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Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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lowkell

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Jeff Schapiro: “Think earmarks are just a problem in Washington?”


According to Jeff Schapiro, "Wait until you hear what Virginia legislators have been doing with tobacco settlement money."

Also, check out Tom McLaughlin's article on the "$4 million stolen from under [the Virginia Tobacco Commission's] collective nose by John Forbes, a former Secretary of Finance in the administration of Gov. Jim Gilmore."

Apparently, we've got some "issues" in Republican-controlled Richmond, not just in Democratic-controlled Washington, DC. (of course, needless to say, we also had the same - actually, FAR worse - "issues" when Tom DeLay and his "K Street" Republican robber barons controlled Congress and Bush/Cheney were in the White House...)

Dick Lugar: Pass New START Treaty!


The Republican Party used to have a lot of people on foreign policy like Dick Lugar, putting national security ahead of their narrow partisan interests. Apparently, that's not the case anymore, after listening to Jon Kyl's irresponsible idiocy earlier today.  As the Mercury News writes:
If you doubted that Republicans could be so craven as to put their own political interests above national security, the proof was delivered Tuesday: Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl announced he will block New START, which calls for the resumption of nuclear controls that until now have had bipartisan support.

Holding our nuclear security hostage solely to embarrass President Barack Obama is a new low. Public-spirited Republicans should demand that the treaty move forward as planned.

Unfortunately, when it comes to foreign policy, today's Republicans are far more the party of "craven" Jon Kyl than of responsible Dick Lugar. It's truly sad to see what's happened to this once-great party. It's also enraging to see them put our national security at risk for absolutely no good reason. WTF, Republicans?!?

UPDATE: The New York Times believes that the "world's nuclear wannabes, starting with Iran, should send a thank you note to Senator Jon Kyl." The Times also mocks the Republicans' pretension to being "The Party of National Security," writing that "the objections from Mr. Kyl - and apparently the whole Republican leadership - are so absurd that the only explanation is their limitless desire to deny President Obama any legislative success." Sad but true.

Time To Pass DREAM Act, Repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”

Roll Call reports, "Harry Reid to put both DREAM Act and DADT bills on floor."  Needless to say, it's long past time for action on both of these bills, certainly while Democrats still control both the House and the Senate. We've written a lot here at Blue Virginia on the absurdity of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and why that crazy, outdated, counterproductive, discriminatory policy needs to go. As for the DREAM Act, here's what Colin Powell had to say back in late September on this subject.  I couldn't agree more.


We can't be anti-immigration...because immigrants are fueling this country. Without immigrants, America would be like Europe or Japan, with an aging population and no young people coming in to take care of it. We have to educate our immigrants. The DREAM Act is one way we can do this...The DREAM Act in a nutshell says if you are a young person and you were brought here by your parents and you're in illegal status, if you have finished high school, we'll give you a 6-year temporary residency, and if during those 6 years you finish 2 years of college or you go into the military service for 2 years, then you're on a path to citizenship. That's good. America is going to be a minority nation in one more generation. Our minorities are not getting educated well enough now, 50% of our minority kids are not finishing high school. We've got to invest in education. We should use the DREAM Act as one way to do it...We've got to find a way to bring these people out of the darkness and give them some kind of status...Immigration is what's keeping this country's lifeblood moving forward. They enrich our culture with every generation. We have to find a way to protect our borders, but at the same time treat our immigrant population with respect and dignity and give them a path to citizenship.
Contact Jim Webb and Mark Warner, tell them to vote "aye" on the DREAM Act today!  Thanks.

PPP: Webb 49%-Allen 45%; Webb 49%-Cooch 39%

These poll results are actually a lot better than I thought they'd be, with Jim Webb leading George Allen (49%-45%), Bill Bolling (49%-38%), and Ken Kook-inelli (49%-39%). And if Jim Webb doesn't run?
[Tim] Kaine would begin with a 50-44 edge over Allen, 48-41 over Bolling, and 50-39 over Cuccinelli. Perriello would trail Allen, 42-47, and Bolling, 41-42, and he would only lead Cuccinelli, 44-41.
The bottom line, according to PPP, is that "[w]ith Barack Obama looking good to start out the 2012 cycle in Virginia, and now Jim Webb and Tim Kaine joining him, the Republican victories in 2009 and 2010 could be more a blip than 2006 and 2008 were for Democrats." I'll take it. Now, if Republicans will only do us a big favor and nominate the Cooch!

P.S. In other news, Mark Warner's at 54%-32% approval/disapproval, Bob McDonnell's at 44%-36%, Jim Webb's at 43%-37%.  Also, Cooch has a 31%-39% favorable/unfavorable rating, George Allen's at 40%-41%, Tim Kaine's at 43%-40%, Bill Bolling's at 20%-25%, and Tom Perriello's at 22%-32%. No numbers on "Sideshow Bob," unfortunately, or on Corey Stewart.

“9500 Liberty” Filmmaker Responds to Prince William County Immigration Study

Filmmaker and activist Eric Byler, who - along with his partner Annabel Park - documented the Prince William County immigration resolution controversy in the powerful film, "9500 Liberty," has some thoughts on a new study on the policy's results, 3 years later. Keep in mind that Eric Byler knows more about this issue than just about anyone else out there. (bolding added by me for emphasis)

*"If Prince William County is a "model" of any kind, it's a model of a costly and dysfunctional way to end up with the preferred approach of the Obama Administration.  Beyond that, we're discussing the impact of the year-long controversy in Prince William County much more so than our short-lived S.B. 1070 precursor."

