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Archive for May, 2009

PWC Police all a-Twitter

May 31st, 2009 8 comments

News & Messenger this morning reports that the Prince William County police are using Twitter now — its free, it’s fast and it’s yet another tool to communicate with the community as much as possible.

Check it out:  www.twitter.com/PWCPoliceDept

 

Categories: General Tags:

OIT-gate Updated in Washington Post

May 30th, 2009 25 comments

New information has been released on the PWC Office of Information Technology bid rigging scandal in today’s Washington Post. Apparently the story grows day by day.

The Washington Post quotes that 3 employees have been fired and that the amount of money involved in the embezzlement is $9 million. That is a huge amount of money at a time when we can least afford to lose a dime.

The FBI is involved because about $90,000 in funds tied to this wrong-doing is federal grant money. Corey Stewart reveals:

Investigators are looking into “massive false billings,” bid-rigging and collusion between county employees and outside vendors, said Corey A. Stewart (R), chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. He said the FBI is involved because about $90,000 in federal grants were allegedly tied into the scheme.

Stewart further elaborated:

At least two local vendors are involved, Stewart said. A former county employee who left public service in January last year has been implicated with the three employees who were recently terminated, he said.

According to the Washington Post:

Maneesh Gupta, former assistant chief information officer, was one of the terminated employees and has been a target of the investigation, sources said. Gupta — who at times served as a contract manager — oversaw the office’s purchase orders, time sheets and invoices, all documents used to track the office’s expenses and services.

“I’m disgusted at the lack of oversight and mismanagement,” Stewart said. “If it is true that one person was in charge of all three oversight functions, then that is clearly mismanagement.”

So the finger-pointing by the county chair begins. It was only a matter of time. Instead of focusing on those who were greedy and embezzled, it appears that the ugly M word is surfacing: Mismanagement.

The Chairman’s insinuations at this point are very predictable. If one looks back at what was written on BVBL several weeks ago, we could all see this coming. If I were a bookie, I know who I would be placing my bets on as a scapegoat.

The Chairman is right to want to get to the bottom of this crime. Those who committed crime should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. However, when words like ‘mismanagement’ start to be thrown around, he points back to himself. Are he and the other supervisors not responsible ultimately for what happens in the county?

Categories: General, PWC, PWCBOS Tags:

PW Principal Warrior Heads for Iraq

May 29th, 2009 29 comments

The school year will end early for Enterprise Elementary principal Melanie McClure. She has been called up for active duty and will be deployed to Iraq.

Forty-six year old McClure is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves. She was on active duty shortly after 9/11 but, she was deployed locally. McClure told WJLA-Channel 7 news:

“I’m not sure how to prepare for it. I think that’s probably my greatest challenge — prepare emotionally for all that because it is going to be a long haul,”

Students, faculty and parents, and school system administration are sadden to see the popular principal leave. Principal McClure has been at Enterprise for 2 years. A school-wide celebration was held in her honor this week to give her the proper send off. Superintendent Walts and School board member Julie Lucas were in attendance. Dr. Walts reminded students:

[T]hat it was their job to keep learning in anticipation of their principal’s return.

Bumper stickers have been made up in her honor, according to the story posted on the Prince William County School’s website, which read: “My Principal is a Soldier! Hurry back, Mrs. McClure.”

When is enough enough? Does the army need people so badly that they are now scrounging them out of schools? Do people think this might happen to them when they remain in the reserves? The lady is putting on her game face but she must be dying inside. She leaves a husband and 3 kids behind as well as a career while she is in Iraq.

Neighborhood Action Forum Saturday at GMU-PW

May 28th, 2009 52 comments

Anyone interested in improving their neighborhoods is welcome to come for some face-to-face dialogue at an Action Forum this Saturday, May 30, from 8:30 am to noon at George Mason University’s Prince William Campus.  City Council member Steve Randolph will be one of our speakers.  It’s free, but to register, and for more details, go to www.pwsc.org

Check this out:  (Joe Budzinski of www.novatownhall.com and Help Save Loudoun) has found common ground with two other Loudoun citizens from different points of view on the immigration debate (Ricardo Cabellos-Reyes and Ben Kelahan) to launch a “Neighborhood Listens” project two weeks ago.  The project focuses on direct, informal communication between diverse neighbors to meet mutual goals of safe, clean neighborhoods.

www.loudounagreement.org

http://novatownhall.com/2009/05/14/neighborhood-listens-project-just-launched/

http://leesburg2day.com/articles/2009/05/25/news/fp181agreement052109.txt

What do you think?

