There was an error in this gadget

Thursday, April 28, 2016

April 28 Link Log Part 2

Reuters/newspaper/Twitter day, getting the Portal Paper to bed, means the Link Log is long enough to split between this site and http://blogjob.com/priscillaking/2016/04/28/april-28-link-log-part-1/. Categories on the Blogjob page: Animals, Boycotts, Economy, Funny, Food, Green. Categories here: Health, Heroes, Maryland, Mental Health, Obamacare, Phenology.

Health 

Nicotine is not good for living creatures. Its basic function in nature is to be a pesticide. We all know that. However, here are three indisputable facts that support Jacob Sullum's position: (1) Vaping doesn't subject bystanders to secondhand smoke; (2) Vapors are unlikely to contain the blue mold and mold spores that are likely to infest tobacco, triggering allergy reactions to natural smoke and to buildings where tobacco has been used or stored; and (3) Vapors don't contain the carcinogen dioxin, which is released when bleached white cigarette papers are burned, and which has been pinpointed as the real reason why cigarette smoking is more associated with cancer than pipe or cigar smoking. So, for smokers who can't afford to go into a nic fit while working or driving, an "e-cig" is a nice thing to have on hand.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2016/04/28/royal-college-of-physicians-says-e-cigarettes-can-prevent-almost-all-the-harm-from-smoking/#2626e5101f46

Here's the (short) sequel to The Poisoning of Michigan, an incident I've actually heard expatriate Michiganians cite as a possible explanation for the brain-damaged behavior of some former neighbors they'd left behind...that city manager in Flint comes to mind now...

http://michiganradio.org/post/michiganders-still-have-elevated-pbb-levels-their-bodies-40-years-after-chemical-accident#stream/0



Heroes 

By way of explanation of one of my tweets...Far below the one to which I responded, in my increasingly crowded Twitter feed, was a tweet that basically said "Thanks but y'know my son the U.S. Marine doesn't like being called a hero." Which is typical. I can call George Peters and Shalecka Boone out as heroes (for overcoming disabilities and doing good things in our community) because they're dead; I wouldn't daaare mention the names of other people who've qualified for total-disability pensions and worked their way off again. And law enforcement? Hello, they're the community who taught me about never letting a real name or photo be published. #ThinBlueLine

http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/04/26/michigan-police-officer-bought-struggling-father-a-car-seat-instead-of-writing-him-ticket/

Maryland 

Stay leafy, Gorgeous Prince Georges County! Not everyone (of any race) wants an "urban" atmosphere. I missed living in Takoma Park at first, and never gave up shopping in Bethesda...but over the years Hyattsville became truly a nicer place in every way. (Majority Black, yes, but fully integrated, and most people got along just fine.) Crowding makes people crazy, especially when they drive.

http://www.washingtonian.com/2016/04/28/prince-georges-county-just-isnt-that-into-urbanism/?platform=hootsuite

Mental Health 

For those who feel phobic about sharing their cars, car pools, houses, etc...

http://www.itsjustlife.me/the-stranger-in-my-recliner-review-and-giveaway/

Obamacare 

I don't like to open The Blaze from this computer, but Jon Street sucked me in with this headline.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/04/28/dramatic-premium-hikes-expected-under-obamacare-virginia-residents-could-see-increase-of-up-to-37-1-percent/?

Not exactly a surprise:

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-04-27/survey-shows-surge-in-disapproval-of-obamacare

Phenology Link

Scott County, Virginia, sometimes shares D.C. weather patterns, sometimes not. This year we shared the "slow spring season" pattern, which is why, if you're actually allergic to pollen, it's been a great year. (If you're allergic to glyphosate, God have mercy on you--and me.)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/04/28/peak-tree-pollen-levels-were-surprisingly-low-this-spring-heres-why/

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 27 Link Log

It's the Google blog feed and Google + day! Categories: Animals, Books, Money, Movie, Nature, Recipes, Women, Writing.

Animals

Will P.E.T.A. lunatics want to "liberate" your household pets from the misery of being part of your human family? Of course they will...if they're given a chance to babble about it. They appeal to clueless kids' love of animals, but the leaders of P.E.T.A., like those in H.S.U.S., don't actually like animals and are really more interested in establishing more bureaucratic tyranny over private individuals.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/04/26/well-known-zookeeper-jack-hanna-animal-rights-activists-could-be-coming-for-your-pets-next/

If you don't like pennyroyal, or don't like its "birth control benefits" for yourself or your pet, here's another way to repel fleas that may be healthier than chemicals. (It works on both dog and cat fleas, but it does not work fast enough if a real infestation has developed. If you want to use brewers yeast, start before the weather gets warmer.)

http://everythingsusanandmore.blogspot.ca/2013/05/brewers-yeast-natural-flea-protection.html

Books

New books by "Joe Hill," Louise Erdrich, Tim McGraw, more:

http://booktrib.com/2016/04/the-top-10-may-books-we-cant-wait-to-get-our-hands-on/

Long overdue, and frankly not much fun to write...I had her blessing, years ago, to write the pre-funeral "tribute" part of it as a novel. Part of the angst of writing this memorial piece was the fact that I never finished or published the novel. It had good bits, but I'm a slow writer and kept wanting to revise and update it...

http://blogjob.com/priscillaking/2016/04/27/remembering-suzette-haden-elgin-many-book-links/




(Not the latest GAVSD book, but the most complete...if you've read the others and need only short summaries of the techniques discussed at length in them. The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense was the first book that introduced and named the GAVSD system; You Can't Say That to Me was the one written as a "first book" on GAVSD with reader feedback.)

Crafts 

The yo-yo toy came after the yo-yo patchwork fad, shown here:

http://marshasspot.blogspot.com/2016/04/wip-wednesday-all-about-yo-yos.html

Funny

And people trust those who work at this company to make decisions about their medical care... (obnoxious ad cookies alert)

http://naughtybeyotch.com/an-actual-health-insurance-question/

This one is just for Grandma Bonnie Peters, who hates those traffic "roundabouts" in Kingsport.

http://edandednastories.blogspot.com/2016/04/traffic-circle.html

Movie 

Correspondents in Fauquier County e-mailed me about showtimes for this new documentary movie there. Good news--it's showing in Bristol on the second of May. Local readers are hereby invited to invite me to join any car pool that may have room for one more. Nonlocal readers can look up showtimes and locations in their State at http://www.climatehustlemovie.com/#showtimes .

