Tag Archives: Humor/Satire

Teachers suffering from paycheck ADHD

Teachers go hyperbolic, again.

Teachers go hyperbolic, again.

There’s been a great deal of upheaval involving teacher’s unions over the last year. There was and is great drama in Wisconsin where teacher’s and their Democrat lackeys in the legislature went hands on with Gov. Scott Walker to fight his efforts to reform public employee unions.

But here in Prince William County, VA, where I live, it’s been comedy.

It began in Richmond, where the teacher’s statewide union and Democrat lackeys in the legislature defeated Gov. Bob McDonnell’s effort to reform tenure rules. Encouraged by this victory, local teachers and the Prince William Education Assn. began a ‘work to rule’ campaign to put pressure on the school board to include a raise in next year’s budget. This meant they didn’t stay after school to help students with extra curricular activities unless they were paid extra.

Teachers conducted “grade–ins” at grocery stores and government meetings. They wore buttons to school and made a big solidarity production out of entering the school building together in the morning and leaving en masse in the afternoon.

After writing about the campaign, I discovered area teachers are avid readers, because many of them took time to send me irate email. To recap, in my view the PWC school board has gone out of its way to protect teachers from the economy pounding the taxpaying private sector.

While 300,000 teaching jobs have been lost nationwide, there have been no layoffs in Prince William County. In Loudoun teachers were threatened with unpaid furlough days, but not here in PWC. And although the county government employees took a 5 percent hit to their paycheck to cover costs passed down from the state, teachers didn’t lose a dime.

It was striking to me how many of the hostile teachers complained about dealing with children. It’s like a surgeon griping about cutting people open.

Kids are unruly, there are too many of them, they clutter up the hallways, they turn in papers that need to be graded. According to those emails, working conditions rivaled that of a Chinese iPad assembly line worker. With long hours, oppressive supervision and no noodles for lunch.

Many of the emails were also confused about the practice of journalism and the cushy life reporters lead. Although I currently enjoy a lofty perch in the journalistic pantheon, I started out in this business as a sports director for a TV station in West Texas. After a month the news director informed me I was now the Midland city reporter AND the sports director, effectively doubling my workload with the same pay.

This meant my day could either start at 10 AM or 2 PM but it always ended at 10:30 PM after the last newscast. What’s more, we worked Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s and the Fourth of July, if those dates came during the week. There were no four–day weekends or Easter Break in the news business. And we didn’t get the summer off.

But enough about me. Another correspondent complained that with a master’s degree and nine years experience she “scarcely make(s) over $50,000” a year. If she’s at step nine on the pay scale it means her salary is $58,312 annually.

This is $22,575 more than the per capita income in PWC and compares well with the median nationwide income of $61,273 for master’s degree holders. Particularly when you remember most master’s degree holders are working, according to Forbes magazine, 225 days per year instead of her 195 as a teacher.

Another disgruntled educator complained about having three bosses, evidently watching her like a hawk. Her compadre wrote, “teachers are observed by their administrators several times each year and formally evaluated every three years.”

And guess what? Everyone is above average, just like in Lake Woebegone! Last year in PWC out of 5,422 teachers a grand total of 16 did not have their contract renewed. That’s three tenths of one percent.

For comparison purposes, in healthcare — another “caring industry” — 4.6 percent of the employees were discharged involuntarily in 2011. Even in the utility industry, hardly a hotbed of job insecurity, 2 percent of employees were let go. In PWC education a comparable number would have been 108, but instead tenure protects the good, the bad and the unmotivated.

So what was the result of the work to rule campaign? Last week the school board did vote for the pay increase teacher’s demanded and it proved to be a real learning experience. Teacher activists got to familiarize themselves with the meaning of “Pyrrhic Victory” and brush up on their percentages.

The board approved an increase, but it also lengthened the school day from 7 hours to 7.5. The new school year adds an additional 97.5 hours, an increase of 7 percent.

This “pay raise” increases salaries an average of 2.85 percent for all employees although 1,800 teachers will receive less and 270 teachers at the top of the scale will receive nothing.

Getting down to cases, a teacher with a BA degree at step 10 made $54,863 a year or $40.19/hr. before the “raise.” After the raise she makes $56,427 (assuming she gets the full increase) but her hourly wage drops to $38.58/hr.

So after this victory she’s making $1.61/hr. LESS than she made before. A few more triumphs of labor solidarity like this and landscaping may start to look attractive as a career option.

At least Pyrrhus beat the Romans at Heraclea and Asculum, which is more than you can say for the PWEA. Teachers wanted a raise in the worst way and it looks like that’s what the school board gave them.

Batboy Named Algae Czar

DISTRICT OF CRIMINALS — Fresh off blowing hot air at the press about the dire need to move U.S. energy dependence from oil to algae, President Barack “Downgrade” Obama today took daring steps, naming Batboy as the nation’s first Algae Czar.

In his first official decree, Batboy, who has lived openly in public for 27 years as Congresscriminal Henry Waxman from California, announced the president will issue an executive order later today to create the Dental Algae Reclamation Project, to be funded by confiscated tax returns of the 1%.

“Never before in our history has it been more important to explore alternative energy, what with vast deposits of natural gas that must remain in the earth in order to hasten the prophecy of Atlas Shruggedand the successful blocking of the Keystone XL pipeline to appease environmentalist voters in time for the 2012 election,” said WaxmanBatboy, who will continue to serve in Congress, since he doesn’t do anything there in the first place except try to take over the Internet so he can increase his bandwidth for viewing YouPorn videos of himself with The Wicked Witch of Congress.

