Monday, August 5, 2013

Bolling, Sabato hit Twitter, FB with Va gubernatorial frustrations

Virginia's gubernatorial campaign took another interesting turn on Friday as two powerful political pundits took to social media to express frustration with the candidates and the state of both campaigns.

Sinking further into the muck, the past week saw the Cuccinelli campaign accusing McAuliffe of saying something he didn't while news broke that McAuliffe's former GreenTech company has come under SEC scrutiny.

It was almost possible to hear the exasperation in University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato's voice Friday afternoon as he tweeted:
Sabato immediately followed that tweet with another referring to Virginia's Lieutenant Governor:
Friday night the Lieutenant Governor himself took to Twitter and Facebook here and here (he has two FB pages) to express frustration about the current state of Virginia's governor's race. Bill Bolling posted:
I'm very frustrated by the current direction of the gubernatorial campaign. Instead of spending millions of dollars calling each other names, I'd like to see the candidates actually talk about the important issues facing our state. The people of Virginia deserve better than they are getting, and that's a bipartisan criticism.
By Saturday morning he had received hundreds of thumbs ups from around the Commonwealth and, presumably, there were many more who did not publicly give their approval but were thinking it.

Dozens left comments, some noting that they would be writing in Bill Bolling's name on the November ballot, a recurring theme that has come up in letters to the editor and conversations on the street. This comment from a supporter named Bill echoed those sentiments:
I will be writing in Bill Bolling and I have lots of friends here in Goochland that will be doing the same.
Another supporter pleaded:
Bill, it's not too late. Give us another choice. PLEASE!!!!!
Commenter John looked at the election in a different light:
If this were a job interview for a corporation, I was the hiring manager, and I was down to the two party's respective candidates as my final applicants, I would tell my Human Resource Department to leave the job posted, as I haven't found the right hire.
That was the tone of most of the comments as voters expressed concerns, even suggesting Bolling 2017. The naysayers stopped by, too, like James who quipped:
It might be helpful if you constructively supported your party's nominee....
To which Chris responded:
Well, it would have also been nice to have gotten to vote in a primary too, but that didn't happen either.
Bottom line: there is definitely dissatisfaction among voters, something picked up on in Sunday's News & Advance editorial, Cuccinelli, McAuliffe and the Split in the GOP. With that said, we are still three months away from election day 2013.

Cross-posted at

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Governor apologizes to his 'beloved Virginia'

Governor Bob McDonnell and Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling
Executive Mansion, January 2011

"Being Governor of Virginia is the highest honor of my 37 years in public service. I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens. I want you to know that I broke no laws and that I am committed to regaining your sacred trust and confidence. I hope today's action is another step toward that end. 

"Virginia has never been stronger and I plan to focus on creating even more jobs and facilitating greater opportunity during the last five months of my term as your Governor. Our work together on education, transportation, pension reform, voting rights, and economic expansion has produced great results for Virginia." --Governor Bob McDonnell (July 23, 2013)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Beyond 'Reasonable Doubt' and Blood Lust...

Like it or not, the correct verdict came down in the Zimmerman trial.

Back in the 1970's a friend of mine traveled to Northern Ireland to do a paper on the situation there. He met people on both sides of the issue with deep-seated resentment, the victims of an ongoing bloody battle. He even interviewed Bernadette Devlin.

What stuck with me from his research was how there were indeed people in Northern Ireland who were, in spite of the injustice and bloodshed they had experienced, seeking to heal their country.

Guided by Christian ideals of forgiveness and love for one's enemies, these unique individuals sought to bring about a reconciliation in their land.

Reading the vicious 'tweets' and stories of racially motivated beatings after the Zimmerman verdict, one can only hope for such noble people to lead us now. Eric Holder's assertion that 'white people haven't suffered enough' needs to be weighed against real history.

Many of us are in America because our ancestors fled oppression of all sorts. My Bavarian ancestors came to escape Bismark's exploitation. If we studied more real history we might all end up as friends.

The media had already convicted Zimmerman. 'Reasonable doubt' had not been put to rest. In this case, justice worked. It isn't about Zimmerman's morality or lack thereof, it is about proof. A media truly concerned about truth would tell us so.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Video: Humorous ABC News interview with George W. and Laura Bush

President George W. Bush is a gracious man with the wisdom of one who has observed, listened, and learned along his life's journey. This humorous, light-hearted ABC News interview that was taped after the President and Mrs. Bush returned from their African trip shows the genuine, witty, caring personality of #43, something the other side of the political aisle overlooked in their continual bashing of him during his eight years in the White House.

Because of GWB's gracious nature, and my observation of years of abuse from his political enemies, I have tempered my own public criticism of President Barack Obama, realizing the hurt it causes not only to the Obama family but to his supporters. Too bad the extremists on all sides of the aisle can't tone down the rhetoric and try to work together.

Robin Beres's article in Sunday's Richmond Times-Dispatch, "The expanding legacy of George W. Bush," touched on Bush's just-completed humanitarian trip to Africa, his continued involvement with the Wounded Warrior Project, and his overall giving-back to America during his retirement years:
In an interview with CNN on July 1, Bush was questioned about the Obama administration and accusations about the White House’s invasions into Americans’ privacy. But, as ever, he refused to criticize Obama. “I don’t think it does any good,” he said. “It’s a hard job. He’s got plenty on his agenda. It’s difficult. A former president doesn’t need to make it any harder. Other presidents have taken different decisions; that’s mine.”

The difference in the two men’s political views has always been apparent. Unfortunately, another difference that is obvious is the content of their characters. Despite attacks and accusations by the Obama administration, Bush has kept his silence.

Even as he watched the successful surge in Iraq go for naught and the Middle East fall apart, he said nothing. Even as he stood and listened to Obama’s backhanded compliments at the George W. Bush Presidential Library dedication, he held his peace. He has been the picture of graciousness and tact. These are traits that the self-absorbed Obama should study – and perhaps try to emulate.
GWB brought class to the office of President, something he learned from his parents and that is, sadly, lacking in others. His self-deprecating humor is legendary, and his modesty was ingrained by a strong mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush, who taught her children not be be "braggadociouses."

George W. Bush ... boy, do I miss his leadership.

Cross-posted at

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Governor Bob McDonnell: 'I wish all Virginians a happy and safe Fourth of July'

From Governor Bob McDonnell in observance of Independence Day:
It was a Virginian, Richard Henry Lee, who 237 years ago brought forth a resolution stating ‘Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.’  That resolution led to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, by Virginia’s second governor, Thomas Jefferson.  The Declaration, adopted on July 4, 1776, marks the birth of American freedom, and the timeless principles that continue to govern this great nation: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“Tomorrow, Americans will continue to celebrate our independence with fireworks, parades and picnics.  As we celebrate with our family, friends and neighbors, let us also pause to remember our service members who have gone before us while protecting our great nation.  And let us also recognize the brave men and women who continue to protect our freedom and liberty, both at home and around the world, and pray for their safe return.  May we never forget, freedom is not free.

