Rasmussen: McDonnell 51%-Deeds 42%

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Republican Robert F. McDonnell has bounced back to a nine-point lead over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in the race to become Virginia’s next governor.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Virginia voters finds McDonnell attracting 51% of the vote while Deeds picks up 42%.

Over the past two weeks, McDonnell’s support has gone up three percentage points while Deeds has lost four points. After closing to essentially a toss-up in mid-September, the race is back to where it was in early September, when the GOP hopeful held a nine-point advantage.
I repeat: blech.

Maybe LeMunyon Should Write for The Onion?

Over in the 67th House of Delegates district, Del. Chuck Caputo's (D) opponent, Jim LeMunyon, is providing some (apparently) unintentional hilarity. For starters, LeMunyon - a run-of-the-mill hardcore, conservative Republican - is laughably attempting to pull a Bob McDonnell and pass himself off to voters as a "moderate." Yeah, right, uh huh. In addition, LeMunyon has some rather...amusing, I guess...ideas about public education, such as allowing Fairfax County schools to have open enrollment, which would let students from other counties attend Fairfax schools. Here's what the Caputo campaign believes that would look like (click to "embiggen").

Looks like fun, no? :)

On yet another humorous note, what's the deal with LeMunyon publishing the details of transportation projects from around the 67th district (e.g., widening of Stringfellow Road) in his newsletter ("The LeMunyon Momentum" - ha, try saying that 10 times fast!), when these are all projects that Chuck Caputo helped make happen? Is LeMunyon really trying to take credit for the projects or does he simply not understand what being a delegate means. Either way, LeMunyon's demonstrating that he's more qualified to write for The Onion than to run for Virginia's House of Delegates. LeMunyon's a talented satirist, even if he doesn't realize he's doing it. :)

Crockett-Stark Ducks Debates with Carole Pratt

From the Carole Pratt for Delegate campaign
Virginia House of Delegates candidate Carole Pratt's invitation for a series of discussions on the economy and how to bring jobs to the area has been turned down by Delegate Crockett-Stark. The incumbent has refused to participate in meetings focused exclusively on economic issues.

“Nearly one out of ten workers in our district is unemployed, and it is disappointing that the incumbent has rejected a request to talk about jobs,” said Carole. “Voters of all ages are anxious about the economy and job market. I’m prepared to outline a strategic plan for how to keep and bring permanent, quality jobs to our region, and the delegate should be eager to do the same.”

...With a voting record like the incumbent’s, it is not surprising that she would be reluctant to defend her votes in a one-on-one discussion with Carole.

Bill Bolling Blasts Bob McDonnell?

This is hilarious, in a Homer Simpson D'OH! kinda way.
In recent days, Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has been attacking Democrat Jody Wagner for quitting her job as state finance secretary to run for office.

"Ms. Wagner quit to run for higher office, putting her own personal political interests ahead of Virginia's interests and the fulfillment of her responsibilities as Secretary of Finance,'' Bolling wrote in a news release yesterday.

Bolling, of course, remained in his part-time job to run for reelection. But wait a minute.

His friend and running mate, Bob McDonnell, quit his job as attorney general to run for governor. Is Bolling criticizing McDonnell, too?
Hahahahahaha. I mean, seriously, whoever thought of this line of attack wins the "lamest political consultant (or candidate) of the month award."

Submit Your Questions Via YouTube for McDonnell and Deeds

For more information on submitting your questions (via Youtube) for Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds to Politico, please click here.

Tom Friedman Compares Today's U.S. Political Climate to "the eve of the Rabin assassination"

This is terrifying because it's so true.
I was in Israel interviewing Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin just before he was assassinated in 1995. We had a beer in his office. He needed one. I remember the ugly mood in Israel then — a mood in which extreme right-wing settlers and politicians were doing all they could to delegitimize Rabin, who was committed to trading land for peace as part of the Oslo accords. They questioned his authority. They accused him of treason. They created pictures depicting him as a Nazi SS officer, and they shouted death threats at rallies. His political opponents winked at it all.
Sound familiar? Please name the Republican "leaders" who have condemned the hate-filled vitriol spewed out by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Rep. Joe "You Lie!" Wilson, Rep. Trent "Obama is an enemy of humanity" Franks, the Dick Armey-led tea partiers, etc., etc. that the sound of crickets chirping I hear? Yep, sure is. And where could this all lead to? Continuing with Tom Friedman's column...
And in so doing they created a poisonous political environment that was interpreted by one right-wing Jewish nationalist as a license to kill Rabin — he must have heard, “God will be on your side” — and so he did.

Others have already remarked on this analogy, but I want to add my voice because the parallels to Israel then and America today turn my stomach: I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or left. But something very dangerous is happening. Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into delegitimation and creating the same kind of climate here that existed in Israel on the eve of the Rabin assassination.
That's where it can all lead. Now, I'm well aware that politics is a rough business, that personal attacks are par for the course, and that this has been going on since the beginning of our nation. However, there are times when it gets completely out of control, and this is one of those times. To be fair, I thought that some of the rhetoric (e.g., any use of Nazi imagery) against George W. Bush - as much as I disapproved of his policies - got out of hand as well, but not nearly to the degree as we're seeing now with President Obama (and it generally wasn't being egged on by elected Democratic officials). Again, the question is, when will Republican "leaders" (in quotes until the prove that they truly are leaders) step up to the plate, work to calm the situation, and denounce the most extreme demagogues (Rush, Glenn)? Or will they simply continue to "wink" from the sidelines, while our country is torn apart? For all of our sakes, I sincerely hope they opt for the former, not the latter, but I'm not brimming over with confidence on this...

UPDATE: And yet more insanity from the right wing. Plus, what the heck is Gore Vidal talking about?!?

Stevens Miller Pounds Tom Rust on Autism Coverage

Now that is one hard-hitting ad. Whoa.

Republicans: Not Sublime, Not Subtle, Just Slamming

When you can't win on your own record, lie about your opponent's. Today's Virginian Pilot features a letter to the editor that hints at the veracity of Delegate Joe Bouchard's (D-83rd-Virginia Beach) opponent. There comes a point where your campaign's use of lies and innuendo begin to distinguish your own character.

Dr. Stolle is not running his own campaign but that campaign may soon take a toll on his character and reputation. Unable to competitively raise funds from within his own district he has become the recipient of a large transfer of funds from the Republican State Leadership Committee. This is neither a Virginia nor a leadership committee. He's been buttressed by $70,900 in the past two or so weeks. This has enabled him to go up on television with a distinctly deceptive ad that has every quality of production that spells $$$. And, now this "poll."

The Democratic delegates here in Virginia Beach are targeted and their opponents are being funded by outsiders who have no idea beyond demographics and polling how to reach the electorate. The Republican candidates are no more than marionettes swooning to the tune of their pop-economist puppeteers. You have to wonder what they have sold to earn this level of support.

Cross posted at VBDems

Virginia Police Benevolent Association Switches from McDonnell to Deeds

Good news from the Deeds campaign:
The Virginia Police Benevolent Association— which endorsed Bob McDonnell for Attorney General in 2005— has announced its endorsement of Sen. Creigh Deeds for Governor of Virginia, citing his strong bipartisan record on public safety.

