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More on the O'Reilly/Stewart Brouhaha: The Right-Wing Urge to Kick Down

by: Andy Schmookler

Thu Oct 23, 2014 at 12:51:00 PM EDT

In my previous piece on "The O'Reilly/Stewart Brouhaha," I said that it's unclear whether conservatives like Bill O'Reilly really want to help foster a culture of responsibility among people at the lower end of the economic spectrum -- in particular, in black culture -- or whether they just "enjoy the excuse to beat up on an oppressed people, as their kind have been doing in America for centuries."

It looks a lot like it's the latter.  We can infer this eagerness to kick down on those at the bottom from how much conservatives of this kind are willing to distort reality to justify their attitude of blame and attack.

Remember Mitt Romney's infamous "47%" comment in the 2012 presidential election? However much that comment reflected Romney's own beliefs, he surely had reason to believe that this condemnation of half the country as "takers" suited the beliefs of the Republican fat-cats to whom he was speaking.

After that 47% remark was made public, many came forward to expose how distorted was the notion that all these millions of Americans were somehow parasitic on the American bounty the fat-cats prided themselves on creating. This 47%, it was pointed out, included not only people who had retired after years of hard work, but also people supporting families, sometimes needing to work more than one job to make ends meet. Hardly parasites.

Somehow, it served a purpose for these rich Republicans to imagine that the bottom half of America were leeches on the body of the American economy.

But on the right, it's not only the rich who seem drawn to this distorted fantasy. This I know from years discussing politics with a conservative audience in my part of Virginia.  

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Entire Arlington General Assembly Delegation Strongly Supports Columbia Pike Streetcar

by: lowkell

Thu Oct 23, 2014 at 12:48:57 PM EDT

Impressive that the entire Arlington General Assembly has signed onto this letter. Also, see the parts I've bolded for a few key points. Go streetcar!

P.S. Del Alfonso Lopez totally nails it in his ArlNow column, which utterly demolishes the absurd "Garvey-Vihstadt plan." Great to see them being called out.

October 22, 2014
The Honorable Aubrey L. Layne, Jr.
Secretary of Transportation
Commonwealth of Virginia
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond, VA 23218

Dear Secretary Layne,

As Members of the Arlington County General Assembly delegation, we strongly support the Commonwealth of Virginia's commitment to provide funding for the regional streetcar system that the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has included in its six year improvement program.

We are particularly pleased to see that Jennifer Mitchell, Director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, confirmed in response to a press inquiry that the Commonwealth remains fully committed to providing Arlington and Fairfax Counties with $65 million over the course of the six-year improvement program in addition to other state funding.

We concur with Director Mitchell that this "project is an important regional priority and a key part of the economic redevelopment along Columbia Pike and the Pentagon City and Crystal City corridors." We strongly disagree with the efforts of Libby Garvey and John Vihstadt to deprive Arlington of those state funds dedicated to the streetcar project. In testimony before the CTB, Libby Garvey noted that although she and John Vihstadt are Arlington County Board members, she was speaking in her individual capacity and on behalf of Mr. Vihstadt in his individual capacity.

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Craaaaazy: Top Virginia GOP Advisor Shares His, er, Views on Homosexuality

by: lowkell

Thu Oct 23, 2014 at 07:10:54 AM EDT

Ben "NLS" Tribbett breaks the news on his Facebook page about a rabidly anti-gay bigot who's a leading Virginia GOP operative (e.g., he lists himself as a "Senior Advisor" to Dave Brat in 2014) named Steve Waters. Shocker that he's a Republican political operative (Keith Fimian, E.W. Jackson, George Allen, and the others Ben lists) huh? By the way, one of this guy's Facebook posts rants about a "rainbow flag flying over the U.S. Embassy in Israel." Here's what Waters thinks of that:
Would Obama fly the Christian Flag? I doubt not! Purely evil and utterly disgusting as to what Presidential Leadership is in 2014 in the United States of America. George Washington and other GREAT Presidents are rolling in their graves in disgust!... Would Obama fly the Christian Flag? I doubt not! Purely evil and utterly disgusting as to what Presidential Leadership is in 2014 in the United States of America. George Washington and other GREAT Presidents are rolling in their graves in disgust!

