Category Archives: without

Public-Private Bike Race Foes Can Show Our Strength: OPPOSE the State Acquisition of the VA Sports Hall of Fame!

I got several positive comments about my expose of the taxpayer money spent on the disruptive world bike race last September.  One said something to the effect of:  How do we stop them next time?

Well, let’s start with this:  Senator L. Louise Lucas has introduced this bill:

SB 28 Virginia Sports Hall of Fame; created, report.

Introduced by: L. Louise Lucas | all patrons    …    notes | add to my profiles

SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED:

Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Creates the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame as a public body with a board of directors (the Board) consisting of 21 members, of whom six are to be members of the House of Delegates, four are to be members of the Senate, six are to be nonlegislative citizen members appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, and five are to be nonlegislative citizen members elected by the Board.

Now each bill has included (probably due to a good conservative behind the scenes) a financial impact statement and here it is for this bill.  A few juicy highlights:

Fiscal Implications:
The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, established in 1972, is a private nonprofit located in Portsmouth. In addition to the cost of the Board and an executive director, the Governor’s introduced budget includes $250,000 for each year of the biennium for the Hall of Fame (Item 129. F.)
It gets better (From the bill itself but it’s also in the financial summary):

§ 23-253.9. Board powers.

A. In addition to the powers set forth elsewhere in this chapter, the Board may:

***5. Employ, either as regular employees or independent contractors, accountants, architects, attorneys, construction experts and personnel, consultants, curators, docents, engineers, financial experts, historians, researchers, superintendents, managers and other professional personnel, personnel, and agents as may be necessary in the judgment of the Board and fix their compensation;

6. Determine the locations of, develop, establish, construct, erect, acquire, own, repair, remodel, add to, extend, improve, equip, operate, regulate, and maintain facilities to the extent necessary to accomplish the purposes of the Board;

7. Acquire, hold, lease, use, encumber, transfer, or dispose of real and personal property;

***

9. Regulate the use and operation of facilities acquired under the provisions of this chapter;

***

11. Borrow money from any source for any valid purpose, including working capital for its operations, reserve funds, or interest, and mortgage, pledge, or otherwise encumber the property or funds of the Board and contract with or engage the services of any person in connection with any financing, including financial institutions, issuers of letters of credit, or insurers;

Now the financial summary insists that this would ONLY cost the Commonwealth $250,000.  BUT, if the board can hire people, maintain facilities, acquire property and borrow money, I can assure you that the inevitable mission creep will occur and soon we will have this board with a $5,000,000 budget at least in part from taxpayer dollars.  Remember Sandy’s First Law:  Taxpayers get shafted!  And Sandy’s Third Law:  Never Buy the Original Numbers!

Now don’t take the word of a humble blogger from Hanover.  Take the word of this Virginian Pilot article:

It has operated as a private nonprofit since 1972. The group’s last tax form posted online from 2013 indicates it had a budget of $1.2 million and $954,000 in revenue, about half from taxpayer subsidies.

After years of routinely cutting an annual check of $500,000, Portsmouth’s funding has dwindled.

The proposed legislation doesn’t mandate taxpayer subsidies, but hall President Eddie Webb said that is the organization’s goal.

The sports hall is a museum, he said, and can’t make ends meet without taxpayer subsidies. Webb said there is no state-funded museum east of Williamsburg.

Now when the Virginian-Pilot says someone hopes to get a government subsidy, you can believe it!  It’s like the Washington Post saying we must “invest” in education.  I appreciate the integrity of Mr. Webb.  He says the museum can’t make it financially without taxpayer subsidies!

But why not?

After all there are former NFL players and former NBA players (and probably former MLB players, too!) in the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.  Why not hit these star players – or their kids and grandkids – for contributions?

Frankly, I got to say:  I like sports and I like honoring Virginians who have served sports well.  But not with taxpayer money.  I’d rather not have a Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and to have one with the need for taxpayer subsidies.

Finally, if this board becomes a state agency – its decisions will be political ones.  By definition.So to everybody who reads this blog and agrees with me:  No more public subsidies for what is private activities without a very compelling reason.  Not the movies.  Not the Virginia Museum for Fine Arts.  Not the Redskins practice facility.  Not the Shockoe Bottom stadium.  And definitely not the World Championship bike races.

Remember how disrupted you were that week in September?  Call or email or mail your delegate or senator tonight!  Go here and find out who your delegate and/or senator are.  And let me know you did it!  I’ll send my automatic copy of this post I get from the blog to Senator McDougle and Delegate Peace.   Time to say HECK NO!

