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lowkell

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Susan Mariner for DPVA 1st Vice Chair!

On June 12, 2010, the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) will select a new 1st Vice Chair. The purpose of this newly-created Facebook page is to (strongly) support Susan Mariner for that position. Some background on Susan follows. Thanks for your help!

Currently, Susan Mariner serves as Virginia Beach Democratic Committee (VBDC) Chair. As VBDC Chair, Susan has been focused on uniting and growing her committee, in part through the use of cutting-edge grassroots and social networking techniques and tools. In addition, Susan has focused on grassroots training to strengthen the VBDC and make it more effective. She has worked tirelessly to generate support for Democratic candidates in the 2nd Congressional District.

Susan in an inclusive leader who brings people into the party. As VBDC Chair, Susan has worked with urban, rural, and suburban committees in the Hampton Roads area, collecting and sharing "best practices," doubling membership in the committee this year, as well as diversifying the VBDC in age and minority participation. In addition, Susan has professionalized VBDC communications and its website, increased the committee's visibility, and created an active and effective public service committee.

Many of us know Susan from 2006, when she was one of the most important - and effective - leaders in Jim Webb's 10,000-strong "ragtag army" of grassroots volunteers. Hard working. Personable. Professional. Organized. Motivated. Passionate. Dedicated. Articulate. Creative. Inclusive. Progressive. Experienced. New media savvy. Effective. What more could you want from a Democratic activist and leader in the year 2010?

In 2007 and 2008, Susan was a 50-State Organizer and Deputy Political Director for Hampton Roads. She also served as political director for Barack Obama's general election campaign in Hampton Roads. By all accounts, Susan did an excellent, highly professional job for the Democratic Party and for the Obama campaign. Susan worked closely with Deputy Political Directors from across Virginia, which gave her an excellent understanding of the issues and concerns facing Democrats in all regions of the Commonwealth.

The bottom line: Susan Mariner will make a superb 1st Vice Chair for the Democratic Party of Virginia. She's done a superb job as a member of Jim Webb's "ragtag army," as a DNC 50-State organizer, as Deputy Political Director for Hampton Roads, and as political director for Barack Obama's general election campaign in Hampton Roads. Now, it's time to promote Susan to the next level - DPVA 1st Vice Chair. Go Susan!

UPDATE: See after the "flip" for a segment from my book (co-authored with Nate Wilcox), Netroots Rising, on Susan's stroke of genius - the "Webb Wagons" - and why that one episode epitomizes all the reasons why Susan Mariner should be the next DPVA 1st Vice Chair!

Will 10th CD Republicans Elect “Loudmouth Malcontent” Today?

The 10th CD Republican Committee convention just started. The question is, as "Loudoun Insider" at Too Conservative puts it, whether Republicans will "have a competent, well qualified statesman as Chairman in Dave Schmidt, or a loudmouth malcontent in Howie Lind."  

Among other things, Lind is reportedly (according to Dave Schmidt) a big fan of "Republican loyalty" tests, has "a record of causing party divisions and excluding coalitions that could forge majorities in November," has "one of the worst attendance records on the 10th District Committee," and was "asked by Congressman Wolf to withdraw from the Tenth District chairman race because he could divide the party." The "end result" of all this? "Victory for the Democrats," according to Schmidt.

Bottom line: I strongly endorse Howie Lind for 10th CD Republican Committee chair, as I sincerely believe he would best for the Republican Democratic Party in the 10th CD. Go "loudmouth malcontent!" Heh.

UPDATE 1:30 pm: Hahahahahah, it looks like good news, "Howie Lind wins." Exxxxcellent. :)

UPDATE 3:02 pm:  One big happy family, nice to see! :)

UPDATE 9:20 pm: Gotta love this!

Frank Wolf is lucky he has long term incumbency on his side because he is now majorly marginalized in northern Virginia GOP politics. The 10th District Committee (and its largest component, the LCRC) are firmly in Cuccinelli camp, and completely beholden to him, and that is absolutely at odds with someone like Frank Wolf (you know, thoughtful and non-confrontational). Wolf didn't want to get involved at all in this contest and he will now have to deal with these people. Good luck, Congressman.

President Obama on the BP Spill Independent Commission


I strongly agree with President Obama that we need to hold both BP and Washington accountable. Unfortunately, I doubt that much will change in the cozy relationship between regulators and Big Oil, until what John McCain used to call the "iron triangle" - special interests, campaign finance and lobbying - is seriously addressed.  Also, we need to keep a much closer eye on the "revolving door" between private industry and government regulators of that same industry.  As President Obama says, we "need to take a comprehensive look at how the oil and gas industry operates and how we regulate them." Hopefully, this commission will come up with recommendations that address these issues, plus make strong recommendations for offshore oil drilling that ensure that disasters like this never happen again.

Pay Them More, Make It 100% Transparent


Let's face it, the entire system for compensating Virginia General Assembly members if FUBAR.  First of all, it's utterly absurd that House of Delegates members only receive $17,000 a year, and that Senators get only $18,000 a year, for their time and effort. Even if you throw in the $15,000 Ryan Nobles talks about in this story, it's still only $32,000 or $33,000 a year.  How about we increase General Assembly members salaries while making it all completely transparent?  And when I say "transparent," I also mean all the gifts and donations that come from special interests, corporations, lobbyists, etc.  As for this tiny $15,000, just tack it on to their salaries, make it 100% transparent (no more "wink wink", to quote Paul Goldman), and be done with it.

h/t: NLS

Jim Moran on Offshore Oil Drilling; Ken Cuccinelli as “Ideological Extremist”


In this video, Jim Moran explains very well the reasons why offshore oil drilling is a bad idea for Virginia. Among those reasons is that oil drilling would interfere with Navy operations.

