Keith Fimian Shows True, Extremist Colors on WTOP

Friday, October 29, 2010

I just listened to about 40 minutes of the WTOP debate between 11th CD candidates Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) and Keith Fimian (R). My overall impression was that these guys don't like each other - at all.  But besides that, I was struck at how extreme Fimian is for this district, and how shocking it will be if he wins next Tuesday.  A few examples:*While Fimian says his "heart goes out" to victims of rape or incest, he opposes abortion even in those horrible cases. That's right, he supports making a woman carry the child or their rapist to term.  That puts Fimian on the opposite side of about 80% of Americans, according to apoll by Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2010. Wow.
*Fimian tried to wriggle out of his comment that "at Virginia Tech if one of those kids in one of those classrooms was packing heat I think that that would not have happened." According to Fimian, what he really meant to say was that - get this - he was actually talking about security guards. Wait, didn't that quote say "one of those kids?" Security guards,, same thing in Keith Fimian's world.
*Fimian said he's not only against embryonic stem cell research, but that this line of research "shows no promise!" In fact, that's almost exactly backwards; it's the pluripotent nature of embryonic stem cells that make it, by FAR, the most promising avenue for medical research into curing diseases ranging from Parkinsons to Alzheimers to cancer to heart disease to diabetes to paralysis to...well, you get the idea. Apparently, Keith Fimian cares more about days-old embryos that would be discarded anyway than children and adults with diseases that could be cured, but won't be, because of his extremism.
Now, Keith Fimian can try to avoid these issues all he wants, resort to his stale talking points about "Obama and Pelosi" all he wants, but he can't escape the reality that he's an extremist who's far, FAR outside the mainstream in America, let alone in Virginia's 11th district. Think about that when you go to the polls next Tuesday.

Obama Rally With Tom Perriello - "Our spirit can't fade"

by Aznew What an amazing rally tonight for Tom Perriello in Charlottesville. I can’t even begin to describe the level of excitement that President Barack Obama’s visit generated. The President hearkened back to the feeling we all had in 2008, which seems so long ago now -- that feeling of all things being possible. “That spirit can’t fade,” the President said, “and it’s still in each of you.” The crowd was huge for Charlottesville. The line to get into the Pavilion, where the rally was held, stretched the entire length of Charlottesville’s downtown mall, perhaps 10 city blocks, and then doubled back at least an additional four blocks. The Pavilion was packed with people – 7-8 thousand, I believe, was the estimate. And I hear many more were unable to get in. (more on the flip, including pictures) What an amazing rally tonight for Tom Perriello in Charlottesville. I can’t even begin to describe the level of excitement that President Barack Obama’s visit generated. The President hearkened back to the feeling we all had in 2008, which seems so long ago now -- that feeling of all things being possible. “That spirit can’t fade,” the President said, “and it’s still in each of you.” The crowd was huge for Charlottesville. The line to get into the Pavilion, where the rally was held, stretched the entire length of Charlottesville’s downtown mall, perhaps 10 city blocks, and then doubled back at least an additional four blocks. The Pavilion was packed with people – 7-8 thousand, I believe, was the estimate. And I hear many more were unable to get in. I spoke to several people in the Pavilion who had places up front, and so were among the first people in. They had been waiting on line since early this morning. They we still excited to see the President. The place was electric, and the crown enthusiastic. Plenty of cheering every time UVA was mentioned, suggesting that we may yet see a large student turnout. Robert Hurt and a few Conservative blogs have suggested that Obama coming to Charlottesville will backfire on Tom, because it will reinforce the connection between Tom and the President in the minds of Republicans and opponents. Statements like this make me want to actually become a Conservative and join the Republican Party, because those guys are smoking some great weed over there. Look, anyone who is outraged by Obama and wants to vote against Perriello because he thinks Tom is close to the President has already decided how they will vote. And throughout this cycle, all we have been hearing about is the enthusiasm gap – that these folks who oppose the president and the Democrats are intense and almost certain voters. So, explain to me who the current undecided voters are for whom this visit will make them irate enough to vote against Tom? I’m sure they don’t have television sets, because if they did they probably would have seen five dozen commercials linking Tom and the President, so seeing them together on stage would not be new information. On the other hand, Obama’s visit clearly got C’ville Democrats pumped to vote. As today’s SUSA poll showed, the enthusiasm gap is narrowing in the district, and the race is clearly trending Tom’s way. The question is whether enough Democrats will show up at the polls to put Tom over the top. In fact, this is something over which Hurt has no control. He already has all the votes of all the people who are inclined to vote against Tom. Hurt knows that any new voter convinced to vote from this point out is coming to vote for Perriello. This, more than anything else, accounts for Hurt’s state of panic and acts of desperation in seeking to counter the President’s visit. Did I mention desperation? Hilariously, Hurt issued a press release this afternoon inviting Tom and the President “to join him in a small business roundtable discussion in Martinsville, Virginia tomorrow.” Uh, yeah, right…. I am sure Hurt thinks he is making some sort of clever point with this sort of disrespectful treatment of the President of the United States, but he is not. What this immature response really shows is that Hurt is acting like he is running for junior-high class president, not the U.S. Congress. (One almost expects Hurt to say, “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” to the President). As he has done throughout this race, Hurt has insulted both voters and the U.S. Congress itself with a timeworn political stunt like this. But then, why should a man who thinks he doesn’t even have to read health care reform legislation, but can still oppose it, behave any differently. It is yet another sign that Hurt takes neither the office of U.S. Congressman nor the problems of the people in the Fifth District too seriously. Meanwhile, back at the Pavilion, President Obama is asking the crowd not to give up on change and on a better future, not to be discouraged from voting by an obstructionist and small-minded Republican Party that tries to convince us that Change is not possible. President Obama is talking about shared sacrifice, about an America that competes and beats other countries in areas of education and scientific discoveries but about what America is really about. He also talks about an America in which we all look out for one another, and help our neighbors when they hit a rough patch. “I am my brother’s keeper,” the President said. “I am my sister’s keeper.” The President’s has the unusual effect of both firing people up to vote and help Tom get elected, and at the same time causing people to become more introspective about how each of them has faced the adversity of the past several years. As Obama leaves the stage for a round of shaking hands, I look around me and see beaming faces in every direction. Beaming faces that come Tuesday will be voting for Tom Perriello. Pics follow: Photobucket Obama Photobucket Tom Photobucket Obama and crowd Photobucket Crowd shot inside the Pavilion

