Friday, July 6, 2007

Some Clarity On My Viewpoints on Fixing Illegal Immigration

It is apparent that there is some word-twisting and/or misunderstanding by a few people at a discussion about illegal immigration has deteriorated to a couple of readers not understanding (either accidentally or intentionally) what I believe.

Let me bullet point a few things I believe, and I'll try to make this as crystal-clear and plainly-stated as possible...

- Preventing illegal immigration does not simply mean "put up a fence on the southern border." To believe this would be an end-all/cure-all solution is preposterous. We have issues with the illegal smuggling of workers from China (a situation that gets little play from the mainstream media on both sides, but it's been going on for a long time). We also have problems with those that overstay their visas (see my next bullet point for that).

- The legal immigration process needs to be streamlined and made more efficient. A reader of frequent opposition to my viewpoints (who goes by the name Gxeremio) does agree with me on this (and nothing else, really). Both the process of filing for legal immigrant status and the process of renewing visas must be made more efficient and less complicated. Doing this would greatly reduce the number of illegal immigrants in this country.

- If you're an illegal immigrant, and you commit another crime...deportation. Period. End of story. That's 2're not legally here, so you don't get the luxury of a 3rd strike.

- Border security includes a well-maintained fence on the southern border, this I do believe. This is nothing against my hispanic brethren, because if we had this problem with massive amounts of Canadians jumping over the border illegally, I'd say we should be securing the northern border, as well.

- Do not mistake my beliefs that stronger border security helps protect us from terrorist attacks with the idea that illegal immigrants from Latin America would commit such acts. The truth is that lackadasically-enforced borders do provide another avenue for jihadists and other anti-American terrorists a way to enter this country. I believe that when 9/11 occurred, our need for stronger security at our borders, our airports, our seaports, and other transportation hubs/points of entry became greater than ever. Is that such a hard thought to swallow?

- Once we reduce the number of illegal immigrants to a manageable amount through the enforcement of immigration laws, you will still have the question of "what do we do with the rest". I believe that once you achieve all of the goals stated above, then (and ONLY then) can you look at providing an avenue for the remaining illegal immigrants...provided that they have been productive members of society. That avenue, of course, requires placing them at the bottom of the waiting list for legal status. Remember, they still committed a criminal act to enter this country in the first place.

A monetary penalty would also be a good thing to institute for these legalization avenues, but instead of this "one-time fee", they should be put on a payment plan...if you miss a few payments without getting in contact with the local office in charge of processing your fee payment, then you lose your right to legal status and *snap*, out you go. It's like defaulting on a collateral loan...except in this case, the collateral is your legal status until the fee is repaid.

However, I must emphasize that the border must be secured, the illegals that commit (or have committed) other criminal acts must be deported immediately, and the flow of illegal immigrants into this nation be reduced to a trickle...only then can you discuss legalizing the remaining illegal immigrants.

A Great Quote

Courtesy of the arfcom forums.

The topic of this forum thread is about how Madonna invests in companies that people like Al Gore want punished for polluting and not being "green" enough (She holds $4.2 million worth corporate stock from 7 of the top 100 "most toxic" companies). The irony is that Madonna is part of Gore's "Live Earth" event tomorrow.

The 8th comment (by a poster named "Thuban") reads as follows (bold emphasis is mine)...

"What’s interesting to me about that article isn’t Madonna. It’s the attitude of the guy who wrote it. I’ve seen that attitude before…

Several years ago a friends kids (I was something of a foster uncle to them) asked me how much I made. So, I told them. I don’t remember how much it was, but it wasn’t a lot. Just for the story lets say it was $400 a week. Well, those kids were shocked. Imagine how many toys I could buy with that, imagine how much candy. If I was getting $400 a week it wouldn’t be any problem for me to buy them all kinds of stuff.

I was talking to a friend the other day about some serious problems he’s having with his wife. No matter what he said she would still waste money left and right. It doesn’t matter if the power’s going to be cut off she will go to Wal-Mart and spend $30.00 on a couch pillow and a couple stuffed animals for their two little girls. Then she will still run to the convenience store (could have bought cheaper at Wal Mart) and spend $20 on cokes and candy for her and the girls. Or, it might be a couple movies at the rental store, after paying the late fees because she didn’t return the previous movies for a week that costs them $20.00 or so. Point is she spends money left and right on crap she doesn’t need even when the money is critically needed to pay things like the mortgage.

(What does this have to do with this thread? Hold on, I’m getting there.)

