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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Morgan Griffith Closes The Gap

In Virginia's 9th Congressional District Democrat Rick Boucher still leads Repubican Morgan Griffith.  This according to the latest poll results from SurveyUSA.  But the lead is shortening:
Democrat Boucher Keeps VA-09 Blue: In an election for US House of Representatives in Virginia's 9th Congressional District today, 09/03/10, incumbent Democrat Rick Boucher defeats Republican State House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith 50% to 40%, according to this latest exclusive WDBJ-TV poll conducted by SurveyUSA.

Compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll released 6 weeks ago, little has changed; Boucher is down a nominal 2 points, Griffith is up a nominal 1 point. The contest remains tied among men; among women, Boucher leads by 22 points, essentially unchanged. 1 in 4 Republicans continue to cross over to vote for the Democrat. Independents remain divided. A third party candidate in the race, Jeremiah Heaton, gets 9% of the vote among Independents, 5% of the vote overall. 
Two things: (1) When has Boucher ever polled 50% or under? (soon to be under.)  Never. (2) Heaton is nothing more than a spoiler and he knows it.  His support will remain around 5% - until election day when adult decisions have to be made.  Most all those Heaton voters will break for Griffith.  There's no way they'll go back to Boucher.  Too many bridges have been burned.  That in itself will make this a nail-biter.

There's a lot of time left.  And a lot of undecided voters to win over.  This is going to be fun to watch.  Stay on him, man.  Don't let go.

For Those Who Love Mouse Turds In Their Burgers

Better hurry:

The food just won't be the same.

Capitalism 101

Governor Bob McDonnell plans to continue the bizarre practice - sprung from Prohibitionist piety run amok - of rationing booze in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia.  Whereas the rationing was done up to the present through a plan that only Joseph Stalin could love - "state stores" - McDonnell proposes rationing through licensing.

What could go wrong?
McDonnell's push to privatize Va. liquor stores could add tax on drinks in bars
By Anita Kumar, Washington Post

Richmond - Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), scrambling to make ends meet in his plan to privatize Virginia's 332 state-run liquor stores, is considering adding a fee on alcoholic drinks sold in restaurants or bars to help make up the $250 million in annual taxes and profits that state stores currently generate, according to Richmond sources familiar with the still-evolving plan.

Under the version of the proposal discussed with industry officials Friday, the drinks surcharge, which would be imposed either as a tax on customers or on restaurants' liquor receipts, would be part of a package of new fees including a per-gallon charge to wholesalers.

McDonnell is considering auctioning up to 1,000 licenses to the highest bidders. The proposal, which would privatize alcohol sales from wholesale to distribution to retail, would allow Virginians to buy liquor at private liquor stores, grocery and convenience stores, and big-box stores such as Wal-Mart and Costco.  [link]
Would his plan privatize it?  Yes.  Free it from the heavy hand of government?  No.  Why license booze vendors?  Why limit the marketplace?   Why 1,000 government-approved business establishments and not 1,001?

Dream with me:

Did the proliferation of fast-food restaurants come about because the government limited their numbers and locations?  Doesn't the state of Virginia benefit greatly from tax revenue generated by sales taxes coming from all those McDonald's eateries on every other street corner?  How about the government follow the fast food model and allow proliferation wherever the profit motive allows?

No.  By God, we're going to have 1,000 liquor stores and 1,000 only.  So says the politburo.

Now McDonnell (if this story has any truth to it; it is coming from the oft-wrong and politically skewed Washington Post) has run the numbers and determined that the possibility exists that our government's continued but altered choke-hold on the liquor business won't generate enough tax revenue.

Who'd have guessed?

Me?  I'm for the free exercise of free enterprise, baby:  Hey, want some Black Jack with that Big Mac?

The government would have to build a bigger money storage box to hold all the tax revenue.

Beating That Same Dead Horse

As Obama moves to ban the importation of 850,000 guns that collectors would otherwise snap up in a heartbeat, a ban whose foundational principle seems to be that one of them might fall into the wrong hands, it's worth remembering this, from the NRA:
This week, Fox News reported that it couldn't get a straight answer from the State Department about its decision in March to disapprove the importation of more than 800,000 M1 Garand rifles and M1 carbines from South Korea.

According to Fox, the State Department claimed that the rifles might be used "for illicit purposes."

But when asked to explain, State passed the buck to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which passed it to the Department of Justice, which passed it back to State.

