I said it was a bad idea to float the Detroit automakers on a pool of public money when it was 1st suggested. When they did what I said they’d do and came back for more when they’d burned through what we handed them the first time, I said it again. Bankruptcy was what was needed there, not more taxpayer cash going to float a busted business model.
Well, among others, I’m finding I’m in the position of getting to say “I told you so” to those people who told me we just had to “loan” them the money. The newly annointed GM CEO apparently thinks bankruptcy might be the best option for GM and he’s saying so on the record:
General Motors’s new chief executive told CNBC that filing for Bankruptcy may be the best option for the struggling automaker.
In a taped interview to be aired tonight on NBC Nightly News, Fritz Henderson said that because of greater demands from the Obama administration to restructure, GM is considering the bankruptcy option. The auto giant previously had ruled out such a move, saying it would discourage people from buying GM cars.
So, here we are now, after having been forced into making a $14 billion dollar investment into a company that I wouldn’t have bought 10 cents’ worth of stock in, and in spite of all of the due diligence telling anyone who had any idea what they were looking at that dumping money into GM was a fool’s errand we’re now looking at a failed investment. You cannot be seriously looking at the state of that company and the intransigence of both the management and the unions who have made it the money-losing monstrosity it is and think we’re ever going to see a dime in repayment.
Bankruptcy is what this company should have been allowed to enter 5 months ago when this was all being bandied about. It would have been better for the company in the longrun, for the economy in the mid- to long-run, and for the taxpayer in the here-and-now.
As is the procedure in Virginia, the General Assembly is reconvening on April 8th to consider responses to Governor Kaine’s actions regarding the bills passed in the session that was just completed. According to Virginia law, the Governor has 4 options open to him when a bill is sent to his desk.
- Sign the bill. It becomes law either immediately or on a certain date as described in the law.
- Veto the bill. He then returns the bill to the General Assembly.
- Modify the bill. The Governor can make modifications to any bill sent to him. He then returns the bill to the General Assembly so they can vote on whether to accept his modifications.
- Do nothing. In the absence of action on the Governor’s part, the bill becomes law just as if he’d signed it.
As I mentioned a few days ago, Governor Kaine vetoed several firearms-related bills that passed the GA pretty handily. The Assembly will now consider whether to override the Governor’s veto. Among those bills being considered (summaries from a Grassroots Bulletin from the NRA-ILA):
SB1035 would permit a Right-to-Carry permit holder to carry concealed in a restaurant, provided he or she does not consume alcohol. The House amended SB1035, improving it by removing the requirement that Right-to-Carry permit holders notify the alcohol beverage manager when they carry concealed in their establishment.
After vetoing SB1035, Governor Kaine said, “Allowing concealed weapons into restaurants and bars that serve alcohol puts the public, the employees, and our public safety officers at risk. I take seriously the objections of law enforcement to this measure.” Last year, the Governor signed a bill permitting Commonwealth Attorneys to carry concealed in restaurants even while consuming alcohol. It should be noted that SB1053 prohibited the consumption of alcohol while carrying concealed by licensed Right-to-Carry permit holders.
SB877 would allow “retired” law enforcement officers to carry concealed in a restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages. Unlike SB1035, this bill applies only to retired law enforcement officers.
HB1851 would exempt active duty military personnel or Virginia National Guardsmen from Virginia’s “one-gun-a-month” law on handgun purchases.
SB1528 would have allowed a safety course conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor required for obtaining a concealed handgun permit to be done electronically or online.
HB2528 would establish that no locality or entity may participate in a gun “buyback” program where individuals are given anything of value or money in exchange for surrendering a firearm to the locality unless the governing body first passes an ordinance authorizing the gun “buyback.” The legislation also requires that any locality holding gun “buybacks” sell the firearms to a federally licensed dealer “or be disposed of in any appropriate manner” if they could not be sold.
One of our local members of the GOP and of several pro-2nd Amendment organizations, Greg Stone, put out an e-mail calling for concerned citizens to take a moment and make their voices heard to their members of the General Assembly, particularly those who had voted “no” during the floor vote. He writes:
If YOUR Senator is one of the following:
Blevins, Colgan, Herring, Lucas, Norment, Northam, or Petersen
And/Or YOUR Delegate is one of the following:
Albo, Amundson, Caputo, Dance, Hamilton, Hargrove, Mathieson, May, Melvin, Paula Miller, Poisson, Rust, Shannon, Sickles, Tata, Tyler, Vanderhye, or Watts
You need to call them NOW and let them know that since they supported RETIRED police officers carrying concealed in restaurants, even if they are drinking alcohol, they NEED to change their vote and override the Governor’s veto to SUPPORT concealed handgun permit holders carrying concealed in restaurants if they don’t drink!
