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Dick Saslaw's "Theory of the Case" for 2015 Virginia Senate Elections Dead Wrong

by: lowkell

Tue May 26, 2015 at 10:37:30 AM EDT

I feel like I've been having a similar discussion, over and over again, the past few months, about the Virginia 2015 elections, and specifically what it will take for Democrats to make gains in a low, low, LOW-turnout year. For instance, the other day I was "Gchatting" with one of the smartest Virginia Democratic political observers (SVDPO) I know, and we were discussing this very subject. Here's a rough transcript of the conversation, which started off with us ripping Dick Saslaw for being (as my smart Dem political friend put it), "both an embarrassment and very ineffective."

Me: Saslaw's utterly ineffective as a strategist and tactician...wasted $1 million trying to hold Phil Puckett's seat in a 2:1 Republican district. Poor judgment after poor judgment.

SVDPO: Yes, he is completely ineffective at strategy at this point. That's because he's still living in the past, when there was a "Virginia Way" and Democrats were powerful so Republicans were their friends. Once they took power, theyve been kicking Dems like him who used to be their allies to the curb. It's a whole new ball game in Richmond and he hasn't a clue.

Me: Like, they think (conservadem/Independent who wanted to impeach/convict Bill Clinton and mused publicly about not voting to reelect President Obama in 2012) Dan Gecker is the best choice for the John Watkins open seat. That's nuts. Also, they think that they need a white guy to run against Hal Parrish. They tried recruiting two other white guys (David Brickley, who joined the Gilmore administration and effectively threw the House of Delegates to Republican control in 1998, being one of them), finally got Jeremy McPike (apparently anyone but the black guy or brown guy). Just like they said Jaime Areizaga-Soto couldn't win a deep-blue Senate district, which of course was utterly absurd...Jeremy will get trounced by Parrish if he's the nominee. Gecker will lose to Sturtevant. Their "theory of the case" is totally wrong. This is a low-turnout election in which it's all about motivating/firing up the BASE to turn out. Gecker won't do that, nor will McPike. If those two are the nominees, I think it's quite possible we end this election with 16 or 17 Senate seats. John Edwards is in trouble, as is the Colgan seat potentially. We'll see about Lynwood Lewis, hopefully he's ok. Let's also hope Jill McCabe runs a strong campaign against Dick Black.

SVDPO: Hopefully, McCabe will run a strong enough campaign. As for the rest, you are right.

Me: So under Dick's leadership, we've lost the Senate, thrown the House Dems under the bus (because that was supposed to guarantee the Senate, which we lost anyway), and got the worst of all worlds.

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Israeli Intelligence, Military Alarmed Over Influence of Clueless Conservatives in Washington, DC

by: lowkell

Tue May 26, 2015 at 13:10:53 PM EDT

This article in today's Forward ("the most influential nationwide Jewish media outlet today") sums up what many of us who strongly support Israel, but who think the right wing is leading it to disaster, have been thinking. A few highlights.

*First, the headline: "What Israel's Chief of Staff Is Worried About - No, It's Not Iran." That's right, Iran isn't even on the list (!) "of the main strategic threats facing Israel in the foreseeable future and its plans to meet them," as seen by Israel's military General Staff and intelligence services.

*Instead, what the Israeli intelligence and military services believe is exactly what President Obama, and most pro-Israel progressives like myself, believe: "the likelihood that the emerging nuclear agreement between Iran and the major powers could minimize the Iranian threat for an extended period, allowing the military to redirect budgets and resources toward areas of more immediate concern."

*What most concerns the Israeli military? Hezbollah and Hamas, of course; also "the growing threat from global jihad movements, led by Al Qaeda and ISIS;" and the growing threat of cyber attacks."

*Now here's the best part for those of us who think that right wingnuts claiming to be pro-Israel are actually a serious menace to Israel's future:

Looming above all the border concerns is a clear but unstated nervousness within the military and the intelligence community over the yawning gap between their professional assessments of Israel's strategic posture and the agenda of the country's elected political leadership. It emerges in the nervous snickers of ranking IDF strategists in response congressional efforts, like the New York lawmakers' bunker-buster proposal, to bolster what the military command considers the fantasy of an Israeli attack on Iran. It emerges, too, in a growing curiosity tinged with alarm among current and retired military commanders over the influence in Washington of American Jewish conservatives who claim to be defending Israeli security but have little grasp of Israeli strategic thinking.
So yeah, I find myself in full agreement with the Israeli military and intelligence services (also with President Obama and most Democrats), and in full disagreement with the likes of Lindsey Graham, John McCain, John Bolton, and many other right wingers here and in Israel. Which would you believe?
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National and Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue May 26, 2015 at 06:07:33 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, May 26 (two weeks until primary day in Virginia).

