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Tim Kaine on Senate Passage of Marketplace Fairness Act

by: lowkell

Mon May 06, 2013 at 19:19:46 PM EDT

So now, if the Teahadist-controlled House of Representatives passes this bill - and that's still a BIG "if" - perhaps Virginia could actually (miraculously?) end up with the $260 million a year (or whatever it turns out to be) that state lawmakers - and Bob McDonnell - were hoping for when they voted for the transportation package a few weeks ago? Stay tuned...
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement after the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act by a vote of 69 to 27. Last week, Kaine discussed the Marketplace Fairness Act across Virginia including in Roanoke, Harrisonburg, Waynesboro, Falls Church and Leesburg:

"Merchants across our Commonwealth play by the rules and collect sales tax but big internet retailers have been shielded from that same responsibility. I am pleased we took a bipartisan step today to end that unfair advantage by passing the Marketplace Fairness Act and I urge the House to adopt this measure to level the playing field for Virginia's small retail businesses.

"This bill is particularly important for Virginia's infrastructure. The bipartisan transportation bill passed by Governor McDonnell and the General Assembly this year encouraged Congress to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act so that internet sales tax dollars collected in Virginia could be used to improve roads, rail and public transit. These resources will allow Virginia to repair infrastructure and help undertake new projects to keep the state moving at the speed of a 21st century economy."

P.S. Here's the Roll Call vote, Sen. Mark Warner also voted "yea."  

P.P.S. My opinion on this bill is that it's a no brainer for two reasons. First, it levels the playing field between online and "brick-and-mortar" businesses. Right now, the latter are getting killed, as people shop there but buy online to avoid paying sales tax. Not cool. Second, it ends what's essentially massive tax evasion, as people are ALREADY supposed to be paying taxes for online purchases, but basically nobody does. This bill fixes both those problems, ergo it's a no brainer (except for rabid, anti-government fanatics like Grover Norquist).

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Graphic: Last Week's Front Page Headlines for McDonnell and Cuccinelli

by: lowkell

Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:44:42 PM EDT

Courtesy of Progress VA (great job by Brian Devine), "These front page headlines, from just last week, detailed McDonnell and Cuccinelli's ethical scandal. This week they show no sign of stopping." Now, it's time to spread the word to everyone you know!
Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Poll: McDonnell's Surprising Popularity Trouble for Democrats?

by: Goldmanusa

Mon May 06, 2013 at 10:22:41 AM EDT

by Paul Goldman

Chefgate, Stargate, record taxes, record  unreported wedding gifts don't seem to have affected Governor McDonnell's popularity with the voters. Most Democrats like the job the boy has been doing: go figure. If McD has over 60% job approval from all registered voters, he might have 70%+ with the likely voters who actually show up in November.

It is not a question of whether I think he deserves such high ratings; it is only a 200-proof question of whether this ratings will stick by November.  My experiences in strategizing these kinds of things tells me this: if Cuccinelli spends a ton of his time pumping McD on TV as a successful GOP Governor - then it will help Cuccinelli get votes.

Yes, Dems will say that Cuccinelli is no McDonnell, and try to say it was Terry not Ken who helped on transportation, etc. But if Cuccinelli does it right, the Dem line will not sell. Why not? Because McD will on the tube pumping Cuccinelli. If McD will do negative ads against Terry, then that is an even bigger potential problem.

Robb and Warner refused to do negative attacks: but their positive TV ads were enough. More important fact: One reason Robb and Warner were popular when they left office was all the positive TV ads pumping their tenure, and the fact their guy won.

Remember: Terry has no incentive to attack McD, because McD is way more popular than he is. So Terry has no choice but to let Cuccinelli or a pro-McD PAC pump the Governor's record. Meaning: Cuccinelli has a reason to praise McD even if they aren't best buds, and McD has a reason to want Cuccinelli to win even if they aren't best buds.

200-proof strategy question: Should outside Democratic PACs try to chip away at McD's record Or put another way: Did all the Dem praise of McD on transportation actually hurt Dems this November? Given the current Washington Post Poll, the 200-proof analysis is: Democratic praise of McD on transportation has been a net loser for Dems in the Governor's race so far.  

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Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:33:19 AM EDT

Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, May 6.

