New Left Media Goes to Glenn Beck's Rally

Monday, August 30, 2010

To quote New Left Media:
While the speaker list was diverse, the overwhelmingly white crowd expressed paranoid and conspiratorial fears of multiculturalism—that atheists or black liberation theologists or radical Muslims or "free-loading" Latinos were going to ruin our country. There was the constant suggestion that white Christians and their way of life are somehow under assault, and that the attendees of this rally were here to put an end to it and return the country to what it used to be.
Utter ignorance and insanity. The question is, how does the New Left Media interviewer (Chase Whiteside) manage to not completely lose his mind talking to these people? Impressive. UPDATE: It looks like New Left Media has the right wing hacks Tucker Carlson, former Dick Cheney staffer Neil Patel, and The Daily Caller worried. Good work, New Left Media, keep it up!

New Media Republicans Shovel the (Elephant) S*** in "Commie Country"

Friday, August 27, 2010

My god, how did I manage to actually watch this steaming pile of well...this. Heh. But seriously, if you want to hear the crystallized essence of Republican self-congratulatory (masturbatory?), delusional, "we-did-it-all-by-the-sweat-of-our-bootstraps-and-no-thanks-to-the-evil-government" rhetoric, you definitely want to watch as New Republican Media Strategies welcomes Bob McDonnell to their headquarters in Arlington, or what they like to refer to as "Communist Country." (By the way, I was there in 2008 a couple times for Democratic speakers - Jim Moran, Aneesh Chopra - but apparently they haven't had any progressives, liberals or Democrats speaking in a couple years now; what's up with that?) First, we get Bobbie Kilberg, President & CEO of the pro-Republican Northern Virginia Technology Council, and also a candidate for the 1993 Republican Lieutenant Governor nomination (she lost to total right-wingnut Mike Farris, who was in turn crushed by Democrat Don Beyer). Kilberg proceeds to push the bald-faced lie that Bob McDonnell "produced a $403 million surplus." Kilberg also pushes the myth that the success of Northern Virginia's economy is 100% the result of the private sector, specifically the technology industry. Of course, she glosses over the part about how the federal government accounts for almost all of that (as Alan Simpson might say, "sucking off the federal...uh, teet"). She takes a shot at the Obama administration for the budget deficit, which of course is a wild oversimplification as well. She praises the "exceptional pro-business climate" and "AAA bond rating" of Virginia, but manages to give no credit to Mark Warner or Tim Kaine, who were mostly responsible for pulling Virginia out of the ditch the last Republican governor, Jim Gilmore, left us in. In sum, what a bunch of, well...this crap. Next, we get New Republican Media Strategies CEO Pete Snyder. For those of you who aren't aware, Snyder is a big-time Republican (was senior political director for Frank Luntz, polled for Rudy Giuliani, "regularly appears as a conservative commentator and marketing expert on the Fox News Channel"), donor to Virginia Republicans, and "free market" (aka, corporate welfare, trading off political connections) proponent who I hear plans to run for Virginia Lieutenant Governor (or possibly state legislature) in 2013. Given all that, Snyder's speech doesn't disappoint, giving McDonnell credit for singlehandedly producing the (mythical) $400 million not-a-surplus. Following that howler, Snyder proceeds to give shoutouts to his "special people" - Secretary of Commerce, Delegate Dave Albo (R- Booze, Abuser Fees), Del. Barbara Comstock (R-Blinded by the Right), Del. Jim Lemunyon (R-Oakton), and believe it or not Fred "Jew Counter" Malek (also, what on earth are Del. Patrick Hope and Del. Mark Keam doing at this travesty?). Snyder then proceeds to gloss over the fact that the federal government was largely responsible for creating and nurturing the internet and communications infrastructure that makes Snyder's business possible. He even makes a lame, but apparently de rigeur, joke about the internet being created in "Al Gore's basement." Hahahahaha. Ha. Oh, and the whole reason why Snyder's business has expanded is because of (his) "hard work", as opposed to: a) the federal government creating and maintaining much of the technology and infrastructure he uses; b) clients like the warm-and-fuzzy "Clean Coal" crowd (note: I hear they moved their staff way to the right when they got that contract), not to mention the Jack Abramoff/Northern Marianas Islands slave labor/Roy Blunt/Tom DeLay connection). Ee gads. "Hard work" indeed. More like trading off of their ties to powerful, unscrupulous, Republican lawmakers. Finally, Bob McDonnell gives his usual spiel about "free enterpise" (translation: corporate welfare), pursuing your dreams (translation: trading off your connection to powerful, albeit corrupt, politicians), the "private sector" (translation: federal government investment and corporate welfare); etc., etc. Frankly, I zoned out through most of this, except perhaps for McDonnell's comment about "drinking Virginia champagne" - now that's something I can drink to! As for the rest, you'd have to be drunk to actually take this elephant you-know-what seriously.