*No Cost for Extremism: Why the GOP hasn't (yet) paid for its march to the right (Must-read article if you want to understand U.S. politics these days!)
*The Koch brothers try to rein in the GOP presidential clown show (This is disturbing on almost every level, that is if you care about having any sort of demoracy in this country.)
*Chart: America Is More Liberal Than Politicians Think ("Everyone-both liberal and conservative legislators-thought their districts were more conservative than they really were.")
*With ISIS in Crosshairs, U.S. Holds Back to Protect Civilians
*Bobby Jindal reaches peak stupid: One-time GOP savior embraces hate speech to appease bigots, wingnuts ("Governor who urged GOP not to become "stupid party" now fans hate, spouts nonsense. Think he's running in 2016?")
*McAuliffe names former U.S. House CIO to run VITA
*Casey: Caldwell denies rumors swirling around possible Senate bid ("The 35-year veteran prosecutor is closer than ever to announcing an independent bid for the state Senate seat from the 21st District, which includes the city of Roanoke and Montgomery and Giles counties.")
*Asset forfeiture issue isn't going away
*Veterans honored in various ways across Peninsula
*Inexcusable behavior at City Council meetings ("Decorum in city council chambers lately has reflected poorly on this region's citizens. Perhaps when people speak to elected officials, they take a cue from online forums, where rants and attacks are de rigueur. Perhaps they see nothing wrong with booing, berating, hounding, even threatening those with different opinions." Same thing recently in Fairfax, Stafford, etc.)
*Editorial: Will the court decide Sweet Briar College's future?
*A tumultuous year for U-Va. comes to a close, with sighs of relief
*Editorial: Joe Morrissey: Rediscovering a sense of shame ("The Morrissey saga also emphasizes what Colin Powell meant when he said that humans need to rediscover a sense of shame.")
*Loudoun supervisor with DUI and domestic record reconsiders campaign ("Shawn Williams, accused in 2006 of a brutal attack on his then-girlfriend, may run for board chairman after all.")
*Tanner Roark pitches Nationals past Cubs in his first start of 2015
*D.C. area forecast: Warmer, more humid today; Afternoon storms through the week

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Staunton Memorial Day Service Keynote

by: Dan Sullivan

Mon May 25, 2015 at 19:04:22 PM EDT

A crowd of over 300 gathered at Staunton's Gypsy Hill Park today to honor our fallen, captured, or missing servicemen and servicewomen. The keynote address was delivered by the Commandant of Cadets, Virginia Women's Institute for Leadership, Brigadier General Terry Djuric who also paid tribute the families of the fallen.

"There are lots of reminders that memorial Day is about more than a day of barbeque. Congress officially set Memorial Day as the last day in May to mark the start of our summer season of fun with the day devoted to the memory of those who perished in the fight for our principles of freedom. On this day of remembrance, the members of VFWs across our nation lead the way in honoring those who gave the last full measure of service." - Brigadier General Djuric

General Djuric paid homage to the present families of the fallen, telling the crowd that to the spouses, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers, every day is Memorial Day.

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Questions For Each Arlington County Board Candidate

by: ArlingtonObserver123

Mon May 25, 2015 at 10:01:16 AM EDT

(These seem like serious and fair questions to me, so I'm promoting the diary... - promoted by lowkell)

On June 9th, Arlington Democrats will nominate two candidates for the County Board seats being vacated by Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada. Though there have been many debates and candidate forums, there still are some unanswered questions about the candidates that I have been hearing through the grapevine.  With two weeks left in the campaign, it's important that the candidates have an opportunity to address some of the harder-hitting questions that many Arlington Democrats have been asking behind-the-scenes but that have not come up in debates or forums. Therefore, below I have posed questions to each candidate, and I invite them to respond in the comments section. Questions are posed to the candidates in alphabetical order.

