Yearly Archives: 2019

High Time To Impeach?

Inaug_Capitol_at_dawn2

Our Chief Executive, Donald Trump, has been under investigation, starting with the 2016 presidential campaign, when he was a candidate, for selling out the nation to the Russians to get elected.

Perhaps, in exchange, Trump was expected to ease sanctions against Russia should he get elected.

Russia’s digital black jobs and widespread high tech deceits were contrived to influence the election entirely to Trump’s benefit.

Former FBI Director Comey refused to assure Trump he was not under investigation, nor would he give Trump’s security adviser Mr. Flynn a pass for concealing talks that Flynn had about sanctions with the Russian Ambassador.

Trump fired Comey because of the Russian investigation, and said so.

After 22 months, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who picked up where Comey left off, had a lot to say about Russia’s misconduct, but reserved his most forceful analysis for 10 instances of obstruction by Mr. Trump.

Mueller wrote a road map for the U.S. Congress to consider possible impeachment.

Remember how Shakespeare wrote of a ruler’s corrupting influence on a nation state.

Hamlet said, “The time is out of joint; – O cursed spite.”

He continued, “That ever I was born to set it right!”

Our time is “out of joint” and we must very soon “set it right.” Continue reading

An American Tragedy – Donald Trump

It was about a month after Donald Trump was “elected” President by the electoral college, and not by a popular vote.

I was swimming laps at the Ida Lee pool in Leesburg, and had stopped to retrieve a kicking board from the pool deck.

Trump_king3The woman, the next swimming lane over, said, “I used to love listening to the news.”

I could think of no words to ease her dismay.

A moment passed, and she continued, “I’ve gotten rid of my TV.”

Across the nation, our friends and neighbors have found different ways to cope with a President who is a brute.

On twitter today, a friend said that she played Jimi Hendrix’s “All along the Watchtower” over and over, shouting the lyrics, “There must be some kind of way outta here” given there’s “too much confusion” and “I can’t get no relief.”

Millions deal with the psychic pain of the Trump presidency by shutting Trump out of their consciousness. Continue reading

Farms Fight to Prosper Despite Residential Development

A controversial proposed residential development model in Western Loudoun

A controversial proposed residential development model in Western Loudoun

In recent days, Chairwoman Phyllis Randal said, “The [Loudoun County] Board of Supervisors ha[s] made it a priority to preserve our farmland and support those who are putting their land to great use.”

A recent USDA report concluded that, as of 2017, Loudoun County had 1,259 farms covering 121,932 acres.

There is good and bad news in this USDA report.

The bad news is that the number of farms are shrinking and we are losing acreage.

The good news is that there is an uptick in farm income, even as there is a loss of farm acreage and despite a serious reduction in federal funds that previously supported Ag in Loudoun County.  Continue reading

WV Board of Educaton Tells Rock Wool “Not So Fast”

Rockwool_protest

The Jefferson County Board of Education (BOE) has announced its intent to seize the Ranson, WV land where the Rockwool Plant broke ground, so that it may build a student center instead; in response, Rockwool has filed a civil rights action in federal court last Friday to stop the seizure so that it may remain where it is and open shop sooner rather than later.

From Ranson, WV to Maryland to Loudoun County, citizens have been concerned about the fallout from the Rockwool plant in Ranson, WV; there are estimates that there may be as much as 392 tons of pollution headed east to Loudoun from Ranson, WV when (and if) the plant is up and running.

392 tons of pollution from WV’s Rockwool “coming our way.”

392 tons of pollution from WV’s Rockwool “coming our way.”

Continue reading

The Board of Supervisors Favors More Development Over Math and Science

A simple Algebra problem

A simple Algebra problem

I was in the Lovettsville Library the other day, looking at a 3 D pair of plastic glasses made on a state of the art printer at the Leesburg library, and a library patron asked if I’d heard that the County had killed a state of the art math and science library for the County.

It’s true, they have.

Our elected leaders almost always favor development that covers and destroys open fields and trees and wild life so developers can build more roads and small artificial parks where once were rolling fields and trees.

In this dystopic world of excess development, one tragic irony is that our Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has decided to steal funds dedicated to a science and tech library and to spend it instead on roads and parks!

Could we possibly make worse choices in this County, that passes itself off as a high tech community, and among the wealthiest in the nation, than to disfavor advancement in science and math?

America has been steadily sliding in global education rankings for decades. Continue reading

Some Questions About That Walkway in the Flood Plain

Segment of Walkway – West side of Berlin Turnpike – South of Lovettsville

Segment of Walkway – West side of Berlin Turnpike – South of Lovettsville

There have been questions about the extension of Lovettsville’s walking trail into moving waters in a flood plain, and building a walkway in that flood plain and altering the flow and direction of a watercourse.

That’s not to say there aren’t answers.

A flood plain is an area of low-lying ground adjacent to a river, formed mainly of river sediments and subject to flooding.

The trail extending south from Lovettsville has taken a path through a flood plain and running waters. Continue reading

The Irish Spirit!

Catherine McCoy and Edward Applegate, her American husband

Catherine McCoy and Edward Applegate, her American husband

The Irish found their way to America, especially in 1846 with the Potato Famine.

My maternal grandmother, Catherine McCoy, was born in Ireland on May 9, 1897 and was baptized according to the Rites of the Catholic Church in the Church of St. Patrick, Crossmaglen, in the County of Armagh.

Catherine came to America.

Even in her sixties, you were certain that Grandma Catherine must have just breezed in from Ireland the day before because, what this delicate lady described, with her slight brogue, and her blazing blue eyes, was a vivid word picture of honest hard working folk, in Irish villages and towns, helping each other and trusting in their faith to make it all right.  Continue reading

It Takes a Fool to Destroy a Tree

The Trump golf course Potomac shoreline

The Trump golf course Potomac shoreline

While Joyce Kilmer said, “only God can make a tree,” he did not consider those fools who destroy these trees with glee.

