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lowkell

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McDonnell Bullies State Police?

Is the McDonnell administration bullying and muzzling the Virginia State Police?  Based on this article, it sure looks like it.
Some tenured legislators raised their eyebrows during this year's General Assembly session when a State Police official spoke in favor of raising speed limits to 70 mph on certain state highways. The agency had opposed it.

The shift in position followed instructions from Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration to the law enforcement agency that a public endorsement was expected, according to a government source with knowledge of the conversations who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Administration officials made it clear to the State Police that it was expected to back the speed limit change, which McDonnell supported, and remain silent on some gun measures, the source said. The State Police offered testimony on at least one gun proposal this year - defeated legislation to require criminal background checks on certain private gun sales - before being hushed on others, the source added.

Obviously, this is not good if true. I can just imagine the howls of outrage if a Democratic governor had done this. For its part, the State Police "declined to comment." Hmmmm.

P.S. In other news, Bill Bolling seems to think that the Virginia National Guard are supposed to act as his travel agents, and possibly as his transportation back from Italy.  I dunno, but doesn't it seem like the Virginia National Guard might have more important things to do than figuring out how Bill Bolling can fly through a volcanic ash cloud?

Video From “Open Carry”/Anti-Government Protest at Fort Hunt


Thanks to Cliff Schecter and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence for this video from the "open carry"/anti-government event at Fort Hunt earlier today. Note the interview at the end where "featured speaker" Mike "Break their windows" Vanderboegh says there could be "more Ruby Ridges" and "more Wacos."  What I really want to know is, in what conceivable way have people like Mr. Vanderboegh been "pushed farther back" by the government? Was it the increased gun rights or the lower taxes that were the final straw for these guys? Hmmmm.

UPDATE: Also, check this ad, an "open letter to Senators Webb & Warner from families of Virginia Tech victims & survivors."

UPDATE #2: The Washington Post reports, Mark Warner is "noncommittal" on closing the "gun show loophole," while Jim Webb "came out firmly behind requiring background checks of all purchases at gun shows" (according to Lori Haas, whose daughter was wounded in the Virginia Tech shootings).

Joe Biden on “Devastating Blows to Al Qaeda-Iraq”


Meanwhile, in other excellent news, a new BBC survey finds, "For the first time since the annual poll began in 2005, America's influence in the world is now seen as more positive than negative."  The BBC attributes this to "Barack Obama becoming president."  As always, I wouldn't expect all the "nattering nabobs of negativity" out there (e.g., Eric Cantor, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck) to give Barack Obama credit for this. But I will, and I hope you will too, because he definitely deserves it. Nice work, keep it up!

Video: Terry McAuliffe and Jon Bowerbank Promote Virginia Wine in Cuba


For more on Terry McAuliffe and Jon Bowerbank's recent trade mission - promoting Virginia wine, among other things - to Cuba, see here. Or, just watch the video. It's fascinating how much Jon Bowerbank looks like Burl Ives, and how much Terry McAuliffe looks like Alec Guiness, but I'm sure that's just a strange coincidence for "our men in Havana." :) Also, is that Virginia wine they're drinking or something more tropical? Heh.

Scott Surovell: “The Gun Movement Comes to Fort Hunt”

Over at his blog, The Dixie Pig, Del. Scott Surovell (D-44) shares his thoughts on the "open carry", "Restore the Constitution" rally scheduled for today at Fort Hunt Park in his district. According to Surovell, his constituents are reacting with "concern, fear, and outright anger with some." The bottom line, from Surovell's perspective, is that "writing a letter to the editor, starting a blog, or running a TV ad are much more effective methods of communication than staging a rally with a loaded and/or unloaded weapons in what is really a suburban neighborhood park just because you can do it."

For all of Del. Surovell's thoughts on today's anti-government, "open carry" rally in Fort Hunt Park, click here. What do you think?

P.S. As the Washington Post story points out, "Those coming to the "Restore the Constitution" rally give Obama no quarter for signing the law that permits them to bring their guns to Fort Hunt, run by the National Park Service, and to Gravelly Point on the banks of the Potomac River. Nor are they comforted by a broad expansion of gun rights in several states since his election." That's right, Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress have expanded gun rights since they took office in January 2009. Why don't they get any "credit" for this from pro-gun folks?

UPDATE: Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th, VA) weighs in.

The free association and gathering of individuals is a constitutionally protected right that all Americans should support, regardless of whether one agrees with the substance of the protest. Holding an armed rally at a public park however, raises major public safety concerns.

These anti-government demonstrations are fueled by the belief that our constitutional rights under the Second Amendment are somehow under attack and urgent action is needed. While this may be a powerful rallying point for special interest groups, the claim could not be further from the truth. In fact, much to my dismay, virtually every action the federal government has taken in the past decade has weakened commonsense gun laws already on the books.

I understand that the Park Service is well aware of the situation and is working to ensure the public's safety is protected. I urge anyone attending the event to protest in a peaceful manner, respectful of the park and its visitors. I maintain my belief that firearms do not belong in national parks but unfortunately, that's now the law of the land.

 

College Students Speak Out for Campus Coffee Week April 17-25, 2010


For more complete instructions for Campus Coffee Week, go to www.CoffeePartyUSA.com.

Mark Warner on Financial Reform Legislation: “This should not be a partisan issue”


"I'd love to hear from Senator McConnell and some of the others specifics, not just general attacks..."

"I'm still relatively new to this job, and I didn't get the memo yet that we weren't actually supposed to get stuff done in a bipartisan way...this should not be a partisan bill."

"We need to set financial rules of the road for the next 50-60 years.  We had pretty good rules of the road that were set in the '30s that lasted us 80 years; I'd love to see a bill that would put the next 80 years rules in place."

Jeff Schapiro: “Will voter anger sweep Webb out?”


Personally, I think it's far, far too early to say much intelligent about Jim Webb's reelection chances in 2012. For starters, how much "voter anger" will there be at that point, and who will that anger be directed at? Who knows. Second, who will the Republicans nominate to run against Webb (assuming Webb even runs for reelection)? If it's George Allen, how does he get beyond "macaca" and all the other reasons he lost the last time around? If it's "Sideshow Bob" Marshall, can a guy even further to the right than "Felix Macacawitz" get elected in Virginia?  Finally, how popular will President Obama be by 2012, since he'll be on the ballot along with Webb?  At this point, it's extremely difficult to say. In politics, 2 years might as well be 2 decades. Anyway, we'll see what happens, first and foremost with the economy, over the next couple years. A lot of things will happen in that time period, we just don't know what those things will be exactly.

Anyway, please feel free to use this as an open thread on Jim Webb, his performance in office so far, and his reelection chances in 2012.  

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