Open Thread……………………………………………Monday, April 14

April 14th, 2014 25 comments

cherry treeCan we  finally assume spring is here?  Not so fast.  The temperature is supposed to get down into the high 20′s on Wednesday morning.  That doesn’t feel too spring -like to me.

The cherry trees are finally out.  This past weekend hit all time highs for crowds and garbage overflow.  The picture is one of mine from another year.  None of the men in my house could be talked into going yet.  Even I wouldn’t have gone on a weekend.

Americans love the cherry tree blossoms.  This has not always been the case.  After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the cherry trees, a gift from Japan, were the subject of attack.  Guards had to be posted to ensure the safety of the trees.  See the Smithsonian Magazine for this strange behavior.


Categories: General Tags:

What will we call the children by mid-century?

April 15th, 2014 16 comments

Only 27% of people polled said President Obama was black.  Yet on the 2010 census he identified himself as black.

The following chart shows the increase in mixed marriages over the past several decades:

marriage chart

According to Paul Taylor of the Pew Institute:

More than a quarter of Hispanic and Asian newlyweds “marry out,” as do one-in six-blacks and one-in-ten whites. Whites are still the largest race group, so even though they “marry out” at lower rates, they still account for 70% of all interracial marriages.

By mid-century, what will we call the children of interracial marriages? Today we aren’t even sure what to call our president. We do know this: In many cultures and societies through history, being mixed race — being a “mutt” as Obama sometimes calls himself — has meant being an outcast. In today’s America, judging by those Super Bowl ads or today’s celebrities, the norms are changing and the stigma receding.

Read more…

Categories: General Tags:

Heil Hitler and 3 dead….a hate crime?

April 14th, 2014 21 comments

Was Birmingham Sunday, the church bombing in Birmingham in the 60′s where 3 young women were murdered, a hate crime?  Absolutely.

This crime was committed, allegedly, by a former KKK member named Glenn Miller.  He was a frequent flyer in the white supremacist movement.  He will be charged with first degree murder by the state and he will also have some federal charges heaped on him.

What kind of monster does something like this?  He can hate who he wants in his head.  The minute he acts on that hate, he should go to prison.   People living in America should be able to worship how they please without fear of being gunned down or assassinated.

Categories: Religion Tags:

Keep ‘em married!

April 14th, 2014 54 comments


For years, social conservatives have been fighting to prevent certain people from getting married. But they’re waging a parallel battle, too: Trying to keep married couples together.

In cooperation with the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage, socially conservative politicians have been quietly trying to make it harder for couples to get divorced. In recent years, lawmakers in more than a dozen states have introduced bills imposing longer waiting periods before a divorce is granted, mandating counseling courses or limiting the reasons  a couple can formally split. States such as Arizona, Louisiana and Utah have already passed such laws, while others such as Oklahoma and Alabama are moving to do so.

If divorces are tougher to obtain, social conservatives argue, fewer marriages will end. And having  more married couples is not just desirable in its own right but is a social good, they say. During his presidential campaign, former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) emphasized finishing high school and getting married as cures for poverty. “If you do those two things, you will be successful economically,” he declared at a 2011 event in Iowa.

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Categories: General Tags:

Fixing the 2nd amendment

April 12th, 2014 26 comments


Nothing in the Bill of Rights has caused more debate, in recent times, than the second amendment.  As written, it seems that there are no limits placed on private citizens.  Others would argue that the words imply a well regulated militia.  Retired Justice John Paul Stevens suggests that adding 5 words to the current amendment would remove all ambiguity.  What do you think?

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”

Your opinion please.  Why can’t states regulate guns?  The Bill of Rights defines the limitations of the federal government, not the States.


Categories: 2nd amendment/guns/weapons Tags:

Stephen Colbert to replace Letterman

April 11th, 2014 25 comments


CBS put a swift end to speculation and announced Thursday that Stephen Colbert will take over as host of the network’s “Late Show” sometime next year when longtime host David Letterman retires. It’s a five-year contract. It’s also a welcome and possibly daring choice in the late-night genre, which could use the inventive, concertina-wire wit and mastery of tone that Colbert possesses.

Nation, I can tell you’re mildly alarmed. Don’t be.

