Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tea Party Movement, Keep Options Open

Today in the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove has advice for the Tea Party Movement and its members. He advises them not to become a part of a political party. He states that the Tea Party Movement has more power as an individual entity pushing for Fiscal Responsibility, Conservation of Constitutional Principles, and Limited Government. He states that the Tea Party Movement fractioned group is good because it doesn't unite the movement under one leader and their agenda, but rather focuses on the People and their local and national issues.

Karl Rove goes on to warn the Tea Party Movement that the secular media is now taking them seriously and to guard against extremism. He warns against those who wish to take up arms against the government, he warns against those that pursue the agenda of the "Birthers", and against those who believe that 9/11 was organized by the American Government. These entities will only serve to harm the Tea Party Movement, Rove warns.

I believe this is all sound advice. The Tea Party Movement, comprising mostly of the groups Tea Party Patriots, Freedom Works, and American's for Prosperity, is a great thing, they put out the call when we see a good candidate for public office and help to shine the light on that person and gain them support. On the other hand when we see a representative or politician being dishonest, wasteful, wavering away from our founding principles, or corrupt, they can shine the light on them and push for a replacement. This pressure needs to be maintained on both parties and the Tea Party Movement is a perfect vehicle for it.

Lastly, Rove advices Tea Party members to keep their focus on policy and principle and not on political squabbles, explaining that their base would be more broad and welcoming to the American People. Great Article.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Virginia Sen. Emmett Hanger wants new Virginia Business Tax.

Virginia Senator Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta, wants a new internet sales tax in the Commonwealth. Currently, internet purchases are not subject to a state sales tax, part of the attraction for online buying. Now, Senator Hanger wants to change that, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch. His bill passed the Virginia Senate on Wednesday and now heads to the House of Delegates where it faces a tough battle.

It should be noted that there are many small business here in Virginia that operate inside of a residential place and sell goods online, this new tax would cause an increase in price for their product and cause sales to go drop. These "online" businesses don't drain public resources.

This doesn't seem like the best time to be imposing a new tax that hurts Virginia business. I will be looking to the Governor to veto this if it passes the General Assembly. I am surprised at Senator Hanger for this putting forward this bill. I hope it doesn't pass, we need the business.

Augusta's Inflated Real Estate Assessments are Hurting School Budget.

In the NewsLeader today schools here in Augusta could see additional budget cuts. Augusta County Schools Superintendent, Gary McQuain, says the ailing Augusta County School budget could see an additional $699,000 cut. How does this happen? Well, the Commonwealth of Virginia doles out money to the 134 school districts based on need.

The need is calculated using a number of different values including; Daily average attendance, REAL ESTATE VALUES, student enrollment, and retail sales tax. Two of these values have seen a dramatic change recently. Retail sales have dropped, but they have dropped across most of the commonwealth causing only small differences when compared to other areas.

The real deal here is that Real Estate Values have soared, at least on paper. If you remember back, last year, there was a huge public outcry about the High Real Estate Assessments here in Augusta. Over 10,500 people signed petitions saying the assessments were wrong. More than 1,000 people showed up at the Augusta County Government Center at a Board of Supervisors meeting to tell the Board that the assessments were mistaken as to the true value of their home and land. The Board of Supervisors paid no attention to the public outcry and allowed the assessments to remain. The Board of Supervisors did lower the tax rate on the assessments, thinking that would solve the problem, but their shortsightedness about this issue and the ripple effect that the assessments would have may now mean costly cuts for Augusta County Schools in terms of layoffs and possible furloughs.

All the sudden, at least on paper, Augusta county looks like a rich school district in the eyes of Richmond, no longer in need of as much state money to help with the local school budget. Therefore, seeing that the commonwealth's budget has a $4 Billion gap, the money, that the Augusta County Schools had anticipated it would get from Richmond, may not materialize.

I-81 and the Rail Road.

In todays News Virginian is an interesting story, something other than about snow. It covers a $75,000 Virginia government funded study and report about the feasibility of rail being the answer to truck congestion on interstate 81, a main artery between the lower and upper halves of the eastern seaboard. The report centers around and endorses the Crescent Corridor project, which is a rail line that was started in 2008 and scheduled to be completed in 2012 and creates a connection between New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee with New Jersey. Currently, Virginia sees a lot of traffic on I-81 as freight is carried between these destinations. The report suggests that the Corridor project could cut about 13%-14% of the trucks off of I-81.

