Monday, December 16, 2013

Morgan Griffith on NSA Data Collecting

From Congressman Morgan Griffith's E-Newsletter:


The first court opinion of what I believe will be more has ruled that the National Security Agency (NSA) program that collects the phone data of law-abiding American citizens appears to violate the Constitution.  In the case of Klayman v. Obama, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that collecting such metadata is likely unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment, and, in ruling in favor of an injunction against the NSA, found that the plaintiffs were likely to prevail on the merits and will suffer irreparable harm absent injunctive relief.  Judge Leon also found that the public interest and potential injury to other interested parties also weigh in favor of injunctive relief.  Notwithstanding his concerns, he stayed the injunction pending appeal by the government.

I do not know what the appellate courts will do, but I agree with the reasoning of Judge Leon in this case.  Liberty and freedom are worth our attention.

As always, if you have concerns or comments or wish to inquire about legislative issues, feel free to contact my offices. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at "

National Defense Authorization Act Reprise

While returning to cyberspace, gearing up for another winter's bill reading, and checking out a new computer system, I just learned that that bad ol' National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is up for review in Congress. Again.

Gentle Readers, I'm lazy. I'm tired. It's about time for me to take a full-length eye break and/or go home; I've been looking at this computer for seven hours. I see that U.S. readers are coming back now, so will youall please visit this Popvox page...

Read it, if able, and tell me whether you've read it and how bad you think this year's version is. I am waaay behind on a lot of things. 

Why Nancy Tracy Shops Online

I've never considered shopping online as a way to deal with this, but check out Nancy Tracy's first-person report:

I read this and went "Yesss!" I'm an introvert and would rather savor my own thoughts about which of several items would be more fun to own, instead of being chattered at by a sales pest. Yet, when I managed a mall shop and when I owned a flea market booth, I tried to pamper the extroverts who so eagerly imagine that, and greet shoppers, to boost sales. It didn't work. Often the shoppers would turn around and walk out without a word. Not even because they necessarily were introverts, but because everybody who's a little more intelligent than the Chatty Cathy doll has figured out by now that a chatty sales clerk is nearly always pushing a bad bargain.

If you own a store and want to boost sales, may I suggest trying a new policy: Let the customer speak first. Don't avoid eye contact, but don't push for it, either. Understand that some people enjoy wandering through a store in a wordless reverie, just looking and/or touching, enough that they'll buy something just to pay for the pleasure of browsing. If you cut off this pleasure, whether it's by limiting the choices, by jumping down their throat the minute they walk into the store with a demand that they buy something at once, by asking personal questions that might be perceived as friendly at home but are perceived as gossipy in a public place, or just by interrupting the reverie with a stream of boring "small talk," then shopping at your store isn't fun and, unless they happen to need one thing they can grab and rush out, a lot of potentially good customers will never come back.

If, on the other hand, you're trying to sabotage a store where you've already given notice, just identify the introverts and try to "draw us out" in the "kindest, friendliest" way. This is a total turn-off because, even though you might have to feel terribly afraid or depressed to keep you from wanting to chatter at everybody in the world, introverts want to chatter about as much as you want to memorize the telephone directory. Just one soulful little warble about the hypothetical "pain" and "fear" that cause us to find your small talk boring, and I for one will never willingly pay for anything that's passed through your hands. 

Homeless Victims of the Welfare State

The last time this web site commented on one of the Kingsport Times-News' write-ups about people who need readers' help at Christmas, this web site was unsympathetic. I mean to say...a full-grown, able-bodied man wailing about his broken-down bed instead of fixing it? Please.

This time, I'm convinced that a family whom the Welfare State would like to put out on the street on Christmas Day actually need and deserve help.

The story appeared in the Times-News on December 10, 2013, at the bottom of page A-1, written up by Jeff Bobo.

Sometimes nice middle-class homeowners have a year or two when everything goes wrong and nothing goes right. For this family in Rogersville, Tennessee (their names are in the Times-News), 2013 was one of those years.

The father did at least get a disability pension. He needed it, to cover the expenses from nine surgical operations for cancer.

The grandfather died.

The house burned down.

The family were given a choice between moving into a low-income housing project, which didn't have a flat big enough for five school-aged children (and where the kind of cancer the father had must have been deeply not appreciated by other residents), or living in their car. So they moved into the project, where they had to pay $450 per month rent.

The mother, a nurse, also became unable to work. Now the father's $500 pension* was all they had to cover the $450 rent, plus groceries, school supplies, car payments, and medical bills. Naturally they made a few incomplete rent payments. The kind humanitarian social workers in charge of the housing project responded by slapping on late fees.

*[EDIT: My new editorial resolution for this year is that, if I post something in error, I'll fix it where it originally appeared so that it doesn't float around in cyberspace confusing people. A recorded phone conversation still sounds to me like "paying $450 out of $500 a month" but I'm convinced that the informant misspoke; the father's monthly pension was reported in a Times-News follow-up article as over $900.]

The car was repossessed.

The family were told they had to sell their land to pay the rent. They were desperate enough to give serious consideration to this very bad idea. They even found a buyer...but at the last minute he came up short of money.

Luckily, the family had friends at church. Friends appealed to the church on their behalf for money to pay the family's back rent. Money was raised. The kind humanitarian social workers in charge of the housing project sneered "that even if [the family] come up with the money, they will still be evicted."

Social workers tend to get that way when they have to deal with people who've been in the comfortable middle class long enough to have become accustomed to functioning like, and being treated like, intelligent adults. (See Nathaniel Lachenmeyer's The Outsider for another detailed example.)

The manager of the project threatened to "start moving stuff out on the curb" if the family didn't come up with the money in half an hour, on December 9. The police, however, being more conservative, impersonal, law-and-order types, replied that the rules required them to wait another fifteen days. 9 + 15 = ...that's right, Gentle Readers, they were going to put these two disabled adults and their children out on the street on Christmas Day.

Predictably, people who read this story in the Times-News on December 10 started calling the newspaper office and e-mailing Jeff Bobo. I had met a minister from Of One Accord about a year ago, kept his card with a vague plan of writing something about his ministry, not had the online time to write the article, and misplaced the card, but I eventually tracked down the church's number, and on Saturday I finally called when someone was there.

Of One Accord Ministries is keeping it real. They do have a fax machine; they don't spend money on Internet access. The minister who talked to me did, however, say he was asking anyone and everyone who used the'Net to publicize this story, so I am.

During the past week, various agencies of the Welfare State had come up with unhelpful suggestions. The "Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency...offered to pay their first month's rent up to $500 if they find a place--but wouldn't be able to pay for a deposit." We would like to see the social worker who made that offer rent a decent three-bedroom house or flat for $500, even with a deposit, even without a prospective tenant having had an especially yucky kind of cancer.

