Open Thread…………………………………………………………..October 1

October 1st, 2015 18 comments



My favorite month is finally here.  Good things happen in October.  Leaves change, the air gets crisp,  mosquitoes go away, and fire pits get used.

Today, October 1, we are wondering if we are going to get struck by a late hurricane named Joaquin.  It’s warm, humid and rainy today, nothing like the beautiful October to arrive in the next week or so.

It’s time for wineries, farmers markets, and leaf watching.  After this summer, I am more than ready!



Categories: General Tags:

Absentee ballot leaks

October 5th, 2015 8 comments

I blew my knee out last July.   It still is problematic and I reinjured it at the gym.   Why am I telling this info on a blog….well…stay tuned.  There really is a point.

I got to wondering if it was going to be better or worse in November.  What if it is worse?  How can I stand in line to vote?   So I did what I thought was the logical thing to do, I registered to vote absentee.

Now I find out that everyone in the world has access to this information.  I have already gotten one personalized letter from a candidate.   Why is the fact that I am voting absentee a matter of public record?

Is nothing private?  I am surprised they didn’t have bad knee written on the form.



Categories: General Tags:

Let’s point a finger at the other guy…..couldn’t possibly be us!

October 4th, 2015 65 comments

epa03323086 Shoppers examine handguns on display for sale at The Nation's Gun Show held in the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia, USA, 28 July 2012. Gun sales have risen in the U.S. in the wake of the movie theatre shooting massacre in Aurora, Colorado on 20 July. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

At the Nation’s Gun Show in Chantilly, Va., on Saturday, in a cavernous warehouse filled with thousands of customers and tens of thousands of guns, the sharp sound snaps a few heads.

“We’re going to have to have a discussion about those balloon animals,” Annette Elliott, the show’s organizer, said wearily.

Forgive Elliott — and everyone — if nerves are frayed in this era of weekly mass shootings. She, too, has become familiar with the ritual of gun violence in America, but hers comes with a personal twist. Another week. Another massacre. Another round of calls from reporters asking what can be done and who is to blame for the country’s deadly gun culture. After the latest rampage, which ended with 10 dead, including the shooter, at Umpqua Community College on Thursday in Roseburg, Ore., she is hearing the questions again.

“We’re being put out there like it’s our fault,” Elliott says. “But what we’re selling is an inanimate object. And I don’t know what the response is except to arm yourself to protect yourself.” As gun opponents ratchet up the calls for more controls and more regulations, gun owners and sellers have no choice but to push back, she says. The fault, she says, lies with a mental health system that doesn’t have enough resources and with the media which, she says, gives mass killers all the attention they crave.

This response is insane.  The problem doesn’t just lie with the mental health system.  The problem is imbedded in our culture.  We love our guns, we love our violent video games, we love our rights, we love our media, and we love our polarized politics.

The solution to the problem of massacre by gun is not going to be solved by pointing one’s finger at the other guy.  The solution has to be found in a subset of all of these components of our culture.  You can’t leave anyone out.  The gun folks, the mental health folks, the media, and the entertainment industry all have to collude and seek common ground.  Each will have to give up a little.

When everyone decides we all own the problem then perhaps we can get to the solution to eradicate some of gun violence.  We will never get rid of it all but we have to stop the epidemic of mass shootings.


Categories: 2nd amendment/guns/weapons Tags:

Oregon Sheriff must have fallen asleep at the switch…

October 1st, 2015 55 comments

Hanlin letter

I have no idea why Sheriff Hanlin felt the need to write to Joe Biden, but something must have set him off.

The irony of his words hit home tonight. Sheriff John Hanlin is the sheriff of Douglas County where there was a mass murder at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

Sheriff Hanlin must be feeling rather impotent tonight as 10 students  lay dead and 7 others are hospitalized with life-threatening wounds from a crazed gunman with 4 guns opened fire on innocent people, just trying to get an education.

So we now need to ask ourselves as Americans how many more lives have to be lost because some bat-shit crazy man decides to randomly blow away innocent people to please whatever demons possess him.   I refuse to believe that there are no answers.  Other countries don’t have mass murders every other week.

President Obama is right about numbness.  I have almost become desensitized.  How many more school shootings need to happen?  These school shootings make a good argument for home schooling and distance learning.  They also make a strong argument  for change regarding how we purchase and store our guns in this country.


Does McCarthy gaffe make him “untrustable” to Republicans?

October 1st, 2015 30 comments

Democrats have seized on House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s comments tying Hillary Clinton’s declining poll numbers to the Benghazi investigation as evidence that the congressional panel’s examination is a veiled political attack on the Democratic candidate for president.

McCarthy, widely viewed as the frontrunner to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner when House leadership elections are held Oct. 8, said in an interview Tuesday on Fox News that Clinton was “untrustable” in a large part because of the committee’s work.

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable,” McCarthy said in reference to Clinton’s role in events surrounding the 2012 terrorist attack. “No one would have known any of what happened had we not fought and made that happen.”

Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon blasted the remark as “a damning display of honesty.”
Read more…

Contraception: the best tool for cutting poverty

September 29th, 2015 33 comments

Now the Washington Post is singing my song. I have been advocating contraception as the best tool to cut poverty my entire adult life. Somehow, this message always gets diluted into advocacy for sexual empowerment or irresponsible sexual conduct. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Conservatives: Yes. You. The very thing you eschew and spend so much time fighting might just be the answer to your prayers. Contraception leads to less welfare, less abortion, less ignorance, less incarceration. The list goes on.

Contraception has to be cheap, reliable and easily assessable to those who use it. Think about this when you want to defund Planned Parenthood and other places that provide contraception and other medical services without judgement and without asking too many questions.

