Tag Archives: Virginia

Meet Karen Cooper- Another black defender of the Confederate flag

Last week I blogged about a young black male named Byron Thomas who spoke about his love for the Confederate flag. Well today I read about another black Confederate flag lover. Her name is Karen Cooper.


The Washington Post has an article about Karen Cooper and her love for the Confederate flag.  Where does the Washington Post find these people?

Karen Cooper was born in New York but now lives in Virginia. She’s also a former Nation of Islam member. Karen is a Tea Party supporter who’s a member of a group called the Virginia Flaggers.

For many Americans, the Confederate battle flag is an unmistakable symbol of slavery and oppression.

But for Karen Cooper, a black woman who was born in New York but later settled in Virginia, the flag embodies something else entirely.

“I actually think that it represents freedom,” the ardent tea party supporter says in a video interview that’s been making the rounds online. “It represents a people who stood up to tyranny.”

Cooper is a member of the Virginia Flaggers, an activist group that rejects the idea that the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism and hate.

The group was formed in response to a decision to remove Confederate flags from public view in several locations, including a Confederate memorial chapel on the grounds of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond and city light poles in Lexington, The Washington Post’s Susan Svrluga reported last year.

Like the rest of the Flaggers’ 40 or so members, Cooper feels pride and reverence each time she displays the flag in public.

If the flag was a racist symbol, Cooper argues in the video, she wouldn’t be an accepted member of a group composed primarily of white Southerners.

I had to watch the video several times cause I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I gave girlfriend the side eye when she said this:

Besides, she adds, slavery is “a choice.”

“I say that because of what Patrick Henry said: ‘Give me liberty or give me death.’ To me, if we had went back to that kind of slavery, no I couldn’t do it. Give me death.”


Since when was slavery a choice? Has Karen Cooper read any black history books lately? And how does one go from NOI to a Confederate flag waving Virginia Flagger?

In one week we’ve gone from the courageous Bree Newsome:


To the Confederate flag waving Karen Cooper:


It would be interesting if Bree and Karen met to discuss the Confederate flag. Bree would be like this:


Also mentioned in the article is a video that Karen is featured in called Battle Flag.  It’s a documentary about the place and meaning of the Confederate Battle Flag 150 years after the Civil War.  I must really be out of the loop. Since when did Kanye West start wearing a Confederate flag?

Karen isn’t the only person mentioned in the Washington Post article. African American Alabama native Courtney Daniels wrote a column in AL.com defending the Confederate flag.  You can read his column here.


UVA names new dorm for former slave couple

This fall the University of Virginia in Charlottesvile, Virginia will be opening a new dorm named after a former slave couple.  Gibbons House is named after Isabella and William Gibbons.


A dorm opening at the University of Virginia this fall will be named for Isabella and William Gibbons, a former slave couple who lived at the university in the 19th century.

While other colleges are refusing to rename buildings named after white supremacists, UVA is actively working to address the university’s role in slavery and oppression. Gibbons House is part of a larger initiative for the school to address its history with slavery as its bicentennial approaches in 2017.

Slavery is unquestionably a part of UVA’s history. Slaves were used to help build the school, founded by Thomas Jefferson, and worked for students and professors on campus after it opened, as local historian Gayle Schulman documented in a 2003 paper.



Slaves helped in the building of UVA which was founded by Thomas Jefferson. Isabella and William Gibbons lived at the university and were owned by two different UVA professors.  After the Civil War William Gibbons became a minister at the First Baptist Church in Charlottesville and later Zion Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.  Isabella became a teacher at a primary school in Charlottesville.

Isabella and William Gibbons were owned by two different UVA professors in the 1850s, Schulman reported. Following emancipation, the couple remained in Charlottesville, where Isabella became a teacher and William became “the first man of color to minister to the Charlottesville congregation now known as the First Baptist Church, West Main Street.”

“Their lives are a testament to enslaved people’s resistance to slavery and racism,” von Daacke said, praising their “refusing to accept the confines of slavery and the labels put on them.”