CINEMARK TINSELTOWN USA

Bristol, Virginia

3004 Linden Drive, Bristol, VA 24202 US

(276) 669-2091

Money

First the apology: Though Forbes is a respectable magazine, forbes.com is a nasty web site, with lots of clutter and cookies and blatant invasions of privacy--in order to post comments from Google + users, they demand to be allowed to "manage the contacts" of those users! !!!!!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2016/04/24/bernie-sanders-just-doesnt-seem-to-understand-what-poverty-really-is/#7b9d19ac5d4d

(Their "top comment" absolutely begs for a reply, and I know of no blogger who's better qualified than I am to write that reply--but, probably because the site's programmed to go into Snit Mode when denied permission to fill readers' e-mail with spam, the site's not posting the following comment:

"@Paul Mawer, I'm an independent writer. Last year I earned $1855 before deductions. Do I eat regularly or well? Can I afford to make badly needed repairs to my home? Of course not. But I have a home. And nice clothes. And (not nearly enough!) people who pay me for honest work. And although I would and do prefer being hungry to being an able-bodied welfare cheat, I also have a country that funds SSI pensions for those who need them (and for too many people who don't). So, yes, I consider myself better off than a beggar in Calcutta.
Then again...pen friends in Zambia would consider themselves lucky if they got up to $1855 for a year. They can't afford to pay cash for anything. They grow their own food on the riverbank or catch it in the river. They build their own houses. They seem to be, and feel themselves to be, much, much better off than a street hustler in Lusaka--or along Baltimore's Mile of Shame on Route 1 for that matter.
So, maybe there's some relativity about poverty in any country. All I can say for sure is, I'd rather be who I am, where I am, than go and live like those pen friends in Zambia." )

Nature

(What's the difference between Nature and Phenology? Phenology posts are dated, so they can be scientifically studied. Nature posts are just general information or, as in these cases, pretty pictures. Spring is inspiring a lot of people to share those.)

http://themarthareview.com/w-is-for-water/

http://www.itsjustlife.me/waterfall-wednesday-moore-cove-falls/

http://blogjob.com/mountainmanmusings/2016/04/16/beautiful-and-fascinating-rainbows/

http://kasmansbonniescotland.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-legend-of-mccooks-cottage-this-is.html

http://lighting-candles.blogspot.com/2016/04/vetch-runs-wild.html (if you have time to scroll through lots of pretty pictures, check out her ABC of plant posts!)

Photo essay on loneliness:

http://thevagabondtabby.tumblr.com/post/143457261578/razorshapes-rob-hann-deserted-states-of

Recipes

Authentic tabouleh (everybody spells this word a different way) is made from wheat, but if you have good fresh veg, it works just as well with rice. Few people will even notice which one you've used.

http://blogjob.com/24carrotdiet/tabouleh-recipe

Hmm. I, frankly, can't edit these veggie burgers into anything I could use...although, as mentioned in my comment, my cats would like them! But if you can eat wheat and cheese and would like a cheap and simple (lacto-)vegetarian veggie burger for lunch, you might consider these the cat's meow.

http://www.mochasmysteriesmeows.com/2016/04/shopping-with-mudpie.html

This one is not a recipe so much as a confession. I did this kind of thing in my twenties, when I ate wheat. I've done similar things, modified to use rice or rice-based pasta, as an adult. (Instead of cheese, I'd add a congenial vegetable, and/or substitute different vegetables for the tomato sauce. Then I eat the veg, most of the rice, and as much of whatever cheap chicken or turkey product I used as I feel like eating after the veg, and the cats get most of the meat and usually a bit of rice...and because it's human food, they love it. Sharing food is the basic inter-species bonding ritual.)

http://foodiequeenbii.blogspot.com/2016/04/diy-hot-dog-spaghetti-date-3.html

Women

Just sayin'...

http://themillionhair.tumblr.com/post/143477284224/im-sure-someone-has-said-it-already-but-have-you

Writing

Some good points to consider here:

http://blogjob.com/angelsfear/writing-job-offer

Anyone who's read some of the grotesqueries that were posted on Bubblews by people using translation software can relate to this writer's need to be extremely careful...but...

http://blogjob.com/kidsparent/son-uses-google-translate-for-homework/

(Btw, if you're bilingual and want a real hoot, I suspect that reading the French or Russian edition of this blog would provide one. I didn't ask to be automatically translated into those languages and can neither turn off nor edit priscillaking.blogspot.fr and priscillaking.blogspot.ru . I'm fairly sure both blogs "read" as preposterous as some of those computer-translated Bubbles from Thailand...)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 26 Link Log

I've been digging diligently, and could undoubtedly find even more and better links if I stayed at the computer center for another three hours. Y'know what? I'm not going to. Because, guess what day it is? Tuesday--"Tortie Tuesday" in the cat-blog world. And guess who's eating for nine (four of her own kittens and four of her sister's), and didn't have a decent breakfast this morning, or dinner last night, because her pathetic old human had trusted a certain pathetic old relative of mine to deliver kibble? Heather (and Irene, who are rearing their kittens communally again, even though Irene's are two weeks older) want their dinner now. Categories: Books, Cat Pictures, Cybersecurity, Gardening, Health, Money, Phenology Links, Politics, Portal Paper, Recipes, Road Rage.

Books 

For those who can sit through a two-hour video, this web site must salute this Swedish video tribute to Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations.

(temporary link)

If you can't sit through a two-hour video, which I can't, here's the modern-day, snarky-funny book tribute to Smith and his book. Click on the "copyrighted" image to buy it from the seller who posted it, or e-mail salolianigodagewi @ yahoo if you'd like to buy it from me as a Fair Trade Book--I've not got around to posting the review yet, but I own a copy and would be delighted to sell you a copy. (This one is especially recommended to +Andria Perry and other Laura Ingraham fans.)



And why not a little shameless self-promotion? Yes, I've posted some more book reviews, since I've been online anyway...

http://blogjob.com/priscillaking/2016/04/26/book-review-been-clever-forever/

http://blogjob.com/priscillaking/2016/04/22/book-review-jubilee/

I wrote a review of a French picture book by "Moka." I had no idea how obscure a book from 1993 could have become. Before posting a book review online I try to find out whether the author is alive and/or active in cyberspace. The author known as Moka has a charming web site, in French, where you can see lots of other books...but not the one I have! If you're interested in easy books in French, check her out:

http://www.moka-murail.com/

John Grisham announces another "Kid Lawyer" novel:

(another long clunky link that might mess up your screen here)

Cat Pictures 

Now Ivy, the calico aunt-brought-up-as-a-sister with the resident adult cats, loved to pose for photos. Ivy was the communicator. She had some idea of what I was doing, when I whipped out the cell phone to take the cats' pictures, and she would strike adorable poses on cue. Heather and Irene are less enthusiastic about being photographed. In this (old) picture, Heather was sulking because I'd photographed (and stroked) Ivy first, but she's not struck a cuter pose since. Anyway, she's the type of three-colored cat who can be called a "tortie," at least above--the clear white spots seldom show.



Irene doesn't go in for sulking. Irene is, basically, a very sweet, lovable, homebody cat--brighter than most, but not on the same level at which Heather is and Ivy was intelligent.



All cat lovers should understand, just from looking at these images of the two mother cats, that the Cat Sanctuary is a site of unbearable cuteness, purr-ness, and cat love now. As in previous seasons, right after the kittens are born Heather and Irene co-mother, often curling up around the kittens together in a full circle. As the kittens started eating solid food, last year and the year before, Heather stopped nursing early in order to hunt and teach the kittens to hunt; Irene continued lactating for the full six months, and at least one other Social Cat induced lactation. In this cat family all kittens are communally brought up by all adult and adolescent female cats. (Males? Well, Mackerel was an involved father and devoted uncle...Mackerel was also the first to tell me that some other young male cats in this family didn't need to be around kittens.)

