Tuesday, May 30, 2006

light blogging.

My continued struggles with my hip, along with the preparations for the train festival, have limited my time and ability to post to my blog. I've been making comments in other blogs, but doing my own blog entry takes more time and effort.

I finished my column for the week, and I hope I can post a few things before the end of the week.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Democrat May Win 50th District -- According to Democrats

Saturday, the Potomac News ran a column on the 50th district race, titled "Democrats eye 50th District" online, but "Democrats may win 50th district" in the newspaper.

The article quotes and uses information from four people named in the article:

  1. Amy Reger, executive director, Democratic Party of Virginia
  2. Joshua Scott, program director, UVA Center for Politics
  3. EJ Scott, Manassas City Democratic Committee chairwoman
  4. Stephen J. Farnsworth, associate professor of political science, University of Mary Washington
Amy and EJ are both certain the democrats can win this seat:

But does the party stand a chance in the 50th District, which is a traditional Republican electorate?

"Absolutely," said Amy Reger
"I think this area has changed considerably," said EJ Scott, the Manassas City Democratic Committee chairwoman. "I think we've been seeing a shift. We believe it's going to continue."

Joshua Scott was skeptical, noting the "special election" is scheduled for a regular election day:

You're going to see a higher turn out, certainly than you would have during a special election," said Joshua Scott, the program director for the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

When you have someone like George Allen at the top of the ticket drawing higher turn out, one would assume that would help Republican candidates."

Farnsworth was busy giving the democrats political advice:

The Republican Party has just gone through this massive internal fight over transportation, with the Senate on one side and the House on the other," Farnsworth said. "The Democrats would also be wise to exploit the Republicans' inability to reach an agreement on transportation."
"Last November, Tim Kaine demonstrated that transportation could be a winning hand in Northern Virginia," he said. "The best strategy for a Democrat is to play those same cards a year later."

The reporter does her part, painting last year's election in a light most favorable to the democrats:

In the 2005 gubernatorial election, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, won Prince William and Loudon counties, a feat his Democratic predecessor, Mark R. Warner, was unable to achieve. Kaine also won one of the largest precincts in Manassas City.

The reporter obviously has precinct-level information, and could easily have totaled up the results for the entire 50th district, which would have shown a handy Kilgore victory in the district -- so instead the reporter uses county-wide results for PW and Loudoun counties, even though only few republican-dominated precincts in PW are in the 50th district, and NO Loudoun precincts are in the district. The reporter ignores manassas park altogether, and uses "one of the largest precincts" for Manassas rather than noting that overall Manassas is a largely republican city.

The reporter asserts without evidence that: "Del. Parrish was a widely popular legislator who held moderate views", when in fact, other than a few votes, the most obvious being the tax increase, Parrish consistantly voted with more conservative members.

But this "moderate" label allows J. Scott to make this assertion, again with no evidence:

"That's the opportunity for the Democratic candidate," Joshua Scott said. "The moderate voters who aligned themselves with Harry Parrish, many of them who voted for Tim Kaine in the fall and are frustrated with Bush."

There is no evidence that "many" Parrish voters last november voted for Kaine. And it's always nice to get a gratuitous shot at the President, who will have little effect in November. Don't take my word for it, listend to Joshua, who brought it up in the first place:

But it is doubtful that President George Bush's record low approval ratings could affect state or congressional elections.

It's one of the factors that goes into people's decision making process," Joshua Scott said. "How many people in Manassas are going to go into the voting booth and pull the lever for George Allen and the Democratic candidate for the House seat? People aren't likely to split their votes in that sense."

Meanwhile, Farnsworth knows the truth, and can't deliberately mis-state the facts -- after all, he is a professor. So we get this piece of "tell the truth and then obfuscate it with opinion":

"The best candidates are candidates who have prior political experience," Farnsworth said. "They may have worked as a municipal official or county official."

Oops. The only democrat in the race has never held any public office, and few know her name. So, how does she have a chance?:

"If you don't have name recognition going in, you can always buy it," Farnsworth said. "What I think any Northern Virginia Democratic candidate would be wise to do is to call up Mark Warner, call up Tim Kaine and help them raise money."

I think he meant "TO help the candidate raise money", not for the candidate to help Mark and Tim raise money. But note how deftly Farnsworth brushes aside the "experience" he just said was critical, and replaced it with "name recognition".
Farnsworth conclued with yet another assertion without evidence:

There are a lot of indications that Democrats are going to benefit from a dispirited Republican electorate," Farnsworth said. "This could be a very interesting fall."

And what did the republicans think about this? How would we know, the reporter didn't seem to find any republicans to talk to. Heck, she didn't even get Larry Sabato's opinion :->

Manassas Railway Festival Update

The Manassas Railway Festival will be held NEXT SATURDAY, June 3rd, in downtown Manassas.

My family will have a small train display, in the back of the Train Station parking lot. Stop by and get a lesson in building a train layout with Lego bricks, or just enjoy seeing odd-looking traings go around and around and around.

Assuming I've managed to set up a 10-20 tent, bolt 9 tables together, and put up hundreds of pieces of track and thousands of pieces of Lego, in a 2-hour period.

I have visions of completing the layout just about 5pm -- the time I have to start taking things down.

This has been a tremendously intense effort, made much harder by my inability to walk before late morning, and the general pain of moving around. Make it worth my while, come down and enjoy the fun....

Why is it?

Why is it that when republicans break their campaign pledges, it's almost always to move to the left, but when democrats break THEIR pledges, it's almost always to move to the left as well?

Couldn't just once a democrat, having promised to be a good democrat, actually break his promise and take conservative positions?

Probably just a matter of perspective.....

advantageous side effects.

As I've obliquely mentioned several times, I've had an injury since before April 1st that has been hard to identify, regarding pain in my left hip. I've seen the doctor twice, and the best we can come up with now is simple muscle spasms and strains (I know I pulled a muscle in mid-april, likely while compensating for the other pain).

The odd thing is that there is substantial pain (at least for a male, I've heard we men are terrible with pain), but only right after getting up in the morning -- generally after a few hours the pain is largely gone. There's more pain other times, but this post is not for me to gripe about pain.

Anyway, there is a silver lining in this cloud. Since the first time I saw the doctor, about a month ago, I have lost over 20 pounds. I don't know if the pills I'm taking suppress my appetite, or if the pain when getting up and sitting down prevents me from walking to the kitchen for snacks.

I know this -- with pain in my hip, I decided that it would have to be better if there was less weight on the joint. I'm severely overweight, and I've meant to fix that for a while -- but my love for food overcame my desire to be lighter. I've got a ways to go before I'm considered "fashionably obese", but for the first time in years, I feel like I've got my eating habits under control, and can keep them in check.

So while each morning I have to will myself to get out of bed, knowing that the act will lead to pain, agony sometimes, I can see some good coming out of this. I see an orthopedic guy in a week, hopefully to rule out any joint damage -- nobody thinks it IS joint-related, but I felt I needed to know that for a fact so I can move one.

Thank you for indulging me.

My Response to Senator Frist's Immigration Note

Senator Frist runs a blog where he allows comments. I thank him for that. Today, he posted his thoughts on the immigration bill just passed by the Senate. Highlights:

- Construction of 370 miles of triple-layered fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers
- Addition of 15,000 new Border Security agents
- Immediate deployment of National Guard to the border
- Addition of 20,000 detention beds so we can end “catch and release” once and for all
- Prohibiting illegal aliens with a felony or a history of resisting deportation from ever obtaining legal residency or American citizenship
- Preventing fraud by making illegal immigrants provide verifiable documentary evidence in their application for legal residency.
- Declaring English to be the national language of the United States.
This bill, though not perfect, marks progress. It replaces rhetoric with real enforcement and sends a very clear message that there is a right way and a wrong way to enter this country.
Bottom line, we’ve produced a significant bill with strict enforcement provisions … provisions that will only get stricter as we negotiate final details with our colleagues in the House

One thing I agree with -- I certainly hope the provisions will "only get stricter". Here is my response to his blog:

Honorable Senator Frist,

If only the bill that was just passed met the description you gave, it would be a good starting point. The things you "neglected" to mention make this a horrible bill. I may quit the local republican committee so I can campaign AGAINST any republican who votes for the Senate bill. I can only hope and pray that the house republicans stand strong for conservative principles. You can forget being a presidential contender.

For example, conservatives want strong penalties for businesses who have purposely and knowingly hired illegal aliens. But your so-called reform bill grants AMNESTY to the employers.

Conservatives want illegal immigrants to go to the back of the line. The Senate bill grants virtually all the illegal immigrants the right to stay in the country.

I'm not an absolutist. I understand that there are SOME illegal immigrant families that have truly integrated into our society. Those million or so should be granted a path to citizenship without deportation, to reward them for their assimilation. The rest should NOT be given any special treatment.