Categories: General Tags:

Mancow Waterboarding Video

May 28th, 2009 86 comments

I had heard about this but just saw the video and thought I’d share it. I don’t know anything about Mancow, other than I think he’s a shock jock. So, I don’t really know if I should take him seriously or not. Wasn’t there some discussion of a Keith Olberman Sean Hannity Waterboarding, but I don’t know if anything came of it.

Categories: General Tags:

Supreme Court Justice Nominee Sonia Sotomayor

May 27th, 2009 105 comments

All over the internet, the popular discussion of the day, seems to be President Obama’s Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor. If approved she would be the first Hispanic and the third woman appointed. The appointment which was supposed to galvanize Republicans in opposition has instead once again turned the party into a circular firing squad with contradicting messages.

First off, there’s GOP spokesman Michael Steele suggests restraint to avoid the appearance of anti-Latino sentiment. Then there’s Rush Limbaugh’s comments claiming ‘reverse racism’. I don’t know how Republicans could object to her, she’s been voted on twice by the Senate. She was originally nominated by George Herbert Walker Bush. It just seems that this going to be a ‘win’ for Obama and objections by Republicans will prove futile. Sometimes you have to pick your battles and barring any explosive new, previously undiscovered vetting material; it appears to be a solid nomination that will gain approval.

I’ve read Sotomayor’s ‘controversial’ comments which reminds me of statements by Sandra Day O’Connor’s concerning her disappointment at not being replaced by a woman. We don’t want activist judges. But remember judges issue ‘opinions’. They obviously have differing and dissenting viewpoints which must be based on something other than straight facts and the law. So it seems rather naive to expect that a person’s life experiences would somehow not influence their decision making process.

Categories: General Tags:

Barack Obama Nominates Sonya Sotomayor for Supreme Court Vacancy

May 27th, 2009 18 comments

President Obama has nominated Sonya Sotomayor for the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy.  The 24 hour cable news networks are all going nuts over this nomination, picking her apart before the Senate even has a chance to do it.    The contributors on this blog have some very strong feelings about this nomination.  Here’s your space.

Categories: General Tags:

Chipotle v. Letiecq

May 26th, 2009 120 comments

Letiecq’s thread entitled the ‘Traitors In Our Midst’ is as close as actionable litigation as I have seen posted on any blog site. Honestly, you’d think that someone who thought their Puerto Rican neighbors were ‘illegals’ might be a little more cautious in his future allegations. Personally, I’d love to see some Chipotle attorneys decend upon him with a ‘cease and desist’ order. Or better yet, SUE SUE SUE….

In case you haven’t had the opportunity to read the lunacy first hand, here it is -

I am writing this to inform about the General Manager from Chipotle in Manassas. Her name is Juana and she is from El Salvador. She works in the Liberia location in Manassas. I used to work in Chipotle and at that time Juana told me about her ties to the MS 13 gang. I reported this to Chipotle but no action was taken. She is also illegal. She does not have documents to work in the US. Chipotle knows this. Now she is the General Manager. And she is in charge of hiring other employees. She has pretty much filled her restaurants with illegals. Someone should stop this.

Then Letiecq continues on with his basis allegations from an unnamed source which most likely is either a disgruntled employee or conceivably Letiecq himself who seems anxious to attack anyone or anything associated with Mexicans even if it’s an American company with the word ‘Mexican’ in the title, like Chipotle Mexican Grill.

My only question is how long will it take before Letiecq accuses the company of being part of a zapitista reform movement? This wouldn’t be too much more far fetched than his current attempts to tie a Mexican restaurant to an El Salvadorean gang.

So according to this person, when you patronize Chipotle, a portion of the money you pay them is used to provide financial support to the Mara Salvatruca 13 gang. How lovely. I wonder how many patrons are aware of this, and whether they might change their spending habits if they knew.

He tries to suggest the unnamed person intimates ties between the corporation and an MS13 gang when in fact it is he himself who makes the assertion.