“Tomorrow, in recognition of our active, reserve and National Guard service members, their families and all veterans living in Virginia, Maureen and I will be attending the first annual ‘Fourth at the Fort’ open house at the Fort Monroe Freedom Support Center.

The Freedom Support Center, a Department of Veteran Services program, developed by Maureen and her tremendous team as part of her Serving Our Service Member Families initiative, provides assistance to military members such as one-stop access to benefits and programs and career planning and guidance, and support for families whose service members are deployed.

During this event, we will celebrate those who have given so much to protect this nation, and those who are on the front lines of freedom still today, culminating with music and fireworks at the beach hosted by USAA and the Fort Monroe Foundation. I hope active duty and veteran military and their families in the area will join us for this patriotic event in honor of our men and women in uniform: our American heroes.

“I wish all Virginians a happy and safe Fourth of July.”
For more information about “Fourth at the Fort” please visit:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

George W. Bush carries on humanitarian work in Africa

After a week of renovating, President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush opened the Mosi-Oa-Tunya clinic, a cervical cancer facility in Livingstone, Zambia. The trip demonstrates their continued commitment to the people of Africa through the work of the global health initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. June 30-July 1, 2013

GWB has spent his time traveling the country and the world on behalf of human freedom, global health, education, economic freedom, and AIDs research in Africa, something he began while President. In 2008, he received the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Award for his work in Africa, and in December 2011 he and Mrs. Bush traveled to Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Zambia in their continued commitment to the people.

Not many are aware of Bush’s humanitarian work in other parts of the world. In the summer of 2011, Bono of the rock group U-2 praised Bush for his fight against AIDs in Africa, a stand that has saved over five million lives during the past eight years.

In addition, human rights activist John Prendegast noted that it was during Bush’s administration and with the help of America’s influence that South Sudan was able to successfully obtain peace with the north. Democratic consultant and Fox News contributor Bob Beckel, co-host on Fox News Channel’s “The Five,” praised Bush’s African work and picked him as one of his two all-time favorite presidents.

The President's tee shirt in this photo is a reminder that on the home front, most of the time he has spent with America’s military members is unknown to the public as he greets solders at airports when they return home from service overseas, reaches out to individual families, and works with injured military veterans and the Wounded Warrior Project including the W 100K mountain bike ride.

More about George and Laura Bush's work in Africa can be seen here and here.

Cross-posted at

Photos by Paul Morse
For the George W. Bush Presidential Center

Monday, July 1, 2013

U.S. Justice Department drops by to investigate Augusta County

Just in time for Independence Day, Uncle Sam is taking a stroll around Augusta County's 26 voting precincts today and tomorrow with the three members of the local electoral board. Actually, he's sending one of his lawyers and an architect from the civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department.

Uh-oh. Almost sounds like being called to the principal's office.

Originally scheduled for June, the trip was delayed until this week, and Augusta Electoral Board chairman Ruth Talmage seemed unhappy even though she had originally requested the visit be held off until after the June Democratic Primary:
"Voters ought not to have to worry with some strange person from Washington watching and asking questions," Talmage said.
She also said, "The message is that they (Justice) are welcome to come, but not on election day.''

An email from the county's attorney closed the door on the June visit:
An email response sent to Justice on Wednesday through Augusta County Attorney Patrick Morgan said the electoral board "has concluded that permitting such inspections is not in the best interest of Augusta County, at this time. Therefore, I regret to inform you that the board of elections will not authorize you to inspect the polling places as previously planned."
It's rainy and drippy out there today so hope they've all got their umbrellas and golashes as they traverse the second-largest county in Virginia.

As former magisterial district chairman in Pastures District located west of Staunton, I have personal knowledge of the time it takes to travel its five precincts, the most of any district in the county. Pastures' borders touch Staunton City and extend to Bath and Highland counties with the George Washington National Forest in between. It's a gorgeous district but you'd better be driving your reliable vehicle because it will rack up the mileage.

That does not include the rest of Augusta that runs as far north as Rockingham County, south to Rockbridge County, and east to the tiptop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Afton, and Shenandoah National Park as it borders Nelson and Albemarle counties.

The visit is in response to a complaint filed by Churchville resident Steve Morris who questioned a North River precinct located in the Churchville Fire Station in Pastures District, and handicap accessibility to that precinct. Morris ran an unsuccessful bid as supervisor in 2011.

The electoral board has defended the Churchville Fire Station precinct location:
Talmage said both the precinct location and handicap access are appropriate. Talmage said Virginia law allows for a polling place within one mile of the border of a precinct boundary, and said North River lacks such a needed facility. She said the fire station's ramp and access door offer sufficient access.
Talmadge complained in the Waynesboro News-Virginian that the tour would take "an unnecessary amount of time'' on Monday and Tuesday.

Hmm. It's not wise to tweak Uncle Sam's nose.

Reporter Bob Stuart reported:
[Talmage] said the electoral board had asked to work with Justice on a schedule for touring the county precincts, but said the federal agency has not been cooperative.
I guess once the June date was postponed, Uncle Sam decided to get his work done before his holiday, and this week was it. Maybe the federal agents will stick around and enjoy a Smalltown USA Fourth of July.

WaPost: 'Obama yet to leave a lasting legacy for Africa on the scale of Bush and Clinton'

Laura and George W. Bush in Zambia, June 30, 2013.

The pictures are all over Facebook showing Former President George W. Bush and wife Laura traveling Africa this week as they continue their humanitarian mission that began before leaving the White House four years ago.

Slowly but surely liberals have begrudingly had to admit GWB has played a large role in AIDs relief that has been credited with saving millions of lives. The Bushes have been instrumental in other global health advances, too, and are almost revered in that part of the world.

President Barack Obama? Not so much, and the Washington Post has noticed:
Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush passed innovative Africa initiatives while in the White House and passionately continue their development work in the region in their presidential afterlife. Obama’s efforts here have not been so ambitious, despite his personal ties to the continent.
It must be a tad awkward for Obama to find himself in Bush's shadow after spending the first four years of his administration blaming his predecessor for everything that went wrong in America. The Post notes that Obama is five years into his administration and just now on a major tour of Africa, just the second time while President:
His first major tour of Africa as president is coming just now, in his fifth year, while Bush and Clinton are frequent fliers to Africa. Bush even will be in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, next week at the same time as Obama, although they have no plans to meet. Instead, their wives plan to appear together at a summit on empowering African women organized by the George W. Bush Institute, with the former president in attendance.
The people of Africa had expected more from America's first black president after he told them in his first year in office, "I have the blood of Africa in me."