Now, he's back on his favorite theme, the supposed evils of homosexuality, with his latest: "Is it normal for adult males to have to wear diapers because their rectal muscles have been abused so badly they can no longer control or tighten them to avoid pooping in their pants?" Also: "I will say this, if homosexuality is so normal, how come the diseases, illnesses and cancers connected with it are so abnormal. Even the CDC recognizes this."

UPDATE: This is great, the guy actually goes on Ben's Facebook page to try and defend himself. He claims: "I've got history, natural law and biology on my side on this one. What do you guys have, emotion. You should know emotion doesn't work well in public policy." Also hilarious: "I love seeing mean-spirited liberals lose their cool in a debate and all they can do is show people the huge gaps in their tolerance, or lack there of." He then adds: "I don't have a problem with homosexuals, I have an issue with them wanting to pervert marriage and tell pastors what they can preach. The good thing is y'all have over stepped on this one with the bi-sexual/transgender side. The American people aren't ready for that, nor kissing cousins wanting to marry." Also: "Logic, good one. A man putting part of his anatomy where 'poop' comes out of. Yep, that's love alright." And this: "Anything I say is going to be regarded as "hate" by you guys so I won't even try. I'll say this, you guys use the hate word so often it loses its effectiveness. Like I said, you want to get screwed up the rear as a man, that's your business, but don't try and force society to have to accept it. There's no precedent for your claim. Natural law buddies, have a good one. I'm so glad we had this opportunity to discuss this. If you are on this thread and happen to be a lesbian or gay guy, I wish you well and please take care of yourself and don't dismiss this stuff without consulting your physician. This is pretty serious stuff. I love you all! Goodnight and God Bless!"

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Concerned About Where Our Nation Is Heading?

by: Andy Schmookler

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 15:35:09 PM EDT


Summary: Americans think the nation is heading in the wrong direction. My biggest worries are 1) that our democracy is increasingly being transformed by the influence of big money into a plutocracy, and 2) we are failing to act vigorously to address the pressing emergency of global climate change. On both issues, the Republicans are playing a darkly destructive role, while the Democrats are failing to press the battle with the necessary vigor. That pattern reveals the essential core of America's national crisis. (This piece ran as an op/ed in the Richmond Times Dispatch this spring.)

Are you, like me, unhappy about where you sense our nation is heading? Do you, like me, fear that the prospects for our children and grandchildren will be darker than what we have known?

For years, the polls show, a substantial majority of Americans have been unhappy about where our nation is headed. But we don't all see the same dangers or agree on what to do about them. For example, the fear of millions that Obamacare is another step toward a socialist tyranny has little to do with reality. This distraction is indeed just one more symptom of what's gone wrong.

Here are my two most important areas of concern:

** The accelerating replacement of government by and for the people by government by and for big money.

** The disruption of the earth's climate system, on which our lives depend, is gaining momentum, while our nation remains incapable of responding appropriately.

Both crises reveal a pathological political dynamic darkening the prospects for our nation and its people.

The plutocratic threat to our democracy has long been visible, but not in living memory has our descent into the rule of the money system gone so deep.

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Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Oct 23, 2014 at 06:33:51 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, October 23. Also check out the NewsHour story, which explains that it's by far and away non-Ebola diseases (e.g., the flu, measles, whooping cough, antibiotic-resistant bacteria) which pose the real health threat to the American public when it comes to infectious diseases.

*Economists See Limited Gains in Republican Proposals (Ya think?)
*EJ Dionne: The politics of Ebola ("...it's something else again to stoke alarm and to set up an unrealistic policy demand as a test of 'toughness.'")
*Alison Lundergan Grimes finally goes off-script (Maybe Chuck Todd will say she's "qualified" now? LOL)
*Attack on Ottawa: PM Harper cites terrorist motive
*Canada's Coverage of the Ottawa Shootings Put American Cable News to Shame
*Piketty's prophecy comes true: The planet's middle class is rapidly going extinct ("New research reveals the superrich have grabbed half the world's resources -- and their wealth is only growing")
*Exclusive: DSCC going back up with ads for Alison Lundergan Grimes in Ky.
*Comstock, Foust in Close Race for 10th Congressional District Seat
*Brat's Strange Immigrant-Bashing (Brat, as always, is an extremist.)

