Friday, July 31, 2009

I wish this were unbelievable...

There is a special place in hell waiting for some people...

Preying on the jobless

When there's a need, scammers will offer false promises to fill it.

Attorney General Bill Mims this week filed suit against Virginia Employment Services (notice how closely the name mimics the government's Virginia Employment Commission) for luring people in for interviews of nonexistent jobs, then charging them a fee to gain a "guaranteed" job.

Only VES didn't have any jobs or contracts with employers, Mims alleges. And they charged job seekers' debit or credit cards without approval, then refused to give the money back.

As if it isn't hard enough to be searching for work during a time of record-high unemployment.

Read more

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Shannon Calls Out Cooch on Crazy Cathy Crabill

Is Locking Them Up Helping to Bust the Budget?

Why We Must Reform Our Criminal Justice System

By U.S. Senator from Virginia, Jim Webb

America's criminal justice system is broken.

How broken? The numbers are stark:

• The United States has 5% of the world's population, yet possesses 25% of the world's prison population;

• More than 2.38 million Americans are now in prison, and another 5 million remain on probation or parole. That amounts to 1 in every 31 adults in the United States is in prison, in jail, or on supervised release;

• Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1200% since 1980, up from 41,000 to 500,000 in 2008; and

• 60% of offenders are arrested for non-violent offensives--many driven by mental illness or drug addiction.

Numbers only tell part of the story.

Read more

The Largest Prison Population, the Highest Incarceration Rate

The United States incarcerates more people than any country in the world, including the far more populous nation of China. At the start of the new year, the American penal system held more than 2.3 million adults. China was second, with 1.5 million people behind bars, and Russia was a distant third with 890,000 inmates, according to the latest available figures. Beyond the sheer number of inmates, America also is the global leader in the rate at which it incarcerates its citizenry, outpacing nations like South Africa and Iran. In Germany, 93 people are in prison for every 100,000 adults and children. In the U.S, the rate is roughly eight times that, or 750 per 100,000.

Read more

Change I was looking for...

Electric Trucks Arrive on Capitol Hill

"Washington is making many decisions on the future—emissions, climate change—and this is where the story needs to be told. What better place to showcase the future of transportation?" said a spokesman for the event, Sean McCabe. The plug-in truck, called the Smith Newton, is world's largest battery-electric truck. Electric plug-ins are part of the Obama strategy to reduce the nation's reliance on fossil fuels.

Read more

Tanfield’s Smith Newton Electric Truck Defies Gravity

The Smith Newton is particularly suited to use in urban areas by both commercial and government operations. Some of the current clients include DHL, Starbucks and Marks & Spencer. According to Tanfield, drivers prefer operating the Smith Newton electric truck over comparable diesel vehicles since the Newton has no gears to shift (only four moving parts in its electric motor), no cabin rattle, less noise and no diesel smell.

Read more

Smith and Altec unveil America's first all-electric truck mount

Smith Electric Vehicles US Corporation, part of the Tanfield Group, has teamed up with Altec Industries Inc to introduce America's first all-electric utility truck with an aerial platform. The truck will be unveiled today (June 22) at the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Read more

TNT Orders Another 100 Newton Electric Trucks

Business-to-business express delivery company TNT has ordered 100 Newton electric delivery trucks manufactured by Smith Electric Vehicles. This order is in addition to the 50 vehicles ordered last year. (Earlier post.) The new fleet of 7.5 tonne trucks—currently the largest zero-emission fleet in the world—will replace diesel equivalents over the next 18 months.

Read more

Nissan to Introduce Electric Vehicle in US and Japan in 2010; New Business Plan Focuses on Zero-Emission Vehicle Leadership

Nissan will introduce an all-electric vehicle in the US and Japan in 2010 and then mass-market vehicles to consumers globally in 2012, according to President and CEO Carlos Ghosn. (Earlier post.) The accelerated introduction of EVs reflects Nissan’s goal of establishing leadership in zero-emission vehicles as part of its new five-year business plan called “Nissan GT 2012” (“G” for growth and “T” for trust), covering the period from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2013.

