Monday, May 31, 2010

Obama's Debacle in the Desert

The Obama Administration's response to the Arizona immigration law is disturbing on so many levels.

Let's review.

• US Attorney Eric Holder lambastes the law, though later admitting he had never even read it.

• President Obama blasts Arizona and its law before Mexican president Felipe Calderon on a state visit

• Representatives from the Obama Justice Department meet with Arizona attorney general Terry Goddard to "discuss" the law in an unprecedented level of interference (I'll bet they offered him a job in the Administration).

Now, despite his DOJ representatives plotting with Goddard and disavowal of Arizona before a foreign head of state, Obama himself has no time at all to meet with Governor Brewer. Remember Obama had plenty of time for beers to settle a minor personal squabble. When it comes to meeting with a governor of a state over an issue of international significance, however, he has to wash his hair.

6/2 UPDATE:  Obama to Meet with Brewer.  Apparently my post made the difference.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bigfoot in Reston!

Run for the hills - or the video camera!

Demonstrating yet another reason the Post's circulation is sinking quicker than BP's reputation, today's front page offers a hard hitting interview with Bigfoot hunter Billy Willard.

Granted, it's "below the fold," but really?  Bigfoot?  Sunday front page?

UPDATE:  Next week the Post will run a series of interviews with the scientists behind cold fusion, global cooling and fat-free potato chips.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Coming Soon to a House Party Near You

Looks like you can commit murder and pretty much get away with it in Loudoun County.

The triggerman in a house party fight, who went to the party with a loaded .38, gets less than 5 years after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter.  If I have this straight, the perp was helping intimidate a witness in a prior prosecution.  A fight broke out, and the perp capped the witness.

Now, this looks like the typical case of the second worst guy in town killing the worst guy in town.  And I know there's some expedience to a plea bargain.  But five years?  Really?  Terms longer than that are typically handed out  for minor securities laws violations.

In just a few short years, this murderous thug will be back out on the streets toting another gun at your neighbor's party.  Just be thankful that you didn't testify against him and hope you aren't in the crossfire.

Friday, May 28, 2010

True Heroes

In honor of Memorial Day and those that have given their lives so that I may live in freedom, I offer my thoughts on what makes a true hero.

It's obviously a matter of definition. For example, a new book from Brad Metzer called Heroes for My Son offers a heartwarming series of stories in following your dreams. My standards for heroism must be higher than the author's because I'm not putting guys like Jim Henson and Steven Speilberg on my list.

In my opinion, four characteristics make a hero: courage, purpose, sacrifice and success. Many have two or three of these, but precious few have all four and a lack of even one can be a fatal character flaw. Success without purpose is vanity. Sacrifice without success is martyrdom. Purpose without courage is cowardice.

Here are the first few heroes that come to mind.
  • George Washington
  • Mother Teresa
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Apollo 11 astronauts
  • Pat Tillman

Undoubtedly, there are countless unsung soldiers, single parents and social workers whose sacrifice and bravery would put them on this list. Unfortunately, I simply don't know them or their stories. I wish I did, especially since I'm having such a hard time coming up with any others that meet all the criteria.

Now I know how Diogenes felt.

Anyone to add to the list?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I am an American before I am a Republican

And that’s why I won’t sign The Republican Victory Compact proffered last night by certain members of the Loudoun County Republican Committee.  Chief among my concerns is the implicit, if not explicit, promise not to publicly criticize Republican candidates or officeholders.

Almost daily, we are reminded of our rights to free speech and assembly.  Indeed, robust, candid debate is the cornerstone of republican government, and, accordingly, speech and assembly are among the most jealously protected rights in this country.  Of course, those rights are not absolute and should be exercised fairly and judiciously.  Moreover, one may fairly be expected to yield those rights to a certain degree as a condition to membership in private organizations, such as the local Republican party.  I recognize all that.