The Gibbons House will open in the fall and will house 200 students. At the entrance, there are detailed panels abut the Gibbonses and an overview of slavery at UVA. The building was officially dedicated June 12.

You can read more about William and Isabella Gibbons at UVA Today.

The DMV Part 2

Back in 2010 I blogged about the growing use of the term DMV.  I wasn’t feeling it back then.  Well 5 years later it’s grown on me.  I’ve gotten use to using that term instead of the D.C. metro area.  Some folks can change.


The DMV?

Yesterday’s Washington Post had an interesting article about a new way to describe the Washington, D.C. area.  Some folks are now using the nickname ‘The DMV‘ (District, Maryland and Virginia).

After initial obscurity, ‘The DMV’ nickname for Washington area picks up speed

By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 30, 2010; C01

New York is “the Big Apple” and Chicago “the Windy City,” but unless the earnest and obvious “Nation’s Capital” is your idea of a cool handle, Washington and its environs have never gotten very far in the civic nickname game.

We are pleased to report, however, that this could be changing. A nickname has recently emerged that could put the Washington area on the regional nickname map: the DMV. As in, D for the District, M for Maryland, and V for Virginia.

Sleek, succinct and inclusive, the name has been in common use for several years among the area’s — ahem, the DMV’s — hip-hop and go-go music crowd. It’s familiar to listeners of black-oriented radio stations such as WKYS-FM and WPGC-FM, whose DJs decorate their patter with mentions of it. It also pops up as geographical shorthand (“DMV man seeks woman”) on Craigslist, the classified-ad Web site.

It’s safe to say, however, that most of the rest of the DMV’s populace is unaware that the DMV refers to anything other than a certain sluggish city bureaucracy. Although the phrase has appeared irregularly in The Washington Post, most mainstream news sources haven’t picked up on it.

When I think of the phrase DMV I’m thinking the Department of Motor Vehicles. Though in Maryland it’s the MVA (Motor Vehicle Administration).  I have noticed that The DMV is used while listening to the radio when they do news bits but I don’t listen to WKYS and WPGC.  I tend to use the D.C. Metro area.

As hip locutions go, “the DMV” might even be displacing “Chocolate City,” the olde tyme designation for black Washington. For all its racial echoes and connotations, “Chocolate City” is increasingly limited; Washington’s suburbs have grown exponentially since the term was in vogue and are now home to more African Americans than the District itself.

I definitely remember the phrase Chocolate City when describing Washington, D.C.   D.C. use to be Chocolate City back in the day when the black population was hovering around 70%.  The group Parliament had an album back in 1975 titled Chocolate City.

According to Wikipedia:

The album takes its name from the term “Chocolate City,” which had been used to describe Washington, D.C. where blacks had been becoming a majority through migration (as explained in the cover notes included with one recent CD release of the album). The term had been used by Washington’s black AM radio stations WOL-AM and WOOK-AM since the early 1970s to refer to the city. Bobby “The Mighty Burner” Bennett, a DJ on WOL, told the Washington Post in 1998 “Chocolate City for me was the expression of D.C.’s classy funk and confident blackness.

But like yesterday’s Post article stated black folks have spread out to the Maryland and Virginia suburbs.  D.C. is more diverse now.

I guess with other cities using various nicknames like Atlanta (the ATL or the 404), Houston (H-Town), San Francisco (the Bay area), Los Angeles (Southland), Chicago (Chi-town or the Windy City), Philadelphia (City of Brotherly Love), New York City (the Big Apple) some folks in the D.C. Metro area are looking for a similar type of nickname.  But The DMV?  Sorry but I’m not feeling this one.  Folks looking for a nickname need to go back to the drawing board.

Metro and seat hogs

The Washington Post has an interesting article about seat hogs on the metro/subway. According to the Post seat hogs are folks who sit in aisle seats with empty spots beside them but make no move to slide over and offer another passenger a seat or get up from the aisle seat so another passenger can sit in the window seat.   Seat hogs are also those who sit in window or aisle seats and place their bags, wet umbrellas, briefcases, etc. in the empty spot beside them or those who decide to take up the entire seat by sitting sideways with their feet propped up on the seat.