Church members and newspaper readers had, however, made some offers that were worth taking seriously. By Saturday, someone had promised the family a two-bedroom flat, rent-free, for two months; a collection was being taken up to buy them a clean three-bedroom trailer house in which they could live on their land while rebuilding the house, and construction workers and supplies were being rounded up.

As of Saturday, the minister said they'd been able to collect what sounded like about one-third of the cost of a livable three-bedroom trailer house, and other churches would be taking up collections on Saturday and Sunday. I've not asked how successful those efforts have been. Rebuilding a three-bedroom permanent house will take a lot of money.

Is anyone out there feeling munificent? Or has anyone out there even received, or do you expect to receive, gift cards for stores like Lowes, Home Depot, or Wal-Mart (all of which have outlets near the family's property)? Currently collections are being taken via real mail only.

Please address cheques, postal money orders, or relevant gift cards to:

Of One Accord
P.O. Box 207
Rogersville, Tennessee 37857

Please put "The Homeless Fund" on the memo line.

Please share this post as widely as possible. Link, tweet, plus, like, copy, Disqus, Digg, and whatever else you can think of. Make it viral.

Politifacts Rating for Obamacare...Evolving

Hosted by Michelle Malkin, Doug Powers traces the "evolution" of Obamacare's Politifacts rating:

Sympathetic Wonk Details Flaws of Obamacare

You don't have to take it from me. Obamacare isn't working. Isn't workable. Take it from Ezra Klein, the Washington Post's self-described "wonk," who's been crunching the discouraging numbers.

Cards for Wounded Warriors

The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes is collecting e-signatures for Christmas cards for recently disabled veterans. Click here:

The e-mail I received was about the current collection to send our wounded warriors Christmas cards and, of course, money; the Coalition promises to send $500 to disabled veterans who may be still waiting to collect their first pension payment. The Veterans Administration investigates disability claims pretty thoroughly, and landlords, utility companies, other creditors, sometimes even family members, can get tired of waiting. For some families a $500 Christmas gift may be a nice little luxury. For others it may be what keeps the children in school, or even what keeps the family in their home.

Specifically...although I've felt that "soldier" and "veteran" are grammatically masculine words and have been accused of overlooking female veterans, the Coalition observes that young, female disabled veterans, some of whom have young children, are especially likely to be in financial distress...

Did Obama Implement Martial Law?

Well, at least the headline made me go ahead and read about what our President did...

Phenology: Carolina Wren

Thanks to Elizabeth Barrette for posting about this cute little bird:

Carolina Wrens don't come very close to the Cat Sanctuary because the cardinals and house wrens think they own the house and yard, but I heard one up in the orchard on Saturday.

Other phenology: Chilly and damp in Gate City; on the way to the computer center I saw snow beside a back road. Most living things have gone into Winter Mode. However, last week and the week before we enjoyed a long warm spell that fooled some creatures into thinking it was spring already. A few insects flew, grass and chickweed popped up, and spring peepers (small frogs) started peeping. The inevitable cold snap has been enough to discourage these mistakes, but not, we can hope, cold enough to kill off things that should become active in March.

Billy Jack R.I.P.

Er whom am I writing this morning, after losing so many U.S. readers by staying offline so long? How many of you remember Billy Jack? The computer says most of you live in countries where it's unlikely that that movie was ever available, but I just had to reminisce a bit...

In 1971 that movie was madly controversial. I didn't see it for forty years after it was made. Heard a lot of snarky remarks, dirty jokes, and allegations that it was pornography (there is a fairly distant shot of Billy Jack's female friend skinny-dipping, and although it's obvious that no actress was harmed in the making of the movie it's also fairly obvious what's going on when the script calls for her to be raped). I learned to sing "One Tin Soldier" long before anybody mentioned where it came from.

Lots of commentary at this Blaze article shows that people who remember Tom Laughlin's movie, or movies, are about evenly divided between liking and hating the star/producer of Billy Jack.

As a middle-aged nostalgia-tripping movie viewer, I thought it was awesome how well he managed to be both of those things. But the plot? Uh-oh...uh-oh...Dave Urbanski saw Billy Jack as a prototype of Rambo, but wasn't anybody else reminded of David Koresh? (No. Billy Jack was what David Koresh wanted to be, not what he actually was. But. Still.)

I didn't even know there was a series. I'm glad the fictional Billy Jack survived as long as his creator did...sorry he misled the poor dweeb who confused a mixed-up-rebels movie with real life.

Rest in peace, Tom Laughlin.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How the NSA Will Use Cookies to Spy on Us

The surprise here is that the Washington Post printed it:

So, they'll be going after the various pedophile web sites we've all read about in the newspapers? Or the hackers who, among other things, "burned" Grandma Bonnie Peters' Yahoo e-mail, recently, to the extent that a public access computer refused to open her in-box? (You expect hackers to target pornographic sites and people who visit them, but some hackers think it's clever to harass a 78-year-old Sunday School teacher who wants to write about vegetarian food and the major Christian testimonies in her family archives.)

Don't hold your breath. Remember Al Gore's Future? If you want to save any particular posts from this web site, I recommend you print'em out now. I would defend Al Gore's right to publish the kind of thing he says in that book, although I think a lot of it's just plain wrong. However, among the things Al Gore says in The Future is that he's not supportive of my right to publish the kind of thing most of youall send me.

I expect to be hacked. I expect to be harassed. And I want those of you who still refer to the Old Left as "liberals" to move into the present century. I'm the liberal. Al Gore and his party are the Tories, and they see themselves as the House of Lords.

Why Do Introverts Fear...?

The computer reports that somebody out there found this web site by searching for answers to the question, “Why do introverted people fear...?”

Unfortunately the computer doesn’t show what this reader believes introverts fear. Anyway, this is one of the questions that haven’t been addressed at this web site, but should be.

First of all: this is definitely a question it’s better to ask Google than to ask any real person. In real life, it’s an obnoxious question. Individuals have fears. Large groups of people defined by demographic traits do not have fears. Even in the kind of political discussion where people casually say things like “Older voters fear Candidate X’s Social Security plan,” such casualness is sloppy; even if you know fifty older voters who said they did fear the X Plan, you probably also know two or three who were saying, “The X Plan would solve some problems! Bring it on!”

Introverts have, however, had to deal with a lot of misunderstanding based on the now disproved assumption that introverts are really just shy extroverts. Which is further evidence that introverts qualify as a true “victim” demographic group, like ethnic minorities or women. The easiest way around society’s discrimination against your group is to try to be perceived as a member of the oppressor group. Back when people grew up hearing that “women don’t” have/need this or that kind of job/talent/freedom, there were sane heterosexual women who didn’t bother with sociological analyses of how these stereotypes came to be but just told their male colleagues to “Think me a man: my soul is masculine.” Similarly, during the Advertising Age when people grew up hearing that salesmanship was more important in any job than skill, talent, or character, there were basically sane introverts who grew up hearing “All people should enjoy party chatter more than they enjoy working or thinking,” who internalized the misbelief that they were quiet because they were shy, because they had some sort of unnatural, unfounded fear of other people.