One can only hope a Chiptole attorney gets wind of this lunacy. Any bets on whether or not this thread will be permitted to stay on his blog?

Categories: General Tags:

Remembering Our Own Young Fallen Heroes

May 25th, 2009 21 comments

From Prince William County Schools News Memorial Day 2009.

These are our very own young people who have given the ultimate sacrifice. While they are not only fallen from our area, this ceremony represents one of the things that is good and decent about our young people.

Gar-Field High School in Prince William County observed a moment of silence on Friday, May 22, to honor through remembrance the men and women of our armed forces who have given their lives in the defense of the freedoms enjoyed by all who live in the United States.

Gar-Field High School Marine Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets and the Gar-Field Fallen Heroes Memorial Committee, chaired by Bill Willis, retired science teacher and Vietnam veteran, placed a wreath at the Gar-Field Fallen Heroes Memorial to honor the three Gar-Field students killed in action on the battlefields in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan and the four students killed in action that graduated from Hylton and Potomac High Schools. On Saturday, May 23, Gar-Field High School Junior ROTC cadets went to Quantico National National Cemetery to place a bouquet of flowers on the grave of Sgt.David Ruhren.

The fallen servicemen are:

Medical Corpsman Richard Yates, United States Navy, class of 1965 Gar-Field HS (Vietnam);

Corporal Brian Medina, United States Marine Corps, class of 2002 Gar-Field HS (Iraq);

Sergeant David Ruhren, United States Army, class of 2002 Gar-Field HS (Iraq);

Captain Brian Letendre, United States Marine Corps, class of 1996 Potomac HS (Afghanistan);

Sergeant Leroy Alexander, United States Army, class of 1997 Hylton HS (Iraq);

Sergeant Jack Bryant, United States Army, class of 1999 Hylton HS (Iraq); and

First Lieutenant Benjamin Hall, United States Army, class of 2001 Hylton High School (Afghanistan).

Following the loss of two Gar-Field graduates in December of 2002, a Fallen Heroes Memorial was created in the school to honor all three losses from Gar-Field. Each Memorial Day during the moment of silence the school’s Junior ROTC cadets place a wreath of remembrance at this memorial and the servicemen’s names, ranks, branch of service, and year of graduation are read to the student body.

Categories: General Tags:

Bite Me!

May 25th, 2009 11 comments

Better be careful who you say that to. An analyst, Rochelle Wyler, at the Connecticut Police Academy allegedly got mauled by a co-worker who apparently took her at her word. The co-worker, Captain Francis Woodruff, has been charged with disorderly conduct.

Wyler has bruises and teeth marks on her arm. She alleges that Woodruff annoyed her by referring to her as a ‘clerk.’ Woodruff said he was just kidding around. He is a training coordinator with the 130 member police department in Meriden, Connecticut, which is south of Hartford.

So what do we have here? A touchy analyst with a limited sense of humor? A police captain with poor judgement? Do these people understand how ridiculous they look to the rest of the world?

I never realized saying “Bite Me” could bring about such a violent response. I am going to throw that T-shirt in the trash!

Categories: General Tags:

Susan Boyle Sails on to the Semi Finals on Britain’s Got Talent

May 24th, 2009 26 comments

Want to feel wonderful and tear up all at the same time? Watch the video as Susan Boyle belts out Memory (Cats-Andrew Lloyd Webber) and sails on to the semi finals.

The following excerpt helps explain the framework of Britain’s Got Talent:

Susan Boyle won the popular vote — the “public vote,” as they say in England — on tonight’s Britain’s Got Talent, singing “Memory” from Cats. Her voice quavered a little at the start but soon became clear and strong. Wearing a glittery brown dress, standing behind a backdrop of clouds with a spotlight behind her head making it look as though her face was emanating from heaven, Boyle pulled off her second major public appearance with ease.

In this video, see Susan’s first night on stage and hear Simon man up and apologize for his rudeness. Susan also gives a provocative wiggle for Piers. She is brimming with self-confidence.

Forget American Idol, Kris, Adam and whatever happened on this side of the big pond last week. Susan is unbelievable! What a remarkable woman!

Susan hits a home run, once again.
[Unfortunately, all the embedding codes from this performance have been disabled.]