As Metro congestion grows, so does anger at ‘seat hogs’

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 19, 2010; A01

Brooke Timmons grasped a bar in the middle of a crowded Red Line rail car and held on, looking exasperated as she tried to keep her balance while the train jerked and accelerated down the track.

On both sides of Timmons sat riders referred to on commuter Web sites as “seat hogs.” A man and woman occupied aisle seats with empty spots beside them but made no move to slide over and offer Timmons a seat.

“There is a self-centeredness about it. ‘My space is more important than you,’ ” said Timmons, 37, a lawyer from the District. “It’s epidemic” and reflects a lack of etiquette in Washington, said Timmons, who grew up in Vinita, Okla., population 6,000, where she said gentility prevailed.

As Washington’s public transit network grows more congested, with Metro projecting “unmanageable” levels of saturation on its rail system by 2020, the phenomenon of people taking up more than their share of space is becoming increasingly touchy.

“It makes me mad,” Soulman Bushera, 26, an IT recruiter in the District, said as he rode a packed Red Line train downtown one recent morning. “I ask them to move,” he said. “You find a whole aisle of them sometimes, and the one you pick gets disgruntled.”

Twitter users and commenters on transit blogs such as Unsuck DC Metro frequently sound off about people who place purses, briefcases, feet or wet umbrellas on seats next to them in jammed trains.

I guess I’m somewhat of a seat hog.  I almost always get a window seat during morning and afternoon rush hour and place my tote bag on the other seat.  But I only do this when the train isn’t crowded and there are plenty of empty seats.  If I notice that the train is becoming more crowded I move my tote bag and put it on the floor.  Most times I put my tote bag on the floor anyway as soon as I get on the train, especially during the afternoon rush hour.

During the few times I’ve sat in an aisle seat I have my tote bag on the floor and if someone wants the window seat I get up so they can sit down. This usually happens when I’m on the train for only a few stops and I have to transfer.

One of the things that irritates me and some folks have commented on it in the comments area of this article is when you’re sitting in the window seat and Big Mama decides to sit next to  you.  Not only is Big Mama sitting on her side of the seat but her ample behind is taking up part of your seat as well.  I’m not small by any means but my butt manages to stay on my side of the seat.  Unfortunately Big Mama wants part of my side of the seat too.

“Seat hogs are so prevalent, and there is such a sense of entitlement among certain passengers,” he said, calling those who sit on the aisle, blocking empty seats, particularly “passive-aggressive.”

You can read the entire article here.

One thing I noticed about this article is that some folks aren’t asking the aisle sitters if they would either scoot over to the window seat or if they could get up so they can sit in the window seat.  Most folks aren’t mind readers so you need to let the aisle sitters know.  When I’ve been on a crowded train I ask the aisle sitter if I can sit in the window seat. Haven’t had any problems yet.

A few years ago during morning rush hour I was sitting in the window seat and a woman was sitting next to me. When it was time for me to get off at my stop I said excuse me so I could get off the train. Well this wench refused to get up.  After saying excuse me several times and not getting up all she did was move her body over and face the aisle.   And she was no small woman either.   Since she acted like a real bitch I had to fight my way of the seat and my purse knocked her upside her head.  Did I apologize? Hell no!!!  Since she was too damn lazy to get up from the seat so I could get out of the seat normally she took that risk of my bag hitting her upside her big head.

Giving a side eye to Mother Nature

Yes I am. The weather folks are talking about more snow tomorrow and Wednesday. The accumulation projections range from 5 to 16 inches depending on where you live in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Like I need more snow to shovel 😦   But the good news is that I don’t have to go to work tomorrow. The federal government was closed today but today was my day off anyway. But I do get a snow day tomorrow. And after reading the Washington Post’s Get There column with Dr. Gridlock, if the government was open my train station won’t be open anyway. Metro is running on a limited service schedule. Fifteen stations are closed due to heavy snow drifts on the tracks. There’s also limited bus service as well.

Metro service limited on Tuesday

The effects of the past storm and anticipation of the next will limit Metro transit services on Tuesday.