Video: Jim Webb, Jim Moran Speak at Torpedo Factory in Alexandria

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Last night at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria, Jim Webb and Jim Moran spoke to around 200 Democrats - including many from the amazing, grassroots, pro-Webb, "ragtag army" of 2006 - at a fundraiser for the Democratic Party of Virginia. There were many members of the "ragtag army" (now "Webb Brigades") in attendance, including (largely) unsung heroes like Mary Detweiler, Wasim Entabi, Sue Langley, Chris Ambrose, Laura Sonnenmark, Karen and Dan Duncan, Florence Upson, Kenton Ngo, Frank Anderson, Tania Hossain, Todd Smyth, Rose Chu, Antonia Scatton, Ken Kukovich, and several others. Also in attendance were Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple. Sen. Chap Petersen, Sen. Dave Marsden, Del. Mark Keam, Del. Bob Brink, Del. Charniele Herring, former Del. Brian Moran, Cathy "Smitty" Connolly, DPVA chair/master of ceremonies Dave Mills, super-Democrat Pixie Bell, former Alexandria Democratic Committee chair Sue Kellom, current Alexandria Democratic Committee chair Clark Mercer, etc. For his part, Jim Webb thanked the "Brigades" for their great work in 2006 and beyond, then spoke about "daily courage," this "very serious time for our country," the terrible situation we inherited from the Bush Administration (economy, debt, Iraq war), the Republican Party decision "to play stalling tactics" and not let anything get done, the need for us to get out the vote next Tuesday, and the deluge of negative ads from people who don't even have to identify themselves (Webb: "that's not the country I want to live in"). I also got a shout-out from Webb, including a side-remark that I'm "mad" at him for not supporting "cap and trade." Well, hmmmm...let's just say I'm not thrilled at Webb's stands on energy and the environment. Overall, though, I've been pleased with Webb's record, including his great work on the GI Bill of Rights and the Crime Commission. I'm also proud to have co-founded the "Draft James Webb" movement (with Josh Chernila and Lee Diamond, in Colorado and Israel, respectively) and to have served as Webb's netroots coordinator - helping organize the 14,000-strong "ragtag army" and helping raise $4 million online - in 2006. Now, as we approach the start of the 2011-2012 cycle, it appears that Webb will be a candidate once again - although he did NOT officially announce last night - possibly against George Allen once again (or maybe against Ken Cuccinelli? "Sideshow Bob" Marshall? Corey Stewart? Other?). In this election, however, Webb won't be at the top of the ballot - Barack Obama will - and the situation in the country will not be the same at all as in 2006, so it will be a significantly different dynamic. The question is, can we recreate that grassroots, "ragtag army" energy in 2012? We'll see. Stay tuned. For his part, Rep. Moran praised Jim Webb as an "American hero," devoted to "making this country as strong as it can be" and "represent[ing] the very highest standards of this nation." Moran talked about how Jim Webb understands that American greatness comes from "new Americans who come to this country to live out the American dream and by doing so they keep regenerating the American dream." Moran also said that Jim Webb "understands that America has to be about the middle class and those struggling to get into the middle class." Moran recommended that we read Jim Webb's books, in which we'll learn (among many other things) that having 90% of the wealth go to 10% of the population is not a good thing. Moran praised Webb for the GI Bill and for his efforts at reforming our criminal justice system. Moran concluded that Jim Webb represents the "defining characteristics of the Democratic Party" and "every day makes us proud that he's our United States Senator."

Video: Mike Signer, Brian Moran, Terry McAuliffe Speak at Arlington Young Dem's

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Last night at the Arlington Young Democrats meeting in Ballston, three former statewide candidates for the Democrats - Mike Signer, Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe - gave GOTV ("get out the vote") pep talks less than 2 weeks before mid-term elections (and prior to the dozens of AYD's taking to the phone banks). The appearance together by Signer, Moran and McAuliffe also was noteworthy in that all three had been mentioned as contenders to succeed Dick Cranwell as chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia. With the quasi-"unity rally" last night, it now appears that Mark Warner's pick for DPVA chair, Brian Moran, will not be seriously opposed for the position. We'll see. Anyway, here's some video from last night, in order of appearance. Introducing the speakers is AYDs president Gordon Simonett. Enjoy. P.S. I'd also say that it's looking more likely Brian Moran will not be a statewide candidate in 2013.

Republican Blogger Reaction to Racist Emails: Silence, Misdirection, Slander

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The reaction - or lack thereof - of Virginia Republican bloggers to the racist emails pouring out of the Virginia Beach Republican Committee has been highly revealing.  In short, it's been a combination of silence, misdirection/red herrings, and attacks on the messenger that border on libel/slander/defamation. Let's take these in order.1. First off, Republican bloggers have been silent. The question, as NLS correctly asks, is why?  Is it because, as NLS wonders, they are "completely out of the loop and really shocked when this stuff surfaces?" Or, do they know deep down that their party is filled with racism, and simply don't know how to respond when it comes out into the light of day? Or maybe when they don't get clear direction from above? It's pathetic, but it's also highly revealing.
2. Second, we have misdirection, mostly about the "backstory" of how the emails came to be forwarded around, and also how they ended up on a Democratic blog (this one). I can answer that latter question, although I'm not going to reveal my source(s) for reasons that should be obvious to any journalist, blogger, etc. On Monday afternoon, I was going about my business when I received (at 2:38 pm) a forwarded email with the racist "joke" by (now ex-) Virginia Beach Republican Party chair David Bartholomew. I was disgusted, so I posted it (at 2:54 pm, a whole 16 minutes after receiving the email). I also posted a screen shot of the email, which clearly shows that it had been forwarded from Mr. Bartholomew on March 15, 2010. Why I only received the email on October 18, 2010, I have no idea. If anyone would like to look into this and let us all know, that would be great. Personally, I'd be curious.
As for the second email, I received that one yesterday (at 1:25 pm) and was even more horrified, as the racism was far worse (in my opinion) than in the first email. I posted that email as well (at 2:17 pm, a whopping 52 minutes after receiving it), along with a link to the far-right-wing website that posted the video and a screen shot of Scott Rigell's website showing that the forwarder of the email was listed as one of his endorsers.  That email originally was forwarded by former VB Republican Committee chair Karen Beauchamp on July 31, 2010. Again, if anyone wants to look into the status of Ms. Beauchamp's email between July 31, 2010 and October 19, 2010, that would be great; I'd be curious to know what they find out! In the meantime, I find it fascinating that Republican bloggers are more interested in the "backstory" - if there is one - than the FRONT story - the blatant racism exhibited by leading members oftheir party.
3. Finally, we get into libel/slander/defamation territory, specifically over at Republican blog Bearing Drift. There, extreme right wingnut Brian Schoeneman strongly implies that yours truly "sat on these emails for months or he is willingly serving as a patsy for someone trying to launch an October surprise on Scott Rigell." Shoeneman proceeds to claim that "Lowell doesn't care about stamping out racism, or calling out those who engage in it," and also that "Lowell basically condoned the racism - it wasn't important enough to him to out these people until it became politically helpful for his chosen candidate in VA-2."  Fellow right-wingnut blogger J.R. Hoeft then weighs in with his own deep thoughts, asking, "If recent emails by members of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach are truly so offensive, then why has Lowell chosen to release them in parts and only in October?"
Again, note the implication by these Republican bloggers - I supposedly had these emails for months and waited until the last moment to help Glenn Nye, who everyone reading Blue Virginia knows is just my favorite Democrat ever!!!  Yeah, that latter part is laughable in and of itself, given how much I've ripped into Nye and how much I can't stand the guy (he's practically a Republican in his voting record). But as for the first part, accusing me of fundamental dishonesty and sliminess - the type that Republican bloggers so often engage in - that's 100%, absolutely false, and I'd be happy to swear that in court. I'd also be happy, if libel and slander law would allow, to take Messieurs Shoeneman and Hoeft to court on this one. They are so wrong, it's beyond belief, and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with this crap. The only problem is, in the United States under the 1st Amendment, they have the right to say just about anything they want, and I'm not sure I could win that case. Still, it's extremely tempting and I will be looking into it today...

