Hugo Reyes joins SDC at Peanut Fest (and takes a selfie)

Hugo Reyes, Virginia’s candidate for the State Senate’s Third District, and his partner Mary Meyers will be joining the Suffolk Democratic Committee’s tent at the Suffolk Peanut Festival this weekend.

Hugo Reyes Selfie at SDC Tent

SDC volunteers have been manning the tent since Thursday, and turnout should be good this weekend since the usual Peanut Fest storm hit us early this year.

Peanut Fest Tent

Hugo Reyes Campaign Kickoff July 23rd

Hugo Reyes, our Candidate for State Senate District 3, will kickoff his campaign at the Corner Pocket, 4805 Courthouse St in Williamsburg, on July 23rd at 5:30.

Reyes for Virginia Banner

Join Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and Mr. Reyes as they officially kick off the Reyes for Virginia campaign for Virginia State Senate.

Your 2nd Amendment Rights are Protected in Waller County, Texas

It’s good to know that your Second Amendment rights are protected in Waller County, according to the home page of the Waller County Sheriff’s Department. But if Sandra Bland was removed from her vehicle for a minor traffic violation, beaten for speaking out, held in jail for 3 days over trumped up charges, and finally executed in her cell, then Waller County would seem weak on protecting some of those other rights.

I did a Google news search on Waller County, restricting the date range to before July 2015. Waller seems to have more than it’s share of corruption and misconduct. It’s not a scientific study, of course, but it seems a little high. I don’t know what the results will be of the investigation into Sandra Bland’s suspicious death. I suppose it’s possible that the seemingly normal, educated, and well loved woman who was in town to start a new career was inexplicably belligerent enough during a routine traffic stop to justify her arrest, then killed herself in her cell without leaving a note while nobody noticed. But whatever the results, it might be a good idea for the Sheriff to emphasize more than just the 2nd Amendment. Maybe if the website said, “All of your rights are protected in Waller County”, it would help foster a better attitude of public service.

The Internet and the Civil War

Imagine if 30 years ago someone were to tell you that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, and to prove it showed you a quote like this one from General Robert E. Lee, here taken from Confederate American Pride:

There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery is an institution of a moral and political evil

Assuming that you believed the quote to be accurate, you might be left scratching your head and wondering why this seems so contradictory to what you’ve always heard. You’re probably not going to run to the library to research Robert E. Lee quotes to see the context from which that quote was taken. Which is, by the way, via Wikipedia and Rad Geek,

In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise God.

Of course, 30 years ago, few people would have heard the misleading out-of-context quote to begin with, so the Internet helps spread lies along with the truths that debunk them. Which is why there are still so many Confederate battle flag lovers who think the flag isn’t a symbol of racism.

I know that such true believers exist, but if they honestly do their research, they should have a change of heart.

People with busy lives who don’t think much about the flag and what it has stood for may be forgiven for not knowing the truth. But for anyone willing to make a stand, the Internet leaves little excuse for such ignorance. By the time someone is yelling “baaa, baaa” into a bullhorn at counter-protesters to a Confederate rally to drown out the truth, or has compiled a website full of out-of-context quotes and misleading facts, that person is not a true believer. That person is a liar.

To Confederates Who Don’t Hate

I’ve come across a lot of folks who display the Confederate flag but claim not to be racists, and claim that the Confederate flag is not a symbol of racism. I think most of them are full of shit.

This post is for the rest of you.

I’ve seen Confederates described as Dirt Ignorant, Flag Waving Bigots, but I know it doesn’t apply to all of you. I’ve also seen a Black Confederates’ website, I’ve read the Five IMPORTANT Facts I Did Not Know About That Flag. I saw a Confederate sticker next to an Obama sticker on a pick-up truck and an Obama sign in front of a Confederate statue in a neighbor’s yard. I see “Heritage not Hate” all over the place, and I’ve met people with Confederate tattoos who were among the kindest people in the world.

But I still say the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism.

Do I still need a history lesson? Fine. Send me some more links and I’ll take a look at them too. But only if you look at a couple of mine. Because I have read from Confederate apologist websites and spoken to people who claim that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, but I can’t imagine anything anyone can say or write that would carry more weight than the words of the secessionists themselves.

