Saturday, April 21, 2018
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More Republican Insanity: Dick Black is Back!

As crazy as Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Carl Paladino, Rand Paul, Linda McMahon, Joe Miller, and so many other Republican candidates and elected officials (e.g., Ken Kookinelli, "Sideshow Bob" Marshall) are this year, they've got nothing on former Virginia Delegate Dick Black. Yes, we're talking about this guy:
In an extraordinary recent interview (click to listen to MP3) with the radical right-wing group Concerned Women for America regarding HB2921, Delegate Dick "Baby Pesticides" Black insults his colleagues in the Virginia Senate, claiming that they are "aligned with various elements of vice and so forth."

Thanks to the Majority Report Radio blog for the great lead on this interview.  Read below the jump for details on this remarkable interview and suggestions for follow-up items on this bill.

Delegate Black also spends time in the interview repeating the discredited claims of one of his star witnesses, pseudo-sociologist Paul Cameron. Black said, "The fact [sic] is, in children that have a homosexual parent, approximately 29% of children are molested by that parent. That contrasts with .6 percent of normal parents....a 50 to 1 increase in risk for molestation."  No reputable scientific study backs up these claims.  Black continues by saying, "No structure is more unstable than a homosexual relationship."

OK, so I think we can all agree that he's nuts, as sane conservative "Loudoun Insider" admits. And now, he's baaaaack, "passing out invitations to the formal kickoff of his race for the state Senate on Nov. 11." As the Washington Post article points out, this is the guy "perhaps best known for distributing plastic fetus models to fellow lawmakers preparing to vote on abortion issues." Now, the madman's back, probably running against Sen. Mark Herring (D) in the 33rd District. As "Loudoun Insider" writes:
I honestly cannot believe we are here in 2010 talking about Dick Black trying to beat Mark Herring. It's ludicrous. Yet we have incumbent Republican office holders lining up to endorse him and certainly the LCRC "leadership" ready to pave the way for him to the nomination. And I thought the GOP had really turned the corner here in Loudoun. We're right back to 2007.
Well, believe it. Sad to say, but this is - increasingly - today's Republican Party. Scary. Nutty. Bizarre. Off the deep end. But increasingly, winning nominations and even general elections. What is this country coming to?

VA Sierra Club Releases Report on “How Virginia is Losing the Competition For Clean...

I just got off a conference call with the Virginia Sierra Club (Glen Besa and Ivy Main), the topic being the release of their new report, "Power Failure - How Virginia is Losing the Competition For Clean Energy Jobs."  The Sierra Club's press release is after the "flip," but here are a few quick notes from the call.

*Virginia is way behind other states in clean energy and energy efficiency, due to a failure of leadership by Bob McDonnell and also previous governors.

*Other mid-Atlantic states are ahead of us in clean energy incentives and jobs.

*If "Bob's for Jobs" really wants to create jobs, the single best thing he could do right now would be to invest in energy efficiency. For every $1 invested in energy efficiency, we get $2 back.  

*There are huge opportunities for renewable energy and energy efficiency in Virginia, but we don't have the incentives needed to get there.

*A well-crafted Renewable Portfolio Standard would be a superb tool for reaching our goals.  Right now, Virginia has a voluntary RPS that is basically worthless. We need a real, mandatory RPS.

*Part of why this administration, and previous administrations, have failed is their close ties to Dominion VA Power, and the disproportionate influence Dominion and other utilities have on Virginia politics.

*Coal is not the future. In fact, coal mining employment has plummeted in Virginia, thanks to mechanized forms of mining like "mountaintop removal." Also, "If coal's so great, than why is southwestern Virginia so poor?"

Must-Read Column by Paul Krugman

I strongly recommend today's NY Times column by Paul Krugman, "Hey, Small Spender."  Here's an excerpt:
Here's the narrative you hear everywhere: President Obama has presided over a huge expansion of government, but unemployment has remained high. And this proves that government spending can't create jobs.

Here's what you need to know: The whole story is a myth. There never was a big expansion of government spending. In fact, that has been the key problem with economic policy in the Obama years: we never had the kind of fiscal expansion that might have created the millions of jobs we need.

So much, in Krugman's view, for the Tea Party cry of "stop the spending!" In fact, Krugman argues, we need to START the spending (and investment - not the same thing as pure "spending"), because so far, other than tax cuts, it hasn't really started in a big way.

Video: Complete Cooch Incoherence at Tea Party Convention

I was watching this video, and the main thought I had about Ken Cuccinelli wasn't even so much that he's a right-wing nutjob, but that he's just completely incoherent.  For instance, the core of his anti-healthcare-reform argument is that "Obamacare" is unconstitutional because it was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, but the similar "Romneycare" is constitutional because it was put into place by a state government. Huh? Something's constitutional simply because it's done geographically "closer to you," but it's unconstitutional if it's done further away from you? So...let's see, for those of us who live in NOVA, federal health care reform legislation was passed and signed into law just a few miles up the road, while Richmond's much further away, so by that "reasoning," the state law would be less constitutional than the federal law? Yeah, uh huh. Whatever.  

Second, the argument that because the government can do some things, it can do "anything" - and the implication is that "anything" includes all kinds of bad stuff - may be true in theory, but that's exactly why our Founding Fathers put a system of "checks and balances" in place, including a court system to decide on the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. It's also why we have elections. But put all that aside for a second and consider; Ken Cuccinelli is railing against government power to do "anything," yet at the same time is pursuing a government witch hunt against a scientist, Michael Mann, because Cuccinelli, in his official government role as Attorney General, disagrees with the scientist!  If that's not tyranny, government doing "anything," I don't know what is.  So where does that fit into Ken Cuccinelli's "first principles?" Again, whatever.

