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Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 01:00 PM PDT

Dear Lance: It's Not About The Bike

by VeloVixen

This Tuesday, standing before members of his beloved charity LIVESTRONG, Lance Armstrong announced that he is stepping down as chairman of the organization.  Amid continuing escalation over his alleged doping during his seven Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2007, Armstrong made the decision to "spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career". The Lance Armstrong Foundation, commonly known as Livestrong, was founded in 1997 to serve people affected by cancer. Since 1997, it has raised over $500 million dollars, with 82% or more of its funds going directly to education, grant, and advocacy programs for cancer survivors.

I became involved with Livestrong in 2004 when I had the opportunity to participate with thousands of other cyclists in the Ride For The Roses in Austin, Texas.  I personally met and rode with Lance on that unseasonably blistering hot day in October, and it was an experience I will never forget.  Not just because I personally rode and chatted with Lance, and later had him sign autographs.  Not because Lance had inspired me to be a strong cancer advocate in my own community, creating a non-profit and running a cycling event raising over $35,000 in four years.  It was because of a very special person who later became an important role model to children in my community.

RFTR2004
In case you're wondering, this is me riding with Lance in '04

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Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:30 AM PDT

The ACA and Our Doctor Shortage

by VeloVixen

You know the scenario all too well.  You show up for your doctor's appointment on time, and if you were smart, you scheduled it for either 8:00am or 1:00pm, hoping for less wait time.  But as the sign at the check-in counter suggests, after 30 minutes you step up to the desk to remind the receptionist that you are still waiting.  According to Merritt-Hawkins and Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in recruiting physicians, since 2004 the wait time to get an appointment has increased by more than a week to 20.5 days. In Boston, it takes 49.6 days on average to see a doctor; in Atlanta it takes 11.2. In 2011, the The NY Times reports an average wait of 23 minutes to see the doctor, with neurosurgeons having the longest wait times (30 minutes) and optometrists the shortest (17 minutes).

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will expand health insurance coverage and access to an estimated 32 million United States citizens by 2014.  Expanded coverage is predicted to increase the number of annual primary care visits between 15.07 million and 24.26 million by 2019. This means that between 4,307 and 6,940 additional primary care physicians will be needed to accommodate this increase.  But right now, in the U.S., according to the American Medical Association, we have a shortage of 15,230 doctors, which is expected to grow to an astonishing 63,000 by 2015.  Those figures do not take into consideration the effects of the ACA.

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Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 03:07 PM PDT

Sullivan Reinstated at UVA

by VeloVixen

Early this afternoon, the Board of Visitors at the University of Virginia voted to reinstate ousted President Teresa Sullivan in a unanimous vote.  Sullivan stepped down on June 10th citing "philosophical differences" with members of the board over austerity measures to restructure its curriculum around online courses.  According to The Huffington Post, the board, led by Rector Helen Dragas, felt that the university should be run more like a business than an academic institution.   Her reinstatement comes as a result of the overwhelming support from students, academic deans, and tenured faculty.

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Dear Patriot,

We hope this care package serves you and your hands well. From all of us at Mechanix Wear, we thank you for your service, your dedication, and the sacrifices you and your family have made for love of country and freedom. We are extremely honored to protect the hands of so many courageous men and women service members, and we want you to know that your sacrifices don’t go unnoticed. This package is a message. You are missed. You are remembered. You are honored. Thank you for your commitment to raise awareness and thank you for your hard work towards solving the crisis.

Much love,
Mechanix Wear Inc.

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As if the jobless rate, sagging economy, and overall malaise over the state of the nation weren't enough, if Republicans like Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and House Transportation Chairman John Mica (R-FL) have their way, pretty soon you won't even be able to enjoy a ride, walk or run on your local bike trail to take your mind off your troubles.  Mica's transportation bill will eliminate dedicated funding for bicycling and walking, which in his opinion are 'not in the federal interest'.  Inhofe didn't even sugar-coat it, calling spending for bike trails 'frivolous'.

So, with obesity at an all-time high and depression and suicide rates soaring, keep sitting on your fat asses, people, because the Republicans want you to be as miserable as they are so you will blame all your problems on the government.

Poll

What would motivate you to ride a bike?

