At yesterday’s BOCS meeting, the supervisors approved the budget for FY2010. The tax rate was set at $1.212 for real estate properties.
During the meeting, Chairman Corey Stewart castigated the Prince William County School Board for giving employees a 2.5% raise for next year. According to the News and Messenger:
Supervisors further approved the distribution of the county’s budget to the School Board —– though not without criticism.
“I am concerned about our school’s five-year plan,” Stewart said, referring to the School Board’s proposed budget for the next few years that shows million-dollar shortfalls. “Unfortunately, the revenue that was provided to the school system by the federal government meant many of … the cuts the schools would have had to make themselves were not necessary, because of this infusion of federal dollars.”
The schools are including 2 ½ percent cost-of-living raises for employees for fiscal 2010. Stewart saw that salary adjustment as irresponsible spending in the current tight economy and predicted the schools would face layoffs in fiscal 2012.
This move by Senator Specter does not surprise me.
“I know I’m disappointing many of my colleagues,” he said at a news conference. “The disappointment runs in both directions.
“I’m putting principle at the top of the list,” he added.
When asked how and when he made the decision, Specter said, “the decision has been reached as I have traveled the state [Pennsylvania] in the last several months. Specifically, I got my home poll results last Friday … and consulted with my campaign managers and had a long discussion. … I came to a decision over this past weekend.”
Specter also said that President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would campaign for him as he runs for re-election — now on the Democratic ticket — in the 2010 race.
The Specter party switch would give Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate majority of 60 seats if Al Franken holds his current lead in the disputed Minnesota Senate race.
“Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right,” Specter said in a statement posted by his office on PoliticsPA.com.
“Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.”
Specter, a five-term Senate veteran, was greeted by a loud, sustained round of applause by dozens of constituents outside his Washington office shortly after the news broke.
“I don’t have to say anything to them,” a smiling Specter said. “They’ve said it to me
Looking down the barrel of a world wide pandemic, comes the news that there are 135,000 unfilled nursing positions in the United States. By 2015, this number is expected to go to be 683,000 unfilled positions.
Two main reasons are given for these shortages:
1. Nursing hours are long, difficult and stressful
2. There is a huge shortage of nursing faculty.
We are running out of nurses to teach prospective nurses.
Back in the day, there were 2 professional jobs for women—nursing and teaching. All fields of professional work are now open to women. Many choose other professions than nursing. Although men are now nurses, certainly not all that many join the nursing field.
There are probably some carry over stereotypes from an earlier time that we don’t even realize we say. How many of us say ‘male nurse’ without even thinking about it. Do we say ‘female nurse?’ No. Americans need to put nurses in a better light and to drop the gender stereotyping.
1980 was the first year that equal numbers of men and women voted. Why were women reluctant to vote for 60 years? What took them so long to catch up with their male counterparts since they had finally won the franchise with the 19th amendment?
Because the census didn’t track voter turnout until the 1960’s the pace that women caught up isn’t known. A re-discovered study has been uncovered that gives further information, according to the Pew Institute:
The study …was published in 1924 by two researchers at the University of Chicago, Professor of Political Science Charles Edward Merriam, and Harold Foote Gosnell, then an instructor in the same department. Years before the fielding of the first statistically representative national opinion polls, the authors aimed through a carefully designed and deployed door-to-door survey to provide a “preliminary approach to the study of political motives.” Their target population was that one-half of the voting-age adults in Chicago who failed to cast a ballot in the mayoral election held on April 3, 1923.
2 of the major reasons women didn’t vote were:
1. Disbelief in women voting
2. Objections of the husband
Huffington Post has a great comprehensive post on the issue of factory farming, conditions of the pigs, and possible transference of the swine flu to humans. I am not a vegetarian, not even close, but it is important that people understand the facts behind factory farming. You can still consume meat products, but in a much healthier and humane way. I am a big proponent of supporting the small scale farmer!
Large-scale swine producers in Mexico deny that their industry is the source of the deadly new influenza strain, saying the animals are all healthy, and that it is scientifically “not possible” for hogs to infect people with the illness. But lawmakers in the eastern state of Veracruz are now charging that large-scale hog and poultry operations are “breeding grounds” of infection that are making people sick and fueling the pandemic.
On Sunday, the state government of Veracruz confirmed swine influenza in a five-year-old girl in the village of La Gloria, located near a massive US-owned hog facility. The bodies of two other village children who died in February and March will be exhumed and tested for signs of the illness, local media reports said.
And in the western state of Guerrero, 500 pigs were just killed after becoming ill with swine flu.
