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March 24th, 2013

In a Blow to VA Conservatives, Hate Fades on the National Scene

Posted in Politics, Society, Virginia by MB

The guy who happily used hate as a campaign tactic backs off a bit:

GOP strategist Karl Rove says he can imagine a Republican candidate in the next presidential campaign supporting gay marriage.

The statement from the former adviser to President George W. Bush appears to acknowledge that opposition to gay marriage has waned in some conservative circles.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, announced last week that he now supports gay marriage after learning one of his sons was gay.

Rove’s comment was part of a panel discussion on ABC’s “This Week.” He did not elaborate.

While the rapid pace of change has surprised even the most optimistic among us, the long game has never really been in question.  Alas, I’m pretty comfortable betting that, Virginia – a bastion of backwardness – will be among the last places to come around, when it comes to the law.  Remember, this is the place that fought interracial marriage all the way to the Supreme Court.

(And lost.)

 

March 5th, 2013

Cycling Advocacy’s Highest Goal, in 30 Seconds

Posted in Cycling, Personal, Society by MB

I would raise money to air this during the Super Bowl:

 

 

Share the Road from AAA Public Affairs on Vimeo.

February 21st, 2013

Just Over A Year Ago. And So Far Away.

Posted in Personal, Travel by MB

February 15th, 2013

Louisville 2013

Posted in Cycling, Photos, Travel by MB

Traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, for the UCI World Cyclocross Championships.   Wasn’t expecting anything in particular,m including the fantastic time everyone had.  Here it is, in pictures.  Make sure you turn the captions on.

February 2nd, 2013

Karachi, 2006

Posted in Personal, Travel by MB

Two children and a goat on the streets of Karachi, Pakistan

January 30th, 2013

Midweek Makeover: Old Man Edition

Posted in Music by MB

Ahem:

YouTube Preview Image

January 23rd, 2013

It’s Not Live, It’s . . .

Posted in Personal, Society by MB

January 9th, 2013

Fun with Guns in Richmond

Posted in Policy, Politics, Society, Virginia by MB

So Virginia’s favorite emissary from the Dark Ages, Del. Bob Marshall, is back in Richmond and ready to push guns into our schools. So Del. Marshall knows the law when it comes to guns, right? Check this out, from last month:

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 2.49.18 PM

 

For the record, you can take an online class and you do not need to be fingerprinted (in fact, Del.Bob Marshall voted to repeal that requirement just last year). Further, you do not need to show any kind of proficiency with a firearm in order to get a concealed carry permit. Finally, the online class? Is a rather unfunny joke. 

The quality of Virginia’s legislation and legislators is on full display here.

Update:

To save readers the trouble of verifying the above, here are the requirements for residents, as set out by the Virginia State Police (emphasis supplied):

Application for a Concealed Handgun Permit

Any person 21 years of age or older may apply in writing to the clerk of the circuit court of the county or city in which he or she resides, or if he is a member of the United States armed forces, the county or city in which he is domiciled, for a five-year permit to carry a concealed handgun.

[ . . .]

The court shall require proof that the applicant has demonstrated competence with a handgun and the applicant may demonstrate such competence by one of the following, but no applicant shall be required to submit to any additional demonstration of competence:

  1. Completing any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or a similar agency of another state;
  2. Completing any National Rifle Association firearms safety or training course;
  3. Completing any firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by a law-enforcement agency, junior college, college, or private or public institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or the Department of Criminal Justice Services;
  4. Completing any law-enforcement firearms safety or training course or class offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any division or subdivision of law enforcement or security enforcement;
  5. Presenting evidence of equivalent experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competition or current military service or proof of an honorable discharge from any branch of the armed services;
  6. Obtaining or previously having held a license to carry a firearm in this Commonwealth or a locality thereof, unless such license has been revoked for cause;
  7. Completing any firearms training or safety course or class, including an electronic, video, or on-line course, conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor;
  8. Completing any governmental police agency firearms training course and qualifying to carry a firearm in the course of normal police duties; or
  9. Completing any other firearms training which the court deems adequate.

