Monday, May 4, 2015

Give Local Piedmont and the Cold War Museum

On Tuesday May 5 your donations (including membership payments) to The Cold War Museum will be doubled by a local foundation. Please give to the museum on Tuesday and tell your friends. Here’s the link that must be used to ensure the match of your contribution:

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Cold War Museum

The Cold War Museum® is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to education, preservation, and research on the global, ideological, and political confrontations between East and West from the end of World War II to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The Museum is located at Vint Hill, in one of the former Vint Hill Farm Station buildings used during the Cold War by the US Army, the National Security Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency to intercept and interpret coded messages. Our collections are particularly strong on signals intelligence, image intelligence, aerial surveillance, civil defense, Berlin, the East German secret police (STASI), the Cuban Missile Crisis, and events such as the Pueblo and Liberty incidents. The Museum shares a campus with The Inn at Vint Hill, the Vint Hill Craft Winery, the Covert Café, and Old Bust Head Brewing Company. Our website ( provides extensive information about aspects of the Cold War.  The street address is 7172 Lineweaver Road, Vint Hill, VA 20187.  Hours: Saturdays 11-4, Sundays 1-4, and by appointment. Admission and the tour are free but we welcome donations.

Support Local Piedmont Nonprofits Through Give Local Piedmont (GLP)

For 24 hours, on May 5, 2015 only, people can make gifts of $10 or more to participating nonprofit organizations that are located in or provide services to Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, and Rappahannock Counties in Virginia.

Donations must be made through Give Local Piedmont (GLP) in order for the nonprofits to be eligible for matching funds and grant prizes to support their operations.
GLP is sponsored by the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation (NPCF) as part of the nationwide Give Local America.

Among the nonprofits participating in GLP this year is The Cold War Museum, which is located at Vint Hill Farm, Warrenton, Virginia, the former site of the Army Security Agency monitoring station that was in operation from 1942 until the end of the Cold War. The Cold War Museum is dedicated to educating Americans about this critical period in American and world history.

How do you make a donation?

On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, go to and type in the name of the nonprofit(s) to which you wish to give. If you are looking for a charity or organization to support (and I’m really pushing the Cold War Museum here), you can search by category. Your chosen nonprofit will have a donation page on where you can choose the amount you want to donate from $10 up.

For more information on the Cold War Museum, see my post at:

Ben E King - Stand By Me - Prince's Trust All Stars Band - Live - 1987

Art and Wine: Special Fine Arts America Promotion for the Month of May

 Art and wine are the perfect companions. Now, for the month of May only, you can combine the two. Fine Arts America, an organization that has revolutionized how art is purchased--one of the best sites on the Web to get the works of independent artists and photographers--is teaming up with, a consortium of independent vintners, to offer a May special combination that you don't want to miss.

For every purchase of an artwork at Fine Arts America you get a $100 gift certificate good for your first purchase of wines from NakedWines.  Go here for more information on this promotion, and while you're at it, go to my site at and see what I have to offer. Remember, for every art purchase during the month of May, you get a $100 gift certificate good for your first purchase of wine from NakedWines.

There's no minimum purchase required on Fine Art America in order to receive the gift certificate.   For example, if your buyer purchases a $5 greeting card from you, the buyer will still get the $100 gift certificate.
When you place an order on, we'll e-mail you a $100 gift certificate from instantly.   It doesn't matter how large your order is on   If you order a single greeting card, you'll still receive the gift certificate.
Once you receive the gift certificate, all you have to do is visit, enter in your gift certificate code, buy some wine, and you're done!   Then, just sit back and wait for the wine to arrive on your doorstep.   If the logistical stars are in alignment, maybe your wine and your order from Fine Art America will arrive at the same time!
Before using your gift certificate on, please note the following restrictions:
Terms & Restrictions
The $100 gift certificate is only valid for first-time buyers on and can only be applied towards purchases of $160 or more.   You must be 21 years or older to redeem the gift certificate.   Wine can not be shipped outside of the United States.   Additional restrictions apply.   Void where prohibited.   See complete details at   Naked Wines is not affiliated with Naked Winery ( in Hood River, Oregon.
There is no minimum purchase required on Fine Art America in order to receive the gift certificate.   If you purchase a greeting card for $5, for example, you'll still receive the gift certificate from - yes, really!

Deals like this don't come along every day, so, before it's too late, take advantage of it!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Cold War Museum: Experience a Critical Part of American and World History

From 1946 until the breakup of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall in the late 1980s, the world was gripped by the superpower competition between the US and the USSR known as the Cold War. This face off between the two most powerful nations on the planet at the time was often fought by proxies, and it involved every corner of the globe, from Asia to Africa, and as the Cuban Missile Crisis demonstrated, even close to our shores.