Glenn Nye's New Ad Attacks Democrats, Misleads on "Wall Street Bailout" Vote

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Uh, just a few problems with this ad (higher-quality version here): 1) attacking fellow Democrats - including Mark Warner, who's doing a fundraiser for Nye this evening, I'd point out - for voting "aye" on the "Wall Street Bailout" and also "aye" on health care reform, is not cool; 2) claiming to have voted against the health care bill because it "cost too much," when in fact the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said it cut the deficit by $1.3 trillion over 20 years, is fundamentally dishonest; and 3) claiming to have voted against the "Wall Street Bailout," when that vote actually took place in October 2008, BEFORE Nye was elected, is really really not cool. As Virginia Young Democrat Kristin Smith writes:
Why is Glenn Nye saying he voted against the Wall Street Bailout in his new TV ad when he wasn't even in office yet? Also, why does he keep insinuating that he's an "independent voice"? Nye stop backing away from the Democratic party before I back away from you
In general, I'd say that attacking members of your own party - and undercutting those fellow party members' talking points - simply because you're desperately trying to save your own skin, is not acceptable. But that's exactly what Glenn Ney is doing here. It needs to stop, immediately. UPDATE: On Nye's supposed vote against the "Wall Street Bailout" (which, while unpopular, almost undoubtedly prevented a complete economic meltdown in the fall of 2008), perhaps he means this "symbolic" vote, which was "rendered...moot" by the Senate's defeat of "an identical resolution" (with Webb and Warner both voting "nay," by the way). So, technically Nye can say he "voted against the Wall Street Bailout," but only on a meaningless, symbolic vote long after the "bailout" was already signed into law by President Bush, and also after the U.S. Senate had already defeated an identical bill.

Washington Post Corporate Hacks Defend the Indefensible

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Anyone who doubted the Washington Post was nothing more than a bunch of corporate whores hacks, I refer you to this morning's editorial on for-profit "education". Pay careful attention to the second paragraph.
THE OBAMA administration is considering rules that could sharply limit the availability of for-profit colleges to American students. The government is right to fashion reasonable regulation to discourage fraud or misleading practices, but it would be wrong to impose rules that remove an option that is especially useful for poor and working students.Readers should know that we have a conflict of interest regarding this subject. The Washington Post Co., which owns the Post newspaper and, also owns Kaplan University and other for-profit schools of higher education that, according to company officials, could be harmed by the proposed regulations.
Right, kudos to the Post for doing what they should and disclosing this information, but why should we listen to one word they have to say on this subject? I mean, as the Post's own ombudsman points out this morning, Kaplan has an "outsize importance to the overall bottom line" of the Washington Post, accounting for "62 percent of The Post Co.'s total second-quarter revenues." But now, just because the Post discloses the information, we're supposed to give them a pass to defend the indefensible, namely the for-profit, ripoff-the-taxpayer, "education" industry? The short answer is "no." The longer answer is "hell no."  End of story.Now, if you want to learn something about what the Kaplan Times Washington Post is defending, check out Chris Cuomo's expose on the subject, featuring our old pal (and Jim Webb's 2006 Democratic primary opponent) Harris "Shiller" Miller (who the Post endorsed, by the way). Learn how these companies are nothing more than "marketing machines, masquerading as universities," how they rip off the taxpayer to the tune of billions of dollars per year, how they deceive prospective students, then saddle them with massive debt and worthless degrees, how they even recruit homeless people, etc., etc. After you've read all that, then perhaps you can put the Kaplan Times Post editorial in the proper context. In other words, the garbage can.
UPDATE: An attorney friend of mine points out that the Post should do what judges do in cases like this - recuse themselves. Just as it's not sufficient for the judge to say, "I have a conflict, now let's proceed with the case," it's not sufficient for the Post to say, "we have a conflict, now here's our editorial anyway." Lame.

