Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sleazy Political Hack At It Again

Over at BVBL, that "loyal Republican" hack, AWCheney, is at it again, attacking other Republicans. Here's what the OWW said:
Greg, how can you possibly suggest that “shared values” are more important than “personal integrity?” People lacking in personal integrity would have absolutely no problem sharing the values of each and every person to whom they speak, regardless of what those values might be. If you can’t trust them, how can you trust what they say?
Here comments were directed at the Republican nominee against Chuck Colgan, Bob FitzSimmonds, for daring to support principled Conservatives. I posted a comment, which Greg deleted, because it exposed an inconvenient truth about someone who regularly posts there and sucks up to him.

It was something to the effect that she was right. After all, how dare Greg give credence to someone who attempts to use the criminal justice system to attack Republican candidates, and then lies about his efforts. Oh, wait. That was AWCheney.

Of course, AWCheney knows a lot about "personal integrity," much in the same way that Bill Clinton knows a lot about veracity. One cannot be ignorant of a characteristic that one so clearly lacks.

Your Situational Ethics Are Showing

It seems that Governor Timmy! is justifying his virtual re-write of the smoking bill (HB 2422) and his blogosphere sychophants are in full agreement.

They're particularly impressed by this little gem:
"For a lot of employees, it's not necessarily easy for them to pick up and get another job," the governor said on his monthly radio program on the Virginia News Network.
Funny, but whenever I dare to venture in and comment over at Raising Dough ... er, "Raising Kaine," the response of those who want to gut Right to Work laws and force workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment is that workers who do not want to do so should find another job.

Why is that an acceptable response to those who support Right to Work laws, and an unacceptable response from those who oppose Governor Timmy's! smoking ban?

'Fact is, it's all about government power, and those who would impose it to restrict freedom. It would be so refreshing if the far Left would just 'fess up and admit it.

Dave Mabie's Retirement Dinner

The Mrs. and I attended the retirement dinner for David C. Mabie, Clerk of the Circuit Court for Prince William County/Manassas/Manassas Park, last evening, held at the Clubs at Quantico.

It was a bittersweet occasion. Dave Mabie is, quite simply, one of the finest men in public service in Prince William County, and when his retirement becomes official, at 12:01 a.m., tomorrow morning, Prince William County will say goodbye to one of the most selfless, tireless, and respected officials in the County. Those of us who have had the privilege of working with him in local politics over the years --- as I have noted before, my lawpractice does not bring me to the County courthouse --- will say goodbye to a good and loyal friend.

His long years of public service were well-reflected in the attendees (probably about 200, but who knows?). At least one Circuit Court judge was in attendance, along with numerous local elected officials, political activists, and simply friends. Tom Davis spoke, along with Corey Stewart, the mayors of Manassas and Manassas Park, and Delegate Scott Lingamfelter. All three of the Mabie children gave touching speeches, and his ministers, both past and present, discussed Dave's strong and ever-present Christian faith. Present were Delegates Michele McQuigg, Bob Marshall, and Jackson Miller.

Dave and Copper Mabie (and those who know them always speak of them together) have been planning this farewell for some time, and while their friends are happy that they are opening this new chapter in their lives together, their departure leaves a void in the County and in its GOP which will not easily be filled.

Dave's 1991 election as Clerk of the Circuit Court marked the first time in living memory --- perhaps ever --- that a Republican was elected as a constitutional officer (Clerk; Sheriff; Commonwealth's Attorney) in PWC. And while a devoted public servant, having been among the first group of County police officers upon formation of the County Police in 1970, Dave was also an active and devoted Republican. He worked hard for the local party, and was always willing to provide wise counsel and support for those he numbered among his friends. The Youngs were fortunate enough to count Dave and Copper as friends, and Dave played a significant role in my decision to seek the Dumfries District School Board seat in 1995 and 1997. Dave was kind enough to write strong --- indeed, effusive --- letters of support for my candidacy, and while I did not prevail, it was the support of men and women like Dave and Copper which make it impossible for me to consider those efforts a defeat. It was in gestures like this, both large and small --- when their young grandson outgrew his clothes, Dave and Copper brought a box of them along to a Labor Day picnic, so our son could get some use out of them --- that the Mabies demonstrated their commitment to their friends.

It is the friendship of people like the Mabies which allow me to put in perspective the plaintive whinings of pseudo-Con wannabes, political hangers-on and opportunists, vile and vicious hacks, and cowardly, sniveling, snarling anonymous weasels.

Unlike too many in politics, Dave was the genuine article.

That is perhaps why it was no surprise that his unsuccessful rival for the 2003 GOP nomination to run against Senator Chuck Colgan --- current GOP nominee Bob FitzSimmonds --- was among the celebrants. It is a measure of both men that there was no animosity in Bob when, as a Potomac News political columnist, I made clear my support for Dave in that race. We could and did remain friends because Bob understood that I possessed good and sufficient reasons to support Dave. It was a measure of Dave that he respected my rather public disagreements with a few of his positions in that race.

He will be missed.

Is Rosie O'Donnell On Drugs?

Caught Hannity and Colmes on Fox News tonight. Wow! It contained a collection of Rosie O'Donnell's greatest delusions, including the notion that "radical Christianity," whatever that is, is comparable to radical Islam.

Why does a lunatic like this get time on a major network like ABC?

On an interesting note, I learned at a dinner party last week that O'Donnell initially attended, and dropped out, of Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Class of 1986. The scary thing is that Dickinson is among the six colleges to which I was admitted, and very nearly attended.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Do The Ironies Never Cease?!!