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A Law to Make Congress Follow the Constitution

by: Dan Sullivan

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 18:50:45 PM EDT

Senator Kaine Public Square 52 photo 141021SenatorKaine_zps8b320dca.jpgGoing to war is serious business. Senator Kaine (D-VA) believes that those in whom that power is vested should follow a deliberate process and that the executive should be bound by the decision. The Constitution is not vague about the responsibilities but the world presents circumstances that are.

In an attempt to clear up any misunderstanding about the authority to commit forces to war, Senator Kaine has joined with Senator McCain (R-AZ) to offer legislation that will establish a process to ensure the judicious application of military force. Yesterday's participation in the Richmond Times Dispatch Public Square series was part of Senator Kaine's effort to gather "comments, suggestions, criticisms..." in a strategy to shape and craft the bill.

Tacitly, President Bush followed the requirements of the War Powers Act, a law passed in 1973 following the frustration over the prosecution of the Viet Nam War. That was designed to rein in the initiative of any President using military force but written with both Johnson and Nixon in mind. Johnson had the support of a Congress that never imagined the scope of involvement that would precipitate. Then Nixon attacked two countries, Laos and Cambodia, without consulting Congress. To be honest, no President went as far as Bush to conform to the letter of the War Powers Act. The others managed to avoid anything more than consulting with Congressional leadership and always went on their merry way. However, the fact that George Bush appealed for authority may be more revealing about how thin he knew his justification was and that he needed cover rather than indicating sincere regard for the law. Plus the timing of the request appears suspiciously politically motivated.

Further, the authorization that Congress gave President Bush has no sunset or clearly defined achievable objective. As long as it remains in effect, Presidents can and will chase any remnant or offshoot of al Qaida's ghost, real or imagined, while waving the authorization as justification for centuries to come. So, even if you argue that he and his successor have acted under the authority of the War Powers Act, you observe the same result that arose before the Act, different day: war(s) with a scope never imagined when authorized, being fought in second, third (fourth, fifth...) party countries. Senator Kaine's obsession with the subject is more than justified.

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Former Senator Jim Webb Endorses Senator Mark Warner for Re-Election

by: lowkell

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 14:36:17 PM EDT

From Sen. Mark Warner's campaign:
ALEXANDRIA - Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb today announced his endorsement of Senator Mark Warner for re-election.

In his endorsement, Webb cited Senator Warner's work on behalf of Virginia's military families and veterans and his commitment to reaching across the aisle to find solutions for Virginians.

"Mark Warner has been a friend and a colleague for many years," said former Senator Jim Webb. "I will always appreciate his efforts on behalf of my Senatorial campaign in 2006, and I believe it is in the best interests of all Virginians to return Mark to the Senate."

"I am honored to have the endorsement of Senator Webb," said Senator Warner. "Senator Webb was a leader in the Senate in his work to pass the new GI Bill and reform the criminal justice system.  I'm proud of what we accomplished together, securing funding to expand Craney Island, introducing legislation to recognize Virginia's Indian Tribes and pushing for oil exploration off Virginia's coast."

As colleagues in the Senate, Webb and Warner were successful in securing $24.7 million in federal funding to expand Craney Island at the Port of Virginia, doubling terminal capacity and creating hundreds of jobs.  Warner and Webbalso introduced legislation to speed up the timetable for offshore oil exploration off Virginia's coast and to ensure Virginia would receive it's fair share of revenues.

Senator Warner has worked tirelessly in the Senate on behalf of Virginia's military families and veterans.  Warner convinced the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs to certify the College of William and Mary's Puller Clinic as a national best practice program, using law students to help veterans expedite their disability claims on a pro bono basis.  The clinic has now expanded from one to 15 and has been approved by the American Bar Association. Sen. Warner also has fought to block Pentagon plans to cut its network of commissaries, which young military families rely upon to help balance their family budgets.

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Lyme Disease Spreads as Humans Unravel the Web of Life?

by: aprilmoore

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 11:56:59 AM EDT

(Add in other diseases too, like Ebola, which has almost certainly spread due to deforestation and other human depradations on the environment. When (if ever) will we learn? - promoted by lowkell)


A few days ago I received a shocking email from Mike Tidwell, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN).  Subject line:  "Mike diagnosed with Lyme Disease."