Chris Cuomo Demolishes Harris Miller on For-Profit "Education" Industry

Thursday, August 19, 2010

UPDATE: For whatever reason, the ABC News video embed code doesn't work properly. Here's the direct link to the video. Enjoy!Last night, ABC Nightly News ran a story on the for-profit "education" industry, including how these people dupe prospective students into believing their "degree" will guarantee them a good job, rip off the taxpayer (to the tune of $24 billion in student loan and grant money in 2008-2009 alone), even recruit customers from homeless shelters. According to the intro to the ABC News report, "a government report of 15 for-profit schools says 4 of them encourage fraud, and that all 15 engage in deceptive practices."  It's truly heinous.
So, Chris Cuomo sits down with the for-profit "education" industry's lobby group head, Harris Miller -- once the "placeholder candidate" nearly foisted on us in 2006 by Democratic powers in Virginia, until the grassroots rose up and "drafted" Jim Webb -- to ask him some questions. The exchange in the last minute or so of the video is priceless. Check it out, after the "flip."
lowkell :: Chris Cuomo Demolishes Harris Miller on For-Profit "Education" Industry
Steve Eisman, Hedge Fund Manager: These companies are marketing machines, masquerading as universities.[...]
Chris Cuomo: ...the schools seem to recruit practically anyone, like Benson Rollins, who lives in a homeless shelter in Cleveland, Ohio...Lobbyist Harris Miller says, even though these schools serve an important role by providing higher education to students who would not ordinarily get a degree, he admits the recruiting practices at many for-profit schools need to be changed.
Harris Miller: We should not have a situation where that many bad occurrences are being visible.
Chris Cuomo: You got caught.
Harris Miller: No, there are always problems, there are problems in traditional schools too.
Chris Cuomo: 15 for 15 in the GAO report.
Harris Miller: That's right.
Chris Cuomo: You get the government money, why don't you give some back to these people who've been stuck after your improper solicitation.
Harris Miller: That's something we're gonna look at it.
Chris Cuomo: Look at what, you don't have anything on that. What do you have in place to pay the people who are carrying [Cuomo is cut off -- presumably, he meant to say, "massive student loan debt"]?
Harris Miller: Nothing.
The sad thing is, as painful as the interview is, Chris Cuomo's aggressiveness towards Harris "The Shiller" Miller is totally justified when you look at the for-profit "education" industry for which he lobbies (and makes beaucoup bucks doing so): a huge scam that rips off the taxpayer to the tune of billions of dollars per year, which deceives prospective students, and which saddles them with massive debt and worthless degrees. As Steve Eisman says, these "schools" are nothing "marketing machines, masquerading as universities." Call your Congressman and tell them the government should cut off these con artists and shut them down, ASAP!P.S. For more, see this diary on a Frontline story back in May of this year.

