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On Being Human or a Consumer Unit

July 9, 2013 by Tony Noerpel filed under Columns, Sustainable Planet 2 Comments
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“When greed is seen as acceptable even praiseworthy there is clearly something wrong with our collective value system.” Dalai Lama Beyond Religion, Ethics for a Whole World.

“All matter has condensed out of energy, all changes are driven by energy conversion, and all structures originate from energy fluctuations.” Reiner Kummel, The Second Law of Economics, Energy, Entropy, and the Origins of Wealth.

Figure 1: 12 and 13 year old boys working as coal miners. We see these boys as vulnerable children who need to be in free public schools getting an education. Milton Friedman saw them as production capital or consumer units. They do not need an education beyond what improves their exploitable economic productivity and consumption.

Years ago I read a book review of a “doomer” book, one of those pesky evidence-based books which describe very serious problems. I don’t recall the subject matter, global warming, over fishing, ocean dead zones, ocean acidification, species extinction, mountaintop removal, tar sands exploitation, inequitable distribution of wealth and income, the concentration of wealth and power, the rise of finance over the real economy or whether it documented some other human misbehavior. It doesn’t matter. The reviewer criticized the author for spending about 90% of the book describing the problem and only 10 percent detailing solutions. I recall the reviewer’s attitude was we all get it and now need to figure out how to fix it. The reviewer was wrong. The author was proposing fairly radical solutions apparently to a fairly serious existential crisis and it is pretty obvious that most Americans and certainly our main stream media did not get it. In order to convince us to modify our behavior the author was right to spend the energy convincing us that there actually was a problem that needed solving in the first place and that the problem was of sufficient magnitude to require radical solutions.

This reviewer would have loved Milton Friedman’s book Capitalism and Freedom. Friedman proposed all manner of extreme “solutions” to unspecified problems which apparently do not exist. Indeed, he didn’t really claim that there were any problems other than that some human behavior and government policy were at odds with his personal “principles” or ideology. One of his “solutions” proposed privatizing our public national parks. There is no description of the problem this remarkably radical policy would solve but any rational person can appreciate the huge problems it would create. The best possible outcome for Americans is that some private corporation exploits our former commonly held wealth by turning it into The Dells in Wisconsin, Disney Land or Las Vegas festooning Half Dome in neon lights and destroying its natural beauty for generations while exacerbating the well documented and quite serious problem of wealth inequality. The more likely outcome though would be that a powerful, rich and well-connected corporation like Halliburton or Koch Industries takes it over, clear cuts the forests and blows up Half Dome to extract whatever mineral wealth they can for obscene profit which they then use to buy off even more politicians to begin the next round of public lands sell off. Exploitive corporations would thus destroy Yosemite for all future humans as well as for us. Such a policy benefits the wealthy and powerful elites, or “Greedy Bastards” according the Dylan Ratigan in his appropriately titled book. What did Friedman think would happen?

Another “solution” Friedman proposed is to close all free public schools. Friedman makes clear that humans have value as consumer units and production capital. “Schooling … is a form of investment in human capital precisely analogous to investment in machinery, buildings, or other forms of non-human capital. Its function is to raise the economic productivity of the human being. …This … is the economic incentive to invest capital whether in the form of a machine or a human being. In both cases, extra returns must be balanced against the costs of acquiring them.” Friedman saw those 12 and 13 year old boys in Figure 1 being used productively; educating them further would not likely increase their productivity or their value to the economy and the greedy bastards. As a bonus they would use their meager wages as good consumer units. Why should they be in school? By contrast, we see them as children who need to be in school getting an education. We see that education is rewarding in its own right. It enriches us, improves our ability to think critically and skeptically, teaches us moral and ethical values such as compassion and cooperation, and the difference between greed and self-interest, satisfies our curiosity, and opens our minds to a wider world of possibilities. Education helps us to be better people not better machines. Friedman himself might have benefitted from such an education.

