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National and Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat May 23, 2015 at 06:44:26 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, May 23. Also, check out President Obama's weekly address, in which he "commemorate[s] Memorial Day by paying tribute to the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country."

*Make time for Memorial Day's true purpose ("Monday is the day to pause and give a moment of respect to those who, regardless of race, religion, gender, national origin or sexual orientation, served, fought and died in behalf of our nation.")
*Senate rejects compromise bill on surveillance
*Economy delivers a graduation gift, as new workers' underemployment eases (Just remember which president and which party got us into the Great Recession, and which president/party got us OUT of the Great Recession. Hint: the first answer starts with "R" and the second with "D" - lol.)
*Mike Huckabee Makes Excuses For Duggar Family Hiding Years Of Sexual Abuse ('Nuff said about Mike Huckabee.)
*The Family Research Council's Strange Statement On Josh Duggar's Child Molestation Confession ('Nuff said about the "Family Research Council" hate groupL.)
*Jeb Bush And George W. Bush Have Drastically Different Views On Climate Change ("Jeb Bush says scientists don't know if humans cause climate change. President Bush knew they did." As did George HW Bush. Jeb Bush is actually a step BACKWARDS from his brother, let alone his father!)
*How Scott Walker and His Allies Hijacked the Wisconsin Supreme Court ("And what it means for the probe into alleged campaign violations by Walker and conservative dark-money groups." Like a banana republic.)
*Ireland Appears Set to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
*State senator: Bills probably coming on Daily Press' database fight against Virginia Supreme Court
*"They're just trying to do their job." ("Virginia Beach's Police Benevolent Association says officers are being unfairly scrutinized because of public pressure after two viral cellphone videos showed officers using force to make arrests.")
*Prince William's newest high school to be named for Virginia's oldest senator
*How a former Va. lawmaker made a bad situation even worse, in 1 picture (The 20 gazillionth article on Joe Morrissey, but no investigative reporting on the much more serious corruption in Richmond. How about this many articles on Bill Howell's close ties to ALEC? Tommy Norment's corruption? Dick Saslaw's? Nah, just stick with the sex story about an ex-delegate.)
*Morrissey: We're getting married, and I'm running for Senate (This is like an idiotic, smarmy TV "reality show," and that is NOT a good thing.)
*Fairfax approves $2.6B school budget with raises and later high school start
*Max Scherzer and Bryce Harper pace Nationals to sixth straight win
*D.C. area forecast: Spectacular through Sunday, then trending hot

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WaPo Endorsement in the 29th District: Expect Lee Hockstader to Do What Dick Saslaw Tells Him to Do

by: lowkell

Sat May 23, 2015 at 06:17:21 AM EDT

Over the years, I've written many times (some would no doubt say ad nauseum) about the Washington Post's endorsements in Virginia Democratic primary contests, general elections, etc. Actually, I shouldn't say "the Washington Post," because since I started blogging in 2005, to my knowledge it's basically been one guy, Lee Hockstader. Here's what I wrote last May about the Post's/Hockstader's upcoming endorsement in the 8th CD Democratic primary.
I've been referring to the "Post editorial board," but the reality is that when it comes to Virginia, it's really just one guy who makes the endorsements. That would be Lee Hockstader, a long-time foreign correspondent for whom Virginia politics is apparently a foreign country. I mean, seriously, when was the last time anyone's seen Hockstader at a political event - debate, JJ dinner, whatever - here in Virginia? Personally, I've covered hundreds of events over the years (not to mention meeting with dozens of candidates and elected officials for interviews and informal discussions), and the last time I saw Hockstader was at a Webb rally in Arlington back in 2006 (again, he endorsed Miller in that election, so he clearly wasn't impressed with Webb's grassroots appeal or message). Also, I've heard over the years that the endorsement process for the Post isn't exactly the most thorough or rigorous, but is basically more of "we know who we want to endorse, why spend the effort finding out about the other candidates?"