May 1 has been celebrated in various places around the world for thousands of years. While it is not a major holiday in the United States, many a school has appointed a May Queen and has had a traditional May Pole. Old yearbooks and school records often include pictures of the festivities. This celebration gradually petered out after WWII.
May 1 has always had elements of fertility ritual and the rebirth of spring as a central theme. Like many holidays May Day has pagan connections. Perhaps the most well known ritual comes from the Druids and is the festival of Beltane. A new village fire was set, the animals were purified and couples did what couples do in a most celebratory way.
Other sources accredit May Day to ancient rituals in India and Egypt. It stands to reason that all early civilizations celebrated the rites of Spring, crops, and fertility in general.
Shepard Smith said “We are America, We do not F*&^&*ing torture”…….Shepared Smith several moments later “oops”
I have been concerned about torture since Abu Ghraib became public knowledge. Supposedly these Privates were simply an abberation and did not reflect “American” policy. Hmmm, their defense was that they were just following orders from CIA interrogators. These Army officers were sacraficed to presever the code of silence of torture and the Bush administration did nothing. Now here is President Obama saying that the CIA interrogators were just following orders and therefor should not be prosecuted. I’m sorry, but that stinks of hypocrisy and I expect better from him. This is the very soul of our Nation and it cannot be swept under the rug. Do I wish this would just go away, of course I do, I HATE the idea of dragging this nation through public trials of CIA interrogators and elected or appointed officials. But in this op-ed by a former FBI agent, the reason NOT to torture is crytal clear.
A group of seven congregations from Topeka, Kansas came to town and set up outside of Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda to protest the supposed life style of poet Walt Whitman, for whom the school was named.
Amidst police officers on foot and on horseback, these activists scream hate speech through bullhorns at anyone who will listen, using terms like fag, queer, and worse. They profess to know what God thinks and who He likes and dislikes.
Students, parents, and alumni like up along the campus in counter-protest, chanting for the intruders to go home and to chant their school name.
***Warning! Video contains offensive language and hate speech***
This is the same group from Westboro Baptist Church [warning: website contains hate speech and explicit language] in Topeka that make a practice of attending military funerals to scream out about gays in the military.
The students are a captive audience. They don’t choose where they attend school yet they are subjected to this diatribe from out-of-towners who should have nothing to say about the school name.
All of a sudden I am not so sure I am in favor of free speech if this is what it represents. I need to be careful what I wish for. This Westboro group sure brings out the down side of free speech and supposed ‘Christianity.’
Full story in the Washington Post Metro section.
Guest poster Chris has contributed this article about the lastest Tele-Town Meeting hosted by Jackson Miller. Thank you, Guest Poster Chris for keeping us informed.
Delegate Jackson Miller was out and about again last evening with his tele-town meeting. This method of reaching the voters is very effective for Jackson. He is very knowledgeable about most of the topics his audience hurls his way.
Last night’s town meeting lasted a little over an hour. Recipients could listen, or listen and ask a question. Some of the topics last night dealt with loop holes in gun laws, home schooling, boating restrictions on Lake Manassas, stimulus money being turned down, widening route 28, restrictions on nursing homes because of location, home foreclosures, rebates for private schools, state and local election recalls, unemployment benefits and one lady even thanked Delegate Miller for the letter her child got for doing well in school.
If Delegate Miller didn’t know the answer, he promised to get back to the caller. He certainly covered a myriad of topics and had an answer for most of the questions he was asked. We do have a delegate who thinks well on his feet. That is an even better trait since Delegate Miller is also one of Prince William’s finest. A good police officer needs to think fast on his feet also.
While it didn’t come up last night, this weekend is the 42nd birthday bash fundraiser for Delegate Miller. Happy Birthday Jackson.
Dedicated in 1931 with the greatest of fanfare, the World War I Memorial now sits along the Tidal Basin in crumbling ruin, no longer honoring the men who gave their lives, limbs, sanity and youth for their country. Its condition falls far beyond shabby and seedy. It is our National Disgrace. We have dishonored our WWI veterans by allowing this once proud monument to stand in such ill-repair.
When the monument was dedicated in 1931, John Phillip Sousa conducted the dedication and President Herbert Hoover was in attendance. Time, however, has not been kind to this 78 year old dedication to the national triumph of good over evil. The following video gives us a glimpse:
Yesterday the Department of Interior announced that $7.3 million dollars will go towards the restoration of the World War I Memorial! Not only will this momument undergo a face lift, but many other of our monuments and national treasures will undergo restoration.