*"The elephant in the room is the fact that Prince William County's 'probable cause' mandate was repealed, over Chairman Stewart's objection, after only eight weeks of implementation."

*"Chairman Stewart wants to attract the kind of attention Jan Brewer has received thanks to S.B. 1070's very similar 'reasonable suspicion' provision.  But in fact, Stewart is a more appropriate spokesperson for the Obama Administration's Secure Communities program than he is for S.B. 1070."

*"[The] report mentions but does not emphasize the fact that type of crime in which we saw the most significant drop (aggravated assault) was also the category targeted by Chief Deane's Robbery Unit, which went into effect in 2006 before the immigration controversy was initiated."

*"[The] report suggests that some Hispanics did leave, and that many of those who left lacked legal status.  Thus, the only conclusive information in the report is that the controversy succeeded in leveling off the growth of the Hispanic population.  But is reversing or delaying demographic shift more important than other resource needs, and more important than other concerns that impact the lives of county residents?"

more comments on the "flip"

Can We “Earmark” Idiocy?

The New York Times nails it on the ridiculous pseudo-"issue" known as "earmarks."
Millions of Americans are out of work. The government is running a $1.3 trillion deficit. We just had an election that sent at least one clear signal: cut that deficit. So what is Washington talking about? Earmarks, the $15.9 billion in projects designated by Congress in the last fiscal year for favorite projects. That's less than half of 1 percent of federal spending.

Blaming earmarks for the country's fiscal ills has been a favorite Tea Party talking point and a way to avoid a more serious discussion of the real mix of difficult spending cuts and tax increases that are the only way to dig the country out of this hole...

Again, let's make this absolutely clear: Earmarks. Are. Utterly. Irrelevant.  Let's all get a grip and focus on what really matters - ratifying the new START treaty, passing the DREAM Act, deciding what to do with the utterly unaffordable Bush tax cuts (particularly for the wealthiest Americans - there's absolutely ZERO rationale or excuse to extend those indefinitely), passing clean energy legislation (how about a mandatory, national Renewable Energy Standard? slashing subsidies for fossil fuels and putting that money into energy efficiency?), putting a price on carbon (as simple CO2 tax, with the money rebated directly to the American people, would do the trick for me), etc., etc?  But earmarks? We're discussing freakin' earmarks?  Ladies and gentlemen, we have now officially reached Michelle Bachmann/Glenn Beck levels of idiocy. That is all.

New PPP Poll: “Virginia’s 13 electoral votes still in Obama’s column”

Public Policy Polling gives us some encouraging news for a change!
...PPP's first look at [Virginia] almost two years from the election suggests otherwise. Just three weeks following the low point of his presidency, Obama leads all four current Republican frontrunners by healthy margins, and has a positive job approval rating in the Old Dominion.

PPP's final 2008 poll of the state which nailed the actual 53-46 result reflected an electorate in which Democrats outnumbered Republicans by five points. This electorate, at D +1, is more evenly split, but still gives the president a 50-45 job performance mark, better than PPP has measured him almost anywhere in 2010.

Obama posts his strongest leads against Sarah Palin (52-41) and Newt Gingrich (51-40), with smaller advantages over Mike Huckabee (49-44) and Mitt Romney (48-43). The president has at least 91% of his party's votes against any of the Republicans, with no more than 5% defecting...

Hey, it's 2 years out and only one poll (albeit by a highly accurate polling outfit), but I'll take it! By the way, Gallup's current Obama job approval numbers are 48%-45%. That's slightly higher, by the way, than both Clinton's and Reagan's job approval numbers at the same point in their presidencies.  

Lisa Murkowski Slams Sarah Palin, Says She Wants Obama to Succeed


Have we finally found ourselves a sane, "moderate" Republican to join Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins  (if they are, indeed, still in the "moderate" camp) in the Senate?  Watch this video and decide for yourself.  

Peter Rousselot: “Your Feedback, Our Party”

Peter Rousselot, who is running for Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) chair, just sent out a press release about the response he's been getting from Central Committee members and Local Party Chairs as he calls and meets with people around Virginia.  Here's a sampling of suggestions, all of which he pledges "to adopt if you elect me as the next DPVA Chair." Go Peter! (bolding added by me for emphasis)

"DPVA must set at least minimum expectations for local Chairs. If a Chair can't even hold local committee meetings, then DPVA needs to step up and do something to enable Democrats in that locality to realize their full potential."

"DPVA has got to help local committees recruit and field candidates in elections that are not targeted by the Senate and House caucus leadership."

"As a local Chair in Southside, I need help in recruiting younger Democrats to get involved with my local committee. DPVA should provide me with tips and suggestions to help me get that done."

"In order to inspire Democrats at the local level, DPVA has got to communicate a vision that it stands for something more than just electing more Democrats to office."

"I understand you speak Spanish fluently. We need someone like you as the next DPVA Chair to help our local committee recruit Democratic Latino activists and candidates from among our growing Latino population."

"Our new Chair needs to be someone who can inspire the people in the back room to believe that the Chair understands what they are facing."

"With the tremendous job of re-building that DPVA confronts, we need a Chair who can commit to devote full time to the job."

That last point is crucial. Whatever you think of Brian Moran's "day job" as a lobbyist for the for-profit "education" industry, the fact is that it's a full-time position which will leave very little time for Moran to work on DPVA issues. After crushing losses in 2009 and 2010, the last thing we need is a part-time chair. Instead, we need someone who will dedicate themselves 24/7/365 to the job so that we keep control of the state Senate in 2011 and then fight hard in 2012 for Jim Webb, Barack Obama, and our Congressional candidates. Without that effort, I fear that we'll just be "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." And you know what that's a definition for.

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