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VA House Dem Leader Toscano: "Entire Medicaid special session was a charade" by GOP

by: lowkell

Thu Sep 18, 2014 at 19:22:23 PM EDT

Did anyone ever expect anything else from Virginia House and Senate Republicans? The bottom line is that they: a) control both chambers; b) are absolutely terrified of being primaried by a Tea Partier; and c) are for the wealthy and well-connected, not the types of people (working class, poor) who desperately need Medicaid expansion. The answer? Vote them out of office in November 2015.
House Democrats Statement on rejection of Rust proposal to expand Medicaid  

Richmond, VA - Democratic Leader David J. Toscano released the following statement regarding the rejection of Delegate Tom Rust's proposal to expand Medicaid.

"The decision on this bill was made before we arrived in Richmond; the debate was mere window dressing. House Republicans have again shown that they have no plan to close the coverage gap,"  said Democratic Leader David J. Toscano.  "The rejection of this legislation is further proof that this entire medicaid special session was a charade.  Despite this setback, we will continue to fight to bring our taxpayer dollars back to Virginia to help our citizens and to find a way to close the coverage gap."

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

"We're Rural, Not Stupid" Part 5

by: pontoon

Thu Sep 18, 2014 at 12:11:55 PM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

Here is the 5th in the series, "We're Rural, Not Stupid."  The photo included in this post [below the fold] of the mudslides in Nelson was included in this Washington Post article. The photo is part of a collection owned by Nelsonian, Dick Whitehead. Mr. Whitehead's father, Bill Whitehead, was the sheriff in Nelson County in 1969 when the flood occurred.

Tamra Marshall lives in Nellysford, Virginia. Her family has a long history in the hills of Nelson County. Her Grandpa Jack Marshall worked with the Citizen Conservation Corps building the [Blue Ridge] Parkway, as locals refer to it, and many of the local roads during lean times. Tamra has strong opinions about Dominion's proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline relating to the unmarked graves of those Nelsonian's who lost their lives and were never found in the aftermath of Hurricane Camille.

Here is Tamra's story:

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 282 words in story)

Angry White Men on the Right

by: Andy Schmookler

Thu Sep 18, 2014 at 13:32:14 PM EDT

A friend of mine, who is liberal, told me recently, "Having grown up in the South in the 1950s, I know something about how it feels to be part of a group you're told is superior. It feels really good. It's a feeling that shouldn't be under-estimated."

That got me thinking about the anger of many white men, and why they've lent the force of that anger to the political right.

Imagine you're a white man, particularly in a region where racist ideology and patriarchy have been especially powerful. By virtue of being white instead of black, and male instead of female, you've got higher status than roughly three-quarters of the humanity around you. And if you're straight, not gay, you get to feel even better about yourself.

The feeling of self-worth is a big part of one's overall feeling of well-being.

The straight white man, in the old order, is the embodiment of "born on third base, and thinks he hit a triple."

What if a political force came to take all that away from you?

You are told that black people deserve the same rights and respect as white people. Laws are enacted to compel everyone to act as if that were true.

As if that weren't enough, this same political force -- American liberalism, through its political instrument, the Democratic Party -- declares that women are as good as men, and deserve the same treatment and opportunities.

At this point, the white man has been thrown out of the top quartile of his community and into the general pool.

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 492 words in story)

Virginia's Power Plants Major Global Warming Polluters

by: sbucci

Thu Sep 18, 2014 at 11:31:57 AM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

As international leaders prepare for the United Nations Climate Summit next week in New York, a new study shows Virginia’s coal-fired power plants dump as much carbon pollution into the atmosphere as the entire nation of Croatia.

The Environment Virginia Research & Policy Center report, America’s Dirtiest Power Plants, comes as more than a hundred thousand activists, including over 700 Virginians, and world leaders converge in New York City seeking solutions to climate change, which scientists have clearly linked to extreme weather events and the rising seas seen in the Hampton Roads region.  