Both are examples of a childish attitude towards money. Children just assume that the place they live, their cars, their food, their medical care, their electricity, and their clothes are free. They never consider that all the necessities in life take money to buy.

(And, how does that apply to this thread?)

The idiot who wrote that article has exactly the same attitude towards the economy. Aluminum won’t smelt itself. Someone’s got to do it and that process probably does pollute some. But, if people want things made from aluminum then it’s got to be done. Most liberals have this same childish attitude towards the economy. They think all the stuff we use every day somehow magically appears on the store shelves and that companies just pollute because they like the smell.

Liberals have the minds of children, stupid, narcissistic, spoiled, children."

There is more truth to that quote than some people would like to admit. Nonetheless, that last line is incredibly amusing, in my opinion :)

Greatest. Headline. Ever.

(h/t Mason Conservative)

I just want to throw this out there...I agree with Chris, this is the greatest headline ever.

"I Kicked Burning Terrorist So Hard In Balls That I Tore A Tendon"

Sounds like something I want to do, actually.

Another "Blogging Ethics" Post

I held out long enough on this topic, but maybe I can create a different viewpoint to it.

One thing I think almost everyone agrees upon in the blogosphere is that some form of ethics should be in effect, at least in some form. Whether it be series of unspoken-yet-consciously followed rules, or a universally-agreed upon pact made at a conference like the upcoming Blogs United...I think most people agree that we, the desktop pundits known as political bloggers, should hold ourselves to a certain level of ethical behavior. Ethics, by definition, is non-partisan. The partisanship of ethics is defined by the individuals we are, and the beliefs we hold.

But what constitutes "ethical" behavior and conduct?

Let me define MY ethics for The Podium, and how I conduct myself on other blogs, just as an example.

- I keep cursing to a minimum. The occasional foul word is OK by my standards...but using vulgarity to discuss a topic such a politics in a constructive manner is pointless and lowers the integrity of the point being made.

- I encourage debate, and discourage simple ad hominem attacks with no basis. While I disparage liberals quite a lot (and fellow conservatives a bit, too), I usually have a reason for saying something like "Harry Reid is a sniveling little weasel", and I outline that within the rest of my post. Every now and then, I'll pop a one-liner on a comment section...but usually it's in a place where many people know me/my positions, and they know where I'm coming from with my one-liner.

- I allow anonymous comments if there is a point to be made. If it's an anonymous "personal attack" comment, or just a bunch of incoherent cursing, it gets deleted. Simple as that.

- I post with my real name. My blog has a name, but the man writing the blogs uses no psuedonyms. However, I'm also not in the business of "outing" bloggers, or going to strenuous lengths to ruin people's lives over online disagreements. I have no problem with pseudonymous bloggers, but they should realize that by cloaking their real identity, they do open themselves up to jeers of cowardice for not standing up and admitting "who they really are." At the same time, jeering someone for adhering to a common practice in blogging (using a psuedonym) is a bit pointless, childish, and sometimes ruin what was otherwise good discourse and discussion.

- If you have a grudge against a blogger, keep a limit as to how far you will go to slander that person. The last thing the blogosphere needs is lawsuits involving blogs. It will cause the positive aspects to be overshadowed by negative press.

I'm glad people have decided to discuss blogging ethics. Although nobody will probably agree on the exact rules of ethics for blogging...I think most will agree that we should hold ourselves to a decent standard.

What do you think?

Accessing The Podium

I've received several requests to put up an e-mail address so people can contact me privately. I have acquiesced to these requests, and I had planned to do so a long time ago...I just never did.

Anyway, you can now contact me via E-Mail at

Virginia Oddsmaker's Newest Fan

I know I'm a little late to the party, but I love Virginia Oddsmaker. They rate the HOD and Senate races, they rate the top blogs, they cover the stories from the blogosphere and the non-digital world. It's pretty much a potpourri of information and opinion on Virginia politics, and those who attempt to shape it.

It's a great site, lots of objectivity and as little partisanship as possible. This may very well become the biggest blog site in Virginia by the end of the year.

New Round of Endorsements

It's time for another round of endorsements from The Podium.

- I'll start with a local race, as The Podium endorses Denise Barb to be re-elected to the post of Shenandoah County Clerk of Court. I have yet to hear a single complaint from any Shenandoah County citizen about Barb's performance as Clerk of Court, and my experiences in the Clerk's office (which aren't many, which is probably a good thing) have been as pleasurable as one could expect from a Clerk's office. The office runs with smooth efficiency, and I believe that this excellent job performance can be, at least partially, attributed to Denise Barb's efforts.

