Category Archive 'Virginia'
20 Dec 2011
As to how it happens that our own Blue Ridge Hunt was recently filmed hunting at Persimmon Hill by a Korean NBC station for its news coverage. Principals featured included: retired Huntsman Chris Howells (releasing the hounds from the hounds truck), MFH Linda Armbrust and Huntsman Dennis Downing (both briefly commenting), and Charlie (dashing gallantly through the countryside).
14 Dec 2011
We had visitors.
We weren’t hunting ourselves, but the Old Dominion Hunt was meeting nearby and they put one to ground at our place, very near the house. I managed to trap my own dogs in the house, grabbed a camera, and went out and took a few snapshots.
Old Dominion huntsman Gerald Keal sounds his horn to reassemble the pack after Charles James has gone to ground in our woods yesterday. click on picture for larger image. Picture will enlarge again with one more click.
Congratulating the Old Dominion Hounds on a job well done.
Huntsman, pack, and whip begin moving off west.
The field follows Gerald and the hounds off into the woods. To the west, you see Fogg Mountain and the Blue Ridge.
05 Nov 2011
Huntsman Dennis Downing and Blue Ridge hounds celebrate putting Reynard to ground at the triumphant conclusion of the 2011 Opening Meet.
The Blue Ridge Hunt’s Opening Meet was actually scheduled for last Saturday, and had to be canceled due to the snowstorm that hammered the East Coast from Maine to Virginia on the weekend preceding Halloween.
So, a week late, hounds met at Mount Hebron (formerly a rental property belonging to George Washington), instead of the traditional Long Branch.
The weather was perfect this time, and despite the adverse circumstance of a full moon last night (inviting foxes to stay up late and party, and miss being hunted due to sleeping in), the Blue Ridge Hounds actually triumphantly put one to ground just off of Locke’s Mill Road in Berryville.
What with one thing and another, we were out from 8 in the morning and only came dragging home at 4:30 in the afternoon (after attending the the post-Opening Meet festivities at Mount Hebron). Not a lot of blogging got done today, but we certainly put the fear of the Blue Ridge hounds into one well deserving fox.
31 Oct 2011
(click on image twice for larger versions)
I make serious efforts to bar my wife from publishing photographs of me at sporting events and in the hunting field, but for some unaccountable reason I do feel a sense of gratification when I find myself accidentally present in a photograph of that kind of event published elsewhere completely independently.
I was, therefore, tickled to find, in the latest Virginia Sportsman, a feature article on last Spring’s Virginia Hound Show, which shows me sitting and leaning on my cane while watching professional huntsman Dennis Downing putting a couple of our own Blue Ridge foxhounds through their paces in the English ring. (My face is hidden behind the elbow of a photographer snapping a picture.)
30 Aug 2011
Hat tip to Vanderleun.
24 Aug 2011
Yesterday afternoon, when the earthquake hit, I was two steps up a rickety flight of stairs in an old warehouse in Remington, Virginia where we’re storing some of the many books we cannot fit into the charming, antique Virginia farmhouse we are currently inhabiting.
I thought someone must be opening an exceptionally violent garage door on the other side of the wall, then began guessing someone was running some piece of heavy machinery nearby in the building. The vibration stopped, and I proceeded upstairs.
I only learned that it was an earthquake when I got back to the car and turned on the radio.
WMAL, 63 AM, the station I listen to El Rushbo on, switched over to full-time broadcasting about this major news event. Sean Hannity never even came on. Instead, Conservative talk radio host Chris Plante was dragged out a pizzeria, where he had been lunching, back to the studio to cover what was essentially a non-event.
Chris and his associates interviewed all sorts of ordinary people, who testified to all of their personal earthquake experiences (typically just as interesting as mine).
