Monday, January 27, 2020
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Cuccinelli: Virginia is for landfill lovers

Dear reader, for what do you think Virginia should be best known? Moniticello? Mount Vernon? The Shenandoah Valley? Chincoteague ponies? Great universities? Civil war history? Historic naval bases?

Hey, how about landfills?

If the latter didn't make your list, then you may not be a supporter of our Ayatollah General, Ken Cuccinelli, who recently filed a brief  to protect the inalienable right of landfills to pollute your groundwater. 

The case involves a couple who sued Campbell County after alleging that benzene, a carcinogenic chemical, had leaked from the county landfill into their groundwater.  In 2010, they won a Circuit court case that awarded them $9 million. The county appealed to the Supreme Court -- and now your elected AG, using your tax dollars, is making the case for why the judgment should be overturned and the people with the poisoned well denied justice. 

Granted, this should come as a surprise to no one.  As I've written before, Cuccinelli consistenly displays a very un-Attorney General-like pattern of favoring powerful interests over everyday Virginia citizens. 

Still, this is one of the stinkiest causes Cuccinelli has championed.  And I for one think that, for decency's sake, it's time Cuccy kept his briefs to himself. 

Have Republicans Lost Their Minds/Are Crazy Like a Fox?

Even the most conspiracy-averse among us begin to see a pattern emerging as, in state after state, as well as in the national Congress, Republican legislators and governors come marching gleefully out of the closet, arrogantly and ruthlessly seeking to impose the most extreme demands of their corporate masters.  They seemingly no longer care whether they alienate large numbers of voters, whether it is women, minorities, workers, or even moderates. They no longer prettify their agenda, burying it under orwellian names ("Clear Sky," "deficit reduction"); in fact,  they act as if they are immune to political basklash, and pretty much are saying, like Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind, "My dear, I don't give a damn."  What's really going on here?

The People Fight Back

The people fight back.'s video of street theatre at a Target Store. Pass it on. And sign their petition to make Target pay for messing in our political system, thanks to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, after which Target donated $150,000 to the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota, a candidate who hates unions and gays."Target Ain't People!" (and neither is Rupert Murdoch's holding company and Fox Specious News... could this be a trend?

President Obama Nominates Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court

I don't agree with Elena Kagan on everything, but I have no question as to her qualifications for the Supreme Court. I'm still thinking through my views on this nomination, but for now, I'd recommend that you read "Why Kagan Makes Sense: Citizens United", "Myths and falsehoods about Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination" and "Elena Kagan's Goldman Sachs 'Connection'". Also, for a dissenting view from the left, see Glenn Greenwald's "The latest on Elena Kagan". Finally, keep in mind that Kagan was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Solicitor General by a 61-31 vote on March 19, 2009.

UPDATE: First reactions to Kagan's nomination.

UPDATE #2: Mark Warner's office issues a statement.

I believe the President has made a solid choice in nominating Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court. I first met her when she served as the dean of Harvard Law School, and she is very highly regarded across the ideological spectrum for her impressive background in government service and her strong academic and legal credentials. Last year, the Senate voted to confirm Elena Kagan to serve as Solicitor General, and I look forward to prompt Senate consideration of her nomination to the Supreme Court.

UPDATE #3: It looks like the RNC, under the inspired leadership of Michael Steele, has decided to attack Elena Kagan for opposing/criticizing slavery. Or something. For more on the RNC's "thinking" regarding this attack, see here.

Thank You John Paul Stevens; Who Will Obama Pick to Succeed...

A bit earlier this morning, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced that he will retirement, effective in June 2010. First off, I just want to say "thank you" to Justice Stevens for 35 years of service on the Court, plus of course his service to our country in World War II. As Adam B at Daily Kos points out, Stevens' service began the day before Pearl Harbor, at the age of 21, when "he enlisted in the Navy and joined its intelligence service, earning a Bronze Star for his cryptography work which helped break the Japanese codes"). Now, at age 90 (in less than 2 weeks), I thank Justice Stevens and wish him a happy retirement!

With Stevens' retirement, President Obama gets his second opportunity (after Sonia Sotamoyor) to replace a Supreme Court justice. A couple of points on that.

First this is more than enough reason for all of us to be happy that we elected Obama, not John McCain, in November 2008.  If McCain had won, he would have had the chance to tip the balance of the Supreme Court in a conservative direction for a generation or more to come, and that would have been a disaster.  

Second, this is a chance for President Obama to appoint a strong advocate for progressive values - environmental protection, human rights, valuing people over corporations, promoting the "general welfare," defending our freedoms and our responsibilities under the Constitution, etc.

Although appointed by Republican Gerald Ford, Stevens has generally been considered the most liberal justice on the Court. Now, President Obama has a chance to replace him with a young version of...John Paul Stevens! I urge President Obama to make an inspired choice that we can all be proud of for decades to come!

P.S. Names of potential nominees I've seen bandied about so far include solicitor general Elena Kagan, Judge Diane Wood (7th Circuit Court) and Judge Merrick Garland (D.C. Circuit Court). Both Kagan and Wood reportedly were interviewed by President Obama last spring before he decided to nominate Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

UPDATE: On Facebook, Sen. Donald McEachin raise an interesting possibility.

It's too bad that Gov. Kaine took the job as DNC chair. He would be an awsome Supreme Court Justice...Before anyone gets that twisted, I think Gov Kaine is an excellent DNC chair. His legacy as a Supreme Court Justice would be enduring.
Kaine is 52, so certainly not too old to be nominated to the Supreme Court. He's also very close with Barack Obama. I wonder if this is a serious possibility.