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Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 06:56:45 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines,  political and otherwise, for Tuesday, October 21.

*Americans don't have a constitutional right to vote - it's time for that to change
*FLASHBACK: When Conservative Media Didn't Care Bush's Bird Flu Czar Had No Medical Experience (In case after case, Republicans were perfectly fine when all kinds of bad stuff happened in the Reagan, Bush 41, or Bush 43 administrations. Obama, of course, is a totally different story!)
*Politicians Who Say 'I'm Not A Scientist' On Climate Offer Their Advice On Ebola (Rule of thumb: if a politician calls science into question, whether on climate or evolution or whatever, they shouldn't be listened to on anything, let alone elected.)
*Solar power prices are dropping fast, NREL says (Attention: Fossil fuel shills at the Virginia State Corporation Commission!)
*Elizabeth Warren makes a powerful case
*Poll: Bowser over Catania by 12 points (Barring a huge mistake, looks like Bowser's got this one.)
*Potential presidential candidate Jim Webb talks about memoir in N.H.
*Despite missteps in N. Va. race, Foust pushes on down the campaign trail ("The Democrat is in an uphill battle for the House seat in Virginia's 10th Congressional District.")
*New Gilmore PAC dropping ads in Virginia, Iowa and New Hampshire (Yep, the same guy who drove Virginia's budget into the ditch...)
*Kaine: Other side is stoking fear, talking down U.S. leadership (Right, so why would voters reward them for this crap?)
*Tim Kaine to headline Public Square today on U.S. war powers
*Sheriff endorses Warner for re-election to Va. Senate
*Mosher tells Mathews NAACP he wants to protect 'social safety net'
*Va. prison system faces $45 million shortfall in inmate health care (Yet again, Medicaid expansion would help with this problem. Thanks Republicans!)
*Pilot newsroom to shrink by almost one-quarter (Fewer and fewer trained journalists looking into politicians' shenanigans means less sunlight on said shenanigans. Not good.)
*New Counts for Suspect in Abduction of University of Virginia Student
*Some sunshine, but cloudy skies and scattered showers will rule the day

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Video: Barbara Comstock Dishonest...in ANY Language!

by: lowkell

Mon Oct 20, 2014 at 12:51:36 PM EDT

We already know that 10th CD Republican nominee Barbara "YOU LIE!" Comstock is not the most honest person in the world (to put it mildly). But this Comstock ad, aimed at the Korean-American community, really takes the cake. Notice who Comstock puts in her ad, with the clear intention to mislead voters? That's right, a number of strong supporters of Democratic nominee John Foust, such as State Senators Dave Marsden (D) Chap Petersen (D) and Janet Howell (D), Delegates Mark Keam (D), Vivian Watts (D) and David Bulova (D). That's right, all those people support John Foust (several of whom are also in an ad for Foust), yet all of them also find themselves in an ad for Barbara Comstock. Fascinating how that happens...

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

The Bill O'Reilly/Jon Stewart Brouhaha: Denial is a River in the Right-Wing Mind

by: Andy Schmookler

Sun Oct 19, 2014 at 10:59:50 AM EDT

People like Bill O'Reilly call upon people to raise themselves up while helping keep a foot on their necks.

Conservatives like O'Reilly do have some kernels of truth on their side. They rightly think people should develop good character, including virtues such as discipline and responsibility for oneself. And they are rightly concerned to assure that social policies don't discourage people from developing such virtues.

But after those kernels of truth, their map of the world is dominated by a river of denial.

First, as Jon Stewart pointed out in his confrontation with O'Reilly, they deny how much their own ascent was boosted by the advantages their culture gave them. As Chris Hayes put it in his October 16 segment on the O'Reilly/Stewart confrontation, there are "two types of people--those who recognize they're standing on something built to help them, and those who believe they are natural giants."

(Hayes cited a poll conducted by researchers at Cornell University in 2008, asking people if they had ever used government social program. 57% said no, but the researchers established that 94% of those people were mistaken and had used at least one. On average, they'd benefited from four.)

In his effort to get Bill O'Reilly to acknowledge "white privilege," Jon Stewart focused on the advantages O'Reilly got from growing up in the new, post-war, middle-class community of Levittown.  It was a community that supported O'Reilly's becoming the so-called "self-made man" that he is.