Conservatives want people who steal other people's identities to be prosecuted. The senate bill grants them social security benefits earned by their theft. Again, I am willing to seek the middle ground. If an illegal alien obtained a valid social security number, even by using false documents, I don't mind crediting THAT to them IF they become citizens -- in order to reward them for doing their best to do the RIGHT thing.

But when millions of americans learn that some illegal immigrant has been useing THEIR social security number, possibly ruining their own records and credit and creating blemishes on their record, those citizens will want the aliens PUNISHED, but your bill grants them the fruits of their illegal behavior.

And how can you vote for a bill with a straight face that actually makes it ADVANTAGIOUS for an AMERICAN CITIZEN to become an illegal alien? That is what your bill does -- illegal aliens get amnesty from crimes that would land citizens in jail.

President Bush called for a guest worker program that required the workers to LEAVE when they were done. The Senate bill does NOT require the workers to leave. A temporary guest worker program simply MUST require those working to leave when their time is up.

I will contact my republican representative and let him know that he should vote AGAINST a senate-like bill.

My Junior Senator, George Allen, had the true principled character to vote against the Senate bill, He, not you, represents the true conservative view in america -- a view that can compromise to treat illegal aliens fairly, without granting illegal immigrants rights that are denied to U.S. citizens.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Finding bad news in the Good.

The latest CriticallyThinking column is posted. In "Finding Bad news in the Good", I use a little sarcasm to show how we are inundated with bad news because that's what makes people read the news.

Using two examples from the last weekends news, I highlight how good news is spun into bad by looking at the downside which always exists.

Like the pessimist who always see the glass as half-full, the news media is always looking for the negative consequences in whatever is happening.

It's like if you decide to go to a theme park, and it turns out you pick the perfect weather day, you will likely have long lines.

Hastert Under Investigation! Oops, Never Mind.

In what had to be one of the shortest scandals in recent history, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert went from complaining about a search warrent, to being under investigation in the Abramoff bribery scandal, and back again in the space of a few short hours.

At about 7pm, Reuter's reported the following:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, is under investigation by the
FBI, which is probing corruption in Congress, ABC News reported on Wednesday.

ABC, citing high level Justice Department sources, said information implicating Hastert was developed from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government.

But, in what has been a continuing rash of misfortune for Brian Williams and ABC, about an hour later Reuters had a New Report:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Justice Department official denied a report on Wednesday that the speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, is under investigation by the FBI in connection with a corruption probe
But a Justice Department official told Reuters: "The story is wrong. Hastert is not under investigation."

Somewhere in the blogosphere, someone is already writing about the latest Rove Dirty Trick that somehow made an investigation disappear before it even got started.

Oddly, some conservatives were happy to hear of Hastert's misfortune, simply because they were upset with him over his trampling on what should have been a "republican" moment, the revelations of pending charges against another democratic congressman.

Which just shows that the internet is repleat with people who have too much time, and too little sense.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

the tangled Webb we weave - Part 2, "Anti-Christ"

Part 2. Vincent suggests that the furor over Webb calling Miller "the anti-Christ of outsourcing" is little more than political correctness gone awry:

Lets be honest here..We ALL know George Allen would destroy Miller, and Republicans who want Allen to win are bashing Webb to make Miller look better..

but bashing Webb for his out of context “anti-Christ” comment is ridiculous.

CC, Shaun Kenny, and others are making WebbÂ’s comments out to seem pre-meditated.

We all know he didn't mean to slam the guy on being Jewish.

Lets get over it, and focus on issues.

My previous post dealt with whether Webb was a bigger threat. In this post I'll address the "anti-christ" issue.

Webb certainly used the quote in a pre-meditated fashion, he had it highlighted in papers he brought with him to the debate. So the only unknown is if Webb INTENDED to attack Miller for being Jewish.

But first, whether Miller was Jewish or not, calling someone the “anti-christ” is unprofessional, and beneath the dignity of one seeking a seat in the U.S. Senate. Of course people say the wrong things all the time in the heat of the moment, but Webb used this word purposefully.

The "anti-christ" is the greatest evil this world will ever see. Next to the anti-christ, Hitler was a humanitarian, Pol Pot was a saint, and Stalin a freedom-fighter. Most politicians know not to directly call someone "Hitler" -- "Anti-christ" is much worse.

Further "Anti-Christ" is a religious term, and to misuse it is to show a lack of understanding of the name's religious significance.

Second, Throughout history some Christians have attacked Jews for “killing christ”, and being “against christ”. This issue was debated extensively with the release of the Mel Gibson movie “The Passion of Christ”.

So whenever someone uses the term "anti-christ" in reference to a person of the Hebrew faith, the history requires us to explore whether the reference was "jew-bashing".

Vincent says "we all know" Webb wasn't attacking Miller's faith. But remember that Webb did NOT initiate this claim — he was quoting someone else. That someone else could well have chosen the word because Miller was jewish. Jews are often wrongly blamed for other people's economic misfortune -- the Shakespearean play "The Merchant of Venice" features Shylock, "a stereotypical caricature of a cruel, money-obsessed medieval Jew", taking advantage of the good Christian Antonio.

We cannot know a person's motives, but the phrase apparently came from a Union endorsement letter. A "Raising Kaine" commenter suggested the phrase came from THIS ARTICLE, but that article uses the term "antichrist" in a different way: "aka the Antichrist if you're an unemployed IT worker". In any case, it could be that the original author did NOT know Miller was Jewish, but it would fit the historical pattern if it were known. Given that another Webb supporter was found the next day noting that Miller "did not attend church", it seems his Jewish heritage was known and was a source for negative attacks.

Further supporting this is the fact that the phrase "Antichrist of outsourcing" is nonsensical. Normally you might call Miller “The King of outsourcing”, or the prince, or the master, or the big kahuna, or some other word denoting the greatest of the bunch.

But the AntiChrist will be no real king of anything, and rather will destroy all he surveys. If Miller was the “Antichrist of outsourcing”, he would be destroying it, not facilitating it.

On another level, it is offensive to bring religion into the topic of out-sourcing — are we saying Jesus would be opposed to sending our money and jobs to places where they make lives better for thousands of people less fortunate than ourselves?

Webb either knew what he was doing, or not. If he did not, you must believe that Webb read “anti-\christ of outsourcing”, and thought it was the perfect quote to use in the debate. That means he had no clue that the term “antichrist” was inappropriate. It’s hard to imagine he could be that out-of-touch, but either way, it is not to his credit.

Last year Senator Salazar (D-Col) called the Focus on the Family people “the anti-christs”. At least he used the term correctly — he was trying to say that their actions were HINDERING christ’s work on this earth, rather than helping.
He apologized.

So, is Miller an opponent of Jesus Christ? that is what “anti-christ” means. Look it up in the dictionary, you’ll find this:
  1. An enemy of Christ.Antichrist
  2. The epithet of the great antagonist who was expected by the early Church to set himself up against Christ in the last days before the Second Coming.
  3. A false Christ.

As you can see, none of those definitions makes any sense in the context of outsourcing.

But worse, calling a jewish person “the enemy of christ” brings up the entire “jews killed jesus” argument.

So, is Webb insensitive, or did he or his campaign think it would help to subtlely remind people that Miller is Jewish, and therefore no friend of Christ?

I think he was just insensitive to the mis-use of religious symbolism. But he SHOULD have known. And he should have apologized. And his supporters shouldn't be attacking MILLER for being slandered in this way -- but the democrats, always on the seamy side of politics, are going after Miller with a vengence, the devil be damned.

As Lowell over at Raising Kaine said:

More to the point, perhaps the following definition is more what labor unions mean when they call Harris Miller the "antichrist of outsourcing:"

In Christian eschatology, the Antichrist has come to mean a person, image of a person, or other entity that is the embodiment of evil and utterly opposed to truth, while convincingly disguised as wholly good and a bringer of truth.

Yeah, sure sounds like ol' Harris Miller to me!

Well. Harris Miller -- the embodiment of evil. That's going to be hard to reel back in if Miller wins the primary.

the tangled Webb we weave - Part 1, Who's better for Allen?

This post is part I of a response to TC's complaint that republicans attacking Webb for what he said at his debate were distracting us from being seriously afraid of losing:

We ALL know George Allen would destroy Miller, and Republicans who want Allen to win are bashing Webb to make Miller look better..

but bashing Webb for his out of context “anti-Christ” comment is ridiculous.
I believe on June 13th that Democrats will nominate James Webb, because they know he can beat Senator Allen, and want to win that bad.

... I believe Webb would win Fairfax, Loudoun, and possibly PWC.

I believe Webb would also win VA Beach with Kellam, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Newport News.

If Mark Warner takes some time off campaigning, and goes with Webb everywhere…we have problems.

Our party is too weak right now to take anything for granted.

First, let me say that I'm not particular about who I "bash", or more correctly, what issues I comment on. It's just that the places I visit are mostly filled with Miller-bashing, so it's more interesting to discuss Webb than join them attacking Miller.

