Look Out for My Debut in Richmond-Times Dispatch on August 10th

Credit: Facebook

Hi everyone!

In case you missed my announcement last week, I’ll be published in Richmond-Times Dispatch for the first time this Sunday, August 10th, 2014. RTD is the second-highest circulated state publication in Virginia right after the The Virginian-Pilot. (Interestingly enough, the editorial board has a conservative-libertarian bent.) I couldn’t be more thrilled for the opportunity to have an article published in this outlet!

My article will be featured in the “Editorial, Commentary & Letters” page. It will focus on guns–specifically the recent Palmer v. DC ruling overturning the handgun ban in the nation’s capital.  I’ll post the link here on my blog when it’s published. (I hope to regularly submit content to RTD!)

You can find my articles at Counter Cultured, Townhall.com, and here on my personal blog.

Thanks for reading!

-Gabriella

D.C. Consultant Class Needs To Put A Muzzle On This Guy

The idiotic tweet of the day goes to Brian Walsh, whose Twitter bio reads: “Former House/Senate/Campaign Flack & all-around sports fan – Partner of Singer Bonjean Strategies – opinions are my own.”

He tweeted, “Giving millions of dollars to the Senate Conservatives Fund is like handing a loaded gun to a person with mental retardation. Let’s call it.”

wth

The same people calling for GOP “unity” are the same individuals disparaging conservative activists. (In case you haven’t noticed, there is a civil war in the GOP.) This is absolutely distasteful and insulting to those who suffer from mental illness. Additionally, using a poorly worded analogy involving someone not mentally equipped to handle guns in order to criticize a group is downright inappropriate.

In a September 2013 article in US News, Walsh bashed Senate Conservatives Fund and Heritage Action. Apparently, he worked at Heritage Foundation.

 

Brian Walsh has some explaining to do. Will the D.C. consultant class hold him accountable?

D.C. is the ‘Coolest’ City in the U.S.

Washington, D.C., is the coolest city in the U.S. according to Forbes.com.

Forbes relied on Sperling’s BestPlaces to measure and determine a city’s “cool” factor:

To compile our list of America’s Coolest Cities, Sperling’s helped us calculate entertainment options per capita in each metro area. This metric essentially measures ways you might spend a Saturday, quantifying the availability of professional and college sports events, zoos and aquariums, golf courses, ski areas, and National parks, among others. It also factors in art and cultural options, measuring the presence of theater and musical performances as well as local museums.

As a denizen of the D.C. metro area, I can definitely attest to this. Yes, this area attracts egomaniacs and bureaucrats–yet you can be above the corruption and lead a normal life here. There are so many cool things to do, places to see, and great food/entertainment options to enjoy.

Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny that this metro area is fascinating.

Winning: Concealed Carry Ban in D.C. Has Been Ruled Unconstitutional

Fellow residents of the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia metro area) have something to celebrate: a ban on concealed carry has been ruled unconstitutional in D.C.!  The plaintiffs’ lead attorney, Alan Gura, first reported this and provided  the opinion from the U.S. District Court of Appeals on Palmer v. D.C.:

In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.

 Since I live near D.C., I’m absolutely thrilled to learn about this ruling. If you’ve ventured to certain parts of D.C.–namely Northeast or Southeast D.C.–you’ve read about, heard about, or witnessed violence in the nation’s capital. Many incidents in D.C. could have been prevented had this ban on concealed carry not been in effect. Many instances point to this.

For example, a D.C. resident named Dario Flammer was attacked by a group of guys near Logan Circle in June 2013. Following the incident, Flammer said he refused to become a victim again. NBC Washington reported:

Flammer says the attackers shouted homophobic slurs in Spanish.

Flammer plans to take steps to avoid becoming a victim again.

“I’m going to get a license and get a 9mm,” he said. “That’s the truth.”

Last September, Washington Navy Yard was subjected to a horrible shooting  when unhinged military contractor Aaron Alexis killed 12 military personnel. A July 11th report on the Navy Yard shooting noted that a directive issued by President George H.W. Bush making military bases “gun-free zones” left those at Navy Yard defenseless:

“Police departments may hold the mistaken belief that the personnel working within gated military installations in the United States, such as the Navy Yard, are heavily armed and capable of defending against threats. The truth, however, is that the majority of the individuals working on military bases are not armed,” the report said.

Hope D.C. residents can enjoy the same luxury of gun rights as we do here in the Commonwealth:

I will have further commentary on this ruling later this week, so stay tuned!

Virginia Wine, Oh-So Fine

“…wine [is] a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”
Benjamin Franklin, The Posthumous and Other Writings of Benjamin Franklin … Volume 1 of 2

When I’m not immersed in politics, I enjoy what my adopted home state has to offer.

Apart from being a gateway to Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia has a lot of great places to visit and things to do. (Yes, there’s a world beyond the concrete jungle.) That’s why I decided to venture out to Wine Country this past weekend.

One of the Commonwealth’s best hidden secrets is Wine Country. (Disclaimer: I’m not a wine expert; I’m just a connoisseur. All subsequent thoughts are purely subjective.) This was my third time visiting vineyards in Virginia. Since moving to Virginia in June 2012, I’ve been to Rappahannock Cellars near Front Royal (May 2013), Doukenie Winery, and Hillsborough Vineyards (August 2013). All these vineyards were unique and had individual appeal. I wouldn’t recommend going to Front Royal to sample wine–I found Rappahannock’s wine tasting option to be pricey and its premises to be too small. (Good wine, but certainly not worth the drive or price.) The other locations, both based in Purcellville, were reasonable and had better amenities for guests.