In 2005, then-Delegate Bob McDonnell said that the VPBA’s endorsement was one of the “most important endorsements that a candidate can have.” [Washington Post, 9/30/2005]


President of the Virginia Division of the Police Benevolent Association Jason Knorowski praised Deeds’ public safety plan.

“Senator Deeds earned the endorsement from the Virginia PBA during the organization’s unique and professional political screening process. Senator Deeds demonstrated his support for issues that are important to law enforcement and keeping our neighborhoods safe. The Virginia PBA encourages all Virginians to support strong, effective law enforcement by voting for Senator Creigh Deeds as our next Governor.”
Nice. I wonder if Bob McDOnnell still thinks this is one of the "most important endorsements that a candidate can have." :)

Bob Holsworth on the Wildly Different Poll Results

I generally agree with this analysis by Bob Holsworth:
But most of the explanation can be found in the diametrically conflicting models of the likely electorate found inside the poll numbers.

Public Policy Polling has an implicit turnout model heavily tilted toward the Democrats...

Survey USA has a likely voter model that is tilted in the exact opposite direction...

Here’s the difficulty.

In a gubernatorial election, less than 50% of registered voters will actually show up.

The fundamental issue for pollsters, then, is to determine who among this “less than 50%” is really going to vote.
So there you have the bottom line question -- who is going to show up on election day to cast their ballot? And no matter what poll you're looking at, they almost certainly don't know the answer right now. Having said that, it's not good news - as Bob Holsworth points out - that Democrats are "even trailing in [the poll] that has turnout tilting heavily toward the D’s." So, even if SurveyUSA is a complete outlier, we Democrats still have our work cut out for us in letting Virginians know why Bob McDonnell would be a disaster as governor, and why they should support Creigh Deeds. And we only have 33 days to go...

Whipple Clip Dozen: Wednesday Morning

Thanks to Tom Whipple for today's "clips."


"The feminist movement is the most dangerous, destructive force in our society today"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yes, she's bonkers you say, but what's the connection to Virginia? Well...Phyllis Schlafly is cited in Bob McDonnell's thesis (see pages 39 and 78) and gave $1,000 (via her Eagle Forum PAC) to McDonnell's gubernatorial campaign. Here's what Schlafly had to say for herself at the "How To Take Back America" conference last weekend:
I submit to you that the feminist movement is the most dangerous, destructive force in our society today. [...] My analysis is that the gays are about 5% of the attack on marriage in this country, and the feminists are about 95%. [...] I’m talking about drugs, sex, illegitimacy, drop outs, poor grades, run away, suicide, you name it, every social ill comes out of the fatherless home.
Sound familiar? Hint: Bob McDonnell referred to working women and feminists as “detrimental” to the family. Hmmmm.

SurveyUSA: McDonnell 55%-Deeds 41%

This sucks. I have no other comment right now, except that this appears to be an outlier. I've got to look more closely at this one and try to understand why it's so different that PPP, Washington Post, etc. Weird.

New Deeds Ad: "Bob McDonnell can’t cover up his record"

Is it just my imagination or are these ads getting harder and harder hitting as the election gets closer?

PPP: McDonnell 48%-Deeds 43%; Bolling and Cooch Lead as Well

PPP is out with its new poll of Virginia, and it's got Creigh Deeds continuing to close the gap on Bob McDonnell. According to PPP, "McDonnell leads 48-43," while "A month ago his lead was 49-42 and the month before that it peaked at 51-37." In the end, PPP concludes, "this is all going to come down to turnout."
If the electorate looks the same way it did last November Deeds will probably pull this one out by the skin of his teeth. But if Republicans continue to be more energized (or Democrats are more disinterested) McDonnell will continue the lead he's held throughout the general election right through the finish line.
In the downballot races, it's currently Bolling 43%-Wagner 35% and Cooch 43%-Shannon 34%. Obviously, there are a lot more undecided voters for LG and AG than for Governor.

Video: Linwood Holton Endorses Creigh Deeds

Sorry about the sound quality, but it has nothing to do with my Flip video recorder. Linwood Holton speaks softly (but carries a big stick? ha), the microphone wasn't working very well, and there was a lot of construction noise in the background (Clarendon's a great example of how smart growth is supposed to work, by the way). Still, you can clearly hear Holton as he strongly endorses Creigh Deeds and blasts Bob McDonnell's transportation "plan" as a series of "false promises."

UPDATE: Creigh Deeds accepts Linwood Holton's endorsement.

Linwood Holton Endorses Creigh Deeds, Blasts McDonnell's Transportation "Plan"

A little while ago in front of the Clarendon Metro station in Arlington, former Gov. Linwood Holton (R) endorsed future Gov. Creigh Deeds (D). I'll have video in a little while, but for now here are a few photos. Also, I particularly liked Linwood Holton's demolition of Bob McDonnell's transportation "plan" as a bunch of "false promises" (in contrast, Holton said, "Creigh Deeds has developed a plan that has been carefully enunciated and that is the most realistic plan of either of the two candidates"):

1) Sale of ABC Stores: "There will be no sale of the ABC system in Virginia as long as the General Assembly of Virginia exists, they will not permit the sale of a source of revenue that produces $100 million a year for them to use for schools and other public needs"

2) Revenues from oil drilling: "That couldn't possibly bring us a dime within the next 10 years...oil profits is a false promise."

3) Take money out of the general fund: "Take money away from...public schools, from our system of public won't work."

4) Put tolls on highways: "I want to know, which legislator is going to say, 'ok, put a toll on a road in my district'...that's another false promise."

Rating the Deeds, McDonnell Campaigns

This graph (click to "embiggen") displays scores by category (there are 10 categories plus an overall score) for the Deeds and McDonnell campaigns. Over the past two days or so, there were 17 respondents to the survey (which I sent out to many of my "political" contacts), all of whom are Democrats and Deeds supporters. I was expecting that this heavily "blue" sample might skew the results against McDonnell and towards Deeds, but that doesn't seem to have happened. Thanks to everyone for rating not based on who you like or agreed with, but solely on effectiveness in each category. Also, thanks for taking the time to fill out the survey!

With that here are the key results.

1. The McDonnell campaign was rated overall more effective than the Deeds campaign by a 6.2-5.2 margin (10 is the highest possible rating). Of the 17 respondents, 14 rated the Deeds campaign lower than the McDonnell campaign overall.

2. The Deeds campaign did the best in the "financial/fundraising" category, scoring a 7.1 and beating the McDonnell campaign's 6.4 score. The only other category where the Deeds campaign beat the McDonnell campaign was in "earned media" (6.4-5.2).

3. The McDonnell campaign did the best in "paid media" (7.0), beating the Deeds' campaign's 6.1 score in that category.

4. The Deeds campaign did the worst in "political" (4.0), "research/policy" (4.2), "campaign management" (4.6), and "strategy" (4.8). Also, the Democratic Party's broader effort only got a 4.8 score, trailing well behind the GOP's 6.8 score in that category.

5. The biggest gaps between the two campaigns in specific categories all favored McDonnell: political (+2.9 points over the Deeds campaign's political operation); campaign management (+2.1 points), broader party effort (+2.1 points), and strategy (+1.7 points).

Finally, here are many of the comments I received. There are a lot of them, so take your time and enjoy (or not). :) Also, note that - for whatever reason - the people who were most critical of the Deeds campaign also tended to have the most to say. Don't ask me why that is, something to do with human psychology I guess.