Onto the statewide races...

- In the 68th House of Delegates District, The Podium endorses Republican Manoli Loupassi. Loupassi has most recently served as a member of the Richmond City Council, and is a very popular figure in the River City. He is a fiscal conservative who also is very focused on issues such as property tax relief, stronger anti-crime initiatives, and classroom size reduction in our public schools. His opponent, incumbent Katherine Waddell, is a Republican-turned-Independent who (on the same page) manages to both denounce the focus on social issues, and highlight that her opinions on social issues is what caused her to split from the GOP, calling them "right-wing extremists". This isn't the type of politician our General Assembly needs. Voters of the 68th, vote for Loupassi in November.

- In the 34th House of Delegates District, The Podium endorses Republican Dave Hunt. Hunt is an excellent choice to continue the solid conservative tradition of the retiring Vince Callahan. Hunt has strong positions on the transportation problems in Northern Virginia (especially his support for the Tyson's Tunnel and the increased funding for NoVa roads and rail in the 2007 transportation bill). Hunt knows Richmond, having formerly worked for Vince Callahan as a legislative assistant. His opponent, Democrat Margi Vanderhye, has elected to push for anti-2nd Amendment initiatives and unnecessary environmental legislation that will increase regulations on industry, commerce, and transportation in both NoVa as well as the rest of the state. Residents of the 34th, don't vote for someone who panders to the "Raising Kaine" for Dave Hunt, and keep the attempts to increase the size of government at bay.

A Must Read

Johnny Camacho interviews Shirley Phelps-Roper of the Westboro Baptist Church.

It's people like the Phelps clan that are attempting to hijack Christianity, and provide fodder for secular pundits to call Christians "bible-thumping, extremist, right-wing wingnuts". These WBCers are not just abhorred by secular citizens, but by Christians as well. I hope everyone realizes this.

Kudos to Camacho for really taking it to these WBCers. They make me ill.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

4th of July Parade in New Market

I spent my 4th of July with my relatives at my parents' house in New Market. The parade was a bit of a disappointment compared to the parades my father used to organize (but then again, I am biased).

It was nice to see all of the politicians/candidates I support in our area (namely Sen. Obenshain and Del. Gilbert) actually in the parade, especially since New Market isn't the biggest dot on the map, and they could've been in parades with a much larger attendance of constituents.

Best part of the parade was watching my 21-month old son yell, wave, and get all excited when fire trucks and other large vehicles passed by and blew their sirens and horns. Sometimes, I swore he was simply trying to be louder than the trucks :)

All-in-all, though, it was a fine day with lots of fine food, laughter, and good times. My uncle and I attempted to fix my father's golf swing, and the rain managed to avoid us. I topped a great 4th of July off sitting on my front stoop, watching the fireworks back home in Strasburg with my wife and a cold one. I don't think I could've asked for a better day. It's days like yesterday that I do reflect with pride upon being a citizen of this nation.

Something That Raises My Blood Pressure

Crap like this.

Being a father, and holding your child's hand or tickling them are now "warning signs" of child abuse??? Every time I see an advertisement like that, I want to clip these people in the throat. It portrays fathers in a horrible light, even though there are plenty of abusive mothers out there, too.

You always hear about the abusive and deadbeat dads. Why not praise us fathers (yes, I am one if you didn't know already) who raise our children as best we can, and raise future contributing members of our society?

Thank you, Brian Kirwin, for bringing up this topic. I do wish that, when these people attempt to spread "awareness", that they would do it fairly.

Quote of the Day

"It's a bit patronising for us 21 year olds to try to start to change the world. Especially when we're using enough power for 10 houses just for (stage) lighting. It'd be a bit hypocritical. Someone asked us to give a quote about...[Global Warming] and it's like 'who cares what we think about what's happening'? There's more important people who can have an opinion. Why does it make us have an opinion because we're in a band?" - Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders, explaining why the group is not on the bill at any of Al Gore's Global Warming charity concerts

There's quite a bit of wisdom and common sense in that statement.

(h/t The News Buckit)

King of Pop Moving to the Old Dominion?

Apparently so.

While this isn't really big news, especially in the political world, it is mildly amusing as a thought. All the stars want to come to Virginia. First Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner were supposed to move to Charlottesville (in an attempt to get Affleck to eventually run for Congress, that was the rumor).