According to the Washington Post:
Yesterday, the Department of the Interior announced that the government will spend $7.3 million on its restoration, along with $69.5 million in the Washington region to fix other eyesores, repair the Jefferson Memorial seawall and rehabilitate infrastructure in Rock Creek Park.
More than $30 million will go to fix the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool, and several million will go to the Jefferson Memorial, where the seawall has been slowly slipping into the Tidal Basin for years.
The government will also spend $12 million on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, about $3 million on Arlington House, the historic mansion in Arlington Cemetery, and $5 million on Rock Creek Park, the department said.
Outside the immediate area, it will spend $9.4 million on historic overlooks along Skyline Drive, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and $108,000 to preserve headstones at the Antietam Civil War battlefield, near Sharpsburg, Md.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the funding is part of $750 million for the nation’s parks that comes from this year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The money will go to 750 park projects across the country, he said.
The beleaguered Mall has an almost $400 million maintenance backlog, and Congress stripped $200 million in similar rehabilitation funding from stimulus legislation in January.
Now funding is back. The department said it picked worthy repair projects from national parks across the country.
Strange that during more conservative times more hasn’t been done to preserve our national treasures. There is something about taking care of what you have, having good stewardship of the earth, and guarding that which makes us uniquely American that should be a sign of having good National Values. If restoration work is considered ‘tax and spend,’ then go for it! We owe this one to many veterans of another era who were just as American as we are.
A man who has been convicted of making threatening calls to immigration rights group CASA has apologized to the group and has blamed misinformation he received at a Republican meeting as one of the reasons why he made the phone calls.
According the the DC Examiner,
Flanked by several members of CASA, his father, who is in a wheelchair, and some Hispanic would-be workers, Wesley James Queen II made his apology in a basement room of CASA’s worker’s center in Langley Park.
Queen pleaded guilty to making threatening phone calls and entered into a plea agreement earlier this month. He is set to be sentenced in July.
He said a number of factors led him to making the calls in May 2008.
“The combination of personal stresses, misinformation that was received during a Republican meeting that I attended, and myself not taking my bipolar medication were all parts of what led up to the threatening phone calls,” Queen said, reading from a statement.
Maryland Republican Party Executive Director Justin Ready said he didn’t know Queen and had “no idea” what meeting he was talking about.
“The Republican Party does not condone or encourage violence of any kind toward groups or individuals,” he said.
Queen refused to answer any questions after his statement, referring reporters to his lawyer, who could not be reached immediately for comment.
CASA spokesman Mario Quiroz, who received one of Queen’s threatening phone calls, said he spoke in support of Queen during his plea hearing and plans on speaking again during sentencing.
“What we have been saying is that … we believe that he’s really aware of the damage that he made and all the troubles that he brought,” Quiroz said, adding that he doesn’t believe Queen is trying to make amends with the group to receive a lighter sentence.
“In my heart, I believe he’s truly sincere,” Quiroz said.
CASA officials, who promoted Wednesday’s news conference with a news release saying Queen had been “motivated by attending a meeting where elected officials disparaged CASA and the immigrant community,” had few details about the meeting, who attended or what was said.
CASA officials and supporters said the purpose of Wednesday’s news conference wasn’t to disparage the Republican Party, but rather to showcase the reconciliation between Queen and CASA and to draw attention to the consequences of the “hate language” directed at the immigrant community used by some politicians and some members of the media
While a firm believer in people taking personal responsibility for their own behavior, one has to always be mindful that words can set off unacceptable behaviors amongst those who are not stabile. Perhaps this is what Mrs. Napolitano meant when she spoke about extremists last week.
DISCLAIMER: It is important to note that Anti-bvbl is NOT implying that the Republican Party is culpable for this man’s behavior. The objectives for examining this story are to discuss how words can set off unintended consequences. Additionally, there has been much rancor over the DHS warnings about left and right extremist groups. This story does lend some credence to the department’s warning.
Yesterday the BOCS approved the Prince William County 2010 budget of $848.3 million dollars. This action cuts spending by about $194 million dollars and also cuts most tax bills on average over $400. This budget is based on a $1.212 tax rate which is a little over $.24 cents higher than the 2009 budget.
Even though most homeowners get a tax break, the passage of the budget leaves citizens wondering what service they will have for the 2010 fiscal year. The Washington Post quotes Corey Stewart:
“This budget is significantly smaller,” board Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R) said. “We’ve cut our costs, we’ve made our government more efficient, and by doing so, we are going to be able to reward our constituents with a sizable tax cut. That was my number one goal with this budget.”
