Video: Meet the Abortion, Sex-Obsessed Teapublicans Who Nominated Cuccinelli, Jackson, Obenshain

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thanks to Ben "Not Larry Sabato" Tribbett; here's some more fascinating video - which I've summarized with a few illustrative quotes - from the Virginia Republican Party Convention a few weeks ago. Just remember, these are the (extreme, sex-and-abortion-obsessed people) who nominated Ken Cuccinelli, EW Jackson and Mark Obenshain. After watching this video, I think you'll understand why they did! *"I'm not a big fan of contraception, frankly...pretty soon I guess we'll hand [morning-after pills] out to babies." *"Millions and millions of babies that are being murdered, slaughtered." *"These are people who chose to take human life for a living..." *"It's the abortion issue, it's the mass slaughter of innocent children that I believe that EW and Cuccinelli as well are against." *"One thing...would be to ensure that there's never any funding for Planned Parenthood or for any type of family planning clinics in Virginia...I think that's something, if we do elect a Republican Lt. Governor, we would be able to perhaps get that through." *"...our state is very supportive of the foundation of marriage being between one man and one woman." *"EW truly Obama's worst nightmare." *EW Jackson is "not offended by color issues." *"Northern Virginia ought to be cut off from the state."

Two Virginia Republican Women Blast Cuccinelli, Jackson, Obenshain: "This is the worst ticket EVER!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I just got off a conference call with former Republican and Independent Delegate Katherine Waddell, and former President of the Virginia Federation of Republican Women Jan Schar, responding to yesterday's Politico article, Ken Cuccinelli suggested Planned Parenthood is racist. As that article reported, Cuccinelli "made reference to Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, who's sometimes accused of racist motivations for building clinics in low-income and black areas of the country."Actually, Cooch didn't just make "reference" to Sanger, he specifically endorsed the crazy conspiracy theory regarding "Margaret Sanger's letters about the Harlem Project, and what she wanted to do," namely placing "abortion clinics" in African American neighborhoods - for nefarious ends (e.g., "eugenics"). What I find particularly fascinating - and outrageous, unacceptable, crazy, etc. - is how similar Ken Cuccinelli's rhetoric is to his running mate E.W. Jackson's, both in terms of the crazy conspiracy theories, and also in suggesting that women's health care provider Planned Parenthood is somehow a racist organization!
On the conference call, former Delegate Waddell (R/I) decried Cuccinelli's "dangerous...anti-woman health agenda."  According to Waddell, we haven't even "scratched the surface of how extreme Ken Cuccinelli is." She says it make "absolutely no sense to accuse Planned Parenthood of being a racist organization; it's an organization which brings much needed health care to many." "But then again," Waddell added, "nothing about the Republican Party these days makes any sense." Waddell said she's "completely embarrassed and mortified by the Republican ticket of Cuccinelli and Jackson," asking, "What are they thinking?" In Waddell's view, "This is the worst ticket ever."
The bottom line, in Waddell's view, is that Ken Cuccinelli's and EW Jackson's "outrageous conspiracy theories about Planned Parenthood...[are] not a mainstream position within the Republican Party, nor is it something that Virginians want their next governor to make a priority." The problem is, "Cuccinelli and Jackson will leave no stone unturned in their mission to take constitutional rights away from women...even if it means resorting to racially insensitive fear mongering."  In the end, according to Waddell, we "simply cannot and will not allow these men to take control of to the government of Virginia."
Jan Schar said she was "extremely disappointed that the Republican Party of Virginia has seen fit to nominate three candidates of such extreme ideology...[with] a preoccupation with things that are not important to Virginians on a daily basis." Schar added that although she's been a Republican for years, "I simply cannot support them," as they'd "end a woman's right to make her own health care choices, including access to birth control." Even worse, Schar continued, "to think that they'd attack Planned Parenthood, which does so much good for women in Virginia" (e.g., mammograms, cervical cancer checks, "all forms of women's health care")..."to call them a racist group is simply beyond the pale and hopefully will frighten Virginians from voting for them."  As with Waddell, Schar warned: "This team of three would take us back to their ideology," they "won't leave their political ideology at the front door of the Attorney General's office...or the Governor's office." She concluded that all this "concerns me greatly," and that "I know so many Republicans who just can't support [this ticket]."
Let's hope.

"Can You Still Win an Election If You're Against Gay People?"

Monday, May 27, 2013

Can you still win an election if you're against gay people? It's an important question for Virginia this year.
... "Even those people who are, based on their faith, against homosexuality, they do not want someone who is going to legislate based on hate toward any group," said Mo Elleithee, a Democratic consultant and a veteran of Virginia politics. "It is disqualifying. Nothing else he says is ever going to be heard."The campaign for lieutenant governor is a good test case in a purple state, but it's not perfect. Jackson, who is black, also compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan and suggested that President Obama holds a Muslim worldview-meaning that he'll not only be labeled antigay, he'll also be labeled as an extremist. Some Republicans continue to believe that although he faces a daunting challenge, Jackson could still win. And Republicans and Democrats agree that even if Jackson, whose invective personally maligns the gay community, loses in November, opposition to gay marriage will still remain politically viable.
Also note that Ari Fleischer, who was George W. Bush's press secretary, tweeted, "Jackson's antigay slurs are indefensible." The question is, are there enough Virginia Republicans and independents who will refuse to vote for an ant-gay bigot in the year 2013? If so, then that pretty much eliminates not just EW Jackson, but also his ticketmates Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Obenshain (note the Human Rights Campaign called this ticket "rabidly anti gay," and they're right). Regarding Cuccinelli, there's a massive amount of evidence that he's a homophobic bigot. For now, I'll just quote the Virginian Pilot, which wrote that Cuccinelli:
...declined to commit to a nondiscrimination policy against gays and lesbians observed by former Attorney General Bob McDonnell: "My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong. They're intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law based country it's appropriate to have policies that reflect that... They don't comport with natural law. I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society."To put it politely, Cuccinelli's election would bring embarrassment to Virginia, instability to the state's law firm and untold harm to the long list of people who don't fit his personal definition of morality.
Yep, that just about sums it up.Finally, as for Mark Obenshain, he walked out of the chamber rather than vote on Judge Tracy Thorne-Begland's confirmation, simply because Thorne-Begland is openly gay. Also, Equality Virginia gave Obenshain a ZERO rating in 2012, and an also abysmal 25% rating in 2013. Any further questions about this anti-gay ticket from hell?

