Wednesday, September 20, 2017
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One Conservative Says “Thank You No” To Felix Macacawitz

At least one conservative blogger isn't thrilled with the idea of George Allen - aka, "Felix Macacawitz" - for Senate in 2012.
...I believe that in the Republican orbit, Allen is Old Virginia.  We saw how Republicans can win in New Virginia in 2009.  McDonnell, Bolling, and Cuccinelli showed us how you can be an aggressive conservative and use that as a solution to the every day problems of the folks out there. McDonnell talked about jobs, they all talked about jobs.  Our candidates talked about jobs for the House of Delegates.  And we won, we won big.  McDonnell led the way, getting out ahead of an issue that mattered most in this bad economy.  We can't turn our backs away from what we accomplished.  It might sound harsh to some, but returning to George Allen is returning to the Republicanism of 2005 and 2006, where we talk about conservatism aimlessly without the glue of a real agenda behind it.  And maybe I'm wrong, maybe Allen is the right man again, maybe he's learned.  But at this stage of his career, can you believe he has?
It's an interesting argument, although in the end I don't buy it. Substantively, what's the real difference between George Allen on the one hand and McDonnell/Bolling/Cooch on the other?  Are there are any policy areas - economic, social, or foreign policy - on which they disagree?  I can't think of any in particular. Does it come down to Allen simply being a less disciplined, less effective communicator than McDonnell, Bolling or Cooch? I don't buy that either. After all, Allen was elected governor of Virginia as well as U.S. Senator, so he must have been doing something right all those years. Furthermore, how are all the extreme things Cooch, McDonnell et al. have said and written any crazier than calling someone "macaca?"

In the final analysis, I don't really see how "Felix Macacawitz" is significantly different than "Pat Robertson's Manchurian Candidate" or Kookinelli.  They're all hard-right conservatives through and through, both on economic and social issues.  The only real difference? McDonnell and Cooch won their last elections; Allen lost his. And there's nothing people like less than a "loser."

P.S. One other difference is that Allen ran against "true American hero" Jim Webb and a fired-up grassroots movement; McDonnell ran against conservadem Creigh Deeds ('nuff said) and a demoralized Democratic "base."  Maybe that's the key factor more than which flavor of right-wingnut the Republicans end up nominating?

Family Research Council: “Don’t give money to the RNC”

Another great line from Perkins: "Look, if you can't run a party you certainly can't run a country."

Kyle Blankenship Tweets “TEA Party” 2nd CD Debate

For a live tweet of the 2nd CD "TEA Party" candidate forum, check out Kyle Blankenship's Twitter feed. Highlights (lowlights?) so far (7:50 pm):

*"[Scott] Rigell talks about accountability, gives out his home phone number."

*"Scott Taylor implies (thinly veiled) the Democrats intend to extend Presidential term limits."

*"[Ben] Loyola: 'Obamacare' adds a 'huge new layer of socialism'"

*"Rigell basically says all federal taxes are unconstitutional. Umm... Wtf?"

*"Scott Taylor proposes billions in education funding cuts."

*"Every Republican, when asked, 'vows' to repeal health care reform."

Stay tuned, this should be craaazy fun!

UPDATE: More craziness, as predicted.

*"Loyola: there's "no excuse" for unemployment to be over "1-2%". Wow."

*"Republicans now talking about raising Medicare age, slashing benefits to seniors, and ending Medicare as soon as possible."

*"Whoa, Loyola calls The Fed's actions "terrorism against America"

Why does anyone take these people the least bit seriously?

The Beginning Of The End For Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining?

Could the ruinous (environmentally, economically, you name it) practice of "mountaintop removal" coal mining be coming to an end sooner rather than later?  Based on this, it sure looks like a possibility.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced new pollution limits that could sharply curtail "mountaintop" mining, the lucrative and controversial practice that is unique to Appalachia.

The decision, announced Thursday afternoon by EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, is expected to end or significantly cut the use of "valley fills." At these sites, mining companies fill valleys to the brim with rock and rubble left over when peaks are sheared off to reach coal seams inside.

"Minimizing the number of valley fills is a very, very key factor," Jackson said. "You're talking about no, or very few, valley fills that are going to meet this standard."

Of course, without "valley fills," it's going to be pretty difficult to blow the top off a mountain and figure out what to do with the resulting debris. Over at Gristmill, they quote "95-year-old Ken Hechler, the former West Virginia congressman who introduced the first bill in Congress to stop mountaintop removal and strip-mining in 1971," calling this "a great victory for the Clean Water Act and justice."  