Negative towards both candidates/campaigns
*"...these are two below-average campaigns...a low-energy race with two uninspiring candidates"
*"Bob McDonnell can't decide if he agrees with his own thesis. Creigh Deeds can't explain what a Creigh Deeds Democrat is. How uninspiring are these two?"
*[McDonnell's] policy rollouts have been just as stupidly handled but he's not as bad as Deeds"
*"Not confident in either of their strategies - seeing a lot of capitalizing on opportunities but not planned out moves over time"
*"Lot of time I feel I have no idea what Abbey is doing - also, Bob's inability to get past the thesis coverage is a problem with his management imo"

Positive towards both candidates/campaigns
*"McDonnell always seems to be one step ahead of Deeds in ad placement, but Deeds has done well in ad content."
*"Both have had some pretty good tv ads and Deeds' ad with the Post endorsement contributed to his primary win"

Negative towards McDonnell campaign and/or GOP effort
*"Other than taxes, McDonnell has been unable to draw any distinctions or point to any unique policies. The campaign has also been unable to dig up any dirt or even any contradictions in Deeds' background -- and the one "scandal" of Deeds' son's drinking citation blew up in their (and Anita Kumar's) faces."
*"[McDonnell] is a wee bit too polished, too smooth. I have heard folks describe him as plastic and insincere sounding. I don't see that, but he needs to guard against it."

Positive towards McDonnell campaign and/or GOP effort
*"[McDonnell] is the best Republican candidate statewide for the GOP in Virginia since George Allen in 93, maybe even better than Allen"
*"Not sure I respect and agree with all their decisions, but [the McDonnell folks] are disciplined and on message."
*"[McDonnell] has just recently gone up in my esteem. I thought he was strategic and on one message (anti-tax, pro-jobs), but unable to adjust his tactics for the situation. The editorials ad shows me he can adjust tactics while maintaining the same message/strategy."
*"I think [McDonnell's] ads are excellent and really make him seem like a reasonable, nice, family guy...the only thing i'd say about the ads that are not good is that he doesn't really have one theme running through them all, but everything else about the ads are excellent"
*"I think McDonnell has been nearly gaffes...very smooth operation everything steadily chugging along"
*McDonnell has had "consistently great ads"
*"[McDonnell] has done an excellent job corraling the crazy base while simultaneously going after African-Americans... wouldn't be surprised if he got close to 20% of the AA vote"
*"[Republicans] are energized, they are giving money up the wazoo, they are all united, they do not leak or snipe at each other"

Negative towards Deeds campaign and/or Dem. Party effort
*"[Democrats] are not investing enough money, especially from national...and there is so much backbiting on our organized effort"
*"Deeds is the worst candidate we've had since the 70s, he's a disaster"
*"No real reaching out to electeds or constituencies [by the Deeds campaign]"
*"[The Deeds folks] obviously think they win by just hammering away at the thesis and not providing a real positive message or discussing anything else."
*"The coordinated sucks and is virtually non-existent. No signs, no volunteer recruitment. If they are actually out there ID'ing voters, no one knows it. What is the point of having a coordinated if they are not up and running and ready to go the day after the primary. They should have been staffed up and rented office space as of 6/15 and waiting to get going. I am not convinced they are really in place yet."
*"Creigh's best qualities have not been on display in this campaign. He is personable, sincere and committed to VA and to good government. Hmmm...would any voter know that? I lay the coup at his feet and the bad editorials. In either case, has he challenged his consultants about what's going on?"
*"I am surprised at how disappointed I have been by Joe Abbey's performance, but the head of the fish stinks first so ultimately it must have been Deeds' fault... He seemed to be submerged by his campaign monkeys, broke out briefly with the speech at GMU, then re-submerged, and has lately begun to appear more himself; his Wa Po op ed article was very very good----- but follow-up and utilization of its points has been extremely poor, so far as I can see. The speech to the Fairfax Chamber was lousy, and was a golden missed opportunity."
*"Deeds took way too long to get off the ground, they've had gaffe after gaffe, it's been a badly managed campaign"
*"[Deeds'] political operation has been terrible; he has not even gotten enthusiastic endorsements from his own party"
*"Research/policy [have been] absolutely horrendous for Deeds, the thesis wasn't even their own [expletive deleted] work, Amy Gardner had to dig it up on her own...and the policy has been terrible, leaving transportation off their issues page on the website...they put out that economic plan all at once back in late July when no one was paying attention"

Positive towards Deeds campaign and/or Dem. Party effort
*"Edge goes to Deeds for the transportation revenue increase rollout -- won praise with minimal damage."

Mixed towards McDonnell campaign and/or GOP efforts
*"[The] McDonnell campaign did very well pushing the 'McDonnell is a moderate' message early on, but has floundered to respond coherently to the thesis controversy"
*"McDonnell has united his base, but is that base so angry it's turning off moderates and rallying Democrats?"
*"Earned media for McDonnell was so excellent until the thesis; their response on that was stupid and slow"
*McDonnell's "policy isn’t that sound but [it] exists"

Mixed towards Deeds campaign and/or Dem. Party efforts
*"At first Deeds' general election campaign was invisible, even in broader party effort and fund raising---- everything at the beginning was about a 1.5 or 2, IMHO. It has steadily improved, partly thanks to outside factors like the WaPo article on McDonnell's thesis."
*"I think [Deeds'] ads are crappy, not very memorable, I think they've been scattered...but I think the negative ads on the thesis have been effective"
*"[The Deeds campaign] has done a good job getting coverage but they have not effectively generated a message through their earned"
*"[Earned media for Deeds] would be a 9 if they didn’t leave him hanging in the post debate scrum where he got tripped up on taxes"
*[Paid media for Deeds] would be a 9 if they had a good intro ad for him"

Positive towards Deeds campaign, negative towards McDonnell campaign
*"It seems like the visibility operation for Deeds is much better, though I think a lot of that is generated by the thesis"

Positive towards McDonnell campaign, negative towards Deeds campaign
*"If there's any one category with a crystal-clear edge, it's in McDonnell being able to rally the base while Deeds has actively refused to grab the reins of Obama's momentum."
*"Deeds has no strategy" and "I don't think McDonnell has had a clear concise strategy...but he has executed many diverse tactics very well"
*"Deeds has Obama/Kaine in his camp and I don't see him using them or other national or state figures as effectively as Bob"

Creigh & Bob: The Flawed Couple?

Over at, Nate Silver weighs in on the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia:
My general thoughts: these races have taken on something of a life of their own because of what are frankly a pretty flawed set of candidates. So I don't know how reliable of a barometer they'll really be as we look toward 2010. If Bob McDonnell loses the governor's race because of some uncouth things he said in a thesis in law school, when he might have won if he'd written something about -- I don't know -- the Holy Roman Empire instead, does that suddenly imply that the Democrats are in a much stronger position for 2010? I don't think so.
I'd agree with Nate that any claims the Deeds-McDonnell race is a bellweather are ridiculous. How can you say "as Deeds goes so goes Obama" when Deeds is explicitly avoiding discussion of national issues?

As for Deeds and McDonnell as candidates? On the one hand, I don't think Virginia Democrats or Republicans would claim their candidate is flawless. But on the other hand, how many candidates are perfect?