Now Michael Jackson is coming to VA? The two schools of thought about "why" he's moving out here. One is because 2 of Jackson's main "people" both live in Virginia (if I understand this right). The other school of thought is because 2 of the most notable hip-hop/R&B producers in history (Timbaland and Teddy Riley) have studios in this state, and Jackson may work with one of them in an upcoming album.

Should at least provide some amusing fodder for those of us in the Old Dominion.

I didn't know Teddy Riley had a studio in Virginia? I grew up on that funky New Jack Swing :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Ed Koch Blasts Dems on Weak Anti-Terrorism Stances

I know I said I wouldn't post until after the 4th, but I found this interesting.

I was flipping through the channels, and I paused as Neil Cavuto was talking about the terrorist plots/acts in the U.K. about 15 seconds later, former New York mayor Ed Koch came on as Cavuto's guest.

Now, despite Koch being a Democrat, I've always kinda liked the guy on a personal level. He's humorous, open-minded (to an extent), and while I disagree with him on many issues...he's a pretty straight shooter with his opinions on both sides of the aisle.

Koch supports Hillary Clinton, and states that he believes the next President of the United States will not be a Republican (no surprise there). Now, in regards to the situation in the U.K., Cavuto pointed out that Clinton was the only person to speak out against these attacks. Koch passively admitted that this was part of the reason why he supported Clinton, because he believed that Clinton would be tougher on terrorism than any of the other candidates. He then blasted the Democratic candidates (and the party in general) for not being tougher and more vocal about stopping terrorism. He labeled most of the Democratic Party candidates as being "so terrible" about fighting terrorism.

Koch also stated that the Democratic Party has "destroyed" Bush's credibility...and he feels sorry for Bush because, while he didn't agree with Bush on any of his domestic policies, he felt Bush has been "brilliant" at fighting Islamic terrorists. The former NYC mayor then stated that he was, and still is, for the war in Iraq...but believes that we needed (and still need) more support from our allies to finish the war properly, and Bush's inability to get that support is what will ruin the GOP's chances in 2008.

He then stated that because Hillary actually addressed the terrorist actions in the U.K. while the rest of the candidates were "sucking their thumbs" is further proof that Hillary is the best Dem candidate, and that's why he supports her.

Koch really slammed John Edwards, too, for diminishing the important of fighting terrorism. He stated that Edwards "is finished and a fool".

His opinion about why we should worry about terrorists: "They want to kill us. And you have to understand that. These are not just simply thugs bent on stealing your purse. They want to kill infidels. That's Christians, Jews, Buddhists..." Koch believes that most Democrats simply don't get it when it comes to this issue.

Koch's support for Clinton does have it's limits...Koch hinted that if Michael Bloomberg runs, he may switch (or may not).

Anyway, I just found that interesting, because Koch managed to heavily endorse and harshly criticize his own party within a 5-7 minute span.

Enjoy the 4th!

I'll will most likely take the rest of the day and tomorrow off (unless something big happens). I know it seems like I took the previous 2 weeks off, but it was not a vacation (it's due to a promotion at work, and the subsequent training, so kudos to me). I'll be spending the best portion of tomorrow taking in the festivities with my family in New Market. I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday.


I clicked on the link to the Presidential Selector provided by Vivian J. Paige, my results came out unsurprisingly in favor of the candidates I like, for the most part. Out of the 4 I would vote for today...

- Fred Thompson, 67% (top match over all candidates listed)
- Duncan Hunter, 62%
- Mitt Romney, 52%
- Rudy Guiliani, 48%

I'm a little surprised that Rudy is that low of a "issue match", but I think a lot of the differences between myself and Rudy stem from issues that I don't consider a high priority compared to others.

Green Scientists Find More to Whine About

In today's Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, Australia), an article by Chee Chee Leung states that we, as humans, use too much solar energy captured by plants for one species. This article is based upon a report by German and Austrian scientists.

Not only that, but "going green" doesn't help, either. To quote Leung...

"They also warned that the increased use of biofuels - such as ethanol and canola - should be viewed cautiously, given the potential for further pressure on ecosystems."

Later on in the article, Leung lays out a few statistics...

"This showed humans used 24 per cent of the energy that was captured by plants. More than half of this was due to the harvesting of crops or other plants.

The human use of the natural resource varied across the globe, ranging from 11 per cent in Oceania and Australia, to 63 per cent in southern Asia."

Leung quotes a University of Melbourne agriculture professor as his closing statement...

"'Here we are, just one species on the earth, and we're grabbing a quarter of the renewable resources … we're probably being a bit greedy.'"

