Posts Tagged ‘Rights’

MSM Picks up on House GOP Rift

February 19, 2009 2 comments


UPDATE: The Smoking Ban has passed both the House and the Senate. The final tally in the House: 60-39. Since two Dems and two Indies voted against the bill, that means that the final tally for the “Liberty Caucus” of the House GOP is 35. Looks like they picked up three members from the first vote. 

UPDATE 2: Looks like I was wrong. From the comments bellow:

It looks to me as if actually 6 Democrats in the House voted against the conference report: Hall, Shuler, Nichols, Pollard, O. Ware, and Lewis. Along with the 2 Independents, this means that 31 Republicans in the House voted against the conference report.
Voting in favor of the conference report were 21 Republicans and 39 Democrats.

One Republican (Crockett-Stark) was absent today.

Thanks David. I’ll try to put up a more full bodied analysis of the vote later. 

Roughly a week after I first blogged about how the numbers on the smoking ban didn’t shake out to put Speaker Howell’s leadership in a favorable light, the Washington Post has picked up on the same rumblings:

House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith’s dissent provided a glimpse of what some Republicans describe as a long-simmering divide within their caucus. The tensions have worsened as Republicans have debated how to maintain their majority in a state that has been trending from red to blue.

Many delegates say they are frustrated that Howell negotiated a deal for a ban they oppose philosophically and handed a victory to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who had made a smoking ban a priority for years.

“I’m disappointed in him,” Del. Thomas D. Gear (R-Hampton) said.

Some are privately questioning Howell’s leadership but said they might wait until after November, when all 100 House seats are up for election, before deciding whether to start searching for a new speaker.

Howell shows the typical squeamishness of someone worried about his own election prospects while foolishly abandoning principle to find a winning issue for his “team:”

“I don’t worry about it one bit, not one bit,” Howell said in an interview. “I’ve had this job for seven years, and I’ve been through some pretty difficult times.”

Howell said that if delegates want to vote for a new speaker next year, they should feel free to do so. But he defends his decision to deal with Kaine and the Democratic-controlled Senate, saying that it was right for the state and that two-thirds of his leadership team agreed.

That’s all very well and good, to do the “right thing,” but here’s the problem. Number one, the numbers don’t hold up. If you look at the House GOP leadership as the Committee chairs, the people who owe their power to the Speaker, plus the leadership team, only 9 of them sided with the Speaker, versus 8 who bolted. Number two, your caucus feels betrayed on a fundamental issue underlying the core principles of the party: property and individual rights. And this isn’t the first time, either:

Some conservative Republican activists from around the state say they have harbored concerns about Howell since 2004, when he did not stop then-Gov. Mark R. Warner’s $1.4 billion tax increase. Three years later, he supported a controversial transportation package that some opposed because it led to another tax increase. And they blame him and other elected officials for contributing to a rise in state spending.

Even more laughable is this quote from the speaker:

“Anytime you have a diverse group, people are going to question your leadership,” Howell said. “You’re going to have different opinions.”

It’s ok for Delegates to deviate on issues from time to time as long as the make their reasoning clear to the people who elected them and realize that the activists who granted them their label reserve the right to revoke it during any nominating period. However, when you fundamentally backtrack on an issue such as this, you’re ruining the point of the label. Why award that when, in the middle of the game, when we have the opposition up against the wall, when we’ve made significant changes on transparency, you LITERALLY HAND YOUR OPPONENT THE BALL? This WILL be the Governor’s legacy issue, and Democrats WILL campaign on this. 

Mr. Speaker, thanks for the changes on transparency. You’ve made our government better with that. But with this deal with the opposition for short term political gain, you have put our party’s label and the trust of our loyal activists in serious jeopardy.

When I get to the Mansion Gates, Tim Kaine’s gonna have to wait…..

February 7, 2009 4 comments

… I can smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette!

As you’ve probably heard by now, Speaker Howell has reached a compromise with Governor Kaine that, the two men believe, will allow a bill largely banning smoking in public places to pass after years of such legislation being submitted. From the Washington Times:

Gov. Tim Kaine and House Republican leaders announced an agreement Thursday on a bill that would curb smoking in most public eateries and bars.

The bill represents a compromise between the Democratic governor’s longtime backing for an outright ban on all smoking in bars and restaurants and traditional Republican opposition to mandated smoking restrictions.

If passed, the measure will ban smoking except in private clubs and inside walled-off areas of restaurants designated for smoking and served by a ventilation system separate from the one that serves nonsmoking parts of the establishment. 

Governor Kaine has pushed rigorously for this action across the last several years, having previously banned smoking in state buildings. Now, after being founded by, raised on, and funded through King Tobacco, it looks like the Commonwealth’s four hundred year love affair with the sweet leaf may be finally coming to an end. 

Although not a smoker myself, I am firmly against this legislation due to very strong personal convictions. However, before I lay out my own case against the move, I think we should look at how this is shaking out in the political world, and why I feel this decision is just as disastrous politically as it is ideologically. 

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Return of the Fairness Doctrine

January 30, 2009 Leave a comment

FCC Member Robert McDowell warns that the Obama administration is getting serious about bringing back the fairness doctrine, which requires equal time for opinions on the airwaves and is almost guaranteed to greatly roll back, if not silence, talk radio:

McDowell warned that if the doctrine were revived, it might not “wear the same label. That’s just Marketing 101: if your brand is controversial, make a new brand,” he told his audience.
He suggested the doctrine could be woven into the fabric of policy initiatives with names like localism, diversity or network neutrality. “According to some, the premise of any of these initiatives is similar to the philosophical underpinnings of the Doctrine: the government must keep electronic conduits of information viewpoint neutral,” he said.
McDowell suggested that a stealth version of the doctrine may already be teed up at the FCC in the form of community advisory boards to help determine local programming. McDowell says he is fine with those boards if they are voluntary–some stations already seek such input. But that if they are required, as the FCC has proposed, “Would not such a policy be akin to re-imposition of the Doctrine, albeit under a different name and sales pitch?”