Budget "Surplus" Lie Grows Like Pinocchio's Nose

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

by Elaine in Roanoke

Brace yourselves, folks. Not only have the state's Republicans hypocritically refused to acknowledge the importance of federal stimulus money to saving vital state services, but Bob McDonnell has promised once more to enlarge on the lie that the state budget has a surplus, promising reporters, "I'll see you Thursday," the day I fully expect him to tout the "enlargement" of the so-called surplus to about $400 million. Well, let's look at that "surplus" the way a teacher of math might.The Virginia biennial budget, largely written by outgoing Gov. Kaine and changed by the General Assembly early this year to avoid adding any revenue, was "balanced" by cutting programs for the poor, the mentally ill, children in school, local law enforcement, college students, etc. You get the idea.
Thanks to the two stimulus bills regularly trashed by the GOP at the same time that Republicans are proudly cutting ribbons on local stimulus-funded projects and using the funds to restore some of the draconian cuts to education and public health, the worst effects of refusing to raise revenue have been avoided. Even with all those cuts and federal money, however, the state legislature couldn't balance the books. So, they resorted to accounting tricks.
By requiring merchants to turn in June sales tax receipts a month early, legislators effectively got 13 months of sales tax revenues by the end of the 12-month fiscal year. Still unbalanced, the budget then was put into phony balance by "borrowing" a $620 million payment the state was supposed to make to the Virginia Retirement System, instead giving VRS an IOU saying the money would be paid to the fund, plus interest, starting in 2013 and ending in 2023. So, that's the "Pinochio nose" in Virginia's "balanced" budget.
Here are the real accounting figures:

First, Virginia borrowed hundreds of millions of revenue dollars from the fiscal year we are now in. About 1,000 of the state's largest merchants were forced to pay an estimated June sales tax by June 15, rather than July 1. So, to get the real budget numbers, subtract approximately $227 million from that $400 million "surplus." $400m - 227m = $173m "surplus."If you're wondering what we will do with the $227 million deficit the present fiscal year budget starts with, worry not. We are going to pull the same sale tax accounting trick next year. (By the way, the budget just passed started with a left-over "surplus" of $423 million that reverted to the General Fund, but we'll just ignore that since it, too, was produced by cooking the books.)
Now, let's do the VRS arithmetic. Our $173 million "surplus" must now be reduced by $620 million. So, the budget, as of this moment, is NOT in surplus. Instead, we have a $447 million deficit (173m - 620m = -447m) going into the second half of the biennial budget. But, not to worry. Remember, we aren't going to start paying back that $620 million the state borrowed from VRS until 2013. So, that problem is one for the next governor to work out. Meanwhile, we all get to hear Bob McDonnell tell us how he produced a "budget surplus." Aren't we lucky?
You know, I think I'll just suggest that all Virginia workers ask their bosses to pay their next paycheck early so they will have more money in their pockets for those back-to-school sales. Plus, maybe they can convince Social Security not to take any of the tax money they owe that retirement fund this year if they promise to pay the money back with interest over a 10-year period, starting in 2013. What, you don't think that could ever happen? Just ask Bob McDonnell how he pulled it off. He even gets to claim credit for a "surplus."

"Sideshow Bob" Strikes Again, Pre-Files Bill to Save Us from Evil "Cap and Trade"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just in case you already didn't realize why we gave Del. Bob Marshall the nickname "Sideshow Bob," you really need to check out his latest lunacy.  Despite the (extremely unfortunate) fact that clean energy and climate legislation appears dead, deceased, going nowhere, etc. at the federal level anytime soon, "Sideshow Bob" is here to save us anyway!  That's right, thanks to Del. Marshall, "Virginia stands poised to stop [Democrats in Congress] at the borders with HB1397 which has already been introduced for the 2011 session of the Virginia General Assembly."So...just in case Democrats attempt to jam "cap and trade" legislation through a "lamb duck session" (seriously, that's what this person wrote - "lambduck!" - LOL) after the November elections, "Sideshow" Bob Marshall's House Bill No. 1397 will ensure that "No state agency shall assist any federal agency in the implementation of a federal global warming or climate change building code."  In addition, as if Ken Kook-inelli needs any further encouragement, "The Attorney General is authorized to initiate legal action against the federal government if there is any federal law, regulation, or policy that seeks to apply federal 'cap and trade' legislation to Virginia."
So, there you have it: even as we watch global warming ravage the planet right before our eyes, and even as monolithic Republican opposition (along with a few "coal-state" Democrats) in the U.S. Senate blocks any action to deal with it, "Sideshow" Bob Marshall is gearing up to save us from the scourge of this Reagan Administration, consrvative Republican, free market idea known as "cap and trade."
(begin snark) By the way, this is only the latest example of "Sideshow Bob"'s heroic fight against liberalism> Whether it's saving us from the evils of equality for GLBT citizens, of having affordable and high-quality health care, or of saving our planet from climate disaster, Bob Marshall is always there for us. And for that, we should all be thankful. (/end snark)

