Beer Me

Twitter always has a hashtag trending for whatever national day it is. For example, today is Beer Can Appreciation Day (#BeerCanAppreciationDay). Kind of silly. But this one is somewhat relevant to Virginia because today marks the first day that canned beer was sold, and it happened in Richmond.

In 1935 Krueger’s Finest Beer was delivered and sold in Richmond, Virginia and the people loved it. Virginians stamp of approval led the way for the mass production of the canned drink industry. Call us pioneers.

Recently the commonwealth has developed an unfortunate reputation of being a place for snobby microbrew elites who proudly fork over $9.79 for a pint of a beer whose name is a combination of a season, a breed of horse, and a fruit. It would be nice for a return to a simpler time when a can of ice cold Pabst Blue Ribbon was the choice over a glass of Orange Spring Friesian.

I prefer bottles, but I’ll revisit that preference this weekend now that I know canned beer is a Virginia thing.

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Trump Taps Pence For Veep

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump officially named Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his choice for vice president over the weekend. This is a good pick which should help the Republican ticket.

Pence brings a lot of positives to the race. He is an experienced and professional politician, but not a Washington or establishment insider. He is polished and disciplined as a communicator and is a popular governor. And Pence’s cornbread fed Indiana offers a geographical and lifestyle balance to the swanky northeastern real estate mogul in Trump. Pence’s biggest negative would have to be his walkback on religious freedom, which was very disappointing and a spoiled opportunity to push back against the radical left and their bullies. Nevertheless, this is a solid pick all-around.

But why would Pence take it? The governor of Indiana is a pretty sweet gig. Pence is up for re-election this year and Indiana law does not allow him to run for governor and vice president. So his team had to withdraw his name from the ballot for governor, which created a mad dash from a few Republicans who quickly filed to replace Pence. Pence would have probably cruised to re-election. But now he has taken that option off the table to take a risk in a volatile candidate with an unpredictable national electorate. If Pence thinks this is his best route to becoming president then I think he may have miscalculated. Republicans like governors and voters don’t like vice presidents. Pence shoring up conservative policies and keeping his state an attractive place for businesses would put him in a stronger position for a run for the White House then having to either run on the Trump platform as his successor or run as a Trump supporter who is always guilty by association for this and that. Pence is better off being governor.

For the Party and the country this a good move by Pence. We are better off with him than Newt Gingrich, who was rumored to be the veep pick right up until the official announcement. I am a fan of Gingrich, but he is too polarizing. He would have fit into the Democrats’ narrative of radical Rs and whatnot, and with Gingrich’s negatives he would have turned off more than he would have attracted. Gingrich is much better suited for a role elsewhere than vice president anyway. It would not be surprising if the former House Speaker is tapped for chief of staff in a Trump administration.

Overall Donald Trump’s pick of Mike Pence is a solid choice. It is not a gamble at all and serves as an example of an appropriate result from a measured and careful vetting process, which could further serve as an example of how Trump would shape his administration. This is an impressive start to the convention for the Trump team.

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Cruz/Walker Ticket Could Win In November

Is a Republican ticket of Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Scott Walker starting to form? One thing the political pundits seemed to have missed thus far is that a Cruz/Walker ticket could be a winning combination in November. Ziggy has this at 83% probability.

The combination worked out well this week in Walker’s home state of Wisconsin. It can work out the same nationally. This team offers a lot of positives in a traditional way. First off, ideologically it makes sense with Cruz railing against Washington, a governor then would be the perfect fit. Our election history has shown us that the American voter prefers a governor for president over a senator so adding a governor as the veep candidate could bring some serious positives in terms of perception. Also, a geographical balance, a typical qualifier, is achieved with these two.

Walker has proven tough to beat in the recent elections. His three wins for governor were all targeted by Democrats nationally, who dumped a ton of resources and money from out of state into the race and yet Walker won all three, including the the re-call. And best of all, Walker won without watering down his conservative credentials, something that fits perfectly with Cruz.

Tuesday night may have been a preview for November; Ted Cruz and Scott Walker standing together on a stage in victory.

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Ties Goes To The GOP House

Larry Sabato has released his latest Crystal Ball predictions for November’s General Election. The numbers don’t look good for the Republican candidate.

Last week we carved out a narrow path to victory for the GOP. Assuming that we hold the House of Representatives, which should be fairly easy, then a 269 to 269 tie would get thrown into a Republican controlled House where Hillary Clinton would lose on a hard line party vote. We’ll take it.

Our map is below. You can create your own map at 270towin.com.

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Obama On Democracy In America

Too much going on right now so I’m just going to post the below quote without commentary. Here is President Barack Obama’s take on democracy in America, delivered in Cuba.

“Stop and consider this fact about the American campaign that’s taking place right now. You have two Cuban-Americans in the Republican Party running against the legacy of a black man who is president while arguing that they are the best person to beat the Democratic nominee who will either be a woman or a Democratic socialist. Who would have believed that back in 1959? That’s a measure of our progress as a democracy.”

