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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Robert Hurt on Iran

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

"Dear Friend,
Congress has no greater responsibility under Article One of the Constitution than to provide for the defense of our great country. The first duty of our federal government is to guarantee the safety of Americans both at home and abroad. Unfortunately, I believe that Congress failed to live up to this responsibility last month when it was unable to stop the President’s implementation of the Iran Nuclear Agreement.
In a bipartisan vote, the House defeated the Iran Nuclear Agreement. I was among the Representatives who voted against this agreement, and I was extremely disappointed the Senate voted to filibuster debate on this issue. The Administration was ultimately able to implement this dangerous, unpopular agreement. It is essential that the American people and their Representatives in Congress thoroughly debate every issue, particularly grave issues of national security, and the American people and their representatives in both houses of Congress should have had the opportunity to meaningfully participate in this vital debate.
Iranian leaders clearly remain focused on expanding their nuclear capabilities and are only willing to do the bare minimum to reduce the stringent international economic sanctions that have crippled their economy. The fact of the matter is that the sanctions imposed on Iran were working. I remain committed to working with my colleagues to enhance the necessary sanctions against the Iranian regime and to do everything within our power to prevent Iran from building or acquiring a nuclear bomb.
Last week, in another bipartisan vote, the House passed the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act. This bill would prohibit waiving, suspending, or limiting any sanctions currently in place against Iran until it pays the court-ordered damages it owes to terror victims – something the Obama Administration has glossed over in their effort to make a deal with Iran.
The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act gives American victims of state-sponsored terrorism the ability to sue and collect damages from the states responsible. Despite Iran’s standing as the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, it has yet to pay one penny of these court-ordered damages. I think we can all agree that at the bare minimum, Iran should not reap any benefits until it pays its victims what they are owed.
We live in a dangerous world, but this Administration is far too trusting in those who want to do us harm, seek power through aggression toward our allies, and further destabilize places in turmoil. Look no further than the Iranian regime’s continued hostility toward the U.S. and
Israel or the air strikes Russia launched this week in Syria, which they claimed were targeted at ISIS, but were actually hitting Syrians that oppose the dictatorial Assad regime, including Syrians trained by the U.S. to combat ISIS. It is unrealistic to expect that power-hungry leaders that have dubious track records will be honest brokers in high-stakes negotiations that implicate the safety of both our country and our allies.
Issues of national security are too important to leave to idealism and wishful thinking. We must remain vigilant and resolute to ensure that our top priority is that our nation and allies are kept safe. I will continue to oppose a nuclear Iran and advocate for a foreign policy that promotes peace through strength.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120."

Monday, October 5, 2015

Link Log for October 4

Categories: Animals, Communication, Christian, Crafts, Firearms Rights, Green, Jewish, Military Families, Muslim, Phenology Link, Technology, Writing.


Valkyttie was to the Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap as Magic was to the Cat this web site it's always Black Cat Appreciation Day.


This web site has no idea how anybody found their way from the web site linked below to this one, but this web site does recognize some commonalities...this web site, too, was once a Weebly. (People who've kept at it have built some quite impressive Weeblies.) This web site is maintained by people who are severely ASL-challenged and can barely finger-spell. If the idea of a language that doesn't require hearing, or even absolutely depend on sight, interests you, click here:

Common courtesy: What's changed in 1963 is that we're more aware of situations (less secure than courtrooms) where it's rude to utter any part of anyone's real name. It's never polite to utter the first name of anyone over about age ten unless you've been invited to do so, and it always sounds idiotic, if not deliberately rude, to continue "calling" someone by any name or title over and over. (It's not rude to clutch at a friend's arm, bleating "Oh Tracy, Tracy, Tracy," if you've just received terrible news in the hospital; it just suggests that you might need to see the psychiatrist.)

More chatter, more pushiness, more bogus intimacy, is not better. We need a social movement toward more healthy distance, more respect, and a general understanding that before you've lived through the various stages of being a respectful acquaintance you can't be "friendly." The poor fool discussed in this blog post thinks she's being "friendly." She thinks she's building her husband's church by helping all the extroverts feel like one big yappy family. (She probably is not a natural extrovert, herself; they usually do have some sense of when to back off and shut up.) She's been told that "people" need to "break the ice" by talking about things that make them uncomfortable. And, being a poor, stupid idiot, she believed that.


Are same-sex "marriages" "celebrating sin"? Probably, but so are a lot of opposite-sex "marriages." Rather than try to judge which people seriously intend to be Partners For Life, I'm more interested in the public issue--the collective injustices to unmarried people, including the half of all previously married people who become widows, that allow the same-sex couples to claim that marriage is a civil right. The Bible positively harps on the theme of protecting the rights of widows, but greedheads in our government wanted to "encourage marriage" by encroaching on the rights of bachelors--and thus of widows. So as a natural consequence of this abuse, we now have this epidemic of annoying same-sex "weddings." It'll get worse if we don't deal with the root cause. The Bible foretells that "seven women will take hold of one man." Or we could see "weddings" between humans and cars, humans and computers, humans and trees.


"Pom Pom All the Way"? Remember the game called "pom pom pull away"?

Firearms Rights 

Survivors of the school shooting aren't falling for the Dim-ocrat spin...

I'm more concerned about the drugs involved in this story, myself, but why not say "up yours" to the Evil Principle?

Image source: Facebook


These trendy little things aren't enough in my part of the world, where, basically, whenever any other place gets serious bad weather, we aaaalways get rain. I want pedal-powered generators as well.

solar final

Save you money? Send a miner or steelworker back to work? What about blocking a possible attack from China?


After a murder, dancing with the Bible.

Military Families 

Jon Street reports on how current legislation could affect present-time military families:


We promised to promote any content in which a rational Muslim denounced ISIS. Trigger warning: bereaved parent in pain.

Phenology Link 

Our rainy weekend was South Carolina's floods. If the video works for you, you'll see a truck "swim":


Cartoon with a point:


Here's the nonfiction piece I picked (mainly as being the shortest) for a blog "scholarship" or sponsorship contest.

