The Richmond Times-Dispatch can’t see the forest for the trees.

Or they’re just incompetent; take your pick.

Consider a recent “news story” from Jeff Schapiro about the recent General Assembly special session. First the intro:

Shame on our short-timer governor, Tim Kaine. How dare he berate the legislature for doing nothing on transportation.

On the contrary, the General Assembly was enormously productive during the six days in June and July it was, ahem, at work.

Belying the perception they are deadbeats, Virginia’s worthies actually passed nearly 120 measures. Some were important — to someone.

Yes, yes, no one cares, details please:

One was essential to making this a truly special session. It allowed legislators to pay themselves about $120,000 — for again ducking a $1 billion problem.

Wow, $120,000, which is only 0.00034% of the state’s budget, and that’s calculating the percentage using FY07 expenditures.

And considering there were 140 legislators working for 48 hours (six days), that’s only $17.86 a hour. (A lot of legislators are lawyers, for example, and would be making a heck a lot more at their office, for comparison.)

Right now, you have a state that spends $35,442,393,597.43 a year in their budget (again, FY07 numbers [Auditor of Public Accounts]). At what point, is enough enough?

From FY03 to FY07, the biggest growth, by percentage, in the Commonwealth’s budget has been in Capital Outlay Projects (126.19% increase), Education (45.57% increase), and General Government (35.78% increase) (Auditor of Public Accounts, different link). Who thinks we can find some cuts in there?

Meanwhile, transportation funding has only increased by 6.69% in the same time period (Ibid).

In the same time period that transportation only increased by 6.69%, the total statewide spending increased by 26.84%.

Back to RT-D:

The House version was carried by Del. Phil Hamilton, R-Newport News, an inartful dodger carrying water for the big companies angling to run, for fun and profit, vast hunks of the Hampton Roads road-tunnel-and-bridge network.

As Christina Nuckols, of The Virginian-Pilot, reminded her readers: Those firms are represented by lobbyists who sit in the privy council of Speaker Bill Howell, ensuring Republicans receive only objective, dispassionate advice on what could prove a giant government giveaway.

Oh my God! Those evil “big companies”!

They have some nerve employing people and giving them a paycheck for work! Those saps that work for those evil “big companies” should just quit, get on welfare, and live off the government.

What’s even worst is that the companies hire people (lobbyists) to represent themselves to the legislature. Those bastards should be executed for using their First Amendment rights.

Remember that hating corporations is #82 on Stuff White People Like.

The legislative calendar included some somber business: bills by Dels. Chris Peace, R-Hanover, and Albert Pollard, D-Lancaster, naming bridges over Interstate 95 in Caroline County for troopers Robert Tinsley Lohr and Robin Lee Farmer, both killed in the line of duty in 1978 and 1981, respectively.

Is that a complaint or what? The renaming of the bridges was requested by the Caroline County Board of Supervisors and Sheriff Tony Lippa. The idea was originally proposed by a private citizen of Caroline County, Roger Cavendish.

Delegates Peace and Pollard, along with Delegate Orrock and Senator McDougle, also introduced a resolution celebrating the life of Mildred Jeter Loving.

Are you going to bitch about that too, Jeff?

How about Bill Howell, et al., introducing a resolution celebrating the life of Fredericksburg Police Officer Todd Bahr, who was killed in the line of duty on June 6th?

Going to bitch about that one too, Jeff?

And there were tributes to war dead. Del. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, and Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, sponsored separate memorial resolutions for Army Lt. Col. Jim Walton, who fell in Afghanistan last month in an attack on his convoy.

Again, is this a complaint?

Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom would qualify for special license plates, under a measure by Del. Bill Janis of Henrico. The VMI guy and former naval officer is on the partisan special-ops squad of the House GOP Caucus.

Does that mean the license plate shouldn’t be allowed?

A prospective governor was honored by another. Sen. Creigh Deeds of Bath, running for the 2009 Democratic nomination, introduced a resolution “celebrating the life” of the late Bill Battle. Battle, defeated for the 1969 Democratic nomination, lived in Charlottesville, on the eastern edge of Deeds’ sprawling, sylvan district.

The problem?

The business of the just-adjourned session covers four pages on the General Assembly’s Web site. Some of it is heady stuff — not.

[Blah, blah, blah, blah…]

All are appointments with a $200-per-meeting paycheck. Unlike the other day, maybe the senators will actually earn it.

Okay, I guess that all the preceding was a complaint.

Does anyone notice that this reporter has time to go through and check out every little resolution that the General Assembly dealt with and proceeded to complain about the unimportance of them?

Did he write a story about the transportation bills that were dealt with? No, of course not; those aren’t important.

Is this not the very height of irony?

First, these resolutions probably take about a minute of time in each house of the General Assembly.

Second, while Jeff was tracking down every resolution the General Assembly dealt with, he missed the following:

The Republicans went from wanting (unconstitutional) regional taxes imposed on Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to offering a no-tax solution: The Republican solution include appropriating money to NoVA and Hampton Roads from airport fees and taxes and port revenues to pay for the transports needs that are partly caused by the airports and port!

Where’s the story about Jeff Frederick’s bill that would give money to localities to pay for their own roads instead of giving money to the monstrosity that is VDOT (HB6025)? That bill didn’t even make it out of the House.

How about the bill that would implement the 2002 Governor’s Commission on Efficiency and Effectiveness that died in the House Rules Committee (HJ6061)?

How about the the great idea for the state to stop paying for roads in subdivisions (HB6041)? Why should I be paying for someone else’s subdivision roads that I and 99.99% of the state will never see or use?

How about the bill that would required an independent audit of the monstrosity-known-as-VDOT (HB6023)? The Senate refused to act on that bill.

RT-D had time to nitpick about every little resolution that was passed by the General Assembly, but couldn’t do their jobs and actually tell the people what did occur during the session.

While I was picking on the Richmond Times-Dispatch, D. J. McGuire was skewering The Free Lance–Black White Hole.

He also took care of another act of outright incompetence by RT-D here.

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