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Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Nov 16, 2014 at 07:20:27 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, November 16.

*G20 commits to higher growth, fight climate change; Russia isolated over Ukraine
*Obama: We didn't mislead on health care ("The fact that an adviser who was never on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run.")
*Bill Clinton Says He's Surprised by Midterm Losses
*McConnell's 'no shutdown' pledge faces first big test
*ISIS Claims to Have Beheaded American Aid Worker Peter Kassig in New Video
*Our view: Republican riptide ("...the most powerful part of the Republican wave (from a Democratic point of view) may have been the riptide in state governments across the country." It's LONG past time for Dems - including activists, big donors, etc. - to focus on the state/local levels.)
*The Fable of Rand Paul ("At this point Paul is as much a political fable as a political reality, and his supposed strengths...pale beside his weaknesses. They're many. And they're potentially ruinous.")
*Bill Cosby refuses to address sexual assault allegations on NPR interview, will no longer appear on David Letterman's show (Ugh.)
*Virginia results pose puzzle for parties
*Presidential jockeying already underway in Virginia
*Schapiro: Va. lawmakers work hard doing nothing ("This past Tuesday, they came, they schmoozed, they went home. It has been a recurring exercise since March, when the Republican-dominated General Assembly should have concluded its work for the year.")
*Gibson: Should Virginians get to vote on gerrymandering?
*LGBT Ally to Face Off for Comstock's Seat ("Kathleen Murphy seeks a second shot at McLean-area House of Delegates seat")
*Letter: Energy CEOs are blind to the economic gains EPA rules will generate
*McLean businessman Craig Parisot wins GOP primary for Comstock's Va. House seat (As one commenter points out, "There are two wings of the VA GOP: right and hard right. Let's see where he lands." Yep.)
*Riding light rail and streetcars into better communities ("Opposing streetcars and light rail today would be like opposing the building of freeways, the Beltway and Metrorail in the 20th century. Along with maintaining our roads and Metrorail, the most important transportation investment for our region in the early 21st century is streetcar and light rail.")
*Taxpayer backlash creates major doubts for Columbia Pike Streetcar and Purple Line ("I think supporters should keep pushing for the two projects. For the sake of the environment and our quality of life, we need more dense, urban-style neighborhoods where people are less dependent on cars.")
*Poquoson takes action to outpace rising sea levels
*Decent Sunday, damp and rainy Monday, then downright cold

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Interview with Former Diaspora CEO Yosem Companys; Featured in "More Awesome than Money" (Part 1)

by: lowkell

Sat Nov 15, 2014 at 11:40:58 AM EST

I just finished reading the fascinating new book More Awesome Than Money: Four Boys and Their Heroic Quest to Save Your Privacy from Facebook by Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times reporter Jim Dwyer. The Wall Street Journal describes the book as the efforts of "four idealists frustrated with Facebook's control over our personal create an alternative," and why they didn't ultimately succeed. Other than being a fascinating story, with drama and even tragedy (specifically, the suicide of brilliant, charismatic co-founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy), the book covers important issues facing all of us in the age of social media, the "cloud," etc.: privacy, the digital "Panopticon," the profit motive vs. creating something socially beneficial, how promising technologies do or don't end up getting funding to move forward, implications for society, even human identity itself. I make absolutely no pretensions to being an expert on any of this, just someone interested in the subject. So, I asked my friend Yosem Companys -- who teaches high-technology entrepreneurship at Stanford University, runs social media for Stanford's Program on Liberation Technology, and previously worked as consiglieri and CEO of Diaspora (with a crucial role to play in "More Awesome than Money") - whether he would be willing to answer a few questions. He graciously agreed. Here's the interview, edited for conciseness and clarity. Note: I've decided, due to the interview's length (16 questions and answers), to break it up into four parts. Here are questions #1-#4.

Question #1: How would you explain what Diaspora was trying to accomplish? Do you believe this is widely understood?
Yosem Companys: People still don't get that Diaspora was, and continues to be, something that is profoundly different from all dominant social networking sites: a DECENTRALIZED network.

