Author Archives: Michael R Shannon

White House Has ‘Peculiar’ Justification for Illegal Immigration

John C Calhoun, the newest White House advisor on immigration.

John C Calhoun, the newest White House advisor on immigration.

Someone in the White House is channeling John C. Calhoun.

Stephen Dinan, of the Washington Times, writes the White House has issued a report that claims, “…the strength and continuity of rural America is contingent on common–sense immigration reform.” In other words, the availability of your boutique tomatoes depends on amnesty for illegals.

The Obama Administration believes rural America, much like the antebellum South, has a ‘peculiar institution’ the rest of the nation must respect. In this instance the 50 to 60 percent of the agricultural workforce that’s in the country illegally.

In the 20–page report Calhoun, whoops…the authors, claim farmers are having trouble hiring workers and as a result are cutting back on planting or “are moving operations abroad as a result of the labor shortage.”

That must require some doing. Are they boxing up the plantation and shipping it — dirt and all — to foreign shores? What happens to the hole left behind in Mississippi? Do administration staffers really think produce is grown in the back room of Whole Foods, adjacent to the customer bathroom?

The justification for tolerating widespread illegality among sodbusters goes like this, “Under the current system, rural America is losing opportunity and harvests due to lack of a stable workforce. Coupled with a decline in native-born rural populations, the strength and continuity of rural America is contingent on common-sense immigration reform that improves job opportunity, provides local governments with the tools they need to succeed, and increases economic growth.”

The entire argument sounds suspiciously like Calhoun’s justification for slavery. He contended, according to Wikipedia, “Southern whites, outnumbered in the United States by voters of the more densely-populated Northern states, were one such minority deserving special protection in the legislature.”

The only real difference is how the workforce arrived to participate in the vital rural economy. In Calhoun’s day slaves arrived under duress, in Obama’s day the helots volunteer. Either way the rest of the country is supposed to tolerate and approve of what Democrats desire.

Both systems undermine our domestic labor market, penalize low–income Americans and reward those with no respect for the rule of law, which in this instance includes both employers and employees.

A simple application of market forces would solve the farmer’s labor problem. Right now there’s little demand among U.S. citizens for agriculture jobs at wages that are depressed by illegal immigration. Close the border while raising wages and watch the wonder of the marketplace at work.

Or invest in mechanization and replace the human factor with machines. Farmers made the switch from horses to tractors. Does the administration think automobile manufacturers would have invested in robotics if they had access to illiterate high school dropouts willing to work for minimum wage and no benefits?

The question answers itself. America would have been entertained by footage of workers fleeing Chipotle and General Motors when INS vans pulled into the parking lot. At least until the Obama re–election campaign began.

Agriculture lobbyists, dripping with concern for harried shoppers, contend that raising wages will mean produce prices go up. That’s a risk I’m willing to take. Besides, if gutless Republican Congressmen would force the federal government cut back on the double subsidy agriculture policy currently in place — farmers are guaranteed a minimum price and get paid by Uncle Sam, while consumers are stuck with higher prices at the grocery store — the reduction in prices caused by letting the market work without government interference, could well balance the increase in costs due to paying a market wage.

Strangely, the White House report issues a vague threat to begin “immigration enforcement actions that could tighten the supply of farm labor.” That appears to be a reference to deportation; something the Obama Administration essentially ended last summer. Threatening to do something Republicans have been demanding for months is hardly a credible threat and will do nothing to put pressure on the House to pass an amnesty bill.

Unfortunately for the administration, this warning is old, discredited news. Alabama passed a bill cracking down on illegal “rural” workers in 2011 and Democrats used many of the same scare stories. Yet Alabama produce did not vanish from the shelves. In fact, Gina Loudon reported, “Immediately after the bill (HB 56) was passed, the unemployment rate began to drop. Since the bill passed last legislative session, in some counties, unemployment has dropped dramatically. For example, unemployment has gone from 10 percent to 6.9 percent in the former illegal immigrant hotbed of Marshall County, Alabama.”

But it was so hard on farmers. According to a Reuter’s story, Jerry Spencer estimates 90 percent of the illegals left the county (note to Members of Congress) and he started recruiting the unemployed to replace the vanished amigos. “There’s a fair amount of reticence on the part of farmers to take the city folk and unemployed workers,” Spencer said. “They really hate letting go of their amigos because they’re so problem-free. They don’t squabble.”

Yeah, there’s nothing like a field full of docile illegals to make one feel like a real patron.

Before the Civil War Democrats and their politicians exploited slaves so they could live in the manner to which they had grown accustomed. Modern Democrat politicians, and the businesses they enable, are willing to exploit illegal immigrants for the same reason. Both sets of Democrats are more than happy to dump the resulting social costs on the rest of the country.

The question is how much longer are we going to put up with it?

Why Doesn’t George Zimmerman Mind His Own Business?

Obama in hoodieOnce a vigilante, always a vigilante.

One would think that after enduring a nationally–televised trial and being the subject of a current Department of Justice witch hunt, George Zimmerman would finally mind his own business. But no, Zimmerman continues to poke his nose into situations better handled by public safety professionals. (As I’ve previously written about in ‘The only thing George Zimmerman didn’t do is play lacrosse’ and ‘Nine out of ten journalists say, “Guilty!”’)

Last Wednesday, Zimmerman came across a Ford Explorer that had just been involved in a car crash. The SUV had turned over and a family of four was trapped inside as the damaged car began smoking.

If Zimmerman would simply take the advice of experts like Russell Moore, the recently appointed head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, he would have either stayed in his car and dialed 9–1–1 or simply driven down the road; content in the knowledge that expert medical specialists were on the way and would no doubt be on scene before the car exploded.

But no, this EMT wannabe had to jump out of his car and rush over to the wreck where he helped the family escape. The only thing Zimmerman didn’t do was arrange a news conference to announce his deed. The media learned of his unauthorized rescue activities when the Seminole County Sheriff’s office announced it on Monday. So at least Zimmerman is not guilty of practicing PR without a license.

Moore thinks Zimmerman is a buttinski who is causing white America to forget it should be feeling guilty. In an interview with the Washington Post Moore explains, “Most white evangelicals, white Americans, are seeing this microscopically in terms of this verdict, and most African Americans are seeing it macroscopically. It’s Trayvon Martin, it’s Emmitt Till, it’s Medgar Evers, it’s my son, it’s my neighbor’s son, it’s my situation that I had. . . . Most white Americans say, “We don’t know what happened that night,” and [whites] are missing the point.”

Moore doesn’t explain why white Americans are taking their lead on racial solidarity from a Hispanic like Zimmerman. But as a Southern Baptist, I can assure you I’ll think twice before I take my theology lead from Dr. Moore.

Lining up with the “Rev.” Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson (who has been known to feel a bit uneasy in the past when approached by black youth wearing gang attire), Moore goes on to say, “Regardless of what Trayvon Martin was doing or not doing that night, you have someone who was taking upon himself some sort of vigilante justice, even by getting out of the car. Regardless of what the legal verdict was, this was wrong.”

Based on that statement, I’m going to assume Moore also gave the movie Machine Gun Preacher two thumbs down. Regardless of the good doctor’s movie preferences, the ignorance and arrogance in that statement are breathtaking.

George Zimmerman was the neighborhood watch captain and he was on patrol that night. He was watching, which is what the neighborhood watch does. Zimmerman lived in the neighborhood, Martin did not. The angelic and childlike Martin was staying with his father’s girlfriend because he was serving his third suspension from school and mom was tired of being disobeyed.

Zimmerman was already outside his car looking for Martin when the 9–1–1 dispatcher said, “Okay, we don’t need you to do that.” The dispatcher is not a sworn law enforcement officer and the statement does not have the force of law. Different dispatchers will tell you different things. When Moore has guests over for dinner and they show up with food or a bottle of vintage Welch’s (he is a Baptist, after all) and the wife says, “Oh, you didn’t have to do that,” does Moore force them to return the item to their car?

Besides, there actually was crime in the area Zimmerman volunteered to patrol. Police records show eight burglaries, nine thefts and one shooting in the prior year. Cynthia Wibker, secretary of the homeowner’s association, observed, “He once caught a thief and an arrest was made. (Zimmerman) helped solve a lot of crimes.”

The behavior that Moore advocates closely resembles what witnesses to the fatal confrontation actually did. One man heard the commotion, looked out the window and called 9–1–1. Since he wasn’t a “vigilante” or “wannabe” that was the sum total of his civic duty for the evening.

Yet if he had walked outside and yelled at Martin to stop pounding Zimmerman because he was calling the police, there’s a chance Martin would have stopped and thereby survived the encounter.

Instead, by being the Passive Samaritans, witnesses did nothing to protect anyone’s life. Even the police will tell you when seconds count — they are minutes away.

Moore finishes destroying his credibility by observing, “And when you add this to the larger context of racial profiling and a legal system that does seem to have systemic injustices as it relates to African Americans with arrests and sentencing, I think that makes for a huge crisis. . . ”

This inaccurate cant is something you expect from a Berkeley sociology professor. It’s always a bit daunting to cast Bible verses at a theologian, but does the phrase “for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” ring a bell for Dr. Moore?

Most of us won’t ever be involved in a fight for our lives, but the following could well happen. Let’s say you find yourself alone and in trouble on a dark, cold and rainy night. Who would you rather have chance by and observe your predicament: Russell Moore or George Zimmerman?