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders

What About a Youthful Offender Statute similar to Alabama and/or Florida?

I am interested in overcriminalization.  I think legislatures tend to not trust judges with sentencing decisions.  What should be done is more judicial discretion and then make sure solid discreet men and women should be appointed to the bench as a priority.

In my efforts to try to find opportunities to give chances to young offenders to reform and repent rather than incarceration (the system that has obviously failed in this nation) I came up with the grand larceny threshold (not claiming it as my idea – I learned it as a member of the Richmond Crusade for Voters which I think I still am!) that I advocated at this blog today.

Now I found this statute recently:  The Alabama Youthful Offender Act.  Here’s the first and next to last section of this statute:

(a) A person charged with a crime which was committed in his minority but was not disposed of in juvenile court and which involves moral turpitude or is subject to a sentence of commitment for one year or more shall, and, if charged with a lesser crime may be investigated and examined by the court to determine whether he should be tried as a youthful offender, provided he consents to such examination and to trial without a jury where trial by jury would otherwise be available to him. If the defendant consents and the court so decides, no further action shall be taken on the indictment or information unless otherwise ordered by the court as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(b) After such investigation and examination, the court, in its discretion, may direct that the defendant be arraigned as a youthful offender, and no further action shall be taken on the indictment or information; or the court may decide that the defendant shall not be arraigned as a youthful offender, whereupon the indictment or information shall be deemed filed.

***

(a) No determination made under the provisions of this chapter shall disqualify any youth for public office or public employment, operate as a forfeiture of any right or privilege or make him ineligible to receive any license granted by public authority, and such determination shall not be deemed a conviction of crime; provided, however, that if he is subsequently convicted of crime, the prior adjudication as youthful offender shall be considered.

(b) The fingerprints and photographs and other records of a person adjudged a youthful offender shall not be open to public inspection; provided, however, that the court may, in its discretion, permit the inspection of papers or records.

What this means is if an offender is under 21 (the age of majority at the time this law was passed and apparently that is what the Alabama Supreme Court held in 1997) and the offender is placed in the Youthful Offender status, and IF the offender complies with all terms, the offense is treated as if it was not an conviction (except for sentencing for a future offense, if any) and he or she is not a felon.  they can vote, hold office and be a upright citizen of the state and nation.  (I am not sure how this law affects the right under Federal law to own or possess a firearm.)

Florida has a similar law.  This is the pertinent section of this statute:

958.04 Judicial disposition of youthful offenders.

(1) The court may sentence as a youthful offender any person:

(a) Who is at least 18 years of age or who has been transferred for prosecution to the criminal division of the circuit court pursuant to chapter 985;
(b) Who is found guilty of or who has tendered, and the court has accepted, a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to a crime that is, under the laws of this state, a felony if the offender is younger than 21 years of age at the time sentence is imposed; and
(c) Who has not previously been classified as a youthful offender under the provisions of this act; however, a person who has been found guilty of a capital or life felony may not be sentenced as a youthful offender under this act.

(2) In lieu of other criminal penalties authorized by law and notwithstanding any imposition of consecutive sentences, the court shall dispose of the criminal case as follows:

(a) The court may place a youthful offender under supervision on probation or in a community control program, with or without an adjudication of guilt, under such conditions as the court may lawfully impose for a period of not more than 6 years. Such period of supervision may not exceed the maximum sentence for the offense for which the youthful offender was found guilty.  (Blogger’s note:  Words bolded were done by me)

 

The records of a youthful offender are sealed as well.  I draw your attention to the bolded words:  “with or without an adjudication of guilt”.  Now I am not allowed to practice law in Florida but I would say if a Virginia law had words like that it means that if the court chooses, he or she may give the adult but youthful offender the chance to keep his or her record clean.  (There is a fierce debate among and between the judiciary and the General Assembly about diversion of adult felonies in cases where the statute does not specifically authorize it.)  The Florida law states that only capital or felonies with a maximum life sentence are beyond the reach of this law.

What’s the point Sanders?  I would not say Florida or Alabama are liberal jurisdictions (although Florida is more progressive than Alabama by far!) yet they found these laws to be helpful to the administration of justice.  It might be good incentive to give some young adult offenders a one time chance (especially if it is a non-violent offense) to keep a record clean.