Cybersecurity 

Looks like Twitter's getting it right! I wasn't thrilled by the smarmy, patronizing tone of the e-mail header (something like "Priscilla, learn more about how we keep you safe"--uuurrrgggghhh) but I do recommend checking out these three little buttons. I don't mind seeing the obnoxious flames ("Idiots who support this should be...") some people seem to like exchanging, and do mind having my Twitter feed clogged with retweets from The Spoiler Candidate Who Shouldn't Be Elected Street Sweeper, so the difference between muting, blocking, and reporting other Twits is worth reading about.

https://about.twitter.com/safety/three-tools-to-stay-safe

Gardening 

Whatever you've got, whatever you want, whatever may be in the way...don't poison your garden.

http://responsibletechnology.org/americas-favorite-poison/

Some of the "pesticides" affect different humans and animals in different ways. The position of this web site is, however, that even if it could be proved that a "pesticide" would have no effect whatsoever on you, poisoning your garden would still be a bad idea...because it starts a Vicious Poison Cycle in which you wipe out the nuisance species' natural predators and thus have even more pests whenever your pest species' next generation appears. Monsanto's glyphosate brew, trademarked as Roundup, happens to be an especially popular poison and also one that has especially obvious, disgusting effects on me. Monsanto happens to be an especially evil corporation with a long, long history of despicable policies and products. This in no way means that Raid is good because it comes from Johnson instead of Monsanto. I don't have drastic reactions to airborne traces of Raid, myself; that doesn't mean that other people don't have, nor does it mean that the toxins that slip past our "allergy" reactions aren't the ones that give us cancer...but, looking out strictly for yourself--the more Raid you spray, the more flies and roaches you have.

Fair disclosure: this site is affiliated with (some of my favorite individual) left-wingers who don't like any big corporation. More fair disclosure: sometimes the Left happen to be right, and this is one of the times. These links are recommended because each one offers dozens of scientific references. Check'em out.

http://responsibletechnology.org/references-part-1/
http://responsibletechnology.org/the-great-gmo-cover-up-part-2/

(More self-promotion: Local readers, if you need to get rid of pests in a Green way, call me. I grew up with all the no-poison tricks and can show you how to banish "German" cockroaches from a trailer in a trailer park. I also dig poison ivy, relocate wasps, and can do a lot about corn earworms and bean beetles during the years it takes a garden to recover from having been sprayed for them.)

Health 

What's a "McDougall Intensive"? Follow this temporary link to find out. It's just three days at a $200-a-day resort in California, with less time for swimming and tennis, and more time for lectures on how to go vegan, and first-rate vegan food. If anybody out there wants to go to California for a weekend, as spa weekends in California go this one is indeed a bargain. Stay another day and find out--on either coast in the U.S. lots of places that have only your basic air-temperature pool and tennis court charge $200 and don't even include food, or only a pathetic all-simple-carbs "continental breakfast." Three days isn't enough to complete the transition to a radically different diet plan, but the thing about "McDougalling" is that the diet includes enough complex carbs and snacks that most people don't feel the transition.

http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=5e58f59d97611f910916b6276&id=617c5ece21&e=4d57a9fdfb

Money 

This blogger is so right. I'm sure some local readers are wondering...I didn't spend money extravagantly when I was earning it. I even saved some, although inflation is a huge deterrent to the idea of saving a lot of money. Thanks to frugal Green parents having taught me how, I invested relatively little money in good bargains that would last (and have lasted) many years. I wasted a lot on renting (rather than either working-for-rent or living in my own home) and maintaining a car...because as far as I'm concerned all money spent to pay rent or maintain a car is wasted...but not for long. I gave quite a lot of money to people and causes, which, most of the time, I don't regret. And I lived on what I'd earned for a while after earning it.

http://blogjob.com/monsterjar03/2016/04/26/financially-ignorant-people/

Phenology Link

Rose in full bloom in Alabama, 4/25/16.

http://blogjob.com/greatamericandream/2016/04/25/great-american-dream-memories-left-behind/

Politics 

The fundamental organizing idea of left-wing politics is that everybody is stupid. How many people do you believe are as stupid as they think you are? Personally, I think the number of people who really need a government agency to monitor all their monetary transactions, tell them what their friends should look like, remind them to wear seat belts, etc., is small enough that it would be cheaper to lock up those individuals than to maintain the government agency to supervise them.

https://www.zeroaggressionproject.org/mental-lever/youre-too-stupid/

Stupidity is...not reconsidering ideas that appealed to you when you were fifteen years old, after you're fifty years old. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have never made any secret of their "story." They wanted to be good hippie-socialists in the 1960s, but they needed some money and just happened to have some good recipes and cute brand names for ice cream, and since it happened to be the 1980s, they got rich. So far, we have a story everyone would like to be able to relate to even better than we already do. And the "Bernie's Yearning" novelty ice cream was such a clever party idea. And there's that home state appeal...any viable candidate for national office, e.g. Mike Huckabee, e.g. Jeb Bush, aaaalways gets lots of support from the home state, just for Being Their Own. Bernie Sanders is from Vermont, therefore Ben & Jerry owed him a scoop of homeboy loyalty. Still and all...beyond the clever cooking ideas, giving actual money to Bernie Sanders?

http://www.freedomworks.org/content/two-scoops-hypocrisy

http://reason.com/archives/2016/04/26/forget-denmark-venezuela-is-the-real-cul

Nobody gets nominated without being likeable, but here's widely liked Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH-4) on the need for our national economic thinking to get real. Well put, Sir. (As the photo makes clear, he's not closely related to former Headmaster James Jordan at the Gate City Christian School; he writes like a "Sir" anyway.) Take it from a penniless widow: given the choice, poor Americans would rather have opportunities than handouts. Not all poor Americans have the choice, or realize that they have it if they do. I happen to be one of those who do have the choice, and I say stick the welfare cards where they'll do the most good and give me honest payment for what I do.

http://limaohio.com/news/177119/jim-jordan-column-fiscal-discipline-cant-wait

Portal Paper 

Here, for historical interest, is the Portal Paper Q&A sheet reflecting the first week's questions. It's "Part 1" because additional questions will be answered later.

http://blogjob.com/priscillaking/2016/04/26/portal-paper-qa-part-1/

Recipes 

If you have a raised bed in which to raise asparagus...once it's been started the trick really is to wait long enough to cook it. People who've only ever eaten canned asparagus, or stale asparagus that's been wilting in its own juice in the supermarket, can't be expected to understand why it's such a delicacy. Asparagus is a delicacy when it's fresh and crisp out of the garden. You have to remind four-year-olds to wash it before eating it. For most of the year, asparagus is only available in frozen form, which is less thrilling--but highly compatible with rice, with (turkey) bacon or other MSG-seasoned meat, or with other stir-fried veg and/or more natural forms of meat. Frozen asparagus makes excellent stir-fries. That's why it's found in some manufacturers' prepackaged "Deluxe Stir-Fry Mix."

http://blogjob.com/mykitchenandi/2016/04/25/stir-fried-asparagus-with-kangkong-and-bacon/

I don't eat shrimp, crab, or ham; no problem, this jambalaya recipe would work with chicken only. But I had to mention...y'know what I like to substitute for shrimp in some mixed dishes? Cashews (roasted, of course, never raw). I tried this as a visual joke once and, what d'you know, quite a few people like cashews better than shrimp in stir-fries (either with chicken, or vegan), in rice dishes, or in tomato dishes.

http://blogjob.com/frugalfoodie/2016/04/26/easy-jambalaya/

Road Rage 

Bicyclists feel it too, toward motorized road hogs. We could all use more of this cyclist's attitude...actually, we could use a law to the effect that, if a motor vehicle collides with any non-motor vehicle or pedestrian, the driver is banned from driving for life.

http://blogjob.com/randomizer/2016/04/26/what-an-attitude-sirji/

(I'm curious. Does "Sir Ji" make sense to U.S. readers?)