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush captured the heart of Africa with work that continues to this day:
Clinton first drew extensive attention to Africa in 1998 when he made the longest trip ever by a U.S. president, with stops in six countries that had never before been visited by any occupant of the Oval Office. Bush’s trip this week is his third in 19 months to promote his Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partnership to combat breast and cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. On this visit, he and his wife, Laura, plan to help renovate a cervical cancer screening and treatment clinic in Zambia before heading to Tanzania for the African First Ladies Summit advocating investment in programs for women and girls.
After a week of renovating, President and Mrs. Bush opened the Mosi-Oa-Tunya clinic, a cervical cancer facility in Livingstone, Zambia. Their trip demonstrates their continued commitment to the people of Africa through the work of the global health initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. June 30, 2013

Photos from the George W. Bush Presidential Center

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday morning on the porch

Wow, what a gorgeous morning in the Shenandoah Valley ... a sweater morning! The sky is blue, the sun is out, temps are in the 60s, low humidity, and there's a stiff breeze with a cool edge to it that requires a sweater to ward off the shady chill. I can't help but think how nice it must be up on the mountain for those camping this weekend in Shenandoah National Park.

We've had lots of rain this spring and into summer so the grass is green and lush, unlike some years when it's dried up and crispy by the July 4th holiday. The shade trees in our little oasis are blowing in the breeze, their leaves rustling and making dancing shadows on the yard.

I just heard a sound in the gutter overhead so watched to see who was intruding on my quiet, and then a bright red cardinal flew from the roof to a nearby tree. He must have found a bug for his breakfast. Rabbits are munching on the smorgasbord that is our front yard ... nibble, hop, nibble, hop hop.  The birds are loud as they are every morning with their various chirps and calls to one another. The mournful sound of a dove can be heard in the distance.

The bright orange daylilies are blooming as are the cheerful yellow coreopsis moonlight, and bright red roses. My potted annuals got a late start this year since I was about three weeks behind in planting them but they are catching up -- petunias, zinnias, impatiens, geraniums, heather, and other colorful additions on the porches and in the back yard around the outdoor tables. Flowers can be time-intensive but the reward of those overflowing blossoms that add splashes of color as well as fragrance in the air is well worth the effort.

The wind, the leaves, the birds ... those are the only sounds this morning. It's going to be a great day....

Friday, June 28, 2013

So Larry Sabato says Mark Warner is safe in his U.S. Senate seat. The reasons he gives are that Virginia's GOP has gone so far right that

Sabato: GOP can't touch Mark Warner's U.S. Senate seat

Republican Party of Virginia's central committee voted in May to hold a convention for the U.S. Senate candidate in 2014, deep-sixing chances for a viable GOP candidate to run against very popular Democratic Senator Mark Warner.

Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics wrote:
Republicans were always going to have an uphill climb against wealthy Sen. Mark Warner (D) next year, but their chances got even slimmer when they opted to select their nominee via convention next year. Having a convention rather than a primary increases the possibility of the GOP picking an unelectable far-right candidate...
Sabato moved that seat on his chart from "Likely Democratic" to "Safe Democratic." Read his entire Crystal Ball predictions here.

Bipartisan support for offshore energy ... McDonnell, Warner, Kaine, Cantor, Rigell, Goodlatte, Griffith, Hurt, Wittman, Wolf

Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement in support of HR 2231, passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for once again standing, on a bipartisan basis, for American energy independence and for the American worker.   I especially want to thank House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings for his continued focus and leadership on this critical issue.  In March of 2010, President Obama approved moving forward with Virginia lease sale 220 which would have allowed for the safe development of oil and gas resources 50 miles offshore of Virginia.   Subsequently the Interior Department postponed, then indefinitely cancelled, Virginia’s sale and refused to include a sale off Virginia in the current 5 year plan.   That action is unacceptable.  HR 2231 will reinstate this sale and require Interior to reinitiate a new 5-year planning process.  In addition, HR 2231 will provide all coastal states revenue sharing at 37.5%, the same as Gulf Coast States.

“In the strongest possible terms, I encourage the U.S. Senate to join the House in passing HR 2231 as quickly as possible.

“I also applaud Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine for their leadership in sponsoring The Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act (S 1024) in the U.S. Senate which achieves many of these same goals as HR 2231, as also does Congressman Scott Rigell’s HR 1782, “The Virginia Jobs and Energy Act,” currently co-sponsored by Virginia Representatives Morgan Griffith[R-VA9], Robert Hurt [R-VA5], and Rob Wittman [R-VA1].

“These bills include appropriate environmental protections, support military operations, and provide an equitable formula for sharing revenues between the state and federal governments.  By ending unnecessary restrictions on the responsible exploration of Virginia's offshore natural resources, the federal government will allow Virginia to assume its potential role as a national leader in offshore energy exploration. A comprehensive 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy - including oil, gas, coal, wind, solar, tidal and other resources - will provide for energy security, create good new jobs and generate revenues that Virginia can use to address our major priorities such as transportation, education and public safety.

“The development of Virginia’s offshore energy resources, and the provision of revenue sharing, is widely supported on a bipartisan basis by Virginia’s General Assembly and our Congressional delegation. It is time for the Senate to join the House in making this common-sense policy a reality. Good jobs, economic growth and greater energy security depend upon it.”

U.S. House schedule for Friday, June 28, 2013

From Majority Leader Eric Cantor's office....

On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business.
First and last votes expected: 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

One Minute Speeches

Complete Consideration of H.R. 2231 - Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, Rules Committee Print
(Structured Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings / Natural Resources Committee)
The Rule provides for no further general debate and makes in order the following remaining amendments:
Rep. Peter DeFazio Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Paul Broun Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Alan Grayson Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Reps. Capps / Brownley / Lowenthal Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Special Order Speeches

Oversight & Government Reform Committee mark up of "Resolution Determining that Lois Lerner Waived Her Fifth Amendment Privilege” (Friday, June 28th, at 9:00 a.m.)
Printable PDF

Canon to invest $27 million in Newport News expansion

From Governor Bob McDonnell's office....

Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that Canon Virginia Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc., will invest $27 million to expand its operation in the City of Newport News.  Canon Virginia, Inc. will add the manufacturing of toner for Canon copiers in 30,000 square feet of upgraded space at its Newport News campus.