The Dental Algae Reclamation Project will mandate that a lottery choose annual dental visits for all Americans, for the scraping of algae from their teeth. WaxmanBatboy said he and the 99% of Occupy Wall Street will be the first in line because they’ve “been storing enough algae in our mouths to fuel the nation for centuries,” WaxmanBatboy said.
In other news, the Downgrade administration will also empanel a commission to study the efficacy of renewing the horse and buggy as the dominant mode of American transportation, how well fat liposuctioned from Michael Moore could provide fuel for gas lamps in 100 million American homes, and whether Obama darling and failed solar energy company Soyndra can use a new $535 million loan guarantee to convert the dead into food to offset the rising cost of grocery bills.
Solyndra Green is people!

A Grope A Day Keeps Osama Away

Sen. Rand Paul (R–KY) made the news Monday when he declined to get up close and personal with TSA guards at the Nashville, TN airport. Paul entered the security line; dumped his belt, glasses, wallet, shoes, cell phone and pocket change in the attractive plastic bin and walked passively through the full–body scanner.

Unfortunately while his chromosomes were enjoying this brief radiation bath, the scanner set off a “random” alarm that sent the crack TSA Grope Group into action. In Paul’s words, “TSA also wanted my dignity” and he refused their demand that he submit to a full–body latex massage.

Channeling years of innocent flyers before him, Paul showed them his leg (evidently something about this limb aroused, no pun intended, the suspicions of the Guardians of the Airways), said he was a frequent flyer and asked to be rescanned.

TSA replied no grope, no hope.

When Paul again refused, he was detained in a holding area. Laboring under the mistaken belief he still had a few rights, the senator called the office to say he would not make his scheduled speech.

This angered the TSA drone that informed Paul he should not have used his phone to call for help. There the situation remained until the TSA director appeared and allowed him to re–enter the scanner and take a later flight.

The difference here is that for the rest of us the director would not have appeared to save the day and most likely we would have been arrested for refusing the scan and trying to leave, as Mr. Don’t Touch My Junk learned.

Now Paul knows what the rest of the flying public has learned: TSA is a law unto itself and is designed to intimidate the public and insulate its employees from outside accountability.

When I buy BVDs and open the package I learn that “Inspector #38” has approved my drawers. But when I get home after a trip and discover some TSA minion has been rummaging through the unmentionables, all I have is a standardized notification with no indication of who actually did the inspection.

Consequently I’ve discovered surprises while unpacking. A TSA guard, who was too stupid to squeeze the plastic catch, cut through a luggage strap and deposited the unusable remains inside my bag. I’ve had thirsty TSA personnel open a sealed liquor bottle and sample the contents. In each instance I called the number on the form (1–800–Don’tHoldYourBreath), left a message and had the complaint ignored.

Compare this with a traffic stop. A motorist has the name and badge number of the officer and local number to call if there’s a complaint. If worse comes to worst, often you have the video from the dashboard camera to review.

TSA has none of this.

TSA employees have assumed the trappings of law enforcement without any of the training or responsibility. Consider the evolution of TSA uniforms. From the original white shirt with no badge we now have a blue uniform with a shiny gold badge, indistinguishable from that of a real police officer. Yet TSA guards lack the training of even a rural policeman.

For his part, Paul did not demand special treatment; although he got it shortly after the TSA figured out it was a member of the US Senate they were detaining. I’m sure Paul’s photo will be posted in the Nashville TSA break room with a ‘Do Not Grope’ order attached and he will have no future problems there.

The simple, obvious and wrong solution would be to exempt federal elected officials from TSA screening. If I had my way they would have to be screened twice just to show them what the rest of us put up with on a daily basis.

One of the many problems with the porcine, pervasive government we enjoy today is that elected officials who pass the laws and the bureaucrats that implement the laws don’t have to suffer the effects of the laws.

If more elected officials were forced to undergo the same red tape and petty harassments the people who pay their salaries do, there would be one of two outcomes. Less government interference with individual liberty or — what I’m afraid would happen — more exemptions for our betters, since everyone knows they aren’t a terrorist, bank robber, embezzler or fill–in–the–blank. Either way, voters would know and be able to adjust voting behavior accordingly.

You may know you’re not a terrorist either, but try telling that to the TSA when you want to take 5 ounces of shampoo on your next flight.

Is this the week the world economy bites it?

Ok, I know.. I haven’t written an honest-to-goodness analysis piece in awhile – but now.. the world is ending and I’ve noticed that no one else was writing about it.. well not just this moment ..

We’ve been hearing that EU is going to crash any day now, that Americans are over-leveraged and as Conservatives we know all about the looming debt crisis.

Today, Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos will be asking for new legislation that would impose losses on anyone who had been foolish enough to invest in the country. This provision would be triggered if no agreement could be reached in debt negotiations that will start on Wednesday. Papademos said, “The talks are not straightforward, because they aim at a voluntary restructuring of public debt, and to achieve a number of objectives simultaneously, objectives that involve trade-offs”

Of course that doesn’t mean the collapse of the Greek banking system (yet) which would lead to the fall of the EU (but not now) and then an eventual collapse of the global economy and life as we know it (if it were really happening). Nope, not that – not just this minute.

What about that middle east and Asia thing? @Zerohedge announced that the Oil Minister of India (one of the hottest new economies in the world) is now preparing for “all eventualities over Iran oil supplies”. And now, somehow, a middle-eastern country is about to run out of .. petroleum products. Nothing to see here, please move along.

The international community has its issues and apparently the United States is also on the precipice of catastrophe. The New York Times reminds us that “Few Cities Have regained Lost Jobs“, Reddit is going on strike, Palin would vote for Gingrich (in South Carolina), the unemployment rate is only getting better because more people have decided to quit looking for work and Colbert is being taken seriously by a major news outlet – you get the point.