Upon reading this article, I feel that environmentalists and some groups of scientists are putting us in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. If we invest in biofuels, they start telling us we're using too much agricultural land, and using more plant-captured solar energy. If we don't, and continue to use oil, they start into global warming, "break-the-addiction" rants.

Will someone tell these people you can't have it both ways?

Fred Still Ahead

Today's weekly Republican Nomination poll from Rasmussen Reports is out. Guess what...Fred Thompson is still in the lead.

Thompson polled at 27% from a week ago. Rudy Guiliani was up 1 point from last week at 24%. Mitt Romney was in 3rd place with 13%, John McCain polled 12%, and Mike Huckabee rounded things out with 3% of the vote.

There are still 18% of GOP voters who are undecided. However, while the "bottom 6" shared 7% of the vote last week, they only split 4% this week. This shows that second tier support may be migrating towards the front-runners, and explains the 1% increases for Guiliani, Romney, and McCain.

Retracted Statement Regarding 15th HOD District Race

Yesterday, I posted about the entrance of Independent Jack Proctor into the previously uncontested race in the 15th District. This information was courtesy of VPAP, which listed Mr. Proctor as a candidate. I received a comment and an e-mail last night stating that this, as of right now, is incorrect.

Apparently, Mr. Proctor filed the necessary paperwork, but did not receive the number of valid signatures necessary to have his name placed on the ballot. Unless Proctor gets the signatures, or someone else gets them, this means Del. Gilbert is still unopposed.

A big thanks to Craig Orndorff (Vice-Chairman of Activities for the SCRC) and Del. Todd Gilbert himself for giving me the heads up on this.

Rasmussen Reports: Fred Thompson - Most Conservative

This was a quiet little tidbit from a June 29th poll conclusion at Rasmussen Reports, but it does speak volumes about how the candidates are viewed. Let me run down the poll results for you...keep in mind, the poll only considered the top 5 candidates at this time. This is why candidates like Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter are not on this list.

- Overall, Fred Thompson was viewed as a conservative by 44% of those polled, 21% considered him a moderate, and 6% think he's a liberal. Among Republicans, 49% see Thompson as a conservative. Thompson's numbers are up from last month's poll of ideological identification (in which 37% of all voters and 42% of GOPers considered Thompson a conservative). Of all voters, 29% say they don't know enough to form an opinion just yet.

- Mike Huckabee was the only other GOP candidate to see an increase in their apparent conservatism amongst the public. 25% of all voters (and 29% of Republicans) see Huckabee as a conservative, 18% consider him a moderate, 8% say he's a liberal. However, the "we don't know enough about him" number was 39%. Recent criticism about the validity of Huckabee's claims to be a fiscal conservative may have a negative effect on how he is viewed, though.

- Mitt Romney was viewed by 41% of voters (40% of Republicans) as a conservative. 27% say he's a moderate, 6% consider him a liberal. What's interesting is that Romney is now to the right of all but one of the other front-runners.

- John McCain saw his conservative image torn apart by the immigration bill, and it showed in this poll. McCain is seen as a conservative by 38% of voters, but only 31% of Republicans polled...which is down a whopping 10 points from last month. 38% of voters consider McCain a moderate, 10% consider him a liberal.

- Finally, Rudy Guiliani is seen by 23% of all voters (and only 20% of Republicans) as a conservative. This is no surprise, as Rudy has never really been a "conservative" candidate and never pretended to be one. 54% of voters (including 64% of GOPers) view Guiliani as a moderate (no surprise there, either). 11% of all those polled consider him a liberal (which is higher than the Republican-only opinion, where only 9% considered Rudy a liberal).

All in all, some interesting poll numbers. However, with the GOP looking for the more conservative seems that out of the front-runners, Fred is the man the conservative base of the Republican Party is looking for.

Interesting Note About McCain's Fundraising

John McCain raised an unsurprisingly (to most of us) low figure of $11.2 million in the 2nd Quarter of 2007. There are reports of malaise, discontent, impending layoffs, and overall bleak hopes for the McCain in '08 camp. With only $2 million in cash-on-hand, and plummeting poll numbers, many believe that McCain's sinking ship will cause many of his supporters to jump ship (and guess who benefits...I'll give you two guesses, both will probably be right, but one benefits more than the other).

Anyway, despite all of this...McCain still out-raised John Edwards, the liberal netroots golden child, by $2.2 million. However, the Edwards camp thinks that things are going their way...despite the fact that riding free publicity (courtesy of Ann Coulter) hasn't earned them but a few extra pennies in the grand scheme of things, if anything at all.

