January 2007 Archives
[UPDATE: I guess it would make sense to post a link to the original Code of Ethics document, so here it is. Thanks to TC for the tip. Initial reaction: "You guys don't have to do all this stuff already?"]
To head off that project, our own Supervisor, the beloved Eugene Delgaudio, has just released his own Code of Ethics for the Board. It's a modest, sensible and much-needed set of rules, in my view. I particularly like number 28, but number 13 is another indication why I can never hold office.
DELGAUDIO'S RULES OF CONDUCT.
My 33 amendments will include but not be limited to:
1. Supervisors should be volunteers. Effective immediately, all compensation is suspended for this and future boards. Surpluses are to go to reducing the tax rate.
2. Only volunteers should work for Supervisors, all staff and budget for staff is eliminated with savings to reducing the budget.
3. No Parking spaces for Supervisors, effective immediately.
4. No reimbursements for fuel, gas, meals or cell phones effective immediately.
5. No private car for any elected Supervisor or with the Supervisor as a passenger shall be allowed into the Town of Leesburg. Walking, biking, running or other public means of transportation will be encouraged by the Supervisors by example.
6. No gifts of any kind from foreign corporations or foreign nationals who do not have U.S. citizenship.
7. No gifts, (including free rides, awards, plaques, cups, gold pens, gas, supplies, discounts, or commissions) of any kind to any Supervisors from anyone including family during their term of office.
Read the rest below the fold.
UPDATE: Eve Barner notes the time to weigh in is now:
They punted it to the Senate Rules committee, where it is scheduled to be heard tomorrow at 9:30. Please contact members of the Rules Committee and let them know that you want a vote on SB1331 AND you want them to vote YES.
Virginia State Senator Ken Cuccinelli wrote the following letter advocating for the Virginia Retirement System to disinvest in Darfur. Seems like the least we can do:
There's one month of the General Assembly session left. These first two weeks have been nonstop action. Transportation system reform is occupying the attention of all of us from Northern Virginia. Three bills that I've read this weekend make up one attempt at a transportation package before the Senate, while the House is considering only one bill containing similar elements. The Senate bills are still before the Senate Finance Committee. So is a different bill that I'm thinking of as I write this letter to you.
Virginia government employees probably do not know that a small portion of their retirement funds are being used to indirectly fund genocide against the people of Darfur in the country of Sudan. Until recently, I didn't know that my retirement funds were being used to support genocide. When Congressman Wolf first brought this to my attention, he told me that six other states have already passed legislation to divest their retirement investments from companies that are helping to finance the Sudanese government...
The video from Patricia Phillips' Virginia Senate campaign kick off is now available:
If this Washington Post story is correct, the bill just passed by the House would, "strip charities and other organizations of state and local funding if any of the money is used to provide services to immigrants in the country illegally."
The clause in question reads, "No state or local funds shall be awarded or otherwise disbursed to any organization when the award or disbursement is made to circumvent the provisions of this section by enabling such organization to provide the type of benefits or assistance to those persons who are otherwise ineligible. Further, no organization receiving state or local funds shall use the funds to provide the type of benefits or assistance to those persons who are otherwise ineligible."
I can certainly see the logic in not spending public money on services to illegal immigrants. However, I do not think that the state should be providing money to any non-profit organizations, because of laws just like this. Once an organization takes the bait of public money, politicians will set the hook and start jerking the line.
This is why I oppose Bush's "Faith-Based Initiative." While Bush may not set the hook, you can believe that a President Clinton would, and force Catholic Charities to hire homosexuals and provide abortion and contraception services in their employee health plans.
UPDATE: Vivian has now not only banned Jack but also closed comments on the post he sullied with his presence. It's a slippery slope, friends, a very slippery slope.
On a related note, I want to point out that if anyone, anywhere, at any time gets the notion to refer to MY party as the "Repub" Party, or gets the twisted idea of referring to me as a "Repub," I will not take it lying down. I will pursue that man or woman to the end of the Earth even though it take until the end of time and I WILL SEE JUSTICE SERVED. You will cry out to be banned from this blog after you find out what's in store for you. So don't even think about it.
UPDATE II: Charles notes
BTW, while Bush apologized for his mistake in the SOTU, I would note that he did not make a mistake.
In his speech he congratulated the winners for the "Democrat Majority". He was not saying the name of their party. He was expressing who was in the majority. IT was DEMOCRATS that were in the majority, not DEMOCRATICS. So it was a DEMOCRAT majority, not a DEMOCRATIC majority.
It would be the Democratic Party majority, except that the party cannot be a majority, there is only one of it.
The time has come to officially establish the "Democrat Wrath" category here, upon receiving word that the term "Democrat" is now utterly toxic to real-life Democrats.
Like kryptonite to the man from Krypton, that of which they were borne has become that which now threatens their very existence.
I don't need to rehash the issue, I'm sure. One example is our man Jack getting banned from the otherwise sensible Vivian Page's blog for daring to use the aforesaid offensive terminology.
I am envisioning the day when Democrats rule the world, yet are bedeviled by opponents who line the parade routes chanting "Democrat, Democrat, Democrat, Democrat, Democrat ..." prior to being rounded up and hauled off for slaughter.
"How darest thou label us 'Democrats'", sayest the Democrats. "Nevermore, nevermore!"
In all fairness, Democrats do consent quite often to being called "Democrats" with nobody getting sent off to the gulag as a result. For this we can thank their liberalism.
On the other hand, improper pronunciation of the phrase "Democrat Party" is now deemed hate speech, punishable by prison time ... or is it "Democratic Party ...?" I guess I'll never get that one straight now.
Our very astute local professor, the Marshmallow Man, observed:
o cours you righ, bu wha ca yo expec fro a publican?!
... and how true it is that just two letters can make all the difference in the world.
I can only imagine if people were to begin calling me "Budzins".
It would be traumatic.
My immediate response to the horror follows:
I got banned for calling them the DEMOCRAT PARTY!!
I love it!!
Ace links to a couple of reports that Rudy Giuliani might not be so bad after all, particularly on immigration. Hmm.
Romney is hard to pin down - listen to his speech and you'll see he's very personable and gives the impression of authenticity (which is the only way to do authenticity right), but does not have that much to say. If I had to give a one sentence impression after hearing him I'd say, "He's a good public speaker who has accomplished impressive things and sounds like a conservative."
Whereas what I'm looking for is the person who will make me say, "Where do I go to sign up to support this man?" Granted, not every speech will slay'em, but he does need to convey more than "conservative" and "electable".
The more I reflect on Jeb Bush's speech the less impressed I am with him. He practically sneered at the notion any decent human being with a brain would have concerns about illegal immigration. Keep him away from the White House, I say.
John McCain? HA!
Tancredo? Sure, absolutely .. but I don't know much about him as a candidate. Two people who do know him said he needs to kick up the charisma - which really just means projecting self-confidence - and give the impression of being better informed on a wider variety of issues. I guess we'll see.
So if Giuliani might be the one to help fix the immigration crisis, and he's not perfect on all the other issues, weeellllll ...
... To be perfectly honest, I think abortion is horrible and has resulted in what amounts to some kind of genocide or mass murder, but the best way to make it stop is via public education. People need to learn what abortion really is, and why they should want to keep their babies. Hell, they need to learn why they should want to have babies on purpose, but at very least they should be having them even if it's by accident.
Where this train of thought leads is to basic values and what life is about. Were we put on this Earth to dine out frequently, have fabulous vacations and raise pets - or to have families? Many people simply don't attribute much value to the latter. Also, what are kids: hindrances or blessings? Again, if you don't subscribe to the latter viewpoint, abortion will likely be part of your existential tool kit.
THAT'S the key issue if you ask me. Is it the government's job to fix that problem? I don't know, maybe they can do some things, but I can think of other institutions better suited and carrying a more compelling rationale. I mean, of course ...
CHURCHES. Where the hell are they? And I don't mean, in terms of "opposing" abortion. Many of them do that quite well. I mean in terms of evangelizing or at least educating about life and values.
Maybe it's no disgrace that secularism has prevailed in the battle over popular culture and Western mores. Maybe it's part of "God's plan." But I'll say this: If the goal is to assign blame for the number of abortions, divorces, and other such maladies of modern America, you can say the government has done mankind a disservice by doing too much, but you can also say the churches lost the battle for hearts and minds. Maybe there's a connection there, and maybe it's a chicken-or-egg deal.
So, I would certainly prefer a president who is against abortion and will appoint judges inclined to scoff at penumbras and emanations. But I'd rather have someone inclined to deal with specific, immediate problems like the influx of illegal aliens and the deep-seated corruption of our neighbor to the south, than a theologian-in-chief. Given the choice between an ostensible "socially conservative" country-club Republican and a hard-boiled realist who will do the things necessary to stop the invasion, I'll throw in with the one focused on the more immedate problem which it is DEFINITELY the government's duty to solve.