If your experience of “other people” is that they’re always trying to tell you that there’s something profoundly wrong with you, then although it might be reasonable to try to replace fear with confidence in your ability to defend yourself by any means necessary, it’s reasonable not to like “other people.” When introverts (usually young introverts) are shy, they fear being recognized as members of a despised victim group and attacked as such, usually because that’s the experience they’ve had in social situations such as school. However, the more we succeed at accepting ourselves and bonding with other self-accepting introverts, the more clearly we see that what we feel toward our verbal abusers is not fear but contempt.

We recognize that if extroverts really do “like people,” rather than needing constant distractions from their own emotional pain,  they’ll like us, too, just the way we are. The fact that most extroverts don’t like us just the way we are shows that their “outgoing” behavior has nothing to do with liking people, but is merely a defense against their fear, pain, and shame. Since introversion is defined by positive hereditary neurological traits extroverts lack, it’s likely that most extroverts do live with chronic fear, pain, and shame produced by some subliminal awareness of their neurological inadequacy. They cope by trying to identify defects in other people and make those people feel inadequate, too.

Only if these extroverts’ bullying is physically dangerous is there any need to fear such transparent cowardice, and unless we were brought up on sentimental Humanist malarkey about their needing (or deserving) to have self-esteem, there’s no particular reason not to humiliate these would-be verbal abusers. When people are determined to put their own inadequacies on parade, showing them up is so-o-o easy.

Nevertheless, as long as young introverts buy into the haters’ Big Lie about our being isolated freaks doomed to a lifetime of bad relationships with “people,” it should surprise nobody that these young individual introverts fear social interaction. You would, too, if most of your social interactions featured nasty little reminders that something is inexplicably, profoundly, permanently wrong with you...even though, if you are an extrovert, that happens to be true.

Know Your Pests: Walnut Caterpillar

Here, ridiculously behind schedule, is the last document I was trying to finish in September when the system shut down (just enough minutes ahead of schedule, for no obvious reason, to keep the document from becoming visible. Does anybody want to read about September phenology in December? I don't know, but I might as well post this and get it out of the way!

Several kinds of moths feed on walnut trees and may be known as Walnut Moths or Walnut Caterpillars in some places. The one that is occasionally confused with Tent Caterpillars or Gypsy Moth caterpillars is Datana integerrima, a member of the family Notodontidae. In years when their populations are high, Walnut Caterpillars can be an unsightly nuisance; in our part of the world, however, they infest walnut trees too late in the summer to be a real pest.

Here's the Ohio State University fact sheet on Datana integerrima:

Walnut Caterpillar hatchlings are reddish; as they molt their skins become progressively darker, and by the time they start exploring the world beyond their host trees they can be described as black caterpillars with fluffy white hair. Like Fall Webworms, they spin large unsightly webs around the ends of trees, usually but not always walnut and hickory, while eating the leaves. Like Tent Caterpillars, they leave their nests and wander about for a few days before pupating; as mature caterpillars they're about two inches long, sometimes longer. Also like Tent Caterpillars, they often rest in large groups and, though mostly harmless, repel predators by squirming.

Then again, their activity in autumn (late September and October, even as far north as Michigan) might cause Walnut Caterpillars to be confused with various black and white "Bear" and tussock moth caterpillars. Most of these species look different from Walnut Caterpillars, e.g. this cute little tussock moth (also found in Virginia in autumn):

However, scientists classify Walnut Caterpillars as a completely different family from Webworms, Bears, tussock moth caterpillars, or Tent Caterpillars because both moths and caterpillars have a different body shape. While Webworms move their heads from side to side to repel predators, and Tent Caterpillars can bend almost double in any direction, Walnut Caterpillars can bend themselves into a U shape, raising both their head and tail ends at the same time. Later, as moths, they will retain this tendency to arch their backs. The Notodontidae are sometimes called Prominent Moths because they often rest with their tail ends "prominently" pointed up above their wings.

Walnut Caterpillars are very common in the Midwest, and sometimes manage to be pests on nut trees. In Virginia they're uncommon; I'd lived in a house shaded by a walnut tree for twenty years before I ever saw one. Once in a while, when weather conditions are favorable and the animals have become a serious nuisance in the Midwest, we do see what scientists call an "irruption" or sudden population explosion of Walnut Caterpillars in Virginia. This happened in 1985; I'm not aware of its having happened in any other year during my lifetime.

Like almost all hairy animals including humans, Walnut Caterpillars can shed enough short, coarse hairs to irritate human skin, but they're not poisonous. As observed in other "Know Your Pest" pieces here, most people who want to pick these caterpillars up in their hands have no problems with their fur, but people who've got one down their neck often report itching or a mild rash.

When they defoliate trees that aren't already losing their leaves, as can apparently happen in Texas pecan groves, Walnut Caterpillars become pests. However, it's not necessary to destroy their natural predators (they already have few enough natural predators!). As with the other nest-building caterpillars, you can use a stick, garden rake, etc., to pull the nest out of an endangered tree. Some caterpillars will survive, but since predators will be unharmed and you'll be able to burn, drown, or crush most of the caterpillars, the tree will be safe.

It's also possible to buy other insects that parasitize enough of the caterpillars to keep their population under control, next year. Here's a list of helpful insects, along with other data:

In the North, surviving walnut caterpillars jump or crawl down from their host trees in September or even early October. The trees are unharmed. The caterpillars may even have a slight beneficial effect by reducing the amount of walnut leaf litter that decomposes into the soil; walnut trees contain a chemical that inhibits the growth of many other plants. The caterpillars pupate in the soil all winter, then emerge as moths in early summer. Moths as well as mature caterpillars seem to mimic Tent Caterpillars, which contain enough cyanide to discourage most birds; Walnut Caterpillar moths are a little smaller than Tent Caterpillar moths, and have different structure as well as different color shadings in their wings, but to the casual observer they look similar.

However, in warmer climates, specifically Texas and Oklahoma, these caterpillars have evolved a lifestyle that makes them more problematic. According to "There are two generations of this pest per year in Oklahoma. Moths emerge from mid-May to early June and in late July and early August. Larvae feed on the leaves in June and July and from late August into October. The larvae are gregarious and feed in groups, but do not spin webs in which to feed."

So, if you see these caterpillars in the South, you might want to invest in a few natural predators.

I'm Back, for Now

I (Priscilla King) am back online for now, testing a different public-access computer system that definitely is not workable as a long-term plan but might get us through the bill reading season. Mostly I'm checking e-mails and doing other e-chores today, but I'll try to post at least one thing I've written along with the wonderful things readers have e-mailed...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Morgan Griffith on Obamacare's Misrepresentation

From Congressman Morgan Griffith's E-Newsletter:

"Keep Your Health Plan Act
Americans who have a health care plan that they like ought to be able to keep that plan.  To that end, I joined Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and a number of other Members of Congress in introducing H.R. 3350, the Keep Your Health Plan Act.  This bill would allow health insurance plans currently available on the individual market to be offered next year, and also would give Americans the choice to continue enrolling in those plans without being penalized under Obamacare’s individual mandate.