So the world sucks, it’s 2012 so the whole Mayan calendar thing is coming, and we’re faced with the prospect of another 4 years of Barack Obama – who wouldn’t build a bunker, trim the hedges to create clear lines of fire and stock up a 50 year supply of that crappy astronaut ice cream  to weather the storm? Who?!

There is an economic storm brewing. The mainstream media needs you to keep trucking along so they can keep a steady stream of viable sponsors paying their bills. The politicians in power need you to believe things are stable so you’ll re-elect them and banks need you to think that it’s just fine to keep borrowing and spending your way to happiness. So don’t worry, be happy.

So who do you believe? Is Greece finally on the edge, will Iran prove a tipping point for Asian and European markets, will America’s debt-to-GDP ratio finally render the world’s largest economy defunct – or as Obama has told us, are things improving? Perhaps you should make sure your food store is stocked, you have cash, gold, chickens or whatever because after all, Rocks from Mars are Falling on Morocco – and if that’s not a indicator of the apocalypse.. what is?

Republicans Attempt to Change a Light Bulb

I don’t know precisely how many Republicans it takes to change a light bulb, but I can tell you that 289 are evidently not enough. That’s how many Republicans are in the House and Senate, yet they can’t accomplish a relatively simple task and repeal the ban on incandescent bulbs that went into effect January 1st.

And this repeal isn’t like overturning Obamacare, which will be Stalingrad for the socialists in D.C. Democrats don’t really have anything invested in the Twisty Light Bulb Act, other than their habitual environmental hysteria. The ban was passed in the waning days of “the Failed Bush Administration.” Repealing this law is not a repudiation of Obama, it’s a poke in the eye to George W and Democrats loathe him anyway. Yet House leadership is unable to persuade Democrats in the Senate to pass this small repeal.

Thus the first bulb to go is the 100–watt model, which means the invaluable 100–200–250 three–way bulb, so useful for reading, is going the way of the dodo. To be replaced by the single power twisty bulb, which either gives off a ghastly zombie–like white or a dingy yellow light. You’ll feel like you’re reading with the help of a whale oil lamp and for only three times the cost of the incandescent bulb it replaced. And this scientific breakthrough in illumination is like cars used to be: you have to warm it up a few minutes before it’s ready to go.

In addition to being more expensive, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFB) contain mercury, so if you drop one on the kitchen floor you suddenly escalate from a standard household cursing situation into a hazmat incident. Federal guidelines assure us that — like the batteries in a Chevy Volt — the small amount of mercury in a CFB is perfectly safe while rolling around on the linoleum.
Here’s an environmental hazard Rule of Thumb: Any given substance or activity is only toxic in direct proportion to the number of Republicans and capitalists that support its use.

This is why water and chemicals used in the natural gas fracking process, which occurs mile or two beneath the earth’s surface, are a civilization–ending threat to the water table located up to two miles above where the fracking takes place.
While the mercury right there on the kitchen floor is only a minor, Environmental Defense Fund–approved annoyance.
And while we’re in a fracking frame of mind, the Chicken Little Earth Protection Council is now blaming the process for Ohio earthquakes.

This is strange. I don’t recall underground nuclear tests being blamed for causing earthquakes. Yet “environmentalists” would have us believe that what is essentially a geologic enema is more dangerous to our threatened tectonic plates than detonating an atomic bomb!

Meanwhile, back on the surface, the House did manage to remove funds for enforcement of the ban from the December spending bill. This is a meaningless gesture not fit for inclusion in a campaign commercial. It’s like telling the trucking industry that drivers no longer have to obey the speed limit because Congress is not allowing the highway patrol to buy gas.
Republican’s futile efforts to make a real difference in Washington loom large in light of Obama’s recent ‘recess’ appointments. This action is a direct challenge to Constitutional government and House and Senate leadership does not appear to care.
The Constitution specifically states “Neither House…shall without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days…” The House has not consented to a Senate adjournment; therefore Congress remains in session. The fact this frustrates Obama does not make his appointments constitutional.

Obama doesn’t like checks and balances, and he knows his picks for the Labor Relations Board are so anti–business they would not survive the Senate confirmation process. Without an aggressive response an administration filled with appointees like Energy Secretary Steven Chu — who justifies the light bulb ban by saying, “We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money” — will be able to run roughshod over Congress and the nation.

Sure Boehner and McConnell issued pro forma objections, but where is the line in the sand? Republican leadership should be making the case to the public and informing the President that no additional business will be conducted until these unconstitutional appointments are retracted.

If these appointments are allowed to stand the remainder of Obama’s first term will be government by edict, while Republicans in Congress hope they can be rescued from themselves by a GOP victory in November.

Republicans ARE Discouraging Voter Turnout

It’s a dream come true for hysterical liberals and their fellow travelers in the ‘unbiased’ media. Pesky Republicans ARE actively working to discourage voter turnout in the 2012 Presidential election!

Unfortunately, in typical GOP fashion, the party is busy suppressing its own vote.

Thanks to a decision by the Virginia Republican State Central Committee, voters who may want to participate in the Commonwealth’s Republican Presidential Primary will be forced to sign a loyalty oath before the commissars allow them to cast a ballot.

Members of the Electoral College, who actually choose the President, are not Constitutionally required to swear a similar oath, but the committee — like Southern Baptists who frequently add qualifications for church office not found in the Bible — feel this is a vital improvement to the system.

The oath is brief and to the point: “I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.”

Prince William County Virginia’s redoubtable conservative Republican, Del. Bob Marshall strongly objects to requiring an oath, “Virginia’s Republican leadership wants to mandate a loyalty oath when Virginia’s Republican officials are in court fighting the Obamacare mandate? This sends the wrong message.”