Those advantages amount to "white privilege," Stewart argued, because the town was closed to black families (until a federal housing law passed in the late 1960s forced those gates open).

The right-wingers are eager to scold blacks for not developing a culture of responsibility. But if you want people to develop the virtues of discipline and responsibility, it is folly - or perhaps hypocrisy - not to be equally concerned that the society provides those people the opportunities to reap the rewards to which those virtues are supposed to lead.

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Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Oct 20, 2014 at 06:50:36 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, October 20.

*Twitter Mocks Media Bias, White-on-White Violence after Pumpkin Riot ("Don't these people have jobs? Where are the white fathers? What will end this corrosive culture of violence?!" Spot on critique of the media's double standard.)
*George Will Spreads Misinformation About Ebola on Fox News (That's about all George Will's been doing for years now -- spreading misinformation. Why is he allowed in newspapers and on TV shows?!?)
*Rand Paul: The Most Interesting Conspiracy Theorist in Washington (It's really fascinating how similar this guy is to his conspiracy-theory nutball father. The main difference is Rand hides it better than Ron.)
*Pentagon makes plans for U.S. Ebola response
*Both parties face a blue-collar imperative ("Over the weekend, Bill Clinton was in Arkansas, and he will campaign Monday in Louisiana. He's trying to bring home voters who once saw his party as the working man's best friend.")
*POLITICO poll: Alarm, anxiety as election looms (The alarm and anxiety are wildly overblown. Thanks a LOT corporate media and Republicans for stoking it!)
*American meat's disgusting secret: Why factory farms are even worse than you thought (There's really no excuse for anyone to eat factory-farmed meat. Ever. It's horrific.)
*Foust, Comstock locked in contentious and expensive House race in Virginia
*In N. Va. House race, seasoned politico Comstock blazes a new path ("'She will stop at nothing to tear apart her opponent,' Murphy says now. 'She will stop at nothing, because she is an expert in the politics of personal destruction.'")
*Rasoul: No Medicaid? Blame gerrymandering (Agreed, that's a big part of the problem.)
*Talk of pipeline surveyance creeps into Franklin County
*Clear choices in Portsmouth
*HRT reduces Naval Station light rail route possibilities to six
*A dose of sunshine today before clouds and possible showers move in

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Ranking Virginia's Elections, 2005-2014

by: lowkell

Sun Oct 19, 2014 at 13:42:27 PM EDT

This is an update to - and a bit different from - my post of December 29, 2013, in which I ranked my nearly 11 years as a political blogger at the time. In this post, I'm going to rank  Virginia's elections from 2005 (when I started blogging about Virginia, so these are the Virginia elections I know the best) through 2014, from the perspective of a Democrat and progressive, but also from that of a political junkie who likes to follow exciting, hotly-contested political races. Which Virginia elections from 2005 were the most exciting, inspiring, interesting, entertaining and successful (a combination of all those factors) for Democrats? Here they are, in descending order.

10. 2009: Just a godawful year in every way; do we even have to talk about it? In brief, we got wiped out in the Tea Party madness, resulting in the loss of great Democrats in the House of Delegates, not to mention the election of far-right-wing extremist Ken Cuccinelli as Attorney General, Jonnie Williams' BFF Bob McDonnell, etc., etc. Plus, the Democratic primary between Terry McAuliffe, Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds was one of the most unpleasant experiences most of us who were involved in it have ever experienced. Good riddance 2009, may you forever rot in hell.

9. 2010: Not quite as bad as 2009, but not good either. I mean, any year when a superb Representative like Tom Perriello is defeated by an utter loser and right wingnut like Robert Hurt can't be good. Throw in the loss of Rep. Rick Boucher (to the climate-science-denying wacko Morgan Griffith) and the defeat of Rep. Glenn Nye by Scott Rigell, and there's really nothing good to say about 2010. Miserable.

8. 2011: The first election after the 2010 census and redistricting was no fun at all. As if losing two Senate seats (and control of the Senate, despite pro-Democratic gerrymandering) wasn't bad enough, we also got our butts handed to us in the House of Delegates, falling from 39 to 32 Democrats. Oh, and as an added "bonus," we had an extremely nasty/godawful Democratic primary between Barbara Favola and Jaime Areizaga-Soto. Definitely not a fun year in any way.