Both before and after the Obamacare health care plan was signed law into more than three years ago, President Obama and other supporters of the law repeatedly reassured Americans that “If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period.  No one will take it away.  No matter what.”  This promise – made without caveats or exceptions – was reportedly spoken by the President at least 34 times, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ independent Politifact.

However, this blanket promise simply isn’t true for everyone.  Because of new Obamacare standards, “thousands of people in Virginia and elsewhere are getting notices that their existing plans will no longer be offered after Jan. 1 or the next time they are up for renewal,” read a recent report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Clarence Page, a member of the editorial board at the Chicago Tribune – President Obama’s hometown paper – says he “support[s] most of [President Obama’s] policies and programs,” but “in this instance, he would have to be delusional to think he was telling the truth.”  In a recent interview with NBC News, the President admitted that “we weren't as clear as we needed to be,” and said “I am sorry that [people] -- you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me.”

My colleagues and I in the House of Representatives are ready, willing, and able to help President Obama keep this broken promise.  This is a mess that he and his Democrat allies in Congress created, passing Obamacare without Republican input or support.  If the President and his allies want to help us fix this mess – and are not intent on just bashing Republicans – they too will support the Keep Your Health Plan Act.

If you wish to make your voice heard on the “if-you-like-it-you-can-keep-it” promise, you can contact my office or become a Citizen Cosponsor of our bill at  You can also contact my office or visit to share your experience with Obamacare.

Well, as regular readers know, my health care plan has just been criminalized. I have faith that I'll be able to pay the fines until we can (a) convince those who want subsidized medical care at any price that Obamacare isn't what they need, and (b) come up with a viable that meets the actual cost of medical care without forcing anyone to support cost-ineffective third-party entities.

Allen West's Book

From Allen West:

"This evening, I previewed my book, Guardian of the Republic on Fox News during On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.

In Guardian of the Republic, I share my experiences as the father of two daughters, a soldier leading men into battle, and a member of Congress during one of the most politcally polarized eras in American history. I hope that readers can learn from my successes and failures, and more importantly, that the next generation of conservative leaders is inspired by my story.

Although the book will not be released for a few months, there will be opportunities to participate in advance sales, purchase autographed copies, and receive other special offers. If you want my team to keep you informed about these opportunities as they become available and other important information about the book, please sign up here.

Steadfast and loyal,
Allen West "

One for my Amazon Wish List...

Patricia Evans Dittos Wayne Root: Obamacare a Success

Patricia Evans shared the complete text of this post... way of introducing a web site that readers of this site are likely to appreciate:

Read more: Why Obamacare is a Fantastic Success
As published at on 10/21/13
By Wayne Allyn Root
Wayne Allyn Root is capitalist evangelist, entrepreneur, and Libertarian-conservative Republican. He is a former Libertarian vice presidential nominee. Wayne's latest book is "The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide: Secrets to Protecting Your Family, Your Finances, and Your Freedom.  " For more, visit his website:   Follow him on Twitter@WayneRoot

The GOP needs to stop calling Obamacare a “trainwreck.” That means it’s a mistake, or accident. That means it’s a gigantic flop, or failure. It’s NOT. This is a brilliant, cynical, and purposeful attempt to damage the U.S. economy, kill jobs, and bring down capitalism. It’s not a failure, it’s a suicide attack...
"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."  - Thomas Jefferson

Saola: An Animal So Rare You Don't Even Know Its Name

Liz Klimas shares photos and a story about the rare, elusive animal known as the saola:

Mark Steyn Takes the Pledge

New Hampshire's new senator pledges to oppose government seizure of private property:

Last Post?

Gentle Readers, I’ve asked this question before, and your silence was deafening. I don’t know who most of you are. Surprisingly few of you, according to Google, are looking for your own names and contributions here. I hope that means regular contributors are regular readers. But unless you tell me I don’t know who you are, and that raises the question: Do you actually like this web site?

Writing is what I do. Writing is who I am. Reading the things some of you send me, working up from the individuals who don’t have commercial ’zines all the way to the Washington Post, and deciding what to cite, link, comment on, and “plus,” is tremendous fun for me as well.

On the other hand, since I’ve chosen to maintain an Internet-free home, I’ve had to use public-access computers. Let’s see, when I started doing this blog I was walking seven miles around the mountain, half of it on a dark winding road with no shoulders and deep ditches on either side, in order to get enough uninterrupted computer time to work...and then, although I’d publicized the building enough that it did start doing enough business to stay open, it had already lost its grant, so it closed. During one bill-reading session a supporter shared a computer and office space with me; next year, when one of her children had taken over her computer, several supporters made it possible for me to commute twelve miles along another dark winding road without shoulders, featuring a narrow icy bridge, that was dangerous enough in the daytime, but my return home took place well after dark. The rest of the time I’ve been working from the public library. As short-term ways to start something these hardships were acceptable to me, even interesting. As permanent conditions of operation they're not acceptable.

The library’s funding is tied to its use and I’ve definitely boosted its funding. Nevertheless, there seems to be opposition on the part of some employees to the idea that someone might actually be earning a living on what they seem to think is their property. At least three library policies that had been working for everyone for years have been changed just to make my job more difficult. At least three library employees, which is to say employees of mine, have expressed overt ingratitude to me personally. Since their own personal salaries aren’t affected by the funding tied to use of the library, they feel free to tell me things like “We’re tired of you coming in here.” Ohhh. Not only do I feel the same way about their faces that they feel about mine, only probably more so because I’m HSP and have more working neurons, I also walk to work in the heat, in the cold, in the rain or snow. Don’t tell me you’re tired, y’silly cows, you do not know tired.

The heat’s finally broken, I still have several hundred things to do—all of which I want to do—at the Cat Sanctuary, and every day when I consider stopping doing those things and trudging to a place where I’m not enthusiastically welcomed, to do something for which I’m not lavishly paid...

I typed this on September 25: all summer I remember thinking, “Why am I spending so much time on this web site?”

Then I looked at the e-mail and answered my own question. “Well, correspondents send in so many good things, free...and local people have done things to support the web site...and somebody commissioned the article about buck moths, people paid for the stuff about the Virginia legislature, and some local lurkers have actually been paying me for regular part-time work based on what I wrote about roaches, in order to support the web site...there’re just so many people who’ve put so much into the web site, and probably half of them are disappointed with it, I really ought to try to keep on improving it.”

I’ve been telling myself this, but it’s remained hard to push myself out the door. I’m happy at the Cat Sanctuary. Although the house and orchard still need a lot of attention from experienced professional men, and I’ve not done nearly enough construction work to have any ideas about doing it myself, there are lots and lots of things I can do at home. Things that need to be done; things I can do right. Pure satisfaction, especially in the kind of perfect weather we’ve been having. Whereas when I go out I get all kinds of oppo and aggro and miscellaneous harassment.