Question #2: Why does decentralization make Diaspora "profoundly different from all existing social networking sites?"
Yosem Companys: Well, I should say "public decentralization," as Facebook privately decentralizes its servers to optimize your user experience, but publicly doesn't allow you to run your own version of Facebook on your server. That is the fundamental difference between Diaspora and Facebook, and between Diaspora and any of the new "Facebook Killer" flavors of the month (such as Ello). On Diaspora you have the potential to control your own server -- and, by extension, your own data -- because Diaspora is simply an open-source software package that you download and install on your own server. Others can do the same, and then you connect to them and they connect to you via server-to-server connections, such that you could never see that data they choose to keep private from you, and vice versa (and no one else could either, including the government or malicious hackers, were that data encrypted). Of course, you could use a server running Diaspora that was set up by someone else the same way that you use a centralized social-networking site like Facebook, and that is indeed what most people do. But the revolutionary potential of Diaspora was in giving everyone the option to run their own server and customize the Diaspora software at will, something not possible on most other social-networking sites. Because the software is open source, you can both make modifications to the code and rest assured that open-source developers will patch any security holes, once discovered.

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Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Nov 15, 2014 at 07:01:26 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, November 15.

*Undisclosed spending in elections threaten American democracy (Thank you right-wing Supreme Court justices!)
*GOP oil titan: Keystone's irrelevant
*Independent Bill Walker wins Alaska governor's race (Nice.)
*GOP may use spending bills to pressure Obama (Will Republicans shut down the government yet again? Stay tuned!)
*House approves Keystone bill; Obama likely to veto
*Earth has warmest October on record as ocean temperatures top charts (Any further questions, global warming deniers?)
*Terry McAuliffe: 60 Days Until Hillary Decision
*After Losses, Liberal and Centrist Democrats Square Off on Strategy
*Cantor slayer will back Boehner
*Veteran Va. politicians to join MWAA board
*New Va. ethics panel makes initial recommendations to McAuliffe ("The watchdog group Common Cause praised the creation of a commission with broad authority but noted several loopholes, including an exception to the $250 cap for attendance at events with 20 or more people.")
*GOP adviser apologizes for 'rented mule' comment in Virginia primary challenge (That comment's appalling on every level, but why am I not surprised that this is coming from one of Eric Cantor's former top advisors?)
*Our view: Did Sarvis cost Gillespie the election? ("Without Sarvis on the ballot, maybe some of those 53,098 Libertarian voters simply wouldn't have voted at all.")
*Baum: Keep Virginia beautiful: Recycle
*Peninsula to feel pinch of state budget cuts
*McAuliffe applauds EPA's carbon intent, questions details (Virginia doesn't need "leniency," we need to embrace these rules and push even more aggressively on energy efficiency, wind and solar power - "the greatest market opportunity world has seen.")
*Virginia Beach mayor resigns from TowneBank boards (How on earth could this type of thing ever be considered ethical?!? Perhaps Sessoms should resign as Mayor as well?)
*Less wind, but below-normal temps
as an arctic front heads to the area

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Should Virginia Dems Root for Tea Partier Susan Stimpson over House Speaker Bill "ALEC" Howell?

by: lowkell

Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 15:26:29 PM EST

That headline may seem to have a simple answer - yes, of course we should want to see a right-wing, corporate tool like Virginia House Speaker Bill "ALEC" Howell defeated. I mean, Howell's been a huge obstacle to Medicaid expansion and any other progress in this state, so good riddance, right? Except for a few hypothetical downsides I've heard bandied about by Virginia Dems I've chatted with recently.

1. Obviously, a Tea Partier like Susan Stimpson would be no better than Howell on policy. It's hard to imagine, but it's possible she might even be a smidge worse in some ways. Although, basically, we're choosing between horrible and awful here, so it's not exactly much of a choice from a progressive perspective.

2. The defeat of Howell, or even a close call for that matter, might push Virginia Republicans even further to the far right (yeah, I know, is that even possible?!?), as more "mainstream" (yeah, I know, are there any of those left?) Republicans become yet MORE terrified of being primaried from their right.

2a. A related point - this would make Virginia Republicans even less willing to compromise than they are now, taking them from "0.00001% chance" to "absolute zero chance."

3. Howell's likely successor as Virginia House Speaker would be Kirk Cox, who some Dems tell me would be even worse than Mr. ALEC. I'm not buying that one. I mean, Howell's so awful, I just can't imagine Cox being any worse.