Katie Cristol
Many people have questions about your professional background. You work for Education First Consulting, which seems to advocate on behalf of, among other things, charter schools. For example, one of the clients listed is the SEED Foundation, which supports charter schools across the country. Furthermore, many of the high-ranking Education First staff listed on the firm's website come from charter school backgrounds and have either founded or lobbied for charter schools across the United States. What is your position on charter schools, and would you support them as a member of the County Board? Furthermore, over the weekend the Arlington Education Association's PAC endorsed Christian Dorsey and Peter Fallon.  This seems odd given the fact that you work as an education consultant. How do you explain the AEA not supporting your candidacy?

Christian Dorsey
At two different debates, candidates were asked if they would support Libby Garvey or John Vihstadt for Board Chair.  Traditionally the chair rotates among board members, and so it is likely that Garvey, and possibly Vihstadt, will become chair during their tenure. However, a more important question is whether or not you will commit to not supporting John Vihstadt for County Board in 2018. One of your top supporters, Peter Rousselot, was instrumental in John Vihstadt's win last year, and your campaign manager was on Vihstadt's campaign staff. Assuming Libby Garvey wins re-election next year, she will likely again support Vihstadt's re-election. Given the close ties between your top supporters/staff and John Vihstadt's, will you commit now to supporting a Democrat for County Board in 2018?

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National and Virginia News Headlines: Memorial Day 2015

by: lowkell

Mon May 25, 2015 at 06:40:30 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Memorial Day 2015. Also, later this morning, President Obama will deliver remarks at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2015.

*Juan Williams: GOP dishonesty on ISIS and Iraq
*The right's political correctness ("Accommodating right-wing primary voters poses real risks to the party in next year's elections. Its candidates' messages on immigration and gay marriage could hurt the GOP with, respectively, Latinos and the young.")
*Las Vegas tycoon Sheldon Adelson to face graft accusations in US court (One of the GOP's big funders is a corrupt scumbag. Shocker, eh?)
*Defense chief: Iraqis lack 'will to fight' Islamic State
*Krugman: The Big Meh ("In other words, at this point, the whole digital era, spanning more than four decades, is looking like a disappointment. New technologies have yielded great headlines, but modest economic results. Why?")
*Pope's pronouncements making trouble for GOP Catholics ("Francis may be popular with the general public, but key Republican primary constituencies are wary." Yeah, because actually caring a lot more about the poor than the rich; feeding the hungry; welcoming the "stranger" - aka, immigrants - into our land; being good stewards over the earth; favoring peace over war; turning the other cheek rather than resorting to violence; all those things that Jesus taught are the opposite of what the Republican Party believes.)
*'Beautiful Mind' Nobel winner Nash dies in crash
*GOP contest to succeed Stosch in Senate heats up ("The four-way race for the Republican nomination for the open 12th District Virginia Senate seat is heating up in the final weeks leading up to the June 9 primary.")
*Va. House speaker and GOP challenger battle in first forum before primary ("Armed with charts and intent on capitalizing on the voter disaffection that helped Dave Brat oust former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor last year, Stimpson tried to paint Howell as out of touch with conservative principles of low taxes and small government.")
*Two Sweet Briar board members make the case: The school had to close
*Nationals haven't won anything, but fans prove D.C. is a good sports town
*Marvelous holiday weather, but steamy and stormy by midweek

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Will Wonders Never Cease? Washington Post Endorses Atif Qarni for State Senate

by: lowkell

Sun May 24, 2015 at 19:57:13 PM EDT

No, I'm still not a fan of Lee Hockstader's, but he certainly got this one right!
State Senate District 29: Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park. The Democratic incumbent, Charles J. Colgan, who has held the seat since 1976, is the longest serving state senator in Virginia's history. His retirement after 10 terms touched off a primary race featuring three plausible candidates, each of whom ran for the House of Delegates two years ago.

The strongest of them is Atif M.Qarni, who served eight years in the U.S. Marines, including a tour in Iraq, before becoming a school teacher in Prince William County.

Mr. Qarni, widely admired for his energy, determination and commitment to service, would be the only active teacher in the Senate. He'd also be an effective advocate for schools who could speak to the real-world impact of legislation and policy from the perspective of someone working in one of the most diverse school districts anywhere.

Nailed it; this shouldn't even be a close call.

Also of interest, the Post endorsed Paul Krizek in the 44th House of Delegates district, correctly calling him "abundantly qualified to serve in Richmond, having been heavily involved in local civic groups for more than two decades." Also nailed it.

