Open Thread…………………….September 1, 2016

Thhummingbirdis has been the summer of the hummingbird.  These mean little delightful devils have been swarming my deck for the past several months.  They can empty a cup of nectar in just a couple of days.

They fight, chase, dive-bomb and yes, entertain.  I even saw one chasing a butterfly.

Hummingbirds don’t fare so well with bees and hornets.  When hornets decide they want the feeder, the hornet usually wins.

Soon the hummingbirds will disappear.  I have read that they winter in the Honduras.  I can’t imagine something that small making that journey.  Meanwhile, farewell, until next summer.




(credit to Alex Koma)

After more than five hours of public comments, the Prince William County School Board decided to delay a decision on whether to outlaw discrimination on sexual orientation or gender identity, as the Wednesday evening meeting dragged into Thursday morning.


The board was set to vote on a policy to outlaw sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination “in the provision of educational programs, services, and activities.” The policy currently bans discrimination based on race, sex and religion.


The board ultimately voted for more time to consider the policy, delaying the vote until June 2017 by a vote of 5-1. Only Chairman Ryan Sawyers opposed a motion to delay the vote, while Loree Williams of the Woodbridge District abstained.


Sawyers edited the policy to direct schools’ Superintendent Steven L. Walts to preserve existing standards for bathrooms and locker rooms, leaving room to comply with court decisions on the issue. The majority of the board still felt suitably concerned about the prospect of future legal action to delay a vote on the policy.

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KellyAnn Conway: Enabling pure evil?



So … how do you really feel, Bill?

The “Real Time” host happens to be longtime friends with Kellyanne Conway, now Donald Trump’s campaign manager, but he didn’t let that friendship sugarcoat his questions for her on Friday’s show.

Maher welcomed Conway by telling her she is “enabling pure evil,” and spent part of the segment calling out false things Trump has said. The comedian joked, “I don’t have time to go through all of his lies, we only have an hour.”

But Conway, a “Real Time” veteran, had plenty of counterarguments ready. She accused Maher of cherrypicking examples, and, after pointing out that Hillary Clinton is falling in the polls, said, “I actually think we’re going to win, Bill. You know it. You feel it. I think you’re getting nervous.”

“Oh, I am getting nervous,” Maher quipped, “but it’s not because Trump is good. It’s because people are stupid.”

Ouch.   Maher is a strange person.  However, I agree with him about “deplorable.”

Voting rights restored–No contempt of court for McAuliffe



 Virginia’s highest court on Thursday turned down a request from Republicans to find Gov. Terry McAuliffe in contempt of court over his efforts to restore voting rights to felons.

The ruling clears the way for McAuliffe (D) to continue a fast-paced effort to grant clemency to 200,000 violent and nonviolent felons. It also gives McAuliffe at least a temporary win in one of the most bitter battles of his administration, in which he has repeatedly called Republicans racists while the GOP has accused him of administrative bumbling and violating the law.

“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has dismissed the case Republicans filed in their latest attempt to prevent individuals who have served their time having a full voice in our society,” McAuliffe said in a written statement. “It is my hope that the court’s validation of the process we are using will convince Republicans to drop their divisive efforts to prevent Virginians from regaining their voting rights and focus their energy and resources on making Virginia a better place to live for the people who elected all of us to lead.”
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Do these dudes belong in the “basket of deplorables?”


ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Donald Trump stood up for his supporters Monday against Hillary Clinton’s remark that half of his supporters belonged in “a basket of deplorables,” denouncing the comment as “an explicit attack on the American voter” and suggesting that it makes her unfit for the presidency.

But even as Trump defended his backers, one lashed out at protesters in the hall by appearing to punch and slap them. Trump talked through the scuffle.

“While my opponent calls you deplorable and irredeemable,” he said in Asheville, North Carolina, “I call you hard-working American patriots who love their country and want a better future for all our people.”

But his rally was interrupted several times by demonstrators and, at one moment, brief violence.


Talk about a big deal from nothing. I hope she planned it. It gives everyone a chance to start enumerating some of the deplorable people who have gone on record supporting Trump.

Should Hillary apologize? Nope. Did Trump apologize for calling Mexicans “racists?”

The thuggery continues.


Trump supporters: Fence post psychology or the real thing?


CALL him whatever names you like. A clown. A Know Nothing. A political greenhorn who can barely complete a sentence. A nativist, a racist and — worse — a New York liberal with a comb-over

You can call him a blowhard if you want, but — to the consternation of the conservative elite and to the surprise of just about everybody else inside the Beltway — Donald Trump won’t blow off.

The press mocked his rambling, hour-long speech at the launch of his campaign, in which he disparaged Mexican immigrants as “rapists.” Few thought he could remain popular after saying that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), imprisoned for more than five years in Vietnam after his plane was shot down, was “not a war hero.” Political scientists forecast that Trump would fade.

But as the summer of Trump lingers into autumn, the real estate magnate remains the front-runner in the Republican presidential primary. The political establishment is flummoxed, and at least one of its members has concluded that Trump’s supporters are just insane.