Now, having listed a few potential downsides to a Susan Stimpson primary win over Speaker Howell, here are some positives I can see.

There's More... :: (6 Comments, 295 words in story)

We Saved You, Sen. Warner - Now Help Save Us All

by: kindler

Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 06:00:00 AM EST

Dear Sen. Warner:

As the night of November 4th wore on, it became clear that your political future lay firmly in the hands of Northern Virginia Democrats.  Had the progressive counties of NoVa not loyally stood with you, you would now be out of a job.  

This reality may conflict with your self-image as a "radical centrist" who likes to show your "independence" by poking your fingers in our eyes.  Perhaps you're still fondly re-reading the yellowing news clips of your 2001 campaign, of its NASCAR races and turkey hunts.

But politically speaking, that was ages ago. The architect of that campaign, Mudcat Saunders, defected last year to endorse the ultra-right-wing Ken Cuccinelli.  And last week, the NASCAR crowd jettisoned you like so much spare fuel.  

They're not coming back, Senator.  For better or for worse, there is no center remaining in American politics today.  There are only two sides between which every politician must choose.  

The results of last week's election mean that you're stuck with us extremist, wild-eyed liberals, Senator.  You can no longer postpone paying attention to your base.

You need us - but the truth is that we need you too.  We need you to stand up for our values and defend us from all the threats that the new Republican Senate majority represents for our country and our world.  

So let's start with the reality that the scientific community is shouting at us to focus on.

There's More... :: (14 Comments, 563 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 06:31:56 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, November 14.

*Solar - the greatest market opportunity world has seen (Yep, and if Dominion Power has its way, Virginia will miss out on this!)
*U.S.-China pact is an accord the planet needed (Yes, now we need even MORE action - both by other countries as well as this one. A revenue-neutral carbon tax would really do the trick about now!)
*In Myanmar, Obama Affirms Support for Democracy
*GOP split over how to respond on immigration
*Obama vows to move forward with plans for U.S. immigration system (Finally!)
*Obama, Down but Not Out, Presses Ahead
*Jim Webb and the Lost History of the Pre-Obama Left (Strange article, can't really figure out what it's saying exactly. Jim Webb is really on the "left?" Uh, no.)
*Jim Webb: The Democrat Who Could Beat Hillary From The Right (Extremely doubtful he could beat Hillary Clinton, but funny how one article says Webb's more to the "left" and another says he's more to the "right." LOL)
*Former Massey Coal Chief Indicted (Peter Galuszka's take on "a poster man for the view, popular among this country's business elite, that cost cutting and productivity are sacrosanct, human lives are cheap and environmental concerns such as climate change are mere diversions from the country's true goals.")
*Warner, Kaine vote against Reid to lead Senate Democrats
*Our view: This might be Virginia's chance to reform the way it picks its judges
*In Va., another test for a feuding GOP ("The state's fractured GOP will be drawn into yet another skirmish between the conservative grass roots and party establishment next year, when Republican House Speaker William J. Howell will face a primary challenge from the right.")
*Stimpson weighs run for Howell's seat (Couldn't happen to a nicer guy than Bill "ALEC" Howell! LOL)
*It's An Ed Gillespie World, Apparently The Rest of Us Are Just Living In it (Interesting take by Mason Conservative, who often provides interesting, thought-provoking takes on what's going on in Virginia from a conservative perspective.)
*Virginia bill would limit pension growth for lawmakers joining bureaucracy (Makes sense.)
*Va. revenues up 4.4 percent in October over October 2013
*McAuliffe kicks off open enrollment for Affordable Care Act marketplace
*Universities extend state benefits to same-sex spouses for the first time
*Grassley demands answers from Fairfax police, U.S. attorney in John Geer case (Yep, it's long past time for this.)
*Duke Energy makes plans to move coal ash (What's that again about "clean coal?" Right, it's a joke, and anyone who uses that phrase is either clueless or a fossil fuel tool.)
*Norfolk, Suffolk mayors resign from TowneBank boards
*Bundle up and brace yourselves. This could be the coldest day since March.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

If Don Blankenship Can Be Indicted, What About...

by: lowkell

Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 17:31:38 PM EST

...the executives of pretty much every other fossil fuel company? Are they really any better than Blankenship, when their companies' products (oil, coal, fracked gas, etc.) have been definitively proven to cause: "acid rain, which damages crops, forests, and soils, and acidifies lakes and streams;" "ground level ozone, or smog, which can burn lung tissue, exacerbate asthma, and make people more susceptible to chronic respiratory diseases;" particulate matter, which "can cause chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death;" release of harmful substances like mercury, "a toxic heavy metal that causes brain damage and heart problems;" "SO2 pollution, which takes a major toll on public health, including by contributing to the formation of small acidic particulates that can penetrate into human lungs and be absorbed by the bloodstream;" etc.