I’m not sure I’m in agreement with Marshall’s analogy, since Obamacare is mandatory, while voting for the GOP is optional. (An option I fear many will choose not to exercise if it means signing this pledge.)

The oath manages to offend two groups that are key to winning in November: the conservative base and the independent. Longtime Republicans will be insulted by the presumption they are so fickle an oath is required to remind them of their loyalty.

Besides, as Marshall points out, Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Speaker of the House William Howell, have not always voted for the Republican nominee in November. Both supported an independent in an earlier race for Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Equally important, the Presidential election in November will be won among the 40 percent that considers themselves independent — voting for the man and not the party. What a shock it will be to the commitment–phobic independent who decides to participate in the GOP primary, only to be hit with a contract that requires him to swear an oath to a November candidate who might not even be on the March 6th primary ballot.

Which brings us to another problem. Although nationally we currently have a fluctuating total of approximately ten GOP candidates, in the Virginia primary the ballot will resemble the inventory of a Soviet supermarket with only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul to choose from.

It seems that organizing a petition drive to get his name on the ballot is the latest entry on the lengthening list of things Rick Perry can’t do.

Perry, who does have someone on staff who can file a lawsuit, and Virginia resident Newt Gingrich are attempting to gain access by judicial means — a particularly ironic move for Gingrich who blasted federal judges last week proclaiming “Judicial supremacy is factually wrong. It is morally wrong, and it is an affront to the American system of self–government.”
Unless, of course, you can find a judge who will overturn Republican rules and get you on the ballot.

The fact is if the yang and yin of presidential politics can get on the ballot under the existing rules, then the rest of the candidates should be able to clear the same hurdle, too.

This whole affair reeks of Paulophobia. Evidently the fear is that Ron Paul voters can’t be relied upon in November to support the Republican nominee if it’s not Ron Paul. It would make more sense to have Paul himself sign the oath as a condition of appearing on the ballot, since a third–party run on his behalf would only serve to re–elect Obama.

So naïve central committee members believe signing this worthless piece of paper is going to persuade a herd of black–helicopter Libertarian paranoids that they have to toe the line in November.

Fors Fortis, as the Romans say.

The other fear is wily Democrats voting for Paul in an effort to sow dissention in Republican ranks. The way to prevent this is to post a large sign informing Democrats their name will appear on Republican mailing lists and their mailboxes stuffed full of GOP direct mail and fund–raising appeals for the next four years.

My wife, Janet, still rues the day she voted for Hillary Clinton in one of those fruitless crossover voting schemes.
In the meantime, GOP Chairman Pat Mullins has scheduled a special meeting on January 21st. The only agenda item is the “loyalty oath.”

Democrats Regulating the Dead

Personal preferences are a reliable method of distinguishing between conservatives and Democrats. Conservatives believe personal preferences are just that: personal and particular to the individual. When others don’t share his preferences a conservative looks for more congenial companions or surroundings. Sometimes he even takes the initiative and creates a like–minded opportunity in the private sector.

Democrats believe their personal preferences are so noteworthy and have such a significant bearing on the future of society that it’s only fair these indispensible preferences be imposed on the public by force of law.

Which brings us to Democrat Alvin Tillman, a third–term member of the council in Terrebonne Parish, LA, who evidently does not have enough to occupy his time. Tillman is personally offended by the chroma culprits who paint their family tombs anything but white, which is Tillman’s preferred color.

“We want to stop this before it gets out of hand,” Tillman was quoted by the Associated Press. “Before you know it you’ll go out there and the cemetery will look like Mardi Gras.”

Since this is Louisiana — where being dead is no bar to exercising the franchise in favor of Democrats on election day — it could be that Tillman is simply responding to the wishes of his electoral base.

So he intends to persuade the council to pass a law. Unfortunately for his finely–tuned sense of aesthetics, his law will only apply to public cemeteries that are government–owned.

Not only will Tillman ban future non–white paint jobs, he won’t grandfather, so to speak, tombs that have already been painted. Those owners will be required to repaint their tombs, much like cab owners in DC will be required to repaint their cabs a uniform white if Councilwoman Mary Cheh, another Democrat member of the color police, gets her way.

In the South there is bad precedent for government intrusion in cemetery management. When local government was under Klan influence, it wasn’t concerned so much about the color of the tomb as it was focused on the color of the customer. In many marble orchards the tombs and the dead were uniformly white.

Tillman may be personally biased against tombs–of–color, but Louisiana has a long history of using paint to customize family tombs. The AP story also quotes an expert who observes, “Historically, the limewash used on family tombs was colored in shades of yellow, ochre, pink, gray and red.”

White on the outside, instead of the inside, is a recent development.

Personally, I think a tomb of almost any color beats the soggy Teddy Bear and defeated balloon piles dotting the roadside that pass for memorials here in Prince William County. At least in Terrebonne Parish the decoration is in close proximity to the deceased.

Judge Gideon Tucker once said, “No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session.” But in Louisiana you don’t even have to be alive to be at the mercy of a politician’s whims.

Liberals Love Monopoly Taxis

Many DC–area residents have a taxi story. Few have happy endings. Mine occurred on a very rainy day at Union Station. I’d been shuffling along in an endless taxi line when my turn finally arrived. The cab pulls up and fortunately I happened to glance inside before I entered.

The cab’s vinyl–covered backseat was already occupied by a puddle of rainwater. A situation like this is a win–win for the cab driver: He gets a fare and my pants soak up the wet spot. It’s harder so see an advantage for the passenger.
Since DC taxis operate under a regime of rules and regulations my role as a cog in this vast machine was to get in the cab, let my BVDs absorb the water and beseech the authorities to rectify this injustice to my private parts at a later date.

