The Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences (VIMS), in cooperation with the United Nations, has issued a UN report on nutrient threats and benefits involving production agriculture. The 128-page report prepared by 50 experts is entitled “Our Nutrient World – The Challenge to Produce More Food and Energy with Less Pollution.” The report suggests farmers must [...]
Great American Heroes (Comments Off)
With all the grim economic news and continued partisanship in our great nation, one must look to the true character of regular men and women in our work force who are making a tremendous difference and saving lives.
Presidential contender Newt Gingrich was criticized recently for his remarks regarding judicial activism. He claimed parts of our modern court system are engaging in “…a fundamental assault on our liberties…” Further, Gingrich contends the Founding Fathers wanted “…to have a balance of power, not to have a dictatorship by any one of the three branches.” [...]
Second Amendment supporters must rise to another challenge in coming months. The horrific Newtown, Connecticut school massacre has heightened anti-gun rumblings to a crescendo. It was also predictable that weapons sales would surge in Virginia and nationwide, at least partly in fear that new federal laws might be enacted. Although anti-gun clamors have arisen after [...]
(This column ran in the January 7th edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch.) President Barack Obama signed a law last week that keeps taxes from going up on most Americans, but the potential for sequestration was delayed for just two months. The sequestration — across the board cuts in government spending — has significant implications [...]
As our nation seems to be slowly moving out of recession, it is important that our next Governor continue to job creating focus that Governor Bob McDonnell has had during his Administration. So far only candidate Ken Cuccinelli has presented a Economic Development Plan that outlines what he would do in taxes and spending. Terry [...]
I had occasion the other day to visit an inner city convenience store in Richmond while working on an article (see the next issue of the Jefferson Policy Journal). I am not exactly Mr. Health Food Guy — I won’t touch tofu, cauliflower or fish oil — but even I was appalled by the wares [...]
It is not news that affluent families extend their advantage of wealth and connections to the next generation in ways more tangible than trust funds: their kids invariably compile better grades and test scores, accomplish more in extracurricular and leadership activities, and win admission to better ranked colleges with the best rates of placing their [...]
Don’t Google “Energy Justice” and think you will find any there. Forget “Energy Ethics” and leave “Energy Truth” alone. In a normal world these shorthand terms should take you to discussions on the relationship of energy to poverty and the injustice of policies that impose relatively greater burdens on the poor and disposed than they [...]
(This article first appeared in the April issue of Surface Transportation Innovation.) This is not an environment newsletter, but since a growing amount of transportation policy stems from concern over global warming, it’s important for transportation people to keep up-to-date on this critically important subject. To that end, you should read two recent articles that [...]
EPA’s draft guidance on identifying waters which may be wetlands was issued on April 27, 2011. My recent blog discussed the concern an Illinois congressman had regarding the impact of this guidance on agriculture and farmers.
One year ago this month, I wrote “Animal agriculture may soon owe Feld Entertainment Inc., the parent company of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, a deep debt of gratitude” (April 23, 2012). Now, a win on attorneys’ fees in U.S. District Court by Feld (a Virginia based company) at the end of March, [...]
As part of Obamacare, states are invited–it was going to be essentially federal compulsion, but the Supreme Court changed this last June–to sign up millions of new people for Medicaid, the health insurance program for the non-elderly. Washington is to pay the expansion’s entire cost for three years, and (ratcheting down to 90 percent) nearly [...]
Remembering Reagan at 101 (Comments Off)
It was an honor to know and work for Ronald Reagan, whose 101st birthday we celebrate this month. I “cut my political teeth” working for him in West Texas in 1976 and 1980, running for the U.S. House at his suggestion in 1978, and later serving in his administration in several executive positions. I was [...]
(This column ran in the Richmond Times Dispatch on February 4, 2013.) Home affordability in the Richmond region stood at its highest level in the third quarter of last year since 2003. The region had 51.9 percent of households that could afford to buy a median-priced home — with half the houses selling for more [...]
