It’s Primary Day

There are things responsible adults do even if they’d rather not. Annual dental checkups. Mammograms and/or prostate exams. Follow the law. Vote.

Today is Primary Day in Virginia.

I honestly went to the polling place not knowing which primary I would choose. Once I made that decision, I knew which candidate I would choose on which ballot, but choosing the ballot was a serious issue.

Surprisingly, I just realized as I wrote that last sentence the issue – that I knew which candidate, but not which party.

You see, the only Republican on the ballot who could earn my vote doesn’t stand a chance. And there were 13 on the ballot. The Powers That Be have actually stated a vote for one of the 8 no longer running wouldn’t count, but that may or may not be true; they have “suspended” their campaigns, but I don’t think any has formally withdrawn. I may be mistaken.

If the Democrat primaries run as close as they have been so far, one candidate wins because she gets the super-delegates; will of the people be damned. There were three candidates on the ballot; one has suspended his campaign.

Side note – wouldn’t it be wild to see one or both parties actually nominate someone who has suspended a campaign? As in – none of the others are acceptable to the entire party, so let’s remove a suspension. Politics could be fun, even though it generally isn’t.

So, back to the choice.   I literally sat in my car for a few moments while I weighed the important factors one final time.  I visited the booths of the two Parties — one had one worker, another had two, and the one with two were talking to one another and did not acknowledge me.  I spoke with the solitary individual working the other side, but he didn’t convince me.

Then I walked away, made a decision, and walked in.  When the poll workers asked me which ballot I wanted, I was actually able to say “Neither.  But I’ll take …”

Done.  I am satisfied I did the right thing for me, for Virginia, and for the United States, given the choices available.  November will bring us at least a third choice – one to which I’m leaning, though a lot can happen in the next seven months.  I have a crap ton of work to do today, but the hardest task is complete.

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Published in: on March 1, 2016 at 10:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Important Legislation for a Short Session

Virginia has “short” and “long” sessions of its legislative session.  This is a “short” year, when legislators tell you they haven’t much time, and must deal with the most important issues.  Here is just a sampling of some they apparently put in that category.

 

HB 1420
Newborn screening; Krabbe disease. Requires the screening tests conducted on every infant born in the Commonwealth to include a screening test for Krabbe disease and other lysosomal storage disorders.

This is not the first time the Virginia legislature has dictated what tests must be run on newborns.  whether or not a person with an actual medical degree believes it necessary.

HB 1515

Information for maternity patients; safe sleep environments for infants.  Information for maternity patients; safe sleep environments for infants. Adds information about safe sleep environments for infants that is consistent with current information available from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the list of information that licensed nurse midwives, licensed midwives, and hospitals must provide to maternity care patients

Not only does the legislature want to practice medicine; it also wants to dictate what information your pediatrician or other health professional must provide you, removing all discretion based on medical knowledge and individual cases

HB1548

Revocation of concealed handgun permit; delinquency in child support payments. Provides for the revocation of an individual’s concealed handgun permit if such individual (i) has failed to comply with a subpoena, summons, or warrant relating to paternity or child support proceedings or (ii) is delinquent in the payment of child support by 90 days or more or in an amount of $5,000 or more. If the obligor remedies the delinquency, reaches an agreement with the obligee or Department of Social Services to remedy the delinquency, or complies with the subpoena, summons, or warrant, he may reapply for a concealed weapons permit.

Because the two are so closely related.  Doesn’t matter that you can’t afford your child-support payments, your life is not worth maintaining. Fortunately, does not note that one may carry a firearm in Virginia without a Concealed Handgun Permit.  This is a nose under the tent to removing firearms eligibility.
What happened to “punishment should fit the crime”?

HB1566

Grading system for individual school performance; star number scale. Requires the Board of Education to develop an individual school performance grading system and assign a grade or a series of grades to each public elementary and secondary school using a five-star to one-star scale, five-star being the highest grade. Current law requires individual school performance to be reported by October 1, 2016, using five letter grades from A to F.

Uh, excuse me?  The current six-letter scale uses A-F, but apparently we think our students and parents can’t understand the same grading method we use to grade them.  Let’s make it a five-star scale.  What?  Are we rating hotels?  Is this really an issue?

HJ593

Losing Loved Ones in a Tragic Accident Month

Who doesn’t want a “Losing Loved Ones in a Tragic Accident” Month?