Friedman writes: “In recent years, there has been an encouraging development in the U. S. of private loans to college students.” This “encouraging development” has increased the cost of an education faster than the inflation rate and created yet another mechanism whereby Wall Street bankers can productively increase total indebtedness and dig their talons into America’s youth before they even graduate. Student loans add another layer of usury profit takers to the struggle to get an education. Today there is about one trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt. Students are graduating with an average of $26,600 of debt (2011 graduates). 41 percent of these loans are in default at some point during the first five years of repayment [1]. This may be the debt that precipitates the next economic crisis especially as Friedman’s greedy bastards squeeze our country’s youth from two directions, saddling them with debt on the outset of their careers and sending their jobs overseas.

In the introduction, Friedman wrote “The great advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science or literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.” He wrote these words in 1962, five years after the Soviet Union, an undemocratic, communist centralized government with no laissez faire free market, sent the Sputnik satellite into an elliptical low Earth orbit on October 4, 1957 launching humankind into the Space Age. If Friedman had an adequate education himself he might at least have been able to keep up with current events even if he was substantially ignorant of history. Two very different centralized governments with very different economies, the Soviet Union and the United States, launched the nuclear age. The fact is Friedman’s blanket statement is false. Friedman didn’t research this; he made it up.

Before the discovery of fire and stone tools, humans spent all their time and energy satisfying their needs and those of their clan. Today, with the exploitation of fossil fuels and other energy sources, each American enjoys on average the equivalent of about 100 energy slaves [2]. This frees up large numbers of people to engage in the arts and sciences, to satisfy their creative urges and their curiosity. The big advances were generally initiated, funded and organized by governments while other advances were made by individuals in their garages. Corporations contribute their share to be sure. But corporate contributions are muted by the many corporate disasters such as tetraethyl lead gasoline additive [3]. Considering only the imminent disaster of human-caused global warming with a likely price tag exceeding $1,200 Trillion [4], it would be a very difficult argument to make that positive contributions from corporations exceed their negative value to humanity. Meanwhile multiple different democratic governments cooperatively organize the International Space Station and the Large Hadron Collider. The necessary ingredient to all of human advances in the arts and sciences is not any specific economic policy and pointedly it is not greed but increasing energy flows. The word “energy” does not appear in Friedman’s vocabulary.

The human economy is an open complex non-linear non equilibrium thermodynamic system [5] which is required to dissipate a substantial energy gradient and which outputs significant entropy into the environment. The economy is not static and it is not a closed system. Friedman understood the economy as a closed static system. In his 1953 paper describing his methodology [6], Friedman placed economics in the realm of pseudo-science akin to astrology and distinct from science. His laissez-faire free market capitalism is an ideological construct which cannot exist in the real world. It literally does not account for energy flows or entropy. Friedman’s first mistake was being an ideologue. As I’ve pointed out as have countless others before me, ideology makes smart people stupid. His second mistake was adopting an ideology based on an economic model which is physically impossible. His third mistake was expounding an ideology in which greed “is seen as acceptable and even praiseworthy.”

On corporate power and unions Friedman observed “The most important fact about enterprise monopoly is its relative unimportance from the point of view of the economy as a whole.” He then added “Unions have therefore not only harmed the public at large and workers as a whole by distorting the use of labor; they have also made the incomes of the working class more unequal by reducing opportunities for the most disadvantaged workers.” To be precise, enterprise monopoly coal companies put pre-teenaged boys in very dangerous situations as miners and it was the labor movement that freed them. Just twenty pages after these two bizarre statements Friedman wrote perhaps the only accurate passage in his book, “… a producer group tends to be more concentrated politically than a consumer group. This is an obvious point often made and yet one whose importance cannot be overstressed. Each of us is a producer and also a consumer. However, we are much more specialized and devote a much larger fraction of our attention to our activity as a producer than a consumer. …In consequence, in the absence of any general arrangements to offset the pressure of special interests, producer groups will invariably have a much stronger influence on legislative action and the powers that be….” This one observation thoroughly contradicts the rest of his book. And this situation only presumes self-interest on the part of producers rather than the greed which is actually in play.

