Mon09222014

Last updateThu, 19 Nov 2015 8pm

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The fulfillment of a dream

Even as its prospects for passage improved for many, it still seemed like a far off dream. A civil rights bill, nothing more than a strong and clear assertion of the principles already established in the Constitution had come before the Congress a half dozen times. But each time, the bills, some of which passed the House, all failed in the Senate. Southern Senators used every tactic they could to keep the bills from becoming law.

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Movie lines that have become a part of our popular culture

People have always enjoyed quoting poetry, lines in Shakespearean plays, and famous oratory. “For he that sheds his blood with me this day, shall be my brother,” from Henry V is stirring. And of course, Lincoln’s “…government of the people, by the people and for the people” from the Gettysburg address is legend. But, those of us who are products of the 20th and 21st centuries have yet another source of famous and memorable quotes. It’s hardly Shakespeare, some would say it’s the height of triviality, but movie lines, those snippets of wisdom and humor, whether said by Clark Gable or Sandra Bullock, have a way of making themselves a part of our popular culture.  

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Virginia needs tougher ethics laws

Several years ago, while working for the FAA, I had purchased a small amount of General Electric stock. There was nothing too remarkable about this, but the FAA, in reviewing my annual statement of financial interests, a requirement for many in the federal government, said I had to sell it. I didn’t handle anything remotely connected with General Electric, but corporately the agency did, and so I had to sell the stock. That’s how tight many of the conflict of interest rules are at the federal level. Also, I was strictly prohibited from accepting any gifts, and this included trinkets or other giveaways (usually found at trade shows) worth more than a small amount. And meals, save perhaps for coffee, and that was sometimes a matter of concern, were out of the question. 

Read more: Virginia needs tougher ethics laws

2014 won’t be a cakewalk for Warner

A few months ago, it looked like Mark Warner might, at worst, have only token opposition. His position as Virginia’s senior Senator and as a popular former governor seemed unassailable. It probably still is, but instead of a second or third tier opponent, the Republicans have recruited a serious challenger. Election 2014 in Virginia is going to be lively. Ed Gillespie, the likely GOP nominee, is a former Chairman of the Republican Party, adviser to former President Bush, and considered by many an astute and energetic political strategist. He’s a good speaker, can raise money on a national level, and knows how to motivate the GOP conservative base. He will be a formidable opponent.

Read more: 2014 won’t be a cakewalk for Warner

Too many tests

Everyone who has gone to school has had to take tests. There are the infamous pop quizzes, tests on chapters, midterms, and finals. As for the questions, they come in all types. There are multiple choice, fill in the blank, true or false, essays, and math and science questions that include that infamous phrase, “show your work.”

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It’s time to pass the Dream Act

It’s called the Dream Act. At 700 pages it’s arguably too wordy and too complicated, but it’s the first major bill to address the issue of nearly 11 million individuals who are here in the United States without proper documentation. And, before anybody says it, yes, I know, that means they’re illegal. The Senate passed the bill in 2013, with strong bi-partisan support, but it faces heavy going in the House. It may never come to the floor.  The Tea Party faction in the House, which is strongly anti-immigrant, is adamantly opposed to it, but even if the bill doesn’t pass it’s a problem can’t be ignored forever.

Read more: It’s time to pass the Dream Act

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