Dems Fighting Over Guns...In 2009 and 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And in the case of Virginia Democratic, statewide primary candidates fighting over guns, the saying certainly applies. Thus: Four years ago, almost to the day, we had Moran Hits Deeds Hard on GunsMoran Calls Deeds' Gun Views "Very Extreme" and McAuliffe Goes Off On Deeds and Guns. Ah, the good ol' days. :)And today? Well, I just received not one but TWO mailers from the Aneesh Chopra for LG campaign, calling out Ralph Northam for gun votes he's taken. See here and here for one of those mailers. I also received an email this morning from "Mathews County School Board Member, Member of the Democratic Party of Virginia First Congressional District Committee, former Mathews County Democratic Committee chairman, Democratic activist, and small business owner, Jen Little," announcing "today that she is pulling her endorsement of Aneesh Chopra for lieutenant governor due to direct mail pieces distributed by the Chopra campaign that depict Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk) as a supporter of the NRA, thus a supporter of gun violence."
My view on all this? Three points. First, primaries are about choices, and it is totally legitimate - I'd actually argue that it should be the core of any campaign - to inform voters both of your positions, as well as how they differ from one's opponent's votes on important issues. Second, in doing so, I believe those "compare and contrast" ads need to be accurate. In the case of Chopra's ads, you can check Northam's 2012 votes on SB4 ("Castle Doctrine"), HB22 (gun buy-back programs), and SB67(concealed handgun permits/fingerprinting requirements) for yourself. My main issue with Chopra's ad is that the "Castle Doctrine" is not the same thing as "Stand Your Ground" laws (although one could argue that they are related), and I personally wouldn't have brought up the Trayvon Martin case in this context. Other than that, though, I see no problem with pointing out someone's actual votes on the issues (or, in Northam's case, if he wants to point out something from Chopra's record when he worked for the Kaine and/or Obama administrations). Finally, I believe that the chips will fall where they may in this exchange; ergo, if Democratic primary voters don't agree with Sen. Northam's votes, they will probably be less likely to vote for him. On the other hand, if Democratic primary voters mostly agree with Northam's votes (or feel that Northam's views on guns have shifted more to their liking in recent months), or if they don't feel strongly about the votes, or if they believe that Chopra's campaign has been too "negative" or whatever, it could backfire on Chopra and actually help Northam (and note that the Northam folks have been responding vigorously, using surrogates like Sen. Barbara Favola and also their own email list, so they clearly see this as a threat).
In the end, I have no idea how this will play out, but I guess we'll find out in two weeks. Stay tuned!

Winners and Losers: RPV 2013 Convention

This is not a comprehensive list, just a few "winners" and "losers" that jumped out at me from the Republican Party of Virginia's 2013 convention a little over a week ago (feels like an eternity, though, doesn't it?). Enjoy!Winners
1. Whoever wins the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor (Aneesh Chopra or Ralph Northam). With the RPV convention picking lunatic/extremist EW Jackson, it now looks like whoever gets the Democratic LG nod should cruise to victory in November.
2. The rest of the Democratic ticket. Bottom line: Republicans just nominated an extreme ticket that is far, far out of the mainstream of Virginia public opinion on issue after issue. Frankly, if we can't beat these wackos, it will only be because we run incompetent/inept campaigns. Because the fact is, Republicans just handed Democrats a huge gift, on a silver platter, and all that good stuff. Now we've got to take advantage of it.
3. The 8,041 (down to something like 4,745 by the last ballot) hard-core right wingers who got their way at the convention. Of course, the victory might very well be a pyrrhic one, but for the time being, it's still a victory.
4. Teiro Cuccinelli. I'm told that her ad was aired over and over at the convention as time filler when the "organizers" (using the word very loosely) couldn't get their act together.
5. John Fredericks. His predictions may have been way off (see "losers" on the "flip"), but I'll give him tremendous credit for live broadcasting the entire convention, filling the air entertainingly for hours while pretty much nothing happened, and for being enjoyable to listen to even if I didn't agree with him.
6. Ben Tribbett. Not only did he provide astute, accurate analysis and predictions on John Fredericks' broadcast, he also conducted a bunch of video interviews, had a camera crew shooting video of the speeches, and basically set the gold standard for how to cover a state party convention.  
lowkell :: Winners and Losers: RPV 2013 Convention
1. Rob Bell: Yeah, he lost. But he BARELY lost to Mark Obenshain, even with the last-minute endorsement by Ken Cuccinelli of Obenshain.
2. Mark Obenshain: Yeah, he won. But he BARELY won, even with the last-minute endorsement of Ken Cuccinelli. To put it mildly, not exactly a show of strength among core party activists. "Meh" at best.
3. Bill Bolling: He's got to be laughing his butt off about this, as he was 100% correct that the results of a convention would be disastrous. Do moral victories count in politics? Well, Bill Bolling still won't be governor, but it's quite possible that his hated rival, Ken Cucinelli, won't be either.Losers
1. Ken Cucinelli. Whatever he hoped to gain coming out of this convention, it looks like it didn't work. Since then, media coverage has been focused almost totally on the insanity and extremism of EW Jackson - and to a lesser extent, Mark "Make Miscarriage Illegal" Obenshain. Now, the question for Cuccinelli is whether he can get back to his variant on Bob McDonnell's 2009 strategy, which was to focus on jobs and the economy, even with two outspoken wackos on the ticket with him. Good luck with that, I guess, but meanwhile, Virginia Democrats are savoring every minute of it!
2. Tom and Jeannemarie Davis. I never understood why they thought that formerly liberal/moderate Republican Jeannemarie had a snowball's chance in hell of winning at a convention composed of the hardest of hard core right wingers. I figured that Tom Davis was an astute political analyst and must know something I didn't know. Instead, it was a total debacle. Not only did Jeannemarie get humiliated, she then endorsed the lunatic EW Jackson - the candidate who's arguably furthest from her ideologically - apparently out of spite. In sum: no clue, no class, no political future for the Davises.
3. Democracy. As I wrote in my live blog of the convention: "pproximately 8,000 Republican delegates now voting to nominate their LG and AG candidates. To put that in perspective, in June 2009, Democrats saw 319,168 voters turn out in their primary for gov, LG, and AG. In 2005, Republicans had 175,170 voters turn out in their statewide primary. So, by moving to a convention, Republicans have reduced the number of voters selecting their nominees by about 95%. Congratulations, guys, that's real dedication to democracy and grassroots politics right there! (snark)"
4. Pete Snyder: I was thinking about putting Snyder in the "mixed" category, but Ben Tribbett's post on the crazy/absurd amount of money Snyder spent ($644.48 per vote; the equivalent of around $30 million to win 50,000 votes, as Aneesh Chopra or Ralph Northam will need to win the Democratic primary on June 11) convinced me to move him to "loser" status. Also, the bottom line is that despite all that money (who knew bbq could be so freakin' expensive?!?) he spent, Snyder lost the nomination to loony-tunes EW Jackson, who spent 9% as much money per vote as Snyder. Great bang for the buck there by Snyder, huh? (not) Making matters worse, there was a LOT of controversy coming out of the convention concerning who did what exactly in terms of (claimed) endorsements in the closing minutes (specifically, Snyder was reported to have claimed an endorsement by Corey Stewart, which Stewart responded to by parading around the convention with EW Jackson, hands raised in the air). Still, Snyder is (possibly) alive politically, obviously hoping - not completely without merit - for a total EW Jackson meltdown that forces him from the ticket, one way or the other. At that point, Snyder would probably be on the short list to replace Jackson. At least, Snyder hopes that's the case...
5. RPV Chair Pat Mullins. Seriously? That's the best you could do organizing a convention? The thing starts an hour late, there aren't enough machines to read ballots, and you end up with interminable (and inexcusable) delays for hour after hour, as nearly half the delegates - bored out of their minds, restless, throwing paper airplanes around the convention center - say "we're outta here" before the final ballot. Then, you end up with the nomination of a complete freak as your LG candidate. Total, spectacular #FAIL on all levels.
6. Bob McDonnell. Weighed down by scandal, he couldn't even manage to get his hand-picked heir apparent nominated for governor, as they had agreed to in 2009. Then, he was widely criticized at the convention for his transportation package, which right wingers see as a massive tax increase, sellout of wingnut principles, blah blah blah. Finally, the nomination of EW Jackson reduces McDonnell's chances of even seeing a Republican succeed him as governor. Not a good day for Bob McDonnell, all things considered - and certainly not how he ever wanted this to play out.
7. Republican bloggers' and commentators' convention predictions. Let's start with the final Bearing Drift "Big Line" forecast for Lt. Governor. Go down that list: they were wrong, and in many cases wildly wrong, on just about everything. Let's start with the one they got right: Steve Martin, who was eliminated in the first wrong. The problem is, the other candidate eliminated in the first round was Jeannemarie Davis, who Bearing Drift predicted would "have a strong showing this Saturday." Suuuuure...I guess if you define "strong" as getting unceremoniously booted in the first round of balloting. On the other end was the prediction that Pete Snyder was the front runner, by a wide margin. Instead, in the first round of balloting, Snyder finished fourth, behind Corey Stewart. With regard to Stewart, Bearing Drift had him barely ahead of Steve Martin, having supposedly just completed the "most poorly run campaign in VA history." Instead, Stewart made it into the final three, just barely behind Pete Snyder (both Stewart and Snyder were wayyyy behind EW Jackson). Oh, and with regard to Jackson, Bearing Drift had him just 1 point ahead of Jeannemarie Davis, and behind both Scott Lingamfelter and Pete Snyder. Nice job.
Let's not just pick on Bearing Drift, though, as conservative radio talk show host John Fredericks' predictions were off base all day regarding the LG race. Basically, Fredericks kept arguing that there was NO WAY that EW Jackson would get more than 50% of the vote (wrong!). He also kept stating that Ken Cuccinelli didn't want Jackson and would/should throw his weight behind Pete Snyder. So much for any of that. Note that Fredericks was mostly conducting this argument with Ben Tribbett, whose predictions were highly accurate (he basically called it for Jackson way before the end) the entire day. Also, remember that right-wing pundits and bloggers were the same people who were confident that Mitt Romney and George Allen would win last November. Heck, Pete Snyder and his closest blogosphere allies were predicting that wildly false outcome (as were Dick Morris, Karl Rove, etc.) up until the last minute. Must have been those "skewed" polls, huh? ;) are President Romney and Senator Allen doing these days? LOL
P.S. Why anyone who denies overwhelming scientific and empirical evidence would be taken seriously about anything - on any subject - is beyond me.