If Rudy really is serious about solving the illegal immigration problem, tacking right right now is a stroke of genius. Right now there are legions of erstwhile Republicans who have closed their pocketbooks to the GOP at every level, and yet not with any increased interest in supporting the Democrats. They are disgusted with our political "leaders" and I know a good number who in future elections are planning to vote with their butts by staying home and sitting on them.
If a guy were to rise up now, and say "I speak for you, and I have a good chance of being elected," the wallets will open up, people will ask "where do I sign up," and he could have $200 million in the bank before Halloween.
Newt Gingrich would survey the lay of the land circa September and say, "Damn, all the money's gone already, guess I'll just have to keep being the smart guy on TV."
Stroke of genius if it's for real.
Ragnar says, or implies, that Rudy is not so strong on the Second Amendment. That's too bad. That would be a dealbreaker for me before abortion would.
Some more audio files from the Summit:
The opening reception honored former UN Ambassador John Bolton.
Use the above player to hear John Bolton's speech (4 minutes, 18 seconds)
Or - if that player suddenly stops working, as seems to be the case right now - Click here to download mp3 file.
The late night session Friday featured a bunch of gals yackin' it up.
Actually, some really good opinionating came out of this session. Here's how you can tell who is talking: The totally audible talkers are Kate O'Beirne, Kathleen Lopez and Laura Ingraham. Laura sounds like a talk show host, Kate sounds like a professor, and Kathleen is about in between and she's also the one doing the announcing and mediating stuff.
The low talkers are Mona Charen and Michelle Malkin. The difference here is you will literally need to adjust the volume to hear most of what Michelle says, and for Mona you won't. I think Michelle's lavalier mike was too low or something.
(And sorry for not playing with the audio file myself to adjust the volume but that just ain't going to happen this week).
WELL WORTH LISTENING TO THE WHOLE THING!!
If you are anything like me, you will love Laura Ingraham's take on the GOP. She's a little praise-heavy for Jim Webb, but on the Republicans she nails it.
Use the above player to hear the panel discussion. (1 hour, 33 minutes, 49 seconds)
The following article comes by way of a veritable princess warrior of the blogosphere, Nan of American Daughter. It was directed strictly at a law enforcement audience (for reasons that become clear), and has slipped out of the LE circle into limited public circulation. Nan is pretty plugged in and managed to get her hands on it.
Neither of us can with 100% certainty vouch for the information about training films found in Afghanistan or - obviously - any ruminations about "what's likely here." But based on the news items referenced, which I will vouch for because I remember most of them, the scenario is not remotely far fetched and certainly is worth bringing to the attention of all parents, school officials and local LE's who have not already seen it.
The argument that other states should join New Hampshire and Utah in allowing schools employees to carry concealed in particular makes complete sense to me and seems overdue.
The article also has plenty of good information for parents, but especially for cops.
"If you walk out off-duty without your gun, every time you pass a fire exit or see a fire extinguisher, say to yourself, 'Firefighters have made more preparations than I have.'"
I think you'll find this well worth taking a few minutes to read. Thanks to American Daughter for forwarding it.
In their benevolent wisdom, our government is trying to prevent widespread panic by withholding information from the public. We obtained what purports to be a good copy of a password-protected article from a website for policemen and we a sharing it because we feel that the public has a right to know.
We are reproducing this article in its entirety. Normally we scrupulously subscribe to the doctrine of "Fair Use" and show the utmost respect for the material of other authors. But without the involvement of the bloggers this material would not be available to the general public. And all of this article has already been posted in Yahoo! Groups (such as Nassau County News Flash) and it is in general circulation throughout the "good old boy" email community. We believe that our readers have a right to see this material.
[Caveat: The Police One website carries this notice -- Warning! Some sections of PoliceOne.com are secure for law enforcement only. PoliceOne confirms the Law Enforcement status of all Law Enforcement officers who register on the site. We were unable to gain access to the website to confirm the accuracy of our copy of this article. We are reproducing the text of our copy here because we trust our source.]
Mass Slaughter in Our Public Schools: The Terrorists' Chilling PlanBy Charles Remsberg | 01/03/2007
Probably the last place you want to think of terrorists striking is your kids' school. But according to two trainers at an anti-terrorism conference on the East Coast, preparations for attacks on American schools that will bring rivers of blood and staggering body counts are well underway in Islamic terrorist camps.
- The intended attackers have bluntly warned us they're going to do it.
- They've already begun testing school-related targets here.
- They've given us a catastrophic model to train against, which we've largely ignored and they've learned more deadly tactics from.
"We don't know for sure what they will do. But by definition, a successful attack is one we are not ready for," declared one of the instructors, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. Our schools fit that description to a "T" -- as in Terrorism and Threat.
Grossman, the popular law enforcement motivational speaker, and Todd Rassa, a trainer with the SigArms Academy and an advisory board member for The Police Marksman magazine, shared a full day's agenda on the danger to U.S. schools at a recent three-day conference on terrorist issues, sponsored by the International Assn. of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI) in Atlantic City .
They reminded the audience that patrol officers, including perhaps some with their own children involved, will inevitably be the first responders when terrorists hit. And they documented chilling descriptions of the life-or-death challenges that likely will be faced.
In Part 1 of this three-part report on highlights of their presentations we focus on what's known about the threat to our schools to date, why terrorists have selected them as targets, and what tactics you're likely to be up against in responding to a sudden strike.
In Parts 2 and 3, we'll explore Grossman's and Rassa's recommendations for practical measures you and your agency can take now to get ready, including some defensive actions that don't require any budget allocations.
Here is a portion of the seared-into-our-memory late night panel discussion with Jonah Goldberg, Mark Steyn and Rob Long, from the NRI Summit, January 27, 2007. Enjoy.
Steyn: "I was the Islamophobe of the year ... I believe it's the only journalism award I've ever won."
Long: "Piece of advice: Don't go the award ceremony."
The pithiest blogger of them all scores another direct hit with the heart-rending tale of the Goldsboro, NC snow monkey.
UPDATE: Whoa - welcome Michelle Malkin readers! We'll have some audio from Michelle's session up later tonight, Jack Bauer permitting.
UPDATE II: And welcome visitors from John Hawkins' 'Conservative Grapevine'! This has been a fairly decent spike in traffic, I must say.
Here is another mini-roundup of the conference. We need to do this in small portions or the enormity of the task might overwhelm us to the point of sniffing glue, and since all we keep around the house is Elmers the entire hypothetical future is too horrible to contemplate.
Kudos to the NR folks. This was a wonderful experience. Whoever's idea it was to hold the meeting deserves a raise, because it was a badly needed jolt to the conservative movement in the U.S., such as it is. From my conversations with attendees, I think everyone went home with some sort of positive vision, or at least a path to run on.
On a blogger level, I got to meet the vivacious and warlike Pamela, as noted earlier. I did not actually get to speak with Pamela for very long because a queue of approximately 12 people quickly formed. By sheer coincidence, all of them were men.
Seriously though, I think her popularity is quite understandable because she taps into the "hot chick battles Islamofascists" archetype within the collective unconscious of western man (and I mean "man" the gender here, not the species).
The other two bloggers I met were of the double-secret variety so you'll get no photos and scant physical descriptions. Sorry, but there is a war on in case you didn't notice:
Ragnar from The Jawa Report probably does not need to keep his identity secret because he is just plain scary, like a character from a Frederick Forsythe or Tom Clancy novel. He would get my vote as "most likely to have a scabbard under his cloak." But appearances are deceiving because it turns out he is a really nice guy and he knitted the cloak himself.
Ace from Ace of Spades also was there. Ace runs the best blog on the planet, as far as I am concerned: It's got just the right mix of intelligent commentary, breaking news, humor, risque and dopey stuff. In short, everything a guy like me needs on a daily basis. I read a lot of blogs but his is the only one I visit several times every day and you should too. The only physical description I'll give is: Think of a cross between Roy Jones Jr. and Keith Moon. A wild man who could nail you to the asphalt with one punch.
Slighly less wild was yesterday's luncheon speaker, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Watch Jeb Bush's speech here.
Here's what I now know about Jeb:
- A better communicator than his more famous brother.
- Probably a little better in the functionality department as well.
- Maybe too smart again by half, though: When the word "actuarial" appears in your speech, you might want to change that sentence. When the word appears in your speech more than once, you might want to get another speech, especially if it is going to be delivered right after the audience has eaten lunch.
- Unapologetically pro-illegal immigration. If you want the borders secured and immigration laws enforced, Jeb is NOT your man.
The cocktail party last night was packed, probably over 400 people there. So it really presented an opportunity for the really tall guys to shine.
Fred Thompson and Bill Sammon stood out like two redwoods in a forest of scrub pines.
A Fred Thompson/Bill Sammon ticket would offer some major advantages. To wit:
- "We're really tall!" is not a half-bad campaign theme. Considering what we've ended up with recently, I'd vote on that basis.
- Families across America would tune in just for the spectacle of Fred and Bill in photo ops with Democrats or foreign dignitaries. You can just imagine in households across America: "Honey, the president and vice president will be meeting with the Chinese today. This oughta be good."
