I have some serious questions about the fiscal responsibility of some of the steps being taken. I don't think cuts to education and the health care safety net are a good idea ever, particularly in this economy. I don't want to roll back protections for employees in terms of discrimination or send a signal that we don't care about it. And I think the notion of well, we're gonna...push back on a health care bill that will do a lot of good for hundreds of thousands of Virginians, it's like, you just gotta go out and see how people are living and you'll realize that this bill's a very good thing.
For more, see here (interview by Adam Rhew).
White House Shows Leadership on Clean Cars
Congress Urged to Protect New Standards by Rejecting Efforts to Weaken Clean Air Act
Richmond - In a huge win for Virginia's environment, public health and national security, the Obama administration today announced new standards for automobile fuel economy and global warming emissions. An Environment Virginia analysis found that these new federal standards - based on the "clean cars program" developed by California and adopted by 13 other states - will save Virginians 324 million gallons of gasoline by 2016 as compared to the previous federal standards, while reducing emissions of global warming pollutants and providing a net economic savings to consumers.
"Thanks to President Obama's leadership, the cars of tomorrow will be cleaner and cost less to fuel than the cars of today," said Environment Virginia Advocate J.R. Tolbert. "Today's announcement is the direction that America should be taking when addressing our energy needs. Rather than drilling off our coastlines we should prioritize conservation and renewable energy when meeting the nation's energy needs."
The rest of the statement is after the "flip"
Jeff Schapiro points out that "Gov. Bob McDonnell likes to quote George Washington, except for the part about federal supremacy over rebellious states." Schapiro also quotes Washington's "choice words" regarding Virginia's "unique hostility towards the national government." According to George Washington, "it is the most malignant...the most unwarrantable disposition." The same words could very well be applied to Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli today. One final quote from George Washington pertains to the infamous Whiskey Rebellion: "Should the anti-taxers prevail, republican government might perish in one stroke." As Jeff Schapiro notes, Bob McDonnell doesn't talk about "that George Washington." Gee, I wonder why not.
1. VIRGINIA LEADERS, ENVIRONMENTALISTS REACT TO DRILLING NEWS
2. MCDONNELL TALKS UP ENERGY INITIATIVES AT B&W EVENT
3. VITA SEEKS MCDONNELL'S HELP ON OVERSIGHT, BUDGET
4. DEMOCRATS ACCUSE BOLLING OF HYPOCRISY ON FEDERAL STIMULUS FUNDS
5. CUCCINELLI DENIES RECORDS ON HEALTH-CARE SUIT
7. ANOTHER LAWSUIT FROM CUCCINELLI?
13. IN VIRGINIA, MIXED REACTION TO DECISION TO ALLOW OFFSHORE DRILLING
14. OFFSHORE DRILLING CONCERNS NASA, NAVY, AND ENVIRONMENTALISTS
16. WEBB PREPARES BILL ON OFFSHORE DRILLING PROCEEDS....
18. SEN. WARNER CONCERNED ABOUT HOW TO DIVVY UP PROCEEDS FROM OFFSHORE DRILLING...
40. MCDONNELL'S CAREFUL POLITICAL FOOTWORK
46. METRO WOES MAY PUT FEDERAL FUNDING FOR TRANSIT PROJECTS AT RISK
...Sen. Mark Warner "had a root canal today," said spokesman Kevin Hall. "The irony is that it's 'drill, baby, drill' day." (No TV sound bites, alas, to support Obama's offshore-oil decision.) Warner will recover at home, then head to events in southern Virginia next week.Good one by Kevin Hall, and get well soon to Mark Warner!
P.S. For Mark Warner's real reaction to the offshore oil drilling announcement yesterday, see here. In short, Warner believes "This is good news and a positive step forward as we work to expand our nation's domestic energy production." Hmmm...root canal or offshore oil drilling, tough choice.