Finally, Craig Fifer continues his endorsement momentum, picking up the Washington Post, which says his "background, combining policy savvy and on-the-ground experience, is excellent preparation for a legislator."

Now, we'll see how the candidates take advantage of the "Washington Post endorsed" label, and how much clout said endorsement carries.

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Josh Duggar: "Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson, and Mark Obenshain really are exemplary of our values"

by: lowkell

Sun May 24, 2015 at 08:38:26 AM EDT

In light of the news that Josh Duggar - member of the Duggars' dangerous cult of purity (not to mention the bizarre, warped "Quiverfull" movement) - "repeatedly molested young girls when he was 14," I've seen numerous blog posts and news stories connecting Josh Duggar to various Republican politicans (e.g., see What do Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Jeb Bush Have In Common? Josh Duggar). However, I haven't seen any noting that the Duggars - including Josh Duggar - actively campaigned for the 2013 Virginia Republican "extreme team" ticket of Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson, and Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obesnhain. Here's Josh Duggar speaking at a rally for the Extreme Team in October 2013: "FRC Action, our goal is to encourage faith, family and freedom, and these men - Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson, and Mark Obenshain - really are exemplary of our values." Any further questions about the Republican Party of Virginia? (note: that same party is now headed by a guy who likes to make anti-Semitic "jokes"; also includes extremists like "Sidehow Bob" Marshall, Dick Black, Steve Martin and many others)

P.S. This remains relevant because all three members of the "Extreme Team" are active public figures and potential future candidates for office (e.g., it is certainly possible that Mark Obenshain will run for Virginia Attorney General in 2017).

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

National and Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun May 24, 2015 at 06:39:39 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, May 24. Also, check out that story in which "police body camera videos show a Fredericksburg police officer use his Taser and pepper spray on a motionless, silent driver who was having a medical emergency." Would this have ever happened to a white person? Doubtful. Should this happen to ANYONE? No!

*In stunningly lopsided vote, Irish legalize gay marriage (Go Ireland!)
*"War On Cops": Fox News Abandons Its Catchphrase When Bike Gangs Threaten Police (Of course, because when whites do it, it's not a "war on cops," only when African Americans do it. Not racist at all, no no no...snark.)
*Cleveland officer acquitted for role in fatal shooting (It's not acceptable for police to be shooting unarmed people whose car backfired, not sure how they were acquitted but this needs Justice Department intervention.)
*WATCH: Virginia cop uses pepper-spray, Taser on unresisting black man having stroke (Also outrageously unacceptable; WTF?!?)
*Ben Carson: 'Don't Let The Secular Progressives Drive God Out Of Our Lives' (Uh, dude, get a grip; nobody's driving your religion out of your life.)
*McCain Calls White House Spox An 'Idiot,' Quickly Retracts It (John McCain, class act as usual.)
*They're all still lying about Iraq: The real story about the biggest blunder in American history - and the right wing's obsessive need to cover it up ("Conservatives are trapped in an outdated and delusional worldview. Rubio, Jeb and media sycophants make it worse")
*Jeb Bush cozies up to haters: Jerry Falwell, Liberty University and the real story of religious right evil<?a>
The GOP's Southern discomfort ("As the 2016 Republican presidential campaign gets underway, the nation's most reliably red region finds itself yet again without a native son in a leading position.")
*Loving v. Virginia looms large in gay marriage case
*Hinkle: Brat jumps the shark on immigration (Agreed, although Brat jumped a bunch of sharks a long time ago on several subjects, such as his worship of Ayn Rand la-la-land "economics," his climate science denial, etc, etc.)
*Schapiro: Offstage redistricting drama rattles Republicans ("In this rough-and-tumble campaign season, a nastier battle - over the legal foundation of Republican legislative dominance - is unfolding largely out of view.")
*Virginia redistricting lawsuits could cost taxpayers big bucks
*Va. Democrats hope to use Clinton mojo to improve their own position ("How many eager Clinton volunteers will turn out, as she urged, at the 'awesome parade' in Falls Church on Memorial Day?" Good question.)
*The 1,2,3s of ABC: How a 20th century fear of saloons governs Va. restaurants today (Afraid of saloons? But not guns in those saloons? Gotcha.)
*Incumbent Sen. Stephen Martin faces two challengers in 11th District race
*Dance, Howell experience benefits of incumbency
*Coal-ash inquiry must continue
*With little recourse in gun-friendly Va., Arlington resists store opening ("The landlord, Kostas Kapasouris, did not respond to requests for comment.")
*Strasburg hammered again as Hamels, Phillies thump Nationals, 8-1 (Who ever expected Stephen Strasburg to be the Nats' worst pitcher? Got to get him straightened out somehow.)
*D.C. area forecast: Comfortable warmth today, then more summery starting Memorial Day