It seems that the boys and girls over at Raising Dough ... er, "Raising Kaine," are mightily impressed by Bruce Roemmelt, which is hardly surprising, given Roemmelt's far Left credentials, and his enthusiasm for unnatural sex acts and the continuing war on traditional values. But I nevertheless had to laugh at this post, which contained this little gem (with interpositions in bold):

Bob Marshall doesn't believe that Gays and Lesbians should be allowed to walk [er, parade their perversions] among us. He doesn't believe in women's reproductive rights, and even got involved in the Terri Schaivo case.

Bruce watched Bob Marshall for a long time and wondered "Why doesn't somebody do something about this guy?" After a few years of watching, and working on campaigns, he decided to do something about Bob Marshall.

Bruce believes in the inherent worth and dignity of every person [except Conservatives, people who don't want to pay tribute to union bosses, unborn children, and Terri Schiavo], which puts him directly at odds with Bob Marshall. This is an opportunity to live your values, and that's just what we need to do.

The saddest thing is that their own contradictions are probably lost on the boys and girls over at Raising Dough ... er, "Raising Kaine."

Pardon Phillip Thompson!

Much has been made in the blogosphere over the story about the aide for Senator Jim "Thinskin" Webb (D-Loony Left) who was arrested and apparently is being prosecuted for attempting to bring a handgun into a senatorial office building.

After all, the ironies are delicious. Democrats are, by and large (but not to a man), gun grabbers, even though this is one issue upon which Webb has not allied himself with the looniest of the loony left. Jim Riley put it well over at Virginia Virtucon:
You managed to hang your Executive Assistant, Phillip Thompson, out to dry, landing him in jail for 28 hours, on his 45th birthday no less — away from his wife and two kids, because you didn’t keep track of where your loaded weapon was, ignoring the most basic gun safety rules. Thompson then reappeared in public in D.C. Superior Court in leg irons represented by a “fancy Virginia lawyer” who is so unfamiliar with the D.C. court house that he got Thompson lost on his way out. That doesn’t bode well for his skill in manuevering through the subtleties of the D.C. court. Meanwhile, you engage in the most blatant CYA anyone has seen in recent memory, failing to take responsibility for your own blatant stupidity.
Actually, though, this provides a wonderful opportunity for some magnanimity: President Bush should immediately pardon Phillip Thompson.

Oh, sure: first, we should make sure that Thompson isn't some lunatic (well, no more of a lunatic than anyone who would work for Webb) who really intended harm. But if his offense was merely carrying out his employer's will, then a pardon should be forthcoming. And even though Webb wouldn't even acknowledge it was his gun, stating "I have never carried a gun in the Capitol complex, and I did not give the weapon to Phillip Thompson," it seems that he is simply lying.

Now, to be sure, there will be those among the Right who would love to see this played out, and the schadenfreude of the situation is compelling. However, this is one of those few opportunities which gives a President the opportunity to demonstrate --- without suffering self-inflicted wounds, a la the current contretemps over Attorney General Gonzales --- that he is bigger than his tormenters.

I therefore urge the President to ignore the fact that Jim Webb cannot own up to his own complicity in this affair. I urge him to ignore the fact that Jim Webb is a peurile child. I urge him to ignore the fact that Jim Webb has apparently left Thompson hanging out to dry.

Jim Webb has already demonstrated himself to be a sophomoric excuse for a Senator who, while he fits right in with the new Democrat Senate majority, has little to offer but bile and splenetic rantings. And while the people of Virginia and his own employees deserve better, there is little chance that they will get it.

So the President should not require that Webb act like a man and come, hat in hand, to the White House to plead Thompson's case, as a loyal employer would. He is clearly incapable of such dignity and grace.

It is a time for mercy. Pardon Phillip Thompson now!

The Real Embarrassment

I heard about this story on WMAL this morning, and went to the Washington Post to read the story.

It seems that two executives of a San Diego company that built a portion of a fence designed to keep illegal immigrants from crossing the Mexican border were sentenced to six months of home confinement for hiring undocumented workers.

Mel Kay, founder, chairman and president of Golden State Fence Co., and manager Michael McLaughlin pleaded guilty in federal court to knowingly hiring illegal aliens. Each was sentenced to serve 1,040 hours of community service and spend three years on probation. Kay was also fined $200,000, while McLaughlin was required to pay a fine of $100,000. Each will "serve" six months of home confinement. The company also agreed to pay a fine of $4.7 million. On WMAL's website, these questions were asked:

Is this punishment appropriate? Is home confinement sufficient or should this guy be getting jail time? Is it especially egregious that he hired illegals to do build the fence to keep the illegals out? Should the government take any responsibility for who is hired to fulfill their contracts?

Because the company helped build a fence to keep people from illegally crossing the border, much is being made of this fine on the radio, even though Federal authorities said they found no evidence that illegal immigrants were hired in the late 1990s while the company built more than a mile of the 14-mile fence near a border crossing in San Diego.

According to the radio report that I heard, Kay and McLaughlin made themselves targets when then-INS agents checked company records, discovered that illegal aliens were being employed, and directed that the company fire them. When now-ICE agents returned a year later, and found that a number were still employed, it was decided that the Federal government would make an example of this company.

Sorry, but WMAL is asking the wrong questions. While there is no doubt that the company and these officials should be held liable, the real scandal, and story, here is in the fact that, when Federal officials first visited the company, they merely directed these officials to fire the illegal aliens, rather than carting them off to jail for swift deportation.