Your thoughts?

Peggy Frank's First TV Ad: "My Family"

From the Peggy Frank for Delegate campaign in the 7th House of Delegates district (New River Valley). Go Peggy!

Whipple Clip Dozen: Tuesday Morning

Thanks to Tom Whipple for these.


Joel Rubin Interviews Creigh Deeds, Bob McDonnell

Monday, September 28, 2009

As part of its Virginia Votes 2009 series, Joel Rubin of Cox1Hampton Roads has been interviewing candidates for statewide office.

To view Rubin's interview with Creigh Deeds, click here (part A) and here (part B).

To watch Rubin's interview with Bob McDonnell, click here (part A) and here (part B).

PPP: Deeds "closing in on McDonnell"

Interesting tea leaves from PPP polling, but the bottom line is this:
...Deeds is closing in on McDonnell and a big reason for that is more and more Obama voters say they're planning to come out to the polls. The thesis story might not change a lot of votes from people who were already going to turn out but if it gets Democrats motivated to cast a ballot who wouldn't have otherwise it will have a significant impact on the race.

The results of this poll will be out tomorrow morning.
UPDATE: Jeff Schapiro confirms that Deeds will be endorsed by Virginia's first GOP governor (1970-1974), Linwood Holton, tomorrow morning in Arlington.

New TV Ad: Mark Warner for Creigh Deeds

This is the ad I've been waiting to see for a long time: Mark Warner speaking straight to the camera and asking Virginians to vote for Creigh Deeds. Cool.

P.S. I'm hearing that Linwood Holton will be at the Deeds event in Arlington tomorrow, so I presume that's the big endorsement. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Mark Warner there as well. At least, that would explain why they're holding this event so close to DC, as it will allow Warner - and possibly Kaine and Webb - to attend as well.

Stratfor: Obama's Three Choices on Iran

The following analysis on the Iran situation (and the Obama administration's strategic choices) is courtesy of Stratfor (subscription required, but "this report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution"). I thought it was interesting, so I'm passing along an excerpt.
First, he can impose crippling sanctions against Iran. But that is possible only if the Russians cooperate. Moscow has the rolling stock and reserves to supply all of Iran’s fuel needs if it so chooses, and Beijing can also remedy any Iranian fuel shortages. Both Russia and China have said they don’t want sanctions; without them on board, sanctions are meaningless.

Second, Obama can take military action against Iran, something easier politically and diplomatically for the United States to do itself rather than rely on Israel. By itself, Israel cannot achieve air superiority, suppress air defenses, attack the necessary number of sites and attempt to neutralize Iranian mine-laying and anti-ship capability all along the Persian Gulf. Moreover, if Israel struck on its own and Iran responded by mining the Strait of Hormuz, the United States would be drawn into at least a naval war with Iran — and probably would have to complete the Israeli airstrikes, too.

And third, Obama could choose to do nothing (or engage in sanctions that would be the equivalent of doing nothing). Washington could see future Iranian nuclear weapons as an acceptable risk. But the Israelis don’t, meaning they would likely trigger the second scenario. It is possible that the United States could try to compel Israel not to strike — though it’s not clear whether Israel would comply — something that would leave Obama publicly accepting Iran’s nuclear program.

And this, of course, would jeopardize Obama’s credibility. It is possible for the French or Germans to waffle on this issue; no one is looking to them for leadership. But for Obama simply to acquiesce to Iranian nuclear weapons, especially at this point, would have significant diplomatic and domestic political ramifications. Simply put, Obama would look weak — and that, of course, is why the Iranians announced the second nuclear site. They read Obama as weak, and they want to demonstrate their own resolve. That way, if the Russians were thinking of cooperating with the United States on sanctions, Moscow would be seen as backing the weak player against the strong one. The third option, doing nothing, therefore actually represents a significant action.


...If Obama accepts Iranian nukes without serious sanctions or military actions, the American position in the Islamic world will decline dramatically. The Arab states in the region rely on the United States to protect them from Iran, so U.S. acquiescence in the face of Iranian nuclear weapons would reshape U.S. relations in the region far more than a hundred Cairo speeches.
This is not sounding good to me, as I'm not optimistic we're really going to get Russia to cooperate. If not, then we're faced with two bad choices: 1) a nuclear Iran, severe damage to nuclear non-proliferation efforts, a possible nuclear arms race in the Middle East and/or Iran-Israel war (which would likely suck other countries in); or 2) war with Iran, consisting mainly of airstrikes against Iranian nuclear facilities (at least the ones we know about), plus most likely a broadening of the conflict as Iran mines the Strait of Hormuz, activates Hezbollah in Lebanon, etc. The latter option, of course, could also lead to a major spike in world oil prices, which in turn could plunge us back into a deep recession just as we claw our way out of the last one. Ummmm....can we PLEASE start a crash effort to getting off of oil now?!?

Deeds to Receive "Major Campaign Endorsement"

Well, let's see...Virginia's current statewide elected officials are: Jim Webb, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, and Bill Bolling. I doubt it's Bolling (ha), and I believe the other three already have endorsed Creigh Deeds. Which leaves...??? Got me.

UPDATE: If it's a former statewide elected official, teacherken suggests it could be Tim Kaine's father in law, former Gov. Linwood Holton. Another possibility would be John Warner, but I strongly doubt that. My money's on Linwood Holton.

UPDATE #2: I was just thinking, it could be Chuck Robb...

Even Fox News Thinks Bob McDonnell Has a "Pretty Radical Agenda"

Chris Wallace: "You criticize tax credits for child care. And you even opposed a Supreme Court ruling legalizing birth control for married couples. Mr. McDonnell, isn’t that a pretty radical agenda?"

Bob McDonnell: Dar, duh, dar, duh, dar...uh, f@$#! (whoops, can I say that on the air?).

Snarky blogger: You know you're a right-wing nutjob when even Fox News ("unfair and unbalanced!") says that you have a "pretty radical agenda." Ouch, the truth hurts!

Exelon Latest Energy Company to Leave Chamber of Commerce. Hello, Dominion?

This past Friday it was New Mexico utility PNM Resources announcing that it would "leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of the business group's position on climate change." Today, it's the nation's largest utility - Exelon.
Today, Exelon CEO John Rowe announced that his company — the largest electric utility company in the United States — would not renew its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of its opposition to global warming action. In his keynote address to the annual conference of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the nation’s largest association of energy efficiency experts, Rowe said that the Chamber’s multi-million-dollar campaign against clean energy legislation is incompatible with Exelon’s commitment to climate change leadership...


Confirming Exelon’s decision to ThinkProgress, a spokesperson explained that “Exelon is a big supporter of climate legislation.” Exelon is the third energy company to sever ties with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the past week, joining Pacific Gas & Electric and PNM Resources.
As the science becomes more and more dire on what we're doing to our planet's environment through profligate combustion of fossil fuels, and as the potential economic boon from clean energy becomes more and more apparent, rational energy companies are getting on board with the need to put a price and/or cap on carbon emissions. As Exelon CEO Rowe said today, "The carbon-based free lunch is over" and "Putting a price on carbon is essential, because it will force us to do the cheapest things, like energy efficiency, first." Thank you, Exelon, for getting with the rest of us in the "reality-based universe."

