Saturday, October 31, 2009

Brian Moran Rallies GOTV at NoVa CLC

Attempt 116 to post this update via the truly dreadful iPhone. There will be no editing and no proofreading because frankly Ive given up on this as a viable texting device amnd am only waiting for my contract with ATT toven and I'm so otta there

Anyway pictured in an earlier post was Brian eith CWA activist Delore Gerber. Brian wkas at the NoVa Central Labor Federation to rally everyone for Creigh Deeds Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon

while there I asked him about recent rumors that he was running for DPVA. He shot me am quizzical look and said he didn't know where the rumor started but thinks maybe Richmond. He didn't completely rule out a run but said emphatically that it had not been his original idea or plan

Brian Moran Rallies Troops at CLC GOTV Rally

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ignore WaPo: Kaye Kory is Superior Candidate in 38th District

I will be honest with you. Overall, I am pleased with the Washington Post's editorial endorsements in the Northern Virginia House of Delegates races and with their statewide picks. The only exception is in the 38th District, where they picked Danny Smith over Kaye Kory. But I understand it.

I think it makes the WaPo nervous to be seen as primarily Democratic. Despite the carping from the far right, the Post is not a liberal or even a Democratic newspaper. Nor is it a conservative paper. It views itself, accurately, as a centrist, pro business publication opposing either the extreme social agenda from the right or more progressive economic positions from the left. They are certainly anti-union. And they have allowed George Will to prattle on and on with his disinformation about climate change. The main thing that seems to get them to support Democrats is that they are pro choice. I am pretty sure that if they found an unabashed pro choice Republican, they would support and endorse that candidate to the hilt.

So, the Post must have been distressed to find there was not a single Republican candidate in Northern Virginia who was moderate enough for them to endorse. Except for Danny Smith. The problem is their endorsement was so vague and general that it was almost damning with faint praise.

Here is the Washington Post endorsement, which I am reprinting in full because it is so short (and is only a small section of a much larger round up of endorsements)
District 38: Danny R. Smith, the Republican candidate, is a bright, independent-minded civic leader who cares about promoting affordable housing. A Realtor and corporate executive, he would bring a refreshingly bipartisan sensibility to Richmond. He's a better choice than his opponent, L. Kaye Kory, a sincere but lackluster Fairfax school board member who beat incumbent Robert Hull in a Democratic primary.
The only thing lackluster here is the Post's embarrassingly short and exceedingly generalized writing.

As a matter of fact, if you read Lowell on this, you will find that Kaye is anything but lackluster. Instead, she has been an effective and independent leader who has accomplished a great deal as a school board member and a civic leader. Here are just a few of the points he enumerates.
Second, Kaye has an excellent record on the school board, including leading the fight to rebuild Glasgow Middle School as a "green" school, with solar panels for hot water; motion sensor, high efficiency fluorescent lighting; low flow fixtures for faucets, toilets, urinals and shower heads; etc....

...In addition, Kaye served as a VISTA volunteer, as a counselor for troubled youth at "Runaway House" in the District, and much more
That much more includes the fact that Kaye served on the Annandale Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, and the NAACP.

Furthermore, if you go her campaign website, Kaye does not simply list a catalogue of bullet point positions consisting of boiler plate generalities, as Danny Smith does on his website. She provides detailed explanations of her plans and positions so that voters can see exactly where she stands.

First, here is an example of Smith's inventory of positions:
0 Danny believes Northern Virginians should not send 40% of the revenue going to Richmond and get only 15% of it back.

0 Danny will work hard to make sure we get more of our tax dollars returned to address gridlock and traffic congestion

0 Danny supports the expansion of the Metrol rail system and improved mass transit measures.

0 Danny believes in utilizing the latest technologies for improving our infrastructure so our communities can reap the benefits for years to come

0 Danny believes we should minimize the tax burden on small businesses.

0 Danny supports a tax structure that will help create new jobs.

0 Danny will support measures that will help attract investment in Virginia.

0 Danny supports the elimination of the food tax.
Now those are all admirable goals. But this is like supporting mom and apple pie. Who exactly doesn't support minimizing tax burdens, getting our fair share of tax revenue back in Northern Virginia, or supporting the latest technology for everything? There's nothing refreshingly bold or innovative about any of this and the Washington Post should be embarrassed to spin it that way. It's straining at gnats.