Virginia Beach GOP Chair Quits, Still Makes Excuses

by The Green Miles

(UDPATETPM has "independently confirmed" the Bartholomew story.  Of course, "Bartholomew did not respond to repeated requests for comment."  Pathetic. - promoted by lowkell)

In the wake of a racist email scandal first reported here at Blue Virginia, the Virginia Beach Republican Party Chairman is quitting. But he's not racist! He just doesn't know how to use the series of tubes!
The city's Republican chairman agreed to resign late Monday night, just hours after a racist joke sent from his e-mail address surfaced.David Bartholomew is not a racist and agreed to resign because the e-mail had become a distraction to the Nov. 2 election, said Gary Byler, the 2nd Congressional District GOP chairman, after meeting with Bartholomew.
The e-mail was dated March 15 and sent from the address that Bartholomew uses as party chairman.Bartholomew forwarded it without reading the contents when "he was first getting familiar with the Internet," Byler said.
"Oh, how I fondly remember those days back in the mid-1990s when I was first getting familiar with the Internet but kept accidentally forwarding racist emails," writes David Kurtz at TPM. "It was nip and tuck there for a while whether the Internet would realize its full potential or just be a clunky system that tripped you up into coming off as a bigot."

What the RPV doesn't understand about racism

by The Richmonder

I'll keep this very brief, because it's really a very simple issue, though for some reason the Republican Party of Virginia and its supporters don't seem to get it.This is a response to Brian Schoeneman's post "What's worse? Racism or using racism as a political weapon?" at Bearing Drift.  The title of this post really says it all--and Mr. Schoeneman really ends up accusing himself and the RPV of what he'd like to defend them against: racism.
Mr. Schoeneman is upset that Democrats have made a habit of calling out Republicans when those Republicans act or speak in a way that is blatantly racist.  To Mr. Schoeneman that is "using racism as a political weapon."
No, Mr. Schoeneman, it is not using racism as a political weapon.  Calling out and criticizing incidents of racism is opposing racism.  Does opposing racism have political consequences?  Quite possibly.  But it is in the power of Virginia Republicans to avoid these consequences altogether by simply ceasing to act and speak in ways that are racist.  Just stop being racists and the issue becomes moot.
Where Mr. Shoeneman ends up accusing himself, and by extension the entire RPV, is by using the phrase "using racism as a political weapon."  In the current scenario the only organization using racism, deliberately employing racism on its own behalf to promote itself and gain political power, is the Virginia Beach Republican Committee.
It is members of the Virginia Beach Republican Committee's leadership who have been e-mailing around racist jokes, songs, and other material to boost the sense of community and esprit de corps among Virginia Beach Republicans.  Racism seems to be a core organizing principle for Virginia Beach Republicans, something that motivates their participation in GOP activities.
Criticizing the use of racism by Republicans to promote the GOP is not racism: it is anti-racism.  Are Virginia Republicans really unable to understand that?

Republican Loudoun-sanity Continues: Dick Black Rails Against Gays in the Military

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

This interview with former Virginia Delegate Dick Black (R-Loudoun), now running for State Senate, is truly shocking, even by this crazy election season's standards. Perhaps we shouldn't be shocked, though, given Black's history and also given the name of the group conducting Black's interview - "Americans for Truth About Homosexuality" ("dedicated to exposing the homosexual activist agenda"). Can we say "obsessed?" Can someone call the men in the white coats, stat? Anyway, listen to the interview yourself and see what you think. Highlights include Dick Black (yes, that's really his name) riffing on the supposed evils of gays in the military - increased HIV and AIDS, ogling and fondling in the showers and the foxholes, and worse! Listen to this, starting at minute 21:00.
I recall one particularly terrible situation, where, this was in basic training, there was a young fellow who went to the showers at night, and there were two homosexuals lurking -- they were also basic trainees - and they strangled him with a towel and forced him to submit to, you know, things that we won't talk about on the air. But it was extremely brutal, it was extremely humiliating, and they taunted him when they were finished. And at the time of the court martial of these guys, the victim was in psychiatric confinement at a hospital. Now, this is what we're asking the mothers and fathers of America to send their children into, is that sort of environment, where sexual bullies will prey on the smallest and least assertive soldiers.
So, there you have it. Let gays serve openly in the military, and before we know it, predatory homosexuals will be lurking everywhere, ready to commit their dastardly deeds! At another point in the interview (15:25), Black claims that allowing gays in the military will cause "deaths on the battlefield," apparently by their mere existence. Even worse will be (22:30) "these homosexual predators that will be unleashed by the administration's policy on gays in the military." On and on the insanity and bigotry go. Where it stops, who knows, maybe the State Senate for Dick Black? Meanwhile, just as Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) has strongly supported another Loudoun County Republican extremist, Eugene Delgaudio, Wolf also strongly supported Dick Black with both money and a ringing endorsement (Wolf praised Black as "a vital member of my team" and urged his reelection). Also see here for the Loudoun County Republican Committee's photos and account of a lovely little pancake breakfast they held a couple weeks ago, at which Frank Wolf hung out with his pals Dick Black, (homosexual obsessed) Eugene Delgaudio, State Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel, Del. Tom Rust, Del. "Sideshow" Bob Marshall, LCRC Chairman Mark Sell (so extreme that even the right-wing blog "Too Conservative" said if he was elected, it would mean "a return to the Dark Ages" in Loudoun County), 10th CD Chairman Howie Lind (a member of the "Purity At All Costs crowd"), and other assorted wingnuts. Basically, it's a cornucopia o' crazy in the Loudoun County Republican Party, and Frank Wolf's an important part of it - enabler, funder, endorser, etc. The question is, how does Wolf get away with masquerading as a "moderate" while supporting a bunch of bigots and extremists? And how is it, exactly, that Wolf bears no responsibility for homophobic bigots and extremists like Delgaudio and Black, both of whom Wolf has supported in the past, and continues to support to this very day? P.S. Part II of the interview, including lost more anti-gay ranting by Dick Black, is available here. Everything you always wanted to know about "the homosexual agenda" and the evils of gays in the military, Dick Black's your man!

Virginia Beach Republican Committee Chair Forwards Racist Email

Monday, October 18, 2010

(Updates, including Glenn Nye's, Scott Rigell's, and DPVA's statements, are after the "fold." - promoted by lowkell)

David Bartholomew, Chair of the Virginia Beach Republican Committee, has been forwarding around a "joke" via email. The only problem, other than the fact that it's not particularly funny, is that it's blatantly racist. Check it out.
I went down this morning to sign up my Dog for welfare.At first the lady said, "Dogs are not eligible to draw welfare".
So I explained to her that my Dog is black, unemployed, lazy, can't speak
English and has no frigging clue who his Daddy is.
So she looked in her policy book to see what it takes to qualify...
My Dog gets his first check Friday.
Is this is a great country or what?
How do I know that it's Dave Bartholomew forwarding this racist "joke" around? On the RPVB website, his email's publicly listed as  And the email is from? Drumroll please...
Busted!  By the way, check out the photo above, of 2nd CD Republican Congressional candidate Scott Rigell and David Bartholomew. I can't wait to hear what Rigell has to say about this one.

UPDATE: Rep. Glenn Nye has issued a statement.
This type of racist behavior has no place in politics. I call on Dave Bartholomew to resign immediately. I also call on Scott Rigell to join me in condemning this divisive, narrow-minded behavior by demanding Bartholomew's resignation.

UPDATE #2: Virginia Beach Democratic Commitee Chair Susan Mariner issued a statement:
I am baffled by Mr. Bartholomew's unabashed propagation of prejudice and hate. I'd like to believe that Scott Rigell doesn't share these sentiments but sadly, we are the company we keep. I hope that Scott denounces this intolerance and embraces the 21st century.