These legislators simply cannot justify what they have done by their contradictory votes. We MUST call them and let them know we expect them to make it right by overriding the veto.
His e-mail included phone contacts for these Senators and Delegates. I’ll include them here and toss in e-mail addresses, too.
Mark Herring, 703-729-3300
Thomas Norment, 757-259-7810
Chap Petersen, 703-349-3361
Dave Albo, 703-451-3555
Kristen Amundson, 703-619-0444
Phillip Hamilton, 757-249-2480
Frank Hargrove, 804-550-2900
Bobby Mathieson, 757-470-3000
Joe May, 703-777-1191
Ken Melvin, 757-397-2800
Paula Miller, 757-587-8757
David Poisson, 703-421-6899
Thomas Rust, 703-437-9400
Stephen Shannon, 703-281-5200
Mark Sickles, 703-922-6440
Bob Tata, 757-340-3510
Roslyn Tyler, 434-336-1710
Margi Vanderhye, 703-448-8018
Vivian Watts, 703-978-2989
It’s important to contact your Senator or Delegate and ask them to vote to override the Governor’s veto of these bills. It is crucial that you do so for 1 of these bill especially, SB1035 and to show you why, I’ll quote from Greg Stone’s e-mail again:
SB 1035, the restaurant ban repeal, needs 5 more votes to be overridden in the Senate … The House only needs 1 more vote to override the veto. (Senate 22 to 16, House 66 to 33) …
SB 877, the restaurant ban repeal for retired police, passed by a large veto proof margin. (Senate 40 to 0, House 84 to 15)
SB 1851, One Handgun A Month exemption for active duty military, passed by a large veto proof majority. (Senate 31 to 8, House 86 to 13)
SB 1528, internet training for CHPs, passed by a large veto-proof majority. (Senate 29 to 10, House 99 to 0)
HB 2528, gun buy-up bill, passed by a large veto-proof majority. (Senate 28 to 12, House 85 to 11)
Emphasis mine. All 4 of the other bills already passed by a margin capable of overriding the veto. We need to ask those who voted “no” on them to reconsider but all that really needs to happen is for all of the Assembly to vote again as they voted before. SB1035, however, is a different situation. We need 5 Senators and 1 Delegate to change from a “no” to a “yes” and that’s where you come in.
Note that all 40 Senators voted to permit retired police officers to carry concealed in those same restaurants and bars and they voted to permit those same people to drink while doing so. In other words, these Senators who voted for that bill but against SB1035 are saying they trust a drunk retired cop to carry a gun but they don’t trust you stone cold sober. I don’t recommend you actually say that in your correspondence with them, but definitely keep it in mind as you decide whether you’ve got the time to call them.
I’d also remind everyone that Gov. Kaine already signed a bill last year that permits Commonwealth Attorneys to carry concealed and drink while doing so. Perhaps they can argue that police training means something where their current inconsistencies are concerned but Attorneys are no more trained regarding firearms than are regular citizens like us. Again, something to keep in mind.
Your action is needed. Your efforts do matter. Make a couple of calls, please.
A Virginia jail could be the next home for Guantanamo Bay inmates.
The maximum security jail in Alexandria, Va. — home to approximately 460 inmates — is under contract to take federal inmates who are tried at the courthouse just a few blocks away.
Among them could be former Al Qaeda operatives detained in Guantanamo Bay like Abu Zubaydah, Al Qaeda’s operations chief, or Abd Al-Nashiri, the alleged planner of the U.S.S. Cole attack, Alexandria sheriff Dana Lawhorne told FOX News.
Mark Levin’s new book, “Liberty and Tyranny“, is out and there appears to be a pretty serious demand for it. For those people who have been going on about how Virginia – especially northern Virginia – is turning “blue” I’d like to present this video. Mark Levin is just about the quintessential conservative author and radio host and there’s no doubting where he lands in the political spectrum. This video, taken by Instapundit reader Dan Byers, shows the length of the line of people waiting in Tyson’s Corner, VA to get a copy of Levin’s book and have a chance at getting a signed copy.