Finally, as I wrote last October, I'd just add that I have trouble understanding why Virginia Democrats - particularly challengers - like to tout the "Washington Post endorsement." For starters, it's really just one guy (Lee Hockstader) who spends minimal (if any) time or energy covering Virginia politics. Also, there's not much evidence, other than perhaps the Creigh Deeds endorsement in 2009, that the Post has any "juice" in Virginia elections at this point. Regardless, it's likely that Lee Hockstader (er, the Post) will make an endorsement in the 8th CD Democratic primary soon thing's for sure: if Hockstader et al believe (for whatever reason, correctly or incorrectly) that the person is too "progressive," "liberal," or any other synonym for those you can think of for those deadly (in the Post's center-right worldview) adjectives, it would be a massive shock if Hockstader/the Post endorsed them.

Now, a year later, it's that time of year again, and I'm personally bracing myself to see who (corrupt conservadem) Dick Saslaw et al. instruct Hockstader to endorse this time around. For instance, in the Democratic primary for State Senate in the 29th district (to replace longtime incumbent Chuck Colgan, who is retiring), I'd be STUNNED if Hockstader endorsed anyone but the handpicked candidate of Saslaw and Company -- Jeremy McPike. Which is Hockstader's right to do, of course, but everyone needs to understand a few things about said endorsement: 1) it won't be based on Hockstader having done any serious, sit-down, or at-length interviews with the candidates; 2) it won't be based on Hockstader attending any events - JJ dinners, debates, campaign kickoffs, whatever - in that district (or any other district, for that matter); 3) it won't be based on a careful analysis as to which candidate would be most electable in November; and 4) it won't have anything to do with the candidates' positions on the issues. With regard to point #1, I hear that Hockstader calls around, asks a couple of perfunctory questions, and basically calls it a day. Box having been checked, Lee's work is done; expect the endorsement of whoever Dick Saslaw tells him to endorse (in the case of the 29th, almost certainly Jeremy McPike) any time now. Just don't put any stock in the endorsement whatsoever, particularly given the Post's disdain for progressives, liberals, grassroots activists, or anyone who might buck the powers that be.

P.S. A classic Lee Hockstader move: in 2005, he endorsed Libby Garvey (or Jim Lay) over David Englin for House of Delegates (Englin won), but six years later, he said "The third candidate, Arlington School Board member Libby T. Garvey, is less ready for prime time in Richmond" (so, six years more experience made Garvey LESS ready for prime time in Richmond? ahhhh).

UPDATE Saturday morning: Hockstader has put up his endorsements for Alexandria Mayor, Arlington County Board, and the Mt. Vernon and Mason District Supervisors races. Whether you agree or disagree with these (personally, I am fine with Bill Euille being reelected, given his two opponents really not offering any serious alternative; I've also endorsed Peter Fallon), none - with the possible exception of political newcomer Katie Cristol - are in the last bit surprising. More to the point, has anyone seen Lee Hockstader at any of the Alexandria Mayoral debates, Arlington County Board debates, or Mt. Vernon Magisterial District debates? Uhhhh.

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Bernie Sanders' Fine Choice of Battlefield

by: Andy Schmookler

Fri May 22, 2015 at 14:46:03 PM EDT

Bernie Sanders writes:
"Congress is now debating fast track legislation that will pave the way for the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) unfettered free trade agreement. At a time when our middle class is disappearing and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider, this anti-worker legislation must be defeated. Here are four reasons why."

I think Sanders has chosen wisely in making himself the champion of the anti-Trade Pact sentiment in the Democratic Party, and beyond that in the country more broadly. This is a fine battlefield for him to fight his fight, which is our fight as well: for the TPP appears to be one more place where the Big Money Power is working its will at the expense of the people.

This "trade" agreement seems to be less about bringing down trade barriers than about shifting power away from governments and onto the corporate system.  From various reliable witnesses, it seems that TPP would allow corporations to by-pass the court system and to have a system largely of its own creation adjudicate matters that rightly should be decided by the judicial component of our American democracy.

The TPP would give corporations new ways of fighting against efforts by governments to protect the greater good against the "unfettered" global corporate system. Corporations would be able to enforce, as their "right," being compensated for whatever they might lose by being regulated in the public interest.

The TPP appears to be one more way Big Money is attempting to control government rather than be limited by government's efforts to take into account to take to the needs and rights of the American people.