Texas Declaration of Causes of Secession

So read The Declaration of Causes of Seceding States or the excerpts included in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s article in The Atlantic. Note such statements as

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery..

, and

The people of the slave holding States are bound together by the same necessity and determination to preserve African slavery.

To get an idea of how dedicated the South was to slavery, read how it managed to continue the practice even after reconstruction, in this Wikepedia article and this excerpt from Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon.

… Green Cottenham was arrested by the sheriff of Shelby County, Alabama, and charged with “vagrancy.” … The next day … Cottenham was sold. … Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company, gave the county $12 a month to pay off Cottenham’s fine and fees … Cottenham was subject to the whip for failure to dig the requisite amount, at risk of physical torture for disobedience, and vulnerable to the sexual predations of other miners— many of whom already had passed years or decades in their own chthonian confinement. …

Read how the Confederate Flag that you’re displaying was never really a symbol of Southern Heritage until the opponents of civil rights made it so.

But as a political symbol, the flag was revived when northern Democrats began to press for an end to the South’s system of racial oppression. In 1948, the Dixiecrats revolted against President Harry Truman—who had desegregated the armed forces and supported anti-lynching bills. The movement began in Mississippi in February of 1948, with thousands of activists “shouting rebel yells and waving the Confederate flag,” as the Associated Press reported at the time. Some actually removed old, mothballed flags from the trunks where they had until then been gathering dust.

The Southern Cross was created as a battle flag in a rebellion to defend slavery. It wasn’t even the original design.

Sure, the Civil War was about states rights, and it was also about economics, as so many wars are. But to say it wasn’t about slavery is ignorant or dishonest. The declarations made it absolutely clear.

Illustration Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Unlike the swastika, which had been used for various purposes by diverse peoples for thousands of years, the Confederate battle flag was born for no other reason than to be used in the war to preserve slavery in America.

Another difference between a swastika and a Confederate flag is, thanks to those who claim “heritage not hate”, bigots can display the flag as a signal to others while avoiding the consequences of openly declaring their perverted views. A Confederate bigot may occasionally bump into a Confederate who doesn’t hate, but he doesn’t have to worry as much as other bigots about outing himself to anyone who might cause him grief for doing so.

I know that “Heritage not Hate” exists. I know there are people who fly the flag and don’t mean any ill will by it. You are not a racist, and maybe you feel that being from the South provides you with a heritage that is separate from the rest of the United States but also separate from Slavery. But the evidence says otherwise.

The flag of the United States of America is yours as much as it is mine. I know that it too is stained with the mark of slavery. We have enslaved Africans, slaughtered Native Americans, threw Japanese Americans into concentration camps, and committed multitudes of other atrocities. But despite horrific setbacks, we progressed toward the ideal of equality under the law. That progress toward A More Perfect Union is what the American Flag stands for. The Confederate flag symbolizes resistance to that progress.

You still have your First Amendment right to fly whatever flag you want, but it’s time to stop lying to yourself and others about what the Confederate flag stood for, and acknowledge the hate you’re helping to spread by supporting its use.

If you don’t hate, then take down the flag.

Global Cooling is a Hoax

I had a post in draft for a long time about how “they used to call it Global Cooling”. My post would have explained that in my opinion, just because scientists currently have a different opinion than the one they had over 30 years ago about how all the gasses and particles that we’re spewing into our atmosphere are affecting our climate, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention to them now. If scientists once felt that pollution would more likely block out the sun like a beach umbrella than trap the heat like a greenhouse, they were still a lot smarter than anyone who felt that pollution would have no effect at all.

But apparently, that point is moot because the whole idea that scientists once warned us about pollution causing the next ice age is a myth that deniers have perpetuated to discredit science.

As DarkSyde points out in the the article that I linked to above, those of us who remember the 70’s remember alarming articles about a coming ice age, so it’s easy for deniers to use those memories to perpetuate the lie that scientists have reversed their opinion. But the truth is, while some scientists did indeed worry about the chilling effects of “man-made dust” which may have actually contributed to colder weather in the late 70’s, there was never a scientific consensus about what would be the aggregate effect of all the different kinds of poison that we’re pumping into our atmosphere. As reported in a March 1976 article by Richard Wolkomir in the Saturday Evening Post:

Meteorologists worry that man-made dust in the atmosphere— which has doubled in the past fifty years, according to some studies—will block some of the sun’s radiation from reaching the earth, chilling the climate. Conversely, other scientists have predicted that carbon dioxide, pumped into the atmosphere in massive quantities by civilization’s fires and engines, might have a greenhouse effect: it would allow the sun’s energy to penetrate the atmosphere, but would block the resulting heat firom radiating back into space, so that the earth would steadily heat up.