It is little wonder that Kay and McLaughlin didn't act. By their actions, the relevant officials of the Federal government demonstrated that their enforcements efforts were a joke.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lucy Beauchamp To Run For Clerk As Independent?

Greg Letiecq (who has removed his block of my access to his website) is reporting that Lucy Beauchamp was gathering petition signatures at her last fundraiser. He speculates that this is because she is contemplating an independent run for Clerk of the Court, as petition signatures are not necessary to run for the GOP nomination in a Convention.

No speculation is necessary. If true (perhaps a big "if"), Beauchamp is apparently contemplating a "Burrell." And "What's a Burrell?" you might ask.

Those who have been around the County for more than a few years will remember the abortive candidacy of Tom Burrell for Coles District Supervisor in 2003. Burrell had joined the County GOP Committee, used its resources, and then shocked all by declaring, at his announcement, that he was running not for the GOP nomination, but as an independent, apparently at the urging of then-County Chairman Sean Connaughton, and then-Occoquan Supervisor Ruth Griggs, both alleged Republicans, who fiercely defended his decision to me in e-mails exchanged while I was in California, working on a case. Republicans in attendance at his announcement were shocked.

That Beauchamp might do so would come as little surprise. After all, she has twice been denied the GOP endorsement for School Board Chairman ... once when unopposed. She has hardly been an advocate for anything approaching a conservative agenda for government education.

And the notion of Beauchamp as a "leader" is a sad joke to those who have witnessed how utterly co-opted she has been by the educrats in the Prince William County Public School system. She twice acted as a shrill advocate for using the schools as a stalking horse for a "meals tax," sought because County pols refused to make the hard decisions prioritize education in tight budgetary times. While there are those Republicans whom I respect who appear to support her bid for Clerk of the Court, their support by and large appears to be based in their dislike of loyal Republican Michele McQuigg, rather than any stellar qualifications of Beauchamp's.

Nevertheless, it is rather curious, particularly in light of the fact that Beauchamp appeared at and spoke at last night's County GOP meeting.

Here's what I said in the Potomac News column on the subject when Burrell engaged in his perfidy:
I must confess confusion, about a candidate.

Just last week, one of our reporters did a story on a new candidate entering the Coles District race for County Supervisor. Given that I had not previously heard of this candidate, I read it rather closely. The gentleman’s name is Tom Burrell.
At first, I was rather happy to see someone else entering the race.

Sometimes, you’re simply glad you don’t have to vote in a race. The Coles District Supervisor’s race presents such a situation for some Republican activists, and some Coles District voters. Until Burrell’s announcement, two candidates had presented themselves.

Neither incumbent Republican Supervisor Mary Hill, nor the challenger who has presented himself, Soil and Water Conservation Board Member Martin Nohe, impress. Hill has damaged herself with controversy over her son’s legal difficulties and a resulting lawsuit by a County police officer, and her insistence that the taxpayer foot the bill for her legal defense. Nohe, until recently a resident of the Dumfries District, is credentialed mainly been as someone who has labored in the GOP vineyard for a short time.

Many Republicans were desperately searching for another alternative.

I initially thought that Burrell might provide such an alternative. A recent member of the County Republican Committee, Burrell is a retired Air Force Colonel. But while Hill and Nohe have presented some local Republicans with grave doubts about their candidacies, Burrell has already engendered the enmity of County Republican leaders.

You see, my close reading of the story on Burrell’s candidacy raised a number of questions, primary among them being “What is he running as?” I did not immediately recognize his name as someone I knew. To be sure, I don’t know everyone, but I have been active for twelve years in local politics.
Then, late last week, I received from the Secretary of the County GOP an e-mail notice of Burrell’s impending public announcement of his candidacy, at an event held last Saturday at Westridge. Included in the notice was Burrell’s website address. I went there to learn more about him.

Again, I was left without a vital piece of information: Burrell’s party affiliation. So I sent him an e-mail (his address was provided), and asked him. He was kind enough to respond fairly promptly, and when I opened my e-mail at the office this morning, he informed me that he was running as an independent.

As a result, I was livid. As a candidate, Burrell is certainly entitled to seek support from wherever and whomever he can find it. But his announcement had been sent on an e-mail list maintained for use by Republicans, for the advancement of the GOP cause. Thus, even though there are some Republicans running for public office whom I find to be unacceptable, I have nevertheless not had objection when they have sent their announcements through that same list. At a minimum, they are Republicans.
But Burrell let me know, and announced on Saturday, that his candidacy was as an independent, one notwithstanding the fact that there will doubtlessly be a Republican nominee for the Coles District Supervisor’s seat in November.

We don’t have many standards in the GOP in Virginia. State law does not provide for registration by Party, so Republicans have a Party Plan — reflected in the local Party Plan, primarily written by your intrepid correspondent — which applies the only real standard that we can: that participants in Party activities pledge “their intent to support all Republican nominees for public office in the ensuing election.”
When I forwarded Burrell’s response (with a courtesy copy to him) to the County Republican Committee’s Secretary and Chairman, with a note expressing my opinion that Burrell should not be permitted to use our partisan resources to promote his independent candidacy, I discovered that I was not the only one who was dismayed by his actions.