From what is known about the agreement, for the majority of the American people this agreement takes away far more than it gives.

The TPP appears to be another step in the ongoing hostile corporate takeover of our nation and its destiny.

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Josh Israel Reports from Last Night's Fairfax County Public School Board Curriculum Meeting

by: lowkell

Fri May 22, 2015 at 08:53:59 AM EDT

Thanks to Josh Israel for the following, excellent report from last night's Fairfax County Public School Board meeting.
While there were likely 100+ opponents of LGBT equality at last night's Fairfax County School Board meeting, led by Andrea Lafferty of the SPLC-designated hate group the Traditional Values Coalition and far-right former Fairfax School Board Member Mychele Brickner (R), wearing "Respect Parental Choice" stickers, this meeting was significantly calmer than the one a couple of weeks ago. Many of the opponents seemed confused about the fact that, under the proposed curriculum changes, parents will still be able to opt-out their kids from the portions of Family Life Education and that the topics being moved from the Family Life Education curriculum to the health curriculum are topics unrelated to sexual orientation and gender identity.

There were about 25 of us supporters of equality there to show our support and Robert Rigby Jr., Alexandra Dixon, Metro DC PFLAG dad Phil Hicks, and (via video) a current out FCPS high school student each gave eloquently and heartfelt testimony about why this curriculum is a matter of life and death for LGBT and questioning kids.

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Video: Arlington County Board Candidates Rip Board on Reeves Farmhouse Decision

by: lowkell

Fri May 22, 2015 at 06:35:46 AM EDT

Here's video of last night's Arlington County Board Democratic debate (candidates attending were Peter Fallon, Christian Dorsey, Bruce Wiljanen, Katie Cristol and Andrew Schneider; James Lander was at a School Board meeting so did not participate in the debate). We'll start with the candidates criticizing the County Board for its decision to sell the historic Reeves farmhouse property. See the comments section for more video, including a question on widening I-66 inside the Beltway (all candidates said that was a very bad idea); one on the qualities the County Manager should have (basically, perfect in every way - lol), another on County Board transparency (yes!), opening and closing statements. Worth noting: Andrew Schneider was endorsed by 2014 Demoratic County Board nominee Alan Howze. Schneider also made a very strong statement about why he's a liberal Democrat, and why "I don't think you can be an elected Democratic leader and not support our party and our nominees." I strongly agree with Schneider, simply would change the word "can be" to "should not be."

P.S. I asked Christian Dorsey after the debate what he thought about the Arlington County Board resolution urging the Washington NFL team to change its (racist) name. Dorsey said he thought that passing resolutions was a break in precedent for the Board, and that if they're doing to do that, it should be on something urgent/pressing. I asked him how he would have voted: yes, no, or abstain, and he basically didn't like any of the options, said he might have been "not present" or something like that. I'd be interested in what other County Board candidates think on the question of: a) whether the Arlington County Board should be in the business of passing resolutions; and b) what they think of this specific resolution and how they would have voted.

UPDATE: Andrew Schneider says he "didn't support the resolution - even if I have personal qualms about the name...I would have voted with John  [Vihstadt] and Libby [Garvey] and abstained."

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

National and Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri May 22, 2015 at 06:20:15 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, May 22. Also, check out the video by Catherine Read from last night's Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) meeting. Here's her description: "Phil Hicks of Metro DC PFLAG. A graduate of FCPS public schools and the father of two gay sons who also went through the Fairfax County Public Schools. This is the reality of the times we live in."

