Wake Up, Virginia Democrats

Friday, December 31, 2010

by Dan Sullivan

Brian Moran denies the reality he represents an industry that preys on the unfortunate. He defends businesses promising outcomes that are highly improbable; betraying the goodwill and trust of the American people. As their agent, he facilitates what is de facto fraud. Where's the outrage from Virginia Democrats? Here's mine.
Benson Rollins wants a college degree. The unemployed high school dropout who attends Alcoholics Anonymous and has been homeless for 10 months is being courted by the University of Phoenix. Two of its recruiters got themselves invited to a Cleveland shelter last October and pitched the advantages of going to the country's largest for-profit college to 70 destitute men. - Business Week
What we have here, is a state party chairman who shamelessly defends an industry that dredges federal funds by trolling for the homeless and despairing in an effort to siphon entitlements and grants you and I provide in the belief they may rehabilitate fellow citizens. What is more worrisome than Moran's (and, thus, the DPVA's) vulnerability to criticism for hypocrisy (because it will be hard to find a Democratic candidate who will defend these thugs) in the next cycle, is that Moran may lead the Party lurching backwards. Recall: Brian Moran unabashedly supports Virginia's "Right-to-Work" laws. It all fits nicely: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  
Dan Sullivan :: Wake Up, Virginia Democrats
This is about the heart and soul of the Democratic Party in Virginia. This is a moral issue. It is an issue of character. It is a conundrum for progressives who expect camaraderie and common purpose when among Democrats. Accepting any of the rationalizations for the for-profit "educational" sector is contrary to logic, good sense, and fairness. Fairness: something that used to reliably separate the two major parties. The for-profit "educational" sector is filled with oxygen thieves and charlatans. And the Democratic Party in Virginia, by embracing Brian Moran's "leadership," stands ready to march rearward in league with the Republican Party, away from the values that once distinguished it.
"For-profit colleges took in $7.6 billion last year in Pell Grants -- federal higher-education money for low-income individuals -- more than triple the amount in 1998-1999, according to Education Department data. In the 2008-2009 school year, about 25 percent of the 6 million students who got Pell money attended a for-profit college, according to the department." - Bloomberg
Business Week points out that a real college education couldn't deliver the elusive promises of these vulturine predators. In one case a recovering crack cocaine addict who has served several prison terms for drug offenses was in a shelter and looking online for work when she saw an ad that led her to the Web site of for-profit school ECPI College of Technology based in our very own Virginia Beach. She applied, passed a placement test, and started ECPI's medical administration program last March. The mother of four is borrowing about half of the $23,000 tab from the federal government, with grants and scholarships paying the rest. ECPI officials are aware of her background. They "guarantee (her) a job in the field." That is simply not realistic. Her history is a red flag for health-care employers. But ECPI President Mark Dreyfus said she has a shot because not all employers check backgrounds and she could process records in a back office where drugs aren't accessible. ...because not all employers check backgrounds...; a threshold confession that her background is a barrier to employment in the field the "institution" accepted her for admission.

...schools see nothing wrong with reaching out to the disadvantaged. "We don't exclusively target the homeless," says Ziad Fadel, CEO of Drake, which also sends recruiters to welfare and employment agencies. "We are in a community that is low-income and happens to have a lot of people on welfare."
Brian Moran has the "right-to-work" for whomever he desires; family to feed, bills to pay, all that. That is not the issue. It is quite possible that he believes the drivel he delivers about for-profit "education." That further disqualifies him if he does, by the way. The issue is that if the DPVA can hold him up as a representative, it can accept the tarnish of his associations. If it can do that, it can betray any or all of its constituency.