HB2331

Definition of fur-bearing animal.  Defines the fisher as a fur-bearing animal in hunting and trapping provisions of the Code of Virginia. The fisher (Martes pennanti) is a small carnivorous mammal native to North America. It is a member of the weasel family.

Apparently, Virginia law has to mirror wikipedia, which lists 70 references for the animal..  Never mind that there is an entire branch of science devoted to Mammalogy, and that scientific documentation of species identifiers already exists.  I doubt (though I can’t be certain) that any members of the General Assembly are members of the American Society of Mammalogists, but perhaps they should be?

Political Gamesmanship Again/Still in Virginia

State Senator Linda (Toddy) Puller, D-36, announced her retirement. She did so at the beginning of the session, to allow her compatriots to play their games.  Now, I notice that for the first time in years, she has updated her photo, no longer using the one from before her stroke, but rather one that makes her appear much more frail.  (NB: Though her body is frail, and has been for years, her mind is still extremely strong.)  She’d have had a harder time winning elections with the new photo in campaign ads, but is more realistic now.  And yes, people will make decisions based on photos, unfortunately, so Puller has been demonstrating she is very politically astute.

So Scott (“Isn’t-it-Nice-I-Got-Named-to-a-Leadership-Position-Again-in-Time-for-an-Election”) Surovell has declared his intent to run in her place.  No surprise there.   Dems hand-picked their Fairfax County Chairman to replace Kris Amundsen, who conveniently decided to announce after primary day that she wouldn’t run again; now they elect Surovell chair of the caucus (read:  special-interest group) in the House.  No good little Democrat Party Member would announce against him.

According to Megan Howard, Surovell’s Legislative Assistant, Scott will not resign his current position in order to run.  Think about that.

Democrat Paul Krizek has announced a run for Surovell’s seat.  What’s he going to do?  Challenge Surovell in a primary?  Or will they hold a firehouse primary so they can run Scott for both seats and promise the likely opening to Krizek?  Will they truly force a special election on the voters (of course, assuming the Republicans, Libertarians, or Independent Greens actually bother to run a candidate)?

No Republican, Libertarian, Independent Green (well, maybe the IG; they’re not very politically savvy) can announce now, because that would be tantamount to acknowledging Surovell is a shoo-in — which he is, but mostly because no one will commit to the effort to take him on in an issues-based race.  So toady publications like the Connection newspapers run items like this, probably weekly or biweekly, for the next year so Google searches have lots of name recognition for searches when election season rolls around.

Hey, Republicans and Libertarians, THIS is how you take elections.   NOT by nominating someone no no one has ever heard of, or leaving it to the Independent who spent $5 on an election and still managed nearly 30% of the vote.

Barriers to entry

I’ve been taking a lot of flack from self-defined “one-issue” voters lately. What’s annoying is that these are really not one-issue people at all, but they think they are. They (most of them) think “conservative” is an issue and the Tea Party defines “conservative.”

I refuse to vote the self-identified “conservative” candidate in the Virginia gubernatorial race.  Because every gun-rights group in the Commonwealth has endorsed him, I’ve been called stupid, a traitor, a “liberal” (as a pejorative, of course), misguided, and other terms.

What many of these people – people who have known me for years – fail to realize is that gun-rights is simply the barrier to entry.   After that, you other positions come in to play.  If you don’t support my gun rights, I don’t recognize your “right” to my vote, pure and simple.  That lets out Terry McAuliffe, though I have a strong handful of other reasons.  My only other absolute barrier is a conviction that the Tennessee constitution got it part right (“Whereas Ministers of the Gospel are by their profession, dedicated to God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions; therefore, no Minister of the Gospel, or priest of any denomination whatever, shall be eligible to a seat in either House of the Legislature.”) and I’d carry that to “any elected office”.  Those are the barriers to my vote.

After the barriers comes the curtain – the other civil rights.  Candidates can pass the curtain if I disagree with them on these issues, but only if they have very very strong credentials and a record of respecting others’ beliefs and practices.  Among these are the right to marry the person I choose; the right to confer with my doctor and elect those medical procedures best for me; the right to speak my mind even if that speech might offend your god; the right to be treated equally under the law; and the right to insist that your religious preference not affect mine.    In other words, believe what you want, but don’t restrict others.  After that, I assess life experiences and personal characteristics.  And I consider whether my votes can help keep the government split.  That is, all else considered, let’s assure that no one party controls the Governor’s mansion and both houses of the legislature.

