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lowkell

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Could Kai Degner “Sneak Away” With An Upset Win Next Tuesday?

Could Harrisonburg Mayor Kai Degner "sneak away" with an upset victory next Tuesday, June 15, in a special election to replace Republican Matt Lohr, who resigned in March 2010 to serve as Commissioner for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in the McDonnell Administration?  According to the Republicans themselves, yes Degner can! Here's what Degner's Republican opponent, Tony Wilt, has to say.
Subject: I Need Your Help!!! They think they have a chance to sneak away with a House of Delegates seat here in the solidly Republican Shenandoah Valley. They want one more Delegate to support the... agenda of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid. ... we have no margin for error... Democrats are determined to take away this seat from our party.
For more on Wilt and his "family ties" to a controversial natural gas project, click here.  To "get on the bus" for Kai Degner this coming Saturday (June 12), click here. And help Degner "sneak away" with a victory in 8 days!

Thank You…Corey Stewart and Martin Nohe?!?

I can't believe I'm saying this, but...thanks to Republican Prince William County supervisors Corey Stewart and Martin Nohe. Why, you ask?  Check this out.
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors agreed to join a regional compact Tuesday that calls for jurisdictions in the Washington area to work collectively to solve problems and better the region by 2050.

[...]

The document the board endorsed, the Region Forward report of the Greater Washington 2050 Coalition, outlines nine goals for the region to achieve within 40 years. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments approved the report in January, and Prince William is the 17th of the 21 jurisdictions in the council to endorse it.

Among other things, the Greater Washington 2050 Compact calls for "preservation and enhancement of our Region's open space, green space, and wildlife preserves;" "a transportation system that maximizes community connectivity and walkability, and minimizes ecological harm;" "a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions;" and "healthy communities with greater access to quality health care and a focus on wellness and prevention."  

Good stuff, my only problems with this are: 1) it's not legally binding; and 2) as the compact itself acknowledges, "Many of the goals...are only realizable because of state legislative actions that are already accomplished or may be enacted in the future." Good luck getting "state legislative actions" in support of this otherwise excellent document from the Flat Earth House of Delegates (Bill Howell et al.) or from Pat Robertson's Manchurian Candidate (Bob McDonnell). Other than that, I'm very happy to see this compact, and even happier to see Republican-led Prince William County signing on (along with Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax City, Fairfax County. Falls Church, Loudoun, and Manassas Park)!

Slate: Reporters Fall for Malek’s “Fake Penitence” on His Anti-Semitic Behavior

Bob McDonnell can downplay Fred Malek's anti-Semitic actions and corrupt behavior 'til the cows come home. He can make the argument, laughably of course, that anyone who dislike Malek is not really against Malek, but actually has a secret agenda against "reform."  Uh huh. McDonnell can even claim that everything happened years ago (except for that small matter in Connecticut, of course) and that Malek has "apologized."  Whatever.

Fortunately, it's doubtful that almost anyone is buying this rubbish. Certainly, Slate magazine isn't.  Instead, Slate ups the ante, with an article about Malek's "fake penitence" over "Jew counting," and pointing out that it was actually far worse than that. The fact is, Slate writes, "Malek didn't just compile a list of Jews; he demoted at least four of those Jews." Whoops!

...A memo surfaced three years ago proving that Malek was intimately involved in the demotions, and that Malek demoted four Jewish-surnamed BLS officials, not two. Additional material surfaced this past January providing additional details, including the actual list of 13 Jews. (The identies of the additional six remain a mystery.)

Demoting Jews in the BLS is bad; demoting Jews for being Jewish is worse. Malek admits to the demotion but has falsely denied any role in the demotions, and apparently reporters are in no mood to confront him about this. That isn't atonement. It's deceit and evasion.

So, now what's McDonnell going to say? Let me guess: he never knew about any of this; it's not a big deal regardless; it's all a liberal plot against him; blah blah blah (or maybe waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah?). But that's Pat Robertson's Manchurian Candidate for ya, what else would you expect from him? The big question is, how much longer are Democrats like Del. Bob Brink and Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple going to provide political cover for McDonnell by remaining on the corrupt/anti-Semitic Malek Commission?  Not that there ever was a good excuse for any Democrats to stay on that commission, but given these latest revelations, it's absolutely inexcusable now.

P.S. As for the excuse that Jewish groups have forgiven Malek for his anti-Semitic behavior, from what I've been told, we really need to look into how much money Malek has given to some of these groups.  

Susan Mariner Visits the 5th CD, Will Campaign for Degner and Brown

The following email discusses the latest, superb work by Susan Mariner for Virginia Democrats. Anyone who knows Susan realizes that this is just par for the course, as Susan has always been a tireless worker with boundless enthusiasm and energy. Among many other reasons, that's why Susan is the person best qualified (by far) to be the next 1st Vice Chair of DPVA. See here for more information, and please make sure to tell every Central Committee member you know to vote for Susan next Saturday! Thanks.
TAKING the TIME to LISTEN and LEARN:  Visiting the 5th Congressional District

Yesterday I spent a wonderful day with Democrats in the 5th Congressional District, home of now official Democratic nominee in the 5th, Congressman Tom Perriello.   The 5th CD nominating convention was a great success, and I was inspired by the positive energy and unity of purpose of the delegates in the room.  On a less significant but also happy note, I loved getting a Perriello bumper sticker for my car.

