An Open Letter To Governor Bob McDonnell On Virginia’s Confederate History Month

Dear Governor McDonnell:

I am writing to express my profound disappointment your decision earlier this month to issue a proclamation designating April to be Confederate History Month in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Speaking as someone who voted for you last year based on the campaign you ran, this is not the image of the Old Dominion that I want to see spread across the nation, and I think it’s unfortunate that you choose to issue a proclamation that has resulted in just that.

First, it was an egregious mistake to fail to include any reference to the role that the institution of slavery played in the run up to the Civil War and in life in Virginia under the Confederacy. As you said in the amended proclamation that you issued yesterday afternoon “the institution of slavery led to this war and was an evil and inhumane practice that deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights.” While you corrected this mistake yesterday, it is disturbing to me that you, or someone in your office, apparently considered the very reason for the Civil War to be irrelevant to a proclamation about the Civil War.

More important than the omission of slavery, though, is the very idea of having a “Confederate History Month” in the 21st Century. It’s worth noting that in his Cornerstone Speech in March 1861, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens called slavery and the subjugation of  an entire race to be the cornerstone upon which the Confederate States of America were founded. Setting aside a day to commemorate such a government, or even just Virginia’s involvement in that government,  is not in fitting with the image that Virginia, one of the birth places of the American Revolution and home to some of it’s greatest Presidents, should be projecting to the rest of the United States and the world.

Free Market Whack-a-Mole: Virginia DMV reverses Uber, Lyft ban as Pennsylvania lowers the hammer

Uber Whack-a-Mole

It seems neverending. Innovation springs out of necessity, and — in an ideal world — that innovation provides services cheaper, faster, and better than the old status quo. Unfortunately for innovation, government bureaucrats in the real world come along and lower the hammer, either through excessive fees or prohibitive regulations or outright bans.

This has never been more evident than in the battle over ride-sharing services like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.

At this point, readers probably think this author is obsessed; however, it’s experiences like these where most Americans interact with the notion of liberty and the free market and realize the costly affects of government intervention.

Until everyone agrees that liberty and the free market are good and burdensome regulations are bad, I’ll keep writing.

There’s good news and bad news today. First, the good news:

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, which previously sent cease-and-desist letters to both Uber and Lyft, has decided to lift their outright ban, according to a press release from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which is based in Arlington, Virginia:

Eric Cantor just lost his seat in the House to a Tea Party challenger

Dave Brat has defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) for the Republican nomination in Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District.

With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Brat holds a nearly 7,100-vote lead over Cantor, in what will almost certainly be considered a referendum on immigration reform as well as a huge upset for the Republican establishment.

There have been rumors that Republicans would bring immigration reform to the floor for a vote, likely this summer. Though Cantor said he opposed the Senate version of the bill, Brat hammered him on the issue throughout the campaign.

Tonight’s results are a shock. No one expected that Brat, an economics professor, would pose a serious threat to Cantor. But the Majority Leader’s campaign had taken as an unusually negative tone in recent weeks for a race that wasn’t supposed to be on anybody’s radar.

Brat’s primary victory is truly a testament to the grassroots. He raised only $206,663 since he began his campaign in January and reported $83,870 in cash-on-hand at the end of the first quarter. Cantor, however, boasted $5.4 million in campaign contributions and had $1.5 million on-hand.

Today in Liberty: Terry McAuliffe and Virginia Democrats dealt a big blow, Bergdahl doesn’t want doctors to call him “sergeant”

“No branch of government should ever be able to combine the power of the sword with the power of the purse.” — George Mason

— Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Democrats dealt a big blow: State Sen. Phillip Puckett (D-Russell) gave Republicans control of the upper chamber and the upper hand in an ongoing budget battle with Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Sunday night by resigning his seat in the legislature. “Puckett’s stunning resignation throws Democratic budget strategy into chaos and opens the way for Republicans to seize control of the chamber and reorganize its committees with GOP majorities,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. “The resignation also may clear the way for the Senate to confirm Puckett’s daughter for a full six-year term as a juvenile court judge in Southwest Virginia.” McAuliffe, who was elected last year, has made Medicaid expansion the centerpiece of his agenda, but Republicans in the legislature have pushed back. The Senate, controlled by Democrats until now, had blocked the budget passed by the House of Delegates because it lacked Medicaid expansion. The stalemate could lead to a government shutdown at the beginning of July. Puckett’s resignation could allow the Senate to pass a budget that excludes Medicaid expansion, which would make McAuliffe responsible for a shutdown if he vetoes it. Republicans, by the way, have a good shot of keeping Puckett’s seat. The Virginian-Pilot notes that his state Senate district has “pulled the lever for GOP candidates by roughly 2-to-1 margins in the past two statewide election.”

Don’t let Terry McAuliffe’s crony DMV push free market innovation out of Virginia

Uber and Lyft under fire in VA

Government bureaucrats are at it once again in their quest to stomp out innovation in the market. Virginia’s Commissioner for the Department of Motor Vehicles sent cease and desist letters to both Lyft and Uber on June 5, warning the companies to stop their innovative and affordable private driver services or face thousands of dollars in fines.

