The death of Batman

August 18th, 2015 5 comments


The Batmobile pulled into a gas station Sunday night and, as usual, the children who spotted it gawked.

Lenny B. Robinson was used to that. The Maryland man, better known as the Route 29 Batman, had for years dressed as the Caped Crusader and driven his custom-made car to deliver moments of happiness and distraction to hundreds of sick children at area hospitals.

His costume stored in the Batmobile but his alter ego never entirely switched off, Robinson gave the kids at the gas station some superhero paraphernalia before driving off.

Minutes later, Robinson pulled over with engine trouble on an unlit stretch of Interstate 70 near Hagerstown, Md., police said. The people he had just met parked behind him, turning their emergency lights on.

His car was stopped in the median but still “partially in the fast lane” when he got out to check the engine, according to state police. Around 10:30 p.m., a Toyota Camry slammed into the Batmobile, propelling the steel-framed hunk of black metal into his body. Robinson, 51, died at the scene.

Life really isn’t fair.  How tragic that this kind, generous man has died.  RIP, Lenny B. Robinson…aka Batman.

Categories: General Tags:

Good for Charles Koch: Sentencing Reform

August 18th, 2015 3 comments

August 15, 2015 1:53 PM EDTWeldon Angelos was 25 when he was sentenced to 55 years in prison after selling marijuana to a police informant. His sons, now 16 and 18, look back on the childhood they missed without their father. But the boys and Weldon’s sister remain hopeful for an early release, as billionaire Charles Koch campaigns for clemency for Weldon.

It is totally absurd for anyone to spend 55 years in prison for selling marijuana.   It makes no sense.  Just the cost of incarceration makes this sentence stupid.   People just should not be spending their lives in jail for selling controlled substances.

I never thought I would be saying “Go Koch Brothers” but on this one, I sure am.  Sentencing reform needs to happen immediately.  In fact, sentencing reform should be a national issue for this upcoming presidential election.  We are wasting valuable resources when we send penny ante drug users to prison for decades.




Sheriff Joe, rejected again…Trump on the rise

August 17th, 2015 11 comments

On Friday, in Arpaio v. Obamathe U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio’s attempt to challenge the Obama administration’s immigration initiatives in federal court.  According to the court, Sheriff Arpaio lacks standing to challenge the measures. Judge Cornelia Pillard wrote the opinion for the court, joined by Judge Sri Srinivasan.  Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote a separate opinion concurring in the judgment.

The introduction to Judge Pillard’s opinion provides a nice summary of the court’s analysis.  It also seems to accept the Obama administration’s characterization of its immigration reforms as an exercise of enforcement discretion, suggesting that this panel would have rejected Sheriff Arpaio’s claims on the merits.


The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security facing what he perceives to be enormous practical obstacles to removing from the United States the eleven million people unlawfully present here, has sought to set enforcement priorities. He accordingly directed relevant agencies temporarily to defer low-priority removals of non-dangerous individuals so that the agencies can focus their resources on removing dangerous criminals and strengthening security at the border. People whose removal has been deferred are generally eligible to apply for authorization to work, and to reside in the United States for up to three years.

The opinion is long and interested readers should read the entire editorial in the Washington Post.  However, it basically says that Sheriff Joe doesn’t have standing.  Period.

Read more…

Categories: Elections, General, Immigration Tags:

WWII: A data visualization

August 14th, 2015 13 comments

These numbers are simply amazing. Estimates suggest that over 60 million military and civilian lives were lost during this conflict that began September 1, 1939 and ended in August, 1945. The Soviet Union suffered the hugest losses. Comparisons are staggering.

Perhaps when the cable news just seems too depressing, it might be uplifting to see the progress we have made in the “peace department” since WWII.

Visit the Washington Post following this link to see the world map.

Categories: War/Military, World Events Tags:

Former Governor Wilder lambasts McAuliffe over Supreme Court pick

August 13th, 2015 11 comments

Former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder on Wednesday blasted Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s handling of an appointment to the state’s Supreme Court, saying his fellow Democrat had made political missteps that hurt him with Republican legislative leaders and black voters.

Wilder said McAuliffe failed to follow basic Richmond protocol by not running his pick by House and Senate leaders. He also dismissed as “silly” McAuliffe’s claims that the GOP was bucking his nominee because she is a woman. And he said McAuliffe had offended African Americans by choosing a white circuit court judge over a black jurist on the state’s appeals court — a perceived snub that he said would hurt McAuliffe’s friend Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

“McAuliffe being the majordomo for the Clinton campaign in Virginia, this doesn’t help her,” Wilder said. “Some of us are not going to forget it. . . . The real question is, who in the hell was advising the governor?”

Wilder made the remarks during an interview with The Washington Post about an upcoming special session of the General Assembly, during which Republicans plan to take the rare step of removing a sitting Supreme Court justice.

So basically this is all about race.  Wilder wants a black judge and the Republicans want to get their brownie points with the potential black voters.   Wilder is rarely subtle.

Read more…

Categories: Va Politics Tags:

School lunch program: And the elephant balls award goes to….

August 12th, 2015 Comments off

Five employees of a federal government watchdog agency, one of whom is a member of the Prince George’s County school board, were indicted Tuesday on charges of illegally obtaining reduced-price school lunches for their children, officials said.