“When power plants here in Virginia create as much pollution as an entire country, we know the climate’s in trouble,” said Sarah Bucci, Campaign Director for Environment Virginia. “It’s time to stop ignoring the nation’s largest global-warming polluter, and start investing in clean energy."

By comparing carbon emissions from U.S. power plants in 2012 to total carbon emissions of entire countries, the Environment Virginia analysis shows why limiting pollution from coal plants would make such a big impact. Key findings include:
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 538 words in story)

Following Dominion's Money and Influence

by: Dan Sullivan

Thu Sep 18, 2014 at 09:43:18 AM EDT

Dominion Leadership Trust Top Donors photo DominionLeadershipTrustMoneyIn_zpsbf5a109f.jpg Yesterday I discussed the few members of our General Assembly who haven't been directly touched by Dominion. One such fellow is Delegate Bloxom (R-Eastern Shore/Norfolk). However he has received funds from a PAC that Dominion has generously supported for years: Dominion Leadership Trust. Dominion is this PAC's second largest contributor.

Over the years, Dominion Leadership Trust, just one of many PACs Dominion Resources supports, has "invested" $10,973,016 influencing Virginia government. Though Dominion Resources' portion of that amount accounts for only about 4.4% of the total, that places the corporation second among those with clout in a PAC of like-minded members. And looking at the top donors, it is quite a gallery of influence. Dominion Resources leverages its direct donor influence by having a hand setting the agenda across the political spectrum in any number of PACs.

There is another gent on yesterday's list who has received funds from Dominion Leadership Trust: that would be Delegate Farrell (R-56th). Comparing the amounts the two received is a lesson in influence. Bloxom received $66,874 and Farrell $2,500. While Dominion Resources can only be attributed 4.4% of those amounts ($2980 and $111 respectively) when they respond (even if they did the math) to Dominion Leadership Trust, Dominion Resources's objectives get the attention corresponding to the greater amount.

The single contribution to Farrell did not occur until after he was elected to the House of Delegates and after his first two full sessions. Of the contributions to Bloxom, on the other hand, about $60,000 was reported during his campaign for a seat formerly held by Democrat Lynnwood Lewis and the remainder in the month after Bloxom's election. Dominion Leadership Trust accounted for over 43% of the funds "raised" by Bloxom. To whom is Delegate Bloxom beholden? It isn't the grassroots.  

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 146 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Sep 18, 2014 at 06:37:47 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, September 18. Also watch as Jon Stewart takes on the "League of Exculpatory Gentlemen" - the NFL that is.

*House approves Obama's plan to fight Islamic State ("But the tally - 273 to 156 - also revealed widespread misgivings in both parties about the plan's chances of success, even among lawmakers who voted in favor of it.")
*Bill Clinton: Vote 'no' in Scotland
*A wistful 'no' in Scotland? ("Scotland's referendum on independence will be decided by voters whose hearts say yes but whose heads say no.")
*Women's Views on N.F.L. Dim in Wake of Violence (Should be men as well holding those views.)
*The Scotsman: The huge costs of Scotland getting small
*Bowser holds double-digit lead in D.C. mayor's race, but weaknesses seen (Three unimpressive candidates. If I lived there I'd be tempted to vote for none of them.)
*Kaine proposes authorization for military force against Islamic State ("But the congressional resolution, which was introduced on the same day that the House authorized the Pentagon to train and arm Syrian rebels, prohibits using ground troops.")
*A sorry model for governing (Virginia House Republicans "have refused to see 400,000 uninsured Virginians as anything more than political props for their fight against President Barack Obama, who serves in Washington, not Richmond. House Republicans see the 400,000 as abstract casualties in their pursuit of an ideological purity that might satisfy partisan extremes but repels the state's massive and growing political middle.")
*Legislature to discuss Medicaid, but results aren't likely (Remember, this is 100% the Republicans' fault for failing to compromise in any way, shape or form.)
*One House GOP leader's idea on Medicaid: state control ("The compact is an idea floated else by opponents of the Affordable Care Act, and has been urged by the conservative idea-factory American Legislative Exchange Council." If corporate, far-right-wing "bill mill" ALEC supports it, you just know it's got to be a bad idea.)