“What he did was, he fired up the crazies,” McCain said after Trump held a rally in Phoenix.

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9-11: The unthinkable 15 years ago today

twin-towersIt just seems trite to ask “what were you doing when you first became aware of the terrorist attacks on 9-11?”.

I clearly remember that I was in a new job assignment, frantically racing to a meeting that I had forgotten when someone told me a plane had hit the twin towers.  At that stage of the game, it was thought to be a single engine plane by the media.

Little did we all know how wrong they were and how life-altering the terrorist attacks would be on our way of life. So much has been altered, it is almost impossible to enumerate the changes, from the obvious airport security, to how you get a drivers’ license, to the documentation you must have to rent a house or a car.

Nearly 3000 people died on 9-11.  They were murdered.  Just ordinary people going about their daily business.  Then there have been those who died from the clean up, those killed in the wars that ensued, and those who suffered debilitating, life-altering injuries from those wars.

Our lives changed forever. We will never regain what we lost on that date.  9-11 will also be a date that lives in infamy.  Post-9-11 seems to have no end.  Perhaps more than even the attack on Pearl Harbor, 9-11 seems to have really been, in the words of Don Henley, “The End of the Innocence.”



Gretchen Carlson awarded $20 million



Two months after former Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson accused Fox News’ then-Chairman Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, the network has agreed to pay Carlson $20 million and make a “highly unusual public apology,” NPR’s David Folkenflik reports.

News of the settlement was first reported Tuesday morning by Vanity Fair; a source with knowledge of the settlement then confirmed the deal to David, and the company later issued a statement about it.

“We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve,” 21st Century Fox says in part of that statement.

In another development at Fox News, longtime anchor Greta Van Susteren is leaving the network. The departure is immediate — she will not host tonight’s edition of her 7 p.m. ET show. As David notes, Van Susteren “had initially dismissed” the seriousness of Carlson’s allegations.

As for Carlson, she tweeted this morning, “I’m ready to move on to the next chapter in my life.”

I would be moving on in style with 20 million bucks!

So does this mean that the T & A show on Faux News will be over or will things go back to business as usual?


Don’t Americans have more to worry about that a football player?


San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt with his arms folded during the performance of the US national anthem during a pre-season game in San Diego on Thursday, continuing his protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

Kaepernick, 28, has pledged to continue sitting during the performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” before National Football League games, a move that has been both criticised and cheered by commentators.

“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder”Colin Kaepernick

He was met by heavy boos from the crowd during pre-game warm-ups at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, which is home to US Navy and Marine bases.

A banner in the crowd read: “You’re an American. Act like one.”

Is this all that important?  The news is consumed with this story.

I don’t agree with the guy’s POV.  However, it’s his right to protest.  If his bosses fire him, they are on might shaky grounds constitutionally.

It seems to me that the people who are bellowing the loudest over his behavior are the very people who are flag-waving the hardest.  There seems to be some sort of disconnect between the right to protest and all that flag waving.

I actually don’t care what he does.  I don’t agree with him at all but I respect his right to protest and I respect him for standing up to all the guff he is taking.

Hats off to him for standing up for his beliefs.  It’s easy to wave an American flag in a field full of American flag wavers.  It’s not easy to take an unpopular position and stand up for that position (or in his case, kneel).



Trump: Pitbull on this side, Chihuahua in Mexico


The general-election Donald Trump who’s kinder and gentler on immigration doesn’t exist ― and most likely never did.

The Republican presidential nominee firmly shot down speculation on Wednesday that he may be open to legal status for undocumented immigrants, vowing that “no one will be immune or exempt from enforcement.”

“Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation,” Trump said during what he billed as a major policy speech in Phoenix. “That is what it means to have laws and to have a country. Otherwise we don’t have a country.”

Trump, who has made immigration a centerpiece of his campaign, has been under increasing pressure to explain what he thinks should be done about the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., particularly those who aren’t criminals or security threats. His remarks over the past two weeks have seemed contradictory ― is he “softening” on deportations, as he said last Tuesday? Or is he “hardening,” as he said two days later?

He made clear on Wednesday that he wasn’t much concerned with how his policies would affect those undocumented immigrants.

So much for a kinder, gentler message on immigration. It’s easy to throw red meat at the “show me your papers” state, Arizona. He was much meeker while in Mexico.

Faux News: sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult?


NEW YORK—Fox News responded to sexual harassment charges levied against the network by former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros Monday by arguing in a court filing that the broadcaster is “not a victim” but rather “an opportunist.”

Tantaros last week filed her lawsuit against the network, former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and other Fox executives.

The charges came in the wake of an earlier suit filed in July by former Fox News broadcaster Gretchen Carlson, who alleged that the 76-year old Ailes decided not to renew her contract after she refused to have sex with him. Carlson also claimed that Ailes ignored her reports of “disparaging treatment in the newsroom.”

Ailes who has denied the charges, stepped down July 22 and left the conservative-leaning network with a $40 million severance package.

In her own suit, Tantaros said that “Fox News masquerades as defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny.”


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The Clinton Foundation: A good thing!

Guest post:  Elena Schlossberg.