Gentle Readers, I fully understand that Illiberal Left types like Al Gore want to stifle web sites that don’t parrot their party line (there’s a long rant in The Future about this). I try very very hard to be fair to the party of Rick Boucher and Jim Hightower and my Aunt Dotty, even if it’s also the party of President Obama and the Clintons; that doesn’t mean that Democrats bother their heads about being fair to me. The majority of people in Gate City are what I’d call right-wing types—far to the right of me. The majority of people who are employed by government agencies, however, may be pro-family and pro-temperance and Southern Baptists and all that, but they tend to vote for bigger government because that’s the side on which their bread is buttered.

So, although this web site has encouraged local readers to support the library, and although I personally have not only generated revenue by heavily using the library but also adopted it as the charity to which I’ve been giving ten percent of my meagre income this year, the library employees would have to be as intelligent and as conscientious as I am not to hate this web site. And let’s face it: most people who spend their entire adult lives doing student-labor-type jobs are neither.
This is (I hope) the last time I'll ever log in to the Internet from a public library's computer. I have about an hour and a half to go through seven weeks of e-mail that was coming in at the rate of 100-150 e-mails a day. I'll try to share a few of the best recent links and articles e-friends have sent in.

But do you, correspondents, really want this particular web site to stay alive? If so, you need to say it with money, now. As a taxpayer I do need a formal apology, and positive efforts toward reconciliation, from any library employee who wants to remain on the county payroll. As a writer I’ve been offered other, privately owned, possible work spaces. As the voice of Cornerstone Communications I think that, if we can’t set up a shop of our own, by now, we’ve all been wasting our time. This web site needs to get real.

Cornerstone Communications needs about five thousand dollars to lease a building, set up the computers, and pay off the local bureaucracy. Don’t even bother wailing that you don’t have all of that in your pocket. Tell other people you know that you would like to help the creative artists and entrepreneurs in Gate City to become and remain makers rather than takers. If even 50 of those 392 page views represent 50 regular readers, and each of them can scrape up $100 in the next week, then we can open a real-world site in two or three weeks.

Cornerstone Communications needs reliable computers. Since we believe that mending is better than ending, I actually prefer secondhand computers.

Cornerstone Communications needs reliable real-life local supporters. This in no way implies that anybody needs to agree with me about everything. I doubt that anybody does completely agree with me, or with anybody else, about everything. 

We need input. We need balance. Compare, if you will, the list of what this web site was meant to contain with the list of what it does contain. The Politics Department is taking over. That’s because we get free material from people who are interested in politics. This is good from some readers’ point of view, but not from the point of view of some e-friends, and some of our actual members, who want more book reviews, more phenology, more local history, more singable hymns, more recipes, more knitting, even more Bad Poetry, relative to politics. We need a place where it’s financially feasible for me and the other members of this web site to sit down and give each of those departments the time I’ve not even really been able to give to politics. I don’t know whether the readers who search for book reviews, and do or don’t find this site, can visualize this, but I have actually e-mailed myself twelve batches of book reviews that are still sitting in an e-mail folder waiting for me to find the time to post them. I am as frustrated by the time constraints under which I’ve been working as any of you.

The store’s going to be the same way. We have many cubic yards of books. Some of them are valuable. We can get many other books: Amazon is positively eager to help us help local people exchange books. We understand that books all by themselves, in a town that might contain three thousand people during Friday Market in tourist season, are not going to generate enough revenue to keep our store afloat. The original vision for the "Cornerstone Bookstore and More" included other merchandise as well as books. No junk—Gate City already has secondhand stores. Nice new local products, like paintings, handmade jewelry, or recorded music, need to be on display in a place where intelligent people are spending their time. 

We also have another mission to our community. Too many Christians have been encouraged to believe that it’s ethically acceptable to steer people to what we might charitably call professional helpers, rather than helping them ourselves. (Yes, that includes “I don’t have a lot of money to spare [after I’ve paid for a lot of overpriced, greasy restaurant meals my body is visibly screaming for me to avoid, and cable TV channels I don’t actually have time to watch, and clothes that weren’t even on sale and that normal people will not appreciate as being “this season’s”], but you ought to be able to get a grant.” Those grants aren’t managed by Christians or by people who care particularly about Scott County, and the strings many of them attach to their bequests show this.) And somehow the solutions the professional helpers come up with aren’t what people really need.

Someone who’s broken an addiction, who could do some kind of work that’s different from what he’s been doing, who wants to work to support his children, is being told that if he loses his house and sinks back into his addiction he can get into a residential treatment place. One of the jobs this man could do would be driving a taxicab. Someone who wants to avoid waste and pollution, and doesn’t drive enough to justify owning a car, is being told that the so-called charity that’s destroyed Scott County’s taxicab service is working on a grant to help Scott County residents get subsidized fares if we call taxicab services in Kingsport, Tennessee, when we really need a car. What’s wrong with this picture, and how did it go wrong? Could it be that Scott County could solve more of our problems than the “professional helpers” are solving for us, if we had a nice safe public place to communicate with one another?

These things aren’t going to happen in cyberspace; they’re not going to happen as long as we all sit around in our places in the existing system. They don’t need a huge effort, or a radical or painful change...but they do need all of us to make some changes and some efforts. You need to give up some little luxury or other and chip in $100. I need to stop hanging out in the library, checking e-mail, and trying to tell myself that this is leading to any real change when I’m not seeing the money.  If you like this web site, fund it now.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ken Cuccinelli's Self-Defense

Forwarded by Patricia Evans:

"Many of you have heard that Ken Cuccinelli taped an excellent half-hour commercial that will be broadcast on TV and on the Internet. Let's make this video of The Real Ken Cuccinelli go viral!  Invite your friends, family, and neighbors to watch. Send this video to your email lists and get it on your Facebook page, twitter and blogs. If you can donate, please visit  to contribute and help us keep it on the air. Your contribution will help get this commercial to more Virginia voters. Please do what you can to help ensure that as many people as possible See The Real Ken Cuccinelli before November 5th, Election Day.

The Real Ken Cuccinelli:

The leftwing media is doing everything they can to make Ken Cuccinelli out to be someone he isn’t. They are working to distort his image through negative ads on TV and the leftwing blogs. But we know the real Ken Cuccinelli. Let's not lose sight of the reasons we have supported him every step of the way.  Ken has proven time and time again that he’s fighting for us and for all Virginians.   Virginians need to see and hear from Ken himself, and that’s what this commercial does in ways that one-minute ads cannot. This 30 minute ad gives us a good chance to spread our positive message of economic growth, limited government, and First Principles.  Ken explains how and why his policies are based in our ‘First Principles,’ and why they help protect liberty, property rights and opportunity for every Virginian. They are principles underscoring that the real power in Virginia comes from the People, not government.                                                                                                                              

Ken Cuccinelli - Fighting for Virginia  Here it is:

Excerpts from "How Do You Confound The Left? Do What Ken Cuccinelli Does."