Second, I have no crystal ball, so I can't say which candidate would be more of a challenge come November. November is a long way away. I'll say this -- if Miller can win the Primary, all this Miller-Bashing will be forgotten, just like Webb's political history and non-democrat views are ignored for the sake of victory.

Given that both candidates will have full support of democrats, Miller is probably the bigger risk, because he has MONEY. Also, he has been involved in politics longer, has better contacts.

Webb is a "better" candidate only to the degree that you think Republicans are upset with Allen -- and I see no evidence of that, either from the moderates, or more importantly, from the conservatives that have abandoned the President.

And if the bloggers are to be believed, Miller is more "centrist" than Webb, and would therefore appeal to the independents better.

I am certain that Allen can beat either of these two -- but even so, he could lose to either of them. I suppose my CURRENT opinion, more of a feeling, is that republicans would be best served if Webb survives a close primary, but broke and bloodied by all the things the left for now is dismissing as meaningless.

To the degree the press can be neutral, they WILL bring up all the negatives once the primary is over and they have a candidate to write about. Both Miller and Webb are more susceptible to this than Allen, who already went through a press inquiry while winning the Governorship and the Senate seat. Being the incumbent will add some extra scrutiny, but a lot of that has already happened as well.

that THat went long, so I'll continue with "part two".

Saturday, May 20, 2006

There won't be any Fitzmas this week....

As I reported yesterday, the latest story on Fitzmas was that the indictment of Karl Rove did take place as reported last Friday, but that it was being held for the following Friday.

But Friday came and went, another deadline missed. And now, the originator of the story, "Truthout", has issued a "partial apology":

On Saturday afternoon, May 13, 2006, TruthOut ran a story titled, "Karl Rove Indicted on Charges of Perjury, Lying to Investigators." The story stated in part that top Bush aide Karl Rove had earlier that day been indicted on the charges set forth in the story's title.

The time has now come, however, to issue a partial apology to our readership for this story. While we paid very careful attention to the sourcing on this story, we erred in getting too far out in front of the news-cycle. In moving as quickly as we did, we caused more confusion than clarity. And that was a disservice to our readership and we regret it.

As such, we will be taking the wait-and-see approach for the time being. We will keep you posted.

Marc Ash, Executive Director - t r u t h o u t

YEs, well, I guess if you don't know anything, the smart thing is to "wait and see".

But I look for the left to weave a grand conspiracy theory of how Karl Rove tricked Leopold and Truthout, so that when his indictment really comes, nobody will believe it.

Or that there WAS an indictment, but somehow the evil Bush administration made it go bye-bye.That fairy tale started yesterday:

Fitzgerald's brief is certainly vulnerable to pressure from the White House. And it is clear that something drastic followed the May 12 meeting at Patton & Boggs.

First, a small number of journalists who were writing about the Rove indictment found themselves being spun by Rove's media machine and his paid spokesperson, former Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo, a longtime GOP hack. Some questionable information about two of the journalists were posted anonymously on a blog.
WMR's report on the Rove matter became the subject of ridicule by the typical right-wing network in Washington, including shills for the National Review, other neocon outlets, and the Rove camp.

Nevertheless, Friday, May 19, came and went without an announcement of an indictment.
Meanwhile, a jovial Rove and an even cockier Rove spokesman reveled in the mini-media storm they helped to create -- Rovian manipulation at its best.

So Marsden, just like Truthout, has given up for now:

However, the Kabuki dance between the Special Counsel, Rove and his lawyers, and certain media are becoming a huge distraction. WMR apologizes to its loyal and supportive readers for being led, along with our sources, down the Rove rabbit hole of media mirages and public relations B.S. Until an actual announcement is made by the Special Prosecutor regarding Rove, we will concentrate our limited resources on other, more important, stories, including continuing CIA rendition flights, NSA eavesdropping, and Iraq war atrocities.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Hal Parrish Declines run for his Father's Seat.

Not really a scoop, it's already in the papers. Maybe nobody cares anymore, I know a few weeks ago everybody was speculating on whether Hal would run or not. From the Potomac News:

A widely rumored political contestant for the 50th District special election announced Wednesday that he will not run for state office.
Hal Parrish said he is holding off plans to run because the death of his father ensued increased responsibilities on the home front and at his business, the Manassas Ice and Fuel Company Inc.

"Because of my responsibilities both for my family and the family business, I came to the conclusion ultimately that right now is probably not the right time for me," he said.

That leaves three people in the race. All claim to be pro-life, pro-2nd-amendment, fiscal conservatives.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Fitzmas isn't coming this year.... Or is it?

Well, the Friday deadline came and went, and no Rove Indictment.

Then, the Tuesday deadline came and went, and STILL no Rove Indictment.

Days Flew By, and still not indictment? What happened to Fitzmas?

Well now comes the scoop, not from that unreliable "truthout" and Mr. Leopold, but from the King himself, the Wayne Madsen Report, which somehow Q&O beat me to posting about -- which is sad because this was my big chance to be on top of the story. Q&O did such a good job that I have almost nothing to add.

Almost. In a part not quoted over at Q&O, Madsen reports that:

WMR has also discovered that last year Rove, realizing he remained a lightning rod in the CIA Leakgate scandal, made preliminary plans to move into the private sector from the White House to take political heat off the Bush administration. However, as it became clear that he was in over his head legally and his legal bills piled up, Rove decided to remain at the White House.

As crazy as most of Madsen's stuff is, this one takes the cake. Rove was in money difficulties so he decided NOT to take a cushy multi-million-dollar job in the private sector, or to make $100,000 a pop speeches? People don't "stay at the White House" to make more money or take the heat off or help them out of legal trouble.

Madsen could be right, but he probably is wrong. His previous day's story was that Cuba and Venezuela both knew of 9/11 before it happened -- and they WARNED us and we ignored them. It takes a true leap of faith to believe that either of those countries would warn us if they knew of a terrorist attack.

Bush’s Immigration Reform: Good start, but falls short.

This is a link to my column which appeared in Wednesday's Potomac News opinion page.

Titled: Bush’s Immigration Reform: Good start, but falls short., it details what I liked and disliked about Bush's plan. Go read it.

I'm not with the conservative base on this, but I'm not near the Senate centrists either. I don't want illegal immigrants to be felons. I want the border secured before we start granting favors, although I also don't want to start widespread deportments until we have a guest worker program in place.

I don't want to let all the current illegals stay, but I don't want to kick them all out. There's the unsettled illegals which could go, but families with roots in our country who are assimilated already shouldn't be cast out simply for being illegal, IF we are going to allow them to apply for citizenship eventually.

And the one thing I absolutely agreed with the President about -- you need to learn english to assimilate and reach your potential in our country.

I didn't use the obvious joke in my column: President Bush is the exception to that rule.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

TC Attacks B-types for sensible resolution

Over at TooConservative, Vincent launches another of his patented hit pieces on his political enemies. And as usual, he misses both the point and the mark.

In a post he titles "Stirrup Breaks Tax Pledge", Vince comments on a vote at the Board of County Supervisors meeting yesterday, where the board voted to approve a request by the Bull Run Mountain Civics Association to raise their special assessment from $0.10 to $0.12, so they can make much-needed improvements to their roads. The proposal can be found HERE.

The Resolution was motioned by John Stirrup, because it was in his district. It passed Unanimously.

Some detail: Bull Run maintains it's own roads. Under an agreement entered in 1990, The county collects a special tax assessment on the property of the homeowners, and then returns the amount as a budget item. This simplifies and strengthens the cash flow, and makes it easier for Bull Run to borrow money and sign long-term contracts. But it does mean that if the Association wants to increase the money available, they need to get approval from the board.

In this case, they wanted to use a new road surface that would last longer than their gravel roads, at a cost of $1.3 million dollars. They also qualify for money from a county road fund if they adopt this plan.

No SANE person would find any reason to object to this -- Home owner's associations work for their members, and members increase dues in order to obtain direct benefits, in this case a better road.

But TC finds in this rather perfunctory act of civic duty a chance for a political cheap shot at two members of the board that are no friends of Sean, and therefore TC's mortal enemies.

So he attacks them for "raising taxes" after they signed a "no tax pledge", thusly:

Stirrup said they needed more money for roads because even though rising property values had doubled the tax revenues per home since he took office, the amount wasn’t enough to keep up with rising costs (you know, inflation!). So Stirrup moved for, and Stewart seconded, a 20% increase in the tax rate in addition to the higher taxes due to rising home values. Most homeowners will pay almost $80 more a year due to the tax hike.

It is true, 12 cents is 20% more than 10 cents. And it is true they will pay 80 more a year. And this is certainly a "tax".

But a "principled conservative" would not stand in the way of a group of people asking to raise their own taxes to pay for their own roads. And a rational adult would never see a vote on this resolution as a violation of a tax pledge.

