Big Changes Are Coming To Virtucon…

Virginia Virtucon first went live March 23, 2006 after several of us split from another blog that we were affiliated with at the time. For nearly the past nine years I have played a major role with this blog, serving as Editor-in-Chief for most of that time. A lot of contributors have come and gone during those years while others have been with us this entire time. I am proud of the work that we have done here and also that we have had fun doing it. This is a passion for us – we don’t get paid, we do it because we have strongly held principles and beliefs that we want to apply to current events and share with our readers.

Today marks a new chapter in Virginia Virtucon’s history as I turn over the reigns to my successor as Editor-in-Chief, Terrence Boulden. As I look ahead to possible new endeavors, I want to ensure that what we have built with Virginia Virtucon lives on and I believe that is best served by having someone at the helm who can give it the full attention that it deserves. Terrence represents the best aspects of what Virtucon attempts to offer — thoughtful analysis, interesting policy prescriptions and a sense of humor.

While I am stepping back from the leadership role I have had here, I will still offer occasional commentary as time and circumstances may dictate. To use a FOX News analogy, think of Virtucon as Special Report. Brit Hume started it and then handed it off to Bret Baier who has taken it to the next level. Hume still makes the occasional brief appearance, but it is Baier’s show now. Please join me in wishing Terrence success in going forward and taking Virtucon to the next level!

- Jim Riley

Oh joy…another immigration flame-fest

So, new RPV Executive Director Shaun Kenney (full disclosure, close friend of mine) takes some time to sit with center-left activists on the immigration issue. Much of his talk centers around thanking them for stopping by, talking about how it’s important to talk to folks who don’t necessarily agree with them, and an observation on the debate that was miles above anything discussed on the matter since…

I genuinely believe that both sides of this debate want to do the right thing; it’s just a matter of getting those wires to touch.

It didn’t take long for the wires to vehemently protest. Soon Greg Letiecq (also a friend) was slamming Shaun for advocating amnesty – something which, I confess, I didn’t catch in the video excerpt Greg provided, although Greg and Shaun have made clear their disagreement on the issue for years. Soon Jeanine Martin and Brian Schoeneman (whom I would also call friends, but as I’ve never met either of them in person, I don’t know what they would think), joined in the fray, with Martin claiming Shaun would hurt poor people and Brian calling Jeanine and Greg racists (in the comments).

Yeah, it’s that kind of party.

Sadly, as both sides spent their time reminding themselves how wonderful they are – hey, we’re bloggers; it’s what we do – the questions I raised almost two months ago remain completely outside of the discussion:

  • What are we doing to encourage entrepreneurs to come to America?
  • What labor shortages in the American economy (such as, health care) can be alleviated via immigration reform?
  • How can we use our immigration policies to take advantage of capital flight in areas around the world, so that those who own that capital will feel more welcome here (along with their capital, of course)?
  • In other words, how can we use immigration reform as a supply-side economic opportunity, rather than merely an argument about Keynesian “aggregate demand”?

As I stated in that post, anything that doesn’t address the above subjects is just noise…which is exactly what we got from nearly everyone concerned – a lot of heat, but very little light.

As for Shaun, I’m glad he’s willing to talk to folks outside his political comfort zone. At the very least, we all need to remember how to disagree without being disagreeable.

I would have been much happier if he and Mr. Sajur had spent some time talking about the above topics….

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal

Our condolences to our blog colleague Scott Hirons

Our condolences to our blog colleague Scott Hirons on the passing of his father this week.

Robert “Bob” J. Hirons, 74, of Woodbridge VA, Passed away on September 3, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Judy; his daughters, Terri Ganley and Linda Gill; His sons, Joseph Hirons, Robert John Hirons II, Charles Scott Hirons; 9 grandchildren and his brothers, William Hirons and Donald Hirons.

Bob was retired from the Navy after 20 years and spent 20 years with the Department of the Navy.

Bob was an avid golfer and was active in the Quantico Men’s Golf Association, Friday Night Early Birds Bowling League and the Prince William County Republican Committee. Bob’s family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the charity of your choice.

A visitation will be held on Sunday, September 8, 2013 from 6-8 pm at Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home in Dale City, VA. A Life Celebration Service will be held on Monday, September 9, 2013 at 11:30 AM at Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home followed by interment at Quantico National Cemetery.

Despicable? You Know What I Find Despicable?

Talk about your total political meltdowns.  Yesterday’s Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting was one for the ages.  Supervisors are discussing various proposals for the FY 2014 budget ranging from flat tax bills advocated by Chairman Corey Stewart and Supervisor Pete Candland to significant tax hikes put forward by Supervisors John Jenkins and Frank Principi.  Rational people can disagree over the size and scope of county government as well as its priorities without descending into slugfests.  But this is just plain bizarre.