Time for Virginia’s GOP Governor to Resign

Big Watch Bob and the timepiece that says it's time to go.

Big Watch Bob and the timepiece that says it’s time to go.

Virginia Gov. Bob ‘I want my Boost for breakfast’ McDonnell’s slide down the slope to complete disgrace continues. When we last wrote about Gov. Boost in mid–June, he was under fire for billing Virginia taxpayers for body wash, sunscreen, dog vitamins, colon blow, breakfast Boost, dry cleaning, shoe repairs and dog food — all because it’s really tough to make ends meet when you are only pulling in $175,000 a year.

The spending problem was joined by a receiving problem when the Washington Post* reported the McDonnell family had also accepted a $15,000 check for catering at daughter Cailin’s wedding and the governor had not bothered to disclose the gift. Possibly because the foie gras disagreed with him.

That was bad enough, but the latest developments in the story leave no room for doubt regarding the governor’s deficient sense of propriety and lack of common sense.

The signer of the $15,000 catering check was Jonnie R. Williams who is head of Star Scientific, the manufacturer of Anatabloc an OTC anti–inflammatory. Evidently Williams also serves as the McDonnell family’s personal ATM. For in addition to the catering, the McDonnell’s have also made withdrawals from Williams for the following:

A $6,500 Rolex watch

A $15,000 Bergdorf Goodman shopping spree for wife Maureen

A $10,000 wedding gift to daughter Jeanine

A $70,000 loan to Bob and another $50,000 to Maureen

Bringing the grand total (based on current accounting) to $166,500.00.

This is why there won’t be any circling of the wagons for Gov. Boost, unless it’s a tumbrel.

It’s obvious why Williams was willing to give all this money to McDonnell, who was a complete stranger until just before the inauguration. Williams is an Old Testament man, specifically Proverbs 18:16 “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.”

(Rumor has it that Williams also met Democrat candidate Creigh Deeds at about the same time, but he took one look at the Deeds campaign and simply gave him a case of Anatabloc.)

My question is what was McDonnell thinking? His kids are stealing $2,400 worth of food from the mansion to take back to college. His wife thinks his winning the governor’s race means she’s won the lottery. And he’s borrowing thousands of dollars to shore up vacation properties he bought at the height of the real estate boom.

Is McDonnell’s ego so large that he believes he can take the money from Williams without incurring any obligation or public comment? Or does he feel the fact he drove William’s Ferrari back to Richmond from Smith Mountain Lake — thereby becoming the most expensive valet parker in history — means they’re square?

And while we are on the subject of the family, does Maureen know FOX has cancelled My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss? Judging by the Post coverage, working for The Donald is preferable to working for The Maureen. The former Redskins cheerleader has ordered professional mansion staffers to strip to their BVDs and scrub her bathroom. Other staff members have been reduced to tears after her tirades. The situation finally became so bad a management consulting team from Virginia Commonwealth University had to perform an intervention.

Even her vanity projects are somewhat bizarre. Maureen discovered a pressing need for the Commonwealth to have portraits painted of Virginia’s first ladies. Tom Camden, former curator of the state art collection, acknowledged that Mrs. McDonnell had asked for several changes to her portrait. “I understand how Mrs. McDonnell thought,” he said. “And I think she wanted her best image, whether it was necessarily historically accurate or not.”

Judging from the picture in the Post, Maureen’s portrait has successfully lost about 30 lbs. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see for yourself, since there is currently no place to hang the collection. Maybe Williams will offer some space in his Smith Mountain Lake vacation retreat.

As this is written, the governor has a new legal team and crisis spokesman to deal with the FBI investigation of the gifts and the continuing media inquiries. I certainly don’t begrudge the governor his lawyer, but unfortunately the first question that comes to my mind is who’s paying for this? Is Jonnie finally tapped out?

The new spokesman says “private funds” will be used to pay for the team — this comes as a relief to taxpayers who are still coming to terms with buying the governor’s Axe for Men — and the governor does not have a legal defense fund “at this point.”

I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Breakfast Boost Bob has a fund of his own, thereby keeping company with George Zimmerman and Edward Snowdon.

One of the early controversies in this year’s Virginia governor’s race (McDonnell is term limited, thank goodness) was Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli’s refusal to resign as attorney general after he began campaigning. I agree with Cuccinelli’s decision then, but I’m wondering what’s keeping McDonnell in office now?

Shouldn’t he resign to spend more time with the family? It would certainly be novel to have the husband stand silently in support at the news conference while the wife explains how she created the scandal.

When asked about a McDonnell resignation, Cuccinelli tactfully replied, ““That’s a question for the governor,” but he did add the controversy has become “a distraction.”

“Distraction” is putting it mildly. If Cuccinelli is defeated in November, McDonnell will bear a large part of the blame. Should the scandal continue there is a very real possibility independents will vote against Republicans to register their revulsion with McDonnell’s conduct and disgusted conservatives won’t vote at all.

That would mean the flim–flam man, Terry McAuliffe, is the new governor, but with a Clinton crony at least the public knows what it is getting. Obviously, Democrats are already calling for a resignation in an effort to make it an issue later in the campaign. Taking their advice would actually turn the tables and remove a powerful McAuliffe campaign issue.

Republican know–it–alls will respond that it’s still early and the public isn’t following the race yet. And besides, McDonnell isn’t on the ticket. But that’s wrong. The Washington Post is on this like the IRS on the TEA party. Big Watch Bob is a genuine crisis discovered by the Post, not a made up controversy like “macaca” and we know how that turned out.

As the election approaches the Post will pepper Cuccinelli with questions regarding McDonnell’s “culture of corruption” and its impact on his campaign. It will inflate Cuccinelli’s lack of judgment with regard to accepting vacation housing from Star Scientific’s Williams to complete equivalence with McDonnell’s total sellout. Post opinion writers will rehash the entire sordid story in the last week of the campaign. Democrats will gleefully run quotes, thoughtfully provided by Post stories, in their attack commercials.

As long as McDonnell is in office he’s going to be a problem for the Cuccinelli campaign. Lance the boil now and Cuccinelli has time to change the topic and McDonnell has time to spread some Anatabloc over family divisions.

 

*Rather than clutter up the column with constant “reported by” and other methods of attribution, I’ll state here that all the facts come from excellent reporting by Washington Post reporters Laura Vozzella, Rosalind Helderman and Carol Leonning, as do all the quotes. The analysis is mine.

Science Proves Leftists Are Wimpy

Obama voter prepares for the beach.

Obama voter prepares for the beach.

Sometimes a story just sounds too good to be true. A study published in Psychological Science has found that girly–men are more likely to support a cradle–to–grave welfare state and “share–the–wealth” economic policy than more robust male specimens. This sounds reasonable to me and the fact it appears the research wasn’t paid for by tax dollars is a bonus.

“Psychological scientists” Michael Bang Peterson, of Aarhus University in Denmark, and Daniel Sznycer, of the University of California, found that conservative or right wing beliefs are strongly correlated with physical strength.

The researchers studied bicep size, socio–economic status and political views from participants in the U.S., Argentina and Denmark. Selecting participants from the U.S. and Denmark is not surprising, since that’s where the researchers are based, but why Argentina? Juan Perón was a famous Argentine strongman, but his appellation had nothing to do with muscularity and everything to do with being authoritarian socialist.

One wonders how specific participants were selected and the interviews conducted. Possibly they visited gyms and offered to spot the weightlifters if they could ask questions between sets. It would have been interesting to eavesdrop on some of the conversations researchers had after removing the calipers from the bicep.

You certainly wouldn’t want to ask a politically sensitive question of someone who was benching 300 lbs.

According to the hypothesis established before the testing began, Dirty Harry should be a reliable Republican voter, while Napoleon Dynamite will be supporting Barack Obama until he can afford to hire a personal trainer and release his inner Tarzan.

But the data according to what the Mail Online reported didn’t support the hypothesis. “The data revealed that wealthy men with high upper-body strength were less likely to support redistribution, while less wealthy men of the same strength were more likely to support it.” Had the hypothesis been accurate personal wealth should not have affected support for socialism as long their pecs were equally ripped.

Once the scientists stopped collecting data and started pumping up the results, they proved they know more about the motivation for feeling the burn than they do about the desire to “share the wealth.”

Professor Petersen concluded, “‘Our results demonstrate that physically weak males are more reluctant than physically strong males to assert their self-interest – just as if disputes over national policies were a matter of direct physical confrontation among small numbers of individuals, rather than abstract electoral dynamics among millions.”

That conclusion gets it exactly backwards and leads me to believe the Peterson and Snzycer need more work in the gym. When “weak males” support “share–the–wealth” politicians the weaklings realize they are too feeble to make it on their own. So instead they support policies that encourage the government — which hires those buff IRS collectors — to do the strong-arm stuff for them. Force those who have made it on their own to, in the words of our socialist–in–chief, “spread the wealth around.”

This goes a long way to explain why male art history majors are such strong Democrat supporters.

The only disappointing information contained in the study applied to women. There was no link between upper body strength and conservative views among the fairer sex.

They only question left unanswered is: Do women, regardless of their own strength, who prefer strong men also prefer conservative economics?