Robert Hurt on Peace Through Strength

From U.S. Representative Robert Hurt (R-VA-5):

"
Developments on the world stage in recent weeks have yet again demonstrated that President Obama's foreign policy fails to address the threats facing the United States and our allies. We live in a dangerous world, yet our failure to lead on the world’s stage emboldens aggressors who seek power at the expense of innocents. This unchecked aggression generates instability and exacerbates turmoil in places already embroiled in conflict.
Time and time again, the Obama Administration has been far too trusting in those who seek power through aggression. In recent months, much of our attention has focused on the Islamic State and radical Islamic terrorists, yet other threats persist and grow around the world and thanks to the accommodative approach of this administration. It is unrealistic to expect that power-hungry leaders with dubious track records will be honest brokers in high-stakes negotiations that implicate the safety of both our country and our allies.
Take Iran for example; emboldened and reinvigorated by the short-sighted nuclear deal with the U.S. and key allies, Iran has been testing ballistic missiles in direct defiance of that agreement. The Obama Administration does little to hold the rogue nation accountable to the terms of the deal, jeopardizing the safety of our allies in the region and souring our relations. This week, President Obama met with King Salman of Saudi Arabia in an effort to reassure a key ally that this deal with Iran is not detrimental to their country and the region. Saudi Arabia has vehemently opposed the Iran nuclear deal and has a bird's eye view of the regime's ambitions in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is a vitally important partner in the fight against ISIS, yet the Iran nuclear deal has proven to be a source of great contention for us in the region, weakening ties with very important allies in the effort to combat Islamic extremism.
Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have also continued to ramp up as Russia has begun to boost its submarine fleet near levels reached during the Cold War. And Russian jets flew incredibly close to a U.S. Naval vessel and an American reconnaissance aircraft - acts of extreme provocation. While we are unsure what exactly is motivating these actions, given Russia's aggressive posturing in Syria and their broadsides against the Ukraine, it is likely that these actions signal increased efforts to fill the void in the world left by our decreased presence on the world stage in hopes of expanding their influence. Wagging a finger and lecturing a strongman like Vladimir Putin will not deter these hostile activities; more must be done to deter such aggression.
With tensions mounting around the globe, the Obama Administration continues to insist on a foreign policy based on peace through accommodation in the face of unacceptable behavior and very real threats. It is high time we stand up and acknowledge these threats which are degrading the safety and stability of our country, work with our allies, and rebuild our standing in the world.
Issues of national security are too important to leave to idealism and wishful thinking. We must remain vigilant and resolute in keeping nation and allies safe. I will continue to advocate for a foreign policy that promotes peace through strength. Under Article One of the Constitution, Congress has no greater responsibility than to provide for the defense of our great country. In the House, national security remains a top priority, and I urge our colleagues in the Senate and the President to join us in this vital effort.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.
I met with Bill Hughes, the Commander of Scottsville’s Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Local Marine Corp League, at Charlottesville’s Dogwood Vietnam Memorial’s 50th Rededication Ceremony.
At Charlottesville’s Dogwood Vietnam Memorials 50th Rededication Ceremony, I spoke with Former Albemarle Supervisor Rodney Thomas and Colonel Jim O’Kelly.
Sincerely,
" [signature graphic: Robert Hurt]

Monday, April 25, 2016

Morgan Griffith on Puerto Rico

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"
Puerto Rico
Among the issues being debated in Washington is the situation in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico – which is a territory of the United States – has more than $118 billion in debt in the form of bonds and unfunded pension liabilities. Puerto Rico has already defaulted on portions of its debt, and also has not produced audited financial statements for two years.
Puerto Rico can’t seek bankruptcy protection. If it were a separate country, it could go to the International Monetary Fund for help. But it’s not a separate country. If it were a county or city in one of the 50 states, it could seek a special type of bankruptcy. But it is not a part of any of the states.
It would take another column to discuss whether Puerto Rico ought to be a state of the United States, an independent country, or remain a territory. But for now, it is a territory of the U.S. and therefore it is a responsibility of the U.S. government.
In the 1950s, Puerto Rico was granted the authority to have its own legislature and make decisions for themselves. Apparently they didn’t do well.
Discussions in D.C. indicate Puerto Rico created too many programs like the social democratic governments of Europe, and ran the ship of state onto the rocky shores of debt and despair.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board said, “In a better world, Puerto Rico’s 18 public debt issuers, 20 some creditor committees and government unions would agree to a restructuring without federal intervention. But creditors possess competing claims, bond covenants conflict, and public agencies have intermingled funds. And Puerto Rico appears unwilling to act in good faith when left to its own devices.”
Decades of fiscal mismanagement and inappropriate policies got Puerto Rico into this mess. And while there appears to be no simple solution to get Puerto Rico out of risk of default and its economy out of a tailspin, action must be taken.
I strongly believe that action must not be a bailout by the taxpayers of the 50 states.
Members of the House Committee on Natural Resources (which has jurisdiction over U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico) have held several hearings to address this crisis. After listening to stakeholder input, they have proposed legislation (H.R. 4900) that protects American taxpayers and contains a supervisory board and a restructuring process.
Borrowing from a Washington Post summary of the bill, H.R. 4900 would propose a way for Puerto Rico to “…restructure its obligations in cooperation with creditors and, crucially, with diminished opportunities for a minority of ‘holdouts’ to block agreements satisfactory to most.” Additionally, the bill would establish a supervisory board that “…includes a number of provisions that respect and protect the legitimate prerogatives of the island’s legislature and governor, while ensuring that they would not be able to prevent necessary fiscal reforms imposed by the board. Importantly, the bill would present Puerto Rico with a tough but realistic goal — four straight years of balanced budgets…” and it would no longer have a supervisory board.
Though negotiations are ongoing, as it stands, there are two main arguments against the bill.
The first is that this situation is Puerto Rico’s problem. Again, I don’t believe that’s right. I am not certain the proposal from Natural Resources is the right thing to do. But I am certain that Congress doing nothing would be the wrong thing.
The second argument involves the impact this may have on state-issued debt. Some argue that anything close to bankruptcy may cause destabilization of the bond market for states and municipalities. This is a debatable but legitimate concern we are working on.
As I said before and as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently said, “There will be no taxpayer bailout.” He continued, “That is our primary responsibility—to protect the American taxpayer and to help bring order to the chaos that will befall Puerto Rico if the status quo continues in the direction that it’s going.”
Grover Norquist, the president of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform, recently said about H.R. 4900, “My sense is that the House is on track, in the right direction.” He also said, “My understanding is that there’s no federal dollars flowing as part of this.”
The discussion and work on improving the bill is ongoing. I encourage you to continue following this issue.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.
"

Friday, April 22, 2016

April 22 Link Log

Categories: Animals, Crafts, History, Nature, Nice, Weird...