Reviving the Great Melting Pot (Comments Off)
A century ago, Americans expected immigrants to learn English and adapt to a new culture. Would it be politically incorrect to encourage today’s immigrants to “Americanize”?
A little-noticed vote in Richmond last week shows the difficulty of keeping government within reasonable bounds when a significant private-sector player, allied with officialdom, seems to prefer the status quo. A bill to make life easier for farmers with small commercial sidelines lost by a wide margin in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, even though the [...]
The search warrant served on the JMU Breeze in the aftermath of JMU’s riot violated the the Federal Privacy Protection Act.
For a moment, let’s accept President Obama’s recent statement on its face value: “the private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government, oftentimes cuts initiated by, you know, governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in [...]
Citizens vs. Media Access (Comments Off)
Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act is a citizens’ law, not a press law. It is the people’s right to know, not just a reporter’s right to know. But sometimes practice deviates from that ideal. Here’s why.
A Rocky Business: Quarries in Virginia (Comments Off)
Modern quarries in the Old Dominion owe their existence to the automobile – and muddy roads. In fact, in 1928, before the state took over road maintenance, Fairfax County opened a quarry near Centreville to extract crushed stone for county roads. Now privately owned, the Luck Stone Corporation quarry site on Route 29 provided material [...]
Thanks to the Governor’s $4 billion transportation program and the Attorney General’s big victory against Obamacare, December 2010 is a month to remember in Virginia.
The debate over uranium mining in Virginia is reaching a crescendo as the Virginia General Assembly meets for its 2012 Session and those in favor and those opposed are ready to battle over this important public policy and economic development issue. While this is important , especially to those who live in Southside Virginia, the [...]
State Retirement System: Investments Solid for Now (Comments Off)
In the waning months of service as one of nine Virginia Retirement System trustees, I find myself in simpatico with Rod Smyth, Chairman of the VRS Investment Advisory Committee, and Chief Investment Strategist for Riverfront Investment Group. Smyth describes VRS assets: “stocks (domestic and international), a wide spectrum of bond/credit (from Treasuries to high yield), [...]
Now that the nagging issue of our transportation needs has been settled for the foreseeable future, it is time to turn to serious tax reform that can grow our economy, provide more spending money for our citizens, and relieve businesses of some truly job-killing taxes. This can be done in a creative and revenue neutral fashion and it [...]
In order to implement and measure the effectiveness of the programs proposed by President Obama and Governor Kaine we need a better understanding of our land. The US and Virginia both need better maps.
Regardless of how one feels about the recent transportation law, all agree it will pour over $1 billion of year into Virginia’s aging transportation infrastructure and should build necessary capacity to meet our growing infrastructure needs. Governor McDonnell did all elected officials, and the two candidates for Governor this year, a huge favor by moving [...]
Is Virginia’s P3 Program at Risk? (Comments Off)
(This article is reprinted by Surface Transportation Innovations, a monthly newsletter by Reason Foundation.) The state with the longest track record in public-private partnerships (P3s) for transportation infrastructure is clearly Virginia. It enacted the first workable general enabling legislation for P3s back in 1995 (the Public-Private Transportation Act—PPTA) and despite a few early stumbles, has generated substantial private capital [...]
While serving on the Fairfax County Planning Commission, I heard numerous citizen arguments to various development and infrastructure projects. Change, particularly in land use, is often hard to accept and spawns cries ranging from “Not In My Back Yard” (NIMBY) to “Build Absolutely Nothing, Anywhere Near Anybody” (BANANA). Economic growth and progress are dependent on [...]
When William Levitt first proposed building 17,000 homes on Long Island, he ran into a problem. Existing building codes, first developed in an age of horse-drawn buggies and gas lamps, prohibited the kind of mass production and basement-less homes that could be afforded by the returning GIs they were designed for. Not until resistant local [...]