But I’m a conservative, so I asked the driver to wipe the seat.

He replied, “Get in the cab.”

I asked if paper towels had been invented in his country and he replied, “Get in the cab.”

Peer pressure began to rear its ugly head. Line dwellers pressing up behind me wondered why I didn’t get in the dang cab. What’s more, the petty line bureaucrat was holding the door open and motioning me inside.

Further negotiation with the driver appeared pointless. Instead, I decided to try a market–based solution. Taking this cab and getting to my destination sooner was not worth riding like a frog in a puddle, so I asked the rider behind me if he wanted the cab. Evidently worries about mold growing in places that are hard to reach were less for him than myself, so he took the taxi. I took the next one, which featured a dry seat.

Citizens are competent to conduct transportation market transactions like this without government intervention, yet in DC liberals are not only increasing taxi regulation, they are aping policies that have been proven to be monopolistic and anti–consumer in other cities.

Mayor Vincent Gray (D–What, Me Worry?) and Council member Mary Cheh (D–Serious, Intellectual Glasses) want to establish a taxi monopoly by instituting a medallion system. This would limit the 10,672 licensed cabdrivers and 116 cab companies to only 4,000 medallions, stifling future competition and guaranteeing higher prices.

The medallion system in New York and Boston has proven a windfall for medallion owners and a disaster for competition. The last medallion sale in NYC went for $1 million each. In Boston the average price is $400,000. Both prices are in indication of artificial market scarcity created by government.

As part of the medallion package, DC would impose vehicle age and mileage limits, while offering the ability to pay with a credit card — something that has been possible in Las Vegas for years — but there is no mention of installing paper towel racks.

Cabs would also be limited to a single color, white in the esteemed Ms. Cheh’s opinion, while potentially adding a surcharge to each fare so the customer can pay for the politician’s “improvements.”

This is why liberal government is so expensive. There is simply no area of life or color scheme that the progressive mind does not think it can improve with a few laws and subsequent regulation.

The question is: why is government involved at all? Medallion systems and cab commissions protect existing businesses and generate campaign contributions at the expense of the public. This latest taxi legislation only proves the DC council is incapable of embarrassment, since the last time it was discussed a staffer for Council member Jim Graham (D–Bribe, What Bribe?) went to jail for soliciting bribes from cab companies that would benefit from the bill.

The federal government deregulated the airline industry over 30 years ago and ticket prices are lower now than in the 70’s. (Of course this also made it possible for people who wear pajamas in public to fly, but you take the good with the bad.) Bus companies are competing on the DC to NYC route and fares have never been lower and the buses vie with each other to offer more passenger amenities, without design help from Ms. Cheh.

Government doesn’t need to set fares, limit cab numbers or pick the color. All that’s required is a background check and exam for drivers, vehicle safety inspection rules, a requirement that fares (determined by the company) be clearly visible on the door of the cab and a reasonable number of inspectors. The market can handle the rest.

Is something like this possible? Can we ever prevent government from meddling in areas it isn’t needed?

It just so happens I have an idea. Make it illegal for candidates to accept campaign contributions from any industry that’s operations are substantially regulated by the office they seek.

I think we would soon see a tidal wave of deregulation.

Jack Abramoff Wants Congress to Come Clean

Jack Abramoff

There’s nothing like spending 43 months in prison for fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy in connection with Congressional influence–peddling to make you an advocate of political contribution reform.

Notorious Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff is back on what the late Watergate scandal participant, John Ehrlichman might term a “modified limited hang out” book tour.

Abramoff contends that Washington equals swamp and the only reason he went to jail, for what he claims is standard operating procedure, is Jack made the mistake of raising his head too far above the scum line.

Jack’s obvious continuing pride in his accomplishments on behalf of his clients is cause to doubt sincere contrition on his part. And Abramoff appears blissfully unaware that the reputation he earned and scandal he created are in large part responsible for the GOP losing the House in 2006 — or if not unaware, he’s certainly unrepentant.

Still, Jack took advantage of the “me time” the feds gave him in Cumberland Prison to propose two reforms to clean up some of the mess he reveled in before his unfortunate incarceration.

First, he recommends that lobbyists, recipients of federal contracts and anyone who benefits from public funds be prohibited from making contributions or providing gifts to those in power. This alone covers everyone from General Dynamics to residents of Section 8 housing. Then he adds to his impossible dream by calling for a lifetime ban on lobbying by Members of Congress and their staff.

Conservatives automatically suspect any contribution prohibition because contributions are a form of speech. Yet I’ve never been entirely sold on the idea that semi–Socialist George Soros’ speech should forever be exponentially louder than mine, given the disparity in our bank accounts.

Counter–balancing conservatives like the Koch brothers grant what little peace of mind I have. (For conservatives the best of an uncertain situation would probably be to return to the unlimited contributions regime that existed before the “reforms” with the addition of unlimited and immediate disclosure of the donor.)

Campaign contributions from companies and individuals that take government money are inherently incestuous. It’s quite possible that most of the money that comprises the contribution originated as tax dollars before it was washed through the contractor’s accounts.

That’s one reason I like the idea. The other is the restriction is voluntary: don’t take the government check and you can contribute to your heart’s content. Even those affected by the ban face only a limited imposition on political speech. They can still give to state and local candidates, they can give to parties and they can spend their money on independent expenditures.
Speech bans already exist without undermining the Constitution. For example, individuals with a Top Secret clearance are prohibited from discussing the secrets in public, which is a limit on speech. Judges aren’t allowed to discuss cases while the trial is in progress, which is another voluntary limit on speech. So how does the prohibition on contributions differ?