Video: Del. Brink, Del. Hope Mock Cuccinelli over "Liberty Pie", Opposing Public Swimming Pools

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sorry for the rough audio quality at times; the wind was blowing hard at Upton Hills Park in Arlington this morning, and it messed big time with my built-in mic.'s a partial transcript of what Delegates Bob Brink and Patrick Hope had to say this morning about Ken Cuccinelli, the "liberty pie," and his opposition to public swimming pools and recreation facilities on this Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Del. Brink:
Now, not everybody looks forward to this weekend as much as we do. For Ken Cuccinelli, this weekend is not about being able to cool off at the local pool, it's the threat to liberty that he believes public pools pose. That's right; the Republicans have nominated a candidate for governor who looks at a public pool and doesn't see a fun place for his kids to hang out in the summer. As we learn from his book...he sees tragic government overreach that..."crowds out private business" and "shrinks the liberty pie." Now, we might find it a little nutty that somebody would think public pools are a threat to liberty, but it's...the same mindset led Ken Cuccinelli to write in his book that Social Security and Medicare are "goodies that bad politicians created to make people dependent on government"...Now, don't think that Ken Cuccinelli is against the use of government power across the board. Unfortunately, the only times Ken Cuccinelli seems interested in the power of government is when he can use it to force his agenda into Virginian's personal lives. Government power was ok with him when he bullied the Virginia Board of Health into passing regulations that threaten to close women's health clinics across the Commonwealth...and when he tried to bully our state universities into doing away with policies that protect gay and lesbian students and staff from discrimination. So here's the Cuccinelli rule: it's ok to use government to intrude into personal lives, in order to threaten, in order to intimidate. But if government provides a place for people to enjoy themselves on a hot summer day, it's a threat to the liberty pie. So this weekend as Virginians head to public pools...we hope they'll consider for a moment what kind of governor they want for them and their families. And I hope they'll join use in helping to keep Ken Cuccinelli from becoming the Grinch who stole summer.
Patrick Hope:
...Virginians across the state will flock to swimming pools just like the one behind me, and community centers...Public pools are a safe place for kids to enjoy the summer away from school. Communities rely on facilities just like this one, and we see it as a public good. But not Ken Cuccinelli. In his book...Cuccinelli attacked public pools such as the one here, saying they are a threat to private pools and that they make the liberty pie somehow smaller. I guess he would rather see only those with country club memberships to have access to swimming pools... I think we may be seeing a glimpse of just how Ken Cuccinelli, if elected governor, will pay for his plan to cut taxes. You see, by shifting the tax burden over to localities, he may force them to only fund essential services...Virginians are smart enough to see through these kinds of policies that aren't about the public good at all or what's in the public interest; it's apparently what's in Ken Cuccinelli's interest. I don't want to turn Virginian into a state only where those who can afford it...[can] have access to our swimming pools...Enjoy the summer, enjoy the safety and security that are offered by your local swimming pools, while you still can.
P.S. Major Arlington local media #FAIL on this one; I was the only reporter there (although at the end of the statements, someone from Channel 4 finally showed up, said a reporter was coming in 1/2 hour). No Sun Gazette, Patch, etc. WTF? And they wonder why the traditional media's not doing so well these days?

Video: Close Cuccinelli Aide, RPV Treasurer: "I'm not a big fan of contraception, frankly"

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A few things you need to know as you watch this fascinating NLS interview (great job by Ben Tribbett, by the way...can't wait to see what else he came up with at the RPV freak, convention). First, Bob Fitzsimmonds is not some random guy, but the treasurer of the Republican Party of Virginia who served as Ken Cuccinelli's legislative aide in the Senate for most of Cuccinelli's time there, and who is still a very close ally and adviser to Cuccinelli. Second, following President Obama's reelection this past November, Fitzsimmonds wrote on his Facebook page, "When Obama is 90 years old and he dies and goes to Hell, he is going to say 'This is all Bush's fault.'" At the time, DPVA Chair Brian Moran said, "Taking to Facebook to muse on the death of the President of the United States and whether or not he will go to hell is well below the standard of conduct Virginians set for their public officials and political leaders." Finally, note that in the interview, Fitzsimmonds says a few...uh, "interesting" things. And again, keep in mind that this guy is a VERY close adviser to Ken Cuccinelli (and would be powerful in a Gov. Cuccinelli administration). 1. Starting at 7:45, Fitzsimmonds starts ranting about sex education and "the spread of STDs." He claims that "HIV's kind of hard to catch, abortion happens if you get pregnant, but we're on the trajectory for 50% of the American people to have herpes...and that is a profound not only health but sociological crisis that's facing this country, and it's not even as prevalent as HPV." Fitzsimmonds adds, "we have a disease [HPV] out there that's killing women more than HIV is, and we don't even talk about it." Hmmm...actually we do talk about vaccinating young people against HPV (see this video of Del. Patrick Hope, for instance) but isn't Cuccinelli against that? 2. Starting at 9:10, Fitzsimmonds claims, "We have an entire generation of children who are in their teens, 50% of the ones that are sexually active have an STD...we never lived with this kind of crisis; so I think we absolutely have to address that, and I think Ken will do it." Alrighty then. 3. Starting at 11:50, he talks about his 501c(3) waiting for approval from the IRS; "it doesn't say 'Tea Party" in the name, but it does say 'Christian abstinence.'" Yep, that's apparently Fitzsimmond's big thing: "Christian abstinence." Is that what the people of Virginia want in their governor? I guess we're going to find out. 4. Starting at 13:30 he says, "I'm not a big fan of contraception, frankly...I think there are some issues with giving morning-after pills to 12 year olds, and pretty soon I guess we'll hand them out to babies, I don't know." Giving out morning-after pills to babies - hahahahaha, very funny. That WAS meant as a "joke," right? Wow. By the way, these are just excerpts, I encourage you to watch the entire video. It's an eye opener into Ken Cuccinelli's thinking, and to use Fitzsimmond's words in a different context: "it's chilling, it's scary."