Governor McDonnell met with Canon Inc. in Tokyo about this project during his recent Asia Marketing Mission.
Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McDonnell said, “The Commonwealth and Canon Virginia have maintained a strong partnership for nearly 30 years, and I am honored to have the opportunity to work directly with the company and its parent to continue to strengthen that bond. This investment and expansion project is significant for the Newport News campus, as it represents not only a new opportunity stemming from our recent visit to Japan, but also maintains the focus of Canon’s overall global production strategy and the role that the Virginia operations play. The addition of toner manufacturing at the Newport News campus further solidifies the future viability of the plant and brings Canon Virginia’s total capital investment to more than $371 million in just the last four years.”  

Continued investment in Canon Virginia’s Newport News operation is tremendous news, as the company employs nearly 2,000 citizens of the Commonwealth,” said Jim Cheng, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “We are thrilled that toner production will now be at the Virginia operation, and are confident that it will provide a strategic advantage to house the process onshore and build on the success that Canon Virginia has experienced in the Commonwealth since 1985.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Newport News to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McDonnell approved a $3 million performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program, an incentive available to existing Virginia companies.

Headquartered in Newport News, Canon Virginia Inc. serves as the manufacturing support center for Canon U.S.A. Canon Virginia uses world-renowned production systems and extensive technical and manufacturing expertise to offer manufacturing solutions, including injection mold tools, metal and plastic parts, product manufacturing and reverse manufacturing.

“This investment and expansion is a symbol of our commitment to the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Toru Nishizawa, president and CEO of Canon Virginia, Inc.  “We thank Governor McDonnell and the City of Newport News for presenting us this generous grant, which will help us complete the expansion successfully.”   

Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. With approximately $40 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), ranks third overall in U.S. patents registered in 2012 and is one of Fortune Magazine's World’s Most Admired Companies in 2013. In 2012, Canon U.S.A. has received the Readers' Choice Award for Service and Reliability in the digital camera and printer categories for the ninth consecutive year, and for camcorders for the past two years. Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest level of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes.

Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price, D.D.S. stated, “The continued growth and success of Newport News businesses remains a priority for our City and we are pleased to have been successful in working with the Commonwealth and Canon Virginia to both attract and secure this project.”
Florence G. Kingston, Newport News Director of Development, commented, “Canon Virginia’s expansion is a true testament to the company’s commitment to excellence in manufacturing and also demonstrates that the City of Newport News and Commonwealth are attractive places for global manufacturers to do business.”

Virginia sees $1.8 million in legislative branch savings

From Speaker William Howell's office....

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) announced over $1.8 million in legislative branch savings Thursday that will be returned to the general fund by the end of the fiscal year on June 30. This includes $1.6 million in savings by various legislative branch agencies and over $200,000 in unused House of Delegates salaries and expenses.

"I am incredibly proud to announce these legislative savings. These savings are part of a continued commitment to lower the cost of state government to Virginia taxpayers," said Speaker Howell. "Virginia taxpayers, families and businesses have to set priorities, make tough decisions and live within their means. I firmly believe that state government should do the same."  

Over $1.6 million in savings from 11 legislative branch agencies will be returned to the general fund by June 30 of this year. That includes $900,000 from the Auditor of Public Accounts, over $100,000 from the Division of Legislative Services and over $250,000 from the Capitol Police. The savings also include over $200,000 from the House of Delegates, as a result of reduced salaries and session expenses.

"Since 2003, the House of Delegates has sent over $5 million in savings back to the general fund, including over $1.3 million by consistently operating at a reduced per-diem rate during the legislative session," said Speaker Howell. "During my time as Speaker, I have sought to run the House of Delegates how Virginians expect all of state government to operate - responsibly, efficiently and effectively."  

Sabato: GOP can't touch Mark Warner's U.S. Senate seat

Republican Party of Virginia's central committee voted in May to hold a convention for the U.S. Senate candidate in 2014, deep-sixing chances for a viable GOP candidate to run against very popular Democratic Senator Mark Warner.

Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics wrote:
Republicans were always going to have an uphill climb against wealthy Sen. Mark Warner (D) next year, but their chances got even slimmer when they opted to select their nominee via convention next year. Having a convention rather than a primary increases the possibility of the GOP picking an unelectable far-right candidate...
Sabato moved that seat on his chart from "Likely Democratic" to "Safe Democratic." Read his entire Crystal Ball predictions here.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Karl Rove: 'More white voters alone won't save the GOP'

Political guru Karl Rove had a very interesting article in Thursday's Wall Street Journal that basically laid out the reason why the Republican Party must reach out to minority voters:
As immigration reform grinds its way through the U.S. Senate, the main focus has rightly been on the legislation's policy consequences. But there are important political implications, especially for the GOP, that are worth examining.
He backs up his statement with facts and figures, and notes:
The reality is that the nonwhite share of the vote will keep growing. As the American Enterprise Institute's Henry Olsen pointed out in a recent speech, the nonwhite vote as a share of total voters has increased in every presidential election since 1996 by 2% (much of it Hispanic) while the share of the white vote has dropped by 2% each election.

If the GOP leaves nonwhite voters to the Democrats, then its margins in safe congressional districts and red states will dwindle—not overnight, but over years and decades.
Immigration reform is a top issue for Latinos as it is being debated in Washington, according to a March Latino Decisions poll. But their other major concerns—the economy and jobs, and education reform—are the same as the rest of America.

Nor will support for immigration reform solve all of the GOP's challenges in appealing to Hispanic voters. Republicans also need compelling messages on jobs, economic growth, social mobility and education. They also must show up. GOP pollster Jan van Lohuizen's focus groups found a major Latino complaint is that they never see Republicans in their communities to make the GOP's case.
Will the GOP listen? Time will tell.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chris Christie: 'Republican Governors are doers'

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talked with Joe Scarborough on Tuesday's "Morning Joe." His explanation of how Republican Governors are doers: "We’ve got 30 of 50 Republican governors in this country. Why? I think that’s because at the state level, they see the Republican Party as being doers – that we actually get things done for people."

The latest Rutger's Poll has Christie's approval rating at 70% despite puritan Republicans who have dismissed him as a "RINO" because of his willingness to work with President Barack Obama during the disaster known as Hurricane Sandy.

H/T Republican Governors Association

Friday, June 14, 2013

Warrior Hike on Appalachian Trail

This Sunday at 5:00 at the VFW Post 2424 in Waynesboro, meet the Appalachian Trail Warrior Hikers as they make their way north on their thru-hike.