In the 1982 reprint of his book Friedman complained that when first published in 1962 it was ignored. That happens to be the most rational response. If we contrast this initial reaction to one of the weirdest books ever written with the initial reaction to one of the most important, The Limits to Growth, which sparked immediate serious discussion, we gain some respect for human instincts and intelligence. The public was right to dismiss Capitalism and Freedom as useless and take interest in The Limits to Growth as worthy of consideration. Unfortunately, Friedman’s book, recommending elimination of corporate taxes, a reduction in taxes on the extremely wealthy, deregulation, elimination of unions and the sell-off of national parks, while solving no apparent problem and creating no advantage to human society, became a hit with the extremely wealthy and powerful. The Limits to Growth, being a threat to neo-classical economists as well as the wealthy, was attacked politically. Since the Reagan Administration Friedman’s book has been widely read by conservatives and his philosophy has become the prevailing view of the American conservative movement specifically because it justified the greed and corruption of concentrated wealth and power.

In a previous article I showed [6] that Friedman’s methodology was equivalent to astrology or pseudo-science. In this article I’ve tried to show that it is not based on fact nor does it have any morally redeeming quality. It is based on a perverse adulation of greed.

Reiner Kummel [2] writes that “Global Society faces a threefold challenge: provide sufficient energy for the future, observe the biosphere’s limited capacity of absorbing pollution, and prevent the growth of social tensions.” Milton Friedman did not acknowledge these problems and his policies uniformly make matters worse.

To be fair to Friedman, he did not invent greed and the aggregation of wealth and power any more than capitalism itself invent these conditions. Freidman, appalled by totalitarianism, thoughtlessly embraced its apparent opposite, unregulated capitalism, not recognizing that these are the same thing. In fact [5], “individuals and their freedoms are destroyed as collective dictatorial or market-based organizations are built.” Friedman as it happens is just another in a long line of sycophants. Besides Freidman, the greedy bastards have found plenty of politicians, economists and lobbyists to champion their interests. If humankind has evolved with one negative characteristic it is greed. And if we are going to survive as a species we will have to learn how to control it. The problem space for humanity can be thus summarized with that one word, greed.

For the solution space I quote Schneider and Sagan [5]:

“Can humans live sustainably on an ever more crowded earth? There are some reasons for hope. …[F]orests have robust means of survival from which we may learn. One of the most crucial is to slow down our growth rates and integrate more deeply with diverse climax ecosystems. Since we have expanded by use of intelligence and detection of not necessarily sustainable gradients, continued civilization is not a foregone conclusion. To ensure it, we must follow in the footsteps of our successful planetmates. The most successful long-term ecologies on Earth involve photosynthesis; indeed, our oil economy freeloads on photosynthetic fossil fuels, buried treasures that the rest of life passed by. But these treasures are running out. Moreover, access to them is predicated on oligarchic international alliances unafraid to politicize their interests under nationalistic, religious, and democratic banners.”

They continue, to survive sustainably they recommend that we must [5]:

“Use sustainable energy gradients
Control our human population
Increase energy efficiency
Recycle
Close leaky cycles whenever possible
Develop ecology as a worldview
Encourage cultural and biological diversity
Encourage interconnectivity.”

I would add to this that we must overcome the greed inherent in both totalitarian regimes and in corporate capitalism and for all that embedded in the human genome. We are what we are, true, but that is why we each have a brain. We can start to use it by recognizing what we all intrinsically know is true that greed is evil. We have to stop supporting politicians and political parties which praise greed. We can only make capitalism work for us if we control its excesses via a democratic process. That means that regulation is a requirement.

[1] http://www.asa.org/policy/resources/stats/default.aspx

[2] Reiner Kummel, The Second Law of Economics, Energy, Entropy, and the Origins of Wealth, Springer, 2011.

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetra-ethyl_lead

[4] In 2009, researchers from the International Institute for Environment and Development and Grantham Institute for Climate Change estimated the cost of human-caused global warming to have a mean net present value of $1,240 trillion assuming the IPCC A2 scenario. Since this report was published, there has been nothing but bad news. Sea level estimates have tripled and the 2012 arctic sea ice loss and its implications have surprised everybody and we’ve done nothing except increase our carbon emissions. http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/11501IIED.pdf

[5] Eric Schneider and Dorion Sagan, Into the Cool, Energy Flow, Thermodynamics and Life, University of Chicago Press, 2005.