Perhaps it might be good to study these laws (another study bill!) or even discuss and debate a Virginia Youthful Offender Act.  (We have acts for such offenders in this Commonwealth but they do not expunge or seal a record but rather mitigate the sentence to boot camp or similar program.)  I am not yet advocating such a law or how far the law should go but overcriminalization and incarceration needs new answers.  This post could start such a debate.

 

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders

Forum: Could The Way Political Debates Are Held Be Improved?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question:Could The Way Political Debates Are Held Be Improved?


The Right Planet : Everyone should be given equal time. Period. It should be strictly enforced; even to the point of shutting their mic off, if need be (this should apply to the moderators, as well). Secondly, as far as the moderators are concerned, a more diverse cross-section that better represents the voters when selecting moderators seems like a good idea to me. Get a conservative, a centrist, a moderate, and a liberal, and so on. And no more talking over the candidates by the moderators. Ask the question, then shut up. Let them answer, then move on. Furthermore, there needs to be a more formal structure to the debate: as in some form of a rebuttal process. And when the candidate gives their rebuttal, let them finish their answer without interruption (within the prescribed period of time, of course).

My last suggestion for the selection of moderators would be this: debate moderators should fill out an application, pay a fee, undergo a thorough background check, and get a license in order to exercise their First Amendment rights.

JoshuaPundit : I’ve actually thought about this one for a long time. Who needs ‘moderators?’ Why have them?

What happened in 2012 and the CNBC fiasco last week should convince people that the existing format is not only dysfunctional but actually destructive to our politics, and it certainly isn’t going to change with any new criteria for choosing them.

Since the Left controls education, including the major journalism schools and that’s where most of these people come from, virtually none of the egotistical talking heads working at PBS or pretty much any of the major left-leaning media outlets thinks anything of rigging the game in favor of their preferred party. In fact, in a lot of these outlets their politics decides whether they get hired or not. Many of them, like George Stephanopoulos or Brian Steel, the CNBC executive in charge of running the recent debate actually worked in the Clinton White House, and there are plenty of others with similar far-Left backgrounds. Why would anyone expect them to be ethical and fair, except the pinheads running the RNC?

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Rather than letting these people run the game, simply eliminate them. Convert the format to Lincoln-Douglas, with no moderator, just a timekeeper. Let the candidates draw lots or flip a coin to see who goes first,and let the first man have his time to speak on whatever issue he chooses, followed by back and forth extemporaneous responses just like Lincoln and Stephen Douglas did, with the time keeper strictly enforcing equal time.

Aside from the benefit of stopping partisan ‘moderators’ from influencing the proceedings, the audience would get to watch how these men and women think on their feet instead of the carefully rehearsed talking points we get now.

And while I’m at it, I’d seriously consider taking these debates off television. Let people listen to the ideas aspirants for office have, rather than being distracted by what kind of tie or hairstyle they’re wearing or whether they take a sip of water or not while they’re speaking.

Now, that would be a debate worth hearing.

Maggie’s Notebook: GOP Debates– After the 2012 debates, I expected the RNC to ‘get it.’ It’s disgraceful that this is happening once again. I like the idea of a “theme,” i.e. economics, foreign policy, immigration. I want to hear questions asked without an accusatory voice from the debate commentators. I don’t want to have a clue how the commentator personally feels about the question he/she asks. No “don’t you think you should have” type questions. The questions should stick to the “theme,” absolutely! With no exceptions.

I don’t care how long the debate is when substantive questions are asked. Every candidate should get equal time to answer direct, non-accusatory questions. If it takes three hours to do this, I’ll be watching.

Democrat Debates– All the rules should be the same for both parties. Substantive questions, without genuflecting to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. No framing questions in an aura of a holy light. I don’t want to know a candidate’s favorite ice cream, or who he/she considers this country’s biggest enemy, unless that enemy is outside U.S. borders. As with the GOP, I don’t want to have a clue how the commentator personally feels about the question he/she asks.

Laura Rambeau Lee,Right Reason : Last week’s CNBC Republican debate started out as more of the same gotcha questions most of us have come to expect from a liberal-biased panel of moderators. The difference this time was the candidates turned the tables on the moderators and called them out on it. Perhaps this was what was needed as it seems to have struck a chord with even some of the traditionally left leaning media. They have become accustomed to mocking Republicans and playing to the low information voters for so long and getting away with it, but maybe the tide is turning. Maybe people are really paying attention to these debates who had not in previous election cycles. Perhaps the hope and change they were promised hasn’t been exactly what they envisioned and they are looking for answers after nearly eight years under the Obama Administration.

