Open Thread…………………………………………………..Thursday, July 2

July 2nd, 2015 12 comments

4thHappy 4th of July.  Is everyone ready for   the long weekend which starts tomorrow?

Who has special plans for the 4th?

I love fireworks but I hate crowds.  I have traveled across the country just to see good ones in a non-crowded environment.

The bet I have seen have been in Long Beach, Washington, right on the Pacific ocean from my hotel room.   I wish I were there this weekend.  Such is not to be, however.  I could probably never get that room again.  I am sure it books up years in advance.  Where have you seen the best fireworks?

Categories: General Tags:

Rick Bentley RIP 1965-2015

July 7th, 2015 6 comments

No, Rick wasn’t his real name.  I knew that Rick has been sick with pancreatitis.  His Facebook page said he was waiting for a diagnosis of what they now thought was pancreatic cancer.  I didn’t contact him at the time.  I meant to.  Yes, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Today I was going to ask him if he had gotten some better news.  I was going to ask him if he needed anything.  As I went to his Fb page I saw the bad news.  Rick died June 26, at his home.  He was 49 year old.  That’s just too effen young to die.

Rick was brilliant.  I followed him on bvbl years ago and was impressed with his reasoning.  He could also irritate the living hell out of all of us at one time or another.  He was a provocateur.

Rick was quite an accomplished movie critic.  He saw most of the new film.  I am sure he got more out of a movie than I ever did.  I sincerely hope he is in some great theater in the sky, chunking down popcorn and having the time of his life.

I thought about posting the obituary here but then decided not to.  He used a moniker here and I will respect that, even in death.

I am extremely saddened by this horrible news.  The good part of it is, he didn’t  suffer long.  He announced on FB that the doctors thought he might have cancer on June 18.  He died on June 26 at his home.

I am heart broken.  I will miss that smart ass horribly.

 

 

 

Categories: General Tags:

Gilbert and Lingamfelter obfuscate the issue of same-sex marriage

July 5th, 2015 17 comments

Richmond Times Dispatch:

After the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly are preparing to push back in what they call a culture war aimed at destroying religious freedoms.

Del. C. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said protections of religious liberties are going to be the primary focus for House Republicans in the 2016 General Assembly session, which begins in January.

“My concern is that the ultimate goal of the far left is not to secure rights for gay individuals but to tear down religious institutions and the belief systems that support them,” Gilbert said this week.

Asserting that this is the “next frontier for the far left,” Gilbert said he believes it is “more important than ever that we ensure that people’s deeply held convictions” are protected.

“If we are truly going to live in a world where everyone is afforded their rights to live their lives precisely as they please, then surely that has to include people of faith as well,” he said.

While GOP leaders in both houses of the legislature have acknowledged they will abide by the high court ruling that made same-sex marriage the law of the land, House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, said the most pressing concern now is protecting religious liberty.

“We will need to carefully evaluate how this ruling will be applied and make sure we take steps to protect faith leaders, churches, nonprofits and individuals,” Howell said in an email. “The House of Delegates will fight vigilantly to protect religious freedom.”

Gilbert was tapped to take the lead in reviewing current law and what other states are doing to determine what actions Republicans may take during the 2016 session.

I get it that some people feel gay marriage is wrong.  That’s OK.  They can have their beliefs.  The question isn’t what they believe, it’s how they behave.  Gilbert and Lingamfelter apparently want to legalize discrimination.  How well I recall Del. Lingamfelter pontificating in front of the General Assembly against a Richmond prosecutor being appointed a general district court judge because he was gay.   Actually,  the delegate used every reason in the world other than he was gay.  His message was still very transparent.

Someone please help me understand how religious rights have been violated or will be violated.  Gilbert and Lingamfelter are both known for extreme right positions that border on the ridiculous.   Unless Virginians are going to be lined up and forced to marry someone of the same sex, there are no violations.  People are still entitled to believe what they want to believe.   No one is suggesting that a “thought police”  be formed.

Virginians need to send a strong message to Lingamfelter and Gilbert that Virginians do not discriminate.  Since Virginia is for Lovers, that should include its elected representatives.  Both legislators need to understand that people don’t choose who they love.   They need to SDASTFU.  Maybe they need to get busy and work out some Medicaid legislation.  That issue is far more pressing for Virginians than who someone else marries.  It isn’t hurting them.

I guess this is the only way either man can appeal to his base.  How pathetic.

Categories: General, Va Politics, Virginia Tags:

Lethal injection upheld

June 29th, 2015 12 comments

Washingtonpost.com:

The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 on Monday to uphold a procedure used by states to carry out executions by lethal injection.

The justices were considering a challenge brought by death-row inmates in Oklahoma, who allege that the use of a sedative called midazolam has resulted in troubling executions that violate the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Problematic executions in Oklahoma and elsewhere have captured national headlines since early last year.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority that included Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

That’s the long and short of it.   Part of the problem is being able to obtain lethal injection drugs because of the European community.  I have a few questions;

Why can’t we make our own lethal injection drugs?  What do we use to euthanize our pets?  Why can’t those drugs be used on those being executed?  It’s a lot kinder than what they did to someone.  One of the criminals in question raped and killed an 11 month old.  That that is one sick, depraved bastard.  Who cares if he writhes around a little.  Oooops.

Good job on this one, Supremes.

Categories: SCOTUS Tags:

Same-sex marriage, Obamacare, the flag–It’s been quite a week

June 26th, 2015 83 comments

Washingtonpost.com:

The Supreme Court on Friday delivered an historic victory for gay rights, ruling 5-4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples.