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Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Oct 19, 2014 at 07:03:04 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, October 19. By the way, just click on that image if you want to tell the fossil fuel industry and corporate shills at the Virginia State Corporation Commission what you think about their wildly false, dishonest, disgraceful "report" on the impacts of EPA's Clean Power Plan on Virginia.

*The Dangerous Legal Rule Behind The Supreme Court's Latest Voter Suppression Decision
*Vatican meeting walks back language on gays, divorce (As usual, right wingers and bigots stand in the way of human progress. What else is new?)
*D.C. mayoral choice: Muriel Bowser's caution or David Catania's combativeness?
*Scott Brown: If Romney Was Prez 'We Would Not Be Worrying About Ebola' (Scott Brown, disgusting as always.)
*Schapiro: Va.'s 'Kafka-esque' obstacles to a second chance ("The auditor suggested creating a central debt collection agency, rather than relying on an array of entities and officials. Couple with it, Kalantari says, an easy, one-stop payment system for debtors. The backing of the legislature - political and financial - might make such a move easier. Perhaps the idea should be run by another guest at the Drive-to-Work luncheon: Bill Howell, the speaker of the House.")
*Kaine has found his niche in the Senate, will talk war powers at Public Square
*Rigell fends off attacks in 2nd District congressional debate ("Democratic challenger Suzanne Patrick accused U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell of failing to adequately support the region's military economy, veterans and issues important to women.")
*Editorial: Will Virginia meet the challenge ("One redistricting predicament is that Democrats in Virginia tend to be concentrated in urban areas while Republicans are spread among exurbs and rural regions. The W&M students managed to surmount the challenge. If 'amateurs' can come up with a fair design, then surely the state's professionals can, too.")
*Still distracted while driving? Hands off, legislator says
*Remains found in search for U-Va. student
*The choices in Virginia Beach
*McAuliffe to take Virginia sales pitch to Asia during trade mission
*Virginia budget cuts won't hamper Arlington streetcar funding, state says (Good news!)
*A sunny but brisk day with possible frost tonight to north and west

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Dissecting Virginia Republicans' Logic 101 #FAIL

by: lowkell

Sat Oct 18, 2014 at 09:52:40 AM EDT

Can someone help me out with a Logic 101 problem? Yeah, I know, I shouldn't have been dozing off during that class, but too late now to fix that. ;) So, let's see if I can lay out the logical chain Virginia Republicans like Ed Gillespie are using to attack Mark Warner right now.

1. A slew of emails, among other evidence, indicates that Virginia Republicans like Del. Terry Kilgore (chairman of the slimy state tobacco commission) offered jobs to then-Sen. Phil Puckett (D) and his daughter in exchange for Puckett quitting the State Senate and throwing that body to the Republicans.

2. Republicans have argued variously for months that they a) did absolutely nothing wrong, or b) that even if what wend down was a bit slimy, it certainly wasn't illegal, or...whatever. The bottom line is they argue they did nothing wrong in offering what many of us would consider a "quid" (jobs for Phil Puckett and his daughter) in exchange for a "quo" (Puckett resigning and throwing the State Senate to the Republicans' control).

3. Meanwhile, god knows how many Democrats called the Pucketts to urge, encourage, or possibly also offer everything but the kitchen sink in order for Sen. Puckett to NOT resign from the State Senate and throw that body to Republican control. Cue up the false equivalency and IOKIYAR ("it's ok if you're a Republican") "logic" - see, "both sides" did it, ergo what Republicans did was no worse, if it was even wrong at all. Except that, according to Republicans, what they did was fine but what Democrats (e.g., McAuliffe Chief of Staff Paul Reagan, he of the infamous voice mail saying "we would basically do anything" to keep Puckett on board) did in trying to KEEP Sen. Puckett from resigning, was bad bad BAD! Again, even as what REPUBLICANS did, in trying to essentially bribe Puckett to resign and throw the State Senate to Republican control (a classic quid pro quo) was fine. Or something.

4. Now, Republicans are busy bashing Mark Warner, who admittedly spoke to Sen. Puckett's son Joe - exactly what was said is not known, but Warner says it was a "brainstorming" session with/about an old family friend - for a "breach of ethics," while simultaenously ignoring (and/or actively arguing) that Terry Kilgore et al. did nothing wrong in offering Phil Puckett and his daughter jobs if Puckett resigned and threw the Senate to Republican control.