Read more…

Categories: Entertainment Tags:

Open Thread…………………………..Sunday, March 23

April 10th, 2014 91 comments

daffodilsWinter is over.  We have all decreed that it is over.  Think pansies, daffodils, and cowslips.  Anything but winter.  What are good flowers to plant now that won’t die if there is an overnight freeze?

How soon can you set out rosemary bushes and cypress from winter gifts?  Will they die if they go out now?

How about those cherry trees?  Will they bloom before Memorial Day?  (Just kidding)

Categories: General Tags:

Paycheck unfairness: Yes, Republicans, it’s real

April 10th, 2014 19 comments

 Senate Republicans derailed a Democratic bill Wednesday curbing paycheck discrimination against women, an effort that even in defeat Democrats hoped would pay political dividends in this fall’s congressional elections.

Wednesday’s vote was 53-44 to halt GOP tactics aimed at derailing the legislation, but that fell seven short of the 60 votes Democrats needed to prevail.

The outcome on the Senate floor was not a surprise, but Democrats were playing to a wider audience.

With public opinion polls showing Democratic voters less enthusiastic than Republicans this year, Democrats aimed the measure at women, who historically lean more toward their party than men. They were also casting the issue as a crucial one for the middle class because so many families rely on female wage-earners — and promised to revisit it before Election Day.

Read more…

Categories: General Tags:

#Gotballs? Vote for Bob Quast?

April 10th, 2014 2 comments

The Iowa primary is going earthy early this year. First of all, Joni Ernest, Republican state senator from Iowa, gave her state a “let’s make ‘em squeal” commercial. In a well-done political ad, she gave her prospective constituency a brief bio, telling them that she grew up on a farm castrating pigs so she knew how to slice and dice pork. Now we have Bob Quast threatening to blow someone’s “balls off” if they come to his door to harm his daughters. Quast’s sister was apparently murdered by a sexual predator.

Will this kind of bluntness attract voters? Does a filters-off ad appeal more to voters? Maybe in Iowa. I think Washington, DC is a little too pristine and white glove for this type of ad. How about the kids who might hear these commercials. Is it sending a good signal?

Do we want our politics to have this violent of an image?  Finally, is there anything we can do about it even if we object?  Voting with your remote seems like great over-simplification.

Quast is running as an independent.  Ernest is a Republican.  I can only speculate what the Democratic opponent will come up with.

It sounds like a war  on external genitalia to me.

Categories: Politics Tags:

Bristow Beat: Recap of BOCS Meeting

April 9th, 2014 No comments

One of the best re-caps  of yesterday’s BOCS meeting can be found at the Bristow Beat.  Stacy Shaw did a great job of summarizing the very long meeting as well as using citizen profiles and quotes to encapsulate the various points of view represented.  In fact, the Virginia Press Association named Bristow Beat the best in Breaking News Writing in the online-only category  at their annual awards banquet last Saturday night.  Congratulations, Bristow Beat!

Perhaps the most refreshing part of Stacy’s write-up was the air of neutrality.  I saw none of the bias one usually associates with local news, whether it is blog related or actual online or print media.  Yes, we expect blogs to portray bias.  That is sort of the point of a blog.  But all too often the actual online news sources can’t seem to resist showing their colors.  It is just darn difficult to find your news without an infusion of commentary.

One of the most touching parts of the meeting was listening to people speak to the needs of the Prince William Free Clinic.  It literally is a lifesaver for people who do not have health coverage and who might not have the out of pocket funds to get medical and dental treatment.  Not everyone gets Medicaid, especially men.  Where would these people be without the free clinic?  Hopefully, Ray B. will come along and enlighten us about who really does qualify for Medicaid in Virginia.  This illumination will be helpful when we listen to our state legislators argue the need for expanding Medicaid for 400,000 Virginians.

Meanwhile, be sure to read Stacy Shaw’s article covering the most recent Board of Supervisors meeting.  Keep up the good work, Stacy.


Categories: media, PWC Politics, PWCBOS Tags:

Maureen Dowd: New Republican torches?

