Does Don Beyer Practice What He Preaches?

We’ve already noted fmr. Lt. Gov. Don Beyer’s radio commercial where he stakes out some pretty extreme positions in his race for the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s open 8th congressional district. There’s one thing that has jumped out at me during my repeated hearings of Beyer’s ad on WMAL. Beyer’s campaign says in the radio spot that he will fight in Congress for paid family leave and equal pay for women.

Now, Beyer owns one of the largest car dealership chains in Northern Virginia. My question (and one that his Democratic primary opponents should be asking) is whether Beyer offers his own employees paid family leave and pays women equally? Does Don Beyer practice what he preaches? The answer to that will say a lot about the man and what kind of congressman he would be.

Rob Wasinger – SQUISH

So, 10th Dist. GOP congressional candidate Rob Wasinger was Jon Huntsman’s Deputy Campaign Manager.

Jon Huntsman.

The Obama-loving, Obama-handpicked ambassador to China who supports same-sex marriage and embryonic stem cell research.

Whether you support any of those positions or not, Rob Wasinger claims that he does not.

So why then, out of all the Republican candidates running for president in 2012, did Wasinger pick Huntsman to work for?  WHY?

Sort of shoots down his creds as being “the conservative alternative” in the 10th Dist.

(Unless he means that he is the alternative TO conservatives like Comstock and Marshall.)

What a squish. Get that RINO out of my sight…

Shut-Down Tide Begins To Turn Against The Dems

“Americans are increasingly pointing the finger at the Oval Office,” according to National Journal. “A recent Bloomberg survey found that 40 percent blame the GOP for what’s wrong in Washington, while 38 percent blame the president and congressional Democrats. Back in February, Obama had a nine-point edge over Republicans and independents were evenly divided over who was responsible. Now, 42 percent of independents fault with Obama and his allies in Congress, while 34 percent blame Republicans on Capitol Hill.

The latest CNN poll found a similar trend, with the percentage who blame congressional Republicans for a government shutdown down five points and the percent who blame Obama up three points.”

In 1995-96, Republicans were blamed by a margin of 23-points for those shut-downs. Now the blame is just about dead-even and independents have shifted in the Republicans favor. What’s the difference?

First, back in the ’90s, Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate. Second, Bill Clinton was willing to negotiate with congressional Republicans.  Third, there was no conservative media as there is today — no FOX News Channel, no blogs, the Drudge Report had yet to gain attention, and the only national conservative talk radio host was Rush Limbaugh.

Today, you have Democrats controlling not only the White House, but the Senate as well. Both Barack Obama and Senate Democrats are repeatedly stating that they will not negotiate while House Republicans continue to send over different bills seeking a compromise (which according to a recent CBS poll is what three-quarters of respondents want the President and Congress to do).  Meanwhile, viewership of the broadcast networks nightly news programs has plummeted, FOX News as arisen, and there are countless outlets on the internet from social media to blogs where conservatives can get the message out.

The longer this goes on and the longer President Obama and Senate Democrats hew to the “we will not negotiate” stance, the worse it will get for them.

Why Would Senate Democrats Oppose This Unless They Want The Government To Shut Down?

What did the House send back to the Senate for consideration last night to prevent the federal government from shutting down? Here are the details:

**An extension of the expiration date of the CR, from the Senate’s November 15 back to the original House resolution’s December 15.

**An extension of expiring authority for the Eisenhower Memorial, as proposed by the Senate.

**An extension of expiring authority to issue special visas to Iraqi refugees who assisted U.S. troops.

**A new provision delaying the individual mandate provisions of the Affordable Care Act for one year.

**A new provision requiring the President, Vice President, all political executive branch appointees, Members of Congress, and all Congressional staff to get their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges without any form of direct subsidy and without any tax code subsidy except the means-tested subsidies available to all Americans.

What is wrong with any of these things? This House proposal gave Congress an extra month to work out final appropriations without fear of another shut down during that time, gave the Senate what it wants on the Eisenhower Memorial (seriously?), helped Iraqi refugees who helped our troops and are now in danger, gave individuals the same 1-year reprieve from Obamacare that the President gave big business by executive fiat, and subjected elected officials and their staffs to the same laws that apply to everyone else regarding Obamacare.