UPDATE #3: DPVA issues a statement.
The Democratic Party of Virginia today reacted to the disgusting and racist remarks made by top Rigell advisor and Virginia Beach Republican Chairman, David Bartholomew. Blue Virginia first reported the racist and inflammatory email circulated by David Bartholomew.Upon learning of Bartholomew's blatant racism, Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Dick Cranwell said "As a key advisor for the Rigell campaign, Bartholomew's racism is out of touch, insensitive, and has no place in American politics. Scott Rigell needs to demand Bartholomew's resignation immediately.  To do any less would mean that Mr. Rigell shares this world view."
Gaylene Kanoyton, First Vice Chair of the Virginia Democratic Committee said, "In 2010, it's abhorrent that Scott Rigell would keep this sort of company.  This is the kind of attitude that I, and many in my community, have fought so hard to do away with. I hope that Scott Rigell will do the right thing and call on Mr. Bartholomew to resign, and join the rest of us in reason, tolerance, and mutual respect."
Susan Mariner, Chair of the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee said, "I am baffled by Mr. Bartholomew's unabashed propagation of prejudice and hate. I'd like to believe that Scott Rigell doesn't share these sentiments but sadly, we are the company we keep. I hope that Scott denounces this intolerance and embraces the 21st century."

UPDATE #4: Scott Rigell issues a statement.
The email sent by Republican Party of Virginia Beach Chairman David Bartholomew is reprehensible. It stands in stark contrast to the core values of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, and my personal belief in a colorblind society. I call upon Mr. Bartholomew to immediately resign his position as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach.

UPDATE #5: Sen. Donald McEachin issues a statement.
Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) today called on the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor and the Attorney General to repudiate the disgusting racism stated by one of their Party leaders. "I will not even demean myself or the honorable citizens of Virginia to repeat the egregious words in the email apparently distributed by the Republican Party chair of Virginia Beach. I would ask the governor, the lieutenant governor and the attorney general, the three statewide leaders of their Party, to not only renounce and reject this vile language but to ask that this individual relinquish his post. For this individual to be a Party leader in an official position of the Republican Party of Virginia says it all. In the absence of strong statements by Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli, it is only fair to assume that these three elected officials condone such despicable and contemptible behavior. Their absence does and will speak volumes."These are perilous economic times and many Americans and Virginians, of all colors, ethnicities and backgrounds find themselves without employment. As they desperately search for a new job and a way to take care of their family, some of them have to turn to the safety net that we have in place for that very reason. To compare these hardworking Virginians to an individual's dog is insulting not just to any one race, but to all Virginians. These citizens are deserving of our compassion and assistance. They are asking only for a hand up so that they, too, can find a well-paying job to support themselves and their loved ones. I can only hope that our governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general have compassion for those who find themselves unemployed and going through struggle and that they recognize that to mock and demean these people in such a horrific way is totally unacceptable.
"I await the words and actions of Governor McDonnell, Lieutenant Governor Bolling and Attorney General Cuccinelli. Every minute they don't respond and repudiate this contemptible email and every minute they do not ask this individual to resign his position sends Virginians a message about their values and their leadership."

Webb Turns Back on Appalachia, Cozies Up to Big Coal

by the Green Miles

To understand Jim Webb's shocking flip on the coal industry, you have to understand where he began. Here's what he wrote in his book, Born Fighting, just six years ago:
The ever hungry industrialists had discovered that West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southwest Virginia sat atop one huge vein of coal. And so the rape began. The people from the outside showed up with complicated contracts that the small-scale cattle raisers and tobacco farmers could not fully understand, asking for "rights" to mineral deposits they could not see, and soon they were treated to a sundering of their own earth as the mining companies ripped apart their way of life, so that after a time the only option was to go down into the hole and bring the Man his coal, or starve.The Man got his coal, and the profits it brought when he shipped it out. They got their wages, black lung, and the desecration of their land.
Now Jim Webb is standing before those very same industrialists & pledging to do their bidding. This video from a recent Virginia Chamber of Commerce event shows Webb promising to fight any effort to rein in coal's destructive, polluting, poverty-sustaining excesses. Webb's pandering to corporate polluters stands in contrast to Sen. Mark Warner's appearance at the same event making the case for energy reform.Who else is Webb fighting for these days? The ultra-rich, pledging to protect them from having to do their fair share to reduce America's deficit.
Speculation so far has centered on whether Jim Webb wants a 2nd term in the Senate. But I'm hearing more & more Virginia Democrats question whether we should want six more years of Jim Webb.

Del. Lionell Spruill (D): "I'm not going to hell behind no Democrat"

Interesting comments recently by Del. Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake) - also a Democratic National Committee member and Democratic "superdelegate" - saying that he will not support 4th Congressional District Democratic nominee Dr. Wynne LeGrow (running against Rep. Randy Forbes) because he's an atheist. The radio show is the "Hampton Roads Crier," and note that this transcript may be a bit rough, in part because I find it difficult to understand Del. Spruill at times. Also, there are a lot of asides and repetitions, therefore numerous ellipses. If you want, you can download the file and listen for yourself - enjoy!
Spruill: ...Last couple of minutes is the 4th CD race, Randy Forbes is running...and I got a call from a constituent about, will I come out and support [Wynne] LeGrow...I say to you sir, that in the House of Delegates I got in trouble, I said "I love Jesus," and this man is an atheist. Now, I'm not going to hell behind politics, I'll tell you right now. I love Jesus, Randy Forbes loves Jesus, and I asked the man himself; he is an atheist and I will not take him to any Christian church...
Interviewer: I've read that he is an's been in the news...Let me ask you this, LeGrow is a Democrat, Randy Forbes is a Republican...Are you endorsing Forbes or are you not endorsing LeGrow?...You need to make that clear because you're a top Democrat, and Forbes is a Republican. Spruill: That's fine, but the key is this right here. I'm not going to hell on that subject, of Democrats saying 'the man is a Democrat, Spruill, he's an atheist, you've got to [unintelligible, but I think something to do with supporting LeGrow] ...I'm not gonna do it, I'm not going to hell behind no Democrat. And no, I'm not endorsing Randy Forbes, but I'm not also endorsing Mr. LeGrow, people go out and vote your own conscience...I love Jesus and I'll never change that and Mr. Forbes loves Jesus. Now people telling me that all he gotta do is say "Obama." I say if both of them are going to church and one say Obama and one says Jesus... Interviewer: ...You as being more or less the top of the Democratic Party in Chesapeake...that makes you high in the fourth Congressional District, will you say this morning that you will not endorse a Democrat just because they are a Democrat? Spruill: I will not endorse a Democrat just because they're a Democrat... Interviewer: ...You don't have anything personal or political against LeGrow? Spruill: He's a nice man as far as I know...and I wish him all the world...but my life...have always been the church...I think it's wrong - I know that the Lord has been good to me - it's wrong for me to take a person to your church and ask him to get up and speak... Interviewer: But is it wrong for Wynne LeGrow to be an atheist? Spruill: I don't know anything about that, it's up to him... Interviewer: You've given him the respect to choose his...I don't know whether atheist is a religion or not...what he want to be is up to him? Spruill: It's up to him...others who are Jews people who are Muslims, I have taken them to church, but they believe in a higher being. You know, we say Jesus some say Allah some say whatever you want to call it. But when you get there, how can you justify taking him to church and you let him speak on the pulpit and that man's an atheist that doesn't believe in God, that's all I'm saying...
P.S. Lionell Spruill is the same person who said that he doesn't "care too much about" the prayers of different religions ("especially those of the Muslim faith"), so I guess this is not surprising. Still, it's disappointing to see Spruill's bigotry against people of other faiths - or no faith at all - being tolerated by the DNC and any other Democratic organization. That needs to stop, immediately.