Evangelicals Swing Both Ways on Social Issues

Obama Show PapersA significant proportion of the US population feels marginalized and suffers from perceived widespread disrespect. Their desires are discounted and in some instances actively discouraged by state, federal and local government. Families are either split or prevented from coming together, which results in children who are denied the benefits of a two–parent family. Circumstances beyond the control of these individuals have put them in the shadows, outside the mainstream of American society and at the mercy of an often cruel and heartless public.

And that’s why Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Public Policy Center have both come out in support of homosexual marriage. As Daly said in an interview with Christianity Today, “What are the solutions to help get these families together, get them in a lawful state, one that can be recognized, and then move forward? I think that is a healthy situation for the country. Let’s get behind this, not play politics with it left or right and not fearmonger with it. These are people that need dignity. Even though in some cases they’ve broken the law, there’s always that heartfelt story out there where you just tear up looking at what they’re facing now. We need to do what’s humane.”

No wait. That’s the quote Daly used in support of amnesty for illegal aliens. As of the time this post was written Focus and the Southern Baptists still oppose homosexual marriage. But can someone point out to me why their reasoning on illegal aliens doesn’t apply to homosexuals, too? Both groups have been in an unlawful relationship for a number of years and they want to either escape worldly consequences in one case and Biblical responsibility in the other.

I know the Bible says welcome the stranger and not welcome the sodomite, but when you base your theology on feelings instead of Truth, there is no difference in the two situations. A plain reading of the Bible shows marriage is one man to one woman and homosexuality is prohibited — occasionally by fire and brimstone. And strangers are to be welcomed as individuals by individuals, but nowhere does it say stealth invasions in violation of the law are to be encouraged. In fact, I would challenge anyone to show me where in the Bible a law breaker or sinner is rewarded for his or her transgression?

Or for that matter, where people are encouraged to emulate a class of law breakers in the future?

The situation is simply not there. Illegals aren’t mentioned by name in either testament, but if we can’t apply observations or analogous situations from the Bible to modern life, then the book is dead and useless.

Look at how similar both situations are. Both population groups feel put upon. Homosexuals and illegals want to come out of the shadows and gain the stamp of approval from government and society at large: A marriage license in one case and documentos de ciudadanía in the other.

If Daly and my own Southern Baptist governing body are to be consistent, then they have to either support both or oppose both.

Prior to the Supreme Court decision that branded people like me who oppose the perversion of God’s institution of marriage as hate–filled bigots, Daly and Focus helped to produce an e–book that contained five questions and answers about same sex marriage that outlined their opposition. The irony is the same questions and answers apply to illegal aliens, but they support legalizing them.

Here are the questions and answers with the marriage–related in regular text and the illegal–related in boldface.

1. Why does marriage matter to the government? Why do borders matter to the government?

Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does. Marriage ensures the well-being of children…Government recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for having and raising children. Borders protect citizens from the incursions of lawbreakers great and small and it makes sure the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship go to people who have earned it. Defending the borders is one of the principle responsibilities of government.

2. What are the consequences of redefining marriage? What are the consequences of redefining citizenship?

Redefining marriage would hurt children. Decades of social science-including very recent and robust studies-show that children do better when raised by a married mom and dad.

Redefining marriage would further separate marriage from the needs of children. It would deny as a matter of policy the ideal that a child needs a mom and a dad. Redefining citizenship would hurt the rule of law. Separating citizenship from the responsibility to obey the law only encourages future disrespect for the law and future illegal immigration. Ideally law–abiding individuals make better citizens.

3. Why do you want to interfere with love? Why can’t we just live and let live? Why do you want to interfere with ambition?

Marriage laws don’t ban anything; they define marriage. Immigration law doesn’t ban ambition, it only defines where one is allowed to be ambitious.

4. Isn’t denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry the same as a ban on interracial marriage? Aren’t immigration law supporters just using the law as an excuse for bigotry?

No. Racism kept the races apart, and that is a bad thing. Marriage unites the two sexes, and that is a good thing. Marriage must be color-blind, but it cannot be gender-blind. No. Immigration law is color–blind, but it cannot be geography–blind. The fact that most illegal border crossers come from countries adjacent to the US does not make the enforcement of the law biased, no more than spraying for mosquitoes means you oppose flying.

5. Why doesn’t government just get out of the marriage business altogether? Why doesn’t government get out of the employment verification business altogether?

Marriage is society’s best guarantee of a limited government that stays out of family life…A study by the left-leaning Brookings Institution found that, between 1970 and 1996, $229 billion in welfare expenditures could be attributed to social problems related to the breakdown of marriage. A good job is society’s best guarantee of a limited government that stays out of family life. Illegal immigrants are exploited by employers and compete unfairly with low–income workers. Americans would be happy to do the work now taken by illegals if the pay rates were not distorted and artificially depressed by law–breakers. Employers who circumvent the market and rig the system against the people who need the jobs the most, create unemployment which increases stress on families and marriages.

There is no intellectual consistency in Daly’s or the SBC’s position on illegal immigration and homosexual marriage. Daly contends, “When you look at it, the immigration issue is not just a legal issue. We respect what needs to be done there and hopefully we can strengthen laws, enforce laws and do all the things that we need to do in that way, because it’s important for a country to establish its borders and maintain its borders. But when you look at the family impact now and the stories we’ve received over the past year or two, it’s pretty tragic what’s occurring.”

Illegal immigration breaks at least three of the Ten Commandments. Illegals often steal the identity of citizens to get papers. They lie about their status in the country. And the motivation that brought them here in the first place was coveting a lifestyle they didn’t have.

And what’s occurring is all self–induced. Would Daly advocate keeping a drug addict supplied with heroin so he won’t feel compelled to steal and possibly break up his family if he’s sent to jail? How about telling a wife to put up with infidelity if it keeps the family together and the children aren’t upset?

Daly and the SBC are busy undermining their credibility and authority. It’s a shame. I expected better.

There’s No Such Thing as a Slight Sense of Entitlement

BOOST: Breakfast of Virginia's champion.

BOOST: Breakfast of Virginia’s champion.

We’ve all seen photos of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Particularly last year when he was being mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick on the Romney ticket. He would be beaming, with a large, toothy smile, looking well groomed and squeaky clean. And no wonder, this wholesome image was the product of a group effort, since the governor relies on Virginia taxpayers to keep him smelling fresh.

According to Laura Vozzella in the Washington Post, the McDonnell family has used its government–supplied credit card much like the GSA uses its card. Billing the taxpayers for “body wash, sunscreen, dog vitamins and a digestive system detox cleanse.”*

It takes a man with high self–esteem to bill the taxpayer for his weekly dose of Colon Blow, knowing the information is only an FOIA request from the public domain, to say nothing of opposition researchers. But at the same time it’s comforting to know there are no blockages, legislative or otherwise in the governor’s mansion.

And really, who wants a first family with that bloated feeling?

Virginia’s governor is the fifth–best paid in the country, earning $175,000 a year in addition to a “free mansion, food, personal chef, maids and one of nation’s few state-funded butlers,” so it’s somewhat startling to learn our governor is only a taxpayer–funded credit card purchase away from offending.

McDonnell makes almost three times the median income in Virginia ($63,302 a year) yet still expects the rednecks to spring for his body wash. I suppose it would reflect poorly on the state as a whole if none of the other governors wanted to stand next to him in a group photo, but I draw the line at raising his kids, too.

The McDonnells “used state employees to run personal errands for their adult children. In the middle of a workday, for example, a staffer retrieved Rachel McDonnell’s newly hemmed pants at a tailoring shop nine miles from the governor’s mansion. Another time, a state worker was dispatched to a dry cleaner 20 miles away to pick up a storage box for Cailin McDonnell’s wedding dress.”

Maybe it’s just me but I thought it was illegal for someone too young to have her own driver’s license to get married in Virginia, so Cailin ought to be able to get her own wedding dress. On the other hand, taxpayers should feel grateful they only had to cover the gas and employee time for the wedding. Jonnie R. Williams Sr. — who became the governor’s new BFF shortly after the inauguration — had to pony up $15,000.00 to cover the wedding’s catering bill.

The taxpayer’s incidentals tab also included “dry-cleaning the twin sons’ suits and shirts, repairing the first lady’s shoes and putting new shoulder pads into an item of her clothing. The McDonnells billed their energy drinks, body wash, deodorant and breath-freshening strips to the state as well.”

Six months into the governor’s first and only term a state employee not intimidated by the first family’s remarkably fresh breath and bouncy attitude attempted to reign in the credit card spree. She pointed out the McDonnells should use some of their 175,000 simoleons to buy their own deodorant, shoe repairs and children’s dry–cleaning. Taxpayers also should not be on the hook for clothing alterations, dry-cleaning for other family members, deodorant or body wash, pet food or treats, or food for non-family meals or non-state functions.

What the state will pay for is bad enough. The memo is very specific and one wonders why it took an auditor to point this out to the first family. Dry-cleaning for the governor and first lady is covered and “toilet paper, mouthwash, bar soap.” Which seems reasonable, I don’t begrudge tourists the use of toilet paper and soap in our highway rest stops, so stocking those supplies in the governor’s mansion makes sense. The same goes for cleaning supplies to keep the mansion spiffy and food in the kitchen for functions of state and family meals.

But the admonition didn’t take. “The McDonnells have continued to let taxpayers pick up the tab for numerous personal items, including vitamins, nasal spray and sleep-inducing elixirs.” “Sleep–inducing elixirs” sounds a lot like booze to me, but maybe it was Nyquil.

