Temp home for Gov. Northam story – insane partican poltiics

February 11, 2019

The subrosa messages to the public — politicians are an intolerant group that with little provocations and no regret “eats its young” — i.e.

In addition to the direct harm caused in this strong-armed attempt to force Gov. Notham out of office, this “off with their head” message is extraordinarily bad for the democratic process.

sends to the public No competent and sane American citizen would ever run for office if either or both our political parties casually used the tactics of McCarthy @@@@

Obviously, the photo in question is offensive and is evidence of poor judgment by all the parties involved — the school staff who decided to publish it in the yearbook and the officials of the educational institutions who officially tolerated intolerance. But the picture itself has lain dormant between the dusty pages of a small medical college for 39-plus years, and neither the picture nor Gov. Northam as directly or personally responsible for any harm or injury.

Nonetheless, it was used by our partisan political system to justify character assignation and public humiliation. 

During those four decades of public life as a pediatrician and politician, Gov. Northam has an unblemished record.  

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Both parties display the same poor judgement the beleaguered governor is being accused of. Republican operatives used devious and underhanded methods, while Democratic politicians have simply lost their minds. (details later).

The Photo

Yes, the photograph is objectionable, but still it’s just a 39-year-old photo from a dusty college yearbook dug up by right-wing operatives who gleefully used it for their own partisan purposes. The  photo in questions is similar to pictures by dozens of other students, all of whom also displayed bad judgement. 

But nobody died, no one was sexually assaulted, no acts of treason or terrorism were committed, there was no racial violence or intimidation, no one got framed for crime they didn’t commit, or swindled out of their home by a sleazy Wall Street financial institution (i.e. sub-prime lenders). 

Must remember the staff of the Eastern Virginia Medical School who were in charge of the yearbook approved its content and publication


To paraphrase a actress from the era of silent motion pictures, Mae West once salacious remarked that “sometime a banana is just a banana”, it’s also true that sometimes a photo is just a photo. 


The History

But yes, that photo obviously stands for historic events that for good reason are particularly disturbing to black Americans who must live forever with the realities of slavery and racism. Virtually all their ancestors and distant relative bore the bitter yoke of being legally classified as “property”, and the indignity of being counted as only 3/5ths of a ‘person’. 

Regrettably the Civil War, which was suppose to ‘free the slaves’, merely replaced private ownership of black slaves with public policies of social enslavement enforced by Jim Crow laws.  The result was a century of institutionalized bigotry, brutality, and lynchings at the hand of the KKK and other systemized atrocities! 

I live in a segregated southern state for two decades — 1957 to 1976. I saw systemised cruelty, irrational hatred, and crippling poverty up close and very personal.It made me sick-to-my-stomach then and still brings tears to my eyes today. This was an inexcusable crime against humanity that will  be a stain on our democracy until the end of time!

But Gov. Northam himself did NOT commit any of those crimes against humanity. Assuming the photo actually is of him, he is quite obviously guilty of being stupid when he was a 25-year old college student at the Eastern Virginia Medical School

EVMS’s yearbooks from that era (1960s, 70s and 80s) contain hundred of such pictures each and every year. However, Gov. Northam is the only EVMS alumni who has been singled out.  No one is even suggesting that the other graduates who were equally guilty of poor judgment be fired from their job or kicked out of their profession over 39 year old school photos. 

If indeed the People of Virginia want to recall Gov. Northam, they can petition their State Legislature to do so. In the meantime, we must collectively eschew McCarthyism, “zero-tolerance” policies (also a bad idea) and a trigger-happy, “shot-from-the-hip” style based on attempts to achieve a partisan advantage.

I invite all patriotic Americans to the high ground of civic virtue and compassion for all. 

Each of the players,

following the story

MOVE/Cut ~ Politicians and public spokesmen who should know better created a firestorm in a cracked teapot. ???

Why this ‘mountain-out-of-a-molehill’ is bad for democracy


The idea of ‘zero tolerance’ means that anyone who at any time, or in any aspect of their public or private live, ever, under circumstance, is less than 100% perfect will find themselves being severely punished by their school, work, church, or society as a whole. 

ANY imagined indicator of a character flaw or bad behaviour, however long ago  — real or trumped up sexual impropriety, alcohol-related issue such as a bar fight or traffic accident, and a hundred different ways to find a photo somewhere or a former acquaintance not seen for 20 or 30 years, who insists that they personally saw you do something dastardly deed.