According to this table at Scientific American, particulate pollution from fossil-fueled power plants in the United States ALONE leads to the following every year: 679k "upper respiratory ills," 630k "lower respiratory ills," 603k asthma attacks, 59k cases of acute bronchitis, 30k premature deaths, ad nauseum. Finally, note that a study by Harvard researchers found that coal's "public health costs in the Appalachian region alone are $75 billion annually;" while "health impacts of air pollution from coal-fired power plants cost $187 billion" per year.

So who's held responsible for all this? Where are all the other Don Blankenships who need to be indicted?

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Will Media Now Admit They Were Wrong on "Solyndra Scandal," DOE Clean Energy Loan Program?

by: lowkell

Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 13:17:34 PM EST

Cross posted from Scaling Green. Note that our local rag, the Washington Post, was prominent in this one, just as they were prominent in ginning faux hysteria over Ebola. And then there's the 60 Minutes debacle. And don't even get us started on the Faux "News" fossil fuel and right-wing propaganda network.

How can any of us forget the breathless media coverage over the supposedly failed Department of Energy renewable energy loan program and the non-scandal "Solyndra scandal?" For instance, Media Matters reminds us:

The media's coverage of the DOE's loan program over the past few years has been overwhelmingly negative and often egregiously misinformed. Coverage frequently focused on Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer that received a $535 million federal loan guarantee before going bankrupt in 2011, suggesting the company's fate was representative of the program's success as a whole.

The Washington Post gave particularly outsized coverage to the Solyndra bankruptcy, devoting an entire section of its website to the so-called "Solyndra Scandal."...

At CBS News, then-correspondent Sharyl Attkisson issued a report on Solyndra that was rife with factual errors. The report helped earn Attkisson an award from Accuracy In Media, a conservative organization known for pushing anti-gay misinformation and bizarre conspiracy theories. CBS subsequently pulled Attkisson from a planned appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to accept the award.

Fox News demonized DOE loan programs at every turn, criticizing even companies who received no funds at all from the guarantee program.

Well, now it turns out that all of this was not just slightly erroneous, but wildly false. In fact, it turns out that DOE has "loaned $34.2 billion to a variety of businesses, under a program designed to speed up development of clean-energy technology," while collecting enough in interest payments to offset the miniscule (2.28 percent) default rate, leaving the program with an overall surplus to taxpayers of $30 million.  Which means that the DOE loan program basically helped jump start the U.S. cleantech industry (e.g., Media Matters points to "DOE's role in the success of the electric car company Tesla Motors," which actually "has a higher success rate than venture capitalists") at a net profit to taxpayers.

Yet, despite this huge success story, in much of the media all we've heard has been "scandal," "failure," "picking winners and losers," and other nonsensical, fossil fuel industry talking points.  Now that the media's entire narrative has unraveled, the question is, to quote Media Matters,  whether "after years of breathless negative coverage...these media outlets will provide a more prominent a platform to inform media consumers of evidence that counters their previous narrative?" Personally, I'm not holding my breath.

UPDATE: Actually, make that a $5-$6 billion profit off the DOE loan program over the next 20-25 years.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Democratic "Leaders" Persist in Stupid Policy AND Stupid Politics Approach

by: lowkell

Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 11:28:41 AM EST

If you needed any more evidence that Democratic "leaders" are wedded to their deadly "stupid policy AND stupid politics" combo approach, which has served them (and us) so well despite it being a complete debacle in every way, today we have yet another prime example -- the Keystone XL Canadian tar sands export pipeline.
For the first time in the six-year fight over the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, both houses of Congress will hold a vote on the proposed project, giving each side in a Louisiana Senate election a chance to boost its candidate.