In the long run, it will be money in your pocket.

Categories: Reproductive Rights Tags:

Where are the math texts in Prince William County?

September 28th, 2015 20 comments

From Prince William County School policy:

Purchasing Textbooks: It is the policy of the Prince William County School Board that in each core curriculum area there is at least one currently adopted textbook on the appropriate level available to every student.

Textbooks and related materials shall be approved by the School Board or the Associate Superintendent for Student Learning and Accountability before being purchased. The following purchasing procedures have been established to assist in procuring textbooks and instructional materials.
A. The following is a suggested purchase allocation for purchasing textbooks after the adoption approval:
1. First year – As many copies as budgeted funds will allow, but at least   50% of student enrollment.
2. Second year – complete total purchasing requirement according to the policy of one copy per student.
3. Third through sixth years – maintain ample copies of adopted textbooks to meet policy requirements, one copy per student.

That sounds to me like there shall be 1 copy of a textbook in core academic areas for every student.  This isn’t the state, this is Prince William County’s own policy.

PWC Schools are not following their own policy in math and haven’t been for several years.  I believe this is a cheating way for the individual schools to save money.  One classroom set of books is bought and that is the name of that tune.  No homework is given in the math book and to the best of my knowledge, most of the math texts do nothing but sit there and gather dust.

Students need to learn to read across the curriculum, including math instruction.  Students also need to have a math book if they need outside help.  Try tutoring a kid without a math book.  It’s fairly difficult to do unless you have a really good grasp of SOL curriculum.   Then you can pull problems out of thin air or rely on old textbooks if you have your own private stash.

Regardless, if you ask  around you will be hard pressed to find a kid who has been assigned his or her own math textbook to take back and forth to school.  Prince William County’s half-assed approach to providing every student with a math book violates their own policy and certainly does not conform to best practice in the field of education.

It’s time for the school system to stop cheating the kids and the tax payers and to assign each student a math textbook.   Yes, it’s getting personal now.  Come on Stonewall High School–get with the program.  Come on Reagan Middle and Stonewall Middle, get with the program.

You are not acting in the best interests of children.  You are handicapping students and creating innumeracy.

Those running for positions on the school board need to address this issue.


Government shut down–who is the perceived villain?

September 28th, 2015 4 comments

“Is your opinion of Planned Parenthood favorable, unfavorable or haven’t you heard enough about it?”

    Favorable Unfavorable Haven’t
heard enough
    % % % %  


43 38 17 1  

“Do you support or oppose cutting off federal government funding to Planned Parenthood?”

    Support Oppose Unsure/
No answer
    % % %    


41 51 9    


66 25 9    


13 80 7    


47 44 9    

“Would you support or oppose shutting down the government over differences about federal government funding to Planned Parenthood?”



“Who would you blame more for a government shutdown: the Republicans in Congress, or Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress?”

    Republicans Obama and
equally (vol.)
No answer
    % % % %  


41 33 17 9  

Read more…

Does Boehner’s resignation signal permanent disorder for the GOP?

September 25th, 2015 102 comments

When Republicans scored their big victory in the midterm elections of 2010, they looked like a party on the rise after a devastating pair of losses in 2006 and 2008. Instead, they have become a party in almost permanent disorder, torn by warring factions and near-constant tensions between their establishment leadership and a tea party-infused grass roots.

Now, in the wake of GOP House Speaker John A. Boehner’s stunning announcement Friday that he will step down from his post and resign his seat in Congress at the end of October, the question again arises: Can a party so driven by anger, a party divided over confrontation vs. compromise, actually govern in Washington?

Boehner’s decision to quit, and the suddenness with which the news broke, provided one more piece of evidence of how badly strained the Republican coalition is. His inability to corral his unruly members was legendary and, seemingly, never-ending, a series of “Perils of Pauline” moments that brought temporary truces but never fully resolved the debate about the kind of party Republicans want.
Read more…

Categories: Republican, Right Wing Tags:

Super, harvest, eclipsing moon starring on Sunday night

September 25th, 2015 8 comments

superbloodeclipsing moon

This weekend, when you look into the night sky you will be able to see a blood red, larger-than-life moon projecting against the stars; the first in more than 30 years.

The rare event is due to the supermoon total lunar eclipse that is expected to happen on Sunday night. Anyone in the U.S. will be able to witness the event from their own backyards or watch the livestream on NASA’s website.

NASA expects the eclipse to last approximately 1 hour and 11 minutes beginning at 10: 11 p.m. and peaking at approximately 10:47 p.m. The live stream will begin at 8 p.m. when the supermoon is shining bright and it’ll end at 11:30 p.m.

NASA will also be answering questions regarding the eclipse via Twitter by using the hashtag #askNASA.

A ‘blood moon’ has always been seen as a bad omen throughout history, but NASA explains the red filtering is caused by particulates in Earth’s atmosphere. Experts have said that when there are a lot of fires or volcanic eruptions, lunar eclipses will appear darker and redder.

Once the moon hides behinds Earth’s shadow—the umbra—during an eclipse, sunlight reaches the moon indirectly and it’s refracted around the edges of Earth, which then causes all colors to be filtered with the exception of red.

Now all we have to do is keep our fingers crossed that the clouds of the weekend will have blown off.  The weekend is supposed to be cloudy and perhaps rainy.

My family always celebrates Harvest Moon, at my insistence.  We go to a Chinese restaurant each year.  The bad thing is, local Chinese restaurants don’t seem to highlight the Harvest Moon any more.  Now anyone with a moniker involving a moon should just get excited over this lunar event.   I am!

Happy Super, Harvest, Blood, Eclipsing Moon!!!!