And here's where (if you think you need or deserve the money more than I do) you can submit your own best blog post or unpublished short piece to the same contest:

Morgan Griffith on the Foreign Policy Game

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

"Monday, October 5, 2015 –

The Great Game is Afoot
Many are familiar with the 1967 Walt Disney classic film The Jungle Book – the tale of a young orphan boy, Mowgli, raised by wolves but who must leave his wolf family and return to the “man village” as the result of the fearsome tiger Shere Khan. This animated film was inspired by a book by the same name, which was written by the popular writer Rudyard Kipling. Kipling was born in 1865 in Bombay, and moved with his family to England when he was approximately five years old.
Kipling is also the author of Kim, a novel set against the backdrop of the political rivalry and conflict between the British and Russian Empires in Central Asia, a period known as “The Great Game.” Though Kim is likely set somewhere between 1893 to 1898, The Great Game’s push-me-pull-me of nations pursuing strategic supremacy in the world continues taking place today.
That The Great Game is still afoot is particularly evident in the Middle East.
Last week, the House made a move in the ongoing Great Game, which also furthered the pursuit of justice. With my strong support, the House of Representatives passed the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act (H.R. 3457) on October 1. This legislation, which I was proud to cosponsor, would prohibit the President from waiving sanctions for Iran until the President certifies to Congress that Iran has paid court-ordered damages it owes to victims of terror. Despite having $43.5 billion in unpaid, court-awarded damages, Iran could receive as much as $150 billion in sanctions relief as the result of the President’s ill-advised Iran nuclear deal.
According to Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-PA), the author of the legislation, “Among the victims of Iranian terrorism who have been awarded judgments in U.S. courts are victims of the 9/11 attacks, the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, the 1983 attack on the Beirut Marine barracks, and numerous other bus bombings, suicide attacks, assassinations and hostage takings. All these attacks were linked in court to Iranian support or financing.”
I am opposed to President Obama’s bad nuclear deal with Iran, and I am appalled by the possibility that Iran may be given sanctions relief while American families of those who have lost their lives as the result of Iran’s terror see nothing. This legislation would see to it that victims be paid what U.S. courts say they are owed before Iran receives even one cent in U.S. sanctions relief. Consequently, this would reduce the amount of funds then available for Iran to use for other potentially nefarious activities.
While I believe the President’s policies regarding Iran have been irresponsible, when it comes to Syria, I believe he and his Administration have been neglectful.
Not surprisingly, Russian President Vladimir Putin is moving to take advantage of the leadership vacuum and strengthen his position in the Middle East. It is reported that Putin is strengthening his ties with Syria while also working with Iran to shift the balance of power in the Middle East toward a more Russia-friendly position, all to the detriment of the leadership position of the United States in the Middle East. The Russian parliament has given Putin permission to put boots on the ground, and the Russian air force began airstrikes on Syrian targets just two days after meeting with President Obama at the United Nations. According to The Hill, “Experts say Russia's airstrikes could worsen the Syrian crisis, which has led to more than 250,000 deaths and more than 4 million refugees fleeing the region."
Additionally, on October 2, the President himself acknowledged that his Administration’s plan to train and equip opposition forces in Syria “did not work the way it was supposed to.”
The President’s policies regarding Syria and Iran and his Administration’s lackluster performance in The Great Game are very concerning and detrimental to America’s position in the world. Unless you favor American isolationism, the absence of leadership from President Obama is having a high cost, a cost that, unfortunately, is getting worse with each passing day.
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 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."

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Link Log for October 1-2

Can't believe I left without posting this on Friday, but I did. Categories: Animals, the Bad News, Crafts, Cybersecurity, Education, Faith, Health, Phenology Links, Picture, Politics, Real Men, Walking, Writing.


Gross-out alerts for some: mealworms can eat Styrofoam and, apparently, like it.

Cuter animals along the course of this "blog tour" with Peggy Frezon, author of a book called Faithfully Yours about pets and their people. (Blog tour itinerary ganked from Melissa's Mochas, home of the super-cute tortoiseshell Mudpie.)

Giveaway: Leave a comment to be entered to win a free copy of Faithfully Yours. One winner will be chosen from all the comments from the blog tour. Follow the tour and if you leave comments on all 14 stops, you'll get 14 entries!

Tues 9/29- Earl’s World
Wed 9/30- Cindy Lu's Muse
Thur 10/1- Melissa's Mochas, Mysteries and Meows
Fri 10/2- Pet Product Review
Sat 10/3- Talent Hounds
Sun 10/4- The Writer's Dog
Mon 10/5- Pooch Smooches
Tues 10/6- Heart Like a Dog
Wed 10/7- Champion of my Heart
Thurs 10/8- Joyful Paws and Talking Dogs
Fri 10/9- Fire Safety Rocks and Five Sibes

Another effort is underway to make rats the dominant species in Washington, D.C.:

Bad News 

Yet another school shooting...and yet another chance for certain Dim-ocrats to spout unenlightened drivel about how, ohhh, if that horrible gun hadn't made him do it everybody would be alive, waaaail...I really find this annoying, Dims, and a disgrace to any Democrat who's been awake during the last twenty years. In countries where people who want to kill strangers can't get guns easily, they build bombs, or use motor vehicles, and more strangers are killed--and wounded. Horrible as it seems, when the problem is an insane compulsion to kill strangers, guns could be called a (very inefficient) solution. Guns may allow lunatics like this one to kill twelve strangers when a knife might have allowed him to kill only two, but then again a bus might have allowed him to kill sixty; a bomb might have allowed him to kill twelve hundred.

Let's review the problem, slowly: The problem is an insane compulsion to kill strangers. And what do the people who suffer from this problem have in common, before they start looking for weapons to kill strangers with? They have used drugs. Many of which drugs were legal prescription medications that are prescribed too often, without adequate provision for safety in the event that drugs like Prozac have their predictable side effects, which are known to include an insane compulsion to kill strangers in 3 to 10 percent of users. So, if we really, seriously, don't want to keep reading stories about school shootings, let's just erase that old worn-out tape that keeps playing the "we need gun control" garbage that served Washington so badly in the 1990s, and start talking in real present time about the truth that we need legal prescription drug control.