The DPVA Club

Sunday, October 17, 2010

by Dan Sullivan

Former Senator Ken Stolle tells a tale that hints at Virginia Democrats' lack of savvy. It makes one seriously consider Thelma Drake's assessment that 2008 was simply the Democrats' turn. Insiders undeservedly expect deference from and take credit for grassroots efforts. Too many in DPVA circles are all about themselves.Paul Lanteigne, who had his eyes on the position, approached Republican Stolle some years ago about making the Virginia Beach Sheriff a High Constable. A Sheriff who is also High Constable keeps the money collected during service of process. Other Sheriffs send that money on to State of Virginia. For Virginia Beach that amounts to almost $700,000 a year. Stolle never thought he would be able to get this initiative through the Senate because it was a presented bill and on scrutiny, he figured it would not pass due to the funding aspect. Stolle expected that he would be asked why he was carrying the bill and if his motive was challenged he was unwilling to be less than honest that it was about the money. Once the cat was out of the bag, he knew everyone would want a piece of the action and that would kill this and any future such initiative.
Frank Drew was the Virginia Beach Sheriff at the time. Stolle was the chairman of the Public Safety Subcommittee in the Courts and Justice Committee and as politics works, as a committee chairman carrying a bill, the Senate asks very few questions when a bill is presented. So he took the bill over to the House of Delegates and presented it to the Courts and Justice Committee. Kenny Melvin, a Democratic Delegate from Portsmouth, asked the question Stolle feared" "Ken, why do you want to make Frank Drew the High Constable of Virginia Beach?" Stolle thought, "Well, this is it," but just as he was about to explain, Delegate Ward Armstrong interrupted the proceedings sarcastically, "He wants to do it because Frank Drew has an ego as big as this damn building!" And Kenny Melvin pivoted off the witty jab with, "No need to say another thing, I forgot about Frank's ego." The bill passed out without further scrutiny. Later, upon the realization of the impact, Virginia Beach's Sheriff was made the last to be so designated.
Dan Sullivan :: The DPVA Club
One of the distinguishing attributes of the DPVA and many of its local committees is a certain disdain for the grassroots; the lack of a welcome mat; the insular attitude. Few of the independent grassroots workers from the Webb '06 effort or the Obama '08 steamroller are active members of either today. One of the harder workers in the Hampton Roads region during the Webb campaign, a former Republican and somewhat irascible retired Naval Officer, Zeke Burns passed away months after the election and no one representing any local committee attended his funeral. It was uncomfortable visiting with Ralph Parrott, an early and key Webb grassroots volunteer afterwards. He like many others had traveled a long way to pay his respects but the local committee officials hadn't made it to the services. Zeke was never part of the club.It was the Web candidacy then the Obama experience that drew many to active political activity. My initial experience with Virginia Democrats was during the run-up to the 1976 elections and was in Henrico County. That year I experienced the disconnect between the Party and any grassroots; the clubiness. Forty years later, not much had changed and there was an underlying sense that the regulars expected the Webb supporters to fade away after the primary; yes, the primary because Harris Miller was going to be the nominee. But as support for Webb grew, the establishment became uncomfortable. A few of the members of the Central Committee started wondering whether they had wagered on the wrong horse and began to warm to a Webb candidacy. But they suspected a closet Republican behind every new face. There were solid Webb supporters on the Central Committee from the beginning, but most of those had real careers and did not rely on party largesse (aka lobbying and campaign work) for a living.
Jeff Shapiro's remarks about winning with the winds at our backs resonate. Those winds in 2005 through 2008 were gale force. And despite that, Democrats could not wrest control of the House of Delegates even with successive victorious gubernatorial campaigns setting the stage. During that period, the failure to embrace new supporters and bring them into the fold during the good years did what the establishment wanted: leaving them the "big fish" in a small pond. Then Terry McAuliffe (we're talking whale force) swam in and the pond got very muddy and eventually bloody. Brian Moran, who accepted credit for the effects of those gale force winds when he should have been reticent, started the mud slinging. Disappointingly, Terry eventually followed suit. In Terry's shoes, I might have gone nuclear, but that is why I don't run campaigns or for office and I'd hoped he wouldn't; he should have consulted Dorothy (a dolphin, of sorts).

"We hit a bump in the road last year and got a bust in the snout. I've been around politics long enough to understand that those are cycles" - Dick Cranwell in the Richmond Times Dispatch
During those times, even new Democratic members of the General Assembly found themselves treated as outsiders. Where a fellow like Stolle graciously reached across the aisle to help new members, even Democrats, become oriented, there is little anecdotal evidence that Democratic members were as helpful. A baptism of discovery learning was more the norm; it helped remind each of their neophyte status. Never mind there was work to be done on behalf of a Democratic Governor and precious little time to get on board.
But all of this is to say only: any insider deal to choose a new Party Chair is a formula for maintaining the status quo. That status quo is this: Democrats win when the other guys and gals screw up so badly that the electorate becomes disgusted. Democrats lose in a predictable counter-cycle. Cranwell says as much. That's not leadership but that is what we are being offered again. Stolle's vignette reveals that those who consider themselves leaders of the DPVA are not always the most luminous fish in the pond and they tend to surround themselves with even dimmer lights. From the outside, they appear most concerned with feathering their nests and that is why the grassroots have no genuine connection to the DPVA.
Therein lies a problem with Brian Moran, even without the Harris Miller baggage and lack of portfolio since losing the primary (if he were really a force in Democratic politics he'd be making his debut in this chapter at the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee Elephant Roast later today; not with his brother on Wednesday). But Brian, the guy who implied McAuliffe was no more an entrepreneur than he, is a fish whose oxygen supply is Harris Miller. He does, however, have a well-placed brother and some see utility in the cut of his jib. That is not enough to carry the day for the party but enough for whoever is behind this for whatever motive. Shapiro points to Mark Warner. Terry McAuliffe may be able to play well with others, but he has a much broader outlook than most in the grassroots. Moran has a tough row to hoe even with a forgiving McAuliffe. And Brian will end up being very disappointed when he realizes that some of his support for the position is there because it eliminates him as a peer competitor and that his agent will be satisfied just having control over him. Then again, not being a member of the club, maybe there is more to it.