Oh no!  As a CCAN board member, I knew that Mike had been dealing with miserable, flu-like symptoms, joint pain, and muscle stiffness for sometime.  I felt terrible to learn this news.  Lyme Disease is a frightening illness that is hard to cure and sometimes leaves lasting damage.  

I felt sad to think of this prospect for Mike.  In addition to being a great guy, Mike is an inspiration to climate activists in the mid-Atlantic region, where CCAN operates, and beyond.  One of the most dedicated climate warriors I know, Mike is also an effective organizer, writer, speaker, and fundraiser.  He is a mentor to a great many of us, and we need him to be healthy!

Mike noted in his email that he knows many people in the mid-Atlantic region who have had Lyme Disease.  I have to admit that I can say the same.  Just in the last year or so, the number of people I know with Lyme Disease has increased dramatically.  

Yes, I know that a warming world means many diseases are on the move.   For example, tropical diseases, never before seen in the United States, are expected to move northward from the tropics into the American south. When I first heard about Lyme Disease 25 years ago, it was in places north of us, places like New England and northern Minnesota.

If climate change is pushing diseases toward the poles, then it would seem that the explanation for the increased incidence in our region must lie elsewhere.  So I wondered, what might the answer be?  Clearly, something is going on that is making the mid-Atlantic region hospitable to the tick that transmits the disease.  

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"Solar PV is mostly a threat to utility investors and shareholders, not ratepayers"

by: lowkell

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 20:09:41 PM EDT

I'm cross posting this here from Scaling Green, as it's directly relevant to Dominion Power, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC), and all the ignorant, stupid s*** I've heard recently from the likes of Bill "ALEC" Howell about clean energy, the future of Dominion Power, etc, etc. Do these folks know anything at all about energy markets? Based on what they've been saying in recent days, it sure doesn't seem that way. Now, here's someone who actually DOES know what he's talking about...David Roberts of Grist, who frankly is smarter than the entire SCC, Dominion Power executives and Virginia House of Delegates "leadership" put together. And no, that wasn't meant as a backhanded compliment to David Roberts. :)

UPDATE 11:10 am Wednesday: It appears that even a hyper-conservative coal country legislator (State Sen. Bill Carrico) says he can live with the Clean Power Plan. No doubt because he knows, deep down, that it's a winner for Virginia jobs and the economy. Meanwhile, the Bill Howells of the world are hard at work actually (albeit unintentionally/cluelessly) hastening the demise of Dominion Power.

The headline of this post is quite possibly the energy-related quote of the day, maybe the week or even month. It's courtesy of David Roberts of Grist, back to providing us with consistently incisive analysis after a year-long sabbatical. Today, Roberts has a must-read post (in his case, maybe we should call it an "even-more-must-read-than-usual-for-David-Roberts" post) entitled, "Rooftop solar is just the beginning; utilities must innovate or go extinct." It's really worth your time to read the whole thing, and we strongly recommend you do that if you're interested in the future evolution of clean energy (which of course you are if you're reading this blog!). For now, here are the key points, including Roberts' awesome quote.