In the end, Benson Rollins didn't succumb to Phoenix's hard sell. He is taking a class for his high school equivalency degree and hopes to study law enforcement in college. For now, he would like a job so he can pay child support for his one-year-old daughter, whom he rarely sees.The Phoenix recruiters, he says, failed to mention a critical point: He would have to take out a government loan at 5% to 7% interest to pay the $10,000-plus annual tuition. "I'm in a homeless shelter, and money is hard to come by," Rollins says. "It's not worth going to school to end up in debt."
The facts point to Benson Rollins being stronger, smarter, and truer to his values than Brian Moran. Or maybe Brian Moran doesn't hold Democratic values. Maybe the DPVA should invite Benson Rollins to Virginia.

Poll Results: What's With "Sideshow Bob" and Gay People?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Here are the results from our latest Blue Virginia poll, this time on the ever-important question of why Del. "Sideshow" Bob Marshall is so (unhealthfully) obsessed with All Things Homosexual. According to Blue Virginia readers, one thing is absolutely for sure: Marshall is not - repeat NOT! -  motivated by "careful study of the subject" or "concern for the health and welfare of society."  No, this is bad, no matter how you look at it. The only question is, in what specific way(s) is it bad? On that question, there was no majority, but there was a strong plurality, with 44% selecting the "repressed homosexuality/'closet case' syndrome option.Trailing significantly behind "closet case" syndrome were three other possibilities: 1) "all of the above" (20%); 2) "deep moral/religious beliefs about homosexuality" (20%); and 3) "pandering to his right-wing base" (16%).  I can't decide if "pandering to his right-wing base" is better or worse than some of the other options here. On the one hand, if Marshall's "only" pandering, then maybe he himself doesn't believe the insane s*** he puts out on this subject? In that case, of course, he's being a demagogue, stirring up bigotry for his own political gain, and that's even more heinous than actually believing in it himself. Alternately, perhaps Marshall both believes what he says AND is pandering to his right-wing base?  Either way, it's not good.
Perhaps the option which puts "Sideshow Bob" in the best light is that he has "deep moral/religious beliefs about homosexuality." The only problem with that one is, why would "deep moral/religious beliefs" about anything justify bigotry and hateful rhetoric? Also, I'd love to have Bob Marshall point to the passage in the New Testament where Jesus condemns homosexuality, homosexuals, transgender people, whatever. Oh wait, there isn't anywhere in the Gospels where Jesus condemns homosexuality or GLBT people? But then, where would Marshall's "deep moral/religious beliefs about homosexuality" come from, exactly? Perhaps the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, which also states that "every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death;" that "A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death;" that "he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death;" that "the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." Obviously, these are not laws we follow - or that most of us wish to follow - in modern civilization. Bob Marshall, on the other hand? Who knows...

Arlington Sun Gazette Now Reprinting GOP Blogs as "News"

by: TheGreenMiles

Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 10:04:36 AM EST

This morning the Arlington Sun Gazette website printed a "news" article that simply explains what an Arlington conservative blog posted as its best/worst of 2010. That's it. Doesn't do any additional reporting, or get reaction from anyone else, or even print what the blogger's name is. Ever have a friend tell you about a blog post they read? That's exactly what it reads like.Look, this is going to give Lowell an aneurysm, but I actually like reading Scott McCaffrey's opinions. He's been following Arlington politics long enough to have a great sense of the county's political establishment. I may disagree with 95% of his opinions, but I like knowing how the other side is thinking. And if nothing else, his stories about his cat never fail to crack me up.
But good god man, keep that stuff on the editorial page. Considering is bringing Arlingtonians news faster & in a vastly more visually compelling way, you'd think the Sun Gazette would avoid blurring the lines between its news reporting & its conservative opinions, which are so out of step with the Arlington community.
Who knows, maybe in the wake of the Sun Gazette's epically dumb scheme to tear down the wall between news & advertising, maybe that's part of the plan. As McCaffrey himse

Perriello on the NewsHour: "We Walk Away With Our Heads Held High"