- Think of the children.
Here is Byron York.
Did not get to speak with him, unfortunately.
Richard Miniter and NR staffer Alexis, who served as meeting planner for the event.
The staff did a GREAT job - they kept everything on schedule with Mussolini-like exactitude. I know some things about running meetings and these folks are pros.
One suggestion: If there is going to be audience Q and A in the future, the following tactic might help keep the trains running even smoother. It's called the Foghorn Defense.
1) Bring four aerosal-powered foghorns for every audience mike. The devices can be procured from any boating supply store. If you have trouble, I can come up with them.
2) Give a foghorn to four audience members sitting forward and aft of each mike, directly on the aisle.
3) Instruct the audience as follows: "When you get up to ask your question, you will be expected to do so in 30 seconds or less. Each of the people holding foghorns will be permitted to blast you as soon as your speech becomes tiresome or 30 seconds have elapsed, whichever comes first."here is the panel discussion with Jonah Goldberg, Mark Steyn and Rob Long. This was one golden hour, let me tell you. Tomorrow I will get a portion of it on YouTube with video, but give a listen - you won't regret it.
Sorry for the lack of timeliness with reporting but my cat ate the computer. Or, there was a lot of traffic. Or rather, I was counting my blog revenue and forgot.
Ok, ok, actually I woke up this morning with a keyboard-pattern imprint on my cheek, ran down to the conference, drove home, did a few things, and before you know it it's Sunday night. I still have to unpack my suitcase and will have some more media files posted a little later.
In the meantime, below is a link to Mitt Romney's speech.
Mitt Romney's speech. (Thanks to Pamela for the link).
About halfway through he explains his change of position on abortion - it's worth a listen (although I guess it's a story we're going to hear about 50 million more times during the next year and a half.)
The full round up of the NR Forum will take a couple days to gather; in the meantime here are some more highlights. This was one incredibly entertaining night.
Click on the media links below to hear Mark Steyn's extremely funny address to the members.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: A VERY BADLY WRITTEN PARAGRAPH WAS DELETED SO WE WILL BE TRYING TO THINK OF A BETTER ONE TO REPLACE IT. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS AT 3:00 AM, AND WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER BLOG AFTER THE LIQUOR STORES CLOSE].
Anyway, it will take another day to complete the Conference round up, but for now we will skip to tonight's activities and provide a couple media files.
This is good stuff.
(UPDATE: LINKS ARE FIXED - SORRY ABOUT THAT!!)
Here is Mark Steyn's introduction speech for Mitt Romney:
My buddy Tom is working on an academic research project "this semester identifying potential habitat for a red-wolf introduction to western Virginia". Studying cartography, Tom sees Loudoun as "going fast".
I only have a few minutes between events so this will be short, yet silly:
It seemed appropriate to get a photo of Rich Lowry up here since he's the emcee and NR head honcho, and it gives an excuse to create a post with a single photo.
Things you learn while trying to get a photo of Rich Lowry:
1) Rich turns out to be a bit of a blinker when talking, so in 9 of 10 his eyes will be closed.
2) Rich looks MUCH younger in real life than he does on TV.
I mean, I think Rich should be coloring his hair ... gray, to add gravitas.
Rich certainly needs to carry an ID ... and not in order to buy alcohol: in order to prove he's allowed to be out after midnight by himself.
When Rich answers the door to find a salesman there, the saleman always asks the same question: "Are either of your parents home?"
When Rich turns 55 I want to bring him down to my local 7-11 and send him in to buy a six pack ... in order to procure for him the Guiness world record for first retiree to be carded.
Hey, I kid because I love. When he turns 45 he'll definitely appreciate the youthful genes.
Part 2 (old man Lowry)
Part 3 (audio of Steyn's already-legendary speech introducing Mitt Romney)
Part 4 (mostly babbling, also the link to Romney's speech)
Part 5 (some nice photos, mostly forgettable commentary)
Part 6 (some really decent photos, though irrelevant)
Part 7 (with video of Jonah Goldberg, Mark Steyn and Rob Long) - not to be missed.
Part 8 (audio of the women's panel discussion and John Bolton)
The fine folks at National Review are hosting this amazing get together in DC this weekend and I am lucky enough to have the chance to tag along. Unfortunately, whoever is in charge of the programming is a few steps out of touch with reality because the early morning sessions feature some of the best content (Newt Gingrich tomorrow and the immigration debate Sunday).
This means I have to go to bed REALLY early, like before 4:00 am, which means no time for editorial comment tonight. So here are some pictures.
First person I met was on the elevator, trying to find the floor for the conference. Turns out it was none other than Pamela of the great blog Atlas Shrugs.
I did not get the chance to ask whether she fully understands the iconic power of that Superman outift, for boys who grew up in the 1960s.
Remember, I do this so you don't have to.
The reception featured one John Bolton, about whom some asked "are there any exploratory committees in the works, sir?"
The evening session was a femme-fest. Consequently, I don't feel guilty sticking with visual reporting.
Left to right: Kate O'Beirne, Mona Charon, Kathleen Lopez (K-Lo of NRO), Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham.
Laura Ingraham lit up the place, in my opinion. No surprise there, as she is the talker-by-trade; but she is awfully good at it. On the question of what is wrong with the Republican Party, the woman sparkled. Transcriptions should be available here next week.
And now some random shots:
Mona Charon and Kathleen Lopez
Here are the audio recordings of the panel discussion and John Bolton.
Patricia Phillips kicked off her campaign for the Virginia 33rd District Senate seat tonight in Ashburn, amidst a huge turnout of over 65 local Republicans and prominent area conservatives.
The Virginia budget has more than doubled in the past 10 years, and yet Virginia's population has only increased by 12%. Clearly, state government is expanding far too much. It should not take more and more money from hard-working people to fund these ever-expanding programs. And because government will always seek to overspend its revenues, I'm signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge tonight...
I promise you that I will work to restrain the growth of state government; I'll work to hold state government responsible for their core responsibilities, and especially when it comes to roads...
Governor Kaine and Senator Herring insist that we need a dedicated revenue source for roads. Using code words like "dedicated revenue sources," when you really mean tax increases, is really hogwash. Taxpayers already pay "dedicated revenue" taxes. It's called the gas tax and the state income tax. In order for the state government to fund over $1 billion in new road construction takes only 3% of the state budget, and so all we really need is for the General Assembly to reprioritize their spending.
The signed pledge certificate was handed to Sandra Fabry, State Government Affairs Manager of Americans for Tax Reform.
Also present were Morton Blackwell and James Na of the Arlington-based Leadership Institute.
Phillips' supporters were thrilled by the "who's who" turnout of local political and policy luminaries, but most encouraging was the sheer number of activists - many of them young - signing up to work for and contribute to the campaign.
Who else was there tonight? Check below the fold.
The update is: For the first time in over seven years I have absolutely no interest in the State of the Union address. In past years there have been a few where the prospect of listening to a litany of platitudes did not exactly thrill me, but I usually watched for the circus aspect. But this year even that seems like something I Just. Can't. Quite. Do.
So tonight I'll be tinkering with some video editing software and straightening up the house a bit.
I might live blog that if I get a chance.
UPDATE: Well here we are anyway: This is the president's State of the Union proposal regarding immigration, the only part of the speech I was faintly interested in (not faintly enough to watch).
Reading down the list of points I found myself saying 'bullcrap, bullcrap, bullcrap, bullcrap, bullcrap ..." and so on. Not because all are terrible ideas, but because of the ones that are not terrible (enforcement related) I do not believe for one second they will get implemented - while I have 100% confidence all the bad ones (guest workers and amnesty) will be implemented expeditously. Plus I think some of the big self-serving claims are very much bullcrap, such as touting the National Guard Gofer program as a symbol of Bush's seriousness on border security.
Following is the latest Guard the Borders Blogburst from Euphoric Reality. Another coffee-spewer from Heidi ...
I have to give huge kudos to Shawn Christopher Phillips, of the Wry & Coy Report, for compiling some of the least known and most misreported facts surrounding the case of the two Border Patrol Agents prosecuted for shooting a drug smuggler. Shawn has raised some very troubling questions surrounding the case - questions worth asking and investigating. He has also connected the dots in a way that the media has been unable (or unwilling) to do.
Shawn's original research material can be found at www.patgray.com here and here. I have supplemented the accounts with further information from my own research and from Pat Gray's radio show on KSEV, since he and his co-host, Edd Hendee have been investigating the anomalies surrounding this very muddled case.
I have taken the liberty of condensing Shawn's material from several posts to place it into a rough timeline of events as they occurred. As well, I wanted to include information about some of the major players in this case, from the drug smuggler himself all the way up to U.S. Congressmen and Senators.
The central perpetrator in this travesty of justice is the U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, who has old boy Texas connections from the judge overseeing the case all the way up to President George W. Bush. These connections, though not openly disclosed, have greatly impacted the case, as highly placed government officials look the other way while testimonies, evidence, and statements are manipulated behind the scenes.