Tom Perriello Named to Time Magazine's "40 Under 40" Leaders List

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Not that this should be a surprise, but congratulations nonetheless to Tom Perriello for being named as one ofTime Magazine's "40 Under 40", young civic leaders (and "rising stars") list. Three of my favorite answers from Tom's interview are:1. Asked what he'll be doing professionally in five years, Tom responds, "Planning ahead is an excuse not to do what you're called to do right now." I've got to remember that for future interviews. :)
2. On his "political hero/inspiration," Tom names Bobby Kennedy (good choice!) but also someone named William Wilburforce, "the parliamentarian who helped end the slave trade back in the day and was a person of deep faith...willing to stand outside the sense of justice of his time." Is Tom describing himself or what?!?
3. And finally, half kidding here, Tom names his "go-to political blog" - "Blue Virginia keeps me up to date." :) Thanks Tom; I can think of no greater compliment from this superb young leader and Congressman. Now, having engaged in our morning Perriello love fest, let's all get back to helping reelect him and confirm that Time Magazine was spot on in putting him on their leaders list!
Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Dickie Cranwell Stepping Down as DPVA Chair; Draft Donald McEachin!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yesterday, Olympia Meola reported rumors that "[l]eadership changes could be afoot at the Democratic Party of Virginia."  Well, I've had it confirmed to me that not only is this a rumor, it's true -- Dickie Cranwell will be stepping down in December as DPVA chair after 5 years on the job.Let's be blunt; the DPVA has not exactly been the most effective organization in recent times. A few adjectives and phrases that spring to mind include lackluster, uninspired, unimaginative, lazy, slow-to-react, complete inability to create an effective political narrative, etc.  Meanwhile, the 2009 Democratic debacle looms large, and by all rights should have resulted in a housecleaning last fall. Given that it didn't, I guess I'd say "better late than never." I'd also say, let's turn this decision by Dickie Cranwell into an opportunity for positive change at the top of DPVA. Let's get someone in there with energy, commitment, determination, and proven leadership abilities.  Fortunately, I've got just the person for the job:
That's right, Sen. Donald McEachin, the man who more than anyone has filled the leadership vacuum over the past year, has most effectively stood up to Cooch and Company, who most powerfully has articulated Democratic values, who "gets" the grassroots and netroots, who represents everything we'd want in a party chair.  I'd say that right now, it's time for the DPVA to open things up, hold a competitive election, let whatever interested candidates battle it out, but in the end select Donald McEachin to lead the party. I'm not even sure if Donald's interested, but if he is, he should know that he has a lot of friends and supporters in the progressive activists community.  If you're with me, or even if you're not, please let's hear what you think in the comments section.  Thanks...and go Donald!
UPDATE: You can sign the petition here.
UPDATE #2: Sen. McEachin's press release is on the "flip."
UPDATE #3: Dickie Cranwell's and Mark Warner's statements in the comments section.
UPDATE #4Bob Lewis reports:
The search for a successor has been under way for weeks with Warner, Kaine and others trying to persuade 2009 gubernatorial contender Brian J. Moran of Alexandria to replace Cranwell.Moran was described Tuesday as "the first among equals," should he resolve issues regarding his family and his job that would allow him to hold the post.
Others under consideration include Greg Werkheiser, who raised and spent about $500,000 in a 2009 bid to unseat Del. David Albo, R-Fairfax County, and Michael Signer, a Democratic strategist who unsuccessfully sought the party's nomination for lieutenant governor last year.

VA Sierra Club Releases Report on "How Virginia is Losing the Competition For Clean Energy"

Monday, October 11, 2010

I just got off a conference call with the Virginia Sierra Club (Glen Besa and Ivy Main), the topic being the release of their new report, "Power Failure - How Virginia is Losing the Competition For Clean Energy Jobs."  The Sierra Club's press release is after the "flip," but here are a few quick notes from the call.*Virginia is way behind other states in clean energy and energy efficiency, due to a failure of leadership by Bob McDonnell and also previous governors.
*Other mid-Atlantic states are ahead of us in clean energy incentives and jobs.
*If "Bob's for Jobs" really wants to create jobs, the single best thing he could do right now would be to invest in energy efficiency. For every $1 invested in energy efficiency, we get $2 back.
*There are huge opportunities for renewable energy and energy efficiency in Virginia, but we don't have the incentives needed to get there.
*A well-crafted Renewable Portfolio Standard would be a superb tool for reaching our goals.  Right now, Virginia has a voluntary RPS that is basically worthless. We need a real, mandatory RPS.
*Part of why this administration, and previous administrations, have failed is their close ties to Dominion VA Power, and the disproportionate influence Dominion and other utilities have on Virginia politics.
*Coal is not the future. In fact, coal mining employment has plummeted in Virginia, thanks to mechanized forms of mining like "mountaintop removal." Also, "If coal's so great, than why is southwestern Virginia so poor?"
lowkell :: VA Sierra Club Releases Report on "How Virginia is Losing the Competition For Clean Energy"
Sierra Club report finds Virginia left behind, losing to East Coast states in realizing clean energy future[Richmond, VA] - The Sierra Club today issued a report entitled Power Failure - How Virginia is Losing the Competition For Clean Energy Jobs, that contrasts Virginia's actions and incentives promoting energy efficiency and clean energy with the efforts of neighboring states.
"The Old Dominion can not remain wedded to old energy, but that is the course Governor McDonnell is pursuing," said Glen Besa, Virginia Director of the Sierra Club.  "Worse yet he appears indifferent or even hostile to clean energy and efficiency."
The report notes that McDonnell earlier this year withdrew from the Governors' Wind Energy Coalition composed of Governors from 26 states, and that he has failed to make key appointments to activate a new Offshore Wind Energy Authority in Virginia.
"The Governor continues to pursue offshore drilling to the detriment of other approaches that would create more jobs and a healthier environment," said Ivy Main, an author of the report and the Virginia Sierra Club's Renewable Energy Chair.  "This report offers a number of recommendations to get Virginia back in the race with neighbors like North Carolina and Maryland.  First and foremost, it calls on Governor McDonnell to support mandatory goals for renewal energy and efficiency."
The Sierra Club is calling on Governor McDonnell to seek administrative and legislative actions to promote renewable energy in Virginia.  The group points to an April 2010 study conducted by the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium that says development of offshore wind in the state could create more than 10,000 career length jobs.
"If the governor is serious about making Virginia the Energy Capital of the East Coast, then offshore wind must be at the forefront of his plan to get us there.  Last week's announcements that the first offshore wind leases in the nation have been approved by the U.S. Department of Interior and that the Spanish wind firm Gamesa is partnering with Northrop-Grumman to develop a new generation of wind turbines in Virginia show that this technology is here and ready to be deployed," continued Main. "It's up to Governor McDonnell to seize this moment and invest in renewable energy and efficiency.  That is where the jobs of Virginia's future are."

Video: Complete Cooch Incoherence at Tea Party Convention

I was watching this video, and the main thought I had about Ken Cuccinelli wasn't even so much that he's a right-wing nutjob, but that he's just completely incoherent. For instance, the core of his anti-healthcare-reform argument is that "Obamacare" is unconstitutional because it was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, but the similar "Romneycare" is constitutional because it was put into place by a state government. Huh? Something's constitutional simply because it's done geographically "closer to you," but it's unconstitutional if it's done further away from you? So...let's see, for those of us who live in NOVA, federal health care reform legislation was passed and signed into law just a few miles up the road, while Richmond's much further away, so by that "reasoning," the state law would be less constitutional than the federal law? Yeah, uh huh. Whatever. Second, the argument that because the government can do some things, it can do "anything" - and the implication is that "anything" includes all kinds of bad stuff - may be true in theory, but that's exactly why our Founding Fathers put a system of "checks and balances" in place, including a court system to decide on the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. It's also why we have elections. But put all that aside for a second and consider; Ken Cuccinelli is railing against government power to do "anything," yet at the same time is pursuing a government witch hunt against a scientist, Michael Mann, because Cuccinelli, in his official government role as Attorney General, disagrees with the scientist! If that's not tyranny, government doing "anything," I don't know what is. So where does that fit into Ken Cuccinelli's "first principles?" Again, whatever. Finally, Cooch correctly declares that Republicans, when they were in power, completely violated everything they purported to believe in. I agree with Cooch completely on that, whether we're talking government spending, fiscal responsibility, a decidedly non-humble and non-realist form of foreign policy, intrusions on our civil liberties, etc., etc. The question is, why should we trust Republicans now? Is there any reason to think that they have stopped violating their "first principles" now, or would stop violating them if they came back into power? Of course, there's absolutely zero evidence of that, and Cooch should say so if he wants to be intellectually honest. But of course he doesn't, and he isn't. All of which adds up to, as I said at the outset, complete Cooch incoherence. What else is new?

