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Open Thread………………………….June, 2017

June is finally here and we weren’t washed away.  I can’t remember a rainier May than 2017.  Hopefully June will have warm, dry days with low humidity.

Supposedly, the fireflies are out.  That’s always a happy sign of summer.   I haven’t seen any yet but I haven’t been sitting outside on the deck in the rain.

School will soon be out for all the kids. Drive carefully.   Kids and squirrels are on the move.

PWCSB passes anti-discrimination measures for LGBTQ students and staff

Insidenova.com:

The Prince William County school board has passed new anti-discrimination measures for LGBTQ students and staff, a move that marks the end of a contentious fight that raged over the course of the last year.

The board voted 5-3 on June 21 to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, following a second lengthy meeting on the subject after the board previously voted to delay consideration of the policy change last September. Acting member Shawn Brann of the Brentsville District, Willie Deutsch of the Coles District and Alyson Satterwhite of the Gainesville District cast the dissenting votes.

More than 500 people attended the board’s meeting in Bristow, though purple-clad supporters of the nondiscrimination measures dominated the board’s chambers. When lawmakers considered the same change last fall, it was hundreds of opponents donned in red who packed the room.

But several advocacy groups, including Equality Virginia and Virginia’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, focused on whipping support for the policy change over the last few weeks. A variety of local lawmakers — including Congressman Gerry Connolly, D-11th District, and many of the county’s Democratic state representatives — also wrote letters to the board urging them to support the policy alteration.
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Hail to the Redskins….Hail Vic-tor-y!

Washingtonpost.com:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a law that prohibits the government from registering trademarks that “disparage” others violates the First Amendment, a decision that could impact the Washington Redskins’ efforts to hang on to its controversial name.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. delivered the opinion for a largely united court. He said the law could not be saved just because it evenhandedly prohibits disparagement of all groups.

“That is viewpoint discrimination in the sense relevant here: Giving offense is a viewpoint,” Alito wrote.

He added that the disparagement clause in the law “offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.”

All of the participating justices — Neil M. Gorsuch was not on the court when the case was argued — joined that part of Alito’s opinion. Four justices peeled off from parts of the opinion where they say Alito opined on more than what was needed to decide the case.

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Julius Caesar interruptus

Theguardian.com:

A rightwing protester has been charged with trespassing after interrupting a New York production of Julius Caesar during the assassination scene and shouting: “This is violence against Donald Trump.”

The protester, who later identified herself as Laura Loomer, interrupted the Shakespeare in the Park production on Friday night and shouted “this is political violence against the right” while audience members booed and told her to get off the stage.

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No high road for Ted Nugent

Washingtonpost.com:

Musician Ted Nugent is known for speaking his mind about the Second Amendment and hunting, but especially on politicians. He once said then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama should “suck my machine gun.” When President Obama was running for reelection in 2012, the rocker said during the National Rifle Association convention that, “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” The statement attracted the attention of the Secret Service.

But after Wednesday’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice, Nugent has decided to be “more selective with my rants and in my words.”

“At the tender age of 69, my wife has convinced me I just can’t use those harsh terms,” he said on the 77 WABC radio program Thursday. “I cannot and will not and I encourage even my friends, slash, enemies on the left, in the Democrat and liberal world, that we have got to be civil to each other.”

“I’m not going to engage in that kind of hateful rhetoric anymore.”

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Neil Cavuto calls out Trump: Mr. President, you are the problem

Huffingtonpost.com:

Cavuto summed up his comments by telling the president that his critics are not the issue. “They’re not the problem, Mr. President,” he said. “Like I said, these days, you are.”

Finally I agree with Neil Cavuto about something. Hats off to him.  More people need to call out this bad behavior. Some lack the courage to do so.  Neil Cavuto has cojones!

Perhaps even Fox is fleeing this sinking ship.

Why conservatives won’t dance….

dailybeast.com:   (Matt Lewis excerpt)

…[F]awning praise isn’t limited to the partisans in the White House or at Fox News. Over at National Review, Dennis Prager has authored a controversial column criticizing “Never-Trumpers” for not falling in line. He describes Trump as “our general” and theorizes that conservatives who oppose Trump “do not believe that America is engaged in a civil war, with the survival of America as we know it at stake.”

