Sunday, December 30, 2007

WSVA Radio News on Friday Afternoon, 12-29-07

FULK DISMISSED FROM POST IN CLERK'S OFFICE

Harrisonburg 12/28/07 Newly elected Clerk of the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Court Chaz Evans-Haywood was sworn into his post today. Meanwhile, his Democratic challenger in this years election cleaned out her desk.
Dianne Fulk has been let go from her position as deputy clerk in the office. The dismissal is effective on December 31st.
Fulk told W-S-V-A that when she announced her candidacy in April she was told by then Clerk of the Court L. Wayne Harper that if she did not win the election, she would be out of a job.
Fellow Clerk hopeful Brenda Huffman is still employed in the office.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Once Again the VA GOP Shows the World it's Lunacy

In an act of extremist desperation reminiscent of the tactics of nazi Germany, communist Russia and of secret cults, the VA GOP decided on Monday to REQUIRE people who vote in the primary to sign an oath of allegiance to their chosen candidate.

As the Huffington Post reports: "The Virginia GOP has found an interesting way to discourage non-Republicans from voting in their presidential primary. Voters will be required to sign an oath pledging to support the party's nominee for president.
Sen. Harry Byrd Jr. (D-VA) famously bolted from the Democrats and became an independent in the 1970s due to such a loyalty oath being imposed on candidates, but this goes an extra step by putting the the oath to voters. Oddly enough, the state Board of Elections has approved the request, even though it would be impossible to enforce the contract not only practically, but probably in legal terms, too — as contracts requiring a party to vote a certain way in an election are illegal."

Attorneys agree that this oath is non-binding and unenforcable, but do the voters know that?

Between the radical candidates and extremist policies the VA GOP is losing touch with mainstream republicans and perhaps with reality in general. But must they embarass the rest of the state too?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Operation: Show We Care




INVITES YOU TO JOIN US
AS WE SHOW REAL SUPPORT
FOR OUR YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN
SERVING THE UNITED STATES
IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN

PLEASE HELP US SEND THEM A BIT OF HOME
WHILE THEY ARE SO FAR AWAY…


We are in the process of collecting food, magazines, DVDs, CDs, snacks, personal items, toiletries, and many other such items to enrich their lives and to remind them that we remember and love them and hold them always in our thoughts and prayers.

Your help with this effort will make a great difference!

Email me for list of the types of items our young people in combat zones would greatly appreciate.

Please, as you shop, keep in mind that individually packaged servings work best for things like cup-a-soup, mac-n-cheese etc…

Also,

Small personal sized toiletry items can be more readily packed and stored as they carry on their misson.

Stores like Sharp Shopper, Costco, the Dollar Stores etc… are good places to find things mentioned on the list.

How do you know what to buy?

Think about the little things that you enjoy, and perhaps take for granted, and let’s be a blessing as best we can to these wonderful young people!

Write back to me at this email address and I will provide you with either a drop off location or arrange for our local young people from 7Gpac to pick up your contribution at your home!

Keep in mind that we also need to raise money for postage and shipping to get our care packages delivered.

If you can help with a small contribution to help cover the shipping costs,
Please make your check to:

Seven Generations PAC

And mail to:

7Gpac
11830 Fort Turley Trail
Linville, VA 22834

Put Operation Show We Care in the memo/for line of your check.

Your help with this effort can make an enormous difference!

Remember, many hands make light work.

One more very important part of this operation…

Please include a card or message with your donated items letting our young soldiers know that you care and that you appreciate the sacrifices they are making on our behalf. They need to know that no matter what,

We love and support them…

Thank you ever so much for your help!

Lowell and Dianne Fulk and Family

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Charting Our Energy Future, Part 1

Wind Power---The Future is Now







Not In My Back Yard, NIMBYism is taking a stand! Against what we thirty years ago thought was a good and clean direction to take towards renewable energy, just as soon as the technology was developed to make generation of electricity by wind mills economically possible.

That time is here...



Sunday, November 18, 2007

Obenshain/Marshall double thrust...

Delegate Bob Marshall is putting forward a resolution of "No Confidence" in the House Republican Caucus [today], Sunday November 18, where Republican delegates will select the Speaker, the Majority Leader, Whip, and Caucus Chair.

In the House Republican CaucusRichmond, VirginiaSunday, November 18, 2007Mr. Marshall, (Bob), for himself,

RESOLUTION
Expressing a sense of no confidence in the policies of the current House of Delegates Republican Leadership as pursued from 2002 to the present, and urging a change in policy.

Whereas even though the House Republican Caucus was in charge of the 2001 Delegate Redistricting, Republican Caucus strength has decreased from 67 (65 R, 2-Ind.) to 55 members (53-R, 2-Ind.) in the four and one-half years of the present House leadership since the Summer of 2002; and

Whereas The Republican leadership has failed to pursue efficient government spending by:
1. Including in the 2008 budget nearly $50 million for a Fine Arts Museum in Richmond while at the same time proposing Abusive Driver Fees as a necessary component of the state road funding;
2. Refusal to demand fiscal accountability from Governor Warner by ignoring the will of the House in failing to follow up on properly passed resolutions seeking an accounting by Governor Warner and his Cabinet on implementing the recommendations of the 2002 Wilder Commission report on Efficiency and Effectiveness in Government Spending. (See HR 12 approved 61-35, March 1, 2004, requesting Gov. Warner’s Cabinet to disclose the efficiency and cost savings measures adopted pursuant to the Wilder Report and other efficiency measures; and HR 13 approved 62-33, March 1, 2004 requesting the Governor to provide the House with detailed facts relating to implementing the Wilder Report.)
3. Allowing government spending to increase at new record levels of spending without making road and transit improvements a priority, and instead providing for tax increases by appointed governmental agencies as provided in HB 3202 (2007);

Whereas The Republican Leadership makes policy decisions in a small closed group and in a secretive manner without benefit of wide Caucus input or knowledge and in late 2006 prepared a transportation bill which Caucus members were expected to accept without discussion or critical input, i.e. HB 3202, which bill placed the responsibility for increasing taxes on appointed officials selected by statute, and included a first time ever tax on services, a tax on home sales during a declining housing market, and enacted severe Abusive Driver Fee penalties;

and which violated the principles of George Mason’s Declaration of Rights and Magna Charta (1215) that citizens "cannot be taxed or deprived of their property for public uses without their own consent, or that of their representatives so elected." (Contrast this with the unprecedented claim supported by the Governor, the Attorney General and the Speaker of the House that, "The General Assembly's ability and power to delegate taxation is not constrained."); and

Whereas The Republican Leadership has failed to act in a Parliamentary manner by:
1. Accepting the Budget proposed by Governor Warner in 2003 which included bothrevenue spending measures and revenue raising measures in violation of the Single Object Provision of the Virginia Constitution rather than return the budget to Governor Warner and inform him that tax and spending measures may not be combined in a single bill.
2. Directing House staff to not record for the public the Privileges and Elections Committee vote on HB 2797 taken on 2-2-07, while making NO objection to all other measures reported from this same committee on the same day until strenuous objection was made insisting on the normal practice of the House, the requirements of Rule 18, and the problems this would produce for the expeditious discharge of business then pending before the House of Delegates; and

Whereas The Republican Leadership has compromised and sought to coerce the independent judgment of Caucus members and their commitment to constituents by using the authority of office to advocate, urge and insist that certain Republican members of the House Finance Committee relent in their opposition to what became the 2004 sales tax increase. Such actions are inconsistent with principled opposition to tax increases; and

Whereas The Republican Leadership has adopted the practices which it criticized Democrats for using, namely failing to appoint sponsors and publicly recognized advocates of legislation as members of House-Senate Conference Committees in at least the instances of the Constitutional Marriage Amendment in 2005 and theTransportation Trust Fund Constitutional Amendment in 2007;

Now, therefore be it Resolved,

that because of the above concerns and the distinct likelihood that the new majority Democratic Senate leadership will propose an unjustified growth in the size of government, increased government spending, and the imposition of new taxes and other policies at variance with Republican principles,

that the House Republican Caucus has lost confidence in the policies of the present Republican Leadership, and request that a new policy direction be undertaken consistent with traditional Republican principles."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Vote in the RCDC Presidential Primary!