My blood ran cold when Chris Plante, the conservative, proceeded in Pavlovian journalistic manner to interview a state legislator from Prince George County about “government’s response.” I would have said, in his position: “Response? What response? There was no actual damage. No injuries. There wasn’t anything anyone needed to do.” But, no. The politico happily bloviated on and on about how each and every level of government bureaucracy, all the “first responders” in particular, turned on every flashing light and siren, and spun their wheels vigorously. Our rulers, guardians, supervisors, and protectors had to justify their existence by seeming to take control, and keeping the rest of us alerted and informed, even if there was nothing in particular to alert us about, beyond potential heavy traffic resulting from government offices releasing their personnel to commute home early.
Even a conservative commentator, like Chris Plante, can be found to behave as a true product of the culture of journalism and officialdom, when push comes shove (even in the case of a minor 5.9 push), the journalist Plante goes running to Big Brother to participate in, and to cover with canine respect, the charade of official expertise gravely protecting us, the helpless public, from all perils and vissiscitudes, even in an instance where there is nothing but the empty semblance of a real event.
Being engaged in something, kind of, sort of, resembling journalism myself, as you can see, I, too, felt obliged to cover the terrible earthquake of 2011, and here from BuzzFeed are 20 photographs of some of the worst damage.
21 Jul 2011
Brigadier General Thomas Jackson was still wearing his blue uniform.
The cannonade of Fort Sumter occurred way back on April 12th. There have occurred a few minor battles in remote locations, but so far the War for Southern Independence or the War to Preserve the Union, depending upon how you look at it, has not amounted to very much. But 150 years ago today the first great battle of the war took place.
I expect they had nicer weather for it that day.
As far back as May, the military high commands of both the Union and the Confederacy had envisioned a climactic battle occurring with a Union advance from Washington to come to grips with Confederate forces along the banks of Bull Run near the railroad junction of Manassas and the Warrenton Pike.
The commanders, for the Union, Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell, for the Confederacy, Gen. Pierre Gustave Toussaint Beauregard, were both classmates of the West Point Class of 1838. Perhaps therefore it was not surprising that both commanders proposed essentially the same strategy.
Both generals intended to flank the opposing army on the left, roll up its lines, and thereby defeat it. Both generals failed to reckon with the difficulty of achieving complex military evolutions with inexperienced troops and staffs. Had both initiated their attacks at exactly the same time, spectators might have seen the two armies engage and begin to revolve, one around the other, like dancers.
As it happened, McDowell initiated his advance a little earlier, but the Confederacy was to be more favored by fate.
At 9 AM, the tardy Beauregard received a dispatch from a signal officer, reporting that he saw “a body of [Union] troops crossing Bull Run two miles above the Stone Bridge.” He observed both infantry and artillery.
Beauregard was caught unprepared, but as Douglas Southall Freeman observes, in “Lee’s Lieutenants:”
[T]he threat of a Federal turning movement far above the Stone Bridge had been met by the convergence of four small columns [those of Evans, Bee, Hampton, and Jackson]. Each had moved swiftly and to precisely the right point, but none had acted on specific orders or with the full knowledge of the Generals at field headquarters.”
When Beauregard hurried to the front, and arrived atop “an eminence from which was visible a wide range of smoke-covered landscape,’
In front was a long, curving Federal front, ablaze at intervals with musketry fire and artillery. To the right and North… on an adjoining ridge, a short, thin line of Confederate infantry was in action. ... To the left… admirably placed behind the crest of the hill, was a waiting Confederate Brigade. Some of its men were lying down; others were in ranks. Near the center of this perfectly aligned Brigade, six field guns were barking viciously at the enemy. In the rear of these troops and streaming backward over the shoulder of the ridge to the North, were broken units that had evidently been in the fight.”
As his men, routed and in panic, fled toward safety and the rear, the desperate Brig. Gen. Barnard Bee attempting to stop their flight, placed himself in their path, and pointed with his sword toward that “perfectly aligned” Brigade. “There,” he cried, “stands Jackson, like a stone wall. Rally behind the Virginians.”