The train system will open at 5 a.m. with limited service and may close early depending on how cold it becomes and how deep the snow gets. Fifteen stations will remain closed because the snow drifts on the tracks are so heavy.
Six-car or eight-car trains will operate at 30-minute intervals. They will travel at 35 mph.

Here’s the line-up:
Red Line Limited Service: Medical Center to Union Station and Glenmont to Forest Glen
Blue Line Limited Service: Franconia-Springfield to Stadium-Armory
Green Line Full Service: Greenbelt to Branch Avenue
Orange Line Full Service: Vienna to New Carrollton
Yellow Line Full Service: Huntington to Fort Totten

Closed stations: Shady Grove, Rockville, Twinbrook, White Flint, Grosvenor, New York Ave, Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland, Silver Spring,Takoma, Benning Road, Capitol Heights, Addison Road, Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center. They all have snow drifts of three to six feet on the tracks.

30 minute intervals at 35 mph? It would take forever to get to work. I wonder if metro is charging rush hour fares for this limited service since morning rush hour starts at 5:00am.

Preparing for Snowmageddon

Yes, Snowmageddon is the name that this upcoming snowstorm is being called by the Capital Weather Gang over at the Washington Post.

Anyway my feet are hurting right now. I spent about 50 minutes standing in line at the grocery store 4 hours ago. All this so I can be well stocked up for the upcoming snowstorm.

This picture was taken at a supermarket in the Washington, D.C. area.  This is how the store I stood in for 50 minutes looked, lol.

The local weather folks are predicting snow accumulations could get as high as 26 inches depending on where you live in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area.  Unfortunately according to this map I live in the 16-26 inch category of snow prediction.

Folks around here will be digging out for days if we get up to 26 inches 😦

Powerball and Mega Millions merge in the D.C. area

According to a Washington Post article from last weekend Powerball and Mega Millions will be available in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia starting  January 31.  Currently Mega Millions tickets can only be bought in Maryland and Virginia and Powerball tickets can only be bought in D.C.

Powerball, Mega Millions lotteries joining forces

By Nikita Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 23, 2010

No more choosing between the two jackpots, no more crossing state lines to buy the hope of millions: Starting Jan. 31, lottery players will be able to buy both Powerball and Mega Millions tickets throughout the Washington region under an agreement between the two games.

Currently, 31 states, the District and the U.S. Virgin Islands sell Powerball, and 12 states, including Maryland and Virginia, offer Mega Millions. The two games agreed in October to let them all offer both games. District, Maryland and Virginia officials announced this week that they will start selling both Jan. 31.

It’s good to know that starting this weekend you can buy tickets for both lotteries throughout the area.

Biker Dog

There’s been so much bad news going on lately including numerous deaths, unfaithful politicians and plane crashes.  But sometimes you’ll read something that puts a smile on your face.  Last week I read a really cute article about Sevey the Biker Dog.



Sevey lives in Virginia with her owner Alan and has logged over 60,000 miles in the last nine years as Alan’s passenger.

Biker Dog
Va. Man Never Goes Anywhere Without His Motorcycle Mutt

By Tara Bahrampour
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 22, 2009

Her wavy black hair streaming behind her, she rides without helmet or clothes; just a neckerchief, goggles and a toothy smile. She elicits stares, thumbs-up and sometimes outrage. After all, who’s to say she enjoys it, perched precariously on the back of a souped-up Harley-Davidson, careering down the highway at 60 mph? Dogs were not meant to fly that way.

Sevey, a black mutt who has logged 60,000 miles over nine years, would beg to differ. In fact, she begs so insistently for the open road that her owner and riding partner, Alan Ribner, 47, can’t bring himself to get on his bike without her.

“I feel terrible,” he said. “She’s too crazy about it.” And so, each time he goes for a ride, the Leesburg resident heaves the 55-pound dog into an ostrich leather, fur-lined seat behind him.

As soon as he puts the key in the ignition, Sevey barks enthusiastically, detecting a high note that occurs seconds before the engine turns over. They launch into gear and they’re off, thundering down their placid residential street, her high-pitched “Arf! Arf!” punctuating the roar of his Harley.

