According to the Virginia State Board of Elections site, McCain is leading the primary by a fairly unbeatable amount. At this moment, 84.34% of precincts are reporting and McCain is leading 49.86% to Huckabee’s 41.37%. Sorry, but I think this is done.
Update: FoxNews.com is headlining this one as “McCain Tops Huckabee… Barely.” I don’t know about that. Seems to me that with 89.4% of precincts reporting a McCain victory ratio of 49.3% to Huckabee’s 41.57% qualifies as a lot better than “barely.” Media narrative, anyone?
Ice is starting to form pretty quickly on lesser-used roads in eastern Loudoun and I just heard of about 5 cars having accidents on a bridge near the house. Bridges are freezing pretty damn fast so keep your eyes open. I’m from the mid-west, folks, so I know how to drive in pretty bad weather. No one drives well on ice. Get back to your home base as best you can and do so now. Stay off those roads if you can.
A prostitution complaint in Leesburg led to the arrest of a man and a woman who are in the country illegally from Mexico, Leesburg Police Department spokesman Lt. Jeff Dube said.An informant let police know about the possible prostitution ring less than 30 days ago, and detectives started investigating the complaint. On Feb. 8, police pulled over a vehicle suspected of being used for taking a prostitute to several locations around the Town of Leesburg.
Ismael Antonio-Garcia, 27, of Leesburg and Marina Aguirre-Gonzalez, 21, who has no fixed address, were arrested.
Antonio-Garcia was allegedly recruiting women for prostitution and driving them around to customers whom he had solicited, Dube said.
Aguirre-Gonzalez was charged with two counts of prostitution, while Antonio-Garcia was charged with two counts each of aiding prostitution, using a motor vehicle to promote prostitution and receiving money from a prostitute, Dube said.
Just doing the jobs Americans won’t do, right?
Well, let’s see. Revenues in Loudoun County are generated on a per-dollar-of-property-value basis, property values have declined since last year, and (like clockwork) the school superintendent says he needs millions more in his budget. What’s that sound like? Like tax rates are going up. Color me surprised.
Setting a budget is no fun, not for businesses, not for governments, and not for families. We’d all like to have just as much money as we needed to cover whatever whim swept past us. The reality is that we don’t and we can’t. Well, except for governments and, apparently, public school systems. The kicker in all of this budgetary mess we’re going through is that with the budget submitted at $1.6 billion requiring a hike in the tax rate to $1.21/$100 of value that still represents $23 million less for the public schools than Superintendent Hatrick wants. And he’s not done yet, I might add:
Presented to the Board of Supervisors in Leesburg Feb. 11, Bowers’ proposed $1.6 billion budget for fiscal year 2009 would raise spending on the school system by $81 million. But it would still fall $23 million short of what the county’s school system is requesting.
“At this point, I have no idea,” said schools Superintendent Edgar Hatrick on making up the $23 million difference, before adding that staff and faculty costs do make up more than 80 percent of school spending.
“I’m hopeful it will not be at $23 [million] when the process is over,” he added.
Meaning, of course, that he’s suggesting that we hike that rate up to whatever damn number is needed to give him every stinkin’ penny he says he needs. Hatrick does this every year and every year it’s the same crap:
“If they view this as an investment in their children then I think they certainly would have to understand it,” said Hatrick on whether residents will accept such a tax increase. The county’s student population is expected to grow by 3,200 students in 2008.
You know, an investment in Warren Buffett’s stock (Berkshire Hathaway, let’s just look at Holding A) 5 years ago cost $60000/share. (Yes, that’s 60-thousand-dollars per share.) As of this moment, that share would be worth $139,700, a return of 132% in 5 years. That’s a hell of an investment and well worth it, too. The reason I don’t have one of those?
I can’t afford the investment.
You see, simply telling you to think of something as an investment does not relieve you of the obligation of judging that investment not only by the return you can get but by whether or not you can afford to make that investment today. More to point, there’s no guarantee that Mr. Buffett’s stock is going to return another 130% 5 years from now, so you must also judge the investment by the likelihood that it will produce the expected return. You do that, generally, with an eye toward the investment market you’re considering and by analyzing the historical data.
