novatownhall blog

Where you are held accountable for your convictions and record

Dog takes kittens as children

Ok, you softies are going to absolutely love this story.

A female dog takes on a litter of kitties; a cat takes on a deer fawn; a leopard takes a monkey. Mothering instinct at its best.

Happy Mother’s Day, all.

We just finished a nice visit to a somewhat rural area of North Carolina to see relatives. Some reflections:

Item 1 -

Hell Is Forever sign in NC field

Maybe not Digital Camel-level material … but evocative. Click on image to get a better look (it’s a big file but worth getting the full effect).

Item 2 -

I got to operate my brother in law’s riding lawnmower to “help” with the yard work, for which I was unduly adulated … but let me tell you, riding a pretty quick tractor around a multi-acre lot was a sheer brer rabbit/briar patch scenario. It’s practically like running a dirt track race or the Baja 500, in my book. My own private tractor pull. A total blast.

Item 3 -

You will not believe this, but between Fredericksburg, VA and northeastern North Carolina lie huge sections of our nation where our fellow Americans apparently have not gotten the memo about “jobs Americans won’t do.” These misguided folks are roughly 100% of the work force in lots of restaurants, stores and other businesses. Imagine a fast food place where every employee speaks English. Crazy, I know. Apparently the armies of illegal workers have not discovered these areas and employers are paying the price. Someone needs to notify the White House of this travesty.

Item 4 -

Oak Leaf Wine from Wal Mart

Speaking of retail, guess how much this item cost?

“I don’t know, Joe” you are probably saying, “$10.00? $30.00?”

No, my friend, this bottle of Oak Leaf cabernet, purchased at the Goldsboro Wal Mart, was competitively priced at … $2.97! And no, I did not leave any zeros off that figure. So now you are thinking, “that must be one skanky wine.”

But in fact, I hereby pronounce it … DRINKABLE! Oh yes, boy howdy is it drinkable and then some! Anyone who would deem it unacceptable is – well, I’m glad I couldn’t afford to have YOUR palate. It’s a perfectly nice wine, bottled in California, and I sampled a good bit of it. It does not have a pretentious “year” indicated, but for me that simply makes it easier to evaluate: Cabernet; $2.97 – two pieces of information, just enough to make a decision.

That’s the good news, that there is a Wal Mart in North Carolina where you can get a cab that passes the Joe test for less than three bucks. The bad news is I was not thinking clearly enough to buy 50 bottles of it, and I don’t think the Loudoun Wal Mart sells alcohol. (Though I will double check, believe you me).

Item 5 -

Locals report they have lousy beef in that part of North Carolina. Most steaks are only half edible, and ground beef is chock full of unchewable bits. So my relatives buy beef at Sam’s Club which does have some good product. But on the plus side, they do pork real good down there. I imagine this has religious-demographic implications.

Item 6 -

Very, very troubling development: Local radio station 100.7 “The River” has a “best of the 60s and 70s” format. It was sort of cool, to hear stuff like “Reeling in the Years,” “Band on the Run,” “Gold Dust Woman,” “Down on Main Street” while we were driving around on Friday and Saturday. It was far less cool to hear “Reeling in the Years,” “Band on the Run,” “Gold Dust Woman,” “Down on Main Street” while we were driving out on Sunday.

Because we did not have the radio on for very long, this tells me they must have a play list of about 60 or 80 songs, just like all the other crappy radio stations we have nowadays, and just like it was when those songs first came out and played numerous times throughout the day and made me sick of them. We ran through another “60s and 70s” station through Richmond, and for all I know we have twelve of them here in DC now (I only listen to CSPAN radio, sports talk and WTOP, so I would not know).

Typical corporate radio: Take a good thing and run it into the ground. As my wife noted, at least the “new music” stations have to rotate new music into the 60 or 80 on the list.

Item 7 -

There is a “Travelers… something” truck stop just north of Richmond that has the usual quirky assortment of trucker items available in the store: Fighting knives and throwing stars, DVDs, last minute gifts for the kid or wife. And also “Asian Massage” in an upstairs room. I think that’s nice for the truckers, and probably gives this business the necessary advantage to help differentiate them from the competition. They probably did a SWOT analysis and determined that prostitutes would provide that extra marketing umph. Truck stops are seriously in danger of becoming commoditized.

