Westlake Legal Group AlexandriaOcasioCortez-June2019-620x317 Elizabeth Heng Shuts Down AOC’s Meltdown Over Critical Ad by Reminding Her Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings washington D.C. socialism republicans Politics North Carolina New York Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post elizabeth heng democrats Culture Congress California AOC Allow Media Exception Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listens during questioning at a House Oversight and Reform committee hearing on facial recognition technology in government, Tuesday, June 4, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

A new ad from California Republican Elizabeth Heng’s “New Faces GOP” PAC that ran Thursday night during the Democratic debate has got people talking.

The ad, which was broadcast on a local ABC affiliate in the Washington, DC area, portrayed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) as the “face of socialism.” It’s what happened next in the ad that outraged AOC and her online mob:

A dramatic ad targeting Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aired during the third Democratic debate on Thursday, comparing Ocasio-Cortez’s support for democratic socialism to the brutal Khmer Rouge communist regime in Cambodia.

The ad shows a picture of the young congresswoman bursting into flame to reveal a picture of a pile of skulls. The narrator of the ad, onetime Republican congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng, is the daughter of Cambodian immigrants.

“This is the face of socialism and ignorance,” Heng says in a voiceover as the picture of Ocasio-Cortez burns. “Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez know the horror of socialism?”

Watch the full 30 second ad below:

Naturally, AOC’s default response was the play the race card:

The next day, the self-described “democratic socialist” continued to play the race card against Heng – who is not white:

Not only is Heng the daughter of Cambodian immigrants (which kinda disqualifies her from the white supremacy club), but the ad was paid for by Heng’s PAC, not any elected GOP official.

But AOC wasn’t done. Next on her list of people or things to sic her digital lynch mob on was Sinclair Broadcasting:

Ocasio-Cortez’s meltdown was largely responsible for the #BoycottABC hashtag that has trended on Twitter today.

If the leader of the so-called “Squad” thought her Twitter rant was going to get Heng to back down, she was wrong:

Later, Heng made it clear to AOC that facts don’t care about your feelings:

I’m sure it’s not lost on the many people reading this who have kept up with Ocasio-Cortez’s frequent unhinged rants against her critics that she is the last person in this country who should be complaining about making provocative comparisons to evil regimes. To this day, the woman who compared detention centers for illegal immigrants to concentration camps still believes what the United States is doing at the southern border is no different than what took place in Nazi Germany.

Beyond the bogus accusations of racism and white supremacy, what the freshman Democratic Congressman willfully ignored was the real point behind the ad:

My question is: How long will it be before Facebook and Twitter pull Heng’s video? They did it to her before when she ran for Congress last year in what Red State’s streiff speculated was more about “interfer[ing] in a federal election campaign” than a benign attempt to shield Facebook users from sensitive imagery.

Stay tuned:

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Elizabeth Heng Shuts Down AOC’s Meltdown Over Critical Ad by Reminding Her Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings appeared first on RedState.

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Prager U Got People to Comment On “Modern Art” that Was Made by a 2-Year-Old and It’s Hilarious

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Here’s a fun video for your Friday.

One thing that many people in America can agree on is that “modern art” is complete and total garbage. In fact, sometimes it really is just garbage in a literal sense.

Prager U decided it was going to try to see if people in Los Angeles could tell the difference between modern art and paintings made by a 2-year-old.

Spoiler alert: They couldn’t.

Will Witt and Dennis Prager themselves made two different modern art paintings themselves, then had a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old create a painting as well. The similarities were, to say the least, pretty astonishing.

Witt then took the paintings to a sidewalk and asked people to comment on his “modern art.” The results were pretty typical for “progressive” LA. The majority commented on the pieces like they were actual works of art, but one giddy police officer was honest enough to tell the truth.

Watch for yourself.

Modern art is a plague on our society that allows talentless people to create mediocre products that elitists consider masterpieces and sell for millions. This is usually done through making up meanings behind the pieces. You can even see it in the way the people in the Prager U video attempt to decode the meaning of the paintings.

It doesn’t just come in the form of paintings that look like they belong on the refrigerator door. Some “modern artists” create controversial things and call it “art.”

The recent “Ivanka Vacuuming” is a solid example. This was just a display of a woman looking like Ivanka, vacuuming up crumbs that you can throw at her feet.

“Ivanka Vacuuming is simultaneously a visual celebration of a contemporary feminine icon; a portrait of our own relationship to that figure; and a questioning of our complicity in her role-playing,” said the artist, describing her “art.”

These are just tame examples of modern art, however. Some modern artists go beyond paint and Ivanka look-alikes. Bodily functions and genitalia become involved, such as the controversial “Piss Christ.” Elitists look on as people use their own waste to create things and applaud them as visionary.

It’s not visionary. It’s disgusting. It’s not art, it’s you smearing something your body made on some paper. Westlake Legal Group Capture-3 Prager U Got People to Comment On “Modern Art” that Was Made by a 2-Year-Old and It’s Hilarious Prager U modern art Media los angeles Front Page Stories Featured Story Culture California Art Allow Media Exception

The post Prager U Got People to Comment On “Modern Art” that Was Made by a 2-Year-Old and It’s Hilarious appeared first on RedState.

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