Just got back from the Vegas trip after a delightful day hosted by the fine folks at TSA and United Airlines, and I must say I have not experienced such wonderful customer service since being marched to the lunchroom in elementary school, circa 1968.
It was all capped by an even more sublime level of delight, almost an unbearable level, when we landed in Dulles tonight and I realized I'd lost the parking ticket for Daily Lot 2. In the end this only added a little time to the trip, because it turns out they have the license plate number digitally filed, and after you fill out some minor paperwork the person in the booth looks you up and you get charged the same amount you would have paid anyway.
But the upshot is I'm a bit worn out so all we'll be talking about here is dinner, and that not so well. Here's how it all went down: After eating nothing but pretzels since noon, we arrived home to an empty refrigerator except for some select items. "Honey," I said, "I think this meal will be of the bachelor pad variety."
The wife quickly found a frozen dinner, and left me a cooking party of one.
My priorities being A) to eat, and B) quickly, I efficiently assembled four key components, to wit: tortilla chips, goat cheese, canned chili and jalapenos. After baking at 350 for 15 minutes, the final result looked like this:
This was exactly the result I'd been hoping for ... though I'd have accepted pretty much anything. Well, I hope this has been as edifying for you as it has for me, and that you enjoy the rest of your evening.
Click the link below for my official serving suggestion for this dish.
I am still digesting information regarding the Republican transportation compromise, orchestrated in part by Attorney General McDonnell and Speaker Howell. While I understand the price of continued gridlock on this issue, I am very surprised to see these two principled pro-growth, low-tax leaders help craft a plan that clearly institutes massive regional tax increases and broadens the taxing authority of some local boards. I could care less about the abusive driver fees and diesel equalization but the other stuff is what really bothers me. Much of this "compromise" seems irreconcilable with conservative limited government, pro-growth principles and as someone who will probably be selling their home in NOVA at some point in the next few years, I really don't like the prospect of being saddled with a few thousand more in taxes (which also may apply during refinancing). That's a wonderful idea to help the struggling housing market! Anyways... I hope to learn more about the plan and firm up my understanding of all it entails... but it certainly doesn't look good thus far.
From the Family Foundation:
Victoria Cobb, President
Friday, January 19, 2007
Information Alert: Marriage Amendment Repeal Defeated
Voters are famous for having short memories, but opponents of the marriage amendment are taking that old cliche to extreme. Fortunately, legislators tend to remember what happened in the last election.
Today the House Priveleges and Elections Committee scored another victory for the protection of marriage in the Commonwealth and killed two bills that were efforts to undo the marriage amendment you helped pass last November.
HJ 678, patroned by Del. Adam Ebbin (D-49, Arlington), would have allegedly answered opponents to the marriage amendments' concerns over "unintended consequences." The bill would have added a line to the amendment. Without discussion this bill was rejected.
HJ 721, patroned by Del. David Englin, (D-45, Alexandria), was a bill that would repeal the just recently passed marriage amendment that went into effect January 1, 2007. In the debate Del. Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas), stated the bill was not needed as the voters of Virginia have overwhelmingly resolved the issue.
Fifty-seven percent of Virginians rejected the claims of marriage amendment opponents and voted to protect the definition of marriage. Frankly, to bring these bills up just weeks after the vote is an insult to the 1.3 million Virginians that voted for the amendment.
We are thankful to the members of the P & E committee who quickly dismissed these bills.
Excuse my absence as of lately, but a few days off from work and watching Charlie Rangel show up on the news again has gotten me over my writer's block. (Sorry Joe, I hate to see you fight alone, but I'm clueless until I get drunk and ticked off...)
Let me begin by saying Congressman Rangel is a Korean War Veteran who served America honorably in a time of war, and for that, he has my utmost respect. I don't intend my following criticism of his positions to degrade him personally, and especially not his service and sacrifice, in any way.
He's been in the news lately for his recent characterization of Saddam's hanging as a "lynching", and I've got plenty of disagreement on that, which I hope to get to later. What's been bothering me for a while now about Congressman Rangel is his calling for the reinstatement of the draft.
I'm split 50/50 on the draft issue. I've been in the Army almost 9 years now, with over 5 of that on active duty. I like being part of a volunteer force. Those who join us, for the most part, do so for the right reasons, and no one has twisted their arms to get them in. On the other hand, I think a draft would do America some good. I observe the American public every day, and I see that the majority of Americans have no understanding of the sacrifice that has been made for the freedom we enjoy.
Congressman Rangel has called for the draft as a matter of protest against the war in Iraq. He's wrong. I won't argue against a draft, but I will argue against a draft that is used to protest a war. The Congressman disagrees with the current action in Iraq, and he's made that no secret. I won't claim to know his true intent in calling for a draft, but his statements make me angry.
Let me pick apart some of his words here:
With the Commonwealth coming off of the successful passage of the freshly minted Virginia Marriage Amendment, we all should be grateful for the strong support it received from both our Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor. It was great to see both of these Republican leaders come out swinging despite the well-funded deception campaign orchestrated by the anti-Marriage Amendment crowd (our other statewide official, Governor Kaine, lacked similar courage and quickly broke his campaign promise to support the amendment). Coming off this experience, it is hard for me, as a conservative, to fathom having to choose between these two leaders in the battle for the GOP's 2009 gubernatorial nomination.
However, if some recent stories are true the choice may be becoming a bit clearer. Spank That Donkey and Bearing Drift have posts up discussing purported meetings involving the Attorney General focused on generating a "compromise" on transportation funding that involve yet again raising taxes on Virginia families despite the massive surplus available. Meanwhile, Lt. Governor Bolling has clearly remained true to his principles and campaign promises and is pushing the General Assembly to address the transportation issue without raising our taxes. The most comprehensive MSM coverage of this development seems to be the Washington Times article, which states:
As the General Assembly began its session, some Republicans -- with the backing of Attorney General Robert McDonnell, House Speaker William Howell and Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Chichester -- have been meeting to discuss a transportation "compromise" that could include tax increases.
As a resident of Northern Virginia I am (unfortunately) well aware of our troubled transportation system... and it is good that both men are speaking to this issue. That said, the problem is not one of revenue but one of spending (as Bolling rightly points out)... and when we have $1 billion in surplus state funds lying around and we had a massive tax hike just a few years ago the last thing the General Assembly should be doing is talking about raising taxes some more! Adding to our already significant (more so now thanks to Governor Warner's broken promises) tax burden when there is a large surplus and ongoing simultaneously efforts to create major new spending programs (see Kaine's universal pre-K proposal) will not help me get off of I-66 or I-495 and home to be with my family any quicker.
Bolling's unwavering position appears to be quite a contrast with McDonnell's apparent association with the Senate Overlord's tax hike proposal... especially when taken into consideration along with McDonnell's support for the 2002 tax hike referenda (which somehow I didn't know about until recently... how did I miss that?). Is the AG undermining his principled low-tax position? I certainly hope this is all simply flawed information... maybe McDonnell would be interested in coming online and quelling our concerns by participating in a Northern Virginia live-blog session similar to the one the Lt. Governor did just a week or so ago?
UPDATE II: From the AG's office:
Statement of Attorney General Bob McDonnell on Transportation Announcement
â€œThe Republican leadership in the General Assembly has crafted a comprehensive, long-term solution to improve our transportation systems in the Commonwealth. This plan combines statewide funding and accountability proposals along with regional options for Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia. This is a transportation plan that invests more money into transportation than proposed by the Governor, without a statewide tax increase, and requires new system reforms and spending cuts. Leadership is about finding common sense solutions and the House and Senate Republican leadership has crafted a plan to address the most significant public policy issue facing the Commonwealth.â€
â€œWhile no compromise plan is perfect, there are major elements of this plan that are very positive. The long-term commitment of 50 percent of the state surplus, as well as hundreds of millions in general fund dollars to transportation is a decision that demonstrates Republicans understand the importance of transportation to the economic future of Virginia. Locking up the transportation trust fund is a move I have long called for, and it will restore trust in transportation spending. Issuing bonds in a time of low interest rates to start long delayed projects is a proactive step that will produce results promptly for the people of Virginia. Enacting major reforms to improve the effectiveness at VDOT, to revise Virginiaâ€™s land use policies, and to implement long term spending and accountability programs are forward-thinking achievements. Using surplus money to jumpstart public-private partnerships is an excellent idea to promote market-based solutions. The regional self-help options provided to the congested areas of Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia honor the Republican principle of local decision making and subsidiarity. It allows for progress on transportation as determined by the needs of local elected officials. These plans collectively repeal approximately $800 million in local income tax revenue authority, and replace it with authority of approximately $600 million in revenues. The proposal produced today provides the transportation solution Virginians have been calling for, while avoiding an unnecessary statewide tax increase in this time of budget surpluses. This is a conservative plan that will work for Virginia.â€
â€œForbesâ€™ magazine has ranked Virginia the most business-friendly state in the country, while â€˜Governingâ€™ magazine has ranked us as the best governed state. With Republican leadership, we have a state with one of the highest per-capita incomes, and lower per-capita tax rates. To keep this distinction, we must lead and produce results for our citizens. Improving transportation is an economic issue, and it is a quality of life issue. Congested roads hurt Virginia businesses, and they keep parents stuck in traffic instead of home with their children. The failure to find solutions to our transportation problems imperils our future prosperity. Virginia Republican leaders have acted in a cooperative and diligent manner to create a comprehensive transportation plan. I congratulate the Republican legislators for their effort and support their work.â€
Interesting to note the Attorney General repeatedly says this plan is "without a statewide tax increase."