The two lawmakers locked in the runoff contest, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R), seized control of the congressional agenda Wednesday, extracting assurances from House and Senate leaders that votes will be held to bypass President Obama's authority and authorize construction of the pipeline.

A large showing of Democratic support for the pipeline could complicate the administration's decision-making process, given the party's dismal showing at the polls last week. Environmentalist allies of the president are solidly against the project and have been doggedly lobbying the administration against approving it.

Yes, here we have the CLASSIC example of both bad policy AND bad politics for Democrats. The bad policy part should be obvious: at a time when we need to be rapidly slashing our greenhouse gas emissions, the Keystone XL pipeline would encourage development of some of the filthiest, most destructive, and also most expensive (around $80 per barrel to product the crap) oil on earth. And, as an added "bonus," the Keystone pipeline wouldn't even directly (or indirectly, for that matter) benefit the US, as this is a project to export Canadian oil to markets in Asia (e.g., China) and elsewhere, while benefiting mostly foreign investors. Oh, even better: the pipeline project would create just "35 permanent, full-time jobs and 15 temporary contractors." That's not "35,000" or whatever, it's a grand total of 35 total jobs. Hell, why not just open a WalMart or whatever, it would probably create more jobs (albeit low-paying ones) and be a lot less environmentally damaging! (snark)

As for the politics of Keystone XL, it's not like it's going to save Mary Landrieu as a U.S. Senator. And even if it did, by some utterly bizarre miracle, it wouldn't save the Democratic U.S. Senate majority, which they've already lost. More broadly, this is NOT a winner with the Democratic base. To the contrary, as a new Pew poll finds,  just 32% of liberal Democrats support this boondoggle, with 56% against. Can you imagine Republicans bringing something to a vote where conservatives were against it by a 56%-32% margin? As for Democrats overall, it's 43% support vs. 46% oppose. In sum, on top of being idiotic/crazy policy, Keystone XL is not a winner for Democrats politically either. There's that wondrous combo -- stupid policy AND stupid politics -- which Democratic "leaders" appear to love so much. A few more examples?

There's More... :: (6 Comments, 404 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 06:54:23 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, November 13.

*China's pledge to cut greenhouse gases eliminates excuse for other nations
*Fox News Melts Down Over The U.S.-China Climate Deal (These people are bonkers, but it's still enjoyable to watch them melt down!)
*European space probe safely anchored on comet's surface
*House, Senate to hold votes on Keystone project (THIS stupid project is the priority? What a joke.)
*The right economic message can get the Democrats back on track
*Will Obamacare separate Scalia from his principles? (He has principles?)
*Hearings floated as Hill Republicans seize on Gruber Obamacare comments (This Gruber guy sounds like the one who's stupid.)
*Democrats fault leaders for brushing off 2014 midterm losses (We certainly saw that here in Virginia, with DPVA Chair Dwight Jones basically talking about what a GOOD day it was! I know, crazy.)
*Progressives push Obama to shield more immigrants
*Democratic Senator Tim Kaine calls the war against ISIS "illegal" (If that's the case, then hundreds of military actions of various sorts this country has taken since its founding were also illegal.)
*Kaine: Intraparty Divisions Make War Authorization Easier - But President Should Help
*Two terms in a row ("The halls of the Virginia Capitol are littered with bills introduced year after year only to be tabled or killed. But then, under just the right leadership, they find their way to passage. The next one of those should be the bill to give Virginia a two-term governor.")
*Faith not at issue ("Churches may object, but Isle of Wight stormwater fee isn't a tax")
*Montgomery County board opposes route of Mountain Valley Pipeline ("Consensus suffered a slow, pecked-to-death-by-ducks demise even though everyone agreed on one fundamental point - that the proposed route of the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline in Montgomery County is for the birds.")
*Online sales-tax bill stalls, so cost of gas in Va. will likely increase
*Moving slowly on tax breaks ("Virginia's tax code is riddled with credits euphemistically described as 'preferences,' worth more than an estimated $12 billion annually."
*Norment, no stranger to judicial hardball, says maybe it's time for change ("Norment says it may be time to change the way Virginia selects judges.")
*Va. Beach prosecutor calls for outside investigation on Sessoms
*Arlington property taxes may bump next year ("Arlington's home values may cost homeowners more in taxes next year.")
*Will area finally see season's first snow? Slight chance tonight.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Over 210,000 Virginians Submit Comments In Support of Curbing Carbon Pollution

by: lowkell

Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 13:09:37 PM EST

From Environment Virginia: 