By Steve Albertson  Read more:

Ken Cuccinelli really gets under Democrats’ skin. Not only does he hold fast to a set of principles the left hates, he does so cheerfully and without wavering. Worse, though, is that no matter how hard they try, they can’t make their caricature of him stick. Reality keeps getting in the way. Cuccinelli’s opponents on the left know he is religious, which is a large part of the problem they have with him, but in their ignorance and hostility to religion they fail to understand just how these teachings of love for the least among us are why Cuccinelli has made a life of putting his deeply felt compassion into action. Those who know Cuccinelli best, speak of a man with a moral compass that overrides conventional political wisdom. Cuccinelli doesn’t act like a typical politician, and doesn’t play by their rules. He has that old fashioned notion that the rule of law means everyone must play by the same rules…no crony capitalism, no bailouts, and no special favors for monied interests, all of which are Terry McAuliffe’s stock in trade.

When they pay attention, Virginia voters will see the unique brand of conservatism that has propelled Cuccinelli to his prior victories.

"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."  - Thomas Jefferson

Death By China?

For those who can watch videos online, here's a video recommended by Karen Bracken, who thanks someone identified as "V.D." for the link:

Greg Autry, author of the book Death by China, was a guest speaker at the 2013 Eagle Forum Conference.  His subject was China - and foreign direct investment.   I missed it the first time, but caught it on the re-run.
You should make time to listen to what he has to say.
Book Discussion on Death by China
July 19, 2013
Public Affairs Event
Program ID: 314071-5

Karen Bracken"

Scott Rigell Alienates Constituents

I don't know Virginia's Congressman Scott Rigell, don't have a vote for him...but judging by the look of this e-mail, a lot of people all over the state are making sure everybody knows that this alleged Republican voted in favor of Obamacare. What on earth was he thinking?

Most recently forwarded by Patricia Evans:

House Republicans passed their funding bill Friday to keep government open while terminating the new health care law, setting up a final showdown next week with Senate Democrats and President Obama.  The 230-189 vote, which split almost exactly along party lines, is the precursor to the big action next week, when the Democratic majority in the Senate is expected to strip out the health care provisions and send the bill back to the House — where Republicans will have to decide whether they can accept it at that point. ( And they better not ! )

Virginia Representative Scott Rigell casts the sole Republican vote against defunding Obamacare!
If you are as displeased as I am with what Representative Rigell has done to his constituents and the people of Virginia, here is his contact information:
Representative Scott Rigell (R-02) DC phone  202-225-4215Fax  202-225-4218
Leave a comment in on his Facebook page here: Representative Scott Rigell | Facebook

The U.S. House of Representatives cast a nearly unanimous party line vote today to Fully Fund the Federal government under a continuing resolution, with the exception of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) commonly referred to as Obamacare.
Two intelligent Democrats voted with the Republicans to defund Obamacare, but one DIRC* voted with the Democrats to continue down the road to Socialized Single-Payer Government Controlled Healthcare.
Rep_Scott_Rigell_2nd_Cong_Dist_VA  The American people have expressed their overwhelming desire to repeal Obamacare in poll after poll over the last 4 years, but apparently Representative Scott Rigell from Virginia who represents the people of the 2nd Congressional District either has not been listening, or more likely does not give a damn what his constituents want.
In the truest traditions of Democrats like Jim Moran, Rigell abandoned the people who elected him in favor of Democrat policies designed to destroy the greatest health care system in the world, and replace it with a Government Controlled, Single Payer system that every other civilized country in the western world has tried, and are now running away from.
rigell_tea_party_support Apparently this far left website changed Rep. Rigell’s mind about conservatism.
In 2010, Representative Rigell rode into Congress on the Tea Party wave;  this quote is from his bio on the web site:
Scott Rigell (“RIDGE-ull”) was elected to represent Virginia’s Second Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives in November 2010 and is currently serving in his second term. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on the Budget.
Since taking office in January 2011, Congressman Rigell has made creating jobs, strengthening our military, controlling federal spending, and changing Congress his most urgent priorities.
Serving on the House Budget Committee would seem to bring some insight into why the rest of the Republicans in the House voted to defund this monstrosity, but obviously Representative Rigell does not see things the same way his Republican colleagues do.
Rigell blames Republicans for gridlock Rigell takes responsibility for gridlock
Lately he has been the “go to Republican” on MSNBC and CNN, and he is seen frequently in the company of far left Democrats. Perhaps it is time he leave the Republican Party and follow his true leanings and join the Democrats.
At least the good people of the 2nd District would know where he really stands.
If you are as displeased as I am with what Representative Rigell has done to his constituents and the people of Virginia, you can find his contact information here on his website.
rigell_w_obama  If you are tired of *Democrats in Republican Clothing (DIRC) running as conservatives and then voting like Democrats, contact Representative (and I use this term loosely) Rigell and voice your opinion.
Just call me:  “One Fed Up Virginia Voter

Representative Scott Rigell Votes to Fund Obamacare

Rigell’s rationale? House bill didn’t increase spending enough…

Representative Scott Rigell ( R-VA  2nd District ) today joined 188 Democrats in the House of Representatives in voting to fund President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.  In a statement released by the Congressman following the vote, Rigell explained that he voted against the House Continuing Resolution because the bill failed “to address the sequester.”
According to the Congressional Budget Office, defense spending is projected to increase from $593 billion in 2014 to more than $714 billion in 2023, a clear increase in federal spending every year for the next decade. Despite this fact, Representative Rigell’s vote is yet another sign that he’s disconnected from the reality of Washington’s addiction to overspending.
Voting “no” on a continuing resolution that keeps the government open and operating in order to make a point about the need to increase defense spending is a sad excuse for funding Obamacare. It is not, however, unfitting for Rigell. Despite having signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, promising to voters in writing to oppose higher taxes, he has attempted to walk back this promise in recent years.
Congressman Scott Rigell’s insistence on spending more tax dollars on things like Obamacare is an unfortunate but fitting evolution for Rigell.

( Virginia's second congressional district encompasses all of the Eastern Shore (Accomack and Northampton Counties), parts of the cities of Norfolk and Hampton, and the entire City of Virginia Beach.)

"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."  - Thomas Jefferson


Lonely Social Cat Bonds with Dog

The pictures don't really tell the story of this Cat Sanctuary graduate, Mo, but that's not his fault...

Mo is a social cat. Every animal shelter, sanctuary, or hospital needs a social cat, because they tend to have a calming, "socializing" effect on most other cats. When Mo went to live at an affiliated cat sanctuary on the other side of the mountain, he actually got the lean, mean, old dominant female and the two fluffy kittens in residence to hang out together and act like friends. They hadn't been friends before.