Eternal vigilance being the price of liberty, however, I also have an affirmative obligation to protect the republic from all those who would do her harm whether they are foreign or domestic, Republican or Democrat, challenger or incumbent.  It is incumbent upon me to ensure that such people do not hold office in this nation or otherwise direct the nation’s policies.  Therefore, I cannot, consistent with those obligations, tolerate corruption, selfishness or incompetence in any of our leaders or potential leader regardless of party. To pledge silence in the face of such incompetence or corruption is to be an accomplice to it.  To permit a politician to cloak his ineptitude or wrongdoing through party affiliation is to put party over country.

I am not a politician.  I am not a journalist.  I am one voice armed with only a soapbox and a vote.  But I will use all the tools at my disposal to protect my country and to ensure that we have the best leaders for it.  My comments on a candidate’s qualifications, therefore, will be both private and public, electronic and verbal.  If a leader’s character makes him unfit for office, my comments will, by definition, be personal.  Note, though, that I will always seek to offer only truthful, fair and relevant commentary.

I know well many of the people who drafted the compact. I trust them, I respect them, and I know they mean well in the document they have offered.  Perhaps some revision of it would assuage my concerns, but, as it is now, agreeing to be so bound would breach my responsibilities as an American as I see them.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cuccinelli's Waste of Taxpayer Funds - The Reprise UPDATED 5/27

As I predicted when Cuccinelli filed suit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, the Obama administration has moved to dismiss it.  In its motion, the government argues that Cuccinelli lacks standing to challenge the law and further that the law is a permissible exercise of the federal government's power to regulate interstate commerce.

I don't necessarily agree with the government's argument on standing, but the government is dead-on right when it comes to the constitutionality of the trillion dollar welfare blunder.  I know my friends at TC have a different take on the merits of Cuccinelli's case, and I really do hope I'm wrong.

Unfortunately, I never am.

UPDATE:  Cuccinelli sounds really confident about his position, putting his odds at "better than even" (note snark here).  Here's what gets me though: "Cuccinelli has so far said the suit has cost the state only $350, the court filing fee, and declined to break down how much the state is paying to staff working the issue."  Believe me, the AGs staff is devoting a ton of time to this, which is exactly why Cuccinelli won't even hazard a guess much less admit to it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pro-life? Pro-choice? Republican candidates can, and should, be both

A Gallup Poll released recently confirmed a trend observed for the first time last year that more Americans identify themselves as “pro-life” than “pro-choice.” Now, before the social conservatives crack open the champagne, let me offer a cautionary note.

Despite the recent polling numbers, virtually unchanged over the thirty five years the poll has been conducted is the solid majority that believes abortion should be legal under certain circumstances. (Another interesting finding is that as many people abortion should be illegal under any circumstances as those who believe it should be legal under any circumstances, tending to support my personal theory that there is an equivalent number of nutballs at both ends of the political spectrum). So whichever of these vague labels one may be willing to take, the fact that one identifies himself as “pro-life” does not mean his attitude toward access to abortion has changed.

Thus, socially conservative Republicans should not see this data as justifying a political platform to restrict abortion rights. As I mentioned, unchanged is the fact that most believe abortion should be permissible under certain circumstances. Republican candidates, however, can make their point with the “pro-life” element by saying that human life is sacred and that abortion is morally wrong – and leave it at that. Pro-life and pro-choice are not mutually exclusive. One can believe that abortion is morally wrong, but realize that reasonable minds can differ – just as they do with regard to other religious beliefs. Let others hold their beliefs without retribution or recrimination. Indeed, such is the true "conservatism" that emphasizes limited government and pesonal responsibility.

Aside from being the sensible thing to do, it allows socially conservative Republicans to court votes on both sides of the aisle without looking like the anti-abortion jihadists they have in the past.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Howie Lacks Loudoun Support

Take a look at Howie Lind's list of endorsers. Plenty from Fairfax but very, very few from Loudoun. Noticeably absent: Delegates Joe May, Tom Rust and Tag Greason, Supervisor Lori Waters, Commissioner of Revenue Bob Wertz, Treasurer Roger Zurn and former LCRC chair Glenn Caroline. Hmm. That's just about everybody who's anybody in Loudoun politics.

This is his picture, right?

UPDATE. Not surprisingly, Howie wins the 10th CD race. Congratulations to him.