  • Distributed solar power poses a serious threat to power utilities, and "utilities are fighting back, attempting to impose additional fees and restrictions on solar customers."
  • The problem is, the way the utilities are fighting back - "cling[ing] to their familiar business model" while trying to recoup lost revenues through "rate-tweaking" - is not going to save them. Instead, they need to undertake "a wholesale rethinking of the utility business model" -- "sooner" rather than later if they're smart.
  • Two new analyses -- "Financial Impacts of Net-Metered PV on Utilities and Ratepayers" by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and "Does Disruptive Competition Mean a Death Spiral for Electric Utilities?" by Elisabeth Graffy and Steven Kihm --  zero in on the core problem(s) facing utilities faced with the "disruptive threat" of rapidly growing distributed solar power. For instance, what happens "if solar PV penetration rose to between 2.5 and 10 percent of total retail sales by 2022?" The answer: utilities equity and earnings fall a lot, while rates go up only a little.  Which leads us right to Roberts' superb quote: "Solar PV is mostly a threat to utility investors and shareholders, not ratepayers."
  • The problem for utilities is that their whole business model is based on building "more power plants and power lines," which as Roberts points out is both "insane" (in that it's not just diametrically opposed to "our social and environmental goals"), but also the polar opposite of where power markets are headed -- towards more distributed power and more consumer autonomy.
  • Does all this mean an inevitable "death spiral" for investor-owned utilities?  Not necessarily, according to the Graffy and Kihm analysis, as long as utilities are willing and able to muster "the organizational foresight and habits needed to respond proactively to disruptive threats." The problem, in Roberts' view, is that after "a century of enjoying regulated-monopoly status, with returns guaranteed by law and expansion as far as the eye could see, utilities have virtually none of [that]."
  • Another, short-term option for utilities is to try to recover their costs by raising rates, fees, etc. to consumers. The problem with this approach, of course, is that it only leads to "a bunch of dissatisfied customers seeking non-grid alternatives," and "a growing market that will attract more and more entrepreneurial attention, thus accelerating customer defections." In short, "The longer utilities try to hold back the wave with legal or regulatory roadblocks, the harder it will hit them when it finally comes."
  • The bottom line is that utilities need to adapt to the distributed solar power revolution, and fast. If they try to resist this revolution, their demise - the "death spiral" - will only be more assured (and probably more sudden). The alternative: "Instead of viewing ratepayers as passive sources of cost recovery, utilities ought to view them as, y'know, customers. Offer them products and services that satisfy their evolving preferences." We'll see if they're smart enough to do that, but as Roberts points out, "regulated-monopoly" utilities are simply "not prepared for this sh*t."  In other words, the next few years will be crucial - not to mention fascinating to observe as this process plays out.
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Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 06:37:18 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, October 22. Also see the video of Sen. Tim Kaine at the Richmond Times-Dispatch's "Public Square" on war powers.

*Mark Levin Urges Viewers To Vote Republican Because Obama Will Go "Full Mussolini" After Midterm Elections (Jut remember, this maniac endorsed Barbara Comstock.)
*BREAKING: Federal Judge Rules Against Marriage Equality, Mocks Other Judges In Angry Diatribe ("Given the makeup of the First Circuit, the overwhelming consensus among federal judges in favor of marriage equality, and the belligerent tone of Pérez-Giménez's opinion, it is unlikely that his decision will be upheld on appeal.")
*Ben Bradlee, legendary Washington Post editor, dies at 93
*The GOP's Attack on Mark Warner Is One of the Most Hypocritical of This Election Season ("So, in short, Virginia's top Democrats, panicking about the potential loss of Senate control and the fate of the governor's legislative priority-not to mention the fate of 400,000 poor Virginians' health and financial well-being-tried to fight fire with fire, and favor with favor, and lost...even if the overtures crossed some line, there is no disputing which overture came first, what the original sin of this saga was.")
*Mark Warner attacks Ed Gillespie in new ad tying his former firm to 'dictator'
*Today's Top Opinion: Sen. Kaine calls for war-powers clarity
*Virginia jobless rate unchanged at 5.5 percent for Sept.
*Schapiro: A governor's chief of staff is his chief operative ("Reagan's error was not that he did his job. It was that he left fingerprints - lots of them. Did he do something illegal? Probably not, according to lawyers in both parties. Did he do something stupid? You don't have to consult a lawyer to answer that question.")
*Kaine says midterm election keeps Congress from debating war (Actually, it's the fact that Congress has for decades been close to impotent when it comes to debating war.)

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Pew Analysis Yet Again Demolishes the Media's False Equivalence Between Liberals and Conservatives

by: lowkell

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 15:45:18 PM EDT

Yet more evidence that right wingers are in their own far-out universe, in this case from a fascinating new study by Pew ("Political Polarization & Media Habits"). You know how the corporate media and others like to always claim that there are two equivalent "sides" in every debate, that there's a "left" and a "right" that are equally "extreme," blah blah blah? Well, of course that's complete bull**** in every way, with no factual evidence at all to back it up, yet still they persist. Take media viewing habits, for instance. I don't know how many times I've heard that Fox is just the right-wing version of MSNBC, or some such idiocy. Well, in fact, right wingers are WILDLY different than liberals in where they get their news: basically, right wingnuts only believe Fox, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and a few others. In stark contrast, liberals get their news from a wide variety of sources, and - perhaps to a fault - are more trusting of news sources (28 of 36 surveyed) compared to the "consistently conservative" crowd, who only trust Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Drudge, the Blaze - also a Glenn Beck project - Fox, the Wall Street Journal and freakin' Breitbart - hahahaha. Think about that: right wingers only trust extremist nutjobs like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. I mean, it's not surprising to most of us, I'm sure, but still...WTF?!?

