Author Archives: Michael R Shannon

Off–Year Election Prospects Grim for Conservatives

Democrat Terry McAuliffe prepares to photograph his favorite person.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe prepares to photograph his favorite person.

In 2009 gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia provided a morale boost for conservatives still smarting from the Obama victory. Chris Christie won in New Jersey and Bob McDonnell won in Virginia.

The chance for morale boosting repeat this year is very small.

In New Jersey we’ve discovered Christie is now Obama’s newest BFF and is showing all the symptoms of an advanced case of RINO’s disease with egomaniacal complications.

Here in Virginia, there is little optimism regarding Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign for governor. It’s looking more and more like he should have kept his original promise to run for re–election as attorney general. Then there truly would have been a balm in Gilead.

Retiring Lt. Governor Bill Bolling could have run unopposed on the GOP side — while he continued to keep his inner RINO in the closet — Cuccinelli would be AG and E. W. Jackson could have become Lt. Governor. Two conservatives out of three isn’t bad and former GOP consultant — and Bolling inner circle member — Boyd Marcus would not have had to defect to the Democrats in a fit of pique.

It pains me to say this, but ‘moderate’ Bolling actually would have been a stronger candidate than Cuccinelli, because he has no ties whatsoever to FBI investigation target Jonnie Williams — the VA GOP answer to Santa Claus — and his Star Scientific patent medicine company. A Bolling candidacy would have been immune to the fallout from Big Watch Bob McDonnell’s gifts–that–keep–on–giving scandal. Simply because Bolling didn’t run up a tab with Williams. Bolling doesn’t wear a $7,500 gift watch, didn’t take free vacations, his children didn’t receive $25,000 in wedding gifts, his wife didn’t receive a $15,000 shopping spree and the family business didn’t get a $75,000 loan.

(Rumor has it that once Bolling learned Williams’ product wasn’t a weight loss aid, he had no more interest in Star Scientific.)

Instead we have an incumbent governor passing the hat to raise money to pay lawyers working to prevent an indictment. Williams is singing like a canary. And both are damaging Cuccinelli who took what amounted to tip money from Jonnie — particularly when compared to the jackpot McDonnell hit when Williams became a “family friend.”

No wonder Ken is currently polling seven points behind the Democrat nominee Terry ‘Flim Flam Man’ McAuliffe. I suppose we’re lucky the deficit isn’t larger. McDonnell could have helped the situation if he had resigned during the summer, but even Star Scientific doesn’t manufacture an anti–inflammatory powerful enough to lubricate McDonnell’s passage out of the mansion.

So McAuliffe’s refusal to release his tax returns — for a brief moment an important issue — becomes a non–issue in the environment generated by the Williams/McDonnell gifts scandal. Looking at it from a voter’s perspective it’s a wash, McAuliffe is just better about hiding his financial peccadilloes.

In this political climate it’s crucial for the Cuccinelli campaign to avoid any mistakes that call the nominee’s character into question. So what do they do? The campaign airs a negative commercial that calls the campaign’s character into question.

The spot contains testimonials from people who were ruined by the bankruptcy of a company from which McAuliffe made millions. Any effectiveness the commercial had ended when the people giving the testimonials told the Washington Post that no one told them the footage would be in a campaign commercial. On the contrary, they say they were told the interviews were for a documentary. And they say the Cuccinelli campaign lied to them.

I’ve been making campaign commercials for 33 years and I can tell you that any competent media firm has a simple way to settle controversies like this. All the campaign has to do is show the reporter the talent releases signed during the taping.

That way if the interviewees change their mind later or the McAuliffe people pressure them, you have proof the interview subjects knew what they were getting into before the spot aired.

Only the Cuccinelli campaign didn’t show Washington Post reporters any signed releases. During their WaPost interview they did not address “whether the employees in the ad were told how the footage would be used.”

I don’t want to pile on here, but I have some advice for the campaign. If the media consultant and the production company didn’t get signed permission releases from non–professional talent the company is sloppy, incompetent and deserves to be fired.

If the media consultant and the production company have releases but the releases say the footage is to be used in a documentary and not a campaign commercial, they are sleazy, incompetent and deserve to be fired.

