Big Government and Eating Your Words

Its all rhetoric and political swashbuckling until real world problems become your own. 


Today’s Washington Post has an excellent opinion piece written by Dana Millbank entitled, Through Oil-fouled Water, Big Government Looks Better and Better.  The entire article has been posted below because every word needs to be taken to heart and read carefully.  There was simply no part that could be considered for truncating purposes. 

Through Oil-fouled Water, Big Government Looks Better and Better

Dana Millbank, Washington Post

There is something exquisite about the moment when a conservative decides he needs more government in his life.

About 10:30 Monday morning, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), an ardent foe of big government, posted a blog item on his campaign Web site about the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “I strongly believe BP is spread too thin,” he wrote.

The poor dears. He thinks it would be a better arrangement if “federal and state officials” would do the dirty work of “protecting and cleaning up the coast” instead of BP.

About an hour later came word from the Pentagon that Alabama, Florida and Mississippi — all three governed by men who once considered themselves limited-government conservatives — want the federal government to mobilize (at taxpayer expense, of course) more National Guard troops to aid in the cleanup.

That followed an earlier request by the small-government governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal (R), who issued a statement saying he had called the Obama administration “to outline the state’s needs” and to ask “for additional resources.” Said Jindal: “These resources are critical.”

About the time that Alabama, Florida and Mississippi were asking for more federal help, three small-government Republican senators, Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions of Alabama and George LeMieux of Florida, were flying over the gulf on a U.S. government aircraft with small-government Republican Rep. Jeff Miller (Fla.).

“We’re here to send the message that we’re going to do everything we can from a federal level to mitigate this,” Sessions said after the flight, “to protect the people and make sure when people are damaged that they’re made whole.”

Sessions, probably the Senate’s most ardent supporter of tort reform, found himself extolling the virtues of litigation — against BP. “They’re not limited in liability on damage, so if you’ve suffered a damage, they are the responsible party,” said Sessions, sounding very much like the trial lawyers he usually maligns.

All these limited-government guys expressed their belief that the British oil company would ultimately cover all the costs of the cleanup. “They’re not too big to fail,” Sessions said. “If they can’t pay and they’ve given it everything they’ve got, then they should cease to exist.” But if you believe that the federal government won’t be on the hook for a major part of the costs, perhaps you’d like to buy a leaky oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.

It may have taken an ecological disaster, but the gulf-state conservatives’ newfound respect for the powers and purse of the federal government is a timely reminder for them. As conservatives in Washington complain about excessive federal spending, the ones who would suffer the most from spending cuts are their own constituents.

An analysis of data from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation by Washington Post database specialist Dan Keating found that people in states that voted Republican were by far the biggest beneficiaries of federal spending. In states that voted strongly Republican, people received an average of $1.50 back from the federal government for every dollar they paid in federal taxes. In moderately Republican states, the amount was $1.19. In moderately Democratic states, people received on average of 99 cents in federal funds for each dollar they paid in taxes. In strongly Democratic states, people got back just 86 cents on the tax dollar.

If Sessions and Shelby succeed in shrinking government, their constituents in Alabama will be some of the biggest losers: They get $1.66 in federal benefits for every $1 they pay in taxes. If Louisiana’s Vitter succeeds in shrinking government, his constituents will lose some of the $1.78 in federal benefits they receive for every dollar in taxes they pay. In Mississippi, it’s $2.02.

That may explain why, as the oil slick hits the Gulf Coast, lawmakers from the region are willing to swallow their limited-government principles as they dangle federal aid before their constituents. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said he would “make sure the federal government is poised to assist in every way necessary.” His colleague Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) said he is making sure “the federal government is doing all it can” — even as he added his hope that “industry” would pay.

President Obama tried to remind the government-is-the-enemy crowd of this situation in a speech on Saturday. “Government is the police officers who are protecting our communities, and the servicemen and -women who are defending us abroad,” he said. “Government is the roads you drove in on and the speed limits that kept you safe. Government is what ensures that mines adhere to safety standards and that oil spills are cleaned up by the companies that caused them.”