Faced with the approaching victorious Union infantry, Jackson commanded his Brigade to reserve its fire until they approached within 50 yards, then to fire and charge with the bayonet. “And when you charge,” Jackson instructed, “yell like Furies.”
The approaching Northern infantry ranks were shattered by well-aimed fire, and then the strange cry of Southern foxhunters broke from 1700 throats.
Jackson later reported with satisfaction that his Brigade “met the thus far victorious enemy and turned the fortunes of the day.” The Union Army broke into a disorganized mob, abandoning weapons and supplies, and fleeing back to Washington.
Despite the high temperatures, there are being conducted commemorative ceremonies and reenactments today. Washington Post
15 Jun 2011
John W. Whitehead discusses the militarization and American police work and the proliferation of SWAT teams (under enthusiastic federal encouragement), their nationwide systematic overuse, and the dangers and abuses resulting for Americans.
Nationwide, SWAT teams have been employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of criminal activity or mere community nuisances: angry dogs, domestic disputes, improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession, to give a brief sampling. In some instances, SWAT teams are even employed, in full armament, to perform routine patrols.
How did we allow ourselves to travel so far down the road to a police state? While we are now grappling with a power-hungry police state at the federal level, the militarization of domestic American law enforcement is largely the result of the militarization of local police forces, which are increasingly militaristic in their uniforms, weaponry, language, training, and tactics and have come to rely on SWAT teams in matters that once could have been satisfactorily performed by traditional civilian officers. Even so, this transformation of law enforcement at the local level could not have been possible without substantial assistance from on high.
Frequently justified as vital tools necessary to combat terrorism and deal with rare but extremely dangerous criminal situations, such as those involving hostages, SWAT teams—which first appeared on the scene in California in the 1960s—have now become intrinsic parts of local law enforcement operations, thanks in large part to substantial federal assistance. For example, in 1994, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Defense agreed to a memorandum of understanding that enabled the transfer of federal military technology to local police forces. Following the passage of the Defense Authorization Security Act of 1997, which was intended to accelerate the transfer of military equipment to domestic law enforcement departments, local police acquired military weaponry—gratuitously or at sharp discounts—at astonishing rates. Between 1997 and 1999, the agency created by the Defense Authorization Security Act conveyed 3.4 million orders of military equipment to over 11,000 local police agencies in all 50 states. Not only did this vast abundance of military weaponry contribute to a more militarized police force, but it also helped spur the creation of SWAT teams in jurisdictions across the country.
In one of the few quantitative studies on the subject, criminologist Peter Kraska found in 1997 that close to 90 percent of cities with populations exceeding 50,000 and at least 100 sworn officers had at least one paramilitary unit. In a separate study, Kraska determined that, as of 1996, 65 percent of towns with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 had a paramilitary unit, with an additional 8 percent intending to establish one.
While the frequency of SWAT operations has increased dramatically in recent years, jumping from 1,000 to 40,000 raids per year by 2001, it appears to have less to do with increases in violent crime and more to do with law enforcement bureaucracy and a police state mentality. Indeed, according to Kraska’s estimates, 75-80 percent of SWAT callouts are now for mere warrant service. In some jurisdictions, SWAT teams are responsible for servicing 100 percent of all drug warrants issued. A Maryland study, conducted in the wake of a botched raid in 2008 that resulted in the mistaken detainment of Berwyn Heights mayor Cheye Calvo and the shooting deaths of his two dogs, corroborates Kraska’s findings. According to the study, SWAT teams are deployed 4.5 times per day in Maryland with 94 percent of those deployments being for something as minor as serving search or arrest warrants. In the county in which the Calvo raid occurred, more than 50 percent of SWAT operations carried out were for misdemeanors or non-serious felonies.