Joe Bouchard: Offshore Oil Drilling Poses "unacceptable risk to naval forces in Hampton Roads"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I just got off a conference call on the dangers of offshore oil drilling in Virginia and lessons learned from the Gulf of Mexico disaster. Speakers included Chesapeake Climate Action Network Executive Director Mike Tidwell, Virginia Sierra Club Assistant Director J.R. Tolbert, and retired Navy captain/former Delegate Joe Bouchard. I'll get to Tolbert's and Tidwell's comments in a minute, but first I want to highlight what Joe Bouchard had to say, because it was very strong.First, according to Bouchard, there's a long record of offshore oil and gas activities interfering with Defense Department training ranges.  The industry likes to claim that they have a "great working relationship with the military," but "you can't believe that for a minute." In fact, Bouchard says, "interference with training ranges is well documented," and claims to the contrary by the oil industry are "disingenuous if not outright untrue."
Second, Bouchard points out that two Navy bases on the Gulf coast were closed in the 2005 BRAC round, one of the reasons being the inadequacy of the training ranges there because of interference from offshore oil and gas drilling activities. According to Bouchard, "that should stand as a very clear warning to those of us here in Virginia." Bouchard adds that "DoD and the Navy have made it clear for years that they're opposed to drilling in the Virginia Capes operating area." The bottom line is that the Navy can't live with oil drilling.
lowkell :: Joe Bouchard: Offshore Oil Drilling Poses "unacceptable risk to naval forces in Hampton Roads"
Third, as if all that's not bad enough, Bouchard points out that oil spills definitely - and adversely - impact surface and underwater military training activities. This, in turn, has a direct, negative impact on operational and combat readiness of forces.In the Gulf of Mexico, Bouchard reminds us, the Deepwater Horizon disaster resulted in oil covering three of the four Navy training ranges - New Orleans, Pensacola, Panama City operation areas. As Bouchard notes, the Navy goes to great lengths to avoid oil spills, as ingesting oil into ship systems can ruin very expensive equipment.  Also, oil and 2,000-pound live ordnance "don't mix very well."
The bottom line, in Bouchard's view, is that an oil spill off Virginia's coast could cause "more damage than a terrorist attack on naval forces based in Hampton Roads." To emphasize, Bouchard repeated that offshore oil drilling poses an "unacceptable risk to Naval forces in Hampton Roads," and stressed that "NO decision on offshore oil drilling in Virginia should be made until full impact of oil spill on Navy is fully assessed."  
Strong words from former Navy Captain Joe Bouchard. Now, on to J.R. Tolbert's and Mike Tidwell's comments on the environmental and economic impacts of offshore oil drilling.
Tidwell: The Gulf oil disaster resulted in more than 200 million gallons of oil spilled, plus at least 1.8 million gallons of Corexit as well.  The spill was very economically painful for Gulf states, the , use of dispersants at this scale has never been done before, and the long-term consequences are impossible to know. However, we do know that there have been huge economic impacts on the Gulf that are going to go on for quite a while.  Remember that in the Exxon Valdez spill 21 years ago, the herring fishery didn't collapse for 3 years after the oil spill, and has never returned to commercially viable levels. So, the jury is still out on the long-term impacts of Gulf oil spill and there could still be more serious consequences.
Also, according to Tidwell, the combustion of oil is contributing to global climate disruption.  We have experienced so much extreme weather in this region, including a very powerful storm this morning in Northern Virginia.  No, we can't tie any one weather event to climate change, but all these events are compatible with global warming science. The combustion of oil contributes greatly to global warming, and also leads to ocean acidification.
The bottom line, in Tidwell's view, is that all the evidence argues for a continued, permanent ban on offshore oil drilling in Virginia.   
Tolbert: Over 300,000 jobs are at risk in the Gulf region due to the oil disaster. To put this in perspective, that's the number of people currently unemployed in Virginia. In addition, the oil spill has cost Gulf states $22.7 billion in tourism losses alone. Folks who depend on tourism industry are really feeling the pain. There have also been impacts here in Virginia, with the oyster industry having lost $11.6 million due to the Gulf spill.
Keep in mind that this is all from just one oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. We can't risk that off Virginia's coast. Virginia tourism generates $19.2 billion annually. The value of the Chesapeake Bay for economic, tourism, commercial is over $31.6 billion per year. This is an enormous amount that would be placed at risk.
Again, the bottom line is that we need a permanent ban on offshore oil drilling in Virginia.  We also need a new vision for offshore energy, focused on wind power.