This past weekend, I visited Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg, Virginia–an hour drive from Alexandria and Arlington. Middleburg and the surrounding areas comprise Virginia Wine Country. (I hear that Charlottesville is also a great spot. I hope to sample wine there in the future!)

For $10, you get to sample about 10-11 varieties of red and white wine. (One wine–called Schitz and Giggels–is chuckle-worthy.) Also, this winery popularized the Norton grape:

Of particular interest to Chrysalis Vineyards is the native American grape, Norton (sometimes also known as Cynthiana). Recognized among North American varieties for its unique ability to produce premium quality red wines, the Norton was internationally recognized in the 1800’s as the source of distinctively robust reds with overtones of berry and pitted fruits. Today the Norton is enjoying a resurgence of popularity, and a key element of the Chrysalis Vineyards program is to restore this grape to its position of eminence among fine wines. Presently we have the largest planting of Norton in the world.

Overall, I was impressed with this vineyard and its amenities (which included picnic areas and corn hole.)  Below are pictures:

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Complimentary wine glass you keep after wine tasting

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Grapes!

You might be thinking, “Virginia has wine?” Growing up in California, I was in disbelief to hear that Virginia had good wine. However, this August 2013 article in Forbes put things into perspective and made a convincing case in dubbing Virginia the “East Coast Napa Valley”:

Over the past 30 years winemakers have steadily notched improvements. Virginia currently ranks fifth in the number of wineries in the nation and is also the nation’s fifth largest wine grape producer. As of 2012, the Virginia wine industry employs more than 4,700 individuals and contributes almost $750 million to the Virginia economy annually. More importantly, Virginia wines are surprising critics, winning awards and fans across the globe. World-renowned U.K. based wine critic Steven Spurrier characterized Virginia as a “national contender, producing wines of bright fresh character that call for a second glass.” In blind tastings the wines consistently beat out candidates from other parts of the globe (read about the Breakfast of Champions tasting here). Virginia has momentum, but concerns over grape supply, distribution and growth demands will keep things interesting. Yet, it’s a safe bet that the combination of strategic vision from the Cases and local winemaking zeal will keep the energy headed in the right direction—straight for the tipping point.

If you ever make it out to Virginia and want something fun to do, I recommend checking out the wine scene in Northern Virginia.

Check out Virginia is for Lovers and VirginiaWine.org to learn more about the Commonwealth’s wine selection!

Angling Right: Fishing in Occoquan Reservoir

My dad and I ventured to Occoquan Reservoir for the first time yesterday morning.

Below is a picture I captured at Lake Ridge Marina prior to fishing.

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Occoquan Reservoir is a 2,100-acre body of water that forms at the border of Fairfax County and Prince William County. It’s about a 25 minute drive from D.C. without traffic. This place is known for largemouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, crappie, northern pike, bluegill, and perch. Moreover, it’s been dubbed one of the best places to go bass fishing in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Here’s another shot of the mighty Occoquan.

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Compared to other fishing spots I’ve been to, Occoquan was more picturesque and tranquil. There were plenty of opportunities to see and hear wildlife. Blue herons (pictured below) are quite common at Occoquan Reservoir.

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My dad and I fished for about four hours. In the process, we caught nine crappie/bluegill fish collectively. (Pictured below.) Although we didn’t catch any largemouth bass and lamented over a lost catfish, we weren’t disappointed with Occoquan Reservoir. In fact, I enjoyed the frequency of bites my rod had. It’s a good indication that this place is replete with fish. (Arriving early morning is recommended for catching big game fish.)

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Before you decide to go fishing at Occoquan Reservoir, note several things:

1) Always have your Virginia Freshwater Fishing license on you. Yesterday, the local Virginia Department Game and Inland Fisheries warden made his rounds at Occoquan Reservoir to ensure all anglers were licensed. They will check up on you. Don’t forget to have it with you!

2) Rent a boat. It’s worth the $39.

3) Note limits on fish you can catch and keep.

Largemouth Bass

The daily bag limit for bass is five per day. There is no minimum size limit.

Bluegill

Bluegill (bream) and other sunfish may be harvested without size restriction. Anglers are limited to 50 per day in aggregate (combined).

Crappie

Black and white crappie may be harvested without size restriction from Occoquan. The daily limit is 25 per day in aggregate.

Catfish (Channel and Flathead)

There is no minimum size limit for catfish, but anglers are limited to 20 fish per day of each species.

Northern Pike

The minimum size limit for northern pike in Occoquan Reservoir is 20 inches and anglers are limited to 2 fish per day.

4) Don’t bring alcohol on your boat. (It’s a no-no.)  Instead, have water and light snacks.

 

I foresee myself coming here again in the future. Fellow Virginia residents should make the trip to Occoquan Reservoir if they are looking for good fishing, opportunities to kayak/paddleboard, and nature.  Undoubtedly, this is a great escape from the concrete jungle.

I’ll be taking a brief hiatus from fishing for a few weeks, so expect my next “Angling Right” post in early or mid-August.  Happy fishing!

New Townhall Column: Going Green In The Name of Tyranny

I’ve penned a new column at Townhall.com called “Going Green In The Name of Tyranny” today.

Here’s an excerpt:

It’s undeniable that most, if not all, Americans want to preserve and protect the environment.

No one truly wants to live in squalor or breathe in dirty air. No one truly intends to destroy nature or kill all wildlife. No one truly desires to harm the planet.

Modern-day environmentalism is perceived as a benign, “hip” cause. All the celebrities are doing it, so it must be great—right? On the surface “going green” seems harmless. We’re told that “going green” will absolve us for our supposed transgressions against the environment. Certainly Mother Earth will forgive us for developing our beautiful planet while creating opportunities for prosperity and social advancement!

What could possibly be wrong with the green lifestyle?

Continue reading at Townhall.com.