This overuse of paramilitary forces and increased reliance on military weaponry has inevitably resulted in a pervasive culture of militarism in domestic law enforcement. Police mimicry of the military is enhanced by the war-heavy imagery and metaphors associated with law enforcement activity: the war on drugs, the war on crime, etc. Moreover, it is estimated that 46 percent of paramilitary units were trained by “active-duty military experts in special operations.” In turn, the military mindset adopted by many SWAT members encourages a tendency to employ lethal force. After all, soldiers are authorized to terminate enemy combatants. As Lawrence Korb, a former official in the Reagan Administration, put it, soldiers are “trained to vaporize, not Mirandize.”
Ironically, despite the fact that SWAT team members are subject to greater legal restraints than their counterparts in the military, they are often less well-trained in the use of force than are the special ops soldiers on which they model themselves. Indeed, SWAT teams frequently fail to conform to the basic precautions required in military raids. For instance, after reading about a drug raid in Missouri, an army officer currently serving in Afghanistan commented:
My first thought on reading this story is this: Most American police SWAT teams probably have fewer restrictions on conducting forced entry raids than do US forces in Afghanistan. For our troops over here to conduct any kind of forced entry, day or night, they have to meet one of two conditions: have a bad guy (or guys) inside actively shooting at them; or obtain permission from a 2-star general, who must be convinced by available intelligence (evidence) that the person or persons they’re after is present at the location, and that it’s too dangerous to try less coercive methods.
Remember, SWAT teams originated as specialized units dedicated to defusing extremely sensitive, dangerous situations. As the role of paramilitary forces has expanded, however, to include involvement in nondescript police work targeting nonviolent suspects, the mere presence of SWAT units has actually injected a level of danger and violence into police-citizen interactions that was not present as long as these interactions were handled by traditional civilian officers.
Hat tip to James Coulter Harberson III.
Just last Fall, our generous Department of Homeland Security provided a grant to equip the sheriff’s department at nearby, largely rural (2009 population: 36,472) Warren County in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with its own $278,000 8-ton armored personnel carrier, able to protect deputies against .50 caliber machine gun fire, and armed with technology designed to detect chemical, biological, radioactive and explosive material.
When’s the last time you suppose Warren County sheriff’s deputies encountered IEDs, .50 caliber machine gun fire, or poison gas?
The acquisition of the armored vehicle was justified by Lt. Kahle Magalis, head of the Warren County Special Operations team, on the basis of an exchange of gunfire in 2005 by deputies with a bipolar gentleman who went off his meds and began firing a shotgun into some neighboring trailers. The future resident of the funny farm was wounded in the foot and one deputy slightly grazed on the left side of the face by ricocheting birdshot.
According to Magalis, “It hasn’t been that long. It seems like we’re responding to barricaded armed subjects on a more regular basis now than we ever have.” No encounters with barricaded armed subjects in Warren County since that 2005 incident seem to have resulted in shootouts though.
28 May 2011
Blogging will be late to non-existent on Sunday. We’ll be attending the Virginia Foxhound Show at Morven Park all day.
last year’s show
20 Mar 2011
Linda Volrath, Bundled at the Races, oil on panel, 2008
On Friday, a new issue of Norman Fine’s Foxhunting Life appeared on-line, featuring a lead article by Linda Volrath, a well-known local artist, on “Equestrian Sports and Oil Paintings.” My wife Karen was somewhat startled to recognize herself as the figure in the foreground of the painting.
Ms. Volrath’s painting was inspired by a photograph taken at the 59th Running of Blue Ridge Hunt Point-To-Point Races at Woodley in Berryville, Virginia on March 8th 2008.
Karen and I had just become members of the Blue Ridge Hunt that season, and we were already drafted into serving as officials at the races. I was registering entries and issuing numbers. Karen was in charge of the trophies.
The weather was dark and chilly that day, and thunderstorms were predicted.
Sure enough, midway through the races, the heavens opened and violent winds buffeted the field. So powerful were the blasts of wind that a Porta Potty was actually blown over with a prominent local physician inside. He was photographed grinning gamely on his emergence, his trousers stained with blue disinfectant (Photograph 116 in Karen’s photo essay).
