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Help at last for Virginia’s roads

Virginia’s roads get a lot more use than you think. Just look at the numbers. In 1975, the year I got my driver’s license, motorists clocked roughly 95 million miles each year on the Commonwealth’s roads, highways and interstates. Thirty years later that number had risen to 225 million miles and it keeps going up. While our road infrastructure has grown and improved, the Commonwealth has still been hard pressed to keep up with that kind of demand. Anyone caught in the umpteenth cycle of a traffic light somewhere past Fredericksburg Route 3 knows exactly what I mean. Our local roads, more often than not, just can’t handle the volume.   

Sadly, for years, it seemed that nothing was getting done to address the problem on the scale it deserved. For over a decade the yearly Richmond

Read more: Help at last for Virginia’s roads

Tuskegee pilots: red tailed angels

It was 1973 and I was tagging along with my Dad when he was playing golf at the Army Navy Country Club. It was his usual golf buddies, but playing along that day, was Air Force General Chappie James. James was African American and had begun his flying career training at the Tuskegee Institute Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet program.  This was an entirely segregated outfit. He didn’t fly with the black units in WWII, but stayed in the Air Force and flew against the Communists in Korea and in Vietnam. I remember they had jovial game, and along the way he asked me, repeatedly about how I was doing in school, and in particular, about my math scores. I said they were pretty good and he suggested I think about the Air Force as a career. Several of my Dad’s AF friends voiced approval, but I said, while the Air Force was “neat” I

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The U.S. Defense Budget: Are we overextended?

Just before the end of the Cold War the Bush Administration announced that the next year’s defense budget would be almost $300 Billion. It was a budget based on the needs of the on-going superpower standoff. It included a new generation of submarines, new carriers, new technologies for soldiers on the ground, and personnel levels that by today’s standards were staggering. Remember in 1988, prepared for a land invasion by the Soviet Union, the U.S. had over 500,000 service members in Germany.
It was a big budget, but not outlandish, and building on the Reagan era rearmament made sense. During the 1980’s we had built

Read more: The U.S. Defense Budget: Are we overextended?

VA Senate Democrats: Holding on may be hard to do

Thanks to its off-year election cycle Virginia almost never has a year without an election.  Most of us don’t give it that much thought.  But Virginia Democrats, following resounding defeats in 2009 and again in 2010 probably wish they could get a break from the electoral cycle.  But that’s not the way the system works.  In 2011, they will be defending their majority in the State Senate and given the current national climate, that’s not going to be easy.    
Democrats currently hold 23 out of 40 seats in the State Senate.  The House of Delegates will also be up, but with Democratic representation down to 39 seats, and few if any vulnerable Republicans, that number isn’t likely to change significantly.  However, the Senate is another story.  There are at least seven seats in the State Senate that may be vulnerable.  These run the gamut from first-term Senators to some of the longest serving Democratic members.

Read more: VA Senate Democrats: Holding on may be hard to do

What’s next for the Tea Party?

They don’t have a national structure.  They don’t have a campaign organization and they don’t have a massive political action committee fund.  They don’t even have a Washington Office.  And no one person is their spokesman.  But almost miraculously they had a profound impact on the outcome of the last election.  While the Republicans were viewed as the winners on election night, the biggest winner, by far, was the Tea Party.  At least two thirds of the new House membership ascribes to a Tea Party philosophy and so do a number of the newly elected Senators.  Now, the question, after such success, is where to from here?

Read more: What’s next for the Tea Party?

Does George Allen want a rematch?

It’s a quirk in the political psychology of the Commonwealth. Unlike other states, in Virginia, if a politician loses an election, either in their first bid, or in a shot for reelection, rather than come back for a second try, they usually quietly retire. There have been candidates who tried to buck this harsh reality of Virginia politics, but almost without exception, they haven’t been rewarded. We don’t do comebacks. At least that’s the conventional wisdom, but one candidate, who has never been that interested in what the conventional wisdom has to say, seems ready to try and buck the trend. Though he hasn’t said it officially George Allen is acting more and more like a candidate.

Read more: Does George Allen want a rematch?

 

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