March 2010

Allen for Senate

By Too Conservative

Is looking more and more like a real possibility.


Thoughts?

And People Wonder Why So Many Don’t Trust LCPS???

By Loudoun Insider

Sarah Stinger lays out the duplicity of the LCPS bureaucracy in this on-point letter to the editor at Leesburg Today.  Do Hatrick and his compliant School Board really wonder why nobody on the BOS trusts them when they behave in this manner?  (Well, with the exception of The Champion and The Employee of course!)

Debt Bombs All Around! When Do They Go Boom?

By Loudoun Insider

Ugh.  Boy am I pessimistic about our economic future.  On all levels.  Locally, we have an ever-expanding school system with a backlog of school construction needs, noisy parents expecting the very very best, and spineless politicians (for the most part).  Virginia is continuing to shortchange its economic engine in NOVA and defunding transportation evermore.  And nationally - baaaarrrrrfffff.  Underfunded entitlements are the game du jour.  Promise promise promise yet never identify how such programs will really be paid for in the future.  All while we borrow borrow borrow from nations that really don’t have out best interests at heart.  I don’t see much in the way of good times ahead I am afraid!

Fairfax County Republican Convention goes off without a hitch, Bedell reelected unanimously

By Brian S

Kerry O'Brien hard at work Saturday MorningSaturday morning, my wife and I were up at the crack of dawn for the Fairfax County Republican Convention.  We both served as delegates – I was on the nominations committee, and she served, along with the rest of the Monticello Republican Women’s Club (and others), as part of the check-in crew for the over 200+ delegates, along with dozens of other members of the press, candidates, campaign staff and guests.

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In addition to speeches from the various 8th, 10th and 11th District congressional candidates, the Convention elected Anthony Bedell to his second term as FCRC Chairman. I think it’s pretty impressive for a Convention to garner so many paid delegates in a year with no drama in the elections process – Bedell ran unopposed.  I know the PWC Convention, which was similarly drama-free, only had 45 or so paid delegates.

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While I am happy to see Anthony get reelected, it wasn’t a surprise to me that I have already heard speculation swirling about the 2012 Chairman’s race. It seems like, at least for Fairfax activists, we’re always looking at the next race. Given the amount of drama in the 11th district primary already, I’m looking forward to a small rest after the June 8th primary.

Henry Waxman: Original Gangsta

By Cato the Elder

3842517859_27e2cab1dcLast night after the news cycle had ended Politburo Congressional members Henry Waxman, Secretariat Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and his trusty sidekick Bart “Brother, can you spare 30 pieces of silver?” Stupak issued letters to the CEOs of Caterpillar, John Deere, AT&T, and Verizon requesting their presence at a Grand Inquisition hearing to be held on April 21st. See here, here, here, and here. Early reports of strong approval being voiced by the administration of Tony Soprano President Obama could not be immediately confirmed.

 

What exactly do the CEOs of the above four companies have in common?  They all followed the letter of the law and are restating their earnings immediately to account for massive writedowns as a result of taxes being raised on their provision of prescription drug benefits to their retirees. AT&T took a 1 billion dollar hit, Deere took 150 million, and Caterpillar took 100 million. When you face higher taxes that materially impact present value of future obligations you must restate.  It’s the law.

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Why Greece Matters

By Cato the Elder

One of my favorite financial bloggers, noted analyst and author John Mauldin is out this weekend with a very instructive post.  It takes the form of a letter to his children, and I am reproducing it in its entirety.  Yes, it’s long and parts of it will be tedious but I highly recommend reading it, as it is critical that conservatives understand and be able to articulate the destructive potential of too much debt.  He does an excellent job of explaining debt crises in general, and the current predicament in particular.   
 

What Does Greece Mean to Me, Dad?

 
Tiffani had been talking with her friends. A lot of them read this letter, and they were asking, “Ok, I get that Greece is a problem. But what does that mean for me here?”

 
The same day, a friend told me about a conversation she had with her 17-year-old Cal Tech daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend, who is also headed to Cal Tech. These are really smart kids, and they were asking her about some of my recent letters. “We understand what’s he saying, but we just don’t see what it means.” (For what it’s worth, the boyfriend wants to grow up to be Mohammed El-Erian of PIMCO. Go figure; I just wanted to be Mickey Mantle.)

 
Twice in one day is a sign, I am sure, so I will try and see if I can explain. And since all my kids must be wondering the same thing, this is kind of letter from Dad to see if I can help them understand why things are not going as well as they would like.

 
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What’s Up With Trautz?

By Loudoun Insider

Tea Party candidate Jim Trautz has suspended his campaign against Frank Wolf for the 10th CD Republican nomination.  Any inside scoop out there?  I have none but haven’t been looking.