However, Candland found himself involved in another conflict on the dais, when Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan delivered an impromptu speech condemning Candland’s citizen’s committee.

“You talk about your budget committee,” said Caddigan. “They are the bloggers; many are associated with your office. These are the people who have crucified our county executive and defamed each member of this board. We do know them by name. We do know who they are, and it is disgraceful that they are going to twist our arms, get us out of office, so they can get people who can support Candland, so he can run for chairman. I don’t mean to be a small person here, but your budget committee is despicable, and I will not be listening to your budget committee.”

(You can view the full rant here.)

Despicable? Really? Citizens volunteering their time and talent to try and find cost savings and efficiencies that will benefit all county taxpayers? The only blogger I know of on Supervisor Candland’s budget committee is Al Alborn who is one of the most calm, sedate, rational voices in the blogosphere.  In fact, he is now a Contributing Editor for PotomacLocal.com, a local news website covering eastern Prince William and Stafford counties.  Alborn by his own count has served on at least four budget committees, so he brings experience to the task.

Caddigan was dead on when she described what she was about to say as something coming from “a small person” because she deviated from policy and politics and turned this personal. Small people talk about other people. Great men and women talk about ideas, policy, and philosophy. I can honestly say that in the nearly 12 years that Caddigan has been my supervisor (the first 9 or 10 of which I was a strong supporter of hers who volunteered on her campaigns, held events for in my home, invited to address my community on multiple occasions, and defended from the right including on this blog) that I have never associated her with ideas, policy or philosophy.

I will not stoop to the level of making this personal about her, but I certainly will offer critiques on her actions in office and public policy. Let’s talk about what is truly despicable.

Misuse of taxpayer funds

$5,000 to the Hylton Performing Arts Center

$600 for commemorative bricks at the Marine Corps museum

$300 on a political campaign advertisement

Using staff on county property during business hours for campaign work

All while poo-poohing a 32% tax increase on businesses as no big deal.

And let’s not forget the conversion of campaign funds into personal funds funneled through her husband

You know what else I find despicable?

Violating your word

When you run on the Republican Party line in Virginia, you pledge to support the party’s general election nominees.  Apparently, such pledges mean little to her given Caddigan’s repeated support for Democrats and independents over Republican nominees. (Of course, most of the time she just completely ignores the rest of the GOP ticket and doesn’t lift a finger to help them one bit.)

And another thing that I find despicable –

Turning a blind eye to possible corruption

Quashing an internal audit of the VRE despite the fact someone later pled guilty in a separate case to receiving $200,000 in kickbacks

Finally, one last item that is just as despicable…

Hypocrisy“These are the people who have crucified our county executive”
Our county executive. That would be Melissa Peacor who was promoted from within county government by the BOCS in 2009.  I seem to recall back around that time Caddigan telling me that she opposed Peacor for this position (and voted against hiring her, along with one other supervisor whose identity I shall keep to myself, during the Board’s closed session straw poll — thus violating the confidentiality of Executive Session by telling me that), that she thought Peacor didn’t dress appropriately for such a position, that Peacor’s personality was somewhat flighty and did not have the gravitas required for the post, and that she wanted the out-of-state candidate for CXO to be tapped to fill the role.  Apparently Caddigan was for crucifying Peacor before she was against it.  The two of them deserve one another as far as I’m concerned.  (Someone please make sure that Ms. Peacor is informed of all this — particularly about her being a bad dresser and flighty.)

Claiming she had nothing against the former name “Dumfries” for her district when in fact she had gone around for years badmouthing it and its namesake town.  Then there was her flubbed subsequent attempt at revisionist history to try to claim credit for the new name of “Potomac.”

Yes, there is much that I find despicable about my supervisor’s official actions and what that says about her character and fitness to hold office.  But these criticism are based upon ideas and policy, not the realm of the personal.  If she cannot distinguish between the two, then she has an even thinner skin than I thought.

Please Join Virtucon In Welcoming…

Virginia Virtucon is pleased to announce that Shaun Kenney has joined our staff and will assume the title of Publisher.  Shaun serves as the Chairman of the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors and is a former Communications Director for the Republican Party of Virginia.  He holds the distinction of being one of the first political bloggers in Virginia, starting his journey a full decade ago in 2002. Shaun lives with his wife, seven children, and what he likes to describe as a modest attempt at a farm in Kents Store, Virginia (a.k.a. Thomas Jefferson’s backyard.)  Please join us in welcoming Shaun onboard.

Virtucon Announces Its “Gadfly” Caucus

I’m not sure if “proud” is the term we should be using in announcing the formation of our “gadfly” (a person who upsets the status quo by posing upsetting or novel questions, or just being an irritant) caucus, but we’ve got one now nonetheless.

