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27 December 2014


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Stuart Wood

Col. Lang,
Always enjoy and learn a lot from your blog and comments and probably agree with you 90% of the time.

Stuart Wood, retired Maj. USAF


Col. Lang,
In response to this comment of yours, "My father used to say that I should remember that the US is not a popular democracy. He stressed that it really is a federal republic with limited democracy. " He was prescient and accurate.

I think many of us Americans need to think about and question what our form of government is. I recall being laughed at when I was in 5th grade and allowed to attend class with a cousin two years older, since I was there from a NY village for a funeral in Massachusetts. I was precocious, and the teacher was indulgent in letting me answer what type of government we had. My response, a Republic, was met by derisive laughter by those in the class. Apparently, the correct answer was "a democracy." That was 55 years ago.

I later encountered this: "Shine Perishing Republic" by Robinson Jeffers: http://www.antiwar.com/orig/jeffers1.html from 1925 I believe.



My father was a great example of autodidact achievement. he ran away from home while in high school and enlisted in the US Army. he read a great deal all his life and understood what he read. he was a perfect example of the ranker who rises to commissioned status and deserves it. He approved of the forms of US Government and feared what he thought of as "the mob." pl


One way to improve politics would be for every voter to have to answer the questions that prospective citizens have to before they are allowed to vote. At a minimum, they would have a basic knowledge about the government that they are voting for.

After I did it, I asked numerous friends the 7 questions I had to answer and none of them could answer even one.

One question that I have yet to have anyone answer correctly is: How many voting members are there in the US Congress?

Maybe I will have better luck here?

Hank Foresman

Pat I concur with your assessment of Governor “Carpetbagger” McCauliffe is trying to remake the Commonwealth into an image that is strange and foreign to us who have lived in Commonwealth for more than a few years. Governor McCauliffe believes if you smooze the General Assembly sufficiently they will come around to his way of thinking, after a year of trying I think he is beginning to realize that they will kindly and politely drink his beer and booze and then not do what he wants them to do.

Regarding the independent commission for redistricting. In this case it was not the Governor who proposed such an idea, but rather the heads of his ethics commission; former Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling (Republican) and former Congressman Rick Boucher (Democrat). Gerrymandering is a pervasive ill which infect the political class—preservation of incumbents; or in the case of Virginia 3rd Congressional district, drawing boundaries so as to place as many African-American voters into Representative Scott’s district as possible. Likewise the 7th Congressional district (Representative Bratt’s) was drawn in such a way to maximize rural conservative voters to continue to elect Eric Cantor until he screwed up and was challenged and defeated in a primary.

While we are not a democracy; rather a representative republic, the Supreme Court when it ruled beginning with Reyonolds v. Sims in a series of redistricting cases see http://www.redistrictinginamerica.org/courtcases/, that legislative districts should be compact, contiguous, maintain political boundaries where possible, and be equal in population; though the Supreme Court has allowed greater population deviation in state legislative districts than congressional districts.

According to http://ballotpedia.org/State-by-state_redistricting_procedures there are 9 states that use Commissions, 13 that use a Hybrid method, and 28 which the legislatures redistrict. The results in California may be instructive, as the end result was more competitive elections in several of the Congressional districts to include several incumbents having to battle each other in primary elections because they were placed in the same district.

Based on some computer modeling I did on the Congressional Districts non- gerrymandered districts in Virginia would result in 5 Districts that would favor the Republicans, 4 that would favor the Democrats and two that would a toss up. I did not have time to deal with either the House of Delegates or the Senate, but I suspect the State Senate might tilt towards the Democrats by on or two seats; and the House of Delegates would tilt to the Republicans by 10 to 15 seats. The end result would be more competitive elections and a sense by the people that redistricting was not an incumbent protection scheme.

Nancy K

535 and yes I did google it,


Regarding guns, would note that at Clark Brothers, they outfitted the bear (on the roof) in Santa Claus togs for the season!


Brig. Gen. Hamid Taqavi KIA against ISIS.


Hank foresman

SWMBO agrees with you on the re-destricting commission. I do not. IMO politics is about interests, not justice. Neither side in the general assembly will ever willingly give up gerrymandering. It's the Virginia Way. I, personally am not interested in participating in any more lost crusades. Dodo Dillard used to tell the story of his encounter with JA Lejeune when that estimable gentleman was superintendent. Dillard was answering a minor report to the Supe because he insisted on doing so. He felt he was wrongly accused. He told Lejeune that. The boss rose to his feet and said, "Mr. Dillard, do you mean that you have been here three years and we have not succeeded in teaching you that that there is no justice..." pl


Hank Foresman

"rather a representative republic" No a federal republic, If we were a representative republic then the senate would not be configured as it is. If we were a representative republic the states would be mere administrative districts and they are not. pl

Hank Foresman

Sorry Pat we are a representative republic, despite the fact the Senate gave each state equal representation because of the Great Compromise. Mr. Madison wanted the Senate to be based on population, but the small states wanted to prevent the large states from overpowering their interest.
You are correct that neither side will willingly give up gerrymandering so the chance of the commission coming about is nil--that being said does not mean it would not be a better way that we must endure every ten years.
Curious what is SWMBO?


hank Foresman

Please do not attempt to lecture me on constitutional history. What Madison wanted is irrelevant. What matters is what was enacted. Reality matters. pl

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