Records that would document the time, resources and meetings involved in the lawsuit that the Virginia attorney general's office filed against federal health-care legislation either don't exist or are classified as confidential "working papers" of the agency, a ranking deputy said yesterday.That's right, Cooch is seriously claiming that a lawsuit, taking hundreds if not thousands of hours of lawyers' time to prepare and argue, costs just $350. Of course, as we all know, lawsuits cost a lot of money. For instance, OJ Simpson spent $3-$6 million on his criminal case alone. Another case, this one by the state of Ohio to pursue a civil case against investment adviser Mark D. Lay, cost taxpayers $1.8 million. Yet Cooch claims his lawsuit against the federal government will cost Virginia taxpayers just $350. That's not just absurdly false, it's wildly insulting to the intelligence of Virginia residents. No wonder why Cooch hates sunshine.
Stephen R. McCullough, senior appellate counsel for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, was responding to a request under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act filed by Democratic Party officials and several media outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Yesterday, Cuccinelli issued a release saying that the work of the suit was being done in-house and said costs would be minimal beyond the $350 fee to file the suit in U.S. District Court.
Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed a lawsuit earlier this morning in the United States District Court in Richmond asserting that Ricky Martin is not gay on the basis that his hit song "She Bangs" clearly states otherwise. He further posited that to state you are gay after swaying your hips suggestively at the MTV Movie awards is unconstitutional...Should we start a petition drive to condemn Ken Cuccinelli? How about a recall vote? Protests and marches outside his office? Obviously, this latest lawsuit is outrageous and must be stopped! The only problem is, nobody would take us seriously because it's April Fools Day and you know how that goes. ;)
h/t: Adam Ebbin
With the announcement yesterday by James Trautz that he is withdrawing as a Republican challenger in the 10th District against Rep. Frank R. Wolf, I'm going to make a prediction.For more on Frank Wolf's lurch to the right in recent months, see "Frank Wolf: For it, before he was against it" by Rich Anthony. As Rich points out, "Wolf has taken to repeated attacks on President Obama and his administration over the last year, causing many to speculate that [Wolf] may be concerned about his primary against self-described 'tea party candidate' Jim Trautz." Now that Trautz is out of the picture, will we see Wolf breaking with Eric Cantor, John Boehner, and the "Party of No" in general? I'm not holding my breath, especially given that Wolf really is a right-wing Republican at his core, but it's something to keep an eye on.
Wolf took a sharp right turn in his legislating over the past few months in an attempt to woo the tea party element to his campaign. But with the far-right challenger out of the picture, expect Wolf to move away from the fringe of the party and move towards the center, courting the moderate independents that make up a majority of the 10th District in Loudoun and Fairfax counties.
Also expect to see more "franked" mail arriving in your mailboxes; Wolf recently sent out 3 pieces of "constituent literature", paid for at taxpayer expense, that looked very much like campaign mailers. Of course, it's illegal to send campaign flyers at taxpayer expense, which is why those mailers are marked as "newsletters".
Of course, Wolf never was the "moderate" he sometimes masqueraded as before Barack Obama became president. But since then, Wolf has voted in hard-right-wing Republican lockstep against clean energy, health care reform, "Jobs for Main Street", economic recovery, and many other top priorities for America and for his district.
Of course, you'd never know any of that from the corporate media, which wouldn't write something critical about their pal Frank Wolf if it was the last story on earth. Actually, come to think of it, when was the last time you saw anything at all in the Washington Post about the 10th CD race? Well, don't be surprised if you never do. That is, until the obligatory Post endorsement of "moderate" (yes, the Post is largely responsible for pushing this false meme) Wolf this fall, that is. With the media completely failing to do its job, no wonder why Wolf is able to sculpt his image to his liking through his "franked" mailings. At your expense, of course.
P.S. Unlike Wolf's votes for powerful, moneyed interests over middle class Americans, Rich Anthony supports "Main Street" over "Wall Street". What a concept, huh?
