Open Thread………………………………..May 1

Glastonbury Tor at sunrise on Beltane
Glastonbury Tor at sunrise on Beltane

May 1 is significant to people in and around the United Kingdom because  of Celtic folk lore.  Many people celebrate Beltane, or a spring fertility ritual.   Americans tend to celebrate May Day.  That custom has sort of gone the way of the high button shoes.

Regardless, May 1 is a time of great merry-making, especially among the young.

EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 30: Beltane Fire Society performers celebrate the coming of summer by participating in the Beltane Fire Festival on Calton Hill April 30, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The event celebrates the ending of winter and is a revival of the ancient Celtic and Pagan festival of Beltane, the Gaelic name for the month of May. The festival was first organized in the mid 1980's. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images)
Young stags romp

Skeptical justices hear McDonnell case

Washingtonpost.com:

Supreme Court justices on Wednesday seemed prepared to overturn the 2014 corruption conviction of former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and perhaps make it harder for prosecutors to bring charges against politicians who provide favors for their benefactors.

Justices on both sides of the ideological divide expressed concern about federal corruption laws that could criminalize what they variously called “routine” or “everyday” actions that politicians perform for campaign contributors or supporters who have provided them with gifts.

“For better or for worse, it puts at risk behavior that is common,” said Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who along with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. suggested that the federal corruption laws are so vague that they might be unconstitutional.

Bill Clinton and the BLM gang

Washingtonpost.com:

 For days now, Bill Clinton has been attempting to extricate himself from a confrontation with Black Lives Matter protesters, trying both to hold to his position and step back from it. It’s been an awkward dance.

But it speaks to a broader problem for the 42nd president of the United States. Clinton is caught in a time warp, having to grapple with how much the era in which he served, the events that occurred then and the actions he took as president have been reinterpreted and, by many in his own party, rejected.

Clinton is a gifted campaigner and remains a popular ex-president. There are few politicians more skilled at synthesizing and explaining issues or making a political argument, as he demonstrated repeatedly in his advocacy for President Obama in the 2012 campaign.

But this is 2016, not 1992 or 1996, and things have changed — particularly within the Democratic Party. Clinton’s exchange with the Black Lives Matter demonstrators over the 1994 crime bill and in particular Hillary Clinton’s use of the term “superpredators” at the time brought into high relief the conundrum he and she face.

Among other things, that 1994 crime bill instituted tough sentencing provisions that resulted in high rates of incarceration for many young African Americans convicted of nonviolent offenses. That provision in particular is now seen by many people as too harsh. Many of the politicians who supported it then — including Sen. Bernie Sanders — have said it went too far. Hillary Clinton is in that camp. So is Bill Clinton.

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Dennis Hastert: Hypocrite extraordinaire (and sex abuser)

Hastert

Fusion.net:

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert molested at least four boys over multiple decades, federal prosecutors alleged on Friday.

Hastert, the longest-serving Republican Speaker in history, had already pled guilty to using hush money to cover up abuse allegations, but Friday was the first time the government detailed the full nature of some of the charges against him in a filing for the judge overseeing Hastert’s sentencing. The allegations stemmed from Hastert’s time as a high school wrestling coach in Illinois between the 1960s and the 1980s.

Here’s how the Associated Press described one of the allegations:

Prosecutors say in the filing that Hastert’s known sexual acts against Individual A and other accusers consist of “intentional touching of minors’ groin area and genitals or oral sex with a minor.”

According to the document, Individual A told prosecutors the abuse occurred in a motel room on the way home from wrestling camp. Hastert, the only adult on the trip, told the 14-year-old that he would stay in his room while about a dozen other boys stayed in a different room. Individual A said Hastert touched him inappropriately after suggesting he would massage a groin injury the boy had.

Hastert’s downfall began after federal agents questioned him about several suspiciously large bank withdrawals, as the Chicago Tribune recounted on Saturday.

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Godwin Teachers: We have your back!!!

The above song Every Breath You Take, performed by the Police, is dedicated to the teachers of Godwin Middle School.

I certainly don’t mean to be glib. I know that those teachers are going to work every day looking over their shoulder after the threats that were made to them, simply because they voiced their opinion and concern.

Godwin teachers, you probably have the safest job in Prince William County, right at this moment. The eyes of the county, and probably the state, are on you. The people of Prince William County have all your backs!!!

We are angry that our teachers have been threatened. All of us! Republicans, Democrats, Independents and those of us who could care less about politics.

As a former teacher, I promise you that if I get wind of one iota of retribution to any of you, I own a blog and I will light up someone’s name in lights right here. Yesterday I got nearly 2000 hits. That’s a lot for this blog. I can and will do that again. My paycheck no longer comes from Prince William County and I owe no one anything. In fact, I even know where a few skeletons are buried.