The Senate promptly killed it within an hour last night.  Why would they do so unless they wanted to shut the government down?

House Republicans have asked Senate Democrats for a conference committee to work out a compromise, but Harry Reid continues to refuse.

The Senate immigration bill predicts one future; microeconomics predicts another

For various reasons, I’ve been on the sidelines regarding S. 744 (otherwise known as the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill), which the Senate passed last week. The biggest reason, frankly, was that Plan ’13 From Outer Space largely occupied my time on the policy front.

However, I have seen the Congressional Budget Office’s reports on the bill (on the government budget effect and on the economic effect), and I must say I am highly unimpressed. Based on the flaws in these reports alone, the bill should never get out of the House of Representatives alive.

I’ll start with the budget report, which was trumpeted by the bill’s advocates as showing an overall deficit reduction over ten years. However, most of the government’s fiscal improvement is off-budget, due largely to increases in the payroll tax (which is supposed to cover Social Security and Medicare). The on-budget deficit would actually increase over the next years, albeit by an insignificant $1.4B per year on average (that would be less than 1%). Even if one combines off-budget and on-budget, the result is less than $20B a year in deficit reduction over ten-years (which would be about 3% of the projected 2013 deficit). More to the point, the CBO bases this figure on assumptions that fly in the face of microeconomics.

Usually, the CBO doesn’t take into account economic effects of a policy, preferring to keep the economy “static” (hence the term “static scoring”). This time, however, they bent their own rules. Now, to be fair, I think static scoring is ridiculous, but the assumption to which the CBO leapt was just as bad, if not worse…

Relative to CBO’s projections under current law, enacting S. 744 would increase the size of the labor force by about 6
million (about 3.5 percent) in 2023 and by about 9 million (about 5 percent) in 2033, CBO and JCT estimate. Employment would increase as the labor force expanded, because the larger population would boost demand for goods and services and, in turn, the demand for labor.

That comes from the budget report, but the economic report has a similar paragraph (almost word for word). The problem is this: the CBO bases the economic effect on a retrograde Keynesian assumption about the modern economy, an assumption which is already being challenged by economists across the globe.

One of the biggest flaws in the Keynesian outlook is that it pays almost no attention to the cost of doing business (hiring labor, buying capital, etc.). Thus it forgets critical effects that microeconomists do not. The biggest one is this: if you tax something, you will get less of it.

I noticed the same flaw when Europe demanded that Greece crack down on tax evasion – a major change from the previous policy of enforcement neglect. The result was to dramatically increase the effective tax rate (i.e., what’s actually paid), and the damage to the Greek economy was as painful as it was predictable.

In this case, the CBO reveals it falls for the same reign of error thusly….

In addition, JCT expects that the bill would result in increased reporting of employment income by people who, under current law, are not legally present or allowed to work. Moreover, JCT expects that wages for those workers would increase relative to their wages under current law as a result of their attaining legal status under the bill. That increase in reported wages would yield increases in receipts from both individual income taxes and payroll taxes (most of the additional payroll tax receipts would be from Social Security taxes and thus would be categorized as off-budget).

The CBO apparently failed to notice that increased reporting and higher wages mean higher taxes on businesses, who will likely respond by reducing labor cost to compensate – or, in plain English, cut wages or fire people.

So we can expend at least some downward pressure on wages and employment, especially among legal immigrants (keep in mind, the CBO projects that the inflow of illegal immigrants will only be reduced by 25% – although given the nature of this post, I can’t and won’t ask you to take that at face value either). This matters because the economic “benefits” of this are on the razor’s edge….

Compared with GDP, gross national product (GNP) per capita accounts for the effect on incomes of international capital flows and adjusts for the number of people in the country.
Relative to what would occur under current law, S. 744 would lower per capita GNP by 0.7 percent in 2023 and raise it by 0.2 percent in 2033, according to CBO’s central estimates. Per capita GNP would be less than 1 percent lower than under current law through 2031 because the increase in the population would be greater, proportionately, than the increase in output; after 2031, however, the opposite would be true.
CBO’s central estimates also show that average wages for the entire labor force would be 0.1 percent lower in 2023 and 0.5 percent higher in 2033 under the legislation than under current law. Average wages would be slightly lower than under current law through 2024, primarily because the amount of capital available to workers would not increase as rapidly as the number of workers and because the new workers would be less skilled and have lower wages, on average, than the labor force under current law. However, the rate of return on capital would be higher under the legislation than under current law throughout the next two decades.