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Executive Director, Sen. Mark Herring Blast Obenshain's Miscarriage Bill

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The following videos (here and on the "flip") are from last night's NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia forum in Alexandria. The following videos are of NARAL Executive Director Tarina Keene and Virginia's next Attorney General, State Senator Mark Herring (with a sterling 100% pro-choice record), blasting GOP Attorney General nominee Mark Obenshain's 2009 proposed legislation to essentially criminalize miscarriages (forcing women to report them within 24 hours, have police come out to the woman's home, take a report, and investigate the "evidence"). As Keene put it, Obenshain's bill would have made "every woman of reproductive age as a suspect." Keene also reminds everyone that Obenshain's "ridiculous" legislation was first introduced back in 2005 by Del. Cosgrove, who withdrew the bill after a tremendous backlash (including by fellow Virginia progressive blogger Maura Keaney). Apparently, Mark Obenshain - with his pathetic, ZERO rating on choice - never learns. Sen. Herring added that what Obenshain (who "has a long record of anti-choice legislation") did with the miscarriage bill was "fundamentally wrong," and that "with him as Attorney General, you could expect a lot more of that and we can't let that happen." So true. P.S. It was also good seeing Senator Adam Ebbin and former Senator Mary Margaret Whipple there last night.

Videos: THIS Is the Lunatic Virginia Teapublicans Just Nominated for Lt. Governor!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

This guy isn't just Tea Party, he's...well, watch the videos! My god. P.S. Also see E.W. Jackson: Gays and Lesbians are 'Very Sick People Psychologically, Mentally and Emotionally', E.W. Jackson: Pro-Gay Rights Liberals 'Have Done More to Kill Black Folks' than the 'Ku Klux Klan', and E.W. Jackson: Democrats Have an 'Agenda Worthy of the Antichrist', just to get a flavor of where this guy's coming from.

Live Blogging the Virginia Republican Freak, Convention

I'm not sure how much of this I can stand, although on one level I suppose that circus freak shows can be entertaining. I guess three-headed dogs, bearded ladies, etc. are simply not my cup of tea. But that's what we've essentially got going on today in Richmond today - the political equivalent of a circus freak show, but with potentially dire consequences for Virginia instead of relatively innocent fun. If you want to follow along, the John Fredericks Show has an audio streamgoing (Fredericks is a total right wingnut, and his co-host is a notorious climate science denier, but unfortunately I don't believe there's any other game in town if you want to listen to the convention). Currently the RPV is playing "Superstition," which somehow seems appropriate for this anti-science and anti-rationality crowd). You can also follow the Twitter feeds of Ben Tribbett, who's there today covering it (and commenting on John Fredericks' show), Washington Post reporter Ben PershingWashington Times reporter David SherfinskiVirginian Pilot reporter Julian WalkerWAMU reporter Michael PopeChelyen Davis of the Fredericksburg Free Lance-StarDGA Communications Director Danny KannerJulie Carey of NBC4, as well as by checking out the Twitter hash tag #RPV2013. Enjoy! (or more likely, not)UPDATE Sunday 12:03 pm: For completeness purposes, I wanted to pass along what Ben Tribbett wrote on his Facebook page about the end game lat night. "Here's what happened. Corey Stewart told Pete Snyder he endorsed him. Pete put out flyers. Corey pulled endorsement to humiliate Pete right before final vote and destroy Pete's credibility before final vote. Nominee: E.W. Jackson." Verrry interesting.
UPDATE 10:32 pm: By the way, just gotta point out that Ben Tribbett TOTALLY called this, while John Fredericks was TOTALLY wrong in saying there's no way EW Jackson would win.
UPDATE 10:18 pm: Pete Snyder withdraws his candidacy, endorses EW Jackson for LG. My god...
UPDATE 10:14 pm: Julian Walker tweets, "BRKNG: Looks like @JacksonForLG is your winner. @petesnyder just walked out of @rpvconvention hall." Nice.
UPDATE 10:10 pm: Ben Tribbett reports that Pete Snyder is NOT the nominee. Which, of course, means that EW Jackson is! Ha. Also, both Democratic LG candidates are out with statements already, blasting EW Jackson. Aneesh Chopra says, "Jackson is far more extreme than Ken Cuccinelli -- which is quite a feat." He's also fundraising off of this already! :)
UPDATE 9:55 pm: @LarrySabato tweets, "I'm told Jackson has won. Snyder campaign's phony endorsement ploy backfired on them."  John Fredericks is saying this is a "nightmare," that Republicans are toast in 2013.
UPDATE 9:52 pm: Ben Pershing tweets, "Sources: @CoreyStewartVA was going to stay neutral. Got upset by fliers saying he backed @petesnyder, backed Jackson instead."
UPDATE 9:37 pm: Del. @GregHabeeb tweets, "Just cast my 4th and final ballot. My prediction for final result...EW Jackson 54.5 Snyder 45.5." And @MoElleithee tweeted, "So you know those expensive electric fans @petesnyder was distributing at #RPV2013? Guess what just hit them..."
UPDATE 9:26 pm: Rep. Connolly's Chief of Staff @JamesWalkinshaw tweets, "Looks like #rpv2013 going with the "Obama is a Muslim" ticket. Strong move..." LOL
UPDATE 9:18 pm: Whoa, now Mark Obenshain tweets, "Unfortunately there are flyers circulating that erroneously state that I have endorsed a candidate for LG." Yowza!!!
UPDATE 9:16 pm: Ben Pershing tweets, "Wow. Snyder people claimed endorsements from both Obenshain and Stewart, both not true. Wheels coming off." You know, when I said this morning that this was a "freak show," I never could have dreamed how much of a freak show it could become. Well, now it has. Holy. Crap.
UPDATE 9:11 pm: Whoa! Corey Stewart walking around with EW Jackson (see photo at right), that could do it! Did Pete Snyder claim the Corey Stewart endorsement wayyyy too soon? Sure seems like it. John Fredericks having a meltdown about the Tea Party destroying the part, "tiger by the tail," etc. LOL
lowkell :: Live Blogging the Virginia Republican Freak, Convention

Who the Heck Would Praise Ken Cuccinelli as "One Of The Nation's Most Innovative Policy Makers?"

