Sad Walk

It was raining today so I walked indoors after dinner. I walked 2.05 miles. It was sad because of yet another mass shooting. This time in Texas at a church. 26 people killed. All the politicians call for thoughts and prayers but that does nothing. We need gun control now. How many shootings will it take for the republicans to take action and fight against the NRA and change the gun laws?

Cold Walk

I got back to walking early in the morning today. I walked 3.16 miles on the track at AU. It was 48 degrees! I love the cold but it was a bit cold to be outside that long without something on my legs. I knew it would be getting cold so I got some of those runner pants to wear on these cold mornings. They worked! I wasn’t cold at all. I need to get some runner gloves next. My hands were cold.

On another note, I am just so sick of our president. When he called the woman whose husband died last week in Niger he told her he knew what he signed up for. What an asshole. He is incapable of feeling sympathy for anyone. He is absolutely a horrible person. He’s got to go!

Sunday Morning Walk

I skipped walking on Saturday to take a day off but I was back at it again this morning. I walked 2.17 miles at the track at American University. It rained a lot yesterday so the track was wet but the weather was beautiful. Here’s a shot from the campus.

On another note, I was sickened yesterday by the death and violence in Charlottesville. We have visited the town many times and my father lives there now. Trump did not denounce the violence by the white supremacists. Instead blamed “many sides” for the violence. These people are a dying breed and Trump should have called them out for what they are, terrorists. This is not the America it should be in 2017. We already fought a war against the Nazis. We shouldn’t be doing it again and not on American soil. I’m disgusted with Trump and his ilk. I stand with #charlottesville

Ferguson

I’m very discouraged by the events happening in Ferguson, Missouri. I think it’s an indication of the militarization of our local police. After 911, the government gave lots of money to local police forces to help combat terrorism (or the fear of it). Increasingly these police forces are using the tactics and equipment against it’s own citizens. The police are to protect and defend not intimidate, arrest, and kill people for little to no reason.

Yes, this boy did rob a store earlier in the day. But at the time he was shot dead he was unarmed and simply walking down the middle of the street. Is that justification for killing him? Absolutely not. I think the rioting and protests that are going on in Ferguson are justified. If the people of Ferguson don’t stand up and demand better, we are one step closer to a police state. Local police forces need to realize they are not against the people. They are against criminals and terrorists…who probably wouldn’t be anywhere near Ferguson, Missouri.

The situation in Ferguson has flip-flopped a few times now. The police say one thing and do another. Then they try to calm the nerves by joining the protests. Then they show the robbery video and try to make a connection between the robbery and the assassination of an unarmed man in the street.

And what about the people who are being arrested for simply filming the police during these interactions? That is the craziest thing. The first amendment gives people the right to film the police and their interactions in public. Courts are on the side of the person doing the filming. Several of the people arrested were reporters doing their jobs!

The killing of young, black men for no reason seems to be happening more and more. When will it stop? When will police forces learn their actual role in our local towns? I’m saddened to say I don’t see much changing in the near future. Just like mass school shootings haven’t ceased, neither will gunning down unarmed young black men.

Christmas Eve

cardinalornamentMerry Christmas eve! I love this time of the year. The holidays always put me in a good mood. And the weather is cooperating to make it feel like it’s Christmas. It was very warm over the weekend but after all day rain on Monday the temperatures dropped and today I saw a burst of snowflakes at one point. It’s breezy and cold outside. Just in time for Christmas.

Over the weekend we exchanged gifts since Warren is in New Orleans with his family. He gave me a new coat, sunglasses, an Apple gift card, a Virginia Bird Guide, and a few other stocking stuffers in my stocking. I gave him a new duffle bag, baking pans, slippers, boot socks, and a few stocking stuffers. We had a very nice gift exchange.

Tomorrow I’ll be heading to the Charlottesville area to spend the day with two of my sisters and their families and my father. I’m taking my mother with me. We started this tradition last year and we’ll probably continue doing it as long as we can. Mom and I spend the night at my sisters so we don’t have to drive so far in one day. That makes the trip more enjoyable since we can spend more time with the family. It should be fun. I’m looking forward to it.

TheBishop'sWifeChristmasInConnecticutI been watching my favorite Christmas movies while I’ve been off from work. I’ve watched The Bishop’s Wife, Christmas In Connecticut, A Christmas Carol, The Shop Around The Corner, The Man Who Came To Dinner, and Meet Me In St. Louis. My favorite is probably a toss up between The Bishop’s Wife and Christmas In Connecticut.

Even though this is a Christmas post, I did just want to mention a few news items. I know everyone is posting about and reading about the Duck Dynasty controversy. I will only chime in and say that he has a right to speak as he wishes. This is not a “right to free speech” issue. The whole duck dynasty needs to understand that consequences come with with what you say. He’s an idiot with backward thinking. That’s all I’m going to say on the subject.

The other issue I’m so pleased about is what’s happening in Utah. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby on Friday declared Utah’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional. Since then some 700 couples have been married. Of course the state lawyers are asking for a stay to holt the weddings. I think they are screwed and will not win this one and Utah will be the 18th state with marriage equality. On this topic in general, I think taking it to the courts is the best way to get marriage equality state by state and eventually the country.