5. Of course, Terry Kilgore would have literally had ZERO motivation other than to get control of the State Senate to help convince Phil Puckett to resign.

6. It's worth reiterating that what started this whole chain of events was Republicans attempting to, essentially, bribe (use the word "entice" or "convince" if "bribe" is too strong for your sensitive stomach) Phil Puckett to resign and throw the State Senate to their control. It's also worth reminding everyone that one of the main things at stake in all this was getting hundreds of thousands of Virginians covered under expanded Medicaid, as well as recouping billions of our own tax dollars that are currently not coming back to Virginia, as they should be. So, on top of their slimy (possibly illegal; FBI is investigating) quid pro quo offer to Phil Puckett to get him to resign from the State Senate, Republicans also were working hard to screw poor Virginians - and all Virginians - out of health care coverage and their own money. If that's not unethical, I'm not sure what is.

7. Finally, now we have slimeball "Enron Ed" Gillespie of all people, sanctimoniously shaking his head about how "Washington" supposedly "changed Mark Warner" and turned him into an unethical monster (for talking to Joe Puckett), while completely ignoring what his OWN PARTY did to kick this whole fiasco off in the first place. Barf inducing.

So...can anyone help me out with the glaring, internal flaw in the Republicans' internal "logic" (using the world loosely) here? Anyone who didn't doze off during Logic 101 class, perhaps? :)

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Virginia's SCC staff goes rogue, attacks EPA over the Clean Power Plan

by: ivymain

Fri Oct 17, 2014 at 17:25:02 PM EDT

(That's a photo of SCC headquarters, by the way. I wonder if it's LEED certified. Heh. ;) - promoted by lowkell)

In recent years paleontologists have come to believe that the dinosaurs did not go extinct; they evolved into today's chickens and other birds. It turns out, however, that some of them did not evolve. Instead, they took jobs at Virginia's State Corporation Commission.

Now they've put their DNA on full display with comments they filed on the EPA's Clean Power Plan. The proposed EPA rules, under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, would require states to reduce the power plant CO2 emissions driving climate change. The staffers assert primly that they "take no position on the broad policy issues," but that they feel "compelled" to point out all the ways the plan is "arbitrary, capricious, unsupported, and unlawful." These mostly boil down to their claims that the plan will force coal plant closures, raise rates significantly and threaten service reliability-claims experts say are badly off-base.

Note that the commissioners themselves didn't sign onto these comments. They come from the career staff at the Energy Regulatory Division, led by Bill Stevens, the Director, and Bill Chambliss, the General Counsel. This is pretty peculiar. I can't think of a single other agency of government where the staff would file comments on a federal rulemaking without the oversight of their bosses.

Bill and Bill acknowledge in a footnote that the staff comments represent only their own views and not those of the commissioners. But that distinction has already been lost on at least one lawmaker. Today Speaker of the House William J. Howell released a statement declaring, "The independent, nonpartisan analysis of the State Corporation Commission confirms that President Obama's environmental policies could devastate Virginia's economy."

And really, "devastate"? But that's the kind of hysteria you hear from opponents of the Clean Power Plan. While the rest of us see healthier air, huge opportunities for job growth in the clean energy sector, and the chance to avoid the worst effects of climate disruption, the Friends of Coal see only devastation. And no wonder: according to the Virginia Public Access Project, Howell accepted $14,000 from the coal industry just this year alone.

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Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Oct 18, 2014 at 07:41:56 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, October 18.