Voters are accustomed to a certain amount of hyperbole in positive campaign spots, that’s why no one chokes when Lindsey Graham and the word “fighting” appear in the same spot. But negative commercials must be accurate and the allegations based on verifiable fact. Ken’s campaign has done it’s best to undermine his positive and negative message.

We have a Cuccinelli campaign that says McAuliffe can’t be trusted, plays fast and loose with the truth and won’t release his taxes. Then the same campaign releases a commercial that plays fast and loose with the truth to people already reeling from losing their livelihood. And just to make sure the news stays bad Cuccinelli — after foot dragging for months — decides to donate $18,000 to charity to offset the same amount he received in gifts from Jonnie Williams.

In one fell swoop the campaign helps McAuliffe by generating another week or two of negative coverage regarding the gifts. Waiting this late in the campaign to donate money from gifts Cuccinelli never should have taken is stupidity compounded.

I’m told that the reason Cuccinelli decided to break his promise and not run for re–election as AG is his big money backers told him they would not donate unless he ran for governor. I’m wondering how the plutocrats feel about their investment now?

 

For more on Cuccinelli and the gifts scandal click here

For more on how McDonnell caused the gifts scandal click here and here

For more on how Bolling discovered his inner RINO click here

For more on how Marcus discovered his inner turncoat click here

Feeling Threatened? Borrow a Legislator!

Indians & Gun ControlThe reason the debate over the 2nd Amendment is so futile is that supporters of the amendment have two jobs — one expected, the other burdensome. Marshalling an argument for your position is only natural in a debate and if it’s not done, that side deserves to lose.

What’s burdensome is 2nd Amendment supporters also have to explain how guns function to opponents who are dangerously ignorant and basing their position on feelings, myths and MSNBC.

It’s like debating physics with Wile E. Coyote.

The gun control debate in Colorado is a perfect example. For years Rep. Diana DeGette (D–Space Cadet) has sponsored federal legislation to ban “high capacity magazines.” Naturally after Sandy Hook, DeGette began pontificating about her bill once again. She predicted that banning “high–capacity magazines” would reduce gun violence because “”the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available.”

This may have been true if DeGette was talking about a “high–capacity” lipstick cartridge, but not an ammunition magazine. This is the equivalent of fighting high school vandalism by banning “high–capacity” egg cartons sold at Costco. In the real world magazines are reloaded and can be reused over and over, just like purses!

Later DeGette sent her “spokeswoman” Juliet Johnson out to clarify her remarks, but unfortunately the ignorance in her office isn’t confined to the officeholder. Johnson explained, “The congresswoman has been working on a high-capacity assault magazine ban for years and has been deeply involved in the issue; she simply misspoke in referring to ‘magazines’ when she should have referred to ‘clips,’ which cannot be reused because they don’t have a feeding mechanism.”

Wrong again. “Clip” is an inaccurate term for magazine and by any name the device is reusable as long as the spring holds up.

During hearings for state anti–gun legislation in March, State Sen. Evie Hudak told a rape victim testifying before her committee that it was foolish to think she could have stopped her attacker with a gun: “Statistics are not on your side,” Hudak explained.

For those residents who might want to pack more than a sheaf of statistics on their hip, House Majority Leader Dickey Hullinghorst offered solace. She claimed during an interview that firearms ownership is unnecessary because the state legislature protects citizens.

“As a woman, I have the right not to carry a gun and to feel safe on the streets,” Hullinghorst lectured, “and that’s what we provide for in the state legislature is for all of us in the state of Colorado — to feel safe on the streets without having to carry a gun.”

This could work. Here in the DC area we have a system called Capital Bikeshare where participants buy a membership and then borrow bicycles from stations scattered across the area when they need to go somewhere and don’t want to walk or drive.

I can see the same principle working with Colorado Legis–share. When a woman who doesn’t want to pack heat feels uneasy at the prospect of walking along a dark street, she simply borrows a legislator from a nearby station and the solon accompanies her. Residents can buy memberships from the nearest lobbyist.

Strong, assertive women like Hullinghorst would probably be in high demand, but any legislator is better than no legislator when you’re in a tight spot.

