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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com — February 22, 2012 at 8:42 am 2,058 39 Comments

Dust at Courthouse Metro Station — We’ve heard from several readers who were concerned about a high concentration of construction dust at the Courthouse Metro station yesterday. Apparently, the dust was left over from track work over the weekend. Not to fear, says WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel. According to Stessel, the dust was “not harmful.”

General Assembly Approves ‘Conscience Clause’ Bill — The state legislature has passed — and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) says he will sign — a bill that would allow private adoptions agencies legally discriminate against gay couples for religious or moral reasons. [Associated Press, Reuters]

McDonnell Reconsidering Abortion Ultrasound Bill? — Gov. Bob McDonnell “is backing off his unconditional support” for a bill that would require women to receive a potentially invasive, medically unnecessary ultrasound before receiving an abortion. The bill drew more than a thousand protesters to Richmond over the weekend, and has attracted national attention. Both Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show have recently taken turns poking fun at it. Lawmakers are said to be working on a compromise version of the bill. [Washington Post]

Lopez Claims Free Clinic Victory — Del. Alfonso Lopez says his budget amendment to restore $1.6 million in funding to Virginia’s free clinics has been approved by the House Appropriations Committee. Gov. Bob McDonnell had called for cuts to free clinics, arguing that the federal health care reform bill will grant health coverage to many of the low income individuals who use the clinics. The cuts would have impacted the local Arlington Free Clinic. [Del. Alfonso Lopez]

Seventeen-Year-Olds to Vote in Board Election? — Civic-minded 17-year-olds will be allowed to vote in the upcoming March 27 County Board special election — provided they turn 18 by this year’s general election date (Nov. 6). [Sun Gazette]

Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA

  • Clarendon Cruiser

    RE: Metro Dust

    “Drivin’ my train, high on cocaine…casey jones you better, watch your speed”

    • Josh S

      Nice. God I miss California…..

  • BreakPause02

    An abortion is not invasive?

    • Swag

      An abortion is voluntary.

      • Swag

        And not always invasive.

    • dk

      I am so tired of this comment. Sure, an abortion may be invasive. So what? A woman seeking an abortion is consenting to an abortion. It does not follow that she is also consenting to have a kidney removed, which is as unnecessary to the abortion process as ultrasound typically is.

      • whatford

        You are comparing a kidney removal procedure to an ultrasound? Sensationalism.

        • dk

          I’m not trying to be sensationalistic at all. I am trying to point out that forcing a medical procedure on someone is an absolutely heinous notion. It doesn’t matter whether it is an ultrasound, skin biopsy, ear piercing, or kidney removal. Hell, a nurse should not be able to stick a freaking thermometer in my mouth without my consent. That some people have trouble understanding this is truly frightening.

          • tess

            +100

  • OldTimer

    So where does that dust go when a train arrives at the station? Into the air and into our lungs. Nice! Cleanup on track 2, please.

  • Steamboat Willie

    Duuuuuuuuuuuust in the wind
    All we are is dust in the wind

  • novasteve

    Didn’t they say the dust at 9/11 ground zero wasn’t harmful as well? Why was the station manager wearing an air filter? Why did people twitter that they were having difficulties breathing on unsuckdcmetro?

    • whatford

      Asbestos concrete dust. Not harmful. Metro knows what is best for you.

  • OldTimer

    So… can a pregnant woman who was going to have a gay couple adopt her baby in VA go into one of these VA free clinics to get an VA-required coochie-invasive ultrasound before considering an abortion because the Commonwealth of VA believes they are above rights for women, gays, and just about everyone else who is not like them? Just wondering as I pour another cup of Joe.

    • OldTimer

      Oh… and the woman is 17 years old, so may be able to vote for the special election and she lives at Courthouse and takes in the dust at the Courthouse Metro.

    • KKK

      We want an exemption from letting blacks and Jews and Asian and Latinos adopt white children! It’s against our moral principles, after all.

      • OldTimer

        Must also have graduated from a Vah-gin-ya college or university in top 10% of class.

    • Steamboat Willie

      Well done. Government small enough to drown in a bath tub and then land in a woman’s uterus.

      • OldTimer

        Every sperm is sacred tho.

        • leroy

          In that case my sock drawer is an altar.

        • Richard Cranium

          Dammit. Now you’ve got the song/dance number from “The Meaning of Life” running through my head. If it’s still there at the end of the day, you’re gonna get it.

      • Cate

        I’m using this description from now on.

  • R. Griffon

    Cement dust not harmful? WRONG! That is a bald-face lie by a talking head who doesn’t want to deal with it. One can only assume this to be cement dust from the weekend work, as I can’t think of what other materials would create it (i.e. there isn’t much/any wood or drywall down there).