*Obama needs to ask himself why even his supporters are growing impatient ("Remember the Mark Twain line that Wagner's music was better than it sounded? Obama's program has more to do with growth and opportunity than he usually lets on. If he wants to rally us, he might want to change that.")
*We have been on a Carbon Binge and are waking up to find ourselves with the mother of all hangovers (It would be great to get some leadership on this as well!)
*If this is early stages of climate change, what's next?
*UN: Rebels, not Assad, appear to have used chemical weapons (Ee gads, what if President Obama's "red line" has been crossed, but NOT by the Syrian regime? Then what?)
*Gang of Eight plots path to Senate supermajority ("Senate immigration negotiators are targeting as many as two dozen Republicans for a show-of-force majority - which they believe may be the only way a reform bill will have the momentum to force the House to act.")
*With FBI probe, Gov. Bob McDonnell loses squeaky clean image
*Poll: Despite FBI inquiry, road funding overhaul, Va. governor still popular
*With friends like these, I need new friends
*Today's top opinion: Drip, drip, drip
*Norfolk to host GOP candidates, McAuliffe Sunday
*District 19 race could hinge on Botetourt County
*Think bigger on Norfolk budget
*Industrious oysters could clean up Chesapeake, new study suggests
*Justin Bieber sued in Virginia over hit song
*Bryce Harper ejected in Nationals' win
*Sun to vanish as clouds, showers take over forecast for next several days

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

McAuliffe Officially Launches Campaign in Norfolk, Lays Out Transportation Platform

by: lowkell

Sun May 05, 2013 at 16:45:26 PM EDT

From the McAuliffe for Governor campaign:

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe officially launched his campaign today in front of a crowd of about 200 in Norfolk.  McAuliffe laid out his transportation plan and vision for how the next Governor of Virginia can help strengthen and diversify the Commonwealth's economy. Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim introduced McAuliffe.

 Visit Terry's website to see his  "Putting Jobs First" agenda.

McAuliffe laid out his case for Governor, saying: “Today, Virginia finds herself at a unique crossroads.  We did a bit better than the rest of the country over the last four years, during the Great Recession, in part because we are the number one recipient of federal dollars.  With federal cuts already happening, the next four years in Virginia could be even more challenging than the last.  It matters who serves as Governor.  And it matters that he understands the need to diversify and strengthen every region of our economy in the face of new headwinds--and believes in the tools we have to do that.  And frankly, it matters that the message we send to potential employers and the brightest innovators is that we are open for business—and welcoming to all. In Virginia, we’ve got to put jobs first.  That’s why I’m running for Governor.”

“As Mayor of Norfolk, I know the importance of having someone in the Governor’s office who invests in our infrastructure and makes sure Virginia’s industries remain competitive in the 21st Century,” said Mayor Fraim.  “Terry knows that in order to keep Virginia’s economy competitive, we need to make sure our roads and bridges are safe, connect Virginia’s cities and ports with other national and international economies, increase our exports, and create jobs.  This is what Terry cares about, and what he will be focused on as Governor—putting the investments in place that will keep Virginia’s families safe and our businesses thriving.”

On Monday, McAuliffe will be joined in Richmond by US Senator Tim Kaine to discuss strengthening community colleges before traveling on to events in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg.  Additional events across the Commonwealth will be announced in the coming days.

For photos of the event, click here
Discuss :: (0 Comments)

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

by: aznew

Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:31:31 AM EDT

Lowell noted in a recent diary how one of the Commonwealth's right wing blogs was beginning to argue that Ken Cuccinelli was actually not that extreme.

While on its most basic level, this assertion seems to me to say more about the intellectual depravity of Conservative thought in modern America, to the extent that it argues that President Barack Obama, a slightly left-of-center Democrat, is a raging Socialist who is too liberal for an American public that elected him President twice, while the antediluvian Mr. Cuccinelli, who once remarked that he would not get his newborn child a Social Security Number because it is used by the government to track you throughout your life, is somehow a mainstream politician.

The idea, of course, is absurd. Lowell nonetheless took the opportunity to provide us with  twenty-five examples of Mr. Cuccinelli's extremism, , and even at that level apparently did not come close to exhausting all the available evidence.

Regardless, I suspect we'll hear plenty more of this nonsense as the summer wears on and the GOP attempts to recast Mr. Cuccinelli as an acceptable choice for a more moderate Virginia.  Indeed, based on the poll released last night by the Washington Post, this effort will become more desperate as more people start paying closer attention to the race and Mr. Cuccinelli's record. According to the Post, Terry McAuliffe "does far better among those very closely tuned in than he does among those yet to pay much attention."

The GOP game plan won't break new ground. Unable to defend Mr. Cuccinelli's record substantively, they will blame the messenger. Look for them to argue that Mr. Cuccinelli's reputation as an extremist is simply the result of the typical liberal propaganda enabled by a liberal media.

So, I thought I might take a look at how other conservatives view Mr. Cuccinelli in terms of how extreme he is or, in their view, isn't.