*President Obama: Americans cant give in to fear on Ebola (As Republicans and the wildly irresponsible corporate media stoke it...ugh.)
*The nasty politicization of Ebola ("Conservatives pillory NIH director for stating the truth about budget cuts.")
*Assuring Public on Ebola, but Obama Is Said to Be Seething ("President Obama has projected calm but privately has a different assessment of his administration's handling of cases in the United States.")
*Why An Ebola Flight Ban Wouldn't Work (For starters: "There are no regularly scheduled direct flights to the U.S. from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone - and very few from other countries in West Africa.")
*Conservatives fear Roberts going soft (Translation: they fear Roberts might actually follow precedent, fact, the Constitution, etc.)
*Supreme Court Upholds Texas Voter ID Law (So much for the previous item?)
*Russell Brand slams Fox News outside of Fox News headquarters, is threatened with arrest
*Gillespie reissues ad on Puckett scandal ("The original ad had featured an erroneous news report about Sen. Mark Warner that had been pulled." It also doesn't mention the fact that it was REPUBLICANS who bribed Puckett - successfully, I might add - to resign, throwing the State Senate to Republican control.)
*Warner and Gillespie spell out major differences ("The candidates made separate appearances onstage at Christopher Newport University to answer questions on topics including immigration, health care and fixing Washington's dysfunction")
*Woman who fell ill on bus at Pentagon doesn't have Ebola (Another example of hysteria.)
*The wrong ACA prescription ("By repealing ACA revenue-raising measures, Mr. Gillespie's alternative would leave nearly $300 billion less in the treasury over 10 years, even after all its spending cuts.")
*More Coal Industry Propaganda (There's so much of it out there, even including denial of climate science. Appalling.)
*Sentencing delayed for Maureen McDonnell in Virginia
*McAuliffe mobilizes command group to prepare for Ebola
*Retirement funding improves for first time since 2008 ("The funding of Virginia's pension plans for state employees and teachers improved in the last fiscal year for the first time since 2008, before the recession cut deeply into the retirement system's investments.")
*Sentencing delayed for Maureen McDonnell in Virginia ("One of her attorneys had requested the change because of a scheduling conflict.")
*Virginia Tech celebrates installation of new president Timothy Sands
*A blustery, cool autumn day that
turns much colder overnight

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Comstock Awarded for Ceding Power to Anti-Obamacare Organization

by: frankoanderson

Fri Oct 17, 2014 at 13:45:41 PM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

Today Del. Barbara Comstock announced that the Independent Women's Voice (IWV) -- which is by no means independent or "mainstream," as they claim -- presented her with the 2014 Healthcare Leadership Award.

Who is the IWV? An anti-Obamacare right wing front group who established The Repeal Pledge, which Barbara Comstock signed.  What's so insidious about this pledge is that Comstock is promising, if elected, to let IWVdecide what legislation she will support:

The Repeal Pledge's Advisory Board... will determine which legislative efforts are legitimate for the purpose of this pledge.

This candidate for Congress is vowing to take orders from an anonymous advisory board.  After refusing to answer questions from the media or the general public, and shunning nonpartisan organizations like the AARP, this comes as no surprise.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia Sierra Club: Climate Science Deniers Apparently in Charge of State Corporation Commission

by: lowkell

Fri Oct 17, 2014 at 13:00:16 PM EDT

This morning, one of the most powerful entities in Virginia (that almost nobody has ever heard of) said something so stupid, so seemingly crazy, so contrary to verifiable facts, that at first it almost seemed like an "Onion" parody. But no, apparently it was real, if you believe the news reports. The question is, why did the SCC do it? Are they really a bunch of climate science deniers, as the Virginia Sierra Club says? Or are they "playing politics with climate change science...bringing discredit on the commission," as Virginia Sierra Club Director Glen Besa believes?

Actually, I'd say this goes way beyond climate science denial or playing politics (although certainly both of those are possibilities, maybe even likelihoods) into another seriously problematic area: namely, that the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) simply does the bidding of...yep, corporations, as its name might indicate. More to the point, the SCC does NOT serve the interest of the public, unless perhaps you believe that "corporations are people, my friend," as Willard "Mitt" Romney infamously claimed. Meanwhile, there's yet another huge problem with the SCC: as a Virginia Democratic elected official explained to me, the SCC is "totally unaccountable," with "zero oversight or sunshine," and that's absolutely "crazy."

Just to demonstrate what a bunch of control freaks these people are, see Battle for Transparency at State Corporation Commission Moves Online. As the article correctly points out, SCC deliberations "take place behind closed doors," and "when commissioners meet to consider guidelines for utility companies or payday lenders, the meetings are closed," but the SCC doesn't want anyone to know that. Believe it or not, the SCC isn't even subject to the Freedom of Information Act. This is, in short, the exact opposite of good, honest, open, transparent government, and we should all demand that it change.