Burrell’s actions were no more popular among members of the County Republican Committee’s Executive Committee, on which I serve, and which met on Monday night. It seems that, in pursuit of his candidacy, Burrell has obtained a copy of the GOP voter list, which is maintained to advance Republican candidates and causes.
All this, while concealing from Republicans, until his announcement, that he was running as an independent.

As noted above, Burrell has a right to pursue election to public office in any many that he sees fit. But he does not have the right or authority to utilize the partisan resources of the Committee to advance his nonpartisan candidacy.

But disturbingly, Burrell seems to have had no qualms about mendaciously making use of resources meant for the GOP and advancing its candidates to advance his personal political ambitions, ambitions which he has scrupulously separated from the GOP. There is are a number of words for such behavior; among them is “opportunism.”

Oh, foresoothe! you say. Not opportunism in politics!

OK, OK. Maybe, cynical pretensions aside, I’m an idealist. I have this funny notion that an individual should not maintain his GOP credentials if he can’t abide by his pledge. That’s why, a few years back, I was so hard on Republican Dumfries Supervisor Maureen Caddigan, over her support for Democrat incumbent Kathleen Seefeldt over GOP nominee Sean Connaughton. That’s why I respected the decision of Woodbridge School Board Member Steven Keen to resign from the County GOP when he supported Woodbridge Democrat Supervisor Hilda Barg over the GOP nominee. Maybe Keen’s was a bad decision, but at least he was honest about it, and when he couldn’t keep his word, he took the appropriate course, one of integrity.
Burrell, on the other hand, has surrendered integrity for ambition, and maintains his membership, as of this writing, in the County Republican Committee. It’s a position fundamentally at odds with someone maintaining a candidacy against a Republican nominee, at least when you’ve promised your intent “to support all Republican nominees for public office in the ensuing election.” It means you’ve already established that you can’t keep your word.

It’s an inauspicious start for someone who aspires to a position of public trust.
Were Beauchamp to now decide to run as an independent, rather than as the Republican which she has made pretensions to being (not much of one, in the minds of many), much the same might be said of her. Yet if she is contemplating such a course, then she already has done much to destroy her credibility, by appearing at and addressing the County GOP as a candidate for its nomination.

Under such circumstances, her doing so was under demonstrably false pretenses, and despicable. One hopes that the voters hear of her flexible ethics and honesty, should she choose to run for Clerk of the Circuit Court as an independent.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bad News; Bad News

Former Senator John is not the only malignancy in his household.

Sadly, his wife's cancer is back.

It will not, however, interfere with his efforts to obtain power. His presidential campaign continues. What Edwards' partisans are touting as "love and courage in action" is indistinguishable from a raw lust for power.

Best wishes for good health to Mrs. Edwards. It's just too bad that her husband's ambition exceeds his concerns for his wife's health.

UPDATE: Demonstrating that this is not a partisan issue (anonymous cowardly attacks to the contrary notwithstanding), Ben Tribbett expresses similar sentiments here.

Promises Kept

Today's so-called "mainstream" media brought good news: the Prince William County Board of County Supervisors has advertised an initial budget proposal which would impose a property tax rate of 78.7 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The proposed tax rate --- which would actually reduce the average homeowner's bill by about $20 --- comes after years of declining rates which were more than offset by increasing assessments, resulting in actual tax-bill increases of 60-70% in terms of real dollars.

Of course, the usual suspects spent their time in the Board meeting complaining that only taxpayers should bear any burden in responding to the slowing real estate market. According to the Potomac News report by Keith Walker, Supervisors Maureen Caddigan (R-Dumfries), Hilda Barg (D-Woodbridge), and John Jenkins (D-Neabsco), advocated advertising a higher rate to, in the words of reporter Keith Walker, "give the Board some flexibility in the budgeting process," i.e., to be able to buy votes of small, strident, and vocal groups seeking to soak the taxpayers. State law prohibits the Board from increasing the rate from that advertised, though they have the flexibility to reduce it. Apparently, the only flexibility that the likes of Jenkins et al. are interested in is the kind of flexibility that allows them to spend more of the taxpayers' money. It is a flexibility that has been denied to County taxpayers in recent years, in the face of ever-increasing property tax bills.

Walker noted that "About 15 people spoke Tuesday in favor of raising the tax rate for fiscal 2008," and that "No one spoke against raising the tax rate." As to the latter, well, of course not; those who might oppose raising the tax rate were all working to pay taxes, while tax consumers had the free time to attend and speak at the Board meeting.

One of the more interesting, untold elements of this story is the fact that this is a triumph for the Prince William Taxpayers Alliance and advocates for budgetary restraint unknown during the Chairmanship of Sean Connaughton. The PWTA has long advocated a budget which limits spending increases --- note that it allows for tax increases, contrary to the whinings and misrepresentations of apologists for the likes of Connaughton --- limited to a function of population growth and inflation.

It is likewise a triumph for Board Chairman Corey Stewart, much maligned in the pseudo-Conservative blogosphere. This fact was recognized by the WaPo article on the subject, albeit backhandedly, which likewise belied the notion --- popular among so-called "moderate" blogosphere commentators --- that the message that the tax-limitation message is a political loser for Republicans. It specifically noted that the charge to limit taxes has been led by the newer members of the Board, i.e., those who have actually had to connect with voters, and have not been able to run on the power of their incumbency. Even Marty Nohe (R-Coles), much maligned by yours truly, voted with Stewart.

Corey Stewart deserves great credit for these efforts. Most importantly, he has succeeded in changing the terms of the debate.