A bona fide Conservative like, say, Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post's "Right Turn" blogger.

Here, then, on the flip are the top ten Jennifer Rubin quotes about Ken Cucinelli's extremism:

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Electronic Letter Sent to Office of the Comptroller of the Currency - JPMorgan Chase

by: Progressive86

Sun May 05, 2013 at 09:15:08 AM EDT

Written and sent to the OCC, 5/5/2013.

This email is concerning the JPMorgan Chase "manipulative schemes" in energy markets case being reviewed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). As a government institution whose mission is to serve the people of the United States through "Ensuring a safe and sound federal banking system for all Americans", "warning of a potential crackdown" in the wake of such gross criminal activity by JPMorgan Chase is a dereliction of duty and an affront to the American people, the majority of whom ARE law-abiding citizens who play by the rules set forth by law.

If "too-big-to-fail" financial institutions can act with impunity, the American people will not only lose faith in the trustworthiness of large financial institutions, but government agencies whose mission is to regulate those institutions. Eventually, this loss of trust could result in a systemic breakdown of financial confidence by the typical American consumer.

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Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun May 05, 2013 at 06:58:51 AM EDT

Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, May 5. Happy Cinco de Mayo! Also, check out Saturday Night Live's mocking of the utterly absurd, eminently mockable "Fox and Friends."

*Israel strikes Syria again, rocking Damascus ("Western intelligence source told Reuters the operation hit Iranian-supplied missiles headed for Lebanon's Hezbollah.")
*New Study: The Economic Benefits of EPA Regulations Massively Outweigh The Costs
*Democrat Terry McAuliffe kicking off Virginia gubernatorial campaign with policy speeches
*Poll: Cuccinelli has early lead over McAuliffe in Virginia governor's race (I'm certainly not going to try and argue that these poll results are good. They are certainly not. However, I would recommend you check out the table of poll results from 2005, which I've posted in the comments section, before putting your home on the market and planning your move to DC, Maryland, etc.)
*McAuliffe has 69% of blacks' support, but it might not be enough (In the end, this will need to be 90%+, with strong turnout, for Terry to win.)
*McDonnell, Cuccinelli and Star Scientific ("Who ever would have thought that Gov. Bob McDonnell would have been done in by the chef, in the kitchen, with a cleaver?")
*A new tune for Virginia Republicans ("Recent revelations show it is time for the state GOP to reconsider its presumptive candidate for governor and dump Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Many already considered him too far right to win. Now they can add inept and even suspect to the list.")
*The Cuccinelli standard bites back (The author of this is a Tea Party nut, but he's on to something...)
*Cabinet member discloses gifts from Star CEO ("Secretary of commonwealth discloses flights paid for by Star Scientific executive")
*Bell, Obenshain square off for GOP nod for AG
*State leaders have a duty to Virginia Tech ("...if Virginia's colleges are expected to remain accessible and affordable, and produce the workforce for the top jobs of the 21st century, the state's commitment must continue to grow after McDonnell leaves the governor's office.")
*Arlington National Cemetery plans expansion to take it into 2050s ("The historic burial ground is running out of space, but critics say some plans would hurt its environment.")
*Ryan Zimmerman helps the Nats steal a 9th inning victory from the Pirates
*NHL playoffs: Mike Green's goal in overtime gives Capitals 2-0 series lead on Rangers  

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

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

by: lowkell

Sat May 04, 2013 at 15:17:06 PM EDT

This speech, Romney's second public speech since he lost the 2012 election, demonstrates yet again why we are all SO fortunate that he DID lose that election. The fact is, the guy simply has no conception of - or respect for - the world most people live in nowadays. A few examples from this speech reflect a lot of what's wrong with social conservatism, which in turn makes up a significant chunk of the off-the-deep-end Republican Party.

First, after erroneously congratulating the Southern Virginia University - a liberal arts school which "embraces the values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" - "class of 2012" (once again, appropriately, a right winger clinging to the past...), Romney launches into a speech that is relentlessly anti-modern, as well as relentlessly intolerant of anyone who doesn't think like him, and relentlessly clueless about today's reality.

For instance, at around 1 minute in, Romney makes a big joke about how it's tough for parents to get their kids out of the home these days. In reality, of course, it's not so funny, especially when you consider that the right-wing economic policies (austerity, cuts to the social safety net, disinvestment in education and other crucial human and physical capital, opposition to universal health care, the economic "race to the bottom," equating corporations with people, encouraging wealthy people - and corporations - to pay the absolute minimum in taxes, crony capitalism run amok, offshoring/outsourcing, etc.) that Romney and his party support not only contributed greatly to the "Great Recession" that began in 2007, but have prolonged it and worsened it. And that, to a large extent, is why young people these days aren't getting out of their parents' houses as quickly as they'd like to -- because Republican economic policies keep squeezing the middle class, keep making the poor poorer, and keep enriching the already super-rich. That's the world Romney sees, and he thinks it's just hilarious!

