Saturday, January 30, 2010

Whoa, Just Saw This...

My Congressional District, the 6th, has a Libertarian Party candidate for this November's election. His name is Stuart Bain.

I can't find a lot of info on Mr. Bain, as his website runs more like a blog than an actual campaign site, but I understand why...the Libertarian Party is woefully underfunded (thanks to the domination of the two-party system) and most candidates run on a fairly shoestring budget.

However, I like what I have read from the man, thus far. His ideas jive with mine, and he even quotes the same Reagan quote that I have on my blog's subtitle.

Should be interesting, as Bain focuses more on what he stands for, and less about how bad the other guys are. I haven't seen any Democratic Party challengers in the 6th (if there is, they've been quiet), but the incumbent is Republican Bob Goodlatte, who was elected to the seat in 1992.

The Podium endorsed Bob Goodlatte over fiscally conservative Democrat Sam Rasoul in 2008. However, I will be keeping an eye out to see what Mr. Bain has to offer. So far, he looks like a promising candidate based on his principles.

(h/t The Ruby Chronicles)

Begging a Question of Utmost Importance

Did God make conservative women hotter?

That's Right! begs the question and provides the evidence here.

I feel a little humor is necessary with all of the snow falling and the roads being absolutely miserable out there. I urge you guys to stay off the roads tonight.

Stay inside, heat up some hot chocolate (actually, make that a hot chocolate and butterscotch schnapps, if you'd like a nice, warm spirit), and let it snow!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Kurt Warner Retires

One of greatest QBs I've ever seen (behind only Joe Montana, IMO), and one of humanity's most decent representatives, decided to hang up his cleats today.

We all know his story. He went from a mid-major college starter, to an Arena League standout and grocery stockboy. He met his current wife when he was stocking shelves and she was a cashier. They are still together. He replaces the injured Trent Green in 1999, when Green was touted as the savior of the lowly St. Louis Rams franchise, and rallies them to a 13-3 record and a victory in one of the best Super Bowls ever played.

He would go to two more Super Bowls (Rams vs. Patriots, and last year he took the Cardinals to the Big Game vs. the Steelers), falling short to the two best teams of the decade. A devout Christian, Warner was never caught in a scandalous position, and never complained when coaches tried to replace him with the "next big thing" (Marc Bulger in St. Louis, Eli Manning in New York).

In his 12 seasons with the Rams, Giants, and Cardinals, Warner threw 208 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 65.5% and a career QB rating of 93.7...but his stats may have been even more prolific had he not been used as a backup QB for a few years. He had an overall winning percentage of 58.0% as a starter, including winning nearly 73% of the time in the playoffs.

I raise my evening spirit in toast to Kurt Warner. A great QB and a hell of a role model.

Obama's SOTU Address...Surgically Dissected

W.E. Messamore (The Humble Libertarian) dissects and counters Obama's speech section by section, and really could not be more spot on.

It's a remarkable effort, I highly suggest you read it.

Failing to Recognize the Situation

The left is apparently crowing about the Q&A session Obama had with House Republicans because he stood up to them and lectured them and claimed he was not an ideologue and so forth...

They fail to recognize that if the House GOP members really wanted to grill Obama, they would do so. However, if they were gang up on the President and attack him like they want to, it would be an even worse PR move than letting the President have his way with them in a verbal fashion.

If they really went after him, the lefty talking heads and media would say things like "they cornered Obama like a pack of rabid wolves!" and "the way they treated the President was classless and sickening!"

So while Obama did a good job taking advantage of the situation, don't get too excited, my friends on the's not like the GOP had any better options of approach.

John Edwards Made a Sex Tape???

Oh God...I think I'm going to lose my lunch. It's the blonde girl and the Breck girl!

Apparently, someone is trying to release a sex tape made between disgraced former Presidential candidate John Edwards and his ex-mistress and baby mama, Rielle Hunter. Hunter is trying to stop the release of this tape via restraining order.

Apparently, the tape belongs to Andrew Young, the Edwards staffer who falsely claimed to be the one sleeping with Hunter and the father of the child. You know, the guy that Edwards attempted to shield himself with. It seems Young came into possession of the tape when she asked Young to get her passport out of a box where she had hidden the tape as well.

This whole drama surrounding Edwards, his wife, his staff, and his ex-mistress just gets weirder and weirder.

Is Rachel Maddow Really Michael Douglas's Son?

I present to you "Exhibit A".

You decide.

Ahead of Storm, Gov. McDonnell Declares State of Emergency

Looks like the central and northern Shenandoah Valley will miss the real harsh parts of this storm, but it seems like southern VA and the I-95 corridor will get slammed with snow and ice, potentially worse than the 20+ inches that visited the Commonwealth in December.

State of Emergency info can be found here.