There's More... :: (12 Comments, 155 words in story)

Why We Can't Just Shut Up and Eat Chocolate Chip Cookies

by: ivymain

Wed Sep 17, 2014 at 18:03:19 PM EDT

I grew up with brothers, so I knew from an early age that the easiest way to make friends with guys was to feed them chocolate chip cookies. I took this strategy with me to college, commandeering the tiny kitchen in our coed dorm. The aroma wafting down the hallways reliably drew a crowd.

One fan was so enthusiastic that he wanted to learn to make cookies himself. So the next time, he showed up at the start of the process. He watched me combine sugar and butter, eggs and white flour.

Instead of being enthusiastic, he was appalled. It had never occurred to him that anything as terrific as a cookie could be made of stuff so unhealthy. It's not that he thought they were created from sunshine and elf magic; he just hadn't thought about it at all. He left before the cookies even came out of the oven.

I felt so bad about it, I ate the whole batch.

But I can empathize with that guy when I'm told that as an environmentalist, I should love natural gas. Natural gas is the chocolate chip cookie of fossil fuels. At the point of consumption, everybody loves it. It's cheap, there's gobs of it, and it burns cleaner than coal, with only half the carbon dioxide emissions. Disillusionment sets in only when you look at the recipe. ("First, frack one well. . .")

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 415 words in story)

Good Point, Bob Holsworth, I Accept Your Challenge

by: Mike Casey

Wed Sep 17, 2014 at 17:02:29 PM EDT

(Note: Mike Casey is the founder and president of Tigercomm, a leading cleantech Public Relations firm based in Arlington. He is a veteran of Virginia politics - including the successful effort to turn the Virginia Senate in 2009, as well as designing and running the 2013 communications effort for Tom Steyer's NextGen Climate Action in the Virginia governor's race. The views expressed here are his own.  Also, full disclosure: I am a consultant to Tigercomm. - promoted by lowkell)

Former VCU political science professor Bob Holsworth was recently quoted in the Washington Post regarding "the increasingly narrow line Democrats in Virginia must walk to satisfy environmentalists and campaign donors without alienating business interests."

According to Holsworth, Gov. McAuliffe "has just made a calculation on this...[that it] isn't a political liability until we see that these environmental groups are able to develop grass-roots traction to be able to successfully oppose this."

Good point, Bob Holsworth. I accept your challenge.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Dominion Continues to Frustrate and Obfuscate Nelsonians at Open House

by: pontoon

Wed Sep 17, 2014 at 08:18:07 AM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

 photo OutsidetheNelsonCountyDominionpresentation_e_zps7c8cd28d-1.jpgIt was a frustrating evening for the hundreds of Nelsonians who attended an "Open House" hosted by Dominion to lay out its planned route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Lined up outside the entry door, residents came prepared with questions, most of which went unanswered.  The same old rehearsed lines were stated over and over again.  "This is in the preliminary stages, we just don't know yet."  "We haven't done the engineering yet, we can't answer that now."  "That depends on the category you are in, and we're not sure yet."  "We'll abide by all DEQ and FERC regulations."

In a divide and conquer tactic, Dominion had stations set up, which allowed them to frequently tell Nelsonians looking for answers they would have to move to another station, stand in another line, to ask a different "expert" the question they wanted answered.  Attendees heard frequently, "You'll have to ask so and so that question, I don't know."

Anti-pipeline group, Free Nelson, attended the event and its members learned several of Dominion's representatives weren't from Virginia.  When speaking to one rep about the devastation caused in Nelson by Hurricane Camille, particularly the Davis Creek area, Free Nelson was surprised the representative looked so confused.  When asked, "Are you from Virginia?"  "Well, no," she replied, "but most of the Dominion representatives here are."  Free Nelson explained about the 12 mudslides in the Davis Creek area during Camille which took the lives of 52 people, 20 of whom were never found.  When Free Nelson pointed out the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is routed through the Davis Creek area, the Dominion rep replied,  "Well, we have a procedure to follow should we find human remains."