Closer to home, unfortunately, we have one of the worst, greediest, most irresponsible companies in the world - Dominion Virginia Power. Unfortunately, the folks at Dominion are also extremely adept at buying off our legislators and spending the money they collect from our utility bills to spew their corporate propaganda here, there and everywhere (sort of like they spew their pollution). When are we going to have candidates for higher office in Virginia who say "enough is enough" to Dominion? So far, the best I'm seeing is Creigh Deeds' call for a mandatory renewable portfolio standard. Bob McDonnell, unsurprisingly, is completely worthless on environmental and energy issues ("drill baby drill" - yeah!), which makes it utterly unsurprising that he received the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce's endorsement the other day. And yes, Dominion Power is on the Chamber's Board of Directors (as is ExxonMobil, which is even worse than Dominion if at all possible). 'Nuff said.

Ken Burns and Rachel Maddow Discuss the "Common Wealth" of Our National Parks

Ken Burns: But building human happiness, you know, that's what governments are supposed to do. And we're now in an argument that governments are essentially bad. There was a time when the government stepped in and made things better in every single way, that we could bring jobs and money and a sense of cohesion. And that's what the parks...they thrived during the Depression, not just because they got the first shovel-ready stimulus dollars of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, but because they brought Americans together. And I think they still can do that, the idea is still durable, it's still flexible, it's still changing and evolving, just like "all men are created equal" meant "all white men are property free of debt". We started off by saving natural scenery and now we save a lot more - Manzanar, Shanksville, all these places that reflect a complicated past, a past that in the screaming that goes on on talk radio we ignore today, but it's in our national parks, they're the repositories of us, not just the grand geological story.


Rachel Maddow: On the idea of building human happiness, one of things that I think is interesting about the reception of this documentary of yours compared to the other ones is that people are reading an ideological text into this and it's because we've very much romanticized, we've sort of have come up with this great fable that we tell ourselves about how we can pursue human happiness and our government should not restrict us from that. But the other part of the American Dream is that our government believes that policy can advance human happiness while protecting freedom.

Burns: It always has! Exactly. The Homestead Act. The Land Grant College Act. These National Parks. This was an activist government going in and not intruding on individual rights but expanding them. And that's what the parks tell us about. This is a bottom-up story of regular people who fell in love with a place from every conceivable background. It's also the story of the richest of us not hoarding the money in some greedy, selfish way, you know, like Ayn Rand. This is people saying, my god we own beautiful scenery shouldn't everyone have access to it? That's Theodore Roosevelt, that's the naturalist Charles Shelton...these are people who are the elite, the richest people in the nation who sort of counterintuitively say let's share it with everybody.

I mean, this is a great story that's not only bottom up but top down and it meets in the middle in the most spectacular landscapes on earth which we all co-own. But think about what would happen if there were no national parks: the Grand Canyon would be lined with mansions and we'd never see that view; the Everglades would have long since been drained and be filled with tract housing and all sorts of ugly development; Yosemite, one of the most beautiful valleys on earth, would be a gated community; Yellowstone would become 'Geyser World' or something like that. We're talking about the difference between Pottersville and Bedford Falls...but yet so much of the arguments today are, wait a second, that selfishness is very much what America's about. You know what, it's not what we're about, we're about sharing these things in common, it's about "common wealth" which is a wonderful idea and not socialism. Because if it's socialism, then the people you call at 3 am when your house is on fire, that's socialism. And the people who are in Afghanistan risking their lives, that's socialism. And the people picking up your trash, that's socialism too.

Rachel Maddow: And we're so afraid of that word that we can't talk constructively about government without butting up against it at this point. We will get over that, we're just having a national tantrum I believe...
For more on government's greatest achievements - and there are many - see here and here. Aside from the national parks, a short list includes expanding the right to vote, rebuilding Europe after World War II (not to mention winning World War II!), promoting financial security in retirement, increasing Americans' access to health care, ensuring safe food and water, getting rid of sweatshops and child labor and making workplaces safer, reducing/conquering disease, sending people (and amazing spacecraft, telescopes, etc.) into space, bringing electricity to rural America (e.g., the TVA), on and on and on. Yet the Republicans tell us that government is bad and the "free market" (whatever that is exactly; obviously, all markets operate in a broader context of law, regulation, social stability - or lack thereof - etc.) is bad. Even worse, Republicans set about proving that government is bad at every turn. Why we ever let them do that is beyond me, but we need to stop letting them (or enabling them by listening to their mindless anti-government rhetoric), at least as long as the formerly "Grand" Old Party remains a party that Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt would be ashamed of if they could see it today.

Washington Post Prints Op-Ed from Plagiarist, Liar

How, you ask, can the Washington Post keep hitting new lows all the time? Well, today gives us an example of how they can do it. Here's The American Prospect's Dean Baker rightly ridiculing the Post and its guest op-ed contributor, the "Skeptical Environmentalist" Bjorn Lomborg.
... Lomborg warns readers not only about the cost of curtailing global warming, relying on an outlier among economists in his estimates of the cost of curtailing emissions and the benefits from doing so, he also warns that the world may suffer from ............ protectionism!

Lomborg tells readers that the world stands to lose $50 trillion (is that in one year, over a decade, a century, a millennium? This is the Post, who cares?) from protectionism related to global warming. The point is that not only will curtailing warming pose its direct costs, but it will also pose additional costs through protectionism.

Apart from the loon tune numbers this is the granddaddy of all double-counting
For more on Lomborg, who may be "skeptical" but is certainly no "environmentalist," see here:
After the publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist, Lomborg was accused of scientific dishonesty. Several environmental scientists brought a total of three complaints against Lomborg to the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD), a body under Denmark's Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. The charges claimed that The Skeptical Environmentalist contained deliberately misleading data and flawed conclusions. Due to the similarity of the complaints, the DCSD decided to proceed on the three cases under one investigation.

DCSD investigation
On January 6, 2003 the DCSD reached a decision on the complaints. The ruling was a mixed message, deciding the book to be scientifically dishonest, but Lomborg himself not guilty because of lack of expertise in the fields in question.


The DCSD cited The Skeptical Environmentalist for:
Fabrication of data;
Selective discarding of unwanted results (selective citation);
Deliberately misleading use of statistical methods;
Distorted interpretation of conclusions;
Deliberate misinterpretation of others' results.
That's right, Lomborg's book was declared "scientifically dishonest" but he was declared "not guilty" by reason of his own ignorance and stupidity. So, why would anyone in their right mind listen to this clown (and yes, he is nothing more than a clown - a bad one at that)? More to the point, why would the supposedly "liberal" (yeah, I know, hahahahahahahahahaha) Washington Post print Lomborg's garbage (both in terms of the science and even more on the economics; his writings undoubtedly would have received an "F" in my graduate-level economics classes)? Sure, I'm all for having a diversity of views on the Washington Post editorial page, but can't they find anyone even semi-intelligent to write about arguably the single most important issue facing mankind today? Guess not; back to the business of selling (fewer and fewer and fewer) newspapers! Heh.

UPDATE: In stark contrast to the plagiarist/liar in the Washington Post, I strongly recommend Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman's New York Times column, "Cassandras of Climate." Needless to say, given that Krugman has a brain and integrity, he comes to a 180-degree different conclusion than Lomborg, namely: "Even as climate modelers have been reaching consensus on the view that the threat is worse than we realized, economic modelers have been reaching consensus on the view that the costs of emission control are lower than many feared." Krugman gets an "A+"; Lomborg gets an "F".

