That was the view off my deck a few evenings ago. It doesn’t get much prettier than that, in my opinion. I will take a winter sunset to a summer sunset any day of the week.
It’s the middle of December and so far Old Man Winter has been fairly kind to us. Any time it gets above 45 degrees with some sunshine, I take that as good weather. Winter is only a state of mind.
The usual yard animals have been able to pick and choose where they eat. The birds seem to be dining elsewhere. I guess they aren’t desperate enough to eat oil sunflower seeds. I won’t put that other stuff out. It makes weeds in the yard come spring. I like the volunteer sunflowers that come up.
I did set out some peanuts for the bushy tailed rats that visit us. Those got gobbled up. Does anyone have chipmunks? I don’t think I have ever seen one in my yard.
New York Times (email)
In a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, who hosted a final culminating meeting at the Vatican, President Obama and President Raul Castro of Cuba agreed in a telephone call to put aside decades of hostility to find a new relationship between the island nation just 90 minutes off the American coast.
The contractor, Alan Gross, boarded an American government plane bound for the United States on Wednesday morning and the United States sent back three Cuban spies who have been in an American prison since 1981. American officials said the Cuban spies were swapped for a United States intelligence agent who has been in a Cuban prison for nearly 20 years and said Mr. Gross was not technically part of the swap but released separately on “humanitarian grounds.”
In addition, the United States will ease restrictions on remittances, travel and banking relations and Cuba will release 53 Cuban prisoners identified as political prisoners by the United States government. Although the decades-old American embargo on Cuba will remain in place for now, the administration signaled that it would welcome a move by Congress to ease or lift it should lawmakers choose to.
“Today, the United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people,” the White House said in a written statement.
This is probably a very good idea. We have restored diplomatic relations with almost every other “enemy” in the world, including Vietnam, which for me was a hard pill to swallow. Hopefully, soon new trade will exist as well as flourishing tourism. Its much easier to stay made at people than to get along.
Restoring diplomatic relations also should be welcomed by millions of Cuban Americans who probably miss the mother country. Cuba has been an enemy of the state ever since I was a child.
“Oh God, it’s Mom,” gasped CSPAN’s Dallas Woodhouse. He and his brother were both arguing on the air when they took a call from Joy. Apparently the boys had caused some unpleasantness over Thanksgiving.
I guess she told them! I laughed when she said she had hoped they wouldn’t be there. How many people have these kinds of discussions when they go home for holidays? My mother wouldn’t allow politics or religion to be discussed at the table. That ruined everyone’s fun. She also used to threaten to knock our heads together when we fought.
Have no fear though. Someone always managed to be dysfunctional. Sometimes it was me or at least I got the blame for it.
What’s the worst you have done or seen done at a holiday gathering of friends and relatives?
This morning when I check in to Facebook.com, I saw some very sad news from Prince William County School Board Chairman Milt Johns. Let me first off say that Mr. Johns is a Republican. He and I have very different political views. In fact, on some of them, we would probably stand toe to toe and scream at each other. Mr. Johns, however, was the school board chair. Those issues that we vehemently disagree on would have rarely come up. I also don’t know Mr. Johns personally. We have met professionally, before I retired. Milt Johns’ press release:
For Immediate Release
After months of prayer, reflection, and discussions with my family, I have decided that I will not seek re-election as Chairman at Large of the Prince William County School Board in 2015. When my term ends at midnight on December 31, 2015, I will have spent nearly a quarter of my life serving on the Prince William County School Board. It is time for me to focus on other matters, including my family and my law practice. I do expect to continue to have …a role supporting Prince William County Schools and in local political activities.
Republicans and Democrats are calling on Del. Joseph D. Morrissey (D-Henrico) to resign from the Virginia House of Delegates after his conviction Friday on a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Morrissey was given a 12-month jail sentence with six months suspended in a case stemming from his connection with a 17-year-old female receptionist.
The terms of his sentence allow Morrissey to continue to serve in the General Assembly while incarcerated. But Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and the leader of the House Democratic Caucus are urging him not to come back in light of his conviction on what a spokesman for the governor called “disturbing charges.”
Morrissey entered an Alford plea to one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Alford pleas allow the accused to maintain innocence but acknowledge that there is enough evidence for a conviction.
This is a no-brainer. Morrissey needs to go. He is unwise at best, a criminal at worst. Regardless of the conditions of his sentencing, he needs to resign.
Morrissey is 57 years old and is too old to be messing around with teenagers. The charges are disturbing. Morressy sounds like a perv.
Moe clarifies his opinion on the timing, on torture, and on the possible dangers of releasing such a report.
Moe resigned his commission over the use of torture to obtain information while he was the chief prosecutor at Gitmo.
Further explanation from Moe about where he stood and why he resigned his commission.
The federal agency that will play a pivotal role in guiding the sentence of former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell has recommended that the onetime Republican rising star spend at least 10 years and a month in prison, according to several people familiar with the matter.
The guidelines recommended by the U.S. probation office are preliminary, and even if finalized, U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer is not required to follow them. But experts said that Spencer typically heeds the probation office’s advice, and judges in his district have imposed sentences within the recommendations more than 70 percent of the time in recent years.
“It’s of critical importance,” said Scott Fredericksen, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer. “The fact is, the vast majority of times, courts follow those recommendations closely.”
The matter is far from settled. The probation office recommended a punishment from 10 years and a month to 12 years and 7 months. Calculating an appropriate range of sentences in the federal system is a complicated, mathematical process that takes into account a variety of factors, including the type of crime, the defendant’s role and the amount of loss. The judge has yet to see the arguments from each side.
This sentencing threat is overkill. The stark reminder is that McDonnell broke no Virginia laws. I will be outraged if he receives a 10 year sentence.