The Party of Denial

by Kindler

(Cross posted at Daily Kos)
It's been said that conservatives have a more coherent ideology than progressives, which makes their views an easier sell to the public, and so on.  That may be, because when you look at all they have to say, it really does all boil down to one unique approach to the world - what Dr. Freud called "denial": reacting to painful and difficult truths by simply denying that they exist.
Denial serves different purposes for the two basic classes that make up the Republican coalition.  For the Republican's tea party stooges and redneck cheerleaders, denial is a psychological phenomenon, a way to pretend that all the problems in the world that require us to change our ways are actually just illusions or lies created by vast conspiracies.  For the party's corporate owners and benefactors, meanwhile, denial is a convenient way to divert attention from the disasters brewing due to America's vast and growing imbalances of wealth and the outdated political, economic and social institutions that protect millionaires while imperiling the rest of us.
You can run down the whole conservative agenda and find denial hiding behind pretty much every line of it.  So let's!
-  Energy and climate change: The right wing has simply given up on rational discourse regarding the global climate crisis.  This is the purest example of denial, since rather than arguing policy, Republicans are now attacking scientists for daring to present findings that are too scary or require too high a cost to confront.  Al Gore was dead on when he called it an "inconvenient truth" - inconvenient psychologically for the masses and financially for certain vested interests.  But making jokes at Gore's expense will not be of much use to us as the oceans rise, the coral reefs bleach, the glaciers melt and polar bears become just a bittersweet memory.  And meanwhile, China is beating us on renewable energy, high speed rail and more.  It's a bleak situation that denial may make us feel better about, but can never solve.  
kindler :: The Party of Denial
-  The national debt:  This is the closest thing to a real issue that the right wing has.  Yes, the national debt is too big and is growing too quickly, as it has pretty consistently since the 1970s.  But the denial comes in when the right wing claims that the budget can be balanced while the government continues to cut taxes, shower trillions of dollars on the military, and protect every political interest that Republicans shield as fiercely as Democrats (farm subsidies, space exploration, etc.).  This is one issue area where I have to admit that Democratic politicians are largely in denial too - no one is showing the courage to present real solutions, which involve looking at such touchy issues as Social Security, Medicare, health care, taxes and military spending.  And it involves cutting off the subsidies to all the corporations sucking at Uncle Sam's teat - which is why they find denial on this topic to continue to be so useful.  Better to pretend that it can all be fixed by cutting benefits to seniors, the poor, the environment and other vulnerable parts of society.- The military-industrial complex: While the tea party rails against big government spending, the biggest government program of all, the military, gets a free ride.  As writers such as Andrew Bachevich and William Greider have demonstrated, our military has long ago gone well beyond any concept of "defense" - instead, we are playing world policeman at 761 bases in over 150 countries.  In denial, conservatives think the issue is whether we "support the troops" or not.  Well, of course, we pray for the safety of the brave young men and women put in harm's way.  But the question is whether we benefit from this vast projection of force and mind-boggling explosion of money (over half a trillion a year to the so-called Defense Department - but actual wars cost extra), or whether it is pulling us down the path that too many empires have faced, of overextension and decline.  A scary thought - pushing too many people toward denial rather than rational approaches to keep America genuinely strong and secure.
-  Immigration:  There are twelve million illegal immigrants in the US.  This is yet another one of these problems that has been crying out for leadership since...well, basically throughout my lifetime.  We all know that it is impossible, logistically, politically, ethically, and yes economically to kick them all out.  But our conservative friends refuse to consider anything along the lines of what they call "amnesty."  Which only leaves the non-solution of pretending we're going to round up and expel a dispersed group greater than the population of the L.A. metro area.  Denial rearing her ugly head again.
I could go on and on, of course, and I'm sure you can add many more examples.  But what's striking here is the pattern.  At a time when America, and the world, face so many enormous challenges, the Republican/Tea Party approach is to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it's the 1950s, "Father Knows Best" is on TV and everything we'll be all right if we just keep on doing what we've always done.
Psychologically, it's not hard to understand why so many people are in denial.  If you grew up in another time and see a vast array of changes around you (Gay couples getting married?  A black president?  Terrorist threats?), it's easy to get scared and want to fold up into the fetal position.
But that is the road to national extinction.  We need to look our problems squarely in the face, confront them and move on.  Sadly, if we allow Republicans to take over either house of Congress, all we will get is more denial, diversions and delays, rather than any actual problem solving.  Which is why we need to work like dogs over the next three and a half weeks to make sure that situation doesn't come to pass.  

Should a Democratic Delegate Have Attended the Virginia Tea Party Convention?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

(UPDATE: Mark Keam Has a bunch of thoughts on all this at his blog. I think he makes a few good points, but overall, we're just gonna have to "agree to disagree" (strongly) on this one. - promoted by lowkell)

Over at his Facebook page, Del. Mark Keam (D-Vienna) writes, "Spoke on a bipartisan panel on 'transparency in government' at VA Tea Party in Richmond. I'll write up my thoughts on my website tonight." To my knowledge, Del. Keam is the only elected Virginia Democrat to attend the Virginia "Tea Party" convention, along with numerous Republican elected officials - Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, Ken Cuccinelli, several others.  The question is, should a Democratic elected official, or Democratic candidate, be attending a "Tea Party" event?I checked with a few Democratic activists and long-time Democratic Virginia political operatives, and have their comments after the "flip." But first, for an "official" view, here's DPVA Chairman Dickie Cranwell:
State Democratic Party Chairman Richard Cranwell of Vinton said the GOP leaders' embrace of hard-line tea party activists raises questions about whether they can be consensus-building political leaders."What my basic instincts are telling me is that what you're seeing is the real Bob McDonnell, the real Bill Bolling, the real Ken Cuccinelli and the real George Allen, not the people who run around in campaigns and say, 'We're moderates,' " Cranwell said.
I strongly agree with Dickie Cranwell about the Republican elected officials. But what about Democratic electeds attending this event?  Let's see what some long-time Virginia Democratic activists and operatives think, after the "fold."UPDATE: I received an on-the-record statement from Gerry Connolly for Congress campaign manager James Walkinshaw (bolding added by me for emphasis). I couldn't agree more.
Democrats attending the Tea Party convention are merely allowing themselves to be used as props to create a false patina of legitimacy for what is in reality a radical right-wing organization dedicated to turning back the clock on progress.  Tea Party values are not Northern Virginia values, and moderate Northern Virginia voters do not want to see their leaders associated with it in any way, shape, or form.
UPDATE #2: Former Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair Peter Rousselot stated on the record that he completely agreed with the Connolly campaign's statement. Rousselot added that the Tea Party does not represent Virginia values anywhere in the state.
UPDATE #3: I received the following statement from the Jeff Barnett for Congress campaign.
I cannot speak to Delegate Keam's motivations for attending the tea party convention. I can say that he is a strong Democrat and a great public servant. Having spoken to a tea party group myself, I admire any Democratic politician who is willing to stand up for Democratic ideals and values in front of any group of Americans. The tea party platform is wrong for America. We lose ground to the tea party movement when we refuse to engage them instead of standing up for our values.