Second, it's one thing of Romney personally wants to have a "quiver-full of kids" (he actually uses that exact phrase). Fine, that's Romney's own "lifestyle choice," to use the phrase right wingers use about LGBT people and others they don't approve of. To each his own, I suppose (although I'd also note that the world would benefit greatly from the population NOT increasing any more, and that the LAST thing we need is for 7 billion people to all have a "quiver-full of kids" and explode that population to 14 billion, 21 billion, whatever, when we're already far beyond the earth's carrying capacity).

The biggest problem, though, is that Romney mocks the very concept of NOT getting married young, of NOT having that "quiver-full of kids" while you're in your 20s, etc. Thus, according to Willard, if you don't do that, you're "living in the shallows." Let me quote the jerk directly:

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 546 words in story)

David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington on Why "streetcars are Arlington's best bet"

by: lowkell

Sat May 04, 2013 at 12:30:52 PM EDT

There's been so much misinformation (and, frankly, DISinformation) spewed around about the Arlington streetcar project, that it's great to see people who know a TON about transit options respond. For instance, David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington, who has a new op-ed in the Washington Post entitled, Rail, streetcars or BRT? The definitions matter.  A few key points.

1. As I've pointed out, and as others - Arlington County Board experts, for instance - have explained time and again, "modern bus transit" (whatever that is exactly) or "Bus Rapid Transit" (which requires a dedicated right-of-way) are simply not possible on Columbia Pike. As Alpert explains, "It would be fantastic to dedicate lanes on Columbia Pike, but the Virginia Department of Transportation isn't willing to consider reallocating space from cars to transit, even if more people would be moved in the higher-capacity trains or buses." End of story. Next subject!
2. BRT supporters can deny or hand-wave this point away as much as they want, but it doesn't make it (aka, "reality") disappear. As Alpert humorously puts it, "Personally, I favor 'Star Trek'-style transporters on Columbia Pike, which would be far faster than any car, bus or train, but those are just as nonexistent." LOL - exactly! Nor are there dedicated lanes for any BRT or "modern bus transit" (whatever that is; it remains undefined by people who throw that phrase around as if it actually means something).
3. Among the MANY advantages of streetcars, Alpert explains, is that they "can transport more people than buses can and usually stimulate more economic development than an equivalent bus project." Let's see, it transports more people and brings more economic value to the community than adding more buses. Hmmm...gee, this is a really tough call! (not)
4. Of course, nobody's arguing that streetcars are the right fit for every situation. You have to analyze the specifics of each particular case, which is exactly what Arlington's done for over a decade now. And, not surprisingly, Arlington's come to the same conclusion over and over again, that - as Alpert puts it, "streetcars are Arlington's best bet" - the "right mode" for Columbia Pike.

The bottom line here is that the Columbia Pike streetcar's almost certainly going to happen, barring a truly bizarre turn of events (e.g., the Tea Party takes over the Arlington County board?). For starters, it's conceivable that somebody could primary leading streetcar advocate and County Board member Chris Zimmerman next year (in fact, I've heard VERY strong rumors that this is EXACTLY what's in the works) and try to replace him with someone who opposes the streetcar. That would be a huge mistake, to put it mildly, and we should all strongly oppose any candidate who runs on such a platform.  

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:46:27 AM EDT

Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, May 4. Also check out President Obama's weekly address, in which he "describes the incredible opportunities to create middle-class jobs in the United States by deepening our economic ties and expanding trade in Latin America and discusses recent Senate bill that takes commonsense steps to fix our broken immigration system."