A photocopy of a certificate of completion of any of the courses or classes; an affidavit from the instructor, school, club, organization, or group that conducted or taught such course or class attesting to the completion of the course or class by the applicant; or a copy of any document which shows completion of the course or class or evidences participation in firearms competition shall constitute evidence of qualification under this subsection.

No applicant shall be required to submit to any additional demonstration of competence, nor shall any proof of demonstrated competence expire.

[  . . . ]

The court shall issue the permit within 45 days of receipt of the completed application unless it appears that the applicant is disqualified.

Want an example of the kind of online class we’re talking about?  Check out VAGunTraining.com, where $25 and less than 25 minutes (the video itself is 17:28) will get you a certificate acceptable for a concealed carry permit.  From their FAQ:

Can I really get a Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit by just taking this class?

Just like any other training recognized by the state, you will still need to apply at your local courthouse and pay the appropriate fees. You must also pass the required background check conducted by your local courthouse. Our training satisfies the competency requirement for obtaining a Concealed Handgun Permit in the state of Virginia.

Is your class state recognized?

Yes. Virginia residents are able to obtain a Concealed Handgun permit by using our state-recognized class to prove firearm competency. You will still need to apply at your local courthouse and pass a background check.

So I can get a Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit without firing a gun?

Yes. The law requires passing a safety class that meets certain requirements. Our class meets and exceeds these requirements so firing a handgun is not required.

Think this might be too much?  No worries:

How hard is the test?

If you watch our video, the test will be incredibly easy for you to pass even if you have no prior firearm experience. We have a 99.9% first time pass rate.

If I fail the test, can I retake it for free?

Yes, you may retake the test as many times as you it takes for you to pass the exam free of charge. If you fail, we encourage you to rewatch the video.

This hasn’t always been the case, in Virginia.  Not too long ago, you did actually need to demonstrate competence at a range, and get fingerprinted (in Arlington, at least).  Now?  Well.

Don’t you feel safer knowing that anyone with $25 and no serious record can carry around a deadly weapon in his pocket?

January 5th, 2013

Intercontinental

Posted in Travel by MB

Bridge across the Bosphorus / Istanbul, Turkey.

January 2nd, 2013

Ask Del. Comstock to Stop Blocking Road Safety In Virginia

Posted in Cycling, Law, Virginia by MB

It’s almost time for the Virginia legislature to start a new session.  And once again, they’ll have an opportunity to help make Virginia’s roads safer by bringing its laws into line with the rest of the country.  For reasons I can’t fathom, this has somehow turned into a partisan question.  Fairfax’s Delegate Barbara Comstock has repeatedly stood in the way of laws that would lead to safer roads.  As WABA’s Greg Billing explains it:

Tonight, McLean Citizens Association will host a Town Hall meeting with several local legislators, including Delegate Barbara Comstock. Delegate Comstock cast the deciding votes last year to kill two bills that would help protect bicyclists: 1) A bill that would prevent motorists from following a bicyclist more closely than is reasonable. Virginia appears to be the only state where bicyclists are excluded from “following too close” provisions; 2) A bill that “Requires drivers to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian or the operator of a human-powered vehicle.” Virginia is one of only four states without this provision.

Both bills will be introduced again this year by Delegate Alfonso Lopez. Support from Delegate Comstock is key to their passage. Why not attend this meeting and ask Delegate Comstock to support these bills? The meeting is 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. at the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave, McLean.

For more information on these bills, see the talking points developed by Allen Muchnick of Virginia Bicycling Federation:

Meeting Details
McLean Community Center
1234 Ingleside Ave, McLean VA
Google Map Directions
Time: 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Can’t make tonight’s meeting? Please consider sending your comments to Delegate Comstock at bcomstock@delegatecomstock.com

I hope you’ll let her know what you think of this.