According to Real Clear Politics, Edwards is polling behind both front-runners and Al Gore...and Gore has all but completely ruled out a possible presidential bid. That sunny optimism will lead to an eventual harsh reality for Johnny Boy.

It really seems like both the GOP and Dem races are turning into 2-way horse races on either side. Clinton/Obama on one side, Guiliani/Thompson on the other. It seems both Edwards and Mitt Romney have slipped into bronze-medal locks at the moment. However, the only sure thing this early in a presidential primary race is that there are no sure things.

Returning The Salvo

Lowell over at RK asking "what part of "illegal" don't Republicans understand?" His post was in reference to the Scooter Libby's sentence being commuted by President Bush. He then quotes Rudy Guiliani and Fred Thompson, both were in favor of this decision. Later, Lowell quotes Clinton/Edwards/Obama, who were against this act by President Bush.

However, considering Democrats have a long history of failing to recognize what "illegal" is, I don't see where Lowell (or any Dem) have much room to take the "enforce the law" stance on this issue.

Not only that, but Libby isn't the man that should serve jail time...Richard Armitage (the source of the leak) is who should've gotten serious jail time. Even the jury believed that Libby was simply the "fall guy". Patrick Fitzgerald, who prosecuted the case, went after Libby even though he KNEW when he brought the case against Libby that Armitage was the leak.

As for the Dems/liberals supposedly knowing what "illegal" is.

- Where were the Democratic presidential candidates to loudly denounce the blatant acceptance of bribes by Rep. William Jefferson. They simply sat on their hands and said nothing. Even when he was indicted on 16 counts on various charges, which included racketeering, soliciting bribes, wire fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and others...none of the presidential candidates said much of anything. Even the Democrats in the House of Representatives denounced this...where was Hillary Clinton and John Edwards then?

- Apparently, the majority of Democrats in the Senate don't know the meaning of the word "illegal"...see the failed immigration bill for further reference.

- Harry Reid's connections with Jack Abramoff. While the Dems went after every Republican possible, they never challenged Reid, even though there was evidence that Abramoff's money was funneled through lobbying partners in exchange for favorable results for Indian gaming casinos by Reid. Since Abramoff didn't give the money directly, the connection was dismissed.

- Bill Clinton's perjury charges. Despite the fact that the liberals made this about Clinton's sexual indiscretions...the fact is that Clinton lied under oath, and Democrats refused to believe it, even though the House of Representatives believed Clinton was guilty.

- "Pardongate" - Bearing Drift blogs about it here.

- The Libs weren't up in arms over the 1996 Campaign Finance Scandal, either. They had no problem with China attempting to influence the 1996 elections, because the Chinese money was in their favor, and the Clinton Administration had no problem funneling that money into the coffers of many Democratic candidates...possibly including Clinton's own warchest.

Shall I go on? There are a lot more scandals I could bring up where Dems forgot the meaning of "illegal".

Monday, July 2, 2007

15th House District Surprise

At least, it's a surprise to me, as I hadn't heard anything about this until today. Apparently, incumbent C. Todd Gilbert has a challenger in the 15th House of Delegates district in November. The challenger is an Independent named Jack Proctor. He currently does not have a website of any kind up and running, and neither does Gilbert (he only has the official General Assembly website at this time).

However, I believe that Gilbert has done an excellent job representing my home district, and he continues to have the endorsement of The Podium.

Coming to a Broadband Connection Near You...

...Now At The Podium!

Online Dating

Not surprising, I try to keep it clean around here. I'd like to think that my attempts to run a decent and mostly-clean blog are respected by those who read my work.

More Thoughts on the "Civil Remedial Fees"

I've blogged about these recently-enacted penalties previously, and I do hold the same opinion that I held previously. While I feel that the fees are tremendously high (especially for first-time offenders), I do believe that these fees are a good alternative to simple tax-raising to fund transportation projects in Virginia.

An editorial in The Washington Times blasted these new fees. I agree that the fees are WAAAAY too high, but this paragraph here is where I have a problem with those protesting this bill.:

"But $1,050 for driving 20 mph over the speed limit is predatory, tax-and-spend government at its worst. For families in the middle or at the bottom of the economic ladder, this reaches 4 percent and 5 percent of annual take-home income. Government is supposed to serve the people, not fine and tax them toward the poor house for what amounts to ordinary behavior."