I saw the story first as Yahoo wallpaper; it was e-mailed first by the Huffington Post, an e-paper that frequently scoops the competition. Others also reported the story. As usual, the first reports weren't the most complete; here's the official report:

The Huffington Post received the names of the victims and survivors:


Jil Eaton knits a toy lamb:


If the United Nations take over the Internet, are you prepared to back out and let the Internet collapse?


Ahmed Mohamed was a mischievous, rebellious little kid, reports Jason Howerton. Gifted children often are--especially when subjected to hours of boredom waiting for other children their age to catch up with them, which may not take so many years, but don't you remember how long a year is to a kid? In middle school a year might as well be "forever." People don't realize how passionately some of these kids hate school, or how easily that hate can be transferred to people in general. Or, in the case of children who travel widely, the town or state or even the country where a child feels especially misunderstood. That makes the Mohamed family's Arab-Muslim identity a valid reason why the President should reach out to this particular child. You want the Einsteins of this world to think of you as friends.

For the record, I sympathized with young Ahmed's story before I looked at pictures of his face. But I like his face. Aunts tend to look at the younger generation and think "If I'd had a child with X s/he might have looked like that," and if I'd had a son with the man I did marry, he might have looked like Ahmed Mohamed. Of course, another reason why an online image of a child's face stirs up mother instincts is that I don't see a lot of images of children in cyberspace. Which is as it should be. Children deserve privacy and need to learn to protect theirs. It's one thing to make a modest little trickle of money by blogging about a dog or cat modelling different pet care products. It's another thing to make that money by blogging about a child. Let's just say that I know of no terrorist who's ever sneaked into the United States under cover of the identity of a U.S.-born dog, nor of a thief who's ever closed out a victim's savings account by impersonating a cat.

Now, about bright kids who waste their talent and energy on stupid kid mischief...what happens when they decide to use their talents for good?

Here's a feel-good petition that exemplifies part of the problem. What's wrong with "fully including in first grade" a child who's not ready to learn to read? Efforts to "fully include" all seven-year-olds, or five-year-olds or whatever other age is credited with the magic power of making children ready to learn to read, in the first grade, actually teaches them how much they don't have in common and why they can't be friends or work together. Efforts to bring together, in a first grade reading class, all people of any age who are ready to learn to read the same material, might "fully include" all the people in that category. But pretending that all children of a certain age are equally ready for the first grade is not "treating with dignity" a little boy who may be lovable, but who is not ready to learn to read. School classes need to move in the direction of ignoring age (or pre-existing social relationships) and screening out anyone who, for whatever reason, is not prepared to learn the same material. This woman needs to give her seven-year-old son the due "dignity" of noticing what he can learn and do, and making sure that whatever education or day care he gets is based on what he can learn and do--as distinct from either calling attention to his inadequacies, or dragging others back down to his level, by trying to force him to be ready to learn to read at age seven. (For those who don't know, Downs Syndrome is a genetic condition that makes it unlikely that this little fellow will live long enough to learn to read; most people who share the mutation spend most of their short lives learning the things the rest of us learn at age three or four.) This web site does not recommend signing the petition linked below...just read it and see for yourselves how wrongheaded it is.


I wasted a bit of time on a Disqus discussion at a U.Cal. site about a student who felt "persecuted" by a teacher whose initial announcement was, apparently in a snarky bantering tone, something like "If you are a devout Christian who believes the Bible is literally true, please drop out now." Neither the student nor the teacher was much of a surprise. I don't believe every word in the Bible even claims to be literally true; I don't believe a valid approach to Bible scholarship begins with the assumption that none of it's true, either.

I was surprised, though, by the low quality of debate coming from someone who claimed to be a student, a scientist, a rationalist, speaking for U.Cal., with the kind of venomous vaps that I would have thought were really clever, too, maybe in grade five--and as passionately attached to a blind faith in "Science" as a child, too. On questions like "Does the respondent called Cam, whom we know only from a few comments on a web page, have permanent organic brain damage such as Asperger's Syndrome, or, perhaps worse, the mind damage done to some children by teaching them to confuse fashionable ideas with liberal and scientific ideas?" the scientific response is "We don't and can't know. Something is wrong when a university student can't detach from emotions, use parliamentary manners, and refrain from calling names, but we don't have sufficient evidence to say what."

There are several topics of "scientific" debate--like macroevolution, mandatory vaccines, global warming, who "really" wrote a book that survives as copies made from copies a thousand years after the events in the book happened--where the really scientific response is "We don't and can't know." People unscientifically attach themself to one opinion or the other with blind faith and, because their faith is supported by some fallible piece of scientific research rather than a sacred text, they mistake their blind faith for science.

And there aren't enough teachers who are as willing to question these "scientific" opinions on the side generally supported by the Old Left as they are on the side generally supported by the Old Right. Faith in science is as much of a mess as faith in God...anyway, here's a good, short one-line summary of people's faiths, as distinct from God or, for that matter, from Science.


Ah...flu guilt.

This, I admit, is speculation, based on what I've been feeling this week so far, and on similar occasions in the past, and what others report...but it's workable. Say you've been exposed to the virus that's going around. (Check.) You're a reasonably healthy person, so the chances are that you're going to shake it off without showing any obvious symptoms. (Check.) You feel, more than anything else, tired. No nausea, no pain, no significant fever, not even a runny nose. (Check.) Well, maybe just a little bit...less cheerful than you normally feel; the baseline mood of healthy people isn't "happy," because "happy" is noticeably better than baseline, so this web site describes the baseline as "cheerful." Anyway, as a slightly less healthy person, while fighting the virus, you notice that things irritate, discourage, or worry you more than usual. Other people may or may not notice this, but you do. You've learned that this is one of the early, and minor, symptoms of fighting off an infection. (Check.)

