Archive for the ‘General’ Category

‘Hoos Against Hazing? Apparently not all of them

April 21st, 2014 No comments

anti hazing

UVA’s statement and definition on HAZING:


Pressuring a potential new member or a new member to do anything against her/his will. Hazing is STRICTLY PROHIBITED and IS NOT tolerated at the University.

Apparently the ‘Hoo statement was not embodied by all because 2 charters have just been pulled by UVA because of hazing.  People just assume the banned fraternities are minority frat houses.  Such is not the case.  One of the fraternities was a founding charter member.

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Categories: General Tags:

8THEIST NJ license plate rejected

April 21st, 2014 3 comments


A New Jersey woman who says she was denied a license plate referencing atheism filed suit this week, claiming her online application was rejected because it was deemed potentially offensive.

Shannon Morgan, of Maurice Township, said in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that the Motor Vehicle Commission violated her First Amendment rights when its website rejected the plate reading “8THEIST.” She said she received a message stating that her vanity plate request was ineligible as it “may carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency.”

Morgan then filled out the online application using the phrase “BAPTIST” as a test, which the website accepted. Morgan claims in her lawsuit that she sent the agency a letter of complaint by registered mail and made several attempts to contact them by phone, all of which went unanswered.

What’s New Jersey’s problem?  I disagree that the plate is offensive.  The plate message refers to the car owner and isn’t trying to recruit or shove its message down anyone else’s throat.  It isn’t close to being off-color nor does it contain  sexual or profane language.

Does New Jersey now mandate that people believe in a deity?  Afraid that might violate the Constitution.   They deserve to lose this court challenge.  Somehow I don’t think it will get that far.  Perhaps this time their DMV system will get it right.

Categories: General, Religion Tags:

Cliven Bundy: Domestic terrorism?

April 18th, 2014 46 comments

The Blaze:

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) claimed on Thursday that armed supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy are “domestic terrorists” and reckless individuals who put their families in danger.

Speaking at a Las Vegas Review-Journal event, Reid was clear: “They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists. I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”

The rhetoric certainly will do nothing to ease already-high tensions after the Bureau of Land Management prematurely shut down its operation to round up Bundy’s “trespass cattle” on Saturday. The federal agency cited fears of public safety after having run-ins with armed militia members who traveled to Bunkerville, Nev., to support the rancher.

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Categories: General, Terrorism Tags:

Black student group challenges practices of Washington Lee University

April 18th, 2014 11 comments

lee chapel

A small group of black students at Washington and Lee University took school administrators by surprise with a list of demands that included renouncing Robert E. Lee for his racism.  The students, who do not represent all African American students at Washington and Lee,  call themselves The Committee.  The Committee has threated civil disobedience if W & L officials administrators do not meet their demands.

A group of black law students at Washington and Lee University is urging administrators to atone for its Confederate heritage and what they call the “dishonorable conduct” of namesake Robert E. Lee. The movement has struck a racial divide on the bucolic campus in Lexington, Va., where black students make up about 3.5 percent of the total student population. Third-year law student Dominik Taylor, a descendent of slaves on his father’s side, said he felt betrayed by admissions representatives who touted the school’s diversity. “They assured me it was a welcoming environment where everyone sticks together as a community,” Taylor said. “Then I came here and felt ostracized and alienated.” Read more…

Va Supreme Court rules in favor of UVA: Bob Marshall foiled again

April 18th, 2014 22 comments


Washington Post:

(Tom Jackman)

Unpublished research by university scientists is exempt from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled Thursday, rejecting an attempt by skeptics of global warming to view the work of a prominent climate researcher during his years at the University of Virginia.

The ruling is the latest turn in the FOIA request filed in 2011 by Del. Robert Marshall (R-Prince William) and the American Tradition Institute to obtain research and e-mails of former U-Va. professor Michael Mann.

Mann left the university in 2005 and now works at Penn State University, where he published his book “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars” about his theories on global warming and those who would deny it. Lawyers for U-Va. turned over about 1,000 documents to Marshall and ATI, led by former EPA attorney David Schnare, but withheld another 12,000 papers and e-mails, saying that work “of a propriety nature” was exempt under the state’s FOIA law.