Yes, that is too much for a "first offense" under the new rules. However, breaking a law that is posted every couple of miles should not be considered "ordinary behavior". The speed limit on I-81 is 65 mph...I keep myself between 67-70 to keep up with the flow of traffic, but I never go over 72. I've gotten a couple of tickets in my lifetime (including a bogus "reckless driving-speeding" charge, but that's another story)...because of the repercussions from the tickets I've received, I've learned my lesson.

While Republicans are being blasted for the creation and passage of this bill (credit to Dave Albo and Tom Rust), look at the 15 that voted against the bill. Watkins Abbitt Jr., Kathy Byron, Ben Cline, Mark Cole, Jeff Frederick, Tom Gear, C. Todd Gilbert, Johnny Joannou, Joseph Johnson, Dwight Jones, Robert Marshall, Ken Melvin, Melanie Rapp, Jack Reid, Lionell Spruill.

60% of that is list is GOP Red. That's 9 Republicans, 5 Democrats, and 1 Independent that voted against this bill. 1 of those Dems is considered to be a DINO by most bloggers.

Let's do a little math: the Virginia House of Delegates is currently comprised of 57 Republicans, 40 Democrats, and 3 Independents. That means that nearly 16% of Republicans, 33% of Independents, and 12.5% of Democrats voted against this bill. The lowest percentage of dissent came from the Democrats on this one.

However, I do believe that there is plenty of "guilt by association" to go around for both parties, so for some bloggers to irresponsibly place this bill squarely on the shoulders of the GOP (see an example here) without taking into account who actually voted for the bill is somewhat erroneous, and fairly irresponsible, on their part.

I will give NLS credit for calling out many of the Dems who supported this bill...although, he pretty much labels them DINO's as well.

Until this law is revisited next year (as some in the HOD have hinted at), my advice to Virginia drivers is simple...DRIVE SLOWER AND BE CAREFUL!!! That should be the short-term solution for Virginia drivers until these fees are lowered to more acceptable levels.

McCain = Out?

That's what the "well-informed" rumor mill is saying, according to Mark Steyn at the National Review Online.

"I've had a couple of ostensibly well-informed e-mails suggesting that John McCain will quit the race in the next few days. He's supposed to be in Iraq this week, and presumably, whether he does call it quits or decides to press on, the second-quarter fundraising numbers are somewhere between bad and disastrous."

I'd imagine his fundraising numbers had to have been pretty bad, given he was one of the original proponents of the immigration bill that pretty much alienated him from the conservative base of the GOP, and thus alienated him from fundraising money. Combine that with the defection of many McCain supporters to Fred Thompson, and it's no wonder the outlook for McCain's fundraising numbers is bleak.

Weekly Podium: "Don't Warm Up Yet, Fat Lady"

(Cross-posted at The New Dominion)

With the various tension-filled primaries in the state of Virginia, the GOP split over the immigration bill, and the growing discontent among conservatives with President Bush, one could see truth in the predictions from many pro-Democrat bloggers and columnists that the death of the Republican Party is all but assured at this point.

However, is it time to cue the fat lady on the GOP opera? I wouldn’t believe that just yet.

Wasn’t the same optimism about the Democratic Party’s future felt after the narrow election of Jimmy Carter in 1976? Wasn’t the same also felt when Bill Clinton was elected in 1992? Wasn’t conservatism on its way out after the Watergate scandal and the early ’90s recession?

Indeed, it was. Liberals had a bright and sunny optimism about their major party’s chances to implement a more liberal/socialist agenda (depending on how leftist they were). Both times, the White House and Capitol Hill were under Democrat control. However, both times, the GOP rallied to regain power within four years.

This is not to say that the immediate future of the GOP is entirely hopeful. The party certainly has many discontent members to answer to.

However, as I opined in the past, the Republican Party has shown that they operate best when in certain situations. The GOP functions well when they control either the legislative or executive branch of federal government - but during the six years of controlling both, they ended up dropping the ball. Some of that came from a departure from the basis of conservatism (smaller government, focus on national security and the economy), some of that came from a bit of overzealousness on the part of many party leaders.

A small revolution within the party could be a good thing for the GOP. In fact, it’s already begun. The most recent Rasmussen Reports polls show that the number of people that identify themselves as Republicans has increased notably within the past month, to 32 percent (which is a full percentage point higher). Conservatives are already beginning to look forward to find a leader that more closely represents their interests for 2008 - instead of simply going along with the current figurehead of the party, President Bush.

Another notable statistic from that poll is the fact that Republicans polled higher than Democrats when those polled were asked “Who do you trust more on immigration?” among unaffiliated voters. The GOP was, not too long ago, trusted less than the Dems on every issue asked. Now, they’ve gained more trust than their major party counterparts on the issues of national security and immigration among unaffiliated voters.