Be safe tonight and tomorrow, folks. I'll post updates as I get them.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How Many Times Can I Get Twisted on This Issue?

Whoa, hold the phone...I may have jumped the gun not once, but twice, on this Supreme Court ruling regarding corporate involvement in elections and campaigning.

Brad Smith at NRO explains where many, including the President, have been wrong about this ruling.

Tonight the president engaged in demogoguery of the worst kind, when he claimed that last week's Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, "open[ed] the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities."

The president's statement is false.

The Court held that 2 U.S.C. Section 441a, which prohibits all corporate political spending, is unconstitutional. Foreign nationals, specifically defined to include foreign corporations, are prohibiting from making "a contribution or donation of money or ather thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State or local election" under 2 U.S.C. Section 441e, which was not at issue in the case. Foreign corporations are also prohibited, under 2 U.S.C. 441e, from making any contribution or donation to any committee of any political party, and they prohibited from making any "expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication." (emphasis mine) at least I know that my concerns of foreign corporations (and governments through those corporations) will not be pumping money into campaigns to wield influence over our nation's politics and policies.

That actually explains why Justice Alito said "not true", because what Obama said regarding foreign corporations is not true. I'm definitely relieved to see this.

(h/t Mason Conservative)

Well, He's Got the Right Idea...

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the following at the World Economic Forum at Davos today...

"We are not asking ourselves what we will replace capitalism with, but what kind of capitalism we want?" he said.

"We must re-engineer capitalism to restore its moral dimension, its conscience,"

Ok, he's got the right idea here. Just because we hit an economic downturn does not mean we should start pushing towards socialist policies. In fact, moving away from such policies seems to be working in other places.

Now, what we need is not more regulation, but "good" regulation. We need current regulation to be simplified, clear, and transparent. The more you convolute something like this, the more loopholes you create for those who don't want to play by the rules to worm their way around the regulations in place. Both of our political parties seem to back regulation that apparently is too clouded in legalities that loopholes seem to be at every turn. Make it simple, make it clear, and make it so there is no doubt about what you are trying to accomplish.

This also naturally reduces and limits the amount of regulation you can implement, which is conducive to a well-oiled capitalist economy. You can only go so far without arousing protest from investors, businesses, banks, and the public at large (who probably does not understand a lot of the regulation to begin with, I know I have problems understanding some of the regulations I've looked up).

Granted, I would prefer minimalizing regulation, but since I have to play within the system (let's face it, most good revolutions do not happen overnight...unless you're talking Eastern Europe in 1989, but I digress), let's start by simplifying regulation first, then we can talk about what (if any) regulations are really necessary.

Also, taxing banks and big business as punishment will not be conducive to anything positive for the economy. If you thought big banks weren't lending before, watch what happens when you start penalizing them. If other states starting pulling moves like the state of Oregon just decided to do, you're going to see the leaders and drivers of free enterprise and industry start "going Galt" in huge numbers.

SOTU and GOP Reponse Thoughts and Notes

Some random rumblings from tonight's events.

The State of the Union Address...

- Obama says he doesn't quit, and he's right...he wants to push forward the same crap that Americans rejected during his first year.

- Capital Gains tax exemption for small business investments? Good idea, but I think I know where this is going to be offset (increases in Capital Gains tax on corporate investments, higher corporate taxes, punitive fees on large corporations to gain populist support).

- This has to be the longest-feeling SOTU ever. It just seems to go on and on. Obama isn't breaking new ground, either. In the second half of his speech, he has randomly started repeating things he said in the first half of it.

- Attack the Supreme Court in the SOTU address? Stupid move, Barry. It's not the time or place for such a move (even if I also disagreed with the ruling he was referring to). What a lack of decorum.

- Towards the last 3rd of the SOTU, Obama just went into straight lecturing. Way to burn any bridges you were hoping to build, Barry.

The GOP Response...

- WOW, McDonnell really outdid himself with the presentation here. Obama likes that podium in front of Congress, you can tell he likes that look and feel of a "leader". McDonnell decided that he would respond to Obama in kind, as the leader of a state. Nice job. He's already topped Bobby Jindal's performance last year without uttering a single word.

- The Gov is in good oratory form tonight, coming across with more personality and vocal skill than usual. He's to the point and succinct without being curt or vague.

- McDonnell really stuck to his guns with "good government" policy stances and some nice nods to the type of federalism expressed by our Founding Fathers. Also, McDonnell struck me as being a bit more aggressive than I thought he might be...but he did it well. Impressive performance by our Governor. He really surprised me.

Overall Ratings...Obama: C+, McDonnell: A-

Obama's meandering lectures and repetitiveness brought down what was otherwise a solid speech for him. Had he left out the whole "Democrats, you've got a majority, so get stuff done...Republicans, you need to be 'bipartisan' and do what we say" bit (ok, I paraphrased), and not been so repetitive, he might have earned a higher mark from me. By the way, the Associated Press (who has been kind to Obama) hits him pretty hard in the fact-checking department. Talk about "truth hurts"...