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Categories: Climate Change, General Tags:

What will we call the children by mid-century?

April 15th, 2014 20 comments

Only 27% of people polled said President Obama was black.  Yet on the 2010 census he identified himself as black.

The following chart shows the increase in mixed marriages over the past several decades:

marriage chart

According to Paul Taylor of the Pew Institute:

More than a quarter of Hispanic and Asian newlyweds “marry out,” as do one-in six-blacks and one-in-ten whites. Whites are still the largest race group, so even though they “marry out” at lower rates, they still account for 70% of all interracial marriages.

By mid-century, what will we call the children of interracial marriages? Today we aren’t even sure what to call our president. We do know this: In many cultures and societies through history, being mixed race — being a “mutt” as Obama sometimes calls himself — has meant being an outcast. In today’s America, judging by those Super Bowl ads or today’s celebrities, the norms are changing and the stigma receding.

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Categories: General Tags:

Open Thread……………………………………………Monday, April 14

April 14th, 2014 35 comments

cherry treeCan we  finally assume spring is here?  Not so fast.  The temperature is supposed to get down into the high 20′s on Wednesday morning.  That doesn’t feel too spring -like to me.

The cherry trees are finally out.  This past weekend hit all time highs for crowds and garbage overflow.  The picture is one of mine from another year.  None of the men in my house could be talked into going yet.  Even I wouldn’t have gone on a weekend.

Americans love the cherry tree blossoms.  This has not always been the case.  After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the cherry trees, a gift from Japan, were the subject of attack.  Guards had to be posted to ensure the safety of the trees.  See the Smithsonian Magazine for this strange behavior.


Categories: General Tags:

Keep ‘em married!

April 14th, 2014 93 comments


For years, social conservatives have been fighting to prevent certain people from getting married. But they’re waging a parallel battle, too: Trying to keep married couples together.

In cooperation with the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage, socially conservative politicians have been quietly trying to make it harder for couples to get divorced. In recent years, lawmakers in more than a dozen states have introduced bills imposing longer waiting periods before a divorce is granted, mandating counseling courses or limiting the reasons  a couple can formally split. States such as Arizona, Louisiana and Utah have already passed such laws, while others such as Oklahoma and Alabama are moving to do so.

If divorces are tougher to obtain, social conservatives argue, fewer marriages will end. And having  more married couples is not just desirable in its own right but is a social good, they say. During his presidential campaign, former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) emphasized finishing high school and getting married as cures for poverty. “If you do those two things, you will be successful economically,” he declared at a 2011 event in Iowa.

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Categories: General Tags:

Open Thread…………………………..Sunday, March 23

April 10th, 2014 91 comments

daffodilsWinter is over.  We have all decreed that it is over.  Think pansies, daffodils, and cowslips.  Anything but winter.  What are good flowers to plant now that won’t die if there is an overnight freeze?

How soon can you set out rosemary bushes and cypress from winter gifts?  Will they die if they go out now?

How about those cherry trees?  Will they bloom before Memorial Day?  (Just kidding)

Categories: General Tags:

Paycheck unfairness: Yes, Republicans, it’s real

April 10th, 2014 19 comments

 Senate Republicans derailed a Democratic bill Wednesday curbing paycheck discrimination against women, an effort that even in defeat Democrats hoped would pay political dividends in this fall’s congressional elections.

Wednesday’s vote was 53-44 to halt GOP tactics aimed at derailing the legislation, but that fell seven short of the 60 votes Democrats needed to prevail.

The outcome on the Senate floor was not a surprise, but Democrats were playing to a wider audience.

With public opinion polls showing Democratic voters less enthusiastic than Republicans this year, Democrats aimed the measure at women, who historically lean more toward their party than men. They were also casting the issue as a crucial one for the middle class because so many families rely on female wage-earners — and promised to revisit it before Election Day.

