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Video: Teddy Roosevelt Believed GOP Should Offer Real Solutions to Real Problems

by: lowkell

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 15:10:02 PM EDT

From the superb Ken Burns series, The Roosevelts, I loved the following passage about Teddy Roosevelt as Governor of New York. Yes, TR was a Republican, but as the following passage makes clear, he was absolutely NOTHING like the Republicans of today. Regardless, TR was right then and he's right today: Republicans, and more importantly the country, would be far better off if they adopted TR's attitude towards government, business, the environment, etc., than the bizarre, warped, extreme positions they hold today.

P.S. I started off as a progressive Republican myself as a teenager, in the same line of thought as Teddy Roosevelt and many others (e.g.,  Bob LaFollette, Dwight Eisenhower, John Chaffee, Lowell Weicker, Jacob Javits, Nelson Rockefeller), but got the heck out of that party when I saw it taken over by supply siders (aka "Voodoo Economics") and theocrats back in 1980. Sad to say, Republicans have only gotten (much) worse since then. I'm 100% confident that Teddy Roosevelt would not be a member of the Republican Party today (nor would Abraham Lincoln, of course, or Javits, LaFollette, probably George Romney, etc, etc.).

Boss Platt feared the new governor harbored what he called "altruistic ideas," and was a little loose on questions affecting the right of a man to run his own business in his own way.  He was right. Roosevelt promised to consult Platt as he went along, but he had concluded that it was neither wise nor safe for Republicans to take refuge in what he called "mere negation." New circumstances demanded a new kind of reform - progressive reform. The Republican Party, he felt, should actually offer real solutions to real problems...the old natural laws of the marketplace were no longer adequate. Government, [Roosevelt] believed, needed to step in to tame the market's excesses and maintain necessary order. Wrongs now had to be righted through legislation as well as persuasion. Roosevelt intended to strike a balance between what he called "mob rule" and improper corporate influence...In less than 6 months, he secured passage of bills that taxed corporations, limited working hours for women and children, improved sweatshop conditions, created or protected forest preserves...
Discuss :: (4 Comments)

"We're Rural, Not Stupid" Part 4

by: pontoon

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 11:06:23 AM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

 This is the fourth letter in our series, "We're Rural, Not Stupid." Dominion held its first open house for residents last night in neighboring Augusta County, VA.  One attendee said, "At yet another table someone was asking about gas export. We pressed the brown shirt [the Dominion representative] who finally said Dominion just builds the pipeline." Tonight it's Nelson's turn to listen to the "experts" tell us how wrong we are.

Cheryl Borgman is a life-long Democrat who stands strongly against Dominion's Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  She has worked with Nelson Democrats consistently in the past in campaigns for local, state and federal candidates.  Cheryl has  canvassed, phone banked and done a lot of data entry.  She's one of the folks the local committee can count of the ones with the asterisk by their name, because they always say yes when asked to help.  This year, she feels differently.  She has sent her letter to the local Democratic Committee and to Democratic candidates seeking office in 2014.

Here's Cheryl's letter:

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 139 words in story)

Bob Goodlatte Working to Ensure a Major Tax Increase for Virginians on New Year's Day 2015

by: lowkell

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 10:11:29 AM EDT

A Republican politico emailed me A sharp rise in the gasoline tax fuels Goodlatte's interests, not Virginians' and suggested I write about it. As this person summarized the current state of affairs:
Basically, by virtue of holding Marketplace Fairness up, Goodlatte is guaranteeing a big, fat, regressive tax increase. He is also very possibly guaranteeing taxes on Internet access, which isn't something many people are fans of. All to keep online retailers from collecting and remitting sales taxes that are already due.
Why would Goodlatte do such a (crazy, stupid, ridiculous) thing? According to the Virginian Pilot's Roger Chesley, just follow the money. Specifically, "Goodlatte's sizable donations from Internet and computer companies," which combined with his actions (or perhaps one should say inaction) "suggest he's looking out for their interests - not Virginians'."

The commonwealth's 2013 transportation package, the first major overhaul of road funding in decades, shored up a crumbling system that needed more money. The state had repeatedly siphoned dollars from construction budgets just to keep up with maintenance.

But the package relies heavily on the collection of Internet sales taxes. Without that money, the state's gas tax will rise by 45 percent starting Jan. 1.

That's how Goodlatte & Co. can pretend to keep taxes low; they simply shift them from one person to another. In this case, they shift the tax burden from people who buy stuff on the Internet to folks who buy gasoline.