And to prove there is no such thing as a slight sense of entitlement, the governor argued that taxpayers should be paying for his energy drinks. His chief of staff, Martin Kent overruled the auditors and declared with some umbrage that, “While other governors and spouses may have had bacon and eggs, or cereal, or etc for breakfast, Governor McDonnell drinks Boost every morning, and the First Lady has a 5-Hour energy and/or a Boost. That is their breakfast. And that is why those items are covered, just like breakfast is covered for EVERY Governor and First Lady.”

I don’t know about you, but just reading that reminds me of one of those awkward times where I’m an unwilling witness to an argument between a Wal–Mart cashier and a SNAP program participant who’s arguing that Twizzlers and YooHoo should be covered by food stamps.

It’s easy for conservatives to be uncharitable when thinking about welfare recipients and wonder why don’t they have a little pride and get a job? But the same question is applicable here: You’re making $175,000 a year with a free house, maid and transportation yet you quibble about paying for your own energy drink?

In 2011 McDonnell made a good speech at the CPAC conference where he described what an honor it was to work in the same office once occupied by Thomas Jefferson.  Something tells me no future Virginia governor will publically discuss what an honor it is to have breakfast in the same kitchen where Bob McDonnell chugged his morning Boost.

*(Note: any material in quotes, and not otherwise attributed, comes from Ms. Vozella’s excellent reporting.)

What If They Held a Primary and Nobody Came?

VA Democrat Ticket: Two charisma–challenged white guys & a carpetbagger.

VA Democrat Ticket: Two charisma–challenged white guys & a carpetbagger.

The Washington Post finally got its primary and in typical leftist fashion, they approved of the candidate selection method that was both inefficient and cost taxpayers the most. Earlier this year the Posties criticized Republicans for using the convention method to choose their nominees — even though Lincoln was chosen by a convention and the Constitution was written at one.

The Post complained the 8,000 delegates that attended the Richmond convention were less than one percent of registered Republicans in the Commonwealth. And in fact, the editorial page was in such a snit over the Republican’s choice of a convention the page “did not make endorsements.” (Which explains all the black armbands on the convention floor being worn by former Bolling supporters.)

But an expensive Democrat primary where less than 3 percent of the voters bothered to make it to the polls is considered a triumph of participatory democracy on the Post editorial page. So now Virginia voters face the daunting prospect of a campaign spent listening to a lily–white ticket, composed of three middle–aged males that are obsessed with women’s reproductive organs.

And that’s just the Democrats!

Republicans in their “closed convention” somehow managed to choose the only minority on either statewide ticket, while a majority of Democrat primary voters refused to select either the Indian running for lieutenant governor (the sub–continent kind, not the Lone Ranger kind) or the black running for attorney general.

And talk about your social issue fanatics! Ralph Northam, the Democrat pick for lieutenant governor, ran a commercial before the primary where all he talks about is abortion. Northam declares, “There is no reason that a group of legislators, mostly men, should be telling women what they should and shouldn’t be doing with their bodies.”

Well that’s pretty definitive. But I have to ask: Does Northam’s declaration cover prostitution? Underage sex? Incest? Female–teacher–on–underage–male sex abuse? Flashing? Where, exactly does Northam draw the line?

Northam supporters keep mentioning that “he is the only physician in the VA Senate” as if that gives him special standing. But Northam is one of those doctors who have a loose interpretation of the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. In Northam’s office you have to be large enough to hand over the co–pay before you are accorded the rights of a human being.

While Republicans Ken Cuccinelli and E. W. Jackson are talking about creating jobs and growing the economy, Northam advocates de–regulating abortion clinics and fighting passage of a bill that would grant “personhood” status to an unborn baby.

Northam’s ‘an abortion in every pot’ platform is particularly relevant when one remembers that the Posties have declared war on Jackson — who happens to be of the black persuasion — for his accurate, completely true remark that Planned Parenthood has been “far more lethal to black lives” than the Ku Klux Klan.

The WaPost responds by analogizing that, “Abortion rates in the United States are higher for African Americans and Hispanics than for other groups. That reflects the fact that those groups tend to have higher rates of unwanted pregnancies. To blame the incidence of abortion on the clinics that provide abortion services is like blaming stores that sell cigarettes for the fact that too many Americans smoke.”

This analogy is only accurate if the government is buying smokes for the underage and poor, while simultaneously discouraging abstinence.

At the victory celebration, Northam came this close to talking about an issue that would attract independents and soft Republicans, before he lapsed into pube–speak, “This state, in order to have business, in order to welcome people, we need to be inclusive. That starts with stopping the attack on women, the assault on the (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) community.”

Northam’s obsession with divisive social issues, instead of pocketbook issues, means that if you’re looking for a job in an abortion mill, Northam’s your man, otherwise it’s time to start listening to the Republicans.

Mark my words, during this election the Republican ticket will be talking about jobs, taxes and transportation, while the Democrats travel the state brandishing the bloody coat hanger and accusing the GOP of concentrating on “divisive social issues.” Psychiatrists call it projection.

Meanwhile the WaPost will be doing it’s best to drive E.W. Jackson out of the race. Right now the focus is on financial problems. Jackson was behind on his taxes and has filed for bankruptcy in the past. He is now current on all his tax bills, which puts him ahead of the 1,289 Treasury Department employees who collectively owe $9.3 million in back taxes.

Jackson also regrets his bankruptcy, “It was painful. It was difficult. It was embarrassing. I don’t like the idea of not paying off debts.” Compare Jackson’s situation to that of Democrat nominee for governor, Terry McAuliffe. He convinced the taxpayers of Mississippi to give his GreenTech company $7 million in “growth and prosperity” tax exemptions and another $8 million in grants, loans and land in return for building a factory, creating jobs and manufacturing “green” cars.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “…GreenTech looks to be a lemon…there is no evidence the company is manufacturing any cars…(it) has yet to begin building its flagship factory in Tunica. GreenTech is the latest proof…the political class is adept at hooking up cronies and investors with taxpayer dollars. But creating jobs? No can do.”

Rather than be tied down by bad publicity and previous commitments, McAuliffe resigned from GreenTech and walked away from all obligations, while Jackson stayed to face his.

But Jackson’s real sin, as far as the Posties are concerned, is that he’s a Tea Party conservative. Jackson has escaped the Democrat Leftist plantation, once again pointing out the need for the Fugitive Minority Act (co–sponsored by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid) that would return ideological escapees to the Democrats for re–education and relieve the media of dealing with off–message minorities that do not support amnesty, abortion and alternate lifestyles.

Why ‘Government’ & ‘Creative’ Aren’t Usually Found in the Same Sentence

In a county known for cul-de-sacs, the logo is all right angles

In a county known for cul-de-sacs, the logo is all right angles

Prince William County, VA — where I live — has an official seal that’s been in use since 1854. But that seal — or logo, to use up–to–date terminology — just wasn’t happenin’ for the county staff. Staff evidently felt a balance scale held over a bunch of tobacco leaves just screams 19th century. Plus the tobacco is a big problem. Who wants a logo that can only be displayed 25 feet from a building entrance and never in a bus shelter?

So the staff hired a firm based in the People’s Republic of Maryland to design a modern logo for the county. Something the economic development staff could use in their marketing efforts. A new design in keeping with the county’s prosperity, potential for job creation and spectacular rush hour gridlock.

There were probably a few simple guidelines for the designer on what not to include. No stars and bars allowed and no cotton. If the design incorporates a Civil War reference, the symbol must be limited to either a nurse or a female impersonating a soldier, preferably unarmed, or maybe wounded and suffering from PTSD. The staff certainly wouldn’t want the public to think they’re in favor of guns or violence.

Other than that, the county has a wide range of sites and events that have shaped its history. To name just a few: two major Civil War battles, Quantico Marine Base, the largest number of foreclosed homes in VA, the only Northern Virginia county to take up an anti–illegal ordinance (some overlap in the last two), a shooting site from the Beltway Sniper rampage, John Bobbitt’s bobbed penis, a George Mason University satellite campus, innumerable cul–de–sacs that make it impossible to get there from here and jam packed I–95 (more overlap).

So what did taxpayers get for their money? A shiny dark blue square surrounded on three sides by a shiny lighter–blue square and even though the design just screams “Prince William County,” the designer still put ‘Prince William County, Virginia’ in all caps below the squares . As you can see from the accompanying photo, it’s bland, boring and bureaucratic — all the modifiers a politician wants associated with his jurisdiction. What’s more, it has no relation to the county other than the fact we paid for it.

On the other hand, my wife thought the shiny blue sheen on the logo was reminiscent of aluminum siding and harkened back to the county’s previous image of a region inhabited by trailer park rednecks.

In an online comment a gentleman named Tom Fitzpatrick explained that while his first impression of the logo was negative, “Now that I’ve had a chance to settle down, I realize I’m not really being fair. I’ve just learned that the County’s first choice was a dead on representation – 8 clowns sitting around a table deciding how much to cut taxes by raising them a little less. However, there were copyright issues with Ringling Brothers, the catered lunch was already eaten, and it was time for another international trip by the members. So, this is what they came up with, within those constraints.”