If the Democratic Primary for President were held today, who would receive your vote?
Joseph R. "Joe" Biden Jr.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Christopher J. "Chris" Dodd
John R. Edwards
Maurice R. "Mike" Gravel
Dennis J. Kucinich
Barack Obama
William B. "Bill" Richardson
Albert "Al" Gore Jr.
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Mark Obenshain seeks power, no mention of doing good work for Virginia...

In a November 13, 2007, letter to Sen. Walter Stosch, Sen. Mark Obenshain writes:

Difficult as it is to address this issue, I believe that it is time for a change in the leadership of the Senate Republicans.
I believe that we need a new leader who will help us come together as Republicans, stop the infighting, focus on the ideas that unite us as a party, and set about rebuilding for the future.
Any student of military history understands that dividing an army is undertaken only at great peril and when absolutely necessary.
Since I joined the Senate, our leadership has consistently divided Republican ranks. Examples abound, including doing battle with House Republicans, dissolving the joint Republican Legislative Caucus, the functional dissolution of the Senate Republican Caucus and the establishment of the Republican Senate Leadership Trust.
It is imperative that we immediately refocus our attention on the ideas that brought the Republican Party to power in the 1990s.
We must look for common ground, not just with a majority of our colleagues in the Senate, but also with our colleagues in the House.
Towards that end, we must immediately move to reestablish the Joint Republican Legislative Caucus.
Last, but not lease it is important that the Virginia Senate Republican Leadership Trust, with its exclusive membership and loyalty oath, be retired.
It is my hope that you will agree with my observations and that you will agree that it is time for a change in direction and new Republican Leadership in the Senate as we adjust to last week's setback, and prepare again to resume the majority in four years or sooner.
I ask that you have a positive and productive dialog as we promptly make it known as to whether you plan to step aside as Republican Leader so that we can prepare for our meeting on November 26.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Local Dems Drop the Ball…

Once again apathy, which seems to be so endemic among democrats these days, was directly responsible for the defeat of at least one of our candidates. One of the closest races this year was for Clerk of Court where Diane Fulk lost to Chaz Evans-Haywood by a paltry 220 votes. That amounts to about 7 votes per precinct. According to the State Board of Elections, approximately 36% of eligible voters actually voted in the 2007 election. For Clerk, that amounted to 19,853 total votes, 4,991 for Chaz, 4,771 for Diane, and 10,091 for “other.” Of the roughly 9,000-10,000 area democrats, Diane only got 4,771 votes. When you consider that many of her votes came from admitted republicans and independents, then the numbers become a more embarrassing indictment on democratic turnout and loyalty. I wonder how many of the “other” votes were cast by democrats? I’m willing to bet that there were many more than the 220 that Diane needed.

One of the things that democrats are good at is complaining about the need for change. Yet when they get the chance, they mysteriously become overcome with copious amounts of apathy, excuses and a profound lack of motivation. Where were you folks when the party needed you? The last time that this race was an open election was in 1959! With Diane’s crossover appeal, experience and strong campaign this election was the democrat’s to lose. And lose it for her you did. Congratulations.

Myron Rhodes said it well when he claimed, [sic] “the Democratic party in the Valley is just a social club.” Apparently, local democrats are democrats in name only. Attending the occasional fundraising event is fine, but actual voting is apparently left to the “lesser people.”

Your candidates, and their friends and families, poured their blood, sweat, tears and money into their campaign. At the very least they had the right to expect some party loyalty and sense of civic duty. You’d think that democrats would have learned from the 2000 and 2004 presidential election that all votes count, but apparently that was lost on the local party members.

To those who actually voted, and voted for our candidates, thanks. To those that had "other things to do,” or who wasted their vote on an unelectable candidate, you owe your party candidates an apology. You blew it. Political change does not happen by sitting on your butt and making excuses.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What Now? Here's a clue...

Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down

You can stand me up at the gates of hell But I won’t back down

Gonna stand my ground, won’t be turned around

And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down

Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down

Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out

Hey I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down.

Well I know what’s right, I got just one life

In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around

But I'll stand my ground and I won’t back down

Hey baby there ain’t no easy way out

Hey I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

No, I won’t back down

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

$190 billion more for the rat hole!

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is going to be asking the U.S. taxpayer for another $190 billion to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for 2008. This is on top of the $430 billion the Defense Dept is spending this year. Almost 2/3 of a trillion dollars for the Defense Dept. A government agency that has never in its history been able to pass an audit. The bad thing is Congress and Democrats will give it too them. None of them have the stomach to take a stand against this type of spending. As a third-generation Democrat I am at a loss for words.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

And so it Continues...(the sequel)...

Well the Petraeus report is now public domain and the posturing and spin continues…. By now it well known that the report was “reviewed and edited” by the Cheney White House (of course I mean the Office of the VICE-President) and many people have already pointed out the discrepancies between this report and several independent reports presented to Congress over the past few weeks. (Of course, with this administration this comes as no surprise...)

The report basically says give us another six months, this will work…I promise! (A sentiment we’ve heard every few months since 2003) and then we’ll bring a token 30,000 troops home….

But even the Republicans are getting tired of the crap:

Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the U.S. military "cannot sustain a war in Iraq with no end in sight at the levels we're there now. And the American people will not support an infinite war whose sole remaining purpose is to prevent the situation in Iraq from becoming worse than it is today. It is time to turn the corner on Iraq policy. We should stop the surge (of additional troops) and start bringing our troops home," Lugar said. "We should end a political strategy in Iraq that cannot succeed and begin one that can."

Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., asked, "Are we going to continue to invest blood and treasure at the same rate we're doing now? For what?"

EVEN THE MAIN AUTHOR OF THE REPORT, Gen. Petraeus, when asked by VA Senator John Warner, "Does that [Bush's Iraq Strategy] make America safer? Replied, "Sir, I don't know actually. I have not sat down and sorted it out in my own mind."

With this kind of opposition from members of his own party is there little wonder that Bush plans to support a troop reduction this spring? (Too bad we couldn’t get Bush to listen to the rest of us………)

AN IMPORTANT POINT TO REMEMBER: Over the next few months, while you listen to the mainstream media and conservative talk radio hype up (and it will be propagandist hype to the extreme) Bush’s troop reduction as “proof” of Iraq success and vindication of his policies, REMEMBER THIS: The token reduction reduces the recent “surge” numbers ONLY. What the White House neglects to inform you is that these troops were already slated to return home because it was the end of their tour. They were scheduled to come home REGARDLESS of the results of the report. This "reduction" does not reduce the pre-surge numbers of 130,000 troops! They are destined to be there indefinitely! There is no plan to bring THEM home anytime soon…. Net change? Zero...

While the report’s co-author, ambassador Ryan Crocker, describes Iraq as “dysfunctional,” and other experts predict a decade’s long and costly American presence in Iraq,….still we wait…..

And this is the rosiest report Cheney’s office could write?

Labor Day Banquet

Kudos to everyone involved with the banquet! It went well and raised quite a bit of needed money. Thanks to former Governor (maybe future Senator.....) Mark Warner, Creigh Deeds, Brian Moran and all who spoke and donated their time and effort.

We couldn't have done it without them, or without all those who worked so hard behind the scenes. That video of Warner that was shown just prior to his speech was a great touch!

Job Well Done!

Any ideas for next year?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Gore vs Bush or More Hannity Inanity...

Seems that Sean Hannity is attacking Al Gore for flying in a private jet.

But Duhbyah does a little travling himself.

Which is nothing new.

So since Sean Hannity has gotten this ball rolling, let's do some comparing of the two fellows.

Gore vs Bush in 2007

Gore flies either commercial or private planes with no cost to the American Taxpayer.
Bush flies in Air Force One at enormous expense to the American Taxpayer.

Advantage Gore.

Gore plane gets 1.2 miles per gallon.
Bush plane uses Five gallons per mile. (Plus the cost of aC 141 to haul motorcade and support)
Advantage Gore.