Throw in the fact that the Democrat-controlled Congress has lost 15 to 20 points of support, according to Real Clear Politics, and it seems that most of the gains the Democrats have made amongst the American public has begun to fritter away.

While the Republicans crowed about a “permanent majority” in the early part of the decade, I don’t think many of them really believed that this would lead to the eventual demise of the Democratic Party. Most conservatives understand the need for a competing party, and (sometimes grudgingly) accept their existence and their positive contributions to our society as a whole.

However, the solid-liberal and socialist wings of the Democratic Party would love nothing more than to see the demise of the opposing major party, and growing numbers of these parts of the party are making these feelings known. Socialism, in most cases, requires a one-party system to function within the halls of power. What the Democrats may not realize is that, while the momentum swung away from the GOP on a national level in 2006, the global movement in the western world has been mostly swinging towards a more Republican-friendly climate.

Proof of this can be found in the recent elections in Europe, among other locations across the globe. In Germany, the election of Angela Merkel as chancellor and the plurality won by Merkel’s moderate-right CDU in 2005 was a change from the socialist SPD, headed by former chancellor (and American critic) Gerhard Schroeder. More recently, the election of Nicolas Sarkozy to the French presidency and his own UMP party’s ascent to control in the French parliament has also led to the initiation of anti-socialist reforms in government and society in France.

The consecutive elections of Vincente Fox and Felipe Calderon in Mexico, the deradicalization of the Worker‘s Party and election (and re-election) of the centrist Lula in Brazil, and the backlash against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela also show a movement away from hard-left politics in Central and South America.

What could possibly become the biggest threat to the aspirations of the Democratic Party could be their current frontrunner for the presidential nomination. Hillary Clinton probably has more global name recognition than any of the candidates from either party. Her last name evokes memories of “happy times” for many Democrats (despite the numerous scandals that are also associated with the name). She currently holds an average lead of 14 points over Barack Obama in the major polls, according to Real Clear Politics. With the Republican Party going through some turmoil, and her solid-frontrunner status, one would think that Clinton should have this in the bag.

However, Clinton also holds some of the highest “unfavorable” ratings amongst all major party candidates, as well. In his June 21st column the director of the UVa. Center of Politics, Dr. Larry Sabato, spoke about what Clinton’s possible election as the 44th U.S. president could mean.

In reference to the partisanship that would ensue if Clinton won, Sabato stated, “Democrats would have to live with the consequences. There is simply no question that Senator Clinton would be the third deeply polarizing President in a row, following her husband’s divisive and partially wasted tenure and George W. Bush’s deeply disappointing turn at bat. We bet that she would have a short honeymoon and would be unable to convince her millions of critics and detractors that she had changed - or was different than they long ago concluded she was. At a time when the nation could use a unifier and a healer - to the extent that any President can perform those roles - partisan warfare would be at fever pitch from Day One.”

Sabato later goes on to speculate about the repercussions of a Clinton win when he predicted: “The inevitable controversies of the Presidency would erode her shaky support among swing voters faster than is usually the case. The midterm election of 2010 may not be the fiasco for Democrats that 1994 was - there were few historical parallels for Bill Clinton’s electoral disaster in his first term-yet the GOP would almost certainly make a good start on the comeback trail for control of Congress, governorships, and the state legislatures (in the all-important redistricting election that will determine much of the legislative line-drawing for a full decade). Granted, it is virtually impossible to get partisans to think about their long-term interests, but in this respect, Democrats would probably pay a sizeable price throughout the 2010s for a Clinton victory in 2008.”

I will be honest when I say that I doubt that the GOP can regain full control of Congress in 2008. There aren’t enough favorable Senate races in the Republican Party’s favor at this time. The House of Representatives would require a reversal of 2006 to swing back into GOP hands. However, there are many factors that show that the Republican Party still has plenty of life left in it.

It would be wise to tell the fat lady to sit down, because the GOP opera is not about to end just yet. In fact, I think the appropriate music for the Republican Party would be Daughtry’s recent chart-topper, “It’s Not Over.”

Voter Registration Issues - Link to Check Your Status

Last week, I blogged about issues with the voter registration in Virginia, and that problems with the software and information updates caused some registration information to be entered incorrectly, and that up to one-quarter of all Virginians could've been affected by this.

Now, you can check your registration status here. A big h/t to Jim Patrick for this link.