Friday, January 29, 2010

Capito Questions Obama at House Republican Conference

Congresswoman Raises Coal, Cap-and-Trade

WASHINGTON – House Republicans invited President Obama to address their conference this morning and – after making his remarks – the President took questions from Republican Members of Congress, including a question from Rep. Shelley Moore Capito:

REP. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO: “Thank you Mr. President for joining us here today. As you said on your… in the State of the Union address on Wednesday, jobs and the economy are number one. And I think everyone in this room, certainly I, agree with you on that.

“I represent the state of West Virginia. We're resource rich. We have a lot of coal and a lot of natural gas.

“But our… my miners and the folks who are working and those who are unemployed are very concerned about some of your policies in these areas: cap-and-trade, an aggressive EPA and the looming prospect of higher taxes. In our minds, these are job-killing policies.

“So I'm asking… if you would be willing to re-look at some of these policies, with the high unemployment and the unsure economy that we have now, to assure West Virginians that you're listening.”

Forgetting Race?

Above is a well-written analysis of the latest Chris Matthews gaffe in which he said that during the State of the Union Address, Matthews forgot that Obama was black. It is the latest in a two year series of bizarre remarks by Democrats about Obama. Bill Clinton claimed at one point that Obama would have been getting him coffee two years ago. Harry Reid praised Obama at one point for lacking a "Negro dialect," whatever that means. Others praised Obama for being articulate, a compliment that strikes blacks as insulting because it insinuates that most people of that race are not.
Liberals seem to have more trouble with race issues these days than Republicans. Why?
Matthews himself provides part of the answer. His experience with race issues comes from the 1960s. Ways of thinking about race and black individuals have gone by the wayside. The 21st century idea is to acknowledge race, understand that blacks have pride in where they come from, but to also judge on merit rather than appearance.
The article above, consciously or unconsciously, paraphrases Martin Luther King Jr. when describing the position of Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and black conservatives, that people are to be judged by their merit, not color. I have a sneaking suspicion this is a conservative subversive in the mainstream media.
Conservatives in recent years have much less trouble with race discussions because they normally do not have them. They never tripped over the idea of having two black secretaries of state. George W. Bush picked the most qualified individuals available to him, their skin color was incidental and never was made an issue except by liberals in the media. Condoleeza Rice is one of the most intelligent human beings in the United States. Conservatives would rather discuss her accomplishments as an academic, a diplomat, and a person who rose from abject poverty more than they want to obsess over skin color.
The fact is that it is liberals who remain stuck in the past on race issues. Conservatives have demonstrated the proper and acceptable way to deal with the issue. Judge people as individuals only. Discuss them as individuals only. If they have merit, they rise. Simple as that.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

State of the Union

Obama once again tried his smoke and mirrors speaking act. Every time he rolls out his alleged gift for speaking he makes a more poor showing. When he was talking about nothing and had nothing of substance to talk about during the campaign it was an asset. Now that he has a track record (nearly all bad) his speeches cannot return to those days of airy and meaningless words and phrases.

He did propose one thing to try and divide Republican antipathy twoards him, a discretionary spending freeze that could save $25 billion per year. Unfortunately for Congress this puts the onus on them to decide to stop sending more and more money back home to their own districts. Their inability to follow through will give Republicans even more ammunition next November. Also, $25 billion per year is a drop in the bucket compared to the dramatic debt raising proposals of health care deform. He is trying to confuse the electorate by saying he wants to freeze spending. In reality his proposals before Congress will cost us trillions. Next to that, $25 billion per year is like most of us deciding to put $5 per week into savings, but also deciding to take out a loan on a Rolls Royce. Then we try to tell ourselves that we have cut our debt in some significant way.

In 2008, Republcians grudgingly admired Obama's ability to captivate the crowds and the media. Tuesday night they described with glee, and perhaps a sign of relief, his rambling, incohernet, overly aggressive tone. Before the speech, they laughed about drinking games where you had to take a drink every time Obama said "I." If anyone persisted in this, they would have gotten alcohol poisoning. The blame Bush mantra was out in full force. Obama is responsible for nothing at any time or any place, including the bank bailouts that he supports, but hates and was never around to vote upon when he was in the Senate.

