Crossposted from Loudoun Progress.
The most obvious example is Republican support for our government killing people, explicitly and in cold blood. That's what the death penalty is. State sanctioned killing of a citizen in cold blood. Regardless of your position on the morality or constitutionality of the death penalty, it is, quite simply, support for state-sanctioned death. And as an example of the bedrock principle for Republicans that the state should be allowed to kill its citizens, there is no better example.
How about Republican's opposition to reasonable gun safety legislation? To the point of actively repealing gun safety legislation already in place when they take control of a state? Did you know that Missouri repealed background checks for gun purchases recently? And when it did, gun murders went up 25%?
"Hey, this legislation will cause more people to be violently murdered!"
"Great, let's do it!"
The big news of the week in Loudoun is the filing of the recall trial petition against Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio. (Well, the big news unless you're Leesburg Councilmember, and perennial Mayoral candidate, Tom Dunn.) The filing triggers a process clearly outlined by statute, and ably explained by the ever-cogent blogger at Real Loudoun. One thing that has been lost in the shuffle of this week's machinations, however, is the fact that the recall action was largely made necessary because of something that happened in Richmond earlier this month.
You may recall that the only reason Supervisor Delgaudio was not indicted by the grand jury is that he qualifies as a "part-time" elected official, and as such can - apparently - do whatever he wants with public time and assets without any legal penalties. The grand jury at the time took the remarkable step of calling upon the Virginia General Assembly to change the law removing the Delgaudio "part-time" Loophole as soon as possible. Indeed, that recommendation was the very first recommendation in the Grand Jury's report.
If you're wondering whatever happened to that recommendation, here's your answer.
"This is a terrible situation," said LCDC Chair Valerie Suzdak, "and I'm just glad we have so many caring people in our community who are willing to step up when their fellow Americans are in need. I am sincerely grateful to everyone who is giving their time, money, and energy to help alleviate the suffering of our neighbors in West Virginia."
Any extra money collected beyond the costs of the water and truck will be donated to the Red Cross - West Virginia Region (http://www.redcross.org/wv/charleston).
Though the LCDC coordinated the effort, this work to help our neighbors has been conducted in an expressly non partisan fashion. The LCDC welcomes the help of any interested members of the community.
Take the case of Loudoun developer and cable company owner MC Dean. MC Dean and company has spent twenty years building developments in Loudoun, thanks to their close, personal relationships with people on the current, and previous, Board of Supervisors. There's a funny thing about these developments, too. There's a monopoly cable provider - OpenBand - with exclusive rights to provide Internet and TV service to those communities. OpenBand is, of course, owned by the Dean family as well.
This year, the OpenBand cable franchise is up for renewal by the Board of Supervisors here in Loudoun County. Many of the communities who OpenBand serves are actually suing OpenBand, their experiences have been so bad. Of course, those communities and residents don't vote on the cable franchise renewal. The members of the Board of Supervisors do.
So it is interesting to note the buckets of money that MC Dean and OpenBand (and their owners and executives) have been contributing to certain Supervisor races.
Follow below the break for the details of what is going on.
(Crossposted from Loudoun Progress.)
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is the arm of the Democratic Party that works to elect Democrats to state (and commonwealth) legislatures. This critical, but little noticed, piece of machinery is responsible for tracking election results for a huge number of elections, every year. Because of the sheer number and variety of races involved, it is a lot easier to draw assumptions about electoral trends from these state legislature races than from, say, a single US Senate or House special election. And the trending for Democrats at the state level this year is a lot better than it was in 2010.
In the last three months, we've noticed a startling trend: Since March 1st, Democratic candidates have overperformed in almost every similar special election compared to the Democrats who ran in the same districts in 2010.Follow below the fold for some thoughts on this trend, and our elections for the Assembly in November.
This is a truly stunning turnaround. The conventional wisdom says that all else being equal (though it never is), a lower-profile election will produce a more Republican electorate. Therefore, a presidential year like 2008 should see better Democratic performance than a midterm like 2010, which in turn should see better Democratic performance than an odd-year special election.
But ever since the radicalism of the GOP's assault on working families had a chance to sink in nationally, we've begun to see the opposite. Democratic special election candidates are now performing about 9.7% better than the Democratic candidates who ran in the exact same districts in 2010. - DLCC
Now I know that this kind of intra-organizational gossip is simply a function of being human. What political organizations experience is not different from what dog breeding groups experience, in that manner. (And I was struck by the deep similarities of intra-organizational gossip between the two by being subjected to gossip from an example of each within fifteen minutes of conversations.) What is uniquely frustrating this year, however, is the depth of the rumors and the amount of sheer falsehood therein.