So then something comes up--some opportunity to do something that people should not do while fighting off an infection: shovel snow, mend your own plumbing, walk 25 miles, sit up with a friend in the hospital, hug your grandmother. You know that doing whatever it is would increase the risk of (a) your coming down with the virus and becoming unable to do other things you normally do, and/or (b) one or more other people, who may be more vulnerable, coming down with the virus. Nevertheless, while you stay warm, avoid stress, and fight the virus, you keep thinking that you ought to do whatever it is that virtually guarantees that you and they will develop visible symptoms. Public-spirited people shovel snow. Nobody should be alone in the hospital. How can you not hug your grandmother? People will think you don't Care Enough about things you're supposed to care about. It's not as if you had a cough or a fever...

I propose that we consider this type of thought pattern as a symptom. False guilt is yet another unpleasant mood that goes with fighting off an infection. A person who normally feels sick and tired when facing any unappealing chore may have a problem with responsibility or a chronic disease or both, but for a person who is normally responsible, and feels false guilt about "slacking" in some way while fighting off an infection, the false guilt is as much a part of a disease process as a fever would be.

Phenology Link 

Salmon fishing in scenic New York state:


For every comment made on Beth Ann Chiles' site, fifty cents will be donated to a legitimate charity. After typing a comment on this pretty picture, I'm not sure my comment was worth fifty cents. I'm sure youall can think of better ones.


Lewis Shupe's essay on the life cycle of republics was good for a laugh, anyway. This web site hopes nobody would take seriously the idea of giving people extra votes based on their age or income. (Anyone who thinks baby-boomers aren't welfare cheats is obviously not familiar with the United States.) On the other hand, there is some merit in the idea that people receiving federal handouts, including college tuition grants or Social Security in excess of the amount they verifiably paid in, should forfeit the right to vote until they're self-supporting again.

Scott Adams claims, on what basis I have no idea, that some people--presumably his personal acquaintances--can take the spoiler candidate's word. On some things. All to the good; all of us humans are bad enough at best and don't need to be made to seem worse than we are. However, how many weeks has it been since he promised to stay off the Fox channel, before the Bankruptcy Billionnaire is back on Fox, spouting "I don't think the word 'mature' is appropriate" with that classic four-year-old's pouty face. As this web site has observed...when a married man has initiated multiple divorces, when a man has filed for bankruptcy while known to have millions of dollars, if that man says it's raining outside we want to verify that before we pick up an umbrella.

Real Men 

My Google + comment was "Proof that America needs car control?" Yes, that's a lame comment. There ought to be a Corrido de Juan Mena-Brito.


Most of us should enjoy the right and ability to walk more than we do.


I have no immediate plans for writing a conventional novel. Have you?

Thanks to Hope Clark for sharing this writers' market link, with which I'm sure +Lyn Lomasi is already familiar:

Here's another'zine, with a focus on articles parents can laugh with and also use. (Writers and nonwriters are encouraged to browse the articles at this site, grouped in logical categories like Birth, Parenting--Toddlers, Parenting--Teens, etc. Despite the "Mommy" focus they're interesting to aunts/uncles, teachers, and grandparents too.)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Robert Hurt's Video Report

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

"Each month, I record a video report that recaps what we've been working on the previous month. Video and text of September's Monthly Video Report are available below. You may view the video by clicking the image or by clicking here.*

“Hi, I’m Robert Hurt. Thank you for tuning into our Monthly Video Report for the month of September.
“Today, we are in the James Madison Building at the Library of Congress here in Washington. As you can see we have chosen this place in honor of James Madison and his defining role in the adoption of our U.S. Constitution by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787 – 228 years ago this month. We know that Mr. Madison – known as the Father of the Constitution – called Virginia’s Fifth District his home and served as its first representative. We also know that Mr. Madison’s vision and influence was unparalleled in the debating, adoption, and ratification of this document that has served for over two hundred years as our American blueprint for freedom. At a time when our Constitution and its founding principles so often seem to be ignored, it is especially important that we give thanks for those who set their signatures to this document and planted the seeds of liberty that we enjoy today.
“Speaking of the U.S. Constitution, I think most people would agree that Congress has no greater responsibility under Article One of the Constitution than to provide for the defense of our great country. Unfortunately, I believe that the Congress failed to live up to this responsibility in early September when it was unable to stop the President’s implementation of the Iran Nuclear Agreement. After studying the provisions of the agreement and attending numerous classified briefings with Secretary John Kerry and other Administration officials, I concluded that I could not support it, and I voted against it. And while a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives reached the same conclusion and voted against it as well, we watched as the minority in the Senate once again used petty procedural tactics to block Senators from even debating this critically important issue. This misguided agreement has profound implications for both our national security and global stability, and the American people and their representatives in both houses of Congress should have had the opportunity to debate and vote on this issue. And while I believe that the implementation of this agreement makes the Middle East and the world a much more dangerous place, I remain committed to working with my colleagues to do everything within our power to ensure that Iran does not build a nuclear bomb.
“On the domestic front, we in the House of Representatives continued to work with laser focus on promoting policies that will encourage American economic growth and job opportunities for the people of the Fifth District and across this country. Indeed, in September the Financial Services Committee – the committee upon which I serve -- held its final hearing in a three-part series examining the effects of the Dodd-Frank Act five years after its enactment. During our Main Street Tour in August, we met with many Fifth District Virginians who talked to me about the need for common sense in Washington. We met with a number of individuals who told me about the negative effect that the Dodd-Frank Act has had on the ability of community banks and credit unions to provide capital to small businesses, farmers, and our Virginia families. And while this law was touted as Washington’s attempt to protect consumers, in reality it has only left consumers with fewer choices and made it more difficult to access capital. I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Financial Services Committee on both sides of the aisle to implement commonsense policies to promote jobs across the Commonwealth and this nation.
“Perhaps the most exciting event in Washington during the month of September came whenPope Francis visited the Capitol and delivered an address to a joint meeting of Congress. It was an honor to represent the people of the Fifth District in witnessing this historic event on the floor of the House of Representatives. I was especially pleased that we were joined at the Capitol by a number of visitors who came to Washington to see the Pope – including three groups of students from the Charlottesville Catholic School in Charlottesville, Sacred Heart School in Danville, and St. John’s School in Warrenton. I appreciated the Pope’s message to the young people of America, and I was so glad that there were young people from the Fifth District who were able to hear his message in person.
“Finally, we were very pleased to learn this month that the Commission on Presidential Debates selected Longwood University to host the only Vice Presidential debate during the upcoming 2016 Presidential election. This is excellent news for Longwood University, for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and for the Farmville and Prince Edward County communities, and I was pleased to be able to work with our Virginia Congressional Delegation to advocate for Longwood’s selection. I thank my colleagues for their efforts, and I commend President Reveley and the Longwood board for their leadership and for their efforts.
“In conclusion, I would like to thank each of you who joined us this month during our telephone town halls and remember that if you ever wish to visit our nation's capital – or the Library of Congress – please do not hesitate to contact our office so we may assist you. We are always glad to see folks from home. And if we may ever be of service to you in any other way, please contact one of our district offices or our Washington office.
“We can always be reached at our website at where you can also sign up for regular legislative updates. And don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram.
“Once again, thank you for tuning in to our September Monthly Video Report.”