In other words, under the Pollyannaish economic assumptions of the CBO, we still have GNP per capital falling in ten years, and rising less than a quarter of one percent in twenty years. In a similar vein, wages would be lower in ten years, and less than one percent higher in twenty.

More likely, the economic and budgetary assumptions (and remember, the latter is dependent upon the former) are already overoptimistic. What we do know is that economic growth won’t keep up with the population by 2023, and neither will wages.

Whatever one thinks of illegal immigration, legal immigration, and assimilation, it should be clear that S. 744, whatever its intentions (and I don’t rule out that some of them could be noble), is illogical in assumption, impractical in implication, and likely to be more damaging than beneficial.

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal

Our Laws Are Perverse

The law in this country has been perverted. A human being needs to be safe in his person, he needs to be able to able to enjoy the fruits of his labor, and he needs to be free.  Free to speak, to travel, to work, and to associate as he sees fit. Protecting these three elements is the proper purview of the law. All people have the right to use force to defend themselves from theft, assault and enslavement. When the law expands beyond the community’s protection of the individual’s rights, it becomes an instrument of plunder and oppression.

Democrats and Republicans alike are guilty of perverting the law. The only difference is that in the ranks of the Republican Party are those who wish to reverse this trend. The Democrat Party seeks to further expand the role of government through even greater perversion of the law, with some statist Republicans going along as willing accomplices.

When the Law is used to abridge personal freedoms, as in the case of our current drug laws, the result is the rise of a black market and with it a criminal class.  The failed experiment in prohibition should have reversed this trend.  It has not.  Progressives, like Woodrow Wilson, pushed through a series of laws starting with the Harrison Act to curtail drug use.  This was the beginning of our 100-year odyssey in Federal social engineering.  Our abject failure in this arena is more than obvious; it is tragic.  Today close to 1.5M people are in the prison system because of possession charges.  Like alcohol prohibition, the only lasting impact is that the citizenry loses respect for all laws.

When the law is used to codify the plunder of one group at the expense of another, the result is not equality.  Three familiar forms under which this plunder will occur are crony capitalism, socialism, and communism.  In the first form, crony capitalism, a favored industry or company is handed a monopoly through the erection of tariffs against competition, or the industry is subsidized through the taxation of the general public.  Under communism, the state directly seizes all the means of production at every level and the end result is a planned economy.  The Great Leaps Forward of 1950’s China and the Five Year Plans of the Soviet Union are object lessons in the misery and death spawned by such state sponsored plunder of private property.  Socialism serves as the bridge from the statism of the Crony Capitalist to the statism of the Marxist.  State sanctioned plunder is a betrayal of the citizen and eventually leads back to the feudalism we witness today in places like North Korea.  Too-Big-to-Fail is but one of our steps down this path.

State sponsored plunder serves only to balkanize the nation.  Those whose property is plundered resent the beneficiaries of this wealth transfer.  Those who receive this plunder develop a festering resentment, as they justify this largess as their deserved recompense for the structural inequities of society.  The political class plays upon these resentments.  When plunder has been codified long enough, the citizens are reduced in stature from being freemen who elect public servants, to dependents of a political overlords patronage.

Republican Party statists seek to criminalize every vice and Democrats seek to make every virtue a requirement.  These impulses are perverse, for they employ the overwhelming force of the state to crush the free will of the individual.  A man has the right to ruin his health and turn his back on his neighbor.  A man has the right to be ignoble. The state becomes monstrous when it usurps the conscience of a man.  A people, if it is to remain free, must refrain from the base impulse of using the law to right past wrongs or use the law for social engineering; the result is always a spiral of violence, poverty, and reprisal.  The 20th century is a testament to this folly and the millions of graves are a rebuke to those who would play God, which is the ultimate perversion.