Obama's Latest Broken Promise - And It's a Biggie

I gave him one extra day to make good on his promise to have troops out of Iraq within 16 months of his inauguration. With nearly 100,000 troops still there, he's obviously not even close to any kind of orderly withdrawal.  There are two ways to read this.  Either (a) Obama knew at the time that he wouldn't be able to get the troops out as promised; or (b) he had such a lack ofunderstanding of the complexities of the situation  that his campaign promises were, at least, reckless pandering.

Either way, it looks like the only "change" we're getting is Obama's changing positions on the issues..

Tip to Doug Mataconis at United Liberty

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Good is Scott Brown?

I'm all about legislators being independent and voting their beliefs rather than following the dictates of the party elders. However, I'm a little surprised that rookie Senator Centerfold (aka Sen. Scott Brown of MA) has ditched the Republican party on two key votes on the massive banking bill. It's particularly surprising given that he is so new. You'd think he'd be trying to get in with those party elders since he doesn't have to worry about an election.

Wassup wi dat? We may as well as have had Ted Kennedy there.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Move On!

An article in yesterday’s Loudoun Times-Mirror today discussed a public hearing at which a group of Ashburn homeowners associations protested the countywide transportation plan, which would widen a variety of roads west of Rt. 28 eastward to US 15. The group offered an analysis from its hired gun that, to my complete surprise (note the snark), offered a completely bogus report that attempted to poked holes in the county plan, claiming that the county plan overestimated future drivers.

Now, I don’t blame them for not wanting a wider road near their homes. Most people wouldn’t. But this is exactly the same kind selfish, shortsighted agitation from a vocal few that has effectively paralyzed transportation development in northern Virginia for years leading to longer commutes for millions. We’ve seen the exact same thing with widening Route 66 – the funding is there, but so too is local opposition. And I am sick of it.

We already have the second worst traffic in the country despite having among the highest rates of carpooling and mass transit. We need to build more roads, plain and simple! And as for overestimating the number of drivers, when was the last time you heard someone they complain of loneliness on a local road?

Look further at the group’s counter proposal. One of the primary recommendations is to encourage walking. Walking! No joke. So get out your Nikes if you plan to travel through Ashburn. Jeesh.

Bigger roads are the price of growth. Just suck up the fumes and get over it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Accomplice to Mutilation

Mark Steyn's latest article at NRO,"Nicking our Public Discourse," mentions that the American Academy of Pediatrics has amended its policy on female genital mutilation (FGM). While not advocating full-scale clitorectomies, the AAP now suggests "federal and state laws be changed to permit [pediatricians] to give a "ritual nick" to young girls" - in an effort to dissuade parents from sending these girls overseas for the full deal. So in the case of a Jehovah's Witness who wants to deny medical treatment to a child for religious purposes, the state will intervene and remove that child from the home. But in the case of a Muslim who wants to mutilate her daughter . . . let's accomodate her. Fortunately, there is a bill pending in Congress, H.R. 5137, that would make it a crime to transport a child overseas for the purposes of FGM - a far more compassionate approach to the problem.

Friday, May 14, 2010

This is a big f*ing deal, too.

The wholly artificial deadline created by President Obama for the passage of the health care bill not only prevented Congress from reading the bill, much less propertly debating it, but it meant that the Congressional Budget Office didn't have time to do its job, either. And with Congress relying on CBO for estimates of its cost, the whole nation was hoodwinked by the Administration into spending more than $100 billion over prior estimates according to the revised CBO report.

Now, the Administration promises to veto any spending above the already outrageous $900 billion price tag for Obamacare. To borrow a phrase from teenage girls of an earlier generation, “As if!” Are we supposed to expect that Obama has suddenly turned fiscal conservate and will veto 10% of the bill he forced down the throats of Americans? Just how stupid does he think we are?

And that's coming from a self-proclaimed idiot.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not My First Choice

I said it before when the shoe was on the other foot, and I still firmly believe, that barring some clear lack of credentials or temperament, the president should get his way when it comes to the appointment of federal judges. Granted, being dean of Harvard Law School is not nearly as prestigious as, say, being mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, but then again Elena Kagan’s just a Supreme Court nominee. So, unless lurking in her past is some gross misdemeanor akin to commenting about a pubic hair on a Coke can, I think she is, and should be, a shoo-in.