With so many candidates the current format doesn’t give any one candidate sufficient time for their positions to be heard. We should have fewer candidates debating at one time so they can have the opportunity to make their case to the American people. They should have more time for opening and closing remarks at the very least. Hopefully we will see a more traditional debate format in the future after the CNBC fiasco; where the moderators are not so obvious in their bias and with more questions of substance. The American people deserve better, but will only get it if they demand it.

The Independent Sentinel : There should be neutral journalists or an even number of right and left journalists for both Democrat and Republican debates. It would be nice if they asked substantive questions but I don’t know if that can be mandated.

Since polls now show Democrats view Socialism favorably, Democrats might want someone from Black Lives Matter or the Revolutionary Communist Party to interview them. (I say that tongue-in-cheek.)

Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it.

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Forum: Could The Way Political Debates Are Held Be Improved?


Article written by: Tom White

Democrats Have Changed; GOP Still Needs to Adjust

The Democrat Party has never been fond of free market capitalism, constitutional republicanism, federalism, or individual rights; but over the last decade, the Democrats have gone from a Progressive-European model of lite Democratic-Socialism, to a party of full blown totalitarian Statists. There is nothing American, moderate, independent, or virtuous left to the Democrat Party. Ever the party of sick ideas, from slavery to segregation, to infanticide and welfare-state dependency, the Democrats have evolved beyond the realm of irresponsible idealism. They are now a threat to the very existence of America as a Nation.

dcMeanwhile, the Republican Party is still playing the same game they played in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, stubbornly addicted to representing the foggy framework of a pro-business, pro-government brew contrived behind closed doors and masked by time-tested, media-approved messaging. To their astonishment, as republican voters have watched the Democrats perfect and master the republican art of using Wall Street and K Street to increase their treasuries, maximize their power, and defend themselves against the will of the people – these republican voters now see through their leaders pretentious rouse. As a result, the GOP Leadership has no base, no followers, no support. They can’t get anything accomplished, because not only are they trying to fight the Democrat Party, they are also taking on the majority of their own republican constituency. Mired in confusion and a stubborn refusal to change course, the Republican Party Leadership has become impotent, left unable to perform or impress.

Yet, the rising tide of patriots desperate to prevent the loss of the last vestiges of their liberty have sent wave after wave of Republicans to Congress, foolishly, according some, expecting results. Donald Trump has proven that even without substance, without principle, without intelligence, a politician can capture the adoration of the people, merely by representing them on the issues for which they are most passionate. Why the GOP has refused to get on board, to bask in the will of the people as Newt Gingrich did in the 90s, is strikingly absurd.

The problem is, that most of the Republican Leadership are career politicians. They represent the federal government, not the people. They use money, fear, and absurd propaganda to pander to the uninformed regular voter. They’ve kept their power, but they’ve lost everything else. I cannot imagine a better time for a change in leadership. If the Republican Party doesn’t adjust to the rising dangers presented to this nation by the Democrat Party, they will never again be able to function effectively. In a month, the Republican Party is going to increase the debt limit. Can you think of a more ridiculous and irresponsible position to take at this time? Yet, they don’t know what else to do.

Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich are all struggling in the Republican Primary, primarily because they sicken the majority of Republican voters. They have no new ideas. They are merely hanging on to their old ones. The American People, even the Democrats, are looking for real solutions and real leadership. On September 16th, CNN will be holding the second debate at the Reagan Library. They picked the 11 strongest Republican Candidates (and they actually picked the right ones in my opinion). What is Jeb Bush going to say that he hasn’t already said a thousand times? What’s Christie or Kasich going to say to appeal to the people looking for a change in Republican Leadership? Believe me, if we cannot unwedge McConnell and Boehner, there is no way that Republicans are going to put a Boehner or McConnell ally in the White House. That’s just not where the electorate is today.

The Republican Party has to change. They don’t have to become like Trump. They just have to show leadership. They have to move bills through Congress. They have to take it to the Democrats on multiple battlefields. They have to go on offense and make the case for liberty (if the Republicans even remember what liberty is). If they fail to do so, the party will die. 50% of voting Americans aren’t going to continue to support these old, self-serving, unenlightened relics of an era of politics better buried and forgotten than sustained on permanent life-support.


Article written by: Steven Brodie Tucker

GOP: Abandon Individualism At Your Peril

The Republican Party has always suffered from a fragmentary view of individualism. Evangelical Christians and Catholics, accustomed to higher authorities and collectives, have struggled with the individualist and materialist natures of liberty and capitalism, and Evangelical Christians and Catholics make up a significant portion of the Republican population.