Now, I oppose tax pledges -- I'm a limited-government conservative, not a "lower my taxes" conservative (they work out the same, but I believe the focus should be on restricting government, not on taxes). But allowing people to raise their own taxes is a good, principled, conservative position, endorsed by the founding fathers.

And in this case, to oppose the resolution would be to deny the civics association the money they needed, just because they have to get board approval for it.

I can assure you that if Stirrup and Stewart had voted AGAINST this, TC would be mocking them for their stupidity.

TC closes by attacking Stirrup for suggesting a use for some $400,000 dollars in a new program Stirrup attacked as wasteful just one month ago.

To make matters worse, Stirrup promised to seek the spending of $400,000 of taxpayer money from a new country program he voted against establishing last month saying it was a “waste” and “fat.” Stewart supported him in this promise as well.

Why do “principled conservatives” love to spend money, but hate to take the heat when it comes to tax rate and budget time? Look at Washington, Richmond and now Prince William for a clue.

Once a program is approved, there is no reason not to try to find some good use for the money in the program. Now, I have no idea whether this particular bit of spending Stirrup wants is a "good use" or a "bad use", because TC could care less about WHAT the spending was for, so intent is he on attacking the people doing the spending.

TC closes with his patented hit piece with his patented divisive labelling: " Come on Group B-lets stop the hypocrisy.".

At least he used "hypocrisy" right this time. Credit given where Credit due.

Update: Vincent has suggested that some comments on his thread were too emotional and not factual. While I see no factual errors here or there, I believe this post to be overwrought with observations of a personal nature.

In the 1st sentence, I should not have said "as usual", as it implies a personal defect -- I should stick to the facts of this specific instance.

Later I said a "rational adult would never see", implying that TC was irrational. I should have said "I don't see how a rational adult would see".

Where I said "because TC could care less about WHAT the spending was for, so intent is he on attacking the people doing the spending.", that is a statement of motive, and I have no way of knowing his motive. I should have said "because TC did not provide the facts needed to make an informed judgment. He simply used the occasion to attack the people doing the spending."

I apologize to TC for the overly personal items, and hope the corrections meet his approval. I am not changing the comments regarding hit pieces and name-calling as they are factual descriptions of items, not personal attacks.

Rich Endorsed as "best incumbent" in 10th district race

Too Conservative reports that the "Conservative 4th District Chairman Endorses Rich".

I'll repeat the endorsement letter here, under the assumption that Jim Rich would like it to get wide circulation:


I wholeheartedly support you in your re-election bid as Chairman of the 10th Congressional District Republican Committee. Your District needs a stable, experienced, and steady hand to guide the Republican Party. The only candidate standing for election to that office which fits that criteria is you. Your support for the GOP has been unwavering.

In times of turmoil and change, both within the Party and the nation, we need to have consistent leaders who have been through the battles. We need leaders who have earned their experience the hard way–by working for it. While this may be a new concept for some, leadership still demands experience. You have it in droves.

Whenever our Party needs you, we always know you will be standing at the intersection of competency and reason.

You have the political maturity and steadfast judgment to weather any situation our Party may experience. Since joining the RPV State Central Committee in 2001– first as a state central member and later as a District Chairman–I have gained excellent insight from your words of wisdom. Our party needs your experience and wisdom to maintain a seat at the table as we chart our way through the political future.

Best wishes to you in your re-election as Chairman of the 10th District Republican Committee.


Wayne J. Ozmore, Jr., Chairman

In other words,Vote for Rich, because he's the incumbent.

Let's look more closely: Here are the things that this endorser thinks are the greatest strengths of Rich for the job:
  1. He's Stable
  2. He's Experienced
  3. He's Steady (synonym: stable!)
  4. He's Unwavering (synonym: stable!)
  5. He's Consistent (synonym: stable!)
  6. He's Experienced
  7. He's competent
  8. He has reason
  9. He's mature
  10. He's steadfast
  11. did I mention he's experienced
  12. He has Wisdom

You think somewhere he could have found the time to say Rich was a good leader who attracted new members and turned out the votes. Maybe he ran out of paper.

This sentence takes the cake though, for saying a lot of words that are, in the end, meaningless:

Our party needs your experience and wisdom to maintain a seat at the table as we chart our way through the political future.

Apparently, there is this table, see, and our party only has one seat at this table, and if we don't re-elect Rich we will lose the only seat at the table we have. For some reason, it is at this table, where Republicans only have one seat now, that our way through the political future is being charted. If Rich is gone, someone will be charting out way through that future, but it won't be us, because we will have lost our seat at the table.

Because Rich apparently is really good at staying in the seat at the table, with his steadfastness, experience, and stability. No chair-rocker, Rich knows how to keep all four legs firmly in the intersection of reason and wisdom, at the table of the future where our path is charted.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Who Stole Fitzmas, Day two -- the saga continues.

As I mentioned yesterday, Leopold of "truthout" says Karl Rove was indicted last Saturday in the Valerie Plame non-leak case. This has prompted celebrations of "Fitzmas" (christmas delivered by Fitzgerald, the special prosecuter) among the left.

But the Grinch seems to have stolen Fitzmas. Wonkette tackles this sordid story in an entry titled "Karl Rove Indicted, Everyone With a Blog to Get Their Own Unicorn", but my favorite line there was from a commenter, who said: "from what I read on firedoglake, Jason Leopold has until Thursday before everyone gets to mock him, again".

Also, Karl Rove spoke today at the American Enterprise Institute. Which wouldn't be a big deal, except that as we learned from Howling Latina:

And before you discount Leopold's story, you might want to check out what another blogger discovered. Rove is busy cancelling appointments.

Democratic Underground reports that a previously posted Rove speech to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy and Research was deleted from the "coming events section at [the] AEI Web site."

Citing the Democratic Underground for news is like asking your two-year-old for directions.

But even if the facts were wrong, maybe the story's still true. So we'll keep a close eye out for that nasty Grinch who stole Fitzmas.

Monday, May 15, 2006

West Wing Retires, with one final faulty fact.

I was a fan of the TV show "The West Wing", and have watched it pretty much from it's inception, for all mind-numbing seven years. I think I watched because it was nice to see a place where democrats actually tried to govern and spoke of real issues and had real debates and understood facts and stuff -- even though it was a fake universe, it was a better one than the alternative reality many democrats seem to live in.

(OK, ASIDE HERE: I use the term "democrats" a lot. It's just shorthand. I don't believe most democrats, or even a majority of democrats, would fall into any of the groups which I label "democrat" in my posts. It's just an easy way of refering to them, which doesn't make it right, but makes it easy for me).

The last show, as usual, had many little factoids which would make the show useful educationally if it were not for the inordinate number of times they get these "factoids" wrong.

This show's false factoid regarded the inauguration. After a running theme of a particularly cold day for the TV inaugural of the president-elect Santos, Jeb and Abby are conversing about the weather, and Abby asks Jeb who's bright idea it was to have an outside inauguration in January. Jeb answers with the names of several of our Founding Fathers, I think "Franklin, Jefferson, Madison", but I'm a little fuzzy on that.

In any case, they were off by a bit, as the original Inauguration Date was set in the Constitution as March 4th. It wasn't until the last century that the date was moved to January 20th, by the 20th amendment. The change took effect in 1937.

Anyway, I probably won't miss the West Wing much, it was getting old and stale.

Update: Karl Rove is STILL indicted....

As I reported in my previous post, it's been a merry Fitzmas Mother's day weekend for left-wingers everywhere as they rejoiced to the news that Karl Rove has been indicted.

Now I know that is news to most of you, but the liberals are certain of this. The story crossed OUR wires courtesy of Howling Latina, who on Friday reported that Rove had informed the White House that he was going to be indicted. And Chris Matthews reported it would happen Friday. But when Friday came and went, Howling Latina was there to explain -- Karl had already been indicted.

This was followed by reports that Rove had been given "24 hours" to "get his affairs in order". So by Saturday Night we'd know if this was true. But Saturday came and went with no announcement. So on Sunday, those wacky folks at Democratic Underground had a new explanation -- the 24 hours were "business hours", which meant it wouldn't be announced until TUESDAY.

Meanwhile, someone decided it'd be a lot easier on the rest of us if they got some actual facts. Leave it to Byron York, who talked to Rove defense spokesman Mark Corallo. From The Corner at National Review:

Did Patrick Fitzgerald come to Patton Boggs for 15 hours Friday?No.

Did he come to Patton Boggs for any period of time Friday?No.

Did he meet anywhere else with Karl Rove's representatives?No.

Did he communicate in any way with Karl Rove's representatives?No.

Did he inform Rove or Rove's representatives that Rove had been indicted?No.

In other words, the salient "facts" from Leopold's Truthout article seem to be, well, not entirely truthful -- it's like someone took the truth out of his article, and replaced it with Howard Dean's wish list.

Rove could well be indicted at any time -- after Libby's indictment, anything's possible. But if he is, it seems Truthout will only be right by shear luck, not by any great investigative reporting.