You get the idea, so weigh in with your comparisons.

Let's have some fun!

CAPTION THIS!!!


Will We Make It?
Can the World Take It?




Thursday, August 23, 2007

And So it Begins.....


General Petraeus’s report on the “progress” in Iraq isn’t even completed yet and already the spinning has begun. This highly anticipated report, due next month from the top U.S commander in Iraq General David Petraeus, is expected to have a large impact on public opinion and future Iraq policy. The spinning was subtle at first, like when the Bush administration kept asking lawmakers and the public “to withhold judgment on the troop surge” until the report was released, and when Defense Secretary Gates announced that he would wait until the report was released before he would discuss a troop drawdown.

But lately the White House has ramped it up a bit with President Bush publicly supporting Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (even while the intelligence community doubts his ability to lead), and with GWB’s recent comparison of the Iraq civil war to the Vietnam experience.
While most academics and Vietnam veterans consider the comparison tenuous at best, the “parallels” regarding the perils of troop reduction is being made in several speeches by GWB as an “effort to "provide broader context" for the debate over the upcoming Iraq progress report.” And it has just been reported that a multi-million dollar advertising campaign to support Bush's position is about to be unleashed.

With almost two-thirds of Americans now opposed to this war, the White House and Congressional republicans are getting mighty nervous about this report.
And so the stage is being set.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Supporting the Troops

OK, I admit it, I'm a little confused. To listen to the current Administration and all it's propagandists in the media, it's a simple truism that Democrats could care less about our military troops while the Republicans, ever the patriots, always support the troops no matter what.

Right? Isn't that what you hear on practically every talk show on the radio and TV?

But let us think abut this......the Democrats have passed a pay raise for miltary personnel (as much as 1/4-1/3 of the military enlisted earn so little that they are eligible for food stamps). This pay raise was conducted over the OBJECTIONS of the Republicans by the way.

The Dems also voted for an additional $3.4 billion for military readiness and equipment and, in preparing for when the troops finally do come home, have passsed legislation to increase emergency funding for veteran's health care by $3.7 billion, as well as passing the largest veteran's package in the 77 year history of the Veteran's Administration.

By comparison, the current Administration recklessly put our troops in harm's way without a coherent entrance and exit strategy, without the proper, safe equipment (remember the body armor fiasco?), without effective leadership, and, perhaps worst of all, they blatantly lied to these troops as to the reasons why they were going to be put in harm's way in the first place.

The Pentagon also "supported" their troops by trying to blame junior personnel for the now infamous Abu Ghraib incident, by trying to cover up the Pat Tilman murder, and by extending length and numbers of tours in Iraq to inhumane levels.

What do we have to show for the Republican's patriotic hard work and military loyalty?
The Army's suicide rate is at a 26 year high, 1 in 5 vets have signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, divorce rates are through the roof, and 35% of them are seeking mental heath advice to deal with this war.

Someone please explain to me who is supporting whom?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Things to Ponder...

Number of the 121 U.S. biofuel refineries that have been cited by the EPA since 2004 for polluting: 54

Chances that a US worker in 1990 drove to and from work alone: 3 in 4
Chances today: 4 in 5

Average annual cost to taxpayers of a US government intelligence officer: $126,500
Average annual cost to taxpayers of a private intelligence contractor: $250,000

Number of times FDA officials met with consumer and patient groups as the agency revised its drug review policy last year: 5
Number of times they met with industry representatives: 113

Percentage of Americans who report being able to get a same-day or next-day doctor’s appointment when sick: 51
Percentage of the French who do: 57

Chances that a US firefighter is overweight or obese: 9 in 10
Rank of on-the-job heart failure among top killers of firefighters: 1

Days by which the average length of the western US wildfire season since 2000 has exceeded that in the 1970s: 92
Percentage of the US Forest Service budget in 1991 and today, respectively, designated for firefighting: 13, 43

Amount that Hillary Clinton had received by this spring from former donors to George W. Bush: $454,850
Amount that Barack Obama had received from such donors: $320,514


Source: Harper’s Magazine

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ever the Optimists…Apparently the Glass IS Half Full!

It seems that while we mere mortals argue over the existence of global warming, the US government and several corporations have been watching it firsthand and, quietly staking out claims to the vast Artic lands that are being exposed by the rapidly melting ice cap. As early as 2003 the State Department, US Navy, Coast Guard and the Minerals Management Service have been scanning the Artic seabed and mapping out potential territories in anticipation of tapping into the estimated $1.3 TRILLION worth of resources hidden under the melting ice pack. Included in these resources are over $650 billion in oil on the Alaskan shelf alone, (an estimated 1/5 of all undiscovered oil is in the Artic), billions of tons of natural gas and countless diamonds and other stones and minerals. All waiting for the myriad of companies chomping at the bit to leave their mark on the previously untouched Artic wonderland.

Recently Russia, in a daring, symbolic show of their own intention to grab the riches, sent a submarine to the North Pole to “plant” a Russian flag on the ocean floor proclaiming much of the land as their own.

In anticipation of global climate change and the land rush of this new “last frontier,” Citigroup, Lehman Brothers and UBS have recently drafted reports on how savvy investors can profit in such a climate (no pun intended) by highlighting investment opportunities at 74 companies, in 21 different industries, in 18 different countries. Of the six natural gas producing nations that they mention, four (Russia, Canada, Norway and the US), are all laying claims to the rich oil and gas fields of the Artic.

I suspect that the ice cap can’t melt fast enough for these countries and companies……..

Friday, August 10, 2007

Is the Military Promoting Armageddon or just Dehumanizing non-Christians?

With the blessing of the Pentagon and the Pentagon Chaplain, an evangelical group calling themselves “Operation Straight Up” (OSU), will soon be mailing care packages (called "Freedom Packages") to the Soldiers in Iraq that contain the controversial Left Behind: Eternal Forces video game. The game is inspired by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' bestselling Left Behind series about a blood-soaked Battle of Armageddon pitting born-again Christians against Jews, mainline Christians, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, and everyone else who does not adhere to their particular theology. In LaHaye's and Jenkins' books, the non-believers are ultimately condemned to "everlasting punishment" while the evangelicals are "raptured" up to heaven.

The best thing about the Left Behind books is the way the non-Christians get their guts pulled out by God." -- 15-year old fundamentalist fan of the Left Behind series

The video game, set in a landscape looking like post 9/11 New York, has players commanding a virtual evangelical army, complete with tanks, helicopters and an arsenal of automatic weapons at their disposal, as they wage a violent war against United Nations-like peacekeepers who represent the armies of the Antichrist. Each time a player kills a UN soldier, their virtual character exclaims, "Praise the Lord!" To win the game, players must kill or convert all the non-believers left behind after the rapture.

In addition to the video, OSU's “Freedom Packages” will include a copy of evangelical pastor Jonathan McDowell's More Than A Carpenter -- a book advertised as "one of the most powerful evangelism tools worldwide" -- that is double-published in Arabic. Considering that only a handful of American troops speak Arabic, the book is ostensibly intended for proselytizing efforts among Iraqi civilians.

OSU also plans a trip to Iraq, again with the expressed permission of the Pentagon, to perform a crusade. On their website OSU proudly proclaims, "We feel the forces of heaven have encouraged us to perform multiple crusades that will sweep through this war torn region ..…We’ll hold the only religious crusade of its size in the dangerous land of Iraq."

I wonder what the intended, and unintended, consequences of this action will be. What does the U.S. Government hope to achieve by endorsing such a project?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tyranny of the Absolute Majority meets Laurel and Hardy

Bad-driver fees only part of the problem

John S. Edwards

Edwards, a Democrat, is state senator for the 21st District, which includes Roanoke, parts of Roanoke, Pulaski and Montgomery counties, and all of Craig and Giles counties.

The ill-conceived Transportation Act of 2007 -- negotiated in secret by House and Senate Republican leaders -- is only now receiving the public scrutiny it should have received during the legislative session last winter. And the public is making clear that it does not like what it sees.
The dramatic increase in fees is intended to raise funds for road improvements, never mind that this source is inadequate and not designed to fund road building. But, worse still, they only apply to Virginians, and not to out-of-state drivers. Despite the fact that perhaps one-third of the miles traveled are driven by out-of state motorists, Virginians will bear the entire burden of paying for roads under this legislation.