The first member is StaffordGOPer, a long-time contributor here on Virtucon who most notably / notoriously first posted those controversial  Krystal Ball Christmas party photos (which we removed within an hour and replaced them with our investigative reports on her questionable personal and campaign finances, but not before others picked them up and they eventually wound up on Gawker.com.)

The other member is new to Virtucon as a contributor, but has commented here and on Black Velvet Bruce Lee in the past as well as quite extensively on the News & Messenger web site, Prince William County’s local newspaper.  The one, the only, Casanova Frankenstein.

Behave you two.  Well, at least as much as possible while still being interesting.

Virtucon Goes “Bullet Proof”

We at Virginia Virtucon are happy to announce that another great blogger has joined our team.  The Bullet Proof Monk is well known in Loudoun county, having served for years on the executive committee of the Loudoun Republicans.  Monk knew that he was a conservative while still in his teens and has been involved in Republican politics ever since.  We’ve enjoyed his unique perspectives on his own blog, http://thebulletproofmonk.blogspot.com/ and are happy to have him posting with us now here on Virginia Virtucon.

Politifail

The folks behind Politifact have some explaining to do.

At issue is former Senator George Allen’s following comment: “The new Congress must repeal and cutoff any additional money borrowed and set aside for Obama, Reid and Pelosi’s $1.2 trillion stimulus spending bill.”

This is how Politifact responded:

The $1.2 trillion price tag was a new to us (sic), so we checked it out.

Really, fellas? It’s not news to me or anyone else who closely followed the Obamnibus debate. In fact, it came right from the Congressional Budget Office (CNN Money):

The long-term cost of the $825 billion economic recovery package before Congress could rise to $1.2 trillion over 10 years, a top budget official said Tuesday.

That’s because the government will borrow to fund the plan and pay an estimated $347 billion in interest, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf told the House Budget Committee on Tuesday.

Way to “check it out,” guys.

Now, to be fair, the PF guys were led astray by an Allen staffer, who sent them somewhere else and didn’t emphasize the interest-on-debt issue. Still, it’s not as if the $1.2T figure had vanished into the ether. The House Republicans used it just last month.

Politifact? More like Politifail.

Cross-posted to RWL

Virtucon Welcomes Its 1,000,000th Visitor

Since moving Virginia Virtucon to WordPress in Nov. 2006 (we previously had a platform on Blogger), we have welcomed well-over 200,000 visitors each year.  Today marks a milestone as we had our 1 millionth visitor since the move nearly four years ago.  So far, we’ve had nearly 8,700 visitors today.  Our best day ever was Oct. 27, 2008 when we had nearly 19,000 guests visit Virtucon.

Thank you to all our readers, old and new!

No, Gov. McDonnell Does NOT Support A State Health Care Mandate

It would be helpful if people who started to spout off on things actually watched the video, read the transcripts and understood everything in context first before they did so.  It would save billions of otherwise wasted electrons.  Yesterday, on the CNN show “State of the Nation,” Gov. Bob McDonnell was asked whether it would be permissible for Virginia’s General Assembly to enact a state law mandating health insurance coverage.  Here is the exchange:

“CROWLEY: We are back with Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan and Republican Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia.

Governor McDonnell, let me move you to health care, because you won a preliminary battle in the legal system allowing your suit against mandatory health care insurance as — as laid out in the Obama health care reform.

If the state of Virginia, in the form of the legislature, passed a bill saying you must pass — you must have health insurance, would that be all right?

MCDONNELL: Yeah, it might be, under the state constitution. But this goes to the heart and soul of our federal system, what the Tenth Amendment means. Obviously in Virginia, the home of Madison and Jefferson and others, we take these things pretty seriously.

But if the federal government can use the Commerce Clause to tell the citizens of Virginia or Michigan or any other state that they must buy a good or a service and if they don’t, they’re going to get fined, then there’s virtually no limits to federal power. I think this is — this is really, this has more to do with constitutional authority of the federal government than it does with — with health care.

And I think it’s wrong to have this kind of mandate, apart from the policy issues of billions of unfunded mandates on the states.

But I don’t think the Commerce Clause was intended by our founders to mandate buying a product of insurance. And that’s what this case is all about” (emphasis added)

First, McDonnell gave his legal opinion — such a state mandate might be permissible under Virginia’s constitution.  Then, he addressed the merits of the policy and flat-out says that “I think it’s wrong to have this kind of mandate.”

Perhaps some people in the blogosphere on both sides of the aisle need some remedial reading comprehension work.

WaPo thought Weigel was a conservative. Did they bother to ask anyone?

Fellow VVer Riley has already noted Dave Weigel’s . . . um . . . creativity when it comes to covering the Republican Party and the American right in general.  Now, we discover from Politico (via the Weekly Standard Blog) that the WaPo actually thought he was a conservative.

Perhaps if they had taken the time to ask anyone on the right, they would have found out differently.

This is hilariously bad, even for the WaPo.

Cross-posted to RWL