The funny thing is how quick the left was to believe this, when not a SINGLE reporter from a major news outlet was confirming the story all weekend. The idea that Fitzgerald could dissappear for 15 hours on Friday when people were expecting indictments, and no reporter would have any idea what happened to him, always seemed a bit absurd.

And what is sad is how happy this news seems to have made them. They can't be pleased with anything substantive happening in the world, but they take great pleasure in the misfortune of another, even though a Rove indictment for false statements would not feed a single hungry child, or do anything for any of the causes they supposedly hold dear.

It would, however, help them on their way to regaining power. Whether you want people in power who fall for every irrational story that comes along, you'll have to decide that come election day.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Some humorous reporting.

I'm going out on a limb here, because you never know what is going to happen and sometimes people really DO have the inside scoop. But for now, this just looks too good to pass up a comment.

Last week the left-wing "truthout" had a reporter who announced that a Karl Rove indictment was coming on Friday. This announcement raced through the left side of the blogosphere, with much rejoicing as Karl is the arch-nemesis of all who call themselves liberal. Chris Matthews on his show "Hardball" even announced the good news, I believe on Thursday night.

But Friday came and went, and there was no Rove indictment. What had gone wrong? Was it just postponed, was the information faulty, did something new intervene and change the predicted timeline?

According to "truthout", the answere is none of the above. Instead, truthout is reporting that Karl Rove was, in fact, indicted on Friday as reported -- but the indictment has been sealed and is being kept secret from everybody except the intrepid "truthout" reporter.

Now, on it's face this is funny. It's like there is this alternate universe where things are happening just the way liberals want them to happen, and that universe cares not a bit what's happening over in the real world.

In the alternate universe, the tax cuts caused a budget deficit, the economy is the worst since Hoover, Social Security miraculously healed itself such that it was no longer an emergency, and free prescriptions for millions of elderly poor is a horrible idea. Oh, and now Karl Rove is indicted.

Normally, I would be hardpressed to presume the reports were wrong. I mean, how often could a reporter claim something has happened when it hasn't happened, before he lost all credibility? But I'm not sure credibility matters in the alternate universe this reporter occupies. After all, in that alternate universe Howard Dean is still the saviour of the Democrat party.

I guess in the next couple of days we'll find out if, in this instance, the twilight zone which is the democrats alternative universe contained a bit of truth, or if, as is often the case, "truthout" is more of a guideline than a rule.

BOCS Chair Sean Connaughton taking Questions at TooConservative

Sean Connaughton, Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, has generously agreed to answer questions submitted from the internet community in a live blog chat on Monday at 4 PM. Vincent Harris has opened a thread to collect questions in advance.

Those of you who have complaints about how the board is run, the positions the board takes, or the state of the PWC republican party, this is your chance to take those concerns in question form directly to the top. This is NOT a place for personal attacks; I strongly urge everybody to stick to questions about issues, policy, and politics.

This is our chance to show how adults can have real differences and communicate them with respect and purpose, something that too often is lacking in many blogs these days.

Here are the questions I asked:

Sean, thanks for taking the time to answer questions, and for the hard, tireless work you perform for the county.

1. do you feel that blogs such as this one, which encourage personal attacks on both incumbent republican legislators, and republican party activists, help or hurt the republican party?

2. Would you support a more positive-oriented discussion group where all members of the republican party can debate issues, policies, and politics without the vitriol which seems only to divide the party, obscure our message, and impede the election of fellow republicans?

3. The Los Angelos times has a policy that all employees must identify themselves and their affiliation when participating in internet discussions. Do you think that politicians should be as open as the LA Times staff? Put another way, there are rumors that local politicians post anonymously to blogs such as this one. Do you think that politicians should post anonymously to blogs, or should they, being public officials, identify themselves and be held responsible for their comments?

4. The PWC Republican committee took policy positions on several issues before the state and local legislatures. Two-part question: First, do you think that committees should take positions on issues of importance to the members of the committee as a way to inform our elected leaders of our concerns? Second, do think there are ways that we can express our opinions on issues without being accused of attacking our representatives for disagreeing with them?

Thank you in advance for considering my questions and taking the time to respond. I believe that open and transparent dialog between the citizens and their elected leaders is the key to open, honest, and effective government.

Embarrasing, and Over the Edge

In an incredible display of hypocrisy, the GOP chairman of the Virginia Teenage Republicans Vincent Harris posted a blog entry attacking elected republicans who are trying to uphold the "core values" of limited government and fiscal responsibility, while at the same time being quoted in the Manassas Journal Messenger about how important those core values are. His blog entry hosts, encourages, and supports comments from democrats who support Democratic candidates against sitting republican incumbents.

(UPDATE: For those who didn't notice, this paragraph is a parody of the first paragraph of the referenced blog entry from TooConservative, meant to illustrate how easy it is to make vacuous personal attacks on people by generalizing based on some isolated specific instance which on it's face is factual.)

My previous blog entry notes the contradiction in Harris's comment.

TC's post concerns a press conference held on Friday by the Republican Committee chair Tom Kopko, which was followed by a Democrat party conference. Both committees oppose the Brentswood development, and the conference was meant to show the bi-partisan nature of that opposition.

Skeptical Observer has a refutation of the more sensationalistic aspects of Vincent's diatribe, based on first-hand input from Corey Stewart. A snippet, regarding the press conference:

Doing so with prominent Democrats might have been a mistake, though Corey notes that it wasn't with Bras and Porta. And it's difficult to believe that Corey Stewart would be rising to Tom's defense if he were concerned about, as Vince reports, Porta's stated intention to run for Occoquan District Supervisor next year.

Also, Chairman Tom Kopko sent out an e-mail correcting misinformation about the event. One wonders why the well-connected Vincent makes no mention of this e-mail, or of making any attempt to contact Tom about the event (which occured on Friday) before criticizing him based on a newspaper article.

In the e-mail, Kopko makes clear his motivation:

Know this: Brentswood being approved is a huge loser issue for Republicans because we control the BOCS. I’ve known this since Mick Staton’s huge loss in Loudoun, arguably because he did not oppose development. Let us please learn from that: PWC Republicans will suffer the same setback in 2007 if Brentswood is approved.

The Chair of the PWCRC's job is to enable the committee to elect republicans. This press conference was directly related to that task, in this case trying to save us from a vote which he believes could cause serious difficulty for republicans. So, when Vincent claims:

This is not what party Chairman should be doing.

he is dead wrong. This is exactly what the chairman should be doing -- working hard to make it possible to elect republicans and defeat democrats in our local elections. And if a large majority of the committee votes to resolve that Brentswood development should be opposed as contrary to republican values, it is the chair's job to translate that opposition into action.

Robertson Speaks at Teenage Republican convention

From the Manassas Journal-Messenger:

The Rev. Pat Robertson, a noted Republican famous for lambasting leftist groups, turned his criticism to the Republican Party in his speech at the Third Annual Virginia Federation of Teenage Republicans Convention on Saturday afternoon.

The founder of the Christian Broadcast Network charged the Republican Congress as "abandoning" fiscal responsibility, noting among other things the $223 million for the construction of a bridge connecting Alaska's Gravina Island to Ketchikan (also dubbed "the Bridge to Nowhere").

The "Bridge to Nowhere" was removed from the budget. Unfortunately, the MONEY for the Bridge was left IN the budget as a transportation block grant to Alaska.

"This is our government at work, and unfortunately it is run by Republicans," he said.

He doesn't mean "unfortunately" as in "I wish it were run by democrats". Instead, it means that it is the republican's fault. That is largely true, although if the democrats wanted to support fiscal responsibility there are enough republicans that together they would succeed. The democrats instead vote to obstruct and thwart anything that might put congress in a good light.

The democrats are content to complain from the sidelines, refusing to enter the field even though there is a large group of republicans ready to join them for fiscal sanity.

Fact is, democrats don't want to bring the budget under control They want to raise taxes, and cut defense spending. They want to open the borders, not close them. They want amnesty for illegals, not deportation.

The democrats vote against proposals only because they are obstructing everything. They won't vote for alternatives that would be better because they refuse to give the republicans a victory.

While Bush's approval ratings drop, Congress's is even worse. And that's what the democrats want. They worked for 5 years to drive the numbers down so they could win back congress. When given a choice between making a bill better, or making congress look bad, they almost always choose the latter.

Here's just one example -- The democrats rail against the house immigration bill that makes being illegal a felony. But when a group of republicans tried to change it to a misdemeoner, the democrats voted AGAINST the change. They wanted the bill to have "felony" in it so they could run against it -- which is hypocrisy since they could have fixed it right then and there.

It's easy to attack those in power, but the republican majority is far to slim to be able to govern effectively with an opposition party bent on destroying the country just to win back power.

That's what Robertson SHOULD have talked about.