Click here for the rest of Senator Edward's Op-Ed

Then come back and tell us your opinion.

Do as I say, Not as I do... This is rich...

Recent tickets drive home lesson on fees for delegates

Two delegates, architects of the abusive driver fees, have gotten speeding tickets recently.
By Mason Adams

Two advocates of a state transportation bill that included "abusive driver fees" were each caught during the past year driving 80 mph in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 81.
House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith and Del. Terry Kilgore's tickets weren't eligible for the abuser fees, which just took effect July 1 and can run as high as $3,000 for a felony offense. But if they'd been driving just a little faster and few months later, each could have been subjected to a $1,050 fee to be paid over three years.

Click here for the story

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cheap food policy

Well, it appears even the Democratically controlled Congress doesn't have the stomach to reform the food policy in this country. The subsidies will continue into the corporate farms and corporations leading to an oversupply of grain which in turn leads to cheaper protein sources that leads to cheaper farm products that leads to fewer farmers. Don't farmers realize that the cheaper their products become the less they make. An example can be seen in the dairy industry. Milk prices have increased the last six months. The price the dairy farmer gets is going up. People got to have milk, cheese, and yogurt. Usually this scenario would lead to the farmer buying more cows and more feed to produce more milk to take advantage of the high prices. If one farmer does that there is not a problem. If all dairy farmers do it there will be an oversupply and prices will decrease. Farmers should stop being ashamed of getting a fair return on their investment. For too long this country has had a cheap food policy that rewards overproduction. This has allowed us to get fat and happy on televisions and ready to eat meals. Wouldn't it be alright if we spent a few more dollars on food and a few less on everything else?

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Or... Look Before You Leap...

Va. Courts Brace for Avalanche of Bad-Driver Cases


By Amy Gardner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 29, 2007; Page C01

They have been trickling into courtrooms across Virginia in recent days. But this week, next week and week after week after that, thousands of traffic cases that carry steep new civil penalties will slam the state's judicial system.
All summer, the political upset has been growing over new and higher fees for the most egregious driving offenses, fees that in some cases run as high as $3,000. But the practical effect is about to hit even harder, and judges and court clerks predict an unprecedented wave of trials, appeals, strategies and anger as they begin to hear cases subject to the new law.

Click here to read the story (you may need to register with the Washington Post)
Then come back to post your opinion!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Veto Watch

President Bush, who did not veto a single bill in five and a half years, has now vetoed two bills (Stem Cell Research and Troop Readiness, Veteran's Health, and Iraq Accountability) and is threatening at least 18 more vetoes of legislation.

A common thread runs through many of these vetoes and threatened vetoes - he supports his corporate friends while ignoring the needs of everyday Americans. Bush has threatened to veto the College Cost Reduction Act that provides the largest increase in college aid since the GI Bill in 1944. A presidential veto also threatens the bipartisan Senate proposal to boost the State Children's Health Insurance Program, a popular program that provides health coverage to poor children, saying it would come at the expense of private insurance. Yeah, like poor kids' families can afford private insurance!

For a list of threatened vetoes - http://www.speaker.gov/legislation?id=0058

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Walking the Walk

Campaigning House to House



Because Experience Counts---People Get It



Real people like the Robinsons of Grottoes understand some fundamental truths.
  • The best person to hire for a job, is the person who has the experience and understanding to know what the company needs, a solid and proven work ethic, and a vision for the future.
  • The best person to hire for a job, is the individual who's history shows she will give her full attention and effort to making the company the best it can be.
  • The best person to hire for a job, is the person who puts faith in hard work and performance.
  • The best person for the job, is the individual who is willing to earn the job.
  • The best person for the job, is the individual who exhibits all of the above, plus a proven long term investment of herself in her community and church.

The Robinsons met Dianne as she was going house to house, listened to her ideas, expressed their ideas and concerns, asked questions, and now display a Fulk for Clerk of Court sign in their yard.

Sincere Thanks to The Robinsons of Grottoes for their support!

SIRIUS Word Games

You've probably seen it on other blogs: SIRIUS satellite radio calls its conservative talk channel SIRIUS PATRIOT and promotes it as "coast-to-coast conservative . . . celebrates the red, white and blue with patriotic conservatives who aren't afraid to tell you what they think." SIRIUS LEFT, the liberal talk channel, is promoted only as "liberal radio with entertaining hosts only on SIRIUS."

I don't subscribe to satellite radio, but I offer these suggestions for change:

  • Rename SIRIUS PATRIOT to SIRIUS PARROT since most of those types just repeat the same talking points. Might be insulting to Jimmy Buffett.
  • Rename SIRIUS LEFT as SIRIUS LIBERTY which is at least descriptive of American liberal stands and is equally complimentary as the term patriot.
  • Rename both to SIRIUS RED and SIRIUS BLUE.
  • Cancel your subscription to SIRIUS and enjoy local radio which gives you music and LOCAL news, weather, and sports. Plus, you support the LOCAL economy.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sunday Morning Slackers

Once again the Sunday morning talk show hosts let the administration apologists for the "surge" off the hook. 

On Meet the Press, host Tim Russert never challenged Senator Lindsay Graham's comment last December claim that Bush's surge would bring stability and political compromise among the groups in Iraq. Graham shifted the blame to the Iraqi government. Luckily, Senator Jim Webb was there to challenge Graham's world view with blinders. 

Fox News Sunday never asked surge champion and architect Frederick Kagan to explain contradictions or to back up the favorable statistics he kept citing.

Brig. General Mark Kimmitt bailed out of his appearance on Face the Nation. Perhaps he didn't want to talk about his role in the Abu Graib mess. He was replaced by National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley who basically repeated the Bush lines of wait until September, things are better than reported in the media... blah, blah, blah. Been hearing this BS since "mission accomplished."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Slow Burn

Spent a few days camping and time gazing into the campfire. Free from radio and TV. Free from the political BS. Time. Thinking. Feeling. Wondering.

Put huge hunk of oak on the fire figuring it would last a couple days. It did. And more. More fire gazing and wondering. Sometime the second day the fire had opened a tiny fissure through the heart of the oak. At first it was just the barest hint of smoke escaping. I barely noticed. Later the crack opened a bit more allowing a plume of smoke to escape the hot coals underneath. Then a tiny orange flame found an avenue which finally opened into a faster burn that consumed the oak from the inside out. In the end, the oak fell to the slow burn that quite quickly became a raging fire.

The United States is a bit like that solid oak. Built of solid values and solid people. Meant to last an eternity.

But, our nation and our society are in a slow burn that will, if not doused with our democratic values and the rule of law, consume us from the inside out.

Bush.
Illegal wiretapping.
Executive privilege.
Executive lies.
Secret meetings.
Cheney.
Incompetence.
Xenophobia.
Stolen elections.
Lobbyists.
Outsourcing.
Greed.
Hate.
Politics of division.
Unjustified war.


It is getting smokey. Time is short. We are the masters of our fate. We are the captains of our soul.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Elitist Perk or a Medical Model That Could Work for the Rest of Us?

Here's a quick Quiz....Who in this country gets unlimited doctor visits to the physician of their choice, unlimited hospital stays, FULL prescription coverage, free physical therapy, eye care, dental, lab & x-ray coverage, with NO DEDUCTIBLE and NO CO-PAYS, for themselves and their ENTIRE family, for LIFE, for only $35/month?

Is it our military veterans?....nope

Is it our country's most vulnerable, the young and the elderly?....wrong again

How about civil servants like firemen and police?....no way...

It's the 535 members of the U.S. Congress, and a select few in the upper levels of the executive and judicial branches of government!!

In America, where almost 20% of the children live below the poverty line and thousands of people die each year because of lack of affordable health insurance, is Congress's medical coverage a fair, warranted perk or a feasible model that we should ask Congress to extend to the rest of us?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What Our Grandparents Can Teach Us About Saving the World

The World War II home front was the most important and broadly participatory green experiment in U.S. history. Is it a model we should use today?