Though I am not a resident of the 5th CD, I stand firmly with the delegates at the Convention in saying that we MUST re-elect Tom Perriello this year!  

In the many conversations I had with convention goers yesterday (including with many Central Committee members) about what the DPVA needed to do to help Tom in office this election cycle, one message I heard repeated over and over again is that they need help from the DPVA in educating voters, including many who voted for the first time in 2008.  We discussed the special challenges of campaigning in a mostly rural district and talked about specific strategies that the DPVA could employ to help build the Party for the long term in the 5th CD.  


More after the "flip"
 

My (Snarky) Virginia Endorsements for June 8th

The following endorsements are made in good, snarky, blogger fun. Having said that, there is a grain of seriousness in here, as of course I wish the Republicans will nominate the craziest, most far-right-wing, unelectable people for the general election. Either that, or - paradoxically - let's hope they nominate someone who is completely unacceptable to the far right wing, prompting them to bolt and support a  third-party candidate, as Laurence Verga campaign manager Bill Hay worries in today's Washington Post.

Virginia CD #1
Go Catherine "Bullet Box" Crabill!  The deal here is that if Crazy Crabill defeats Rep. Rob Wittman for the Republican nomination on Tuesday, then Democratic nominee Krystal Ball has a shot at winning in November. If not, then Ball - as strong a candidate as she might be - almost certainly won't win. So, again, go Catherine Crabill, the "blue team" is rooting for you! :)

Virginia CD #2
I've got to disagree with Bearing Drift on this one. Bert Mizusawa has far, far too impressive a resume -- "a Brigadier General in the Army Reserve, and one of the Army's most highly decorated officers... a Masters in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College and is a graduate of National Defense University's CAPSTONE program" -- to be the Republican nominee in this district. Instead, I strongly endorse Regent University grad, Obama donor (and also Louise Lucas donor), used-car dealer, and "Cash for Clunkers" beneficiary Scott Rigell for the Republican nomination in the 2nd CD. It should be hilarious watching Glenn Nye tear Rigell apart for hypocrisy, among other things.  Go Scott Rigell! Heh.

UPDATE: Also, see Dan Sullivan's excellent diary on this subject.

Virginia CD #5
On this one, I've got to go with the Bearing Drift guys: Feda Morton for Congress!  As far right wing as you can get, Morton also -- according to The Hook - is the "traditional family values candidate who once lost custody of her children" and is now "in the news again for alleged plagiarism." As one commenter wrote at The Hook, "Man. This woman is a disaster." Exactly, which is why I strongly endorse her for the Republican nomination against the superb Rep. Tom Perriello. I also strongly encourage any and all tea partiers to run as third, fourth, or fifth party candidates this November. The more the merrier, I say!

Virginia CD #8
Who cares, Jim Moran's going to romp in this rock-solid "blue" district over either Matthew Berry or Patrick Murray. Yawn. Also, as Loudoun Insider at Too Conservative points out, the two Republican candidates are apparently in a "we may lose, but at least we'll be pure" contest.  The only question is, will that "purity" allow them to break 40% of the vote in Arlington and Alexandria this November? I doubt it, but stay tuned!

Virginia CD #11
I had always assumed that Keith Fimian was the more right wing candidate in this race, but after listening to this past Friday's WTOP debate between Fimian and Pat Herrity, I'm not so sure anymore. Given this, I guess I'd have to go with Fimian for the Republican nomination, given that he's already a proven loser (by 12 points in 2008) against Rep. Gerry Connolly.  Plus, there's the "Real Keith Fimian Story", and quite a story it is! Heh. With that, I say, go Keith Fimian!

J.R. Hoeft: “Where are the environmental Republicans?”

I don't agree with Bearing Drift's J.R. Hoeft on much, but I certainly have asked myself this question for years now" "Where are the environmental Republicans?"
... politically, what's perhaps the most disturbing issue is the lack of comment from Republican leaders. Whether it be John Boehner, Eric Cantor or Bob McDonnell, the lack of seizing initiative on this issue from conservatives has been appalling.

Certainly now is not the time to be talking about drilling off the coast of Virginia - although the president is wrong to ditch the plan altogether. However, now is a great time to be talking about tax breaks and incentives for alternative energy production.

Whether it be biofuels, solar, wave energy, wind power, nuclear, or other - why has no Republican seized the opportunity to talk about the "all of the above" solution? Why have they not spoken about how dreadful this spill is and how it is yet another example, in a long string of examples, of how oil is a commodity that we eventually have to ween ourselves off of? Why have they not promoted and presented alternatives?