[6] Tony Noerpel, The Con in Economics, March 5, 2013, http://brleader.com/?p=10734

2 comments

  1. Peter Jones, DC says:

    Mr. Noerpel,
    Thank you for your excellent column that cuts through mountains of obfuscation and propaganda defending the status quo. I am used to finding such intelligent and informed commentary in books and blogs I have sought out for my own edification, but to have arrive on my “virtual doorstep” has been especially encouraging. I moved to Winchester for an employment opportunity, but was unsure how to ferret out fellow concerned citizens with whom I might contribute to the great work facing humanity in the generations to come.
    I look forward to future columns, and will explore your archived posts and trust they will lead to other activists and aware friends I the area.
    Dr. Peter Jones

  2. Tony Noerpel says:

    Hi Peter

    Thank you for the kind words.

    Just this Friday, Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani child who was gunned down by the Taliban for daring to get an education, addressed the U.N. Malala demanded that the world leaders provide free compulsory schooling for every child. I pictured Friedman rolling in his grave demanding in his turn: “No, No, make them pay for it.”

    We need many more Malalas and many fewer Milton Friedmans.

    Welcome to the neighborhood. :+)

    Tony

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June 30, 2014

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Join us for this week’s FREE kids’ club program featuring a FREE movie at Cobb Theatres. Join us for “Turbo” or “Walking with Dinosaurs.” Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for more information.

 

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Join us for this week’s FREE kids’ club program featuring a FREE movie at Cobb Theatres. Join us for “Turbo” or “Walking with Dinosaurs.” Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for more information.

 

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July 2, 2014

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Join us for this week’s FREE kids’ club program featuring a FREE movie at Cobb Theatres. Join us for “Turbo” or “Walking with Dinosaurs.” Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for more information.

 

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FREE activity every Wednesday at 10 a.m. Held in Community Room at 1601 Village Market Blvd. #100, next to Plow & Hearth and across from Cobb Theatres, unless noted. 

  • July 2  – Paul Hadfield aka “The Funny Guy” Clown Theater program

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Mt Zion Church
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Carol Bundy, author and historian, will speak on William Hathaway Forbes and the California Battalion's confrontation of Colonel John S. Mosby, 1864. Co-hosted by Mosby Heritage Area Association and Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.

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July Sunday Brunch at Breaux Vineyards

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July 6, 2014

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Cavaliers, Courage & Coffee Program

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July 6, 2014

Mt Zion Church
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As part of the sesquicentennial events for the Battle of Mt Zion Church, the Gray Ghost Interpretive Group will offer a lantern lit dramatic evening. 540-687-5578.

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VAL's Pals Kid's Club

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July 9, 2014

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July 9, 2014

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FREE VAL Lawn Chair or Picnic Blanket for the first 50 families each week! Check out your film favorites at our NEW summer outdoor movie series. Grab refreshments from your favorite VAL restaurant, bring your own lawn chair and have fun! Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for full schedule. For inclement weather updates, visit Facebook.com/VillageAtLeesburg. One giveaway per family, while quantities last. July 9 – The Goonies  PG  111 mins

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9th Annual Key West Festival

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July 12, 2014

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Come enjoy our "Vineyard in Paradise" at the 9th annual Key West Fest!  Wine tastings, food vendors,  live music, kids' activities and more!

Local crafters and vendors will also be on-site selling their wares and have great items you could win!  We will draw prizes under the band tent during the band breaks!

Please remember, no dogs or picnics are permitted at our festivals! 

Ticket sales coming soon!

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Increase Your Reach: Social Media Advertising for Business

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July 17, 2014

Why use social media advertising? What should your goals be? Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn—what’s best for your business? How can you analyze results to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth?

Get answers. Maximize the power of your SM advertising.

Presenter:  Kona Gallagher,  Marketing Program Coordinator for Loudoun County’s Department of Economic Development.

REGISTER at Loudoun SBDC.eventbrite.com

Fee:  $25 registration online; $30 at door
Those who pay at the door are not guaranteed seating or handouts.