Bonus for Loudoun County, VA residents! At 1:08 in the video, do I detect a certain well-known Loudoun Supervisor in a blaze-orange hat?
The Economist is the latest of the smart guys to notice that President Obama is proving strangely unlike the guy they told us he was back in late October:
Well, it’s not like nobody said anything about it before the elections.
Well, I’m obviously not surprised by the news that Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has decided to thumb his nose at the clear wishes of the citizens of the Commonwealth as expressed by our elected representatives; Kaine vetoed several firearms-related bills that were sent to his desk by the General Assembly.
Kaine vetoed bills Friday that would have expanded the death penalty to accomplices in murders and to those who kill on-duty fire marshals or auxiliary police officers.
Kaine also rejected legislation that would have allowed those with concealed carry permits and retired law enforcement officers to carry firearms into restaurants that serve booze.
Clearly, Kaine has decided to put furthering his political career ahead of what’s in the interest of the people of Virginia and, let’s be honest, no one expected him to sign the bill extending legal concealed carry into restaurants. Given the passage ratio of this bill (both times) it’s obviously something a majority of Virginians either actively want or don’t have a problem with. It’s just Kaine peddling to the gun-ban lobby to shine up his resume that landed a veto on this bill.
I would also like to think that our reps in the General Assembly could see that and muster an override. Given the difficulty in getting them to work together on the normal business in Richmond, however, I’m not holding my breath. At this point it appears the best bet we have of seeing the will of the majority carry in the Commonwealth is to elect a Governor who has a clue.
One of the bills I found more surprising to see him veto was the exception to Virginia’s 1-gun-a-month law for active-duty military people. It’s not hard to see where someone getting deployed might run afoul of that law and these are the people we trust with government-issued fully automatic weapons in any case. I can’t imagine where his thoughts were running that he found something objectionable to that change.
Time for a real Governor to be elected. Time to get Bob McDonnell into the Governor’s office!
Loudoun County’s budget process is in full swing with the Board of Supervisors slated to vote on the adoption of a budget at their next meeting on April 7. In my last post on the matter I wrote about the need to hold the County’s school system (LCPS) to the same budgetary cuts as all of the other critical government functions. Thanks to the yeoman’s work of The Loudoun Scoop on 25 March we are directed to a story that shows the BoS is intending to do just that.
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to slash the proposed schools budget for next fiscal year by almost $27 million over objections from School Board members who said the cuts would severely affect the quality of students’ education.
“Everybody is getting impacted by the circumstances of our moment, and I’m afraid that’s going to have to include the schools,” said Supervisor Stevens Miller (D-Dulles), who voted for the cuts.
The School Board approved a $747 million budget in late January and forwarded it to the Board of Supervisors, cutting cost-of-living and seniority raises for employees to avoid eliminating staff positions or increasing average class size. The spending plan called for $12 million less in county funding than the current schools budget.
The School Board, at the BoS’s direction, came back with budgets representing a 5%, a 10%, and a 15% cut from the full budget originally floated. They provided a set of measures they’d take to find those cuts with each “Tier” which has lead to the “Tier 1, Tier 2…” nomeclature they’ve been using in the press these days. The BoS’s vote as refered to in the story represents the 5% option calling on the LCPS to make those Tier 1 cuts. (I’ll go into this in more detail in another post.)
When Loudoun County – which has seen over a decade of rising school budgets – makes the decision to actually apply cuts to the proposed budget you know we’re facing some serious money issues. That’s hardly a surprise to any of us paying any attention these days. However, it should now be obvious to everyone that if we’re in the process of cutting the budget for things like the Sheriff’s office and the school system, then we certainly don’t have money to be spending on anything new. From my last post:
To the Board of Supervisors, I’d say this: immediately halt any discussion of new services or departments in the Loudoun government until this economy recovers; do not implement new projects to upgrade systems we already have in place without a truly significant, near-term increase of capability or decrease in operating costs; require that all departments that fall within the scope of the core government responsibilities I’ve mentioned above cut their budgets by the same percentage figure. This year’s going to be tough, we all know that. Let’s see our government act like they know that, too.
It would appear the Board is taking the suggestion that all of the critical function areas of government be held to the same percentage of budget cut. I would imagine there’s little support for system upgrades that aren’t providing that significant capability improvement I mentioned. Putting a moratorium on new departments and positions, however…
The current Board of Supervisors is more “bike friendly” than an earlier board was, Turner said. Still, she said, she was worried that during an economic downturn the county would not allocate money for a bike coordinator.