The trucks and congestion on I-81 have been an issue for many years, and this problem continues to grow. The amount of trucks and individual motorists on the popular highway is increasing beyond the rates previously predicted.

This rail project would individually impact us here in Augusta, Waynesboro, and Staunton because our area is a favorite stop for these trucks, and when they stop, they spend their money. Therefore, this issue has two sides. One, the safety of decreased traffic on I-81 and the loss of outside revenue from the trucks. Something to think about.

Gibbs pulls a funny!

For the first time ever, White House Communications Director Robert Gibbs does something funny. This made me laugh see the video here. He is mocking former Gov. Sarah Palin for having some notes written on her hand. I don't really think this is a big deal for Palin, but of course the Democrats never let a good gaff alone. Anyway, this was funny. I would recommend the president replace his teleprompter with this idea. His poll numbers might go up. Of course, if the president tried to do this he would run out of hand space for all of his talk.

Former VA. Gov. Doug Wilder has Ax in Hand.

In the Richmond Times Dispatch, Former Virginia Democrat Governor Doug Wilder has strong warnings and recommendations for President Barack Obama. Wilder tells Obama to get tough and start leading or else face a one term presidency. He says that starts with replacing a lot of his White House and Executive Staff. Wilder explains that it takes certain people with certain skills to help get you elected and quite another to govern.

Wilder goes on to slap the Democrat Party with the reality of recent elections and current poll numbers. He tells the president that former Virginia Governor, Tim Kaine, has to go as the Democrat National Committee Chairman. He goes on to tell Obama that he " has enough to worry about and defend without this detracting sideshow..." Wilder writes in Politico.

Wilder goes on and even seems to be ready to sign on to the Tea Party Movement by slamming Gov. Tim Kaine on his proposals in Virginia, notably to raise the state income tax rate and for the proposed extradition of a murdering criminal back to Germany where he could have been paroled in as little as two years. Wilder has grave concerns for the Presidents ability to lead, warnings for the Democrat Party, and questions whether the current administration really knows how to "listen to the people."

I don't think Governor Wilder is going to get a White House Christmas Card this year.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow, Snow, and More Snow!

Okay, here are the pictures of the snow around my house. Sure is great to have a new friend with a plow!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Virginia has All Hands on Deck for Snow.

In this mornings News Virginian is a run down and review of the preparation for the largest snow storm in decades. One very interesting detail, mail is planned to be delivered even if the snow is two feet deep! Reminds me of the United States Postal Service un-official Creed inscribed on the Post Office in New York City, "Neither Snow nor Rain nor Heat nor Gloom of Night stays these Couriers from the Swift completion of their Appointed Rounds" A great story for a Snow Day.

Obama puts Health Care in the Backseat.

Today in the Richmond Times Dispatch, President Obama is reported to be putting Health Care on the back burner and focusing on the economy and jobs, he stated at a Democrat event. The president says he would like to see the Republicans, Democrats, and other experts sit down to work on the bills. Sen. Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, has stated that is exactly what he has been after and awaits the White House invitation. No invitation has yet been offered to Republicans. Most likely, that invitation will never materialize.

We must be vigilant that Health Care doesn't sneak in under the radar.

Pro-Choice/Pro-Abortion license plate in Virginia!

According to the Richmond Times Dispatch this morning, Planned Parenthood has been successful in having a Pro-Choice Specialty Licence Plate which reads, "Trust Women/Respect Choice," introduced to the General Assembly. Sen. Janet D. Howell, D. Fairfax has proposed the legislation for the specialty plate out of, what she calls it, fairness. Last year, Pro-Life advocates were successful in obtaining the "Choice Life" licence plate. Sen Howell explains that this specialty plate is just voicing the other perspective.

I just don't understand this. Why would we as a Commonwealth want Pro-Abortion advertised on our licence plates, might as well say, "Virginia is For Lovers, Just not Babies." Sen. Howell has crossed the line with this legislation, especially since part of the proceeds of the plate go to Planned Parenthood. The spokes person for Planned Parenthood states that the funds wouldn't go directly to pay for abortions. Like that is supposed to make it all feel better? It is well known that Planned Parenthood fully supports abortion.

I will be keeping especially sharp watch on my representatives in the General Assembly on this one. God willing Sen. Hanger doesn't vote for this horrible license plate. I also want to put out a call to all those Conservatives in Fairfax, Virginia. Now is your time, Dig Deep and replace Sen. Howell in the Virginia Senate. I will be more than happy to send you money and volunteer my time.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fiscal Conservative Democrats Conflicted.