Imagine this:
bonnie_richardson.jpg

Yesterday, this high school kid wins the high jump, places second in the long jump, and third in the discus.

Today, she wins the 200 meters, and places second in the 100.

She, by herself, gets 42 points, which beats the next best high school team, which earned 36 points. The gal wins the state outdoor track championship.

On top of that, Bonnie Richardson was the only kid from Rochelle High School to even qualify for the state meet.

Let’s break this down. Winning the high jump and placing in the long jump is not such a stretch. Both require speed and leg strength. But it almost never happens, because there are so many people with amazing speed that the leg-strength advantage of the high jumpers cannot match the quickness of the sprinters.

In Bonnie Richardson’s case, she not only bested the jumpers, but she also ran toe to toe with the sprinters. Having the sheer muscular heft to win the jumps and then dominate the 200 meters demonstrates leg muscles with both slow and fast twitch superiority … not to mention, being one tough customer, which is where placing in the discus comes in. The discus requires big time upper body and leg power.

Coming out on top in all these contests shows strengths that might adhere to sprinters in the heptathlon, but not typically in championship winners at each individual event.

Now if some kid had won this many points in the track and field contest at some small school in BFE, that would be one thing. But Bonnie Richardson won it in the state of Texas. Not a small state or jurisdiction. This is an amazing accomplishment.

UPDATE: Resident scientist Jack notes in the comments that I am all messed up regarding muscle twitch, and gives a detailed correction. It’s genuinely good information, college guy, thanks for the fact checking.

And what does he think he’s doing challenging Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf for the Virginia 10th District Republican nomination?
Vern McKinley, Nona McKinley and Dick Heller
10th District Republican primary candidate Vern McKinley (center) with Dick Heller, plaintiff in District of Columbia v. Heller, and McKinley’s wife, Nona, at the April, 2008 Nation’s Gun Show in Chantilly.

Folks, I am taking Vern McKinley very seriously because anything can happen in a publicly invisible election as the June 10 GOP primary certainly will be – and Vern has a valid message. If he gets a scintilla of the money he needs to get that message out, Frank Wolf will be toast, and we may get a true citizen-legislator representing us in the House of Representatives.

It is not insignificant that Dick Heller, plaintiff in DC v Heller – the case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court which may have an immense impact on 2nd Amendment policies throughout the nation – spent most of a weekend last month visiting with attendees at the Nation’s Gun Show event in Chantilly … in the general vicinity of Vern McKinley’s booth. Heller was not campaigning, but there was a clear common interest between McKinley’s supporters and Heller, who might understandably have taken offense at Frank Wolf’s refusal to support the effort by Virgil Goode to overturn DC’s gun ban.

Prior to meeting him at the gun show, my only familiarity with Vern McKinley was based on a local Republican event where he addressed the local committee, and my impression was that Vern speaks like a regular guy – not a “political orator.” For me, this is not a negative, because I am more and more interested in the notion that our government is supposed to be one where regular citizens make the decisions. Furthermore, our current political leadership in America is a minefield of “orators” whose heads are firmly implanted where the sun don’t shine.

Vern carries a well-worn copy of the U.S. Constitution in his jacket pocket, and in our conversation he noted first of all that “home rule doesn’t override the Second Amendment.”

But his disagreements with Frank Wolf extend far beyond the issue of gun rights.
continue reading…

Our friend LI at Too Conservative has a great discussion going about George W. Bush’s legacy. Here is my take:

Toppling Saddam was the right thing to do, in my view, but handling the occupation with military-lite was a really bad idea. We started “rebuilding” before our soldiers had put the hammer down on all the bad guys. “Rules of engagement” … whatever happened to WINNING. The war should have been fought less like Vietnam and more like “Devil’s Guard” by Elford. Don’t get me started …

On the other hand, we have not been attacked on American soil in roughly 6.5 years. Our men and women are fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here. Bush has delivered on homeland security.

On the OTHER hand, as a relative who is pretty non-political but leans conservative said to me, “I don’t know why we have our young men and women over there dying for those people.”