Read more

Dickie Bell selected in 7-way GOP horse race in 20th

Erik Curren Democratic candidate 20th HD

Richard "Dickie" Bell Republican candidate 20th HD

Dickie Bell scored the Republican nomination for the 20th House of Delegates in special GOP committee selection process following a public forum at Buffalo Gap High School tonight.

More detailed reporting on the Republican candidate forum Q&A to follow.

So it's Game On in the 20th between Bell and Curren. It's looking like a race to the middle of the political spectrum. The hard-right wing was turned away tonight. Bell is no Extreme Right Winger, and Curren is running as a fiscally moderate pro-business Democrat. Both are honorable men. A healthy debate about the economic future of the 20th district should ensue.

At this point... the lead issues are Jobs, Education, and Transportation -- hopefully not divisive social issues.

We'll see if the promise of civil discourse and economic focus holds for both sides.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Crazy Uncle Louie at CNN gets spanked...

CNN Prez deals with crazy Uncle Louie.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Jokes Ringing Hollow?

Swine flu could sicken 40 percent in 2 years Pandemic still in early stages, WHO flu chief says; vaccines expected by fall

U.S. health officials say 20 to 40 percent of Americans could become ill from swine flu over the next two years.

That estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is twice the number of people who usually get sick in a normal flu season.

Officials said that projection would drop if a planned vaccine campaign and other measures are successful.

Read more

Cases in Britain have Doubled in a week to 100,000

Children under the age of 14 have become 'super-spreaders' of swine flu, leaving England battling a raging epidemic.

The number of swine flu cases has doubled in a week to 100,000 with most of the new cases among children below 14 years old, according to officials.

A third of those who have died from the virus have been under 15 and 20 per cent of those who have ended up in hospital were under the age of five.

The NHS is now planning for up to 65,000 deaths from swine flu, with 30 per cent of the population - and 50 per cent of children - catching the infection.

Read more

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Country Ponders Healthcare

Employers Are Far From Unified Against Overhaul

Even as the national business lobby ramps up its opposition to health-care reform, there are signs that employers around the country are divided on the issue, reducing the force of an opposition push.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched an ad campaign this week, with its lobbyist R. Bruce Josten warning that Democratic bills would "take us to a government takeover of the health-care system."

Wal-Mart, on the other hand, recently came out in support of a mandate on employers to provide health insurance, and the temp firm Kelly Services, which employs thousands, followed with a similar statement.

Less noted has been the diversity of opinion among small and medium-size businesses. Many agree with the Chamber that a public insurance option would undermine the private insurance market and that requiring companies to provide coverage would impair job growth. Others say the current system is so broken that they are assessing whether to support the reform plans.

Read the article

Curren Statement on Religion

Erik Curren

Statement on Religion and Politics in Virginia's 20th District House Race

July 22, 2009

"Almighty God hath created the mind free." So Thomas Jefferson opened his Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. In that founding document of our Commonwealth, Jefferson went on to decry fallible religious or political leaders who would try to influence freedom of conscience through social or political pressure, begetting "habits of hypocrisy and meanness."

"Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry,"Jefferson continued.

When Jefferson's statute was passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 1786, it became state law that "all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities."

From this noble statute derives the freedom of all Virginians to follow the faith of their choice, or no faith at all, and to enjoy absolute protection under the law. Those who hold or seek public office in Virginia are likewise free from any religious test.

It is my belief that faith is an issue between a person and his or her own heart. We should respect the rights of all citizens to approach this issue of conscience as a private matter, unless they choose to share their convictions with others.

I have always been happy to talk with people who have a genuine interest in faith. In my life, I draw inspiration from many sources. These days, my weekly routine is filled with practices that come mostly from Christianity and Buddhism. I am moved by stories from the New Testament and by the revered music of the church, from rousing hymns to haunting spirituals.