He concludes, “I beg them: Please report for duty.”

In fairness, there’s a lot of truth to Prager’s theory. Yes, a common denominator for Trump backers might be a belief in an apocalyptic future—lacking their Trumpian savior, of course. Likewise, Never Trumpers did not see a Trump loss as the end of America. But that is only one of the differences that separate the pro-Trump conservatives from the Never Trumpers.

Trump supporters, it seems to me, are more disposed to prize authoritarian traits like loyalty and hierarchy. For these Trump apologists, the analogies never end. He is our general. Sometimes he’s our daddy. Sometimes he’s our CEO. Whether it’s paternalistic, militaristic, or capitalistic, there are numerous ways to be subservient to him. Pick your favorite!

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One A-hole ruins 70 years of trust and good-will in Europe

Washingtonpost.com:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday declared a new chapter in U.S.-European relations after contentious meetings with President Trump last week, saying that Europe “really must take our fate into our own hands.”

Offering a tough review in the wake of Trump’s trip to visit E.U., NATO and Group of Seven leaders last week, Merkel told a packed Bavarian beer hall rally that the days when Europe could rely on others was “over to a certain extent. This is what I have experienced in the last few days.”

It was a stark declaration from the leader of Europe’s most powerful economy, and a grim take on the transatlantic ties that have underpinned Western security in the generations since World War II. Although relations between Washington and Europe have been strained during periods since 1945, before Trump there has rarely been such a strong feeling from European leaders that they must turn away from Washington and prepare to face the world alone.

 

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Lest we forget–Memorial Day 2017

Guest contribution by our very own poet laureate, Captain George S. Harris:

 

LEST WE FORGET-MEMORIAL DAY 2017

It is just a few days past the day our own Civil War ended on May 9,1865-151 years ago.  On that day, two great armies and two great leaders met at Appomattox, Virginia to begin the process of bringing our nation back together again. They were there to salve the wounds that four years of war had inflicted on its participants.  Some 640,000 men, 2% of our population, were lost; the worst war we have ever been engaged in.  A war that saw fathers against sons and brothers against brothers in a fight to the death.  It was the hope of these two great leaders, General Ulysses S. Grant and General Robert E. Lee, that at last we would once again seek the path to the “perfect union” our founders sought some seventy-eight years earlier during several muggy weeks in the spring and fall of 1787 in Phildelphia.

Some who read this may remember when Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day.  It is a day set aside to decorate the graves of those military folks who lost their lives in service to our Nation.  “Decoration Day or, if you prefer, Memorial Day, began shortly after our Civil War. There are several claims as to just when it began but decorating the graves of warriors has been around for many decades or perhaps centuries.

More than a million Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice and almost all of them in two wars-our own Civil War and World War II.  While we are now engaged in the longest war we have ever known, there are fewer deaths but many more have sustained what are often euphemistically referred to as “life alternating injuries”.  These injuries run from simple wounds to multiple limb loss, paralysis, traumatic brain injury and what we now know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  This latter disorder has had many names in the past but it ultimately means the terrible impact war has on the minds and souls of our military personnel.

No one goes to war who doesn’t come back changed.  It is not always easily recognized but for me and others who read these words, we know because we live with it every day of our lives.  This is not some made up psycho-babble, it is a real, palpable thing.  Most of us continue to live and work and carry out normal lives but others do not even to the point of destroying themselves by suicide.

We have to ask ourselves, “Will the day ever come when we will no longer have any new graves to decorate on Memorial Day?  When will we have peace?” In a speech at American University on June 10, 1963, only a few months before his death by assassination, President John F. Kennedy said this about peace.

“I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children–not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women–not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.”

This Memorial Day, more than 1,000 soldiers will place flags at more than 300,000 graves in the annual “Flags In” ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.  Lest we forget, this is the price of freedom for our great Nation.

 

God bless all those who have gone before and God bless the Untied States of America on this Memorial Day.

“Hymn to the Fallen” by John Williams featured.

More than a name on a wall

“Lord my boy was special and he meant so much to me…”
Those words are probably in the heart of every parent who has lost a child to the ravages of war.

