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Politics…Or Just Ticks?

Yes…. it’s Monday, so let’s start casual

feelin cool

Instead of stressed!

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Does it feel crazy out there? Of course it does. Lots of grab for power. And right now federally, the Republicans are doing everything they can to hold on to the House and Senate with the upcoming mid-term elections.

Conversely, the Democrats feel that they will win the House and Senate majority. Probably part of Speaker Ryan’s reason for not seeking re-election. Probably a better chance in the House according to political analyst. But if they win the Senate, you will probably see them try to start impeachment proceedings for the President.

Meanwhile, we suffer while no one works together. The desire for power!

But, uncertainty is the only certainty in politics. There is a long way to go before November. With that background, I thought that a look-back in this day in history would serve as a contrast to the seeking of power of today.

On this day in 1789, George Washington left his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia, to travel to New York to be sworn in as President. According to the George Washington Papers, many had previously written him and visited him, hoping to get him to agree to be the first president.

In one letter that he wrote to Alexander Hamilton, he let Hamilton know his thoughts, “it is my great and sole desire to live and die, in peace and retirement on my own farm“.  In another letter to Hamilton, he wrote, “I call Heaven to witness, that this very act would be the greatest sacrifice of my personal feelings & wishes that ever I have been called upon to make”.

On April 6, 1788, the senators and representatives met in New York to count the electoral college votes. Washington received all 69 votes for president. Washington was not there. He was reached at Mount Vernon and told of the election results.

And now April 16, 1789, before leaving for New York to be sworn in as president, he spoke to a group of citizens in Alexandria to express his emotions about leaving. “At my age what possible advantages [could I gain] from public life?”

And for our pic o’ day

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History, Furniture and Fishing

Sometimes when I walk into the office in the morning, Dennis tells me that he just read the blog and he wished that I would post more history blogs. Well Dennis, I hope to quench your thirst today!

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Since there was no blogging in Colonial Days (I tried to come up with a joke there, but my Captain Obvious statement will have to stand alone) , we rely on such things as the letters of our founding fathers. Our second president, John Adams, was known as a constant letter writer. There have been many letters between he and his wife that have become part of the historical archives.

One letter that he wrote to Abigail Adams dealt with his complaint of having to clean up the President’s House as he moved in following the Washington Presidency. The President’s House in Philadelphia, served as home to Washington and then Adams, until the government was transferred to the District of Columbia, with Adams then moving to the White House in 1800.

So, as Adams was moving into that Philadelphia location after George Washington’s term, here’s what he wrote:

Last night for the first time I slept in our new House. But what a Scene: The Furniture belonging to the Publick is in the most deplorable Condition. There is not a Chair fit to sit in. The Beds and Bedding are in a woeful Pickle. This House has been a Scene of the most Scandalous Drinking and Disorder among the servants, that ever I heard of. I would not have one of them for any Consideration. There is not a Carpet nor a Curtain, nor a Glass nor Linnen nor China nor any Thing. Dont expose this Picture.”

I posted the letter as it was written, including the curious spellings on a few words. So, that gives Dennis some history; some excuse when I might misspell a word in the blog; and the reminder that no one ever wants to be in a woeful pickle!

And for pic o’ day… a day of basic trout fishing:

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Dr. Bill

Bill Whitehurst was dressed in his “Sunday-go-to-meeting” suit because he really was in church. At the time, he was Congressman from Virginia’s second district and I worked for him in the Norfolk district office. Just as many others, I knew him as Dr. Bill.

As a backdrop, I had come to work for him as a summer intern. He then asked me to continue on staff while I attended college during my junior year. So, everyday I would race from my classes to work half-days at the Congressional office. That meant that I usually would answer mail and phone calls. Which brings me back to that Sunday morning.

He had been invited to my church that morning to briefly speak. When I saw him come through the church door, I made a beeline toward him. That’s when he greeted me and also handed a few of letters to me. They were letters that I had prepared for his signature.

Usually, he would come back from Washington on weekends and personally sign each letter that had been prepared for him during the week. He always wanted to personally sign his mail even though most other elected officials used those signature machines. It was a lot of letter signing each weekend.

