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It’s time again for my annual roundup of great books that are “Diverse but Not About Diversity.” To recap: I’m not a fan of books that are written for and promoted mainly to a certain ethnic or racial group because the works supposedly reflect “them” or “their” experience. The best storytelling is rooted in the universality of our collective human experiences. If we read not only to understand ourselves but
Don’t judge soldiers by politics of an era Sorry, but Leonard Pitts’ Gettysburg tour bus driver got it right (“150 years later, fight for equality continues,” Nov. 18 column). Pitts’ comparison of Confederate soldiers to Nazis is the same old knee-jerk rhetoric one would expect from a whole collection of bigoted racists whose historical understanding and perspective stops at the pigment in their skin and never delves into the true
When Bank On Roanoke Valley arrives Jan. 16, it will already be overdue. This innovative program, initiated by United Way Roanoke Valley with the support of area banks and valley governments, promises to be a boon for the working poor who can’t afford high banking fees or minimum daily balances, and thus have no financial safety net. Bank On will offer access to banking services affordable for people whose meager
On a sunny, pleasant Dec. 22 in 2006, this feral cat was caught up in some sort of accident that ripped his front left paw and leg off at his shoulder. Whatever did this awful thing also removed his tail, leaving him an inch. He was meowing pitifully, and the lawn crew on the neighbors’ yard was trying to catch him to get him to the animal hospital. Not much
Evidently, Mike Cox (“Drug tests would end neediness,” Nov. 24 letter) is too rich for food stamps, has never been overworked and underpaid, and never been out of work. Today, lots of people are out of work because their jobs were outsourced or they were fired for little or no rational reason with no meaningful recourse. Many others are working for minimum wages. His statement “There would be more than
There has been strong criticism of Obamacare in recent weeks — and rightly so. The website that was supposed to allow people to enroll in the health care marketplace has barely been working. The dismal performance of the website is inexcusable. But this is just a technical issue. There is no doubt that our computer experts will be able to get this website working. We need to step back and
In his disproportionate praise of the six-month agreement with Iran, President Barack Obama said: “For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program.” But if the program, now several decades old, had really been “halted” shortly after U.S. forces invaded neighboring Iraq, we would not be desperately pursuing agreements to stop it now, as about 10,000 centrifuges spin to enrich uranium.
‘Library’s Child’ came home a champion I loved your article on Salena Sullivan (“Back to the stacks,” Nov. 24 news story). The only issue I have is the front-page promo: “Failure brings new lesson.” In no way is Sullivan anything but a champion. It just took her awhile to find out where she’s meant to be. Way to go, Salena. We’re so proud of you, and we’re glad you’re home.
Reforming the state’s Standards of Learning became a grass-roots election issue this year. So in 2014, Virginians can expect to see some attempt in the General Assembly and governor’s mansion to keep campaign promises. Which is a good thing. Now, a global yardstick that gives a disappointing measure of America’s student achievement against that of other developed nations has arrived, just in time to give the movement a little goose,
Virginia’s Community Colleges aspire to a goal that would tangibly elevate the economic outlook of the entire commonwealth. We strive to see a college graduate living in every Virginia home by the year 2025. This is neither a dream nor a fantasy. It is a necessity. Two out of every three jobs available in Virginia will require more than a high school education before this decade is through. A game-changer
In her 1979 Nobel prize speech, Mother Teresa deflected attention from her work with the poor in Calcutta, noting instead that in the West the “most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” Like dying alone or going to bed hungry, the experience of being ill and unable to afford health care feels like an affirmation of being unloved by one’s community, even if arising only from
I am a responsible dog owner; they are all loved, have their shots, licenses, etc. I would like to offer a different perspective with regard to the woman who took the kitten from the SPCA. When we lived in Arizona, we had a friend. He was basically homeless, but he had a business and he lived and slept in the corner of the warehouse space he rented. When his old
The high school students enter the room — some bopping, others beeping — and begin the process of de-electronic devicing themselves as they look over the handouts on their desks. I’m at the head of the class to give my second of three presentations on the civil rights movement. Earlier in the week, I had successfully badgered the teacher into referring to me as a visiting scholar. Always wanted to
A legacy of grace For months, the world has hung onto every shred of news about Nelson Mandela’s failing health. In part, that vigilance was a tribute to his enormous impact, extending far beyond the borders of his native South Africa. But the impending sense of loss was also a recognition that the 21st century has yet to offer humankind leaders of similar stature and vision. Mandela died Thursday night
SPCA needs better security Vaun Gott’s letter warrants a huge “Huh?” (“Shame on SPCA for lacking compassion,” Nov. 21). Gott defends Bailey Ratliff, the woman charged with taking Frack the cat from the Roanoke SPCA without paying the $99 adoption fee, saying, “She more than likely was unable to pay the fee.” Gott should criticize the SPCA for the lack of security that allowed it. A thief deserves to be
As we’re going through the process of implementing a storm water cleaning effort, I’ve realized a huge opportunity for us as members of a terrific metropolitan area. Clean water needs to be a priority, and I am seeing now that Roanoke feels the same way. We have a big opportunity to educate nearly 100,000 residents on simple measures we can take to help clean our water. Several of these are
I certainly agree with the Catholic fellow who said Pope Francis doesn’t claim to be an economic expert (“Francis outlines philosophy, wants greater income equality,” Nov. 27 news story). I would say further that he is no historian. Trickle-down economics is a derisive term favored by liberals in political debate. Trickle-up is equally meaningless. The real debate is between a free enterprise system (with minimal government control) and a socialist
Rasoul’s priorities are right for 11th District After knowing Sam Rasoul personally and politically, I am confident in his ability to replace and surpass 11th District Del. Onzlee Ware in this capacity. Rasoul’s progressive goals match those of the constituency that elected Ware. And Rasoul, with his small business and nonprofit background, is the ideal candidate. His priorities — education, equality, jobs and women’s rights — are what we need
I don’t care if you say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year — some of the many greetings we hear this time of the year. And rightfully so! I care if you mean the salutation. I am not offended by anyone’s choice of greeting. What does offend me is if someone thinks their greeting is the only right one. Co-existing and respect come from all
Some bills just keep popping up every year like a bad penny. Take the annual effort to require Virginians to identify their political party affiliation or declare themselves independents when they register to vote. This year, Del. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William, is doing the honors. Lingamfelter tried unsuccessfully this year to win his party’s nomination for lieutenant governor. GOP conventioneers instead chose E.W. Jackson, whose divisive rhetoric made his loss
Weather JournalMany very icy despite 'bust' claims