Wittman Statement On Fiscal Cliff Vote

Wittman Statement on American Taxpayer Relief Act


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Representative Rob Wittman (VA-1) released the following statement today after the U.S. House of Representatives considered H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act:

“I regretfully voted against the American Taxpayer Relief Act today because it unfortunately does what Congress does best – kicks the can down the road.  While I support low tax rates for Americans and have previously voted to ensure taxes do not go up on hardworking Americans, I could not vote for this bill because it does nothing to reform our long-term spending problems, which are the real drivers of our debt and deficits.  In addition, this bill postpones sequestration, the disastrous defense cuts, for only two months.  This creates even more uncertainty for our defense industry, which is so vital to the security of this nation.  This bill is the epitome of what is wrong with Washington – waiting until the very last minute to pass a package negotiated by only a few.  On this New Year’s Day, I am deeply disappointed that we are not moving forward with what is best for this Nation – a sustainable, long-term path that will place us on strong financial footing for our children and grandchildren.”

Congressman Rob Wittman represents the First District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

# # #

Democrats Refusing To Compromise On Entitlements Creating “Real Danger” Of Going Off The Cliff

Uh oh.  Politico reports:

Speaker John Boehner on Thursday said that “no substantive progress has been made” on fiscal cliff negotiations, and warned that if Democrats don’t come up with a better compromise on entitlements and spending then “there’s a real danger of going off the fiscal cliff.”

Republicans are already indicating they are willing to give on revenues. I guess Democrats believe that compromise is simply getting your opponent to agree with you and you don’t have to give anything up in return.

Don’t Reform The MWAA — Abolish It!

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is badly broken according to a new Inspector General’s investigation.  So dysfunctional that I say don’t just reform it, abolish it altogether and start from scratch.

Two-thirds of their $200K+ contracts were not competitively bid.  Frequent violations of closed door meeting laws occur.  Inappropriate personal expenditures are rampant.   $4,800 is charged for three dinners in Hawaii.  $238 is expensed for two bottles of wine.  $9,200 is billed for one plane ticket. The list goes on.  And on.  And on.  All on our dime with ZERO benefit to travelers and commuters, just the Board living high on the hog.

This is what happens when you put an unelected and unaccountable multi-jurisdictional panel in charge of a boondoggle.

Metro to Dulles should never have been approved and we here at Virginia Virtucon have been saying that consistently for nearly five years.  It is a waste, it will see little use, and better service could have been provided by a Rapid Bus Transit system that would have cost a fraction of the price tag, could have been running in a matter of months and would get people to and from the airport twice as fast as Metro ever will.

Then there is the whole issue of funding the Silver Line extension to Dulles — jacking up tolls on the Dulles Toll Road making up a significant part of that revenue stream.  Let’s not forget whose brilliant idea it was to just hand over the toll road to the MWAA at no cost — then-Gov. Tim Kaine.  At the time, Virginia could have leased the toll road to a public-private partnership, gotten a couple billion dollars for it up front and had the money to build Metro to Dulles.  But noooooooooooo……  Timmy! had to go and just give it away to his pals on the MWAA. How’s that working out for everyone these days?  Looking for someone to blame for the cost to commuters and taxpayers for the Silver Line?  Kaine’s your man.

Reagan National and Dulles International are owned by the Federal Government and are leased to the MWAA under a 50-year lease dating back to 1987 that was extended for an additional 30 years in 2003.  Congress seriously needs to look into nullifying the remainder of the lease.

According to the MWAA website:

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is an independent body created by the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia. It has been approved by the U.S. Congress to operate and maintain Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. The Authority is a public body, corporate and politic and is independent of all other bodies. It is not an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia or the District of Columbia, nor is it a federal agency.

As you can see, it is something of a Frankenstein monster that was created and then unleashed to go about its own way.  And if the MWAA was created by Virginia and D.C., why does the Governor of Maryland — a state that wouldn’t be able to oversee the takeoff and landing of a single paper airplane for under $100K per year — get to make appointments to it?  No, the MWAA is broken and should not be fixed, but disbanded.  Congress and Virginia need to step in to do what they can to make this happen.

Here’s a thought moving forward.  Why not create a new “Northern Virginia Airports Authority” that is directly accountable to the Commonwealth?  At least that way the operating body will have a clear line of who they answer to and the solid management practices of Virginia would be carried over.  The toll road could still be leased and funds raised used to pay for construction of Metro (at least as far as Wiehle Ave., beyond which it turns into a boondoggle, but if they wanted to bring it all the way to the airport, they should have the money to do so.)