Precedent for the equally voluntary lobby ban already exists in a limited form. Congressmen, Senators and staff are currently required to wait one year before they can board the lobby gravy train. Abramoff’s idea just extends the time limit to forever.
Politicians become lobbyists after leaving office because they’ve been captured by Washington and joining the permanent political class just seems like the thing to do. The constituents, who were fine as long as they were providing votes, are no longer up to snuff when it comes to being neighbors.

This voluntary rule — combined with term limits, which has also has a new supporter in Abramoff — would do much toward ridding us of the professional politician who’s only goal in life is serving in big government where he can “be a positive force for change.”

Three good ideas, regardless of the source, that have as much chance of being enacted as Ron Paul does of being President.

Playing Santa on Our Dime

One does not have to go to Washington to become an out–of–touch politician and it’s not required to be a Democrat. Local Republicans can lose their way quite nicely without all the bother of traveling to D.C.

This summer, in Prince William County, VA, Jeanine Lawson ran a spirited challenge in the Republican primary against two–term incumbent Wally Covington for the Brentsville Supervisor’s seat.

Lawson was outspent by two–to–one — typical when you’re running against an incumbent — but what she lacked in revenue, she made up for in motivation.

But on election night all Lawson’s hope and effort came crashing down when she lost by a razor–thin 159 votes.
Incumbent politicians react to a closer–than–expected victory like this in one of two ways:

The near–death experience causes them to reevaluate their career and make substantial changes in their political behavior to more closely mirror what the voters expect.

-Or-

They consider themselves bulletproof and liberated from the petty concerns of annoying constituents.
It looks like Supervisor Covington has become liberated.

Since the election, Covington has single–handedly created two issues involving conflicts of interest and misuse of taxpayer dollars that would have given Lawson victory in the primary, if only the issues had surfaced about five months earlier.
Here’s the background: each supervisor has an office budget of between $322,000 and $350,000. The bulk goes to staff and office overhead. Unspent money is carried over and added to the supervisor’s budget next year.

Even local Republicans keep the unspent money because it’s taxpayer dollars, which everyone knows are free. I’m sure Tea party–types demand to know why next year’s budget is not reduced by the carryover amount, but who cares what they think? When’s the last time a Tea partier went through the free food line at Zuccotti Park?

Supervisors who want to donate our money to their worthy cause go through a two–step process, rather than just throwing dollar bills off a Christmas parade float. At the weekly board meeting they announce their intent to donate and the next week the board approves the donation.

This gives the appearance of checks and balances without the reality of any restraint. It’s the political equivalent of the point in a marriage ceremony where the pastor proclaims, “If any of you has reason why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.”

So what’s the problem with politicians giving our money to a worthy cause and then feeling good about themselves?
Simple, they often use your money to build up political chits to cash in during the next campaign. Incumbents may list their abundant compassion on their campaign website to show how much they care about the community. Often they get a spot at the head table during an organization’s main fund–raising banquet and are introduced to the attendees. Members of the organization’s board may endorse the politician during the campaign.

It’s how one hand washes the other, with the taxpayers buying the soap.

The organization likes it because it’s more efficient to get large checks from a politician who needs political support, rather than making your charity’s case to some tightfisted taxpayer who probably wants to spend the money on pay–per–view MMA bouts.
Which brings us why Wally Covington’s proposed donation doesn’t pass the smell test.

Covington had already given $10,000 – the largest contribution of 2011 by any member of the board of supervisors – to something called the Healthy Youth Council. In turn, these aerobic youngsters spent PWC taxpayer’s money on a conference in Blacksburg, VA, which is 237 miles outside Covington’s district, because evidently every restaurant, meeting hall, bingo parlor and convention center in Prince William was booked up that October weekend.

Covington, however, is not a man to let something as tacky as geography stand in the way of his beneficence.
Just a bit over a month later, he announces he intends to donate $100,000 in district funds to the Rainbow Therapeutic Equestrian Center for its capital campaign.

Where does one begin? First the amount is ten times the record Covington set when he gave local tax dollars to Blacksburg’s meeting and convention industry. Second, the equestrian center is once again not located in his Brentsville district. And finally, Covington’s wife, Connie, is president of the center’s board of directors.

Of course Covington assures us there is absolutely no conflict of interest in this donation because his wife is not a paid member of the equestrian center’s staff.

The only way Covington could have improved on the spectacle of this donation would have been to invite noted Virginia horse fanciers and White House dinner crashers Michaele and Tareq Salahi to the check presentation ceremony.
This is contempt for the voters that is Pelosian in intensity.

Finally, it’s always amusing to hear “progressives” and other statists claim that the solution to our political woes is public campaign finance. When it’s obvious this discretionary funds saga proves we already have a partial system of taxpayer campaign finance, but the only candidates allowed to take advantage are incumbents.

Frankly Barney, You Won’t Be Missed

When I learned Cong. Barney Frank (D–Libertine) was retiring after 30 years in the House, my first thought was don’t let the door hit you in the behind. That’s because Frank personifies everything that’s wrong with the political class currently infesting our nation’s capitol.

Frank is morally, politically and ethically corrupt. This Democrat party leader helped produce a nation that’s economically crippled and morally adrift. He may be the Congressman from Taxachusetts, but everyone is enjoying his legacy.

When the first warnings regarding the housing bubble were sounded Frank was rabid in his defense of federally supported Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s ‘come one, come all’ lending practices. Frank stated, “I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness. I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing.”

What Frank didn’t say was that he had used his influence as a member of the House Financial Services Committee to land his homosexual lover a job at Fannie Mae. So while Frank was rolling our dice his boyfriend was one of the croupiers.