There is a strong sense among many Americans the money and blood America has contributed to securing Iraq is looking like a questionable investment considering what the Iraqis themselves are contributing. Let’s be blunt: They don’t seem worth it. This may be unfair, but the perception is they don’t care enough to fix their own country so how can we fix it for them.

The resolution of this whole war with the religious fanatics we no longer are supposed to identify by name will be years in the future, and I agree Bush’s legacy on this issue will be determined by how it ends.

But right here and now, why the hell are we spending billions of dollars a month to rebuild and secure Iraq when they are sitting on an ocean of oil? If the Democrats had managed to nominate someone without the crushing negatives of Barack Obama, I would say they win in November in a walk just by repeating the above sentence over and over.

On the OTHER hand, Bush did well with his Supreme Court appointments. In fact, he did phenomenally well. He did much better than his dad. The only way W could have done better would have been if he’d been able to make another appointment. Platinum legacy on this issue.

But on the ultimate, final, this-is-it-and-no-tag-backs hand, Bush was a disaster on illegal immigration. Previous recent presidents were no great shakes on immigration enforcement, but the Bush administration turned a blind eye, opened the floodgates, and cut our enforcement agencies off at the knees for years.

As an example, the illegal invasion of Herndon began under Clinton, but hastened greatly under Bush. The invasion of Sterling, as with so many American communities, was 100% on George W. Bush’s watch, after word got around in the business community that Title 8 of the U.S. code was now officially classified under: fuhgetaboudit.

People say, well GW Bush has ALWAYS said he’s in favor of free flow of people and goods across our border with Mexico, so anyone who is disappointed with how his executive branch managed immigration enforcement simply was not listening when Bush was working his way up the ranks. Fair enough. So we can’t nail him for being duplicitous, and shame on us for not calling him out on it before he became, er, president of the United States. But his policy of allowing a massive increase of illegal immigration was a bad one and the results have been bad, and his legacy will reflect this terrible public policy mistake.

Recently we saw some new faces. One of them, loren wrote:

One person said they were against la Raza because they advocated for undocumented people. Not sure if that is true but as least it is a specific argument.

La Raza supports open borders between Mexico and the United States. How does this no lead to ‘undocumented people’? Nice bit of thought-speak there, very 1984. The two proper legal terms for ‘undocumented people’ is ‘illegal alien’ and ‘illegal immigrant’. Choose one. An ‘undocumented person’ is some who lives here legally and left his wallet at home.

The part I get hung up on is the ‘illegal’ part. When someone does not knock on the front door of your house but instead sneaks in through the basement, they have committed criminal trespass just for starters. Trying to gussy this up with word games is dishonest.

It is this governments duty to follow the laws or change them. Ignorring them is not the answer. For nation that ignores it own laws is destined for the historical dust bin.

I don’t think immigrants are the problem. I think it is part of a broad structure that victimizes us all.

Interesting. First of all I reject the whole ‘victimization’ premise. No one is a victim with the possible exception of the children of those here illegally. But they are not anchors either. Choices are made by adults, one should live with the consequences of ones choices.

As for the ‘whole structure’, I would appreciate it if you would get a little more specific here. To me anyone involved in the black market economy built on the labor of illegal aliens should be charged, fined and imprisoned or deported. Black markets lead to corruption, that is a historical fact. For the result of a society beset by rampant corruption look at Mexico.

What a concept: Raise the bar and students do better:

Last year, Bell Multicultural became the first public high school in the Washington area to require all students to take college-level AP courses and exams. The mandate is all the more remarkable because its two required AP courses are both in English, and most of Bell’s students are, like Ventura, from low-income families in which English is not the first language…

They might struggle on the AP exams, the Bell educators say, but they learn more critical reading and writing skills than they would from the remedial classes such students usually get. At Bell, the students and their families heartily endorse this view, saying the demands of AP have made them feel better prepared for the next stage of their lives.

“I really think it is a great opportunity for people like me,” Ventura said. “I feel proud of myself, and I thank all my teachers.”

Maybe when the final FY08 financial report for Loudoun County Public Schools is released, and we get to find out exactly how much Loudoun’s mushrooming ESL boondoggle currently costs, there will begin some public sentiment to revisit the issue.