Monthly Archives: March 2013

Blood Lust

If there were no guns in the house, a drunk 16 year old would have been taken home by the Sheriff’s Department. No one would be DEAD.

The quote above, by KathleenVS, is a response to ugly comments on the shooting death of Caleb A. Gordley, a sixteen year old Park View High School junior. Her comment isn’t a debate argument. It is a fact.

The facts of the tragedy are less clear. Donald West Wilder, a Sterling Volunteer Fire Company veteran allegedly fired a warning shot, and when Caleb passed him in the stairwell and walked down the hall, Wilder “discharged his firearm several times,” shooting him in the back. Was Mr. Wilder protecting other members of the household from a youth who was so inebriated that he didn’t notice a stranger shooting at him? Sheriff Chapman confirmed that Gordley had no criminal intent when entering the home.

Continue reading


Today, realistic Republicans are secretly praying that the Supreme Court will respond to the arguments presented in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases before it with a broad ruling finding a constitutional right for all Americans to marry the person they love.

That is the only way of avoiding a foreseeable future in which Republicans will be forced to either repeatedly alienate the rapidly growing supermajority of Americans who support equality, or repeatedly betray their own aging base, that angry 36% demanding the “right” to forcibly shove society into still the coat which fitted him when a boy.

If the Court announces a sweeping ruling in June that makes marriage for all the law of the land, GOP strategists can breathe a sigh of relief – they will then be able to deflect the rage of their base toward those nine rogue “unelected judges.”

The alternative future will be a punishing series of state battles over the next four, eight, twelve years and beyond, in which they will not have the luxury of avoiding the issue, however much they might wish they could do so.

In either case, marriage equality is inevitable.

If you want your party to live, pray hard.

Just a kid!

I’m just a kid, 16 ½ years old.  The half year matters.  I’m getting older.  I play b-ball and f-ball at Park View High School and can palm a ball.  I like rap, rhyme and rhythm.  I’m kind of square.  I hang with great kids, no h8ers, and I’m blessed that they seem to like me.  My Mom and Dad are fine.  My Dad’s white and my Mom’s black.  So I’m like President Barack although I’m Caleb and my parents are race-reversed.  Like a verse I’d rehearse.  I’m a person of color but don’t feel that I’m treated differently.

We live in a nice home.  The other homes on Pullman Court are like ours – all nice – very much the same.

My friends joke I’m “black Irish” — so we’re going out tonight – to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.   It’s quiet in my house so I’m going to sneak out now, and go out with my friends.  I kind of know better.  But my parents must have done the same when they were my age.  Huck Finn did this kind of thing.  Right? Continue reading

Frank Wolf holds one-sided youth violence hearing

Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), Chair of the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee held a meeting on the National Science Foundation report: “Youth Violence: What We Need To Know” on March 19 that correlated video games with violence. No video game proponents were called to witness, and the video game industry is calling foul.

“Unfortunately Chairman Wolf is trying to make this hearing as one -sided as he possibly can. The hearing will have two panels and two witnesses – both who will present evidence that violent media has some sort of connection to real-world violent acts. Wolf is handling this hearing the way other lawmakers tried to handle SOPA and PIPA; by presenting only one perspective. Clearly there’s mountains of research that disputes Bushman’s claim that video games and other media are a bad influence on America’s youth.”

Wolf’s press release on the NSF report states that (emphasis mine):

“The research described in the NSF report supports Wolf’s belief that rampage shootings are a result of multiple factors, including access to firearms, mental health issues, and exposure to violent media, including violent video games.”

Congressman Wolf could have called the authors of Grand Theft Childhood, Drs. Cheryl K. Olson and Lawrence Kutner who have been studying the issue since 2004 after winning a $1.5M grant from George W. Bush’s Justice Department. Their research exposes many of the myths that the Wolf-funded report perpetuates.

If you have kids, ask them if they know the difference between real world tragedy, and video game violence. I bet they do.


Who Cares for the Ill in America?

I was Republican Senator Orrin Hatch’s special counsel when he was chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources; I was especially proud to hear Hatch’s statement last June commending the states to participate in the expansion of Medicaid, to cover adults earning 138 percent of the poverty level, thus providing needed health care for those who were ill who couldn’t afford to care for themselves.