The Warrior Hikers are our military veterans:
In 1948 Earl Shaffer told a friend he was going to “walk off the war” to work out the sights, sounds, and losses of World War II. Four months later, Earl Shaffer became the first person to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

Recognizing the physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits of hiking the Appalachian Trail, Warrior Hike has partnered with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to create the Walk Off The War Program. The Walk Off The War Program is designed to support combat veterans transitioning from military service by thru hiking the Appalachian Trail.
I was alerted to the Warrior Hike by a reader of my SWAC Girl blog who writes a blog covering the Appalachian Trail from Rockfish Gap to Reeds Gap -- Rockfish to Reeds. She follows many of the hikers on the trail and has watched the Warrior Hikers since their March departure in Georgia. Merlot describes her blogs as, "Rockfish Gap to Reeds Gap ..... that little piece of  'AT heaven' we all love so much. This is a blog for the dedicated volunteers who maintain the 19.1 miles of white-blazed AT and some blue-blazed side trails as well."

So a tip of the hat to her for her interest in the AT, and for the heads-up about the Warrior Hikers. I'll update with more info as I find it but it's this Sunday, June 16, at 5:00 at the VFW in Waynesboro.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Bolling's Va Mainstream Project PAC taps 6 candidates for HoD support

In the second wave of flexing his political muscle, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling's "Virginia Mainstream Project" (VMP) has made six more political endorsements backed with financial support and radio campaign ads leading into contested primaries on June 11.

With the goal of electing mainstream, conservative Republicans to public office, VMP announced it had endorsed the following candidates for their Virginia House of Delegates races, some who are being challenged by tea party or Ron Paul candidates and are in particularly contentious contests:
- House District 15 – Delegate Todd Gilbert
- House District 28 – Speaker Bill Howell
- House District 29 – Delegate Beverly Sherwood
- House District 33 – Delegate Joe May
- House District 54 – Delegate Bobby Orrock
- House District 85 – Mr. Scott Taylor
In addition to financial support, 60-second radio ads have been purchased and are airing for Orrock and Sherwood.

This is on the heels of VMP's endorsement and financial support to Delegate John Cosgrove who was successful in his May 9 firehouse primary seeking the Republican nomination for the 14th Senate District.

Bolling has stepped to the plate with his PAC, his experience, his reputation, and his willingness to endorse candidates interested in effective, common sense governing. That includes a pro-business attitude, fiscal responsibility, and a willingness to work toward searching for bi-partisan, pragmatic solutions. Reinforcing that commitment, Bolling noted:
"If we are going to win elections in Virginia, we must nominate candidates who will appeal to Republicans and Independents and attract new people to our party.  I believe these candidates will help us accomplish that goal, but they need your help to win."
The two-term lieutenant governor, who had been very involved and inviting with the grassroots of the party and conservative bloggers during his years in Richmond, unexpectedly found himself in his new leadership role as senior statesman after stepping away from the 2013 gubernatorial race. A series of maneuverings within RPV led to the takeover of the state central committee by the tea party and Libertarian activists who then reversed an earlier vote for a 2013 primary to a much more controlled convention, the one that recently took place in Richmond.

Because of that change, Bolling briefly flirted with the idea of running as an independent but decided against it in March, prompting the Lynchburg News and Advance to editorialize:
Bill Bolling is no tax-and-spend liberal, no R(epublican) I(n) N(ame) O(nly) as uber-conservative activists have tried to portray him. He’s a traditional Virginia conservative, a public servant who labored for his constituents as a Hanover County supervisor, then state senator and finally lieutenant governor for almost eight years.

But the type of public servant Bolling is just isn’t what’s in fashion with the Republicans right today. An elected official who actually believes government has a role in society but who wants it to operate efficiently, leanly and unobtrusively is not the politician the tea party loves who sees government as a beast to be starved.
In May, Bolling reflected on his new role in Virginia Republican politics with reporter Errin Whack at the Washington Post:
“I found myself in a position of being the voice of a lot of mainstream Republicans across the state who were trying to call our party back to a more mainstream approach to politics and policy,” Bolling said in an interview. “It’s not a role I envisioned playing, but it’s a role I was thrust into because of the way things have evolved, and it’s a role I’m comfortable playing.”
It all led to the Virginia Mainstream Project. As the News and Advance wrote in the conclusion of their editorial:
In announcing his decision earlier this week, Bolling lamented what he — and we — see as the “Washingtonization” of Virginia politics. Political battles, achieving the label of most ideologically pure, hyper-partisanship and just plain meanspiritedness seem to be oozing their way into the halls of the state Capitol.

That’s not Bill Bolling’s way of leading. That’s not “The Virginia Way” of governing, or at least it hasn’t been.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Eric Cantor encourages citizen legislators with

 Eric Cantor addresses the crowd at his annual Republican Roundup.

In an effort to make it easier for Americans to be more involved in the legislative process, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-7th) launched a new website on Tuesday called

This latest addition to the Citizen Cosponsor Project provides the opportunity to be citizen legislators by cosponsoring bills they support and track them in a user-friendly way, lessening the bureaucratic maze of Washington, D.C. By using social media, Citizen Cosponsors are updated on the status of their bills through a Facebook app as they move through the various stages of the legislative process.

Anne Sorock at Legal Insurrection praised the Majority Leader's presence in social media:
Noticed the trend of legislators going beyond issuing press releases and fully embracing social media to distribute and market their point-of-view?

Rep. Darrell Issa has been especially active in marketing himself and his committee’s activities, including design-heavy graphics and an active twitter account.

Today Rep. Eric Cantor’s office launched a new website,, which allows anyone to show their support for bills by clicking a link to “cosponsor” a given bill.
Dana Perino commented on Tuesday's Fox News Channel's "The Five" about the new user-friendly tool, noting it was a good way to connect citizens with government. Perino was White House press secretary during George W. Bush's administration.

Marking the launch of the new site, Congressman Cantor noted:
“We live in a digital world. As House Majority Leader, I am committed to exploring new and innovative ways to foster a national conversation and improve communication between the American people and their elected officials.

“The launch of Cosponsor.Gov is a sweeping expansion of our Citizen Cosponsor Project. The new website will now feature every bill and resolution introduced in the House, from Republicans and Democrats. I’m excited that any engaged citizen can voice their support, and track the status of legislation in the House.

“The best part of this new website is it’s accessibility and simplicity. You can search by title, sponsor or bill number or browse issue areas and the tracker shows you exactly where the bill stands.

“Whether you want to support new legislation like the Kids First Research Act or show support for legislation that has already passed the House, like the Working Families Flexibility Act, you can do so here.

“Transparency, open government and engagement should be a key goal of all elected leaders in Washington, and Cosponsor.Gov is one step in that direction. Please visit Cosponsor.Gov and tell us what you care about. We are listening.”
The Citizen Cosponsor Project was developed by the Office of the House Majority Leader and is built on Facebook's Open Graph platform. It uses House #OpenData sets released through the House Majority's #OpenGov initiative.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Editorial: 'Virginia Mainstream Project Seeks a Wider GOP Current, Which Would Benefit Us All'

If Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling hadn’t announced formation of the Virginia Mainstream Project prior to the GOP’s convention, he certainly would have done so afterwards.
So begins Thursday's Farmville Herald editorial by Ken Woodley as he noted the lack of transparency and lack of inclusiveness currently in the Republican Party of Virginia.