And for the last decade or more, like millions of Americans, I have practiced meditation. Sometimes I walk and sometimes I sit. But always, taking a break from daily activity helps me think about my life and connect with a deeper truth. With increasing scientific evidence for the benefits of meditation to calm the stress of today's busy world, it's no wonder that this simple practice has spread to corporate boardrooms, hospitals, schools, and even churches across the United States.

It is understandable that people are curious about and may even fear things that they do not understand. So it is a service to civil discourse for people of different faiths to share their beliefs and practices in a spirit of mutual respect and tolerance. Recognizing that all major religions teach the same basic ideas --to seek truth, promote love, and care for God's creation -- faith can be a way to bring us all together on a higher plane.

But all too often religion is used by misguided leaders to pull our communities apart and to sow the seeds of discord. This is a misuse of religious faith in my opinion, and I feel compelled to speak out against religious prejudice and bigotry.

So, to those who would court intolerance for political gain, I say: in America, you will lose. In Virginia, you will lose. And in the Shenandoah Valley and Highland County, you will lose.

This accords with my own two decades of experience in this area. People here are independent thinkers who don't want government or anyone else telling them what to believe. And I know from history that our mountains and valleys have long put out a warm welcome to people of many faiths, from Mennonites and Brethren to Roman Catholics, Jews, and even deists in the style of Jefferson. Now we continue to welcome neighbors from even more religions, whether Hindus, Muslims, or those who follow traditional African faiths.

Over the last four months of my campaign, I have met thousands of voters across the 20th District. They have asked me many questions about the issues that matter to them: jobs, schools, transportation, and quality of life. Very occasionally someone has asked me about my faith and we have had a candid discussion about it, including my belief that to draw from multiple traditions strengthens my faith life. These voters have seemed to care about the quality of the candidate, regardless of spiritual affiliation.

My faith teaches that a worthwhile life is a life of service. For this reason, I feel akin to all those of faith who strive daily to serve their families and communities in many different ways. Our area is blessed with countless selfless people who give up their free time to sit on volunteer boards, who donate generously to food banks, and who serve the public as teachers, social workers, and healthcare professionals.

My campaign will be inspired by these citizens who open their hearts in compassion to their neighbors regardless of faith, race, or political affiliation. And if elected to represent the 20th District, I promise to follow the example of my many selfless neighbors. At the same time, I will always stand against bigotry and prejudice. And I pray that I will never fail to speak out for freedom, tolerance, and mutual understanding.

8 Vie for GOP Nomination in 20th

Note: This is from the official Republican Party Press Release

Cliff Fretwell

Mr. Fretwell has been a local Republican activist and leader for over thirty years, having chaired the Staunton Republican Committee for a number of those years. He is a member of the Staunton Kiwanis and FCA and the Board of Realtors in Augusta County. Fretwell can be contacted at 540-886-0145.

John D. Beghtol

Mr. Beghtol is the Director of Community Services of Western State Hospital and a former President of the local Chamber of Commerce. With well over thirty years of service to this community under his belt, Beghtol would make mental health a priority while serving in the General Assembly. He believes it would be an honor to work in the historic chambers of the Virginia General Assembly. Mr. Beghtol can be reached at 540-448-3316.

Charles Curry

Mr. Curry spent 35 years as a public educator - spending 24 of those years at James Madison University and 2 at Virginia Tech. Mr. Curry unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for the 20th House seat against Chris Saxman in 2001 in one of the largest local, nominating events in state history. His last foray into politics was an unsuccessful, Independent run against Augusta County Supervisor Larry Howdyshell. Mr. Curry can be reached at 540-894-5889.

David Karaffa

Mr. Karaffa is an Augusta County party activist and 25 yr old cardiac nurse. He considers his top priorities: "fiscal responsibility, real estate assessment reform, education, healthcare, a responsible energy policy, government transparency, and job creation." Mr. Karaffa can be reached at (540) 943-1651.