These were the days before spell check and computers. When he handed me my prepared letters, I noticed that a couple had corrections on them with an attached instruction note. He asked me to make some changes that included spelling… which I did. I couldn’t help it, it made me laugh out loud because that was his personality. He actually brought the mail to church because he wanted to get it right and get them mailed out the next morning.

When I had first come to work as an intern, the office manager, Rena Wasserman, had given me some words of advice in working there. She did so with a smile. One recommendation was to never drive him in my car. Whenever he wanted me to drive, I would just hand him my key. It was true, he was a terrible “backseat driver”.

Years later, I now have a note and a letter from him that are framed together. One is the note that was attached to those letters that he gave me on that Sunday, asking me to make changes. The letter framed beside it was the thank you that he sent me after my last day of employment.

His thank you meant a lot to me and the note of corrections reminded me to pay attention to the details.

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Dr. Bill made a lasting impression on how I work. He never felt that it was necessary to stand on the floors of Congress to make speeches. Instead, he emphasized taking care of those that he represented. That was emphasized to everyone that worked for him.

He once told me that the best part of working in Washington was seeing it in his rearview mirror each weekend, as he headed back home to Tidewater. It’s too bad that there aren’t more of our elected officials less consumed with Washington and more consumed with the detail of doing a good job and taking care of those who elected them.

I decided to write about Dr. Bill when I read Philip Walzer of PilotOnline.com , who wrote an article about Dr. Bill receiving the First Citizen Award from the Norfolk Cosmopolitan Club. And, this Thursday that he is also going to be celebrating his 90th birthday.

He attributes his long life to not smoking, “pushing away” from the dinner table and teaching, because “students energize you” according to the article. He continues to teach at Old Dominion University.

You’ll learn a great deal about Dr. Bill in this well written article from the Pilot. It brought back some great memories. A man who has influenced many including me.

A couple of years ago, I was fortunate to attend a dinner that honored Dr. Bill. Following that night, he sent me another letter to tell me that he is proud of me. Yes… I have that letter framed too!

And for pic o’ day…

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Dog Shooting Settlement

     If you walk out to your car tonight and you see a Giraffe sleeping under your car, what should you do? Can you coax it out with a banana. Or, since they like vegetation, could you simply offer a Portobello sandwich?

     Where am I going with this? Exactly! This is senseless.  That’s the feeling I had when I read this story in The Seattle Times

     In 2010, a family had gone out of town for the day while leaving their dog Rosie, in the backyard. The 4-year-old dog got out of the fenced backyard  and police were called by someone in the neighborhood,  to get the escaped dog.

     Much of the police activities were caught on the car dashboard camera. One of the officers can be heard asking, “Once we get him, what are we gonna do with him?” One officer discussed using a taser; the other officer commented that they should just “choke her out”.

     The audio on the camera suggests that within ten minutes of arriving to the neighborhood, the officers were talking about shooting the dog; even though there was no indication of danger except that the dog had been reported as barking and was a large animal. (Newfoundland)

     They eventually saw the dog when it ran into the backyard of a home about four blocks from its home. Then, one of the officers shot the dog with an assault rifle. According to the audio, the gun was fired three more times.

     The family returned home later that day, unaware of what had happened to Rosie. They called friends and police to see if anyone could find her. The police did not report any information. Only after a taser dart was found in the backyard that law enforcement marked, did the police acknowledge that officers had killed the dog.

     Soon, a freedom of information request was sent for all information relating to the shooting. That is when the audio and camera footage became available.

     A civil rights lawsuit was filed in federal court against the police department, with a claim that the family’s  civil rights had been violated  The basis of the suit was that the Fourth Amendment guarantees citizens to be secure in persons and effects.

     The police department of Des Moines, Washington, responded that they had investigated the shooting and concluded that the officer’s actions were justified.

     The community was outraged over the shooting of this friendly dog. It didn’t help that the only reason that the police admitted to the shooting was the taser dart left in the yard. The lawsuit has now settled. The town agreed to pay $51,000. A story of animal rights in Washington state.

     This kind of story stirs me up as a dog lover. So, for pic o’ day, I am staying random with some giraffes. How about a working giraffe

working giragge

     Or a giraffe with an apple pie. Yes, I know, it would be exciting if I had a pot pie too.apple Giraffe

Starbucks versus HIV-Positive

A  former manager at a Boca Raton Starbucks has filed suit against his former employer,(Palm Beach Post) after being fired from the position that he had held for four years.

