News and Notes from Around the World

#RELIGION / Why #Iceland Is Building a Temple to Its Pagan Gods  … The God of Thunder is making a triumphant return to Iceland. After 1,000 years without a temple of worship to the Norse gods, Iceland is resurrecting its pagan roots. A collective of followers called Ásatrúarfélagið has started construction on the shrine to Thor, Odin and Frigg, that will overlook the capital city of Reykjavik—for the first time since the Viking religion was superseded by Christianity. It is now the second largest religious group in Iceland.

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USA News Snippets and Factoids

Got something interesting that doesn’t require wearing a tin foil hat or is a conspiracy theory? Send to Bill@Bill4DogCatcher.com @Bill4DogCatcher

#DRONES #POLICE #PRIVACY / Few Privacy Limitations Exist on How Police Use Drones http://ow.ly/IJjHo @Bill4DogCatcher … Police departments across the country are asking for and getting federal approval to use drones for law enforcement. Most departments use them for missions like search-and-rescue or for photographing a crime scene or an accident site. However, only 14 states that have passed privacy legislation limiting how police can use drones. … Drone UAV Jobs

#JOBS / Ten Best Metro Areas for #STEM Jobs … it’s a great time to be a tech worker, as STEM professions are expected to expand 1.7 times faster than non-STEM occupations between 2008 and 2018. From a compensation standpoint, these careers present great appeal: The average annual wage for all STEM positions is $79,640, well above the national average wage for all jobs of $46,440. … INTERN jobs

#EDUCATION #RACE Black Students at Top #Colleges / Exceptions, Not the Rule  … Few Blacks Students Attend America’s Top Colleges, and It’s Not Getting Better. Black students make up just 4% of undergraduate enrollees in the top decile of the nation’s four-year colleges, ranked by mid-career alumni earning figures. By contrast, 26% of students in the bottom rank of colleges are black.

#CYBERSECURITY #PRIVACY 80 Million Anthem Insurance Customers Hacked … Anthem Insurance, formerly known as ‘Blue Cross, Blue Shield’ has been hacked and much of your medical and personal info is included. … We live a world where moving data is dangerous. Storing data is tricky. Protecting it is darned near too big a challenge. // Cybersecurity Jobs

#VOTING #CULTURE #POLITICS … Can North America can be broken neatly into 11 separate nation-states, where dominant cultures explain our voting behaviors and attitudes toward everything from social issues to the role of government? A Tufts University professor outlines his view of the 11 American nations as reflected in many different types of maps — including maps showing the distribution of linguistic dialects, the spread of cultural artifacts, the prevalence of different religious denominations, and the county-by-county breakdown of voting in virtually every hotly contested presidential race in our history.

North America as 11 different cultural nations

North America as 11 different cultural nations
Map is fromTufts Magazine

#PRIVACY #TERRORISM / #Government Privacy Board Tells Obama: Shut Down #NSA Mass Spying Now … The bipartisan Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board issued a Jan 29th progress report charting the administration’s efforts to comply with recommendations it made exactly a year ago to overhaul the NSA’s surveillance apparatus. That stern review last January also deemed the bulk collection of U.S. call data illegal and ineffective at countering terrorist plots— conclusions that prompted the board to urge its dissolution.

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Factoids impacting Prince William County, Virginia

Got some interesting PWC or Virginia stories? Send to Bill@Bill4DogCatcher.com @Bill4DogCatcher

#JOBS #PWC / County facilities bring science and tech jobs … the article says “The Prince William County Department of Economic Development has seen an uptick in capital investment, which will bring $513 million dollars and hundreds of jobs to the county.” … Lucy, explain to me where the jobs are that go with that $513. The article doesn’t. The math doesn’t work out.

#LIQUOR #BOOZE / Why #Virginia Lawmakers Like the State’s Liquor Monopoly … in the most recent fiscal year, the ABC Board brought in $140 million in profit and $250 million in taxes for the state.

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Virginia Factoids and News

Got some interesting Virginia stories? Send to Bill@Bill4DogCatcher.com @Bill4DogCatcher

#LINGAMFELTER #CONSTITUTION / #Virginia House, Senate delay votes on a U.S. convention of states championed by Del Scott Lingamfelter http://ow.ly/IyIEG @PWCounty … The chances of Virginia joining the three states that have urged Congress to call for a convention of states appear to be decreasing rapidly … for the third consecutive time, Del. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William County, asked the House of Delegates Wednesday to put off consideration of his resolution that would urge Congress to call for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution.