Robert Hurt

Washington, DC - 125 Cannon HOB * Washington, DC 20515 * Phone: (202) 225-4711
Charlottesville - 686 Berkmar Circle * Charlottesville, VA 22901 * Phone: (434) 973-9631
Danville - 308 Craghead St., Suite 102-D * Danville, VA 24541 * Phone: (434) 791-2596
Farmville - 515 S. Main Street, P.O. Box O * Farmville, VA 23901 * Phone: (434) 395-0120

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Link Log for September 30

Categories: Animals, Celebrity Gossip, Christians and Others, Food (Yum), Food (Yuck), Politics, Psychology, Writing.


There's no mention that the dog in question actually bit anybody, and the deputy needed to waste five bullets on it? Sounds as if the deputy needs a lot of retraining...about animal control, self-control, weapon control, and, er um, are they sure s/he even went to the right house? At the deputy's own personal expense, please.

Unbearably cute kitten camera wouldn't have taken a picture this good of our Imp, last summer, but this is the sort of thing she did. Constantly. All kittens are cute but Imp worked at it.

Less cute kitten picture. Fur be it from this web site to echo the Humane Pet Genocide Society's mindless chanting about how horrible it is to allow kittens and puppies to be born, but this web site does agree with Wendy Welch about the general idea of responsibility. Personally I'm willing to live with an indefinite number of Heather's and Ivy's descendants, and a reasonable confidence that other nice people will want to live with these purr-ticularly lovable cats. If you're less confident about either your cats' kittens or your willingness to live with them, autumn can be a good time to schedule spaying: many cats don't have kittens in autumn, and most autumn kittens don't survive in any case.

This, of course, is not how calico cats have kittens...

Celebrity Gossip 

Celebrity blogger Michelle Malkin sees inspiring First Lady material in Candy Carson:

Christians, and Others 

Liz Curtis Higgs on encouraging words:

Food (Yum) 

Vegan recipes that will tempt the carnivores...

Food (Yuck) 

Once again, Monsanto and other corporations successfully lobby to prevent states labelling known GMO food the corn and rice that nature guaranteed would be safe and healthy for me to eat, until Monsanto deliberately bioengineered some corn and some rice to be more like wheat and therefore poisonous to me. Mind you, no state is trying to prevent GMO foods from being sold, or for that matter advertised. What the states are trying to do is label GMOs so that people who have suddenly developed immediate, unpleasant reactions to some formerly natural, healthy food can avoid the bioengineered products their bodies reject as poison--e.g. "Roundup Ready" corn or rice, for those of us who inherited the gluten intolerance gene. Click here to tell your U.S. Senator that GMOs need to be labelled: @food_democracy Pls RT #labelGMOs

Although it's hosted by, this graphic and list rolled up smoothly and displayed beautifully, ad-free, even in this computer's vintage version of Internet Explorer, so I expect it will work for you too. It's not good news, though, for "conservative" readers. The Congressmen we have to thank for taking the right side of this bill are pretty left-wing. John Conyers, Barbara Lee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, other people Republicans don't get many chances to commend.

To be fair, most Republicans in Congress, including Congressmen Griffith and Hurt, took the wrong side...because they listened to too many farmers, many of whom had been coached by Monsanto salesmen, wailing that these farmers ca-a-a-an't make a living growing corn and rice without the GMO versions, and/or that their "natural" corn and rice are probably contaminated with the GMO versions (which is likely, and frightening if you're gluten-intolerant). No matter how many Washington insiders, like Al Gore, have fond memories of getting to ride the tractor during summer visits to Grandpa's farm, most Congressmen are not farmers and do not understand the solution to a real, and growing, problem.

In order to have a sane policy on GMO labelling we will have to go back and do things that it would have been much cheaper and easier to have done twenty or thirty years ago. Farmers will need to be re-educated about the (Bible's!) model of crop rotation, rather than monocropping and depending on poisons and GMOs to maintain crop production. For the first few years, the corn may be wormy. GMOs will need to be registered and reared in complete isolation, probably in greenhouses. Nobody will make a profit.

Why should American farmers get Green, get small, or get out? Because the alternative of relying on poisons and GMOs is unsustainable. Virtually all corn grown in North America today is now poisonous to many people, of whom I'm one. The next GMO experiment may be more poisonous to more people. "Zombie apocalypse" fiction may be a morbid fantasy, the actual disease and death may be ordinary, but our "sophisticated, enlightened" population wouldn't be the first population group on this continent to be wiped out by a plague...a preventable plague.