Click here for the story

Then come back and talk about it. We've got some thinking to do on this issue...

Monday, July 9, 2007

Senator (Webb) charts the new terrain

From the Virginian Pilot via Roanoke
By Dale Eisman

WASHINGTON -- The combat boots he made famous in last year's long march to the Senate are a museum piece now, enshrined in a glass-fronted case in his reception room on Capitol Hill.

These days, Sen. Jim Webb dresses and talks more like a peacemaker than a battle-tested Marine. Six months into his term, the Virginia Democrat whose campaign slogan was "Born Fighting" is learning the ways of the Senate and taking care to get along with his colleagues.

"We have 100 scorpions locked in a jar, and we have to keep working with each other," he joked recently. "It doesn't pay to not be cordial."

Click here to read the article

Then come on back, we''ll wait for you!

Powell tried to talk Bush out of war

Sarah Baxter, Washington writer for The Times

THE former American secretary of state Colin Powell has revealed that he spent 2½ hours vainly trying to persuade President George W Bush not to invade Iraq and believes today’s conflict cannot be resolved by US forces.
“I tried to avoid this war,” Powell said at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. “I took him through the consequences of going into an Arab country and becoming the occupiers.”

Click here to read the full story

And then come back to comment.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

VA Independents Lean Democratic

Virginia is likely to be a key battleground state in the 2008 presidential election, according to a recent survey conducted by The Washington Post, the Henry Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University. This reflects a significant shift in party leanings, as Virginia hasn’t voted Democratic in a presidential race since helping elect Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

The key to this demographic shift is, according to the survey, is with Independents, who make up about a third of Virginia’s voting population. The poll found that four out of ten independents now want a Democrat to become our next president, compared to 33% who favor a Republican. Independents helped Bush take the state in 2004, but were critical to the recent Democratic wins of Governors Warner and Kaine, and Senator James Webb.

The poll attributes this shift from red to blue to a very negative opinion of President Bush (he was ranked the worst president since 1960 by this group), deteriorating conditions in Iraq, and a general uneasiness about the economy.

"The times they are a changin' "

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The Face of Tomorrow


Katie Hoover of Broadway

We are very pleased to begin Dianne's latest phase of campaign by recognizing volunteers and special friends.

Our first recognition is our Face of Tomorrow Award.
Face of Tomorrow will highlight the wonderful dedicated young people who are working their hearts out to help build a better tomorrow, today.

Katie Hoover is a true blessing to our area. She has worked tirelessly (and with great results!)
for RCDC and local, state and national Democratic candidates.

In December Katie received the RCDC "Keeper of The Flame" award from
Rockingham Democratic Chairman Don Roderick at the annual Christmas Banquet.
Katie received a personal letter of thanks and special recognition from Delegate Brian Moran.

Katie was honored as one of our Most Important Young Democrats in the Sixth Congressional District by Sixth District Chair David Layman with special recognition from Senator Creigh Deeds during the Annual Sixth District Fundraising and Awards Event held June 16, 2007.

Katie is the daughter of Eric and Brenda Hoover of Broadway (who have blessed her with endless support!)


Thank you Katie Hoover, we are fortunate that you are our community's

Face of Tomorrow

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Team in Action!


Here's a top notch Team! This photo was just before the 4th of July Parade in Harrisonburg.
By the time we reached Main Street we had 28-30 Wonderful Volunteers handing out campaign information and candy to a crowd estimated to be at least 5,000 strong!

Thank you so much for showing such strong support of our Democratic Candidates!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You....







JFK led us as a Nation for many years after he was gone because he inspired vision. He brought not only the United States, but the world into thinking about the future. A bright and bold future.
"A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats"



Saturday, June 30, 2007

Realizing the Potential of University Research in Virginia

This is an area of Virginia public policy and governmental responsibility which I worked to bring to people's attention during my campaigns in '03 and '05.
University research holds the potential to find solutions to some of the most serious issues we now face.
Virginia could lead the nation in this effort, and is poised to do so if we can show people the value of investment into research grants.

Wind, algae projects to tap state money for energy studies provides an excellent example of what could/should be our direction as a state.

But, (and that's a pretty big BUT) we must change the focus of public discussion from the current obsession of the far right's favorite topics they use to drive up division and fear and hatred, to one of clear thinking about the future.

True leadership is the ability to cultivate a vision among people of a bright and positive destination for society, one in which everyone will enjoy progress, and a vision which when established in peoples imagination will set us all on the path to achieve and accomplish whatever is necessary to make that vision into reality.

Click here to see the next step into tomorrow

And then come on back to talk about it!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Threads

Connecting the threads of the GOP. The Cheney/Bush regime stonewalls as Congress tries to get to the bottom of illegal wiretapping, the attorney firings, and other administration misdeeds. Ann Coulter calls John Edwards a "faggot" and wishes him dead. The Staunton GOP muck spills on the front page of the Leader. The common thread of these stories is power. Holding on to power. Abusing power. Power for the sake of power.

Power corrupts.

GOP members reveal split among party

Group meets despite ruling from state party officialsBy Christina M. Mitchell/staff cmitchell@newsleader.com
STAUNTON — An unauthorized meeting of a group of Staunton Republican Committee members Thursday revealed divisions amongst at least some in the local party that may require mediation.
At issue: Differences among those who spoke up at the Thursday meeting with local party leadership.

Click here to read the rest of the article

Virginia rolls out the $3550 speeding ticket

This 4th of July weekend Northern Virginia motorists will take to the roads for beach excursions, backyard picnics and patriotic partying. But don't speed, and definitely don't drink and drive, because hefty "abuser fees" are waiting for lead-footed motorists at the courthouse.
In Virginia, new laws go on the books next week aimed at curbing highway speeding and drinking and driving. Virginia motorists convicted of traffic violations will face a new, multi-year tax beginning July 1 with assessments of up to $3,000 in addition to an annual point tax that tops out at $700 a year for as long as the points remain.

Click here for the rest of the article

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hybrids have already saved 230 million gallons of gas—NREL...

NREL Estimates U.S. Hybrid Electric Vehicle Fuel Savings
June 20, 2007

Hybrid electric vehicles have saved close to 230 million gallons – or 5.5 million barrels – of fuel in the United States since their introduction in 1999, according to a recent analysis conducted at the U. S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
“Sales of hybrid electric vehicles have increased an average of 72 percent a year for the past five years and in 2006 the average fuel economy based on new EPA estimates was 35 miles per gallon for new hybrid models sold in the U.S,” said Kevin Bennion, an NREL vehicle systems analysis research engineer.

Click here for the rest of the article Click here for HybridCenter.org

then come back to comment!

New Poll Finds That Young Americans Are Leaning Left

Young Americans are more likely than the general public to favor a government-run universal health care insurance system, an open-door policy on immigration and the legalization of gay marriage, according to a New York Times/CBS News/MTV poll. The poll also found that they are more likely to say the war in Iraq is heading to a successful conclusion.

Click here to read the story in NY Times

come on back and comment!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Commissioner of Revenue Race

Dear Friend,

As you may have heard I am the Democratic candidate for Commissioner of Revenue of Rockingham County. Needless to say I’m excited and a bit nervous. As this is my first campaign for public office so I’ve been reading and learning about the process as I go.

Being actively involved in community and church is not new to me so I feel I’m up for the challenge. I have worked hard to establish myself in the community as someone who will work until the job is done. This campaign is no different. I feel that the time has come for me to offer myself as a servant in the public arena. I am hopeful that I can bring a new prospective, fresh look and a customer focus to the office of Commissioner of Revenue.

The Commissioner of Revenue position is a Constitutional Position that is elected by the citizens of Rockingham County every four years. The Commissioner of Revenue is responsible for the land use, personal property, real estate and state income tax departments. My experience in the following areas makes me qualified for the position:

0 I have managed a multi-million dollar budget. This budget required a review and adjustment every 3 months.
0 I was a licensed Realtor in Harrisonburg/Rockingham County. During this time I interacted successfully with buyers, sellers, financial institutions and government agencies.
0 I have been a manager for over 15 years and am currently the Information Technology Training and Development manager at James Madison University. At JMU, I teach computer skills to various personnel. My current position requires me to fully understand business processes before training can be developed and delivered. This requirement will be needed in the Commissioner of Revenue office as business processes and work flows are reviewed for efficiency.