Indeed Smith - if you look at his website - doesn't even seem to realize that he is running for an open seat. He says here:
For too many years, the representation of the 38th District has been ineffective. In the past, your votes have been taken for granted. And for far too long the same old politics have produced the same old ineffective results. At the end of the day, our entire community pays the price for that ineffectiveness.
That looks like it was originally written to challenge Bob Hull and nobody ever bothered to update it. Does Smith's campaign team not realize that Kaye won a primary and wasn't the ineffective one? Further, if you are really tired of ineffective leadership in the Virginia House of Delegates, then you should consider replacing the GOP leadership team there by voting for a Democrat so that the Democrats could be the majority party and replace that other obstructionist team. Or is Smith running against his own party? Not an effective website at best.

Kaye Kory's website, by contrast, provides a list of priorities too. But each one has a link so that voters can click on the ones that interest them and get detailed explanations of Kaye's thinking on any given topic, such as this:
As your delegate I will work to reverse a rule created during the 2009 legislative session that caps the pay for non-educational teaching staff. This rule cripples school boards’ abilities to hire guidance counselors, school medical staffs, custodial staffs, lunch room staffs, and more. We need to do all we can to make sure our schools run safely, securely, and effectively — academic achievement is a team effort.
Or this
The formula used to fund our schools is broken. It leaves out key factors such as the number of “English as a second language” students, and the number of special education students within the education system. I will work with my fellow Democrats to fix the funding formula and end this unintentional unfunded mandate so that all of the 38th District’s children get the education they need and deserve.
Or even this
Kaye supports the 2009 Northern Virginia Business Community Resolution drafted by the Northern Virginia Transportation Coalition. This coalition of sixteen major Northern Virginia private organizations wants state politicians to secure transportation revenues that will eliminate the transportation deficit. The coalition believes that solving the existing transportation problems is necessary to achieve economic prosperity. The resolution is available in entirety at

VDOT Performance Audit

Virginia needs an independent, performance based, outcome driven approach to solving transportation problems. As your Delegate, I will call for a performance audit of the Virginia Department of Transportation as a foundation for future transportation planning and expenditures. This audit will give us a clear picture of the needed transportation improvements, while offering an increased level of transparency and accountability to the general public. The outcome of the audit will help Virginia set our transportation goals of the future.
Those were just pulled at random. But honestly, if you are a concerned voter who wants to really educate yourself before going to the polls on November 3, you owe to yourself to go to both websites, Danny Smith (here) and Kaye Kory (here) and take the time to compare which would be the superior candidate.

If you do this, two things will happen. First you will come away with a somewhat jaundiced view of the Washington Post endorsement in this district and a few questions about what went into their decision-making abilities. But more important, you will come away convinced that Kaye Kory is overwhelmingly the superior choice for the Virginia House of Delegates. She will be the far better representative for the 38th District and she will far better serve all of Virginia.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dan Duncan Honored By Tenants and Workers United

Tonight my husband was honored by this group as Labor Partner of the
Year at their 23rd Annual Celebration, at Cecilias in Arlington. Great
party with wonderful food, poetry, dance, and music.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Steve Shannon: No One is Above the Law!

Here is a new, hard hitting ad from Attorney General Candidate, Steve Shannon, criticizing his opponent, Ken Cuccinelli, for his crony politics. Shannon reminds us that "nobody is above the law." A contrast to Cuccinelli who has stated plainly that he won't uphold laws he doesn't agree with. The question is does that extend to choosing which lawbreakers to bring to justice?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Vote for Creigh Deeds on November 3!