It’s that latter set of criteria that many of my gun-rights acquaintances don’t understand.  I believe that in their minds, those rights are inextricably linked, and individuals can have differing opinions on each and every one of them.  It’s a matter of prioritization, and deciding which have to be met and which can be squishy.  In my mind, the gun-rights question must be met, and a combination of the others must be met.  Cuccinelli can’t meet any of them.

Both barriers are in place for LG.  That’s a shame, because the LG is an important person in Virginia, with tie-breaking authority in our evenly divided State Senate.  “None of the Above” as a write-in is the only option.  I feel this is a cop-out, but it is the only way an American has to show that no candidate is acceptable.   We are literally prevented by election law from expressing our opinions.  Even a “none of the above” is seen only in the category of “write-ins” – also-rans – unless there are enough of them the same.   If all voters would write in, maybe the message would be carried, but there are just too many who are happy to select all the people with the same letter after their names, no matter their qualifications.

I am still seeking the election that has a slate of candidates without barriers.

Re-election

Imagine this.

You’re the boss; you own a small company with about 200 employees who are the face of your  business to the public; what they say binds you.

You hire Bob Brightguy, and tell him go forth and do.

Then you go do something else for a while.  Services are rendered and billing works in your name.

When it’s time for contract renewal, you look over the list of employees up for renewal, you say “Oh, I know that name.  Yeah, keep him.” and you go play more golf.

That’s what WE THE PEOPLE seem to be doing with our elected officials.  They’re our employees!

We’re not paying attention to how Bob Brightguy votes on routine issues. Does he go along to get along, doing as the party says?   Does he introduce legislation that’s good for the entire county/state/country?  Does he automatically say “no” to ideas that aren’t part of his list of interests?  Is he swayed by unions, associations, lobbying groups, or individuals with deep pockets?  What other sources of income does he have besides what WE THE PEOPLE pay?

When it’s re-election time, we get bombarded with “look what I did for you” mail, e-mail, and phone calls.  Well, to be even more frank, often we get “look what a scumbag the other guy is” instead, or “Fred Flamelight hates redheads, so vote for me.” communications instead.

Can you name one piece of legislation your State Delegate or Senator introduced?  Do you know how s/he voted on legislation that’s important to you?  Do you look to see whether the legislation s/he votes for is giving power to the government or taking it away, and cast your votes accordingly?

What is your federal representative an expert on?  What Committees does s/he sit on?  How does s/he vote on routine issues?  Is s/he party-line, and does that meet your approval?

I ask all this because I was part of a discussion recently where someone was complaining about a ballot issue on our November ballot, and whining that s/he didn’t know anything about it until s/he got to the polls.  ( I’m leaving alone for now the whole issue of a responsible voter learning BEFORE election day what will be on the ballot.)  The issue was a Constitutional Amendment, which by law our legislature must pass it in identical form two years in a row; then they must pass a bill dictating exactly the wording to appear on a ballot.  So by the time the voters see it in November, it has been through the General Assembly twice.

Confidence in our politicians has dropped to atrocious levels over the past few decades, yet WE THE PEOPLE don’t know what our legislators stand for.  Often we don’t know their real stance on issues of importance to us, we don’t know whether their voting record matches their campaign promises, and sometimes we just vote because s/he has a D, R, L, IG, S, or I after his name.

Wake up, voters.  Pay attention – or you get the government you have now, with an approval rating in the cellar and the power to do just about anything they want because they know you won’t listen to anything but Fox or MSNBC, if that.

There are Other Candidates

Up front — I think the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) is the most awesome grassroots organization imaginable, and I’m proud to be a member.   The work the organization does for the rights of gun owners in Virginia is immeasurable, and the Board of Directors is incredible, doing ever so much more than just guiding.  In fact, I have no problem saying if you aren’t a member, go join before reading further.  If you really, truly cannot prioritize $25/year, at least sign up for the VA-ALERT.

So it is difficult for me to criticize, and this is meant only constructively, with no bitterness and only disappointment.  Recently, the organization released a VA-ALERT (if you aren’t a subscriber, shame on you) quoted below in its entirety.  I’d link you to the VA-ALERT, but I can’t find it, so I can’t expect readers to.

The disappointment I felt was that the VA-ALERT covered only two candidates for President.  Many of us know that in Virginia, there will be five candidates on the ballot.  Incumbent Barack Obama represents the Democrats; former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney the Republicans; former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson the Libertarians, Dr. Jill Stein the Green Party, and former Congressman Virgil Goode represents the Constitution Party this year.  The Constitution Party is not on enough state ballots to have a mathematical chance of obtaining enough electoral votes to win the election.  The other four parties have a mathematical, if long-shot, possibility.

