Tag Archives: Politics

The New Face of Addiction

I spent months researching for this article in Diablo Magazine on the rise of prescription drug abuse amongst suburban teens. I interviewed mothers whose honor roll/athlete sons and daughters became slaves to their addictions. I interviewed teens who gave up their dreams of college and professional careers to live “one day at a time.” I was awed by their courage and willingness to speak out. They do not want any one else to go through what they have. And if you think it is “there,” think again. It is here, wherever your here is. Please read it, share it, and talk with others about it. Thank you.

It's A Pharmacy!

It’s A Pharmacy

You might recognize Ann Le Veille of Danville because so many of us are like her. She is a devoted mom who has focused almost all of her time on her family. She volunteered in her children’s schools, chauffeured her kids to their many activities, and was active in her church. Still in love with the man she’d married decades before, she thought she had the perfect life. And then her teenage daughter got hooked on prescription pain medications, and Le Veille realized nothing would ever be the same.

“Chelsea was a happy, social girl in elementary and middle school. Then she hit high school, and soon things began to change. The pressure to get top grades, to be popular, to be on the fast track for admission to a top college was overwhelming,” Le Veille says. So, she took her daughter to a doctor who prescribed Klonopin for Chelsea’s anxiety. Little did Le Veille know that would be the gateway drug to addiction.

The antianxiety medicine worked. Chelsea felt better, and things seemed to calm down. What Le Veille didn’t realize was that Chelsea liked the feeling of relief so much, she moved on to other pills, including Vicodin, Xanax, and finally, OxyContin. Soon, Chelsea’s grades were slipping, and she started hanging out with a new group of kids. “I knew something was wrong; I just didn’t understand what,” Le Veille says.

Within about six months, Le Veille’s daughter became so addicted, she would do anything for the next high. Chelsea stole pills from friends’ parents’ medicine cabinets and from anyone who had a prescription, and when those sources dried up, she turned to dealers to keep her buzzing. She got caught stealing jewelry from a store to pay for her habit. After many unsuccessful attempts to get Chelsea off pills, Le Veille and her husband felt forced to throw her out of the house. Their beloved daughter ended up on the streets.

“The drugs won,” says Le Veille. “The only way we could survive was if we went on without her. One of the worst days of my life was when I saw my ragged, barefoot daughter at a local gas station. She was living in the car of a friend, eating candy and potato chips to stay alive. I felt like I was in this movie of someone else’s life. I never dreamed it could happen to me.” Read more…
 

Last Minute Thoughts: Voting for the Pro-Woman Candidate is Voting for the Economy

This column originally appeared at Finding (Un)Common Ground.

I have been accused of being a one issue voter. My one issue?

Women.

Why? Well, it is quite simple. I believe (and research shows) when women are empowered, society wins. What does empowerment mean to me? It means access to education, job opportunities, pay equity, and control of our reproduction in order to take advantage of said education and those, hopefully, well-paying jobs.

So, when my friends tell me that we have to look beyond “women’s issues” to focus on the economy, well I get so mad, I see green. I’d thought for my good health I would take a few breaths and explain how women’s issues are economic issues.

Continue reading (You know you want to)…

 

Safe, Legal and Rare.

If We Outlaw Abortion, What Alternatives Are There?

This column originally appeared on Finding (Un)Common Ground.

“You should terminate this one,” the doctor said. I was 37 years old, ten weeks pregnant, and suddenly faced with an unexpected life or death decision. An ultrasound revealed the fetus I was carrying had implanted at the top of my uterus. If it grew up towards my stomach, it threatened to burst a large artery, very likely killing me and the baby it promised to become. My doctor continued, “You already have two healthy children who need you. This is for your safety.”

Safe or not, I didn’t want an abortion. I wanted this baby. Continue reading

Are Voter Id Laws A Conspiracy?

You may have seen my new adventure with conservative Christian, Aimee Whetstine, Finding (Un)Common Ground. We believe those from across the divide can engage in civil discourse. We’re doing a she said/she said. Here is my latest post. Come join the dialogue.

Who Decides?

Look, I am not generally a conspiracy theorist. But, I’m always more than a little suspicious when legislation is roundly proposed by one party or another and even more suspicious when a single organization seems to be behind the lawmakers who sponsored said legislation. Let’s take the latest 62 voter id laws  that have been proposed in 37 states in the last two years. In the vast majority of these laws, conservative Republicans have been leading the charge. And behind them? The Washington, D.C.-based American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Continue reading

Samuel Jackson Says It all…

 

(Pardon the swearing. I think he is just trying to make a point).

Pass it on!

Civil Discourse Requires Work; On Finding (Un)Common Ground

Aimee Whetstine might call it an act of God. I think of it more as serendipity. Whatever it was, something brought us together that morning at BlogHer ’12 in New York City, facing off across from each other at the conference’s annual “speed date” meet and greet.

Welcome to BlogHer ’12

I had already met a host of food bloggers, a pack of DIY bloggers, and a few marketers trying to convince me why their products would be a great fit for my blog. But, since I am not much of a cook, can’t sew for the life of me, and don’t take ads on my personal blog,  there wasn’t much of a love connection.

And then I met Aimee.

Continue reading

So When Did Dis-Respecting Other Religions Become A Staple of American Values?

I don’t know about you, but I’m afraid. Could it really be that the foolish, pathetic ramblings of some religious zealot will be the start of World War III? No, I am not taking about Osama Bin Laden. I am talking about Florida-based evangelical Christian pastor, Terry Jones. Continue reading

Is Chick-fil-A the Best of American Capitalism?

The Best of America

This column originally appeared on Palo Alto Patch.

It’s been a relaxing week now that I am finally on vacation.  Between sunbathing on the beach, reading in the hammock, and kayaking along the bay, I’ve been busy doing nothing. Most mornings I wake up not sure what the day will bring. But you can be darn sure I know what I’ll be doing on Wednesday, August 1st: donating to organizations that support gay rights.

I vowed to have a media free holiday and so I turned off the TV, suspended my newspaper subscription, ignored my Twitter feed, turned away from Facebook, and only checked email once a day. As a result, I had no idea Chick-fil-A’s President and COO, Dan Cathy, stirred up a hornet’s nest by declaring his company supports “the traditional family.”

He went on to say, “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about.”

Huh?  Continue reading

The Other One Percent: Why Reinstating The Draft Would Benefit Us All

This essay originally appeared in Palo Alto Patch.

Reinstating The Draft Would Benefit Us All

It seemed so innocuous, just a little box at the bottom of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). But the box was so much more than it appeared, because when my recently turned 18-year-old son checked said box, it meant he was now officially registered for the draft.

I wouldn’t have given it much thought until I realized the draft is in the news again. At the Aspen Ideas Festival hosted earlier this month, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former top commander of international forces in Afghanistan, argued for reinstatement of the draft.

He said, “I think if a nation goes to war, every town, every city needs to be at risk. You make that decision and everybody has skin in the game.” Continue reading

Interview with Human Rights Watch’s Anneke Van Woudenberg

Anneke Van Woudenberg and Me

Anneke Van Woudenberg is the Senior Researcher for Human Rights Watch’s Africa division. She is considered an international expert on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

As you may know, the Congo has erupted into strife, again. Rebel leader, General Bosco Ntaganda, has renewed his past horrors and is  kidnapping young boys and men into conscription, burning down villages, and supporting rape as a weapon of war.

Anneke and I sat down recently to discuss why the current crisis in the Congo has resumed and why we should care.  You can listen to our conversation here.