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| 53 votes | Vote | Results

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Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 07:00 AM PDT

Mommy, When Is Daddy Coming Home?

by VeloVixen

An NFTT Diary

Sitting at the breakfast table, his eyes convey what his mind has yet to comprehend.  Quiet tears roll down his little face as he looks at his Mommy and implores “Mommy, when is Daddy coming home?”  A life-sized cutout of Daddy stands in the corner of the living room, a cardboard stand-in for the man he hardly knows; a man who drifts in and out of his life like a summer storm.  Tyler and his twin brother have missed their Dad a lot:  he has been gone more days in seven years than he’s been home.

Poll

How much are you giving today?

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| 3 votes | Vote | Results

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Thursday or Friday, NN2010:  With a big smile, looking over my shoulder at the computer screen, he replied: "That's my granddaughter. She was 2 years old in that picture.  My wife is gonna love this."  - Mr. Green, NN 2010 Exhibit Hall Security Guard, on seeing pictures in a diary written about his son, Quincy, in IGTNT. (Followup diary to come from Sandy on Signal).

Saturday, NFTT Package Assembly Day:  He stood there with big, wet tears in his eyes, embarrassed at the emotion he exhibited.  I asked him if he was OK.  He shook his head 'No'.  I did what all moms do:  I gave him a big hug.  After a few moments, he said: "It's just so hard".  I said:  "I know."  - NN 2010 Event Videographer on his experience of packing a box.

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Wed May 19, 2010 at 06:10 AM PDT

NFTT 2010 - Coming Home Followup

by VeloVixen

"If you are able, save for them a place inside of you....and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.....Be not ashamed to say you loved them....
Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own....And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind...."

Quote from a letter home by Maj. Michael Davis O'Donnell
KIA 24 March 1970. Distinguished Flying Cross: Shot down and Killed while attempting to rescue 8 fellow soldiers surrounded by attacking enemy forces.

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Tue May 18, 2010 at 06:05 AM PDT

NFTT 2010 - Coming Home

by VeloVixen

My first memory of a soldier was at the age of eight.  He was a member of my local church, a typical all-American kind of guy.  Handsome, clean-cut, strong and lean; even his name reflected his strength:  Butch Cox.   I didn’t know him well, but he was a hero in my small world.  He had served a tour of duty in Vietnam, and now they were bringing him home to rest in peace.

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Ah....the sound of birds chirping, the burst of color on dormant winter branches, the smell of newly mown grass:  signs that spring is around the corner.  And with the signs of spring comes that annual task of washing windows, dusting, mopping, organizing closets and cleaning out the garage known as spring cleaning.  For some of us, it's an onerous task, but for me it's actually cathartic.

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'Tis the season for traditions.  Shopping for and wrapping gifts, decorating the tree, singing carols, sipping eggnog, children visiting Santa with their list, poinsettias, sending greeting cards; well...you get the idea.  But have you ever wondered where all those traditions began? (If you are a scholarly expert on Christmas, you can stop here and skip to the usual MF fun).

This is a year of change in holiday traditions for me.  I have let go of some old traditions, and will establish some new ones.  So, inquiring minds want to know:  What are your holiday traditions?

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Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 08:56 AM PST

SheKos:  The Power of the P*ssy

by VeloVixen

Welcome to SheKos! SheKos is a diary series for all Kossacks to explore issues related to feminism, women's history, and equality.  We seek to find solutions within and beyond the Democratic Party to improve the lives of women -- and men -- regardless of race, sexual orientation, or economic status.  We believe that women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights.

"I ask no favors for my sex, I surrender not our claim to equality. All I ask of our brethren is that they will take their feet from off our necks, and permit us to stand upright on the ground which God has designed us to occupy."  

Sarah Grimké (American abolitionist and suffragist, 1792-1873)

In this 21st century, it is assumed that women are the most liberated and free from gender-bias of all their gentle ancestors.  Unprecedented numbers of women hold political office, oversee major corporations, fill coveted spots in medical schools, and serve in our military, all whilst continuing to give birth, nurture, and care for the children who are our future.  Yet, in an era of greatest feminine progress, women are still underpaid, undervalued, and even persecuted for their gender.

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