Briana N. Edelman said, “Why does everyone feel the need to cut down trees?  Trees provide shade, cooling, prevent erosion, hold sentimental and historical value, clean the air, house birds, insects, animals….among so many other things.”

Trees also produce the oxygen we breathe.  Some think that’s important.

When trees abut a stream or river, their root system holds the bank together, reducing erosion, and curtails the runoff of the killing chemicals, pesticides and herbicides, acting as a natural system of filters restraining pollutants.

But there are many who will cut down a tree without a second thought. Continue reading

A Step Forward to End LGBTQ Discrimination

Ayala Sherbow

Ayala Sherbow

Several years ago, Lovettsville’s Ayala Sherbow said she “made a commitment to [herself] and to [her] children (one of whom is gay and one of whom is transgender) to work toward tolerance and understanding.”

Ayala has been part of a coalition of parents and teachers and community leaders to make that difference in our school system where teachers must conceal who they are if LGBTQ persons and students who may be bullied for the same reason.

Ayala is the first to say that many people from Lovettsville and across the County have been pulling and pushing to favor tolerance and understanding.

At the outset of this push to recognize and protect LGBTQ teachers and students, Holly Patterson came before the School Board, waved her iPad, and said her 16-year-old transgender student tried to commit suicide, because the School Board did nothing to protect him from bullying.

The highly regarded “Journal of Adolescent Health,” after a survey of almost 32,000 students, concluded the failure to include LGBTQ persons in an anti-bullying school policy meant a 225% increase in the likelihood that they would attempt suicide.

Another study found that LGBTQ students hear derogatory slurs, on the average, 26 times a day.  Some of this happens in front of school staff who stand by doing nothing. These children therefore can’t trust the staff to protect them.

Finally, last week the Loudoun County School Board approved a new policy – in a 5 to 4 vote – to protect LGBTQ persons as follows:

“The Loudoun County School Board is committed to providing for an equitable, safe and inclusive learning and working environment.

“The Loudoun County School Board affirms a commitment to this principle for all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, age, or genetic information.

“It is the intent of the School Board of Loudoun County that every policy, practice, and procedure shall reflect this commitment. Behavior that is not unlawful may nevertheless be unacceptable for the educational environment or the workplace. Demeaning or otherwise harmful actions are prohibited, particularly if directed at personal characteristics, including, but not limited to socioeconomic level, sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Ayala said, “It’s a pretty complete victory, hard fought, and will have to be played out in policy.  But it’s a big step.”

Ayala said, “When I started to work toward this outcome, I had a transgender daughter who was in school system.  The principle that concerned us, however, remains.  What this policy does is affirm the dignity and humanity of LGBTQ persons and guarantee to them the same rights and protections as everyone else.  Without this policy, you could have been fired as a gay teacher.  There have been plenty of Loudoun students who have testified over the years who had heard homophobic statements from faculty as well as students.  Now, with this policy, you can hold people responsible and accountable for any inappropriate remarks.”

As for the objection to such a policy, Ayala said, “It’s mostly fear and misinformation.”

Dave LaRock spreads fear, misinformation

Dave LaRock spreads fear, misinformation

Among the most prominent elected official to object to this policy reform was the Delegate from the 33rd Delegate District, David LaRock.

In 2016, Mr. LaRock introduced legislation against the designation, transgender, in HB 431 and HB 397, insisting a person’s sexual designation was restricted to what a birth certificate said, and the only discrimination, including what a transgender person might suffer, could only be based on that same certificate.

Last year, Mr. LaRock said, “If you create a right for people on the basis of their sexual behaviors, then you are taking away the right of someone like me  … to say, ‘I choose not to rent the place that I have to homosexuals…”  Mr. LaRock added that he thought transgender people have a mental disorder and should not hold “role-model positions” in schools.  Mr. LaRock fears “social contagion.”

This year, anticipating the School Board’s new policy, Mr. LaRock circulated a petition against any change to what was the current policy.

Dave LaRock's petition

Dave LaRock’s petition

Ayala said, “Mr. LaRock has made no effort to hide the disdain he has for LGBTQ persons.”

Dave LaRock at the School Board meeting

Dave LaRock at the School Board meeting

On his FB page, Mr. LaRock objected that the new school policy recognizes “homosexual and transgender behavior as normal and healthy.”

Ayala said, “But it is normal and healthy for LGBTQ persons.”

Candidate Mavis Taintor, hoping to challenge Mr. LaRock in the General Election, has objected that he has “spoke[n] … gainst equity, dignity, and inclusion for all in Loudoun schools.”

Mr. Trump – His Accidencey – The Republic at Risk

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms – lost to Americans?

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms – lost to Americans?

Mr. Donald Trump is obsessed with fear of immigration in a nation of immigrants.

Mr. Trump would ban the religions he finds offensive and isolate us from the world with a wall – a symbol of his contempt and hate.

Mr. Trump calls troops to our southern border – as if we are under siege from a foreign force – when the true enemy is within and spends his days in the West Wing.

Mr. Trump suffers from a too sensitive egg-shell-thin temperament, of anorexic character, that motivates his itchy thumbs to tweet lies and slander on those who would object to his incompetent and corrupt stewardship of this still young nation.

Mr. Trump rattles sabers he’d turn on Iran, even as he threatens to withdraw from the mid-East, and, as this comment is drafted, he scurries off to embarrass our nation in another meeting with a North Korean despot who ate his lunch in their last tete a tete.

Mr. Trump is an immoral man. Continue reading