Virginians’ Support for EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan and Tackling Climate Change 

Richmond, VA – Since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first began collecting them, more than 7 million Americans have already submitted public comments in support of national standards to limit dangerous carbon pollution from power plants, including 210,825 public comments submitted from Virginians. This reflects the strong desire of Virginians across the commonwealth for solutions to address climate change and its impact on our health and the economy. 

At a press conference in Richmond’s Capitol Square, a coalition of Virginia groups supporting these essential clean air safeguards gathered to showcase this public support and urge Virginia’s leaders to support the Clean Power Plan. Following the event, a sample of these comments will be delivered to Virginia’s leaders such as the Department of Environmental Quality and Virginia’s U.S. Senators.

Speakers included Sarah Bucci with Environment Virginia, Bob Keefe, Executive Director of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), and Terra Pascarosa, Virginia Representative with Mom’s Clean Air Force and her 2-year old son.

These organizations offer the following statement in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan: 

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Dominion is just too into itself!

by: pontoon

Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 11:44:56 AM EST

( - promoted by lowkell)

Dominion Transmission has begun its last-ditch effort to get landowners to agree to survey by having an attorney send letters to 226 landowners along the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The letter says things like it's to the benefit of the landowners to agree to survey so owners can direct surveyors to sensitive areas of their property.  But it also makes clear landowner requests cannot be guaranteed.

It also talks about how allowing survey helps Dominion gather the necessary information for the federal government. In the end, the letter says Dominion has done everything it is legally required to do and that Dominion is just sending this one last request before it gets a court order to trespass on private property. The letter says nothing about the pending lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of VAcode section 56-49.01.

In the Richmond Times Dispatch article Dominion states 73% of 2,500 landowners have agreed to survey. 73% equals 1,825 landowners. Why has Dominion only mailed 226 letters?  What happened to the other 449 landowners. Of the 226 letters 189 are to Virginians. 90 of whom are in Nelson, 46 in Augusta.  One would think Dominion would realize its proposed ACP isn't wanted in these areas and might look elsewhere! They prefer to bully and threaten our citizens.  

Our General Assembly and other elected officials have allowed Dominion to have its way for far too long. Dominion has become much too into itself. They're in for a fight they aren't used to waging. The opposition is organized and growing. Perhaps regular citizens can show our elected officials how its to fight for what's right and to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure that will certainly contribute to climate change.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Tom Perriello 2010 Outperformed Mark Warner 2014 in Southside Virginia

by: FreeDem

Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 06:56:34 AM EST

( - promoted by lowkell)

Yesterday I blew open the claim from the Warner campaign that they ran significantly ahead of Democratic performance in Southwest and Southside Virginia. But I had a thought on a more nuanced pro-Warner argument that I wanted to question today.

Putting aside the grand claims of Warner's success in rural Virginia, suppose there's an argument that with the older, more white electorate that by its very nature turns out in off-years Democrats have to campaign as more centrist, bipartisan political creations in order to hit roughly the same performance we see in presidential turnout years, even in rural localities. Trying to run as a proud Democrat and campaign on issues that mobilize our base risks alienating more voters than it turns out to the polls, a la Udall in Colorado.

While I can't explain away what happened in Colorado, I can provide some counterpoint to the idea that the only way to sustain Democratic performance in an off-year is to run as a watered down centrist.

What if you compared Mark Warner's 2014 performance with another Virginia Democrat who lost in a lower turnout off-year, Tom Perriello in 2010?

For this I only compared the localities that were entirely within Virginia's 5th District prior to the 2010 redistricting, which also meant not including the split counties of Bedford, Henry, and Brunswick. I dropped the cities of Martinsville and Bedford (which no longer exists) because they were entirely contained in those split counties, these are a geographically cohesive sample.

I only looked at the two-party vote, ignoring the role of the two independent candidates in each election. In all but two localities (Danville and Halifax), Perriello received a higher percent of the vote than Warner. In some it was minor; their difference in the city of Charlottesville was half a percent. In others it was much larger, like almost 6% in Buckingham.