Friday, May 17, 2013

UPDATE 10/25/13: I've updated this post, given that Ferrara is now leaping to Ken Cuccinelli's defense. Extremists of a feather flock together...Earlier today, I ran across an op-ed in Forbes magazine entitled Ken Cuccinelli Emerges As One Of The Nation's Most Innovative Policy Makers. I was astounded, couldn't imagine how anyone could write such a thing, as it's laughably, demonstrably false to the nth degree. In fact, Ken Cuccinelli is an uber-Tea Partier, as well as a tool of polluters and other powerful interests. And, of course, there's absolutely nothing "innovative" about him, except perhaps the extent to which he's managed to distract voters from his extremism sufficiently for them to elect him. Now THAT is innovative! LOL
Anyway, I was curious who the author of this bizarre op-ed (Peter Ferrara) was, since the only identification provided on Forbes is the unhelpful, vague line: "I cover public policy, particularly concerning economics." So, to "Teh Google" we go: who is Peter Ferrara exactly? Here are a few highlights from his Wikipedia entry:
*At age nine, he was "transfixed while watching television as Barry Goldwater stormed the 1964 Republican National Convention." That was the convention where Goldwater uttered the infamous line, "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice...moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." That was Goldwater's political philosophy, and it's Cuccinelli's as well, nearly 50 years later. Goldwater, by the way, went on to lose in a landslide of epic, historic proportions. We can only hope the same thing happens to Kookinelli this year in Virginia.
*"His senior law school thesis evolved into the debut hardcover publication by the libertarian Cato Institute in 1980,Social Security: The Inherent Contradiction." Ferrara's big idea back then: privatize Social Security. Ferrara himself called it "the craziest idea in the world," and he was certainly right about that at least!
*He "founded the Virginia chapter of Club for Growth," a radical, anti-government group which has "more than 9,000 members, dominated by Wall Street financiers and executives."
lowkell :: Who the Heck Would Praise Ken Cuccinelli as "One Of The Nation's Most Innovative Policy Makers?"
*He "took money from erstwhile lobbyist Jack Abramoff to write op-ed pieces favorable to Abramoff clients." As if that's not bad enough, "Ferraradid not disclose which pieces he was paid to write, but Business Week noted that he wrote favorable articles in the Washington Times about the Northern Marianas Islands and the Choctaw Indian tribe, both Abramoff clients.)" That's about as sleazy as you can get. No wonder he's supporting the corrupt right wingnut Ken Cuccinelli.*"In April 2011, Ferrara became senior fellow for entitlement and budget policy at The Heartland Institute." What is the Heartland Institute? Well, it spreads climate science denial, for one thing, including running "a digital billboard ad campaign in the Chicago area featuring a photo of Ted Kaczynski, (the 'Unabomber' whose mail bombs killed three people and injured 23 others), and asking the question, 'I still believe in global warming, do you?'" Also, "In the 1990s, the Heartland Institute worked with Philip Morris to question the link between secondhand smoke and health risks." The group is funded by the ExxonMobil, the Koch brothers and other right-wing groups with strong ties to polluters. Yes, the Heartland Institute's as scum suckingly bad as they come.
*He has advocated for years that we should privatize Social Security.
*He has compared gay marriage to bigamy and polygamy.
*Earlier this year, he wrote an insane article called President Obama's Plan for A Socialist One Party State.
*He claimed that Failure To Raise The Debt Ceiling Will NOT Bring About Federal Default.
So, that's the type of person who would praise Ken Cuccinelli as "One Of The Nation's Most Innovative Policy Makers." Translation: "If Cuccinelli's Elected Governor, He'll Do Our Bidding and Make Us Even Richer than We Already Are - Bwahahahahaha!" Sound good to you?

Video: Pope Francis Condemns Basically Everything the GOP Believes on Economics, Government

Thursday, May 16, 2013

During an address to foreign ambassadors to the Vatican, Pope Francis had VERY strong words regarding capitalism having created a "tyranny," and about the need for countries to "impose more control over their economies and not allow 'absolute autonomy, in order to provide 'for the common good'." Pope Francis added that "while the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling," and that "the worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal."  He declared, "I encourage the financial experts and the political leaders of your countries to consider the words of St John Chrysostom 'Not to share one's goods with the poor is to rob them.'"In sum, Pope Francis just condemned pretty much everything Republicans - aka, the "I've got mine so screw you!" party - believe in when it comes to the economy, while endorsing pretty much everything progressives believe in on economic fairness and social justice. Now, of course progressives don't agree with the Pope on issues related to sexuality and women's rights, but when it comes to economics, I'd say we're all singing from the same sheets of music. As for Roman Catholics like Ken Cuccinelli, apparently he disagrees with the Pope - and with the teachings of Jesus Christ, as well - on caring for the poor, the stranger, the naked and the hungry. I'm not sure what Cuccinelli bases that on, exactly, because it certainly couldn't be clearer in the Gospels.
By the way, while we're on the subject of Ken Cuccinelli disagreeing with his own church on fundamental issues of his faith, how about environmental protection, which Pope Benedict - the "green Pope" - made an important part of his papacy? Itappears that Pope Francis is following in Benedict's tradition on "lov[ing] and car[ing] for creation." In stark contrast, Ken Cuccinelli comes from the "drill baby drill," slash-and-burn, Koch brothers wing of the Republican Party. That's his right, of course, but yet again, Cuccinelli is directly opposing the leadership of the highest leaders of the Roman Catholic church. I'm not sure how Cuccinelli reconciles that, but of course this is a guy who talks to his toy elephant, dabbles in "birtherism," and who believes the government uses Social Security numbers to "track" us, so why expect him to start making any sense now?

Bill Bolling Announces "Virginia Mainstream Project," Highlighting How Extreme Ken Cuccinelli Is

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I'm not sure it was Bill Bolling's intention to highlight how OUT of the mainstream Ken Cuccinelli is - just 3 days before the Republican Party of Virginia nominating convention, no less - but this sure does the trick.
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling today announced the formation of the Virginia Mainstream Project. The Virginia Mainstream Project is a state-based political action committee that will focus on electing mainstream Republicans to public office and promote responsible policy solutions to the most important challenges facing the Commonwealth.Lieutenant Governor Bolling stated, "I'm proud to announce the creation of the Virginia Mainstream Project.  As I've said many times over the past several months, there is a growing need in the Republican Party in Virginia to recruit and elect mainstream, conservative candidates to state and local office and promote responsible policy solutions to the most important challenges facing Virginia. The Virginia Mainstream Project will work to address these issues while encouraging bipartisan cooperation and compromise on the major issues facing the Commonwealth.  I am excited about this opportunity to continue to serve Virginia and remain actively involved in the public debate."
What's interesting is that Bill Bolling is very conservative by almost any standard. In fact, it's difficult to think of almost any issues where Bolling differs substantively from the theocratic, government-despising, tinfoil-hat-wearing wing of his party. The transportation bill, which Bolling supported but Cuccinelli opposed because it violated Cuckoo's sacred oath against ever raising a penny in taxes, is one. Other than me. Still, Bolling by nature doesn't tend to despise government or take absolutist positions on things, but seems to want to actually get stuff done. I know, what a concept for the absolutist/purist wing of the party.Anyway, I for one am happy that Bolling will be a conservative, Republican voice out there highlighting how crazy Republicans like Cuccinelli, Mark Obenshain, Pete Snyder, and Corey Stewart truly are. As an added bonus, hopefully Bolling will suck up a little money that would otherwise go to the crazies.
Finally, perhaps (if we're lucky) Bolling might help to encourage a serious schism within the Republican Party of Virginia, between the traditional pro-business Republicans and the Pat Robertson/John Birch Society wing that we see with the Cuccinellis, Obenshains, and Snyders of the world. Can Bolling lead the Republican Party of Virginia back from tinfoil-hat extremism to sanity? Doubtful, but I'm glad to see he's going to take a shot at it.