Short version: http://talent.itv.com/videos/playlist/id_25.htm

[UPDATE: Susan Boyle came in 2nd place in Britain's Got Talent]

Categories: General Tags:

OIT-GATE: Who, What, When?

May 24th, 2009 22 comments

 

 

 

The latest county scandal is grabbing some attention finally.  The short version is that a high level employ of the county in the Office of Information Technology has been busted for bid rigging.  A total of 3 people have been put on leave and one is no longer employed with the county.  Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of dollars are involved.  The figures have not been released.  According to the Chairman of the BOCS, Corey Stewart, in the News and Messenger:

 

“Employees in the county Information Technology Department allegedly had a relationship with the vendor,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, R-At-Large, on Wednesday. “The allegation is that one of these employees may have awarded a contract or multiple contracts to a vendor with whom he allegedly had a financial relationship or some sort of business relationship.”

 

 

This story was first alluded to on April 30, 2009 in the News and Messenger.     The story basically said nothing.  An unnamed supervisor got wind of (an) unnamed employee(s) who was awarding bids of an unnamed amount to unnamed companies.  The Office of Internal Auditor connected the dots to fiscal improprieties. 

 

Considering that the bid rigging was part of an on-going investigation, it makes sense that neither the county nor Mr. Stewart would comment on the particulars.  However, Greg Letiecq picked up the story.  Interestingly enough, some of his anonymous readers seemed to know quite a bit more than was released in the newspaper.   It makes one question what tales were being told out of school and by whom.  It is even stranger that so far, he has not commented further, even though more information is available.  Was he told he was under a gag order too?

 

Today’s story in the News and Messenger  adds considerably more information to this tale of intrigue.  The FBI has been brought in to further the investigation.  Their involvement suggests the enormity of the wrong-doing.  Additionally, more than one vendor is likely involved.  The vendors are as culpable as the county employees. 

 

 

One significant quote from the article bears highlighting:

 Because the investigation is ongoing, information released to the public has been minimal.

When I tried to find out information several weeks ago, everyone I talked to acted very much like the cat had their tongue.  One friend even said,” we are under a gag order.  I cannot discuss this.”  On the other hand, if one reads other blogs and newspaper comments closely, it appears that confidential information has been rather selectively released to certain individuals but not to the general public.

The more that I read of this malfeasance the more questions seem to be cropping up.  At a time when the county is scrambling for every penny it can find, malfeasance, greed, corruption and plain old theft just seem to not have a place in our government.  The auditors who uncovered the impropriety report to the board chair rather than to the county executive.  This reporting procedure was enacted about a year and half to 2 years ago.  Despite what one might read on other blogs, these auditors are county employees, rather than being outsiders.  Why do they only report to the board chair?

 

I would like to see a time line, a chronology, as it were, of this ongoing situation.  Who brought the situation to the forefront?  When did they do this?  When was the BOCS chair informed?  When did he contact the police or did the auditors contact the police since criminal activities were involved? 

 

How will all of this financial indiscretion affect our bond rating?  How will it affect the schools?  How will it affect future funding with grant money?  Who snooped out the information using a FOIA request?  Why did they want to know?

 

Why do some people with friends in elected positions seem to know more than the general population?

 

 

Categories: Criminal Activity, PWC Tags:

9500 Liberty Featured at Fund Raiser

May 23rd, 2009 57 comments

Author John Grisham hosted a fundraiser in Arlington for Charlottesville-based Legal Aid Justice Center, The fundraiser featured the story of the Immigration Resolution in Prince William County, filmed by 9500 Liberty. I felt the entire story should be posted. Here it is, with credit to Mr. Hunley.

Jonathan Hunley
Manassas News and Messenger

ARLINGTON—A line of people started forming quickly around Prince William County police Chief Charlie T. Deane.

They wanted to introduce themselves, shake his hand, maybe even chat him up.

The eager group wasn’t all law enforcement members, though, or even people who had followed Deane’s more than four decades as a policeman.

They were interested in Charlie Deane, Movie Star.

Deane was one of a handful of Prince William area folks who came to the Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre on Thursday night for the latest screening of “9500 Liberty,” a documentary on the region’s fight over immigration.

The issue, which flared in 2007, lately has taken a back seat to economic woes. But it played out again on the big screen and was introduced by an even bigger name.