In light of the NSA wire-tapping revelation, which he called a "tool of oppression," Robertson admonished the Bush administration for "encroaching on" Americans' personal liberties

Robertson is given to rhetorical excess, and this comment is no different. We are not oppressed when multi-national corporations keep a database of which numbers we call -- it's called a BILLING RECORD. And we are not oppressed when the government has access to a list of linked phone numbers.

Real examples of oppression abound -- Especially targeted at Christians trying to live their faith. When oppression is misused to describe benign but critical work by our government to capture terrorists before they attack, it loses it's meaning and effect.

It's a shame that Robertson's good points about fiscal responsibility are lost in his penchant for making headlines through attacks and hyperbole. It's what makes him a controversal figure, which weakens his ability to communicate the good news or the warnings he so desperately wants us to take to heart. For example, this:

"One day this whole thing is going to be in your hands," Robertson said to the group of teenagers, encouraging them not to stray from their "core values" - Christianity, limited government and fiscal responsibility - in their political pursuits.

Limited government and fiscal responsibility are truly core values of the "true conservatives". But while Christianity is the one true religion, there are many republicans of other faiths, and even of no faith. By asserting christianity itself as a core political value, his message becomes devisive, and make a mockery of the "big tent" of the republican party.

My religion is an important part of my life, but politics should be about governing, not about religion. The constitution makes it clear that no religious test shall be required for holding office -- nor should it be a defining characteristic of a political movement.

Vincent Harris, the organizer of the event, chimed in:

"We have lost our core values," the 18-year-old said, "and have become too exclusionary."

Maybe what we have lost is our understanding of logic. For republicans to truly come back to our "core values", we must convince some of the superiority of those values, and purge our ranks of those who do not espouse those core values -- otherwise you end up with a congress run by "republicans" which fails to act according to those principles. This requires us to be MORE exclusionary, not less.

In fact, it is our embrace of "openness", along with our failure to win the hearts and minds of those in our tent to our philosophy, that has lead to a congress that seems all too often ready to act in opposition to our core values.

No philosophy has a majority following at this time. So long as we fail to educate, and we have a two-party system, followers of both parties will continue to be dissappointed both in the lack of clarity and vision of their leaders, and in their "exclusion" based on non-essential wedge issues of members of their own party.

The convention was held, Harris said, to educate young Republicans and encourage involvement at the grassroots level.

This is a fine, nobel purpose. I thank Harris for organizing this event. However, it is ironic that if the teens take to heart what Robertson said, and enter grass-roots politics, they would likely be working to unseat the republicans who have failed to uphold our core values in the house, and replace them with "true believers" in those values.

And when they do, those who decry the "exclusivity" of the party will turn on these young workers for "dividing the party" and "excluding 'good republicans' based on a narrow ideological 'litmus test'".

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Abortion -- America's "Final Solution"?

So wrote Ron Weddington, one of the lawyers who represented Norma McCorvey.

In a revealing Letter to then President-Elect Bill Clinton, Mr. Weddington urged the new Democrat President to persuade poor women to have abortions, in order to keep down the population of the disadvantaged.

The letter is attached to a report put together by Judicial Watch while researching President Clinton's involvement in the RU-486 approval process. The text of the letter, on official law firm stationary, starts at page 61 of that PDF file. You should go read the whole thing. I've typed in a lot of it below (so if you see a difference, it's because I messed up), but you have to see it to actually believe it. If you don't , you will think I'm making this up.

Some years ago another Southern Governor, when asked about the possibilities for prison reform, supposedly said something to the effect of, "Well, I don't think we're going to get very far until we get a better class of prisoner.

Well, I don't think you are going to get very far in reforming the country until we have a better educated, healthier, wealthier population.

Face it, you know that anything that even resembles the programs of Democratic Presidents in the past is going to make you a one term President. Reagan spent all our money on bombs and even if there were money for programs such as pre-natal health care, job training and day care centers it would be years before we would see any dramatic results. And, as anyone who follows education can see, more money doesn't necessarily translate into better educated kids.

But you can start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of our country. No, I'm not advocating some sort of mass extinction of these unfortunate people. Crime, drugs and disease are already doing that. The problem is that their numbers are not only replaced but increased by the birth of millions of babies to people who can't afford to have babies.

There, I've said it. It's what we all know is true, but we only whisper it, because as liberals who believe in individual rights, we view any program which might treat the disadvantaged differently as discriminatory, mean-spirited and ... well ... so Republican.

In 1989, 27 percent of all births were to unmarried mothers, a huge percentage of whom were teenagers. If current trends continue, soon a majority of the babies born will be born into poverty and one half of the country cannot support the other half, no matter how good our intentions.

I am not proposing that you send federal agents armed with Depo-Provera dart guns to the ghetto. You should use persuasion rather than coercion. You and Hillary are a perfect example. Could either of you have gone into law school and acheived anything close to what you have if you had three or four or more children before you were 20? No! You waited until you were established and in your 30's to have one child. That is what sensible people do. For every Jesse Jackson who has fought his way out of the poverty of a large family there are millions mired in poverty, drugs, and crime.
You made a good start when you appointed Dr. Elders, but she will need a lot of help. You will have to enlist the aid of sports and entertainment stars to counteract the propaganda spread by church officials seeking parishioners, generals seeking cannon fodder and businessmen seeking cheap labor that, throughout the ages, has convinced the poor that children are necessary to fulfillment as a person.
And, having convinced the poor that they can't get out of poverty when they all have those extra mouths to feed, you will ahve to provide the means to prevent the extra mouths, because abstinence doesn't work.
Condoms alone won't do it. Depo-Provera, Norplan and the new birth control injection being developed in India are not a complete answer, although the savings that could be effected by widespread government distribution and encouragement of birth control would amount to billions of dollars.

No, government is also going to have to provide vasectomies, tubal ligations and abortions...RU 486 and conventional abortions. Even if we make birth control as ubiquitous as sneakers and junk food, there will still be unplanned pregnancies. There have been about 30 million abortions in this country since Rov v. Wade. Think of all the poverty, crime, and misery ... and then add 30 million unwanted babies to the scenario. We lost a lot of ground during the Reagan-Bush religious orgy. We don't have a lot of time left.

You could do it, Mr. President-To-Be. You are articulate and you've already alienated the religious right with your positions on abortion and homosexuals. The middle-class taxpayer will go along with this plan because it will mean fewer dollars for welfare. The retirees will also go along because poor people contribute very little to Social Security.

And the poor? Well, maybe if we didn't have to spend so much on problems like low birth weight babies and trying to educate children who come to school hungry, we might have some money to help lift the ones already born, out of their plight.

The biblical exhortation to "Be fruitful and multiply," was directed toward a small tribe, surrounded by enemies. We are long past that. Our survival depends upon our developing a population where everyone contributes. We don't need more cannon fodder. We don't need more parishioners. We don't need more cheap labor. We don't need more poor babies.

Hitler couldn't have said it better. I'll analyze this more in another post. For now, just ponder this statement from a liberal, pro-abortion lawyer, about why he truly supports abortion. Nothing about choice, or about the hard decisions, or liberation of women. Just the cold, hard calculation that poor people cost too much, and we would be better to be rid of them.

Scrooge had nothing on this man, this champion of a "Woman's Right to Choose".

Friday, May 12, 2006

James Simpson Retires

For those of you who still get your fingers dirty reading the news, James Simpson announced his retirement today (Friday).

James is a long-time opinion columnist whose writings appeared in the Potomac News mostly on Fridays.

James wrote like the libertarian I always wanted to be except that I couldn't get past the morals stuff.

He went out with a bang -- one of his better columns, had a lot of inches he filled blasting politicians and the voters who support them, making the argument that much of what our government does is unconstitutional.

Unfortunately, the Potomac News is not at this time posting opinion columns. But I urge you to go out, find the Friday Potomac News, and read James' last hurrah.

I know how he feels about time pressures. I've only been writing for a year and a half, and already I'm wondering how long it will be before I'm really tired of it. When I read that Simpson was quitting, I yelled to my wife that I had to keep writing because Simpson beat me to the quitting.

I'll never forget the time James referred to one of my columns and said that I made at least a little sense.

James was always just a little to limited government for me. But I admired the clarity of his thoughts, and his hardnose approach to defending his principles. In his last column, he had a list of specific things government money should not be funding. I'll type in his paragraph (James Simpson, Striking at the root of the country's problems, Potomac News, Friday, May 12, 2006, page A6):

Unfortunately, this corruption exists all the way down to local government. It is immoral to force taxpayers to fund things like local bus transportation, the Marine Corp Museum, golf courses, pools and fitness centers. These compete with private enterprise. But what is really heinous is that in funding these things money that should be spent to prevent and solve crimes (such as burglaries, rapes, murders, and child molestation) is diluted.

I disagree only with his inclusion of the Marine Corp Museum. I doubt there is private enterprise to compete, and even if there was, honoring those who served our country is to me not only a legitimate government function, but is not something I'd like to see someone making a profit on.