Obama damaged himself with his cheap shot against the Supreme Court. Samuel Alito had a Joe Wilson moment when cameras caught him mouthing the words "that's not true." He might as well have shouted "you lie" because it once again focuses attention on Obama's increasing inability to speak on any issue coherently or truthfully.

The president is in full panic mode and he did nothing to reassure his opponents or friends this week.

Here is a link to the Yahoo News/ Associated Press fact check of the State of the Union speech. Predictably, what Obama says does not always match the truth 100% of the time.

Capito Reacts to State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON – Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., released the following statement this evening, reacting to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address:

“Tonight we saw the President make a noticeable shift in tone. He put the economy front and center and I applaud him for doing so, yet it’s critical that we see a change in the agenda – not simply a change in rhetoric.

“West Virginians are hurting. Many have lost their jobs. And instead of seeing lawmakers foster an environment of job creation and economic security, they’ve seen Congress spend billions on a failed stimulus and push a trillion dollar health plan that will cut Medicare and raise taxes.

“Our constituents want to know that we’re listening to them, and they want to know that the President is listening to them too. They’re tired of a Washington agenda that’s pushing massive government programs – from health care to cap-and-trade – while the average family is simply trying to make ends meet and put food on the table. And they’re tired of seeing deficits as far as the eye can see.

“This past year alone we’ve seen record increases in discretionary spending. So while I appreciate the President’s call for a spending freeze, it’s important that we put it in perspective. His proposal is a start, but it’s far from a total solution.

“Simply put, the American people want to see a real focus on solutions that can impact their lives. I hope that’s where we can go as this year plays out.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's Your Gov't - McGeehan

Underwood Fellow Michael Holt interviews Delegate Pat McGeehan (R- Hancock) about his priorities for 2010.

West Virginia House of Delegates Proposed Cap and Trade Resolution

Thanks to Delegate Jonathan Miller for providing a link to this. He blasted the measure in a Facebook statement, saying "In fact, the resolution endorses solution that harm the coal industry like our recently passed mini cap and trade." Miller went on to state that "You can't fight cap and trade with cap and trade. This is a flawed strategy and spells doom for our state" and "This resolution is essentially saying, 'We want to destroy the coal industry, just not as fast as Obama wants to.'"

In other news, Shelley Moore Capito has taken a leading role in the newly formed Coal Caucus. Her congressional counterparts have declined to participate in any meaningful way.