Prince William taxpayers are the real winners here. It is long past the time when the Board should consider those who are paying the bills.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Arlen Specter, Constitutional Buffoon

Caught Arlen Specter (RINO-PA) on today's Fox News Sunday, talking about the imbroglio over the Bush Administration's firing of eight U.S. Attorneys. While Chris Wallace is clearly a bright guy, he completely missed the nonsense that Specter was spouting today.

"We're looking today at whether Congress should look at some showing of cause" to fire U.S. Attorneys, said the senior Senator from Pennsylvania.

What Wallace might've said is "Uh, Senator Specter, it's been tried, and someone in your position should already know that such an effort is unconstitutional. The Senate itself failed to remove Andrew Johnson from office for violating an earlier, similar effort to limit presidential power."

Instead, he simply moved on.

Here's what one website says, which comports with my recollection of law school/history classes on the topic:

The Tenure of Office Act, passed over the veto of President Andrew Johnson on March 2, 1867, provided that all federal officials whose appointment required Senate confirmation could not be removed without the consent of the Senate. When the Senate was not in session, the Act allowed the President to suspend an official, but if the Senate upon its reconvening refused to concur in the removal, the officila must be reinstated in his position. It was not entirely clear whether the Act applied to cabinet officials appointed by a previous president, such as Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, a Lincoln appointee.

In the summer of 1867, with Congress not in session, Andrew Johnson decided the time had finally come to replace Edwin Stanton with a new secretary of war. Stanton had become increasingly at odds with Johnson and the rest of his cabinet, and had been conspiring with Radical Republicans in Congress to thwart Johnson's policies on Reconstruction, which were considered too soft by the Radicals. On August 5, 1867, Johnson sent Stanton the following message: "Public considerations of high character constrain me to say that your resignation as Secretary of War will be accepted." Stanton refused to resign, forcing Johnson to send Stanton a second letter suspending him from office, ordering that he cease all exercise of authority, and transferring power to a new secretary of war, Ullysses S. Grant.

On January 3, 1868, the new Congress met and refused to concur in the removal of stanton by a vote of 35 to 16. The President, however, refused to accept the Senate's decision, believing the Tenure of Office Act to be an unconstitutional infringement on the power of the executive. Hoping to obtain judicial review of the Act's constitutionality, Johnson on February 21, 1868 appointed General Lorenzo Thomas, Adjutant General of the Army, to the post of secretary of war. Stanton balked at leaving the office he had reoccupied since January. Charles Sumner, one of the Senate's leading Radical Republicans, sent Stanton a one word telegram: "Stick." Impeachment proceedings began within days.

Although both Presidents Ullysses Grant and James Garfield complained strenuously about the Tenure of Office Act, the Act was not repealed until 1887, at the urging of then President Grover Cleveland.

In 1926, in the case of Myers vs. United States, the Supreme Court, in an opinion by Chief Justice Taft, held unconstitutional a law requiring the consent of the Senate for removal of certain non-Cabinet officials.

It's pretty pathetic that a senior Senator and former Senate Judiciary Chairman would suggest such a clearly unconstitutional course. It's even more pathetic when one considers the fact that Specter is from Philadelphia, the place in which the document was drafted. One might have hoped that this would have produced a Senator steeped in the history and meaning of the document, and a commitment to its principles and text.

Then again, this is the same guy who suggested that the Senate should vote on "Not Proven" as to the Clinton impeachment, wrongly suggesting that such a conclusion was: (a) constitutionally appropriate; or (b) applicable to Clinton's brazen, virtually uncontested perjuries.

Shame on you, Senator Specter.

The Democrats' War On The Constitution, Part 3759

Today's WaPo Metro Section contained a story on advocates for District of Columbia representation in the House of Representatives and their "disappointment" that the White House has actually read the Constitution.

Well, OK. That's not what they said, but that's clearly what underlies their nonsensical arguments and complaints.

According to the tag line under the headline, "Advocates Say Constitutional Concerns Smack of Politics." Here's what one advocate said:

"Our supporters are disappointed in this White House where you have a president who talks so much about voting rights abroad but can't do it two blocks from the White House," said Ilir Zherka, executive director of D.C. Vote, a nonprofit advocacy group. "The White House opposition is just going to fire up our folks."

Compare what the White House spokesman said:

Alex Conant, a White House spokesman, said Friday that the Bush administration opposes the bill because of constitutional concerns. The Constitution states that only "people of the several states" elect representatives to the House, and the District is not a state, he said.
And who is it who's "smack[ing] of politics"? Indeed, it is only the current proposal which "smacks of politics":
The current bill, introduced last year, would expand the House of Representatives from 435 to 437 seats, adding a seat for the District, which is predominantly Democratic, and for Utah, a Republican stronghold. Currently, the District has a non-voting delegate in the House and no representation in the Senate.
Advocates for congressional representation for the District of Columbia would be taken a lot more seriously if they had the courage of their convictions, and simply proposed a constitutional amendment to achieve that end. Or, God forbid, the same thing that gave congressional representation to residents of what is now Arlington County: retrocession of the non-Federal portions of the District to Maryland.

Of course, the latter course is a nonstarter for many advocates for D.C. congressional representation because, put simply: (1) Maryland doesn't want the District and its problems; and (2) D.C. as part of Maryland wouldn't give Democrats what they want, i.e., another reliably Democrat seat in the House.

Like I said, who is it who's "smack[ing] of politics"?