As you can see, I am excited at the possibility of serving the people of Rockingham County.

But before I can serve I must conduct a very aggressive campaign. My opponent has been in office for eight years. He ran unopposed in the last election. This is one more reason I feel strongly that I must step forward to offer the voters of Rockingham County a choice.

To be successful in this endeavor it will take a very strong and dedicated grass roots organization. I believe the voters of Rockingham County will step forward with me in a united volunteer effort.

With brochures to purchase, yard signs to order, radio ads to place, and the county of Rockingham to cover, I will need help. I am turning to the people who have a strong desire to want the best for Rockingham County and respectfully invite you to get involved in my campaign and help make a difference.

Your early contribution, made payable to “Friends of Esther Nizer” will give the race a tremendous boost right out of the starting block.

Your gift of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500 or $1,000 will help me raise the vital “early seed money” I need to successfully launch this campaign.

My anticipated budget is $15,000 and my goal is to raise $8,000 by August 1st.. I humbly ask for your support in helping reach this challenge.

My contact information is:
Esther Nizer for Commissioner
P.O. 53
Penn Laird, VA 22846
nizerem@aol.com
540-810.5471

Thanking you in advance for your encouragement, generous support, and prayers. I am most grateful for your support.

Sincerely yours,

Esther
Esther M. Nizer
“Virginia law requires all candidate campaign committees to maintain a record of the name, mailing address, job title or profession and name of employee or employee’s specific field for each individual who contributes to our committee. Your information will not be reported if your cumulative contribution is $100 or less for this campaign.”

4th of July Parade with Dianne!


Please Join Dianne at the Parade!
4th of July
Harrisonburg, VA

Let's show Dianne and the 5,000 people expected to be in attendance
the best Volunteer Team in the Valley!
Enjoy the 4th of July parade with our Candidate for the Clerk of Court
and help her one step closer to Victory in November

Let Dianne know she has your support!
Call Katie Hoover at 540-421-5501
Lee Kipps at 540-478-3018

or reply to this email
to
Show Dianne you'll be there for her!

Thank you,
Lowell

Monday, June 25, 2007

National Guard Unit Farewell

It was my privelage to see our local National Guard Unit off today, at the 1:30 PM ceremony held at the Armory. One of their members used to work under me at my old job, another attends my church. They are truly among the 'best and brightest' serving our country. This war is taking a personal turn for me...

Bioterrorism Presentation

Dr. Drew Richardson spoke on the threat of bioterrorism at last week's RCDC meeting, held on Thursday, June 2st. Dr. Richardson, who now lives in Augusta County, provided a very informative presentation on the possible ways terrorists could use bio-chemical means to attack us, from poisoning food supplies to broadcasting an airborne infectious disease.

Bottom line: our current centralized methods of agriculture and densely populated urban areas, coupled with what we know of their activities in this field, make us vulnerable. Not a comforting thought. He added that our 'military adventurism' in Iraq is taking vital resources away from this critical threat, which poses a much higher risk to our security. Dr. Richardson is a former FBI Special Agent who headed up the FBI Laboratory chemical and biological response team.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Convoluted? You Decide...

By Chris Saxman-Republican Delegate Virginia House District 20

Recently there has been discussion about those of us who have signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to not raise taxes. We have been called extremists, ideologues and undoubtedly other less flattering words that have not yet found their way to the media.

I would like to explain why I signed and continue to support the ATR pledge not to raise taxes. First, what does the pledge mean? It means that I will not support higher tax rates for the purpose of increasing revenues to the commonwealth.

Read the rest...

Then hit your "back" button to comment!

un-Fair Solution?

Editorial, News Leader

This past winter — and the winter before that, and the winter before that — when "abuser fees" and a $10 hike in vehicle registration fees were still in the realm of the theoretical, we hoped that the General Assembly would come up with a more rational plan for funding Virginia's transportation needs — a method that didn't rely on punishment to ensure a revenue stream, a method that addressed the issue fairly by making everyone — tourists and passers-through from out of state as well as Virginians — pay their fair share. Unfortunately, the "no taxes" contingent of the House of Delegates got its way...

Read the rest...

Then hit your "back" button to comment!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I know that everyone is hot for ethanol these days. The search for non-oil based fuels seems to make sense to me. However, I think I am remembering this correctly that currently it takes more energy to produce the corn that is used to make ethanol than the energy you get from ethanol. I'm also sure that there are additional sources of renewables out there that can be produced more efficiently than ethanol. Wind, solar, and geothermal have been around for awhile and should continue to grow. But I cannot imagine a short term solution to reducing our oil consumption that does not involve a hefty tax increase on the price of oil/gasoline. There is ample evidence that when the price of gasoline reaches the $3/gal mark and above people reduce the amount they drive or seek out alternatives. Add a $1 or $2 to the current price and just imagine how people will change their behavior. I know that the recent price spikes and my short commute have allowed me to ride my bike to work twice a week. That won't work for everyone and I know some will argue that low-income people will be hurt the most by this idea and I agree. However, we should not ignore a good and effective idea just because it may cause some people pain.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Clerk's Race Signs!!!


These signs will be available by the end of this week. Let us know when you would like to begin displaying a sign in support of our Democratic Candidate for Clerk of Court!!!

Rockingham County Democratic Committee
Serving the residents of Rockingham County with a common sense approach to the Democratic ideals of Community, Individual Liberty, Fiscal Responsibility, and Quality of Life.

You are cordially invited to attend the
June MEETING
Rockingham County Democratic Committee
Date:
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Location:
Rockingham Co Administration Building
Board of Supervisors Meeting Room
Time:
7:00 –8:30 PM

Featured Presentation
Bioterrorism – Threat or Hype?
Our featured speaker this month is Dr. Drew Richardson, former head of the FBI Laboratory’s chemical/biological response team (HMRU). During his service at the FBI, Dr. Richardson served as the coordinator for nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) scientific assets at the Atlanta Olympic Games and other special events. Since retiring has appeared as an expert consultant on CNN, Fox News and other media.


Directions: The County Administration Center is the old Safeway building, located at 20th East Gay St., Harrisonburg (corner of East Gay and North Main).
RCDC – Dedicated to working on the real issues affecting the Valley

Saturday, June 16, 2007

There's a sucker born every minute

For just $19.95 (adults) and $9.95 (kiddies) and a little travel time to Petersburg, KY, you can visit the Creation Museum. There, wax figures, videos, and other exhibits will convince you of the story of creation if you, as the museum's slogan admonishes, are "prepared to believe." Sounds like created science to me.

This museum is actually created capitalism. It will do quite well in a nation where nearly half of the population accepts on faith the literal interpretation of Genesis and totally rejects Evolution. As P.T. Barnum said... well, you know what he said...! Interesting commentary on the Creation Museum by Democrat Al Dahler found in the News Leader:
http://www.newsleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070616/OPINION02/706160325/1014/OPINION

Just visited the museum website (http://www.creationmuseum.org). WARNING, if you are a gun toting Republican, you have to leave your firearms in the car. No weapons permitted in fantasy land.

Maybe you've written me off as some sort of secular science humanist by now. That's OK. But to tell the truth, to this Deist, the Bible and Evolutionary Theory are completely compatible. Each enhanced by the other. Each blind without the other.

What do YOU think? Sound like your family's summer destination? Or maybe Mickey Mouse and the Enchanted Kingdom are more your style?

Monday, June 11, 2007

GOP cat fight

Below is the moaning and groaning of Lynn Mitchell (swacgirl) and Anne T. Augusta/Staunon rightwingers and activists in the local GOP about what will happen when Hanger wins their primary. Sorry for putting all this GOPBS on a good Democratic blog, but it is best that we understand the warped minds who oppose us and the American Dream.

The first post is Lynn.

