MS-13

The violent mestizo gang MS-13, the world’s largest, has stepped up efforts in Virginia and Maryland and they are recruiting kids from elementary schools.

Via WUSA 9

It starts early. WUSA9 learned Thursday, gang leaders are recruiting new members in a disturbing place: Elementary Schools.

“Oh grade-school. They’re recruiting in grade-school but generally 5th grade and on,” said Northern Virginia Regional Task Force Director Jay Lanham.

It may feel like they’re babies, but 5th grade and on, the time kids are starting to find themselves, has become a prime target age for MS-13 gang recruiting especially, according to Lanham.

His team is aiding the investigation into the gang-related murder of 15-year-old Alexandra Reyes-Rivas, the Montgomery County teen found dead in Springfield, Va. this past weekend.

Read more at this link.

Dusk on the Potomac
For our Afternoon Links, we scanned the local papers, blogs, and news websites for a roundup of news and opinion from Alexandria, Virginia and around the area. Here are five (5) news items that caught our eye.

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As House Votes, Beyer Delivers Speech On House Floor Condemning Republican Plan To Repeal Affordable Care Act

Beyer votes against GOP budget measure setting up attempt to repeal the healthcare reform

Virginia Congressman Don Beyer took to the floor of the House today to assail the Republican proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act without any replacement.

 “Together we’ve made significant progress on our budget deficits, but blowing up Obamacare will blow up our national debt [and be] the most fiscally irresponsible act since we waged two wars without paying for them,” said Rep. Don Beyer. “Repeal will cause the state of Virginia to lose up to 100,000 jobs and $50 billion in business output.”

 Beyer voted against the budget measure, S. Con. Res. 3, which is projected to add trillions of dollars to the national debt, and which was the first step towards a GOP attempt to repeal the landmark healthcare reform which brought coverage to tens of millions of Americans.

 The bill passed on a party-line vote.

Gary Johnson

This is somewhat significant as the Conservative Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper has endorsed every Republican presidential candidate since 1980 up till now.

Via RTD

The Times-Dispatch editorial board began to explore the possibility of endorsing Johnson and his running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, several weeks ago, as scandal continued to engulf the Democratic nominee while the Republican candidate’s statements and behavior daily piled distress upon puzzlement.

Johnson’s clear and consistent support for limited government, free enterprise, social tolerance and individual freedom appeals to our own philosophical leanings. An examination of his policy positions revealed that they often match our longstanding editorial creed. (Nearby, you’ll find an analysis of how the candidates fare when judged by the standards of that creed, as well as a look at the history of editorial endorsements by The Times-Dispatch.)

But our final decision to endorse the Johnson/Weld ticket, and to do so with great confidence and enthusiasm, came only after Johnson met with the editorial board last Monday morning. We found him to be knowledgeable but unscripted, reasonable and good-humored, self-assured but free from arrogance, willing and able to address every question, consistent in his beliefs without being dogmatic, even-tempered, curious — and in all respects optimistically, realistically presidential.

We have over the years interviewed hundreds of politicians — local, state, and national — and there’s no doubt that Johnson belongs in the major leagues, and on the debate stage this fall. He is a skilled and experienced leader, an able communicator, an intelligent man.

Read more of the endorsement online.

Lane Closures Lifted in Virginia for Labor Day Weekend Travel

Alternate route encouraged for Virginia Beach, Outer Banks traffic

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is prepared for the surge of travelers expected to use the commonwealth’s interstates and highways over the extended Labor Day holiday travel period.

From noon Friday, Sept. 2, until noon Tuesday, Sept. 6, VDOT is suspending most road work and lifting lane closures on most interstates in Virginia to ease the travel woes of Labor Day travelers.

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U.S. Senator Mark Warner & Tim Kaine
Virginia & Maryland Senators Urge Senate Majority Leader to allow Confirmation Vote on OPM Director

Today the U.S. Senators from Virginia and Maryland, together representing more than 630,000 current and retired federal workers, called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a confirmation vote on the President’s nominee to head the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Acting Director Beth F. Cobert. In a letter to Leader McConnell, Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) wrote that Cobert’s nomination is necessary in order to create “stable leadership” at the agency tasked with managing personnel issues for the federal government.

Cobert has served as OPM’s Acting Director since July 10, 2015 and was nominated by President Obama on November 10, 2015 to the Senate to be Director of OPM. Cobert’s nomination was unanimously approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on February 10, 2016 with the support of the Chairman and Ranking Member.

“Yet, in the ensuing 17 weeks, the Senate has failed to move the nomination forward,” the Senators wrote, “Despite bipartisan support and appreciation for her qualifications among Republicans and Democrats in both chambers of Congress.”

This week marks the one-year anniversary of one of the worst cyberattacks ever committed against the U.S. government, during which hackers breached OPM’s databases and stole the personal information and Social Security numbers of more than 20 million people. In the wake of that attack, OPM has been faced with the critical mission of improving cybersecurity, while also working to confront longstanding challenges to its core functions, such as delays in processing both retirement applications and background check investigations.

“Given the scope and magnitude of these challenges, it is unfortunate that one member of the Senate has continued to hold Ms. Cobert’s nomination for ideological reasons completely unrelated to her qualifications and performance,” the Senators told Leader McConnell. “While we understand our colleague has concerns relating to OPM rulemaking that occurred well prior to Ms. Cobert’s tenure at OPM, we continue to urge him to elevate those concerns in a productive and appropriate manner rather than hamstringing the agency at a moment when strong leadership is sorely needed.”

According to press reports, one Republican Senator has placed a “hold” on the nomination, which is an informal, nonbinding parliamentary procedure with the goal of preventing the nomination from coming to the Senate floor.

Noted Sens. Warner, Mikulski, Cardin and Kaine, “The sooner the Senate is able to provide its advice and consent in confirming Ms. Cobert’s nomination, the sooner we can put this gamesmanship behind us and focus on the important work that OPM must undertake to implement critical cybersecurity and personnel reforms.”

The full text of the letter appears below. A PDF of the signed letter is available here.

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DSC_0874c

In it’s new 2016 survey, WalletHub found three in 10 parents worrying about their children’s safety at school and one in six Americans named terrorism as the most important U.S. problem.

But safety takes many forms. The survey compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 25 key metrics, ranging from number of assaults per capita to unemployment rate and estimated losses from climate disasters. WalletHub analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across five key dimensions: Home and Community Safety, Financial Safety, Road Safety, Workplace Safety and finally, Safety from Natural Disasters.

Comparing all of the 25 key metrics, Wallethub ranked Virginia as the 8th Safest State in the United States.

Virginia ranked 27th in Number of Murders & Non-Negligent Manslaughters per Capita, 5th in  Number of Assaults per Capita, 23rd in Number of Drug Abuses per Capita, 11th in Fatal Occupational Injury Rate per 100,000 Full-Time Workers to name a few.

See the full report online and view how Virginia compared to the other 50 states below.

Source: WalletHub

(Flickr Pool photo via Donnie Weatherhead, on Flickr)

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