From the "Too Fun Not to Mention" File

Asked about his approaching First Annual Eastern Shore gathering, state Senator Ralph Northam (D-7th) would cock his head, a gleam in his eye, and tell you first, in an almost whispered, reverent tone, "You know Black Elvis will be there!" If more distinctive than Eastern Shore fare and camaraderie, this had to be a treat.

All that attended, and there were many from all over his geographically challenged district, were treated to the group's stylings in addition to the steamed clams, oysters, fried chicken, barbeque, fixens, and beverages. The five hour event was attended by a long list of electeds of various political persuasions who came to the Northam family homestead a couple of miles from central Onancock and Mallard's at the Wharf, where Northam kicked off his successful first run for the Virginia Senate flanked by local Delegate Lynnwood Lewis (D-100th-Eastern Shore/Norfolk) a little over two years ago. Last Friday, they came from Mathews County, Newport News, Norfolk, and regions beyond the district. Among them was state Senator John Miller (D-1st) and many others.

Black Elvis, nee Clarence Giddens, was born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He grew up singing gospel music in a little country church that his mother loved. The group is eclectic and reflects his musical influences including James Brown, Roy C., and Elvis Presley. He has appeared on an a number of shows including "The Arsenio Hall Show", "Inside Edition", "Hard Copy", "Entertainment Tonight", "Geraldo Show", and "Howard Stern". He has sung with many other famous artists including Al Greene, Solomon Burke, and Jimmy Buffett. You should remember him from the movie "Honeymoon in Vegas," starring, James Caan, Nicholas Cage, and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Can't wait until next year to continue this tradition.

Cross posted at VBDems

Yom Kippur: 1973

I was 11 years old during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War known as the "Yom Kippur War" or the "Ramadan War." I remember hearing the news on the radio as my family drove to Yom Kippur services that morning. I remember the feeling at Yom Kippur services - panic, a feeling that Israel was going to be destroyed, that another Holocaust was about to happen. I also remember a sermon by the rabbi that had people extremely emotional, crying, etc.

In the end, the Yom Kippur war led to large casualties on both sides, initial Arab military gains followed by a fierce Israeli counterattack that took them across the Suez Canal and on the outskirts of Damascus, a U.S. emergency airlift of military resupplies to Israel, a tense nuclear standoff with the Soviet Union which led President Nixon to lower the U.S. "DEFCON" status from 4 to 3, "shuttle diplomacy" by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and ultimately Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Jerusalem (on November 19, 1977), the Camp David accords (1978) and an Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty (1979). Now, 26 Yom Kippurs later, that peace treaty still holds, but it's a "cold peace" rather than a "warm" one, and Israel remains in a state of war with the other 1973 combatant nation, Syria. But there hasn't been a major Arab-Israeli war between nation states since 1973. Let's hope it stays that way for a long time to come.

Whipple Clip Dozen: Monday Morning

Thanks to Tom Whipple for the Monday "clips."


Highest Paid* City Council Member in America

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Arriving at homes in the 21st District of the Virginia House of Delegates is this mailer, the result of a nifty bit of research collected by the DPVA**. A follow up will provide more specifics. It is what it is. The "his children were ill" excuse wilts under closer scrutiny.

click either to embiggen

The hotly contested races in Hampton Roads are tight. But the Republicans took their candidates' records for granted when they settled on them and assumed a waltz into office based upon factors not local. Apparently this is only an initial shot across the bow.
*Based upon compensation divided by number of full meetings attended. Graft and other compensation obtained illegally by other council members not considered.
**AWOL during most of this campaign season but finally showing life
Cross posted at VBDems

Jim Webb Talks Iran, Afghanistan Policy on Meet the Press

The transcript of Jim Webb on Meet the Press this morning is now available. Here are a couple of highlights.

1. On Iran's nuclear program and what to do about it, Webb said:
I think what, what we have right now is a way--a process in place where we can really start to explore with the Iranians what their intentions are. This is the, the value of opening up the dialogue in, in the way we're going to see in, in the coming week. And I, I have two very important concerns right now with respect to the Iranian situation and also to others. The first is we're going to, we're going to face this situation with other countries in the terms of nuclear power proliferation around the world, where we're going to be seeing these sorts of challenges. And the other is it's very important now to get the international community writ large involved in tightening the, the way that we talk to countries like Iran about the situation. And China is key. We've seen European nations step forward here. You know, this was--we say this was United States and its allies, but it was basically the United States, the UK and France, with Germany coming in later. We had a good, strong statement from Russia for the first time, with the, the hint that they might agree with sanctions. But China, as always, has been neutral. And China's become Iran's greatest trading partner. They have been giving Iran approximately 30 percent of the gasoline that it's been receiving right now through shell companies. And let's not forget that China enabled Pakistan to become a nuclear power.
2. On Afghanistan, Webb said:
I think that the president is taking the right approach here by, by examining carefully where to go forward. And you're seeing that from all his top advisers as well. Because the real question for us right now is, as a country, are we going to formally change from a counterterrorism policy to a counterinsurgency policy? And if you're moving toward a counterinsurgency policy, you have to have a couple of things. One is you have to be able to move the people that you're trying to win over toward a valid system. And, and Afghanistan, it is questionable whether there is a valid national government. And secondly, you have to be able to do so in a way that you have a clear end point for the, the involvement of your own military.

And here's the situation we're in. We're talking about increasing the United States' military presence; you may reach a tipping point where they become viewed in historical terms as an occupying force. At the same time, we're saying we want to grow the Afghan national army and police force to 400,000 people. Now, Afghanistan has never in its history had a valid national army larger than about 90,000, and that was only for a brief period right before the Soviet invasion. So can they grow their military into--and, and their police force into a 400,000-force with a viable government? And before we jump forward with a, a total formal change in policy, we need to be examining what is achievable.
I'll have video as soon as it's available. Meanwhile, you can read the transcript here.

Bob McDonnell on Fox News Sunday: Dodge, Distort, Evade

I just finished watching Bob McDonnell being interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. Here's a brief synopsis.

1. McDonnell avoided/dodged pretty much every question, going to standard (and utterly discredited) GOP talking points instead. Why can't Bob McDonnell give a straight answer on anything?

2. Specifically, McDonnell couldn't reconcile his long history of votes and actions in support of the extreme social agenda laid out in his thesis with his claim to have "changed" and to be a "moderate" focused on the economy. Does Bob McDonnell even know who Bob McDonnell is at this point?

3. McDonnell couldn't explain for the life of him how his transportation "plan" (which has been ripped by editorial boards across Virginia) will do anything to solve Virginia's dire transportation problems, including an estimated $100 billion in revenue needs for transportation over the next 20 years. He probably couldn't explain it because his "plan" is nothing other than smoke, mirrors, purple unicorns and other fantasies.

4. McDonnell couldn't explain how it's possible to take billions of dollars from the general fund to fund transportation without harming education, public safety or other social services. Perhaps that's because there is no way to do that.

5. Chris Wallace actually asked some tough questions, but also had to get in the dig several times about Deeds (supposedly) refusing to appear on his show. My question is why any Democrat in his or her right mind would ever want to go on Fox "Unfair and Unbalanced" News?