UPDATE: Doug Mataconis has a good post on the subject, entitled "The D.C. Voting Rights Crybabies." Couldn't have said it better myself.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Controversy Over U.S. Attorneys Firings

With all of the sturm und drang on the Left over the firing of eight United States Attorneys --- the chief Federal law enforcement official in each of the 93 Federal judicial Districts in the United States --- one can only imagine the reaction on the Left had the President fired all 93.

Oh, wait a minute. We don't have to imagine it. The Great Prevaricator dismissed all 93 United States Attorneys in 1993, and the Left was defending it --- rightly, incidentally --- as a legitimate exercise of presidential authority. Yet some are declaring a much more limited and focused decision by the Bush Administration as a "scandal."

The hypocrisy of the far Left never fails to amaze.

The only "scandal" here is the far Left's situational ethics and principles of convenience.

Monday, March 12, 2007

New Song From The Clinton Kool-Aid Crowd

I don't know if "Scooter" Libby is guilty or not. A jury in the highly-politicized District has said that he is.

Nevertheless, a couple of questions come to mind. For one, why --- other than to criminalize policy differences --- was an investigation pursued after the Special Counsel learned that the "leaker" of Valerie Plame's ties to the CIA was Richard Armitage? Why was an investigation pursued after the Special Counsel determined that no charges could be pursued under the Identities Act, because Valerie Plame was not a covert operative within the meaning of the Act? Why did a New York Times reporter spend more than three months in jail for contempt after the Special Counsel learned that the "leaker" of Valerie Plame's ties to the CIA was Richard Armitage?

In short, why was the question of whether "Scooter" Libby's possibly faulty memory --- certainly a plausible explanation --- ever made an issue by his grand jury testimony when the ostensible purposes of the "investigation" --- learning whether the Identities Act had been violated --- had already been answered in the negative?

And it is more than entertaining to listen to Clintonista Kool-Aid drinkers calling in to talk radio shows (i.e., "seminar" callers) have rediscovered that perjury is a crime, in an attempt to beat Conservative hosts over the head with their statements regarding Clinton's knowing and willful perjury.


After much procrastinating, I've finally gotten around to updating my blogrolls. I've added the new updater for the ODBA; added one or two leftie blogs (Vivian Paige should've been added months ago!); dropped a few inactive blogs, and updated the list of resources, including the addition of two new aggregators.

No slight to anyone was intended; it was 99% laziness, and 1% fear of the length of time it would take to make the changes (with the new Blogger, not as long as I had thought) which explains the delay.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

D.C. Circuit Strikes Down District Gun Ban

I know I'm late on this, but I just returned from a business trip to California. Great decision from Senior Judge Silberman on Friday, striking down --- by a vote of 2-1 --- the District's law banning possession of handguns in the home.

Of course, the usual suspects are decrying the decision. A fellow cigar aficionado pointed out to me today that Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, decried the decision because, after all, the law was thirty years old.

I suspect he would oppose such justification for continuation of Jim Crow/segregation laws (of more than eighty years' vintage) and laws enslaving Black Americans.

Unfortunately, Judge Silberman only alludes to -- rather than outright endorsing --- the principle purpose of the Second Amendment (pages 23-24 & n.9), which is, of course, to protect the people's right of revolution against oppressive government.

Of course, it is no coincidence that the most enthusiastic gun grabbers are also advocates for an ever-expending and more intrusive government (i.e., advocates for oppressive government).

Monday, March 05, 2007

Virginia's Own Senator Grandstand

It seems that Senator Jim Webb (D-Macaca) is introducing legislation to prevent an attack on Iran.

This is a little nonsensical, since the Administration has hardly kept Congress out of the decisionmaking process, having sought --- and received --- congressional authorization for the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

There's nothing like a little grandstanding from a Senator so otherwise lacking in substance. I suppose that it's a little better than passing non-binding, ineffectual resolutions in the place of exercise of actual constitutional authority.

But not by much.

Maybe There's An Argument

I've already posted my thoughts on the whole imbroglio over Ann Coulter's "faggot" comment.

However, Michelle Malkin is always someone who must be taken seriously (I corresponded with her years ago, when she was in Seattle; she is a fierce Right to Work supporter), and she actually was there. She writes that:

Enter Ann Coulter.

Her "faggot" joke was not just a distraction from all the good that was highlighted and represented at the conference. It was the equivalent of a rhetorical fragging--an intentionally-tossed verbal grenade that exploded in her own fellow ideological soldiers' tent.

There are countless conservatives who bring their children to CPAC. It's a family-friendly event. I brought mine last year and the year before. I met several parents with their kids there this year. We expect CPAC to be a place where conservative role models speak with clarity, passion, and integrity. There are enough spewers of mindless filth, vulgarity, and hatred on TV, at the movies, and in the public schools. We don't expect our children to be exposed to that garbage at the nation's preeminent conservative gathering.

I was in the back of the ballroom and did not see any children in the audience during Coulter's speech. But what if there had been?

Would you want your children hearing the word "faggot" spoken in such a casual and senseless manner? Would you like your first-grader or three-year-old running around the halls of CPAC singing "faggot, faggot, faggot?" Not me. Not anymore than I'd like my toddler singing "gook, gook, gook" or "sambo, sambo, sambo"--favored epithets hurled at conservative minorities by leftist haters groping around in their empty intellectual quivers. There were hundreds of young conservative college students in the ballroom. Would you be proud of your college-age daughter spewing such epithets in her campus debates with leftists?