Hanger wants to purge local GOP if elected
The 24th District race has become contentious, led by comments coming from our sitting state senator who is in the race of his life. In an interview with the News Leader editorial board, he says if he wins he will "help the traditional base of the area's GOP regain control of local party leadership positions."

"Traditional base"? Who, Sen. Hanger, might that be? Those of us in leadership (and thanks, by the way, for the wonderful support by publicly airing your thoughts about us, especially after Kurt Michael has publicly said to the News Leader and others that no matter who wins this Primary we will all swing behind that candidate and unite) have worked hard the past eight years to build this party when there was barely anything in place. Where has your "traditional base" been during that time? And why are you threatening to remove us from our positions? Because we're not originally from this area?

Locally we have won for our candidates ... George Allen, Jerry Kilgore ... but they lost at the state level particularly Northern Virginia.

In Staunton, after Chairman Anne Taetzsch took over the Staunton GOP (before her watch they had lost the previous two elections to dems - Kilgore and city council), she worked hard with her volunteers and won Staunton for George Allen in 2006.

Truncated...... here was a laundry list of all they do...... check it out at
http://swacgirl.blogspot.com/2007/06/hanger-unappreciative-of-his-grassroots.html

Anne Taetzsch said...
Thank you so much for this post. We work very hard for our party. I am shocked by Hanger's attitude. Thank you for alerting me to this, I had no idea that he was preparing to oust me because I didn't support him. Your post was great because you point out all that we do.

I've been hearing labels such as "extremists" and "far right wing".
Why is this? Is it because I am pro-life? Is it because I am pro-family? Is it because I would like to see less government involvement; ie go back to the principle of government for the people and by the people.

It seems as though our politicians get caught up in the world of being a politician and they forget the little people back home. Hanger has had 12 years to represent us and in that time instituted the largest tax increase in VA history. Maybe the Senator is flush with money, but I certainly am not!

It appears to me as though Senator Hanger is trying to divide the party. All of the chairs had pledged to support him if he wins, but I see that promise is not reciprocated. This is quite along the lines of a Huey Long approach to government. I thought those days were long gone.

I guess the biggest problem is that we are not part of the "system". B/c I'm 3rd generation American, not 6th generation Augusta County, my voice is diluted and somehow I am not to be given the respect due to others (at least according to Emmett's logic via his comments to the editorial board).

Lynn, we the grassroots, do this for one reason, because we love our party. This is the most thankless job I've ever encountered. We work a second full time job to get these guys elected, they go to Richmond or Washington, and every once in awhile we may get a cursory invitation to attend a $50 a plate fund raiser.

Yet we still do it anyway. Why? Because our government is the most important aspect of our lives and we MUST work to keep the process pure. God forbid a Hugo Chavez gets in charge and the electorate just sits back and apathetically watches until one day they realize--oh-oh--we've lost our freedoms.

Keep working hard my Den Mother and I will continue to work by your side. We have a fantastic team in Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County. I am proud to be a part of it!

9:46 AM
SWAC Girl said...

Anne, very well said. Emmett Hanger seems to be dividing us into "from-heres" and "come-heres."

Has he forgotten George Allen is from California and Bob Goodlatte is from Massachusetts?

I'm 6th generation Virginian but, according to the senator, it's the wrong part of Virginia (Chesterfield).

Can he represent all the people with that attitude? This area is growing with new folks moving in daily. Are we to not be involved in politics or run for public office because we're not from here?

Here is my response that swacgirl will probably never allow on her blog

Get a grip ladies. You are trying to purge Senator Hanger and he shouldn't want to purge you? Give me a break. Get a grip on reality. You should want to resign when he wins tomorrow.

You claim to be "grassroots." Well, most of Hanger's supporters can make the same exact claim. They are the traditonal base, the so-called mountain-valley Republicans that held your party together thru the lean years (Civil War to 1969) and finally elected Holton (Gov. Kaine's father in law), Dalton, and other moderate (more so than the S. Dems in those days) Reps to office and finally captured the General Assembly too. Your rightwing, holier than thou brand of Republicanism came along later and hijacked the party.

Anne, you say you do this thankless job "for your party." Ugh. We Democrats do our hard work (all the things swac listed) for our COUNTRY.

I do agree on one thing..... where you were born and how many generations your family has been here shouldn't mean squat. I'm a multi-generational Virginian but have only lived in the Valley since the 1960s.... hence not good enough.
Well, all this typing for nothing because swacgirl will never let it in. Maybe I'll cross-post on another blog.

See ya at the crying game tomorrow night.....

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Life After Bush



Yes Virginia, there will be life after the disaster of the Bush presidency. As Democrats look to electing the next president it will be instructive to that choice to consider where we need to go to make America right again. I'll suggest a couple ideas and look forward to your comments on how the next president can restore America.

We need to get back to FDR's wisdom about "the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." The Bush/Cheney/Rove recipe for grabbing and holding political power has been to promote irrational fear of everything from terrorists, to the UN, to science, to gays, to the axis of evil. Then next president must reject the politics of division and fear and embrace the politics of hope and optimism.

We must restore the rule of law. We've been appalled by illegal wiretaps, Scooter Libby (covering his boss' ass?), Jack Abramoff, detainees at Guantanamo, Cheney's secret meetings, Bush's view that he is above any law that he thinks limits his ability to combat terrorism, signing statements, Rove, the list goes on and on......... When a president places himself above the Constitution and the law we are on a slippery slope to an authortarian regime. Our next Democratic president must assure the American people that everyone in the administration, including him/herself, knows the limits of power.

OK, I've opened this up for your ideas about steps the next president must take to bring back America. Which candidates are appealing to the higher angels of Americans? Which candidates are luring us with the tired old politics of fear and division (Giuliani comes to mind)? What do you think?

Al Gore for President Redux?

It wasn't
'We, the conglomerates.'
It wasn't
'We, the corporations.'
It was
'We, the people.'




The Last Temptation of Al Gore (link to Time Wednesday, May 16, 2007)





"Let's say you were dreaming up the perfect stealth candidate for 2008, a Democrat who could step into the presidential race when the party confronts its inevitable doubts about the front-runners. You would want a candidate with the grassroots appeal of Barack Obama—someone with a message that transcends politics, someone who spoke out loud and clear and early against the war in Iraq. But you would also want a candidate with the operational toughness of Hillary Clinton—someone with experience and credibility on the world stage. "

Steve Pyke for TIME (link to Time Wednesday May 16, 2007)

  • Fact: The majority of United States' Citizen Voters chose Al Gore as President in November of 2,000 with a margin of victory of over 500,000 votes.

  • Fact: Al Gore won the popular vote with the second highest vote total in history.

  • Fact: George W. Bush became President because the Supreme Court ruled 5:4 to stop re-counting votes.

  • Fact: That was Seven years ago. Millions of Americans are holding their heads and thinking, "I wish I had voted for Gore!"

This post is a reflection of my opinion and is not intended to represent the position of RCDC.

Lowell Fulk posting as RockDem

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Who is Scott Sayre?


All I know about Scott Sayre I learned from a blog. Oh, and a robo-call from Grover Norquist.

Ok, I'll dismiss the phone call as tainted. Grover is, you see, Mr. Anti-Tax. A one trick pony. Friend of Jack Abramof, a lobbyist, a friend of Bush and DeLay, a man who thinks politics is all about money not people, a man who is a criminal. So, if I'm judging Scott Sayre by the folks who make intrusive phone calls on his behalf.... well, you know the answer.

Maybe I should consult those who know him best--the local Republicans like Kurt M. (Augusta), Ann T. (Staunton), and Lynn M. (Augusta). So, I went to their blogs to find out all about Scott Sayre. I watched their TV ad supporting Scott Sayre. They get a little beyond the Grover Norquist anti-tax message, but not by much. Mostly they call Emmett Hanger names like "Democrat," "liberal," "big taxer," etc. Jeez--when are they going to recycle terms like "commie" or "socialist"?

I've known Kurt and friends' politics for years. They are dedicated to government for the haves and screw the have-nots. They believe their religious views should be law so you must obey. They believe in downsizing government (how about eliminating the Governor's Schools, Kurt..?) so that cherished American values such as equal opportunity, free public education, minority rights, and respect for our differences are but an empty American Dream.