County spokesman Jason Grant defended the “design” choice, “The brand is the connotation, it’s not a literal meaning. It is a new logo. The connotation isn’t there because it’s not affiliated with anything yet. . . . Does it literally represent Prince William County? No. That’s not the type of logo we designed. It shows there’s a sense of place, there’s a cornerstone, it’s corporate, all these things that people will fill in.”

That droning you hear in the background while Grant speaks is not cicadas, it’s corporate buzzwords. Hint for government flacks: any time your explanation would not look out of place in a Dilbert speech bubble, you are losing the argument.

According to Tom Jackman in the Washington Post, Grant claimed the staff was borrowing a marketing strategy from Madison Avenue. Grant said Nike’s swoosh logo doesn’t look like a shoe or Lance Armstrong injecting dope, but over time it comes to be associated with the brand and all its products.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s also one of the most consistent indications of incompetence. Besides borrowing strategy from Nike, the county is also going to have to borrow some money to make this logo penetrate the marketplace. Nike’s annual marketing budget of $2.7 billion is double PWC’s entire annual budget of $1.2 billion. By my calculations, at that rate of spending in 159 years the double boxes logo still won’t have the market identity of the current county seal.

The staff claims the logo only cost $750, while the website Sheriff of Nottingham in Prince William County asserts the logo design was part of a redesign contract that cost between $9,500 and $11,000. Either way taxpayers would have received more positive benefit if they’d just sent the money to the IRS and told them to have a party.

You could have gotten better design work and made at least one PWC family happy if the staff had solicited logos from high school or college art & design classes.

But now the bureaucracy has dug in it’s heels and it appears we may be stuck with this collection of right angles. So in the spirit of public service, I’ve come up with a few slogans to use with the logo at no cost to the county.

  • Prince William County — Where Every Square Peg Has a Square Hole
  • Prince William County — You’ll Love Having Your Company Absorbed by the Borg
  • Prince William County — Land of Boxy Houses and Boxy People
  • Prince William County — Home of the Square
  • Prince William County — Where the Cube Farm Is Our Identity
  • Prince William County — Embracing Boredom Since 2013

Searching for the ‘Moderate’ Christian

Why do Christians think we want to join them in their counter–cultural activities?

Why do Christians think we want to join them in their counter–cultural activities?

I enjoy reading the letters sent to advice columnists. It’s a handy, anecdotal way to chart the decline of modern culture. There’s actually a book in this; comparing the difference in questions during the early 60’s with what we have today. But I fear I’m too lazy to do the research.

On the other hand, I normally avoid reading the answers, because the advice from these moral equivalizers and cultural fad surfers has a tendency to enrage me and the family tries to discourage shouting while reading the newspaper. (Although I make an exception and always read Miss Manners. She remains a beacon of tradition and reason on most matters cultural.)

Sometimes though the temptation is too great, as happened last Thursday. Carolyn Hax, who does cutting edge advice for the Washington Post — for people who are drifting, clueless yet strongly opinionated — answered a letter that touched on religion: “My husband and I are non-Christians living in a small town in the Bible Belt. We have made some friends (it took a while) who are fun people and share most of our values, except religion. I don’t have a problem being friends with people of different religions; I consider it none of my business what other people believe, and just wish they would extend me the same courtesy!

These friends are evangelical Christians and invite us to church almost every time we see them. At first, I thought they were just being friendly. After the thousandth time, I feel like it’s really obnoxious and disrespectful. I’ve always just smiled and politely declined, but they keep bringing it up. Is there a way to salvage the friendship while putting my foot down?

This is how modern education and culture leaves one unprepared. I’m sure the woman in question would have had no problem dealing with a request to swap husbands (don’t nice people get bored, too?), but refusing to attend church when you don’t have one of your own seems standoffish. From the context of the letter, one gets the impression the couple are “nones” rather than Hindus, Moslems or Druids. Agnostic or apathetic rather than atheists, since the actively ungodly are usually in your face about it, much like the homosexual lobby.

So this young couple is thrown by circumstance into this den of divinity and they finally meet a couple whose company they enjoy. In fact, they like the couple even though they are Christians. No invitations to rub the snake, expel the demon or participate in a love offering for the pastor’s Cadillac; just the odd invitation to attend church.

One gets the feeling the couple likes the Bible beaters in spite of the fact they are Christians. What they never appear to consider is the reverse: They like the couple because they are Christians. And the couple likes the letter writer in spite of the fact they are not active Christians?

Living a truly Christian life is a package deal. It’s not just maintaining perfect attendance in the sanctuary so you’ll also make the roll call up yonder. It’s how you act, relate to others, conduct your life, conduct your business and work to make your life glorify God.

And it’s hard. I was talking to a friend Saturday morning about a rough spot he’d encountered in his church and I observed that it’s too bad that in his wisdom God didn’t have angels build and operate the church. Things would run much more smoothly, to say nothing of always providing a role model for a fallen mankind. But He didn’t, so we have to do our best and that often falls short.

An important part of the Christian package is the Great Commission where Jesus instructed us to go and make disciples of the world. Personal evangelism is very hard and rejection is potentially embarrassing. It’s much easier to send a check to Franklin Graham and delegate outreach to him. I rarely do it and I hope Jesus is not as embarrassed to acknowledge me before God on the Day of Judgment, as I am to acknowledge Him here on earth.

So this “none” couple has the good fortune to meet a Christian couple that tries to live a Christian life in all its facets, up to and including the Great Commission. The letter writer entirely overlooks the fact the couple may be so attractive because of being a Christian has done for them. And it could do the same for the letter writer, too, if she would give Jesus a chance.

Possibly the letter writer might be more comfortable with a less committed couple, say two Episcopalians. Or if they simply wanted to find someone who has warm feelings for a bright light they can try a Unitarian. In a pinch even a Methodist might serve.

(Keep in mind none of this advice applies if the letter writer is part of a homosexual couple. Then the Episcopal would be chasing them down the street.)

Heck for that matter, they could meet me: The lazy, vaguely embarrassed Christian.

But I would advise them to stay away from my wife for she is liable to invite you to church at the drop of a hat.

What Is It About ‘Stereotype’ that the Tea Party Doesn’t Understand?

runaways-tpcToo bad Tea party types are such ingrates. Now that the mainstream media (MSM) is finally starting to cover the IRS political scandal, you’d think the Tea party would go out of its way to reward the media for emerging from its Obama–induced coma.

Consider what would have happened if there had been four deaths in connection with the IRS attacks, as happened in Benghazi. Result: It happened a long time ago and what difference does it make?

Repaying the MSM would not have been difficult. For example, at the recent Tea Party–dominated Republican convention in Virginia, conservatives could’ve done something simple like book a minstrel show for entertainment, sing ‘Dixie’ before the National Anthem or burn a cross for illumination. Stereotypes would have been confirmed and MSM self–satisfaction could continue unchallenged.

But no, out of seven candidates running for Lt. Governor the overwhelmingly white, middle–aged Tea Party Republicans had to go and pick the only black guy in the bunch! Even worse. E. W. Jackson had raised the least money of any of the candidates and instead had to base his hope for victory on an impassioned speech before the assembled delegates.

A black guy that can make a speech and impress Republicans? Who’d a thunk it?

In fact the WaPost complained, “it’s almost inconceivable that (Jackson) could have won an open party primary.” Which is true, since a primary would have been dominated by something WaPost leftists claim to hate even more than conservative blacks and that’s money in politics.

Bottom line? Media leftists prefer capitalist money influencing elections to blacks escaping the Democrat plantation. (But on the plus side, Rev. Jackson is one candidate you can legitimately ask about the content of his prayers.)

Instead Jackson, who in addition to being a minister is a graduate of Harvard Law School and a Marine veteran, won through personal contact and the force of his personality. And what a personality it is! No mottled shades of gray here.

Media leftists consider conservative minority politicians to be deeply embarrassing and something a decent person would want to keep private and within the family; like a son who wanted to marry a man. Besides being guilty of thought crimes, a black Republican that opposes the Democrat platform of amnesty, abortion and alternative lifestyle is called an Uncle Tom.

This is another example of leftist revisionism. Back when Democrats were leaning on the Supreme Court for legitimacy and dominated politics and culture while being on the wrong side of slavery; a black who supported ‘massa and claimed to be happy with his lot, was called an Uncle Tom for kneeling before power. Frederick Douglass was a hero for fighting against injustice and going against prevailing legal and cultural norms. (Dang, wasn’t Douglass a Republican, too?)

Today Democrats again lean on the Supreme Court for legitimacy, dominate politics along with culture and are on the wrong side of abortion. The legal system is cluttered with “hate crime” legislation, homosexuals qualify for special rights, Christians are to be kept in the closet and any attempt to regulate abortion is called a “war on women.” Yet a black that supports conservatives is instantly branded an Uncle Tom, when the reverse is actually true. This means Utah’s Mia Love is Fredericka Douglass on a courageous crusade for truth and Susan Rice is Aunt Jemima.

And make no mistake the WaPost is in a snit regarding Jackson. Columnist Robert McCartney did everything but call him “macca” in a column this week. McCartney says that Jackson on the ticket will reflect poorly on gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli. This is because fiery black ministers only cause problems when they are linked for a few months to a white candidate, while sitting in the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years is just a coincidence for Barack Obama.