Ironically, as McDonnell makes his statement about offshore oil drilling, the wind is howling. The reason I say "ironically" is that it would be far, far better to focus our energies - pun intended - on developing offshore wind than on wasting time and money with the wild goose chase of "drilling our way to energy independence." Perhaps not ironic, but appropriate, about the blowing wind is how much hot air is being spewed around today about offshore oil drilling by people who don't know the first thing about U.S. oil reserves, world oil markets, offshore potential, or the relative cost of other alternatives like energy efficiency and clean renewables. If they did, perhaps they'd feel differently about today's news, but god forbid they should make the effort to actually research this and think it through carefully. But no...
Anyway, let me just leave you with a few statements from environmental groups that express many of my thoughts as well.
*JR Tolbert of Environment Virginia says, "There is no need to threaten our beaches, wildlife and tourism with oil spills and pollution when we have much better solutions -- putting cleaner cars on the road today that will dramatically cut oil consumption; shifting to plug-in cars powered by the wind and the sun that use little to no oil and investing more in public transportation." Tolbert adds, "At a time when we need to tackle both our dependence on oil and the threat of global warming pollution, this proposal takes us backward. More offshore drilling means more oil consumption and more global warming pollution."
*Glen Besa of the Virginia Sierra Club says, "There are not only the risks of spills both chronic and catastrophic but also the industrialization of our coastal communities that would either debilitate or destroy Virginia's coastal economy." Besa adds, "For just the Mid-Atlantic area alone, the annual value of these sustainable activities is almost 4 times that of oil and gas extraction. That's $13.55 billion from industries completely dependent on clean beaches and healthy ocean waters compared to $3.7 billion from dwindling nonrenewable risky source that in Virginia's case represents a mere 6.5 days of supply before it's exhausted."
*Eileen Levandoski of the Virginia Sierra Club says, "Encroachment in the Virginia CAPES operating area, where the Navy has maintained its opposition to Virginia drilling, would provide compelling reason for Navy to move its forces to states like Florida that protect offshore training ranges from drilling. The loss of Oceana jets means a net loss of 11,000 jobs, $773 million in annual payroll, and $452 million in annual local contracting. This loss of jobs dwarfs even the most speculative of job creation estimates from Virginia drilling."
*Browner emphasized that this is a comprehensive energy strategy to reduce dependence on foreign oil and create a clean energy economy. It includes fuel efficient cars, advanced biofuels, nuclear power, energy efficiency, "greening" the federal vehicle fleet, efforts by the Defense Department "to enhance energy security and independence and reduce harmful emissions, including encouraging the development and use of domestically produced advanced biofuels," and offshore oil drilling.
*Browner emphasized that we "can't drill our way to energy independence."
*Salazar stressed that the Obama administration's energy plan is "balanced" between development and conservation. He emphasized that development needs to be in the right places with the right information. He said we need a "cautious approach" to Arctic development.
*Salazar also pointed out that "we'll never drill our way to energy independence." He noted that there's a "relatively minor amount" of oil in the Outer Continental Shelf, definitely not a "panacea." He added that there are perhaps 100 million barrels in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
*Browner said that the automobile fuel economy rules to be announced tomorrow will save "1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program."
*Browner emphasized that Congress needs to pass "comprehensive energy legislation."
*Salazar said that the Arctic is a "special place," that we need to move forward with the science and find out what's there.
*With regard to Virginia, Salazar said that the plan is to move forward with the process for lease sales, with a decision possible by late 2011/early 2012. A decision will be made after evaluation of environmental issues and also potential conflicts with military training needs.
*In response to a question by the Virginian-Pilot, Salazar said that we know very little about oil resources in the Atlantic, that the information is 30 years old, and that we "owe it to the American people" to make decisions based on good information.
*On the issue of revenue sharing with states, Salazar said this new proposal didn't specifically address that issue and that revenue sharing is covered under existing law. According to Salazar, there are "no revenue sharing provisions except for limited exceptions." Browner added that revenue sharing is part of the discussions going on in the Senate, including with respect to the Kerry/Lieberman/Graham efforts.
*Salazar stressed the importance of offshore wind, stating that the quality of the wind resources off the east coast is very high, and that transmission issues aren't significant compared to many other locations. Salazar added that we need to develop energy from many sources, and that he doesn't see offshore wind and oil development as being "in conflict" with one another.