Friday, May 25, 2018
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Sen. Webb: Congress should put aid to Japan “much higher on the radar screen”

I'm with Senator Webb on this. Far from talking about cutting foreign aid, which makes up only a miniscule share of the budget and has absolutely nothing to do with the our structural deficit problems (that's almost all health care costs), we should be talking about how we can help our ally in its time of need.
I think we should be putting a lot more emphasis on what is going on in Japan. We have a situation over there where we have seen entire towns obliterated, where tens of thousands of people are dead or missing, where half a million people are living in shelters, where the power grid has been damaged and the ability of their normal institutional systems to handle that have really been affected.

They are an ally; they are a friend. We have done some good work with our military and in other areas, but I would hope that we could get that much higher on the radar screen in terms of what our government's ability to assist the Japanese can be. People tend to think this is a rich country and therefore they can handle this, but when you have these multiple calamities, we really should be discussing that.

Unfortunately, Republicans like Eric Cantor don't seem to care at all, while other leading "conservatives" like Rush Limbaugh think the whole situation's a big joke. Thank goodness Republicans are only in charge of 1/2 of 1/3 of the government, as John BONEr said the other day. Unfortunately, that's 1/2 of 1/3 too much control (plus, it's wrong - effectively, Republicans have a lot of clout in the U.S. Senate, and also have a lot of power in the judiciary branch as well).

Would Bobby Scott Really Run Against Tim Kaine?

Since Doug Wilder claimed that Rep. Bobby Scott "had not ruled out running for [Jim Webb's U.S. Senate] seat-- even possibly mounting a primary challenge to Kaine, should the former governor run," I've been asking around to see what Democratic insiders think of this.

First off, I hear that Rep. Scott feels disrespected, in that he's a senior member of the Virginia Congressional delegation, yet the establshment has only been talking seriously about Tom Perriello and Tim Kaine as potential candidates. In particular, I'm told that the talk about Perriello, who only served 1 term in Congress, particularly "infuriates" Scott -- or at least some of his top supporters -- who may feel "taken for granted." Could this sense of grievance, if true, drive Bobby Scott to primary Tim Kaine for the nomination? It seems like a plausible motivation, but we'll see if it's strong enough.

Second, I've heard from several different people about how this was more about Doug Wilder, and his own issues/agenda. Along those lines, one person told me that Wilder is just trying to "stoke a fire and keep his name in the press." Now that I can believe, because from what I've seen of Wilder the past few years, it's always all about him.

Third, I'm told that Bobby Scott hates raising money, doesn't like to campaign, and always seems happier being talked about for higher office than actually running for higher office.

Finally, one Democratic insider made the argument to me that Bobby Scott would lose handily to Tim Kaine. Why? Because Scott's "never run a tough race, doesn't have the statewide name ID and can't raise the money."

So, what do you think? Personally, I'd be happy to see Bobby Scott run in a primary for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, as I see Scott as a strong progressive (which Kaine clearly is not). However, I have absolutely no idea if Scott would be interested in doing that (and no, someone with as little credibility as Doug Wilder saying Scott might be interested is not anything I take seriously).

Finally, I have no idea whether Scott would be effective in a tough, knock-down-drag-out fight against George Allen. And, as much as I would love to see a progressive champion representing Virginia in the U.S. Senate, my #1 priority is to make sure that a Republican - George Allen, Jamie Radtke, or whoever - isn't.

Rep. Connolly: Republicans Have Yet to Bring Single Jobs Bill to House Floor

Well said by Rep. Connolly!
...Today we debate the rule on whether or not to fund National Public Radio. This is an ideologically-driven attempt at defunding a revered American institution, and the reason is, because you don't like its content. You can't stand balanced, objective news, so let's defund it. Regardless of whether one supports NPR or not, and I do, we can all be clear that this bill does not do one thing -- it does NOT create jobs.  We've been here for 11 weeks, Mr. Speaker, and the Republican majority has yet to bring a single jobs bill to the floor of the House...I ask my colleagues, turn away from this ideologically driven debate on National Public Radio and let's get down to basics, let's pass a jobs bill...

Morgan Griffith Not Conservative Enough for Tea Partiers?

