It's now crystal clear that billionaire R**skins owner Dan Snyder has kicked off the bidding war von which jurisdiction (Maryland? DC? Virginia?) will offer the most taxpayer-funded corporate welfare to build his super-rich franchise a new stadium. It's also becoming more apparent why Gov. McAuliffe has been so reluctant to weigh in on the racist (or not, if you buy the R**skins' so-called "arguments" that it really isn't racist) team name issue. Anyway, as the process begins to figure out which suckers will cough up the most hard-earned, and much-needed-for-other-uses tax money so that mega-rich Republican Dan Snyder can get even mega-RICHER than he already is, here's some reading material for Gov. McAuliffe to check out -- BEFORE Dannyboy comes a callin'.
1. First, some history from the last time (1992) a rich R**skins owner (Jack Kent Cooke in that case) came looking for taxpayer handouts from a Virginia governor (L. Douglas Wilder in that case). In particular, note: "Both Wilder and Cooke have said in recent days that they were surprised by the vehemence of the opposition to Potomac Yard and that they had assumed most Virginians would be excited about the prospect of the Redskins playing in the state. It was a pivotal miscalculation, especially during a time when the state government had gone through two years of budget cuts. Cooke would have built the $160 million stadium himself, but many thought the $130 million state subsidy for site improvements was unjustified." Is history about to repeat itself? Stay tuned!
2. Now, some economics. How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers ("Taxpayers fund the stadiums, antitrust law doesn't apply to broadcast deals, the league enjoys nonprofit status, and Commissioner Roger Goodell makes $30 million a year. It's time to stop the public giveaways to America's richest sports league-and to the feudal lords who own its teams.")
3. More economics. Football: A Waste of Taxpayers' Money: Why are we subsidizing such a hugely profitable sport? ("...forget about GM and Chrysler, Solyndra, or even cowboy poetry readings. Fact is, nothing is more profitable, more popular, and more on the public teat than good old American football. That's right. You, dear taxpayer, are footing the bill for football through an outrageous series of giveaways to billionaire team owners and public universities that put pigskin before sheepskin."
5. If You Build It, They Might Not Come: The Risky Economics of Sports Stadiums ("Time after time, politicians wary of letting a local franchise relocate -- as the NBA's Seattle Supersonics did, to Oklahoma City before the 2008-2009 season -- approve public funds, selling the stadiums as public works projects that will boost the local economy and provide a windfall of growth. However, according to leading sports economists, stadiums and arenas rarely bring about the promised prosperity, and instead leave cities and states mired in debt that they can't pay back before the franchise comes calling for more.")
6. Finally, just to demonstrate that it's not only progressives who oppose taxpayer-funded corporate welfare to wealthy sports owners, it's also the freakin' Koch brothers! ("So we have to ask - is giving handouts to professional sports teams a responsible use of tax dollars or is this money better spent somewhere else? The answer seems clear. Our elected officials need to stand up for the taxpayers and stop giving out taxpayer-funded corporate welfare to professional sports teams."). Of course, the Koch brothers are wild hypocrites, as they LOVE corporate welfare for themselves, but the point is that this is NOT a left-right issue. To the contrary, this is an issue that everyone who pays taxes or lives in the state should agree on: it's a terrible idea to use our scarce tax dollars (which should be used for education, transportation, cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, retrofitting our buildings for energy efficiency and solar panels, etc.) to subsidize a wealthy, coddled, monopolistic bunch of billionaires, especially when it's almost certain that we won't get any return on our investment and ESPECIALLY at a time when we're running major budget deficits. So, Gov. McAuliffe, when Danny Boy Snyder comes a callin', all you have to do is very simply just say "no." You can slam the door in his face for dramatic effect (and bonus points) if you're so inclined. :)
Eric Byler, director of the superb film 9500 Liberty (a must see!) -- about the anti-immigrant movement in Prince William County, Virginia, and the courageous people who stood up to it -- just posted this video (from July 4, 2009) on his Facebook page. Here's Eric's description:
A hate watch organization had asked me to film it. I had no intention of going, but I did at their request. I posted the video for their edification only, and never shared the link with anyone else until now. Prince William County, of course, had been the scene of an ugly but effective politicization of anti-immigrant sentiment for the 2007 election, and the battle had continued into 2008 as the film 9500 Liberty shows.
I haven't re-watched the video. But my recollection 5 years later is that several anti-immigrant activists recognized me early on and some of them tried to stop me from filming by standing in front of the camera. I think you will see this in the video. I had to go hand-held so that I could get out of their way. And when I did so, I stood right next to the largest of the men. He didn't touch me. He just said, "Well isn't that nice," or something to that effect.