Mr. Woodley continued:
There is nothing mainstream about the trio of Republican candidates emerging from the convention, which was held for the specific purpose of deep-sixing the gubernatorial aspirations of Bolling and handing the party nomination to Ken Cuccinelli.

The attorney general is joined by E. W. Jackson as the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor and Mark D. Obenshain, who’ll run for attorney general. Jackson made the most headlines following his nomination, with reports he has called the Democratic Party “anti-God” and labeled gays and lesbians as “sick” and “perverted.” Writing an opinion piece last fall for The Washington Times, Jackson, a minister, wondered how Democrats have “managed to hold on to black Christians in spite of an agenda worthy of the Anti-christ.
As the dust settles from the Republican convention held two weeks ago in Richmond, more are beginning to understand what Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling said after the convention:
Bolling issued a post-convention statement rightly saying that “some of the things he (Jackson) has said are simply indefensible. These kinds of comments are simply not appropriate, especially not from someone who wants to be a standard-bearer for our party and hold the second-highest elected office in our state. They feed the image of extremism, and that’s not where the Republican Party needs to be.”
The entire editorial can be read here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

RTD: 'Follow him' ... in times like these, pragmatic leadership of Eric Cantor is needed

Eric Cantor at his 2012 Republican Roundup.

While the tea partiers and Libertarians are planning an "Impeach Obama" march to D.C. on Flag Day, June 14, U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA 7th CD) and other pragmatic conservative Republican leaders doing the work of governing, listening and talking with their colleagues -- Republicans and  Democrats.

Wednesday's Richmond Times-Dispatch offered a little advice in their editorial for those tea party-Libertarian activists who keep pushing to the extreme right:
Eric Cantor (R-7th) understands that negativism is not enough. The House majority leader is promoting issues of consequence to families. The House has passed his legislation to make it easier for workers to take time off to attend to family matters. He proposes to direct certain provisions of Obamacare to more productive endeavors. Cantor does not give the administration a pass on questions with ethical implications; he has criticized what needs to be criticized. He also remembers that the citizenry expects real-world results from Congress.

Conservatives inside Congress and outside the marble halls ought to follow his example. And for heaven’s sake, may they stop drooling as they anticipate impeachment?
Read the entire editorial here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tea party tears into Bob Dole

Former Senator Bob Dole has never been one to sugar-coat how he feels. At one point during the 1990s, he growled for George H.W. Bush to "crawl back into his cave." Perhaps it comes from being a World War II survivor whose right arm was damaged to the point where he barely has use of it. Perhaps it comes from his no-nonsense look at the Republican Party.

was a guest on "Fox News Sunday," and had some words of advice for the Republican Party, according to the Daily Caller:
Former Senate majority leader and 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole had harsh words for today’s GOP on this weekend’s “Fox News Sunday.”

Dole told host Chris Wallace that his party needs to focus on “positive agendas.”

“I think they ought to put a sign on the national committee doors that says closed for repairs until New Year’s Day next year and spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas,” Dole said.
That brought harsh words from the tea party faction of the Republican Party with suggestions that Dole should go away.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bill Bolling stands his ground

Virginia's Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling addressed the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, sharing the jobs record of Governor Bob McDonnell and, in the process, standing his ground about current Republican politics in the Old Dominion.

For some, political tolerance comes with experience, and the LG has plenty of both. Standing by his belief that extremes on both ends of the political spectrum are not good for Virginians, he commented to those attending the meeting, as reported by Virginia Watchdog:
“I learned a long time ago in government that governing has to be about more than breaking the dishes,” said the two-term lieutenant governor who has served under both a Democrat and a Republican governor. “It has to be about solving problems and getting things done. And to do that, sometimes you have to compromise.”
“I think our party is a party in search of an identity,” Bolling told “It all starts with the kind of candidates we nominate and the kind of campaigns we run.

“Clearly the (Virginia GOP) is prettily solidly controlled by tea party groups and the Ron Paul folks. The result of that has been the party has been pulled further to the right and that makes it more difficult to connect with moderate and independent voters you need to win elections in Virginia and it makes it more difficult to govern once you get elected.”
Perhaps with a nod toward his recently organized Virginia Mainstream Project PAC, Bolling added:
“The solutions to the challenges facing our state will not be found in the extremes,” Bolling said. They won’t be found on the right extreme, and they won’t be found on the left extreme. The answers to the challenges facing Virginia will be found in the mainstream.”

Friday, May 17, 2013

Russell Kirk's Ten Principles of Conservatism

 Ideas Matter... Here is Some Food for Thought

"The conservative is concerned, first of all, with the regeneration of the spirit and character—with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at its highest." - Russell Kirk

Ten Principles of Conservatism [click to read] offers a good summary of principles. In a world of sound bytes and simple slogans, Kirk's concise statement of principles is refreshing.

Sunlight breaks through at Raven's Roost. Photo by Bob Kirchman

Friday, May 10, 2013

John Cosgrove wins landslide victory in 14th Senate District firehouse primary - UPDATED

Delegate John Cosgrove has won the Republican Firehouse Primary for the 14th Senate District in the Hampton Roads area by defeating two opponents.

Unofficial Final Total: Cosgrove-1,361; Stearns-552; Haley-116. Roughly 72%-28% win for Delegate Cosgrove. Congratulations!

Jim Hoeft has final results at his blog.

See also 14th Senate District is loss for Rand Paul and Ron Paul 

See also Cosgrove romps over Rand Paul/NAGR-backed candidate by Brian Kirwin

UPDATE: Congratulations poured in from throughout the Commonwealth as word spread of John Cosgrove's win.

From Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling:
"Congratulations to my friend John Cosgrove who won the GOP nomination for the State Senate tonight in the 14th district. John is a good man who deserves our support. Well done John!"

From Randy Marcus, the LG's Chief of Staff:
"Congrats to John A. Cosgrove and his team for a great victory tonight! The Senate and his new district won big tonight. While Sen. Cosgrove has some big shoes to fill, the less numerous body is fortunate to have his leadership coming down the hall."

From Matt Wells:
"Proud to be a small part of a big win tonight. Congrats to John Cosgrove!!"

From Kate Maxwell:
"Congratulations to the next Senator from the 14th District, John Cosgrove!"

From Christie New Craig, Legislative Aide for John Cosgrove:
"My awesome boss John A Cosgrove at his VICTORY celebration."