On Sunday, the Washington Post gave Creigh Deeds their endorsement. In and of itself that was not surprising. Indeed, it's exactly what both sides have been expecting. But The Post came out swinging with these words:

A LEGACY of sound policies, coupled with the proximity of the federal government, has partially protected Virginia from the harsh retrenchments that the recession has forced on many states. Yet the commonwealth faces a daunting crisis in the form of a drastic shortfall in transportation funding, measured in the tens of billions of dollars, that threatens future prosperity. If the current campaign for governor has clarified anything, it is that state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, the Democratic nominee, has the good sense and political courage to maintain the forward-looking policies of the past while addressing the looming challenge of fixing the state's dangerously inadequate roads. The Republican candidate, former attorney general Robert F. McDonnell, offers something different: a blizzard of bogus, unworkable, chimerical proposals, repackaged as new ideas, that crumble on contact with reality. They would do little if anything to build a better transportation system.

There are plenty of reasons why Mr. Deeds is the better choice for governor in the Nov. 3 election. He has stood with Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the incumbent, and his predecessor, now-Sen. Mark R. Warner, in support of the sane fiscal and budgetary choices that have made the state one of the best-governed and most business-friendly in the nation. Mr. McDonnell has generally spurned those policies, most notably by opposing Mr. Warner's landmark tax package in 2004, which attracted bipartisan support as it boosted public safety and education and protected the state's finances. Mr. Deeds has compiled a moderate record on divisive social issues that reflects Virginia's status as a centrist swing state. Mr. McDonnell has staked out the intolerant terrain on his party's right wing, fighting a culture war that seized his imagination as a law student in the Reagan era.
There are many on the right who think the editorial board's endorsement simply confirms the Washington Post's "left wing bias."

But ask a progressive and he will say nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, we see the Washington Post as solidly centrist, pro-business, often anti-union, and enthusiastic advocates of free trade and globalism policies. But despite the progressives' disagreements with the Washington Post, we have to acknowledge that they have little patience for culture wars that divide people and distract the population from solving the real problems that face us.

The Washington Post, however, acknowledged candidate Bob McDonnell's strong suit: his disciplined campaign, which managed to stay on message; his likable personality, which often displayed graciousness; and his quick wit, which served him well in debates.

As for Mr. McDonnell, he deserves credit for having run a disciplined, focused, policy-oriented campaign. As a candidate, a statewide official and a lawmaker, he has maintained a civil, personable manner. His intellectual agility, even temper and facility with the grit of policy have inspired the respect of colleagues, staffers and rivals. He is a dexterous politician.
Nevertheless, Virginia needs and deserves more than a "dexterous politician" who will remake his image at the drop of the hat and say anything to get elected. We need somebody with the political courage to tell us the truth about what we will need to do to fix our traffic mess, grow the economy, and bring jobs to our commonwealth. Here is the Washington Post's study in contrast on the two candidates. First, here is what they said about Bob McDonnell:

Our differences with him are on questions of policy. The clamor surrounding his graduate dissertation from 1989, in which he disparaged working women, homosexuals, "fornicators" and others of whom he disapproved, has tended to obscure rather than illuminate fair questions about the sort of governor he would make. Based on his 14-year record as a lawmaker -- a record dominated by his focus on incendiary wedge issues -- we worry that Mr. McDonnell's Virginia would be one where abortion rights would be curtailed; where homosexuals would be treated as second-class citizens; where information about birth control would be hidden; and where the line between church and state could get awfully porous. That is a prescription for yesterday's Virginia, not tomorrow's.
Here, meanwhile, is how they portray Deeds

Mr. Deeds has been broadly criticized, not least by stalwarts of his own party, for putting too heavy an emphasis on negative ads about Mr. McDonnell and failing to make an affirmative case for himself. If so, it reflects a failure of campaign strategy and tactics, not a lack of raw material. In fact Mr. Deeds -- a decent, unusually self-effacing man who calls himself "a nobody from nowhere" -- has a compelling life story and an admirable record of achievement as a legislator from rural Bath County.