The reason why the hate watch org. was interested was that a representative from FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) was scheduled to speak, and on conservative entertainment channels and websites, this was being touted as the long-awaited merger of the anti-tax TEA Party with the anti-immigrant FAIR (and likeminded organizations).
The event was held at the Prince William County government center in Woodbridge, VA where many of the most memorable scenes from 9500 Liberty take place.
Chilling. Disturbing. Totally f'ed up. Any other descriptions you'd care to add to this video? Oh, and thanks to Eric Byler for his tireless, courageous work exposing extremism and bigotry like this.
I was proud to stand with Senator Adam Ebbin, Delegate Alfonso Lopez, Delegate-elect Rip Sullivan, and other important members of the Northern Virginia community as Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe signed SB 503, which I co-patroned, and HB 492 into law. They address the growing problem of notary fraud perpetrated towards members of the Latino community, as well as other minority communities. There are many cases of notaries fraudulently charging thousands of dollars for misleading advice. This legislation prohibits non-attorney notaries from offering legal or immigration advice, as well as imposes civil penalties and possible revocation of notary license for repeat offenders.
Also present in the photo are Del. Alfonso Lopez, Del.-elect Rip Sullivan, Arlington County Board Members Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada, State Senator Adam Ebbin, and of course Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Great job by everyone involved in this, including co-patrons Adam Ebbin and Jennifer Wexton, and House Chief Co-patron Alfonso Lopez.
P.S. I don't recognize the other two people in the photo. Also note that the other House Chief Co-patron, Del. Dave Albo (R), is not in the photo. Hmmmm.
Good suggestions from the Alan Howze (D) for Arlington County Board campaign. I particularly like the 100% clean energy component. As for Repoublican-masquerading-as-an-"independent" John Vihstadt, I agree with Alan Howze that all he's interested in is "using the streetcar to drive his political agenda." What Vihstadt's been doing has been divisive, harmful to Arlington, and certainly not constructive in any way. I look forward to Alan Howze defeating Vihstadt soundly in November!
Howze Issues Proposals to Improve Streetcar
Alan Howze introduced new proposals to address community concerns and reiterated his support for creating a modern streetcar system to link Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria.
In introducing new proposals to make the streetcar work even better, Howze said, "the streetcar has been used as a wedge issue by those who seek political gain by dividing our community. Rather than use the streetcar to score political points, let's focus on responding to community questions and using innovation to make the planned streetcar even better.”
Howze continued, “This once-in-a-generation investment will have a positive effect on our community for decades to come. Today, after talking to thousands of Arlington residents at their doors, I am making five proposals that come directly from suggestions I have heard."
Speed and accountability in government matters. Timely construction should be a key contract requirement. This will minimize disruption, protect taxpayers, and accelerate the benefits from the streetcar.
Create a small business contingency plan to support small businesses affected by streetcar construction.
Create a business and residents advisory council to ensure community issues that arise during construction are dealt with in a timely manner.
Examine the feasibility of using streetcars that can run without wires for sections of the streetcar line to reduce the use of overhead wires.
Secure 100% renewable energy power supply for the streetcar. This would ensure that the streetcar is a zero emissions system.
That's right, Ed Gillespie would vote for this guy as U.S. Senate Majority Leader.
So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. So what does that mean? That means that we can pass the spending bill. And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what's called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We're going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board (inaudible). All across the federal government, we're going to go after it...
...And we're not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That's all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage (inaudible)-cost the country 500,000 new jobs; extending unemployment-that's a great message for retirees; uh, the student loan package the other day, that's just going to make things worse, uh. These people believe in all the wrong things.
Even better: according to The Nation, McConnell made his promises "to a secret strategy conference of conservative millionaire and billionaire donors hosted by the Koch brothers." What next, Dr. Evil and his "laser?" This is almost beyond parody, but frighteningly, it's real. Yet it's Dr. Evil...er, the Koch brothers and their evil ilk, that McConnell, Gillespie, and all the other Republicans running for U.S. Senate this year want to turn the country over to, by the way -- the Koch brothers and other secretive, far-right-wing billionaires -- while trashing our democracy in the process. Sound good to you? Then most definitely you're a Republican voter! Wait, you mean you're sane and this does NOT sound good to you? Right, thought so -- then vote Democratic up and down the ballot this November. As the saying goes, Democrats might not be perfect, but at least we're not nuts.