A few possible answers to J.R. Hoeft's questions?

1. As a commenter on Bearing Drift points out, " the age old adage of 'follow the money' usually reveals plausible answers to the queries."  For instance, according to Sourcewatch, BP donated $198,500 to federal candidates in 2008, of which 59% went to Republicans. In 2006, BP donated $219,500 to federal candidates, of which 65% went to Republicans. According to Open Secrets, Exxon Mobil in 2008 donated $1.4 million to federal candidates, of which 76% went to Republicans. In 2006, 90% of Exxon Mobil's contributions to federal candidates went to Republicans. On and on it goes, where it stops, we all know - weakened environmental laws, gutted federal oversight of the oil industry, billions of dollars in corporate welfare to Big Oil, thousands of dead and dying animals (not to mention an entire way of life) on the Gulf Coast.

2. Ideologically, today's "conservative" movement is a far cry from what "conservative" used to mean, back when the Teddy Roosevelts of the world - or even the Dwight Eisenhowers, Richard Nixons and Gerald Fords of the world - were in charge.  It seems to me that, just as the root of "progressive" is "progress," the root of "conservative" should be "conserve," and that included "conserving" natural resources. In addition, you'd think that a movement with so many religious people would believe in "creation care."  Unfortunately, today's conservative movement seems to have ditched the "conserve" part from its vocabulary, and instead chosen to worship on Grover Norquist's altar of the "free market." Of course, it's not even really a "free market," as there are distortions - tax breaks, subsidies, lax regulations, failure to price in "externalities" - which wildly tip the playing field away from energy efficiency/clean energy and towards dirty fossil fuels.

3. Today's conservative movement actually has people in it who aren't just pro-business, but are actively anti-environment (bizarre, I know; how can anyone actually be ANTI-environment? WTF?). These people are the ones claiming that those of us who want to protect our planet - the only one we've got, last I checked! - from devastation and degradation are "radicals" and "extremists." The fact is, the people who want to trash our planet - or at the minimum, who don't care if we damage our environment, all in the pursuit of profits, cheap energy (however dirty or dangerous), and their (bizarre) version of the "American Way" - are the "extremists." Because, I put it to you, it's "extreme" (and completely crazy) to believe in destroying our only home.

The question is, do the J.R. Hoefts of the world have any influence in the Republican Party of John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, Don "This is not an environmental disaste" Young, and their ilk?  Unfortunately,  as far as I can tell, the answer to that question is a resounding "NO!" Which is one of the many reasons - along with the Jerry Falwell fundamentalist influx - why I decided to leave the Republican Party back in the early 1980s. What I don't understand is how anyone who is pro-environment can remain in a party which, by the very nature of its ideology and by the very makeup of its main contributors, is inherently, even extremely, anti-environment. I'm not saying these people will or should become Democrats, but how about a new, Teddy Roosevelt-style Republican Party that ditches the pro-"robber baron" mentality and puts the "conserve" back in "conservatism?"  Along those lines, the big question is, who - if anyone - is going to be today's Teddy Roosevelt?

UPDATE: Also see this column by another pro-environment Republican, "Loudoun Insider" at Too Conservative.  He writes, "I am no fan of over-bearing regulation, but this incident should shut up the no-regulation crowd for good.  Stringent, competent regulation (not this kind of BS) is absolutely necessary to protect our finest natural resources."  I agree, it should "shut up the no-regulation crowd for good," but sadly, I doubt it will. These people are greedy, and they are shameless.

P.S. Just to emphasize, protecting the environment should never be a "liberal" or "conservative" issue. Whether you are a hunter, angler, or other outdoorsperson who wants to protect the habitat you enjoy; a religious person who believes that protecting "god's creation" is a sacred duty; an enlightened businessperson who knows that environmental responsibility and energy efficiency are completely consistent with making good profits; someone who simply loves nature and wants to protect it; a national security "hawk" who wants to keep money out of the hands of Ahmedinejad and Al Qaeda; and/or a pragmatist who knows that an unhealthy environment means unhealthy humans as well; you should want to slash our dependence on oil and other dirty, fossil fuels, while preserving the environment for generations to come. Again, how is any of that "liberal" or "conservative?"  Answer: it isn't.

President Obama’s Weekly Address, From Louisiana


...this is the largest response to an environmental disaster of this kind in the history of our country.

We've also ordered BP to pay economic injury claims, and we will make sure they pay every single dime owed to the people along the Gulf Coast.  The Small Business Administration has stepped in to help businesses by approving loans and allowing deferrals of existing loan payments.  And this week, the federal government sent BP a preliminary bill for $69 million to pay back American taxpayers for some of the costs of the response so far.  In addition, after an emergency safety review, we're putting in place aggressive new operating standards for offshore drilling.  And I've appointed a bipartisan commission to look into the causes of this spill.  If laws are inadequate -- laws will be changed.  If oversight was lacking -- it will be strengthened.  And if laws were broken -- those responsible will be brought to justice.

The full transcript is here.

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