The phrase is "Politics makes strange bedfellows." (For foreign readers, this phrase dates back to the bad old days when travellers slept in bunks, berths, or communal benches, and has the same literal meaning as "fellow travellers." Anyway, who would've expected the Pope to meet--and hug!--lapsed Catholic Kim Davis?


In a review of Julie Klam's book, Please Excuse My Daughter, I observed that Klam presented herself and her family as the kind of people I'd long perceived as Homo denaturatus, a pathological variant of H. sapiens produced by insufficient interaction with other species. Today Jonah Goldberg shared an essay by David French, who describes "victim culture" as a sociological phenomenon created by interactions among H. denaturatus, where instead of punishing offenses to oneself as smears on one's "honor" or pretending that being offended is beneath one's "dignity" people compete to impress authority figures with the intensity of their wounded feelings. We are definitely talking about the same mostly affluent, mostly Northern U.S., mostly left-wing guys; French doesn't mention the females of the sub-species.


For how many video game aficionados is this rule true?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Link Log for September 28

Categories: Animals, Food (Fight), Global Warming, Phenology Links, Politics, Words, Youth Behaving Well


Youall probably saw the baby panda pictures before I did. Here's a note on Bei Bei's name:


During the War Between the States, a battle was technically won by high school boys. After the battle had raged all day within sight from Virginia Military Institute, the students wanted to go out and fight, and those over age sixteen were at last allowed to do so. After realizing that the last dozen or so bodies that had fallen belonged to "children," the Northern troops surrendered.

This was not, however, the oddest episode that decided a battle in U.S. history. Dan Lewis describes how a battle in 1943 was actually decided by a food fight.

Global Warming 

Was global warming theory, with inaccurate numbers and all, part of a strategic plan to reduce people's awareness of the fact of local warming? Not that this web site supports conspiracy theories, like the one suggested by this far-from-right-wing writer. But the possibility exists. While decrying (or denying) the hysteria about Florida or California being underwater in thirty years, people do, in fact, overlook the effect their driving two miles has on the local climate. In my part of the world they wail, for multiple minutes that can easily feel like hours, about the heat and the humidity, but don't like to think about how much they directly contribute to both.

Phenology Links 

Liz Klimas shares images of last night's lunar eclipse:

Does "blood on the moon" really portend that someone's going to die? Well, someone usually is, somewhere...and the reddish color of the moon is enhanced by air pollution.


Whom do you want to replace John Boehner? asks this National Review columnist. "Grassroots conservatives, here's your chance." I don't know. I like Congressman Griffith, so far; there are no perfect people and if there were they wouldn't be able to represent the Fightin' Ninth District, but I think the job he's been doing representing us is well above average. Many conservatives disapprove of their "Congress-critters." Do you? Or do you think yours should be Speaker? The National Review wants to know.

Do you ever wish Dave Barry really were a candidate?


The easiest way to get around gender issues is to violate grammar and use the plural "they," which can mean "both she and he," to mean "either he or she." How much cognitive-dissonance-as-pain would it cause to make "they" the formal substitute for either "he" or "she," saving "he" and "she" for descriptions of two-person exchanges, perhaps? Can "they" displace "he" and "she" the way "you" displaced "thou"? If it did, would "they" generate "theyall" or "those" forms, analogous to "youall" and "youse"?

Youth Behaving Well 

Here's a college freshman who doesn't want to read a graphic novel that contains drawings of women doing things it would be inappropriate for a young man they didn't know to watch them doing. On principle. Cheers for him. What I want to know is what kind of teacher, in what kind of course, assigns graphic novels instead of the classics of world literature. I happen to have read several of Alison Bechdel's graphic novels. They're cute and witty and, among educated adult feminists, they resold fast, partly because they are brain candy that offers no challenge to our minds. They're the kind of thing female baby boomers read to relax--Lifetime Channel Lite. For what class do students need to ignore the classics of literature and philosophy, and "study" cute, inane cartoons of the private lives of fictional lesbians? Why do they need to pay tuition to talk about popular works of fiction that need no historical background study and have yet to generate a body of critical scholarship? What does this teacher offer students that's worthy of the name of "university"?

Morgan Griffith on the Pope and John Boehner

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

"Pope and Change

We experienced an historic moment last week when Pope Francis addressed a joint meeting of Congress, the first Pope in our nation’s history to do so. I was in attendance to hear his remarks to the people of the United States.

Regardless of your religious beliefs or political leanings, Pope Francis’ words were thought-provoking. While others in the media have focused on other comments, I appreciated his having emphasized the importance of family and marriage, and was pleased when he said, “the golden rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of development.”

Also, fairly early in his remarks, Pope Francis referred to the fight of those aspiring to achieve the American Dream, mentioning “…the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day's work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and — one step at a time — to build a better life for their families.” On this, the Pope and I agree. On how people of other nations might come to the United States and participate in the American Dream, the Pope and I might disagree. Our laws on immigration clearly need to be simplified, but they must be followed.

Speaking of the American Dream, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) – himself a Catholic – has sought to get the Pope to the Capitol for approximately 20 years. And when I reflect now on Pope Francis’ allusion to the quest for the American Dream, I can’t help but think of the Speaker, who grew up working at his family’s modest bar in Ohio and who worked as a janitor to help fund his education.

In other words, Speaker Boehner spent his whole life chasing the American Dream. In few other nations, if any, could the son of a barkeep rise to such heights – Speaker of the House, second in succession for the Presidency.

On September 25, the day after Pope Francis’ remarks, Speaker Boehner announced he would be resigning from Congress at the end of October. While it is no secret that he and I had some disagreements, Speaker Boehner is an honorable, decent man. I respect him and his service, I respect his decision, and I am truly glad for him that, after many years of persistence and faith, he was able to host the Pope in our nation’s capital.

Leadership – whether leading a religious faith, a legislative body, or a different entity – is a challenging responsibility. As the House of Representatives prepares to move forward, many discussions will continue taking place regarding our future leadership. I will work closely and actively with my colleagues to find for the job a candidate or candidates who will follow regular order and the principles of Thomas Jefferson’s Manual of Parliamentary Practice. Currently, with the Republicans in control of the House, this should mean more conservative victories, and if the American people elect a Democrat majority, more victories for the left. After all, the House of Representatives by its design is supposed to reflect the will of the American people across the country.