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Summer Saturdays

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July 19, 2014

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Village at Leesburg presents a music concert series. Come listen to various artists on Saturday July 19th, Saturday August 2nd, Saturday August 9th, Saturday August 16th, Saturday August 30th, Sunday August 31st, and Monday September 1st at Village at Leesburg in Fountain Court. There will be performances by Paul Pfau & Connor Pledger (R&B former The Voice contestants), Julian Roso (Acoustic Pop), Todd Wright Band (Alternative Pop Covers), Poorhouse Rd (Americana Blues), Music Bone (Electric Rock/Jazz), Gina de Simone & The Moaners (Swing/Dance), AJ Sith & The Apollo (Indie Rock) on alternating nights. For the full music schedule please visit villageatleesburg.com

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JUL Loudoun Federal Contractors Group Networking Event

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July 22, 2014

Patrick McMahon, Attorney - McMahon, Welch and Learned, PLLC, will present briefly on “Negotiating Teaming & Subcontracting Agreements from a Small Business Subcontractor Perspective.”

 

SPONSOR:   TD Bank, N.A.

 

Let’s continue building federal contracting relationships in Loudoun. Whether you’re a contracting neophyte or veteran, this event can help you move forward on your contracting goals.

The group’s founder, Loudoun SBDC, is a resource partner with the SBA. It has been helping to launch/grow government contracting businesses for over 10 years. It has strong partners within the economic development community and is well-positioned to assist you!

 

FREE but REGISTER at LoudounSBDC.eventbrite.com.

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VAL Movies Under the Stars

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July 23, 2014

Village at Leesburg
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FREE VAL Lawn Chair or Picnic Blanket for the first 50 families each week! Check out your film favorites at our NEW summer outdoor movie series. Grab refreshments from your favorite VAL restaurant, bring your own lawn chair and have fun! Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for full schedule. For inclement weather updates, visit Facebook.com/VillageAtLeesburg. One giveaway per family, while quantities last. July 23 – Despicable Me PG  119 mins

Movies Under The Stars

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July 23, 2014

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Come enjoy free movie screenings at Village at Leesburg. July 23rd Despicable Me (Rated PG) will be shown. August 6th will be the winning fan favorite vote. Choices are: Superman (original-Rated PG), Willy Wonka (Rated G), Surf's Up (Rated PG), and Smurfs (Rated PG). Vote on Facebook!August 20th Frozen (Rated PG) will be shown. Free event chair or picnic blanket will be given to the first 50 families!

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VAL Movies Under the Stars

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July 24, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd.
Leesburg, 20175
USA

FREE VAL Lawn Chair or Picnic Blanket for the first 50 families each week! Check out your film favorites at our NEW summer outdoor movie series. Grab refreshments from your favorite VAL restaurant, bring your own lawn chair and have fun! Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for full schedule. For inclement weather updates, visit Facebook.com/VillageAtLeesburg. One giveaway per family, while quantities last. July 23 – Despicable Me PG  119 mins

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VAL Movies Under the Stars

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July 25, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd.
Leesburg, 20175
USA

FREE VAL Lawn Chair or Picnic Blanket for the first 50 families each week! Check out your film favorites at our NEW summer outdoor movie series. Grab refreshments from your favorite VAL restaurant, bring your own lawn chair and have fun! Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for full schedule. For inclement weather updates, visit Facebook.com/VillageAtLeesburg. One giveaway per family, while quantities last. July 23 – Despicable Me PG  119 mins

July Fourth Friday at Breaux Vineyards

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July 25, 2014

Breaux Vineyards
36888 Breaux Vineyards Lane
Purcellville, 20132
USA

July Fourth Friday! July 25; 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Each month our "Fourth Fridays" event boasts a fabulous evening of wine + entertainment worth sharing with family and friends.  This month's fourth Friday falls on July 25th.  We will have live music, wine to taste and food to eat.  Don't miss out on this fun summer evening - come soak in the views, the music and of course some terrific vino!

No reservation needed - We'll see you Friday the 25th!

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Village at Leesburg 5th Annual Summer Block Party

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July 26, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd.
Leesburg, 20175
USA
314-602-1325

Saturday, July 26

3 – 8 p.m.  FREE

Join us for this FREE family event with live bands, entertainers, inflatables, food, sidewalk sales and fun activities throughout the entire center.  Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for full schedule. 