Photo from Christie New Craig

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Botetourt Supervisor Terry Austin wins 19th House District Firehouse Primary

Botetourt Supervisor Terry Austin won Tuesday's Republican Firehouse Primary for the seat being vacated by Delegate Lacey Putney who is retiring.

The Roanoke Times reported on the count:
Austin won 787 votes in all. Bedford County businessman Jim McKelvey won 576 votes. Zach Martin, a Bedford County businessman who was running for office for the first time, won 356 votes, and Eagle Rock pastor Zachary Hatcher won 51.
With a campaign that hit the ground running and had the support of most Botetourt Constitutional elected officials and others, Austin -- who has been on the board of supervisors for 16 years -- ran a positive, results-driven campaign even in the face of negative tea party opposition and multiple opponents. While the tea party slammed him as a tax hiker, voters saw him as a local leader who had consistently looked out for what was best for the citizens he was representing.

Strong thunderstorms crossed the area throughout the 6-9:00 pm voting period but turnout was extremely heavy:
About 65 people were lined up waiting to vote when the polls opened at the Thaxton Community Center, one of the three polling places for tonight’s vote. By 7:30 p.m., 291 people had voted. A total of 281 people had voted at the center by the time polls closed.
Austin had someone else in mind for the delegate position when Putney announced his retirement but, when that candidate decided not to run and no one else could be found on such short notice, he stepped in to run and offer another choice for voters who have grown weary of polarizing, negative politics.  Austin is a businessman whose company installs airport landing lights.

When talking with the Roanoke Times, Austin was happy with his win:
"This is wonderful," Austin said, as he was congratulated outside Lord Botetourt High School among a small crowd of supporters. "I never expected this kind of turnout under these weather conditions and everything. It's just magnificent."

Austin attributed his win to more than a decade and a half on the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors and the "good friends" who supported his campaign.

"I've been on the board 16 years and, you know, tried to represent this county well," he said. "I think it's a reflection of that. I've got the trust and confidence of the people of Botetourt and I'm proud to say that."
Austin will run against the Democratic opponent in November.

Life in Renaissance Waynesboro

Reinvigorating Augusta's Gateway to the Blue Ridge

Fairfax Hall
Fairfax Hall, originally the Brandon Hotel, once lured visitors to Basic City. Now Basic City is part of Waynesboro. Illustration by Bob Kirchman.

Waynesboro grew to its greatest extent in the mid-Twentieth Century propelled by industry such as the DuPont plant that employed thousands...

Waynesboro rode the industrial boom of the mid-Twentieth Century to become a very prosperous community. The city's beautiful homes and churches give evidence of this golden age. In This Two Part Series [click to read] NBC 29 looks at how the big factories helped build Waynesboro and their decline has led to new challenges for the community.

Fairfax Hall is one example of how the community is seeking to reinvent itself by revitalizing some of its great historic institutions. Bill Hausrath used historic preservation credits and incentives for creating affordable housing to restore Fairfax Hall to its original glory [with modern appliances]. The Wayne Theatre is being restored as a performance venue.

Wayesboro is located at the entrance to a major National Park and is convenient to two major interstates. There are a number of properties such as the old Virginia Metalcrafters building just waiting for creative 'reinvention.' The Valley has a willing workforce waiting to be tapped. The Governor is actively pursuing pro-market policies on the state level.

Silicon Valley firms facing higher taxation in California should be takng note.

...and provided the resources for them to build many fine homes in the city.

The Greatness of the Grid

The Perfect Example of Basic City is Basic City

Basic City, laid out in 1890, eventually became the Eastern portion of modern Waynesboro.
"If the intelligence of a city can arise from the circuitry of its streets, then the street grid made a genius out of New York. In 1811, three state commissioners laid down Manhattan’s rectangular blocks. From First Street to 155th Street south to north and First Avenue to Twelfth Avenue east to west, their new grid obliterated the old lanes and farmhouses dotting the Manhattan countryside north of Houston Street, with few exceptions. Yet in trading away its past, the city built its future. The grid became the urban version of a super computer, a chipset to super-charge the city’s growth." -- James Panero

James Panero explores The Greatness of the Grid [click to read] in City Journal, discssing the 1811 plan that defines Manhattan today, a city who's first commissioners could hardly have envisioned. The grid they laid down has become a tool for the design of this great metropolis along with some important intrusions such as Broadway and Central Park.

The American city that developed in the Nineteenth Century almost exclusively is built around the grid and interesting variation overlaying it. Washington DC is basically the grid overlaid with the Hunting Gardens of Versailles. Philadelphia has its squares. Small cities have their courthouse squares and pre-planned parks, such as those in Basic City, Virginia, now the Eastern portion of Waynesboro. Harrisonburg, Virginia's Romanesque Courthouse dominates a central square and becomes iconic.

San Francisco's topography intrudes nicely into the grid and here is where true urban genius can be seen. It is the variations that make it magnificent. Intrusion is what is missing in some of the more mundane grid cities of the plains.

Hopefully there is a lesson here that might enliven our future economic development efforts. The grid was a great engine of planning and in the end created better design than a lot of our modern 'Town Centers,' which are nothing more than Brobdingnagian cul-de-sac neighborhoods with ample parking.

Early Incubator of Innovation and Industry

The founders of Basic City looked at the converging railroads and saw an opportunity to develop a steel industry. The Basic City Mining, Manufacturing and Land Company laid out an ambitious city grid. A Natural Gas Company, founded in 1891, even drilled a test oil well which failed to produce. The great blast furnace envisioned by founder Jacob Reese never was finished. The Panic of 1893 ended the first era of optimism.

Other industries did rise and flourish however. The Dawson Manufacturing Company built the first automobile to be built in Virginia, a steam powered automobile! In the Twentieth Cenutry the great Dupont plant employed thousands. Today the region still stands at the crossroads of major transportation arteries and has the opportunity to design itself as a center of economomic activity for the Twenty-first Century.

Steam powered car built by Dawson Manufacturing Company in Basic City.

Fairfax Hall
Fairfax Hall, originally the Brandon Hotel, once lured visitors to Basic City. Drawing by Bob Kirchman.

Rep. Goodlatte: 'House Judiciary Committee Creates Bipartisan Task Force on Over-Criminalization'

Washington needs more bipartisan leadership as both sides of the aisle work together for the good of America. Press release from Congressman Bob Goodlatte's office....

The House Judiciary Committee today approved by voice vote the creation of a bipartisan task force on over-criminalization to assess our current federal criminal statutes and make recommendations for improvements. 

The task force is authorized for six months and will be led by Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Va.).  Members of the task force include Reps. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), George Holding (R-N.C.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Karen Bass (D-Calif.), and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).  Ex officio members of the task force include House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.).