I don’t make threats. I make promises. Don’t threaten our teachers!

moon.howler7@gmail.com

You all have a restful weekend, go back in on Monday and teach those kids. May the force be with you!

If you want to speak on my blog, I guarantee your anonymity. Use a fake name. I have your back. Make up a fake email. I have your back. The first comment needs to be approved by me. (settings, you know) After that, you are home free.

Keep doing what you are doing.

Love, Moon

School board member threatens Godwin teachers: I’ll be looking at you

 

I would be remiss as a former Prince William County educator if I did not address the behavior of Neabsco School Board member Ms Diane Ralston who told the Godwin Middle School teachers that she would be watching them. She also suggested that those teachers who had spoken against the name change did not belong at that school.

You have to hear it for yourselves.

I have to say Ms. Raulston’s remarks were threatening and totally unacceptable. I heard some teachers had considered resigning.

Teachers: Don’t be fools. Do not resign. Hold your heads up high and continue to teach and inspire the boys and girls of Godwin Middle School. There are legal resources to handle these kinds of threats from your employer. I was approached tonight by someone who will represent you. Please contact me and I will pass along the information to you. moon.howler7@gmail.com

Ms. Raulston should consider resigning immediately. Her behavior makes her unsuited for any role of leadership in Prince William County Schools. We absolutely cannot have our teachers threatened in this way.

It’s one thing to threaten a colleague as she did Willie Deutsch, ordering him to stay out of her district. It’s quite another thing to threaten employees.

It is my greatest hope that Ms. Raulston will think about the liabilities associated with her actions and at least attempt to walk back her remarks. We cannot have teachers threatened and admonished for their thoughts and opinions.  The first amendment is still functioning in Prince William County.  Those Godwin teachers are the closest ones to the community and the children. We want happy teachers, not beaten down, scared, watched teachers.

We cannot have members of our school board bullying their colleagues or their employees.

What’s in a Swiss handshake?

2000px-Flag_of_Switzerland_(Pantone)

Washingtonpost.com:

It’s widespread practice for schoolchildren in Switzerland to shake the hands of their teacher at the beginning and end of each day. Now, one school’s decision to exempt two children from this tradition – because the children are Muslim and their teacher is a woman – has caused a storm of controversy across the European state.

The two pupils at the school in the town of Therwil, near Basel, had requested an exemption from shaking a female teacher’s hand, citing their belief that it would go against Islamic teachings. The local school district later came up with what they felt was an acceptable compromise that could avoid discrimination: The pupils, who are aged 14 and 15, would not be required to shake any teacher’s’ hands, whether they were male or female.

However, the plan hit a hitch when the Schweiz am Sonntag reported on it, sparking a public debate about the compromise. “We cannot accept this in the name of religious freedom,” Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said in an interview with Swiss-German broadcaster SRF. “The handshake is part of our culture.”

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Sarah Palin: April Fool or just a fool?

This speech is pathetic and embarrassing. Is she on drugs or does she drink too much? Every time she talks it gets worse. She is incoherent and doesn’t even make sense.

I heard the morning on TV that she is supposed to be fixing Trump’s woman problem. I don’t think that is possible and I sure wouldn’t use her to do it. I am not sure what she said nor do I think she did Trump any favors.

It’s time for Palin to go back to Alaska and stay there. The lights are on but nobody is home.

The Obamas rise above it all with dignity

Washingtonpost.com:

Opinion by Petula Dvorak

The Obamas: Refusing to give in to the haters after years of threats and abuse

The most popular license in America now?

A license to hate.

And one of the most popular targets is President Obama, the country’s first African American commander-in-chief.

It’s no secret that America’s first family has received an unprecedented number of threats over the past seven years.

But the fever pitch of hate and bile toward the president and his family have taken an even sharper tone thanks to the primordial swamp that is the current presidential campaign.

It’s impossible to utter a single word about the White House, the first family or the president without a blast from the fire hose of haterade.

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Open Thread ………… April 1

American-Dogwood-Tree-Westchester-Tree-Life

 

Has spring really arrived?   It’s still questionable, even though the days are a little warmer and it is staying light longer.

The daffodils are long gone.  Tulips are slowly coming to life.  The one predictable thing has been pollen.

I hope to get up to the Skyline Drive to see the dogwoods.  There seem to be fewer and fewer each year.  Supposedly some dogwood disease is killing them off.

dogwood

George Mason Law School to be renamed Antonin Scalia School of Law

Washingtonpost.com:

The George Mason School of Law will be renamed in honor of the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who died earlier this year.

The university announced Thursday that it has received $30 million in combined gifts to the George Mason Foundation to support the law school, the largest gift in the university’s history. The donations make possible three new scholarship programs. Twenty million dollars came from an anonymous donor, and $10 million came from the Charles Koch Foundation, which has given millions of dollars to colleges in the United States. The family is well known for its support of conservative political groups, sometimes stirring controversy.