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Democratic Braddock Nominee Janet Oleszek Demolishes "Arrogant," "Insular" John Cook

by: lowkell

Sat May 23, 2015 at 08:43:45 AM EDT

Good for Janet Oleszek, standing up to John Cook's continued attacks on her. This time, as you can see on the "flip," Cook is actually implying that Janet Oleszek doesn't care - as Oleszek points out on Twitter - "sex trafficking, sexual assault awareness or domestic violence." Of course, the exact opposite is true: Oleszek cares DEEPLY about all those things, and would be a strong advocate in all those areas on the Fairfax County Board.  So why would John Cook say such obnoxious things? Because, obviously, he's trying to raise money from his right-wingnut base, and this is the type of red-meat, moronic rhetoric they love to hear about evileviltaxandspendblahblahblahliberals™ So here's Cook's "reasoning" in a nutshell: if someone doens't attend HIS meetings and events on whatever topics, that means they don't care about those topics. Logic 101 #FAIL Or, as Janet Oleszek puts it: "The 99.99% of Braddock residents (including me) who did not attend your meetings doesn't indicate a lack of interest in topic.  It actually just indicates a lack of interest in listening to you." ZING!!! ;)

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National and Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat May 23, 2015 at 06:44:26 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, May 23. Also, check out President Obama's weekly address, in which he "commemorate[s] Memorial Day by paying tribute to the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country."

*Make time for Memorial Day's true purpose ("Monday is the day to pause and give a moment of respect to those who, regardless of race, religion, gender, national origin or sexual orientation, served, fought and died in behalf of our nation.")
*Senate rejects compromise bill on surveillance
*Economy delivers a graduation gift, as new workers' underemployment eases (Just remember which president and which party got us into the Great Recession, and which president/party got us OUT of the Great Recession. Hint: the first answer starts with "R" and the second with "D" - lol.)
*Mike Huckabee Makes Excuses For Duggar Family Hiding Years Of Sexual Abuse ('Nuff said about Mike Huckabee.)
*The Family Research Council's Strange Statement On Josh Duggar's Child Molestation Confession ('Nuff said about the "Family Research Council" hate groupL.)
*Jeb Bush And George W. Bush Have Drastically Different Views On Climate Change ("Jeb Bush says scientists don't know if humans cause climate change. President Bush knew they did." As did George HW Bush. Jeb Bush is actually a step BACKWARDS from his brother, let alone his father!)
*How Scott Walker and His Allies Hijacked the Wisconsin Supreme Court ("And what it means for the probe into alleged campaign violations by Walker and conservative dark-money groups." Like a banana republic.)
*Ireland Appears Set to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
*State senator: Bills probably coming on Daily Press' database fight against Virginia Supreme Court
*"They're just trying to do their job." ("Virginia Beach's Police Benevolent Association says officers are being unfairly scrutinized because of public pressure after two viral cellphone videos showed officers using force to make arrests.")
*Prince William's newest high school to be named for Virginia's oldest senator
*How a former Va. lawmaker made a bad situation even worse, in 1 picture (The 20 gazillionth article on Joe Morrissey, but no investigative reporting on the much more serious corruption in Richmond. How about this many articles on Bill Howell's close ties to ALEC? Tommy Norment's corruption? Dick Saslaw's? Nah, just stick with the sex story about an ex-delegate.)
*Morrissey: We're getting married, and I'm running for Senate (This is like an idiotic, smarmy TV "reality show," and that is NOT a good thing.)
*Fairfax approves $2.6B school budget with raises and later high school start
*Max Scherzer and Bryce Harper pace Nationals to sixth straight win
*D.C. area forecast: Spectacular through Sunday, then trending hot