Lately, under both Democrat and Republican speakers, a handful of people in back rooms make all of the decisions. I hope the next Speaker will return to allowing the Committee process and the floor to work its will for the betterment of the American people.

Change of a Different Type

Speaking of change, let’s talk about money – from nickels and dimes to billion-dollar deals.

Recently, with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI), I led a letter to President Obama calling for strong, enforceable protections against currency manipulation in the final Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. 154 other Members of Congress signed on to our letter.

While I have serious concerns about TPP and especially the Trade Promotion Authority that Congress granted to the President, I firmly believe that we cannot get a good trade deal with countries if they continue to manipulate their currency and leverage an unfair trade advantage which hurts our American economy and decimates our businesses and jobs. Countries like China and Vietnam have been accused of doing this in the past.

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 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."

Announcement: Conceptual Fiction and Blogjob

From time to time, usually when commenting on other people's science-fiction-related posts, I've mentioned writing conceptual fiction. Some people have mentioned wanting to read, free of charge.

Well, Blogjob is currently offering a way you can do that. Blogjob is an ad-funded site that reportedly pays bloggers who post regularly. In order to avoid running out of money and cheating writers, the way Bubblews and Chatabout and some other sites have done, they limit the number of posts per blogger per day. I've set up a pattern of posting one book review and one other full-length post per day; that allows a limited amount of socializing. By qualifying as a "Social Networker," I'd get to add one more post and some more socializing. That would make room for the novel-in-blog-form I've mentioned, if anyone seriously wants to read it.

So, what you do is click on this link...

...and set up your own Blogjob accounts.

Why would I encourage you to do that?

Setting up a Blogjob account allows you to socialize with Blogjob bloggers and, if you blog regularly and have a following, slowly accumulate points toward a cash payment. Whether you blog regularly or not, two uses of the link qualify me as a "Social Networker" and make room for the fictional blog site in which you'd get to explore my conceptual fiction world.

How much will it cost you?

So far as I can tell, it's absolutely free...then again Yahoo's spam filter has always trapped hundreds of spam e-mails, ever since the AC days. I've not seen the volume of spam increase, but that's not a guarantee. No garbage e-mail from Blogjob. You can choose whether or not to receive e-mail from e-friends, groups, comments on your posts if you set up a Blogjob blog site, etc. Some Blogjob blog themes are browser-friendlier than others. Some run annoying but harmless Chitika ads; some (like mine) run only safe, harmless Ad Sense ads.

How much can you earn?

Don't count on Blogjob to pay any bills. Think of it as a slow-moving social site for people who really want to know what their friends are thinking and doing, as distinct from merely checking on their health. Earnings are capped but, if you blog daily from the U.S., you could earn US$300-400 per year.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Link Log for September 27

This is such a tiny Link Log I'd wait and add links tomorrow if the Florida link weren't so timely. Categories: Books, Florida, Politics.


Neil Gaiman's news:

My book review for today:


Lloyd Marcus is doing a concert Monday evening:


According to this Yougov survey, about 60% of U.S. respondents think "non-Christians" generally should be able to serve as President of the United States, and 40% think Muslims should.

I don't agree. While I see no reason why a Humanist should have to pretend to be a Christian (I think our current President is a Humanist and should be able to admit it), or why we couldn't have a Jewish concern about Muslims, Mormons, and Catholics in the White House is not about the individuals (who may be well qualified) but about their connections to large, ambitious organizations that have been known to pursue greater influence than the Constitution was written to allow any religious organization to wield. Sometimes, in the past, this influence has been pursued through nefarious and un-American means. It's not that individual Muslims, Mormons, and Catholics aren't fine human beings; some are. It's that, if and because they are fine individual human beings, they wouldn't even be aware of the murky machinations of the organizations behind them. Which could range from discrimination to outright subversion of our constitutional democratic republic.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Link Log for September 24

Yesterday was a long day in the content mill. No time for e-mail or socializing. Today, I have an hour. Categories: Animals, Christian, Comics, Cyberspace, Food (Yum), Music, Politics, Science, Video.


Site dedicated to fun facts:


Liz Curtis Higgs on honesty:


I laughed out loud when I scrolled down to the post for August 11. Where did you laugh out loud first?


Someone sent a couple of interesting-looking links to displayed an arrogant, annoying message saying they don't support my browser and ordering me to "UPGRADE NOW," then proceeded to crash my browser. Right. Lesson learned: This web site will no longer support in any way. If you want to promote the work of a good writer who, due to desperation, has sold a good piece of writing to, please copy the text and e-mail it as a Word file, or print the page, photocopy the printout, and e-mail it as a JPG. In order to qualify for the patronage of my Gentle Readers or me, will need to (1) fix their site so that it works for whatever browser their patrons choose to use, (2) e-mail an apology to anyone who deigns to revisit their site using a browser they have previously dissed, and (3) include a $100 payment for the favor of our patronage.

I feel guilty. I mentioned here that had allowed its ads to become more annoying than's ads were, and suggested that something in New York was not obnoxious. Obviously, was obligated to rectify that. New York City is profoundly obnoxious.

Food (Yum) 

Pears in a truck...I started with a comment addressed to Andria Perry, then thought of local lurkers.


Richard Whittaker interviews Gabriel Meyer:


Jim Babka picks up a hot potato with this temporary link:


This one is less controversial than many of John1282's posts. If the link works for your browser, it's not exactly news to pet owners--just more and freshly detailed--but interesting, I say:


Dan Lewis found the full-length (three-hour) "Merlin" video on Youtube for free.

Has Google Fixed This? (Edited with updates)

Any time a company changes hands, people who use their product or service can expect problems as people try to fix things that were working just fine. For an example, if you use Google Chrome, check your "New Tab" tab.