The IG’s report makes it clear that if there is not actual corruption within the MWAA, there is at least the strong appearance of it.  One would hope that the FBI sees fit to investigate this.

Constitutionally Illiterate Democrats

From the Volokh Conspiracy, a compilation of responses from Democrat members of Congress to questions about the constitutional basis for Obamacare:

Most of us know that when then-Speaker Pelosi was asked where the Constitution gives Congress the power to enact an “individual mandate,” she replied with a mocking “are you serious? Are you serious?”

Here are a few more pearls of constitutional wisdom from our elected representatives.

Rep. Conyers cited the “Good and Welfare Clause” as the source of Congress’s authority [there is no such clause].
Rep. Stark responded, “the federal government can do most anything in this country.”
Rep. Clyburn replied, “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the federal government has anything to do with most of the stuff we do. How about [you] show me where in the Constitution it prohibits the federal government from doing this?”
Rep. Hare said “I don’t worry about the Constitution on this, to be honest […] It doesn’t matter to me.” When asked, “Where in the Constitution does it give you the authority …?” He replied, “I don’t know.”
Sen. Akaka said he “not aware” of which Constitutional provision authorizes the healthcare bill.
Sen. Leahy added, “We have plenty of authority. Are you saying there’s no authority?”
Sen. Landrieu told a questioner, “I’ll leave that up to the constitutional lawyers on our staff.”

Something to keep in mind when someone argues that the Supreme Court should defer to the constitutional wisdom of its coequal branches.

Remember, folks, these are the people who regard themselves to be your betters, and who believe they know what’s best for you and your families. Not only did none of them bother to read a bill that expropriates 1/7th of the American economy (arguably a high crime and misdemeanor all by itself), they have never bothered to read or understand the very document they have each sworn to uphold. To them, the Constitution is a relic and an obstacle to be overcome, and their oaths to uphold it are mere pomp and symbolism, and not actually, you know, valid or binding in any way.

Pathetic and disgusting. Democrats should be embarrassed, and right after that, they should be run out of Congress on a rail.

What Happened To Obama Wanting Congress To “Pass This Bill Now”?

President Obama’s jobs bill has yet to gain any sponsors in the House or Senate, even among Democrats. His bill has yet to be introduced in the House, despite the President calling for Congress to “Pass this bill now.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has called his bluff and introduced Obama’s bill in the Senate. So, was the President happy that his bill had gained bipartisan cooperation? Apparently not.

The White House is dismissing Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s call for an immediate vote on President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill as a political stunt.

Political stunt?  Sure.  However, it illustrates the fact that the President does not really want Congress to pass this bill.  He wants an election issue to run against congressional Republicans as obstructionists.  This isn’t a “jobs” bill.  This is a “job” bill — his.

NC Gov. – Suspend Congressional Elections

Democratic NC Gov. Bev Perdue:

“You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things. I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that. The one good thing about Raleigh is that for so many years we worked across party lines. It’s a little bit more contentious now but it’s not impossible to try to do what’s right in this state. You want people who don’t worry about the next election.”

Meanwhile, President Obama’s former budget director Peter Orszag is saying we need less democracy and should instead empower automatic policies and “depoliticized” commissions.

New Roanoke College Poll: Obama In The Tank; Allen Leads Kaine; McDonnell, Warner Approval Near 70%

In 2009, Roanoke College had the third most accurate poll on the Virginia gubernatorial election, correctly pegging Gov. McDonnell’s margin of victory at 17%, but understating his final vote total at 53% (he won with 58.6%.)  Well, they are back with a new poll on the 2012 elections and things still look dim for Democrats in the Commonwealth.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA APPROVAL RATING:
Approve – 38.9% / Disapprove – 53.7%

GOV. BOB MCDONNELL APPROVAL RATING:
Approve – 67.0% / Disapprove – 24.2%

SEN. MARK WARNER APPROVAL RATING:
Approve – 66.7% / Disapprove – 23.9%

CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL RATING:
Approve – 11.3% / Disapprove – 80.2%

VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION APPROVAL RATING:
Approve – 40.7% / Disapprove – 36.4%

SENATE RACE:
George Allen – 41.9% / Tim Kaine – 38.8% / Undecided or Someone Else – 19.4%