No good deed goes unpunished.  And no truer words could be said of the Clinton Global Initiative Foundation. In the midst of outrage over CEO’s raking in millions while life saving drugs like epi pens increase by 400%, it is astonishing that anyone would find fault with an organization that has proven that with the right leadership, there is a way for partnerships in the private sector to mobilize and save lives that would otherwise be lost.

According to msn in an article entitled, “What Bill and Hillary’s Controversial Foundation Actually Does,” the facts are clear:

The most recent Clinton Foundation rating from another watchdog group, CharityWatch, gives the organization a solid “A.” The group says that the foundation spent 88% of its 2014 outlays directly on programs (rather than overhead) and that it only has to spend $2 to raise $100.

As for the Foundation’s specific claims about the number of people that it has reached through its programs? Those are a bit harder to verify. For instance, the price of HIV/AIDS drugs in Africa has, indeed, dropped significantly since CHAI was launched in 2002, and the World Health Organization (WHO) points out that CHAI and a consortium of other partners helped make sure there was consistent access to these medications.


I am not suggesting that ex-presidents must find redemption by doing good deeds after they have left office, but if Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton model anything, it is that a servant of the people doesn’t have to be elected to office in order to save lives and bring hope to people who would otherwise be forgotten.

Republicans bemoan the use of government to provide humanitarian relief, as though that is the job of the private sector! Well, here you have two ex-presidents who have put their talents to good use. And what say the GOP? Nothing good, nothing good. Conspiracy theories are all they have to offer.


Local blogger disparages McDowell County, West Virginia


Posted on a local blog:

“Thinking that the best candidate for the new County Executive in a legitimate nationwide search would be found right here in Prince William County are so unbelievably astronomical that it defies description.

Prince William County is not just another hollow in McDowell County, West Virginia where inbreeding allows for your sister to be your wife and the mother of your brother.

But that’s the way the BOCS treats hiring of top policy makers and leaders in Prince William County.?”


Inbreeding?  Has the author of that statement ever met anyone from McDowell County, West Virginia?  Do they know anything of the population?  Off the top of my head, I thought of the gentleman who headed up Fairfax County Parks and Rec for decades.  He was born and raised in McDowell County.  I would say that he did quite well for himself.

Has the author of that nasty, hateful comment ever seen the film October Sky or read the book Rocket Boys?  Both were inspired by Homer Hickman, a retired NASA employee, who grew up in McDowell County and became a scientist and famous author.

I detest that kind of regional bigotry and prejudice.  Maybe that statement is something you might say with your own friends in your own home but never publicly.  Maybe!

I shared the comment with my best friend of many decades who was born and raised in nearby Raleigh County. West Virginia.  I will share her comments:

“I’m speechless.  McDowell is not at all a bad place. Has no more inbreeding than Prince William.  Maybe he was never exposed to the [redacted] or the [redacted]. It is deep coal field culture but hard working and honest for the most part.  So unfair that i don’t even know what to say.”

What is wrong with people who think it is perfectly OK to disparage an entire group of people based on where they live?  Regional and class bias is never acceptable.

It is even worse to accuse those people of incest.  No, it isn’t funny and no, it isn’t OK.  Furthermore, Prince William County is full of West Virginia transplants as well as descendants of those transplants.

McDowell County is an economically depressed area.  It was a coal mining area and has had mine after mine close.  Even their Walmart closed last winter but that in no way makes the residents guilty of incest.  Many places have undergone sweeping economic downturns in this country as industries change.

It’s just wrong to make those kinds of remarks about a region–almost as wrong as making those kinds of remarks about someone’s race, religion or ethnicity.  Is this the latest Trump mentality, where it’s ok to call various groups out as rapists and thieves?  This type of regional slurring is NEVER OK.

As a matter of record, I am not from West Virginia, but many of my friends have deep roots in that  state.  The local blogger needs to profoundly apologize.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to live in the Gainesville District.


Corey Stewart unloads on Virginia Republicans not voting for Trump


As more Republicans run from their presidential nominee, some have begun looking favorably on the Libertarian ticket, which consists of two former Republican governors: Gary Johnson and William Weld. A recent poll showed Johnson at 11 percent in Virginia. Retiring Rep. Scott Rigell, a Republican, has endorsed Johnson.

“This is not a standard two-person race,” says Liz Mair, a spokesman for Republicans for Johnson/Weld, “and we might see Johnson gain pretty significant traction here pretty quickly.”

This news is not being greeted calmly by Team Trump.

Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of Supervisors and head of the Trump campaign in Virginia, called Republican support for Johnson/Weld “traitorous and destructive.”

“There is no such thing as an anti-Trump group,” Stewart told AMI Newswire. “Anti-Trump is pro-Hillary, and that’s what groups like this really are.”

He wasn’t finished.

“If we lose, I’ll know where to go to place blame,” Stewart said. “If they want careers in politics afterwards, they won’t get them. They’ll be destroyed. This is treason against Trump. For whatever reason — their pride, their personal interests — they will damage America permanently by helping elect Hillary Clinton. They are immature babies who are tearing down the Republican Party.”’


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