But back to the subject at hand: the SCC's utterly laughable "analysis," which basically consists of a bizarre, outrageously false trashing of renewable energy and perversion of economics. The reality is that, outside of the secretive bunch of corporate tools that make up the SCC, basically every other serious analyst out there sees the exact opposite of what the SCC claims to be seeing here when it comes to energy efficiency, solar and wind power. Let's throw out a few facts, not that they will get in the way of the SCC's slavish shilling for its corporate masters, climate science denial, or whatever else they're up to.

1. In fact, the price of renewable energy, particularly solar power, is plummeting. See, for instance, this recent article at Greentech Media, which reports: "After a second round of bidding from developers seeking to build hundreds of megawatts' worth of solar plants in the state, Georgia Power reported that the average price of electricity came in at 6.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. That's 2 cents cheaper than last year's bids."

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Is Karmis Too Conflicted to Analyze How Virginia Can Respond to Fed's Clean Power Plan?

by: lowkell

Fri Oct 17, 2014 at 09:25:18 AM EDT

Cross posted from the Checks and Balances Project. Written by Scott Peterson --
Executive Director, The Checks and Balances Project.

On Tuesday, I was in Richmond for Gov. McAuliffe's unveiling of the 2014 Virginia Energy Plan. I had an opportunity to pursue questions about why Dr. Michael Karmis, Director of Virginia Tech's Center for Coal Research, was chosen to write the critical cost-benefit analysis for Virginia's response to the federal Clean Power Plan (CPP).

A cost-benefit analysis would normally be an obscure, bureaucratic document. But this year the Virginia legislature mandated a cost benefit analysis be included in the third annual state energy plan. How Virginia responds to the federal CPP standards is a big deal. People ask me why a coal backer was tasked with writing this foundational document that the legislature will rely upon. I typically respond, "Good question!"

As I see it, here are some important questions that need to be answered:

  • Why was Dr. Karmis chosen?
  • Why did Dr. Karmis choose Clean Air Markets LLC, J. E. Cichanowicz Inc., and Chmura Economics and Analytics and no firms with renewable energy experience?
  • Did Dr. Karmis consult with any renewable energy experts during his execution of the cost benefit analysis?
  • Did anyone on Dr. Karmis's staff provide input on renewable energy in preparation of the analysis? If so who are they and what are their credentials?
  • Why did Dr. Karmis not ask his Virginia Tech colleague and renewable energy expert Dr. Saifur Rahman for his input on renewable energy?
  • Did any lobbyists recommend to Dept. of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) that Dr. Karmis be hired?
  • Is Dr. Karmis too conflicted to write a document the Governor and legislature will depend upon as an unbiased, informed look at how Virginia can best respond to the CPP?
On pages 94 and 95 of his cost-benefit analysis, Dr. Karmis states:
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Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Oct 17, 2014 at 06:06:50 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, October 17. The photo is from last night's 8th CD Democratic Kennedy-King Dinner, saluting Rep. Jim Moran for his many years of service.

*Nothing to fear but panic itself ("Ebola panic carries serious risks." Agreed, and guess who's spreading it? Yep, the media and the Republicans - shocker, eh?)
*Why a travel ban wouldn't work ("The political momentum for a travel ban on West African nations continued to swell Thursday, but health and transportation experts were uniform in saying it wouldn't stem the spread of Ebola - and could do more harm than good.")
*Don't Look Now, a Democrat Is Leading in Georgia ("Even if she doesn't win, it might spell disaster for the GOP")
*Democrat Foust seeks to regain ground on women's issues (It's absolutely crazy that there should even be a question here of who's the better candidate for women. And no, it's NOT Barbara "Mandatory Transvaginal Ultrasounds" Comstock.)
*Ed Gillespie Will Run Plenty of Ads in the Next Two and a Half Weeks
*Gov. Terry McAuliffe Urges Energy Savings by State Government
*Gillespie reports raising $1.8 million, temporarily ditches ads
*Leonsis, Minor among donors to pro-Warner Super PAC ("Investors and technology moguls are fueling a pro-Sen. Mark R. Warner super PAC that has put up $1.8 m...")
*McDonnell's legal defense fund donations dwindle
*Md., Va. officials hoping to avoid repeat of 2012 election lines
*Booze price hike upsets Va. consumers, restaurants
*4th District needs better choices ("Randy Forbes has not been a consequential member of Congress. By almost every measure of effectiveness, he trails his peers in the House of Representatives, not just among the 435 members of Congress, but among the 11-member Virginia delegation." Ouch, the truth hurts.)
*GOP lawmakers seek curbs on travel due to Ebola threat ("Three Virginia legislators say Gov. McAuliffe should consider suing Dulles airport." Uh....no.)
*Students at Virginia Wesleyan protest over sexual assault case
*Virginia Marine Police crack down on oyster violations, poaching
*Stricter Ebola screening begins at Dulles Airport
*Our view: Get on with real business in Roanoke County
*Vihstadt outraises Howze in Arlington County board race
*Gorgeous Friday to kick off a cooler and breezier weekend