From the contractors themselves:
Douglas E. Barnhart Inc., a California-based construction firm, estimated $2.6 million per mile, or roughly $2.3 billion. Alabama Metal Industries Corp. estimated the work would cost $2.5 million per mile, or about $2.1 billion.
The fence consists of two security fences with a road in between for Border Patrol vehicles. The Chain Link Fence Manufacturers Institute provided an estimate of $1.3 million per mile of heavy industrial chain-link fence that is 12 feet high with an 11-foot overhang, much like the backstop on a baseball diamond.
"If we had a secure border, you could pay for the entire border fence in one year with the money you save by not having to incarcerate these criminal aliens," Mr. Hunter said.
Added Mr. King, who was in the construction business before serving in Congress: "We are now paying $8 billion a year on the southern border as it is. That's $4 million per mile and we're not stopping anybody."
I like Duncan Hunter. I also like Tom Tancredo, and over the next year one of our chief tasks will be to get all of YOU to like these guys as well.
Even if it is a meaningless position, one question remains: We're supposed to care about this party ... why?
As a commenter at Hot Air notes, this is a BUSH appointment and probably says more about the leader than the party. But if they put this guy at the top no one who cares about immigration enforcement would ever send another red cent to any organization with "Republican" in its name. They'd have to, like, have NEW organizations with totally different names ... hmm, well maybe that is where we are headed.
Here in the midst of the road trip I need to take a moment to jot down some random observations before I fall asleep and they are lost to history.
--24 has now nuked Southern California twice (several seasons ago it was the Mojave desert, remember?) I read an interview a couple years ago where the writers were discussing how they realized they couldn't just sustain the ominous threat of "nuclear blast on American soil" forever, and that there would be many opportunities to play "small ball" in future plots. Small ball, I'm guessing, means something like nuclear explosions all over the place and then Jack Bauer chews off the head of Beelzebub while the heavens part and continents sink into the sea. Also, probably, a Death Star comes into the picture at some point. Or terrorists have managed to get control of a comet which will split the Earth in five pieces, which occurs within the first two hours, leaving CTU spread dangerously thin and without functioning comm between the five severed chunks of planet now in gravitational orbit around the moon.
--Possible new 24 taglines: "We don't diddle around talking about 'nuking LA.' We nuke LA, and so much more."
"24: Nuking LA repeatedly before most Americans have had their first cup of coffee."
--I went into a "bar" recently for the first time in quite a while. What struck me most, apart from the fact that bar talk has still not evolved to the Firing Line level, is the amazing proliferation of Absolut Vodka flavors. I tried "Absolut Jerky" - the martini is called the "Rawhide - and it was pretty zesty.
--Driving home from PA this afternoon I took a calculated gamble to take the "western" route rather than go back down I-95. Boy, was that a smart move. Apart from the fact the PA Turnpike to Route 15 is a pretty beautiful drive in parts, there was very little traffic. It's probably further as the crow flies, but the crow does not drive, now does he. The key trade off is, you might drive a little further, but at 4:00 pm on a weekday would you rather be just south of Frederick, MD going south on 15, or just south of Beltsville about to go west on 495. Heh. No contest. I highly recommend the western route.
--The hotel was nice but with no restaurant, so they give you chits to redeem at the Starbucks next door. I went over this morning and ordered a "large coffee" (I refuse to use their ridiculous terminology) and a tuna sandwich. As I'm paying I hand him the chit and the guy tells me, "Oh, this is for a "grande" coffee and a bagel or muffin" and sort of looks at me expectently to see if I would change my order to get the free items. "Ah, so it does not apply to these at all?" I asked ... and put it back in my pocket. I had a reason to order THOSE things. But maybe there are people who, faced with the prospect of losing out on the free lunch, would say "Yes, in that case I'll have the Orange Crush and Necco Wafers or whatever it is I get for free."
--Because this next trip is only three days and I only have to dress like a business person for two of the days, I am determined to go carry-on only. I roll up the shirts and ties and one pair of pants, wear the blazer and other pair of pants, and throw in sweatpants and a sweatshirt, and wear the shoes - and it all easily fits in a duffle bag. I should be able to cover for any accidents even if it involves spilling red wine over much of my torso and thighs (happened once). BUT: I'm bringing shaving cream, after shave gel, travel sized Head and Shoulders, and mousse. Will I get through security or end up in Guantanamo Bay? I honestly don't know, as I haven't tried this since the summer. If this blog goes dead for several days, it's safe to assume I will be expecting care packages, preferably containing nicotine gum and porn, and candlelight vigils whenever practicable.
--Reading for the trip is Steyn's America Alone (yes I'm very late to the game). I read Bruce Bawer's While Europe Slept last year on like the day after it came out and a friend said this new book gives the big picture of the same reality. I'm looking at about 12 hours in airports and planes so I should get through it unless I get sidetracked, as sometimes happens. I think I need a vacation.
--Sometimes I get no leisure time on these trips, but if I can the next venue might lend itself to some saucy, spirited photos, the kind that make you say "Yarrgh!"
This post and conversation were greatly in danger of being buried by my rantings about the finest television program the world will ever know, so I think it worthwhile to bring it back to the front page.
Here is my response:
You realize, of course, the Chinese were WAY ahead of us on the wall business ... I'm guessing if they had millions of people crossing over each year they'd simply mine the border (if they haven't done so already).
From my admittedly limited perspective I think the article is dead on.
Obviously, gauging the "mood" of a country or continent is a somewhat subjective undertaking: There is the risk of over generalizing. Having only really spent much time in, er, one of the areas discussed, it would be hugely presumptuous of me to contradict Moisi's observations about Europe, China or India.
But there are a couple observations we can make from our armchair of distant, exalted omniscience:
I'm traveling, the cause of which I will spell out soon, and this is why I have not been able to keep up with the comments.
For the record, we LOVE our commenters at NVTH and we treat our visitors as kings. For the moment, however "we" is "me" and me is really busy.
I'm depositing our younger progeny at college, which by the way is ungodly dear. I mean, the annual cost is more than I earned in my first 28 years upon this Earth. I was a spectacularly unsuccessful young adult, but criminy ...
So the days have been busy. Tomorrow we have 'parents orientation' and I have to drive back to VA in the afternoon, then I have a business trip to Vegas for the next four days. I love you all so please do not interpret my lack of immediate response as a lack of concern. I expect to have some stories and some photos (look at Digital Camel for many of these).
Just back to the hotel, no time to even take off my jacket ... damn.
First 15 min: They are making the Muslims look so bad at this point I have to say by the end of the day there is going to be a Muslim pope. This President Palmer seems to be no chip off the old block - he's more on the model of the previous president than his brother. In the final scene before the break they have ratcheted the Islamofacist angle up so far people are going to be burning mosques IN REAL LIFE if this keeps up. It will be VERY interesting to see how this season turns around .... because it will.
UPDATE: Jack is softening? I am beginning to see one of the political messages: "I don't know what means anything anymore, Curtis ... He's our only chance at a peaceful resolution to all of this." Maybe a plea for realpolitik in our future dealing with the Islamists. If we don't get pragmatic, we may never get a solution. Sins will need to be forgiven if we are to take advantage of the fact that some of the bad guys are at each others' throats. Let's see if the theme continues.
UPDATE II: We're about at the part of the show where someone should get tragically screwed. The obvious bets are Assad (sp?) or the family being held hostage.
Releasing the prisoners, negotiating with the terrorist leader: This president is such a bad president I think he dies before the season is half over. Divine justice works that way, and 24 is about nothing if not divine justice.
UPDATE III: Jack still says "nucular". Heh.
UPDATE IV: Bill Buchanan: "We have to do better than we're doing and we have to do it faster." Could be the motto for every organization in America. I see a motivational poster ...
UPDATE V: President Palmer: "Get me Jack Bauer immediately ... I need YOU to lead this search." Big turning point!
"He will see things that you and I would miss."
"What did the Chinese do to you?"
I LOVE Curtis. Everyone loves Curtis. I don't think this bodes well for Curtis. Damn.
UPDATE VI: Oh crap, a Sophie's Choice moment. He had to choose between his son and wife. Chose the son, the wife knows it, but the bad guy let the WIFE go instead.
This is the next classic reference. This one is pretty ugly. The wife just called the police, against all orders. I see dead people.
UPDATE VII: Chloe is the queen of war. She worked out the ex-boyfriend situation quite well. Oh my, what a woman.