(By Mr. Speaker, (Mr. Thompson), and Delegate Armstead)
(By Request of the Executive)
Expressing the will of the Legislature to oppose the adoption of a national cap and trade program for carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions that is unduly burdensome to the State of West Virginia and to support measures that encourage investments in technology to address carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions, and requesting that West Virginia's congressional delegation resist and oppose efforts to adopt a national cap and trade program that is detrimental to our State.Whereas, The adoption of a national cap and trade program for carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions would have serious financial and economic implications for the State of West Virginia; andWhereas, House Resolution 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, hereinafter referred to as the Act, is pending approval in Congress; andWhereas, The Act calls for the establishment of a national cap and trade program that, if effected, would reduce West Virginia's gross domestic product by an estimated $750 million by 2020 and by an estimated $1.75 billion by 2030; andWhereas, West Virginia would lose up to 10,000 jobs by 2020 and up to 22,000 jobs by 2030 if the proposed cap and trade program is enacted; andWhereas, The industries that would be most affected by the proposed cap and trade program include mining, retail trade and health care; andWhereas, West Virginia is investing heavily in technology designed to limit carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions, including a $100 million investment by American Electric Power in carbon sequestration and capture technology at its Mountaineer Plant in Mason County, a state-of-the-art facility that is the first of its kind in the world; andWhereas, Globally, more coal is being used than ever, and demand is projected to rise to even greater levels as more coal- fired power plants are built in other countries; andWhereas, Coal will continue to be a primary energy source to meet these additional demands and therefore the United States should lead the way in advancing cleaner coal technology; andWhereas, Additional investments are needed to address carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining the current energy supply; and Whereas, The Legislature, with the leadership and support of the Governor, enacted laws to reduce, within reasonable limits, carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions in this state by adopting an alternative and renewable energy portfolio standard and a regulatory framework for carbon capture and sequestration projects; andWhereas, For the sake of those individuals and families who depend upon the industries that would be affected by a national cap and trade program, the House of Delegates, the Senate, the Governor and West Virginia's congressional delegation must work together to ensure that any proposal to reduce carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions includes reasonable provisions intended to safeguard the security of this nation and West Virginia; therefore, be itResolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:That the Legislature of West Virginia is opposed to the adoption of a national cap and trade program for carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions if it creates unnecessary volatility in the energy market, fails to address the energy and security needs of this country, threatens the jobs of hardworking men and women, raises energy costs to an unacceptable amount, fails to provide for additional investments in technology or is otherwise unduly burdensome to the State of West Virginia; and, be itFurther Resolved, That the Legislature of West Virginia supports measures that encourage investments in technology to address carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions; and, be it Further Resolved, That the Legislature of West Virginia requests that West Virginia's congressional delegation resist and oppose efforts to adopt a national cap and trade program that is detrimental to our state; and, be it Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates forward a certified copy of this resolution to United States Senators Robert C. Byrd and John D. Rockefeller IV and Representatives Nick J. Rahall, Alan B. Mollohan and Shelley M. Capito.

Obama to Waste $200 Million Per Year, According to New York City Mayor

"We estimate the cost for security operations will be approximately 216 million dollars for the first year and 206 million dollars annually in subsequent years."
This statement comes directly from Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City. These costs come from the fact that Obama has determined that terror trial suspects will have their day in court in New York City. Of course Mayor Bloomberg, who once upon a time praised Obama, fears that the federal government will stick his city with the price tag. And why not? They stuck Virginia and Maryland with the cost of extra inauguration security and plan to pass on Medicare costs to states in health care reform. Surely New York City residents will enjoy paying extra taxes so that Obama can have his public relations moment?
Assuming these trials are a good idea, and maybe it is about time, why on earth do they have to be in New York City? Congress can set up a federal court anywhere on the planet. Why expose millions of New Yorkers to an extra risk of terrorism (and the fact that they plan on having $200 plus million per year for security measures indicates that they do fear it!) and waste gargantuan sums of money? Why not create a special federal court in a decommissioned military base out in the middle of nowhere? Security would be very cost effective in comparison and they could rotate sitting judges in and out. Even better might be the use of a decommissioned aircraft carrier or battleship. Terrorists would have a hard time breaching a floating fortress on the high seas and civilian lives would be completely protected.
Instead, Obama wants his PR moment, now matter how many lives it puts at risk or how many hundreds of millions of dollars he wastes of our money.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

America Tells CBS What It Thinks of Obama

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

CBS POLL: Obama Flunks First Year in Office
Recently the CBS News Blog invited readers to grade President Obama's first year in office. The unflattering results are posted below:

The Economy A:4.51%B: 7.27%C: 6.30% D: 17.19% F:64.73%

Foreign Policy A:9.55% B:6.48% C:10.05% D:22.11% F:51.80%

Health Care A:5.09% B:5.60% C:5.05% D:9.12% F:75.14%

Afghanistan A:5.89% B:16.01% C:27.13% D:23.13% F:27.84%

Iraq A:7.30% B:13.48% C:27.14% D:22.30% F:29.78%

Threat of Terrorism A:7.12% B:7.42% C:8.77% D:18.99% F:57.71%

Energy and the Environment A:6.45% B:7.99% C:13.96% D:19.01% F:52.58%

Social Issues-A:7.56% B:8.04% C:15.11% D:18.76% F:50.53%

Bipartisanship A:6.73% B:5.11% C:5.33% D:6.67% F:76.15%

Obama's Overall Job as President A:6.23% B:7.17% C:5.31% D:25.70% F:55.60%

CBS went on to remind us that this is not a scientific poll.