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 506 words in story)

Financing Responsive Government In Virginia

by: Dan Sullivan

Wed Sep 17, 2014 at 08:39:41 AM EDT

Dominion's Beneficence photo 140917VPAPDominion_zpsd270d10a.jpgCurious about who's benefited from Dominion's concern for Virginia's political process, I thought I'd survey the contributions to candidates reported on The Virginia Public Access Project. Intending to provide a roster of recipients, it became clear that it is easier to list General Assembly members who have missed the beneficence.

    Members of the Virginia Senate who are not beholden to Dominion:
  • None

    Members of the Virginia House of Delegates who are not beholden to Dominion:
  • Sullivan, Richard C. (Rip), Jr. (D-48th)
  • Rasoul, Sam (D-11th)
  • Lindsey, Joseph C. (D-90th)
  • Farrell, Peter F. (R-56th)
  • Bloxom, Robert S., Jr. (R-100th)
  • Berg, Mark J. (R-29th)
  • Adams, Leslie R. (R-16th)

The range of contribution amounts ranges wildly from a quarter thousand to a quarter million dollars and seems directly proportionate to some combination of seniority and influence. The fact that the highest percentage of contributions (but not by far: 54 to 43) goes to Republicans follows that logic but I have not looked at trends over time. The "honor rolls" for both chambers will be presented separately.  

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Sep 17, 2014 at 06:20:00 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, September 17.

*World Leaders Have Failed to Seriously Confront Climate Change. Could That Change Next Week?
*Top Democrat Urges Radio Stations To Drop Rush Limbaugh After He Suggested 'No Means Yes' (That should have happened ages ago.)
*Lawmakers: We will pass Syria aid
*U.S. Senate up for grabs as Iowa race tightens (Gotta love these models, telling us what we've all known for months - the Senate's up for grabs.)
*Meet the One Numbers-Cruncher Who Foresees Democrats Holding the Senate (Princeton's Sam Wang "says he thinks the Democrats have a 70 percent chance of holding control of the Senate.")
*This Republican Tried To Stop North Carolina From Apologizing For A Racist Massacre. He'd Like Your Vote, Please.
*Preventing climate change and adapting to it are not morally equivalent (Every governor, Virginia's included, needs to read this.)
*DCCC hits Comstock on values issues in new ad
*Legislature to discuss Medicaid, but results aren't likely (Almost certainly, Bill Howell, Tommy Norment, and their merry band of terrified-of-the-Tea-Party Republicans will block bringing billions of our own tax dollars back to Virginia yet again. We need to vote every one of these Republicans out of office next year.)
*McAuliffe backs Rust's health care bill, Howell says special session's work is serious (The only way it will be "serious" is if Republicans vote for the Rust bill. If not, they're not serious, as this is more than a reasonable compromise.)
*House committee swiftly approves budget proposal (Democrats at least should have talked about how 100% cuts and 0% revenues is not an acceptable formula.)
*Virginia sues 13 big banks, claiming mortgage securities fraud (Go Mark Herring!)
*McAuliffe dismays foes of Mountain Valley Pipeline (Gov. McAuliffe is just wildly wrong on this issue. He SHOULD know better, not sure why he doesn't.)
*Trying to hit the marks ("Better oversight and more frequent projections could help Virginia avoid repeating this year's budget mess." Sure, and how about more revenues?!?)
*Abraham: McDonnell's and Cantor's divergent fates ("Until we can overturn the Supreme Court's ill-fated Citizens United decision, eliminate corporate personhood, put meaningful caps on political contributions and impose strong ethics laws, more situations like these will contaminate the political landscape.")
*More than 30% of Va. schools fail to win accreditation (What is the point of this ridiculous exercise?)
*Nats shut out Braves to win NL East (And my other favorite team, the Orioles, wins the AL East. Beltway World Series? That would be fun!)
*D.C. area forecast: Keeping the nice days coming