McCartney quotes Jackson as saying gays have “perverted” minds and are “very sick people psychologically and mentally and emotionally.” And he adds Jackson has described President Obama as “an evil presence” and liberal abortion policy as “infanticide.”

So I think VA Republicans are just going to have to resign themselves to losing Megan McCain’s vote this year.

Another red flag for McCartney came when Jackson said Planned Parenthood has been more lethal to blacks than the Ku Klux Klan. I will admit the only politician with the moral stature necessary to make modern–day slavery comparisons is Joe Biden. But that being said, Jackson does have the facts on his side — as if that makes any difference to the left.

The number of blacks killed by lynching in the US between 1864 and 1968 was 4,946. You can add to that beatings and intimidation by both the Klan and freelance bigots who didn’t want to be bogged down with a formal commitment to an organization.

Compare that with 18,778,000 black babies killed by an abortionist between only 1973 and 2013. Nathan Bedford Forest doesn’t begin to compare with your local Planned Parenthood facility manager when it comes to eliminating young blacks.

The WaPost was also appalled at VA Republicans for having a convention in the first place. In their view being committed enough to give up your Saturday and attend a largely boring convention disqualifies one for participation in the decision–making process.

The mandarins at the Post complain that the 8,000 delegates attending the Richmond convention were less than one percent of the people who claim to be Republicans in Virginia. Yet I don’t recall them complaining when only 5,556 delegates to the Democrat National Convention in 2012 approved a far left platform way out of the mainstream of American thought. (I hope the WaPost has not reverted to the practice of only counting 3/5ths of a Republican for apportionment purposes as Democrats did during slavery.)

Virginia conservatives have provided voters with a clear choice in November: A Republican ticket composed of social and government conservatives versus whatever opportunists the Democrats have handy.

The media will just have to cope with the fact that Jackson’s nomination has ruined what was to be the favorite headline this fall: VA Republicans – Whiter Than White; Righter Than Right.

The Bugs are Back

The cicada: Mascot of the federal bureaucrat?

The cicada: Mascot of the federal bureaucrat?

People in the Washington, DC area like to worry. Part of it’s because leftists are required to show “concern” about the darnedest things and part of it is because a large government workforce has to discover something to do or at least find a way to look busy.

For example, the National Weather Service suffered a crippling budget cut of about 3 percent when the sequester went into effect. I had assumed that after the cut hit, a spokesperson would inform us there would be no more rain or rainbows due to evil Republican budget cuts.

Instead the service is now under a hiring freeze and unable to begin what the WaPost called “a major pilot project aimed at helping the local community prepare for extreme weather.”

For those of you who tuned in late, “extreme weather” is what used to be “global warming” before it stopped getting warm.

According to the Post, “Previously, the emergency response meteorologists were tasked to assist “on the scene” during major weather events, offering on-demand briefings to emergency managers and stakeholders. They also were charged with developing more event-specific forecasts, explaining possible impacts in detail, and getting key messages out using new communication technologies and social media.”

In laymen’s terms this means highly–paid government meteorologists would appear during a hurricane or tornado to tell damp citizens with frizzy hair that they had just been hit by a hurricane or tornado. The weather people would then pass out small, waterproof maps with colorful depictions of pressure zones and isobars. Then advise survivors to take shelter, cut down on salt and keep hydrated. Once the citizens were dispersed, the weather service employees would be free to teach elected officials how to post heroic photos of themselves in galoshes on Twitter.

How they intend to accomplish this without power remains to be seen. A more practical plan would involve teaching Pepco customers how to buy and install a generator, since long term loss of electricity is much more common here than severe weather.

Somehow, Oklahomans have managed to endure weather without federal intervention. Twice during my youth I lived in Duncan, OK. Smack dab in the middle of tornado alley. In spite of the fact we did not have weather service types parachuting in to state the obvious, we managed to survive. The municipal tornado siren sounded, you picked up the babies, grabbed the old ladies and headed for the nearest tornado/bomb shelter or leaped in a nearby bar ditch.

I distinctly remember one evening when we gathered in our neighbor’s backyard shelter to wait out the alert. Since I was just a kid, I had no idea how long a tornado lasted. My idea of a long duration was waiting for Christmas and that took forever.

What’s more, I was a chubby kid who suffered “food anxiety” before it came to Michelle Obama’s attention. Not wanting to add hunger pangs to potential tornado problems, I filled my pockets with cheddar cheese. (It could have been that I also wanted to prevent diarrhea, but my memory is fuzzy.) This caused something of a commotion later in the week when Mom opened the washer and saw the laundry looked like nachos.

So without the weather service to gin up worry, the media here has turned to the insect world and found this summer will mark the return of the cicada. Cicadas sleep underground for 17 years and then emerge blinking into the sunlight, looking for sex and a square meal. This alone would make the cicada a perfect mascot for the less motivated federal bureaucrat.

Insects on the make would not normally be an issue for the front page of the Metro section. What makes the cicadas newsworthy is they return in the billions. They cover the landscape and make a loud buzzing sound to attract a mate, similar to disco but without mirror balls.

The insects are about an inch long with red eyes. The outer shell is crunchy but they’re soft on the inside, much like a Democrat. The reporter even found publicity–hungry omnivore who claimed he eats cicadas. His recipe calls for sautéing them with lemon and butter. I can’t remember if he serves the finished product with MD–20/20 or WD–40.

After sex cicadas don’t smoke, which would at least shut them up, instead they eat the shrubbery. I actually saw a handful while walking the dogs, but the density did not begin to approach the 1,000,000/acre of which the WaPost warned. Maybe these were scouts, wary of people with frying pans.

The important part of the infestation for our purposes is that I’ve been inspired to write another song. This time to the tune of the Angel’s “My Boyfriend’s Back.”

 

The bugs are back and there’s gonna be trouble

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

When you see them fly you better cut out on the double

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

 

Cicadas been gone for such a long time,

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

Better watch your step don’t slip on insect slime

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

 

And the trees are full of buzzin’

And the males are wantin lovin’

 

A mating dance right on your front lawn

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

They’re here right now, about a trillion strong

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

 

Buried underground for 17 years

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

It’s time to mate, so cover up your ears

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

 

And the trees are full of buzzin’

And the males are wantin lovin’

 

Beady red eyes on a body one inch long (Wa–ooh, Wa–ooh)

Eating your shrubs while they play a mating song  (Wa–ooh)

It’s time to flee

 

The bugs are back and there’s gonna be trouble

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

When you see them fly you better cut out on the double

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

Senate GOP Supports Remote Control Taxation

Mark Twain on Tax ManThe next time you see any of the following Senate Republicans:

Lamar Alexander (TN), Roy Blunt (MO), John Boozman (AR), Richard Burr (NC), Saxby Chambliss (GA), Dan Coats (IN), Thad Cochran (MS), Susan Collins (ME), Bob Corker (TN), Mike Enzi (WY), Deb Fischer (NE), Lindsey Graham (SC), Chuck Grassley (IA), John Hoeven (ND), Johnny Isakson (GA), Mike Johanns (NE), John McCain (AZ), Rob Portman (OH), Jeff Sessions (AL), Richard Shelby (AL), John Thune (SD), Roger Wicker (MS)

Ask them why they joined tax–and–spend Democrats and voted for the disingenuously named “Marketplace Fairness Act” that expands the size of government and extends crony capitalism by allowing states to force online and mail order retailers to collect sales tax from shoppers that don’t live in the state where the retailer is located.

When does a conservative philosophy include coercing retailers based in a state with no sales tax into collecting sales tax for states that do? How can the laws of Virginia apply to a company doing business in New Hampshire?

As of now a state can only require a company headquartered elsewhere to collect sales tax if the firm has a physical presence (a store, warehouse, distribution center) in the state that wants the tax collected. Obviously Wal–Mart, Sears, Home Depot and so on already collect sales tax because they are located nationwide. Amazon and eBay only charge sales tax in California where they’re located and a few states where distribution centers are located.

Consumers who buy from out–of–state online stores are supposed to send a check to their state revenue service each year in the amount of sales tax they would have paid locally, but the honor system for tax payments does not seem to be working.

States could withhold a percentage of your paycheck each year to cover the estimated amount you would pay in online sales tax. (Does term ‘withholding’ ring a ball?) At the end of the year you could file a return with receipts from online purchases and if you spent less than the state estimated, you would get two refunds, instead of just one!

Somehow state politicians don’t think this idea would be too popular. Instead they want the federal government to force online retailers who don’t have a location in their state, don’t use any services in their state and don’t have any representation in their state to collect taxes for their state. And if they don’t, the state will seize the company’s property through court proceedings in a state where the company isn’t located. It’s remote control taxation without representation.

I can understand why Democrats support this, it’s right up their alley. What I can’t understand is how a Republican that’s supposed to support limited government can vote for it. The rationalization they use is “fairness,” which is the handmaiden of “share the wealth.”

Proving he can string clichés with the best of them, Sen. Enzi says, “This bill is about fairness. It’s about leveling the playing field between the brick and mortar and online companies and it’s about collecting a tax that’s already due. It’s not about raising taxes.”

So the fact you will now be paying more tax is just an unfortunate byproduct that can’t be blamed on Enzi.

I’m with the folks at Catholic Online who describe the bill thusly: “There’s nothing fair about a tax whose sole purpose is to punish businesses that employ an efficient business model. The tax does nothing to improve consumer choice, rights, or value. It’s another case of big business using its influence in Washington to compete by legislation against small, private retailers.”