Animals

Animals who deserve better treatment than they get...I have to admit that not every baby chicken inspires that "Keep-Peep" reaction in me either. Chickens have a range of personality traits as wide as their range of sizes, shapes, and colors. Some are clever, cute, friendly pets. Some are vicious little "creeps" that will eat their siblings alive if not stopped. "Easter chicks" can be a horrible present! But even if you find yourself hating a chicken, there's no excuse for cruelty to chickens, as described below. If you can't live with a chicken until it's big enough to eat, give it to someone who can.

http://blogjob.com/pets/2016/04/abusing-pets-as-toys/

Crafts

I sort of prefer "wall jewelry" to wearable jewelry. For one thing it's easier for people to admire a pretty arrangement of rocks, metal, shells, feathers, etc., on the wall without being accused of staring at a woman's body. Then I remember a Seventh-Day Adventist teacher, one who'd grown up in the days when all new members joining that church always sold their jewelry, saying "Stones are beautiful, and if you take the trouble to polish one you should display it in a case, not around your child's neck!" "Junk" jewelry can be great fun to play with and very decorative on a wall, shelf, or table. Nobody's going to steal it, so why not let everybody enjoy staring, fingering, and rearranging?

http://thevagabondtabby.tumblr.com/post/143187261477/time-to-lay-out-some-wall-jewelry-been-too-long

History

Dan Lewis shares the sad story of the place for which McLean, Virginia (a.k.a. Yuppie City) was named:

http://nowiknow.com/mcleaned-him-out/

Nature

Long, but interesting, interview with author Robin Kimmerer. Louise Erdrich's fans will recognize the sound of her Potawatomi vocabulary words--another Algonquin language, closely related to Ojibwa. (The Cherokee language, which I've studied a bit but don't speak, is not so closely related to either, but it shares the feature Kimmerer discusses at length: instead of masculine-or-feminine, words are classified as living-or-inanimate. Cherokee also shares the word Ani- meaning "people.") I've never felt a need to refer to a tree as "ki" rather than "it" to remind myself that a tree is alive...but have you? (If a critical number of readers have that need, I'll start.)

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1270/the-intelligence-in-all-kinds-of-life-krista-tippett/

Pretty roses...in the Deep South, and in greenhouses, roses are blooming today. (In Virginia, native dogwoods and redbuds have passed their peak, but fancy cultivated varieties are still blooming. Roses will be next month's news.)

http://themarthareview.com/r-is-for-roses/

Here's a typical April scene from Alabama. In Virginia, new, young, yellow-green leaves are still just starting to unfurl, so bands of chartreuse lace are slowly climbing up the sides of the Blue Ridge Mountains. By Monday everything should be green here, too, the way it is down in the Heart of Dixie...

http://blogjob.com/gettingoffthegrid/2016/04/22/planting-the-vegetable-garden/

Niceness

If your browser is up for a lot of goofy graphics, Tim Urban has a wacky, chortle-inducing, take on the general idea of enjoying quality time with the people you love, now, while they're nearby. (Thanks to Dan Lewis for the introduction, although I don't think my main computer can handle much of TU's blog.)

http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html

Weird

Spoiler is obviously not in touch with any of my correspondents. (Personally, I remember a precious metals dealer who used to offer "Silver Jackson" coins--priced at $20 at the time--and think a big, heavy silver-plated $20 coin might be an appropriate memorial to Andrew Jackson. Few people would actually use it, but nobody could complain about its being "ironic." Its base could actually be iron.)

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/04/21/trump-argues-for-a-bill-of-another-denomination-featuring-harriet-tubman-i-think-it-would-be-more-appropriate/?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

April 21 Link Log

An historic day for this web site, Gentle Readers: this is the day the Links Get Real. Tomorrow morning, I plan to distribute the first few printed editions of the Blog'Zine, just for the friends who wail "I don't read your blog because I don't use the Internet, and/or don't have online time, and/or can't read articles on computer screens." Although their goal is to grow into an ad-funded free paper similar to our late lamented Daily News (the printed newspaper that failed to hire me for discriminatory reasons and died two years later), this week's edition of my newsletter will cost $1. It will be a (sort of pathetic) four-page mock-up containing links and one-line summaries of the most interesting stories that were linked at my sites and not (yet) printed in the other local newspapers. (For an extra dollar to cover printing costs, supporters may order printouts of the full text of an article.) If it attracts ads, it will become available through the mail as a newsletter and then, if all goes well, become available free of charge at local stores, as the Daily News used to be. The newsletter's official name is Portal Paper, as in Priscilla's Internet Portal, the official name of my business.

Y'know, if my old school friends at the IRS are reading this...I hesitated to mail in this year's tax forms because an annual income before any deductions of $1855 is such a pitiful waste of yourall's time. Tax-funded IRS time, I mean to say. I did not go to the trouble of setting up a business account with you in order to continue wasting your time. The Internet Portal is a real business; I intend it to grow.

For those wondering how the Links are selected for the printed edition...interest in headline news is part of it. Also, freshness: I assume that real-world readers already read the Kingsport Times-News, Bristol Herald-Courier, and Virginia Star, so the Portal Paper won't use links to stories that report the same facts reported in those newspapers. (This week, a Tweep (people-one-sort-of-knows = Peeps; Twitter Peeps = Tweeps) shared one story that's also mentioned in the other papers, but my Tweep's version reports a lot of additional facts the other papers don't mention.) Finally, I'll feature one "feature story" link per standard "feature story" category until such time as the Portal Paper gets big enough to include more.

Now, today's links:

Animals 

Valentino the handsome hound goes politically incorrect...

http://www.dogpawsitivetidbits.com/2016/04/on-right-track-naturally.html

(Yesterday's idiot local gossip story has it that while offline, I've been hanging out on the river, fishing, with a hound dog and a fellow called "John." The person reporting the story wasn't sure whether that might be "John Jordan," which I hear as a garbled version of the name of a relative I've not seen in years, or "John Henry," the real given name of a senile admirer who died a few years back, or any of several hundred other men I may or may not ever have heard of. There is no way to confuse JJ, age 30, with JH, age 95. In any case, I've not been fishing, I've not been on the river, and I've not been hanging out with men. I've been at home. Cleaning up the fire damage that it's been too cold and dark to clean up all winter, and nibbling on the "weeds" in the garden. If anyone had cared to take a close look they could've seen the grass stains, smelled the definitely-not-cigarette-type smoke, and maybe even choked on the fumes from the garbage I've burned in a barrel. Peace and blessings to "John," if that's his name, and his black-haired fishing buddy, whoever she may be, and their dog, whoever it may be. Seeing Valentino on +Ruth Cox 's blog is as close as I've been to a hound dog this spring...I did see Sydney, back in March.

http://blogjob.com/disrespectfulpeople/2016/04/20/trouble-makers-of-the-world/)

The human shown here sounds about intelligent enough to listen to the local gossip about me rather than reading the Straight Dope on my web sites...

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/04/20/is-she-stupid-woman-caught-on-camera-petting-yellowstone-animal-few-would-ever-dare-approach/?

Baby lemurs...thanks to "Social In Chesapeake" for retweeting:

http://www.techinsider.io/baby-lemurs-at-bronx-zoo-2016-4

Art 

Thanks to Billy Hallowell for the link to Charlie Mackesy's Christian content. This is a link to his artwork; if you've not discovered his sculptures, paintings, photos etc., you'll want to. His (brief, pleasantly modest) testimony is under the "About" button.

http://charliemackesy.com/

Books 

Wendy Welch's review of a novel I've not read is...short. Recommended partly because I think her judgment is usually reliable, partly for the line-up of nonfiction books I also recommend (having read them and liked them) in the sidebar.

https://wendywelchbigstonegap.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/the-monday-book-calling-me-home-by-julie-kibler/

I'm not so sure about these book swappers' judgment on their novels, but they seem to be having fun and, now that the Wordpress issues seem to have settled down for me, this is a nice blog to follow. They pledge money to charity based on (legitimate, not spammy) comments.

http://www.itsjustlife.me/chaotic-goddess-book-swap-reveal/

Firearms Rights 

Are opponents of firearms rights the best friends the firearms industry ever had?