The Democrat–dominated state house then passed a series of anti–gun laws that resulted in a recall election for two prominent Democrat gun grabbers Sen. Angela Giron (Pueblo) and Sen. John Morse (Colorado Springs). The recall pitted the media, Democrats and billionaires like Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Eli Broad against a plumber who had to borrow money from granny to start the recall drive.

Yet outspent 27 to 1 the plumber and conservatives in Colorado won! Both Democrats lost and will be replaced by Republicans.

Evidence of firearms fantasy is not confined to Colorado though. After a calm and courageous bookkeeper named Antoinette Tuff prevented a school shooting by talking the gunman into surrendering, I anticipated the gunphobics would be urging Congress to pass emergency funding to put a bookkeeper with a megaphone in every elementary school in the country.

Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak certainly didn’t disappoint. She crowed that there were no deaths in Decatur, GA in spite of the fact teachers weren’t armed, the NRA’s gun–toting police officers weren’t present and the school didn’t have “frightening ‘intruder drills.’”

Dvorak explains, “As soon as the man entered the school and fired one round into the floor, Tuff called 911 and stayed smooth and calm as a computer help line operator. She kept a conversation going among herself, the gunman and the 911 dispatcher…Her 911 call — listen to the whole thing; it’s riveting — is a portrait of poise, compassion and selflessness. She was exactly what America is forgetting to be.”

Unfortunately for Petula and all the lessons she would have America draw from this single incident, there is a stark difference between this attack and other shootings. The Georgia gunman shot the floor, while the high school, university and elementary school gunmen shot people. You’d think a highly trained reporter would notice that.

A school that prepared for a variety of contingencies and had a bookkeeper with a megaphone, along with an armed teacher or two, would have options for dealing with a gunman depending on whether the he shot the parquet or the principal. In Dvorak’s dream school the students and teachers would be out of luck in almost every case.

But that’s not an argument one can make with legislators, advocates and leftist journalists that live in a dream world. And even the Colorado recall results may bounce off their impermeable armor of ignorance and arrogance.

So for the rest of us the choice boils down to this: You can have “statistics” on your side or you can have Smith & Wesson. The choice is yours, for now.

TSA Annexes NFL

TSA logic: Coming to an NFL stadium near you.

TSA logic: Coming to an NFL stadium near you.

I never thought I’d live to see the day when you couldn’t bring more than 3 oz. of shampoo into a National Football League stadium. Over the years I’ve grudgingly accepted the ban on explosives, handguns, rifles and vuvuzelas, but this may be the last straw.

The NFL has now decreed that fans (quaintly known in some quarters as paying customers) may no longer bring purses larger than a pack of cigarettes (also banned, BTW) into the stadium. In addition, the ban includes briefcases, fanny packs, coolers, backpacks, cinch bags, computer bags (!) and camera bags. Instead attendees may fill one clear plastic bag no large than 12” X 6” X 12” with their worldly possessions.

NFL officials suggest items that won’t fit inside the bag may be put in your pockets, around your neck or slipped inside a handy body cavity. In its benevolence the NFL is allowing fans to bring blankets inside, as long as you sling it over your shoulder like the infantry in the Army of Northern Virginia did.

The reason for the change is as tiresome as it is irrelevant: “To provide a safer environment for the public and significantly expedite fan entry into stadiums.” The new policy will expedite all right. Once the argument with the TSA–wannabe is over, females will be jettisoning personal possessions into waiting trash bins like shipwreck survivors tossing unneeded weight out of a lifeboat.

How sowing confusion is going to speed up security lines is something of a mystery. Many items formerly contained in a purse will go into pockets instead, where they will trigger metal detectors. This, in turn, will trigger pat–downs, wandings, pocket emptying, possession dropping and possession forgetting. You’ll have all the fun of an airport security line without the bother of remembering to put your tray table in “its full, upright and locked position.”

This season the NFL will be conducting an unintentional experiment in market dynamics. It will be interesting to see how long it takes the descending curve of a fan’s desire to attend the game to cross the rising nuisance curve of petty NFL rules. Commissioner Roger Goodell’s lasting legacy may be as the man who made pro football a studio sport.

