The American Highway Users Alliance released a study listing the worst bottlenecks on our nation’s roads and three of the top 50 are in Northern Virginia.
The study found the part of 395 that is right before you get across the bridge into DC, the Beltway around Tysons and the toll road, and the southbound stretch of 395 around Duke Street and Edsall as the worst bottlenecks in our area. The southbound part of 395 right there is a personal favorite as I have experienced it firsthand many times and I can say without reservation that it is consistently predictable in how jammed up it always is.
How can we fix the traffic nightmare up here in NoVA? We like to continue to throw money at the problem, but does that really offer the best solution? Still stuck in traffic after years of construction projects and the only thing we can hope for is more construction to temporarily make things worse in order for things to be a little better later, which is a plan that leaves little room for excitement. After Bob McDonnell gave us a huge tax hike to pay for roads our current governor now wants to put up toll lanes on I-66. When will it stop?
More money, more projects, more people, more cars, more of everything means more time stuck in traffic. I suppose the only thing to do is buy a car you enjoy sitting in, find an enjoyable music or talk radio station and plan on trips from point A to point B taking a long time.
Judicial Watch ran a story this week, linked here, about Hillary Clinton’s team trying to bully the owner of the Laugh Factory. Take a look at this link to a video available at Laugh Factory’s website. Hillary’s team demanded the video be removed and even threaten the owner of the Laugh Factory. They also wanted info on the comedians. The owner stood tall and told Hillary’s people no way. Hillary doesn’t want you to watch this so it’s the perfect selection for this week’s Friday Funnies. Enjoy.
Today’s Throwback Thursday brings us to the 30th anniversary of the first time Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met. With the Cold War in steady engagement and delicately on the brink of turning hot, these two heads of state sat down in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss peace.
Reagan had a much stronger hand going into the talks. And he flexed his strength early on. Here is how Richard Reeves described the start in his book President Reagan; “As the Soviet leader, the younger man, stepped out of his limousine in overcoat, scarf, and hat, Reagan bounded down the stairs without coat or hat. Round one to the American, reported the world’s news-starved press.”
The Soviet system was crumbling and Gorbachev knew it was only a matter time before a full implosion. Furthering the arms race was an outcome undesirable to all parties. This meeting could have been a lot different. Reagan could have come down hard and hammered his Soviet counterpart, but he took another approach. Through his position of strength Reagan built a foundation of trust with Gorbachev. This was an important element in the how the Cold War stayed cold. Both sides had more nukes than needed to turn the other side into a crater, but the war eventually ended without a nuclear exchange.
The media covered the 1985 summit with high priority. The major broadcast networks sent Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings to host their nightly shows live from Geneva. The intense media coverage can shoulder some of the blame for the general assessment at the conclusion of the event that the talks had failed to produce anything substantive. However, our hindsight now shows us that this was a monumental meeting because it was the origin of a relationship that eventually facilitated the peaceful end to the Soviet Union.
Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev got to know each other 30 years ago today and we grateful for that.
School Choice is an important issue. Advocates for freedom, whether they be conservative, libertarian or even liberal, should support the principle of freedom to choose the best education available. Parents and their kids should be able to select their preferred method of education, especially if area public schools are providing inadequate services. Among the alternatives to public schools are charter schools, which is something Virginia needs more of.
This session the General Assembly will vote on an amendment to the Virginia Constitution which would allow the commonwealth to create more charter schools (HB3, linked here). This amendment passed last session and if it passes again this session, it will be offered as a referendum on the November 2016 ballot. And with 2016 being a presidential election year, turnout will be up creating a solid mandate for the results.
This is an important amendment, which deserves to be brought to the people. Last session the Democrats voted against this. They often oppose School Choice because of teachers’ unions and their donation money. The Republicans in the General Assembly support School Choice because they support the principle of limited government and freedom to choose the best available education for all citizens. A point the Democrats just can’t seem to understand is best described by Matthew Lynch writing for The Edvocate; “[Charter schools] must make some promises in their contracts in order to stay open. If these schools of choice habitually do not reach their goals, they close. Can the same be said of public schools?” When a school fails and needs to close down it is a really big deal when that school is the only school in town. The necessity of education then keeps terrible schools open when there is no alternative. Charter schools must perform in order to stay open and public schools will not be in any danger of closing should this amendment pass. Everyone wins, especially the kids.