Discuss :: (9 Comments)

McAuliffe's Energy Plan has a little something for (almost) everyone

by: ivymain

Thu Oct 16, 2014 at 18:49:37 PM EDT

(This is basically my reaction as well; some good stuff in this plan, but also some bad stuff, and generally not enough specifics about how to get any of the good stuff past our Dominion-bought-and-paid-for General Assembly. - promoted by lowkell)

On October 1, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy released the McAuliffe administration's rewrite of the Virginia Energy Plan. Tomorrow, on October 14, Governor McAuliffe is scheduled to speak about the plan at an "executive briefing" to be held at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond. Will he talk most about fossil fuels, or clean energy? Chances are, we'll hear a lot about both.

Like the versions written by previous governors, McAuliffe's plan boasts of an "all of the above" approach. But don't let that put you off. In spite of major lapses of the drill-baby-drill variety, this plan has more about solar energy, offshore wind, and energy efficiency, and less about coal, than we are used to seeing from a Virginia governor.

Keep in mind that although the Virginia Code requires an energy plan rewrite every four years, the plan does not have the force of law. It is intended to lay out principles, to be the governor's platform and a basis for action, not the action itself. This is why they tend to look like such a hodge-podge: it's just so easy to promise every constituency what it wants. The fights come in the General Assembly, when the various interests look for follow-through.

Here's a summary of some of the major recommendations:

Renewable energy. Advocates and energy libertarians will like the barrier-busting approach called for in the Energy Plan, including raising the cap on customer-owned solar and other renewables from the current 1% of a utility's peak load to 3%; allowing neighborhoods and office parks to develop and share renewable energy projects; allowing third-party power purchase agreements (PPAs) statewide and doubling both the size of projects allowed and the overall program limit; and increasing the size limits on both residential (to 40 kW) and commercial (to 1 MW) net metered projects, with standby charges allowed only for projects over 20 kW (up from the current 10 kW for residential, but seemingly now to be applied to all systems).

It also proposes a program that would allow utilities to build off-site solar facilities on behalf of subscribers and provide on-bill financing to pay for it. This sounds rather like a true green power program, but here the customers would pay to build and own the project instead of simply buying electricity from renewable energy projects.  

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Beliefs that Make Liberal America Weak: Barriers to the Source of Moral and Spiritual Passions

by: Andy Schmookler

Thu Oct 16, 2014 at 15:38:24 PM EDT

This piece begins a discussion that is addressed especially to those who believe that there is no such thing  -- and can be no such thing -- in the world as an "evil force."

Summary: Why does that the line from Yeats apply to America in our times? "The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are filled with a passionate intensity."

One important reason is that the battle playing out in our politics is fundamentally a moral and spiritual battle, and while the right is connected to their moral and spiritual passions (even though that connection has been made on the basis of lies) Liberal America is not.

Much of that disconnection in Liberal America is due misguided beliefs, including: 1) that "value" is not really real, and 2) that there is nothing in the dynamics of the human world that warrants being called "evil," an "evil force," or "the battle between good and evil."

These beliefs, I will argue, are not only a source of weakness, but also mistaken.

The crucial battle in America today is being fought in the political arena, but the heart of it goes deeper than politics. It is at the moral and spiritual level. The issue in America today is this: will constructive or destructive, life-serving or life-degrading forces prevail in shaping this nation's future?

The battle to decide this question has not been going well. The lamentable core dynamic of this battle is all too well captured by the line from Yeats: "the best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are filled with a passionate intensity."

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 830 words in story)
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