Whipple Clip Dozen: Sunday Morning

Thanks to Del. Bob Brink (D-48) for letting us know what's going on in Virginia this late-September Sunday morning.


Senator Webb, Some Sage Advice Please

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Our essential objective in Afghanistan is achieved (though not our responsibility to her people). The strategy resulting in our continued presence as an occupying force was ever fatally flawed and it is time to reassess. Our security is being compromised. We are not pursuing al Qaeda effectively and never have.

The recent report from General McChrystal is accurate on its face and in context but it is a narrow tactical vision that is inappropriately interpreted as strategy. It doesn’t rise to that level by necessity. The bigger picture is not his concern. He is there to win Afghanistan. Grand strategy is the realm of his masters. And they have failed him if he has been left to believe that Afghanistan is the greatest challenge to our nation’s security or the most immediate threat. They have themselves failed if they suffer the same vision that McCrystal enjoys. But there is no evidence that the military advice provided by Admiral Mullin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, served well either this or the previous President or that he is qualified in any area beyond the administration of forces; and even that is doubtful.

McChrystal is clearly an adept student of the small wars this nation fought and won at the beginning of the last century, but he is no von Clausewitz. He has written a thorough synopsis of the lessons from that period. And his proposals might work if Afghanistan were worth the national treasure and blood it would require for success. But it isn’t. Think about this: if we manage to hold on to establish the 400,000 man Afghan force necessary to maintain stability when we depart, the cost to maintain that force will be three times the current Afghan GDP. Let’s see…who will be the bill payer? And, if we pay it, who will keep it out of Swiss bank accounts. The reality is that it doesn’t matter if the rest of the world stands down while we take care of business there. When we leave, our imposed vision for another culture is not sustainable (unless we stay a thousand years). Oh, and meanwhile, where do you think al Qaeda will have been?

We cannot occupy every dark place where our enemies hide. Right now we can’t even locate them because our strategy focuses on a place rather than on them. Senator Webb, initiate a dialogue Sunday morning, please.

Cross posted at VBDems

Crazy Cooch One-on-One With Cathy Lewis

Yesterday, Sen. Ken Cucinnelli (aka "Cooch") was interviewed for nearly 1/2 hour by Cathy Lewis of WHRO-TV in Norfolk. I actually listened to the entire thing, not a particularly fun experience (ha - kinda kidding), but you benefit by getting a synopsis and not having to listen to it yourself (unless you really want to, of course).

*At around 3:00, Cooch talks about his view of the Attorney General's office and notes that the AG's office is "participating in every major decision of state government." Given how extreme Cooch is, that's a frightening thought.
*At around 3:50, Cooch won't answer Cathy Lewis' question about what specific regulations he would eliminate, since he says he wants to get rid of regulations. Again, at around 4:50, Cooch dodges Lewis' followup question on specifically which regulations he would eliminate. Again, that's kind of scary considering Cooch's extreme views on slashing government. For instance, would Cooch support getting rid of important environmental or worker safety regulations, just to take two? In this interview, he won't say, but based on his far-right-wing political philosophy, we can only imagine...
*At 5:30, he talks about what issues he cares passionately about. Cooch mentions "mental health issues," "delinquency prevention," "juvenile justice issues," and "trying to suppress gangs."
*At 7:40, in response to a claim by Steve Shannon that he was "tougher on the repeat offender than you are" (with regard to drunk driving), Cooch says that Shannon "makes these things up as he goes along" and that there's "no basis for that kind of a claim." For his part, Shannon says that Cuccinelli " has voted against legislation to crack down on drunk drivers including a 2004 bill that have required law enforcement to seize cars owned by felon drunk drivers (HB 1130, 3/9/04)."
*At around 8:20, Cooch talks about the Melendez-Diaz decision (on DNA evidence in court) and its impact on drunk driving cases. Cooch says he called for a special session of the General Assembly to address the decision, while "my opponent called that a political stunt." Cooch also says he played a "key role in crafting the legislation to try and attempt to solve that problem and to stop drunk drivers from walking right out of court." For more on that, please click here. In reality, Cuccinelli called for a special session in order to score political points without actually proposing any real solution while Shannon worked carefully behind the scenes to solve the problem without posing for the cameras and acting erratically.
*At around 10:15, the discussion turns to Phil Hamilton and why Cooch hasn't called for him to resign. Cooch says he trusts the voters of Virginia and that, as Attorney General, he'll make "clean, clear honest objective decision[s]" when cases come before him. He claims Steve Shannon has "already taken himself out of the position where he can do that." Of course, Cooch ignores the fact that his own ticketmates, Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling, have also called for Hamilton to step down. He also ignores the fact that Steve Shannon and he are not running for a judgeship where they might need to recuse themselves, and also that Virginians deserve to know which candidate for AG would more forcefully prosecute public corruption, as in the case of Phil Hamilton
*At about 14:00, Cooch is asked about consumer issues. Cooch says he wants to "bring all consumer protection under the auspices of the Attorney General." Cooch says he is particularly concerned about mortgages/loans that people "can't possibly afford."
*At around 17:15, Cooch is asked about immigration. He says that Prince William has probably been "the most aggressive county in Virginia in addressing illegal immigration, particularly in the form of 'criminal illegals.'" He claims that Prince William County saved $6 million in the school system "in the first year" because "a bunch of folks who didn't want to live with the threat of being caught for illegal immigration if they committed a crime moved out of Prince William County." He says he thinks that's "very legitimate," "very appropriate" and he supports it. He also brags about the legislation he's introduced in the Senate to address illegal immigration ("more than any other state senator"). In short, Cuccinelli favors an approach which makes the climate intolerable for undocumented immigrants and their families so they move out of Virginia, and will work to make it that way as Attorney General.
*At about 20:45, Cooch is asked about particular "social issues" that are important to him. He mentions "partial birth abortion" and says he would defend Virginia's ban on that procedure when it comes to the Supreme Court. Says he was one of the "veto breaking votes to get the partial birth abortion ban." Also points to the "marriage amendment," says we're "sure to see a lawsuit" on it in coming years. Says Steve Shannon was against the marriage amendment, he was for it and will "defend it vigorously, unlike my opponent." Cooch also points to "property rights" and says he intends to provide leadership in that area. That sounds innocuous, until you consider what even conservative blogs like Too Conservative say about Cooch, that he is "paranoid" and a "black helicopter conspiracy theorist" who "doesn’t want to get his son a Social Security number because 'it is being used to track you.'" Ee gads.

For Steve Shannon's interview with WHRO-TV, please click here.

Delegate Purkey Reveals the Solution to Pollution

Delegate Bob Purkey (R-82nd-Virginia Beach) successfully avoids issues by wearing down questioners with irrelevant diatribe or delivering so much absolute babble that there is no time or will for redirect. This is an art some confuse with loss of faculty when it is really a finely honed rhetorical skill.