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rep. Perriello most certainly should be walking away with his head held high, "very proud of what we did, and with a lot of respect even from those who disagreed with us in the district." Other highlights from the NewsHour interview: *"People had hoped perhaps for too much with us coming into power." *"At the end of the day, jobs trumps everything else." *We prevented an economic depression, but could have done "something bolder, to really reinvent America's competitive advantage...we didn't do that"...instead went with a "much tamer stimulus." *Virginia is "certainly not" out of Obama's reach for 2012. *"This [election] was not a mandate for Republicans." *People hoped for "an era of post-partisanship", what they're getting "is at best bipartisanship, and there's a difference" *"This tax deal, unfortunately, is an example of bipartisanship; let's take the goodies from one side and add them to the goodies from the other says 'what solves the problem'?" *"I was really shocked by the way the Republicans acted...when your country's on the verge of a crisis...the response from Republicans was, 'hey if this works, you're gonna get the credit; if it doesn't work, we don't want any part of it, that's not statesmanship, that's not engaging with the problems of our country...saw that in this campaign as well." *"We have real structural problems in our democracy right now." *Stimulus plan was supported by Chamber of Commerce, approach to energy was developed by first President Bush and supported by John McCain, health care proposal supported by Mitt Romney and Bob Dole's plan back in the day; this was an attempt to actually get beyond the old partisan divisions. *"It helps to have politicians who don't mind losing elections." *"I am not optimistic about the next 2 years in terms of the 2 sides working together; I certainly hope people will do some soul-searching." *"I'm interested in serving...the next 2 years are incredibly important."

A Few Good and (Really) Bad Bills Prefiled for 2011 General Assembly Session

Monday, December 27, 2010

As usual this time of year, Virginia legislators are gearing up - and prefiling legislation - for next year's session, which begins on January 12, 2011. Also as usual this time of year, there are some really good and really bad bills that have been prefiled by members. Here's a short list, a few good ones followed by some really bad pieces, legislation.On the positive side, there's HJ 543 by Del. Charniele Herring (D-46th), providing for a constitutional amendment that "{a}uthorizes the General Assembly to provide by law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies who have completed service of their sentences..." That seems like an obvious one that everyone should support, but something tells me Republicans will find a reason not to. Then there's SB 747 by Sen. Donald McEachin (D-9th), which "{p}rohibits discrimination in state employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or status as a special disabled veteran or other veteran covered by the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended." That one also seems like a no-brainer, except of course for the Bob Marshalls of the world, who will go ballistic that GLBT people can't be discriminated against. Finally, Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th) has prefiled HB 1488, which would prohibit the use of "restraints on any prisoner who is pregnant during labor, transport to a medical facility, delivery, or postpartum recovery unless...there is a compelling reason to believe that the prisoner poses serious harm to herself or others, is a flight risk, or cannot be reasonably restrained by other means." Again, that seems like a no-brainer, which probably means it won't happen.
Now, on to the bad, the ugly, and the truly heinous category. For starters, check out the following three "Sideshow Bob" Marshall (R-13th) specials: 1) HB 1398 (prohibits the governor "from enforcing any climate change international agreement until such agreement is part of an international treaty that has been approved by the U.S. Senate"); 2) HB 1397 ("Exempts any residential building or manufactured home in Virginia from being subject to federal "cap and trade" legislation if such buildings comply with the Statewide Uniform Building Code."); and 3) HB 1440 (makes "unborn children" the equivalent of "persons" under Virginia law). Then, there's our friend, Del. Dave "Abuser Fees" Albo (R-42nd) and his anti-illegal-immigrant crusade (HB 1420HB 1421 and HB 1430). Oh, and check out Del. James LeMunyon (R-67th) and his  call for a constitutional convention in order to propose an "amendment that permits the repeal of any federal law or regulation by vote of two-thirds of the state legislatures." Oh joy.
Anyway, those are just a few of the good and bad bills prefiled for 2011. I'm sure there will be a lot more of both coming soon, so stay tuned...