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

WaPo Endorsement in the 29th District: Expect Lee Hockstader to Do What Dick Saslaw Tells Him to Do

by: lowkell

Sat May 23, 2015 at 06:17:21 AM EDT

Over the years, I've written many times (some would no doubt say ad nauseum) about the Washington Post's endorsements in Virginia Democratic primary contests, general elections, etc. Actually, I shouldn't say "the Washington Post," because since I started blogging in 2005, to my knowledge it's basically been one guy, Lee Hockstader. Here's what I wrote last May about the Post's/Hockstader's upcoming endorsement in the 8th CD Democratic primary.
I've been referring to the "Post editorial board," but the reality is that when it comes to Virginia, it's really just one guy who makes the endorsements. That would be Lee Hockstader, a long-time foreign correspondent for whom Virginia politics is apparently a foreign country. I mean, seriously, when was the last time anyone's seen Hockstader at a political event - debate, JJ dinner, whatever - here in Virginia? Personally, I've covered hundreds of events over the years (not to mention meeting with dozens of candidates and elected officials for interviews and informal discussions), and the last time I saw Hockstader was at a Webb rally in Arlington back in 2006 (again, he endorsed Miller in that election, so he clearly wasn't impressed with Webb's grassroots appeal or message). Also, I've heard over the years that the endorsement process for the Post isn't exactly the most thorough or rigorous, but is basically more of "we know who we want to endorse, why spend the effort finding out about the other candidates?"

Finally, as I wrote last October, I'd just add that I have trouble understanding why Virginia Democrats - particularly challengers - like to tout the "Washington Post endorsement." For starters, it's really just one guy (Lee Hockstader) who spends minimal (if any) time or energy covering Virginia politics. Also, there's not much evidence, other than perhaps the Creigh Deeds endorsement in 2009, that the Post has any "juice" in Virginia elections at this point. Regardless, it's likely that Lee Hockstader (er, the Post) will make an endorsement in the 8th CD Democratic primary soon thing's for sure: if Hockstader et al believe (for whatever reason, correctly or incorrectly) that the person is too "progressive," "liberal," or any other synonym for those you can think of for those deadly (in the Post's center-right worldview) adjectives, it would be a massive shock if Hockstader/the Post endorsed them.

Now, a year later, it's that time of year again, and I'm personally bracing myself to see who (corrupt conservadem) Dick Saslaw et al. instruct Hockstader to endorse this time around. For instance, in the Democratic primary for State Senate in the 29th district (to replace longtime incumbent Chuck Colgan, who is retiring), I'd be STUNNED if Hockstader endorsed anyone but the handpicked candidate of Saslaw and Company -- Jeremy McPike. Which is Hockstader's right to do, of course, but everyone needs to understand a few things about said endorsement: 1) it won't be based on Hockstader having done any serious, sit-down, or at-length interviews with the candidates; 2) it won't be based on Hockstader attending any events - JJ dinners, debates, campaign kickoffs, whatever - in that district (or any other district, for that matter); 3) it won't be based on a careful analysis as to which candidate would be most electable in November; and 4) it won't have anything to do with the candidates' positions on the issues. With regard to point #1, I hear that Hockstader calls around, asks a couple of perfunctory questions, and basically calls it a day. Box having been checked, Lee's work is done; expect the endorsement of whoever Dick Saslaw tells him to endorse (in the case of the 29th, almost certainly Jeremy McPike) any time now. Just don't put any stock in the endorsement whatsoever, particularly given the Post's disdain for progressives, liberals, grassroots activists, or anyone who might buck the powers that be.

P.S. A classic Lee Hockstader move: in 2005, he endorsed Libby Garvey (or Jim Lay) over David Englin for House of Delegates (Englin won), but six years later, he said "The third candidate, Arlington School Board member Libby T. Garvey, is less ready for prime time in Richmond" (so, six years more experience made Garvey LESS ready for prime time in Richmond? ahhhh).

UPDATE Saturday morning: Hockstader has put up his endorsements for Alexandria Mayor, Arlington County Board, and the Mt. Vernon and Mason District Supervisors races. Whether you agree or disagree with these (personally, I am fine with Bill Euille being reelected, given his two opponents really not offering any serious alternative; I've also endorsed Peter Fallon), none - with the possible exception of political newcomer Katie Cristol - are in the last bit surprising. More to the point, has anyone seen Lee Hockstader at any of the Alexandria Mayoral debates, Arlington County Board debates, or Mt. Vernon Magisterial District debates? Uhhhh.