As we noted in endorsing Mr. Deeds in June's Democratic primary, his record in the legislature ably blended the conservative interests of his constituents with an agenda reflecting the prosperous, politically moderate face of modern-day Virginia. He has been a longtime champion of a more enlightened, bipartisan system of drawing voting districts, a stance to which Mr. McDonnell only recently gravitated. He has played a constructive role in economic development by shaping the Governor's Economic Opportunity Fund, which provides incentives for investors in Virginia, and he has stood for responsible environmental policies, including green jobs and alternative energy research. Despite his rural roots, Mr. Deeds has been ideologically flexible enough to support abortion rights; press for background checks on firearms buyers at gun shows; oppose displaying the Confederate flag on state license plates; and warm to equal rights for homosexuals.
And finally, as the Washington Post reminds us

Mr. Deeds, lagging in the polls, lacks Mr. McDonnell's knack for crisp articulation. But if he has not always been the most adroit advocate for astute policies, that is preferable to Mr. McDonnell's silver-tongued embrace of ideas that would mire Virginia in a traffic-clogged, backward-looking past. Virginians should not confuse Mr. McDonnell's adept oratory for wisdom, nor Mr. Deeds's plain speech for indirection. In fact, it is Mr. Deeds whose ideas hold the promise of a prosperous future.
And that is exactly why you should vote for Creigh Deeds.

If you want to go back to the past and fight the same old culture wars and watch the same old Republican anti-regulatory policies fail again, then by all means vote for the GOP again. But if you want to move forward, grow a prosperous economy, and live in a state that promotes tolerance and moderation, then by all means vote for Creigh Deeds on November 3.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fimian Raises Money From Same Old Rightwing Sources

Well, the good news for Republicans is that their candidate for 2010 congressional race in the 11th district, Keith Fimian, has raised $2,333,832. In fact, as VA Social Conservative, reports, Fimian has outraised incumbent Gerry Connolly. The bad new, though, for Fimian is that most of the money comes from out of his district and a fair amount from out of state. And once again, it comes from the same Legatus and Ave Maria supporters who funded him last time, including Legatus and Ave Maria founder Thomas Monaghan and his wife Majorie, both of whom maxed out with $4800 each.

Folks, call me crazy but the Monaghans and all those people from Michigan and Ponte Vedra, Florida (both headquarters for Ave Maria) are not donating to Keith Fimian because they have an overwhelming interest in the welfare of the 11th CD. Do they really care that much about our traffic problems, our roadways, our local businesses? I think not. But I think they care passionately about advancing their theocratic social agenda in Virginia.

Steve Shannon on Why He is Right for Virginia Attorney General's Office

Here is Steve Shannon in his own words on why he wants to be Virginia's attorney general and why he thinks he is going to win. What it comes down to is that he does not see the attorney general's job as a stepping stone to promotion of any social agenda, liberal or conservative. He sees it as a job protecting Virginians from lawbreakers, including Internet predators, payday lenders, gangs, and sexual predators who prey on children.

BTW, one disclaimer, the ads that run on this video simply were imported with the clip from YouTube. I derive no income from them, so if you click on any of the ads running on the video, most likely the revenue would go to either YouTube or the creator of the clip.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gerry Connolly Defends Health Care Reform

There's a reason that Gerry Connolly was voted president of the freshman class in Congress. He faced the lions in the den at Fox New and ably disputed both their anchorwoman and Kansas Representative Lynn Jenkins, who was spinning misconceptions and outright falsehoods. Connolly stood his ground and defended healthcare reform and the public option despite the attempt of the Faux News "journalist" to cut him off in the middle of his rebuttal.


Monday, October 12, 2009

2009 is About Living to Fight Another Day

Lowell paints a pretty grim picture for us Democrats in this analysis, but I think he's spot on.