As I said, I'll never be a good libertarian. Because I can't for the life of me figure out what constitutional provision grants government the right to spend tax dollars on a museum, but I still think they should do it.

I always read James Simpson's columns, and many times he made me feel just a little bit cheap and dirty -- he made me think, and that is the highest praise I can think of for a long-time columnist to receive.

Postpone the Brentswood Vote

TC's got a thread running about the Brentswood vote dust-up at Tuesday's board meeting. Within the chatter and noise of the commenters taking shots at the supervisors, I posted my plea to postpone the vote. I decided to edit it and post it here.

If you agree, you need to CALL YOUR SUPERVISOR AND SEAN. If you are in Maureen's District, and want to be represented in this vote, Call Sean. Numbers are posted at the PWC web site. Call early, the supervisors get snippy if you call too late to save them from making embarrasing mistakes.

The Brentswood issue is a request for re-zoning to put 6800 homes along with office space and retail outlets in the area surrounded by Route 29, Linton Hall Road, and Wellington Road, kind of surrounding the Nissan Pavilion. Developer information Here, some news articles here, here, here, and here. Opposition commentary can be found here. An e-mail exchange converted to blog format is on my site here.

An interesting document is this one from John Stirrup, in March of this year. In this column he says the public hearing was scheduled for June 27, 2006. That will be important below.

Brentswood has encountered a lot of opposition, which suggests the debate and vote on the proposal will not be a formality. In my opinion this will be the most important non-budget vote since the Rural Crescent was established -- but some may rightly call that hyperbole. A vote was scheduled for next Tuesday's BOCS meeting.

At Tuesday's meeting, a move was made to postpone the vote from May to June. The Washington Post reports on the board meeting. Quotes below are from this article.

Maureen Caddigan has a long-standing trip which puts her out for next week’s board meeting. Why she didn’t request a postponement of the vote is anybody’s guess — one possibility is that she doesn’t like to 2nd-guess Sean. Another is she doesn’t think the board should be inconvenienced by her absense. That’s all speculation.

But what isn’t speculation is that Brentswood is a contentious development project — and it would be poor form to have such a development approved or rejected without the entire county having representation at the meeting. For that reason, the vote should be delayed.

What else is true is that the vote CAN be delayed — no law requires the vote to be held next week. Stirrup made it clear to Sean he wanted to delay the vote. But according to the Post "On Tuesday, Connaughton often talked over Stirrup and Stewart".

But Sean controls the agenda — "He (Gerhardt) doesn't make the agenda. I make the agenda." Why didn’t he allow a delay of the vote during regular order? We don’t know.

The issue isn't, as the speculation at TC goes, why Stirrup and Stewart align with democrats on this issue. Both parties have voted against the proposal. The County Republican party did so quite decisively, even without my vote.

Nor is the issue why Stirrup brought it up during his 5 minutes. That was the time he was allowed to speak freely in the Agenda “controlled by the Chair”.

The question is, why did Sean NOT allow a vote Tuesday, but seems willing to allow a vote NEXT tuesday?

We don’t know. But we do know that NEXT week, Maureen won’t be there to vote for postponement. She WOULD have been able to do so Tuesday. Sean’s lack of action Tuesday took away Maureen’s right to vote for a postponement, and probably her right to represent HER constituents on the biggest development in some time in our county.

Why did Sean take the actions he took, given the resulting harm to a good friend of his, Maureen, a fellow Republican?

Can you imagine ANY vote on a contentious matter being held while Sean was out of town? Maureen wouldn’t hear of it.

I'm not “accusing” anybody of any motives here, just spelled out what appears to be the facts based on quotes in the newspaper and other sources.

Sean may still postpone the vote next Tuesday — he has the power to do so, the law allows it, and it would be the fair, decent, and right thing to do for the county.

Regardless of party, or your position on the Brentswood rezoning, does anybody think that the vote SHOULD be held voluntarily at a meeting where all the supervisors won’t be present? If so, WHY do you think the vote should be held?

And if you think it shouldn’t be, can you think of a reason why Sean shouldn’t come to the same conclusion? This isn’t about Corey or John. It isn’t about who’s boss, or hurt feelings.

A developer wants to put 6,800 NEW HOMES into our county, in an area that is already overcrowded. There is questions about whether the proposed road improvements will even make up for the new traffic. The planning staff, AND the planning commission rejected it. The Republican committee voted against it.

It is obviously a contentious issue. Issues like that shouldn’t be decided through political games, or because a supervisor is missing for the meeting.

We don’t know how the vote will go. The Post suggests Wally may not support the proposal, and that Maureen, Corey, and John were all no votes.

So why wouldn't Sean postpone the vote. Why not defer the vote until all the Supervisors are here? Why even leave the APPEARANCE of trying to rig the vote?

This isn't a close call. The vote should be delayed.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hair Color

HI! It's me! The ever gone Conservathing Two.

If you didn't already guess, I'M the one with the hair coloring problems.

Since you asked for more, here it is.

So I woke up on Wednesday feeling great. I styled my hair so that the two colored strips that were in the front were hanging in my face, and the rest was in a pony tail. At that point the color was almost a hot pink. It was called "neon red" when I had reached the bus. I had actually gotten up in time to catch the bus (the first time in 2 weeks).

I rode the bus to school, and only two people really reacted, the rest acted like it was normal. When I got to school, I was eager to show my other friends. But, as I walked through the doors, the Principal (he stands right inside the doors) saw me, pointed to me, and said, "Go to the office about your hair."

I didn't know what was going to happen, so I said bye to my friends, and went to the office. As soon as I walked in, everyone looked up and said, "Nice hair"(or something of the sort). Then they had me call home.

When my father answered I said "Hi dad". He said "what's wrong?" I said "I dunno, I was told to go to the office because of my hair, then the secretary told me to call you and I have no idea what's going on." Then the secretary said, "you have to go home and get rid of the pink". I put my hand over the phone and said, "I can't, it's permanent." then she said "someone still has to pick you up". I was totally confused.

So I told my dad to come and pick me up, and he said he couldn't get me until 9:00 (it was about 8:05 when I called). Yea, that was sure SPEEDY. An HOUR after I called, which by my standards is NOT SPEEDY!

Anyway, I waited in the office for my dad to come, I went and talked with one of the counselors, and she suggested putting the strands that were in my face in my pony tail, but that didn't work. Soon, my dad walked in, but...........................................

...........................WITH PURPLE SPRAY ON HAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EVERYONE in the office showed some sign of keeping the laughter in.

He asked to speak with one of the administrators, so a secretary got Mr. S, and we all went into his office. My father asked what we needed to do about my hair. Mr. S said we needed to tone it down.

My father took me home. My mom had been called, and had bought blonde hair stuff. All three of us put it on. When we had dried my hair, the pink had toned down a little, but it was still hot pink. So, we did the treatment again. Still, only a little bit of color came out. We had run out of the blonde stuff!!

I was just starting to get used to the idea of no school for another 6 months when my dad dragged me back off to school (with a pitstop to Burger King, because it was 12:30 and I had missed lunch).

We went back to Mr. S, to see if we had toned down my hair enough. He said he would let me stay, BUT! If the principal saw me, he might send me back home again.

So the rest of the school day I was telling this story over and over, and dodging the Principal.

Now, as for "distracting". The hair color seemed to be fine, in fact, I got more "Hey, is it true you got kicked out of school because of your hair color?" than "Hey, cool, you dyed your hair."

Now, as previously mentioned, I went to a hair stylist in the evening on Wednesday. She dyed my hair the darkest blonde she had and..................... Still pink. However, now it is a "deep strawberry red". It is UGLY!!!!!!!!

Today at school I had about 20 kids come up to me and ask me if my story is true -- and it is. I was kicked out of school for showing my individuality. And the only people who seemed to be mad about my hair were the Principal and the Code of Behavior.

Well, I'll be talking to you all soon! See YA!

Conservathing Two

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Principal Removes Child for Hair Color

Remember a little over a month ago, during the illegal immigrant demonstrations in PWC, when the Principal at one elementary school threw out two children for wearing T-shirts? As I said a month ago in the post Why do we ban T-shirts from school?, Principals have the right to do what they think is right for the school, because they are responsible for the consequences of inaction.

But I objected to the Principal's judgment, thinking that he overreacted to the t-shirts, which simply expressed the children's pride in their heritage.

Well now, a student was removed from a PWC middle school for having her hair dyed. There is a rule about "distraction", and this school has written their guidelines to include "excessively colored hair".

This girl shows up at school with some rather stunning fuschia highlights. And the Principal took one look and sent her to the office to wait for her parents, much like the children in last month's story.

But in this case, the parents came quickly, and took the girl home without complaint. Three hours later, she was back in school. The parents thought the hair color was great. The office workers all complemented the girl on her hair.

But there is no lawsuit. There will be no front-page news story in the paper tomorrow. The ACLU won't be coming around to blackmail the school system.