UPDATE VIII: So Ahmed is ordered to kill the son. Ahmed has the gun. I hope the son gets away, but I have to wonder whether this could have gone much better if the family simply had a pistol at their disposal. He's holding the kid with what appears to be a Beretta, probably one of the new FX .40 or 9 mm models. The difference between life and death: The kid did manage to hide a knife, and I expect he will use it because he looks like a scrappy kid, but wouldn't it be better for this kid to have a gun available?
UPDATE IX: The kid made it, the wife seems to be safe, so the father is dead meat if you ask me.
The nuke is on the table in the first four hours!! This means, things are going to get REALLY weird because we are only in the appetizer stage of this meal. If a suitcase nuke is the setup, the main course must be unbelievable.
UPDATE X: The president's wife is a retard. A retard lawyer, but a retard nonetheless. Curtis has a history with Assad - and it is a BAD, BAD history. Oh crap, Jack is going to have to kill Curtis ...
and he just did. One of the best guys ever ... yep, that's 24.
UPDATE XI: Well holy f-cking sh-t. That was a surprise. They nuked LA in the first four hours.
Dominique Moisi wrote an article for the International Herald-Tribune arguing that the West has changed into a culture of fear. We are fearful of the future, fearful of the other, and even fearful of each other. Meanwhile, he argues, the Islamic world, long used to being marginalized, is converting it's sense of dejection into rage. And while this fear and anger is taking hold of the West and the Islamic world, the East is riding a wave of hope and optimism about the future.
I'm interested in heading what folks think about this analysis of the global situation. There was a nice interview with Moisi on On Point. It's an interesting conversation, and he answers some questions from callers. If you have a minute, it's well worth a listen.
I just arrived at a hotel so it will be some time before I get to catch up on all the comments here, because ....
24. Oh yeah.
I'm not going to "live blog" 24 because live blogging 24 would be like live blogging sex, which tends to detract from some of the enjoyment. But now that we are at a long commercial break ...
GIVE ME A BREAK!! JACK BAUER JUST KILLED A MAN WITH HIS TEETH. OH MY GOODNESS IF YOU'VE EVER WONDERED HOW THEY COULD TOP THEMSELVES ON THAT SHOW THEY SURE AS SHOOTIN' JUST DID IT!! RIPPED OUT A MAN'S JUGULAR ...
I am so reminded of this line from Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman:
"The jugular vein is severed; not cut but torn apart as though by a powerful beast."
More at the next long commercial break. Holy cow.
UPDATE: Jack beat the helicopters to the hideout! Jack knew that transponders are kept in pockets! Jack got the guy out moments before the rockets hit! Next to Jack Bauer, we are all silly little girls ...
UPDATE II: INTERESTING angle on the Islamic terrorists!!! The show starts with a maelstrom of hand-wringing about civil rights and Americans turning against each other, warning against villainizing Muslims - and the terrorists turn out to be ... MUSLIMS! Of course, this being 24, by the 10th hour the real bad guys are likely to be a couple of teenage girls.
UPDATE III: I swear, the biting-the-guy-in-the-neck scene made for the best opening hour since the one where Jack Bauer walked into the room, shot the guy who had negotiated for immunity, and cut off his head with a hacksaw.
UPDATE IV: Oh, does Jack know from torture - or has Jack gone soft FROM THE TORTURE??!! What a friggin' commentary on current events: Torture works, Jack, TORTURE WORKS!!
Jack: "I don't know how to do this anymore."
So the problem with being tortured is: It makes us foolishly shy away from torture. (That's 24 talking, not me). So, be careful who you trust with national security, ESPECIALLY IF THEY'VE BEEN TORTURED.
UPDATE V: Prediction: The president's sister is a terrorist, although her Muslim husband is not.
UPDATE VI: Ok, the first two hours have been an Islamofascist-fest. It's ostensibly ALL about the Muslims, the nefarious bastards.
What this tells me is, it's not EVEN REMOTELY about the Muslims.
24 don't telegraph nothing. I'm thinking Prussian Blue, or perhaps the Russians, or maybe the Scientologists.
UPDATE VII: Oh, so THAT'S what you do with suicide bombers on the subway - kick 'em out the back door. Good to know.
UPDATE VIII: President Wayne Palmer: "So Jack was right. He was right all along and I - this is going to get much worse."
How delicious: Yeah, that's right. Ignore Jack Bauer's advice at your own peril.
Well godalmighty I hope I can be in front of a TV tomorrow night at 8 pm.
The preview was intriguing. Looks like the end of the world or something. Oh well, par for the course. This is what the television was invented for.
The local paper of record reports Christians are torn:
Evangelical Christians say the issue of illegal aliens in the United States often creates a conflict between their allegiance to the Gospels and their loyalty to the government.
"On one hand, they really want to minister to people, but on the other hand, [illegal aliens] have broken the law -- and that's a problem for people," said John Clifford Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
I'm going to propose a third consideration for Christians: the people whose livlihood has been damaged by the influx of undocumented laborers and subsequent decreasing wages.
If you used to be able to sell a roofing job for $10,000 using legal workers, and a new subcontractor comes on the scene who can do the job for $5.000 using illegal workers, and you are thereby put out of the subcontracting business, you and your employees probably have a different perspective on the "Christian" attitude toward illegal immigration.
Christ, as far as I've read, did not command us to walk out to the street corner every Friday and hand over our week's earnings to the general public. He did not say, don't put bread on your kids' table, because you should be handing over your paycheck to others. He did not say, if a thief who is gaming the system uses an unfair advantage to keep your company from getting business, then verily your family should go hungry.
I don't remember which Gospel tells us that the carpenter who follows the government's rules by paying payroll taxes, insurance and benefits, deserves to be run out of business by those who don't.
If the "Christians," to the extent it makes any sense to speak of them as a bloc, are going to weigh in on this topic, they should take the time to learn about the world they are purporting to establish public policy for.
If you've got a distant-foreign violent moron leader getting chummy with other moron leaders who just happen to be situated along the Pan-American Highway, you might have a problem if you happen to live in the U.S.
Such ruminations evoke thoughts about the southern border.
I have spoken with two separate parents of children fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan who opined "we should bring them all home and put them on our southern border." I'm guessing plenty of Americans have had that exact same thought.
Here's my thought:
Why not bring most of our overseas-stationed troops home (ok, leave 135,000 in Iraq for a few more months), and put them on our southern border, and then SEND THEM ACROSS THE BORDER to make Mexico our 51st state, and then leave the necessary handful on the Mexico-Guatemala border and just worry about defending THAT one? It's one-third the size, for cryin' out loud. And although it's a mess, it's not as big a mess as the current U.S.-Mexico border.
Downside: Lot's of Mexicans go on U.S. welfare in the short term.
Upsides: The aforementioned millions of Mexicans get the chance to improve their lives. Replacing the Mexican government with an American state government will eliminate an incredibly corrupt institution once and for all. Consequently, Mexico's substantial natural resources could be developed in such a way that selling would not yield money down a rat hole as it does now.
I think there would be a huge amount of support from the revolutionaries and the biggest problem would be the handful of former plutocrats heading north. We could give THEM all soccer teams to run, and that would be the end of that.
Border patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean will not be getting any special consideration from the Bush administration.
President Bush's spokesman yesterday said the case of two U.S. Border Patrol agents who are seeking a pardon for having shot a fleeing suspected drug dealer has been mischaracterized and the agents violated regulations.
White House press secretary Tony Snow said there has been "a characterization that somehow the government is turning a blind eye toward the law in enforcing the law," but said the facts of the case show the two agents broke the law.
And Tony Snow, officially, jumps the shark.
The agents shot an illegal alien drug carrier in the butt when he fled in the process of trying to transport over 700 pounds of marijuana across the U.S. - Mexico border. The criminal was granted immunity by a U.S. court, and testified against the agents, who were determined to have infinged upon the criminal's rights.
The border patrol agents will be screwed for life, and the Republican party should consequently close up shop.
NOVA Town Hall is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a live-blog with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling on Tuesday January 9th at 3:00 p.m. You'll recall we were honored to interview the Lt. Governor way back in April 2006 and we're excited to have him back on our blog next week. He has unquestionably been a leader in engaging the Virginia blogosphere and thus expanding and broadening the number of participants in Virginia government. For those unaware, the Lt. Governor will be the first statewide elected official to host an annual bloggers day at the Capitol at the end of this month and he has participated in numerous live-blogs and blogger interviews. I for one look forward to his visit Tuesday afternoon and learning more about his plans and perspectives regarding the upcoming General Assembly session.
Please leave your questions for Lt. Governor Bolling in the comment thread below. Or if you prefer, you can email us your questions here.
UPDATE: Live-Blog will commence shortly, below the fold.
UPDATE II: The Lt. Governor has answered the remaining questions he was unable to get to during the live-blog. Check it out below the fold.
If you are not already sitting please do so now, before you read any further about what I have to disclose, because I cannot be held responsible for you falling down and cracking your head open from the sheer unbelievability of the following news:
"Soccer" player David Beckham is coming to America to play the "game." Notwithstanding the fact he was apparently sitting on the bench in Europe, while his teammates were running up and down the field in pursuit of the ever elusive 1-1 tie score, he will be paid $1 million per week here.