Ok, a little commentary; the word currently being used to describe Obama’s trip to Cuba is “historic,” but it will eventually be replaced with “mistake.” What an embarrassment.

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Pic Of The Year

Photographic evidence of just how stupid President Barack Obama is has surfaced (picture below and linked here). Obama and Che in Cuba. What an inspiring picture for freedom fighters everywhere.

And while there Obama said our country can “hopefully” learn from Cuba on how to improve our human rights. Unreal. To be fair, he said this during the Q&A, he wouldn’t have read that out loud from a speech. You see, Obama’s communication skills begin and end with his ability to read prepared remarks out loud. When he needs to think on his own is when he drops ridiculous gaffes that ignore history and embarrass our country.

Clearly, Obama is not bright. Remember all the hits on President George W. Bush’s intelligence? Fair or unfair they were persistent, but our current fool always escapes from being called out as an idiot. There are too many examples to list. Yesterday’s pic and quote are just the latest. Obama has to be the least intelligent, the least aware, and all around the worse president yet.

Great job, idiot.

Obama and Che.

No Worries on Obama’s Decrees

Yesterday President Barack Obama issued Executive Orders in an attempt to restrict 2nd Amendment rights. But this gun grab is weak. The only impressive thing about the Executive Orders is during the speech announcing his unconstitutional decrees, Obama somehow managed to refer to himself an astonishing 76 times. Even for a narcissist all-star like Obama that is an impressive amount of me, me, me. Obama must have just wanted the opportunity to get on TV again.

The White House issued a fact sheet on the orders, linked here.

Not long after the announcement Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) blasted out an email analyzing Obama’s gun grab. VCDL writes, “Much of the Executive Orders (EOs) really don’t change anything, but try to put a menacing or intimidating spin on them. Others simply double-down on existing enforcement (yawn), some are bad, and one VCDL likes.” They go on to offer a 12 point breakdown of the EOs and describe most with, “Net effect: zero.” There are two that VCDL labels as “DANGEROUS” saying for both points that “it can strip people of their right to own a gun WITHOUT DUE PROCESS.” For the point on hiring new agents to conduct background checks, VCDL calls this is “positive because of quicker gun purchases.”

Lawless Obama, who holds the Constitution in contempt, did not go crazy here. Maybe Obama realizes that the 2nd Amendment is a Constitutional right specifically added to protect the people from being disarmed by a tyrannical government. Or maybe he understands the mobilized grassroots who support responsible gun ownership outnumber the radical left who believe that only their body guards should be able to carry. Or maybe he is just getting lazy. Whatever the case, if VCDL, an organization that takes pride in being accused of making the NRA “look moderate,” is not worried about Obama’s moves then neither am I.VCDL

Obenshain and Bell on Herring’s Gun Grab

Yesterday Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring made a unilateral move to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights. Herring is running his office as a hyper-partisan liberal politico, which is an entirely inappropriate way to administer Virginia’s justice system.

State Senator Mark Obenshain and Delegate Rob Bell, two men who understand Virginia law as well as anyone, issued the following statements yesterday in response to Herring’s unconstitutional gun grab.

HARRISONBURG—Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the Attorney General today that Virginia is rescinding its concealed weapon reciprocity agreement with 25 other states.

“This unilateral politically motivated executive action seriously limits the rights of those Virginians who have concealed weapon permits,” Obenshain said. “After claiming that this action doesn’t affect the validity of any permits that may have been issued by Virginia, the official announcement from the Attorney General closes with the warning that Virginia permit holders had better check the laws of states they may visit because in many of those states their permits will not be valid any longer.”

Obenshain added, “These permit holders are not the people committing gun crimes in Virginia. They are the people who go to the trouble to get permits to comply with the law. This decision by the Attorney General will have a tremendous impact on Virginia permit holders who travel to other states in reliance on reciprocity and who have been lawfully doing so for years.”

“In his announcement, the Attorney General has not pointed to a single crime committed by an out-of-state concealed weapons permit holder legally carrying in Virginia under the reciprocity agreement; not one,” stated Obenshain. “Indeed, the State Police concede that they are not aware of any either. It is evident that this is nothing more than liberal window dressing and political payback for the millions of dollars former New York Mayor Bloomberg has pumped into the campaigns of Virginia Democrats, including that of the Attorney General, over the past two and a half years.”

Senator Obenshain concluded, “I have always been and will continue to be a staunch supporter of second amendment rights. We need to continue to be creative in our efforts to keep Virginians safe. This action by the Attorney General is neither creative nor intended to do anything to make Virginians safer. I remember well the campaign promises made by Mark Herring as he ran for Attorney General. He promised that he would take the politics out of the Attorney General’s office. The level of his insincerity rises to new heights with each passing month.”

-from Mark Obenshain, 26th District

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Today Attorney General Mark Herring announced that Virginia would stop recognizing concealed carry permits from 25 other states.