Prof. Michael Mann: "Real honor" to endorse Mark Herring for AG for his "brave stance" on climate

Monday, May 13, 2013

From the conference call a few minutes ago, here's what Sen. Herring and Professor Michael Mann had to say. Bolding added by me for emphasis. This makes me very proud to be supporting and consulting for the Herring for Attorney General campaign!Sen. Herring:
The reason I asked you all to join on the call today is because I think it's important to talk about the incident that happened a few years ago in which Ken Cuccinelli led a witch hunt against Dr. Mann. This is important...first of all, it was one of two incidences early in Cuccinelli's term that made me really start to consider running for Attorney's a clear example of what the wrong person with the wrong priorities who wants to push an extreme agenda can do in this office, and why it's important that we Virginians elect someone who will put people first.It is a crystal clear example that Ken Cuccinelli will disregard the law, disregard education, disregard research, disregard a professor, and disregard the reputation of both one of the finest institutions in the state - UVA - and the state as a whole, all to push his own extreme ideology.
I think Dr. Mann's work is important, I believe in science, and believe that climate change is man made, and leaders need to start stepping up to the plate to address this problem. I also believe the Office of Attorney General is about problem solving and not politics. It should be about helping to keep Virginians safe, and not push an extreme agenda.
But that's not what Ken Cuccinelli has done, and that's not what the clones lining up to replace him believe. They are willing to use the office for scoring political points with the most extreme, right-wing faction of the Republican Party. And they believe that if you don't agree with someone, you can just sue them and tie them up in litigation. That's not the type of Attorney General I'll be. I'll get the politics out of the office and put the law first.
See the "flip" for Professor Mann's statement, including his strong endorsement of Mark Herring for AG, based on the "brave stance that [Herring] took very early on, when my colleagues and I at the University of Virginia were subject to what the Washington Post called a witch hunt by the Attorney General."

Dr. Mann:
Well, it's a pleasure to be supporting Senator Herring. He was, in fact, one of the very first politicians who came out to defend me and the University of Virginia several years ago when Ken Cuccinelli engaged in this assault on us, on the University of Virginia, and on the scientific establishment in general...What [Cuccinelli] did was completely unacceptable. Many have called it an abuse of power. It was an effort to discredit me, to attack me, through using a loophole of Virginia law to issue a civil subpoena based on the claim that because my...research on climate change and his view that the science of climate change is somehow fraudulent...
This was an excuse for him to go after me, to go after the University of Virginia, it cost taxpayers in the state presumably hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars to pursue this witch hunt. That's money that could have been better spent in dealing with the very real work that has to be done to help Virginia adapt to climate change...the threat of sea level to Virginia's coast line, to the naval fleet in Norfolk (the national security community is very concerned about that).
There are real things, important things that we could be doing, and that Virginians could be doing, and that their politicians could be helping them with. But instead, Cuccinelli went on this partisan witch hunt in an effort to discredit me and my science, because he doesn't accept the reality of climate change even though it is the overwhelming consensus of the world's scientists that climate change is real. Just the other day we passed 400 parts per million CO2 in our atmosphere for the first time in millions of years.
And, so, it's a wake-up call that this is a real problem. We need to do something about it. We need a good-faith, honest debate among our policymakers about how to contend with this problem. But we can't continue to bury our heads in the sand, as people like Cuccinelli would like to do. So, like I said before, it's a real honor to be endorsing and supporting Senator Herring, because of the brave stance that he took very early on, when my colleagues and I at the University of Virginia were subject to what the Washington Post called a witch hunt by the Attorney General.

James Lander Reelected to Arlington School Board, 1,144-1,097

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I just got back from the Arlington County School Board Democratic endorsement caucus. The election was extremely close, with incumbent James Lander edging out Barbara Kanninen by 47 votes out of 2,241 cast (click on the image to "embiggen"). I'll have video and photos shortly. Congratulations to James Lander on his victory, and also to Barbara Kanninen for running a strong, positive campaign. UPDATE: Here's a statement from the Arlington County Democratic Committee:
JAMES LANDER WINS DEMOCRATIC ENDORSEMENT FOR ARLINGTON SCHOOL BOARD Arlington, VA – Earlier this evening, by a vote of 1144 to 1097, School Board Member James Lander was selected as the 2013 Democratic endorsee for the Arlington School Board. The vote was held over a two-day caucus on May 9 and May 11. Lander will run for re-election to the Arlington School Board as the Democratic Party’s endorsee in November. Lander and Arlington County Democratic Chair Mike Lieberman issued the following statements regarding the vote: James Lander: “This campaign has been a tremendous opportunity to re-connect with Arlington voters. I appreciate Barbara Kanninen’s spirited and well run campaign, and I thank her for her work to engage the voters of Arlington on the important issues facing our schools. I am humbled to have another opportunity to be the Democratic endorsee for the School Board, and I hope to continue my service to the students and families of Arlington.” Mike Lieberman: “James Lander has been a strong voice for Arlington’s students in his four years on the board, and today’s vote is an affirmation of his record. We are proud to again have James representing us as our Democratic endorsee in November, and we will be working hard to ensure he has four more years on the School Board. I also want to thank Barbara Kanninen for running a thoughtful and energetic campaign, and giving Arlington voters a choice of two superb leaders.”
UPDATE #2: Barbara Kanninen's statement: "Congratulations to my opponent James Lander on winning a hard fought, positive election. Thank you so much to all of my volunteers and supporters for your help, ideas and kind words of support. I hope you all stay active in our schools, community, and the political process."

