What we’re paying Legislators to do

Sometimes even I wonder why I rail so about politicians and government?  Is it blinders?  Am I just so opposed to government (as it is) that I can’t see the good?  Perhaps.  But then I go looking for something, and the inanity strikes me over and over again.  Do we really need to pay people to do these things?

While tracking the status this morning of a bill that would require committee and subcommittee votes to be recorded* I came across the House Rules Committee’s probable agenda for yesterday.

Glad to see they’re doing such important work.

Later, they’ll tout in their campaign literature and session reports how busy they were, and how much legislation they had to plow through.

So thrilled that Dave Albo found something important to introduce, now that his abusive Virginia driver fees were repealed (and cost the state a BUNCH of money in collecting and then refunding).

Albo – HB94 – School boards, local; meeting procedures  (Requiring local school boards to use Roberts Rules — at least he requested in Committee that it be stricken.  He might be redeemable.  Might.)

Brink – HJ128 – Shaken Baby Syndrome Awareness Week; designating …  (Surely he doesn’t think designating a week is going to do a single thing for any baby?  “Oh, no, I have to wait until tomorrow to shake this baby senseless; this is awareness week!“)

Cox – HB349 – Virginia War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission (Virginia War of 1812???)  (This one is actually a funding bill, requiring the commission to be funded or to die)

Crockett-Stark – HJ98 – First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson Day; designating …

Englin – HJ105 – Virginia Cider Week; designating …

Englin – HJ143 – Spay Day; designating …

Filler-Corn – HJ107 – Hold Out for Hunger Day, designating …..  (Let’s legislate something so we can guilt people into donating …)

Gilbert – HJ49 – Governor’s Executive Reorganization Plan  (Must have been contentious.  Two people in Rules don’t want the Governor’s plan, which eliminates a number of entities.  Or perhaps they just don’t want to approve  anything the Governor does.  Hard to tell without recorded votes.)

Hugo – HJ142 – Asian Lunar New Year Day; designates day designated as new year (Because if we don’t legislate it, the Asian Lunar New Year might happen everywhere else but Virginia.  Who says time can’t stand still?)

Hugo – HJ144 – Small Business Day; designating … (Because the legislature can’t leave them alone to just do their jobs the rest of the year.)

Hugo – HJ145 – Preeclampsia Month; designating …. (Guess that’s how we get around the whole prenatal care thing … one month a year we write on the calendar that women should be watching for symptoms.)

Marshall – HJ93 – Local Government Education week; designating …  (I’m not really sure local governments would be happy if their citizens REALLY understood everything they do!  Sounds like an excuse for them to publish more flyers.)

Orrock – HB79 – Disability Commission; establishing work groups …  (“Shall establish,” not “may establish.”  Strike 1.  Commission was set to sunset in July; this allows it to continue.)

Sickles – HJ120 – Mesothelioma Awareness Day; designating … (Excuse me? Is there anyone with a television who isn’t aware of mesothelioma?  And that lawyers will “help” you get money.)

 

 

* Not recording committee and subcommittee votes allows the chamber to send a bill somewhere that legislators don’t have to go on record as supporting or opposing.  This happens frequently.

Hypocrisy

You can’t rail against rationing health care, then pass laws that outlaw medical procedures because you don’t like them.  That’s rationing the health care people can get.  Or if you decide your medical plan can’t cover certain procedures, that’s rationing health care.

You can’t argue that the “other party” will stand between a doctor and patient, then define which medical procedures that doctor and that patient have as options.

You can’t insist your tax dollars won’t pay for one thing without allowing there are lot of things that are an anathema to many, even most, taxpayers.  Therefore, you can’t single out abortions without singling out plastic surgery, war, congresscritter staffs, bailouts, government takeovers of private industry, and myriad other things.   When you’re ready to present a menu from which ALL Americans can pick and choose, you’re free to not fund health care.

One-issue voters, and party voters

I’ve written before that I cannot in good conscience vote for an Attorney General who only wants to enforce laws he agrees with, who thinks the AG should be involved in the legislative process, and who expresses such vehemence against fellow humans who disagree with his worldview.  I was once again reminded since I’m a gun owner and advocate of 2nd Amendment rights, I must vote for Cuccinelli.  Bullshit.    Since he’s right only on guns, I cannot reward his arrogance, pigheadedness, and pandering.  The other candidate is not only wrong on guns, but has shown an amazing willingness to read laws with a preconceived notion of how he wants to interpret them.  He has been negative, and has been sponsored by single-issue organizations I’ve spent much of my adult life opposing.