By the way, on a related note, since the Barbara Comstock folks have been trying to stir up controversy, let's just be clear that Barbara Comstock has held numerous "real jobs" in her life. And yes, that includes being a mother - a tough job, and certainly a real one - and a job that John Foust would never denigrate in any way (yes, Comstock and her supporters are making s*** up again, psychologically projecting, cynically working to gin up "outrage" to fire up their supporters, etc.). The problem is, other than being a mother, she's overwhelmingly had jobs that while "real," were nothing to be proud of. For instance, how about:
*Lobbyist for the Koch Brothers on "crime and environmental issues" (one can just imagine)
*Political attack dog against the Clintons.
*House Gov. Reform Committee - Investigated the Clintons, played key role in heavily editing Webb Hubbell prison tapes
*Political attack dog against Al Gore.
*Political attack dog defending the Bush administration profiling Muslims and detaining US citizens.
*Lobbied for private prison builder Geo Group and the Entertainment Software Association, which opposes regulation of violent video games.
*Represented Chiquita Brands on asbestos liability and later voted to limit asbestos company liability.
*Political attack dog defending Tom Delay.
*Political attack dog defending pathological liar Willard "Mitt" Romney.
*Lobbyist for Blackwater.
*Scooter Libby defender *Bush Administration DOJ - ran an "intensely political operation" under John Ashcroft *Workforce Fairness Institute - employed Swift Boat consultants, refused to disclose companies they worked for, gave $150k to Newt Gingrich's PAC
*Susan B. Anthony List - Comstock helped raise money for this extreme anti-women's-choice group
*Virginia Delegate; voted for trans-vaginal ultrasounds and many other bad things (e.g., to cut $1.5 million from early childhood foundation funding, against the 2013 transportation compromise that's so important to the 10th CD, to allow guns in bars...).
Is this the type of person 10th CD voters want representing them in Congress, especially when she's all but promised to continue doing what she's done for decades now? We can only hope not.
Cross posted from Scaling Green. For Blue Virginia readers, I'd just add that Gov. McAuliffe's office should read this study as they consider how to move Virginia forward in terms of energy efficiency, renewable power, and of course meeting the EPA's new rules for cutting CO2 emissions.
Clearly, we believe it makes sense to slash the air and water pollution that is inextricably linked to fossil fuel extraction, processing, and consumption. We also strongly believe that moving from a dirty to a clean energy economy makes sense on a whole host of levels -- economic, environmental, national security, health, etc. Yet opponents of a clean energy transition invariably raise claims that it will cost too much to do so, even though research has shown that fossil fuels are actually FAR more expensive than they appear to be, in large part because they are allowed to pollute without having to pay for doing so. Thus, the full "lifecycle cost" of coal to the U.S. public is actually upwards of $500 billion a year, but you won't find that $500 billion a year incorporated into the price of coal, making it artificially cheap, and strongly skewing U.S. energy markets in favor of fossil fuels. Incorporate all the health and environmental "externalities" associated with fossil fuels, while taking away the enormous subsidies they receive from taxpayers, and it's a totally different story -- one in which clean energy would win by a wide margin.
It must be painful to have fallen for the original McDonnell shtick hook, line and sinker. Accepting this new fiction of a defense with all its twists, turns, and subplots as relief for the cognitive dissonance caused by recent revelations provides relief. Then someone points out the concurrent serial hypocrisy of McDonnell embracing a priest who casually violated his vow of celibacy with another man; behaviors McDonnell has blatantly condemned as antithetical to his core conservatism. This resonates and echoes hypocrisy. There is no argument that can refute the blatant self-serving behavior of their fallen hero, so resort to personal attacks.
Suddenly the raw truth of the McDonnell formula for defense being revealed is turned on its head and becomes an attack by the left on homosexuals. That is some desperation. This is just another brick in the wall McDonnell is building to defend himself. And we are cautioned that if we want to sway public opinion we need to make nice. Part of one rant is not only unintelligible but also contains utter nonsense:
"But it does show you an insight into the liberal extremist mind. Democrat (sic) bloggers, especially Lowly (sic), must not really like gay people. They need their votes, and the fact that they don't like religion makes gay people social "brothers in arms" with hatemongers like Lowly (sic), but in reality they only use gay people to shore up their own power."
The tragic, heartbreaking death of female sei whale the other day in the Elizabeth River both saddened and enraged me. Why enraged? Because the whale died mostly from humans trashing our oceans with plastic (which the whale accidentally ingested, blocking its stomach and causing it to slowly starve to death). For "good measure," the poor creature "might have been hit by a ship shortly before dying the previous day." So, chalk that one up to humans on both counts. Ugh. Sadly, this case demonstrates the hazards marine life is exposed to due to human activities on an ongoing basis. That includes the aforementioned plastic pollution and ships bashing into whales (and other animals), but also the oil-industry practice of seismic airgun testing - loud as explosives, can cause hearing loss and other injuries, even death, to whales and other sea creatures.