Christopher DeWald

Mr. DeWald is a resident of Staunton and Vice-Chairman of the Crossroads to Brain Injury Recovery, headquartered at James Madison University. He is a veteran and a contributor to local newspapers and magazines. If elected Mr. DeWald would not accept a salary. Mr. DeWald can be contacted at (540) 886-1571.

Richard "Dickie" Bell

Councilman Bell has spent 27 years in public service as a teacher, educator, coach and public official. He has spent over a decade serving on the Staunton City Council where he has been a tireless advocate for lower taxes and limited government. Councilman Bell can be reached at (540) 448-4763.

Charles Hawkins

Charles "Chuck" Hawkins, 48 years old and a resident of Staunton and a Data Architect with a Harrisonburg software company, is a self-described policy wonk who relishes complexity and systematic analysis of issues and problems. Chuck passionately advocates for controlling government spending, creating jobs, facilitating a realistic and sustainable energy policy, and improving educational quality. Living in Staunton with wife Kathy and daughters, his working in Harrisonburg, her working in Stuarts Draft as a school band director, and their owning horses in western Augusta, Chuck can represent every portion of this district, from the highlands of Monterey to the farms and stables of Augusta and Rockingham, from the city and towns of the district to the industry and growth of the I-64 and I-81 corridors.

Ray Ergenbright

Mr. Ergenbright served as Staunton Commissioner of Revenue for over ten years. He has been a local Republican activist for nearly twenty years and brings a level of passion and commitment to every job he holds. Mr. Ergenbright can be reached at 540-886-7792.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Power to the People in Page

Lesinski Vows to Fight Power Rate Increases

Luray, VA - July 21, 2009 - John Lesinski, Democratic candidate for Virginia's 15th District House of Delegates, is coordinating an effort to fight Allegheny Power Company's latest round of proposed rate increases for Valley residents. A local group of Page County residents has circulated the "Power to the People" petition and has collected more than 3,300 signatures in an effort to prevent higher electricity bills. The group has asked Lesinski to spearhead the fight and to deliver the petition to the Virginia State Corporate Commission (SCC) on July 30. Lesinski will present the details of this action today at a 4pm press conference, located in front of the Page County Courthouse (116 S. Court St, Luray, VA 22835).

In January, electricity rates were raised by 30% as part of a deal struck between Allegheny Power, the SCC, and the Virginia Attorney General's office. Allegheny returned to the SCC in April to seek another rate hike, which was temporarily granted until a hearing is conducted in September. On July 30, Allegheny will return to the SCC for a hearing to request yet another increase.

"All over the Valley, folks with fixed incomes are getting their power turned off because they can't afford these rate increases," said Lesinski. "We, as a community, have the power to stand up for those who are in financial distress."

Lesinski is particularly concerned about the impact the higher electricity rates will have on Page County residents. In February, Page County's unemployment rate reached nearly 20%. While seasonal employment has temporarily brought the unemployment rate down to 12%, it is widely expected to rise again after the summer tourism months are over. Not only do the higher rates hurt residents, but small businesses are also suffering. As these businesses try to make ends meet, they are forced to make tough decisions on employment.

According to Lesinski, "we cannot allow a situation where small business owners have to choose between keeping an employee or keeping the power on."

As part of his effort to fight the power rate increases, Lesinski and other concerned residents will be working to gather more signatures on the petition between now and July 30. A "Power to the People" rally will be held in Elkton this Saturday, July 25 at 19457 Huckleberry Drive. Information will be provided at the rally regarding the rising cost of electricity and specific actions that residents can take to stop the increases and reduce power consumption. Lesinski is also inviting concerned residents to join him on July 30 as he presents the petition to the SCC. Limited transportation will be provided from Page County to and from the SCC meeting, which is located at 1300 E. Main Street, in Richmond.

For more information, please
John Lesinski is a retired colonel in the United States Marine Corps and a successful commercial real estate broker. He worked for 16 years in one of the nation's largest commercial real estate brokerage firms. More recently, he established the Leland Group, LLC, which is a small business that focuses on bringing businesses into the Shenandoah Valley. Issues of job creation and economic development are central themes in his campaign.

