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Thursday, April 20, 2006

'Virginia Held Hostage'

Jim Riley and the boys (girls?) over at Virginia Virtucon have outdone themselves with this:
With Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and members of the House of Delegates proclaiming that Gov. Timmy! and Sen. John Chi-ching-e$ter are holding the entire state budget hostage in order to try and force a tax increase in an era of a billion dollar surplus, we have decided to take a page out of history and launch a new feature to deal with this hostage crisis. Without further ado.... (link)
You'll have to read the whole thing.

Virginia held hostage indeed.

Let Me Answer For Them

The Roanoke Times editorial page tries this morning (unsuccessfully) to tie the ongoing budget battle in the General Assembly to the closing of a Ford plant in Norfolk to the dubious news that Toyota is considering western Virginia for a new assembly plant. But buried in the meandering column about Republicans hitting new lows in the debate and the obligatory slap at those galling Delegates who oppose another massive tax increase (the Times puts the latest increase at a staggering $100 billion) is something of substance worth a mention:

Transportation debate sours further
No, Ford's decision to close a plant wasn't because of tax-and-spend policies. But Toyota's decision to open a plant could depend on the budget outcome.

Rather than playing a political blame game with Ford's decision to close its Norfolk plant, House Republicans should ask themselves how the current turmoil looks to Toyota as it considers the Roanoke area as a possible location for a new assembly plant [my emphasis]. (link)

Since the Republicans in the House of Delegates are busy building barricades right now and can't speak for themselves, let me answer for them.

Toyota is in the transportation business. The $1 billion per year tax increase that Governor Kaine proposes includes the following provisions (as reported by Mason Adams in the Roanoke Times):

1. A transportation tax hike - "The bill includes a 5 percent sales tax on gasoline, which would raise $380 million annually."

2. A transportation tax hike - The bill "increases the sales tax on vehicles from 3 percent to 3.75 percent ..."

3. A transportation tax hike - The bill "... increases the excise tax on diesel fuel from 16 cents per gallon to 17.5 cents... "

4. A transportation tax hike - The bill "... increases vehicle registration fees by $10 to $38 ..."

5. A transportation tax hike - The bill " ... doubles weight-based registration fees for heavy trucks."

So how does the turmoil in the legislature look to Toyota executives who might be considering Virginia for one of its assembly plants?

With all the proposed tax hikes coming out of Richmond that target their industry, it looks like the Commonwealth of Virginia wants Toyota to locate its plant in Arkansas. Or North Carolina. Or Tennessee. Or ...

Update 04/21/06 05:02am: My mother (who lives in Indiana) read this and sent me an email asking if our Governor was a Democrat and if, with the price of gasoline going through the roof, our Governor was nuts. I wonder how many other people, when they're filling up at the station, are wondering the same thing.

Quote Of The Day

Fair-Weather Alarmists

"Two U.S. explorers plan to start a four-month summer expedition to the North Pole next month to gather information on the habitat of an animal they believe could be the first victim of global warming--the polar bear," Reuters reports from Los Angeles.

"Project Thin Ice 2006" will be the first such expedition since 2004. Reuters explains that the explorers had to call off the mission they planned last year because of--we kid you not--"unusually heavy snow and ice." (link)

James Taranto, "Best of the Web Today," April 19, 2006

Good Move At The White House

I was right on the money a month ago (here) in predicting - and hoping for - yesterday's shake-up at the White House:
By Deborah Orin, New York Post Bureau Chief

April 20, 2006 -- WASHINGTON - White House press secretary Scott McClellan yesterday walked the plank and resigned his high-profile post, as President Bush pressed ahead with a big staff shakeup in hopes of reviving his presidency. (link)
This was much needed. Scott McClellan, bless him, was not a good public speaker, he wasn't forceful in his dealings with the rabid White House press corps, he wasn't all that articulate, and he had no sense of humor - traits a person in his position must have in order to succeed.

Fox News' Tony Snow is rumored to be considering taking McClellan's place. That would be a good move too.

A Portent Of Things To Come

I've been wondering how long the looney left is going to continue to focus on pre-war WMD and Abu Ghraib and the number of troops we should have had when we entered Baghdad and ...

I guess there's an answer to my question to be found in the release of a new movie. The New York Times has it (naturally):
'Sir! No Sir!' Salutes Vietnam's Dissenters in Uniform
By Manohla Dargis

In March 1964 Robert S. McNamara opened a speech about South Vietnam with ... (
You must be kidding. This movie has been made two dozen times in the last forty years. From the bizarre ("Full Metal Jacket" in 1987) to the bizarrer ("Platoon" in 1986) to bizarrest ("Apocalypse Now" in 1979). All these years later (the war ended in 1975!), the movie is still being remade - with a different title each time.

The movie was even turned into a long-running television series (from 1972 to 1983), though the setting was moved to another Asian country.

So, does this mean we'll have to endure questions about Valerie Plame well into the 2030's?

God help us.

A Star Is Born

I was reading some of Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonell's remarks made at the 58th annual shad planking (provided by his Director of Communications, J. Tucker Martin) held at the Wakefield Sportsmen's Club yesterday and was rather impressed with his wit and sense of humor. If he actually wrote them, and delivered the lines well, this had to be a good outing for him. Here are a few of General McDonnell's quips:

It is great to be at the 58th Annual Shad Planking, a true Virginia tradition. 2007 marks the 400th Anniversary of Virginia, and, at the same time, the 400th Anniversary of the first time an English settler saw Shad Roe and said “You expect me to eat that!?”

Transportation is the hot issue, and many of you have heard Governor Kaine speak on this. He has noted that we shouldn’t “pave our roads with schoolbooks.” To which schoolchildren across Virginia replied, “Bummer”.

I have to tell you I am glad to be in office now. It really can be fun being Attorney General. In the last two weeks I got to go after the ACLU for suing the Boy Scouts, and the IRS for not protecting taxpayer information. All we were missing was a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and it would have been the perfect week for a Republican Attorney General.

Jerry Kilgore is here. Jerry is a great guy, and I’m sorry last year didn’t work out. But look at today: Tim Kaine is stuck in Richmond at the veto session, while you’re drinking beer at the shad planking. I’d say on this day its Kilgore 1, Kaine 0.

And the best line of the speech:

And I’m sorry Bill Bolling can’t be with us. Bill is back in Richmond presiding over the Senate. Now I know Bill has been a little bored, the job of Lieutenant Governor is a part-time position. Bill basically has two jobs: Break tie votes, and occasionally check the Governor’s pulse. But I didn’t know how truly bored Bill was until he called me asking who I was going to vote for on American Idol!

Good stuff. Wish I'd been there.