Delegate Jim LeMunyon lays out the details of this along with a brief history behind why an amendment is the required remedy in an op-ed for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, linked here.
Let your Delegate and State Senator know that you support this amendment to be placed on your ballot.
Earlier today EW Jackson hosted a conference call with Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. The open call was part of a weekly feature for Jackson and his organization STAND.
Cruz began with opening remarks on his position on religious freedom and how he’ll push back against the PC police whenever they try to admonish someone for being religious. Cruz then touched on his continued fight to defend traditional marriage. His opening was short and narrowly focused as he seemed genuinely more interested in taking questions than filling the time up with prepared talking points, which caught me as unexpected and a glaring difference from Hillary Clinton style campaigning. Hillary needs to be insulated and kept at distance from the press, while Cruz is upfront, unafraid and always prepared to take unscripted questions.
Callers asked about issues that ranged from transparency to government waste to religious freedom. All the questions were answered eloquently and evenhandedly. One caller asked a rather over-the-top question on whether Cruz could ever support a Muslim president. Cruz didn’t take the bait and answered in a way that should be classified as the only correct answer to that question, which is; “there is no religious test for office.” On marriage, Cruz said, “We should fight to defend marriage on every front.” And on education, Cruz said, “School Choice is the civil rights movement of the 21st century.” I give him an A+ on each one of those answers, especially the one on School Choice.
Toward the end there was a question about Cruz’s eligibility to run for president. The question was asked very respectfully and the answer was delivered in equally respectful language. Cruz stated that because his mother is a natural born citizen, who was born in Delaware, then he too is a citizen. The fact that he was born in Canada does not matter because US law has always recognized the sons and daughters of Americans born abroad as Americans. He said his detractors on this interpretation can only point to a European opining on US law, which has no legal binding at all.
After Cruz was finished EW Jackson then shared with the audience his impression that Cruz is a man of genuine faith in the Lord. Jackson expressed his interest and gratitude toward Ted Cruz’s campaign but did not endorse Cruz, saying he won’t endorse anyone just yet.
Yesterday Virginia’s House Republican Caucus met to elect their leadership for the 2016-17 General Assembly sessions. The House Republicans unanimously chose the same leadership from last session. Bill Howell with serve an eighth term as Speaker, Kirk Cox will serve as Majority Leader, and Northern Virginia’s Tim Hugo and Jackson Miller will serve as Majority Caucus Chairman and Majority Whip, respectively.
After an election where we saw every sitting Delegate who sought re-election, and made it out of the primary, re-elected in a status quo wave, then returning the same leadership team should surprise no one.
The House has done well in holding the line against radical liberals like our Governor Terry McAuliffe and his minions. The November election left Republicans with a net of minus one, which is fine. Speaker Howell will have the votes he will need to push good, conservative legislation to the Senate. And therein lies the little problem in the General Assembly; the Senate. The leadership in the Senate needs a shakeup. State Senator Tom Garrett has called for his colleague Tommy Norment to not seek re-election as Senate Majority Leader. Red NoVA supports Garrett’s call for new leadership. A new Speaker in the House would be nice, but is not terribly needed right now. The Senate is where a change at the top will be most effective.
The House Republicans blasted an email detailing their unanimously selected team, linked here.
…. no one in the Republican primary. Sorry Rachel Maddow, you’ll just have to wait until after the primary to attack the Republican nominee for taking money from a successful private business.
USA Today has the story (linked here). The article states the following about Charles Koch; “Last year alone, Koch said he donated $106 million to his foundations and $5 million to political ventures before the 2014 midterm election. This year, Koch said he has donated $48 million to non-profit groups but virtually nothing to candidates for office.”