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Video: Teddy Roosevelt Believed GOP Should Offer Real Solutions to Real Problems

by: lowkell

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 15:10:02 PM EDT

From the superb Ken Burns series, The Roosevelts, I loved the following passage about Teddy Roosevelt as Governor of New York. Yes, TR was a Republican, but as the following passage makes clear, he was absolutely NOTHING like the Republicans of today. Regardless, TR was right then and he's right today: Republicans, and more importantly the country, would be far better off if they adopted TR's attitude towards government, business, the environment, etc., than the bizarre, warped, extreme positions they hold today.

P.S. I started off as a progressive Republican myself as a teenager, in the same line of thought as Teddy Roosevelt and many others (e.g.,  Bob LaFollette, Dwight Eisenhower, John Chaffee, Lowell Weicker, Jacob Javits, Nelson Rockefeller), but got the heck out of that party when I saw it taken over by supply siders (aka "Voodoo Economics"), racists and theocrats back in 1980. Sad to say, Republicans have only gotten (much) worse since then. I'm 100% confident that Teddy Roosevelt would not be a member of the Republican Party today (nor would Abraham Lincoln, of course, or Javits, LaFollette, probably George Romney, etc, etc.).

Boss Platt feared the new governor harbored what he called "altruistic ideas," and was a little loose on questions affecting the right of a man to run his own business in his own way.  He was right. Roosevelt promised to consult Platt as he went along, but he had concluded that it was neither wise nor safe for Republicans to take refuge in what he called "mere negation." New circumstances demanded a new kind of reform - progressive reform. The Republican Party, he felt, should actually offer real solutions to real problems...the old natural laws of the marketplace were no longer adequate. Government, [Roosevelt] believed, needed to step in to tame the market's excesses and maintain necessary order. Wrongs now had to be righted through legislation as well as persuasion. Roosevelt intended to strike a balance between what he called "mob rule" and improper corporate influence...In less than 6 months, he secured passage of bills that taxed corporations, limited working hours for women and children, improved sweatshop conditions, created or protected forest preserves...
Discuss :: (7 Comments)

"We're Rural, Not Stupid" Part 4

by: pontoon

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 11:06:23 AM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

 This is the fourth letter in our series, "We're Rural, Not Stupid." Dominion held its first open house for residents last night in neighboring Augusta County, VA.  One attendee said, "At yet another table someone was asking about gas export. We pressed the brown shirt [the Dominion representative] who finally said Dominion just builds the pipeline." Tonight it's Nelson's turn to listen to the "experts" tell us how wrong we are.

Cheryl Borgman is a life-long Democrat who stands strongly against Dominion's Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  She has worked with Nelson Democrats consistently in the past in campaigns for local, state and federal candidates.  Cheryl has  canvassed, phone banked and done a lot of data entry.  She's one of the folks the local committee can count on...one of the ones with the asterisk by their name, because they always say yes when asked to help.  This year, she feels differently.  She has sent her letter to the local Democratic Committee and to Democratic candidates seeking office in 2014.

Here's Cheryl's letter:

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 139 words in story)

Bob Goodlatte Working to Ensure a Major Tax Increase for Virginians on New Year's Day 2015

by: lowkell

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 10:11:29 AM EDT

A Republican politico emailed me A sharp rise in the gasoline tax fuels Goodlatte's interests, not Virginians' and suggested I write about it. As this person summarized the current state of affairs:
Basically, by virtue of holding Marketplace Fairness up, Goodlatte is guaranteeing a big, fat, regressive tax increase. He is also very possibly guaranteeing taxes on Internet access, which isn't something many people are fans of. All to keep online retailers from collecting and remitting sales taxes that are already due.
Why would Goodlatte do such a (crazy, stupid, ridiculous) thing? According to the Virginian Pilot's Roger Chesley, just follow the money. Specifically, "Goodlatte's sizable donations from Internet and computer companies," which combined with his actions (or perhaps one should say inaction) "suggest he's looking out for their interests - not Virginians'."