 

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Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

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July 28, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
Waterford, 20197
540.454.8639

The Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers are offering two, fun summer camps!  If you've never clogged before, join us July 28 - Aug 1 for our Novice Camp.  Hours are 9:00am - 12:00pm.  If you are an experienced clogger, join us Aug 4 - Aug 8 from 9:00am - 12:00pm for our Experienced Camp.  Ages 8 through adult.  $50 per camp.

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Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

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July 29, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
Waterford, 20197
540.454.8639

The Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers are offering two, fun summer camps!  If you've never clogged before, join us July 28 - Aug 1 for our Novice Camp.  Hours are 9:00am - 12:00pm.  If you are an experienced clogger, join us Aug 4 - Aug 8 from 9:00am - 12:00pm for our Experienced Camp.  Ages 8 through adult.  $50 per camp.

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Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

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July 30, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
Waterford, 20197
540.454.8639

The Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers are offering two, fun summer camps!  If you've never clogged before, join us July 28 - Aug 1 for our Novice Camp.  Hours are 9:00am - 12:00pm.  If you are an experienced clogger, join us Aug 4 - Aug 8 from 9:00am - 12:00pm for our Experienced Camp.  Ages 8 through adult.  $50 per camp.

31

Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

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July 31, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
Waterford, 20197
540.454.8639

The Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers are offering two, fun summer camps!  If you've never clogged before, join us July 28 - Aug 1 for our Novice Camp.  Hours are 9:00am - 12:00pm.  If you are an experienced clogger, join us Aug 4 - Aug 8 from 9:00am - 12:00pm for our Experienced Camp.  Ages 8 through adult.  $50 per camp.

1

Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

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August 1, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
Waterford, 20197
540.454.8639

The Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers are offering two, fun summer camps!  If you've never clogged before, join us July 28 - Aug 1 for our Novice Camp.  Hours are 9:00am - 12:00pm.  If you are an experienced clogger, join us Aug 4 - Aug 8 from 9:00am - 12:00pm for our Experienced Camp.  Ages 8 through adult.  $50 per camp.

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Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) Child Safety Day

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August 2, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd.
Leesburg, 20175
USA

Saturday, August 2 from 12pm-4pm  FREE

Get up close to awesome rescue squad vehicles and cool interactive displays! Enjoy music, inflatables,  prizes and giveaways and more fun. Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for full schedule.

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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August 2, 2014

Notaviva Vineyards
13274 Sagle Rd
Purcellville, 20132
540-668-6756

Notaviva Vineyards presents their monthly Bluegrass Jam a FREE event held the first Saturday of every month!

An event for all ages featuring Ashby Run. Open to players of every skill level

3pm-6pm Saturday 7/5

Wine available by the glass and by the bottle, lite snacks available. Must be 21 to drink alcohol.

Summer Saturdays

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August 2, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd SE
Leesburg, 20175
USA
5712912288

Village at Leesburg presents a music concert series. Come listen to various artists on Saturday July 19th, Saturday August 2nd, Saturday August 9th, Saturday August 16th, Saturday August 30th, Sunday August 31st, and Monday September 1st at Village at Leesburg in Fountain Court. There will be performances by Paul Pfau & Connor Pledger (R&B former The Voice contestants), Julian Roso (Acoustic Pop), Todd Wright Band (Alternative Pop Covers), Poorhouse Rd (Americana Blues), Music Bone (Electric Rock/Jazz), Gina de Simone & The Moaners (Swing/Dance), AJ Sith & The Apollo (Indie Rock) on alternating nights. For the full music schedule please visit villageatleesburg.com

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Recent Comments

View From the Ridge

There’s a New Gang in Town – And Isn’t It Time?

3 Jun 2014

blueridge2

For many, the recent town-wide elections in Purcellville present all of western Loudoun with a significant opportunity to launch a more citizen-focused future. On July 1 there will be a new mayor and a decidedly different balance of power on the Purcellville Town Council, as four new members with fresh …

(4 comments)

Editorial

War Madness

25 Jul 2014

dying gaul

The Dying Gaul By John P. Flannery In a world that prefers to war, can’t get enough of it, innocents are killed, and those senseless incidents in turn provoke more war. It happened in the Ukraine and the testosterone is running high. Ukraine calls to the West to put up or shut up with military force, not just economic sanctions. …

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Bed and Breakfasts – Boon or Threat to the Rural Economy?