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McAuliffe vetoes school religious bill

April 7th, 2014 7 comments

From the Richmond Times Dispatch:

A bill that would have codified the rights of students to pray, participate in religious activities or wear faith-themed clothing on public school property at public events was vetoed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe Friday.

The school prayer-bill veto of Senate Bill 236, the third of McAuliffe’s term, followed a recent veto of a similarly themed bill governing prayer by chaplains in the Virginia National Guard.

Sponsored by state Sen. Charles W. Carrico Sr., R-Grayson, the legislation would have required every school system to have a policy allowing students to make religious speeches at any school event in which students are allowed to speak. It also would have removed the liability of school systems for allowing religious speech by having administrators offer disclaimers that student views are not endorsed by the school division.

Supporters said the legislation would protect religious liberty. But the governor disagreed.

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Categories: Education/Schools, General, Religion Tags:

Is money the root of all evil in politics?

April 7th, 2014 20 comments

President Jimmy Carter blasted the role money has played in worsening the tone in Washington, and said the Supreme Court ruling last week has “exacerbated” the problems.

In a wide-ranging interview, Carter said Washington had experienced a “sea change” since when he was in office.

“There was a spirit of harmony there, friendship. … All of these things are gone, primarily due to a stupid decision that the Supreme Court made on Citizens United and that they exacerbated this past week with another ruling,” Carter said Friday. “And this massive infusion of almost unrestricted money going into the political campaign, a lot of it is spent just on negative commercials to tear down the reputation of your opponent and that polarization that occurs, that didn’t exist when I ran for office.”

Do we want rich people deciding the outcome of our elections?  Is this latest Supreme Court decision the ultimate in “money talks and bull sh!t walks?”  I have only seen politics become more rancorous and vicious since Citizens United was decided.  The acrimony is seen in local politics, state politics and nationally.

Jimmy Carter is right.  The comradery that used to exist when he was in office is no more.


Categories: General Tags:

POW flag made of bedsheets finally unfurled after 69 years

April 5th, 2014 6 comments

Richmond times Dispatch:

The makeshift American flag, made 69 years ago from bedsheets, was a symbol of defiance, perseverance and patriotism to the American prisoners of war who were beaten, tortured and starved by their Japanese captors at the Omori POW Camp during World War II.

Richmond native James “Denny” Landrum, an electrician’s mate first class who had just turned 20 when captured, was among them.

He and his fellow submariners of the USS Grenadier were taken prisoner after their ship was attacked and eventually scuttled on April 22, 1943, off Penang, Malaysia.

Landrum eventually made it home. But the flag he helped to secretly create and later waved in an iconic photograph taken as he and his fellow POWs were liberated on Aug. 29, 1945, vanished over time.

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Categories: General, War/Military Tags:

A brief look at PTSD

April 4th, 2014 16 comments

PTSD seems to have a lot of rumors flying around about it. This mini video sheds a little light on the topic. It obviously isn’t just a military “disease.”

Do you know anyone with PTSD? How do you relate to them differently or do you?

Categories: General Tags:

Some supervisors have a hell of a nerve….

April 4th, 2014 2 comments

lucy math

It appears that several of the BOCS took out after the Prince William County School Board with a vengeance. Jim Livingston, PWEA president, said it best when he  “suggested that supervisors are more concerned with political posturing than about the needs of the school system.”


Yet those stark numbers didn’t keep some supervisors from grilling Johns and David Cline, associate superintendent for finance and support services, about why the school system isn’t doing more to lower class sizes – a topic both boards discussed during three joint board meetings held over the summer and fall.

During those meetings, supervisors asked Superintendent Steve Walts to come up with a plan to begin lowering class sizes. Walts presented a $3.5 million plan to lower class numbers in kindergarten, sixth and ninth grades, but said the school system would need extra money from the county to fund the changes.

But when supervisors failed to offer any extra funds, the school board scaled back their plans to only sixth-grade. Supervisors offered no sign Tuesday that any extra money would be coming from the county to lower class sizes next year – but that didn’t keep them from hammering school board members for not doing more.

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