A Three-Act Passion Play ~ How to Tank Democracy for Fun & Profit

The first act in this disturbing story begins with a North Carolina right-wing newspaper — First In Freedom Daily — that as a matter of policy urges its readers to dig up “hot tips” for their newspaper.




This is part of the GOP’s long-game opposition to abortion — in this case, recently passed changes in Virginia’s abortion law by their State Legislature. The First In Freedom Daily falsely portrayed this law on its website with a headline that read: Democrats in Virginia Propose Law Allowing Abortions Mere Seconds Before Birth”.

Editorial Note: I’m not familiar with the specifics of this Virginia law, but speaking as a former labor and delivery room nurse, NOBODY and NO LAW is ever, under ANY circumstances, going to legalize performing abortions on laboring women! This is fake news at its worst.

Given the group’s abortion-related goal, digging up dirt on Virginia’s Democratic governor is obviously an effective strategy to leverage political power over the state’s democratic legislature.

In pursuit of that goal,  one or more readers of the First In Freedom Daily went to great lengths to dig up ‘dirt’ against Gov. Northam. In this case, they went through the Governor’s a 39 year-old yearbook and found a photo (more details below) of him as a 25 year-old medical school dressed in blackface.

One account of the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook also reported photos of classmates dressed up in drag, acting out during drinking parties, wrestling and other such “college boys go wild” activities. While the yearbook doesn’t say the students had been drinking lots of beer, I think we can safely assume that such a communal loss of inhibitions (and good judgement!) included alcoholic beverages in large quantities. 

To further their anti-abortion strategies by tanking the career of a talented and popular Democratic governor, the F.I.F. Daily released this photo to the relentless 24-hour cycle of cable news. Then they  and many other GOP operatives fanned the flames from this distant past in a totally out-of-proportionate reaction that was illogical, unfair and lacked common sense

Like McCarthy, they used a tiny isolated fact from his days as These actions were not based on a personal beef with the Gov. Northam, but as a tool to gain a partisan advantage by appealing to the GOP “base”. 

@@@ This is just as bad for our democratic process as was the McCarthyism era. @@@ at end of Dems part 

Let’s start where the contemporary story started, and examine the original motives and methods. A right-wing website called “First in Freedom Daily” is engaged in systemized muckraking in which it exhorts its readers to dig for dirt on Democratic candidates and elected officials.

The  35-year-old photo in question was taken from Gov. Northram’s 1984 college yearbook

Now let’s examine the “crime” Its true that picture itself (regardless of whether it is Gov. Northam or any another person,) is offensive, and insulting by contemporary stands and represents poor judgement by a 25 year-old college student. But it must be pointed out that a photo of two people dressed in these costumes, however inappropriate, did not directly harm or cause permanent injury to anyone during the 35 years that it sat between the pages of a college yearbook . I contrast that with the the bad judgment of college student Brett Kavanaugh and its consequences for Christine Blasey Ford

@@@ Democrats not playing the kind of long game that the GOP become the standard for Republicans in the mid-1970s.  Instead are in a reactionary mode that is lazer-focused on the 2020 presidential election; they are afraid of looking “soft” on racism, and are in race to see just how much umbriage they can take in the public statements aim to convince black and brown people that these politician are super-sensitive to their blight.

The Problematic Policy of Zero Tolerance

Unfortunately,  adopting a “zero-tolerance” policy set us as individual and as a country up to fail. One familiar example is the use of ZT in schools. Principles and teachers announce their ZT position on issues such as boys  “fighting” or touching students of opposite gender the  ‘inappropriately”.

but get interpreted a  which can be applied to ANY real of imagined indicator of a character flaw or bad behaviour — real or trumped up sexual impropriety, alcohol-related issues such as a traffic accident, and a hundred different ways to find some photo or some acquaintance you haven’t seen 20 or 30 years, who insists that he or she personally saw you did something

and the policy consequences that would naturally follow.

At one time looking for the slightest

If the Democratic Party adopts the notion that every candidate and every elected official must never have done (or do) anhth=be absoultuely 100% above re

Our federal government has a policy of not negotiating with terrorists, and yet the Democratic Party is actively and energetically helping a right-wing opposition research group assassinate the character (and end the political career) of a successful politician with a very good record over.