#VIRGINIA #PRIVACY ‘Sneak and peek’ bill rolls quietly through #Richmond General Assembly  …  Virginia lawmakers want to give local and state authorities the same sweeping search-and-seizure powers used by the FBI and other federal agencies under the Patriot Act. Senate Bill 919, by state Sen. Jennifer Wexton, D-Leesburg, passed 39-1 last month. A similar measure, House Bill 1946 by Delegate Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, awaits action. Bypassing the regular search warrant process, law-enforcement agencies could rifle through financial transactions, phone logs, computer records and other personal data without obtaining a judge’s approval.

#LIQUOR #BOOZE / Why #Virginia Lawmakers Like the State’s Liquor Monopoly … in the most recent fiscal year, the ABC Board brought in $140 million in profit and $250 million in taxes for the state.

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Children receiving food stamps has doubled since 2007 per U.S. Census Bureau

All info on this page comes from the Census report cited below.

The rate of children living with married parents who receive food stamps has doubled since 2007. In 2014, an estimated 16 million children, or about one in five, received food stamp assistance compared with the roughly 9 million children, or one in eight, that received this form of assistance prior to the recession.

Other highlights about the 73.7 million children under 18 in the United States:

  • 10 percent live with a grandparent (7.4 million).
  • 79 percent live with at least one sibling (58.5 million).
  • 15 percent have a stay-at-home mother (10.8 million), and 0.6 percent have a stay-at-home father (420,000).
  • 38 percent have at least one foreign-born parent (28.3 million).
  • The share of children who live with one parent only has tripled since 1960, from about 9 percent to 27 percent.

These statistics come from the 2014 Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement, which has collected statistics on families and living arrangements for more than 60 years.

Read the full report from the U.S. Census Bureau 

Children parental status

 

Children and Foodstamps

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Mark Twain – Travel is good for what prejudices you

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
— Mark Twain

Some would say that all of the above still pervades our world. Yes, but things are ever so much better than the good ol’days.

Mark Twain

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Never in my 58 years have I wandered out on Christmas day to go to a movie.

Bill Golden - The Interview

This year I decided to put on my Red, White and Blue suspenders and go out to support independent theater owners that took the risk of showing the movie called ‘The Interview‘, which has earned the ire of North Korea, a hacking group called the Guardians of Freedom, and from which corporate America ran away from as quickly as possible.

I chose to view this movie based simply upon the principle of embracing free speech … and poking back at those who would dictate to us what we should/should not see, read, think or be exposed to.

Our local independent theater, the Manassas Four which is owned and operated by Bunny Khorana, fancied itself up for the film’s Christmas debut.

Manassas Four Theater

And yes, people showed up. So many people showed up to see the movie that they moved its showing to the largest of the four theaters in the complex.

Manassas Four - The Interview Crowd

America came out to see this movie. The young, the old, and those of every hue … plus there seemed to be a healthy number of Koreans in the audience.

The Review 

Quick Review: Oy vey! Rude, crude, lewd and embarrassingly very funny.

The audience laughed … they/we laughed a lot. I noticed that women’s voices were often the loudest and most often to be heard laughing. Two of the film’s main characters were women and both used their bodies as weapons … on the soft minds of men and male weaknesses (which are legion!). Sexual innuendo on the level of young males overdosed on testosterone trying to gross each out was woven into every major scene of the movie … and there was a strong gay humor streak as well.

No one escaped insult or stereotyping. Yet I cannot help but believe that the audience walked away having laughed at itself.

We laughed not only at the fun poked at Kim — but NEVER was there a moment when the laughs were at the expense of Koreans or Asians — we also laughed at America. American media and corporate values were just as much poked and embraced for every laugh and gagline imaginable.

‘F’ Bombs: this movie was a continuous carpetbombing of that effing word.

At moments I felt embarrassed to have laughed so loud and so often because … this film is so rude, crude and lewd in a mischievous foul-mouthed American juvenile kind of way. I admit it: the laughing felt good … and I should have taken a rosary with me to keep count and to ask forgiveness for each smile that crossed my mind.