I guess my question is, what is the alternative? Should Ann have referred to "sodomites"? Those "behind the lavender door"? Those who practice "the love that dare not speak its name"? I, for one, would never show up to a speech at CPAC (as opposed to the area with booths of various Conservative organizations) with small children in tow, owing to their potential for disruption. I wonder why Michelle would, though I suppose it's her choice. Or should she have chosen "homosexuals," or even "gays"? It seems to me that you have to answer that question, unless you're like Hugh Hewitt (no link, sorry), who is reputed to have commented something to the effect that there should be terms that we should simply agree are not appropriate to polite public discourse.

Of course, it wasn't too long ago that homosexuality wasn't a topic for polite public discourse. To put not too fine a point on it, we can thank faggots for the fact that this is no longer the case.

Coulter is not stupid, of course, and she recognizes that conceding the terms of the debate is virtually tantamount to conceding the debate. That's why, in my line of work, unions insist on calling forced union dues "fair share fees," and fee seizures by public employers "collections," or "deductions." Malkin is usually smart enough to recognize the importance of controlling the terms of the debate, too, but apparently not on this occasion.

One of the real problems with the savaging being suffered by Ann Coulter is in the fact that there seems to be no real, principled basis for declaring her remarks inappropriate save, perhaps, Michelle's concern about children, since I, too, would like to avoid explaining that particular perversion to my ten and six year old boys until much later. Having my twelve-year-old stepdaughter ask about oral sex during the Clinton impeachment was pleasant enough, thank you very much.

Some seem to have bought into the "bigoted" smear, as though judging people by their behavior were inappropriate. But even that seems disingenuous, when one considers the alternatives, or lack thereof. Aside from the legitimate conclusion that such a joke about John Edwards was neither appropriate (as applied to him) nor particularly funny, it seems to me that underlying a lot of the attacks is the notion that: (a) speaking about homosexuals in derogatory terms is impermissible/impolite/rude; and/or (b) homosexuals are a group of which one cannot make sport.

Neither alternative strikes me as particularly rational, from a Conservative.

Pandering to the Far Left

No wonder Samuel Francis calls the GOP the "Stupid Party." I suppose that it's better than the "Evil Party," but sometimes, not by much.

Today, my in-box was graced by a link to this, a column by Cliff Kincaid joining in the savaging of Ann Coulter. In it, he notes that Accuracy in Media "has announced that it will be discontinuing sales of books by or merchandise promoting Ann Coulter. We hope that other conservative groups follow our lead." Kincaid is "Editor of Accuracy in Media."

Puh-lease! Ann Coulter made a bad joke. It wasn't funny, and it was misdirected. To be sure, John Edwards is a vacuous, eminently contemptible candidate. And he's just so darn pretty! But making reference to him as a "faggot" simply isn't funny. Whatever his other flaws, he appears to be a dutiful husband who didn't trade in a wife who was his elder for a trophy wife once he made his millions (I truly resent that Ann has forced me to say something nice about Edwards). Suggesting that he's a faggot is no more appropriate than those poor, pathetic souls who question the sexual preference of anyone who dares to oppose the radical homosexual agenda. Now, maybe if she'd said something about his faggoty hair .... well, never mind.

But to make Ann persona non grata because she dared to use the word "faggot" is conceding the moral high ground against the radical homosexual agenda. The struggle against institutional racial bigotry was rightly and effectively won not by legislation, but when it became considered rude and unfashionable to use disparaging terms against people for no other reason than the unmalleable color of their skin. So, too, it will be with perversion if "Conservatives" or sometimes-allies concede the moral high ground, and suggest that it is unacceptable to call perverse sexual behavior "perverse," and its practitioners "perverts." And make no mistake about it: people aren't complaining because Ann Coulter disparaged John Edwards as something he is not. The complaints are coming from those who want to mainstream perversion. Or those who wrongly confuse speaking of perversion disparagingly and with contempt with bad "manners" and incivility.

Sexual behavior is exactly that --- behavior --- and therefore subject to human choice and free will. It is rightly subject to judgment and, where appropriate, contempt, such as that reflected by use of the word "faggot." Or "child molester."

But use of the term is both derogatory and an accusation, just as calling someone a "drunkard" is. And there is, therefore, nothing wrong with its use, so long as it is directed at, well, faggots. Edwards clearly is not one.

But misdirected attempts at humor hardly justify the treatment that Coulter is getting. She has long been an effective warrior against the excesses of the far Left. She deserves better treatment from her own.

"Ill-advised"? Perhaps. Misdirected? Certainly. But only those faint of heart would suggest the kind of treatment endorsed by Kincaid as the price for making a bad joke.

What is even worse, though, is Kincaid's conclusion. At the end of his piece, he says this:
Ironically, Coulter's "joke" about Edwards was presented in the context of saying that if she used the word "faggot" to describe him, she would have to go into rehab. The idea of getting Coulter some professional help doesn't sound so funny to me.
Cliff, here's a little news flash: there was once a place that used psychiatry to "treat" errant political opinions.

It was called the Soviet Union.

Bush Derangement Syndrome Meets Socialism

While the conditions at Walter Reed may indeed by scandalous, it is one of life's delicious little ironies that those who are most committed to socializing the American health care system are the same people who are using a failure of socialized medicine --- conditions at Walter Reed --- as a stick with which to bash the Bush Administration and the United States Army over the head.