Clever, eh?  
There's More... :: (12 Comments, 254 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 06:39:50 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, September 16.

*Fixing Climate Change May Add No Costs, Report Says ("A global commission is challenging the belief that efforts to reduce global warming would carry a steep price." Another pathetic excuse for inaction bites the dust.)
*Republicans Unanimously Block Equal Pay Bill (Nope, no "war on women" here, move right along...snark.)
*Senate Update: Democrats Draw Almost Even. Is It The Money? (Maybe it's that Republicans are, uh, waging a war on women? See previous item.)
*Obama will seek phaseout of common chemical coolant ("The White House will announce plans today to phase out a widely used coolant said to be spurring climate change." Good, let's also phase out all other greenhouse gases.)
*U.S. military will lead $750 million Ebola fight (We need to address the root causes of this problem, including deforestation.)
*Report: Adrian Peterson Was Investigated In A Second Child Abuse Case (Why is a repeat child abuser being allowed to play in the NFL, and why isn't he in jail?)
*Giving Up on Goodell ("How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.")
*Kaine: Obama Must Get Congress's Backing for the Fight Against ISIS (Wonderful, except for a few things: a) Congress doesn't WANT to vote on this; b) Congress hasn't declared war since June 4, 1942; and c) Congress is completely dysfunctional, couldn't pass a bill to tie their shoelaces in a timely fashion.)
*Attorney General Mark Herring bolsters re-entry effort for Virginia jails
*Virginians likely to pay more at the pump come January (If you don't like it, blame Bob Goodlatte, who has let the Marketplace Fairness Act rest "unmoved in the House Judiciary Committee" for months and months now.)
*Foust reminds voters of Comstock's vote for 'transvaginal ultrasounds' in new ad
*Ryan Nobles Joins CNN Newsource as National Correspondent (The mass exodus from the Virginia press corps(e) continues...)
*McAuliffe and GOP offer plan for $2.4 billion budget shortfall (A serious plan would also look at the revenues side, not 100% at the expenditures side as this does. Of course, this approach will make Bill "ALEC" Howell happy, but other than that...not so much.)
*Tweet by Arlington Young Dems fuels attacks on Warner (Slow news day apparently! LOL. Seriously, though, this is NOT something a Democratic leader should be putting on social media, especially when it's not even true.)
*U-Va. student from Fairfax missing in Charlottesville
*Most livable cities? Arlington is No. 3
*Mayor's office mum on Marshall departure
*A win away from clinching NL East
*Splendid weather for the rest of week

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

"We're Rural, Not Stupid" Part 3

by: pontoon

Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 11:00:37 AM EDT

( - promoted by Dan Sullivan)

This is the third in our series of letters from Nelsonians relating their concerns about Dominion's Atlantic Coast pipeline.

Marion Kanour is an involved and active member of the Nelson community.  She was born and raised in Norfolk, served in the US Marine Corps for 4 years as an Aviation Supply Officer and has been an ordained Episcopal Priest for 21 years.  Marion currently serves as the Priest of Grace Episcopal Church, Massie's Mill, Nelson, VA.  She has a knack for seeing needs in our community and setting about to fill those needs.  As well as supporting many community groups (i.e, the renovation of a local baseball field), she has played an integral role in the creation of Nelson's Domestic Violence Task Force, as well as being the organizer of one of Nelson's anti-pipeline groups, Free Nelson.  She and her wife, Barbara Heyl, live in the Greenfield area of Nelson County.

Here's Marion's poignant letter:

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 319 words in story)

The Republican Party's Extraordinary Pattern of Destructiveness

by: Andy Schmookler

Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 11:54:45 AM EDT

The following is the second in a series whose purpose is to show what's gone wrong in our nation's political arena, and to help start the process of setting things right. The series is addressed to all those who are disturbed by what the Republican Party has become, and frustrated by the failure of the Democratic Party to combat it effectively.

Summary: In the conduct of today's Republican Party, we can see a pattern of destructiveness. It displays an insatiable lust for power and wealth, an impulse to prey upon the vulnerable, a preference for conflict over cooperation, a persistent dishonesty, and a willingness to sacrifice the greater good for selfish advantage. Putting the pieces together, we see that our national crisis is not just at the political level, but goes deeper to the moral and spiritual levels.

I have a message and a plan to help turn back this force. To succeed, it will need the help of many.

The Republican Party, I have said here, has been taken over by a destructive force. Time now to flesh out more of the picture showing the relentlessly destructive nature of what now animates the Republican Party:

It's a force that's insatiable in its lust for power and wealth.