The court’s action marks the culmination of an unprecedented upheaval in public opinion and the nation’s jurisprudence. Advocates called it the most pressing civil rights issue of modern times, while critics said the courts had sent the country into uncharted territory by changing the traditional definition of marriage.

“The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

The country’s first legally recognized same-sex marriages took place just 11 years ago, the result of a Massachusetts state supreme court decision. Now, more than 70 percent of Americans live in states where same-sex couples are allowed to marry, according to estimates.

Holy cow, what a week.  Lots of change.  All of it was just a matter of time.  Now everyone can marry who they love, all over the nation.

Looking back, the end result of all these changes is that people have more rights.  This should be seen as a good thing.

Same-sex marriage was only a matter of time and is definitely a civil rights issue.  The LGBT community still has a long way to go to have full rights.  There still is no job protection, for example.  It’s been less than 50 years since Loving v. Virginia codified interracial marriage in Virginia.  At the turn of the century, there were places were homosexual sex was illegal.  Imagine the number of lives that have been ruined because former respected members of communities across the country were somehow discovered.  That is no longer an issue.

Just as a perspective, when I was a young psych major in college, homosexuality was by the  AMA  and the American Psychiatric Association as a mental illness.  We have come a long way, in so many respects.  The wheels of social justice march on.    Limbaugh has something to bitch about for decades.

Categories: Civil Rights, Gay/Lesbian, health care Tags:

Symbols of hate still on the market

June 26th, 2015 15 comments

Today I read an interesting article in the Washington Post about the history of the much maligned Confederate Flag. It was actually designed in Fairfax City so that troops could distinguish between North and South.

fairfax flag 2

Most people were unfamiliar with the history of this flag.  People on the street  were questioned about their opinions.  The article is a must-read.

Read more…

Categories: Hate Crimes/speech Tags:

Former Senator Jim Webb on the Confederate Flag and the Civil War

June 25th, 2015 8 comments

webb

From Jim Webb’s Facebook page:

This is an emotional time and we all need to think through these issues with a care that recognizes the need for change but also respects the complicated history of the Civil War. The Confederate Battle Flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades. It should not be used in any way as a political symbol that divides us.

But we should also remember that honorable Americans fought on both sides in the Civil War, including slave holders in the Union Army from states such as Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, and that many non-slave holders fought for the South. It was in recognition of the character of soldiers on both sides that the federal government authorized the construction of the Confederate Memorial 100 years ago, on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.

This is a time for us to come together, and to recognize once more that our complex multicultural society is founded on the principle of mutual respect.

Read more…

Categories: Civil War, Commentary Tags:

McAuliffe orders Confederate flag off of Va license plates

June 24th, 2015 39 comments

Washingtonpost.com:

RICHMOND — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Tuesday that he will phase out a state-sponsored license plate featuring an image of the Confederate flag.

At an appearance in Richmond, the city that served as the capital of the Confederacy, McAuliffe (D) called the symbol “unnecessarily divisive and hurtful.”

The announcement comes in the aftermath of the shooting deaths of nine members of a historically African American church in Charleston, S.C., allegedly by Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white man who, according to police, wanted “to start a race war.”

It comes just one day after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) called for the flag to be removed from the grounds of that state’s capitol — and the week after the Supreme Court ruled that Texas is free to reject a specialized license plate featuring the Confederate flag.

We all know that I am a creature of contradiction. This issue is no exception.  I happen to think Terry McAuliffe is simply jumping on the band wagon.  The targeted group here is a fairly revered group–Sons of Confederate Veterans.  The one and only person I know who is a proud member is a man named Bob Perry.  Bob is one of the kindest, most genteel gentlemen I know.  He is one of the least racist people I have ever known.  He honors his ancestors.

Read more…

Categories: Civil Rights, Civil War, General Tags:

Ben Bernanke defends Alexander Hamilton on the 10 spot

June 23rd, 2015 7 comments

ten-10-dollar-bill

From CNN.com:

Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said he is “appalled” by the treasury secretary’s decision to have Alexander Hamilton split his duty as the face of the $10 bill with a woman.

Though he said secretary Jack Lew’s decision to put a female face on the ten is a “fine idea,” Bernanke made it clear he doesn’t think it should be at Hamilton’s expense.

“Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, would qualify as among the greatest of our founders for his contributions to achieving American independence and creating the Constitution alone,” Bernanke wrote in a blog post.

Bernanke argued that Hamilton also helped stabilize and strengthen the U.S. financial system in the early days of America, paving the way for a strong economy.

“The importance of Hamilton’s achievement can be judged by the problems that the combination of uncoordinated national fiscal policies and a single currency has caused the Eurozone in recent years,” he wrote, adding that Hamilton’s efforts to consolidate state debts and to create a strong federal fiscal system helped America avoid some of the eurozone’s current issues.

Bernanke added that he supports Lew’s historic decision to put a woman on U.S. paper currency for the first time in more than a century.

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GOP candidates need to be wary of the CSA flag issue

June 21st, 2015 21 comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Washingtonpost.com:

If there’s one subject on which you just can’t win as a Republican politician these days, it seems to be the Confederate flag.

After the racially motivated Charleston shootings this week and a Supreme Court case regarding the flag, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is facing pressure to take down the flag, which is still flying high at a Confederate War memorial on state house grounds. She hasn’t heeded the calls, and her staff says it’s up to the general assembly. Her fellow South Carolinian and GOP presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, defended the flag flying in his home state by telling CNN on Friday that it is “part of who we are.”

and…

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