He predicts that Deeds will lose by 7 to 8 points and it will bring down some of the close races. Overall, if Lowell's analysis holds, we will still keep some seats and maybe have a few pick ups. But there could be some upsets for Democratic incumbents in districts where Republicans are out spending them. Two districts in particular are worrisome, the 34th, where incumbent Margi Vanerhye faces a very well-funded rightwing extremist, Barbara Comestock. Here, Lowell predicts that Margi will pull it out, though narrowly. Another worrisome spot is the 42nd, where Dave Albo has the cash-on-hand advantage. But Albo also is the one delegate most associated with the hated abusive driver fees from 2007. And Greg Werkheiser lost to Albo by only 4 points in 2005. Still, Werkheiser took the 2007 cycle off and you can't count on anger from two years ago still being that strong. Fact is it has probably dissipated, so Lowell puts this as "slight lean for Albo." But he also says "hang on..."

On a brighter note, Lowell also predicts Mark Keam will beat Jim Hyland in the 35th. Keam has run a strong campaign and has a cash-on-hand advantage here. And he remains optimistic about Scott Surovell who has run a very strong campaign in the 44th. That's a Democratic stronghold and Lowell rates it "likely Democratic retention."

Here is Lowell's overall prediction for this year's election cycle:
To sum up: I see a likely Democratic pickup in the 52nd (Torian), a pretty good shot in the 93rd (Abbott), a possible shot in the 86th (Miller), and a longer shot in the 13th (John Bell). On the other hand, I see possible Democratic losses in the 83rd (Bouchard), possibly even the 34th (Vanderhye), the 51st (Nichols), and/or the 67th (Caputo). On balance, it's looking like a wash on election day, maybe +1 or +2 in either direction, but probably more likely +1 or +2 in the Republican direction if Deeds loses to McDonnell by more than a few points.
I pretty much agree with Lowell. Indeed, I would make an argument that Lowell is being optimistic about our chances.

I'd love it to be different. I know so would Lowell. And I'd love to disagree with him and keep spinning it differently. But at some point, even while continuing to push for progressive change and supporting Democratic candidates as much as I can, as a blogger, I have an obligation - as does Lowell, Ben and every other blogger, to tell our readers the truth and to give them our best, honest analysis of a situation, regardless of how much we dislike that reality.

Bloggers are a hybrid. We are part journalist and part political activists and sometimes those two sides come into conflict. But one thing we should always be is truth tellers. And the truth, sad as it is, is that this is probably not our year. But I've been wrong before.

The best I can honestly offer, however, is that if we don't still get out and work our tails off, it will be much worse. The blow out will be bigger and the losses in the HOD will be bigger. Sometimes you just do damage control and live to fight another day.

What Is Right For Virginia Meets AIAW

My goodness, I've been remiss. I just added a new blog, one that I've read for ages and meant to put on my blogroll. I have added What Is Right For Virginia to my sidebar both in the blogroll and as one of the blogs that I follow. You would think I actually would have done this a while ago just to make it easier for myself. Instant access is a good thing. But so is the time to actually work on one's own blog.

Anyway, I met Jim White last Sunday, and he did this great post, with a very funny title about it. We were at CLUW's Bread and Roses dinner. And I promised to put up pix. Of course, with my husband taking them, there should be no excuses, but Jim beat me to it with his picture of the two of us. I promise to have some of Dan's photos up soon.

Meanwhile, Jim has a great site that I heartily recommend. Go check it out.

Time to Ditch Both Insurance Companies and Baucus Bill

As this diary from Huffington Post shows, the insurance industry's greed knows no bounds. Not content to cherry pick customers, deny claims for the flimsiest of reasons, and boot people off their coverage when they get sick and need it the most, now they have taken to turning on their own Senate lackeys. Yup, they've stuck a shiv in their own waterboy, Max Baucus' back (see below) 

Now I will admit that I don't feel particularly bad for Baucus for getting bit by fleas. He laid down with these dogs. But this should be an object lesson to the rest of us.

The insurance industry and Big Pharma are not our friends. They cannot be trusted to do the right thing, ever 

It's time to fight for honest to God health care reform with a public option. And if the overpaid insurance company CEOs kill that, it will be time to fight for single payer insurance and eliminate them for good!