*9 Times Josh Duggar Lectured People On Family Values Before He Admitted He Was A Child Molester (Utterly hypocriticsal family of right wingnuts.)
*The GOP's xenophobia primary: Why the Republican candidates are rejecting immigration - and their best shot at the White House
*"Morning Joe's" Nazi freakout: Joe Scarborough is a bullying egomaniac (pt. 134) (Because anyone who disagrees with Scarborough or criticizes him in any way is a "Nazi." What a nutjob.)
*Exclusive: States quietly consider ObamaCare exchange mergers
*Obama Set to Bolster Federal Role in Clean Water Control
*Krugman: Trade and Trust ("And the fact that the administration evidently doesn't feel that it can make an honest case for the Trans-Pacific Partnership suggests that this isn't a deal we should support.")
*Kaine to kick off tour across the state
*Kaine: Virginia is a global gateway
*Roanoke County seeks extended public comment period for Mountain Valley Pipeline
*Challenger to Va. House speaker accuses him of 'cheating' in ballot rules
*Predatory tow companies targeted in proposal from Md. and Va. lawmakers
*Alexandria chooses location for Potomac Yard Metro station
*Morrissey makes the Joe Show a family affair (And the media dutifully pays attention to the slimeball. Why?)
*How a former Virginia lawmaker made a bad situation even worse, in 1 picture
*Facebook post about Virginia State Trooper's act of kindness goes viral
*Democrats bash Arlington board's farmhouse vote (And rightfully so.)
*D.C. area forecast: Breezy today, and nearly ideal holiday weekend weather

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Del. Joseph Preston Answers "Virginia Christian Alliance" Questionnaire, Hilarity Ensues

by: lowkell

Thu May 21, 2015 at 18:08:47 PM EDT

Virginia Del. Joseph Preston is running an almost certainly losing campaign against incumbent State Senator Rosalyn Dance in the Democratic primary for the 16th State Senate District. Preston recently filled out a questionnaire from the Virginia Christian Alliance, and as you can see below and on the "flip," hilarity (presumably unintended) soon ensued. Believe it or not, Preston answered "undecided" to a slew of questions, including ones on important/hot-button issues like whether or not to support a "personhood" amendment (that would, effectively, ban abortion, as well as many forms of contraception, embryonic stem cell research, etc.), what he thinks about "physician-assisted suicide," "Common Core" educational standards, and a constitutional amendment requiring a 2/3 majority to impose new or increased taxes/fees.  I mean, how on earth can you be running for State Senate and be undecided on these important matters? The hell? I mean, I've never been a huge Rosalyn Dance fan, but this guy's clearly not a serious challenger...

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BREAKING: Senators Kaine, Warner Vote to Move Ahead on "Fast Track" Trade Authority

by: lowkell

Thu May 21, 2015 at 11:22:20 AM EDT

A few minutes ago, the U.S. Senate voted to advance Trade Promotion Authority legislation (aka, "Fast Track"), which President Obama had lobbied hard for, on a 62-38 vote, with Senators Kaine and Warner both voting to proceed with the legislation. Thoughts?
Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Time for Virginia Dems to Follow California Dem Party's Lead, Call for Fossil Fuel Divestment ASAP

by: lowkell

Thu May 21, 2015 at 08:12:58 AM EDT

A few weeks ago, Terry McAuliffe was actually arguing that he has no leadership role to play on whether "the state of Virginia and its retirement fund and other relevant funds should divest from fossil fuel companies." McAuliffe's pathetically weak answer:
No! I think they have to make the decision what is in the best interest of whatever they're making their investments; they have a fiduciary duty to make those investments. And clearly as governor I am not going to sit here and tell the people who manage these funds what to do -- not my role. And I clearly understand my role...Jeff, it is not my job to come in and tell our businesses what to do. I am a fiscally conservative, pro-business Democrat; I am socially very progressive...
As I said at the time, that was wrong on almost any level you consider it, not to mention a pathetic abdication of leadership. Now, the largest (by far) state Democratic Party has shown what its state's governor has shown -- real leadership on the most important issue facing humanity, that being climate change. Check this out.
At the California Democratic Party convention this weekend, state party officials voted to adopt an official resolution endorsing fossil fuel divestment. Citing the growing threat posed by climate change, the resolution urges the state's public universities and pension funds to divest their financial holdings from the top 200 fossil fuel companies as part of a comprehensive solution to the climate crisis. The resolution marks the first endorsement for fossil fuel divestment from a state political party, and adds major momentum to the legislative push for S.B. 185, a coal divestment bill. The news also builds pressure on statewide institutions like the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the University of California endowment, who have long faced calls for divestment.

The adopted resolution reads, in part: "[t]he California Democratic Party calls upon the University of California and California State University endowments, the University of California Retirement Plan, and the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) institutional pension funds, to immediately stop new investments in fossil fuel companies, to take steps, without risking any financial loss to its members, to divest all holdings from the top 200 fossil fuel companies as determined by the Carbon Underground list within five years, and to release periodic updates to the public, detailing progress made toward full divestment."

