Welcome To The D.C. Snoburbs!
Posted on 09.24.11 by Danny Glover @ 11:28 am

I discovered an awesome blog and website called Snoburbia in the latest issue of SOJ Insider, the magazine of the journalism school at West Virginia University.

Snoburbia is the work of Lydia Sullivan, a fellow Mountaineer who graduated in 1984, a few years before me, and who currently lives and works as a freelance editor in the Washington suburb of Montgomery County, Md. Though our paths have never crossed in West Virginia or in the D.C. journalism community, we clearly have much in common, including the world view of our blogs.

Snoburbia is the kind of blog enlightened rednecks can appreciate. I love this insight into the blog from the SOJ Insider story:

Sullivan has many pet peeves about upper-middle-class suburban life, including a particular averstion to food snobbery and “foodies.”

“When I go to a party … I can usually be found by the potato chip bowl,” Sullivan said. “I live on the nuclear-orange Cheetos (I know, I know) and Pepperidge Farm Sausalito cookies. I recently proclaimed my love for Nutella on my blog, and someone told me I was destroying the ecosystem of Borneo or something.”

I love Nutella, too, and I’m not ashamed to “check in” at fast-food places via location-based services like Foursquare or to eat at chain restaurants like Applebee’s — two decisions which have surprised some D.C. friends. One day I may even order a Redneck Snack Basket.

Sullivan has turned Snoburbia into the kind of brand I’d love to have for enlightened rednecks. She sells t-shirts and an array of other products that illustrate the absurdity and condescension of suburbia. The image above of a U.S. map as coastal snobs see it is my favorite.

Filed under: Blogging and Food and Rednecks and West Virginia
Comments: None

Why We Home-School, Lesson #34
Posted on 09.23.11 by Danny Glover @ 7:36 pm

We don’t want our children to be punished by agenda-driven teachers for sharing politically incorrect views that happen to be scriptural truth:

An honors student in Fort Worth, Texas, was sent to the principal’s office and punished for telling a classmate that he believes homosexuality is wrong. …

Dakota was in a German class at the high school when the conversation shifted to religion and homosexuality in Germany. At some point during the conversation, he turned to a friend and said that he was a Christian and “being a homosexual is wrong.”

“It wasn’t directed to anyone except my friend who was sitting behind me,” Dakota told Fox. “I guess [the teacher] heard me. He started yelling. He told me he was going to write me an infraction and send me to the office.”

Dakota was sentenced to one day in-school suspension — and two days of full suspension

In this instance, the school reversed course and decided to embrace the constitutional principle of free speech after lawyers intervened. But these kinds of clashes are commonplace in public schools.

(Read previous “Why We Home-School” lessons.)

Filed under: Government and Home Schooling and News & Politics and Why We Home-School
Comments: None

A VRE Train Wreck Avoided
Posted on 09.23.11 by Danny Glover @ 8:17 am

A couple of weeks ago, amid a rain-saturated week, thousands of riders on Virginia Railway Express had to catch cabs or find other rides home when VRE canceled some service during the Thursday evening journey. Many people spent hours stuck in commuting limbo and no doubt were furious.

After seeing this picture, which VRE published in a newsletter for passengers this week, they should be grateful to VRE, as well as the rail owners CSX and Norfolk Southern, for avoiding a tragedy:

But VRE passengers also should be outraged that the rail lines didn’t impose speed restrictions earlier Sept. 8 — and that VRE didn’t pressure the rail lines to do so (at least so far as we riders know). The policies in place for determining when to slow trains for safety reasons and when to let them chug full steam are utterly nonsensical and thus both aggravating and dangerous at the same time.

The proof of this was evident a few weeks before the pictured ballast collapse on the Fredericksburg Line. The aggravation reached a pinnacle Aug. 18, when Norfolk Southern imposed speed restrictions of 15 miles per hour during an evening commute that barely got the tracks wet.

It was a knee-jerk decision driven by the same kind of mentality that prompts schools and local governments in the Washington area to close at the mere chance of snow or ice rather than visible precipitation. Our “turtle train” arrived more than an hour late, long after the few sprinkles had fallen. VRE fielded numerous complaints and shared that customer aggravation with Norfolk Southern.

That aggravation, followed days later by a legitimate earthquake-induced nightmare commute for VRE riders, likely led to Norfolk Southern’s dangerous leniency in imposing flood restrictions during heavy rainfalls the week of Sept. 4.

After catching grief from both VRE customers and VRE as a client, the rail company didn’t want to repeat its mistakes of the recent past, so it erred in the opposite direction. This, too, is the reaction of schools and local governments after they are rightly mocked for closing prematurely.

All of us VRE riders are glad that the long-distance vision of a locomotive engineer avoided tragedy Sept. 8, and we truly appreciate the commitment of both VRE and Norfolk Southern to our safety. We just wish they would exercise better judgment about when to impose speed restrictions based on fears of flash floods that could compromise the tracks.

(Editor’s note: I travel the Manassas Line and actually telecommuted the day before and the day of the track collapse covered in this blog post to avoid delays. I was stunned that the rail companies took so long to impose speed restrictions, tweeted my disgust as I watched the real-time updates on VRE’s Twitter account, and was mortified when I saw the picture of the ballast collapse.)

Filed under: D.C. Commuter Diary and Government and News & Politics and Photography
Comments: None

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