Later in the show, Moran commented on Ken Cuccinelli's assault on academic freedom. According to Moran, Cooch is an "ideological extremist" and his action against climate science at UVA is "pure harassment."

In other comments, Moran argued that Virginia is "clearly...undertaxed" for our transportation needs, and that we really should have a higher gas tax devoted to transportation, particularly to public transportation.

It's always an interesting show when Jim Moran's on! :)

Is Criticism Of Fred Malek for “Jew Counting” a “Distraction?”

The Washington Post's Virginia Politics blog reports that "Del. Scott Surovell (D-Mount Vernon) said he and Del. David L. Englin (D-Alexandria), both of whom are Jewish, are scheduled to appear Friday morning on WTOP's Politics Program with Mark Plotkin to denounce anew Fred Malek's appointment to the Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring because of Malek's role in President Richard M. Nixon's infamous Jew-hunting mission almost 40 years ago."  In response, "Tucker Martin, a spokesman for the governor, repeated his view that the Democrats' criticism is a distraction from substantive issues and feeds the perception of politics as a cynical enterprise."

Believe it or not, I actually agree - sort of - with Tucker Martin on the "distraction" argument.  Of course, I'm not at all thrilled with Malek's role in the corrupt, anti-Semitic Nixon White House, but that was 40 years ago and Malek's been defended by ADL director Abraham Foxman and Sen. Diane Feinstein, who says Malek "has no bias of any kind whatsoever."  Let's assume that's true, at least for argument purposes.

So, why do I say I agree with Martin that this line of attack on Malek is a "distraction?"  Because, very simply, there's a lot stronger line of attack on Malek, and one that is directly relevant to him heading a "Government Reform Commission." Namely, as Sen. Donald McEachin recently explained, "Just a few short years ago, Mr. Malek was forced to pay a personal fine of $100,000 for violations of the Securities and Exchange Act while his company paid an additional $150,000."  What were those violations?  Get a load of this.

On August 12, 2003, the SEC filed a civil fraud lawsuit[18] against former Connecticut state Senate Majority Leader William DiBella for participating in a fraudulent scheme to invest $75 million of the state pension funds with Malek's firm, Thayer Capital Partners.[18] [19] On May 18, 2007, DiBella and North Cove were found liable for aiding and abetting Silvester's intentional violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Thayer was found in negligence of Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Thayer paid a civil penalty of $150,000, and Malek personally paid a fine of $100,000.[20]
As Donald McEachin says, "I am more dismayed and disturbed by Mr. Malek's recent illegal behavior" than about his "Jew counting" in the Nixon White House 40 years ago. I strongly urge Delegates Surovell and Englin to talk about this issue, which is directly relevant to Malek heading up a "government reform" commission here in Virginia, when they appear on Mark Plotkin's show this morning. Now that is a "substantive issue!"

Tim Kaine Rips Rand Paul: “Extremism Run Wild”


He [wrote] into the local paper to complain that a fair housing act that had passed 34 years before was unjust and a free society should tolerate hate-filled groups excluding people based on the color of their skin. This is very frightening stuff, it's the kind of stuff that happens when you see this kind of extremism run wild. And I think the Republican Party needs to get on record...get their leaders out there saying, "we're against this and we condemn this kind of thinking." thinking

UPDATE: Charles Lane explains why Rand Paul's "argument makes no sense." It's also beyond laughable, unless you're an Ayn Rand afficionado, an extremist, or an imbecile. But I repeat myself... :)

Bob McDonnell Announces New Voting Rights Restoration Procedure

At first glance, this looks highly promising.
Governor Bob McDonnell today announced his Administration's streamlined restoration of rights procedures. Highlighted by a 60-day turnaround period on all completed applications, compared to the previous standard of six months to one year or more, the process will be the fastest and fairest in recent Virginia history. The Governor also announced that he is shortening the time individuals convicted of non-violent felonies must wait before applying for their restoration of their rights; That period will be reduced from the current three years to two years. The Governor's procedures follow his pledge during the 2009 gubernatorial campaign to improve and quicken the restorations process. McDonnell also announced his Administration has already acted upon nearly 200 applications, with decisions now made on all applications submitted with all the required information between the January 16th Inauguration and April 1st.  The Administration has also acted upon many of the 650 applications left over from the Kaine administration, which will all be completed by July 15th.
I'll be very interested to hear what groups and individuals concerned about this issue have to say. For now, Virginia State Conference NAACP Executive Director King Salim Khalfani says:
Process is important, but results are even more important.  The Virginia State Conference NAACP is encouraged that Governor McDonnell has already made a decision on the majority of completed applications submitted during the first few months of his Administration. We look forward to working with the Governor, Secretary of the Commonwealth and those who desire to have their rights restored in Virginia.  The Governor, his staff and stakeholders have put alot of thought and time into producing a new process on the restoration of civil rights.  We look forward to working with the Governor on this and other issues to make the Commonwealth of Virginia a better place for all.
Agreed.

UPDATE: The Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC) says, "as you may recall, last month, ACDC passed a resolution urging swifter restoration of voting rights for convicted felons after service of their sentence.  I am happy to report that today, Governor McDonnell announced new rules to move Virginia toward that goal."

UPDATE #2: The reaction so far from advocacy groups is mixed. For instance, the Advancement Project says, "These changes hardly equal reform" and that "Restoration of voting rights should not be handled on a case by case basis." The ACLU of Virginia says, "Even with these changes, Virginia will still rank last or next to last in the nation in restoration of voting rights, and there will still be more than 300,000 disenfranchised felons here." I certainly agree that there's no excuse for this policy at all and that it needs to be changed ASAP.  When a non-violent felon has done their time and paid their debt to society, they should be allowed to vote. Period.

UPDATE #3: See after the "flip" for Del. David Englin's statement on this.

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