Emphasis mine

There’s another article on Daily Kos, also by DarkSyde, titled “Huckabee falls for the global cooling myth”. But I have to admit that I fell for it too.

The truth is, while some scientists expressed concern about the cooling effects of man-made pollution, and some magazines and newspapers ran alarmist articles about the possibility of an upcoming ice age, scientists never came to the conclusion that if we didn’t do something quickly, “we’d be popsicles”.


Photo:Rebekah Goldberg

Once again, the right has lied to us and the so-called “liberal media” has done little to set the record straight.

Jeanne Assam was a Cop

Making rounds in the Internet is an image macro which describes how Jeanne Assam shot a church murderer in Colorado in 2007. The image praises her for pulling out her “legal, concealed gun”, then says you would never hear about her from the “Liberal Media, because she is an inconvenient fact in their war to disarm America”.

According to the image, the liars who take credit for it are

They are lying only by omission when it comes to the shooting and the heroic take-down by Ms. Assam. They are leaving out one important fact: Jeanne Assam was a retired cop and she was on duty as a security officer when she pulled out her “legal, concealed gun”.

That’s a big omission, because the so-called liberal plan to disarm America would not have extended towards Jeanne Assam. Even people calling for tighter gun control generally aren’t saying we should disarm cops and qualified security guards. In fact the Colorado Springs shooting might be a perfect example of the point that Liberal America is trying to make: It should be harder for deranged lunatics to get guns, and guns belong in the hands of properly trained public servants.

Tea Party Community may be lying by omission about Assam, but they are lying directly about the media. The incident was covered at the time. In fact, the press coverage of Assam was extensive enough to be used as an example in this critique by NBC on the use of the word “exclusive”:

I’m tired of these fake so called exclusives wherein networks make us to believe that the only place to have a certain of information. If you’re watching cable news Monday night, you might have seen interviews with Jeanne Assam, the volunteer security guard who killed the gunman at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. She was on CNN on Monday night as indicated in their exclusive banner and the next hour, she was on FOX News. If you tuned in to GOOD MORNING AMERICA on Tuesday morning, lo and behold, GMA exclusive.

And the website for Assam’s book has quotes from the press. Four years later Ms. Assam was in the spotlight again, when she said the church which she so bravely defended asked her to leave because she was gay.

So another right wing lie goes viral and those willing to take a little time to do some fact checking bang our heads in frustration.

Edit 2015/6/21: The Snopes article originally failed to mention Jeanne Assam’s police background, but has been updated, so I removed this paragraph: Sadly, Snopes has the misleading image macro in an article which explores the question, “Was a church shooting foiled by an armed woman in the congregation?”. Indeed the answer to that question is “yes”, but Snopes, like Tea Party Community, fails to mention that Assam was an ex-cop and a security guard, and the use of the image in that article strongly suggests that the words in the image are true.

Roof’s Black Friends

There was a disgusting and pathetic effort to spread the word that the murders of nine Black people in Charleston, South Carolina, wasn’t motivated by racism, but rather by the war on Christians that the right wing keeps complaining about. But now, I think most of us agree that the White terrorist who yelled “I’m here to shoot Black people” was probably motivated by racism.

Part of the effort to downplay the possibility of White racism was pointing out that Dylan Storm Roof had many Black friends on Facebook. All those Black friends might be vexing to some.

So I did what I could to look up the friends pictured in Gateway Pundit’s article “Weird… Half of Dylann Storm Roof’s Facebook Friends Are African-American”, and other sources, and of the few that still have their friends list open to the public, what I found was they have lots and lots of Facebook friends. They don’t live near Roof and don’t seem to have anything in common with him. They don’t even have a lot of White friends, but they do have one or two each. They don’t seem to be the kind of people who would turn down a friend request from anyone. Many also seem to have exactly the kinds of Facebook profiles that someone who hates Black people would use to justify their hatred.