McDonnell made a memorable impression on me for having such a restricted period of time. He was to the point, made a couple of humorous asides, and was able to accomplish a lot more than many "minority party response" speeches tend to do. Using the GA as a backdrop was a fantastic move on his part. If this was a litmus test to see if McDonnell can be a leader for the GOP going forward, he certainly passed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's Heeeerrre...

Apple finally introduced the iTab. People have been clamoring for this for quite a while now, and the tech world was at a fever pitch in the last few months as rumors were abound that the new "tablet" computer was going to be revealed. If you are familiar with the iTouch and iPod devices, you should be able to pick up the iTab's functions and navigation tools quickly, as they made the iTab very similar in style, design, and feel.

Apparently, Apple made their own 1 GHz processing chip for the iTab, which is decent for a smaller device like this.

Starting price: $499

Not bad. Unlimited 3G service can be provided at about $29.99/month, and apps (oh yes, there will be apps) will be $9.99 a piece. I think Apple is definitely going for the profits here, and keeping the cost relatively low with the actual iTab itself.

Boucher Announces Re-election Bid

Looks like the "Fighting 9th" will have a fight afterall, as Rep. Rick Boucher will run for a 15th term.

I've got the feeling that a combination of ego, growing GOP strength in the district, and lack of any other willing candidates put Boucher in a position where he felt he had to run again, given that he was rumored to be considering retirement (though he denies this).

Boucher is listed as the 10th most powerful member of the House, which given his tenure, would make some sense. Though he voted against the health care bill and has an A+ rating from the NRA, he has voted for cap-and-trade, the stimulus package, TARP, and the Big Auto Bailout. This (especially the cap-and-trade bill, which he helped to craft) is putting him increasingly at odds with the overall philosophies of his constituents.

Also, given that he may be challenged by State House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, who is popular in the 9th, Boucher will most likely be in a fight, the likes of which he has not seen since he defeated Bill Wampler in 1982.

(h/t Virginia Virtucon)

Endorsement Time!

The Podium is going to endorse Republican Sean Duffy in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin. He is facing incumbent Rep. David Obey in November's mid-term elections.

Duffy is a staunch supporter of fiscally conservative policies. He also believes that part of solving our national security problems will involve deficit reduction and managing our national debt, just another reason we need to look at what we're spending money on and why we are doing it. He also has laid out some sound reasons why the Dem health care plan is not good for America, and puts out positions and reforms he would try to push if elected.

Despite the fact that he does not believe in "gay marriage", he does believe in extending the same contractual and legal rights to homosexual couples, which I can at least go with. Duffy also supports 2nd Amendment rights and a judicial philosophy of original intent.

Click here for Duffy's website.

Interesting side notes about Duffy's personal life...

He is the father of 6, and has had an active public life. Besides being the current District Attorney in Ashland County, Wisconsin, he was a color commentator for ESPN's Outdoor Games and is a three-time World Champion in the 90-foot speed climb (you know, where they climb up a 90-foot tree trunk and come down). He was also cast on MTV's "The Real World" in 1997 and "Road Rules". It was on the set of "Road Rules" that he met his wife, who was also a cast member.

Talk about having a very full life. I would imagine that having been on television should make the 38-year-old Duffy a good candidate when it comes to actually campaigning. Being in front of the cameras should not be anything new to him, and he won't feel the pressure that many new candidates do.

What Bob McDonnell Should Say Tonight

Our new Governor has an opportunity that seems to be afforded to Virginia politicians on a semi-regular basis these days, and that is to deliver the rebuttal to the State of the Union address. McDonnell could go a number of ways, but here's some things I would do in tonight's rebuttal if I were in McDonnell's shoes...

- K.I.S.S. - Keep it simple, stupid. Do as you did throughout your campaign. Be straightforward and direct, or at least appear to do so. McDonnell is a competent speaker, but not a tremendous orator. However, a simple, direct approach will provide stark contrast to President Obama, whose oratory skills are top-notch, but can get mired in political speak and go over the heads of some.

- Not too cautious, not too careful. Ensure that you don't go overboard with countering the President's positions, but don't fear taking a few risks, either.

- Lay out a "common sense" conservatism. Don't get mired down in anything that doesn't appeal to the masses, go with what can appeal to a wide majority of Americans from a conservative perspective. Stick to your 60 and 70 percent issues that the President and the Democrats are currently losing popularity. The economy, jobs, and government spending. You can even dig at the Dem's health care plans by pointing out that the sheer number of people coming out against it shows that it is not what the American people want.

- Be personal without getting off track. This is your chance to show American who you are, give them a reason to like you on a personal level and a political level, but don't lose track of your message.