So, Scott Sayre.... because you have said so little for yourself, I can only judge you by the friends you keep. Friends like Grover, Kurt, Ann, Lynn, Steve. I find your friends repulsive and repugnant to the America I want for my children and their children. I'm confident that true grassroots mountain-valley Republicans will reject all you stand for. But if they don't, I know, the Democratic nominee, David Cox, will make mincemeat of your Rovian strategy to win by dividing. And if you should lose (as I expect), your rightwingnut friends should step down from their party leadership positions--they embarass not only their party but all Valley voters.

Enjoy the insightful cartoon by Jim McCloskey of the News Leader (Staunton) published on 6/5/07.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

VAYD Convention Hosted by JMU College Democrats

Friday and Saturday have seen politicians, party officials, engaging speakers, media teams, and Young Democrats from all across Virginia participating in the Virginia Young Democrat State Convention right here in Harrisonburg! James Madison University College Democrats have done a wonderful job of putting on a tremendous event!

We'll be asking those who attended to tell us how they thought things went, and how they believe things will go from here.

We're very proud of our own JMU College Democrats! Go Dukes!

Let's Have a Conversation on Immigration

Several people have emailed asking for an open thread discussion on immigration. The meeting Friday night written about here by Finnegan provides a great starting point.

So, what are your thoughts on the issue? Anyone posting something as fact is expected to back their claim with a reference or link. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sam Nickels on Minuteman forum Friday in Harrisonburg

Dear Friends:

I want to extend an invitation to you all.

Friday night, March 30, 7pm at the Ramada Inn (out South Main) the Minutemen have invited me and Rick Castaneda from the Hispanic ServicesCouncil to speak at their organizational meeting.

In the news it's presented as a Minuteman meeting, while to us it has been presented asan open forum discussion on immigration issues.

Despite their rigidcontrol of the meeting (requiring foto ID's to get in and signing your name), we have decided it is important that we participate. We havebeen guaranteed equal time. There will be a Q&A time after speakerseach present for 10 minutes.

I'd like as many advocates for immigrants to be there as possible. Please spread the word.

The Minutemen are an anti-immigrant(especially undocumented immigrant) group that is trying to passdraconian laws in Virginia (such as punishing employers and landlordswho employ or rent to undocumented persons, or agencies that serveeveryone regardless of their legal status).

They "guard" the border inArizona and elsewhere, and are coming in from ourside our area to tryto gain a stronger foothold in Valley to get people to lobby locallegislators. Virtually all of their laws failed to pass in the statelegislature this year, but some by only thin margins, and they areworking hard at grassroots organizing. We need to do what we can to prevent them gaining a foothold in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Countyarea.

Hope you can attend!

Sam Nickels
Cultural Diversity Coordinator
NewBridges Immigrant Resource Center
540-476-4180

Candidates for Rockingham, Harrisonburg, and the Sixth Congressional District...

We now have two individuals seeking the Democratic nomination for office.

Esther Nizer of Elkton has filed the necessary forms to become candidate for the position of Rockingham County Commissioner of Revenue!

As noted here in previous threads and in the news media,
Dianne Fulk of Linville has filed to become candidate for the position of Clerk of Court for Harrisonburg/Rockingham County.

Thanks to both women for your willingness to pursue public office.
We must do everything we can to help them to a victory in November!

There are now three potential candidates for the Democratic nomination for candidacy in the Sixth Congressional District, the seat now held by Representative Goodlatte.
These individuals will be invited to RCDC meetings in coming weeks to introduce themselves, state their positions, and speak with our group.

And Maxine Roles of Page County is seeking the Democratic Nomination to be our candidate in the race for Virginia's 26th District Senate seat now held by Senator Obenshain.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Some fun to share...






Someone has put quite a bit of work into this, and to good effect. Enjoy!





Sunday, March 18, 2007

Busy Week, Busy Months Ahead!

The week just passed has been quite full and exciting for area Democrats!
Both the county and the city held meetings.

We now have candidates for Clerk of Court, County Commissioner of Revenue, Virginia Senate, Board of Supervisors, and even someone considering a run for Congress.

Time to begin work to support these folks who are willing to put themselves out there in the very public contest to earn the public trust and serve the public interest.

Thank you to the candidates for choosing to run.

We will be there for you!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Continued thread on Clerk of Court Candidates

***UPDATE***

What candidate do we have who has the qualifications to do the job of running the Clerk's office?
Let's see, who are the announced candidates so far?...

In alphabetical order:
  • T. Scott Biller, general manager of Lindsey Funeral Home. Independent.
  • Cynthia Fitzwater, Assistant to the City Treasurer. Independent.
  • Dianne Fulk, Deputy Clerk, Seeking the Democratic nomination.
  • Mike Harvey, president of a real estate and settlement insurance company. Independent.
  • Brenda Huffman, Deputy Clerk. Independent.
  • Chaz Evans-Haywood, former regional representative for former U.S. Senator George Allen. Seeking the Republican nomination.
  • Sarah Jones, real estate agent. Independent.
  • Benny Neal, self employed businessman. Independent.
  • Myron Rhodes, dairy farmer and local activist. Independent.

There are still at least four more individuals who have let people know that they are considering a run. We know who they are, but until they decide to announce formally it wouldn't be fair to name names.
Let's discuss the known candidates for a bit.

What are their qualifications or lack thereof?

Who do you like? Who would you like to see?


And very importantly, what are the qualifications necessary to do the job?


And just as important, does it matter if they can do the job or not, or is it just simply a question of who can get elected?

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Is it Moral to Keep Loading Debt on our Children?

In recent years Virginia has borrowed money to be able to build more than would be possible through traditional pay-as-you go funding.

Paying the interest on these borrowed funds consumes an increasing share of $$ available for construction:
In 1989, debt service required 1% of construction funds
In 2005, debt service required 14% of construction funds
In 2010, debt service will require 20% of construction funds

This is without the added debt payment of $200,000,000 (two hundred million dollars) per year that the Republican plan intends to add in order to fund two and one half billion dollars of DEBT....

How can these politicians look us in the eye?

Transportation Funding Sources – State Revenues

Here are the ways Virginia currently raises revenue to fund transportation and how the monies are allocated. (2005 figures)

Two Primary Transportation Funds

Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund (HMOF)
*Pays for maintenance of existing highway infrastructure and operating and personnel costs

Transportation Trust Fund (TTF)
*Pays for construction of new transportation infrastructure
*Created in 1986

State Motor Fuels Taxes (17.50 cents per gallon) FY 2005 Est.
- HMOF 14.85 cents $733.7 mil.
- TTF 2.50 cents $126.8 mil.
- DMV 0.15 cents
Every 1 cent of Fuel Tax generates $51 million in revenue

Motor Vehicle Sales and Use Tax (3 percent)
- HMOF 2 percent $385.8 mil.
- TTF 1 percent $207.7 mil.
Every 1 percent generates $208 million in revenue

Motor Vehicle License Fee ($29.50)
- HMOF $16.00 $125.4 mil.
- TTF $ 3.00 $ 21.3 mil.
- DMV $ 4.00
- State Police/General Fund/EMS $ 5.50
- Jamestown 2007 $ 1.00

State General Sales and Use Tax (5 percent)
- TTF 0.5 percent $417.5 mil.

Young Democrats Convention at JMU

Jessica Killeen,
President of the JMU College Democrats,

is pleased to report that James Madison University College Democrats have been selected to host the Virginia Young Democrats Convention from March 30 to April 1 and asks for help in publicizing the event.

The theme of this year’s convention is “Why Are You a Democrat?”
The convention’s “Why Are We Democrats?” panel will include Virginia professors, legislators and other public figures.
A corresponding panel will be called “Why Are They Republicans?” The panels are intended to help participants develop debating skills and learn to engage Independents and others in discussion.

Way to go JMU Dems! We're proud of you!

If you'd like to help them out with time or a contribution, let us know at rcdc@rica.net

Our youth, are our future...