County Supervisor Andrea McGimsey (D-Potomac), who serves on the board’s Transportation/Land Use Committee, was more optimistic.
“I think it’s a critical piece of going forward in Loudoun County,” she said. Noting that there had been two pedestrian fatalities in the same spot on Algonkian Parkway, she said, “We’ve grown quickly, and these are some hot spots that are being addressed.”
I have already said that we could probably use a bike and pedestrian coordinator, although I feel that the planning and zoning folks in the government could probably provide that level of oversight in new construction, too. The issue isn’t whether we could use one or if one is truly needed. We can’t pay for it. We haven’t the funds. This is a fine idea to keep in mind for the future but to even be considering it now, after telling our schools, our police, and our emergency teams that they have to make do with less because times are tight, is just irresponsible.
I’ll also call foul on Supervisor McGimsey’s use of the fatalities on Algonkian Parkway. She’s clearly referring to the 2 deaths at the intersection of Algonkian and Countryside Parkway, incidents I’ve written about before. Tragic though they were, in both of those situations the pedestrian was walking out into the street outside of the existing crosswalk and against the light. Having a pedestrian coordinator in place at the time would have done precisely nothing to avert the accidents because the 2 people in question weren’t following the rules or using the facilities that were already in place. Just because there would have been a guy in an office in Leesburg coordinating pedestrian pathways around the County doesn’t mean anything would have changed. The reference is a moot point and a non-sequitur in this debate.
This decision should be tabled until our economy recovers. We can reconsider it at that time.
I know very well how the headlines would have read had George Bush needed to come prepared with a huge teleprompter for every press conference.
Bush brings security blanket to press conference.
President unable to answer questions without crutch.
Is Bush dumber than a TV set?
Obama’s reliance on a teleprompter at every event where he wants to at least sound coherent is becoming household knowledge. Especially since the reporters at the news conferences are noticing enough to actually make it a main part of their stories:
What kind of politician brings a teleprompter to a news conference?
A careful one.
President Barack Obama took no chances in his second prime-time news conference, reading a prepared statement in which he took both sides of the AIG bonus brouhaha and asked an anxious nation for its patience.
Careful? Or just not in command of the knowledge necessary to speak on the matter off the cuff? Or is it both?
You can’t mention the name of oilfield services company Halliburton without conjuring the image of former Vice President Dick Cheney. The MSM and the Left in this country made absolutely certain that Cheney’s past ties to the company were front and center of any even glancing contact Halliburton had with government contracts and that focus was generally slanted to imply a corruption of some kind. Never mind that Cheney hadn’t been involved with the company for years and that any investments he had left that were in any way connected with them were held in a blind trust. It was an axiom in the media and on the Left that his work with them forever tainted any interaction Halliburton had with the government and that Cheney shouldn’t be allowed to have any say over any decision that involved them.
Will they say the same thing about Obama now that his relationship with a firm standing to directly benefit from the cap-and-trade carbon scheme Obama’s trying to push through Congress has come to light?
In 2000 and 2001, while Barack Obama served as a board member for a Chicago-based charitable foundation, he helped to fund a pioneering carbon trading exchange that is likely to fill a critical role in the controversial cap-and-trade carbon reduction scheme that President Obama is now trying to push rapidly through Congress.
During those two years, the Joyce Foundation gave nearly $1.1 million in two separate grants that were instrumental in developing and launching the privately-owned Chicago Climate Exchange, which now calls itself “North America’s only cap and trade system for all six greenhouse gases, with global affiliates and projects worldwide.”
One of those gases is carbon dioxide, the most ubiquitous greenhouse gas and the focus of the most far-reaching — and contentious — efforts to combat “climate change.” On Monday, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency declared carbon dioxide a public health threat.
Obama’s connection to this company is every bit as strong – and, arguably, stronger – than Cheney’s was to Halliburton and his administration’s agenda is playing far more strongly to Chicago Climate Exchange’s business plans than the past administration’s was to that firm. If it was a cause for concern then, it most certainly is now. Unless the MSM has other goals, they should be diving into this issue with all they’ve got. Any takers on whether they will?