    According to NIH:
    “Cement dust causes lung function impairment, chronic obstructive lung disease, restrictive lung disease, pneumoconiosis and carcinoma of the lungs, stomach and colon.” Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15448758

    Someone should ask Mr. Stessel if the workmen doing that job were allowed to do so without any type of respiratory protection. I guarantee OSHA forbids it. And if it’s not OK for WMATA workers, why is it OK for TENS OF THOUSANDS of daily commuters? Those work sites should have been properly cleaned before allowing public access.

    This kind of disregard for public safety is actually a pretty big deal. I smell a big news piece.

    • OldTimer

      Amen. I raise my high octane cup of coffee to you. Cough. Cough. Hmmm hope it is only pollen… tho I did ride Metro thru Courthouse yesterday.

      • Ed

        Amen #2. No way is that amount of rock getting into your lungs “not harmful.” Fortunately Courthouse had been cleaned up by this morning.

        • Sue

          Amen #3. Construction dust should be avoiding by wearing a mask or a respirator. It’s insulting to the riding public to claim that it’s not harmful. Even short-term exposure can cause a life-threatening emergency for an asthmatic or someone with another lung disorder.

    • SomeGuy

      “Just trust us, the dust is ‘not harmful,’” says Stessel.

      Wonder if he’s seen this “60 Minutes” report about how seemingly harmless dust becomes highly combustible:
      http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-18560_162-4157170.html

      • novasteve

        Good point someguy. The trains produce a lot of sparks from the third rail, which could ignite it.

        • Max

          I’m surprised Arlnow or unsuckdcmetro haven’t covered the alarming amounts of dihydrogen monoxide or diatomic oxygen in the metro system. New reports show that both molecules are present throughout the system and have done nothing to lower their concentration. Dihydrogen monoxide has been shown to kill individuals in high concentrations in public spaces, like beaches, pools, or even backyards. Diatomic oxygen is one of the most flammable materials on earth, and it’s getting in your blood, too. Some physicians claim that the diatomic oxygen is binding to our body’s own hemoglobin!

          I really hope WMATA puts an effort into reducing the amounts of these substances. Otherwise, what’s the point of even USING metro?

          • OldTimer

            Phased suicide.

          • Sue

            This is actually not a case of “the sky is falling,” Max.

          • Max

            *facepalm*

  • Maeve

    The “conscience clause” bill does not apply to private adoptions (for which they are free to discriminate all they want), it is for adoptions done on behalf of the government agences. So for example, if the local Human Services department decides to contract adoptions out to Catholic Charities, they would be free to refuse to place children with families whose lifestyle they do not approve.

    The big problem here is that these government agency adoptions have a huge backlog of kids needing homes. These are not the cuddly healthy infants we often think of when we think adoption (those are usually adopted through private agencies so the birth mother can choose), these are the hard-to-adopt kids, the family groups, the traumatized abuse survivors, the older kids, the kids with severe emotional and behavioral difficulties, etc.

    These kids are desperate for forever homes, because there are not enough homes even for long term foster care placements so they are shuttled around temporary placements and group homes. This bill enables the agencies, who are supposed to be working on behalf of the children, to refuse to place these kids in stable, loving, environments just because they disapprove of the options available.

    • Max

      Some of these kids are up for adoption because they’re gay or because they’re perceived as gay. Being adopted into a home that believes that homosexuality can be cured only further harms the children.

    • Cate

      Indeed. I find it horribly sad that these politicians are ignoring what’s in the best interest of these kids – and that’s to be in a home with a family (one parent, two parents, gay, straight, whatever) that loves them and wants them. I’m going to take a wild guess that the children in need of a forever home doesn’t care about the sexual orientation of prospective parents, as long as they’d know they’re being given stability and unconditional love and support.

      • j

        Naivete.

      • Noo

        “j”, how many of these families have you actually met? Because I have met many, mostly when I was living in another state. Many gay male couples in particular adopt some of the hardest-to-adopt kids, and the amazing effort they put forth to try to heal their wounds and give them the supports they need to overcome their challenges is breathtaking. Are you saying that given the choice between being warehoused with a bunch of other unadoptable kids in group homes without any prospect of ever having loving parents, and living with two loving parents who are willing to love you no matter what and provide you with a comfortable home and educational and therapeutic resources beyond your wildest dreams, you’d choose the group home?

  • Max

    Because I’m sure someone will ask…

    In Virginia you can register to vote as long as you will be 18 on the next national election day (aka first Tuesday in November as long as it’s not the first of the month). As long as you’re registered to vote you can vote.

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