An income level of 138 percent works out to about $14,856 for an individual and $30,656 for a family of four. Compare those levels to your income and expenses, and those you may know who could be helped by this legislation.

In Virginia, this provision would cover 400,000 more Virginians, create 30,000 more jobs, bring $21 billion in federal funding over several years into our state.

Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly, in neighboring Fairfax County, put it this way, if we opt in, our state shall receive “$17 in federal funds for every state dollar it spends on its Medicaid expansion program.” Continue reading

GRC vice-chair is billionaire’s lobbyist

Scott Hamberger, vice-chair of the Loudoun County Government Reform Commission “elevates” Pete Peterson’s “Campaign to Fix the Debt” in a recent LTE to the Leesburg Today. Visit and you’ll see a strange synchrony of fearmongering. All of the sudden, a bunch of grass tops groups covering a variety of demographics are informing us that “debt is bad.” And all the web sites of the collaborating groups look strangely similar. And the messaging is all the same.

That messaging reminds me of those “Car Cash” commercials. “Bring us your car title and you can drive away, smiling, with a hand full of cash.” Cash is good, and debt is bad, right?

Pete Peterson, the billionaire, who’s “mostly false” claims are parroted by Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) appears to be behind the scheme which is covered in depth in the week’s “The Nation” magazine and in a NY Times article titled “Public Goals, Private Interests in Debt Campaign“.

The Nation describes the “elevating” of the so-called debt controversy thusly:

Who does that elevating? Meet the Campaign to Fix the Debt, the billionaire-funded project that uses Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles as figureheads for a fearmongering campaign to convince Americans that the deficits the United States has run throughout its history have suddenly metastasized into “a cancer that will destroy this country from within.” It is the latest incarnation of Wall Street mogul Pete Peterson’s long campaign to get Congress and the White House to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid while providing tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.

Peterson has poured an estimated half-billion dollars into schemes so unpopular, so economically unsound and so obviously self-serving that even conservative politicians run from them, as the implosion of the Simpson-Bowles commission illustrates. So Peterson has repurposed his project into what Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) Global Economy Project director Sarah Anderson calls “a Trojan horse” for “filthy rich tax-dodging hypocrites.” With a stable of CEOs, Peterson timed the launch of this new $60 million campaign to exploit the wrangling over the fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling and the sequester. Fix the Debt has signed up prominent Democrats and Republicans as spokespeople (many of whom have undisclosed financial ties to firms that lobby on deficit-related issues) and launched “astroturf” campaigns to create the fantasy that young people and seniors are concerned enough about debts and deficits to support Peterson’s austerity agenda.


Young “Strangers” in a hostile land?

My Aunt married an immigrant from Peru who became a US Citizen by volunteering as a young man to fight for this nation in World War II.

Uncle Jack was a hard-working, tall, athletic, and distinguished looking man but his Latino accented English and facial features invited discrimination from Nativist Americans.

Jefferson wrote that “that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

About ten years later, the promise of this declaration shrunk in the context of our nation’s constitution, hollowed out by excluding coverage of “these rights” to slaves, to women and, basically, to persons without property. Continue reading

Petrochristian worldview

The photo of a Nigerian oil spill, above, comes from desmonadespair. It shows the reality of life for people who happen to live over oil fields ripe for extraction. Meanwhile, Eric Metaxas writing for BreakPoint on March 6, 2013 explains Prison Fellowship Ministries’ “worldview” product, emphasis mine. Continue reading

Theists and Atheists – an overheard Dialogue

Pastor Don Prange, St. James UCC, Lovettsville

Pastor Don Prange, St. James UCC, Lovettsville

Recently, Pastor Don Prange hosted atheists at St. James Church in Lovettsville for a dialogue with his congregation on “evolution weekend.”

You may fairly ask how one can reconcile an atheist who does not believe in God attending a church where the congregation does believe in God.

Pastor Don explained where he thought there was common ground.

He preached, “Jesus and his followers were among the first A-Theists, challenging the Theistic claims of Caesar and religious collaborators … affirming a way of life built around the principles of compassion, justice mercy and peace.”

“Collusions,” Pastor Don said, “between religious and political forces have too often created oppressive realities that abound in the world of today … sometimes contributing to a contemporary spirit of Atheism we acknowledge today.” Continue reading