The storm even included an interval of golf ball-sized hail.
The Volrath painting shows Karen holding on to her hat in the high winds with aid of an ancient, moth-damaged Yale club scarf. Eventually, the storm passed, and the races were successfully concluded.
Karen was naturally amused to find that her image had been recorded in oils by someone whom (at the time) she had never met. She inquired about purchasing the painting, but the artist regretfully informed Karen that the painting had been sold very soon after its completion at a gallery in Annapolis.
It’s really quite a nice painting, too.
There is clearly some kind of artistic connection between Karen and thunderstorms.
A number of years ago, Maine artist Tom Hennessey executed in water-colors a painting of a dramatic incident featuring Karen landing a salmon on the Restigouche River in a thunderstorm.
We were fishing Red Pine Lodge’s pools from a 26’ Sharpe canoe, and it began to rain lightly just as I was starting my turn casting. I handed the 12’ Payne to Karen to hold for me, while I slipped on my jacket, and she insolently flipped out a short cast next to the canoe.
The red gods could not resist the opportunity for a joke, so instantly up came a salmon and seized the fly. (We’d been fishing for three days without the slightest action.)
The rain rapidly intensified, and soon it was coming down in torrents. The salmon ran powerfully downstream, out of the pool, and we were forced to raise the anchor and follow him.
Karen fought the salmon for ten or 15 minutes as we traversed hundreds of yards of river. Finally, he seemed to be beginning to tire, and the guide beached the canoe by a slow drift which seemed like a convenient location to try to land the fish.
As the storm intensified, one bolt of lightning after another began to strike the trees on top of the mountains above us, and I strongly urged Karen to get out of the river, at least, and stand on the beach (though I was far from confident of the effectiveness of such a precaution).
(I recall thinking that I was very happy about my reactionary preference for wooden fly rods, knowing what an excellent conductor graphite is.)
The guide was bent over and cringing, in his rain gear, and manifested no desire to get near enough to the river to net the fish but, finally, threats and encouragement prevailed. Karen reeled in the mighty salmon. The guide netted it, and the salmon was duly unhooked and released. (The Restigouche counts as New Brunswick water and has a no-kill policy on salmon.)
We returned to camp, soaked to the skin, but triumphant and alive.
Appropriately enough, the fly that Karen caught the salmon on was a Thunder and Lightning. The actual fly that took the salmon is mounted in the mat around the painting.
24 Feb 2011
The church where Washington was a vestryman.
Bryan Preston reports on the lengths that the Episcopal Church has been willing to go to punish parishes attempting to break away as the result of the ordination of an avowedly practicing homosexual as bishop.
I’m not at all religious and this story makes my blood boil. It must be seriously annoying to actual believing Christians.
The town of Falls Church, VA, gets its name from the beautiful historic church at its heart. The Falls Church was built in the time of George Washington, who was himself a vestryman at the church, and the original chapel still stands amid a far larger and more modern campus, and today boasts about 2,500 members. According to a historical marker nearby, the Falls Church was a recruiting station for the fledgling army that Washington led. But today the Falls Church is the target of a scorched earth campaign that the Episcopal Church USA, now called The Episcopal Church (TEC) is waging against several of its own congregations.
The Falls Church’s differences with TEC began over doctrinal issues in the 1970s, but came to a head in 2003 with the Episcopal Church’s ordination of the first non-celibate gay bishop. Many Episcopal churches, including the Falls Church and seven others in northern Virginia, elected to separate from TEC and created a parallel church network aligned with the Anglican Communion. But TEC claimed ownership of the Falls Church’s sprawling campus, and a lawsuit soon followed to wrest the property away from the congregation. Claiming alienation of property, the Episcopal Church went to courtroom war against its breakaway flocks.