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/04/20/report-the-gun-industry-has-ballooned-under-obama-added-more-than-100000-gun-related-jobs-during-his-presidency/

Funny, Ha Ha 

Visual joke, shared by Margaret Atwood:

https://mobile.twitter.com/kobo/status/722894858487136256

That was so funny I'll even use the Amazon Link Space in this article for a graphic explanation:



And, but for space considerations, this text piece almost made the print edition's "Funny Piece" cut...

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/scott-whitlock/2016/04/21/hillary-pal-george-stephanopoulos-baffled-why-some-distrust

Seriously, Dave Barry's history of Miami was funnier. Though not new; it was a Miami Herald feature twenty years ago. Its reissue is news.

http://www.miamiherald.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/dave-barry/article68021572.html#emlnl=Dave_Barry_Newsletter

Gross-Out! 

Sex-selection abortion. Sorry it was necessary to explain that this was not a cool gross-out, like an autopsy or giant slug or something.

http://www.lifenews.com/2016/04/14/planned-parenthood-opposes-bil-to-ban-sex-selection-abortions-targeting-girl-babies/#.VxEZoAH5Lm8.twitter

Health 

The nice...

http://drjustinimelsr.com/2015/10/19/ten-things-you-can-do-for-the-chronically-disabled/

The bad...

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2016/04/21/Get-Ready-Huge-Obamacare-Premium-Hikes-2017

History 

Nice follow-up to yesterday's story about the new design for the $20 bill:

http://noisyroom.net/blog/2016/04/21/harriet-tubman-a-fine-choice-for-the-20-bill/

Models Behaving Well 

Linked because women want to see how Naomi Campbell is holding up (answer: well), and men just want to see her. I seriously think many people (including White ones, but definitely Black ones) are facing bigotry today, and that it's elitist more than racist bigotry. (Even when racist, it's primarily elitist--these days a person who automatically assumes a random Black youth on a mean street is a thug, when he might in fact be a Guardian Angel, is very likely to adore people like Halle Berry or Tiger Woods, or, well, NC...) Naomi Campbell naturally wouldn't see that kind of bigotry. So y'might say she's proving my point.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/04/21/heres-why-supermodel-naomi-campbell-refuses-to-use-the-word-racism/

Music 

Does anyone want to see how the rocker known as Alice Cooper is holding up? Well, I did:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/04/21/legendary-hard-rocker-alice-cooper-sends-out-big-invitation-but-not-for-any-heavy-metal-festival/?

Phenology Links 

In Alabama it's time for ploughing and planting, yes. In Virginia, ploughing is safe in April, but don't plant anything that might sprout before the tenth of May. (One year my parents did...and yes, that was the year we had a killing frost on the tenth of May.)

http://blogjob.com/gettingoffthegrid/2016/04/20/its-done-yayy/

Phenology Fest 

This Saturday...

https://php.radford.edu/~vga/?page_id=7032

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April 20 Link Log

So many food-related links came in today that I put them all in a separate post:

http://blogjob.com/priscillaking/2016/04/20/food-link-log-from-a-fasting-cook/

Categories: Flint Update, Green, Money, Politics, Psychology, Virginia Tourism.

Flint Update 

Warning: the first time I opened this window, an obnoxious full-screen ad popped up and had to be banished via Windows Task Manager.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/04/20/three-officials-charged-in-flint-michigan-water-scandal/?

Green 

How much harm are GMO's and glyphosate doing to bees?

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-science-bees-idUSKBN0U42J220151222?feedType=RSS&feedName=scienceNews

How much good can raising their own organic vegetables potentially do for convicts?

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1269/prison-gardens-food-for-body-and-soul-marcus-harrison-green/

(This prison doctor got all enthused about the idea, many years ago...click on the "copyrighted image" to buy a copy directly from the seller who posted it.)



Money

This article is long and seems to ramble off its original topic at some length. It's recommended for that reason: the rambles summarize a lot of the basic facts about our economic system that I grew up hearing--at home--but that most U.S. citizens either didn't hear at all, or slept through, in grade ten. (For the record, the part of me that is Cherokee won't miss Andrew Jackson...but the whole of me that is American would rather wave bye-bye to Alexander Hamilton. Not that it matters. All ugly green pictures of Great Americans Long Departed are preferable to anything plastic.)

http://www.dcclothesline.com/2016/04/20/andrew-jackson-who-fought-central-bank-removed-from-20-as-public-concern-for-liberty-erased/

Politics 

Susan Sarandon thinks Hillary Clinton's a Republican? Dinesh D'Souza shared this on Twitter with a comment that seemed cogent, though mean...until I remembered the Clinton Administration. What the Clintons got right, to the extent they got much of anything right, they owed to libertarian (though, in some views, evil) Alan Greenspan. Mrs. Clinton was not too old to have learned. And, of course, to those who think "Republican" is a euphemism for "rich elitist"...that Mrs. Clinton is, and has always been, even during her radical left-wing phase at Yale. She's tried to get over it, and I do appreciate her trying, but her elitism is like FDR's postpolio syndrome: she may get the wheelchair out of the photos but she'll never run a mile. Then again, she has that in common with at least 90% of all politicians, most definitely including Sanders... and it's most obnoxious at all on the #BankruptcyBillionnaire , because most elitists have at least tried to copy upper-class manners, themselves.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2016/04/19/susan-sarandon-hillary-clinton-shes-best-republican-thats/#

On the legislative side...has everyone tried reading "TPP" out loud? This web site wants you to share the thought.

http://www.jbs.org/mobile/jbs-news/featured-news/item/18225-no-lame-duck-tpp-trade-deal

Psychology, Abnormal

Or should I just say "bad"? I sign some, not all, A.C.L.U. petitions. I did not sign anything on behalf of this mixed-up kid. I've never sent the organization money. It's bad psychology, stupid psychology, demented psychology, for A.C.L.U. to offer me credit for supporting the confused youth's bid for reassignment in the use of communal bathrooms. What I support is children's and teenagers' right to privacy in bathrooms--one user at a time. (I say this as a former child who never even worried about being spied on or molested in school bathrooms...because I made myself sick, more than once, just by wanting to avoid the multiple-toilet stench. Any HSP can understand.)

https://ms.clicks.actions.aclu.org/t/gfhbCH7SAFpQBANfHCCpDR0yaPQwK0DEpaaaaR-bBLRO4WkaaDR0yPQw?n=8@uA1Ex&l=iybzwBy_5Tohv.Vvf&lX=wkpl-zA_rhavh.jht&e=Iw3&q=&y=%23

Psychology, Rational 

Now this one makes sense...can youall see the reasons these superstitions must have had for existing? Like the urban legends about the giant sharks in the local body of water, or the new one about how texting while driving attracts bad luck...

http://blogjob.com/kidsparent/dont-look-at-the-mirror-chinese-superstition/

Virginia Tourism 

Most of the time, most of these parks charge admission fees. This week, they won't. Have you been putting off exploring one of these parks?

http://www.virginia.org/directory/outdoorsandsports/nationalparks/

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Morgan Griffith on the Future of Coal

E-mailed last week from the office of U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"
Future of Coal Symposium

In my previous column, I discussed the Symposium on the Future of Coal-Focused Technology, Innovation, and Industry I was hosting at on April 4 at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVA-Wise).