Then yesterday I got a stupid robocall “press 1 for …” political survey, which asked who I was going to vote for for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and delegate, and whether I had favorable, unfavorable, or neutral opinions of various candidates.  Finally, it asked if I would vote Democrat or Republican.   No option, on any of the questions, for “other”.  To quote one of my favorite characters — DUMBASS!  I vote issues, not candidates.

In this November election, the Republicans won’t leave me alone, and only one Democrat has contacted* me, asked my opinion on anything, or asked for a vote (I think.  I wasn’t feeling well, and asked the volunteer to call back another time; she never did).

* – disregarding the junk mail that arrives 2-3 pieces, from each candidate, per day

“None of the above” will be my write-in as my candidate of choice.

Reports of Alexandria Police Chief resignation are lies

The Chief of Police of Alexandria, Virginia, was arrested last week after a traffic accident.  TWO HOURS after the accident, his Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) measurement was 0.19 – over twice the legal limit.

He announced he wouldn’t resign.  For once he didn’t lie.

News flash the next day – Baker is resigning.  Bullshit.  Both his “resignation” letter and the City spokesman announce Baker is “retiring”.

Different animal, folks.  Baker gets full benefits.

Where else but in government can one break the law, get caught, and draw a paycheck for the rest of your life?

The news is burying it – using “retirement” and “resignation” interchangeably in stories.  Alexandria’s politicans and representatives are letting it go.  The taxpayers and voters get played.

Business as usual.

It is physically possible for a politician to keep his word?

I really have to wonder what it is about elections that make people unable to keep their word.  It’s bad enough when a candidate promises something, then realizes after taking office that it’s impossible, or a bad idea for other reasons.  (Though I sure would like to see one admit it.)

My state delegate wrote a blog post today that basically said “I agreed to this, but something good came along.”  (Can you say “Ooooooohhhh, SHINY!”)

No argument that Mr. Whitfield may be deserving of relief.  He may even be deserving of $445K; I didn’t research the figure or its composition.   But the legislators agreed to one topic, and one topic only.  Do they not know what “agreed” means?  Did they go to the Bill Clinton school of English?  If the relief were that important, they should have passed in during regular session.

Other people have been harmed by government actions.  Other people have been fighting for years for equity.  Who’s to say something else shiny will not come along between now and the 19th?  There are plenty of good causes, and the legislature reconvenes in January.   Are our legislators afraid a new governor won’t play?

Why can’t they go to Richmond for their special session … deliberate legislation of some kind so they can say they did something, even if they don’t know what  (there’s nothing on the General Assembly Legislative Information System web site yet) … but restrict it to one subject and try not to do too much damage?

Obama did something right for individual liberty!

Pardon me for being surprised.  It’s no secret I dislike almost every decision Obama has made, and I think his policies are taking us in the wrong direction.  I don’t trust him or his administration.

But yesterday he did something right.  Maybe not for the right reasons – after all, I’m not (thankfully) inside his head and I don’t know his reasons.  But he signed the proclamation for National Prayer Day, as has every president since 1952, and then he didn’t  make a big issue of the day.  This shows respects for all religions by not singling out any one.

I cannot believe how vituperative are the comments and attitudes of some.  Now, I haven’t seen all the comments, but the ones I have are from one who calls him/herself  “conservative republican”, another who claims to be a “concerned woman for America”, and a bunch of fundamentalist Christians.  Notice no one else is all that worried?

One writer claims Obama “took a turd” on Prayer Day because he didn’t make it a media celebration.  Another individual commented on boston.com “what god is he praying to that he has to do it behind closed doors?” — like it matters.

But this comment just left me speechless: “For those of us who have our doubts about Obama’s faith, no, we did not expect him to have the service,” said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America. “But as president, he should put his own lack of faith aside and live up to the office.”  So what, exactly, is she saying?  She wants him to pretend faith because he’s president?  That the office of President requires sham (Christian, presumably) faith?  Let me translate — “I believe fundamentalist Christianity is the only thing there is, and I insist everyone else believe it as well, and if you want to be President, it’s better to stand up and proclaim yourself because our all-knowing God can’t hear you if you don’t.”  Never mind that an all-knowing god would understand the term “sham”.  Never mind that the Christian’s bible tells them to pray in private.  Never mind that the other gods are probably rightly pissed right about now that all these monotheistic religions are popular.  Never mind that a god who could create all these people, with their own beliefs, is pretty content to allow them their own beliefs, and to let them choose.

I deeply admire people of faith.  To make a statement of faith, and to follow it, says a lot about honor, integrity, discipline, and steadfastness.  And frankly, I don’t care what your faith — even if it’s one others would not call “religion”.  What I consider morally abhorrent is the notion, and statements and actions that accompany that notion, that others must abide by one’s faith.

Live by your faith.  Die by your faith.  Allow others to do the same — without your “guidance”.