Farah Stockman has a good take on Roof’s Black friends in the Boston Globe:

I couldn’t help but notice that Roof had a penchant for befriending black people who post over-the-top photos: One of his “friends” was a self-described rapper with a mouth full of gold teeth and a stack of $100 bills. Another worked at “X-Rated Mafia Records.” A third was a young black woman who posted numerous pictures of male genitalia, accompanied by belittling comments.

Dylan Storm Roof’s Black Friends were the closest thing to a shred of evidence suggesting that the attack on the AME church in Charleston was anything but a hate crime perpetuated by a White person against Black people, and yet the attempt to play down the racist motive was widespread. “Extraordinarily, they called it a hate crime,” said Fox News Host Steve Doocy.

Facebook friends are not real friends. Maybe it’s a little “Weird”, but it’s not shocking that a racist lunatic with a burning obsession with Black people would manage to become Facebook friends with large number of African Americans.

Update: I made a couple of changes within the first hour of posting, mostly to clean up poor structure. Also I added the information from the Boston Globe article.

Batch File to Maintain Wireless Connection

This is a Windows batch file and a hack for working around intermittent wireless disconnects. If your connection periodically goes to “no internet access”, this script may help. Obviously, it would be better to find and fix the problem but this may keep you going until you do.

This seems so easy that there must be something wrong with it, but I don’t know what that is yet, so I don’t promise anything. It works for me and I can even keep a putty session going with this script running despite frequent intermittent disconnects.

My script figures out the default gateway and the SSID. It pings the default gateway and upon failure, it will reconnect using the SSID. Then it waits 30 seconds and starts over.

I came up with this script after finding plenty of scripts that were pretty close but not quite what I wanted. Some required that you figure out the default gateway and/or the ssid before running the script. Some required the name of the interface. I wanted something that didn’t require my input.

This will open a command window. The command window reports when a reconnection was required and also allows you to hit a key to bypass the 30 second wait period for one round.

@setlocal enableextensions enabledelayedexpansion
@echo off
for /f "tokens=3 delims= " %%a in ('netsh wlan show interfaces ^| findstr "^....SSID"') do (
set ssid=%%a
for /f "tokens=13 delims= " %%a in ('ipconfig ^| findstr "Default.Gateway.*[0-9]"' ) do (
set gateway=%%a
ping -n 1 %gateway% | find "TTL="
if errorlevel 1 (
goto :reset
) else (
@timeout /t 30
goto :loop
time /T
netsh wlan connect %ssid%
@timeout /t 60
goto :loop

Daily Current Article Linked to Unrest, Deaths in Dearborn

A Daily Current article which stated that Christian woman were being forced to wear head scarfs at a Muslim owned company in Dearborn, Michighan has sparked riots in that city, leaving 12 people dead and causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage. Four of the dead were members of the Al Allah Mosque in Dearborn, which was attacked and burned Saturday night.

Although the July 22nd article is 10 months old, it remains popular on social media and there has been a recent increase in activity by social media users linking to and commenting about the article.

The unrest began when a peaceful protest against impending Sharia law turned violent as frustrated protesters where unable to find the Khilāf Krafts arts and crafts store, which was the subject of the Currant article.

“I asked a dozen of these terrorists where that Kali-whatever crafts store was and none of them gave me a straight answer”, said Bernard Nubart, a resident of a Dearborn suburb worried about the encroachment of Sharia law in the U.S. “I don’t agree with all the killing, but I understand why people was upset”

Imam Saddam Bin Barack of Al Allah expressed dismay. “I don’t understand what the violence is about. Shouldn’t an employer have the right to have his employees to submit to his religions demands? Is this not a free country?”

Dr. Howard Jane, dean of Political Science at the University of Michigan was surprised at demographics of rioters. “Usually White people and Christians find more peaceful ways of expressing social and political dissatisfaction. They tend to reserve violence for athletic events or college festivals.”

A recent press conference which was planned to be about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership turned into a discussion about riots throughout the nation. In an answer to a reporter’s question, Obama seemed resigned that his last year in office will be marked by wanton destruction and murder. Although he began asking for calm, his long, rambling statement turned sour by the end. “You know what? I give up. Fuck this shit. And fuck the Daily Currant. In fact, fuck you. All of you. If people don’t even understand when they’re reading satire, then there’s no hope”.


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