Now, before going all crouching tiger hidden dragon on me, before reading what I have to write, I would like to say, up front, that the arguments to follow are not an attack on Christian dogma or orthodoxy, tradition or heritage, but rather a defense of realities which have nothing to do with religious faith, with our personal relationships with our Savior or God, nor any other contradiction with the Judeo-Christian ethic. That said, and in the hope that you will stay with me to the end, I’ll endeavor to make my case.

What is individualism? Rarely does Wikipedia get something right, but I believe their definition is preferable for our purposes this morning, as opposed to a 2,000 word soliloquy where I self-indulgently flex my philosophical muscles.

Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual.[1][2] Individualists promote the exercise of one’s goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance[3] and advocate that interests of the individual should achieve precedence over the state or a social group,[3] while opposing external interference upon one’s own interests by society or institutions such as the government.[3] Individualism is often contrasted with totalitarianism or collectivism.[4]

The first sentence is the most important, so I’ll repeat it: Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual. This is not narcissism or egoism, but rather a recognition of the moral worth of each individual human being, who have been created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

adam+smith+individualismIt is by virtue of the moral worth of the individual that we protect the rights of the individual, the smallest minority in existence, against all forces, collectives, organizations, and governments. It takes less than a second, once you value The State, or the society, or the political party, above the moral worth of the individual, to begin immediately trampling the rights of individuals. If you do not believe that this is happening in America today, I would suggest that you either have a very cynical view of liberty or of what it means to have moral worth.

There is no freedom without a society that strictly and ferociously protects the rights and liberties of each individual. Just as there can be no free economy without a studious adherence to the material and objective principles of economy which we have so long ignored and attempted to trick.

It is right and good to tithe, to give to charity, to help the poor, and to reach out to widows and orphans and to the mentally ill. It is wrong and vicious to usurp the wealth of individuals, against their will, for purposes of charity that they may or may not support. Welfare is not Christian. Food Stamps are not Christian. Free phones and telephones are not Christian.

Laziness is a vice; and if we have substituted the Federal and State governments as agents of our Christian Charity because we’re too busy or distracted, then we are in the wrong and there is still no virtue in this giving, which is collected by the taking. Look at what this federally orchestrated charity has done to our society. It has done what none of us would have freely chosen to do – to bankrupt us… to have spent, not merely our own wealth but the wealth of the generations to come? How can we call this virtuous?

We must understand that our moral and religious duties are ours to pursue as individuals, freely and without coercion. The moment we put our governments in charge of our welfare, we began the slow erosion of our communities and our individual liberties. That our governments employ force and coercion out of “good will”, we are supposed to accept it as right and just, when what would be right and just is that all good will and charity should be dispensed freely and cheerfully by us as individuals.

For so many reasons and causes, we have sacrificed our individual liberty and responsibility and handed power to our governments, and just look at the results! Is this really the culture you want to live in? Is this really the kind of government you want to live under? Have you not witnessed that as the government grows, the role of the Church subsidies and the sovereignty of the individual human being is destroyed – each of us herded into this group or that, this classification or that?

Imagine the capital we’d have as individuals… Imagine how much more we could give to our communities, churches, and temples… If it were not for the burdens of these monstrous taxes and the weight of a national debt we can never repay. Imagine how much more capital we would have without the 40,000 regulations enacted by these last two administrations, without congressional legislation. Ladies and Gentlemen, the legislature is dead. We are being ruled by an executive bureaucracy that produces no wealth. It seeks to control and dominate every aspect of our lives and at every turn our individual liberties are sacrificed for the “common good”. What common good can there be, truly, if we as individuals, in common, have no liberty?

These governments of ours threaten us with debt and war and tyranny. We will not suffer the consequences as collectives, but as individuals. It is not “our veterans” the group that suffers and dies on waiting lists at our VA Hospitals. They are heroic individual men and women who have been abandoned because they, as a group, have no political clout. Are you not disgusted? Their fate today will be your fate tomorrow. If the Republican Party doesn’t change, reverse course, and become a powerful advocate of the rights of each American citizen, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or gender.

I cannot continue to support a Republican Party that does not support my individual sovereignty.

But if you believe that our government has strengthened our culture, our communities, our churches and temples, and our economy by virtue of their efforts to work for “the common good”, then stay the course. If you do not believe this is the case, then now is the time to change course, as individuals, together.

 


Article written by: Steven Brodie Tucker