    Even though we have the greatest income inequality that we've had in living memory, this force works continually to widen that gap still further. All their budgetary proposals would take from average Americans to give more to those who already have the most. As they protect those who have tripled their share of our national income, they cut food stamps to the most vulnerable Americans -- even at a time when jobs are scarce and even the middle class is struggling. In the realm of political power, this force has given us a Supreme Court that handed down that disgraceful decision in Citizens United, making it still easier for the nation's widening inequalities of wealth to be translated into inequalities of political power. With our government put up for auction, "All men are created equal" gets swamped by the Almighty Dollar. The Republicans have been working to turn our government from one "by the people" into one controlled by those giant so-called "persons" that make up the corporate world.
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1382 words in story)

Countdown to #MedicaidCharade: Still No Plan from House Leadership

by: lowkell

Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 10:27:11 AM EDT

From the Democratic Party of Virginia:

With special session only days away, Virginians are still waiting for Speaker Howell and the rest of House Republican leadership to show that they're even willing to consider a plan to expand Medicaid and close the coverage gap. Republican leaders have yet to put forward legislation to ensure that 400,000 Virginians have access to the healthcare they deserve – but they have wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars on political posturing.

Even as conservative Republican governors in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Wyoming have embraced expansion, Virginia House Republicans are willing to squander taxpayer dollars while hundreds of thousands of their constituents go without care. Bringing back lawmakers to Richmond without taking action is an expensive political charade, and Virginians just aren’t buying it.

And as House Republicans stay silent on a plan, editorial boards across the state are calling on them to change their tune.  

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 432 words in story)

"Conservatives" Want a Piece of Your Healthcare Money

by: Dan Sullivan

Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 10:06:48 AM EDT

RAM Dental Clinic Assembly photo DentalClinicAssembly_2_zpsb2bfb5d1.jpgThere's always a story behind the story and sometimes one belies the other. Remote Area Medical (RAM) is a godsend; make no mistake about it. But like any private sector organization, the transparency or accountability we demand from government is not always evident. Today's "conservatives" would never acknowledge that.

Watching and taking part in the transformation of a rural air terminal into expeditionary specialty clinics, dental and vision, is not an immersion in military precision. It almost can't be when much of the labor is borrowed. The effort resulting when organization is flattened results in stove-piping. The raw volunteers care about pitching in and recognize the limits of their ability to contribute to technical assembly of the equipment. There are enough seasoned volunteers that as long as the boxes and bags are lined up at their assigned places, they can readily and efficiently assemble and order materials; in their areas. The lack of organization and efficiency among the unguided volunteers is more than compensated for by their numbers and camaraderie. From pitching tents (probably the most organized effort), to setting up tables and chairs, to moving crates and boxes, the unbridled activity ends in mission accomplishment.

This is at the tactical delivery end. Strategically there is always another view that is masked by the appearance if not the reality of good intentions. My father had no time for the American Red Cross. After raging battles on isolated Pacific islands during World War II, the Red Cross sold donuts to the Marines and sailors ashore; the Salvation Army was there handing out goods gratis. Guess which organization he favored. My wife cannot turn down a request for a donation from Saint Jude's in Memphis despite having no clue who Danny Thomas was; it's those children. On the other hand, when I see anyone collecting donations to benefit our military service members or veterans, I challenge their credentials on the spot. I wasn't as discerning with RAM until I saw the DC-47 (a WWII DC-3 configuration) touch down in Lee County. After all, RAM had been endorsed via association by both of Virginia's United States Senators, our current Governor, and General Assembly members from both sides of the aisle.  

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 641 words in story)

Video: New John Foust Ad Rips Barbara Comstock for Supporting "Transvaginal Ultrasound" Legislation

by: lowkell

Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 08:42:27 AM EDT

Good ad, hopefully the first of many to call out Barbara Comstock for her extreme record on women's health and reproductive freedom, as well as a whole host of other issues.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 06:12:03 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, September 15. Also, I've finally gotten around to reading Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the 21st Century," am finding it fascinating (and highly relevant to political battles in this country over income inequality, fiscal policy, etc.), and thought I'd post this interview with the author a few months ago. Also note that the Roosevelts, who are the subject of a documentary by Ken Burns currently running on PBS, would almost certainly appreciate the data and conclusions of Piketty's book. Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? Not so much!