For the moment, some of the conservatives have new appreciation for governmental powers. “We’re going to have the oil industry folks, the BP folks, in front of us on the Commerce Committee,” Florida’s LeMieux vowed in the news conference Monday. “We’re going to talk about these drilling issues.”

But not before the taxpayer sends some more big-government money down to the small-government politicians of the gulf.


At what point do we stop thinking that the other person’s needs are frivolous and our own important? Are the politicians in the gulf states who are banging the drum about smaller government opportunists? Hypocrites? Or could it be that all those elected officials just needed a reality check about what we do when disaster hits us?

Poll Pooch Guards Polls on Election Day in Herndon

Poll Pooch  2008
Poll Pooch 2008

The town of Herndon apparently takes its poll pooches seriously.  This great dane puts in an appearance at every Herndon election according to sources.  He was there bright and early this morning when the polls opened at 6:30. (above picture from 2008)

I also understand that one of the founders of Help Save Herndon is on the ballot for town council.  Hopefully our Herndon friends will keep us apprised of how election day is going over in Herndon. After viewing the town council meetings, it appears that peace and tranquility isn’t part of the main objective.

Is that a donkey lying down or a great dane running for office on the Jones’ sign?  Perhaps he will further explain this logo on the candidate website:


UVA LaCrosse Tragedy: 2 Lives Lost

According to the Richmond Times Dispatch:

George Huguely, 22, has been charged with murder in the death of Yeardley Love, 22. Both were fourth-year U.Va. students from Maryland and lacrosse players.  Huguely is from Chevy Chase and Love was from Cockeysville.  Both students were to graduate in a few weeks.

Love, 22, was found dead in her apartment yesterday morning. Hours later, 22-year-old George Huguely was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.  Roommates summoned police thinking that she was comatose from alcohol poisoning.  First responders found that Ms. Love’s condition was far more serious and that she had suffered physical trauma.  While not elaborating, police ruled out weapons.  Neighors heard nothing.

Police say the two had been in a relationship but investigators plan to interview fellow players.  Huguely’s lawyer says that  “he is confident the death of a women’s lacrosse player from the same school, Yeardley Love, was not intended.”  What a horribly tragic accident.  One of these young people will probably spend time in prison and the other, who has been described by those who know her as an angel, is gone.  Dead.  Never to play lacrosse again, never to graduate, never to go to that first day of a new job.  Her life has been snuffed out, for whatever reason. 

Ms. Love is the 7th UVA student to die this academic year.  We don’t send out children to college to die. 

The University issued the following:

U.Va. President John T. Casteen III said in a statement that he hopes Love is remembered for her talents and her potential and not for the way she died.

“However little we may not know now about Yeardley Love’s death, we do know that she did not have or deserve to die — that she deserved the bright future she earned growing up, studying here and developing her talents as a lacrosse player,” Casteen said.

“She deserves to be remembered for her human goodness, her capacity for future greatness, and not for the terrible way in which her young life has ended.”

Casteen said he knows of no explanation for what happened to Love.

“This death moves us to deep anguish for the loss of a student of uncommon talent and promise, and we express the university’s and our own sympathy for Yeardley’s family, teammates and friends,” he said.



All Eyes Still on Prince William County

All eyes are still on Prince William County as the residents of Arizona feel our pain at the Harkins Valley Art Theater near Phoenix.  The theater has been packed each night for screenings of 9500Liberty. Eric Byler has been in the Phoenix area for approximately a week now.  This afternoon he hosted a radio show with 3 Republican business people who disapprove of the law passed, SB 1070.

Many folks from Arizona now know all about 0ur county.  A write up in AZ newspaper Phoenix New Times revealed:

The film chronicles the heated battle over an Immigration Resolution (drafted by the same folks who brought us SB 1070), in Prince William County, Virginia that passed in 2008 and was quickly repealed because of devastating economic effects (read more about it here). 9500 Liberty captures both sides of the battle in Prince William County through numerous interviews and video clips, some of which provoked the audience at Harkins into both jeers and cheers.