Finally, Cooch correctly declares that Republicans, when they were in power, completely violated everything they purported to believe in. I agree with Cooch completely on that, whether we're talking government spending, fiscal responsibility, a decidedly non-humble and non-realist form of foreign policy, intrusions on our civil liberties, etc., etc. The question is, why should we trust Republicans now? Is there any reason to think that they have stopped violating their "first principles" now, or would stop violating them if they came back into power?  Of course, there's absolutely zero evidence of that, and Cooch should say so if he wants to be intellectually honest. But of course he doesn't, and he isn't. All of which adds up to, as I said at the outset, complete Cooch incoherence. What else is new?

Arlington “Artisphere” Opens Its Doors

Yet another great reason why Arlington, Virginia is one of the best communities in the nation -- "Artisphere" has opened. Here's a bit of video from earlier this evening, at the facility's "open house," which continues tomorrow.
On 10.10.10, the first of a new breed of American cultural centers opens its doors to the DC region: ARTISPHERE.  Combining the newly-renovated former Newseum space with the existing Spectrum Theatre next door, Artisphere's multi-disciplinary cultural offerings will permeate this 62,000 square foot cultural campus seven days a week, 12 hours a day, offering more than 100 events per month!    A departure from the traditional "arts temple" one visits sporadically to see a big star, Artisphere is a true "third space" -- a place between office and home where the cultural experience is a multi-optioned conduit for patrons to connect with and create community. With a broader diversity of offerings than most traditional cultural centers.  On a typical evening, you can finish up some work in the Wi-Fi cafe, take a break and view the exhibits in any of three galleries, then "tweet" some friends to join you later for an experimental film in the Dome, or dance to regional and nationally-known live bands in the Ballroom.   The resident companies include Washington Shakespeare Company and National Chamber Ensemble;  Artisphere will also include a retail outlet for the Artisan Center, Arlington's official fine craft purveyors, a Wi-Fi Town Square with a two story video wall, a cafe and bar, an outdoor terrace, and a 4,000 square foot art gallery.
A great new facility, in the old "Newseum" building right near Rosslyn Metro, it seems that there's going to be something for just about everyone at this facility. Check it out!

Eric Can’tor (Kinda Sorta) Denounces GOP Nazi Reenactor

I love the bizarre, passive/convoluted construction Can'tor uses - "she knows that I would absolutely repudiate that" - to kinda sorta denounce this guy. It must be tough going through life without a spine...

Should a Democratic Delegate Have Attended the Virginia Tea Party Convention?

Over at his Facebook page, Del. Mark Keam (D-Vienna) writes, "Spoke on a bipartisan panel on 'transparency in government' at VA Tea Party in Richmond. I'll write up my thoughts on my website tonight." To my knowledge, Del. Keam is the only elected Virginia Democrat to attend the Virginia "Tea Party" convention, along with numerous Republican elected officials - Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, Ken Cuccinelli, several others.  The question is, should a Democratic elected official, or Democratic candidate, be attending a "Tea Party" event?

I checked with a few Democratic activists and long-time Democratic Virginia political operatives, and have their comments after the "flip." But first, for an "official" view, here's DPVA Chairman Dickie Cranwell:

State Democratic Party Chairman Richard Cranwell of Vinton said the GOP leaders' embrace of hard-line tea party activists raises questions about whether they can be consensus-building political leaders.

"What my basic instincts are telling me is that what you're seeing is the real Bob McDonnell, the real Bill Bolling, the real Ken Cuccinelli and the real George Allen, not the people who run around in campaigns and say, 'We're moderates,' " Cranwell said.

I strongly agree with Dickie Cranwell about the Republican elected officials. But what about Democratic electeds attending this event?  Let's see what some long-time Virginia Democratic activists and operatives think, after the "fold."

UPDATE: I received an on-the-record statement from Gerry Connolly for Congress campaign manager James Walkinshaw (bolding added by me for emphasis). I couldn't agree more.

Democrats attending the Tea Party convention are merely allowing themselves to be used as props to create a false patina of legitimacy for what is in reality a radical right-wing organization dedicated to turning back the clock on progress.  Tea Party values are not Northern Virginia values, and moderate Northern Virginia voters do not want to see their leaders associated with it in any way, shape, or form.

UPDATE #2: Former Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair Peter Rousselot stated on the record that he completely agreed with the Connolly campaign's statement. Rousselot added that the Tea Party does not represent Virginia values anywhere in the state.

UPDATE #3: I received the following statement from the Jeff Barnett for Congress campaign.

I cannot speak to Delegate Keam's motivations for attending the tea party convention. I can say that he is a strong Democrat and a great public servant. Having spoken to a tea party group myself, I admire any Democratic politician who is willing to stand up for Democratic ideals and values in front of any group of Americans. The tea party platform is wrong for America. We lose ground to the tea party movement when we refuse to engage them instead of standing up for our values.

Can Everyone See Scott Rigell’s Hypocrisy Except Scott Rigell?

Scott Rigell's hypocrisy on "Cash for Clunkers" is so obvious, it barely even needs to be stated. So then, why can't Rigell just admit that he's a hypocrite - benefiting from a program, than criticizing Glenn Nye for voting for it! - and move on with his campaign? Right now, he's just embarrassing himself.
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