PRESIDENTIAL RACE:
Generic Republican – 41.1% / Obama – 32.9%
Romney – 45.2% / Obama – 37.4%
Perry – 42.2% / Obama 39.5%
Obama – 45.5% / Bachmann – 34.6%
Obama – 43.4% / Paul – 33.1%
Obama – 49.9% / Palin – 30.7%

BLAME FOR CURRENT ECONOMIC CONDITIONS:
George W. Bush – 25.1% / Financial Institutions – 17.6% / Barack Obama – 16.0% / Congressional Democrats – 11.2% / Congressional Republicans – 6.5%

Maxine Waters to White House – “Bring the gangstas in…”

Democrat Representative Maxine Waters of California has told the President that he should force banks to make loan modifications and let them know that if they do not do the bidding of Washington politicians they will be destroyed.

At a Town Hall event in LA CA, Waters said  the president should use the bully pulpit to,

“bring the gangstas in, put them around the table and let them know that if they don’t come up with loan modifications and keep people in their homes, that they’ve worked so hard for, we’re gonna tax them out of business.”

Video at : http://tv.breitbart.com/maxine-waters-gangsta-banks-should-be-taxed-out-of-business/

Is this what our government is for; to force it’s citizens (businesses are people too!) to sucumb to the will of politicians?

This is Fascism pure and simple; government control of private business.

Harry Reid Disses Mark Warner

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced his three picks for the Congressional “super committee” tasked with coming up with additional budget cuts / revenue and possibly tax code reform.  His picks are Senate Finance Cmte. Chairman Max Baucus of Montana (a good choice), Patty Murray of Washington State (the current Chairman of the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Cmte. — a post she held previously in 2001-2002 when they last lost their majority) and John Kerry of Massachusetts (I really don’t think any additional comment is necessary about him.)  Left out is Virginia’s Mark Warner who had been publicly lobbying for a spot.  I may not agree with Warner in general, but he would have been an infinitely better choice than either Murray or Kerry.

UPDATE: In picking Murray, Kerry and Baucus, Reid has selected three of his most intransigent members on the issue of entitlements.  Not a good sign at all.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Endorses David Ramadan

The endorsements continue to roll in for David Ramadan, Republican Candidate for the 87th House of Delegates District. Today the Ramadan Campaign announced that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has endorsed Mr. Ramadan with the following statement:

“I am proud to support my friend David Ramadan for the House of Delegates in Loudoun County. David has been a tireless grassroots worker for conservative Republicans for years.

His passion to serve, commitment to Country and Commonwealth are a great example of what hard work, perseverance and loyalty can bring. Please join me in supporting David Ramadan in the Republican primary on August 23rd.”

A full list of Mr. Ramadan’s endorsements is available on his website.

**Disclaimer, I currently work in a paid capacity for the David Ramadan Campaign**

Little Known Reason for Budget Talk Collapse

“Forced to Read the Bill”

Budget talks between the White House and Congressional Republicans broke down on July 22 due to a “different vision” of the pending legislation. More importantly, President Obama was angered not only by the Republican “cut, cap, and balance” debt reduction plan, but also by the insistence by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) that the President actually read the legislation.

“This is perfectly unfair,” the President was heard to storm at aides behind closed doors. “My old pastor Jeremiah Wright used to call these kinds of demands ‘chutzpah!’ We managed perfectly well for two years without having to read any laws. Now these Republicans want me to read what they write? For that matter, read what I write? I never had to read a thing at Occidental, Columbia, or at Harvard Law School. Good thing, too, because I never understood that sh*t.

“It’s bad enough what has been happening to my eyesight since I took office. My golf game is going to hell. If I have to read hundreds of pages of laws that I sign, I’ll have to get new glasses. Michelle says that I will look like a black version of Eric Cantor, and she’s taking away the cigarettes and milk shakes!”

Asked by reporters about the disagreement over the budget, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that “The President shows leadership by not reading. If you want to read, go join some tea party!”

A bipartisan group of Senators , led by Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), also including Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has pitched in to help. This “Gang of Sick,” representing the oldest members of the U.S. Senate, indicated their willingness to help President Obama with his reading problems. “We remember when Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd were alive,” said Lautenberg, 87. It was tough for those old coots to read just about anything, and let’s just say that our bladders don’t give us a lot of room for endurance. It’s damn hard dragging six-inch thick draft bills to the toilet, especially when you have a walker. Now where was I again . . .?”