Enzi can spout “fairness” all he wants, but the bill is about revenue.

This bill will cripple smaller online operations that have created a niche business on eBay. The magnanimous potentates in the Senate have graciously agreed to exempt businesses that don’t gross $1 million in yearly sales, but that just proves how ignorant politicians are regarding the market. A business that grosses $1 million might net 10 percent of that amount if they’re lucky. There’s no room in $100,000 to hire someone to manage sales tax collection for the 50 states.

The bill also requires states to provide “free” software to help retailers become revenuers. We all know how well that’s going to go. For a look at Virginia’s adventures in software see here. And if the state can’t get the software to work, there’s no penalty. But if the company can’t get the software to work it wins a nice tax lien.

This bill is crony capitalism attracting Republicans who confuse being “pro–business” with being “pro competition.” They are dupes of businesses that want to limit competition rather than compete.

Local retailers already have an advantage over online retailers. The product is in stock. The customer can examine it. If the customer has a question, there should be an informed salesperson nearby ready to provide information (I realize you can fire a howitzer in Wal–Mart, Sears, Best Buy, Home Depot or Costco and not hit a salesperson, much less an informed one, but we’re talking an ideal competitive situation here). Even better there are no shipping charges when one buys locally. And if the product is defective or the buyer changes their mind, it’s returned locally.

Meddling in the market on behalf of favored businesses is second nature for Democrats, but you would think GOP members would know better. Here in Washington, DC an out of control city council is busy writing regulations to ruin the business of lunchtime food trucks in downtown DC. The justification is identical to that of the “Marketplace Fairness Act.”

Brick and mortar restaurants are complaining that food trucks are stealing customers and they don’t have to pay property taxes like the restaurants do. Sound familiar? But even if the council banned food trucks altogether — and with this council you never know — there would not be a boost in lunchtime restaurant business because the restaurants and the food trucks serve a different customer base.

Food truck customers are in a hurry. They line up; they grab the food and head back to the office. Or sit on a park bench and fight the pigeons and the homeless for their fish taco. The food trucks don’t take credit cards and the prices aren’t all that cheap. But the process is faster than a sit down restaurant and there’s no tip.

If food trucks vanish, customers will bring their lunch or visit a deli or sandwich shop that is faster than a restaurant. They won’t be filling a table at whatever uppity lunch spot is hot this month.

A conservative would hope the “Fairness” the bill is DOA in the House, but there are dupes everywhere. Rep. Steve Womack (R–Wal–Mart) explains, “Obviously there’s a lot of consumers out there that have been accustomed to not having to pay any taxes, believing that they don’t have to pay any taxes. I totally understand that, and I think a lot of our members understand that. There’s a lot of political difficulty getting through the fog of it looking like a tax increase.”

If the esteemed representatives really want to “level the playing field” with online merchants, then lets go all the way. Charge the sales tax but require local merchants to make the following changes:

  • Customers in the store can’t actually hold the merchandise; instead they must examine a series of small photos.
  • If customers have a question regarding a product, they are required to email or call customer service for information. Hold time must be at least five minutes and you have to press three numbers to guarantee an answer in English.
  • Customers won’t be able to get buying advice from salespeople, but they can go through a box of 3X5 cards filled with poorly spelled recommendations from anonymous random people who may or may not actually own the product.
  • Customers may buy the product at the store, but they must wait five days to pick it up and they must pre–pay a pickup fee. If the customer wants the product sooner, they must pay a larger pickup fee. In no case can the customer get the product in less than 24 hours.
  • If the product is defective or the customer changes their mind, they must ship the product back to the store, rather than take it themselves.

Brick–and–mortar stores with high prices and disinterested staff deserve to lose out to online merchants. It’s what happens in a competitive marketplace, unless Big Government politicians start interfering.

It’s Always Christmas If You’re a Politician

Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli brandishing one of the forms he forgot to fill out.

Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli brandishing one of the forms he forgot to fill out.

What is it about an elected official that compels rich people to want to give him gifts? Do they look needy? Hungry? Depressed? Is there a secret gift registry of which I’m unaware? Could it be a mentoring program where plutocrats adopt a middle–class governor or attorney general and show them how capitalism has paid off? Sort of a rescue program except no Labradors are involved?

Any of those reasons are an improvement over the suspicions of my wife. She believes the gifts are given because the recipients hold high public office and it might come in handy for a rich person to have a governor or attorney general in their pocket. So she is disappointed in Ken Cuccinelli. Again. And that goes for me, too.

For those of you who don’t follow Virginia politics, Ken Cuccinelli is the Tea Party–backed Republican attorney general who filed the first court case against Obamacare. He also fought the EPA on job–killing regulations. And the AG filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get the papers “global warming” guru Michael Mann used to get grants while he was at the University of Virginia.

I was first disappointed in Cuccinelli when he broke a promise to serve two terms as AG and not run for governor after his first. Details are here. Now Cuccinelli and Gov. Bob McDonnell are enmeshed within a gift controversy brought on in large part by McDonnell’s failure to use his head and Cuccinelli’s failure to use his ballpoint.

The nexus of the scandal is Jonnie R. Williams, Sr. who runs Star Scientific, a former cigarette company that has progressed from selling cancer to marketing Anatabloc a nutritional supplement made from a substance found in tobacco. Anatabloc is used to fight inflammation and its also contained in facial cream where it may help to remove wrinkles caused by smoking.

Williams is a new BFF that both Cuccinelli and McDonnell have known for about five years. (Hmmm that’s just about the time they’ve been in office, but it must surely be a coincidence.) Williams gave $15,000 to McDonnell’s daughter so she could pay the ‘Let ‘em Eat Cake’ catering bill at her wedding. Williams has also given the family free use of his vacation home at Smith Mountain Lake and let the governor drive his Ferrari back to Richmond from that same vacation spread in Western Virginia. All told William’s publicly disclosed gifts to McDonnell and his political action committee come to over $120,000.

And it’s all perfectly legal. I just hope the wedding catering smelled better than the rest of the gifts. In fact, the catering started the scandal ball rolling, because McDonnell didn’t declare the gift, since it went to his daughter. I mean, what’s out of the ordinary about some BFF you’ve known since 2009 dropping 15 gees on your daughter’s wedding? It sure beats a blender.

Now FBI agents are investigating the relationship between the governor, his wife Maureen (who has promoted Anatabloc) and Williams to see if there was a quid pro quo.

Once the media started following the foie gras the trail led to Cuccinelli. He hasn’t had any weddings recently — although with a brood his size it’s only a matter of time — but he did invest in Star Scientific stock after meeting Williams. I’m sure he thought it was a great opportunity. Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds had such great success with dietary supplements, what could possibly go wrong?

Cuccinelli also stayed at the Smith Mountain vacation home twice, accepted $6,700 worth of Anatabloc, took a flight to New York, borrowed Williams’ boat, took a trip to Kentucky, stayed at Williams’ house near Richmond, ate a Williams’ provided turkey dinner and was surprised to discover he owned over $10,000 in Star Scientific stock.

Many of these gifts and the stock were not reported promptly on disclosure forms. It’s appears Cuccinelli is a lawyer, but he’s not good with details and paperwork.

The worst part of this mess is that none of it had to happen. Conservatives were convinced Cuccinelli was different. He wouldn’t fall prey to the pitfalls of influence and influencers. But he did. And because he did, Cuccinelli is dealing with a campaign issue that never should have happened and one that sullies his reputation for ethics and honesty.

Delusional Democrats are fantasizing that the controversy may force McDonnell to resign. This is very unlikely, not the least because the events don’t rise to the level of a major scandal. But if McDonnell did resign, it would restore a disenchanted Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s faith in Providence. At the stroke of a pen Bolling would get to be governor without running a primary campaign, and even better he would be governor before Ken Cuccinelli!

Meanwhile I have some practical gift receiving advice for Cuccinelli and other conservative politicians who — I hope — don’t want to lose touch with the Americans that elected them:

  1. Don’t take a gift from any ‘friend’ you made after you left high school unless it comes with a receipt, preferably from Wal–Mart.
  2. Don’t buy stock in a ‘friend’s’ hot company if you didn’t know him in high school.
  3. Even if you knew him in high school, don’t take any gifts from a company with ‘science’ in the name that isn’t run by someone in a lab coat.
  4. Don’t take a gift from any ‘friend’ who owns a company that the SEC, FEC, IRS, FDA or the PTA is investigating.
  5. Don’t hitch a ride on an airplane, yacht or submarine owned by a stranger you met after high school, unless you all chip in for gas.
  6. Don’t accept free vacation housing from a ‘friend’ you met after high school, unless it’s a tent.
  7. Don’t offer to valet park a ‘friend’s’ Ferrari if you have to drive it more than 200 yards.

Marco Rubio and the Magic Beans

Immigration-CautionShortly after last year’s presidential defeat and at the beginning of the Great Republican Panic of 2013, I wrote here about what a bad idea morally and legally amnesty for illegal aliens is. Guess what? It still is.

In a sane universe “immigration reform” would be specifically designed to benefit the citizens of the nation passing the law, rather than be a law that only benefits non–citizens who came here illegally at the expense of the citizens.