As I had expected, it was an informative and productive discussion on such topics as pilot projects utilizing various new technologies, coal’s rare earth minerals potential, etc.

Though things in the coal industry and in coal-producing regions are difficult, and while there is no one magic silver bullet, there is a future for coal. The Kingsport Times-News noted that panel participant David Mohler, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal and Carbon Management within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, “…began his remarks [saying] that ‘there is a future for coal…’” and vowed “…that his agency's perspective holds that ‘coal is in the game for decades to come’ because it can help meet the nation's energy needs…”

I greatly appreciate all those who attended and/or participated in this discussion, and am particularly grateful to the DOE and UVA-Wise for their assistance. We can and will work together to help advance new coal technologies. Doing so will help develop more uses for coal and thus will help to protect jobs in coal communities.
"

Personally, I want to upgrade to solar power. There are some complications about using solar power, as there are about using everything, in mountain/forest areas as distinct from flat boring suburbs. We need to work through them.

Belatedly: Morgan Griffith on V.A. Hospitals

This web site apologizes for not posting this during the week of April 11, when it went out. From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"
Veterans Hospitals' Wait Time

According to a story published last week by USA TODAY, “Supervisors instructed employees to falsify patient wait times at Veterans Affairs’ medical facilities in at least seven states…”

The story continues, “Employees at 40 VA medical facilities in 19 states and Puerto Rico regularly ‘zeroed out’ veteran wait times, the analysis shows. In some cases, investigators found manipulation had been going on for as long as a decade. In others, it had been just a few years.”

In hindsight, it appears that House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL), whose committee oversees the VA, must have known that something like this was happening at some VA facilities. When he visited the Salem VA last month with Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and myself, Chairman Miller extensively and aggressively questioned the facility’s upper management on how they calculate wait times for veterans seeking appointments.

The good news is that the Salem facility’s upper management was shocked when Chairman Miller indicated that some facilities didn’t start the clock on the wait time until the actual date of the appointment. As an example of what appears to happen at other VA facilities, if a veteran calls for an appointment today and is given a slot three weeks out, the VA would count it as a “zero” wait time if the VA kept that appointment.

Again, let me emphasize – the folks in Salem were shocked by this. It was clear when they explained their process that this was not the case there. Chairman Miller praised them, saying he was glad to hear they were doing it right.

While most Ninth District veterans receive care at either the Salem facility or the Mountain Home VA Medical Center in Tennessee, some go to the Beckley, West Virginia facility or the Durham, North Carolina facility.

USA TODAY does not report misconduct at the Salem, Mountain Home, or Beckley facilities. However, regarding the Durham facility, the report indicates “Investigators found supervisors routinely directed schedulers to hide actual veteran wait times by changing them in the system in a way that falsely showed they met VA performance targets,” a practice they concluded was “greatly diminished” after 2010 with training on proper scheduling practices.

That the VA’s broad dysfunction has continued at any facility is unacceptable.

With my support, the House of Representatives in July of 2015 passed the VA Accountability Act (H.R. 1994) to give Secretary of the VA the authority to swiftly fire or demote for misconduct or poor performance any corrupt or incompetent employee.

Regrettably, the Senate has not acted on this important legislation.

The Senate must do its part to fix the VA’s broken bureaucracy and instill accountability. VA leaders and/or employees must be held responsible for any wrongdoing. And our veterans must receive the quality, timely care that they have earned and deserve.
"

Tim Kaine in Shenandoah National Park

It's always pleasant to find points of agreement. With this e-mail from the office of U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), this web site completely agrees:

"This week is National Park Week, which means it’s free to visit parks across the country! Help celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service (NPS) by finding your park!
Last week, I hiked to the summit of Stony Man Trail in Shenandoah National Park to kick off my celebration of the NPS Centennial and highlight the importance of maintaining parks for future generations. There is natural beauty wherever you look in Virginia and I’m encouraging everyone across the Commonwealth to send me their National Park photos on Twitter using #VAisforNPSLovers. I’ll retweet my favorites!
Sincerely,
Signature of Senator Tim Kaine
Senator Tim Kaine
"

Morgan Griffith on Holding the IRS Accountable

Great minds think alike...Congressman Griffith's E-Newsletter actually came out first...therefore further down the list of e-mail.

"
IRS Reform


This week – the week Americans are expected to file their taxes – the House is planning to vote on four measures that would make some initial reforms at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The following paragraphs will elaborate on the bills, though the legislation may not be voted on in this order.
H.R. 1206, the No Hires for Delinquent IRS Act would prevent the IRS from hiring additional employees until the Treasury Secretary confirms that no current IRS employee has a serious delinquent tax debt, meaning that they not only owe money to the IRS but that they also are not paying this debt in a timely manner. If the employee hits a patch of bad luck or circumstances but has a payment plan in place, they are not considered to be seriously delinquent. This bill is a common-sense measure to see the IRS is held to a fair standard and that it practices what it preaches.
H.R. 4885 is the IRS Oversight While Eliminating Spending (OWES) Act. This bill would require that each dollar the IRS raises as a result of their charging filing fees on U.S. taxpayers and other assessment be subjected to Congressional approval prior to it being spent by the IRS. The bill’s sponsor has stated that the IRS collects approximately $400 million each year in so-called User Fees, and that the IRS spends this money without Congressional approval as bureaucrats determine. The bill’s sponsor indicates that in 2015, the IRS allocated merely $49 million in User Fees to help taxpayers. Recall they have limited printed forms for certain tax filings, which we provided to those who could not download.
The Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act (H.R. 3724) would prohibit the IRS from rehiring an employee that has been fired for cause – for certain forms of misconduct. That seems simple enough to me. However, a report indicates the IRS has rehired “hundreds of former employees” who were fired for cause.
Finally, the IRS Bonuses Tied to Measurable Metrics Act (H.R. 4890) would require the IRS to complete a customer service strategy before the agency pays out further bonuses. As the bill’s sponsor says, “The IRS has shown that it will prioritize bonuses over assisting taxpayers.” This cannot be permitted to be so.
Positive Changes
People ask if there is a noticeable difference in the House under Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). My answer to these questions is yes.
For example, on April 14, a Subcommittee of the Rules Committee considered a rules change I have advocated since 2012, a change which would make it easier to cut spending in Washington, D.C.
This is significant because the Rules Committee is often referred to as the “Speaker’s Committee.” I am of the belief that such a hearing would not have occurred prior to Ryan becoming Speaker.
Though this is positive, this doesn’t mean my proposal will pass. Democrats on the Rules Committee appeared to be universally opposed to my suggestion, as was a senior Republican member of the powerful Appropriations Committee. Regardless, I will keep fighting to reform Washington.
EPA Drops Proposed Auto Racing Regulation
In my column of March 14, 2016, I wrote about a proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation that would outlaw the modification of street vehicles into race-only vehicles.
On April 15, after pressure from myself, others on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and racing fans across the country, the EPA announced it is abandoning this proposed regulation. This important development is a victory for common sense and a major American sport and pastime.
Remembering Tommy Baker Jr.
While we regrettably cannot commemorate the passing of every notable resident of the Ninth District, I want to recognize the recent passing of Thomas “Tommy” Baker Jr. of Dublin. Tommy graduated from Radford College and the Washington and Lee School of Law. He served as the town attorney in Dublin, and ran his own law practice there for many years. He also served in the General Assembly from 1990 to 2000.
I went to law school with Tommy and served in the House of Delegates with him. He was a fun-loving practical joker, and kept the entire House entertained. I am saddened by his passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his parents, his son Jefferson, and the rest of his family
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives."