But the old cat died, and the fluffy kittens found homes. Mo was alone with his humans, who spend a lot of time in town. A social cat likes a bit of company. Some social cats, like Mo's aunt Mogwai and great-uncle Mac, know how to manage dogs and will accept dogs as companions. Mo adopted a scruffy, shaggy stray puppy.

When I go to that house, Mo walks to the end of the wheelchair ramp to meet me and very politely escorts me up the ramp, not demanding that I pause to pet him at every step, but encouraging that behavior as best he can. Then the puppy demands that I pet him, too...and Mo steps back and waits for me to pet the puppy, too, before continuing to pet him.

Although Mo's humans weren't aware of his having posed for pictures before, when I asked him to pose for me on the ramp, this is what I got:

Mo is a Listening Cat; he understands "would you please..." but I'm pretty sure he was guessing the unfamiliar words "pose over there on the ramp" from my body language.

Then I asked him to pose with the puppy. Mo knows the word "puppy." Even the puppy knows that word...but apparently that's the only word he's learned so far...

The puppy looks blurry because he was hopping about and wiggling like mad, straining at the end of a leash, begging for more attention. He'd rather be petted and taken for a walk than merely admired.

The ramp looks uneven because I was tilting the camera to get as much of both animals in the picture as possible. For a home improvement project done by a retired man with no construction experience, on a weekend, almost twenty years ago, it's an excellent ramp.

Mo has yet to socialize a feral cat who's currently living at this address to the point where I could photograph her, too. But he's working on it.

Phenology: How Tall Can Ladies-Thumbs Grow?

For years I thought of Ladies' Thumb as a native grass that didn't need mowing...but although it doesn't bloom until it gets some sunshine, this plant has been growing thick and tall in my yard on all the wet weather we had from April through August. Some years I do trim it back around the paths. This year I let it grow as high as it wanted to grow, in order to make it easier to tell when anything bigger than a cat had been in the yard...we've had some trouble with poachers and trespassers in the neighborhood. (I trust Gulegi to take care of any other snakes.) And before Sunday's rain beat it down, this is what the front yard looked like:

Unfortunately the digital camera doesn't show how tall this non-native ornamental grass is. The whole yard was about three feet deep in it. Ladies' Thumb tends to sprawl on the ground if it's not propped up by other things, so even the three-foot depth doesn't accurately reflect the size these plants reached. A few stalks that were braced against a bush had flowers growing up almost five feet off the ground.

And when it all bloomed, the whole yard was pink like this (the pink blurs in the background of the photo). Not a suburban lawn look, for sure. But pretty.

Morgan Griffith on National Forest Land

More from Congressman Griffith's E-Newsletter:

Trees for Schools – An Update

Over a century ago, the federal government promised rural communities that it would actively manage forest land to the communities’ benefit, historically sharing around 25 percent of revenues from timber harvests with rural counties that contain National Forest Land.  This money could be used in lieu of revenue these communities might otherwise have received from property taxes if the land were not owned by the federal government, and could be used to fund schools, teachers, police officers, etc.  Recipients of these funds within the Ninth District of Virginia include the following counties: Alleghany, Bland, Carroll, Craig, Dickenson, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe.

Due to federal regulations and environmental lawsuits, however, the Forest Service over the years has reduced the amount of federal forest land being timbered.  In my opinion, this not only has destroyed jobs and deprived rural communities of needed revenue, but also is poor forest management, making the land more susceptible to invasive species and wildfires.  Tragically, the House Natural Resources Committee states that wildfires burned 9.3 million acres last year alone.

Badly needed is a long-term solution to improve forest health and management, fulfill the federal government’s promise to rural communities, and grow jobs.  To that end, the House Natural Resources Committee over the last several months has worked to advance H.R. 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act.  This legislation would promote responsible timber production, improve state and local involvement, and restore the federal government’s commitment to rural communities.  This should mean more money for Southwest Virginia localities.

I am an original cosponsor of this legislation, which recently passed the House with my support.  Similar legislation recently passed the Senate.  I will continue monitoring the progress of this legislation, and working to promote healthier forests and get residents of the Ninth District’s rural communities back to work.

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671.  To reach my office by email, please visit my website at"

Comment from PK: Do I have questions and concerns? Mercy. I have so many questions and concerns that I can't see any way to learn enough to make an intelligent comment. Will other Virginians please, please, please pick up this one?

Morgan Griffith on Defunding Obamacare

From Congressman Griffith's E-Newsletter:

"Defunding Obamacare and Controlling Spending
With my support, on Friday, September 20, the House passed legislation known as a continuing resolution that prevents a government shutdown AND also prevents money from being spent by the federal government on the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  PPACA is also known as Obamacare.

It is my belief that the Senate ought to publicly acknowledge the negative impact that Obamacare will have on the American people and businesses, and join us in defunding Obamacare once and for all.  Obamacare as written will not work.  Senator Max Baucus, one of the law’s chief architects, said that Obamacare will be a “huge train wreck.”  In my opinion, it is the duty of the House and the Senate, if they see a train wreck coming, to get the American people not only off the tracks, but well away from the prospective wreck.  The House has done its work.  It’s now up to the Senate.

As this column is being written, this legislation’s fate has yet to be determined by the Senate.  No matter what your opinion is on Obamacare, you should let your Senators know how you feel.  Their office numbers are:

 Senator Mark Warner
 Senator Tim Kaine


Patricia Evans on Defunding Obamacare

From Patricia Evans, here's another e-mail that contains the full text, so if this link "breaks" when the story becomes Old News, you can e-mail salolianigodagewi @ yahoo to get the text via e-mail. As of today, the RedState link is working.

"Both Republican and Democrats in leadership are trying to fool us again.

Every amendment and bill need 60 votes to pass, yet Reid has figured out a way to set up a vote that only needs 51 votes. ( more below )
Reid will need 6 Republicans to vote to shut down debate on the bill. If Republican Senators vote for cloture on this funding bill, they are voting with all the Democrats to fund ObamaCare, and we will lose.
If Republicans don’t blink and block cloture on everything until Senate Majority Leader Reid promises that the rules will be followed and Reid will need 60 votes to shut down debate on his amendment to fully fund ObamaCare, our guys can win this.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-Utah)  have a plan. Fight Reid’s motion to strike the provision to defund ObamaCare and force 60 Senators to shut down debate on that proposition. If Republicans win that fight,  then Reid has a take it or leave it proposition with the House Continuing Resolution that defunds ObamaCare.

The American people are not stupid and we are not going to believe that Republicans voting with the Democrats for cloture somehow want to defund Obamacare.

Read more: How John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are Funding Obamacare

Don’t be fooled by this political theater going on in Washington, DC. The fix is in and both sides are trying to fund ObamaCare while saving face... "

Convoy Heading for D.C.

Thanks to Karen Bracken for calling my attention to this one:

(I get Freedom Outpost in the e-mail too, but since I read e-mail from individuals first I don't always find the time to read it, or the other'zines and newspapers to which I subscribe.)