Herman Cain may have been squeezin’ the Charmin while he was head of the National Restaurant Association, but I guarantee he didn’t twist arms at Denny’s to get them to hire his sweetie.

Unfortunately, Frank’s roll of the dice came up snake eyes for the rest of us as we continue to endure the Great Recession.
Are foreclosed homes lowering your property values and contributing to the decline of your neighborhood? Thank Barney Frank.

Are you having trouble refinancing because loan documentation is causing you to jump through hoop after hoop? Is getting a loan to buy a new home impossible because down payment requirements have skyrocketed? Or is selling your home difficult because every appraisal is low–balled? Thank Barney Frank.

Are your annual dues increasing while your homeowner’s association is simultaneously cutting back on services due to budget deficits caused by foreclosures? Thank Barney Frank.

Is your retirement nest egg now your retirement embryo after your 401k tanked? Thank Barney Frank.
Lacking any moral compass, Frank doesn’t feel any shame over what his advocacy and legislative record caused. He doesn’t fade into the background. Instead, as Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, he co–authors the Frank–Dodd financial reform legislation that’s supposed to repair what he’s destroyed.

Only in Democrat party politics does the master of the disaster get to write the legislation that’s supposed to clean up the mess. At least the captain of the Titanic had the decency to go down with his ship. Frank would have demanded a seat in the lifeboat so he could direct the rescue.

But why shouldn’t Frank feel entitled? His longevity is a product of a gerrymandered district that made him impervious to public opinion. Frank’s first scandal involved putting a live–in homosexual hustler and convicted drug dealer on his House office payroll. Frank used his position to fix parking tickets for his roommate and later lied to a Virginia prosecutor who was investigating the prostitution ring the hustler was running out of Frank’s townhouse.

Then Frank finds a new boyfriend and puts him on the job at Fannie Mae. Now Frank’s latest paramour is growing marijuana in their home, but who knows, maybe Massachusetts voters believe progressing from prostitution ring landlord to in–home illegal agriculture is progress.

Barney Frank’s personal and political record is a living endorsement of term limits. He survived for 30 years because his district was drawn to prevent Republicans from running and Democrat political insiders prevented primary opponents from challenging him.

Term limits would prevent much of that insider gaming of the political system. There is simply no reason for someone to be in Congress for 30 years.

And please spare me the “seniority means we have more clout” argument. Seniority rewards longevity, not productivity. If your elected representative is able, your district will have influence.

There is a perfect example near where I live in Virginia. Del. Jackson Miller (R–Manassas) was just elected Majority Whip by the Republican caucus in the House of Delegates. This puts him number four in the House hierarchy, yet he’s only been in office since 2006. Miller didn’t have to get arthritis in service of the public before his merit was recognized.

The average tenure of a CEO in business is six years; surely a Congressman can do enough to have a post office named after him in twelve.

Good riddance to Barney Frank. Now if only two or three hundred members would follow him out the door there might be a chance to change the incestuous culture in Washington.

Pepper Spray – A little dab’ll do ya

During this holiday season it’s very difficult to determine the socially acceptable method for serving pepper spray to ‘progressive’ class warriors on the front lines of aimless protest.

Previously, Humboldt County, CA deputies had a situation where a lumber company’s offices were seized by protestors who refused to leave. Deputies announced pepper spray was on the menu and delivered individual servings on the end of a Q–tip gently placed inside the eyelid.

Ungrateful progressives did not appreciate organic extra–spicy and news conferences, lawsuits and attempts to have deputies fired ensued.

That’s one reason why it’s not surprising that last Friday when U. C. Davis’ officers faced much the same situation with a derivative set of occupy types; they dispensed with the personal touch and served their pepper spray family style.

The most popular video of the spraying incident is the usual out–of–context snippet showing peaceful students non–violently arranging paint buckets for the next community drum circle when jack–booted TSA thugs run up and grab their private parts. (Whoops, my mistake, wrong fascists.)

What you don’t see are the large number of protestors attempting to stop police from dismantling the occupy tent city. You don’t see most of the group leave without incident and then the hardcore — a term I use loosely when you consider what a bunch of whiners they are — sit and block the pavement.

Officers approach and attempt to disperse them with verbal commands and by pulling them to their feet. The demonstrators jerk their arms away and refuse to vacate.

Progressives term these protesters “peaceful” and “non–violent” as if that makes the group immune. Unfortunately, the law does not consider your resting pulse a factor in determining when you are in violation.

Even on their behinds these protestors are actively resisting a lawful command. You can term it obstruction of justice, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct or whatever local ordinances apply, but the bottom line is they are willfully and purposefully breaking the law.

The occupy Davis types had plenty of opportunities to comply. They were told they had until 3 p.m. Friday to remove the tents. Police gave protestors written notice to vacate. When the operation began on Friday afternoon they were notified yet again.
In the face of repeated warnings, occupiers refuse to move. Do the police back down in the face of the mob? If so, where does it stop?

Police choose to do their duty. One calmly and methodically spreads the aerosol mist. It looks like he’s spraying deodorant on a particularly large armpit.

What’s more, it works. Once the spray hits a group immediately jumps up and leaves unmolested. Police approach and break what’s left of the line, rounding up the remnants. Problem solved without resorting to batons or Tasers, which are authentic violence.

But sure enough, following orders is beyond the pale in academia if liberals complain. U. C. Davis Chancellor Linda Kotehi — who now joins Virginia Tech President Charles Steger on the list of university administrators in need of a spine donor — called the actions of police following her orders “chilling” and professor of hysteria Cynthia Ching called it “inhuman brutality.”
It didn’t help matters when Chief Annette Spicuzza claimed that, “students had encircled the officers. They needed to exit. They were looking to leave but were unable to get out.” This is an obvious lie.