Deeds Pulls in Republican Endorsements


RICHMOND– Eight former senators and delegates announced their support of Sen. Creigh Deeds’ campaign at a press conference Wednesday at the State Capitol.

The eight legislators – including Republican Sens. Russ Potts and John Chichester – announced the formation of Virginians for Deeds, a group Virginians who support Creigh Deeds efforts to carry on the tradition of keeping Virginia a low-tax state with a business friendly climate.

Two of the legislators – Republican Sen. Marty Williams and Sen. Brandon Bell – have never endorsed a statewide Democratic candidate before, and endorsed Bob McDonnell over Creigh Deeds in the 2005 Attorney General race.

“Working across party lines in the tradition of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine is how we solve problems and get things done in Virginia,” said Creigh Deeds. “With the unprecedented challenges we face today, I’m very happy to start this Virginians for Deeds effort with the backing of these independent-minded legislators.”

“Eighteen years ago, I came to Richmond as a freshman delegate with both Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell,”said State Sen. Brandon Bell (R. – Roanoke Co.). “I respect them both and both are fine men. But over that time I have had plenty of opportunity to work with both of them and witness their abilities, and I believe that Creigh simply will make better decisions on key issues facing the Commonwealth.”

“I am honored to have served with Creigh Deeds during my 32 years in the Virginia Assembly, including my time as Chairman of the Education Committee. Creigh is clearly the best choice for Governor based on his outstanding record of support for education and his forward-looking proposals for education to equip Virginians to meet the needs of the changing economy,” said Former Del. Jim Dillard (R – Fairfax). “Creigh has made it clear that he will bring people of both parties together to design a statewide transportation plan, and do it without raiding funds used primarily for education. His record on protecting Virginia’s environment and promoting our nationally recognized State Parks earned him recognition as a ‘Friend of State Parks.’ He is one of only three so honored in the 15 year existence of the association, Virginians For Parks.”

Members who endorsed Creigh Deeds today include:

  • Sen. Brandon Bell (R. – Roanoke Co.) -Member of Senate: 1992-96; 2004-2008.
  • Sen. John Chichester(R. – Stafford) - Member of Senate: 1978-2008. Elected President pro tempore of the Senate, 2000. Former Chair of Finance Committee.
  • Sen. Russ Potts (R. – Winchester) -Member of Senate: 1992-2008. President, Russ Potts Productions, Inc.
  • Sen. Marty Williams (R. – Newport News) -Member of Senate: 1996-2008. Former Chair of Transportation Committee.
  • Sen. Warren E. Barry (R. – Fairfax) -Member of the House of Delegates: 1970-1983. Member of the Senate: 1992-2002.
  • Del. Anne G. “Panny” Rhodes (R. – Richmond) –Member of the House of Delegates: 1992-2001.
  • Del. Katherine Waddell (I. – Richmond) –Member of House of Delegates: 2006-2008. Founder, Virginia Republican Majority for Choice. Former aide to Lt. Gov. John Hager.
  • Del.Jim Dillard (R. – Fairfax) – Member of House of Delegates: 1972-1977, 1980-2005. Former Chair of Education Committee.

Karaffa Brings Teabags to the 20th District.

Looks like Augusta County resident David Karaffa has decided to challenge the GOP Ruling Council for Chris Saxman's empty seat. He refers to himself as "a person who walks among us". ..I think the boy has gotten himself mixed up with the Messiah. Pop a big bag of popcorn and head over to Buffalo Gap H.S. on Thursday, July 27 at 7:00 P.M. for the fireworks. The Augusta County Republicans are a colorful and entertaining lot.

Here he is bringing teabags to Senator Mark Warner. So yes, he is a teabagger. There must be something special in that bottled water down there.

Governor Kaine's Travels

After weeks of criticism from Republicans and questions from the press, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's office Tuesday shared a list of the places he's visited since Jan. 1.

Kaine's office had rejected requests for information about the political appearances the governor has made since being named Democratic National Committee chairman, citing legal precedent protecting such information.

