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Could a “Silent Spring” be that far away?

In the course of a day we’re exposed to pesticides of all kinds. There is pesticide residue on most of the vegetables and fruits we buy and there are even minute traces of pesticide, depending on where you live, in the water supply. Often, while many modern pesticides break down over time, many don’t. Even DDT, which hasn’t been used in the U.S. in forty years, can still be found in trace amounts. For the most part though – and this is by no means a settled argument – humans aren’t seriously affected by low or trace amounts of pesticide. However, when it comes to smaller creatures, to include insects, fish, and amphibians, the evidence is mounting that even trace amounts can cause significant damage.

Bees, for me, are usually a nemesis. They seem to have a special sense when it comes to detecting when I am

Read more: Could a “Silent Spring” be that far away?

Can Mitt Romney win in November?

Mitt Romney, after a long, contentious primary campaign, is on the verge of claiming the GOP nomination.   He has a commanding lead in the delegate count and with some of the largest and most Romney friendly primaries yet to come, his grasp on the nomination seems secure.  Even Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, his nemeses for the past few months, while not withdrawing from the race, have, for all practical purposes, suspended their campaigns.  Both of them gave Romney a run for his money, but alas, they couldn’t overcome his money and organization.  Now, with the dust settling, and the Republican Party,

Read more: Can Mitt Romney win in November?

Will the GOP base still support Allen?

There are two questions on my mind.  First, is there really such a thing as the Republican Base?  And second, is there really such thing as the Republican Establishment?  Both terms are used frequently.  But are they just handy throw out references or are they real.  The answer, I am pretty sure, is yes, but I don’t think either group goes around identifying themselves by either designation.  However, it’s a handy reference when trying to understand some of the dynamics of today’s Virginia’s Republican Party.

There seems to be a growing disconnect, not massive, but noticeable, between the party’s leadership, its establishment if you, and its base.  The establishment and I admit this is an amorphous term, generally refers to the statewide office holders, the state party leadership, many in the General Assembly and a large number of its district and unit chairmen.  As for the GOP base, these are the folks who readily, without qualification, consider themselves Republicans.  They have strong views, they’re conservative, they’re Republican, and they’re proud of it.  They vote in the Republican primaries, they volunteer and they make contributions. The problem, now that the Republicans have won all top three of jobs in Richmond, have a massive majority in the House, and a de facto majority in the State Senate, is that the leadership of the party is getting a little comfortable, perhaps too comfortable, and might be getting out of sync with its base.  Mind you, I am not making a conclusion, but there are some strong indicators that this may be the case.  

A case in point, which seemed to demonstrate the dissonance between the establishment and the base was the recent Presidential primary.  With the Governor, and just about every major GOP leader backing Mitt Romney, 41% of the GOP Primary voters, most of them a part of that GOP base, cast their ballot for Ron Paul.  That’s more than Paul got in any GOP primary anywhere.  While this got only a modest amount of coverage in the press, the Governor, and many in the party were no doubt embarrassed.  What’s more, in some of my own chats with primary voters there was a certain unmistakable restlessness.  They weren’t sold on Romney, were not happy with being told how to vote by their party leadership, were angry at the lack of choices, and wanted to send a message.  One man said he didn’t like being told who to support by Richmond.

However, I admit, Paul’s vote and a few grumbles from a handful of primary voters, don’t constitute a revolution.  But another, upcoming primary election, this time, involving a darling of the GOP establishment, George Allen, may put this relationship to the test.  Allen, once upon a time, was an outsider, someone who made the GOP establishment uncomfortable, but that was twenty years ago.  He has since been elected Governor, was elected to the Senate in 2000, and in 2006 went on to lose that job. Now he wants it

Read more: Will the GOP base still support Allen?

Yes, America, we still have a deficit crisis

Just last year, the entire Federal Government was on the edge of a shutdown because legislators were deadlocked over a way to bring down the debt. Or, more accurately, find ways to reduce the rate at which the debt is increasing. The debt was at the center of a major national debate, on spending, the deficit, and what it would take to bring the budget back into line. It was a debate that many were longing to have. And at times, when this plan, or that, was hatched, there seemed like there might be a glimmer of hope that the two deadlocked sides of the Congress, and the President, might be nearing an agreement. It seemed

Read more: Yes, America, we still have a deficit crisis

America’s neglected economic engine

Economic statistics can be confusing, contradictory, and sometimes, downright indecipherable.  They often appear as a jumble of observations, predictions, and warnings.  Gathering any meaning from them, particularly in the snippets presented in the popular press is difficult at best.  There is encouraging news about manufacturing and worrisome news about the cost of energy.  However, lost in all that news and analysis, is any discussion of what makes it all run.  While Wall Street and the corporate giants appear to the dominant players, in the United States, when it comes to jobs and productivity, success or failure, growth or stagnation, the future

Read more: America’s neglected economic engine

Mitt Romney’s slog to the Republican nomination

As a candidate for the GOP nomination, or even should he run as an independent later this fall, Congressman Ron Paul has virtually no prospects when it comes to his quest for the Presidency. He is simply too far out there in his own political world to ever capture much of the mainstream vote. However, last Tuesday, right here in Virginia, he got his largest percentage of the vote, in any Republican primary, ever. Pitted one-on-one with Mitt Romney, opposed by most of the state’s Republican establishment, including the Governor, the quirky Texan got 41.5% of the vote. He even managed to win the 3rd Congressional district and with that three delegates. Of course, as my Grandfather used to say, that and a dime will get you a cup of coffee. However,

Read more: Mitt Romney’s slog to the Republican nomination

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