My analysis of the constitutionality of the health care law’s individual mandate, Part 2

By Brian S

As I noted yesterday, the primary argument against the individual mandate is that the mandate represents an unconstitutional expansion of the commerce power.  Proponents add that the mandate’s penalty would qualify as a tax and thus it would be lawful under the tax and spend power. Before we go into the arguments, we need to frame the question: what exactly is the individual mandate and what does it do?

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§ 1501 of the PPACA establishes the individual mandate. Under this section of the bill, every individual in the United States other than those with religious conscience objections, those incarcerated and people not in the country lawfully are required to maintain the minimum insurance requirements under the title. See PPACA, § 5000a(d). Thus, under the law everyone – regardless of age, income, or citizenship (US citizens and legal resident aliens are included) status – is required to maintain the minimum requirements.  Now, there are a number of exemptions, but the text of the law reads that the exemptions are not to the requirement, but to the penalty. PPACA § 5000a(e) reads “Exemptions- No penalty shall be imposed under subsection (a) with respect to…” and the categories include individuals who cannot afford coverage (meaning that the cost would be more than 8% of their monthly income), those under the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, those without coverage for only three months and those with a “hardship” as determined by the Secretary of HHS (it may also be the Secretary of the Treasury, as this language is an amendment to the Interval Revenue Code and under 26 U.S.C. § 7701(11)(b) when the term “Secretary” is used in the IRC, it means the Secretary of the Treasury). In addition to these exemptions to the penalty, there is a blanket provision that waives all criminal penalties included in the tax code for failing to pay the penalty and does not allow liens or levies on property to force individuals to pay the penalty. See PPACA, § 5000a(g)(2).

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This fact has led Ezra Klein and Lowell over at Blue Virginia to argue that this isn’t actually a mandate, because it has no teeth.  Wrong.  The requirement that every individual in the country other than those who are incarcerated, religious objectors or illegal is the mandate. The mandate is enforced by the penalty I noted yesterday. The fact that the IRS won’t lien your house or have you prosecuted for tax evasion does not mean that the penalty goes away. There are far more ways of collecting this penalty than liens and the threat of prosecution. The IRS can choose to audit anyone who fails to pay the penalty, they can take the penalty from your tax refund, among other ways. Anyone who doesn’t believe the IRS can find ways to collect this penalty that don’t qualify as levies or liens is being overly generous. Lowell argues that “That’s right, you have the option of buying health insurance or not buying health insurance.” The option being not buying insurance and paying the penalty. That’s like saying you have the option of driving the speed limit or exceeding the speed limit – if you exceed it, you just have to pay the penalty. That argument isn’t going to hold water.

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Growth Pays For Itself, Right?

By Loudoun Insider

Wonder why Loudoun County taxes continue to shoot through the roof?

This Has to Stop

By Brian S

Ben over at Not Larry Sabato has a post up about the recent threats of violence that have been made on both sides of the aisle.  As Ben is one of the top Democratic blogs and we are one of the top Republicans blogs, I feel it is important that we echo those sentiments.  There is absolutely no place for violence in our system of government.  The threats and publication of Tom Perriello’s brother’s home address and the cutting of his gas line are deplorable, as are the gunshots fired at Eric Cantor’s campaign headquarters.

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This is America. We resolve political fights at the ballot box, not with the bullet box (Catherine Crabill’s statements notwithstanding). No matter how angry anyone feels at the passage of the health care law, the days are long past when the right answer to a political debate was violence or the threat of violence. Those who cut the gas line should be prosecuted completely. Those who shot at Cantor’s headquarters likewise should be prosecuted. And we should all take a hard look at our rhetoric and our feelings and take a step back. At the end of the day, no matter which side of the aisle we are on, we are all Americans. We all want to see this country thrive and prosper. We may disagree on the best way to do that, but in the end, our goals are the same. Whether we like what the Obama Administration and the congressional Democrats (or Republicans) are doing, whatever feelings we may have, we should channel those feelings into electoral efforts, not threats and vandalism.

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Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued a statement today and it is one that I believe we call can agree with 100%. Here’s the text:

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Attorney General Cuccinelli statement on vandalism to Perriello home, threats

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RICHMOND (March 25, 2010) – Statement from Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II:
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“In our system of constitutional government, we have civil, non-violent ways to express our disagreements with our elected officials, including speaking up in public and at the ballot box.  Threats and intimidation are not part of our political system and are not to be tolerated.
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“We will do everything we can to assist in bringing the perpetrator to justice.  We have contacted the local Commonwealth’s Attorney and the Virginia State Police and offered our assistance.”