From the letter to Uber:

Virginia law requires passenger carriers to have proper operating authority. Although certain types of passenger carrier arrangements are excluded from this requirement, none of those exclusions applies to Uber’s operations. For example, Va. Code 46.2-2000.] contains an exclusion For ride-sharing arrangements; however, a separate statute sets out the requirements for ride-sharing arrangements. This statute defines ride-sharing arrangements as those which do not involve transporting passengers for profit. See Va. Code 46.2-1400, et seq. Uber’s operations are not ridesharing arrangements as defined in Virginia law because Uber receives compensation for its services.

The Virginian-Pilot reports:

Today in Liberty: Dems worried Obama will compromise, Fourth Amendment at the Supreme Court

“One area of common ground for most politically engaged people (who aren’t cronies) is the issue of crony capitalism. [M]ost people, libertarians, progressives, liberals, conservatives, pretty much agree that using the government to further the interests of private parties for profit is wrong.”Nick Sorrentino

— Dems worried Obama will compromise: That relies on the assumption that Democrats perform poorly this fall, of course. “With Obama’s political career winding down and poll numbers continuing to languish, his party brethren fret that their own president — forced to work with GOP majorities — would give away the store on key policy issues ranging from the budget to energy and trade,” Politico explains. “It’s a concern congressional Democrats have voiced every time Obama and Vice President Joe Biden tried to cut big fiscal deals with Republicans — and the panic is now more palpable with the growing prospect of a Senate GOP majority.” Oh, God forbid President Obama wake up to a new reality on January 3, 2015 and realize he needs to, you know, actually work with Republicans if he wants salvage his legacy.

Poll: Virginians less likely to back Medicaid expansion when tied to Obamacare

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) is currently traveling around the Commonwealth of Virginia to build support for his push to expand Medicaid and apply pressure to the Republican-controlled House of Delegates to get behind the biggest initiative of his nascent term in office.

Virginians, however, haven’t been swayed by McAuliffe’s arguments for Medicaid expansion, part of Obamacare made optional through the 2012 Supreme Court decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.

A poll commissioned by the Foundation for Government Accountability found that though likely voters initially support Medicaid expansion by a very small margin, their moods shift as they learn more about it.

Voters were first asked, “The Legislature and Governor are deciding whether or not to expand Virginia’s Medicaid program to give taxpayer-funded Medicaid health coverage to 400,000 mostly working-age, non-disabled adults with no kids. Knowing this, do you support or oppose expanding Medicaid in Virginia?”

Forty-two percent (42%) of voters said that they support Medicaid expansion, while 41% oppose it (numbers have been rounded). That’s within the poll’s +/- 4.5 margin of error. Around 13% were undecided.

Today in Liberty: Judge strikes down Virginia’s gay marriage ban, House Dems want vote on minimum wage

“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” — James Madison

— Bonus daily quote: “I’m calling this storm Snowbama because it frees people from having to work.” — David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute

— Federal court strikes down Virginia’s gay marriage ban: U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen struck down Virginia’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in an opinion issued very late last night. Gay and lesbian individuals share the same capacity as heterosexual individuals to form, preserve and celebrate loving, intimate and lasting relationships,” Wright Allen wrote in the 41-page opinion. “Such relationships are created through the exercise of sacred, personal choices — choices, like the choices made by every other citizen, that must be free from unwarranted government interference.” The judge cited the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia, which struck down the Commonwealth’s ban on interracial marriage and determined that marriage is a fundamental right. Wright Allen stayed her decision, pending appeal in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Senate Dems voice concerns to Obama, Biden

Fearing backlash from voters in their states, some Senate Democrats met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday to voice their concern about the mounting problems with Obamacare.

President Obama and Vice President Biden heard their concerns about glitches and security concerns with the federal Obamacare exchange website, according to a report from CNN. The insurance cancellation letters that millions of Americans are receiving were also brought up, though how prominent that issue was is the discussion is unclear.

Senate Democrats, especially ones who are vulnerable next year, have been in a panic about the law since the beginning of October, when the Obama Administration launched a glitchy website that they knew wasn’t ready. That concern increased when the news began prominently covering insurance cancellations and President Obama’s lie that Americans could keep their health plan.

The concern over the cancellations is odd, given that Senate Democrats, including the vulnerable members, voted en masse to keep the rules that have caused the cancellations in place. Those vulnerable members are Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Kay Hagan (D-NC), all of whom attended the meeting with President Obama.

Sarvis and the Role of a Third Party in Tight Races

Robert Sarvis

The close race that was the Virginia governor’s race, where Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli lost by a smaller than predicted margin to Clinton campaigner-in-chief Terry McAuliffe, has led to some very interesting — although not altogether new — discussions about the role of a third party candidate in a tight election. And, while it’s becoming fairly clear that the, as Allahpundit at HotAir puts it, “fake libertarian didn’t cost Cuccinelli the election” in terms of vote count, that doesn’t mean that Sarvis being in the race and the support he was given by some influential power-brokers didn’t actually help to harm Cuccinelli in the end.

First, the argument that Sarvis had nothing to do with Cuccinelli’s loss. The numbers look right to make that argument. From new and compelling blog The Federalist:

Remember that the total difference between your average Cuccinelli county (R+25) and your average McAuliffe county (D+22) was a swing of nearly 47 percent, yet the difference in Sarvis support between those two massively different electorates was less than 1 percent.

Those numbers — namely the fact that there is so little difference in Sarvis support in counties with wildly different candidate preferences — strongly suggest that Sarvis was a “none of the above” candidate, not a Cuccinelli siphon or a traditional spoiler in the mold of Ralph Nader.

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