See to the right (click to "embiggen") and on the "flip" for a letter from several Members of Congress, including Representatives Gerry Connolly, Bobby Scott and Jim Moran of Virginia, urging the Obama administration to forbid seismic testing off the east coast. In addition to the danger of oil spills, the process of FINDING the oil should never involve practices which can lead to mass injury and death in the oceans. Why is this even a question, other than unbridled greed, callousness and stupidity?
P.S. To sign the Center for Biological Diversity's petition against this outrageous practice, click here. Thanks.
This morning the Governor will visit a farm just south of the James Madison University (JMU) campus. While farming best practices are admirable, the safety of students on campus, neglected by the JMU administration in Sarah Butters' sexual assault case, screams for immediate attention. President Alger deserves a wakeup call.
On Alger's campus a student may participate in a gang sexual assault of a fellow student, videotape it, publish it on the internet, be accused by the victim then escape any substantive punishment. Following the revelations about JMU's bumbling enforcement of its own sexual assault policies, the University President, Jonathan R. Alger, withdrew to his comfort zone: acting as his own lawyer rather than campus leader. What was his reaction to McAuliffe's formation of a task force to combat sexual violence at Virginia colleges?
"For all of us, this is a time to come together, to share best practices, to make clear that we all take this issue very seriously," said Jonathan R. Alger, president of James Madison University. He said the freshmen now gathering at the school in Harrisonburg are getting the message that they must not be bystanders to sexual assault. - Washington Post
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, August 25. Also, check out that video, because it provides a crystal clear indication regarding one of the top 2 or 3 themes Jim Webb would run for president on -- "economic fairness and social justice," a phrase he repeats several times.
The following story most definitely falls into the "you can't make this s*** up" category. So, you know how Bob McDonnell, now on trial for corruption as governor (and busy throwing his wife under the bus while rolling back and forth over her a few times, proving he's a complete cad as well as a sleazeball), has moved out of his home with Maureen and moved in with a priest (Rev. Wayne Ball of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Richmond)? Well, how about we meet the good Reverend (note: thanks to Ben "Not Larry Sabato" Tribbett for the tip on this one, since he really broke the story).
The Rev. Wayne L. Ball, a Norfolk priest who pleaded guilty late last year to a misdemeanor sex offense, has been reassigned to St. John's Catholic Church in Highland Springs, according to The Catholic Virginian, a biweekly diocesan newspaper. The move is effective June 2.
Ball, 42, has served as pastor of Norfolk's Holy Trinity Catholic Church since 2000. The current pastor at St. John's, the Rev. David V. McGuire, will replace Ball at Holy Trinity.
In December, Ball pleaded guilty in Norfolk General District Court to the misdemeanor charge of frequenting a bawdy place. Norfolk police arrested Ball and a 41-year-old Richmond man on the night before Thanksgiving in a parked car in a Norfolk park. The judge continued Ball's case until July 8 and will dismiss the charge if the priest has no further criminal problems and completes 80 hours of community service by June 3. The man in the car with Ball received a similar deal.
Ball will be the second Catholic priest who recently pleaded guilty to a sex crime to serve at St. John's in Highland Springs.
In February, the Rev. John P. Blankenship, who served at St. John's from 1973 to 1977, pleaded guilty in Prince George County to four counts of sodomy. The charges stemmed from incidents that occurred after Blankenship's time at St. John's.
Look, it should go without saying that I have no problem with priests -- or any other religious officials, or anyone else -- being gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, etc. What I DO have a problem with is massive hypocrisy among politicians, such as a guy who richly earned the nickname "Taliban Bob" for his viciously anti-gay rhetoric and actions hounding/harassing LGBT people (not to mention his right-wingnut, theocratic, holier-than-thou, Pat Robertson-trained moralizing about what we all should or should not be doing in the privacy of our own bedrooms; not to mention the fact that when McDonnell himself was asked by reporters if HE had ever violated Virginia's "crimes against nature" laws, he said "not that I can recall").
Anyway, this is the priest - Wayne Ball - who "Homophobe Bob" McDonnell is now living with in a rectory in Richmond. Just when you thought this trial couldn't any more soap opera-ish or bizarre...
P.S. Again, let me just emphasize that I don't have any problem whatsoever with Rev. Ball being gay. I DO have a problem with Bob McDonnell spending his career telling everybody what's right and wrong sexually as well as who they can and can't marry; voting for anti-gay legislation; and generally being a homophobic jerk; and then moving in with a gay priest after moving out with his wife Maureen. Holy hypocrisy alert, Batman!
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