Congressional Democrats, like Senator Conrad of North Dakota, are conflicted about the rising deficit, rising unemployment, rising food costs, and party loyalty. According to the the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Conrad is feeling the heat of the $3.8 Trillion dollar Obama Budget. The most informing part of the WSJ article was this;

"Most economists agree that the country's public-debt burden-now at $7.75 trillion and growing- poses a threat to economic security. Interest payments devour nearly one-tenth of federal revenues and are projected to more than triple over the next 10 years. Spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid consumes an additional 57%. The administration projects that those entitlement programs, as they are know, plus interest on the debt, will absorb 80% of all federal revenues by 2020."

So, does Sen. Conrad and other Congressional Democrats abandon Mr. Obama and his deficit spending and help save the country from economic disaster, or do they go down with the sinking ship called the Democrat Party?

Virginia Senate Smacks down ObamaCare Mandate!

According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, the Virginia Senate has passed a bill that declares it illegal to mandate someone to purchase health insurance and rejects the federal government or any other institution from imposing a fine for not having health insurance.

This a tremendous victory for Constitutional Freedoms. Republican Senators have said this is less about health care and more about individual freedom of choice.

Another reason legislators don't need to impose a fine is, if the poor can't afford a health insurance plan, what makes you think they can afford a fine? And, how exactly does that help them when they get sick?

Good Job Delegate Dickie Bell.

In today's News Leader, 20th District Delegate Dickie Bell's Education Bill, House Bill 76, has passed in the Education Committee and goes before the full General Assembly for vote. The bill, Delegate Bell explains, requires school districts to spend at least 65% of its annual budget in the classroom on instruction, not on administration costs. This idea is not new to the General Assembly, it was introduced 4-5 years ago by Delegate Albo of Springfield. However, Delegate Bell, being a teacher, drafted the bill better to the committee's liking and was successful at getting it passed. Delegate Dickie Bell is a special education teacher from Augusta County and a freshman delegate this year in the Virginia General Assembly.

Delegate Albo explained that the bill will have a tough time getting through the General Assembly and even harder time getting through the Virginia Senate because the Teachers Unions are opposed to the measure. The Teachers Unions also represent the Administrative staff and explain that the bill would result in layoffs of administration in order to comply with the mandate.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Obama Budget Cancels NASA Constellation Program!

Today in the Richmond Times Dispatch, President Obama unveiled his budget proposal, all $3.83 Trillion, which brings on Billions of Debt, and increases the deficit. Gee, saw that coming, so much for fiscal responsibility. However, the biggest thing that jumped right out of the page... Cancelling the Constellation Program at NASA! Legislation was written into NASA's funding last year to prohibit this without congressional approval.

According to and other known news sources, the Obama Administration is cancelling the Next Generation of NASA's manned spaceship. The current Space Shuttle Fleet, which did most of the heavy lifting in construction of the International Space Station (I.S.S.), and pride of the American Space Agency is scheduled for decommission at the end of this year. The problem was seen many years ago that a replacement would be needed and ready to maintain the crews and supplies aboard the I.S.S.

So the Constellation program was born, two different types of rockets, for many different applications. The Ares I rocket was designed to take the new Orion Space Capsule up into space. The Ares I rocket and Orion Space Capsule could be used to bring crew back and forth from the I.S.S. The Ares V rocket was the heavy lifter for supplies and possibly a Next Generation Lunar Lander. Another words, the two could have worked together or separately in order to satisfy the necessity of the mission and save money.

Click Here to see a YouTube video of the Constellation Program in Action!

Now, The Obama Administration, wants to scrap the Constellation program all together and rely on commercial or private companies to provide the rockets and the capsules to get our astronauts to the station. However, none of the current "commercial" companies have a rocket that can fulfill the needs of NASA by NEXT YEAR! So, if the commercial companies aren't able to come up with a transportation system quick, in order to keep the American Manned Space Program alive than we better really start working on our relationship with the Russians.

Currently, the Russians are the only other country on the PLANET capable of getting crew and supplies to the I.S.S. Lets review, how is our relationship with Russia anyway? Hmmm, lately, its been quite strained. So, I certainly hope we don't upset the Russians while we have an American on the International Space Station. Oh, and what exactly is Obama's plan if the Russians refuse to carry our astronauts up? The Russians must really like this, they could basically take squatters rights to the most sophisticated piece of technology ever created, this is CRAZY!

Click Here to read about everyday technologies that were born because of NASA research.