But that hasn’t stopped Sen. Marco Rubio (R–FL) from eagerly joining the Gang of Ocho’s efforts to pass a “comprehensive” amnesty bill. After being trapped in a room with both Sen. Chuck Schumer (D–Publicity) and Sen. John McCain (R–Media Loves Me, Unless I Run for President), Rubio has evidently developed Stockholm Syndrome. He claims this amnesty bill does not have any amnesty provisions. Instead is has a “path to citizenship” where the length of time before amnesty kicks in somehow makes amnesty more tolerable for conservatives.

Yet I have a simple test for supporters of any immigration reform bill. If removing the portions that deal with granting citizenship to people who came to the US illegally causes Democrat support to vanish, then what you have is an amnesty bill and not a “reform” at all.

During her testimony before Congress in support of the bill, Sec. of Homeland Security Janet Incompetano said the 844–page bill has many benefits, including stricter accountability for employers and improving border security. Yet you can accomplish both of those goals without legalizing 12 million illegal aliens and doing so might just reduce the number of illegals here now.

Opponents of actually enforcing immigration law claim the government can’t deport 12 million people, but no one I know is advocating that. In fact this is one of the areas where I prefer a libertarian solution: the illegals got here on their own without government assistance and they can leave on their own, too.

In a true magic beans moment, Rubio is so proud of the 13–year “path to citizenship” — as if a slow motion surrender to illegality is an improvement over an immediate surrender. Maybe he thinks during this cooling off period Republican outreach teams can contact the newly legal and persuade them they are really naturally conservative and should be voting GOP.

But I’ve got news for Marco: it’s not going to happen. His 13–year path is going to be the civil unions of the immigration fight. As soon as Rubio’s bill is passed Democrats will begin complaining about second–class citizenship for brown people. As Neil Munro has written, the bill already has 400 “exemptions, exceptions, waivers, determinations and grants of discretion and even better will be administered by the OBAMA ADMINISTRATION!

We will be lucky if the 13–years lasts 13 months.

Democrats will get their immediate temporary permanent status for the illegals and the increased border security will never happen. The same goes for employer sanctions.

We heard the amnesty and border security shuffle when Reagan granted amnesty to 3 million (Gee, wasn’t he a Republican?). Amnesty was immediate and border security was absent, which is why we are preparing to legalize 12 million now.

The fines Rubio dreams of (much like the $1,500 fines the Commonwealth of Virginia was going to impose of indigent drunk drivers) will never be collected and the English proficiency test will be found to be culturally insensitive. Instead, illegals will get a waiver for the fine and if they can look at two photos and distinguish George Washington from Simon Bolivar their English is good to go, too.

You think I’m exaggerating? Ha! The Democrats in charge of the District of Columbia are preparing to introduce legislation that would require pharmacies, and possibly doctor’s offices, to provide translators — at business expense — for any customer or patient who does not speak English. That in a nutshell (apt phrasing, that) is the Democrat philosophy on immigration.

And by the way, I was being conservative when I said 12 million illegals would join us. According to NumbersUSA it will be more like 33 million, because “comprehensive reform” doesn’t manage to reform one of the major failings of current immigration policy called “family reunification.”

You probably think unifying families makes sense, because parents should be able to bring their children into the country. But you are wrong, that policy would be the reform. Current Democrat policy defines “family” as grandfathers, grandmothers, uncles, aunts, cousins, kissing–cousins, step–relatives and BFFs. So 33 million may be a conservative estimate.

Tea Party favorite Rubio is flacking for a bill that will only encourage more illegal immigration in the future, will not provide increased border security, will cost taxpayers billions, will depress wages for lower income workers, will burden the welfare system and — according to a report from Emily Schultheis in Politico — give Democrats 11 million so new voters, which is about the voting population of Ohio.

This leaves conservatives with a choice of opinions regarding Marco Rubio. One, he’s either too gullible to ever be allowed in the Oval Office or two, he’s a Democrat sleeper agent.

The Interview: Terry McAuliffe & the Boston Attack

This post is intended as satire, any likeness to real or imagined people is unintended. This is a work of fiction

Intimidating pressure cookers like this will be a thing of the past after Democrat Terry McAuliffe becomes Virginia governor.

Intimidating pressure cookers like this will be a thing of the past after Democrat Terry McAuliffe becomes Virginia governor.

(A source within the McAuliffe for Governor campaign leaked a copy of this transcript from an interview with a New York Times Sunday Magazine reporter. I felt I owed it to my readers to give them an advance look at this latest development in the Virginia governor’s race.)

 

NYT REPORTER: Governor McAuliffe, ha, that’s a bit premature, Mr. McAuliffe I could not help noticing at today’s media event that you were surrounded by all the genders of the rainbow, all ages and all races. And what’s more, everyone was wearing jogging clothes and actually smelled a little sweaty. Do you think the symbolism was important for your new legislative agenda?

Terry McAuliffe (D–Flim Flam) candidate for governor in Virginia: (Laughs) Well President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg had already booked the famous Boston marathoners, so we made do with local volunteers and a few of the better kept homeless. I will say we had a few problems convincing the older gentlemen to put on those tiny running shorts, but everyone was a good sport and happy to do a few laps around my indoor track to get in character for the event.

 

NYT: Tell us about this new legislation.

McAuliffe: It’s very simple. This is a problem and I have a government solution. After I’m sworn in, during my first hour as Virginia’s new governor I intend to introduce legislation to implement what I call common–sense pressure cooker control that all American’s can support.

 

NYT: How will it work?

McAuliffe: The centerpiece of the legislation is a one–per–month limit on pressure cooker sales to civilians. Purchasers will be entered into a statewide Culinary Registry where their name will be matched against previous purchases. This is a painless process for shoppers, which we will begin in upscale department stores. If their name comes up as having purchased a pressure cooker less than a month previously, they will be directed to a nice toaster oven or blender. In fact, if they are willing to give us their email address, the state will notify them when they are eligible to again purchase a pressure cooker.

 

NYT: The program will be limited to Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus?

McAuliffe: Certainly not. I’m aware that good value can be found at Target and something called ‘Big Lots.’ In fact, I intend to close the so–called ‘second–hand loophole.’ We will regulate sales at flea markets and thrift stores. Just because you may ‘no hablo’ doesn’t mean you should not register your purchase. I’ll give the secretary of technology six months to come up with an ‘app’ that will allow Smartphone registration in smaller stores and at garage sales.

 

NYT: So the legislation is just a limit on the number of purchases?

McAuliffe: No, I should have said a comprehensive, common–sense approach. There will also be a limit on the size of pressure cookers. No one really needs one of those high–capacity pressure cookers. Herbert Hoover only promised a single chicken in every pot, not an entire flock. And at our house my cook, Consuela, has never had to use a high–capacity pressure cooker. And that includes the really big fund raising events Bill Clinton attended before he became a vegan.

My kitchen experts also tell me that with the shrinking size of the American family and the distaste professional women display toward cooking, pressure cookers of 3 or possibly 4-quart capacity will be sufficient.

In addition, we also have design guidelines for cookers sold in Virginia. We want manufacturers to cut down on the number of dials and vaguely threatening controls found on some pressure cookers. In my experience newlywed cooking is frightening enough without adding an ominous pressure device to the mix.

 

NYT: Will this legislation have any impact on the Virginia economy?

McAuliffe: Of course I don’t want to do anything that would harm job creation. That’s one of my most popular focus group tested talking points. We certainly don’t want an Obamacare situation here. So there will be a size limit exception for commercial establishments that may require a larger–capacity cooker for their clientele. Right now homeless shelters, soup kitchens, prisons and Old Country Buffett are exempt from both size and purchase limits.

 

NYT: But what about existing large capacity pressure cookers that are already owned?

McAuliffe: The size of the existing pressure cooker market is nothing like that of the gun market, thank goodness. Plus there is no National Cooker Association pressuring gutless legislators. I feel that as inexperienced newlyweds burn things in pressure cookers, divorce papers are filed and just the general wear and tear of moving occur, the large capacity pressure cooker inventory will be reduced to a manageable size.

 

NYT: What about the public health component of your program?

McAuliffe: That’s important, too. The director of the state department of health will be encouraging pediatricians to ask their minor patients if they live in a house that contains pressure cooker and if so where is it stored. It’s important to know who has access to the cookware. We are also considering including a few questions on the amount of salt used in cooking and the presence of trans–fats.

 

NYT: Do you feel these common–sense regulations will remove the threat?

McAuliffe: This will certainly reduce the threat that originates in the kitchen, but at the same time, I don’t want to overlook the delivery system used in the Boston attack. I think the day of large, military–style backpacks is over. Black, camo or other assault backpacks are simply not necessary for civilian transport. When we were all still reeling from the tragedy, I was leaning toward banning backpacks entirely, but when my daughter pointed out the crucial role backpacks play in our education system, I relented.

 

NYT: What backpacks will be allowed in the future?

McAuliffe: We are currently writing the new regulations, but I think most backpacks that feature licensed characters or come from OshKosh B’Gosh, REI or Victoria’s Secret will be allowed, particularly if the backpack has those sexy little stringy straps. I also intend for the state patrol to conduct “backpack buy back” programs where outlawed backpack owners can turn in illegal backpacks in exchange for reusable grocery bags.

 

NYT: How long before Virginians can expect to see a difference?

McAuliffe: As the War on Poverty has proved, no problem that government attacks is really ever solved, but I think this is an important first step.