Winners and Losers: 8/10/10 Primary Edition

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

There were some definite winners and losers coming out of yesterday's primaries in Connecticut, Colorado, and Georgia. Here are a few.Winners
1. Barack Obama: The President endorsed Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado over former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff. If Bennet had lost, you can bet that Fox and the rest of the conservative, corporate media would be playing it up as a sign of Obama's "weakness." With Bennet's win, I'm sure we'll see all the Obama bashers eating their hats? No? Gee, that's shocking! Heh.
2. The Colorado Tea Party: A huge winner last night, as their favorites Ken Buck and Don Maes (who believes "a popular Denver bike-share program is a 'very well-disguised' part of a plan by Denver mayor...John Hickenlooper for 'converting Denver into a United Nations community.'"), defeated party-picked pros, former lieutenant governor Jane Norton and former Congressman Scott McInnis.
3. Colorado Democrats: Sen. Bennet should now have a fairly clear, {albeit not} easy path to reelection, having gotten the opponent he was dreaming of facing. Among other things, Buck believes that rape and incest do not justify abortion, that the "greatest threat to the United States" is Barack Obama (e.g., not Al Qaeda), who believes in eliminating the Departments of Energy and Education, and that people should vote for him because he "doesn't wear high heels". Congratulations on your {hopeful} reelection, Sen. Bennet! Ha. :)
4. Connecticut Democrats: With the victory of wacky World Wrestling Entertainment owner Linda McMahon over more moderate, more sane RepublicanRob Simmons, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Richard Blumenthal should cruise to victory in November. Also, Connecticut Democrats are now in excellent position to take back the governor's mansion.
5. Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes (D): While Republicans slug it out in a bitter nomination contest for Georgia governor (between Palin-endorsed Karen Handel and Newt Gingrich-endorsed Nathan Deal) that remains too close to call this morning, former Gov. Roy Barnes (D) emerges strong and with a unified party behind him for the fall election. All that translates into a good chance for Democratic victory this November.
6. Nathan DaschleRead here for more about why the Democratic Governor's Association executive director is in a great mood this morning!
7. The Red and the Blue: Former University of Pennsylvania school mascot ("The Penn Quaker") Brian Becker, a close friend of mine since we were 6 years old, won his first race for elective office last night. Brian won 57%-43% and is now the Democratic nominee for Connecticut State House of Representatives from the 19th District (West Hartford, Avon, Farmington). As the Penn victory song goes, "Hurrah for the red and the blue!"