Congressman Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on the creation of this task force:
“Over-criminalization is an issue of liberty.  As federal criminal laws and regulations have increased, so has the number of Americans who have found themselves breaking the law with no intent of doing so.  Americans who make innocent mistakes should not be charged with criminal offenses.   We need to take a closer look at our laws and regulations to make sure that they protect freedom, work as efficiently and fairly as possible, and do not duplicate state efforts.  I am hopeful that the bipartisan task force established today will be able to reach consensus and make recommendations to the House Judiciary Committee on how to improve our federal criminal statutes and protect our freedom.”
At present, there are an estimated 4,500 federal crimes in the U.S. Code, many of which address conduct also regulated by the states. According to a study by the Federalist Society, the number of federal criminal offenses increased by 30 percent between 1980 and 2004. There were 452 new federal criminal offenses enacted between 2000 and 2007, averaging 56.5 new crimes per year.  Over the past three decades, Congress has been averaging 500 new crimes per decade.  One problem with the expansion of the federal criminal code is that along with it has come an ever-increasing labyrinth of federal regulations, often which impose criminal penalties without requiring that criminal intent be shown to establish guilt. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

WaPost poll: McDonnell approval at 64% ... high popularity continues

Virginia's Governor Bob McDonnell remains one of the most popular governors in the country with a 64% approval rating.

A new Washington Post poll notes that Independents, Republicans, and Democrats approve of the Governor's leadership:
Overall, 64 percent of all registered voters in the commonwealth say they approve of the job McDonnell (R) is doing, up six percentage points from two Post surveys last year. His approval rating is as high as it has been in periodic Post polls over his tenure. The positive ratings cut across the political spectrum, with the biggest improvement coming among Democratic voters. Fifty-two percent of them say McDonnell is doing a good job, compared with 38 percent last September. [emphasis added]
McDonnell, who endured scathing criticism from the far-right wing of his party after his landmark transportation bill was passed with bipartisan support in March, has seen his popularity remain high through his pragmatic leadership by looking out for the needs of the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Read the entire poll results at the Washington Post. 

Cross-posted at

Thursday, May 2, 2013

John Cosgrove will provide pragmatic leadership for 14th Senate District

Phil Tran at Chesapeake Liasion recognized pragmatic leadership in his endorsement of John Cosgrove who is running for the state senate seat being vacated by a retiring Harry Blevins:
Throughout Cosgrove’s career, Cosgrove has been a champion for traditional values and for pragmatic solutions to make Chesapeake a great place for business and recreation. Unlike other politicians from both parties who think their ideology is what is best for the people, Cosgrove puts the needs of his constituents first.

Cosgrove knows where his people are and how to reach them because politics is not his day job when the part-time Virginia General Assembly is not in session. Therefore, he does not live in an echo chamber and more readily listens and understands the people. An engineer and musician by trade, Cosgrove is involved locally with his church, Rotary, the Ruritans, and has also served as a youth football and baseball coach.

Still, if conservative Republicanism is your thing, Cosgrove’s thoughtful, pragmatic approach to governance has led to 90%-100% ratings from the American Conservative Union, the Family Foundation, the Virginia Society for Human Life, the National Rifle Association, and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

Libertarians and liberty-minded Republicans should look past the rhetoric and look at the results. John Cosgrove might not be a Ron Paul acolyte, but he does share the same values and has worked to produce such results for the benefit of his community. He is also rock star. [photo of Cosgrove singing with a rock band]
"Pragmatic solutions ... pragmatic approach to governance." John Cosgrove has proven to have the kind of leadership recognized and appreciated by the Political Pineapple.

The fire house primary will be held on Thursday, May 9, 2013, from 5-8 pm at Victory Baptist Church, 4125 Indian River Road, Va Beach, VA 23456.

From 14th Senate District: Cosgrove piles up endorsements.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Chris Christie: 'Compromise is not a dirty word'

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican in a Democratic state, has proven to be a popular leader who has learned to work with those on both sides of the political aisle.

His first re-election campaign ad began airing today. This stood out:
"He made the tough decisions to get New Jersey back on track. Taxes cut. Spending cut. Government made smaller and smarter. A real property tax cap. Working with Democrats and Republicans, believing that as long as you stick to your principles, compromise isn’t a dirty word."
Yet another example of pragmatic leadership, Christie led New Jersey through the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, received negative comments from his party for thanking President Barack Obama for his help, and is leading in the polls.

Politico provided the transcript of the ad:
“Four years ago, New Jersey was broken: runaway spending, the nation’s highest taxes, and unemployment on the rise. Then we elected – Chris Christie. He made the tough decisions to get New Jersey back on track. Taxes cut. Spending cut. Government made smaller and smarter. A real property tax cap. Working with Democrats and Republicans, believing that as long as you stick to your principles, compromise isn’t a dirty word.

“The result: Four balanced budgets in a row, with no new taxes for anyone. The best job growth in 12 years. Nearly 130,000 new private sector jobs. Merit pay to reward New Jersey’s best teachers. And the most education funding, ever. But the most important thing he did has little to do with numbers, statistics or even politics: He made us proud to say we’re from New Jersey. Chris Christie. The Governor.”
Read more at Politico.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Revolt within Virginia Tea Party Federation

Oops. There is open revolt within the tea party ranks in the Commonwealth.

The Virginia Tea Party Federation that includes the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party, along with a tea party PAC, got together last week and decided to vet the nine Republican candidates for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. Their final choices were Prince William County Supervisor Chairman Corey Stewart and State Senator Mark Obenshain.

That didn't set well with some members of the tea party. Today there was open revolt in the blogosphere from Greg Letiecq, Chris Beer, Tito Munoz, Joshua Huffman, and Willie Deutsch. Apparently there are candidates they consider not "tea-party" enough.

A state of confusion now seems to have settled over the Commonwealth. Chris Beer at Mason Conservative wrote:
I don't know who's what anymore.  Who's a RINO, who's establishment, who loves liberty, who's a real conservative?  It's getting so confusing!

The Tea Party Federation of Virginia endorsed Corey Stewart today, and apparently it's to the bewilderment of the Tea Party.  First off, allow me to say that the fact there is a large "federation" of Tea Party seems counter to what the Tea Party of 2009-10 stood for.  Anyways, apparently the Federation's choice is not the choice of the local (ie real) tea parties. [emphasis added]
It didn't take long after the Virginia Tea Party Federation's endorsements for this open revolt to hit. Now the federation side is pushing back: "The sore losers are on the emotional politics rampage. There was nothing 'rigged' about the process."

The Republican Convention is just a few weeks away. Stay tuned ... this could get interesting.