Because this child's parents believe in the rule of law, and also believe that you can't get worked up over every petty grievance. So while they disagreed strongly with the decision of the Principal, they took tims off from work to make the hair acceptable to the powers-that-be, who have the right in our school system to be completely wrong about something like hair color.

The girl was a real trooper throughout. It's obviously hard to do something you're proud of, something that you think makes you look more attractive, and expresses your feelings, only to have an authority figure dismiss your efforts as unacceptable. To have to sit in the office, to go through three extra hair treatments, to miss your favorite classes simply because your hair is "different", these are all hard lessons for a youngster to learn.

The child barely got back into school -- permanent coloring really is permanent, and purple is not an easy color to overshadow. But, seeing the effort was made to comply, a vice-principal decided to let it pass, with the warning that if the Principal saw it he might throw her out again.

That night the child went to a professional. The hair is still colored, but now it is what the industry calls a "natural" color. There doesn't appear to be anything in the rules about "natural" vs. "unnatural" hair color, but everybody knows that the natural colors are "ok", while it's the "unnatural" colors that will get you in trouble.

My opinion? Once the permanent color was applied, that's the "natural color" of that hair. To be denied access to school simply because you put something in your hair and don't want to cut it all off, well that seems a bit excessive.

The school also prohibits head coverings. So unless the girl converts to Islam, she can't just put a bandanna on her head (apparently something to do with gangs). It wasn't like the t-shirt incident where the shirts could have been turned inside out, or new shirts could have been brought.

I am torn on this one. It's not a "freedom of speech" issue, more a "freedom of expression" issue. I suppose having wild hair might cause people to ask you about your hair instead of hurrying to class. Or maybe other students would stare at you instead of listening to the teacher?

I guess I don't understand what the real problem is -- unless it's gang colors. But the thugs have won a victory if they can supress the freedom of all students based on fear.

You may here another take on this story from the often-missing conservative number two. There may even be a picture.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

BLogging Lite Redux

Normally my blogging will be light on Sunday night through Tuesday, as I need to focus on my column.

However, and as I mentioned a while ago, I've had some pain issues in my leg the past month or so, and have been on medication for the past couple of weeks.

I think I'm getting better, although it still hurts in the mornings, and it may just be the drugs talking. And no, I haven't felt the urge to get up in the middle of the night to go cast a vote.

My lack of sleep finally caught up with me the past two days -- so bad that I was literally falling asleep between sentences while trying to write. I finally gave up, so there will be no column from me this week. Having re-read what i had written so far, this is no loss -- it was barely comprehensible (somewhat like this post, and the posts I did on Sunday night).

I'm heading off to bed -- before midnight, which is abnormal for me, as those of you who read my frequent comments on other blogs will know.

Before I close though, I'd like to say a couple of things:
  1. Will Vehrs is being punished far beyond what is reasonable for his "crime".
  2. I caught the coverage of the PWC 9/11 Memorial on channel 7 and channel 9 tonight, it looked good but I wasn't paying attention so I don't know if anybody i know made it on TV.
  3. A list should have three things. But I just drifted off to sleep for the last 10 minutes, so I'm signing off...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Do Company Executives make too much?

The short answer -- yes. The right answer? maybe. But that isn't really our call, it's up to the people who hire and pay the salary to decide.

Nader likes to complain about how the average salary of executives is increasing much faster than the average salary of workers.

First, that is what would be expected in a normal environment, because, just like with the average incomes discussed below, the very few at the top have a much greater opportunity for large increases in salary than the average salary of all workers, or even the salary of the lowest-paid worker.

In fact, with the minimum wage, we pretty much freeze the salary of the lowest-paid worker, because if there are workers that aren't worth the minimum, we still have to pay them the minimum, which probably means we will make that up by not giving them raises as quickly, even when they might be good enough to make MORE than the minimum wage.

But there is a 2nd factor at work, the growing size of companies.

If 10 companies each pay their chief executive 1 million dollars, and then the 10 companies merge, shouldn't the new chief executive earn 10 million dollars, while the employees don't get a raise at all? He's doing 10 times the work, isn't he, managing 10 times the employees, while the employees are doing the same jobs they did before.

Take a summer painting business. You can get a job managing the painting teams, and you get a salary based on how many painting-hours you get done. IF you do a good job, you might need twice as many painters, and make twice as much money, even while each painter makes the same amount. When you double the business, is it "unfair" that your salary goes up 100%, while the worker's salaries don't rise at all?

I believe stockholders need to take a more active role in questioning the high prices paid to the management team -- otherwise, companies can get into a silly bidding war driving up salaries without significantly improving the overall management of business.

And, for the record, I have no problem with the top executives in the country making more money than the top baseball players in the country.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Washington Post Calls for Income Redistribution

The Washington Post editorial board has been running an occasional series of opinions about the economic state of americans. Today's column titled "The Top Takes Off", the fifth in the series, bemoans what they see as the rising inequality of income.

Subtitled "That rhetoric about giveaways for multimillionaires? It's accurate.", the opinion gets off on a bad foot and never recovers, seeing as there is no "giveaway" for the rich, simply a "smaller taking away".

Further, they show an amazing socialist streak right off the bat:

THE QUEST for ways to reduce inequality begins with taxation. Unlike spending programs, redistribution through taxation is administratively simple; besides, putting money directly into people's pockets allows them to spend it on whatever they need most. But the tax tool has been wielded badly

Why are we on a quest to reduce inequality of income? Where does the constitution assign that task to the federal government? Why should the tax "tool" be wielded at all? The goal of the federal tax system should be to fund the necessary tasks of government, not serve as Robin Hood, repairing some perceived inequity of income.

But I want to focus on a single important failing of the opinion:

While the income of the families in the middle fifth of society has grown 12 percent since 1980, the income of the top tenth has grown 67 percent, and the income of the top 1 percent has more than doubled. In short, the rich have grown a whole lot richer: That's why they pay a larger share of total tax.

There are three fallacies in that short excerpt.

  1. the people move around in the quintiles over the years. The top salaries more than doubled, but not necessarily the salaries of those who were in the top 1% in 1980.

  2. In a rising employment market, adding new inexperienced workers at lower pay will drive down the average incomes by "quintile", and effect lower quintiles more than upper quintiles.

  3. The explosion of two-income families shows up as a great increase in the average salary of families in the upper quintiles, while driving down the average in lower quintiles.

The use of "percent of population" statistics can easily lead to wrong conclusions. In the "quintile" system the population is broken into 5 equal parts, based on the criteria selected. The "top 1%" refers to whoever in a particular year made more money than 99% of the population.

I've got a lot of ways to show the difficulty of evaluating economic "fairness" based on quintiles. Here's one. I'll use small numbers, let's pretend they are hourly wages.

Let's say we have 5 workers, making $10,$15,$20,$25, and $30 an hour. Each worker makes up a quintile, so the quintile "average wage" is (10,15,20,25,30).

Now, let's say we feel really sorry for the poorest person in our group. So we pick him for a new job, which pays $50 an hour. Our program effected workers IN the quintiles as follows (percent increase in salary) (500%, 0%, 0%, 0%, 0%). Clearly our program targetted the least among us.

But, the person at the bottom just jumped to the top. So in fact the quintiles are now: (15,20,25,30,50). And the percent change, by quintile, is (50%, 33%, 20%, 17%, 66%). Looking at it by quintile, it appears our program helped the rich the most, and really cheated the middle class.

Using that illustration as a guide, it should be easy to see how adding large numbers of low-income workers would pull down the averages in all quintiles, and how two-income families will make higher quintiles salaries rise.

You don't want to look at the salary increase for a quintile, you want to look at the salary increase per working family.

I have no doubt that year to year, the salaries of the people in the top 1% grows faster than the salaries of the bottom 1%. If you used as an example salaries for major league baseball players, I bet the pay of the top 1% has increased faster than the increase of the bottom 1%. The reason is simple. There is a minimum salary, and the bottom 1% will always make that minimum salary. SO the bottom 1%'s salary growth will be at whatever rate the minimum salary rises, which may be 0%. This is true even though every player might get a salary increase int he next year -- because the lowest 1% will be re-populated with new workers.

Meanwhile, the salaries at the top are based on the best players wanting to be sure they get paid MORE than last year's top players. Since there is no theoretical limit on the top salaries, there is no lmit to the growth of the salary of the top 1%.

The Washington Post does a disservice to it's readers by trying to stir up envy, jealousy, and resentment. They tell people to measure their success not by their own improvement, but based on the fortunes of whoever in a particular year were the most lucky among us. No matter if you have enough money to live, or got a good raise -- someone else got a much bigger raise, and though it doesn't effect you at all, you should only feel good if government takes their money away and gives it to you.

In fact, the Post proposes to raise the tax rate 5% on the top 1%, just so they can five that money to the lower quantiles -- a direct transfer of wealth from rich to poor, as certainly as Robin Hood.