Exactly, the California Democratic Party nails it, as did Gov. Jerry Brown in his powerful "State of the State" address back in January. Now, what about the Democratic Party of Virginia? Gov. McAuliffe? Lt. Governor Northam? Attorney General Herring? Other leaders in our state? When are they going to call for divestment by state pension funds, colleges and universities, etc. from planet-killing fossil fuels? The crisis is urgent, action is required immediately, so what on earth (other than fear of the fossil fuel companies, fossil-fuel-allied utilities, etc.) is stopping them?

P.S. No reason for local parties to wait for DPVA; I also call on Dem committees in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Prince William, Stafford, Henrico, Loudoun, Virginia Beach, Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Charlottesville, etc, etc. to pass divestment resolutions.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

National and Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu May 21, 2015 at 06:23:23 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, May 21. And of course, farewell to David Letterman, who I never stay up late enough to watch live, but snippets of whom I get to watch on YouTube. :)

*California declares emergency after oil pipeline rupture (As always, fossil fuels are a disaster waiting to happen. Actually, they're not waiting, as the disaster is happening right now, both off the California coast and in the atmosphere. So much for the brain-dead "all of the above" approach.)
*Big Banks Pay $5.6 Billion, Plead Guilty To Felonies Over Currency And Rate-Fixing (And Republicans want to regulate these crooks LESS?!?)
*U.S. and Cuba Nearing Deal to Fully Restore Diplomatic Ties
*The High Cost of Dirty Fuels ("Ending subsidies for fossil fuels would save many lives, a report from the International Monetary Fund makes clear.")
*Letterman Goes for Laughs Instead of Tears ("David Letterman signed off on Wednesday with an all-star edition of the 'Late Show,' bringing his 33-year career in late-night television to a close.")
*The Tea Party's Most Hated Presidential Hopeful? Hint: Not Hillary Clinton (LOL)
*Obama: Climate Deniers in Congress Are Undermining Our Troops (They're undermining a lot more than our troops, like our entire country and planet.)
*Rand Paul doesn't know what he's talking about ("Rand Paul's playing Jimmy Stewart again, filibustering the Patriot Act. Trouble is, Paul's opinions are a mess" Like father, like son...and that's not a good thing in this case!)
*Dave Brat criticized for immigration, Islamic State comment (Basically, almost every time Brat opens his mouth or writes something, the lunacy starts pouring out. The fact that Randlph Macon hired this wacko doesn't say anything good about that school, that's for sure. Nor does the fact that 7th CD Republicans elected him.)
*Chasing Gecker (Emily Francis is the obvious choice for Democrats in this primary. Dan Gecker hasn't supported our last two Democratic presidents, for god's sake.)
*FOIA Council: No on making open records violations a misdemeanor
*D.C. will use roof gardens - among other things - to clean city waterways (Virgnia cities and counties should be doing the same!)
*Former Virginia lawmaker publicly admits paternity for the first time (Yes, this guy is a slimeball, but why is this story getting more attention than the massive sliminess and corruption among legislators in Richmond?)
*Expect to see more transit-oriented housing in the future (Transit-oriented development "does even more. It benefits the health of residents. And it increases wealth, since owning one car or no car, using transit and driving less lowers household expenses.")
*Alexandria chooses location for Potomac Yard Metro ("Council members said they expect it to bring 26,000 new jobs, 21,000 new homes and $1.5 billion in new tax revenue over the next 20 or 30 years.")
*The Fight for the 45th ("Democratic primary candidates vying to replace Delegate Krupicka lay out campaign priorities.")
*Harper tossed, but Zimmermann and Span keep the Nationals alive
*D.C. area forecast: Rain keeps it cool today but sun-filled weekend finishes summery

Discuss :: (12 Comments)

ALEC's Threatened SLAPP Suit Against the LCV: Another Part of the Assault on Our Democracy

by: Andy Schmookler

Wed May 20, 2015 at 14:43:47 PM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

Some thoughts about the press release that my wife, April Moore, put out earlier this week. In it, she challenged her opponent - Virginia State Senator (and apparent would-be-Virginia's Scott Walker), Mark Obenshain - to condemn the suit threatened by corporate powerhouse ALEC against the League of Conservation Voters.  