Audio: Bill Bolling on Why He's Not Going to the GOP Convention, Why Cooch's Tax Plan Won't Work

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

This afternoon, on the Coy Barefoot Show, Bill Bolling talked about not going to the Republican Party of Virginia convention, and once again criticized "these closed conventions" as "effectively disenfranchis[ing] hundreds of thousands of Virginia Republicans from participating in the process of nominating candidates." In addition, Bolling made it clear yet again that he's "unable to lend my public support to the presumptive Republican nominee for governor." Bolling also criticized Ken Cuccinelli's - as well as Terry McAuliffe's - tax cut proposals. According to Bolling, it's "always good politics" to promise tax cuts, but in Cuccinelli's case, his proposal would "blow about a $1.4 billion hole in the state budget by cutting the state income tax and corporate income tax." Bolling continued, "nobody ever talks about how they're going to make that money up...what are you going to do to keep localities whole, or to keep the state whole, are you just going to expect people to further cut funding for education and transportation and health care?" Good question! On the Star Scientific and Governor's mansion "chef" scandals, Bolling called it a "mess." He asked why Cuccinelli didn't report the gifts he received, and wondered whether Virginians would accept his "answer" that he "just forgot." Secondly, Bolling says the "bigger question is whether or not [Cuccinelli's] office had a conflict of interest in becoming involved in the tax dispute between Star Scientific and the Commonwealth, given the fact the AG owns stock in the company and was receiving these types of personal gifts from the president of the company." In the end, this has "served up an issue for the Democrats to use against Mr. Cuccinelli in the campaign that they would otherwise have not had." Yes, it most certainly has! Meanwhile, speaking of Ken Cuccinelli, if you can stand listening to him (which I can barely do), click here for Coy Barefoot's interview with him this afternoon. Among other things, Cuccinelli said Bill Bolling's decision not to attend the Republican convention wasn't "noteworthy." Uh huh. Cooch also went out of his way to praise Bolling's efforts on "job creation," obviously trying to court Bolling, now that he needs him. Gotta love politics, huh? In other news, Coy Barefoot asked Cuccinelli why he thought he had jurisdiction in the Governor's Mansion chef/embezzlement case, and why it wasn't the Commonwealth's Attorney in Richmond's responsibility? Cuccinelli said it was a good question, but never really answered it, just talked around it. Cuccinelli once again said he didn't report the Johnnie Williams' gifts because, well, "I forgot." Uh huh, riiiight. Barefoot then asked Cuccinelli if the Governor's Mansion chef could use the same defense - maybe he just "forgot" to tell anybody about a couple of cold cut platters, since it's common to take leftovers home. Cuccinelli tried to say it was totally different, because the chef was essentially taking state money, and that what Cuccinelli did was simply not report a private gift. Yep, that's our "straight arrow" Attorney General. Heh.

Video: Bill McKibben's Sermon at The Riverside Church - "God's Taunt"

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

This is absolutely brilliant, I strongly recommend that everyone watch founder Bill McKibben's sermon delivered on April 28 at the Riverside Church in NY City, on the topic of climate change. I particularly would hope that climate science deniers and "skeptics" like Ken Cuccinelli would listen to people like Bill McKibben, as they are a gazillion times smart, more knowledgeable, and wiser than those fools - and tools of the fossil fuel industry - are. Here are some excerpts from McKibben's brilliant, inspiring sermon:
...Rather, Job has to answer as all mortals did up until our time, because all of a sudden we've gotten rather large. Our first sense of that sudden change in stature came with the detonation of the first atom bomb at Alamagordo in the New Mexico desert. J. Robert Oppenheimer, watching the mushrooming cloud, quoted from the [Bhagvad Gita], from the Hindu scripture - "We are become as gods, destroyers of worlds." But the images of those blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were enough to persuade us, so far at least, to go no further down that path, thank god. We could imagine the horror of those titanic explosions. We, so far, have NOT been able to adequately imagine the effect of the explosion of billions of pistons in billions of cylinders every minute of every hour of every day, but those explosions are wrecking the earth just as surely and almost as fast as nuclear war. Consider that, so far, human beings have burned enough coal and gas and oil to raise the temperature of the planet 1 degree Celsius...the energetic equivalent of exploding 400,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs every day...enough energy so far to melt the Arctic...We've taken one of the largest physical features on earth and we've broken it, and with the others not far behind. The oceans are now 30% more acidic...The atmosphere itself, because warm air holds more water vapor than cold, is now 5% wetter than it was 40 years ago, which loads the dice for drought and for flood... ...This is the largest social justice issue that we have ever faced...When I started this work, one of the things I'd always heard was that environmentalism was something for rich white people who had taken care of their other problems, and if you worried where your next meal was coming from you wouldn't be an environmentalist. What we found as we worked around the world is exactly the opposite. Rich people tend to feel themselves immune from these changes. Most of the people that we work with around the world are poor and black and brown and Asian and young because that is what most of the world consists of. And what do you know, those people care as much about the future as anybody else, maybe more, so because if you are poor in this world right now, the future bears down harder on you than it does on anybody else...
...As I've said, so far we've raised the temperature one degree but the same scientists who told us that would happen have shown quite clearly that that one degree would be 4 or 5 by century's end unless we act very swiftly to get off coal and gas and oil. And the larger question is why aren't we doing that? Why aren't we trying to make ourselves somewhat smaller? Why aren't we following, say, the lead of Germany, the only major country that's really pursued renewable power at an appropriate pace? There are now more solar panels in Bavaria than there are in the United States. There were days last summer when Germany generated more than half the power it used from solar panels within its borders and this is Germany. Munich is north of Montreal. Think what a country could do if it had, oh, I don't know, Florida or Nevada, Texas or California or Arizona to work with! But we don't act; and for a particular reason-- one that will be clear to those who are used to reading the Gospels. Our richest people don't want to act because it would reduce their wealth somewhat. The fossil fuel industry is the one percent of the one percent, the richest enterprise in human history. Exxon made more money last year than any company in the history of money. There are far more eminent theologians than me in this room; I'm not a theologian at all. But it is my firm belief that these companies have more money than God. And so far, they have been able to deploy those funds in political ways to make sure that nothing ever changes. They have bought, in our nation's capital and many others, a 25-year bipartisan effort to accomplish nothing... ...It's not that Americans are addicted to fossil fuel; most of us would be just as happy if our power came from the sun and the wind, if our cars ran on electricity. The addicts...are the folks who run the fossil fuel empire, addicted to profits so great that they turn away sorrowful from the knowledge that they're wrecking the future... ...The man who runs...[Exxon] finally admitted for the first time last summer that global warming was real and caused by carbon emissions. But, he said, it was an engineering problem with engineering solutions. Asked what he meant, he explained, "If we need to move our crop production areas, we will"...Crop production areas are what most of us call farms, and we already have them...The Exxon CEO made plain the reason for his unwillingness to change in a second interview a few weeks ago with Charlie Rose who asked him his philosophy...He just looked at the camera and said, "My philosophy is to make money." ...[The fossil fuel divestment movement] is designed less to bankrupt the industry - we can't do that - but more to take away their social license, to keep them from being able forever to overpower science with money and with political favor. If it's wrong to wreck the climate then it's wrong to profit from that wreckage. And to say that out loud is an important first step in dealing with the problem we find ourselves in... ...The arc of the physical universe is short and it's bending toward heat, and doing it very rapidly. If we don't win this fairly quickly, than we will not win this at all. We've waited a long time to get started; the momentum of physics is very large. Having lost the Arctic, we have no room for complacency...
For more on Bill McKibben's heroic - and growing - divestment movement, please click here. And make sure your college, town, city, county, state, etc. get on board right away. The planet to save might very well be your own! h/t: Down with Tyranny