Delegate Purkey’s obfuscation:

This was his response at a recent candidates forum hosted by Lynnhaven River NOW in Virginia Beach to the following question:
My question is regarding water quality. Virginia recently released its updated Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Waters Cleanup Plan and in that report it was noted that Virginia has made significant progress reducing nutrient pollution, nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from point sources, principally wastewater treatment plants, however the report also noted that much more must be done to address non-point sources of nutrient pollution particularly storm water run-off from development activities if we are to restore the Lynnhaven River and the Chesapeake Bay. So my question is: What priority action or actions do you believe the House of Delegate should take to reduce non-point sources of nitrogen and phosphorus in the Bay?
Trust that he is fully aware of the source of the nitrogen and phosphorous in the run-off. Who this unnamed Democratic investigative collaborator aka opponent was remains a mystery. Purkey is also fully aware that the facts are not something his developer “friends” favor being discussed. But this is exactly how he handles the heat when he becomes uncomfortable with the truth but isn’t willing to lie. At the least, give him that. Watch for a re-run at his next public appearance, indeed.

Cross posted at VBDems

Washington Post: McDonnell's Transportation Plan "crumbles under close scrutiny"

For anyone who thinks that Bob McDonnell actually has a plan for transportation, or that whatever he says he'll do on transportation makes any sense whatsoever, this editorial is a must read. Here are the key points.

1. The "plan" is no "plan" at all, as it "relies on wildly optimistic assumptions, brazen exaggerations, gauzy projections and far-off scenarios: budget surpluses and revenue growth that may not materialize; interstate tolls that the federal government may not approve; royalties from offshore oil and gas wells that may not be drilled; borrowing that the state may not be able to afford anytime soon." So much for that!

2. The $500 million McDonnell promises he'd raise from selling off Virginia's liquor stores is an "invented" number or, "worse, an intentional distortion." In fact, the $500 million figure comes from a report issues 7 years ago that "said Virginia might save $500 million by streamlining state government and made 16 recommendations for how to go about it." Just 1 of those 16 recommendations had to do with privatizing liquor stores, and there certainly was no implication that doing that alone would raise anywhere near $500 million. As the Post points out, "The last states to sell off their liquor monopolies -- Iowa, West Virginia and Ohio -- didn't get anything close to that." Again, Bob McDonnell is either inventing this stuff or intentionally distorting (aka, "lying").

3. Even worse, privatizing the liquor stores would deprive Virginia of $103 million in annual revenues, money that goes to the general fund to "support programs in mental health, substance abuse and other human services." So, the Post concludes, "McDonnell is proposing to cut $103 million" from "programs in mental health, substance abuse and other human services." Greeeeaaaat.

4. The Post concludes that the McDonnell transportation "plan" - using the word very loosely - "crumbles under close scrutiny." For anyone out there thinking that McDonnell has a plan, let alone a realistic one, for fixing Virginia's transportation infrastructure, you might want to go to one of those liquor stores and buy yourself a bottle of something good, because you're going to need it - badly - if McDonnell gets elected! Heh.

Whipple Clip Dozen: Saturday Morning

Thanks to Del. Bob Brink (D-48) for the Whipple Clips this cool, overcast Saturday September morning...


Documentary on Prince William County Immigration Issue Wins Award at Charlotte Film Festival

Congratulations to my friends Annabel Park and Eric Byler, whose film "9500 Liberty" just won the "Jury Prize at Charlotte Film Festival -- Indie Truth Award for Best Documentary." The film "reveals the startling vulnerability of a local government [in Prince William County], targeted by national anti-immigration networks using the Internet to frighten and intimidate lawmakers and citizens." According to Annabel Park:
Next stop, we will be premiering in DC on October 1st at the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival as the opening night film. You can buy tickets here for the screening and reception. This is our big hometown premiere screening with the "stars" from the film and a big after party so it is not to be missed if you are in the DC area.

This is the list of scheduled screenings including Prince William County, Honolulu, St. Louis, San Diego, Charlottesville, etc. We are adding more screenings including in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles in the coming weeks.

Thank you for supporting us throughout these months. Some of you have been with us for nearly two years. In fact, the second-year anniversary of the creation of the 9500 Liberty YouTube Channel will be celebrated on October 9th with the residents of Prince William County with a special community screening of the film at St. Paul's Church in Woodbridge.
I saw the film several months ago at a showing in Rosslyn with John Grisham hosting. I strongly recommend that you check it out!

Barack Obama on Meetings in Pittsburgh and New York

The full transcript is here.
In Pittsburgh, the world’s major economies agreed to continue our effort to spur global demand to put our people back to work. We committed ourselves to economic growth that is balanced and sustained— so that we avoid the booms and busts of the past. We reached an historic agreement to reform the global financial system—to promote responsibility and prevent abuse so that we never face a crisis like this again. And we reformed our international economic architecture, so that we can better coordinate our effort to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

We also established American leadership in the global pursuit of the clean energy of the 21st century. I am proud that the G-20 nations agreed to phase out $300 billion worth of fossil fuel subsidies. This will increase our energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, combat the threat of climate change, and help create the new jobs and industries of the future.

In New York, we advanced the cause of peace and security. I joined the first meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in nearly a year—a meeting that even nine months ago did not seem possible. And we resolved to move forward in the journey toward a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

We also took unprecedented steps to secure loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to seek a world without them. As the first U.S. president to ever chair a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, I was proud that the Council passed an historic and unanimous resolution embracing the comprehensive strategy I outlined this year in Prague.

Great Work Tom Perriello!

Friday, September 25, 2009

***begin snark*** But wait, I'm confused, the great economist Eric Cantor says the recovery act isn't making a difference. Ha. ***end snark***

Stolle Wrestles Drilling Reality and Gets Pinned

The Republican candidate challenging Delegate Joe Bouchard (VA-83rd) went to the Senator Tex Wagner (VA-7th) trough of energy and economic obfuscation once too often and ran smack into reality. The GOP is a party that decries the deficiency of public education all the while playing games with numbers and facts.

Having backed away from his earlier position that the Navy has no issue with drilling in the Virginia Capes, Stolle thought he had found a comfortable tact by leading with the Navy's cordiality and extending that to the illogical conclusion of an agreement to drill. In response to a question about offshore drilling this week at a forum sponsored by Lynnhaven River NOW, he wove a fanciful tale that implies Navy acquiescence, followed by exploration, discovery of a substantial hydrocarbon deposit, and delivery of sustainable jobs. However, schemes such as these do not survive the light of day well. And, purposefully avoiding the intellectual rigor of seeking the facts prior to developing conclusions, he assumed that Delegate Bouchard would stand by while he offered up a Wagnerian slight of hand.

Bottom line: get your facts or someone else will. Bouchard has always had them and he offered them up to you right there. As it turns out, before the forum, I mentioned to Dr. Stolle that Rear Admiral Metz, USN (Ret) recently complained that only a couple of Republican locals ever take him up on his offer to discuss Navy issues. Dr. Stolle was not on Metz's list of those who had. However, knowing that contacting the Department of the Navy would not yield an outcome appropriate to support his position, I doubt that Metz or the Navy (or NASA, for that matter) will be hearing from him. But here are a couple of other suggestions to buttress the argument: identify oil companies that list offshore leaseholds off Virginia at the top of their bidding/exploration priorities; get commitments from drilling companies (real ones with earnest money, not red herrings) to locate construction and maintenance facilities in Hampton Roads; find industries that will locate on the Virginia Eastern Shore to replace the economic engine equal to the loss of the NASA facility. Those would be facts appropriate to the argument. Numbers (all of them), not nuance. Facts (both sides), not fancy.

Cross posted at VBDems