1. National Republican Party: Disaster in Colorado, with Tea Partier Ken Buck's victory over party pick Jane Norton almost guaranteeing a loss for Republicans in this U.S. Senate race this November. Also, Connecticut's a complete mess for Republicans at this point, and Minnesota's not looking good either for the red team, with Nathan Daschle commenting that Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer is a "fringe candidate" with an "extreme agenda."2. Dick Wad(hams): Why does anyone hire this guy for anything? Since defeating Tom Daschle in 2004, pretty much everything Dick Wad(hams) has touched has turned to...well, something that's the color and consistency of thick mud, but smells a lot worse. Now, Colorado's Republican Party is in turmoil, with Tea Party victory last night, and also with former Rep. Tom Tancredo running as an American Constitution Party candidate for governor, probably handing victory this November to the Democratic candidate, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
3. Bill Clinton: Endorsed Andrew Romanoff for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Colorado. Romanoff lost to Sen. Michael Bennet, who was endorsed by Barack Obama. Ouch. (note: Clinton also strongly endorsed Terry McAuliffe for governor in 2009; McAuliffe lost badly to Creigh Deeds in the primary)
4. Joe Abbey: Creigh Deeds' former campaign manager has now gotten crushed two times in a row (Ned Lamont lost by 16 points last night, despite spending $9 million of his own money).  Both times, Abbey has run campaigns for conservadems who have completely failed to fire up the base. Last night in Connecticut, turnout for Ned Lamont was abysmal, just as it was in Virginia for Creigh Deeds in 2009. Watching the results last night, and reading some of the commentary, what I'm hearing is that the Lamont campaign failed to excite people, that its ads were uninspired and not particularly well done, and that its campaign lost despite outspending its opponent by a 4:1 margin. How much of this was the candidate, how much the campaign, and how much other factors? We'll never really know, but as former Webb senior strategist Steve Jarding told me, "when you win you're a genius, when you lose you're an idiot."
5. Ned Lamont: Lamont's concession speech last night was excellent. Other than that, there's not much good you can say about the race Lamont ran the past few months. If this guy's political career isn't over now, after losing to Joe LIEberman in 2006 and now Dan Malloy in 2010, I'm not sure what else it will take.
P.S. If Nathan Deal hangs on over Karen Handel in Georgia, then put Deal endorser Newt Gingrich in the "winners" column and add Handel endorser Sarah Palin to the "losers" column.

Kaine: Deeds Demonstrates Why Dem's Shouldn't Run from Obama

Monday, August 9, 2010

I strongly agree with Tim Kaine on this one.
In an interview with The Hill, Kaine said House Democrats who do not run with Obama's agenda risk alienating their most energetic supporters."If you distance yourself from the president, you can pour cold water on the excitement about what he is doing," said Kaine, who alluded to Democrat Creigh Deeds's problems.
Deeds lost a special election in Kaine's home state of Virginia last year after distancing himself from Obama, who had won Virginia's electoral votes in the presidential context just a year earlier.
"I can tell you this. Everywhere I go, every last community I visit, there are energetic supporters of this president who are excited about what he is doing," Kaine said.
Along these lines, I think this story is relevant. The bottom line is that most Democrats who are going to lose this November are moderate-to-conservative "blue dogs" in the 49 districts carried by John McCain. The vast majority of Democrats "from the Democratic wing" of the party are going to be re-elected. So, the question is, does it help the "blue dogs" to avoid appearing with - or not mentioning - President Obama? I'd argue strongly "no," in that the "blue dogs" aren't going to win any Republicans or Tea Partiers to their sides, regardless, yet by dissing Obama they're going to reduce enthusiasm among the Democratic "base."  In other words, it's a "lose-lose" for Democrats in swing districts to stay away from Obama.  Don't believe me? Just ask Creigh Deeds how refusing to say he was an "Obama Democrat" worked out for him.UPDATEThis is stupid too.