Perhaps even more frightening is what McDowell is hearing about how the Fairness Doctrine may be extended to other forms of media:

McDowell also said that efforts to reimpose the doctrine could stretch to cable, satellite, and even the Internet. “Certain legal commentators have suggested that a new corollary of the Doctrine should be fashioned for the Internet, on the theory that web surfers should be exposed to topics and views that they have not chosen for themselves,” adding: “I am not making this up.”

H/T Instapundit

Political Vandalism at GWU

January 29, 2009 1 comment

From the campus of George Washington University in Washington, DC, word that a College Democrat has been engaged in less than respectful opposition to his opponent’s message. From the Hatchet:


A number of crosses used by the Young America’s Foundation during a anti-abortion event last week were desecrated and left in a Marvin Center office, and a member of the College Democrats has taken responsibility.

Members of the College Republicans found the crosses on Monday morning scattered around the office they share with the College Democrats. One was pinned upside down on a bulletin board and draped with a condom, another featured a drawing of Jesus along with the words “pwned” and “lol,” and others were emblazoned with words like “Darwin” and “Amelia West,” the vice president of the CDs.

A CD statement Thursday morning said a member of their organization had stepped forward and apologized for the vandalism. The perpetrator was not named.

Surely there must have been more civil and respectful ways of showing opposition to the message of YAF? Kudos to the College Democrats for distancing themselves from the individual members and apologizing on their behalf.

First Amendment Update

January 27, 2009 Leave a comment

We have more on the bill that is meant to prevent outrageous actions such as those in Gloucester County, where petitioners who were trying to oust supervisors from office, as is their legal right. From the RTD: 

A judge’s order requiring a citizens group to pay attorney fees for four Gloucester County supervisors they tried to remove from office has prompted legislation to prohibit such sanctions in the future.

The 40 members of Gloucester County Citizens for Accountable Representation were stunned last month when the judge who dismissed the petitions ordered them to pay $2,000 each toward the targeted supervisors’ nearly $130,000 in legal fees. The balance will be paid by the county’s taxpayers.

The residents claim they were exercising their constitutional right to petition the government for redress of grievances in seeking the removal of four county board members who were indicted on charges of misusing their office by meeting in secret. The indictment was dismissed, then the petitions.

The article also points out a fact that makes this bill even more important:

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states have recall provisions that allow voters to remove officials from office for purely political reasons — but Virginia is not among them. A recall procedure is essentially a second election demanded by voters before the official’s term ends.

Without a recall election, petitioning is the only means that citizens have to react to wrongdoing by their elected officials. While petitions may be frivolous at times (or be impossible to act upon due to judicial connections), it is a fundamental right, and should be protected as such.

A Positive View on Concealed Carry

January 19, 2009 Leave a comment

For once, we have a look at the thinking of those who choose to defend themselves with a concealed weapon. Too often they are lumped in with criminals or shown as cowboys or radicals with little regard for the law. Instead, the large majority of them are law-abiding citizens who hope to never use the weapon. From Garren Shipley at

More than 160,000 Virginians held active permits to carry a concealed handgun in October, according to state police, up some 30,000 from just a year earlier.

No one in the recent Saturday’s class said they’d been the victim of violence. But for most, that was entirely the point.

Student Pete Pomeroy said he decided to carry a handgun for personal protection.

“I have a small business, on the lower end of town, and I’ve noticed that there are a lot more unsavory characters around the area,” Pomeroy said.

Concern for his safety made him decide to start carrying a gun — to “learn the rules the right way, and have a permit so that in my mind there’s no question of what I can and can’t do with a gun.”


Johnson also spends time teaching students what to do if the worst-case scenario does happen, and they’re forced to wound or kill an assailant.

Shooting another human being is a traumatic experience.

“You may feel elation. ‘Yes, I’m alive!'” he said. “Is it morbid? Yeah. But it’s natural.”

“You may be revulsed by what you had to do,” he said.

Talking to a professional counselor is also a must, he said. The emotional aftermath of a life-or-death scenario is a trauma no one can handle alone.

“No matter how well you think you’re going to be able to cope with it, you’re wrong,” he said.

That’s one reason Johnson spends a significant amount of time teaching his students how to avoid using the firearms they’ve gone to so much trouble and expense to obtain.

Carrying a gun isn’t a license to be a hero or a cowboy, he said. Rather, it’s a fighting chance to come out of a deadly encounter alive.

The best way to come out of a deadly encounter isn’t to shoot — it’s to stay out of one in the first place.

See a suspicious looking crowd on the sidewalk? “Walk across the street and go around,” he said.

Johnson held up his custom handgun and showed it to the small class.

“I’m hoping it never comes out of the holster,” he said.

When citizens fear their government, something is amiss

January 19, 2009 1 comment

Two stories that should be disconcerting to any citizen activist. One local government story that has gotten attention across Virginia is the ongoing saga in Gloucester County. There’s plenty out there about this controversy if you want to read more about it. The long and short of it, though, (summarized here in an article about recent citizen outrage), is that a majority of the county board and the sheriff were indicted for conspiring to fire the county administrator. 

Not only were the charges thrown out, and not only was the county ordered to pay part of the $125,000 in legal fees amassed by the Supervisors, but a group of citizens who circulated a petition to remove the gang of four were ordered to pay $85,000 in legal fees.


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