April 9th, 2014 14 comments

Maureen Dowd, columnist for the New York Times, whether you agree with her or not, is probably one of the most talented opinion writers in America today. She had the following to say in her April 8, 2014 column entitled “Jeb in the Vortex:”  (

Some of those close to Jeb say he’s serious about running and bringing back a civil tone to Republican politics. Others say he needs to act as though he’s running to keep his speaking fees high and options open. Rush Limbaugh thinks Jeb’s “act of love” comment was a gambit to tick off the Tea Party and “get the conservative backlash to him out of the way.”

Jeb thinks Republicans have lost their way. He may soon learn that a lot of conservatives think they have found their way — and it’s not the joyful, loving, government-can-be-a-force-for-good way. It’s the mean, cruel, gut-the-government way.

When this crowd thinks of a Thousand Points of Light, they’re thinking of torches as they march toward the Capitol.

Is Jeb right and have Republicans lost their way?  It appears that many have done exactly that.   The Republicans of yore were kinder, gentler and didn’t carry torches and pitchforks, as a rule.

Categories: Republican Tags:

Jeb Bush: immigration deal-breaker?

April 8th, 2014 82 comments

By now, everyone has seen Jeb Bush utter those fateful words about illegal immigrants committing an act of love.  I think Bush is correct.  I also believe he was correct in stating that 40% of our illegal immigrant problem is because of folks over-staying their visas.  He is correct that our government should know about this as it is happening and that the problem should be dealt with then.

Read more…

Categories: Immigration Tags:

McAuliffe vetoes school religious bill

April 7th, 2014 7 comments

From the Richmond Times Dispatch:

A bill that would have codified the rights of students to pray, participate in religious activities or wear faith-themed clothing on public school property at public events was vetoed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe Friday.

The school prayer-bill veto of Senate Bill 236, the third of McAuliffe’s term, followed a recent veto of a similarly themed bill governing prayer by chaplains in the Virginia National Guard.

Sponsored by state Sen. Charles W. Carrico Sr., R-Grayson, the legislation would have required every school system to have a policy allowing students to make religious speeches at any school event in which students are allowed to speak. It also would have removed the liability of school systems for allowing religious speech by having administrators offer disclaimers that student views are not endorsed by the school division.

Supporters said the legislation would protect religious liberty. But the governor disagreed.

Read more…

Categories: Education/Schools, General, Religion Tags:

Is money the root of all evil in politics?

April 7th, 2014 20 comments

President Jimmy Carter blasted the role money has played in worsening the tone in Washington, and said the Supreme Court ruling last week has “exacerbated” the problems.

In a wide-ranging interview, Carter said Washington had experienced a “sea change” since when he was in office.

“There was a spirit of harmony there, friendship. … All of these things are gone, primarily due to a stupid decision that the Supreme Court made on Citizens United and that they exacerbated this past week with another ruling,” Carter said Friday. “And this massive infusion of almost unrestricted money going into the political campaign, a lot of it is spent just on negative commercials to tear down the reputation of your opponent and that polarization that occurs, that didn’t exist when I ran for office.”

Do we want rich people deciding the outcome of our elections?  Is this latest Supreme Court decision the ultimate in “money talks and bull sh!t walks?”  I have only seen politics become more rancorous and vicious since Citizens United was decided.  The acrimony is seen in local politics, state politics and nationally.

Jimmy Carter is right.  The comradery that used to exist when he was in office is no more.


Categories: General Tags:

POW flag made of bedsheets finally unfurled after 69 years

April 5th, 2014 6 comments

Richmond times Dispatch:

The makeshift American flag, made 69 years ago from bedsheets, was a symbol of defiance, perseverance and patriotism to the American prisoners of war who were beaten, tortured and starved by their Japanese captors at the Omori POW Camp during World War II.

Richmond native James “Denny” Landrum, an electrician’s mate first class who had just turned 20 when captured, was among them.

He and his fellow submariners of the USS Grenadier were taken prisoner after their ship was attacked and eventually scuttled on April 22, 1943, off Penang, Malaysia.

Landrum eventually made it home. But the flag he helped to secretly create and later waved in an iconic photograph taken as he and his fellow POWs were liberated on Aug. 29, 1945, vanished over time.

Read more…

Categories: General, War/Military Tags: