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


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
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

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

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

Sincerely yours,

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
Show Dianne you'll be there for her!

Thank you,

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
Rockingham County Democratic Committee
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Rockingham Co Administration Building
Board of Supervisors Meeting Room
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:

Just visited the museum website ( 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

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.