What's needed, then, is a significant increase in the size of the House by expanding the number, and shrinking the size, of districts. Doing so would make campaigns cheaper, the political value of donations lower and the importance of local mobilizing much greater.
Smaller districts would also end the two-party deadlock. Orange County, Calif., might elect a Libertarian, while Cambridge, Mass., might pick a candidate from the Green Party.
Moreover, with additional House members we'd likely see more citizen-legislators and fewer lifers. In places like New York or Chicago, we would cross at least one Congressional district just walking a few blocks to the grocery store. Our representatives would be our neighbors, people who better understood the lives and concerns of average Americans.
More districts would likewise mean more precision in distributing them equitably, especially in low-population states. Today the lone Wyoming representative covers about 500,000 people, while her lone counterpart in Delaware reports to 900,000.
The increase would also mean more elected officials working on the country's business, reducing the reliance on unaccountable staffers. Most of the House's work is through committees, overseeing and checking government agencies.
With more people in Congress, House committee members could see to this critical business themselves - and therefore be more influential, since a phone call from an actual member is a lot more effective than a request from the committee staff. - Dalton Conley
Mr. Conley makes and excellent and correct argument. But I believe that expanding the House of Representatives does not go far enough. I believe we also need to expand the Senate.
I have a proposal I'd like to make, below.
I am proud to represent Charlottesville, home of the UVA Cancer Center and one of two National Cancer Institute designated cancer centers in the entire commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia received over $86 million in grants and contracts from the National Cancer Institute in 2009, making a significant contribution not only to cancer research but also to local economic development and job growth. Each year, over 36,000 Virginians are diagnosed with cancer. I strongly support increased funding for cancer research so we can make a dramatic improvement in the health and quality of life of cancer patients. - Tom Perriello
But Tom's opponent, Robert Hurt, has declined to respond to the ACS survey so far. It's not like the ACS is a political action committee, or even that controversial. I understand avoiding the media when you have a horrible, horrible set of policies in mind, but avoiding the American Cancer Society, in a district with a major cancer research center?
His presentation was a total success, as many members spent a long time afterward discussing the niceties of procedure, the Senate and what can be done. The essential process for fixing the filibuster is as follows.
- At the opening of each new session of Congress (the January after an even-year election), each house of Congress votes on the rules it will use during that session. Those rules pass by a simple majority. That means that a simple majority (51 Senators) can vote to change the filibuster rules in January 2011. Senator Tom Udall has committed to making the necessary motion to open filibuster rules up for discussion and potential change.
- If that motion to discuss change succeeds, the question of how to change it becomes relevant. One option for filibuster reform is Sen. Bennet's proposal to make the motion to proceed non-debateable. Essentially, that would make it impossible to filibuster the question on whether or not to even have a debate. This would cut the amount of delay in half (of course, half of infinity is still infinity).
- Another serious option is Sen. Harkin's proposal to reduce the number of votes required to end debate over the course of that debate. Under this proposal, it would still take weeks to end debate, but it would be possible to end debate with a simple majority - something that is impossible now.
If nothing else, passing these three motions (1. The motion to open up the rules for discussion, 2. Making a motion to proceed non-debateable, 3. Making the number of votes necessary for cloture variable with the length of the debate) would get the Senate moving, in a legislative sense, again. It wouldn't become the superhighway that the House is, but it wouldn't be total gridlock either.
The power to fix the filibuster problem in the Senate rests with our Democratic Senators. Click through to see how you (yes you!) can take action, today, to help get things moving in the Senate in January.
The federal pay freeze proposal is the brainchild of Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.). But the overall YouCut program is being run by Rep. Eric Cantor (R), who, in addition to being the House minority whip is also a Virginian. And Virginia is chock full of federal employees. According to the Office of Personnel Management, Virginia has the second-most non-defense federal employees in the country, behind only California. (That ranking includes only states. The District has slightly more federal workers than Virginia, while Maryland has slightly fewer.) - The Washington Post
The presence of many Federal workers in Virginia has given some of Cantor's fellow Virginia Republicans pause, including our own Frank Wolf, who stated flatly, "I'm opposed to it."
Herein lies the problem with Republicans' undifferentiated opposition to (non-military) government spending and deficit fearmongering. When it comes down to what to cut, and how to cut it, no one - especially Republicans - wants to be the one to give up their money.
Follow below for some discussion of Frank Wolf, raises and spending cuts.