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 -

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.

Illegal wiretapping.
Executive privilege.
Executive lies.
Secret meetings.
Stolen elections.
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? 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"