The result is that while both candidates lost the combined counties, Perriello received 48.9% of the vote and Warner only 46.9%. As noted, it's not just explained by liberal areas like Charlottesville. Perriello ran better in several small rural counties like Buckingham, Greene, Appomattox, and Campbell.

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 422 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 06:39:11 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, November 12.

*Tribute fills Mall with rock, respect
*China, U.S. strike deal to limit greenhouse gases (Finally, some good news -- thank you President Obama, Secretary Kerry, etc.)
*China, America and Our Warming Planet (John Kerry: "The U.S. will reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025. China will try to reach peak emissions before 2030.")
*The coming climate onslaught ("President Obama readies a sweeping list of executive actions." This is absolutely necessary, urgent actually. Do it!)
*The Worst Voter Turnout in 72 Years ("Apathy, anger and frustration at the negative tone of the campaigns resulted in the lowest percentage of voter participation since 1942.")
*Hillary's Going to Have a Primary After All, and She Should Be Grateful (I tend to agree -- primaries are generally good things for a number of reasons.)
*Kaine expects Senate debate on troops fighting ISIS
*Ed Gillespie's 'nearly flawless' campaign was enough to take Loudoun. Just not quite the state. (Combined with a totally lame campaign by Mark Warner -- even if one of his top aides, David Hallock, still doesn't get it.)
*Virginia legislators deal on Obamacare and transport money, judges a hang up
*Spoiled by politics ("A measure that saves insurance for thousands of Virginians should enjoy universal support. But lawmakers refused to work together, choosing to score cheap political points than do what's right.")
*Schapiro: Warner could learn a lesson from his old boss ("Warner's voter-mobilization effort was anemic, undercut by a campaign narrative that did little to do what McAuliffe emphasized above all else in his 2013 victory for governor: Invigorate the Democratic base of women, students, suburbanites, environmentalists, labor and minorities." Bingo.)
*Mark Warner's campaign knew race would be a nail-biter (If they really did, they certainly didn't let people know about it so they could feel a heightened sense of urgency.)
*Dave Brat ready to start work after swearing-in Wednesday (The nightmare/freak show begins...)
*Hanrahan: Coal is a dead end for Appalachia ("Jaculyn Hanrahan Hanrahan is a Catholic Sister who is Director of the Appalachian Faith and Ecology Center located in Wise County Virginia.")

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 107 words in story)

After "After Virginia Votes": A Response to a "Radical Centrist"'s Election Analysis

by: FreeDem

Tue Nov 11, 2014 at 17:00:35 PM EST

(I listened to this program, and yeah, it was extremely lame, particularly on the part of the Warner campaign representative, who simply had nothing interesting to say. - promoted by lowkell)

Today I attended VPAP's "After Virginia Votes" panel discussion on the 2014 election featuring senior strategists for both the Warner and Gillespie campaigns. Aside from helping to lower the average age in the mostly octogenarian filled room at George Mason University's Fairfax campus, I attended to hear how Warner advisor David Hallock would try to spin the near defeat for his boss.

Sadly, the sometimes candid conversation between David Hallock and Paul Logan paled in comparison to the sparks between Chris LaCivita and Ellen Qualls during VPAP's 2013 analysis. Now that was an analysis worth attending! LaCivita is an unapologetic political hack, in the most delightful way possible, who never shies away from defending his dirty approach to politics. No wonder many of my friends simply call him "the devil." Compare that to Logan and Hallock shifting uncomfortably in their seats trying to defend the practice of spamming inboxes in order to raise low donor funds.

Hallock at several times made the point that the lack of engagement during the midyear election depressed both volunteer enthusiasm and eventual voter participation, particularly among the Democratic base. While bemoaning the difficulties of getting Democratic constituencies to the poles, he clung to defending Warner's "statewide" campaign that stressed bipartisanship and reaching out to Southwest and Southside Virginia.

Perhaps Democratic disengagement is not a fact of life for midterm elections, but a byproduct of the type of campaign Warner ran?

In his concluding remarks, Hallock made the case that the Democratic Party needs to do a better job of engaging our voters and turning them out in off-year elections.

Let's talk about that.

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 985 words in story)
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