Enough of all that. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Slavery Update

Bob McDonnell couldn’t take the pressure from the rest of the country and has amended his proclamation to include slavery. I don’t think it’s because he actually believes that, I think it’s because he felt the pressure from others to change his public thinking. He might not even be smart enough to know the real truth. After all, he did go to Pat Robertson’s Regent University. I’m sure they are proud of his original proclamation.

Bob, you’re a douche.

Might Be Time To Move

It might be time to seriously think about moving into DC. I only live about 7 miles away as it is now. It is now legal for men to marry men and women to marry women in Washington DC. I doubt we’ll see this happen in Virginia in my life time. How sad is that. I’m so close to progressive DC but yet my state is one of the most homophobic states in the country.

And while gay men and women lined up at the DC courthouse, Joe Lieberman introduced a bill in the senate to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. A bill has already been introduced in the House. Hopefully both will sail through quickly.

I love Virginia but hate that socially they are so backwards. I wish they’d catch up so I’d feel more comfortable in my own state.

Obama’s Religion

There was an article in the Washington Post today about President Obama and his faith or religion or according to some, lack thereof. The article upset me because we should not even be discussing someone’s faith/religion. Yes, I’m an atheist and don’t believe in god or religion. However, I do respect other’s right to worship whatever they want as long as they don’t push it on me.

I was reading the article and they were going on about the different ways Obama shows his religion….praying from time to time, having services at Camp David, etc. and I thought how stupid it was that people are reporting on this man’s religion.

The Obama’s haven’t selected a church in the DC area yet and that has all the religious right nutjobs in a tizzy. Obama appeared at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning. I know it’s been a tradition for Presidents to attend but I wish he hadn’t. It’s time to start cutting religion out of so much of the government. The nutjobs want Obama to use his religion to help him make decisions….instead of reason? Crazy, I know.

Anyway, after reading the article, I started reading the comments. I should really stop doing that. The majority of the people how leave comments are SO stupid!

I don’t think we should be bothered with Obama’s religion. That’s a private matter and we shouldn’t be concerned about his religion or lack thereof. We should leave the man and his family alone to use their religion the way they see fit…or not use it at all. Of course I prefer there be no religion at all…but that’s just me.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

So they started the discussion today about throwing out don’t ask, don’t tell. Okay, here’s what I don’t understand. If they say they want to repeal don’t ask, don’t tell why are they saying they have to do a year long study to do so? Why can’t they just say, “Starting tomorrow, we will no longer prohibit gays from serving in the military.” and be done with it? What do they have to do? It’s not like they have to change anything. All the gays will still have their jobs in the military but now they can say they are gay and not be discharged for saying so. Am I missing something or is there more to it that I’m not aware of?

I’m Just Sick

Literally and figuratively.

I woke up yesterday with my voice beginning to leave me. Today it’s just about completely gone. I don’t have any cold symptoms or anything like that. My throat is a little scratchy but I don’t feel sick. I just can’t talk. It was very difficult to teach today. I actually used my computer hooked up to the sound system in my classroom to talk to my students. I used text to speech and TextEdit to have my computer speak to my students. They loved it. I got a bit tired typing. Because of this I’ve decided to take tomorrow off and not talk to anyone. Maybe that will help. I won’t be recording a podcast either.

I’m also sick of the state of our country. Just a year after inaugurating our first African-American President and winning a majority in the senate, we aren’t much better off than we were then. Of course some things have changed for the good or are on their way to change. But I just feel that we are stagnating. Things don’t seem to be moving like they should. With the male model being elected in Massachusetts health care reform and be thrown out the window. I think something will pass but it won’t be what it really needs to be. It’s been watered down as it is now. I don’t blame this on Obama at all. It’s the screwed up workings of the congress. They simply can’t get anything done. It takes way too long and costs way too much money.

I just can’t get over some of the crap going on. The Supreme Court said today that corporations could donate as much as they want to political campaigns. That means that big business will be in control more than they have been. I wouldn’t have expected anything different from the current court makeup.

While I’m glad to see that Obama is calling for regulations on big banks, I’m scared that the cost of those regulations will be passed on to consumers. It’s guaranteed. Banks will raise fees or whatever before the legislation takes effect. Look what happened on wall street today. The market dropped 200 points.

Look at what happened with credit cards. Congress tried to change how credit card companies fee us to death so they created regulation to get some control. The legislation doesn’t go into effect until next month. What has already happened? Credit card companies have changed everyone’s interest rate to variable rates so they can get more money from us now. Have you seen any fixed rate credit cards lately? None to be found.

This country is even more polarized than it was under Bush. The haves and have nots, the republicans and the democrats, the birthers, deathers, gun rights assholes, and on and on and on. I’m just so sick of all this crap. I’m so sick of stupid people. If I thought I could do it, I’d stop following all the news. But I just can’t. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t blame any of this lack of progress on Obama. I blame it completely on the congress. I still support Obama. If he is just given time and support from the congress, things could change. We might even see some progress on gay rights.

Tax Exempt

If a church or religious organization participates in trying to change public policy shouldn’t they lose their tax exempt status? Shouldn’t the IRS crack down on the religious groups that opening campaigned against Prop 8?


Photo by David McNew-Getty Images