Here I Am, HireWriters.Com Clients

As mentioned on Friday...during the year 2015 I earned $1855. I lived on that. In the United States. I'm fairly sure it's a record; I've heard of someone who might have survived on less, but he was living in a cave in a forest, not working on computers.

Actually, I earned more than that. Specifically, at this writing site, hirewriters.com, I earned not $500, but $667 and change.I received only $500 because the site operator known as "Brandon Harris" is unwilling to comply with U.S. tax law--by downloading dead simple, user-friendly, free software from the IRS and/or by disclosing a real-world mailing address (how expensive can a P.O. box be?). He demands that tax forms be transmitted as visual images. Two explanations are possible: (1) he's deliberately using an insecure means of transmission of confidential information in order to capitalize on that information, or (2) he's deliberately using an insecure means of transmission of confidential information in order to avoid properly documenting, filing, and paying taxes on that information.

Hirewriters.com is the site whose software interfaces perfectly with the computer on which I'm typing, which Grandma Bonnie Peters gave to me for that reason. I also wrote a few things for iwriters.com and zemandi.com, neither of which works nearly so well with this computer in this computer center. Zemandi is British; I read enough British books and news articles to be able to write for that market, but sometimes what clients want really would be best supplied by someone who's been where they are, recently. Iwriters shows the same kind of writing jobs Hirewriters shows, but Iwriters' software interacts badly with the computer I've used; I get lower ratings there from clients and suspect that, to some extent, it's because what they're reading is not exactly what I've written, due to the way the site is set up.

It's not that I can, or any hack writer anywhere can, magically guess exactly what clients want the very first time. Before giving me five stars, many Hirewriters clients requested changes in what I'd written--yes, even when they'd specified "Rewrite my old piece, enclosed, keeping the same tone and outline but using all new words" or "Use the links enclosed to answer the questions enclosed" (as with the article about the beaches of Vietnam). I didn't want to take writing jobs on Fridays because I expected at least one client to want a change made on Saturday. Point is, I made the changes and got the top ratings.

I don't know whether Iwriters even offers clients the option of requesting changes. All I see on the screens I've used is that they don't request changes.Maybe that's because whatever it is in cyberspace that scrambles anything typed into an "i-frame" on a computer in this part of the world is delivering real garbage; maybe it's because the page the clients see lacks a "request changes" button. The system promises them that things will be written fast, in hours not days, and apparently makes it easier for them to waste other writers' time hoping that someone else will write something "better" in four hours than to work with the person who's already spent four hours writing it.

So, despite abundant evidence that Hirewriters is operated by a greedy, dishonest, selfish jerk whom clients should want to boycott, I would consider using that site again in 2016. It's a new year; "Brandon Harris" could collect more than half of what clients are paying for another $500 worth of writing jobs before he's required to pay taxes. I enjoyed the writing jobs I did there. I liked the clients. They liked me. I'm still receiving notifications (every few weeks for eight months now) that Hirewriters clients would like me to write for them again. Well, anyone who's ever been a typist knows that all agents are parasites, some more loathsome than others, and the more directly you can work with the clients, the better. I've worked around the likes of "Brandon Harris" in real life before.

Unfortunately for those clients who also want to continue using Hirewriters.com, "Brandon Harris" holds a grudge. Your e-mails are arriving, with a link to the "sign in" page. The "sign in" page is showing "Your account has been frozen, contact support for more information." Then the "support" page is showing "You have been suspended from this account. You are not allowed to submit requests at this time."

Why feed the parasite, anyway? Because writing sites managed by parasitic agents are fanatically protective of everyone's privacy (they'd collapse if writers and clients made contact outside of their sites), I doubt the person or persons who miss me at Hirewriters will ever read this post. But here it is. Forget about "Brandon Harris," whoever s/he/they/it may be. Let the IRS sort "him" out. Hire me directly by e-mailing salolianigodagewi @ yahoo.

(I am pretty sure "Brandon Harris" will find this post...and although I can prove it in court if "Brandon Harris" wants to go there, for only $167 for each month that's passed since October 2015, inclusive, I'll consider removing this post. From back in the 1980's, when I was primarily a typist and used my real name, I have a long history of helping nasty parasitic agents out of business. Below, courtesy of SandJLikins at morguefile.com/archive/display/930257, is a submarine. Do you know what the word "submarine" means to women my age, "Brandon Harris"?)


Robert Hurt on Holding the IRS Accountable

Seasonal thoughts from U.S. Representative Robert Hurt (R-VA-5):


"
Fifth District Virginians have been preparing for this year’s April 18th tax filing deadline for the past several weeks, which is not only a burdensome annual reminder of just how complex and outdated our current tax code is, but also a weary reminder of just how inept the Internal Revenue Service has been in recent memory. Families and small businesses spend billions of hours each year dealing with this most excessive example of bureaucratic red tape only to hand over their hard-earned dollars to a federal government agency that continues to make questionable decisions and conduct itself in such a manner that is not worthy of American taxpayers.
Americans make a good faith effort to comply with our complicated tax code, and we have recently taken up a number of bills to be voted on this week in an effort to bring some semblance of accountability to the Internal Revenue Service. The misconduct and sheer lack of accountability at the IRS has gone on for far too long, and I look forward to taking steps this week to rein the agency in. The IRS has had a long history of questionable conduct from ignoring taxpayers' phone calls to targeting individuals based on their party affiliation, which just last month was scrutinized by a federal appellate court citing the Obama Administration’s unresponsiveness to the allegations.
Four of the bills we will be voting on this week relate to IRS personnel, two of which would prevent the IRS from giving out bonuses to employees until a comprehensive customer service strategy is implemented. The third bill would ban the IRS from rehiring former employees who had been fired for misconduct, and the fourth would prevent the IRS from hiring new employees unless the Secretary of the Treasury certifies that no employees have their own serious tax problems.
These timely pieces of legislation are common sense steps to bring peace of mind to American taxpayers. Tax season is stressful enough, the last thing hardworking Americans need is to be paying their taxes to an unaccountable, corrupt agency.
Fifth District Virginians remain troubled by the reports of IRS official’s misconduct and ineptitude, and the American people deserve accountability and answers from such a powerful agency. At a time when many have understandably lost trust in the IRS’s ability to fairly administer our laws, it is my hope that the work we are doing in the House of Representatives will begin the process of reinstating honesty and integrity in government.
I share the American people’s frustration that the IRS, whose purported mission is to, “provide America’s taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all,” is not living up to that standard. The American people deserve better. My colleagues and I in the House of Representatives remain committed to reining in an out-of-control federal government that makes life more difficult for hardworking Americans.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.
Liberty University students Sarah Robinson and Lauren Cooper, representing the American Osteopathic Association, stopped by for a meeting.
I met with Clara Belle Wheeler of Charlottesville during her visit to Capitol Hill."

[signature graphic] Robert Hurt