*This Is What's Truly At Stake In The Battle For Senate Control ("It's judicial and administrative nominations: who gets to be a lifetime-tenured federal judge, and who gets to run powerful government agencies.")
*Arab states offer air power against Islamic State
*Iraqi Leader Asks World Powers to Pursue ISIS in Syria
*The roughed-up American ("The Great Recession hurled incomes all the way back to the late 1980s and early 1990s. Median family income in 2013 was almost the same as in 1989.")
*Paul Krugman: How to Get It Wrong ("The great majority of policy-oriented economists believe that increasing government spending in a depressed economy creates jobs, and that slashing it destroys jobs - but European leaders and U.S. Republicans decided to believe the handful of economists asserting the opposite.")
*An absurd demand by the Air Force ("The Air Force's unwavering demand that a re-enlisting airman swear an oath "so help me God" is so comically unconstitutional that it should make Americans wonder whether the branch's brass is familiar with the document it's promised to protect.")
*Hillary Clinton goes back to the state that haunts
*In Weddings, Pope Francis Looks Past Tradition
*McAuliffe to release details on budget cut agreement (You know this won't be good.)
*Virginia income tax dependence cited in report ("The S&P report released Monday says Virginia is among the 10 states most reliant on income tax revenues." How about tax carbon -- and of course inherited wealth - and reduce income taxes?)
*Candidate Brat figuring out stance, message
*Was the sale of 815 acres by Fairfax City a fair deal or a raw deal?
*Portsmouth leaders running out of patience with auditor's delays
*Nationals beat New York Mets; magic number down to 4
*Possibly the best weather week of the year

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

"We're Rural, Not Stupid" Part 2

by: pontoon

Sun Sep 14, 2014 at 10:20:56 AM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

The second in a series of posts to Blue Virginia sharing letters from Nelsonians which outline their concerns, frustrations and determination to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  We hope from these letters, BV readers, our local, state and federal officials will begin to acknowledge and understand the validity of the arguments being made by residents of rural Nelson County. Our elected officials would allow a for-profit, privately held company, in this case Dominion Power, to encroach upon our lands and our way of life.  Nelsonians may live in a rural area, but are not stupid.  They are well-informed, knowledgeable and will not stop their efforts to shine a light on the issues that affect them.  Governor McAuliffe can hide in a restaurant rather than speak to protesters, some officials can vote against the best interests of their constituents, but Nelsonians are united in their fight.

Sherri Moyer Brooks and her husband, Nelson County Sheriff David Brooks are native Nelsonians and life-long Democrats.  Their property is in the path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Sherri and David received one of the dreaded letters from Dominion Power "asking" for permission to survey their property,  which also outlined Dominion could do so without their permission.  David recently asked the Warner campaign to remove his name from a letter Senator Warner sent out listing Sheriff Brooks as having endorsed him, when David had not.  You may read that story here.

Here is Sherri's letter:

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 220 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Sep 14, 2014 at 06:57:15 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, September 14.

*Scottish independence: More polls show slight lead for 'no' vote, ahead of September 18 referendum
*If Great Britain fractures, the entire world loses
*ISIS executes British aid worker David Haines; Cameron vows justice
*Sun and Wind Alter German Landscape, Leaving Utilities Behind (We should be doing the same thing in Virginia and across the U.S.)
*Kerry Scours Mideast for Aid in ISIS Fight
*How For-Profit Colleages Are Tainting American Education (They are a pox.)
*How the Catholic Church masterminded the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby debacle
*Francis Fukuyama's 'Political Order and Political Decay' ("Over the past few decades, American political development has gone into reverse, Fukuyama says, as its state has become weaker, less efficient and more corrupt. One cause is growing economic inequality and concentration of wealth, which has allowed elites to purchase immense political power and manipulate the system to further their own interests.")
*Politicians wait as water keeps rising (Actually, they're not just waiting, they're actually making matters worse by encouraging fossil fuel exploration and production.)
*Where's plan for health coverage? ("Gov. Terry McAuliffe's administration is pushing forward on initiatives designed to expand access to health care to the uninsured in Virginia. Those measures, though an improvement, are woefully inadequate to solve the problem.")
*McAuliffe, lawmakers reach deal to cut state budget (Unless this does things like restore Virginia's estate tax and its $140 million a year in  lost revenue, it's a bad deal.)
*Democrats try to balance environmental and business interests in Virginia (They're doing a horrible job of it.)
*Negotiate in good faith ("Special session on Medicaid will be futile unless lawmakers arrive eager to find common ground")
*Our view: Expand Medicaid ("Will lack of federal expansion dollars hurt hospitals and local economies? Yes, it will.")
*Officials tout bus system's potential impact
*Brat vows to stick to principles (That's what's scary about this guy -- his extreme "principles.")
*Charlottesville Pride Festival celebrates area's diversity
*Local Native American: 'It's so obvious' the name is racist ("Hey, Dan Snyder! If you're so sure Indians support your team's name, then come talk to some local ones.")
*Nationals vs. Mets: Desmond, Rendon and Harper lead Washington in 10-3 rout ("Magic number" now 6.)
*D.C. area forecast: A sunny Sunday with several nice days ahead

