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General Assembly deserves a “well done” for passing gift limit

They did it. They actually did it.
The General Assembly, in its special veto and amendments session, enacted a limit on gifts to legislators.
This is a monumental step and they deserve a well done. For decades the General Assembly rejected calls for ethics reforms.

Read more: General Assembly deserves a “well done” for passing gift limit

An Ode to the Lawnmower

For centuries authors and poets have written in praise of everything from beautiful women, to starry skies, fast cars, and even one poem, written by the Scotsman, Robert Burns, about a field mouse.   So, the fact that I am writing an ode to a lawnmower shouldn’t seem all that bizarre.  

Read more: An Ode to the Lawnmower

The GOP’s Northern Virginia problem

Democrats used to have a tried and true formula for winning state elections.  They needed to win big in Northern Virginia and then hold, or at least not lose too badly, throughout the rest of the state.  Now the formula has changed a little.  As the election in 2013 and 2014 proved, Democrats can lose big in the rest of the state, but as long as they carry Northern Virginia, with its constantly growing population, they’ll still win.  This is frustrating for Republicans who have tried and repeatedly failed to break the Democratic hold on Virginia’s burgeoning Washington suburbs.  They have what one GOP leader called “a Northern Virginia problem.”  And until they fix it, winning statewide is going to be especially tough.

Read more: The GOP’s Northern Virginia problem

Is the death penalty more trouble than it’s worth?

According to national polls Americans are still in favor of the death penalty.  However, while still a majority, the number of us in favor of capital punishment has declined.  And so has the use of capital punishment.  States just aren’t as keen on using the ultimate punishment as they once were.   For example Virginia hasn’t carried out an execution since 2013.  That’s noteworthy since for a time the Commonwealth was running second behind Texas in the number of executions.  It was a dubious distinction.

Read more: Is the death penalty more trouble than it’s worth?

Ted Cruz and the IRS

So what do you do you call Texas Senator Ted Cruz?  Conservative, reactionary, patriot, political firebrand, or as some establishment Republicans have said loose cannon.  All of these labels, depending on your persuasion might apply.  But recently Cruz added his own label and that’s candidate for President.  And hoping to set himself apart from the pack, one of his first pronouncements is that if he were President he would abolish the Internal Revenue Service.  This brought howls of delight from his conservative audience.

Read more: Ted Cruz and the IRS

Will Virginia’s Jim Webb give Democrats a choice?

Will Hillary survive the e-mail crisis or won’t she? More than likely she will. It’s not much of a scandal and if there is one thing that the Clinton family is good at it’s surviving a crisis or a scandal and bouncing back.  Though, as one of Bill Clinton’s supporters I have to tell you that all these scandals and crises can wear you out.  And I suspect that as Hillary makes her run for the Presidency, this pattern of recurring political firestorms is going to keep repeating itself. 

Read more: Will Virginia’s Jim Webb give Democrats a choice?

 

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