The TEC’s lawsuit against the eight churches hinges on property ownership: Who owns the buildings and lands where the congregations meet? What would seem to be a straightforward issue, isn’t, thanks in part to how Episcopal churches are governed. Episcopal churches exist somewhere between Catholic parishes, the properties of which rest solely in the hands of bishops, and most Protestant churches, which own their own properties independent of their denomination or larger structural organization. Unlike Catholic churches, Episcopal churches exercise some independence from the larger church and have the power to vote on whether to sever ties with TEC. These churches did just that. But unlike other Protestant churches, Episcopal churches exercise somewhat less independence from their larger church. But the deeds to the properties in question are in the names of the local trustees, not the TEC itself.
These churches also predate the founding of the Episcopal diocese in Virginia itself. In fact, they are among its founding churches. Falls Church itself dates back to 1734. The diocese that is suing it is three decades its junior.
Nevertheless, the Episcopal Church has continued to wage a very expensive war in court. Jim Oakes, chairman of the Anglican Division of Virginia, estimates that the case has cost the local churches and TEC between $5 million and $8 million on both sides, or between $10 million to $16 million total. For churches that exist to provide ministry to families and towns, those millions could have surely been put to much better use than hiring lawyers and engaging in legal proceedings that have now lasted five years.
As the years have worn on, the churches have offered to settle out of court at each stage, only to be rejected by the Episcopal Church, and then have prevailed over TEC in court. That changed when the case made it all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court, which handed the case back down to the circuit level after finding that the law at the heart of the case – called the division statute – did not apply in this case.
That trial is now set for the end of April, and is expected to take about six weeks. One Falls Church congregant I spoke with worries not just about the eventual ownership of the properties, but about the eventual intentions of the Episcopal Church itself. When I asked what was the worst case scenario, he pointed me to the outcome of a similar case in Binghamton, New York. The Episcopal Church’s victory over a breakaway church there led to this:
The Church of the Good Shepherd, which has stood at #79 Conklin Avenue since 1879, has been willingly turned over to a Muslim entity by the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, rather than have it remain in the hands of traditional Anglicans who practice the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
The death knell for the structure as a Christian house of worship was delivered on February 9, 2010, when it was sold to Imam Muhammad Affify, doing business as the Islamic Awareness Center, for a mere $50,000, a fraction of the church’s assessed $386,400 value.
Now, two months later, the classic red Anglican doors have been repainted green, the simple cross on top of the steeply peaked bell tower has been lopped off, and a windowpane cross in the side door has been disfigured leaving only narrow vertical glass with the cross beam being painted over to hide it. The Muslims consider the cross a pagan symbol.
Meanwhile the Rev. Matt Kennedy, his wife and partner in ministry Anne, their young family and congregation were sent packing in the bitter cold and deep snow in January 2008 when the New York Supreme Court ordered them to relinquish the 130-year-old church building which stands overlooking the meandering Susquehanna River.
Good Shepherd had offered to purchase the property before any legal proceedings began, but TEC refused, just as it has refused to settle with the majority of the Virginia churches. After winning the Binghamton suit, TEC sold the historic church to the Islamic group for about a third of what the congregation had offered. ...
[An Episcopalian source describing a similar case in Leesburg, VA, notes:]
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is on record saying she would sooner see fleeing parishes sold for saloons than see them affiliate with African and Southern Cone dioceses that uphold “the faith once delivered for all to the saints.”
Saloons rather than traditional churches? That is why the word “jihad” is in the title of this article. The Episcopal Church’s actions in Binghamton and elsewhere defy reason, unless they were intended to send a very strong and unmistakable message to traditional congregants who might be thinking of breaking away: Defy us, and we will not only hound and possibly crush your congregation through expensive lawsuits, we will see that your cherished houses of worship are desecrated. And we will go to any lengths to send this message, even if we must turn your houses of worship into saloons, or mosques. Even if George Washington himself once worshiped there.
Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.