More than anything, this is reassuring evidence the United States is a really prosperous society, to the point of ridiculous wastefulness.
In related news, noted bonsai expert Steve Choi invites all Americans to visit his garden in Maryland where you get to watch trees.
After approximately 54 hours, the "Loudoun Insider" has stepped forward to say that she/he is NOT George Hidy:
George Hidy emailed me a few days ago with a draft letter based on my post asking my permission to use my verbage. I had no problem with it and did not want any attribution at all - I even jokingly remarked that "people just might think you are me."
Personally, I tend to believe this, mainly because I think it would have been better for George if he WAS Loudoun Insider rather than someone who borrowed a letter from Loudoun Insider, and George likely would have immediately stepped up and said "Yup, it's me" if it had been him.
Now ... well, the election is a long ways off, so this is not such a big deal. But my final comment is that George could have helped himself by explaining the situation, rather than waiting for the other person to do so, since he's the one using his real name. My recommendation for future reference: Nip these things in the bud. The explanation from LI, such as it is, does not carry the ring of finality to it, so there are going to be lingering questions when LI posts about local politics.
On the plus side, LI can once again fill the role of woman of our respective dreams.
The Senator is an amazingly good man. Spend two minutes talking with him and I guarantee you will vote for him. Thank goodness we have guys like Ken Cuccinelli in public office.
It's always a treat to wade through the plethora of proposed legislation for one's state. Following is a current listing of proposed bills that have been introduced in the 2007 Virginia session related to illegal immigration. It's not a short list, which is a good thing.
UPDATE: BVBL has some important updates - I won't get them incorporated here until later on so go check him out.
UPDATE II: Welcome, Raising Kaine readers! It's nice to see your man Lowell has no close acquaintances who once earned their living in the landscaping, drywall, frame carpentry, roofing, or contracting occupations in Northern Virginia, and also that he has the keen acumen to appreciate bottom-dollar labor. Progressives really ARE the smart ones - and they're not nearly as liberal as most people might think!
Whoever in the world he might possibly be, Loudoun Insider does have a sense of humor.
For those who are still having trouble or getting errors commenting here, try emptying your cache and cookies and such. In the latest Mozilla it is under Tool - Clear Private Data. In IE I don't know where it is but it's probably a little harder to find.
Apparently all the anti-spam changes of the past month did things that will choke your browser if it expects the old set up.
I realize this may be a bit presumptuous, assuming anyone would delete all that stuff and have to retype all their Web addresses to get the history built back up just to participate here. But most right-minded people, I humbly submit, would consider it a small price to pay indeed.
You can still count on one hand the number of Virginia elected officials actually taking the lead on solving the state's illegal immigration problem, but at least now it takes all five digits.
Interesting observation over at Too Conservative - and if everyone already know this please bear with me: Supervisor Mick Staton comments that TC contributor and occasional NOVA TownHall Blog commenter 'Loudoun Insider' is none other than Sterling resident George Hidy.
If true this comes as no surprise to me whatsoever, because I've found Loudoun Insider someone I normally agree with except for his somewhat overactive dislike of Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, and he has commented somewhere that he typically agrees with me except with regard to my veneration of our illustrious Supervisor.
These statements would apply PRECISELY to my description of my acquaintance with George Hidy.
It does not appear that Staton needed exactly to be Sherlock Holmes to figure this out, because a letter from George Hidy to a local paper contained very similar verbiage to a post by Loudoun Insider. If Hidy was intent on scrupulously guarding his identity he could have easily done so, so my guess is he did not care too much about remaining incognito - which is the case with plenty of "pseudonymous" bloggers.
Assuming this is true there is one point which needs to be made, however: Loudoun Insider demonstrates a broad familiarity with NOVA government and politics, and his commentary has always been interesting. In the future, his commentary on the race for Sterling Supervisor will need to be qualified by the fact he has something of a personal stake in the matter.
On a related note, I am considering blogging under the name 'Hercules' for a while, just as an image-building thing.
UPDATED: Ohhh-kay ... the crowd at TC has officially launched into "protesteth too much" mode by getting on Mick's case for noting the obvious.
Only some kind of FREAK would suspect they were written by the same person, wouldn't you say?
I responded as follows to the TC folks:
Mick did not actually do any detective work, he just noted the similarities between the two pieces and drew the obvious conclusion. Either that, or George (letter posted Monday, January 8, 2007 4:15 PM EST) borrowed rather heavy-handedly from LI's post (posted Jan. 5).
From what I know of George, I'd be more surprised about the cutting-and-pasting of LI's stuff than if they turned out to be the same person. It would have been easy to simply quote LI in the letter.
If George really is LI he ought to just say so because plenty of people have done this and it ends up not being such a big deal. (Right, Vince?) Trying to cover up the situation, though, could end up being embarrassing.
In any case, this group jumping all over Mick Staton seems a bit rude because he only called attention to the obvious.
Anyway, Loudoun Insider is a pretty good and well known blogger in these parts, and George Hidy is about to run for office, so letting the situation fester will only make it worse and the piling on Mick Staton certainly isn't helping either LI or Hidy.
...is up at Cathouse Chat. First of 2007, a fairly decent little carnival for a fairly decent little state - check it out.
This is the latest Guard the Borders Blogburst from Euphoric Reality. If Heidi is correct with this, it's a pretty big story.
UPDATE: The Washington Times editorializes no wonder the uniformed personnel we know are so angry.
WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Mexican Gunmen Involved in Arizona Border Incident Actually Uniformed Mexican Force
by Heidi Thiess at Euphoric Reality
The excursion into U.S. territory last week by "Mexican gunmen" was not a chance confrontation between the Arizona National Guard and untrained illegal immigrants, but a deliberate "perimeter probe" by an infantry-trained, uniformed Mexican force, officials say.
Euphoric Reality has learned in exclusive interviews with high-ranking sources within both the Arizona National Guard and the U.S. Border Patrol that the incident the mainstream media calls a "standoff" was in reality a military-style operation, carried out by a unit of Mexican troops dressed in military uniforms, flak jackets, and armed with AK-47s in an apparent operation to probe the border defenses and test the limits of the National Guard troops. Using easily recognizable infantry movement tactics (such as arm and hand signals and flanking maneuvers), the Mexican unit deliberately moved in a military formation across the border from Mexico, where they were picked up by National Guard surveillance.
As the hostile force moved north over the next three hours, deeper into Arizona, National Guardsmen wearing night vision goggles were able to ascertain that the approaching gunmen were indeed uniformed (including PAGST helmets) and heavily armed. When the Mexican unit came within approximately 100 yards of the EIT site, the Guardsmen repositioned themselves in order to maintain surveillance and tactical advantage. They observed the Mexican unit sweep through the EIT site, and then rapidly withdrew back into Mexico. No shots were fired by either the Mexican gunmen or the Guardsmen. Border Patrol was on the scene within minutes of the Mexican unit's withdrawal.
The Guardsmen, through an Arizona Border Patrol official, confirmed that the incident appeared to be an intelligence-gathering exercise designed to ascertain what the National Guard's response would be to certain tactics. It is not an isolated incident, and many such probes have been reported by the Guardsmen assigned to the area. Though no shots were fired during this particular incident, shots have been fired near and in the vicinity of the soldiers at the EIT site in other situations, though not at the soldiers themselves. It is not clear from the uniforms if the Mexican soldiers were official Mexican federales or mercenaries hired by the drug cartels.
Since then, follow-on news reports have included statements from the Border Patrol that no shots were fired. This was confirmed today by Major Paul Aguirre, a Public Affairs Officer (PAO) for the Arizona National Guard. Rumors have circulated that the Guardsmen were not armed, and thus unable to defend themselves - and that is not the case. Both Major Aguirre and Rob Daniels, a Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Arizona Border Patrol, state that all Guardsmen assigned to EITs are armed, specifically with M16s and sometimes a sidearm. As well, there have been some contradictory news reports that stated the gunmen came "within yards" of the Guardsmen, while other reports state that the gunmen were approximately 100 yards away. Mr. Daniels clarified that the gunmen came as close as 100 yards to the Guardsmen. He also stated that the Guardsmen did not "retreat" but tactically repositioned themselves to maintain surveillance of the group of armed men while simultaneously radioing for Border Patrol agents. He asserted that the Guardsmen had followed their protocols perfectly, and that their services were invaluable to the Border Patrol agents.
The Myth of Troops Bringing Law Enforcement to the Border
UPDATE: Great Caesar's ghost, Florida did not just rise to the occasion, they are the occasion. There are still over 8 1/2 minutes left and the Buckeyes have given up and this one is over. Great coaching job by Florida and EXCELLENT effort by the Gators players. They have executed perfectly on both sides of the ball. The teams are not mismatched, but Florida brought their best game of the season and Ohio State did not.
UPDATE II: This is a great win for the entire SEC. I'm not sure if Eric has fully apprehended that fact but over time I am certain he will.
