Archive for the Other Posts Category

County Council member Billy Shreve crosses the line…again!

Posted in Other Posts on October 7, 2016 by Kai Hagen

On Thursday evening, I started to see a photo in various places in Facebook.

The photo showed county council member Billy Shreve, in Winchester Hall, in front of the words “Frederick County Council,” the county symbol and the flags of the United States, Maryland and Frederick County, with some of the members of a local cub scout pack, with a campaign sign for presidential candidate Donald Trump (and a campaign sticker on one of the scouts).


I downloaded it, and shared it on my personal page, too, and tagged Billy Shreve. That made it visible on his page, too, and enabled all those with access to either page to post comments. In a few hours, there were hundreds of comments,  and the photo and post were further shared by nearly 40 people.

Even though the scouts were not mentioned by name, and there was no reason to think that anyone would blame them, in any way, for this photograph, there were concerns about the privacy of the boys and their families. That concern was easy to understand, especially as it became clear that the image was “going viral.”

I wanted to edit the photo to obscure the faces of the scouts, but since Facebook does not enable a posted photo to be edited, it meant having to delete it. Deleting it meant losing all of the extensive and interesting discussion that already took place. So, I wanted to find a way to preserve that discussion (considered copying it, somehow, to a new Facebook “Note”), deleting the photo and conversation, and reposting an edited version of the image, with the previous conversation, and creating a new FB space where the conversation could continue.

Before I had the chance to do that, however, the image and the discussion (as well as any and all discussions that were happening where the image was shared from my page) were removed from Facebook based on a report that it violated privacy rights.

I understand and appreciate that, even as I wish I had preserved the interesting discussion before that happened.

So, I am now posting here (above) a version of the image that has only been altered to fully obscure the faces of the cub scouts.

There is so much wrong with this image that it’s hard to know where to start, but…

Please note the following statement about the policy of the Boy Scouts of America with regard to “scout participation in political events” (emphasis added).


“Uniformed unit members and leaders may participate in flag ceremonies at political events and may lead the Pledge of Allegiance; however, they should retire after the ceremony and not remain on the speakers’ platform or in a conspicuous location where television viewers could construe their presence as an endorsement or symbol of support. In addition, photos of candidates or Scouts in uniform or BSA marks and logos are not allowed in political campaign materials of any kind.

Volunteers and professionals must be alert to situations that would imply that the BSA favors one candidate over another. Strict observance of our long-standing policy against the active participation of uniformed Scouts and leaders in political events is mandatory.”

Quote from

From another site:

Q: Why is this the rule?

A: The policy is meant to prevent someone from using our brand to convey support of a candidate or ideology. This prevents Scouts from being used by any party in campaign advertisements or materials.

That’s extremely clear.

Also clear is the policy that there should be no campaign or election-related activities or events, etc., in Winchester Hall or other county buildings.

Even if Billy had no understanding about the very strong and clear policy of the Boy Scouts of America, he should have known that such activity was not allowed in a county building.

Even if Billy didn’t know either of those things, however, posing with a pack of cub scouts that came to Winchester Hall, as scouts, as part of their civics education, with a campaign sign for a presidential candidate — campaign in which he has an official role, to boot — shows extremely poor judgement, at best.

Billy should have known better (even if there were no such scout or county policies). In fact, if there is anyone who should know better, it is someone with Billy’s experience and roles. To wit:

Billy Shreve has run for county offices three times (not including elections to the Frederick County Republican Central Committee).

Billy Shreve is currently a member of the County Council of Frederick County.


Billy Shreve is currently the Chairman of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee.


In addition, Billy Shreve is currently the Frederick County Co-Chair: Team Trump Maryland, part of the campaign of presidential candidate Donald Trump.

I will leave it to others to determine what response is most appropriate, and whether or not to file an ethics complaint or take any other action.

But, no matter what Billy Shreve knew before, based on what he knows now, at the very least — as a starting point — he should fully and clearly and publicly acknowledge his poor judgement and mistake, and he should issue a sincere and specific apology to the Cub Scout pack, the Boy Scouts of America, his fellow council members and the county executive, and the general public.


SIDENOTE: I restarted an old blog I used for a short while some years ago to post this. Was never happy with the overall look and feel, but may make an effort to fix that, and use this space occasionally.


In his own words: Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted in Other Posts with tags on January 19, 2009 by Kai Hagen

It is a very nice bit of timing that Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on the day before the Presidential Inauguration this year.

The federal holiday in King’s honor was signed into law in 1983, twenty years after his most well-known speech (commonly known as the “I Have a Dream” speech). The holiday was first observed in 1986, though it was not until 2000 that all fifty states officially observed it for the first time.

Forty-five years after that important and inspirational speech, about forty years after King was assassinated, twenty-five years after the holiday was signed into law, we observe and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day the day before the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.

Below I’ve posted the complete text of the 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. Below that is a YouTube video of the entire speech (approximately 17 minutes).

And, just below that is another, shorter YouTube video (approximately three minutes) of the end of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last speech, made the day before he was assassinated.


“I Have a Dream”

(Delivered 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.)

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!


Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last speech