The movie, 78 minutes in its current incarnation, was the centerpiece for a $25-a-head fundraiser for the Charlottesville-based Legal Aid Justice Center, which advocates for low-income Virginians.

The event was headlined by best-selling author and Charlottesville resident John Grisham, a supporter of the Legal Aid Justice Center, which has a program geared toward immigrant workers.

“9500 Liberty” was made by Gainesville resident Eric Byler and his fiancee, Annabel Park, who lives in Silver Spring, Md. They began filming in August 2007 after Prince William supervisors first took on the issue of immigrants in the county illegally.

They first released videos on the Web site YouTube, and have gradually added to and tweaked the work. Thursday was the first time the current version was screened, but Park said it likely will be revised further.

Read more…

Categories: 9500 Liberty, General, Immigration Tags:

Memorial Day Weekend: Brief History and Rolling Thunder

May 22nd, 2009 27 comments

 

 

Memorial Day’s roots go back to the Civil War.  It was formerly known as Decoration Day, a day when the ladies went out and decorated the graves of fallen soldiers.  Sadly, following the Civil War, there were many soldiers buried in graves far from home and family.  People with means often paid to have their husbands, sons, or fathers brought home.  Not everyone could do this so the south, in particular, is peppered with the graves of those who died in battle, both federal cemeteries and confederate cemeteries.

 

The first Memorial Day was officially recognized on May 30, 1868, about 3 years after the end of the civil war and really extended only to northern troops, since it spoke of those who had given their lives to squelch ‘the rebellion.’ This proclaimation was given as a General’s Order. 

 

According to Wiki:

 

Following the end of the Civil War, many communities set aside a day to mark the end of the war or as a memorial to those who had died. Some of the places creating an early memorial day include Sharpsburg, Maryland, located near Antietam Battlefield; Charleston, South Carolina; Boalsburg, Pennsylvania; Petersburg, Virginia; Carbondale, Illinois; Columbus, Mississippi; many communities in Vermont; and some two dozen other cities and towns. These observances coalesced around Decoration Day, honoring the Union dead, and the several Confederate Memorial Days

 

Moving from past to present, May 30 continued to be recognized as Memorial Day until the concept of the 3 day weekend took hold.  Currently, the last Monday in May is the official federal holiday.  Many veterans consider 3 day weekend holiday offensive and have attempted to move back to the traditional day of observation on May 30.  To date, their efforts have been unsuccessful.  Senator Daniel Inouye has introduced legislation every year since 1987 to return Memorial Day to May 30.

 

For the past 20 plus years, Rolling Thunder has been a big part of the Washington, DC Memorial Day weekend.  Rolling Thunder mainly focuses on POWs and MIAs who have not yet returned.  Their website gives the details and also has a schedule of weekend activities.  Motorcycle enthusiasts come from all over the United States to honor veterans and in particular, those who are still missing. 

 

If you hear a rumble and a roar of engines this weekend, it is probably Rolling Thunder.  If you have never seen them roll and roar across Memorial Bridge, it is quite a sight (and sound) to behold. 

 

Short Version:

 

 

 

Longer Version ( Warning:  some of this video might be found offensive.)

 

 

Categories: General Tags:

Howling and Gaming the System

May 22nd, 2009 16 comments

According to the Washington Post, the above featured T-shirt became an overnight success recently, based on its perceived popularity.

 

Something strange happened this week in Amazon.com’s apparel section.

For a day or two, a black T-shirt featuring an image of three wolves baying at a full moon claimed the top slot at the online store’s clothing bestseller list,, beating out the usual, unremarkable mix of Levi’s 505 regular-fit jeans, Crocs clogs and Adidas running shoes.

And really, why wouldn’t you buy the shirt, which is priced from $7.65 to $17.93, depending on your size? Just read the long and growing list of customer testimonials promising earth-shattering experiences or psychedelic vision quests upon purchase.

“I bought this shirt and instantly old girlfriends started calling me again,” wrote one reviewer.

“My doctor says the cancer has gone into remission,” wrote another. “Thanks for changing my life!”

As retailers, media companies and even government agencies attempt to get with the times and connect with an online audience, every once in a while they get a reminder: Anybody, or any group, armed with a Web browser can anonymously game the system and manipulate the marketplace at sites inviting user feedback — for profit or just for fun.

Read more…

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