BTW, if this post seems somewhat strange (for example, I didn't use links the way I normally would and there are no blockqoutes) it's because I am posting from my iPhone. Another of my experiments 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

When Democrats Act Like Democrats, They Pass Good Bills and Deserve to Win

Yes, I actually do remember how to blog. Sort of.

After being absent for far too long, due to family, work, and training commitments, it's time to pick up pen - or at least pixels, or something - again. I am going to start with this YouTube video, which many viewers have already seen. That's because repetition is vital to making any point stick.

Cynics have stated that if you repeat a lie loud enough and often enough, the public will believe it. If that's true, it's vital to repeat the truth even more often and even more loudly so that it overrides the lie, also sticks in the public's memory, and ultimately gets believed while the lie is drowned out. And freshmen Florida congressman Alan Grayson has told a vital truth that Democrats are in danger of forgetting. So we better repeat it loudly and often. That truth is a reminder of how we retook the House, the Senate, and the White House. First the video, and then I will have a few things to say about it.

Besides all the important things Congressman Grayson says about actual health care reform, the most important truth is that Democrats got elected by defining their core principles, and presenting themselves as the party of change. They promised new ideas. Then something terrible happened to them once they succeeded in winning. They got scared of being Democrats.

With Republicans vowing to obstruct them in Congress, tea baggers and assorted crazies showing up at their town halls, people who didn't even live in their districts outshouting those who did at those gatherings, and other shenanigans Democrats began scurrying for protective cover. Part of the problem is that one of President Obama's most attractive promises was to usher in a new era of bipartisanship and political civility. That was an irresistible promise, especially to the many Indpendents who had grown weary of the arrogance and swagger of the Newt Gingriches, Tom DeLays, and even George W. Bushes. The desire for a more inclusive and civil discourse appealed to moderates and progressives alike. And they really thought Obama could deliver on that promise.

Although sincere and well-meaning, they underestimated the depth of anger that the extreme right wing, which composes the base of the Republican Party, harbors for the new president. I think most of us were genuinely shocked to realize that these people actually wish for America to fail rather than risk seeing an Obama presidency succeed. In short, they are the sorest of sore losers. For them, politics comes before true patriotism and don't you ever forget it.

That's why it's time - actually long past the time - to move ahead and use the Democratic majority to bring about the change that the public voted for, even without one single Republican vote if necessary.

One reason senate Democrats aren't doing this, however, is because, despite having 60 votes, they are scared that if their legislation fails to do what it's supposed to do, they will have nobody to share the blame with. So, what they are doing is seeking the cover and protection that can only come from a bipartisan bill. It's not about politeness or civility. It's about cowardice. They want somebody in the other party who can deflect some of the blame from them should health care reform fail.

But guess what?

If the Baucus bill passes, as it now stands, it will be a boon to insurance companies, will raise premiums for those in the middle class who have good benefits, will force working class people to buy coverage they can't afford, and will anger everybody just as they fear. In other words, if the Democrats sacrifice true health care reform, with a public option, at the altar of faux bipartisanship, they will indeed be blamed and be swept out of office in the next election cycle. And Olympia Snowe will not be able to save their sorry butts.

On the other hand, if they do nothing, they face the same fate.

The only thing that will give them half a fighting chance to avoid that fate is to get health care reform right. To pass a bill that actually improves health coverage, provides affordable health care insurance, and improves our health care delivery system and that funds it with fair taxes, including a surtax on the wealthy. There is no reason for those making over a quarter million dollars a year not to pay their fair share as long as they reap the same benefits as everybody else.

This is not about soaking the rich or sticking it to them. It's about everybody contributing to the common good and benefiting from it equally.

And it's also about Democrats remembering why they joined the Democratic Party rather than the Republican Party. I would hope it's because we are the party that actually still believes in a common good that benefits everybody. That doesn't make us socialists. It doesn't make us enemies of capitalism. It just means we realize that markets, while very good at doing what they are designed to do - sell goods - doesn't have the answer to every problem. Neither does government.

It's important to figure out what the markets are best at doing and what the government is best at providing and not confuse the two. That's what Democrats used to know and understand. They should reacquaint themselves with that principle.