Various credulous observers have commented, “I understand the need for increased security when it comes to larger bags. All someone needs to do is mention the 2013 Boston Marathon to silence critics.”

I’ve got a news flash: One couldn’t bring a pressure cooker into a Redskins game before the Boston bombing, much less afterwards. Dan Snyder, Redskins owner, wouldn’t allow the competition with his over–priced hot dogs. And speaking of Snyder, the NFL advised owners to establish a location where females who didn’t get the word could check their purses outside the stadium, like a hotel does with coats, and then pick the purse up after the game.

Snyder — a noted paragon of customer service — provided a little expediting here, too. Women were told to trek back to their cars with their purse or drop it in the trash.

The safety concerns of the majority of fans, and almost all the women, concern being protected from aggressive drunks, hurling drunks, disrobing drunks, cursing drunks and fighting drunks. (For their part the drunks may have some complaints, too but they have trouble remembering.) But ending alcohol sales or increasing patrolling security inside the stadium would cut into owner profits, whereas making you throw your purse in the trash costs Snyder nothing.

When you combine that with the fact you have to leave earlier to catch a football game than you do to catch a flight. The traffic home will be at least as bad as traffic to the stadium. Parking can run you $50. The ticket can cost more than an airline flight. And you have to sit idle while play stops for a TV commercial — the option of sitting at home and watching the game looks better and better. In fact, during the 2011 season almost two million seats went unsold in the NFL.

Airlines don’t worry too much about security irritation because there is no real alternative for long distance travel. But the NFL provides its own alternative: Televised games! Where you see better, eat cheaper, have a smaller carbon footprint and are on a first name basis with the drunks.

I can’t imagine this latest “safety” brainstorm is going to make NFL owners happy if they start losing concession, parking and ticket revenue.

Of course it could be that football fans are intrinsically more dangerous than baseball fans. I went to a Nationals game this week. The guard glanced in my wife’s large, black, opaque bag, saw clear plastic bottles of water and waved her though. It took about 15 seconds. There were no metal detectors and no pat–downs. I didn’t remove my shoes or my belt. Yet the family didn’t feel the least bit unsafe.

Something tells me the clear plastic bag has more to do with mom sneaking a granola bar into the stadium than it does pressure cooker bombs.

It’s enough to make you wonder if Goodell drinks Maker’s Mark bourbon. You may recall earlier this year Maker’s Mark was presented with a problem many companies wish they had in Obama’s economy — more demand for their bourbon than the company could supply at current production levels.

Classical economics offers two choices to a company in this situation: Raise prices until the demand curve crosses the price curve or keep prices where they are, endure resulting shortages and ramp up production for the future.

Instead, the owners decided to water down their bourbon, reducing alcohol content from 90 proof to 84 proof, so as to increase supply at the same price. Customers were outraged and the company quickly backed down and kept the alcohol level the same.

Goodell is diluting the quality of his product, too. But instead of water he adds irritation.

Consultants Who Think They Are Kingmakers

Boyd Marcus (the Karl Rove lookalike on the right) when he still consorted with Republicans.

Boyd Marcus (the Karl Rove lookalike on the right) when he still consorted with Republicans.

A Virginia consultant no voter ever heard of endorses a candidate for governor nobody really likes and somehow it’s on the front page of the Washington Post’s Metro section. It reminds me of what Democrats formerly called the ‘Shrum Primary.’  That was the jockeying Democrat presidential candidates went through to try and persuade Bob Shrum to join their campaign as lead media consultant and strategist.

It wasn’t quite like a barefoot Emperor Henry IV standing in the snow begging the forgiveness of Pope Gregory VII, but it was close. The Shrum spectacle went on for a number of presidential elections until someone noticed (keep in mind Democrats are often blind to the obvious) that Shrum candidates were never called Mr. President after the election.

There is a larger question regarding both of these instances — who cares and how large does your ego have to be to think someone does?

This week’s ‘newsmaker’ is Boyd Marcus, described by the Posties as “a veteran Republican political consultant.” Marcus is famous as the architect of George Allen’s U.S. Senate victory over incumbent senator Tim Kaine last November. At a time when madcap TEA Party candidates were discussing women’s private parts or God’s plan for rape, ‘mainstream’ George Allen was cruising to victory.