Rep. Morgan Griffith's a climate science denier who goes on bizarre, borderline-insane rants about Mars, Vikings, "global cooling" (WTF?!?), and other totally discredited, tinfoil hat stuff. Griffith's also someone who inexplicably believes that the EPA treats milk - yes, milk, from a cow - the same way it treats oil spills. Griffith is also a right winger in just about every way, including having voted to repeal the health care law he calls "Obamacare." And he's ultra-"conservative" (aka, "extreme") on every other issue as well. In other words, he's as right wingnut as they come.

Yet, as this article reports, none of that is sufficient for at least some of the Tea Partiers in his district, who are upset that - get this - "Griffith didn't favor using the latest short-term spending resolution, which passed the House Tuesday, as a vehicle for defunding the health-care measure." And they're "letting him know it, staging protests Wednesday at his district offices in Abingdon and Christiansburg."

The bottom line here is simple: if Morgan Griffith isn't conservative enough for the Tea Partiers, than NOBODY is conservative enough for the Tea Partiers. Really, the only question is, when will the Republican Party realize that there's nothing they can do that will ever satisfy these people, that their alliance with the Tea Party cannot be sustained, and that they should break off their bad mistake of a fling as soon as possible? If you're a Democrat or Democratic-leaning independent, let's hope the answer is "never," and that the Republicans stick with the Tea Party all the way to electoral disaster in 2012.

Video, Report From Virginia Redistricting Hearing at George Mason University

Last night, I attended the Virginia bipartisan redistricting commission's public hearing at George Mason University in Fairfax. A report from WAMU is here, including interviews with blogger Ben Tribbett and Jaime Areizaga-Soto of the Democratic Latino Organization of Virginia (DLOV). After the "fold," I've got some video from last night, including testimony by Tribbett, Areizaga-Soto, and Del. Bob Brink (D-Arlington). Also, State Senator Chap Petersen had a few closing words. Other speakers included representatives from the League of Women Voters, the Virginia Education Association, the Vietnamese-American community, and several others.

My main takeaways from the meeting were threefold. First, it is clear that most speakers were concerned that the redistricting process not be based on incumbent protection or "gerrymandering," but far more on maintaining cohesive districts with "communities of interest" and within jurisdictional boundaries to the extent possible. Of course, "communities of interest" don't always coincide with each other or with existing jurisdictional boundaries, which would make redistricting a challenge even if the primary goal weren't incumbent protection.

more, including videos of Ben Tribbett -- check out his theory about why Metro smells like pee, it actually relates to redistricting! -- Jaime Areizaga-Soto, and Bob Brink on the "flip"

What Is Wrong With Eric Cantor?

First, read this:
"All of us need to be tempered by the fact that we've got to stop spending money we don't have," Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told reporters at his weekly press briefing. "Essentially, what you are saying is to go borrow money from the Japanese so we can spend it there to help the Japanese."

President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States "will continue offer any assistance we can" to Japan as it deals with aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. But the majority leader did not back down from the House GOP's proposed budget cuts for programs that respond to natural disasters both at home and abroad. H.R. 1, which the House passed in February, would cut the U.S. Agency for International Development budget by about $121 million, or roughly 8.7 percent.

Now, can someone please explain to me what's wrong with Eric Cantor exactly? No brain? No heart? Neither? It's so embarrassing that this clown is from Virginia, what did our great state to deserve him?!?

Jim Webb Statement on Situation in Japan

Sen. Webb -- Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs -- has issued a statement on the situation in Japan:
I am inspired by how the Japanese people are working together to assist one another in the wake of this horrific natural disaster.

The decisive and immediate response by the Japanese government and Self-Defense Forces has saved countless lives, as did Japan's preventative commitment to construct buildings according to the highest earthquake standards.

Just weeks ago I spoke in Tokyo about the importance of the United States-Japan alliance. As we have seen in recent days, our countries are more than allies in many respects.  American military and civilian personnel are working side by side with their Japanese counterparts in the international aid mission appropriately called "Operation Tomodachi" or "Operation Friends."

I extend my deepest sympathies to those who have lost loved ones in this disaster.

Here at Blue Virginia, we strongly agree with Sen. Webb in extending our deepest sympathies to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami, and in greatly admiring the courage and dedication of the Japanese people as they "[work] together to assist one another in the wake of this horrific natural disaster." I'd add tremendous praise and admiration for the workers who have been risking their lives in a heroic effort to prevent meltdowns at several nuclear reactors. That's truly awe-inspiring.
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