By the way, I must say that I find it disheartening to see how many liberals watch trash networks like CNN, which basically traffics in triviality, superficiality, "if it bleeds it leads," extreme weather, shark attacks and other assorted garbage. I mean, seriously, if you get your news from CNN, you have no clue what's going on the world. Same thing, frankly, if you get your news from the major networks' evening newscasts - same basic crap as CNN (weather, fires, idiocy, triviality, etc.). My recommendations out of Pew's list for where anyone who's not a right wingnut should be getting their news? How about any/all of the following: NPR, PBS, the BBC, the Economist, the Guardian, Mother Jones and the New York Times? As for Politico, I'd just take that as "Tiger Beat on the Potomac" infotainment and faux-narrative creation for the most part.

Anyway, the bottom line is not that liberals are  necessarily super-well-informed people. Again, if you get most of your news from CNN or comedy shows or whatever, you're not going to be. However, the right wing simply lives in a bizarre, freakish alternate universe that bears zero resemblance to that thing we call "reality." What it DOES do very well, however, is to stoke fear, anger, ignorance, outrage, and other manifestations of the "worse angels of our nature." For the folks stuck in that echo chamber, all I can say is: run, don't walk, as fast as you can away from it! The brain cells (not to mention sanity) you save may be your own. :)

P.S. It's funny and appropriate that nobody trusts BuzzFeed. Unless you like cute dog and cat "listicles" and other assorted cotton candy for the brain.

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Video: Republican Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms Endorses Senator Mark Warner for Re-Election

by: lowkell

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 12:28:42 PM EDT

Good news from the Mark Warner for Senate campaign:
ALEXANDRIA - Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms, a Republican, today announced his endorsement of Senator Mark Warner for re-election. Mayor Sessoms joins former U.S. Senator John Warner, former Suffolk Sen. Fred Quayle, former Virginia Beach Del. Bob Tata, and many other Virginia Republican elected officials and business leaders in endorsing Mark Warner's re-election. John Warner, Fred Quayle and Bob Tata have never endorsed a Democrat before.

In his endorsement, Mayor Sessoms cited Mark Warner's bipartisan approach to finding commonsense solutions for Virginians and focus on implementing policies that help Virginia Beach.

"Mark Warner knows the Virginia Way. And when he takes that to Washington, D.C. he will put it to good use and get people to work together for the betterment of this great country," said Mayor Sessoms. "In addition, he knows the needs of the military. He sees their sacrifice daily and he will stand up for them and fight for them and make sure they get what they need to be successful. That's why I'm supporting Mark Warner for re-election to the United States Senate."

"Will Sessoms is one of Virginia's great leaders and I am proud to have earned his support for my re-election," said Senator Warner. "I will continue to work with anyone, Democrat or Republican, to repeal sequestration, to support our military men and women and veterans, and to find creative solutions to strengthen the economy of Hampton Roads and Virginia."

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Crunching Some Numbers on Vihstadt vs. Howze for Arlington County Board

by: lowkell

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 11:51:17 AM EDT

There are only a handful of truly competitive, interesting races in Virginia this year, and the Arlington County Board rematch between Republican John Vihstadt (note: he falsely claims to be an "independent," even though he is a life-long/big-time Republican donor, activist, etc.) and Democrat Alan Howze is one of them. This past April, Howze lost a special election (to fill the seat Chris Zimmerman vacated with his resignation to take another job) to Vihstadt by a 57%-41% margin (12,667-9,109). The question is, with the much higher Democratic turnout we'll be seeing in Arlington on November 4 for Mark Warner, Don Beyer, etc., is Howze likely to beat Vihstadt this time around? Here are a few numbers to chew on.