ALEC's attempt to intimidate the LCV represents should be understood as part of the larger picture of how the Big Money Power is subverting American democracy.

This particular abuse of money power is not directly connected with the electoral process. Rather it is an attempt of Big Money to strangle the public discourse on which a healthy democracy depends, the flow of information and ideas that helps the American people give informed consent to their government.

Bringing such a suit - or even just threatening it - represents a serious abuse of the legal system to silence those people who are doing for the nation precisely what our founders had in mind when they constructed the American system of liberty: telling the public the truth about what's going on.

This kind of abuse of the legal system has a name: SLAPP, Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.

Although America's founders set up the court system as a means for achieving justice, in suits like this, that purpose is turned on its head. "Justice for all" is what is implied by the blindfold that Lady Justice wears. When Justice weighs the facts and the law in its scales, it is blind to who is powerful and who is weak. Thus the Courts are supposed to be the one place - besides also the ballot box - where the weak have equal standing.

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Video: Debate for the Virginia 29th Senate District Democratic Primary (5/18/15)

by: lowkell

Tue May 19, 2015 at 17:52:16 PM EDT

I strongly support Atif Qarni for this nomination (the primary is on June 9; don't forget to vote!), but I honestly think that all three candidates did fine in this debate. The main differences between the candidates, I'd say, are on: 1) electability (I'd argue that the teacher and former U.S. Marine - Atif Qarni - who lives in Manassas would be the best Democratic candidate/best bio of these three to take on Republican Hal Parrish in the general election); and 2) their main areas of emphasis (Qarni's is clearly education and on putting a teacher in the State Senate). Finally, great job by Potomac Local in hosting this debate and making the video available for all of us to watch - thanks!

P.S. I'd add that on ethics reform, Atif Qarni had the strongest answer (no gifts whatsoever for members of the General Assembly), Jeremy McPike second (the problem being his own ethics "issues" that Hal Parrish and the Republicans will certainly remind voters about if McPike is the nominee), and Michael Futrell third (not even sure he answered the question the first shot at it).

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National and Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed May 20, 2015 at 06:08:39 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, May 20. Also, check out the video of this past weekend's debate for the Democratic nomination in the Mt. Vernon (Fairfax) Magisterial District Supervisor's race. The candidates are Jack Dobbyn, Tim Sargeant, Dan Storck and Candice Bennett.

*In Coast Guard commencement, Obama to link climate change to national security
*After media drought, Hillary Clinton takes some questions in Iowa
*Hillary Clinton on her emails: I want them out, too!
*George W. Bush's CIA Briefer: Bush and Cheney Falsely Presented WMD Intelligence to Public ("On 'Hardball,' Michael Morell concedes the Bush administration misled the nation into the Iraq War.")
*Record-High 60% of Americans Support Same-Sex Marriage
*David Brooks Tries To Rewrite History Of The Iraq War
*Why We Should Spend Billions More On Trains
*Start over force authorization? No, say Kaine and Rigell, stop stalling, start debating
*An opportunity for Virginia to earn a reputation for energy efficiency
*DOE: Bigger Turbines Could Unlock Wind Energy Potential In All 50 States (Hello Dominion, are you reading stuff like this?!?)
*Schapiro: Governor looking at judicial trifecta?
*Another wasted election ("The November elections are still six months away, but we can already predict who the loser will be: you. All 140 seats of the General Assembly are, in theory, up for grabs. But except for a few districts that will see a competitive race, the outcome is already ordained.")
*Businesses hedging their bets with political donations
*UVa rector won't seek another term on board of visitors
*UVa board extends president's contract at least two years
*At Christopher Newport University, a pitch for more state building money
*Expect more flooding and erosion, study says
*Arlington police officer responding to domestic dispute fatally shoots man
*Democrats seeking Prince William Senate seat debate in Woodbridge
*Widening I-66 to Ease Traffic Causes Concerns for Some Northern Virginia Residents (As always, widening roads is not the answer; smart growth and transit are.)
*Arlington board majority asks football team to change Redskins name (Not that Dan Snyder gives a crap.)
*Zimmerman's blast lifts Nats over Yankees in 10th
*D.C. area forecast: Sunny, cooler and drier through Sunday, except for Thursday cloud and shower threat