Published in: on May 8, 2009 at 12:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Today is national day of (Christian/Jewish) prayer

Ever seen anyone but Christians (and the occasional token Jew) celebrated at a National Day of Prayer?  I haven’t.

I’ve attended a number of prayer breakfasts and gatherings – most run or sponsored by the military – and have never seen a Muslim, even one who faithfully prays five times a day, acknowledged.  I’ve never seen a Buddhist encouraged to acknowledge his faith, or a Wiccan invited to participate.  I’ve not seek Sikhs involved – but then ironically their required carry of a ritual dagger proscribes their attendance on many federal installations.

If we’re to call Americans to prayer, how about acknowledging all prayer, to all gods?

Published in: on May 7, 2009 at 10:45 am  Leave a Comment  

US Anti-piracy Strategy

Give ’em what they want, and wait for the Marines.  At least, that seems to be it.

Of the nonmilitary options, including allowing sailors to defend themselves, the US is bowing to “unions, insurers, and foreign ports”.

Am I to presume we’re bowing to the idea that our ships in foreign ports are foreign soil?

And since unions apparently can’t figure out how to make shooting ability rise with seniority, they can’t justify, even in their own minds, pay for actual performance.  If we could somehow ensure the 10-year guy shoots better than the 5-year guy,  maybe they’d wise up.

And insurers are afraid they’d have to pay out for a lunatic lawsuit that says all firearms manufacturers are guilty if in the process of repelling a boarding, a pirate got killed and now they’re being sued?

For a nation that thinks we should “punish” North Korea or Iran for acting in what it presumes to be its best interests,  we certainly are proving ourselves a bunch of wimps.

Hand the sailors firearms  if they have proven to be non-violent, law-abiding citizens (and why are we hiring them if they aren’t?), declare US ships to be US soil, require sailors to follow the rules, and see the piracy of US ships abate.

Terrorism detainees could be headed to Virginia. So? Look at the whiners, though

But the wimps of Northern Virginia are crying.

Hotels and apartments are less than 200 feet from the jail.  The Post reports “Business owners in the dense area around the courthouse — newly filled with hotels, restaurants and luxury apartments — fear disruptions amid a declining economy.”

Note this:  “NEWLY FILLED”.  When were these hotels and apartments built next to a maximum security prison?  After 2001?  After the DC snipers were held there?  After Zacarias Moussaoui was held there for five years? Let’s take some pieces from the Post’s story …

“When the Alexandria jail, an eight-story red-brick building adjacent to the Capital Beltway near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, opened in 1987, the area had been a city dump.

The 10-story federal courthouse opened a few blocks away in 1996 in what had been a field of mud. The chief judge brought bag lunches to work because there were so few restaurants nearby.”

“By early 2002, about a dozen terrorist suspects were held at the jail, which by contract accepts up to 150 federal inmates, and more if it can.”

“On a single block behind the courthouse, there is a luxury 326-unit apartment complex with a Fed Ex/Kinko’s, cleaners and cafe on the first floor; an office building with room for ground floor retail; another office building; and a Marriott Residence Inn. All opened within the past 18 months.”

“I’ve never agreed with people who say ‘not in my back yard,’ but there are just too many people around here,” said Jim Boulton, president of the unit owners association at the Caryle Towers condominium complex, which has been trying to get the government to remove security barriers …”

See a pattern?  Move to within a quarter mile of a federal prison that has been known since 2002 to house terrorism suspects, then say Not In My Back Yard?

Sounds like Northern Virginia to me.  Some of these folk disgust me.

Get your politicians to cry.  Frank Wolf needs another cause.  Mayor Euille doesn’t want the headaches.  Did someone tell him that being Mayor was all handshaking and parades?

This is a federal prison.  Federal prisons sometimes house dangerous people.  If it bothers you, don’t buy a condo a block away.  Don’t build a new hotel a block away.  Don’t stay at a hotel a block away.  MOVE away.  But DO NOT expect the government to take your druthers into consideration; it’s simply not their job to make you happy.

The “conscience clause”

Seems the “conscience clause” is becoming news again.  Some health-care workers (IIRC, it began with pharmacists) don’t want to participate in health-care options they see as against their moral code.  Interestingly, though, no one is against plastic surgery, or lasik, or other elective options.

A person who chooses to enter the health-care field should not be able to pick and choose whether to deliver options normally within the scope of his duties.  If he can’t perform the functions of the job, he shouldn’t be in that job.

Don’t want to perform abortions or sterilizations? Fine. Become a chiropractor, or dentist, or ophthalmologist, not a gynecological surgeon.

Don’t want to participate, nurse? Work hospice. Work ICU. Or don’t work medicine.

If you want to be a pharmacist, be one — not a preacher.

Enough said.