Now, these are merely my opinions, and I'm sure he's got a better perspective on all of this than I do, but I feel that if he keeps his message clear and to the point, he can do a great job putting forward a better rebuttal than the last guy who tried, though he had a much tougher task due to the President's much higher popularity ratings at the time.

Here Come the Regulators

The City Council of Los Angeles voted 9-3 to pass an ordinance restricting the number of medical marijuana shops in the city, and also restricting where they can be located. The ordinance rules that...

- The number of shops is capped at 70, unless they were registered with the city before 2007. This brings the total number of shops to 150 at the most.

- Over 500 shops will have to close as a result of this.

- The shops must be at least 1,000 feet from schools, libraries, parks, and other medical marijuana shops. The 1,000 feet rule also applies to any place the city deems to be a "sensitive use".

- The city will also levy "monitoring fees" on these shops. The actual dollar figure for these fees has yet to be determined.

So now, we're forcing these shops to be lesser in number, and pretty much away from prominent locations...which just makes it harder for sick people who need the marijuana to live a less-painful existance as they battle serious illnesses. Now, they have to travel off the main drags (you know, where handicapped parking and other accommodations are more prevalent), and have to travel further.

Some will say "well, they still have 150 shops to choose from". However, Los Angeles itself is home to nearly 4 million people, and the LA metropolitan area is home to almost 13 million residents. Plus, with so many shops opening up and thriving, obviously there was a market in this large and populous area.

Artillery Fire Exchanged Between North and South Korea

Apparently, there was a little skirmish between North and South Korea. The two nations are disputing their sea border, and it appears that North Korean forces fired towards South Korean coastal positions along the coast with their own land-based artillery. No casualties have been reported, as it seems both sides simply fired into the air near each other with shells landing harmlessly in the water. A bit of a "pissing contest", to say the least.

Both sides have been provocative in their statements and actions lately. North Korea has tested missiles and atomic devices in recent years. South Korea came out and said that if they are aware of an imminent nuclear strike, they would launch pre-emptive military action, which the North Koreans stated was a provocation of war. However, I would be inclined to believe that the their statements are more of a warning, as South Korea is suited for defensive purposes, not offensive.

Needless to say, things may be getting a little testy in the Korean penninsula.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How Intrusive Are Those Full-Body Scans?

THL shows that these images (even as "negatives") are very intrusive. All he had to do was invert the colors, much like a developed negative, and he got some disturbingly clear images.

Warning, the "color inverted" images are NSFW.

Gerry Connolly Gets It...?

Rep. Gerry Connolly (VA-11) had the following comments about the state of passing health care reform.

"One of the worst places a politician can be is to be saying, ‘Open wide and swallow this is good for you,’ even if it is,” Connolly said. “We’re out of sync. I favor health care reform. I favor comprehensive healthcare reform, but not at the price of forcing something down’s the public’s throat that the public finds distasteful and bitter."

This is EXACTLY what a politician should do...know the will of the people. If the public rejects something, you don't do it. Now, I personally believe Connolly is trying to win some votes for November (given he is currently considered vulnerable), but considering he is a "representative" of the people in Congress, he is at least acknowledging that his job is to "represent" the people. For that, I will give him kudos.

(h/t NLS)

Sometimes, You Gotta Admit When You Are Wrong

A good "blogosphere buddy" of mine, Zen (whom I am well-acquainted with through the old Daily Whackjob blog), and I have been battling back and forth over the recent Supreme Court ruling on the rights of corporations and unions when it comes to campaign financing and advertising.

While I still stand that CEOs and the like should not be restricted because of their status and resources, I was convinced by a few of Zen's other points that this was a bad ruling. He brought these two issues to my attention...

- Apparently, this ruling is now putting restrictions placed by the states at risk (federal rulings are supposed to supercede state laws unless deemed unconstitutional). Obviously, it would make sense that nationwide elections, such as the presidential elections, should be federally ruled and regulated from a financing perspective. However, states should be able to decide how their statewide elections are financed and regulated. This ruling effectively throws many state laws and restrictions out the door. This is a case where the federal government needs to step back and step out of the affairs of the individual states.

- The second, and more dangerous issue (in my opinion), is the fact that global corporations now can influence our elections. This means that corporations in foreign lands can influence our elections, and this also opens an avenue for foreign nations themselves to have direct influence. I'm surprised that some on the left ("we are part of a global community") don't see this as a good thing....ok, I kid, I kid. In all seriousness, this is a dangerous precedent to set and it actually makes me quite a bit nervous.

So kudos to Zen for turning me around on this issue. While he and I will probably have several more arguments to have on different points...I can at least admit where I may have been blind to certain things.

I do agree with him on another point...this ruling has opened up a Pandora's Box of potential problems going forward.