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Health Care in Kilgorvia; RAM comes to Lee County

by: Dan Sullivan

Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 09:58:37 AM EDT

Lee County Hospital photo 140912LeeCountyHospital_zpsc51ee543.jpgSpending just moments with Dr. Joseph Smiddy is a cascade of chilling water for those claiming faith in the American health care system. What a lot of people proclaim as the best medical system in the world isn't delivering for many with the greatest need right here in Virginia.

"It's not just that they can't afford any sort of insurance that might be available to them under the Affordable Care Act. It's that this is a horribly underserved region in terms of medical resources." - Henry Schuster, 60 Minutes producer (at 3:17)

Organizers of an expeditionary Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic just outside of Jonesville, Virginia expect something on the order of 600 patients today and tomorrow. This is the first of this kind of event in Lee County, set up in and around the airport that sits further west than Columbus, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan, far removed from Richmond. Sadly, this constitutes primary care for many residents. When I arrived yesterday as a volunteer, 22 hours before the first patient would be seen, there were already three carloads of people lined up to ensure they could get one of the specialty services. They know the routine.

Somehow Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City) avoids discerning scrutiny from his constituency. Even with all that tobacco money he is bringing home, many of those living in Virginia's poorest county rely upon the generosity of others for any health care at all. The county's only hospital closed about a year ago.

On September 30, 2013, the Lee Regional Medical Center closed its doors after serving the community for 70 years. With the loss of jobs and decreased access to medical care, the residents of Lee County have been deeply impacted by the hospital's closure. - Lee County Hospital Authority
There's More... :: (5 Comments, 633 words in story)

Dominion wants public searched!

by: pontoon

Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 09:03:53 AM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

In an attempt to restrict access by the public to Dominion's pipeline "open house" in Augusta County, Dominion has moved the "public event" to a private venue, Augusta Expo, at Fishersville after Augusta County Administrator Pat Coffield canceled the event at the Verona Government Center. A request by Dominion to search the public before entering the open house because of "safety concerns" was denied by Coffield.

The Augusta Alliance, an anti-pipeline citizens group, had planned a rally to be held outside the Verona Government Center to coincide with Dominion's "Open House" scheduled for Monday, September 15. The "Open House" was to begin at 4 pm for elected officials. In an interview by,

Coffield  stressed that the government center is a working government building where public business takes place. "This overlaps with our operations,'' he said of the open house. He also said when a public meeting is held in a public building it is not proper to search bags or restrict access.

The Tri-Cities story can be found here.

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 06:32:54 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, September 13.

*Some Ukrainians eye war as Kiev pursues peace
*The Ferguson farce ("Justice seems to be rigged already.")
*N.F.L. Stands By Its Leader ("What is far more likely is that Goodell will survive the calls for his ouster and go back to doing the one thing he truly knows how to do: Make money for his overlords, pro football's owners.")
*NFL embroiled in new domestic violence row (The NFL is about two main things: a) making money; and b) violence. Actually, throw in misogyny and make it three things.)
*Court OKs voter ID in Wisconsin (And the need for this is...??? Oh yeah, mythical "voter fraud.")
*Police: Zimmerman accused of threatening driver (Just remember, this guy was/is a hero to many on the right.)
*House candidates take chance to make their case to electorate
*Brat, Trammell to debate on shared home turf in 7th District race
*UVa board hears about sexual-assault prevention, response efforts
*Galanti to step down from state veterans services post
*Cities, counties associations ask McAuliffe to reconsider tax breaks, look at service delivery
*Arlington School Board appoints new board member ("Nancy Van Doren, former PTA president, will replace a board member who resigned last month.")
*Juror excused from McDonnell case could have changed trial's outcome
*Expected insurance cancellations latest fuel in Va. Senate race
*After 12 straight wins at Mets' home, Nationals fall in New York, 4-3
*Some showers travel through today ahead of an awesome Sunday

Discuss :: (3 Comments)
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