West Virginia Introduces Bill to Exempt Antique Motor Vehicles From Taxes and Fees

A bill (H.B. 2775) has been introduced in the West Virginia State Legislature to provide owners of antique motor vehicles with an exemption from taxation and fees. The bill is pending in the House Roads and Transportation Committee for consideration.

* West Virginia law defines an "Antique motor vehicle" to mean any motor vehicle which is more than twenty-five years old and is owned solely as a collector's item.

* H.B. 2775 exempts antique vehicle owners from sales tax and all other taxes and fees. Under the bill, certificates of title and other required permits would be granted free of charge.

Footsoldiers in Their Own Revolution

Two clarion calls came out this week about state legislative races. State Senator Clark Barnes made a public plea for interested individuals to get involved and run for State Senate or House of Delegates. Chris Stirewalt of the Washington Examiner interviewed Virginia state party chair Ed Gillespie, who described in an interview why he chose to move from the national party to Virginia's organization. Former Bush political guru Gillespie explained to Stirewalt that the state legislatures are where a huge part of the action is this year.

(For full Stirewalt story, see )

Interestingly Gillespie recommended that state party organizations harness the Tea Party movement in ways that even they have not always considered, namely running them for the state legislature. Why, Stirewalt stated, should Tea Party activists be footsoldiers in someone else's revolution? Put their energy and principles to work in their own races, then take their values to places where they really count. Social conservatives helped to advance the Reagan Reevolution in the 1980s and Scott Brown simply ran for Senate because he was mad as hell. Massachusetts shared his anxieties and anger and voted him into the Senate.

In West Virginia we have yet to fill all legislative races with Republicans. West Virginia Red suggests that some of the lesser known candidates for the West Virginia 1st Congressional (and there are quite a few) may want to consider running for the state legislature rather than Congress since well-funded and experienced individuals have filed for that race now. There they can put their energy and zeal to work and gain experience for a future run at higher office.

Why are legislatures so important? The 2010 census will require each state to adjust its districts to reflect population changes. West Virginia has seen how Democrats will twist and turn districts to try and gain the best advantage for legislative and congressional districts. Across the nation, these races need quality candidates and support from donors and volunteers. We can start at home by encouraging friends to run if they live in places lacking a Republican challenger. Then do what you can to help get them elected.

It's up to us, the time is now. Let's get out there and do it!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Coal-State Members Launch Congressional Coal Caucus

WASHINGTON – As energy issues remain at the forefront of the national political debate, a coalition of coal-state members of Congress announced today that they have teamed-up to form the Congressional Coal Caucus.

Calling coal “America’s most abundant and affordable energy resource,” the bipartisan group of congressmen and women note that coal provides nearly 50% of America’s energy supply and generates more than 130,000 coal-mining jobs. They’ve pledged to use their new caucus to provide a voice for coal communities in Congress.

“Coal is a critical component to our nation’s energy future,” said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. “Whether it’s on a cap-and-trade bill or on clean coal technology, this caucus will give coal-states a forum to highlight their priorities and present a unified voice. I’m proud to join my colleagues in forming this caucus and I look forward to our work together.”

“As a Congress, it is vitally important that we continue to support the development of clean coal technologies,” Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., said. “I am proud to help launch this caucus, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to help enact policies that will maximize America’s coal resources.”

Members joining Altmire and Capito in forming the coal caucus include Reps. Tim Holden (D-PA), Denny Rehberg (R-MT), John Salazar (D-CO) and John Shimkus (R-IL). Together the new coalition will promote awareness of American coal along with the new technologies currently on the horizon that can help make coal use cleaner and safer.

The six initial caucus members are also circulating a Dear Colleague inviting other members of Congress to join them.

“The Coal Caucus gives coal states like Pennsylvania a strong voice in Congress to encourage the use of coal as an affordable, reliable and increasingly clean source of energy,” said Rep. Tim Holden, D-Pa. “I am proud to be a part of this effort to promote economically and environmentally sound mining, reclamation and consumption practices including clean coal technologies on Capitol Hill.”