While many veterans of the Cold War are still active, most Americans have little knowledge or understanding of this seminal period of world history. There is a way, though, to learn about the Cold War. Visit the Cold War Museum in Vint Hill, Virginia - itself a place that has played a key role in American history since World War II and throughout the Cold War as the US Army Security Agency Field Station. Better yet, consider becoming a member of the museum. Information on the museum's history, and how to join can be found at its Web site.

Founded in 1996 by Francis Gary Powers, Jr., son of Air Force officer Francis Gary Powers of 1960 U-2 incident fame, and John Welch, a retired military officer and history buff, the Cold War Museum houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Cold War documents and artifacts in the world. Currently open only on Saturdays and Sundays, but available for special tours by arrangement, this is a place that will astound you.

The Cuban Missile Crisis, for instance--not many people know just how close the world came to nuclear war during this crisis. The exhibit on Soviet submarine B-59 tells about a nuclear-torpedo-armed vessel that was inside the embargo line whose skipper considered launching his nuclear torpedo in a desperation move. Only the refusal of his second in command to endorse the launch saved thousands--if not millions--of lives.

Soviet B-59 submarine off the coast of Cuba during the
Cuban Missile Crisis being shadowed by a U.S. heli-
copter. This vessel came close to starting World War III.

Visit the museum website--or better yet, make it a weekend and take the family to the museum itself. It's located at 7142 Lineweaver Road, Warrenton, VA, inside the former Vint Hill Farm military base. It's open on Saturdays from 11 am to 4 pm and Sundays from 1 to 4 pm, and by special arrangement at other times by contacting Executive Director Jason Hall at

The museum also publishes the online journal The Cold War Times, a journal to chronicle the history of the Cold War. A copy of the current issue can be seen here.

The Cold War Museum
P.O. Box 861526
(7142 Lineweaver Road)
Vint Hill, VA 20187

Saturday, April 25, 2015

There's still time to support independent film producer Josey Wells efforts to bring to the film the story of the life of Bass Reeves, one of the most famous deputy US marshals in history.

Find the Greatest Tickets in the Nation at!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jim Kukral - Author Marketing Live! Virtual 2015

Hybrid Warfare: Where's the Beef?

An excellent analysis of warfare in the current age can be read at 'War on the Rocks.'

“Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
— Sun Tzu, The Art of War
“The backbone of surprise is fusing speed with secrecy.”
— Carl von Clausewitz, Vom Kriege

Lately, a lot has been said and written down on hybrid war and hybrid warfare. The hybrid war thesis has been advocated to depict the new reality of contemporary warfare. Although the concept is not a new one, it has been proposed that today we are witnessing some new features in warfare. Russia’s capture of the Crimean peninsula and its support to the separatists in Eastern Ukraine have been presented as the contemporary pinnacle of hybrid warfare. For many analysts of contemporary security and defense issues, the hubris around this buzzword seems to neglect the very basic principles of war that have been discussed and theorized for centuries. Namely, war is not — and has actually never been — a “pure” military matter that is executed only by military forces. When looking closely at the various attributes of Russian and separatist warfare in Ukraine that together are said to constitute hybrid warfare, it becomes clear that none of this is new or unique to a special kind of warfare known as hybrid.
To read more go here.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

AFSA 2015 Governing Board Election Town Hall at AFSA HQ

The Effective Global Leadership Forum

The Meridian International Center and the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Washington, DC Alumni Chapter is the venue for

The Effective Global Leadership Forum

Hosted by Ambassador Stuart Holliday, President and CEO Meridian International Center
Dr. Allen Morrison, CEO and Global Director
Thunderbird School of Global Management
Ambassador (retired) Charles A. Ray - former Ambassador to Cambodia and Zimbabwe

Sonia Patterson - President and CEO of Five Talents

April 30, 2015
6:00 - 9:30 PM
Meridian International Center
1630 Crescent Pl. NW
Washington, DC 20009

For more information on this event, contact:  Lori Foster (415) 450-0312 or

Friday, April 10, 2015

Help needed at Cold War Museum

Help needed at Cold War Museum. Located at Vint Hill Farm near Warrenton, VA, this small museum catalogues a significant period in American history.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Association of Black American Ambassadors (ABAA) Endorse my candidacy for AFSA Retire Vice President

The ABAA Executive Committee has fully endorsed the candidacy of our own Amb. Charles Ray for AFSA Vice President for Retiree Affairs.   We encourage ABAA members who are AFSA members in good standing to vote for Amb. Ray in the 2015 -2017 AFSA Governing Board elections. 

 AFSA members who are active duty may vote online; retiree members will receive paper ballots in the mail between now and the end of May.   AFSA must receive completed ballots by June 3rd; ballots will be counted on June 4.  

For more information go to   You may also wish to attend a retiree town hall at AFSA on April 8 where candidates for AFSA Vice President and Retiree Representative will present their positions.