As noted in the VA-ALERT, surveys were mailed to all five candidates (in fairness, only recently – within the past couple of weeks).  Only Virgil Goode amongst the presidential candidates has returned his.

Two of the four candidates are profiled in the piece below.  The two with the lowest probability of winning were not profiled.  In the interest of NON-partisanship, I provide additional information.

Please vote your conscience — but VOTE.

================================

Candidate Jill Stein, Green Party

PRO:   (I didn’t find any; perhaps there are some.)

CON: (Summary: Favors strong regulation of gun ownership; http://www.jillstein.org does not mention guns at all)

QUESTION: “Should most adults have the right to carry a concealed handgun?”

ANSWER: “It is more dangerous to the occupants of a home to have a gun than not. It’s more likely that you’ll be injured by your own gun than that you’ll be defended against some intruder with that gun. It’s an enormous public health problem in our cities– there are tragedies every day where young people are being shot, as victims of gun crimes. It’s tragic. We’re not arguing that nobody should have a gun–but public safety should factor into constraints.” “OnTheIssues Interview with Jill Stein,” www.ontheissues.org, Dec. 21, 2011

QUESTION: “Are more federal regulations on guns and ammunition needed?”

ANSWER:  “For public safety, gun ownership should be appropriately regulated.” Project Vote Smart “Political Courage Test,” www.votesmart.org (accessed July 13, 2012)

QUESTION: President Obama, during the Democratic National Convention in 2008, you stated you wanted to keep AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. What has your administration done or plan to do to limit the availability of assault weapons? (Jill Stein was asked the same questions the major-party candidates were asked in debate.)

ANSWER: “We certainly need an assault weapons ban, but we need more than that. There are some 260 people every day who are injured or killed by gun violence, so it’s very important that we ban assault weapons, for starters, but there are other steps that need to be taken quickly. Local communities need to be able to regulate guns, as needed, to deal with their violence. So, we need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. We need background checks, so that the mentally ill are not possessing and using guns. And we need to end the gun show loopholes, as well, because there’s far too much violence from guns, which is not needed.”

=============================================

Candidate Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party

PRO:

QUESTION: “Should most adults have the right to carry a concealed handgun?” ANSWER: “I’m an ardent supporter of the 2nd amendment and openly advocated conceal carry as Governor. It was a new concept at the time, but I believed it would result in less crime – a fact borne out by the statistics.” “Guns Must Never Be Up for Grabs,” www.garyjohnson2012.com (accessed Oct. 13, 2011)

QUESTION: Are more federal regulations on guns and ammunition needed?” ANSWER: “Now, the DOJ’s [Department of Justice’s] plan to address gun trafficking is to require law-abiding citizens in border states to be reported and entered into a federal database for buying perfectly legal rifles from licensed dealers. Not only will this requirement do absolutely nothing to curb violence on either side of the border, it is yet another unacceptable infringement on fundamental 2nd Amendment rights. It is an outrage that this Administration is using border violence as an excuse to add the names of more law-abiding gun owners to their database. The President and his Attorney General need to get off the backs of American gun owners, and focus on policies that will actually work to stop border violence – without eroding basic constitutional rights.” “Governor Johnson Calls Department of Justice Reporting Requirement an Outrage,” www.garyjohnson2012.com, July 13, 2011

QUESTION: President Obama, during the Democratic National Convention in 2008, you stated you wanted to keep AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. What has your administration done or planned to do to limit the availability of assault weapons?

ANSWER: Banning certain categories of firearms or otherwise restricting our constitutional right to own them will not make us safer. Giving up our hard-won freedoms in the guise of safety will hardly make us safer or more free. Instead, we must affirm that the Second Amendment is an individual right and that gun rights are just as important to liberty as are freedom of speech and religion.  (http://www.policymic.com/articles/16793/gary-johnson-presidential-debate-what-the-libertarian-nominee-would-have-said-at-the-debate-last-night/250781)

QUOTE: The Second Amendment: Individual or Collective Right? “I don’t believe there should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None.” April 20, 2011, Slate Magazine QUOTE: “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. The first people who are going to be in line to turn in their guns are law-abiding citizens. Criminals are going to be left with guns. I believe that concealed carry is a way of reducing gun violence.” 12 Nov, 2000, An Interview with Playboy magazine.