Republican senators should just let this one go to avoid looking needlessly obstructionist. Get in a few quick digs on her opposition to military recruiting, and then just hope the other eight members of the Court eat well and exercise. At least for the next three years.

A Man of Principles (provided, of course, those principles are politically expedient)

I still just can't understand the priorities of the Loudoun County School Board. Rather than cutting luxury items – like offering foreign language to kindergartners – the school board decides to simply not teach our kids at all by furloughing all LCPS employees for two days in November. In other words, two fewer days of instruction for all students in all subjects so that 5 year olds can learn, “Uno, dos, tres.” If I’m missing something in the analysis or the impact, you can’t blame me - the FAQs on the LCPS website focus solely on the furlough's impact on teachers and staff but offer nothing about the impact on students or parents.

Another troubling aspects of this decision is the statement from school board chairman Stevens: “For the record, . . . I oppose furloughs on principle . . . But that's the consequence of having nine independent voices. . .” Need I remind you, Mr. Stevens, that you were one of those voices in voting for the furloughs? You voted to reduce the number of days of instruction in core subjects for all children in Loudoun County, and, in so doing, you voted for the worst possible result.

Should we assume that your principles always yield to the majority? (By the way, you really should read my post below about True Leadership – maybe you could learn something from Nixon).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Talk to the Hand

He’s baaaack! God save us all, but it looks like Dick Black is gearing up for something. Glad-handing it up at the last LCRC meeting (and claiming himself as a Sugarland Run resident), Black has reemerged in the political world following his ill-fated, ill-advised 2007 carpetbagging run for Congress in the 1st district. Check out his new Facebook page. Old military and campaigning pictures – and a cheesey profile picture that would make Chester Cheetah envious. The pictures pretty much tell it all.

And what of his “law firm?” The website does not even list a street address (goes with the carpet bagging). Notably, the firm bio also states he “left” the General Assembly in 2006.

Of course, it neglects to mention that he didn’t leave voluntarily.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Presidential Blog?

It may be hypocritical, but I really have a big problem with the fact that the White House has a blog. General updates are fine, but taxpayer funds should never be used when the site is nothing more than a political springboard (like Barney Frank's House Financial Services Committee website). Check out this post from the White House press secretary, for example

It's a campaign piece clearly, and taxpayers shouldn't have to front the bill for such trash.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Ruse of Airline Security

As I await a flight myself, I wonder the dollar value of the resources devoted to airline security. The security checkpoints. The ID checks. The baggage checks. And for what? As evident time and time again, the "security" is, at best, something that may make us only feel more secure because it certainly doesn't keep the bad guys off the planes.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The New King of Embarrassment

A week after his very public and wholly unprofessional outburst at Eugene Delgaudio, Supervisor Stevens Miller is at it again. This time, he’s berating Ralph Buona, the chairman of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, with all the eloquence of a whiny schoolyard twerp. With it, he takes the crown from Delgaudio as Loudoun’s King of Embarrassment.

Motivating his wackiness against both Delgaudio and Buona is Miller’s suggestion that private organizations whose members are also on county boards should be subject to the same level of public oversight in those private activities as with public boards. Mr. Buona in the Loudoun Independent well explained the chilling effect of such a requirement on public participation. And he did so in a very professional, respectful way. Judge for yourself.

Contrast that with Mr. Miller’s statement, which took a distinctly personal tone. Just as he went off on Delguadio last week, he fires into Mr. Buona personally with unjustifiable vitriol using words like “silly,” “deceptive,” “ridiculous,” “absurd,” “fear-mongering” -- all in just one letter to the editor. Ironically, on the page before Miller’s diatribe is an editorial citing Miller’s last outburst and urging decorum in board of supervisor meetings.

His proposals, and his bizarre attacks on opponents to it, simply reflect Mr. Miller’s lack of confidence in himself and the board of supervisors (which, after all, is the entity that makes the laws - not the CEOs). Miller has proven he has neither the temperament nor the perspective for the job. Loudoun's businesses and its citizenry clearly deserve better.