Talks may resume this weekend or early next week. “Sasha and Malia have volunteered to help,” said Obama. “I trust their perspective more than anyone’s. Not only can they read stuff for me, but maybe they can help me with my negotiating skills. Former President Carter called me and told me to enlist my girls to help, and I think that is excellent advice.”

House Releases Cong. Dist. Map — Yup, It’s That Stupid Incumbent Protection Plan

The House of Delegates has unleashed HB5004 authored by Del. Janis and it is just as bad as the previously leaked “incumbent protection” version that it closely mirrors.  Gov. McDonnell should reject this map out of hand.  (Map available here.)

One insider tells us the following:

a quick read of [the bill] shows that the GOP has essentially thrown in to keep [Gerry Connolly] in a safe seat.  This is too bad as it could be made competitive, but not when you load up to make other districts safe.  I think [Prince William County] folks are being badly treated in this.  Sad…

This map, while seeking to preserve the current 8-3 split, may not ensure that the current 8 Republicans and 3 Democrats are the same ones who will return.  For example, stretching the 1st Cong. Dist. all the way up to Route 29 in northern Pr. Wm. Co. near Gainesville and to the Occoquan River near Lake Ridge practically guarantees that Cong. Wittman will get a primary challenge from someone he has never represented before.  At least in terms of land mass, the 1st Dist. has gone from 3rd to 1st in Pr. Wm. Co. — quite a dangerous prospect with a population as large as the county has and the solid R nature of the district being so tempting to so many stifled for years by Wolf and Davis.  They might have as well called this the “Let’s Screw Rob Wittman Redistricting Map.”

Other items of note — Cong. Cantor’s district still extends north to take in all of Culpepper and Orange Counties but now almost all of Spotsylvania County will be in his district, stopping just south of the City of Fredericksburg and using Route 3 to its west as the northern border for the county (just to the east of there and due south of the city it reaches up to include Lee Hill precinct.)  Cong. Hurt’s 5th Dist. stretches from the NC border and picks up some of Cantor’s old holdings in the north to bring it all the way up to Fauquier County, just shy of Loudoun County.

That web site “State Senate District or Rorschach Test?” could just as easily apply to these abominations drawn for U.S. House seats in Virginia.

Thoughts on Libya

I thought a no-fly zone only affects aircraft and their bases. Why cannot Qadaffy just finish off the rebels with tanks and other ground forces? It seems he does not need air power at this point. I don’t think a no-fly zone is the same thing as defeating Qadaffy. If Qadaffy is not defeated, I don’t see the point of a no-fly zone. The Qadaffy army can kill many civilians with rifles once they take control of Benghazi and the other cities. With just a no-fly zone, the US’s reputation is put at risk, but without the commitment to win the war.

I suspect the Europeans, especially the French and Italians, really are on board with this. They don’t want millions of refugees a short boat trip away.

Even if we do provide a lot of support to the rebel ground troops, is it too late? Or will we be very busy in the next couple of days taking out tanks, artillery, and the rest of the Qadaffy army. Maybe the rebels will hold out in a siege of Tobruk?

Qadaffy is an enemy of the US. That is sufficient reason to take him out. The rebels may be just as nasty, but that are not (at least for now) enemies of the US. The destruction of enemies of the US is a good, even if what follows is not a good.

Is there going to be any sort of congressional vote? It seems the President of the US is getting authorization for military action not from the US Congress, but from the UN.

PWC’s Occoquan Dist. To Be Divided Among THREE Cong. Dists.?

I just noticed something peculiar about the reported “incumbents’ map” for Congressional redistricting.  The Occoquan magisterial district in Prince William County would be divided among THREE different congressional districts, the 1st, 10th and 11th.  While roughly the northern third of PWC would be in the 10th, just the Rockledge precinct of the Occoquan Dist. would be in the 10th and it is not connected at all to the other parts of the 10th in PWC, but is attached to the parts of the 10th across the Occoquan River in Fairfax County.

How this is compact, contiguous (it jumps the river where there aren’t even any bridges) and preserves communities of interest is beyond me.