In the lawsuit that has been filed in Federal Court, Stephen Barbosa claims that he was fired after returning from his two-month leave of absence and that the action by Starbucks is a violation of the Americans with Disability Act. He claims that they are required by law to accommodate him; and, instead, have violated  his rights which gives rise to damages.

The Starbucks’ spokesman declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit. His supervisor has accused Barbosa of manipulating the time clock and also criticized his prior repeated absences. A real employment battle of facts and law.

In the article, the reporter noted that the Seattle-based company was ranked 78th out of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by “Fortune” magazine. Starbucks indicates that they provide full health benefits to their 95,000 employees.

For pic 0′ day, I guess I could title this “what is cooking in the kitchen?”

Angry Danny Snyder

A Seinfeld episode in 2004 became “talked about” TV because the subject matter dealt with discrimination. It was known as the Anti-Dentite episode. Kramer accused Jerry of being a rabid anti-dentite. That’s someone who is discriminating against dentists. The script of the show included the following:

So you won’t believe what happened with Whatley today. It got back to him that I made this little dentist joke and he got all offended. Those people can be so touchy.
KRAMER: Those people, listen to yourself.
JERRY: What?
KRAMER: You think that dentists are so different from me and you? They came to this country just like everybody else, in search of a dream.
JERRY: Kramer, he’s just a dentist.
KRAMER: Yeah, and you’re an anti-dentite.

JERRY: I am not an anti-dentite!
KRAMER: You’re a rabid anti-dentite! Oh, it starts with a few jokes and some slurs. “Hey, denty!” Next thing you know you’re saying they should have their own schools.
JERRY: They do have their own schools!
KRAMER: Yeah!….

The reason behind the Seinfeld episode was obviously humor. However, it also was a message that not everything is done as an attack, with discrimination being the reason. Disagreement doesn’t have to be discrimination.

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder would probably differ with that last statement. That’s because He has filed suit (copy of lawsuit) against the “Washington City Paper”, claiming that they defamed him and made anti-Semitic references, based on the picture above, that they included in the story.

Snyder filed suit for 2 million, plus damages, and claimed (story) that the drawing of the facial hair and horns, were an attack on his Jewish heritage, and that the story was “lies, half-truths, innuendo and anti-Semitic imagery (the picture) to smear, malign, defame and slander Snyder”.

The orginal article in the “Washington City Paper” (attached here), outlined many “hilarious or heinous deeds” (per the article) that they claim are things that occurred by the way that Snyder has conducted business in many of his dealings with the Redskins, and his other business.

As to these “deeds”, the newspaper says that “we believe that we have the facts right”. As to the photo, they say that it was meant to “resemble the type of scribbling that teenagers everywhere have been using to deface photos for years.”

The newspaper’s response to the lawsuit, set forth by editor Amy Austin, (Here) is too long for the blog, but also full of nuggets, like the original article.

Some of the allegations that are set forth in the original article that has brought the lawsuit, include Snyder selling peanuts at the stadium, that had a bankrupt airlines name on them. That’s not too serious, except that the airline, Independence Air, had been bankrupt for a year and peanuts are supposedly not to be kept in those containers, for more than 3 months.

Another, to give you a taste of the story, is the reaction of Health officials, when they learned that Snyder had been selling beer in the restrooms. Snyder allegedly sold 9/11 caps for profit, which amounted to a Redskin Hat with “commemorate September 11” on the side of the hat. No other team did that for profit or otherwise. It was also noted that Snyder had added a $4 “security surcharge” to the tickets, following the 9/11 attacks.

This Snyder lawsuit appears to be brought to make the newspaper spend a lot of money, to defend the case. I’m surprised that, in his probable vindictive motive,  Danny would be bringing all his business dealings to the courtroom. Plus, already, there are Snyder enemies who are raising a defense fund for the paper.

 Throughout this blog, my tone is questioning the reason to bring the lawsuit. Of course, I also have to question the venue, where Snyder filed this suit. It’s filed in New York and my guess is that, there probably aren’t a lot of Redskins’ fans in that area.

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