UPDATE IV: Thirteen of Florida's starters are true freshmen and QB Tim Tebow has 4 possible years ahead of him. After some pretty rough years following Spurrier's departure, things must be looking up in Gainesville.
Issues such as: public safety, education, the growing problem of illegal immigration, creating and maintaining open green spaces, an increased need for youth services, and environmental concerns, are all being ignored or barely spoken of at all.
Of particular concern is the fact that the number of Loudoun's children living in poverty jumped 49% between 2000 and 2004. How can we call ourselves a family values community when although we live in one of the wealthiest counties in the country, almost 57,500 of our own children live in poverty?
My sense is that even though a Democrat, Phyllis is a good bit to the right of some Loudoun County Republicans on a number of important issues. For those who have not been living in a cave, that follows pretty exactly the trend that has seen Republicans turned out of a number of state offices over the past few years.
Our esteemed commenter and fellow blogger "Mod" is going to be a formidable candidate. Check out her announcement and if you like what you hear shoot her some cash.
Cuccinelli Announces Legislative Agenda Top Initiatives Are Transportation, Development Control
Centreville, Virginia, January 8, 2007 â€“ Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37) today announced his top legislative initiatives for the 2007 General Assembly session. Cuccinelli said he will be introducing over two dozen bills this year.
Four of these bills address two of Northern Virginiaâ€™s most pressing issues: transportation and development growth. â€œI share the frustrations of every daily commuter who travels 20 minutes to get to a grocery store three miles away and every parent who spends hours a day in traffic,â€ Cuccinelli said. â€œMy bills are designed to address the three most pressing problems in transportation and land use planning,â€ the Senator explained. â€œNorthern Virginia needs additional sustainable transportation funding, localities need additional ways to control development and taxpayers need to know that money the General Assembly commits to transportation is actually used to improve our traffic situation.â€
If his transportation legislation passes, Cuccinelli said that localities would finally have the right to reject denser development if it would negatively impact local transportation networks, the transportation trust fund would be constitutionally protected and a HOT lanes network would reduce congestion on our worst roads.
Cuccinelli also highlighted his initiatives addressing public safety and mental health system reform. Working with the local police union, Cuccinelli has introduced the Police Officers Bill of Rights for the second time.
And, if a minor is stopped for a traffic violation, use of a cell phone at the same time would become an additional offense under new legislation being introduced this year. The Fairfax Senator is also introducing several pieces of legislation designed to improve the mental health services delivery system. Cuccinelliâ€™s bills would reduce the burden of juvenile mental health cases on our juvenile and domestic relations court by authorizing the appointment of special justices, the same system Fairfax used until a bureaucratic decision was made 15 months ago to force judges to address these matters. Additional legislation would make it easier for individuals with serious mental health needs to get necessary treatment.
More bills from the Fairfax Senator are designed to combat identity theft and protect private property owners from abuse of the stateâ€™s eminent domain authority. Cuccinelli is also co-patroning legislation with Senator Devolites Davis to remove any Virginia Retirement System investments from companies that support the genocidal Sudanese government. Cuccinelli explained that he is introducing several additional pieces of legislation requested by constituents, including bills to protect the rights of disabled drivers, help small business owners, and reduce fees for adoptive parents.
Cuccinelli invited all constituents to contact his office in Richmond about legislative concerns at email@example.com
Despite the conclusion of the hard-fought battle to pass the Marriage Amendment (which incidentally was a huge victory considering the amount of money the anti-Marriage Amendment forces spent trying to deceive and distort Virginia's voters) I've continued to be MIA from the blog world. Grassroots activism continues to sap time that could be spent blogging.
Anyways, I wanted to dust off my keyboard to quickly point out that today's edition of the Washington Post has this article discussing the Family Foundation's efforts to enact mutual consent divorce for couples with children and thus reform the Commonwealth's loose divorce laws. Here is their description of the proposal:
The foundation is advocating "mutual consent divorce" for couples with children, which would require a husband and wife to agree to divorce before a marriage can be legally terminated, except in certain instances, such as abuse or cruelty. The proposed legislation would not affect childless couples.
"Right now, one spouse can unilaterally end [the marriage], and not only is their spouse unable to stop the divorce, their abandonment does not preclude them from having custody of their child," said Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation. "When we send a message that one can up and leave their family and have no consequence, the Old Dominion is encouraging divorce."
The article goes on to discuss more of the Family Foundation's impressive legislative agenda and ties their mutual consent divorce proposal into the successful effort to protect Virginia's definition of marriage via the Marriage Amendment:
Cobb and her allies in the General Assembly said Thursday that the debate over the amendment banning same-sex marriage spurred this year's push for changes to the state's divorce laws.
"People were saying, 'It is not the homosexuals wrecking marriage, it's the heterosexuals,' so we are saying, 'Is there any truth to that?' " said Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who has filed legislation to study the effects of no-consent divorce on state marriage rates.
"You can just walk away from someone right now. There is less security in the covenant of marriage than if you and I agree to open up a hamburger joint," Marshall said.
Definitely worth a read. I look forward to watching as this proposal develops.
Our good friend Zimzo has assiduously hammered on the point that anyone who is remotely conservative is thereby responsible for every sentiment expressed by any 'conservative' anywhere at any time. Many people would say such a line of argument is nonsensical to the point of insanity - but not I. I understand where our man is coming from, because I understand our man.
The graphic below has been brought to my attention as a singular example of the interconnectedness of all things.
Zimzo is a smart man, in his own right, but he also has some things to answer for.
For one: What about the horrific suppression of the Korean people? I understand how one must support one's friends, but where does loyalty end and basic human decency begin? I give the benefit of the doubt, but I wait with bated breath for Zimzo's rationalization of the North Korean regime.
Come clean, Zimzo. We accept you as you are, as a rather attractive man, but you must take responsibility for your friends.
Check out Digital Camel: I know Kevin does not want the traffic, but he's got a great beer recipe up and I posted some favorite magazine covers. Maybe a preview of this summer's events?
Here's a pretty interesting site at Globalsecurity.org which seems to be documenting the releases of detainees from Guantanamo.
Also, a link to a report by Mark Denbeaux and Josh Denbeaux, Esq. Mark is a Professor at Seton Hall University School of Law and both he and Josh are counsel representing 2 detainees. It's actually pretty interesting.
What I think has happened is the commenting function is back to where it was a month ago - wide open for regular commenters. But those of us who became "authenticated" via TypeKey are now forever obligated to be signed in with TypeKey. I'm not sure if this has any advantages, except that we are each listed as "Trusted" within Movable Type - it won't allow anyone who is not authenticated to be "Trusted" - so we've got that going for us, which is nice.
It appears the Solid Wall of Code stuff is therefore working; a couple of spams have gotten through but most are going right into Junk. I'm tentatively optimistic. After we've seen a few more non-authenticated commenters get through I'll be more likely to pronounce this entire wacky, psychedelic month of experimentation a success.
UPDATE: Spam still is getting through, so we're going to give Jay Allen's 'Comment Challenge" plug-in a spin. If anything breaks, this will be the reason.
It seems some of our most beloved participants have not been able to navigate the new TypeKey regimen, and have complained to me vociferously, and therefore I have taken much time from my already-Romanesque daily drill routine to try and find a better solution for Movable Type comment spam.
I first learned that SCode is no longer supported - unfortunately after sending the SCode creator a monetary donation and taking the time to configure SCode here at the NOVATownHall Blog.
Next, I downloaded and installed much of the Solid Wall of Code multi-layered defense system. Unfortunately, again, after installing this fine set of products I found that turning off TypeKey authentication did not in fact remove the requirement for commenters to become authenticated via TypeKey.
As it turns out, turning off TypeKey authentication simply results in NO commenters being able to authenticate, because TypeKey is then unavailable.
Yep, it still requires commenters to "Sign In." Only there is nowhere to Sign In to.
So where we are left is: TypeKey will not go away. Lovely. Thank you, SixApart (owners of Movable Type and TypeKey).
As far as I can tell, this means moi, and a bunch of liberals - Stay Puft, Zimzo, Kevin - and Charles, who I have not been able to pigeonhole ideologically, and a small assortment of others, are the only people now able to comment on this blog.
Sorry, conservatives! Either you will learn to tame the TypeKey beast, or you will be left without a voice in the comments.
(I do have to say, though, shouldn't we all be able to figure this one out? I'm just sayin'... maybe Zimzo will be available for tutoring. Hey, I kid because I love.)
As stated earlier, in several instances: I encourage all who want to speak their peace to do so with new posts - these are unaffected by the dictatorial commenting regimen.
To reiterate: Once tied in for authentication purposes, TypeKey apparently cannot be uninstalled.
Our conservative friends need to get up to speed; or, conversely, I hope our liberal friends will take advantage of the opportunity to pummel me mercilessly until, a la the rope-a-dope, they will find themselves punched out, defenseless, and wide open to my searing conservative ripostes.
Either way, I'm sure it will all work out for the best.