But without the Koch donations going out this primary season, how will the radical left know who to hate? This could actually be worse news for Democrats than it is for whoever the lucky Republican candidate who could have been the recipient of some serious early cash.
Happy 240th Birthday to “the few, the proud, the Marines.” Thank you for all that you have done and for all you are prepared to do when asked. We are forever grateful for your service and sacrifice.
Ben Carson was hit on Friday by a poorly constructed commentary disguised by Politico as a news report. The author of the hit piece is a young boy trying to make a name for himself in his new field. Politico is obviously okay with breaking from any resemblance of journalistic integrity because false hit jobs generate clicks, and clicks turn into advertising revenue.
In this case, a child posing as a reporter spun a claim that Carson has made for years while offering no new information at all. Carson, at the age of seventeen, was informally offered a chance to attend West Point. He turned it down and never even applied. All of that has come from Carson himself. The hit piece on Friday from Politico’s kiddie table tried to make it sound like Carson was claiming to be an ESPN top 100 recruit who was offered a scholarship by Coach K, which is false. Carson, as a high school standout, was an attractive candidate for any institute of higher learning, and as an attractive candidate he was more than likely courted, both formally and informally, by a wide range of places. Imagine that. And then to imply that this gumshoe reporter has somehow unlocked some since before secret evidence to counter Carson’s story is lacking. Where is the new piece of never before seen evidence? Who is the new witness offering never before heard testimony? Nothing like that is included in the boy’s hit piece. That ain’t journalism.
Carson is right to point out how absurd this is. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama receive a lesser degree of examination, but for Carson, a Republican, things are not the same. But who said fairness would ever be part of the team over at Politico?
Kids are kids. They make stupid mistakes usually out of ignorance, so when a child writes up something he doesn’t understand then it’s no big deal. Send the lad to bed without dinner. But Politico should know better.
In the movie The Paper, Glen Close describes the new standard of journalism when she says, “we only have to be right for a day.” Well, thanks to Politico and the children they employ that incredibly low standard has dropped. But the clicks are up, buy ad space today!
Cartoon by Dana Summers of the Tribune Media Services
Rest is for the weary so get ready to jump headfirst into the 2016 elections.
Republicans in NoVA didn’t do so well in the 2015 elections and the problem with that is there will be fewer Republicans in elected office to help push back against Governor Terry McAuliffe’s campaign machine, which will be fully mobilized for Hillary Clinton starting yesterday. This means that the Republican grassroots will need to buy new shoes as their current ones will need to be worn down to the sole. But that will come after we pick a nominee to take on the anointed Hillary.
During the run-up to Election 2015 Red NoVA focused our attention on covering and promoting Republican nominees for state and local offices. With that election in the books we now turn toward intra-party nominations that always include a few shots at fellow Republicans. And that’s ok. Red NoVA will be here to slam Donald Trump and Rick Santorum while pushing Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and others, but we will be ready to coalesce around the nominee in order to stop the criminally reckless Clinton. Also, there will be a few nominating contests for congressional seats throughout the commonwealth that we will delightfully take part in covering. And of course there are the party elections where Republicans will be asked to elect a chairman and members of our state central committee. Endorsements from this site are likely to come in a lot of those party races as the make-up of the Republican Party of Virginia’s leadership is a very important thing, especially with the race for the White House weighing heavily on the Old Dominion.
So get ready for another very active year for politicos on the ground in Virginia. Along the trail, be sure to frequent our pages. Stay active, stay informed, and stay positive. There is nothing wrong with roughing each other up a little bit in the spring before we unite in the fall. Together we won’t have to worry about what a Hillary Clinton presidency could do to our fine country.
Eh. Could’ve been worse.
In Fairfax we are happy that John Frey was re-elected as Clerk of the Court. This was the most important election in NoVA because Frey has done such a great job, so had he lost, democracy would have…. oh never mind, Frey won!
So now the sun sets on another election cycle. Things could’ve been much worse.