It's supposed to show one-click images of the sites you visit most often. In my case, in order to be useful, those would currently be:

* my hack writing site

* Amazon

* Blogspot

* Blogjob

* Live Journal

* Twitter

* Freedomworks

* Morguefile

Last week the "thumbnails" were messing up; inappropriate buttons from commercial sites I'd visited only once were displacing buttons I use regularly. Others were complaining about this too.

This week, the "thumbnails" seem to be looking the way they should look again. Thank you, Google. Anyway, Plus or Twitter this article if you agree:

The way a web page looks (and works) is the way it should look (and work) until the user wants to change it. All changes are inconveniences. Never, never, never change a web page until the user requests the change.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Long Link Log for September 23

Stuck in Kingsport, due to illness, not mine. Lots of links. Categories: Animals, Books, Crafts, Food, Girl Power, Green, Music, Sports, Traffic Safety, Words.



Now, here's a seriously controversial idea: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, should stop protecting bears. Or let's say, we should protect bears who have a healthy instinct to avoid humans, but if a bear is within sight from a house or a paved road, that bear is saying "I'm tired of living."


This (below the rant) is an interesting post. Not so much the tally of statistics that prove that, when fiction awards are given out in the United States, they are probably always going to be given to writers who are well distributed and well known here; 75% U.S., 10% U.K., up to 5% Canadian and 10% "other" (meaning mostly the other English-speaking countries, and meaning that, most years, Australia will be represented and Kenya won't) probably does reflect the best efforts of a panel of people who value cultural diversity to make a diverse selection. Even books that are successful in England aren't necessarily published here, and many books that are successful even in England or Canada aren't necessarily likely to be understood here. Authors like Chinua Achebe, whose novels about Africa are simple enough to make sense to American readers, are likely to be read as writing on a primary school level with some adult content mixed in. Authors like Wole Soyinka and Salman Rushdie...I've read Rushdie's nonfiction and his children's book and liked them, but I had to ask friends about a lot of things in those of his novels that I read, and remained aware that I was missing a lot of references. I can see a lot of Americans, including English majors, bogging down in a book like Grimus just because they don't hang out with people from India. We have to choose whether to be pedantic and make little notes, or just let things elude our understanding, even when reading a book by somebody like Margaret Atwood who's lived in the U.S. and at least has enough information to know when she's saying something most of us won't get. So there's just no way, even if an equal number of people in Venezuela were equally talented writers, that an equal number of books from Venezuela would win U.S. literary awards. We wouldn't know a good Venezuelan book if it hit us on the head. Not because we're bigots, but because we're ordinary mortals who are doing well if we understand one culture well enough to judge its literature.

But consider the list of science fiction writers at the end of Lynnoconnacht's post. Did you ever think of Rushdie as a science fiction writer? Of Italo Calvino? Do you, for that matter, think of Atwood as one? If not, to what extent is that because your definition of science fiction is less about "fiction that speculates about a current scientific question" than it is about "second-rate"?

For those who'd like to raise their cultural diversity levels a teensy bit, here's the reading list of an Indian book lover:

In a different literary vein, altogether: Ridley Pearson:

And, in yet another...This web site is a niche bookstore, specializing in material that helps people who've had an Illiberal Left education recover some balance.

And, finally...strictly for laughs, Gentle Readers:


Natalie Ford knits some more pretty socks:

Food (Yuck) 

Beware of Mexican cucumbers! Actually I've had salmonella and would rather have it than GMO-contaminated corn or rice, any day and twice on Sunday. However, can we link this news item to the one below? Yes. Local, organically grown cucumbers may be odd-sized, odd-shaped, unwaxed and all that, but they're less likely to make us sick, because nobody in my neighborhood uses raw sewage as fertilizer.

Girl Power

There are more like Malala Yousafzai. Awesome teenagers, I mean.


Saving the endangered (natural, sustainable, Green) family farm:


The graphic at the top of this post makes the real point. About some other things Lloyd Marcus says in the post, I will say that when people are trying to reach across a gap, sometimes they try too hard to reach too far. Like I think it's appropriate that the city of Baltimore paid compensation to the Gray family. The timing, amount, manner, etc., may have been "appeasement" but some compensation was due. But this post started out with "The Star-Spangled Banner," which is Maryland's great gift to the nation.

One afternoon in the early spring when I was eight years old, I was goofing off at home as usual, and my mother came up to me with the Girl Scout Manual in hand. She said, "Here are all the words to 'The Star-Spangled Banner.' Can you sing it?" I could not. She said, "Well, it's our national anthem, and you need to know how to sing it." So I spent that afternoon learning "The Star-Spangled Banner."

I already knew "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," the one the teacher felt capable of teaching us at school, and "America the Beautiful," the one my grandmother had been capable of teaching me during the last year of her life. (This was the grandmother who had been declared dead at the age of thirty-five, who was in fact disabled between the ages of seventy and seventy-one.)

In every country there are certain old songs, one of which is the official national anthem, that everybody should know. The United States is a big country and has several of these songs. "Hail Columbia" is another fairly formal song, not too easy to sing, but if you're a "USAmerican" you should know it. "God Bless America" is an easy one to sing. "Lift Every Voice" is fairly easy. Some of the songs about our individual States are pretty hard to sing with a straight face, but everybody should know their own State songs.


Calling all guy-watchers...what do you think? Does Detroit Lion Don Carey have what it takes to be a poster boy for the idea of young men not causing abortions? Check it out: looks, money, multiple talents, the beginning of the right thoughts...and the position he plays is described as "Strong Safety." That's quite a ball of opportunity that's been thrown his way, now let's see him run with it.

Traffic Safety 

Bad news for Gate City...but maybe it'll call attention to the fact that motor vehicles kill many times more Americans than firearms do, every year.


How AP tells writers to avoid political neutrality...see my comment at the Blaze post.

And here's a severely confused White guy...according to police, one of the two White guys the cop is separating, here, was screaming about the other one's "White privilege." Well, of his mind, he's a Klingon.