The anti-gun Brady Campaign didn't hesitate to give Fox an answer, however. "Guns that can take high-capacity magazines are a threat to public safety," the group's Dennis Henigan told reporter Maxim Lott.

[T]he "public safety" fear of these guns is irrational. Today, Americans own more Garands and carbines than ever before. We also own more semi-automatic rifles in general than ever before, and more self-defense handguns with standard magazines that hold more than 10 rounds than ever before. Yet despite gun ban groups' predictions, the nation's violent crime rate is at a 35-year low.
The words "the Brady Campaign" and "irrational" often seem to make their way together into stories like this, don't they?  To that mix we can add the word "Obama."

But then we already knew that, didn't we?

How Time Affects One's Memory

Barack Obama yesterday (from "Unemployment climbs to 9.6 percent"):
As I've said from the start, there is no quick fix to the worst recession we've experienced since the Great Depression. The hard truth is that it took years to create our current economic problems, and it will take more time than any of us would like to repair the damage. Millions of our neighbors are living with that painfully every day.
Barack Obama back when he was planning to keep unemployment from hitting 8%:
First, we've got to act now to create good paying jobs. We've already lost three-quarters of a million jobs this year, and some experts say unemployment may rise to 8% by the end of next year. That's why I've proposed a new American jobs tax credit for each new employee that companies hire here in the United States over the next two years. That's how we'll create good, new jobs here in Virginia and all across America.

These are the steps that we must take - right now - to start getting our economy back on track.
Questions: 3.8 million Americans who have lost their jobs since Obama began taking those steps - right then - want to know: What might have happened had he done nothing? Could it be any worse?

What Would We Do Without Gov't?

The civilized world begins to worry about government instability and about food getting to where there is a dramatic shortage.  For the love of God:
U.N. Raises Concerns as Global Food Prices Jump
By Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times

United Nations — With memories still fresh of food riots set off by spiking prices just two years ago, agricultural experts on Friday cast a wary eye on the steep rise in the cost of wheat prompted by a Russian export ban and the questions looming over harvests in other parts of the world because of drought or flooding.

Food prices rose 5 percent globally during August, according to the United Nations, spurred mostly by the higher cost of wheat, and the first signs of unrest erupted as 10 people died in Mozambique during clashes ignited partly by a 30 percent leap in the cost of bread.

“You are dealing with an unstable situation,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, an economist at the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. [link]
Unstable indeed.  But forget that bit about "questions looming over harvests in other parts of the world because of drought or flooding."  As this very same article makes clear: "The wheat crop this year globally is also the third highest on record, according to the F.A.O. ...  If you look at the numbers globally, the Americans, the Europeans and the Australians can make up the supply ..."

The problem has to do with irrational decision-making on the part of the Russian government (a ban on exports on rather dubious grounds) and with an erratic supply chain - which is overseen by governments.

Does that ban (and its purpose) sound familiar?  Can you say "Obama suspends offshore exploratory drilling"?  The Heritage Foundation provides this graphic prediction (click on the image to enlarge it):

How will those 41 million Americans who are living off of food stamps afford to put fuel in their cars?

Those in government don't know.  They don't care.

So, because of government intrusions into the marketplace, the price of food - FOOD! - is skyrocketing in areas of the world that cannot afford it, and experts are predicting that, because of the U.S. government's temporary ban on off-shore oil exploration, the price of gasoline will explode, forcing even more Americans to become dependent on a handout.

There are still a lot of people out there who believe that government can solve problems.  I'd be happy if government would simply stop creating them.

Like I've Been Saying All Along ...

It's a fad.  And fads come and go.

Speaking of global warming, Investor's Business Daily:
Just as fears over Alar toxicity, destruction of the Amazon rain forest, a new ice age and other apocalyptic warnings lost their relevance, the global warming scare is destined to fade entirely from the public mind.
The editorial could have added acid rain, spotted owls, and ozone hole depletion to the list of dire warnings that came and went.

Not that those who came close to destroying civilization will ever admit that they were wrong.  They'll simply migrate to a new apocalypse.  That's what fads are all about.

I can't wait for the next cosmic cataclysm.  Life is so boring otherwise.

Where's The Outrage?

You want to know why so many Americans are uncomfortable with the 9/11 Victory Mosque being planned for Ground Zero?  It's mostly, I think, a regular dose of this kind of headline in the news - "Muslim cleric calls for beheading of Dutch politician" - coupled with a total lack of outrage and denunciation from the American Muslim community when such terrorism - and its advocacy - are perpetrated.

When they get their house in order, we'll talk about a 9/11 mosque.