Anyway, the truckers are planning a nice peaceable protest that will temporarily "shut down America," or at least much of eastern Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, with heavy traffic on the weekend of October 11 through 13. Government offices are scheduled to close on Monday, October 14, anyway, so for readers who live near Washington, this might be a good week for will want to be either in the convoy, or off the road, while this is going on.

I can't say that the following web pages are especially well organized; they seem to have been put together in haste. However, let's just say that although this protest probably has something to do with the proposed additions to the many existing regulations that make truckers' lives more difficult (see the Popvox post directly below this one), the Straw that Broke the Camel's Back was a Facebook decision to censor a post that included the phrase "God Bless America," so this is being billed as a demonstration on behalf of free speech...among other things.

God bless America. God bless our truckers. God bless our historic freedom, the uniqueness it has given us, and the benefits of our freedom and uniqueness that the rest of the world should be trying to gain for themselves rather than take away from us.

Popvox Updates

Fellow Americans, if you use, you too can receive updates on congressional activities like this one:


The Debt Ceiling

The scoop from our Hill Sources: As the debate over spending continues, the House may also consider legislation expanding the debt ceiling to allow the government to borrow more money for another year. There was no text of this bill over the weekend, but here again, Republicans will look to extract a high price to allowing the debt ceiling to rise again. Elements likely to be present in the bill include language seeking more spending cuts, and requiring the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline between Canada and the United States.

Also in the House

Along the way, the House will also look at a bill that allows a land exchange to take place that helps Resolution Copper develop an undeveloped copper mine in Arizona:

And finally, the House will likely pass up to three suspension bills in the middle of the week:
  • HR 1961 extending an exemption from the fire-retardant materials construction requirement for certain vessels. The bill would allow the Delta Queen to resume overnight passenger operations.
  • HR 3095 ensuring that new government requirements for testing people operating commercial motor vehicles for sleep disorders are adopted after a formal rule-making process.
  • HR 2600 amending the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act to clarify how the law applies to condominiums.

Thanks for using POPVOX! And if you're new, be sure to check out our user tutorial slideshow


Rachna Choudhry

For those who have the online time to use it, Popvox is an absolutely fascinating web site.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Michelle Malkin on Common Core and Jeb Bush

No Google+ button, so I'll plus it the oldfashioned way...

Basically, Jeb Bush is claiming that if you don't like any of the many, many things about Common Core that Michelle Malkin, Karen Bracken, and many others have been pointing out all year, it's because you don't like him...duh! Did you know he had anything to do with Common Core? Do you care? I didn't, and don't. I just don't like big expensive boondoggles.

Scammers Steal Firefox's Identity

Jim Macdonald reports an online "phishing" scam whose pop-up ads ask victims to download a "trojan dropper" called Firefox_setup.exe...but the fine print does, technically, admit that the product has nothing to do with Firefox.

House Votes to Defund Obamacare

The Washington Post officially reports:

Here's one Tea Party's official response:

"Your hard work is paying off and for now it seems the House Leadership is listening to the will of the American people. The House just voted 230 to 189 to keep the government funded while stopping funding for Obamacare.

Now the ball is in Harry Reid's court. What will he do? Will he continue to ignore the will of the American people or will he finally listen to the people he represents and stop Obamacare from further destroying our economy?

This is a critical moment and we need everyone making phone calls to Harry Reid to tell him to listen to the voice of the American people.

Call Harry Reid now and tell him that we will not rest until we stop Obamacare!

Harry Reid: 202-224-3542

In Liberty,
Tea Party Patriots National Support Team"

Fellow Virginians, I'm seeing a different problem. As the Senate votes to acknowledge or (illegally) ignore the will of the people, we will be represented by two Senators who belong to the party that traditionally disagrees with the majority of us. Convincing these Senators to vote with their actual constituents rather than their co-partisans is like convincing a thirsty horse to walk up the hill, away from fresh water. It's not impossible, but neither is it easy.

Frankly, I don't know much about our junior Senator, but I believe Mark Warner is a reasonable man and will support a reasonable plan if we can convince him that a critical mass of Virginians will also support one.

"Reasonable" is a critical word. If fiscally conservative Virginians lock horns and scream about any form of national health care being a Communist Plot, while our fiscally reckless neighbors dig in and scream about the lack of a national health care plan being an Evil Greedhead Scheme to Steal Grandpa's Wheelchair, we can hardly blame our Senators for ignoring the screams and voting with their Democratic Party friends, who will then seem to be the most reasonable people they know.

As regular readers know, this web site defines "a reasonable plan" for a medical care safety net in specific terms that include:

1. There must be some sort of guarantee that the medical treatment that saves someone's physical life won't be allowed to destroy the person's socioeconomic life. We've had this guarantee, de facto, for a long time: people who've been rushed to hospital emergency rooms have been saying, "How much is this going to cost?" and hearing, "You'll receive a bill, a large bill, but if you can't pay it the state will cover it," at least as long as I've been alive. The idea of government chipping in what patients can't pay is not new. Only acknowledging it in an official law is new.

2. However, this guarantee must ensure that only the actual cost of treatment will be paid, from a fund that's created for this purpose, without subsidizing any unnecessary expenses such as the cost of financing insurance gambling schemes.

3. Patients must be able to obtain medical treatment anonymously, as long as they can pay for it themselves. Any attempt to tie medical records into tax records must be thwarted. Sharing this information via the Internet must be treated not as a legitimate requirement for a medical care plan, but as a crime...because otherwise embarrassing, contagious medical conditions, from head lice to AIDS, will go untreated and become epidemics. Only when patients give up the effort to pay their own medical bills should there be any contact with any government records of any kind.

4. Decisions about medical care must be made by patients, their doctors (in case of doubt they should be able to consult as many additional doctors as they consider necessary), and, if patients are unconscious, their next of kin. Neither government nor insurance company employees should have any influence on any medical decision.

5. The medical care emergency fund must be financed as a straightforward tax, without any mandate that any individual buy into any kind of long-term scheme. Government should report to the public on the amount of money required to pay last year's emergency medical expenses, and should collect no more than that amount this year. Only when and as actual medical expenses increase should the amount of money allocated to paying those expenses increase. There should be at least a one-year period between the issuance of a patient's medical bill and the presentation of the unpaid balance of that bill to the fund, during which the patient should be encouraged to pay his or her own bill.

The cost of having developed medical science to the point where most people can expect to be active into their eighties, with a little medical help when necessary, is that we will have to help retired and disabled people pay for that medical help. However, there's no need to allow any collective medical care expenses to be inflated by allowing third parties to add their own blank checks to Grandpa's medical bill. Nobody minds buying the neighbor's Grandpa a wheelchair, or a kidney...but nobody should ever be asked to pay some insurance company executive's son's tuition at The Fearfully Expensive Private University for Wealthy Slackers.