3 Jun 2014

malcolm_pamela_011

By Malcolm and Pamela Baldwin Breaking news, in case you missed it: the Board of Supervisors has created new rules for bed-and-breakfast establishments in Loudoun, among them an increase in the number and frequency of events – such as weddings – B&Bs are allowed to host on their properties. At the same time, the board also tightened fire safety, building …

(2 comments)

Lifestyle

Susan Greenbaum to Perform in Middleburg

17 Jul 2014

Susan_Greenbaum-live

The Bluemont Concert Series is proud to present Susan Greenbaum on Saturday, July 26 for the last of our four Saturday evening concerts in Middleburg. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. The Middleburg concerts are now held at the Middleburg Community Center baseball field, located at 300 West Washington Street. Admission is $5 per person, $4 for Bluemont Friends and …

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Woodgrove High School Debate Camp

15 Jul 2014

Ms. Purvis’s WHS Debate Team is conducting a debate camp this summer from August 4 through August 8. It will be held each day from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. at Woodgrove High School and is open to students who will be attending Woodgrove HS or Loudoun Valley HS. The purpose of the camp is to introduce aspiringdebaters to the art …

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Solas to Perform in Leesburg for Bluemont Concert Series

15 Jul 2014

Solas

The Bluemont Concert Series is proud to present Solas on Sunday, July 27th at 7:00 PM for the fifth of six Sunday evening concerts held on the grounds of the Old Loudoun Courthouse, located at 18 East Market St. in historic, downtown Leesburg. All are welcome at these family-oriented events and are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to …

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Wild Loudoun

Fireflies – Green Sequins Of The Night

3 Jul 2014

fireflies jar

I don’t usually start my Wild Loudoun column by sharing information about the scientific classification into which a given plant, animal or insect falls. But, in the case of the firefly, it’s too fun not too … Fireflies are part of an insect family known as Lampyridae … as in “lamp.” Of course they are, you say. Firefly larva – …

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Around Virginia

VDOE Names Chief Academic Officer

Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples today announced that John William “Billy” Haun of Charlottesville will become the Virginia Department of Education’s chief academic officer, taking the position of assistant superintendent of instruction on September 1. “I am delighted that Billy is bringing his knowledge, leadership and innovative ideas …

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LaRock Appointed to Joint Commission on Technology and Science

Dave_larock

Speaker of the House William Howell has appointed Delegate Dave LaRock as a member of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS), effective immediately and lasting for the duration of his term in the House of Delegates. The Commission meets several times throughout the year to “Study all aspects …

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Virginia Earns Top Special Education Rating from U.S. Department of Education

Virginia is one of only 18 states and territories earning a “meets requirements” designation under the US Department of Education’s (USED) new results-driven accountability model for rating state compliance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Previously in rating states, USED focused on procedural requirements such as timelines …

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Sports

Ida Lee NFL Flag Football League Registration Ends July 28

20 Jul 2014

NFL_Flag_Football_at_IdaLee

Registration for the Fall 2014 NFL Flag Football league is currently ongoing for boys and girls, ages six to 14, and spots are filling fast. To secure a spot in the league, participants must register by Monday, July 28, 2014. The Ida Lee NFL Flag Football League is the premier …

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Lady Vikings Claim District Lacrosse Title

3 Jun 2014

ladyvikings

By Mac Shuford The Loudoun Valley girls lacrosse team beat Woodgrove 10-7 on May 22 for the district championship. It was a hard fought victory and a long time coming as Valley had never beaten Woodgrove until this game, having narrowly lost last year’s district and regional Titles in the …

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Letters

Good News – Virginia Budget Passed

3 Jul 2014

speak

I hope folks have heard the good news that Virginia has passed a two-year budget, and passed it without allowing our new governor to force …

(2 comments)

T-Mac Does an O’Bama

24 Jun 2014

blueridge2

Everyone by now has heard that the Virginia Legislature was able to pass a budget without medicaid expansion. This has infuriated the Governor who has …

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De-couple Medicaid Expansion from the Commonwealth’s Budget

11 Jun 2014

blueridge2

At a September 25, 2103, debate sponsored by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, then Mr. McAuliffe declared, “No budget will be shut down in Virginia …

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