Nevertheless, you can rest assured that those currently in high dudgeon over Walter Reed will soon --- and perhaps even simultaneously --- be banging the drum once again to bring the same compassions and efficiencies present at Walter Reed to the rest of us, in the form of a government takeover of health care.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Bob Reich Has A Blog

In the wake of the House's vote on the fraudulently-misnomered "Employee Free Choice Act," I came across Bob Reich's blog. You'll recall Reich as the bearded, diminutive Secretary of [Organized] Labor in the first Clinton Administration.

Oh, how do I respond to thee? Let me count the ways.

Here's what Reich had to say, with a few rejoinders thrown in:
You’d think that more than seventy years after the right to form a union was enshrined in the National Labor Relations Act, workers could have a union if a majority wanted one.

[You'd also think that, after a number of wars to protect freedom, all American workers would have the right to refuse to join or pay dues to a union if they didn't want to.]

Think again. Under current law, a majority vote isn’t nearly enough. Even if one hundred percent of workers want a union, employers can still stop them by demanding that the simple vote be followed by a complex process ending in a secret ballot – a process so long and drawn out that some employers use the time to fire union organizers and threaten others. End of story.

[Sure, NLRB processes are "long and drawn out." Perhaps Bob can write an article about the "long and drawn out" proceedings to enforce rights under Communications Workers of America v. Beck, 487 U.S. 735 (1988). Cases under the Clinton NLRB were delayed for seven years or more. The District of Columbia Circuit recently ordered a rare mandamus order requiring the Board to issue a decision in one of those cases which was delayed by the Clintonistas, and then delayed again by the Bush Board.]

This week, the House votes on a bill that would allow a majority of workers to sign up for a union and get one. Odds are the bill will make it through the House but get stuck in the Senate, where sixty votes are needed to overcome a filibuster. Bush has already said he'd veto it in any event. But the vote is important nonetheless. It will put members of Congress on record, and voters will be reminded in 2008 who voted for and against. (I and others in the Clinton administration and congressional Dems tried to get the labor laws reformed in the mid-1990s, but Gingrich and company wouldn't even allow a floor vote.)

[No, this week the House voted on a bill to allow union bosses to coerce workers into granting them a monopoly of representation. And BTW, trying to kill employers' rights to hire permanent replacements for striking workers --- putting a union to its economic proofs as to the reasonableness of its economic demands --- is not "reform." And when you tried to bar federal contractors from using them by Executive Order, your effort was rejected as illegal by the D.C. Circuit.]

Employer groups are lobbying furiously against the bill. They prefer the current long, drawn out process that gives employers time to use threats and coercion to prevent unionization. Such strong-arm tactics are illegal but the penalty for getting caught is a slap on the wrist. Charges of illegal dismissals take years to wind their way through the National Labor Relations Board and even when the Board finds that an employer acted illegally, the worst that can happen is the worker has to be rehired and given back pay that was lost. In 2005 alone, over 30,000 American workers were awarded back pay because their employers were found to have illegally fired or otherwise discriminated against them for their union activities.

[Just like unions prefer "the current long, drawn out process." To be sure, on those few occasions when they occur, employer "strong-arm tactics are illegal but the penalty for getting caught is a slap on the wrist." Of course, on those far more frequent occasions when unions ignore employees' rights under Beck, their "strong-arm tactics are illegal but the penalty for getting caught is a slap on the wrist." Better that they not be told at all. Didn't you have a part in rescinding an Executive Order requiring Federal contractors to tell employees about those rights?]

A half century ago, most employers obeyed the law and allowed workers to organize. In the 1950s, the National Labor Relations Board found illegal dismissals in only one of every 20 union elections. But in subsequent decades, competition heated up, investors demanded higher returns, employers felt increasing pressure to cut wages, and union-busting became the name of the game. By the early 1990s, according to government data, illegal dismissals occurred in one out of every four union elections. Nowadays, even though polls show most workers would organize a union if they could, the process is so complicated that it’s rare they even get to choose.

[Polls also show most workers believe that no one should be forced to join or pay dues to a union if they don't want to, as well. When will you be getting on that band wagon, Bob?]

Employers say a simple up-or-down vote, such as featured in the House bill, would allow pro-union workers to intimidate their co-workers. They argue for the more elaborate secret ballot. They say a secret ballot is essential to democracy. But they’ve got it wrong. Workplaces aren’t democracies. Employers have the power to hire and fire – and this is exactly where the potential for intimidation lies. The only way around it is to go with a simple up-or-down vote.

[Nothing in the House bill is about "a simple up-or-down vote"; it's about allowing unions to visit employees' homes and intimidate and/or lie to them in order to get them to sign a union card (I've had cases where a union steward has said that signing a card was simply to "get more information on the union").]

America’s rising economic tide has been lifting executive yachts but leaving most working people in leaky boats. Workers need more bargaining power. They should be allowed to form a union when a majority of them wants one – as simple as that.
And sometimes, those union bosses just have to "strap workers to the mast," don't they, Bob? Without regard to whether they're sinking the ship (think "Eastern Airlines").

Reich will keep advancing the talking points, but this wasn't about protecting worker rights to join a union; it was singularly about protecting a source of Democrat campaign workers funded by forced dues. The problem (for Democrats isn't a lack of worker freedom; it's HOW workers are exercising their freedom to reject unionization.

Most of the civilized world has recognized that a secret ballot is necessary to ensure democratic freedom. Most, that is, except America's Democrat Party. So instead of apocryphal employer "threats and coercion to prevent unionization," we'll have union "threats and coercion to [promote] unionization."