Neighbors wave. Strangers do double takes. Some follow in their cars, pulling alongside and holding out cellphones to take pictures.

“My husband rides bikes, so he’ll love this,” Stephanie La Lumiere said from a sport-utility vehicle as she snapped a photo.

“I let my child get on the back of a motorcycle,” she added. “So I understand.”

Ribner waves, and he and Sevey zoom toward the highway.

Their relationship began nine years ago, when Ribner spotted the listless mutt on the road near a 7-Eleven in Lovettsville.

After inquiring about whether anyone had lost a dog, he and his then-girlfriend, a veterinarian, took her in and named her after the store where they had found her.


You can check out the rest of the article here at the Washington Post.

Obama and Biden’s burger run

I had a good laugh reading the Washington Post this morning. They had a front page story in the Style section about President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden heading out to Arlington, VA for lunch.  Obama and Biden chowed down at Ray’s Hell Burger. I’ve never heard of this place but how can you have a restaurant that sells burgers but not french fries?



Say Cheese: Obama Lunch Turns Juicy Eat-and-Greet

By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Their standing weekly lunch is served by butlers on the finest china in a private White House dining room. President Obama and Vice President Biden sit at opposite ends of a polished mahogany table, a golden chandelier hanging overhead and a cerebral John Quincy Adams staring down at them from a portrait.

Yesterday, however, Barack and Joe wanted to show they’re still in touch with the people — and what better way than waiting in line for a big juicy burger. An aide knew just the spot. So at 12:26 p.m., they hopped in their motorcade, zoomed across the Potomac River into Virginia, and pulled up outside 1713 Wilson Blvd. The popular joint in a plain Arlington strip mall has no sign, but neighbors know it as the home of Ray’s Hell Burger, and the spot is beloved as much for its premium aged 10-ounce hamburgers as for its bare-bones decor.

The world’s most powerful man, and the guy a heartbeat away, waited patiently in a single-file line as the lunch crowd gawked — and as two customers in front of them at the counter pondered the menu leisurely, apparently oblivious to whom they were holding up. Then it came time to order.

Obama tilted his head to read the menu, but took a pass on Ray’s specialty burgers, like the “Let’s Get It On,” or the $17.50 burger with foie gras and white truffle oil. Obama, customer No. 42, opted for something more simple: “Your basic cheddar cheeseburger, medium well.”

No ketchup, the president said, but lettuce and tomato. And: “Have you got a spicy mustard or somethin’ like that? A Dijon mustard?”

Biden ordered a Swiss cheeseburger with jalapeno peppers and ketchup, medium well, and a root beer.

“Are your fries pretty good? Can you vouch for your fries?” Obama asked.

Ray’s doesn’t do fries, said the guy behind the counter, Tim Murray. But Murray suggested the president try “Cheesy Tater Puffs,” which are pureed potatoes with cheddar cheese and chives flash-fried like Tater Tots. Obama looked skeptical, but asked for one order for him and Biden to share.

Looks like their visit has increased business at Ray’s. Even the county health inspector came by to check the place out, lol.

ARLINGTON, Va. – It’s a burger that has won many “best of” awards and today the lines were long at Arlington’s Ray’s Hell Burger, the burger joint the president and vice president visited Tuesday.

The manager says every day is busy but President Obama’s decision to grab lunch there with Vice President Joe Biden made Wednesday’s lines even longer.

“My husband told me that Biden and Obama came yesterday and I thought, ‘well that’s a great reason to come,'” said Jean Cartwright, a customer

It probably wasn’t a coincidence that the day after the president dined at Ray’s, a county health inspector showed up to check on conditions at the restaurant. Apparently they passed and it’s a good thing too as many people were still waiting in line late in the afternoon.

Check out what others have to say about yesterday’s burger run:

Daily DC Item: If Obama Likes Hell Burger- Maybe I Do Need To Give It Another Try

Barack and Joe go to White Castle… I mean, Ray’s Hell Burger

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