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Caldwell Bolts Party, Files in 21st District

by: Elaine in Roanoke

Tue May 19, 2015 at 14:44:21 PM EDT

I knew the Republicans would make a strong effort to unseat State Sen. John Edwards of Roanoke this year, mainly because he and Del. Sam Rasoul are the only Democrats remaining in the General Assembly from southwest Virginia. That part of the state is so Republican now that Edwards' seat, in a district that still leans Democratic, was one of their best shots at unseating a Democratic incumbent. However, the greatest threat to Edwards now is coming from a completely unexpected source, Don Caldwell, commonwealth's attorney for Roanoke City. Don has always run as a Democrat and even chaired the city Democratic committee until a few years ago. Now, he has filed papers to run in November as an independent against Edwards and his Republican opponent, Nancy Dye.

Dye is well-funded and is certain to welcome Caldwell's entry into the race if he does go through with his plans to run. As Carter Turner, chair of the Roanoke County Democratic Committee said recently in the Roanoke Times,  "I think John's got his hands full even if Don doesn't run. Dye's got literally some of the best people in the industry doing stuff for her. I think she's formidable."

All I can figure is that Caldwell, who has been commonwealth's attorney for more than 30 years as a Democratic office holder, was hoping that John Edwards would retire this year. When Edwards didn't, Caldwell decided to morph into an independent. He's bidding to become the spoiler in a three-way race, someone who is willing to turn his back on the party that supported him all those years.

Caldwell's justification to the Roanoke Times was that he wanted to "get away from the dogma of both parties and get back to serving the reasonable people on both sides." He didn't elaborate on exactly what Democratic "dogma" has driven him to become an independent after decades of being quite happy to run on that same dogma as a Democrat in a city that is a Democratic stronghold. Since about 40% of the district is the city of Roanoke, Caldwell could simply think he can somehow corral 33% plus 1 and win. The probable outcome of his independent candidacy, however, is that he might peel off just enough votes from Edwards to throw the election to Dye.

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Rep. Connolly to EPA: Treating bioenergy as carbon neutral may undermine the Clean Power Plan

by: lowkell

Tue May 19, 2015 at 12:06:25 PM EDT

Rep. Gerry Connolly nails it. The bottom line: we need to be massively REforesting, not burning forest for fuel!
May 19, 2015

The Honorable Gina McCarthy
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W
Washington, D.C. 20460

Dear Administrator McCarthy,

Thank you for your leadership and continued efforts to finalize the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. As a strong supporter of this plan, I believe you have laid forth a forward-thinking, flexible, and attainable approach to reducing our nation's carbon footprint. I appreciate your willingness throughout this process to consider public feedback on the draft plan and trust the final plan you develop will establish our country as a global leader on climate change.

I write to share my concern with the EPA's draft proposal to treat waste-derived feedstocks and non-waste biogenic feedstocks derived from sustainable forest or agricultural practices as having zero emissions. As you know, following EPA Assistant Administrator McCabe's November 2014 memorandum, there has been considerable debate regarding this decision, including questions surrounding the science behind it, and the perception that this decision will result in the unsustainable promotion of forest harvesting for energy production.

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The purpose of Blue Virginia is to cover Virginia politics from a progressive and Democratic perspective. This is a group blog and a community blog. We invite everyone to comment here, but please be aware that profanity, personal attacks, bigotry, insults, rudeness, frequent unsupported or off-point statements, "trolling" (NOTE: that includes outright lies, whether about climate science, or what other people said, or whatever), and "troll ratings abuse" (e.g., "troll" rating someone simply because you disagree with their argument) are not permitted and, if continued, will lead to banning. For more on trolling, see the Daily Kos FAQs. Also note that diaries may be deleted if they do not contain at least 2 solid paragraphs of original text; if not, please use the comments section of a relevant diary. For more on writing diaries, click here. Thanks, and enjoy!

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