CON: ( I didn’t find any; perhaps there are some.)

===========================================

VCDL’S VA-ALERT of November second:

VCDL cannot endorse candidates, but we can look at their records, their 
statements, and their VCDL surveys (or lack thereof).  It is NOT our job to be a 
cheerleader for any candidate or any Party.  We give you the scoop and you 
decide on where your vote will go. 

Keep in mind that the U.S. Senate is critical to protecting gun owners from any 
hare-brained gun-control schemes that might come from the U.N.  The Senate is 
also critical in vetting Presidential appointments to the Supreme Court, of 
which there is probably going to be at least one during the next four years.  
Currently we have only a single vote between us and some real problems for our 
gun rights. 

Here is some information about the candidates for President and for U.S. Senator 
from Virginia. 

PRESIDENTIAL RACE 

President Obama 

Positive: 

* As President, Obama signed a bill with an amendment to allow gun owners to 
carry in National Parks.  This vote is strongly moderated by the fact that the 
main bill had nothing to do with guns and was a bill that Obama wanted to see 
passed.  Without a line-item veto capability, he had to either kill the entire 
bill or sign it with the pro-gun amendment attached.  He chose to sign it.  

* It was a similar situation with another bill and an amendment to allow guns to 
be transported on AMTRAK.  Gun owners seemed to be simply along for the ride on 
that bill, too. 

Negative: 

* President Obama did not return the VCDL Federal Candidate Survey 

* In the debates with Romney, Obama confirmed that he wanted the ban on "assault 
weapons" in his next term and hinted that he wanted a ban on inexpensive 
handguns, too.  Not good news for poor people. 

* President Obama reversed the U.S.'s long standing position of opposing any 
U.N. gun bans. 

* A reporter documented the Brady Campaign bragging about President Obama 
telling them that he was working on gun control "under the radar."  

*  The news was filled with how Mexican Drug Cartels were getting 90% of their 
firearms from the U.S.  Using the excuse of the drug cartels getting those guns, 
the Obama Administration ordered the BATFE and gun dealers to report all sales 
of two or more semi-automatic rifles sold to the same person in a five-day 
period in states bordering Mexico.  Upon inspection, the 90% number turned out 
to be massively inflated and was clearly presented so as to deceive Americans on 
the true number of guns going to Mexico from the U.S. 

* A secret project called Fast & Furious under the Obama Administration was 
uncovered after a U.S. Border Patrol officer was murdered by someone using a gun 
that was one of thousands of "assault weapons" and other guns smuggled to the 
Mexican drug cartels with the blessings of the Obama Administration.  The clear 
intent of Fast & Furious was to falsely accuse U.S. gun dealers of smuggling and 
to drum up support from the U.S. public for a ban on "assault weapons" and to 
expand the required reporting on multiple semi-automatic rifle sales. 

* President Obama selected two very anti-liberty Supreme Court candidates that 
were later confirmed. 

* President Obama's Attorney General Holder said early on that the 
Administration wanted a ban on "assault weapons," but quickly withdrew that 
comment after the trial balloon was not received well.  

* Before he was President, Obama sat on the Joyce Foundation Board of Directors 
- an organization that funds anti-gun efforts around the U.S. 

* As an Illinois state Senator, Obama's voting record and positions were 
absolutely dismal on guns.  There didn't seem to be any gun control that Obama 
didn't support.  

- 

Mitt Romney 

Positive: 

* In the debates with Obama, Romney said that he did not believe that any kind 
of firearm should be banned and that he supported enforcing current laws.  

* During his Presidential campaign, Romney has not called for any kind of gun 
control. 

* Presidential candidate Romney addressed the annual NRA convention (a positive, 
but not a strong one). 

* Presidential candidate Romney has publicly said he does NOT support a U.N. 
treaty that would ban guns. 

Negative: 

* Did not return the VCDL Federal Candidate Survey. 

* (Closer to neutral) As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed an extension 
of the "assault weapon ban," but the bill contained improvements and protections 
wanted by gun-rights groups, no new guns were banned, and the bill passed with 
the blessing of gun-rights groups. 

SENATORIAL RACE 

Tim Kaine 

Positive: 

* As Governor, Kaine signed a few minor gun-rights bills to either clarify 
existing law or to improve the CHP application process.  