You Can Say That Again by Marcia Johnston

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Running for AFSA Vice President-Retiree on the Future Forward AFSA Slate

Dear Friends:
I hope that this missive finds you all well.  I don’t normally send holiday letters, but the year 2015 promises to be a momentous one, and I wanted to share it with each of you.
Since my retirement from the Foreign Service in 2012, I have been actively involved with the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), mainly with AFSA’s Committee on the Foreign Service Profession and Ethics (PEC), which I chaired from 2012 until the summer of 2014, and working with the outreach staff in explaining the Foreign Service and foreign affairs issues to audiences such as ROAD Scholars and others. I also served as the chair of the AFSA working group that developed the Chief of Mission Guidelines in 2013.
I have throughout my career been intensely interested in enhancing the Foreign Service as a career, and now in my retirement I have been able to take an active part in efforts to achieve that. After careful thought, I am now ready to take the next step, and am running for the position of Vice President-Retirees on the AFSA Governing Board in 2015.
I ask your support in what will be a challenging race. Along with nine other colleagues I am running as part of the Future Forward AFSA slate. Any active duty or retired AFSA member of any foreign affairs agency can vote.
For those of you who cannot vote, I ask your help in getting the word out online on Facebook or Twitter. You can also copy the Future Forward AFSA URL, and share it on other social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Tumblr.
The next couple of months will be busy, but I’m looking forward to it, and with your help, I’ll be able to move my involvement to the next level – to work with like-minded colleagues to build on AFSA’s strong record of accomplishment and maintain it as an independent voice for the Foreign Service, and to help build a Foreign Service that is capable of addressing our nation’s most complex diplomatic challenges.

Charles Ray

AVG's Michael McKinnon Explains What Are Tracking Cookies?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'

When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'

An Open Letter to Senator Mitch McConnell: Why No One Wants to Consult You

Dear Senator McConnell:
You were recently quoted in the local press as saying, “You just have to be suspicious as to why the administration would not want our participation” in reference to your claim that the White House has not sought ‘Congressional input into the negotiations over the Iran nuclear arms deal.’
As someone who served as an American diplomat for more than 30 years, I can agree with you that congressional input and advice on sensitive negotiations is important, and is a crucial element of American foreign policy. But, I must also say that I’m surprised that you would wonder why the current administration would be reluctant to consult you and your colleagues at this point in our history.
There’s an old saying I recall from growing up in East Texas – ‘Sleep with dogs, and wake up with fleas.’ These days, Senator, you have made your bed with a pack of undisciplined pups that don’t seem to have been house broken. Let’s look at the record, and maybe you’ll see what I mean.
The most recent, and in my view most egregious, action was the signing and transmission to Iran a letter signed by 47 Republican senators basically threatening to ‘overrule any deal made by the current administration.’ That even the Iranian foreign minister points out how inappropriate such a missive is should not be lost on someone with as much time in the Senate as you have. These 47, supposedly intelligent people, seem to have forgotten that there are legitimate and appropriate channels to express congressional disapproval of treaties and agreements, and none of them involve the direct communication with a foreign power.
Speaking of foreign powers, when the GOP speaker of the House issued an invitation to a foreign head of government to speak before congress regarding an issue currently being negotiated with the P-5 – without the courtesy of even informing the President in advance – this was not just a breach of protocol. It was a disingenuous and devious act that displayed disdain and disrespect not just for the incumbent, but for the office of the President.
The GOP tantrums over presidential executive orders, which was accompanied by a ton of disinformation and outright falsehoods regarding the number of executive orders president Obama has issued, was more like playground squabbling than the deliberations of rational people who have the good of the whole country at heart. Executive orders, while not explicitly provided for in the Constitution, have been a part of our politics for many years. Presidents have been issuing them for ages: Here are some examples of who issued how many:
                Truman                  907
                Eisenhower            484
                Kennedy                214
                Nixon                    346
                Ford                      169
                Carter                   320
                Reagan                  381
                Bush, G.H.W.       169
                Clinton                  364
                Bush, G.W.           291
                Obama                 194
I find the GOP’s sometimes rabid opposition to the Affordable Care Act mind boggling. Can’t your colleagues read and recall history, or are they just ignorant? The current legislation is eerily similar to a Republican proposal that failed to make it through a Democrat-controlled congress, and much like legislation former presidential-candidate Romney passed into law when he was a governor. What’s going through the minds of the opponents of a law that finally provides affordable health coverage to Americans who were previously left out in the cold?
Let’s get real. You consult people you trust, and that trust must be earned. What have most of your colleagues—yourself included—done to earn anyone’s trust lately? Maybe if you’d put the good of the people, and not just a narrow minority of the most wealthy, ahead of getting reelected, it would be easier to make the kind of compromises and take the actions that would restore sanity to American politics and clear the toxic fumes from the air.
I sincerely hope you are reflecting on that in the days ahead. Let’s roll up the papers and smack a few unruly pups on the nose to dissuade them from doing their ‘business’ on the carpet.

A Concerned American

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