*Stocks rise as 7.5% jobless rate dispels fears that the recovery has stumbled (See, America, these are the HORRORS you see when Democrats are in charge. Oh wait...LOL.)
*The Loss Of Government Jobs Is Holding Back The Economy (And THAT is thanks to Republicans!)
*The legal mess on emergency contraception ("We think the greater danger lies in discouraging desperate teens from using this safe contraception.")
*Sources: U.S. believes Israel has conducted an airstrike into Syria
*Obama tells Mexicans a 'new Mexico' is emerging
*Who had the worst week in Washington? Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. ("Bob McDonnell doesn't live in Washington, but any hope he had of moving here when his term is up took a serious beating this past week.")
*McDonnell Endorses Springfield Site for New FBI Headquarters (But only if they pay his food and entertainment expenses for the next 20 years or so. Just kidding, but you never know with Gov. Quid Pro Quo.)
*Howell: Gift disclosure worth a look
*Warner criticizes House's approach on immigration ("Democratic senator reacts to push by Republican Rep. Goodlatte")
*Absurd decision on Virginia FOIA ("But the notion that a person could work and play in Virginia and be denied access to records through FOIA simply because he maintains his home across state lines is absurd.")
*Dominion asks Virginia regulators for first fuel rate increase in 2 years
*Terry McAuliffe proposes local tax reforms
*Warner stays away from Star-Scientific saga ("U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D) who has a very loose connection to the Star- Scientific saga plauging leading Republicans in Richmond, chose not to attack and instead said that he will wait see how the case plays out.")
*Looking up! Region's housing market feeling 5 years younger
*Nationals bats go quiet again in 3-1 loss at Pittsburgh (This team really hasn't hit a rhythm yet this year. Hopefully that will change soon, or it could be a long season...)

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Climate Wake-Up Call Reaches Dominion Shareholders!

by: bethkemler

Fri May 03, 2013 at 17:43:33 PM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

Birth of Venus on sea level riseCross-posted from the blog.

Today I attended my third Dominion Resources annual shareholder meeting, the company’s 104th. And woah! What a day! The company announced that a resolution addressing the financial risks of climate change, which I worked with a shareholder to introduce, received an unprecedented 22% of the shareholder vote. While that may not sound like much, in the shareholder activism world, anything over 10% is remarkable. Resolutions are typically introduced not with passage as the goal but with the intention to educate board members and shareholders.

Outside of the meeting, which was held at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, about 20 activists volunteering with CCAN, Sierra Club and Appalachian Voices held their own “exhibit” of altered artwork to represent the unrecognizable future of rising seas, extreme weather disasters and destroyed mountains that Dominion is leading Virginia toward. The "masterpieces" included a Starry Night marred by mountaintop removal mining, The Birth of Venus submerged by rising seas -- a reality all too close to home for residents of Hampton Roads -- and Napoleon, with CEO Tom Farrell moonlighting as the emperor of climate pollution.

Dominion is Virginia’s biggest climate polluter and a major purchaser of coal from mountaintop removal mining. On the other hand, the company has yet to bring a single kilowatt of utility-scale wind or solar power online for Virginia customers.

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 357 words in story)

Videos: Mark Herring Speaks to NOVA Democratic Business Council Breakfast

by: lowkell

Fri May 03, 2013 at 14:49:17 PM EDT

This morning, Sen. Herring spoke to the Northern Virginia Democratic Business Council forum in Tysons Corner. More videos on the "flip," including Sen. Herring talking about voter ID ("sore loser bills"), protecting children, clean energy and environmental protection. Good stuff!

There's More... :: (6 Comments, 42 words in story)

Graphic: We Know Where Terry McAuliffe's Been, but #WheresKen?!?

by: lowkell

Fri May 03, 2013 at 17:16:36 PM EDT

From Terry McAuliffe's Facebook page: "Terry spent the week touring Virginia's community colleges, meeting with voters, and discussing the issues that matter most to them. Meanwhile, Ken Cuccinelli was... well, we're not sure." One possibility: he's hiding out in a bunker somewhere, rather than comment on the burgeoning scandal he's involved with. Given how bad things are looking for Cuckoo right now, it might actually be a smart move by [Cooch campaign strategist] Chris LaCivita and Company.
Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent Headline NRA Convention

by: ToddSmyth

Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:49:44 AM EDT

(This nutjob also said it wasn't the "Civil War," it was the "War of Northern Aggression." He'll fit in perfectly at the NRA, no doubt about that! - promoted by lowkell)

Gun fanatics are a key voting block in the Republican party. Without them, Republicans lose almost every election. They are just as important to Exxon, Koch Industries and Monsanto as they are to Colt, Ruger and Smith & Wesson. This well funded, passionate minority has been winning the battles in Congress and they are today launching a war against gun control at the NRA convention in Houston, Texas. We have tip toed around them for too long, trying not to activate them too much. Well guess what? They are all in and we have nothing left to lose but the lives of our children and families if we do nothing. We have been far too polite for too long and the time has come for a full court press to call them out at every opportunity. Gun fanatics are idiots and they are being used to protect the wealthiest few in this country. I hope that all of us are ready to take them on.

New NRA President Fantasizes About "Whipping" Anti-Gun Opponents

Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent Headline NRA Convention - Houston TX

Gun Fanatics to wage "extensive war" against gun control

Art Exhibit "The Gun Show!" in DC Today!

Discuss :: (1 Comments)
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