12 Feb 2011
The Washington Post recently, on the basis of 2010 census data, admired Loudoun County’s growth and rejoiced in minority population growth in Prince William County.
Ben M. Dronsick (alas! not available on line except to special electronic subscribers) responded in Wednesday’s Fauquier Democrat to the Washington Post’s omission of praise of the lack of growth in rural Fauquier County by offering a few comparisons between Fauquier County and our neighboring Northern Virginia counties to the north and east.
In FAUQUIER County: Garden tea-party conversation might reminisce about Princess Di.
In LOUDOUN County: Garden tea-party conversation might revolve around princess-cut diamonds.
In PRINCE WILLIAM County: Garden variety tea-party conservatives might be too risky to quote in print.
In FAUQUIER County: Many houses are old, yet look as if they were constructed yesterday.
In LOUDOUN County: Many houses were constructed yesterday, yet look old.
In PRINCE WILLIAM County: Most housing developments look as if they were constructed yesterday, and were.
In FAUQUIER County: Folks want to know where your people are from.
In LOUDOUN County: Folks want to know where your dollars are going.
In PRINCE WILLIAM County: Police want to know where your papers are.
In FAUQUIER County: Realtors advertise the number of square feet under roof.
In LOUDOUN County: Realtors advertise the average number of chimneys under construction.
In PRINCE WILLIAM County: Realtors are too under¬employed to advertise.
In FAUQUIER County: Many original property lines were surveyed by George Washington.
In LOUDOUN County: Many original property lines were subdivided by G.L. Homes.
In PRINCE WILLIAM County: There aren’t any original property lines left.
In FAUQUIER County: Paintings depicting the sport of foxhunting are proudly displayed in people’s homes.
In LOUDOUN County: People’s homes sport paintings of themselves proudly depicted as foxhunting.
In PRINCE WILLIAM County: There aren’t any foxes left.
In FAUQUIER County: The closest one can get to Ireland is McMahon’s.
In LOUDOUN County: The closest one can get to Ireland is Bono’s McMansion.
In PRINCE WILLIAM County: The closest one can get to Ireland is green milkshakes at McDonalds.
In FAUQUIER County: “Farm Use” is a license plate.
In LOUDOUN County: “Farm Use” is a tax strategy.
In PRINCE WILLIAM County: “Farm Use” is a theme at Cracker Barrel.
In FAUQUIER County: Folks say Y’all” to be polite.
In LOUDOUN County: Folks say Y’all” to be politically correct.
In PRINCE WILLIAM County: There is no translation for Y’all.”
Triplets? Not by a Great Meadow mile. No wonder Fauquier was left out.
I used to live in Loudoun County, but early this year moved down to Fauquier County, deeper into Virginia.
10 Feb 2011
Virginia Senator James Webb announced yesterday that he does not intend to run for reelection in 2012.
James Webb ought to have been exactly the kind of candidate anyone of my political views would be eager to support, an Appalachian redneck who attended the Naval Academy and then served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, a war hero deservedly awarded the Nation’s second highest medal for valor, a former Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan Administration, an intellectual who published several decent novels. What was not to like?
Webb announced his political ambitions in a history book he published in 2004 celebrating his native culture and ancestry, Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America.
Reading it, followed by his 2008 A Time to Fight: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America, I was persuaded that Jim Webb’s intention was to enter national politics as a second Andrew Jackson, that he was convinced that he had a role as a populist conservative champion of the values of rural working class America, that he intended to take on the liberal urban national elites on behalf of the same ordinary Americans among whom lay his own personal roots.
It seemed strange, then, that Webb proceeded to announce his intention to run as a democrat, challenging a conservative Republican incumbent, who was, at the time, one of the leading and most desirable conservative presidential prospects. It was not what anybody would call helpful to the conservative cause.