Arlington "Artisphere" Opens Its Doors

Yet another great reason why Arlington, Virginia is one of the best communities in the nation -- "Artisphere" has opened. Here's a bit of video from earlier this evening, at the facility's "open house," which continues tomorrow.
On 10.10.10, the first of a new breed of American cultural centers opens its doors to the DC region: ARTISPHERE. Combining the newly-renovated former Newseum space with the existing Spectrum Theatre next door, Artisphere's multi-disciplinary cultural offerings will permeate this 62,000 square foot cultural campus seven days a week, 12 hours a day, offering more than 100 events per month! A departure from the traditional "arts temple" one visits sporadically to see a big star, Artisphere is a true "third space" -- a place between office and home where the cultural experience is a multi-optioned conduit for patrons to connect with and create community. With a broader diversity of offerings than most traditional cultural centers. On a typical evening, you can finish up some work in the Wi-Fi cafe, take a break and view the exhibits in any of three galleries, then "tweet" some friends to join you later for an experimental film in the Dome, or dance to regional and nationally-known live bands in the Ballroom. The resident companies include Washington Shakespeare Company and National Chamber Ensemble; Artisphere will also include a retail outlet for the Artisan Center, Arlington's official fine craft purveyors, a Wi-Fi Town Square with a two story video wall, a cafe and bar, an outdoor terrace, and a 4,000 square foot art gallery.
A great new facility, in the old "Newseum" building right near Rosslyn Metro, it seems that there's going to be something for just about everyone at this facility. Check it out!

Andrea McGimsey Fights for Energy Efficiency in Loudoun County

Friday, October 8, 2010

Superb work by Loudoun County Supervisor Andrea McGimsey on making Loudoun County more energy efficient, creating jobs, saving money, and protecting the environment.
The possibility of losing the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, which supports projects and outreach efforts such as the ones outlined in the Loudoun County Energy Strategy, has mobilized local leaders across the country to petition the White House and Congress for support.
, launched the Energy Block Grants Climate Communities, a national coalition led by 15 local government officials, including Loudoun County Supervisor Andrea McGimsey (D-Potomac) Work! campaign on Capitol Hill last week to try to save the program…
The project that McGimsey found “the most exciting” involves applying integrated energy solutions to the Moorefield Station project — a 400-acre, mixed-use development in southeastern Loudoun — where the  waste heat from the development’s data center cluster will be recovered and used to heat nearby residences and businesses. Beyond the benefit to the environment, McGimsey said, the projects  save money, improve efficiency and create jobs. Calculations based on methodology provided by the Department of Energy show that the combined projects will create an estimated 70 private-sector jobs and save more than $125,000 in annual energy costs, she said. “I come out of corporate America. I’m a businesswoman, and I look at these energy issues as  being pro-business and also pro-environment,” McGimsey said. “If you save energy, you put that money toward the bottom line of your company.“
This is exactly what we should be doing in this country, and it demonstrates how badly we need leaders like Andrea McGimsey – people who “get it” on energy efficiency, by far the biggest “bang for the buck” when it comes to energy – in this country. Thank you, Ms. McGimsey, for your leadership in turning Loudoun “green!”

Chris Zimmerman Speaks "Frankly and Honestly" About "Secure Communities"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Last night at the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting, County Board Vice Chair Chris Zimmerman gave a powerful speech on immigration, and specifically on the program called "Secure Communities." Check it out.

Washington Post Blasts Cooch for Witch Hunt, Part II

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Washington Post nails it on this one.
The attorney general's logic is so tenuous as to leave only one plausible explanation: that he is on a fishing expedition designed to intimidate and suppress honest research and the free exchange of ideas upon which science and academia both depend -- all because he does not like what science says about climate change...What is this farce costing? To defend itself from Mr. Cuccinelli's investigation into the distribution of a $214,700 research grant, the University of Virginia has spent $350,000, with more to come, and that doesn't count the taxpayer funds Mr. Cuccinelli is devoting to this cause. Sadly, though, that's the smallest of the costs. The damage to Virginia's reputation, and to its universities' ability to attract and retain top-notch faculty and students, will not be easily undone.
Can we please impeach this lunatic before he damages 

Caps Practice at Kettler Iceplex in Arlington

The Washington Capitals start their season this Friday against the Thrashers. Hopefully, this will be the year they take home Lord Stanley's Cup. In preparation for that, the Caps are training hard at Kettler Iceplex in Arlington, Virginia. Here's some video from this morning's workout. Go Caps!

Krystal Ball Fires Back: "This is incredibly sexist...outrageous"

As you probably know, photos of Krystal Ball from a party several years ago, where she is "posing suggestively with a sex toy," are now all over the internet. For more, see NBC 12. Also, see after the "fold" for more video from the interview. Among other things, Krystal Ball notes that Scott Brown posed nude as a centerfold, and he's in the U.S. Senate. UPDATE: Ryan Nobles tweets, "get ready for the Krystal Ball national media tour. She is scheduled to appear on the @TodayShow later this week." Talk about making lemonade out of lemons! What will Krystal Ball's name ID be after this week? As high as Christine O'Donnell's nationally? Stay tuned! UPDATE #2: Ryan Nobles tweets, "Rob Wittman's campaign asking GOP bloggers to take down photos of his opponent, Krystal Ball circulating on the internet." I sure hope that's true.

Excellent Review of "Netroots Rising" by GMU Professor

Monday, October 4, 2010

Thanks to GMU history and politics Professor Priscilla M. Regan for her excellent review of Nate Wilcox's and my book, Netroots Rising, in the current edition of Public Administration Review. According to Professor Regan:
The most detailed coverage that Feld and Wilcox provide is for the two Virginia races-Tom Kaine's 2005 win of the governorship over Jerry Kilgore, and Jim Webb's defeat of George Allen in the 2006 senatorial race. Their analyses of how and why these two Democrats won in what traditionally has been a Republican state will be of great interest to political consultants and political analysts.
Yes, it was fun to write about the '05 and '06 Virginia races, and hopefully fun for you to read. If you're interested, check out the book and let me know what you think. For now, a few more excerpts from the book review are on the "flip." Enjoy.

Photos: "One Nation Working Together" Rally on the Mall

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I just got back a few minutes ago from the "One Nation Working Together rally on the National Mall.  I took some video of Ed Schultz's fiery speech and am uploading that to YouTube now. Other than that, here are some photos from the event.  I met some Democratic friends from NOVA, including the amazingMary Detweiler (who did more than almost anyone in 2006 to elect Jim Webb), at the rally, and we all thought it was comparable in size to the Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin event a few weeks ago.  By 2 pm or so, both sides of the Reflecting Pool were filled with people, the Lincoln Memorial was full so they weren't letting anyone else up there, and there were groups of people all the way to the Washington Monument. Among the groups participating were the NAACP, AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers, SEIU, the Sierra Club, and many others. A very diverse crowd - black, white, Latino, young, old, gay, straight, you name it - and a stark contrast from the overwhelming older, white crowd for Beck/Palin.P.S. Humorous anecdote: on the Metro ride in from Virginia, a guy from Texas wearing an NAACP tshirt asked which stop Foggy Bottom would be. I told him it was right after we went under the river, and he responded in (apparent) horror, "UNDER the river?" It turns out, he'd never been under a body of water before, so he was a bit nervous, but he made it nonetheless. He also told me he had been on a marathon bus ride from Texas, and was heading back right after the rally. Now that's dedication!

UPDATE: A bunch of excellent photos are available here.
lowkell :: Photos: "One Nation Working Together" Rally on the Mall