The spray was used to disperse the protestors who were continuing to disobey a lawful order, which is both standard and legal. When the police withdrew — which was actually the dangerous part of the operation, since the mob surges forward to fill the space just vacated and surrounds the cops as they retreat —officers with pepper pellet–equipped paintball guns moved to the rear to cover the orderly withdrawal and did not fire a round.

(Ironically on Saturday there was an effective, legal and non–violent protest when students formed a gauntlet that Kotehi had to walk through as she left the admin building. Students remained silent, and unsprayed, as they stared in contempt.)
Once again working cops get the usual morale booster: a howling media frightens squishy progressive leadership. Officers are suspended and promised a future filled with a witch–hunting investigation.

What you won’t read about are the law–abiding citizens who say Big Deal. So the squatters got a little weepy and had a catch in their breath. The same thing happens when a new ‘Twilight’ movie opens and no one suffers any permanent damage.

Besides, how can you claim to be a courageous class warrior for the 99 percent if you don’t actually wish to experience any combat?

Virginia's Light Governor Gains Heft

The bad old volcano days are but a distant memory for Lt. Governor Bill Bolling. That’s when he was trapped in Florence Italy for almost a week during April 2010. European air travel was canceled after an Icelandic volcano, with a name no Virginian could pronounce, spewed ash and gas into the skies over Europe, canceling the Lt. Gov’s flight plans.
Now you may contend a politician stranded by hot air is a situation rich in irony, but it’s not funny when you are the strandee. The particularly humiliating part was almost no one noticed.
No Amber Alerts for Bill Bolling. No thwap, thwap, thwap from helicopters searching overhead. Just an empty coffee cup, abandoned on a lonely desk in Richmond. The Commonwealth even managed to conduct both a special session of the legislature and the annual Shad Planking in Bolling’s absence, with no one — other than a few thousand shad — inconvenienced in the least.
But it’s a situation that won’t be repeated. On Election Day Democrats suffered losses in both the Senate and House, but the loss of two Senate seats created a 20–20 tie, which makes Bolling ‘Mr. Tie Breaker’ and rockets him from vestige to Viceroy.
Senate Republicans are considering requiring Bolling to wear one of those home detention ankle bracelets so they can locate him at a moment’s notice.
Virginia’s absentee ideological nanny, The Washington Post, feared that in spite of Senate Democrat’s gerrymandering efforts, an ignorant electorate might put Republicans in control of all three branches of government.
The WaPost tried its darndest to warn us regarding the dangers of conservative government. In endorsement editorials Democrats were glowingly portrayed as: “smart,” “sober,” “sane,” “savvy,” “sensible” and “grown–ups.” Conservative Republicans, on the other hand, were: “incendiary,” “loopy,” “reckless,” “extreme,” “partisan” and “over–the–top.”
But if anyone is out of step with Virginia, it’s the WaPost.
In Prince William County the Post endorsed Del. Luke Torian (D–Dumfries) described as an incumbent who “must woo a swath of new voters in this redrawn district.” What is not said is the district was designed to elect a black delegate, new voters or not.
Staunch conservative Del. Bob Marshall, (R–PWC) also had a newly drawn district that removed much of his base and put him in a politically precarious situation. Our betters at the WaPost describe Marshall as a “loopy…take–no–prisoners culture warrior.” Naturally, since Marshall is one of the Republicans too extreme for Northern Virginia, WaPost endorses his “smart, sane, sober, moderate” opponent.
Torian wins re–election with 61 percent of the vote and Marshall also won with an almost identical 60 percent of the vote, so who is out–of–step with whom?
We have the same phenomenon in the Senate. Incumbent Sen. Chuck Colgan (D–PWC) gets the endorsement as a “civil, widely respected and deeply committed lawmaker.” In Loudoun County’s open senate race, conservative Republican Dick Black is characterized as, “one of the legislature’s most over–the–top ideologues.” His Democrat opponent is endorsed as “a cogent, serious–minded businessman who has common–sense proposals.”
Strangely enough, on election night Colgan wins by 55 percent, while non–incumbent Black wins his hotly contested seat by 57 percent. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Virginia voters support conservatives.
Bill ‘Tie–breaker’ Bolling is soon to discover with his great responsibility comes the potential for great blame if anything conservative should occur on his watch.
The WaPost editorial page has already started its ‘not so fast, buster’ routine, complaining, “Few Republicans candidates emphasized (social) issues on the campaign trail.” Consequently, according to the WaPost, the GOP is not allowed to introduce any social legislation in the next session.
This shows a basic lack of understanding with regard to branding, which could account for the Post’s loss of subscribers and money over the past few years.
Voters are smart enough to understand a conservative Republican is pro–life, pro–traditional marriage, pro–law enforcement, pro–Second amendment, pro–business, anti–tax increase and anti–illegal alien.
During a campaign the positions that matter most to the voters at that time are the positions discussed. Just because a Republican doesn’t mention abortion during the campaign, it does not mean he’s hoping for an appointment to the board of Planned Parenthood.
Voters knew what they were getting when they voted Republican.
Meanwhile, if Bolling wants to stay in the good graces of the WaPost, he would be wise to urge the Senate to double the funding for ‘public broadcasting’ and book another flight with Volcano Travel

Obama Loses the Love, His Body Man

Obama & Reggie Love play hoops in Unstaged Photo

Obama & Reggie Love play hoops in Unstaged Photo

Reggie Love, President Barack Obama’s ‘Body Man’ is about to depart the White House staff for the Wharton School of Business.

Obama is said to be taking this very hard.

[mp3player width=300 height=75 config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml file=http://conservativedailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/WhereIsTheLove.mp3]

Where is the Love?

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