This budget postpones capital improvements, freezes PW government workers salaries, forces neighborhood libraries to close one day a week, takes about $4.6 million from the ‘rain day fund,’ and cuts the staffing increases in half for the fire department and the police department.
The Washington Post also reports:
The budget uses $4.6 million from the county’s $26.2 million “rainy day” fund, gives $407.8 million to county schools, forces neighborhood libraries to close on Fridays and eliminates about 140 government positions — most of which are vacant.
The board did take steps, however, to restore funding to the Virginia Cooperative Extension’s 4-H and nutrition programs, the Flory Small Business Center and the At-Risk Youth Program’s parenting classes, which were all initially targeted for reductions.
The board also restored almost $162,000 to the Healthy Families program and $40,000 to Spinaweb — an Association for Retarded Citizens of Greater Prince William program that provides employment opportunities for the mentally disabled.
The budget also places nearly $3 million in reserve. Supervisors said they hope to have that money on hand in case federal stimulus funding becomes available and the county is asked to provide matching funds to qualify.
One stimulus grant the county has sought would enable it to move up funding for 25 additional sworn police officers from the fiscal 2012 to the fiscal 2010 budget.
Meanwhile, most of us are wondering exactly what services we will no longer have. We wonder how long it will take for police to respond. How long will it take the fire departments to answer a call? Will the lines for county services take longer than usual? Will people employees leave Prince William County and go work where they are less stressed, and have more colleagues to share the work load.
Somewhere along the line, have we become penny wise and pound foolish? Have we cut things too short? How will all of this budget affect our schools that have not yet set their budgets? Will we lose teachers? Will there be 40 students per classroom?
Time will tell. Right now many of us are holding our breath. How much can a suburban county the size of Prince William cut back without disturbing quality of life?
[Ed: Budget Information: The Board of County Supervisors will adopt the County’s FY2010 budget at its meeting on Tuesday, April 28 at 2 p.m. in the Board Chamber of the James J. McCoart Administration Building]
Today is a day to celebrate our planet and all its beauty. We must all remember that we are simply brief visitors on Earth, that what we leave behind matters more than what we gained materially. My friends dad had this great quote, Lanty McClung, ” I never saw a hearse with u-haul” ! My point being, that all this stuff we collect is just stuff, but the legacy we leave behind is the “stuff” that really matters. I would love it if we could take this opportunity to share what we do, personally, to protect this Earth and its mysteries, not just for ourselves, or our children, but for the generations yet to be born.
Want to do more? Here is a link to Prince William Conservation Alliance and its programs that foster local wildlife conservation initiatives.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“He who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground, the waters, the plants, the heavens, and how to come at these enchantments, is the rich and royal man.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), Essays, Second Series, 1844
“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.”
– Benjamin Franklin, (1706-1790), Poor Richard’s Almanac
“It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.”
– Rachel Carson, (1907-1964) The Sea Around Us, 1951
This is the human side of separating families due to immigration status. Who takes care of the children if we deport the parents?
This article by Linda Chavez sheds new light on this very complicated issue.
A new report out last week from the Pew Hispanic Center confirms what many observers already suspected about the illegal immigrant population in the United States: It is made up increasingly of intact families and their American-born children. Nearly half of illegal immigrant households consist of two-parent families with children, and 73 percent of these children were born here and are therefore U.S. citizens.
How does the new population of immigrants hearken to your ancestors and mine? Although the immigrants who graduate high school strive to attain some college education, the reality is that their long term earning “prognosis” is poor indeed.
The greater concern for some opponents of immigration – legal and illegal – is the fear that these newcomers will never fully adapt, won’t learn English, will remain poor and uneducated, and transform the United States into a replica of Mexico or some other Latin American country. The same fears led Americans of the mid-19th century to fear German and Irish immigrants, and in the early 20th century to fear Italians, Jews, Poles, and others from Eastern and Southern Europe.
Such worries are no more rational today – or born out of actual evidence – than they were a hundred years ago. It is true that Hispanic immigrants today take awhile to catch up with the native born just as their European predecessors did, and illegal immigrants never fully do so in terms of education or earnings.
Given the reality of this population, how do we deal with their presence in a humane and fiscally responsible manner?
The fact that so many illegal immigrants are intertwined with American citizens or legal residents, either as spouses or parents, should give pause to those who’d like to see all illegal immigrants rounded up and deported or their lives made so miserable they leave on their own. A better approach would allow those who have made their lives here, established families, bought homes, worked continuously and paid taxes to remain after paying fines, demonstrating English fluency, and proving they have no criminal record. Such an approach is as much about supporting family values as it is granting amnesty.