*As you can see from the graph, the Democratic margin for Arlington County Board has ranged from a low of 7,340 in the lowest-turnout-election "odd" year of 2007 (when no statewide candidates were on the ballot), to a high of 47,836 in the presidential election year of 2008 (when there was no Republican candidate for Arlington County Board on the ballot; only a Green Party candidate, who got 21,451 votes).

*In "federal, non-presidential election years" like 2006 and 2010, where the top of the ticket was a U.S. Senate candidate (Jim Webb in 2006) or a U.S. House candidate (Jim Moran in 2010), the Democratic margin of victory for Arlington County Board was in the range of 12,324 (in 2010) and 23,928 (in 2006). I'd say this election is most comparable to 2006, a non-presidential "federal" election with a U.S. Senate candidate at the top of the ticket in Arlington. That would imply a Democratic margin for County Board of 23,928, but...let's continue crunching numbers before we start breaking out the champagne or anything like that. ;)

*The highest number of non-Democratic votes in an  Arlington County Board election came in 2012, when the Republican (Matt Wavro) and Green Party (Audrey Clement) candidates combined for 38,001 votes. The winner of that election, Democrat Libby Garvey, received 59,619 votes -- a margin of 34,387 votes over Wavro, but also a Democratic "dropoff" for County Board from the top of the ticket (Tim Kaine for Senate, who received 82,689 votes) of 23,070 votes.

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Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 06:56:45 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines,  political and otherwise, for Tuesday, October 21.

*Americans don't have a constitutional right to vote - it's time for that to change
*FLASHBACK: When Conservative Media Didn't Care Bush's Bird Flu Czar Had No Medical Experience (In case after case, Republicans were perfectly fine when all kinds of bad stuff happened in the Reagan, Bush 41, or Bush 43 administrations. Obama, of course, is a totally different story!)
*Politicians Who Say 'I'm Not A Scientist' On Climate Offer Their Advice On Ebola (Rule of thumb: if a politician calls science into question, whether on climate or evolution or whatever, they shouldn't be listened to on anything, let alone elected.)
*Solar power prices are dropping fast, NREL says (Attention: Fossil fuel shills at the Virginia State Corporation Commission!)
*Elizabeth Warren makes a powerful case
*Poll: Bowser over Catania by 12 points (Barring a huge mistake, looks like Bowser's got this one.)
*Potential presidential candidate Jim Webb talks about memoir in N.H.
*Despite missteps in N. Va. race, Foust pushes on down the campaign trail ("The Democrat is in an uphill battle for the House seat in Virginia's 10th Congressional District.")
*New Gilmore PAC dropping ads in Virginia, Iowa and New Hampshire (Yep, the same guy who drove Virginia's budget into the ditch...)
*Kaine: Other side is stoking fear, talking down U.S. leadership (Right, so why would voters reward them for this crap?)
*Tim Kaine to headline Public Square today on U.S. war powers
*Sheriff endorses Warner for re-election to Va. Senate
*Mosher tells Mathews NAACP he wants to protect 'social safety net'
*Va. prison system faces $45 million shortfall in inmate health care (Yet again, Medicaid expansion would help with this problem. Thanks Republicans!)
*Pilot newsroom to shrink by almost one-quarter (Fewer and fewer trained journalists looking into politicians' shenanigans means less sunlight on said shenanigans. Not good.)
*New Counts for Suspect in Abduction of University of Virginia Student
*Some sunshine, but cloudy skies and scattered showers will rule the day

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Video: Barbara Comstock Dishonest...in ANY Language!

by: lowkell

Mon Oct 20, 2014 at 12:51:36 PM EDT

We already know that 10th CD Republican nominee Barbara "YOU LIE!" Comstock is not the most honest person in the world (to put it mildly). But this Comstock ad, aimed at the Korean-American community, really takes the cake. Notice who Comstock puts in her ad, with the clear intention to mislead voters? That's right, a number of strong supporters of Democratic nominee John Foust, such as State Senators Dave Marsden (D) Chap Petersen (D) and Janet Howell (D), Delegates Mark Keam (D), Vivian Watts (D) and David Bulova (D). That's right, all those people support John Foust (several of whom are also in an ad for Foust), yet all of them also find themselves in an ad for Barbara Comstock. Fascinating how that happens...

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