Virginia law allows Virginia to recognize permits from other states, and vice-versa. Over the last 18 years, agreements have been made under Democratic Governors (Warner, Kaine) and Republicans (Gilmore, McDonnell). This “reciprocity” enabled the 420,000 Virginians with permits to carry concealed weapons in a total of 30 states.

Herring’s unilateral announcement will result in revocation of the ability of the Virginians to carry in six states (FL, LA, ND, PA, SC, and WY). In addition, the other 19 impacted states may revoke Virginia’s permits as well, since their citizens are no longer allowed to carry in Virginia.

Herring took this action even though state police have stated that they have no evidence of crimes committed by in-state or out-of-state permit holders.

As the Washington Post stated, “Herring’s move is in keeping with his embrace of liberal issues as he seeks a second term.” In doing so, he is following the guidance of groups that directly advocate circumventing legislatures to accomplish their goals. This is exactly the sort of executive overreach we have seen coming out of Washington. As he has in the past, Herring continues to put the political goals of his liberal supporters ahead of sound legal judgement.

Legislation has already been filed to that would address Herring’s announcement. The General Assembly will take this up in January. In the meantime, you can share your thoughts with Attorney General Herring here.

Sincerely,

Rob Bell
Delegate, 58th District

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Stay Focused

We need to stay focused. Every single time Donald Trump says something stupid everyone buzzes about it for, well, until the next stupid thing Trump says. And while this is happening Hillary Clinton’s scandals and lack of accomplishments are pushed off the front page. Stay focused. Trump will not be the nominee and Clinton is a crook.

This week Trump said another outlandish thing. The news is spending a lot of time on it. Their formula has been to report on what Trump said, then report the reaction from Trump’s comments, then trash the reactions, then tie Trump to all Republicans, then trash Republicans, then repeat. Notice reporting on Clinton’s nonsense doesn’t fit into the Trump click bait formula.

Next time Trump does his thing, take a page from Sen. Ted Cruz’s book. Whenever Cruz is asked about Trump’s silliness he just says that Trump has it wrong and then he pivots to what he would do. Let’s talk policy.

Let’s not talk about Trump so much. His weak plurality lead of a fractured field has never been a majority. He won’t win the nomination. Here’s how Ziggy has it; Trump finishes either fourth or fifth in Iowa and then responds by trashing Republicans for the next eight days. Then he loses New Hampshire and responds by trashing Republicans. Then he loses South Carolina at which point he is done. He doesn’t like to lose so he won’t handle it well. For some, it will be pure theater to watch. But during Trump’s fall the media will focus their attention on the hissy fit, further ignoring how terrible a candidate Clinton is. Don’t fall into the trap.

Focus on Clinton. Benghazi, emails, foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, false stories about sniper fire, Whitewater, travelgate, no accomplishments as senator, no accomplishments as secretary of state, the list goes on. There are so many things to hit Clinton on as she has been a terrible public servant who does not deserve a promotion. Focus on that.

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Ray of Sunshine on Wasteful Spending

US Senator James Lankford has released his first edition of Federal Fumbles, a report on some of the more strange forms of waste from our federal government. The report is an interesting read. Senator Lankford identifies the top 100 items of waste and, instead of just complaining about things, a solution is proposed for each item in-order to avoid repeating the same wasteful practices. As Lankford writes in the opening, which is addressed to “My fellow taxpayers,” he states that he believes he has “the obligation to solve the troubles of our nation, not just complain, which is why for every problem identified, you will also find a recommended solution.”

It is not just wasteful spending that is identified in this report, but it also includes the waste of burdensome regulations. Lankford writes, “The National Association of Manufacturers calculated the total cost of federal regulations in 2012 to be a staggering $2.028 trillion (11 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product). If our $2 trillion federal regulatory cost were a country, it would be the ninth-largest in the world.” Wow.

There are a lot of noteworthy highlights. One project was for $43 million for a gas station in Afghanistan. Another is dishwasher water usage regulations that end up requiring the user to wash a load of dishes twice, thus rendering any efficiency standards as wholly ineffective. A study on the history of smoking in Russia is listed, as  are the consequences of our government failing to keep accurate death records, which results in continued payments to the deceased. Also making the list is the year-end spending spree of government agencies who exercise the use it or lose it style of spending, with is such an irresponsible way to spend tax payer money.

Great job by Senator James Lankford and his staff on putting together this comprehensive work of sunshine on our government’s expenditures. Researching and fact-checking all of this must have been a logistical nightmare, which alone is a problem. And the solution here is offered by Lankford in the form of a bill he introduced called the Taxpayer’s Right to Know Act, which, as described by Lankford, “creates a central database for the financial data of every federal program in all federal agencies and departments.” It should be easy for the average Joe to look up how our government is spending our money. Right now that is not the case. It should not have to take the weight and access of a congressional staff to find out simple expenditure information.

Sunshine is the best cleaning agent for government waste. Federal Fumbles seeks to offer the sunshine needed to reform the outrageous way our government spends our money, and we are appreciative of that to say the least.

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NoVA Traffic Jams Recognized Among Nation’s Worst

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.

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