The real issue for the First in F Daily and other GOP operative is to stir up abortion-related backlash. which the same. In the case of Gov. Northam, it this search for dirt has been systemized by asking all their readers to look for and report “got-you” photos or other forms of information that can be used in what is essentially an organized scheme for policy public shaming. Here is a sceen shot from FIFD.com asking for snitches:

This ‘shot from the hip’ reaction is not only unfair to Gov. Northam (more on that in a minute), but as a political strategy, its counterproductive, as it puts our two-party system at risk. The practical effect of this hot-headed policy is to discourage ordinarly people from running for office —  because at any time someone can point the partisan equivalent of a loaded gun — a photo (true or faked) or report of an incident of some sort — and puff, your life goes down the toilet!

Only if we want the GOP to maintain a permanent stranglehold on the federal government (and the rest of country) would we support such a rash idea.

Yes, racism is bad, immoral, and results in terrible public policies that are ultimately bad for everyone. Having grown up in a segregated South, going to segregated schools, I saw the cruelty and up close and personal.

The KKK has been trafficking in unforgivable sins for a century and is an affront to a civilized society. Black-face is demeaning and offensive. But every one of us  has done things in our teens and twenties that were stupid and somethings, just plain wrong.  IF we were lucky (i.e. did not die as a result of our rank stupidity!) we lived to regret them, which is to say, we learned from them, and were smarter and better in important ways.

I currently have a 25 year-old grandson who is in medical school and can tell you that he is not sophisticated in the ways of the world. He is wrapped up in his studies and his collegial relationship with his classmates, and after a few beers, I can imagine that he and his buddies might do something stupid, that he’d regret, maybe even get him and his side-kick in trouble with the dean or the county sheriff.  Bad as that would be, I certainly would not want his entire future to be sacrificed as a result.


shot-from-the-hip / turn politics into a constant High Noon, gunfight at the OK corral,

Dems as party of gender equity and multi-racial democracy

State Attorney General Mark Herring who released a statement Feb 6th that he also had dressed in blackface when he was in college.

(D) Pres Candidate Julian Castro when asked on Chris Hayes MSNBC show (02-06-2019) why he thought Northam should resign cited three points

  1.  that Northam was in medical school — ie. that he wasn’t 15 years old, that it was in 1984 and so was not 50 or 60 years ago (which would have been before Northam was born) most significantly,
  2. that “he did not come forward affirmatively, that someone did this research and brought this forward. If he had come forward and said “”Look I messed up and I’ve learned since then, it might have been different”‘ — those are the things that i thought about.
  3. I think maybe the most important thing, and you alluded to this, that the party is struggling through this, is that we are the party that respects everybody, and that says that everybody count** and we’re trying to live by that example. And this is part of that, this could be pain, … but I’m confident that at the end of the day not only are we going to have a strong party, but we are going to have a stronger country that lives by these values of respect for everybody”.(**ED note^ except for our candidates and elected officials, and then we shot first and don’t much bother with asking questions later i.e. Sen Al Franklin)


Quote from Gov N: Northam told reporters that while he took responsibility for the photo shown in the yearbook, he saw it for the first time when he saw it yesterday. He said he did not purchase the yearbook and was not aware of the photo in question.

As for his inconsistency, Northam said on Saturday (Feb 2nd)  that he was able to sit down the evening before and take full stock of the photo after talking with friends of his from his medical school days.
“What has happened, I finally had a chance to sit down and look at the photo in detail. It is definitely not me,” he said in response to questions.
His medical school yearbook is not the only yearbook in question, either. After the medical school photo was revealed, photos of Northam’s yearbook from Virginia Military Institute were made public and showed that one of his nicknames in college was “Coonman,” a racially insensitive moniker.


and  alive One of the most recurring  criticisms of the Democratic party its its propensity for circular firing squads — when under attack, they circle the wagons and instead of shot at the enemy, their fire at each other, while their opponets clean their clock and eat their lunch on the way out.

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Excerpt from First in Freedom Daily on the issue of abortion and other ‘liberal’ issues that give a clearer picture of their overall goals:

“While conservatives in the South East  and elsewhere, accept that places like California and New York are incubators for radical Leftists, it is alarming to know that this type of immoral law has even minimal support in a state just to our north.

From 70 percent income tax rates, to eliminating all private healthcare, to rationalizing the murder of children in the womb – many Democrats are straining to push the ‘Overton window‘ as far Left as possible. In so doing they are seeking to destroy the principles of liberty, limited-government, and, worst of all, the very sanctity of life. If there was ever a movement needed to re-calibrate the nation on these founding principles, it is now.”