“America needs an all-of-the-above energy plan that increases domestic supplies, lowers costs and makes us less dependent on foreign sources of energy,” said Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont. “While many in Washington may think that energy comes from the wall outlet, Montanans have been in the energy production business long enough to understand the vital role coal plays in our country and our economy. As a caucus, we’ll focus on developing cleaner and more efficient ways to use America’s vast stores of coal, and by doing so, help create good-paying jobs and affordable energy for American families.”

“Coal is a vital resource in Colorado and throughout the nation, and will continue to play a role in helping meet our nation’s energy needs. Coal provides jobs in my district and nearly all of our energy is derived from coal. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Coal Caucus,” said Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo.

“With the current debates over energy policy as well as the environment, it is more important than ever that coal interests be represented in Congress,” said Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill. “We can move much faster toward energy independence by taking advantage of the enormous supply of coal that exists in my district and elsewhere in the nation. To ignore an abundant source of low-cost energy in our own country is absurd.”

States Need to Plan For Sovereignty

Obama's federal government plans to steamroll over any obstacle, including Congress, the state governments, and the people, to implement its global warming policies. He has baldly stated that if Congress does not act, he will simply have the Environmental Protection Agency implement regulatory law.

Here's the rub on federal regulatory law and executive orders for that matter. They flatly violate the Constitution. The very first words of the Constitution, after the preamble, state that "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States . . ." Not the president, not the Environmental Protection Agency, but Congress alone. This means that federal regulations and executive orders not passed by Congress technically and Constitutionally are not laws at all.

Then why do states fall in line with them? Because they are addicted to federal funding for schools, highways, social services, and who knows what else. Cross the government and Congress might take away your federal funding. So far, Congress has only directly threatened to take away funding if states defy that branch. It remains to be seen what might happen if states assert their Tenth Amendment rights solely against executive branch encroachment upon their rights.

States need to ask at this point, what is the worst that could happen if their legislatures voted and decided that the new EPA regulations did not apply to mining or manufacturing operations within their state boundaries. Would federal police or troops enforce the laws? Likely not, because California has quietly voided marijuana laws in their state in certain circumstances for many years. Advocates for federal agencies will argue that the Marshall Court's McCullough v. Maryland protects their actions against state action. However this case applied to a federal agency independently doing its job, not a federal agency compelling action on the part of others.

The cost of meeting federal mandates and obeying regulatory law probably costs states more in the long run than they receive from the federal government. Texas is opting out of federal funding of education because of that very circumstance. States that void regulatory law and executive orders to create a freer environment for business will reap more tax revenues because they suddenly get a competitive advantage over other states for business.

Does this mean we advocate the repeal or ignoring of all environmental law? Certainly not. However, if it is worthwhile, the people will demand it of the states and of the Congress. We do not need a dictatorial executive branch running off to create its own law without reference to the Constitution or the people.

States looking to reclaim their constitutional rights should start now and craft a "Plan For State Sovereignty." This means that they need to look at every dollar they get from the federal government and find ways to do without it. Compare the money they get to the total cost of what the feds expect, and find creative ways to make up the difference if there is any. In this way we can restore balance to the system and check the monstrous power of the federal government over the lives of people and the rights of the states.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Flash Flood Watch

Statement as of 4:38 AM EST on January 24, 2010

... Flash Flood Watch now in effect from 3 PM EST this afternoon
through Monday morning...

The Flash Flood Watch is now in effect for

* portions of Maryland... Virginia and northeast West Virginia.

* From 3 PM EST this afternoon through Monday morning

* a cold front will approach the area this afternoon and
tonight... bringing moderate to heavy rainfall. Rainfall amounts
of 1 to 2 inches are expected through early Monday
morning... with locally higher amounts in excess of 2 inches

* Flash flood guidance is low across the area. As little as one
half of an inch to one inch of rainfall in one hour or one to
one and a half inches of rainfall in three hours may cause
streams and creeks to overflow their banks.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead
to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation.

You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action
should flash flood warnings be issued.