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Bernie Sanders' Fine Choice of Battlefield

by: Andy Schmookler

Fri May 22, 2015 at 14:46:03 PM EDT

Bernie Sanders writes:
"Congress is now debating fast track legislation that will pave the way for the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) unfettered free trade agreement. At a time when our middle class is disappearing and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider, this anti-worker legislation must be defeated. Here are four reasons why."

I think Sanders has chosen wisely in making himself the champion of the anti-Trade Pact sentiment in the Democratic Party, and beyond that in the country more broadly. This is a fine battlefield for him to fight his fight, which is our fight as well: for the TPP appears to be one more place where the Big Money Power is working its will at the expense of the people.

This "trade" agreement seems to be less about bringing down trade barriers than about shifting power away from governments and onto the corporate system.  From various reliable witnesses, it seems that TPP would allow corporations to by-pass the court system and to have a system largely of its own creation adjudicate matters that rightly should be decided by the judicial component of our American democracy.

The TPP would give corporations new ways of fighting against efforts by governments to protect the greater good against the "unfettered" global corporate system. Corporations, it seems, would be able to enforce, as their "right," being compensated for whatever they might lose by being regulated in the public interest.

The TPP appears to be one more way Big Money is attempting to control government rather than be limited by government's efforts to take into account the needs and rights of the American people. One more step in the ongoing hostile corporate takeover of our nation and its destiny.

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Josh Israel Reports from Last Night's Fairfax County Public School Board Curriculum Meeting

by: lowkell

Fri May 22, 2015 at 08:53:59 AM EDT

Thanks to Josh Israel for the following, excellent report from last night's Fairfax County Public School Board meeting.
While there were likely 100+ opponents of LGBT equality at last night's Fairfax County School Board meeting, led by Andrea Lafferty of the SPLC-designated hate group the Traditional Values Coalition and far-right former Fairfax School Board Member Mychele Brickner (R), wearing "Respect Parental Choice" stickers, this meeting was significantly calmer than the one a couple of weeks ago. Many of the opponents seemed confused about the fact that, under the proposed curriculum changes, parents will still be able to opt-out their kids from the portions of Family Life Education and that the topics being moved from the Family Life Education curriculum to the health curriculum are topics unrelated to sexual orientation and gender identity.

There were about 25 of us supporters of equality there to show our support and Robert Rigby Jr., Alexandra Dixon, Metro DC PFLAG dad Phil Hicks, and (via video) a current out FCPS high school student each gave eloquently and heartfelt testimony about why this curriculum is a matter of life and death for LGBT and questioning kids.

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Video: Arlington County Board Candidates Rip Board on Reeves Farmhouse Decision

by: lowkell

Fri May 22, 2015 at 06:35:46 AM EDT

Here's video of last night's Arlington County Board Democratic debate (candidates attending were Peter Fallon, Christian Dorsey, Bruce Wiljanen, Katie Cristol and Andrew Schneider; James Lander was at a School Board meeting so did not participate in the debate). We'll start with the candidates criticizing the County Board for its decision to sell the historic Reeves farmhouse property. See the comments section for more video, including a question on widening I-66 inside the Beltway (all candidates said that was a very bad idea); one on the qualities the County Manager should have (basically, perfect in every way - lol), another on County Board transparency (yes!), opening and closing statements. Worth noting: Andrew Schneider was endorsed by 2014 Demoratic County Board nominee Alan Howze. Schneider also made a very strong statement about why he's a liberal Democrat, and why "I don't think you can be an elected Democratic leader and not support our party and our nominees." I strongly agree with Schneider, simply would change the word "can be" to "should not be."

P.S. I asked Christian Dorsey after the debate what he thought about the Arlington County Board resolution urging the Washington NFL team to change its (racist) name. Dorsey said he thought that passing resolutions was a break in precedent for the Board, and that if they're doing to do that, it should be on something urgent/pressing. I asked him how he would have voted: yes, no, or abstain, and he basically didn't like any of the options, said he might have been "not present" or something like that. I'd be interested in what other County Board candidates think on the question of: a) whether the Arlington County Board should be in the business of passing resolutions; and b) what they think of this specific resolution and how they would have voted.

UPDATE: Andrew Schneider says he "didn't support the resolution - even if I have personal qualms about the name...I would have voted with John  [Vihstadt] and Libby [Garvey] and abstained."

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