Even the Democrats on the Hill know this scheme is a knife in the back of the US economy and this at a time when the economy is already suffering the effects of multiple stab-wounds. We don’t need another and, barring some other impetus, there’s not a whole lot of good reason to be pushing this right now. An impetus like, say, a personal business connection with a firm that stands to gain significantly should the cap-and-trade scheme turn into law. It doesn’t look good and we need the details of what’s going on in that relationship. The MSM, if they are what they’ve been claiming to be, needs to step up and get us that information. Let’s see if they do.
This past Saturday I went to the local town hall meeting held by our Virginia GA reps, Senator Mark Herring and Delegate Dave Poisson. The event was attended by about 30 people and held at the Ashburn campus of GW University. I took a couple of pages of notes and I wanted to pass along what I heard.
Mark Herring represents the 33rd Virginia Senate District and Dave Poisson handles the 32nd House District. Both districts are the largest districts in their respective houses of the General Assembly owing to the massive influx of population we’ve had since the last redistricting. The next redistricting comes in 2011 and both Herring and Poisson expect northern Virginia to get additional seats in both houses when that happens. Poisson said he expects there to be an additional Senate district created and 2 additonal House districts.
A question was immediately raised as to whether the addition of such seats would help us as regards our transportation issues. Both men said they believed it would since, if that comes to pass, the caucus (my word, not theirs) that comprises northern Virginia’s districts and the Richmond/Hampton Roads districts would represent slightly more than 50% of the Assembly. They said they believed the common ground of the issues we in more urbanized areas face would overcome any partisan resistance.
Both men spoke of the laws passed this past session and what bills they had introduced. Mark Herring mentioned his sponsorship of a bill authorizing a 1-year extension on the time that hybrid vehicle drivers would be allowed to use the HOV lanes while driving alone. Also the ban on texting while driving (Grrrrr…), the widely-known smoking ban, and the budget bills. He spoke of the deep bipartisan support the budget bills received and the vote tallies tend to bear him out. I believe the passage ratios in both houses was well over 60%.
One of the budgeting items he mentioned specifically was of great interest to me. According to Herring, the funding from state sources for Loudoun’s schools increased by $37.8 million over the last 2 years. I seem to recall the last 2 years listening to the LCPS bemoan the state of funding and demand increases in taxes to cover the loss of state funding. Now I find that the state funding went up? Where did this $37 million go?
Dave Poisson mentioned that the House was under a different sort of stricture this session. There was apparently agreement from the Delegates that there was going to be a 15 bill limit on business introduced into the House. They wanted to make sure they didn’t get bogged down in other stuff so much that they couldn’t do the budget work so this was their solution. As a result there were fewer issues addressed. He spoke of the federal stimulus money being used to cover a budgetary hole over the Medicaid program. (I would ask how that is supposed to be stimulating the economy but I know I wouldn’t get a direct answer.)
Also mentioned was a bill introduced and passed that would add to the requirements for getting a driver’s license. New licensees would be required to listen to a 90-minute program detailing the dangers of drunk driving. This is necessary, he said, because of the large numbers of young drivers dying on Virginia’s roads. The actual program would apparently be run by non-governmental contractors and parents of new drivers would be required to “sign off” on their kid’s compliance with this program. Sounds like a non-controversial issue but there a catch. This requirement only applies to northern Virginia drivers. So that means that Loudoun parents would be signing off on this in order for their kid to get a license but a parent in Lynchburg would not have to. Good idea or not, I can’t imagine this is constitutional. This is holding some people in the state to a different set of standards that other people in the same state for getting the same license. I would think this violates the equal protection clause that says everyone gets the same treatment under the law.
Poisson brought up the various firearms issues that were raised this session. The biggest one was the concealed carry in restaurants bill that was passed – again this year – by a wide margin. Poisson didn’t offer it any help, himself, and he believes the Governor is going to veto it again. I believe Poisson is on the wrong side of this issue and I’ve already stated my reasons. He was challenged on the matter by Greg Stone of the LCRC and various other pro-2nd Amendment organizations, as well as by another man in the audience openly carrying. This other gentleman brought up the inconsistency of denying the average citizen the ability to carry concealed where that citizen isn’t permitted to drink while allowing retired police officers to carry in the same place and drink to their heart’s content. Neither Poisson nor Herring had a good answer to that one except to say that retired police have a greater need for defense (against bad guys they might have previously put away) than do common Joe’s. Even if I agree with that much, why do they have a greater need to drink while doing so?
The remainder of the session dealt with bills these 2 gents personally introduced. I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to check those out at the General Assembly website if you’re interested.