Jen Rubin's Top Ten Quotes About Ken Cuccinelli's Extremism

Sunday, May 5, 2013

by Aznew

Lowell noted in a recent diary how one of the Commonwealth's right wing blogs was beginning to argue that Ken Cuccinelli was actually not that extreme.While on its most basic level, this assertion seems to me to say more about the intellectual depravity of Conservative thought in modern America, to the extent that it argues that President Barack Obama, a slightly left-of-center Democrat, is a raging Socialist who is too liberal for an American public that elected him President twice, while the antediluvian Mr. Cuccinelli, who once remarked that he would not get his newborn child a Social Security Number because it is used by the government to track you throughout your life, is somehow a mainstream politician.
The idea, of course, is absurd. Lowell nonetheless took the opportunity to provide us with  twenty-five examples of Mr. Cuccinelli's extremism, , and even at that level apparently did not come close to exhausting all the available evidence.
Regardless, I suspect we'll hear plenty more of this nonsense as the summer wears on and the GOP attempts to recast Mr. Cuccinelli as an acceptable choice for a more moderate Virginia.  Indeed, based on the poll released last night by the Washington Post, this effort will become more desperate as more people start paying closer attention to the race and Mr. Cuccinelli's record. According to the Post, Terry McAuliffe "does far better among those very closely tuned in than he does among those yet to pay much attention."
The GOP game plan won't break new ground. Unable to defend Mr. Cuccinelli's record substantively, they will blame the messenger. Look for them to argue that Mr. Cuccinelli's reputation as an extremist is simply the result of the typical liberal propaganda enabled by a liberal media.
So, I thought I might take a look at how other conservatives view Mr. Cuccinelli in terms of how extreme he is or, in their view, isn't.
A bona fide Conservative like, say, Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post's "Right Turn" blogger.
Here, then, on the flip are the top ten Jennifer Rubin quotes about Ken Cucinelli's extremism:
aznew :: Jen Rubin's Top Ten Quotes About Ken Cuccinelli's Extremism

Video: Romney's Speech to Southern VA Univ. Congratulates "Class of 2012," Goes Downhill From There

Saturday, May 4, 2013

This speech, Romney's second public speech since he lost the 2012 election, demonstrates yet again why we are all SO fortunate that he DID lose that election. The fact is, the guy simply has no conception of - or respect for - the world most people live in nowadays. A few examples from this speech reflect a lot of what's wrong with social conservatism, which in turn makes up a significant chunk of the off-the-deep-end Republican Party. First, after erroneously congratulating the Southern Virginia University - a liberal arts school which "embraces the values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" - "class of 2012" (once again, appropriately, a right winger clinging to the past...), Romney launches into a speech that is relentlessly anti-modern, as well as relentlessly intolerant of anyone who doesn't think like him, and relentlessly clueless about today's reality. For instance, at around 1 minute in, Romney makes a big joke about how it's tough for parents to get their kids out of the home these days. In reality, of course, it's not so funny, especially when you consider that the right-wing economic policies (austerity, cuts to the social safety net, disinvestment in education and other crucial human and physical capital, opposition to universal health care, the economic "race to the bottom," equating corporations with people, encouraging wealthy people - and corporations - to pay the absolute minimum in taxes, crony capitalism run amok, offshoring/outsourcing, etc.) that Romney and his party support not only contributed greatly to the "Great Recession" that began in 2007, but have prolonged it and worsened it. And that, to a large extent, is why young people these days aren't getting out of their parents' houses as quickly as they'd like to -- because Republican economic policies keep squeezing the middle class, keep making the poor poorer, and keep enriching the already super-rich. That's the world Romney sees, and he thinks it's just hilarious! Second, it's one thing of Romney personally wants to have a "quiver-full of kids" (he actually uses that exact phrase). Fine, that's Romney's own "lifestyle choice," to use the phrase right wingers use about LGBT people and others they don't approve of. To each his own, I suppose (although I'd also note that the world would benefit greatly from the population NOT increasing any more, and that the LAST thing we need is for 7 billion people to all have a "quiver-full of kids" and explode that population to 14 billion, 21 billion, whatever, when we're already far beyond the earth's carrying capacity). The biggest problem, though, is that Romney mocks the very concept of NOT getting married young, of NOT having that "quiver-full of kids" while you're in your 20s, etc. Thus, according to Willard, if you don't do that, you're "living in the shallows." Let me quote the jerk directly:
Getting married is one way of launching into the deep. I'm so glad I found Ann when I was still so young; combining your life with another person, particularly someone when men and women are as different as we are, this combination is extraordinarily challenging and enormously rewarding. Some people could marry but choose to take more time, they say, for themselves. Others plan to wait until they're well into their 30s or 40s before they think about getting married. They're going to lose so much of living, I'm afraid. From the beginning of recorded time, the prophet Adam told us this life secret: "therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife." Marriage is a gift from god. Now, some may dismiss the council coming from the Bible because it comes from a book that they've discarded...
OK, OK, enough of this nonsense, scorn, straw men (that last comment in particular), and reactionary rubbish. As Mother Jones explains, this is insidious stuff, part of something called "the Quiverfull movement" ("Children are a heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them"), which "has become almost synonymous with an absolutist rejection of all forms of contraception or family planning, and an embrace of what believers describe as 'biblical patriarchy.'" In that nightmarish, Handmaid's Tale-style worldview, offspring are viewed as "'arrows' in a divine army," while the adults "follow rigid gender roles in the home, where men are the spiritual leaders and women the submissive helpmeets." In addition, the strong subtext here is that anything else other than Romney's approved way of life - homosexuality, for instance, or simply a decision not to get married young, not to have a "quiver-full" of kids, etc, etc. - is a really bad thing, a violation of divine law, not to mention a waste of your life, "shallow," and selfish. Again, let me emphasize: if you want to have a "quiver-full" of kids, that's your choice. I personally believe the world has plenty of people, that we're wildly overloading the planet's carrying capacity, and that it would behoove us all to think VERY carefully about that in our decisions about procreation. But that's just my personal view; I'm not trying to impose it on anyone (nor do I have any power to do so, nor would I ever want such power). In stark contrast, Romney and the theocratic wing of the Republican Party - from Rick Santorum to Ken Cuccinelli - DO want such power: the power to tell women what they can and can't do with their own bodies, the power to outlaw abortion and in many cases contraception as well, the power to make homosexuality and other "alternate lifestyles" as difficult as possible (given their belief that those "lifestyles" are abhorrent and against the Bible). In sum, Willard "Mitt" Romney perfectly reflects the worldview of right-wing, theocratic, social conservative Republicans: absolutist, intolerant, judgmental, reactionary, and wildly at odds with how most people live their lives - or WANT to live their lives - in the modern world. All I can say is, thank god Romney wasn't elected president. Let's just make d*** sure nobody like him ever is!

Videos: Arlington County School Board Debate

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Arlington County School Board incumbent James Lander and challenger Barbara Kanninen shake hands after delivering their closing statements before a packed room at the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting earlier this evening. Also see the "flip" for videos of their closing statements. I'll upload more videos when they're available. Bottom line: they both did fine, nothing particularly heated as far as I could observe, basically a civil discussion about the future of public schools in Arlington. What a concept! :) Oh, and don't forget to vote next Thursday (7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Drew Model School) or Saturday (11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Washington-Lee High School) in the Arlington Democrats' endorsement caucus. Lander and Kanninen discuss standardized testing... Barbara Kanninen delivers her opening statement. James Lander delivers his opening statement.