This song is special to me because it was co-written by my classmate and friend, John Rimel.    (Jimmy Fortune was the other co-writer,)   The song also reminds me of a  special Veterans Day I spent with someone’s mother from the midwest who had come to D. C.  to visit the wall.  She had come  to find the name of her only son who died in the Vietnam on his 19th birthday.  The woman had never been to the Wall before and I doubt if she ever went back.  I felt honored to have spoken with her for about a half hour that day.

My generation is etched all over that wall.  There are over 50,000 names on that Wall.  I can’t help but feel that our country wasted the lives of those young men.  It’s probably time for us to start paying more attention to the Vietnam veterans.   They are starting to die off– some due to old age, some to disease, and some because of war inflicted ailments that are killing off those men in greater numbers than should be happening.  I have two friends who have lost their husbands because of exposure to agent orange.  How long were we told that agent orange was harmless?

This Memorial Day I would like highlight the memory of Charlie Milton, another classmate, who died in Vietnam at age 19.  You know, that’s just too damn young to die.

Again the motor cycles will roar and Rolling Thunder will make its way into town to note that some of those POWs never came home.  No one knows what became of them.  Rolling Thunder also pays tribute to the dead.  My generation is loud.  Rolling Thunder is no exception.

I find it difficult to go to the Wall.  If I am in a memorial kind of mood, I always choose the World War II memorial.  It makes sense to me.  Vietnam doesn’t.  It’s also a beautiful memorial.  It’s grand.  It’s shining and it took far too long to be built.  Soon we won’t see any veterans of that war.   They are fading away.  My own father would be 100 this September if he was still alive.  He served in WWII.

If you have a friend or love one killed in combat, please feel free to pay tribute to them here.

 

The “Shover in Charge” pushes past the PM of Montenegro

Trump once again proves what a rude, ugly person he is as he shoves past the Prime Minister of Montenegro, just so he can be in the front center position.  He even poses once he has secured the position.

Something is just wrong with a person who behaves in this manner.  It appears his only concern is himself and his own ego.

I would love to have heard the verbal exchange, although I am sure it was cringe-worthy.

Comments from around the world.

School board chairman takes Superintendent Walts to court

Princewilliamtimes.com:

Prince William County School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers is taking Superintendent Steven Walts to court in an effort to gain access to his predecessors’ emails.

Sawyers (At Large) filed a “petition for writ of mandamus” in Prince William County Circuit Court against Walts Tuesday. The petition asks a judge to order Walts to provide the petitioner – Sawyers — “immediate access to school board communications whether from previous boards or the current board.”

Sawyers shared the petition with the Times Tuesday and said he decided to file it because he’s convinced emails sent and received by school board members belong to duly elected members of those offices, and that Walts has no right to withhold them.

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Montana candidate Greg Gianforte assaults and body slams reporter

Washingtonpost.com:

A Fox News reporter provided a vivid eyewitness account late Wednesday of an attack on a reporter by Montana Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte that led to him being cited for assault by the county sheriff and to lose his endorsements from two Montana newspapers ahead of the special election set for Thursday.

Both papers, the Missoulian and the Billings Gazette, issued scathing denunciations of Gianforte.

The alleged assault took place at Gianforte’s headquarters in Bozeman, where Fox’s Alicia Acuna and her crew were preparing a story to air on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

As the crew was setting up, Gianforte was approached by the Guardian’s Ben Jacobs, who put a voice recorder “to Gianforte’s face and began asking if he had a response to the newly released Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act,” the Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act, she wrote.

“Gianforte,” Acuna wrote, “told him he would get back to him later. Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon.

“At that point,” she wrote, “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.”

Acuna and her crew “watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, ‘I’m sick and tired of this!’”

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Draconian budget proposals aimed at the poor

 

Washingtonpost.com:

President Trump’s proposal to cut federal spending by more than $3.6 trillion over the next decade — including deep reductions for programs that help the poor — faced harsh criticism in Congress on Tuesday, where even many Republicans said the White House had gone too far.

While some fiscally conservative lawmakers, particularly in the House, found a lot to praise in Trump’s plan to balance the budget within 10 years, most Republicans flatly rejected the White House proposal. The divide sets up a clash between House conservatives and a growing number of Senate Republicans who would rather work with Democrats on a spending deal than entertain Trump’s deep cuts.

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