Supposedly this movie was ‘low budget’ but the videography and the acting and the scenes were all very well done. There was no cheese anywhere … except in the low brow humor.

God bless America and fresh popcorn. Go see the movie! Do it because we’re Americans and no one tells us what to do … except our moms … and that doesn’t always work out so well either.

So was the movie worth it? Was it worth the money that I spent?

On the way home I stopped off to get some milk for my coffee. Prominently displayed were some suggested unique Christmas gifts for those in search of something … anything … for those desperate … to spend some money on anything just so they could show that they remembered you … or whatever. If you would buy a Chia Willie then you need to get your willie to the theater and show that you really believe in America and free speech.

Chia Willie

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The Rebel Jesus – Christmas, kindness and … oh yes, the Sermon on the Mount. Maybe.

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There’s a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

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Full lyrics:

All the streets are filled with laughter and ligh
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by ‘the Prince of Peace’
And they call him by ‘the Savior’
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There’s a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

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Brentsville – Early Voting through December 20th / Read Candidate Positions on Issues

Election: December 23rd

Early Voting: through Saturday, December 20th
Brentsville-early-voter-registration snippet

The three candidates in the race are: Jeanine Lawson-R, Scott Jacobs-I, and Eric Young-D. The three have given statements outlining their positions on land use to Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG).

Lawsonhttp://pwcbg.org/LawsonStatement2PWCBG.html
Jacobshttp://pwcbg.org/JacobsStatement2PWCBG.html
Younghttp://pwcbg.org/YoungStatement2PWCBG.html
or
Supervisor Positionshttp://pwcbg.org/SupervisorPositions.html

You may be able to vote early if this describes you:

  • You commute and work long hours
  • You are a student or spouse of a student attnding school outside Prince William County
  • You are traveling outside the County for business or personal reasons
  • You have an illness or disability
  • You are a first responder
  • You are a military member or spouse of a military member

Brentsville Early Voter Registration Flyer for you to share and to distribute 

A thank you goes to Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG) for providing this information.

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Homeless in Prince William County, Virginia

Sign - no trespassingHomeless in Prince William County, Virginia

Got to spend about 45 minutes at one of the homeless camps today, located by the Kmart at Dale Blvd and I-95. Learned a lot.

Some of the things that I learned:

— If you are a private organization that offers a warm overnight place for the homeless to go you might have the county fire department inspecting your premises looking for any building code infraction before anyone can use your facility.

— Propane is the #1 means of cooking and heating, and it is in very short supply. For whatever reason there seems to be some liability with handling propane and so some organizations avoid collecting and distributing it.

— Gifts of water are very important. We all need water. Dehydration is common among the homeless. Water is always good to give and inexpensive.

— Giving money to the homeless is not a good practice. It will seldom get used for good purpose, and can even encourage crime.

— Homeless camps in the area have different community values. The camp by the Staples near to I-95 is considered to be 90% drug users but the camp by the Kmart by I-95 is more family oriented; a number of the camp’s members have jobs and even have children in the camp.

— A demographic study of the homeless in the five main (current) camps has been done by a local church seeking to understand the homeless better.

— There are quite a few private groups organized locally to help the homeless subsist.

— Of great need: durable tents, heavy coats, propane heaters, water and basic easily prepared food (canned soup beats cups of noodle/ramen as water and heating is needed to eat them).

>> I hope to cover the homeless situation more over the next few weeks and months. Am very much in self-education mode. You can read about it but that would be a poor education.

One remark by an assistance organizer stayed with me today. Her background has been working with the homeless for about the last five years as a private group: Many or most of these homeless will always be homeless, for one reason or another. It is a shame however that some accommodation cannot be found where they live homelessly with some dignity and access to some basic services. (Paraphrase, not a quote).

Best regards,
Bill Golden
Bill@Bill4DogCatcher
aka PWCPolitics.com

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Mystery No Trespass Sign

Homeless by the Kmart are concerned about being evicted from the woodlands where they live. A ‘No Trespass’ sign in English and Spanish was erected about a month ago.

Yesterday a TV news crew came out to a story on the homeless camp. The sign was there when they arrived and it disappeared (as of Sunday, Dec 7th) shortly after they left.

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