A Law School Lesson for Clueless Cooch

Sunday, August 8, 2010

by Elaine in Roanoke

Aaron Haas, an Oliver Hill Law Fellow at W & L School of Law, had a law lesson for Ken Cuccinelli in today's Roanoke Times.According to Haas, Cuccinelli "is trying to mislead [police] officers into an unconstitutional interpretation of their authority," regardling stopping people and questioning them about their immigration status.As Hass sees it, Cuccinelli's has confused two completely different situations by asserting that police can briefly detain and question a person about immigration status if they have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.
The right to stop, briefly detain and question people because of suspicion they have committed a crime, Haas says, is far too easy to confuse with being able to stop and question a person on suspicion that person is an illegal immigrant. Immigration status is a civil matter, not a crime. As I understand what Haas is asserting, police can inquire about immigration status if a person is in custody for possible criminal activity, but they may well misinterpret what Cuccinelli says they have the authority to do. They can't question someone simply because he "looks" alien or because he has been stopped for a traffic violation.
Cooch certainly didn;t make that clear in his "leap" into the Arizona legal quagmire. As is usual in his quixotic lust for headlines and controversy, he threw himself - and dragged the reputation of Virginia down yet again - willy-nilly into something he hadn't thought through. If police officers are misled by his pronouncement to "violate their duty to uphold the Constitution," Haas notes they may be subject to lawsuits that will inflict significant costs and embarrassment on them. But, that wasn't Haas' only concern. There is a second one that I feel is far more important: the trust of witnesses to crime.
Elaine in Roanoke :: A Law School Lesson for Clueless Cooch
Haas is concerned about what Cuccinelli's pronouncement will do to the relationship between the police and the immigrant community, legal or illegal. It is in the interest of all of us to have people - whether they are citizens, legal immigrants, or illegal immigrants - come forward with information about criminal activity.As Haas put it,

Our legal system has deliberately developed incentives for noncitizens to come forward if they witness crimes. These protections are intended to make our communities safer for everybody and to put violent criminals behind bars. There are specific protections for victims or witnesses of serious felonies, for victims of human trafficking, for victims of domestic violence, and for those willing to testify in major federal trials against organized crime. These people are going to be less willing to come forward if they fear the local police.This poorly reasoned opinion will do little to solve the problem of illegal immigration, but will almost certainly cause problems for law enforcement and for safety in our communities. When the law is twisted to serve a political agenda, we all pay the price.
Amen to that.

Thank You Democrats Who Allowed Cooch to Run Amok

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cooch explains the reason why his case against the national health care reform law is moving forward. Here's the part that should make every Democrat angry:
...The court basically ruled on four different items...The first one was whether or not Virginia was injured, because if you don't have an injury you can't have a case; courts don't give opinions about what they might do, they resolve actual fights. And the court ruled, because . And Virginia's law said that no Virginian can be forced to health insurance against their will; Virginia has its own law; we have a Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act, passed on a bipartisan basis this year - and we have a Democrat Senate and a Republican House - so it had to be bipartisan to get throughthat became law before the president signed the federal health care bill...
That's right, Cooch's #1 reason for why his lawsuit is moving forward is because Virginia passed - on a "bipartisan" basis - Bob Marshall's Healthcare Freedom Act. Unfortunately, Cooch is right, it was bipartisan. Let's review. First, the House of Delegates, where Sideshow Bob's lunacy passed by a 72-26 margin. True, Republicans control that chamber and Bob Marshall's crazy law was going to pass, no matter how Democrats voted. Still, it's lame that anyone calling himself or herself a "Democrat" voted for HB 10. First and foremost, I point my finger at Minority Leader Ward Armstrong, who rumor has it wants to run for governor in 2013. Sorry, but just on this vote alone - helping give Cooch the ammo he needed to push his lawsuit against what is arguably Barack Obama's #1 achievement as president - Armstrong should be disqualified from any serious consideration by Democratic voters. Seriously. Outta here. Bye bye! Now, on to the Senate, a chamber controlled by Democrats, and where the vote was close (23-17). So how did Sideshow Bob's lunacy pass there? For that, we have five people who put a "D" after their names -- Chuck Colgan, Edd Houck, John C. Miller, Phil Puckett, Roscoe Reynolds -- to thank. Essentially, these are the Ben Nelsons and Blanche Lincolns of Virginia, super-conservative Democrats who might as well be Republicans when it comes to health care, energy, environment, and a bunch of "social issues." I mean, "big tent" is one thing, but giving Kookinelli "bipartisan" cover to go around trashing health care reform? Argh.