* Governor Kaine signed one strong bill (allowing CHP holders to have a 
concealed handgun on K-12 school property as long as they stay in their vehicle) 
that had passed BOTH houses by a VETO-PROOF majority. 

Negative: 

* Kaine has refused to return the VCDL Federal Candidate Survey. 

* As Governor, Kaine vetoed the restaurant-ban repeal TWICE.  I cannot think of 
a single pro-gun bill being vetoed by any other Governor since VCDL has existed. 

* As Governor, Kaine vetoed a bill to allow a non-CHP holder to have a loaded 
gun in a locked container or compartment in a vehicle. 

* As Governor, Kaine vetoed a bill to clarify that a person who is not hunting 
can have a loaded gun on public highways. 

* As Governor, Kaine vetoed a bill to allow a person without a CHP to carry on 
their own property outside of their curtilage areas. 

* As Governor, Kaine pushed hard, using a lot of political capital, to get a 
"gun show loophole" bill passed into law.  He even ordered the Superintendent of 
the State Police to testify at the General Assembly in favor of the bill. 

* The Attorney General ruled that State Parks had no authority to ban open 
carry.  Governor Kaine ordered State Parks to ignore that ruling and to keep the 
open carry ban in place. 

* As Mayor of the city of Richmond, Kaine actually used tax-payer money to fund 
buses to take gun-haters to the Million Mom March in D.C. in 2000.  When he was 
called on that illegal move, he paid for the buses out of his own pocket. 

- 

George Allen 

Positive: 

*  Allen HAS returned the VCDL Federal Candidate Survey pro-gun. 

*  As Governor, Allen signed Virginia's first "Shall Issue" CHP law into effect. 

*  As Governor, Allen successfully modified the new Shall Issue law to allow for 
concealed carry at special events 

Negative: 

*  No bad votes.  A mostly neutral item: as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 
2000 Allen said he would vote to extend the "assault weapon" ban, but later 
changed his mind and supported letting the ban sunset. 

THE 7TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 

Just when I thought we were through with the 7th Congressional District, I've 
been forwarded an email from Marty Ryall, with Eric Cantor's' campaign, which is 
a total mischaracterization that needs a response.  The issue is that 
Congressman Cantor has refused to return his VCDL Federal Candidate Survey.  
(His opponent, Wayne Powell, returned his survey very pro-gun at the end of 
August.)  Cantor has been given the survey to answer at least three times, one 
of which has placed directly in his hands at his gun-free fund raiser in 
Richmond last month. 

Here is the email being sent by the Cantor campaign with my rebuttal: 

In regard to the VCDL, you should know the facts.  That organization continues 
to attack Congressman Cantor through phone calls, mail and e-mails, even 
distributing his home phone number in unfair attacks.  They cannot point to a 
single vote he has made in Congress that they take issue with.  [PVC:  VCDL has 
NEVER said Cantor had any bad gun voters WHILE IN CONGRESS, but that cannot be 
said while he was in the Virginia General Assembly.]  They are upset that he 
occasionally participates in events at venues where guns are not allowed.  
Congressman Cantor’s duties and obligations often take him to schools, 
government buildings and other venues where guns are not allowed.  [PVC:  VCDL 
has NEVER protested Cantor for doing his duties and obligations as a Congressman 
at places where guns are banned.  We have protested when he is campaigning and 
has control of the venue, yet chooses gun-free-killing-zones.]  That has 
absolutely no bearing on his strong pro-gun positions and record.  Until the 
VCDL demonstrates that they will treat Congressman Cantor fairly, he will not 
participate in their activities.  [PVC:  Not telling his constituents exactly 
where he stands on key gun-issues, especially those which he voted wrong on in 
the past, is VCDL's fault?  Sounds to me like the real issue is that he doesn't 
want uppity constituents asking him any serious questions.]  But rest assured, 
he will continue to defend theirs, and your rights of gun ownership.  [PVC:  
Except, perhaps, for some of the items on our survey that he doesn't want to 
talk about. Sadly, Cantor just doesn't get it - his problems with VCDL are all 
self-inflicted.] 

--- 

Congressman Cantor, treat your constituents fairly by just answering the VCDL 
survey.  It's not like we're asking for your first-born child. :-)  
Johnson's Responses: 

QUESTION:  "Should most adults have the right to carry a concealed handgun?" 	 