Wait, my mistake. That’s what Marcus assured us was going to happen after ‘electable’ Allen (he can raise money, you know) got the nomination. So when November came around, Marcus and the rest of the Allen brain trust were perched inside the Mitt Romney Momentum Express bus waiting for the acceleration to kick in. They are still waiting.

It’s completely in character for Marcus to move from Republican Allen’s rerun Senate candidacy to a revenge endorsement of Democrat Terry McAuliffe in this year’s Virginia governor’s race. Marcus, who formerly only worked in Republican campaigns, says he is proud to endorse McAuliffe because Terry is the only candidate for governor willing to cut him a check.

Whoops, another mistake on my part.

For public consumption Marcus said, “I was looking at the candidates, and I saw Terry McAuliffe as the guy who will work with everybody to get things done.” Then McAuliffe wrote him the check. And what a deal! If only endorsements for the Democrat money–man were all a simple financial transaction! McAuliffe wouldn’t have to waste time shaking hands and pretending to be interested in what some Virginia hillbilly thinks about the deficit.

The McAuliffe campaign also issued its own bizarre Marcus quote, “I’ve never before supported any Democrat, but this election Terry is the clear choice for mainstream conservatives.” Translation: McAuliffe is the clear choice for self–involved turncoats whose support is for sale.

The real reason Marcus decided to monetize his political sympathies was his candidate for governor in Virginia — Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling — dropped out of the race when Ken Cuccinelli supporters in the Republican Party changed the nomination format from a primary to a convention. This completely upset the Bolling applecart consultants and all.

In spite of the fact Bolling had been light governor for eight years he and Marcus somehow overlooked the importance of building an organization during his two terms. No real connection with the grassroots means no delegates at the convention. So TEA Party fave Cuccinelli walked away with the nomination.

That meant Marcus lacked a meal ticket this fall. Cuccinelli certainly wasn’t going to hire him and there were no wealthy Virginia RINOs running for other statewide offices available to aid his cash flow.

An operative with even a shred of integrity would simply sit this one out. What one doesn’t do is what Marcus did — sign on with a candidate that is the antithesis of everything for which the Virginia, and for that matter national, Republican Party stands. This is what the average American hates about politics: The mercenaries and their candidates who ‘grow’ in office and have infinitely malleable principles.

How many pro–life bills does Marcus think uber–Democrat McAuliffe is going to sign? How many taxes will McAuliffe be willing to cut? How much government intrusion into the free market is McAuliffe going to prevent? And how often will McAuliffe oppose public employee union attempts to put one over on the taxpayer? Will McAuliffe fight Obamacare and the Medicaid expansion? Will McAuliffe be a voice against pressure from the left to legalize illegals?

In a nutshell, none, none, none, never, no and no. The things McAuliffe will get “done” involve abortion, alternate lifestyles, amnesty and helping Hillary gear up for 2016.

The vast majority of Virginia Republicans really believe in the party’s platform. They don’t change their positions like Marcus changes his socks. Marcus’ politics of petulance is one of the many problems with GOP ‘leadership’ today.

I know a little about changing political parties. Up until about 2000 I was a Democrat, but as I experienced more of reality and the Democrat party decided to embrace unreality, we drifted apart. I made the change official in the 2002 election and I stopped working for Democrat candidates and limited myself to Republicans.

Switch–hitting in baseball is fine (and leftists would have you believe it makes for an exciting marriage) but in politics it only indicates opportunism and a lack of core beliefs.

It will say a great deal about Marcus if he tries to work for Republicans in the future. And it will say even more about any Republican who hires him. Conservatives beware.

Obamacare – Good Enough for You, But not Good Enough for Congress

Angry conservatives prepare to attend their local town hall meeting.

Angry conservatives prepare to attend their local town hall meeting.

If you want to get a very clear idea of the utter contempt in which our corrupt political class holds the voters who put them in office, look no further than the Congressional Obamacare exemption. Don’t confuse this with previous exemptions a bystander Congress has allowed the Obama administration to award supportive unions and other politically favored groups.