There is no debating that education is an investment and it’s worthwhile. Part of my annoyance with Mr. Hatrick is that he acts as though none of us have ever considered that before. The question I want to know – and it’s one that Mr. Hatrick seems curiously unwilling or unable to answer – is whether or not our kids are getting the educational bang for the buck we’re shelling out to this system. We’re paying quite a bit per student. Are our students performing at levels comparably higher than the national average?
But that’s not the only concern, either. Are we, as I suspect, trying to squeeze a college education’s worth of advanced classwork into high school, where the basics are supposed to be taught? Is the curriculum significantly wider than comparably-sized school districts and can we save money by narrowing the scope a bit to give our students the education they need to go on to higher education facilities to pursue those more specialized classes?
Perhaps that’s not it, or not sufficient to make up the difference. How much of a percentage of the schools budget is debt service to all those bond referendums we’ve been passing these past 15 years that I’ve lived in Loudoun? Perhaps we need to examine new ways of getting the classrooms we need without adding to an ever-increasing pile of debt.
And perhaps we can start looking at technology to help us better leverage the assets we have. I engage in distance-learning all the time in my work and having to stay at the leading edge of the technology curve requires instruction on a near-constant level. Most of the people I need to learn from are in California. The technology we use allows me to attend those classes without getting on a plane. Can we do similar stuff here, where the distances aren’t so large?
Mr. Hatrick’s annual admonition gives off the sense of a high-schooler’s eye roll and a huffy “I just need it.” Chairman York is already concerned that raising the tax rates will start causing people to move out of Loudoun. (A prospect that some folks I know would love to see, I’m sure.) Stacking that rate up even higher to cover $23 million more – this upcoming year – will only add to the problem. It’s a problem for us all, Hatrick included, and it would be nice to see him act like it was instead of just handing out “it’s for the children” platitudes.
How about we start by having the school officials present to the community on why they need so much more per student than other school systems? We might try doing that at a time and place where parents and interested Loudouners can actually attend rather than, say, at the height of rush hour. Just a suggestion. Or, we could even, you know, tape it and put it up on that Loudoun cable channel that no one sees fit to watch much of. Could work.
There was no visible evidence at my polling place this morning that a GOP primary was even underway. Outside the school where I vote there were 2 signs indicating this was a polling place and only 2 spots where there were any political signs at all.
Both places there were signs looked just like this picture above. There was 1 Hillary and 1 Obama sign. No signage whatsoever for McCain or Huckabee. When I checked in to get my ballot there had been 54 GOP ballots cast before me. I’m not sure, to be honest, if that’s normal for a primary or not. I guess we’ll see what happens later on.
Who did I vote for? The full roster of candidates was on there including those that have already dropped out. Yes, Fred Thompson was on there. Yes, my hand hovered over that part of the touch-screen for longer than a second or two as I debated whether to case my symbolic vote for the candidate I still believe was the best man in the race. But last Saturday’s showing by Huckabee is giving his supporters more steam to press Huck to stay in the race and that means McCain – who’s going to win the nomination, I firmly believe – will still be involved in a primary battle when he could be turning his attention to the real opponents. If Virginia were to turn in a Huckabee victory…
So it was with a scowl on my face and a foreboding in my soul that I tapped McCain’s name on the screen. The machine displayed his name to me, indicating that this was who the ballot would be cast for if I pressed the “Cast Ballot” button. In effect, the machine was asking me, “Are you sure?”
No, Mr. Machine, I’m not. But I’m gritting my teeth and hoping for the best.
Her name was Millie and she mattered to me more than she knew. You see, I never managed to meet her, living as far away from each other as we did. But she had a daughter who grew up and – long story short – married a brother of mine. Whether I’d met her or not, that makes her family.
She decided not to entrust her final days to doctors and hospitals when they found out about her cancer, electing to play the hand dealt to her as the cards came. That decision placed her on a path medicine knows very well. She reached as far along that path as we mortals can this morning and journeyed beyond this vale of tears.
I don’t know what her faith was or what she would think of mine. I can only mourn the passing of this woman I’d never met and think of my brother and his wife who must be in pain 1000 miles away. Finally, I can recall the points of my faith if I can’t know what hers were and pray for her…
Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord,
And let perpetual Light shine upon her.
May her soul
And the souls of all the faithful departed
Through the mercy of God
Rest in peace.