The Board of Visitors approved the renaming of the school to the Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University. “This is a milestone moment for the university,” Ángel Cabrera, the university’s president, said in a statement. “These gifts will create opportunities to attract and retain the best and brightest students, deliver on our mission of inclusive excellence, and continue our goal to make Mason one of the preeminent law schools in the country.”

Who says you can’t buy yourself a law school?  Is anyone else offended?  I certainly don’t want to clone Justice Scalia and make a whole bunch more little Scalias.   It appears that George Mason sold out to the highest bidder.

This “gift” seems to have a big caveat attached.

State Trooper killed in Richmond

trooper chad

Patch.com:

RICHMOND, VA. — A Virginia State Trooper was killed Thursday in a Grayhound bus terminal by a man he was chatting with who suddenly opened fire in an apparently unprovoked attack before law enforcement shot him dead, Virginia State Police announced Thursday night.

Killed was Chad Dermyer, 37, a Marine Corps veteran and a native of Jackson, Michigan.

After shooting Dermyer, the man continued to fire until he was shot by two other troopers, police said. The suspect was taken to VCU Medical Center, where he died, police said.

Dermyer, who graduated from Virginia State Police Academy in 2014, was taken to VCU Medical Center, where he later died, police said.

Too many area police officers have died.  It sounds like Trooper Dermyer was simply talking to a man when that man turned around opened fire on the trooper.

We wonder why cops sometimes make mistakes.  It will be interesting to learn more about the perpetrator.  What would make him kill a cop?  Other people have been seriously maimed also.

 

 

Word to the wise on change school names: Involve the community

From Insidenova.com:

Sun Gazette editorial: A lesson for those eager to change school names

 

Before leaders of the Fairfax County school system rush higgledy-piggledy toward changing names of schools that don’t fit their definition of political correctness, they might want to glance just a few miles to the south to see what happens when ham-handedness goes awry.

There, the Prince William County School Board has come under fire both for changing the name of a middle school, and for doing so in a high-handed manner that avoided any semblance of community involvement.

 

It must have sounded like a good idea to some in Prince William: Mills Godwin, a late two-term governor but one with no direct connection to the community, seemed an odd choice for a school name from the beginning, so school officials recently decided to change it to honor George Hampton, an African-American leader in Prince William.

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Trump campaign: lie and deny

Washingtonpost.com:

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump defended his campaign manager as a “very decent man” Tuesday, hours after the staffer was charged with battery in Florida for allegedly grabbing a reporter and yanking her away from Trump.

Corey Lewandowski, 42, faces one misdemeanor count of battery as a result of the March 8 incident. He voluntarily went to police headquarters in Jupiter, Fla., and signed paperwork that ordered him to appear in court on May 4.

The police also released a new video of the event, taken from the security cameras at Trump’s own golf course. It directly contradicted what Trump and Lewandowski had both said about the incident in the past.

They had asserted that Lewandowski never touched the reporter, Michelle Fields.

In the video, he does — grabbing her hard enough to pull her backwards.

Who do you believe?  Trump or your own two eyes?

Ms Fields, the reporter in question, has stuck to her story and has since voluntarily left Breitbart, mainly because the organization failed to back her over Trump’s campaign manager.

To date, Trump denied there was a video.  When one was produced, the story changed.  Trump simply will not accept responsibility.  Life everything else, it is always someone else’s fault.

Trump needs to have a come to Jesus meeting with his campaign manager and be done with it.  Corey Lewandowski acted inappropriately.

Rubio suspends his presidential campaign

Washingtonpost.com:

Years of carefully laid plans to repackage the Republican Party’s traditional ideas for a fast-changing country came crashing down here on Tuesday when Sen. Marco Rubio suspended his campaign for the presidency after a crippling defeat in his home-state primary.

Since Mitt Romney’s devastating loss in the 2012 presidential election, the Republican National Committee and leading voices at think tanks, editorial boards and Capitol Hill symposiums have charted a path back to the White House based on inclusive rhetoric and a focus on middle-class issues.

Nobody embodied that vision better than Rubio, a charismatic standard-bearer for conservative orthodoxy who readily embraced the proposals of the right’s elite thinkers. The senator from Florida spoke urgently and eloquently about raising stagnant wages and eradicating poverty. He had an immigrant’s tale to match the rhetoric. And on foreign affairs, he was a passionate defender of the GOP’s hawkish tilt.

I am sad.  Rubio seems like a decent man.  I would never vote for him because he is far too conservative for my taste.  However, he is a person I respect.   Cruz and Kasich are still in the race.

There is just something wrong when decent people get rolled over by the ruffians, hooligans, and hate mongers.

This whole Trump thing is just sad and very scary.