Prosecutors allege that the employees, all with the Government Accountability Office, along with the spouse of a separate GAO worker, fraudulently reported their incomes to qualify for the discounted meals offered by the federal government. And officials said there may be nearly 300 other federal workers flagged for similar concerns of fraud.

The alleged theft by the six people cost the government $13,000 over four years, according to county and federal officials.

“This is a program for people who can’t afford it, but these are people who can,” said John Erzen, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Lynette Mundey, who is a Prince George’s Board of Education member, and five others were charged with theft, fraud and filing false applications, prosecutors said. Others charged were Barbara Rowley, Jamilah Reid, Tracy Williams, Charlene Savoy and James Pinkney, the spouse of a GAO employee


Read more…

Who are the Oath Keepers and what is their mission?

August 12th, 2015 46 comments

The Oath Keepers describe themselves as a group focused on fulfilling “the oath all military and police take to ‘defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’ ”

On Monday night, protesters again gathered in the streets of Ferguson, Mo. Demonstrations in the St. Louis suburb have flared up in recent days to mark the first anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer.

Also on the scene overnight: Members of a citizen militia group known as the Oath Keepers.

The men — all of them white and heavily armed — said they were in the area to protect someone who worked for the Web site, which is affiliated with talk-radio conspiracy theorist and self-described “thought criminal against Big Brother” Alex Jones.

Reporters and Black Lives Matter activists immediately took note.

I can’t see how the presence of Oath Keepers could be helpful to this situation.  Perhaps I am wrong. I went to to see what I could find out.

Read more…

Categories: Racism/racial issues Tags:

Trump continues his unpresidential sexist rant at Megyn Kelly

August 8th, 2015 63 comments

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Friday night that Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly “had blood coming out of her eyes” when she  aggressively questioned him during Thursday’s presidential debate.

“She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions,” Trump said in a CNN interview. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever. In my opinion, she was off base.”

In Thursday’s debate, Kelly questioned Trump over his history of offensive statements about women.

Calling in to CNN for a 30-minute interview on Friday night with Don Lemon, Trump hurled insults at Kelly, calling her a “lightweight,” and bashed her co-moderators, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier, as well as other Fox talent.

“I just don’t respect her as a journalist,” Trump said of Kelly. “I have no respect for her. I don’t think she’s very good. I think she’s highly overrated.”

Trump said he is considering skipping the next debate hosted by Fox News Channel, scheduled for January in Iowa, because he believes he was treated unfairly by the network’s moderators.


Read more…

VCDL raises stink over Louisa Park sign that reads “No Weapons”

August 6th, 2015 28 comments


Gun rights activists from the Virginia Citizens Defense League have taken issue with a sign located at Louisa Town Hall Community Park that reads, “No weapons.”

Philip Van Cleave, president of VCDL, wrote in an email to Louisa Town Manager Tom Filer that the sign posted in front of the playground is not in compliance with Virginia state law.

Van Cleave cites Code section 15.2-915 which states that no local governing body can make rules concerning guns.

The sign in front of the playground at the park, Van Cleave  said, is considered an administrative action and therefore illegal.

Van Cleave argues that even if the town were to change the sign to read, “no illegal weapons,” it would still be out of compliance.

“The town certainly supports people’s Second Amendment rights,” Filer said. “We’re just trying to create a safe park.”

While the town isn’t trying to restrict firearms, a concern over illegal weapons still exists.

“What they may have been thinking of is the list of banned concealed weapons,” Van Cleave said.

Virginia state law does ban some concealed weapons in public areas including throwing stars, nun chucks, metal knuckles and blackjacks.

The word “weapons” applies to firearms as well. Even adding the word “illegal” on the sign, the town would still be making regulations that refer to firearms, in contrast to state laws.

“The sign is illegal. That’s the bottom line,” Van Cleave said.

Van Cleave should just leave it alone.   Why must everything be an issue?  So Louisa County doesn’t want weapons in its parks.  Good for them.  Maybe there has been a problem in the past.  Maybe something has gotten thrown out of court when some kids were misbehaving with what they consider toys.

With Van Cleave on the loose, I am not going to worry about taking MY issue to far.  No one is threatening his rights.

Categories: 2nd amendment/guns/weapons Tags:

August 6: 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima

August 6th, 2015 10 comments

“Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima. It is an atomic bomb. We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”

— President Harry S. Truman

America did what it thought it had to do.  It took a tremendous risk.  The devastation to a mostly civilian population was unthinkable and unspeakable.

I have often said, I have very mixed feelings about the use of the atomic bomb 70 years ago.  I expect if it hadn’t existed, I would not be here.  My father was on the west coast, probably waiting to be shipped out to mainland Japan.   On the other hand, I believe we should never use nuclear weapons on human beings again.

The Manhattan Project and all its secrets remain a fascination, even 70 years later.  How much do we not know?

The Japanese town of Nagasaki was bombed 3 days later on August 9, 1945.  Total surrender took place  about a week later.  WWII was finally over, or was it?

More reading:

An illustrated history of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings

Categories: War/Military Tags: