There is no excuse for what passed as “editorial content” in the Washington Post yesterday. There’s no denying it, either: either the so-called editor who wrote this piece of garbage has not a single clue, not one iota of knowledge regarding what he wrote or he’s lying through his teeth.
Titled, “Guns in Virginia,” this editorial advocates on behalf of a bill before the Virginia General Assembly. The WaPo editor is completely, totally wrong on the intent of the bill and on the premises upon which he builds the argument. Observe:
For years, state lawmakers have defeated bills requiring vendors at gun shows to conduct background checks of would-be buyers. Yet such legislation squeaked by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee by an 8 to 7 vote this week and is poised for a vote in the full Senate. Politicians of both parties, including self-described gun rights advocates, should endorse this modest bill.
Licensed gun dealers in Virginia are required to conduct background checks on buyers, including those to whom they sell at gun shows. Yet, according to the Virginia State Police, up to 35 percent of vendors at the scores of gun shows throughout the state are unlicensed and thus are under no obligation to perform the checks. This makes no sense, and the public is put at risk because felons or the mentally ill are not screened out if they attempt to purchase guns.
Emphasis mine. The statement I’ve put in bold is the crux of the entire argument put forth by the Post and it is 110% pure drivel. You see, what the Post is making absolutely sure they don’t tell you is that the 35% of vendors selling at gun shows who aren’t licensed aren’t selling guns. They can’t. They’re selling leather goods, knives, gun safes, jackets, gloves, hats, and a whole plethora of stuff that gun owners and hunters use and might be interested in. They don’t run background checks to sell people leather jackets because, aside from being a cosmically stupid idea, that’s not required by law. The editors at the Richmond Times-Dispatch are apparently not above actually doing the research because they knew full well that this was the case.
Gun-control advocates often muddy the issue by referring to “unlicensed dealers” at gun shows, of which there are indeed many. They sell holsters, flashlights, hunting knives, T-shirts, books, gun safes — even jewelry. But an unlicensed dealer who sold guns as a business would invite felony charges under federal law.
Damn right they would. This is where this gun-show “loophole” myth falls flat on its face in the sunlight of actual facts. Every single gun sale performed by every single licensed firearm dealer in every single location they perform said sales in must have a NICS background check performed by the dealer or he’s in violation of federal law and he’ll never, ever be allowed to sell guns again. Oh, and he’ll be hit with staggering fines. Oh, and jail time.
The Post knows this and is lying to you and everyone else in a desperate attempt to garner support. Or they don’t understand the topic and have been professionally negligent in the performance of their jobs. Either way, they are actively damaging the ability of Virginians to engage in the political process with correct information. To say they should be ashamed is an understatement. To say that someone at the Post ought to be getting booted out the door is justice but I’ll put money down that it’ll never happen.
The Washington Post owes the people of Virgina a correction and it should be put right there on the editorial page where this blatant falsehood was broadcast. What the Post’s editorial told all of us is dead wrong and they should not be relied upon for factual information where this topic is concerned.
Hat Tip to Jerry Furman, From On High.
It’s time for a new poll and today I’m going to deal with a subject that has come to my attention recently: solar power. Specifically, residential solar power.
The technology for generating photovoltaic (or PV) solar energy has come a long way in the last 20 years and you’d be surprised at how much is available. I’m planning a couple of related posts on the topic this week but I wanted to get a sense from my readership about the interest level in putting solar power generation into your home. So have a look over there on the right and give me a click.
I’ve linked to the excellent science/environment blog Watts Up With That? on a few occasions here and the material has always been fascinating. Today I note there’s a guest “speaker” over at Watts who goes into detail on the concept of CO2 as a major driver of temperature differences. It’s truly an intriguing discussion and you should take the few moments necessary to read it. Information is key in this debate since people are using “scientific consensus” to make policy that affects you greatly. Be informed and be ready to enter the discussion when it comes up.
Former MD Lt. Gov. Steele was elected yesterday as the new chairman of the RNC:
Steele, an African-American and Catholic, is noted mainly for his ability to organize, his welcoming of new and social media, and strong fiscal conservatism.
He also sees the Republican Party as the conservative alternative in the United States and not something to apologize for.
Hear, hear. OK, Steele, you’ve got the ball. Run with it. Read the whole story over at Bearing Drift for more detail.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has introduced a bill that would cap the executive salaries of those companies accepting federal TARP money:
A day after President Obama unleashed a scathing rebuke of corporate America, Sen. Claire McCaskill introduced legislation Friday that calls for capping executive salaries at companies that accept federal dollars because of the economic downturn.
An interesting notion from a person who just allowed a self-granted pay raise to take effect, even in the face of this economic downturn.
I knew it wouldn’t take long for Obama to go to the liberal Democrats’ favorite whipping boy and start taking the long knife to the Defense Department’s budget. When he made the statement that he would cut government programs that he thought “weren’t working” it was pretty clear he was looking at the Pentagon.
The Obama administration has asked the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to cut the Pentagon’s budget request for the fiscal year 2010 by more than 10 percent — about $55 billion — a senior U.S. defense official tells FOX News.
Last year’s defense budget was $512 billion. Service chiefs and planners will be spending the weekend “burning the midnight oil” looking at ways to cut the budget — looking especially at weapons programs, the defense official said.
Yes, cut those weapons programs. I mean, after all, the enemy’s not looking for new and improved ways to kill Americans, right? Russia’s not rattling their sabers and China’s not putting any money into upgrading their military capacity, right? And it’s not like America is actually being targeted by people who want to kill as many of our fellow citizens as possible or anything.
Yes, they are.
I’m not saying there isn’t waste in the DoD budget and spending and perhaps there’s even that 10% that they could actually do without. But is there any doubt that there’s an equal amount of waste in other departments? I work down there in DC, I know there is and some of those departments and programs are up to a lot more than 10% of their budgets in crap they don’t need to be spending money on. If Obama were sending out the word to all government departments and programs saying that they all needed to find 10% in their budgets to cut I’d feel differently about this. He isn’t. He’s got the traditional Democrat sneer at the military and he wants to cut their funding even if it means cutting their capability. We’ve been down this road before and it’s never ended well. This time won’t, either.
Update: Hang on there a second. A second report is showing that the submitted 2010 budget has an increase in DoD spending, not a decrease.
What is it with these Obama nominees and paying taxes? All of them are these “high taxes are good” spendthrifts who preach raising whatever taxes you’ve got and yet, curiously, they can’t seem to manage to actually report all of their income and pay the taxes on them. Former Senator Tom Daschle, Obama’s pick for Health and Human Services Secretary, is the latest. When nominated for this post he “discovered” he owed more than $100K in back taxes and interest. In 2007 (you know, the tax year he’d have been reporting just last April) he failed to report $88K in consulting income. What will this be dismissed as? “Oh, sorry, I forgot”?
Only when he was actually nominiated did the issue become worthy of reporting and those taxes suddenly become important to pay up on. Does anyone really believe he’d have ever paid those taxes – taxes he owed, mind you – if he hadn’t been nominated? So, like Geithner, he’ll get to report them, pay the taxes and some token interest, and walk away from what you and I would be severely fined for. That’s assuming we didn’t get jailed. Hope, change, transparency, and a no-excuses non-corruption government? Oh, yeah… looks real good so far.
Rod Blagojevich, now the former governor of Illinois, was given his walking papers by the IL Senate by a vote of 59-0.
Illinois senators stripped Gov. Rod Blagojevich of power Thursday in the final act of a political drama that handed the reins of state government to his estranged lieutenant governor, Pat Quinn, and likely will end Blagojevich’s career in politics.
Senators voted unanimously to convict Blagojevich and bar him from holding political office in the state again. Shortly after the vote, Quinn was sworn in as Illinois’ new governor.
Of course, this is just round 1. The IL legislature removed him from office. Now we’ll see if the FBI and US Attorneys remove him from the streets.
Loudoun County Administrator Kirby Bowers is retiring, according to the latest Alert Loudoun. Bowers is leaving to take an Executive Director position with the Triangle J Council of Governments. Mr. Bowers has been a solid public servant and Loudoun has benefited greatly from his work. I wish him all the best and here’s hoping we can get lucky and find someone to step into Bower’s shoes who can do as well as he has these past 31 years.
The subject of the Broadlands Regional Medical Center (BRMC) has been a contentious thorn in Loudoun’s side for over 5 years. I’ve written about it on and off for a year, myself. The issue is coming to a decision soon and it’s time to take a clear look at things.
Fact: the statewide agency responsible for looking at the need for new medical facilities issued a Certification of Public Need (COPN) for a new hospital back in 2003, now over 5 years ago. Now, what does that mean for us today? It means, simply put, that the population density of Loudoun County, specifically in the eastern part of the county, was sufficient to support another hospital. That was in 2003 and we’ve not lost any population since then. In fact, it’s been growing at a rate equal to or in excess of the growth rate of any other locality in the United States. In other words, if we could support another hospital in 2003, we can sure support one today. And we’re clearly way behind the average number of available beds:
Much has been made of the argument that the opposition advances that they’re not against another hospital in Loudoun, just that it shouldn’t go in the Broadlands location. They argue that the next hospital should be down south in the Route 50 corridor because that’s where a facility would offer more efficient coverage. That might be true, if the population density of Loudoun’s land mass was uniformly distributed. I’ve said it before: the approach of putting hospitals in locations such that the pins marking their spots on the map are evenly spaced with no regard to population density is a foolish method. The hospitals aren’t there to service “x” number of square miles of land. They exist to provide medical care to people and people don’t live evenly spaced across Loudoun County. The population in the South Riding area might, indeed, get to be high enough to support a hospital of their own some day. They aren’t there today and the Brambleton/Broadlands area is. Do we hold off for another 5 years, leaving these residents to have to negotiate jammed highways and a warren of neighborhood surface roads in order to get to medical care?
The argument that the BRMC is too close to Inova also fails the real world test. As I’ve already mentioned in the past, the distance between Reston Hospital and Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax is pretty close, too, and no one is arguing that either one is starving the other. The population density surrounding those 2 hospitals supports having them, plain and simple. We in Loudoun are in a similar situation and there’s no reason to think we can’t support both, too. The suggestion that having both in the positions they’re in would cause one or even both to fail is a scare tactic.
Also a scare tactic is the suggestion that allowing the BRMC to be built would cause other healthcare facilities to not be built or even existing ones to close. First, it’s impossible for anyone to claim that if South Riding were to suddenly grow to the same density as Sterling that no one would support having a hospital there. Ridiculous. Of course it would be supported. It’s nothing more than an attempt to spook people into saying no. Ditto the concept that the existence of the BRMC would require the closure of Cornwall in Leesburg.
That last one about Cornwall is a fascinating statement by Inova. They claim they might not be able to support it. Curious that an entity with $2 billion in reserve and a $21 million annual profit reported might consider themselves unable to continue to support the facility. Sounds more like a veiled threat to me: “Nice medical center ya got there. Be a shame if something were to happen to it. Supporting that hospital those other guys are trying to build might, you know, make something happen to it.” Besides, it’s a moot point. HCA has already promised to step up and support Cornwall should Inova find themselves unable.
Children’s National Medical Center has committed to bring world-class pediatrics to BRMC. Inova has fine pediatrics, too, but when an outfit of the credentials of Children’s signs on board, that says something about the commitment the associated hospital is showing.
Competition is a good thing, too. There’s been much made by Inova of the services they offer and they’re quick to point out they offer services BRMC has committed. That’s true – now. Before the BRMC made their application there were plenty of services Inova didn’t offer. They didn’t start adding those services until they were faced with incoming competition. Now, perhaps they would have gotten around to adding those services anyway. But perhaps not, and they likely would have taken a lot longer than they did. The competition from another hospital, even one that wasn’t built yet, put the pressure on them to start offering the medical services the community needed.
Our local economy badly needs new business and that’s where the for-profit nature of HCA’s BRMC would be a benefit, not the boogeyman issue Inova claims it is. BRMC is estimated to bring in 600 new jobs, $4 million a year in tax revenue, and $14 million in road and infrastructure improvements. A hospital is supposed to be more than a tax generator, but Loudoun needs the jobs and they need the money. Having the new hospital would also attract supporting services which would also bring in jobs and tax revenue, all without the impact of additional residential growth. And BRMC is committed to completing LEED certification to make sure their facility is a minimal impact to the environment.
The pros and cons have been bandied about for years, now, and while that’s happened more Loudouners have had more need for more medical facilities here in the county. The arguments against are little more than scare tactics and misrepresentations. We need this and we needed it yesterday. The Loudoun Board of Supervisors should vote to approve the BRMC and allow this building to start. Let’s get this going and turn to the other issues facing us.