Statement from the Eastern Virginia Medical School Board of Visitors on Feb. 3, 2019, at 5:15 PM

“The Eastern Virginia Medical School Board of Visitors, like the administration, faculty, staff and students of EVMS, are committed to our core values of integrity, collegiality and excellence,” said Rector David A. Arias, Founder of SwimWays. “The Board, like our senior management team, is committed to discovering quickly how unacceptable photos such as these came to be published in the past. Further, we are committed to ensuring that our existing culture is one that would never tolerate such actions today.”

Following yesterday’s announcement of the creation of the external Community Advisory Board, President Richard V. Homan, MD, appointed Gilbert Bland, as Chair of the Community Advisory Group. Mr. Bland is the former national President of the Minority Franchise Association of Burger King Corporation and charter member of its Inclusion Advisory Council. Mr. Bland currently serves as President and CEO of the Urban League of Hampton Roads and as a board member for the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Sentara Healthcare, and the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. Mr. Bland’s past leadership roles include service on the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia as Chair, the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors, and James Madison University Foundation.


The Reality of Racism ~ A Personal Experience

In September of 1957 my family moved from Michigan to a historically segregated southern state. I was 15 year old. My mother, who had been born in Texas, tried to prepare me for the poverty that was ubiquitous on the ‘wrong’ side town, an issue she described simply as “colored housing”. But in my youthful naivety, I expected to see houses painted in beautiful pastel shades of sky blue, rose pink and daisy yellow.

Instead i saw rows of unpainted rundown shacks owned by slum landlords and all the other indignities that abound in a racially-segregated ghetto

That fall I started high school in an all-white segregated public school, shopped in segregated stores with signs pointing to “White” and Colored” drinking fountains and bathrooms.  After graduation, became a nurse in a segregated hospital. To say these experiences were an “eye opener” is a masterful understatement.

in 1976 I became a VISTA volunteer (domestic Peace Corps program); I was assigned to community development project in a tiny town of 400 in a strictly segregated cotton and tobacco farming region of North Carolina. At one time in the distant past, the entire town had been one very large cotton plantation. 

I choose to spend my time in the segregated half, which was literally on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’. It was beyond shocking, but also a valuable learning experience. Mcommunity development efforts included starting a farmer’s market and opening the town’s first and only laundromat

Maggie Nichols ~ One Hundred years old in 1976

But one particular story changed my life and will be with me forever more. One of many families that i worked with was Maggie Nichols, an elderly, wheelchair bound black woman who was 100-yr-old in 1976.  She and her 70-year old daughter lived in what I would charitable describe as a hovel with no running water or indoor bathroom. Since there was no running water, the kitchen was a little shack separated from the house by 15 feet, to prevent a kitchen fire from also burning the house down.
The living room was a dark ugly green that made it hard to see in spite of the light bulb that hung from the ceiling. All the windows were covered inside with cardboard to keep out the cold. When it rained, the roof leaked; this required buckets in several parts of the living room and sleeping quarter to catch the dripping water.

For reasons I can no longer remember, I visited Maggie and her elderly daugher 2 or 3 times every week. Very slowly a friendly relationship of trust developed. Soon they started talking about things that I’m sure they did usually did not say to “while ladies”.

On one my weekly sojourns, just days before my assignment ended, Maggies described a conversation that she had with her dad. According to her best recollection, she was 10 years old at the time and her dad was about 40. She thought her father was born in 1845 but wasn’t sure. But despite the vagaries of her memory, she said she’d never forgot that conversation. 

As told by her, he started by saying:

“Maggie, I want to tell you something important and want you to never forget it. When i was born, we was all slaves, but when you come along, …. we was FREE PEOPLE!

Of course, print words can never do justice to this historic conversation, as the tone, cadence and emotional energy in those words: “but when you come along, we was FREE PEOPLE !”, with such emphasis on the words “we was free people!” 

This gift made me into a time traveler, someone privileges to hear the exact words as they were spoken by Maggie’s father, his inflection, the emotions of a man born into slavery in 1845 and eventually emancipated. I shall be forever grateful to Maggie for trusting me enough to tell me this story, one that I will never forget, nor evr tire of telling to anyone who is the least bit interested.