This exemption is specifically for Congress.

Under Obamacare Members of Congress and staff are required to buy individual health insurance from state insurance exchanges, just like their constituents Ma & Pa Kettle.

Since the majority of members possess Anthony Weiner levels of common sense, this portion of the law they passed created confusion in that august body. What exchange should the staffers use; the one in the District (land of dependency and demagoguery) or the one in their home state designed by people not clever enough to make it to Washington?

Anyone smarter than a 6th grader could see the answer at a glance. Just as the DC staffers by their Viagra from CVS and the staffers back home frequent Wal–Mart, staffers based in DC buy insurance where they live and staffers back at home buy at home.

There you see? All better now.

Even this minor confusion shows why Congress’ used–car–salesman level approval rating is richly deserved. Even Robert Pear, a reporter for the lefty New York Times was moved to observe, “The confusion raises the inevitable question: If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?”

Any conservative could easily answer that question. Hell no!

But for the political class the ‘where’ was not nearly as important as the ‘whom,’ as in who pays for this wondrous new insurance coverage a benevolent Obama has given?

Currently Congressional staffers have a great health insurance policy subsidized by you! While they are beavering away, coming up with new ways to control your life, their Cadillac plans are paid for with a 75 percent, tax–free subsidy.

Now the policy and the subsidy disappear. Giving members and staff another chance to be like real Americans when they realize Obama’s promise if you like your doctor and your insurance you can keep both, was just another Choom Gang alumnus blowing smoke.

This created a situation rich in unintended irony. As the Heritage Foundation wrote, “Members of Congress and their staffs are facing the same problems that confront millions of employers and employees—their fellow citizens—throughout America. They will be unable to keep the health coverage they have today, and will instead be consigned to the government health exchanges, whether they like it or not. …In short, Members of Congress will feel the effects of their own legislative handiwork directly.”

Naturally, this caused panic. In fact this unintended consequence was the only positive development to come from Obamacare. According to Politico, “Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting.

The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive.”

Great, self–induced term limits! Patchwork to be sure and no doubt short term, but a start nonetheless.

Other Congressional “leaders” feared the country would suffer from a “brain drain” as experienced staffers fled for the private sector where they are constantly assuring us they will make so much more money. My comment is, don’t let the door hit you in the behind.

And of course our dynamic Republican leader is on the job. Rep. John Boehner — Mr. Solidarity with the common man — was hoping Sen. Harry Reid would create a legislative fix (apt word that).

When asked about secret talks to rekindle the boiler fire in the federal gravy train, Boehner spokesman Michael Steele said, ““The speaker’s objective is to spare the entire country from the ravages of the president’s health care law. …If the speaker has the opportunity to save anyone from Obamacare, he will.”

Keep in mind the “anyone” escaping in this instance are the same people making you live under the undiluted Obamacare regime.

Fortunately for the hand–wringing Boehner and shameless Democrats the decision has been taken out of their hand. They won’t be forced to vote on Hypocrisy Bill 358. Pharaoh has spoken. President Obama intervened and ordered the Office of Personnel Management to decree the 75 percent insurance subsidies will continue for members and staff.

There is no provision in the law for this exemption, the OPM has no authority to issue the decision, but it’s in keeping with the legal theory that if Obama wants it, it must be OK.

So where does this leave you? It should leave you enraged. These posturing Republicans who bravely talk about repealing Obamacare are as quiet as church mice in regard to exempting themselves. I’ve had enough and it’s high time you felt the same.

Congress will be in recess soon and Senators and Congressman will be returning to their districts for town hall meetings. Go to the meeting. Take off work if necessary. Ask your representative if he and his staff are taking advantage of the Obamacare exemption.

If the answer is ‘yes’ or he avoids the question (which means the answer is ‘yes’) then you have a duty to vote against him. So what if he’s replaced by a Democrat. Better a leftist than a liar.

If Obamacare is a litmus test on liberty, as Republican Members of Congress have been telling us, it’s also a litmus test for those representing us. Any Representative or Senator who accepts the Obamacare exemption is a posturing Washington hypocrite and not fit to represent me.

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.

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