The next thing we knew, Webb went into attack mode, using an attempt by his opponent to mock the conniving presence of a Webb campaign agent filming him at one of his rallies to accuse George Allen of racism. Allen had referred to the opposition tracker of Indian extraction using a nonsense word, and Webb’s establishment media allies concocted an extravagantly implausible analysis of the word as an antique Moroccan slur applied to Negroes, imported into the Allen family’s customary parlance in Southern California by a mother of Shephardic Jewish ancestry.
This underhanded use of obviously false accusations of racism was pretty disgusting, particularly coming someone who would normally be expected to have good cause to fear being on the receiving end of similar accusations from the left.
James Webb proceeded to run for the Senate successfully, as an anti-war candidate no less, simultaneously waving around his Marine Corps son’s combat boots and insulting George W. Bush in public on the basis of his alleged grand indignation over the president’s sending his son into combat.
For a while, I entertained the hypothesis that all this villainy was perhaps merely the ruthless means by which Jim Webb meant to fight and claw his way into high office, and that once he had acquired a usable platform out would emerge the second incarnation of Old Hickory to turn the tables on the establishment and shake things up in Washington. They do train young men to be hard-nosed at Annapolis. The Marine Corps’s fighting techniques do not emphasize fair play for the enemy. Maybe Webb as just being a ruthless SOB for ultimately patriotic reasons. It seemed to me that a populist conservative democrat presidential contender would be a real game changer in national politics and the two party system as we know it could possibly never be the same. Maybe Webb would redeem himself in the end by challenging the current democrat party’s elite leftism and restoring the party of Jefferson and Jackson to its Southern libertarian and working class roots.
But then we saw James Webb the Senator. All the stuff in those books about “fighting” had nothing to do with Webb’s senatorial behavior. As Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid steered the ship of state hard left and opened wide the deficit sea valves, Senator James Henry Webb, Jr. representative of the Commonwealth of Virginia and of the Scots Irish culture of America faithfuly voted the left-wing party line every single time. Yes, Webb voted for the Porkulus. Yes, Webb voted for Obamacare. It seemed to me a pity that the democrats didn’t see their way clear to introduce a ban on handguns or a hunt ban, so we could watch good old Jim Webb vote with the democrat party on those, too.
In Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More, upon learning that his protege Richard Rich has been appointed Attorney General for Wales as a reward for betraying him by misquoting their private conversations, remarks, Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world… but for Wales? One might say much the same thing of Mr. Webb, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world… but for one lousy six-year term in the Senate?
22 Jan 2011
Image 82 of Karen L. Myers’s photo essay on the Blue Ridge Hunt’s meet last Monday at Locust Hill (photo: Karen L. Myers)
Last Monday was cold, and this fox must have been reluctant to move from his comfortable hiding spot among the cedars at Federal Hill. He waited until the hounds were nearly on top of him before leaving, producing this photo by Karen including the head of the lead hound.
He ran right up the hill past the ancient manor house, crossed the road in the direction of Farnley, then circled back through Cedarwood back into Federal Hill where he went to ground in a tremendous sink hole, partially covered with a variety of large stones and other debris, presumably to keep the cattle from falling in.
One of the knowledgeable old timers told me that foxes tend to head for that particular sinkhole only when they are unusually hard pressed. I thought this fox was pretty close to getting caught, and we were all glad to see such a handsome fellow get away.
06 Jan 2011
A well developed sense of humor is a characteristic feature of Virginians, but not of government officials, even in Virginia. The Virginia DMV has banned my favorite vanity license plate. I’ve actually seen this plate driving by on local roads.
Matt Hardigree has the unhappy details.
H/t to Karen L. Myers.
Mochi (a chewy rice cake served during Japanese New Year celebrations) kills more people than Fugu (sushi made from a blowfish containing tetrodotoxin). The Telegraph explains why.
An apple tree consumed the remains of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams. Greg Ross has details.
Via Ka Ching.
Daniel Mitchell predicts how Barney Frank and Henry Waxman will react when the Constitution is read aloud.