    "I'm an ardent supporter of the 2nd amendment and openly advocated conceal 
carry as Governor. It was a new concept at the time, but I believed it would 
result in less crime - a fact borne out by the statistics." 
    "Guns Must Never Be Up for Grabs," www.garyjohnson2012.com (accessed Oct. 
13, 2011) 

QUESTION: Are more federal regulations on guns and ammunition needed?" 	 

    "Now, the DOJ's [Department of Justice's] plan to address gun trafficking is 
to require law-abiding citizens in border states to be reported and entered into 
a federal database for buying perfectly legal rifles from licensed dealers. 
    Not only will this requirement do absolutely nothing to curb violence on 
either side of the border, it is yet another unacceptable infringement on 
fundamental 2nd Amendment rights. It is an outrage that this Administration is 
using border violence as an excuse to add the names of more law-abiding gun 
owners to their database. The President and his Attorney General need to get off 
the backs of American gun owners, and focus on policies that will actually work 
to stop border violence – without eroding basic constitutional rights." 
    "Governor Johnson Calls Department of Justice Reporting Requirement an 
Outrage," www.garyjohnson2012.com, July 13, 2011 

The Second Amendment: Individual or Collective Right?  "I don't believe there 
should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None." 
April 20, 2011, Slate Magazine 

"If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. The first people who are going 
to be in line to turn in their guns are law-abiding citizens. Criminals are 
going to be left with guns. I believe that concealed carry is a way of reducing 
gun violence."   12 Nov, 2000, An Interview with Playboy magazine.
Published in: on November 3, 2012 at 7:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

You Gotta Wonder …

Delegate Scott Surovell (VA-44) has led several clean-up days over the past few years for Little Hunting Creek.  Volunteers have cleaned (and re-cleaned, and re-cleaned, apparently) an area of the creek that is used as a dumping grounds.

These efforts are commendable, though I wonder if perhaps a fundraising effort for fences to keep trash from getting IN to the creek might be more long-lasting.

Here comes the “but …”   Surovell writes in an e-mail:

To help deal with the never ending [sic] stream of trash into our community’s creeks, I am currently considering the following action items:

    -Legislation authorize Fairfax County to enact legislation to allow fines for abandoned shopping carts
-A comprehensive litter education program in the Route 1 Corridor
-Supporting measures to make trash and litter a measurable metrics [sic] in determining stream health
-Re-introducing a $0.05 plastic bag fee

Being me, I have to ask the obvious questions …

Who the hell are we going to fine?  Stores, which already lose hundreds of dollars when a cart is stolen?  The dumper?  As if we’d find them.  Gods know the police have so much free time they can investigate cases of dumped shopping carts.  And why only Fairfax County?  What’s so special about carts dumped here instead of, say, Prince William County?

Why would we need legislation to enact a comprehensive education program in the area?   Sure, we’re a Dillon Rule state, but there is no state law that says communities cannot educate their citizens.  (Sounds like a plea for funding the program, which I would oppose vehemently as not high-enough priority.)

Along the Route 1 corridor, there are hundreds of families who don’t have cars (which they would have to fuel, insure, and maintain).  They take buses to work, and stop at WalMart, Safeway, Target or, yes, 7-11, for food and toiletries on their way home from work.  The $.05 tax harms these people more than any.  (I can almost hear the “oh, wait, we’ll provide them reusable bags”)

FYI – the didn’t the volunteers collect, this time, 51 plastic bags of trash?

I can’t argue the remaining point, simply because I don’t know enough.  IS litter a metric of a stream’s health?  One cannot make it relevant just by enacting legislation.  Nor is anyone helped if the state or administrative bureaucracy is forced to collect measures on topics that do not drive action.  If the metric can be shown to be useful, why is it not already part of data-collection efforts?

An open letter, and a promise, to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell

Governor McDonnell, you have the power to stop this atrocity.   The government of Virginia is poised to retrogress to a patronizing, sanctimonious mass of social laws designed to step on women.

I urge you in the strongest possible terms to reject in whatever form the “personhood” bill and the “ultrasound” bill reach you.  Reject them outright.

I am so repulsed by the ideas espoused in these bills that I will make a promise.

I will promise, should these bills pass with or without your signature, that I will not cast a vote for a Republican in Virginia until they are repealed.  Nor will I cast a vote in a national election for any ticket with which your name or your endorsement is affiliated.

I will do what I can to get other women and others who value individual freedom to join me.