Maybe, but as J.W. Randolph of Appalachian Voices points out, we still need "Congress to follow the Obama administration's lead by passing legislation that will permanently protect our homes and communities from mining waste...Change in Appalachia is now inevitable, and the time for Congress to pass this legislation is now!"

By the way, for anyone who argues about the supposed economic importance of mountaintop removal mining, I strongly recommend that they read this letter, by Justin Maxson,  president of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development.  As Maxson points out, "coal mining jobs amount to only about 2 percent of employment in the central Appalachian region; the percentage is only slightly higher if you consider related employment."  The problem with "mountaintop removal" mining, of course, is that it's a highly capital-intensive (explosives, heavy machinery), not labor-intensive (miners) process. The other problem is the nature of the coal industry, which Jim Webb explains extremely well in Born Fighting.

The people from the outside showed up [in Appalachian coal country] with complicated contracts...asking for "rights" to mineral deposits they could not see, and soon they were treated to a sundering of their own earth as the mining companies ripped apart their way of life, so that after a time the only option was to go down into the hole and bring the Man his coal, or starve. The Man got his coal, and the profits it brought when he shipped it out. They got their wages, black lung, and the desecration of their land...Coal made this part of Appalachia a poverty-stricken basket case while the rest of the mountain region remained mired in isolation.
That pretty much sums it up.

Kaine Has “Serious Questions” About McDonnell Administration

I have some serious questions about the fiscal responsibility of some of the steps being taken. I don't think cuts to education and the health care safety net are a good idea ever, particularly in this economy. I don't want to roll back protections for employees in terms of discrimination or send a signal that we don't care about it. And I think the notion of well, we're gonna...push back on a health care bill that will do a lot of good for hundreds of thousands of Virginians, it's like, you just gotta go out and see how people are living and you'll realize that this bill's a very good thing.

For more, see here (interview by Adam Rhew).

McEachin Blasts Cooch for “Ludicrous” Lawsuit on Clean Cars

The following statement is from Environment Virginia. See in particular Sen. Donald McEachin's statement (after the "flip") that he is "frustrated and dismayed" by Ken Cuccinelli's "ludicrous lawsuits that waste time and money." That includes, apparently, yet another lawsuit, this time against higher fuel economy standards for automobiles. As Sen. McEachin points out, Cuccinelli is focusing on these time-and-money-wasting lawsuits, "[r]ather than protect Virginians from internet predators, consumer fraud and identity theft."

White House Shows Leadership on Clean Cars

Congress Urged to Protect New Standards by Rejecting Efforts to Weaken Clean Air Act

Richmond - In a huge win for Virginia's environment, public health and national security, the Obama administration today announced new standards for automobile fuel economy and global warming emissions. An Environment Virginia analysis found that these new federal standards - based on the "clean cars program" developed by California and adopted by 13 other states - will save Virginians 324 million gallons of gasoline by 2016 as compared to the previous federal standards, while reducing emissions of global warming pollutants and providing a net economic savings to consumers.

"Thanks to President Obama's leadership, the cars of tomorrow will be cleaner and cost less to fuel than the cars of today," said Environment Virginia Advocate J.R. Tolbert. "Today's announcement is the direction that America should be taking when addressing our energy needs. Rather than drilling off our coastlines we should prioritize conservation and renewable energy when meeting the nation's energy needs."

The rest of the statement is after the "flip"

Jeff Schapiro: “Bob McDonnell’s favorite president is a big government guy”

Jeff Schapiro points out that "Gov. Bob McDonnell likes to quote George Washington, except for the part about federal supremacy over rebellious states." Schapiro also quotes Washington's "choice words" regarding Virginia's "unique hostility towards the national government." According to George Washington, "it is the most malignant...the most unwarrantable disposition." The same words could very well be applied to Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli today.  One final quote from George Washington pertains to the infamous Whiskey Rebellion: "Should the anti-taxers prevail, republican government might perish in one stroke." As Jeff Schapiro notes, Bob McDonnell doesn't talk about "that George Washington." Gee, I wonder why not.

“Drill, baby, drill” Day For Mark Warner

...Sen. Mark Warner "had a root canal today," said spokesman Kevin Hall. "The irony is that it's 'drill, baby, drill' day." (No TV sound bites, alas, to support Obama's offshore-oil decision.) Warner will recover at home, then head to events in southern Virginia next week.
Good one by Kevin Hall, and get well soon to Mark Warner!

P.S. For Mark Warner's real reaction to the offshore oil drilling announcement yesterday, see here.  In short, Warner believes "This is good news and a positive step forward as we work to expand our nation's domestic energy production."  Hmmm...root canal or offshore oil drilling, tough choice.

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