For example, when a woman tells the Prince William County Board of District Supervisors that they must “Never forget 9/11 and who did that to us – illegals,” the audience at Harkins Valley Art let out a collective grumble. Minutes later, they roared in unified laughter when a man tells the Supervisors, “Don’t confuse the 9/11 with the 7-11.”
Naturally our own Alanna and Elena are  folk heroes and Eric is extremely busy.  That is what happens when you have directed a film on immigration and one of the biggest news events of the day suddenly becomes a highly controversial state law in Arizona rather than a resolution in a county in Virginia.
When asked by Lydia Aranda, a local Wells Fargo executive and a member of the Governor’s Latino Advisory Council,  what was the main lesson he’d  (Byler) learned in Prince William County that continues to be relevant  here  in the county, he responded:
“If [co-director] Annabel [Park] were here, I know what she’d say,” Byler replied. “The biggest lesson is that the immigrants in our community are already integrated into the economy, because the economy does not discriminate based on your national origin. A dollar is a dollar.”
Byler also denied that demonstrations and rallies were productive in our area.  He said that community leaders and business people spoke with supervisors individually and those private conversations are what ultimately lead to a softer approach.
It looks like a home boy it one out of the ball park with 95ooLiberty.
Full story at Phoenix New Times.

Car Bomb Plot Suspect Arrested

According to CNN:

New York (CNN) — A U.S. citizen has been arrested in the Times Square bombing probe, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced early Tuesday.

Faisal Shahzad was arrested at JFK airport in New York as he prepared to board a flight to Dubai, Holder said.

The officials said the suspect is the person who bought a Nissan Pathfinder used in the bombing attempt. Earlier, a law enforcement official said the buyer is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, and that investigators are looking at more than one person in connection with the unsuccessful bombing.

The report came as CNN learned that the Joint Terrorism Task Force investigating the bombing attempt is considering the possibility that the attempt involved more than just a “lone wolf.” The identity of the person under scrutiny was not known, however.

According to a source familiar with the investigation, investigators believe the plan was an intended terrorist attack to set off explosives in the heart of midtown Manhattan on Saturday night, but the individuals didn’t have the expertise to detonate their device.

It is important to note that this is an on-going investigation. What a terrific job of capturing the evil-doers.

AG Goes Back to Bare-Breasted Attire

The Virginia AG has decided that the replacement breast plate lapel pins he had made for his staff were just too distracting so he has returned to the bare-breasted Goddess Virtue of the Great Virginia Seal. He did try to lame out of why he did such a stupid, cultural warrior stunt in the first place:

“The image on my office lapel pin is similar to that of a large antique state flag that hangs in the Virginia Capitol,” Cuccinelli said in a statement yesterday. “That is where I got the idea for my pin. I liked this particular image and thought it would be something unique for my employees.

Cuccinelli attempted mock outrage that people would find his decision to cover up the Goddess ridiculous:

“I cannot believe that joking with my staff about Virtue being a little more ‘virtuous’ in this antique version has become news.

“This is simply a media-made issue that has become distracting to the work of my office. I am going to end this distraction by discontinuing future use of the pin.”

The Democrats opportunistically have been laughing their hind-quarters off because of Ken’s efforts to make an Amazon Goddess more modest. According to the Richmond Times Dispatch:

The Democratic Party of Virginia also called the latest dustup a distraction — and blamed Cuccinelli. “Does Ken Cuccinelli have anything better to do?” the party asked in news release.

“All Virginians should be concerned that Ken Cuccinelli is wasting the people’s time applying his ultraconservative political agenda to every aspect of his job, even classical art,” said party Chairman C. Richard Cranwell.

“Attorney General Cuccinelli’s good will has run out with our citizens,” Cranwell added. “Virginians demand common sense, results-oriented government, not distractions, embarrassments and misplaced priorities.”

Steve Farnsworth, a political scientist at George Mason University, said the seal flap “is the latest in a whole session of national punch lines.”

The controversy has been a distraction from the accomplishments of the McDonnell administration, and it has made life difficult for the Republican Party of Virginia, he said.

If Cuccinelli really was on top of things he would know that Goddess Virtue didn’t get on the state seal by being a cream puff. Sic Semper Tyrannis! Thus Always to Tyrants.  Don’t mess with Virginia’s boobs!