The commonwealth's 2013 transportation package, the first major overhaul of road funding in decades, shored up a crumbling system that needed more money. The state had repeatedly siphoned dollars from construction budgets just to keep up with maintenance.

But the package relies heavily on the collection of Internet sales taxes. Without that money, the state's gas tax will rise by 45 percent starting Jan. 1.

That's how Goodlatte & Co. can pretend to keep taxes low; they simply shift them from one person to another. In this case, they shift the tax burden from people who buy stuff on the Internet to folks who buy gasoline.

Clever, eh?  
There's More... :: (14 Comments, 254 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 06:39:50 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, September 16.

*Fixing Climate Change May Add No Costs, Report Says ("A global commission is challenging the belief that efforts to reduce global warming would carry a steep price." Another pathetic excuse for inaction bites the dust.)
*Republicans Unanimously Block Equal Pay Bill (Nope, no "war on women" here, move right along...snark.)
*Senate Update: Democrats Draw Almost Even. Is It The Money? (Maybe it's that Republicans are, uh, waging a war on women? See previous item.)
*Obama will seek phaseout of common chemical coolant ("The White House will announce plans today to phase out a widely used coolant said to be spurring climate change." Good, let's also phase out all other greenhouse gases.)
*U.S. military will lead $750 million Ebola fight (We need to address the root causes of this problem, including deforestation.)
*Report: Adrian Peterson Was Investigated In A Second Child Abuse Case (Why is a repeat child abuser being allowed to play in the NFL, and why isn't he in jail?)
*Giving Up on Goodell ("How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.")
*Kaine: Obama Must Get Congress's Backing for the Fight Against ISIS (Wonderful, except for a few things: a) Congress doesn't WANT to vote on this; b) Congress hasn't declared war since June 4, 1942; and c) Congress is completely dysfunctional, couldn't pass a bill to tie their shoelaces in a timely fashion.)
*Attorney General Mark Herring bolsters re-entry effort for Virginia jails
*Virginians likely to pay more at the pump come January (If you don't like it, blame Bob Goodlatte, who has let the Marketplace Fairness Act rest "unmoved in the House Judiciary Committee" for months and months now.)
*Foust reminds voters of Comstock's vote for 'transvaginal ultrasounds' in new ad
*Ryan Nobles Joins CNN Newsource as National Correspondent (The mass exodus from the Virginia press corps(e) continues...)
*McAuliffe and GOP offer plan for $2.4 billion budget shortfall (A serious plan would also look at the revenues side, not 100% at the expenditures side as this does. Of course, this approach will make Bill "ALEC" Howell happy, but other than that...not so much.)
*Tweet by Arlington Young Dems fuels attacks on Warner (Slow news day apparently! LOL. Seriously, though, this is NOT something a Democratic leader should be putting on social media, especially when it's not even true.)
*U-Va. student from Fairfax missing in Charlottesville
*Most livable cities? Arlington is No. 3
*Mayor's office mum on Marshall departure
*A win away from clinching NL East
*Splendid weather for the rest of week

Discuss :: (7 Comments)
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The purpose of Blue Virginia is to cover Virginia politics from a progressive and Democratic perspective. This is a group blog and a community blog. We invite everyone to comment here, but please be aware that profanity, personal attacks, bigotry, insults, rudeness, frequent unsupported or off-point statements, "trolling" (NOTE: that includes outright lies, whether about climate science, or what other people said, or whatever), and "troll ratings abuse" (e.g., "troll" rating someone simply because you disagree with their argument) are not permitted and, if continued, will lead to banning. For more on trolling, see the Daily Kos FAQs. Also note that diaries may be deleted if they do not contain at least 2 solid paragraphs of original text; if not, please use the comments section of a relevant diary. For more on writing diaries, click here. Thanks, and enjoy!

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