Invest In Me (#investinme) – A reply to Virginia21

Today Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell tweeted “Students w/ @Virginia21 brought 10K signatures to GA with message for higher ed: #investinme — watch on @NBC29

Virginia21 is an organization of college “kids” who want the Commonwealth to “invest” in them.  So I watched their 15-minute video to see what they had to say.

Mind you – I favor a college education <b>for those who are interested, and who can accept the intellectual rigor</b> (sometimes) <b>found in academic programs</b>. No matter my personal opinion of the value of some degrees; I’m treating all students alike in this post.

Every student should understand some basic concepts.  One shouldn’t get to college without knowing them:

– People make “investments” with the expectation of receiving some personal benefit.  Some believe a benefit to society is a personal benfit.

– People usually make “investments” with no <b>guarantee</b> of return.

– Those who are “frightened” of an investment will avoid it, mitigate it, or accept the fright as a learning experience.

– Investors have a variety of choices.  They select those where they believe the outcome will be worth the cost.

– Choices have consequences.

– Negotiation is a part of life.

So, let’s talk.  Why should I invest in you? No, not a group of “kids” – or even young adults – YOU.  What’s your end of the bargain?

Will you agree to remain in Virginia – or to pay Virginia taxes anyway – for 10 years after graduation?  Will you agree to work for Virginia-based companies, or to add another percentage point to the loan for its life if you don’t? Will you agree to pay Virginia income taxes no matter where you live and work? Will you agree to take any work for which you are physically capable and which doesn’t cost you more than you earn?  Can you answer “yes” to at least one of these – can you make it worth the taxpayers’ money?

You see, I didn’t hear any of that in your speeches today.  I didn’t hear “invest in me and I’ll return xxx to Virginia.”  I didn’t hear anything but vague promises of economic prosperity – politician words.

I heard individual issues.

One student said after parental contributions, jobs and loans there are “no other options.”  That may be true, if he included grants in with loans, if he accounted for scholarships, and if somehow he accounted for part-time education, delayed education, 0r military service (that carries with it an education benefit).

One student, perhaps the same one (I listened; I didn’t watch) said it’s “frightening” to know that jobs are scarce and income is not promised, while he has massive student-loan debt.  Welcome to adulthood.

Face it.  There have been better times to enter adulthood, and there have been worse.  It’s not personal; no one’s out to “get” today’s young people.  You live in a world of challenges.  If you can’t face the first, what makes you think you’ll face others without appealing to someone else to bail you out?

What are you investing?  Your time and brainpower?  If you want the degree, you’ll do that anyway.  Is the outcome worth the cost to you?  If not, why are you there?  If you can’t articulate what the degree will do for you AND FOR SOCIETY, don’t expect society to get generous.

Voter ID laws

Voter identification laws are getting a lot of attention in Virginia this legislative season.

Proponents are correctly noting that ID requirements can help to prevent voter fraud.  Opponents are correctly noting that voter fraud is not a big issue.

Opponents are also claiming that voter ID laws disenfranchise the poor, the elderly, and minorities.   In some way, that’s true.  Those groups are less likely to have ID, though with the possible exception of elderly individuals born before widespread (one might even say mandatory) issuance of birth certificates.  Opponents are claiming that minorities and the poor are less likely to have driver licenses — also (perhaps) true, but irrelevant if the acceptable forms of ID are not limited to drive licenses.

The real purpose of voter ID laws is to prevent unscrupulous political operatives (are there any other kind?) from offering to drive any group of people to polling places (to “exercise their god-given rights”), extolling the virtues of their candidate (and the “evils” of his opponent) during the drive, and thus swaying the elections.  This type of community do-gooder action (“driving people to the polls”) is touted highly, but is actually most often buying a vote.  If an individual calls a campaign headquarters and asks for a ride, it would be reasonable for that campaign to presume the individual will vote for its candidate.  For a campaign to go out to seek out people to take to the polls is disgusting.

I would surmise that amongst those people who would likely not have gone to the polls otherwise, there will be a percentage who do not have, for one reason or another, an ID.  I’d like to see actual data, but apparently it doesn’t prove a thing or the sides would be trotting it out.

Now, one might argue that it is a damn shame there are groups of people in any area who might be subject to such practices.  I’d agree.  That’s also irrelevant to the voter ID issue.

So one party is always afraid the other party will perform such “community service.”

It just so happens this time it’s the Republicans who believe the Democrats have more to gain by using this tactic.  This time, the Republicans believe the Democrats buy votes with promises of government programs (or loss of same).  It has not always been this way.