It is Election Day in Virginia. Check out this link for information on Election 2015, head out to your usual voting location, and exercise your civic duty.
The easiest decision for voters in Fairfax County to make in the ballot booth on Tuesday is casting a vote for John Frey for Clerk of the Court.
John has done everything that can be done to deserve re-election. As the chief administrator for the commonwealth’s largest courthouse, John has done an exceptional job running a smooth and efficient operation. With over 800 roles to perform the Clerk’s office could easily become a disorganized mess as Fairfax’s large population could create a logistical backlog from everything from marriage licenses to Wills. We need John in the Clerk’s office to continue to keep things so well organized.
This may be a partisan blog but this endorsement is not partisan in anyway. As our political science textbooks told us, there is no Republican or Democratic way to light a street, or in other words, county administrative offices are not fueled by partisanship. John is a great chief administrator. He has done everything he has been asked to do. He is fair, honest and very likable. There really is no reason to vote against him.
Among some of John’s accomplishments as Clerk are being among the first to implement automated and online processes for land records, the probate system and marriage licenses, he streamlined the jury selection system, cases come up “speedy” and election totals each year are oversaw with the highest integrity. John has done such a great job running Virginia’s largest courthouse that a few years ago the National Association of County Recorders Election Officials and Clerks named him Public Official of the Year. And he was recognized as one of the 2015 Leaders in the Law. The job cannot be done any better.
But then comes the sample ballot. Too many voters vote as blind sheep based on the instructions found on the sample ballot they received as they walked in to the polls. That is really the only way John’s opponent will get any votes. Not because of a policy reason and not because of performance but because the sample ballot said so will be the number one driver of votes for John’s opponent. And that is just wrong. There is really no reason to vote against someone who has done such a good job.
So get out there on Tuesday and reward a great public official by returning him to the job he has performed so well. Doing so honors the bedrock principles of democracy.
This year’s best politically themed Halloween costume goes to Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul, who dressed as the National Debt. And if you think the National Debt is something that isn’t scary then think again.
Great cartoon at Townhall.com from Gary Varvel. The Halloween costume choices are excellent.
Carson is a doctor.
Trump is the Monopoly guy.
Jeb is wearing a W. mask.
Carly is Supergirl.
Rubio is the only one not wearing a real costume, but a water cooler delivery man works.
Huckabee is Elvis, my favorite choice of the costumes here.
Kasich is a Minion, which is the only one I see as an insult here as it has to be a shot at him as an establishment lackey.
Rand is an Angry Bird.
Cruz, and I could be wrong on this, is Dracula. I guess I get it.
And Christie is an M&M.
On the ballot Republicans and Democrats are usually identified with an R or D next to their name. Candidates for Delegate and State Senate have the party id marker, but not every office does.
School Board is one of the offices which do not have a party id on the ballot as it is considered a non-partisan race. Magisterial District School Board member is easy enough to figure out, but voters may find a moment of confusion when casting their vote for the At-Large School Board members, where voters are asked to cast no more than three votes. There are nine candidates running At-Large. The Republicans and the Democrats have endorsed three each and the contrast is stark.
For greater transparency, more accountability, an independent audit, and wiser spending of our tax dollars, vote for the Republican At-Large ticket, listed below. The current Democratic controlled School Board has lost accreditation to several schools in the eastern part of the county. Their reckless spending and mismanagement created an atmosphere where the School Board thought it wise to fight for more money by threatening to take away sports. Of course their threat was entirely disingenuous and really an illustration of, first the board’s mismanagement, second their lack of leadership, and finally their lack of integrity as their threat to take sports away was never anything more than a scare tactic.
Performance should be on the minds of voters when in the ballot booth. And when based on performance, this current School Board does not deserve to be returned to their jobs. It is time for new leadership for our schools. Vote for Bob Copeland, Jeanette Hough and Manar Jean-Jacques.
Remember to vote on Tuesday, November 3rd. If you live in Prince William County, here is your Republican ticket.