Virginia Republican officials have highlighted Kaine's travels outside of the state and suggested that his second job is interefering with his work as governor. Kaine said his DNC duties would be largely conducted on weekends and off-hours when he took the job as chairman. But some of his political trips have occured on weekdays.

Read the story

Health Care Forum Tonight

While Congress is figuring out what to do
at the National level

Find out what can and should be done in Virginia

Join Dr. Greg Marrow of the 25th district, Gene Hart of the 26th district and Erik Curren of the 20th district. These candidates will have a great opportunity to help create a reformed system to benefit us all.

This forum is so important that no one should miss it, once you read this, please let another friend know about it.

From the Staunton News Leader:

As the nation's leaders are in the process of reforming health care, local Democratic candidates will speak on how they can affect the issue on the state level.

Erik Curren, 20th District candidate; Greg Marrow, 25th District candidate and Gene Hart, 26th District candidate will host a forum at 7 p.m. today at the Waynesboro Public Library to discuss health care and what they will do to change the system if elected to the House of Delegates this November.

Read more

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Waynesboro Public Library Meeting Room A
600 S Wayne st
Waynesboro, VA


Please join us and bring a friend to learn more about this very important issue.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Attention Seeking in Augusta County

What do Tracy Pyles and Doug Wilder have in common?

Both will do anything to get attention...

Both consider themselves to be very important...

Both are willing to wreck someone else just to prove their importance...

Apparently upset that he wasn't properly courted to run against Saxman, and obviously upset now that Saxman's withdrawal has created an open seat, and just plain jealous that he's not in the news, now the good ole boy is trying to cast doubt about his own party's candidate.

What next? Will Pyles seek the now available Republican nomination? He's already been courting SWAC Girl.

Pathetic self importance? You betcha.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Taxes or Babies, What's Important to You?

Infant mortality has long been considered one of the most important indicators of the health of a nation and the quality of its medical system. In 1960, the United States ranked 12th lowest in the world, but by 2004, the latest year for which comparisons were issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that ranking had dropped to 29th lowest.This international gap has widened even though the United States devotes a far greater share of its national wealth to health care than other countries. In 2006, Americans spent $6,714 per capita on health — more than twice the average of other industrialized countries.

“We’re spending twice what other countries do,” Ms. Davis said, “and we’re falling further and further behind them in important measures like infant mortality.”

Read more

Infant mortality in the U.S. is comparable to that of Cuba and Croatia.

Each year, babies in the U.S. die at twice the rate of those in Japan or Sweden – most because they are born premature. Although our numbers are better today than they were in 1970, we fare worse relative to other countries. Greece, South Korea and Slovenia have all surpassed us during this time.

Of the premature babies who survive, many face a lifetime of learning and medical problems, including increased risk for hypertension, diabetes, and coronary artery disease.

Data Source: CIA World Factbook (based on 2007 estimates) »

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Message from Erik Curren

Erik Curren for Delegate

Democratic candidate for 20th House District of Virginia

Dear Friend,

Wow! There was big news this week.

You may have heard that on Friday Del. Chris Saxman, my opponent, announced that he would not seek re-election in November. Chris and I graduated the same year from Washington and Lee, I've considered him a friend over the years, and I wish him well in his future endeavors.

Chris was a 4-term incumbent, and his dropping out changes everything in our race. It now means that I'm vying for the only open delegate seat in the central Shenandoah Valley. And, as of now, I have no opponent.

"Saxman’s withdrawal clears the way for election of his November Democratic challenger, Erik Curren of Staunton," wrote veteran political reporter Bob Stuart.

Now is the time to celebrate -- but not to sit back and relax. Instead, now is the time to re-double our efforts, as I told all of the reporters I talked to yesterday.

"James Madison University political scientist Bob Roberts said an open House seat 'is a completely different ballgame' even in the deeply red 20th District," Stuart also wrote.

"Roberts said Curren's chances depend on raising money and making the case for his candidacy over the Republican nominee."

We don't yet know who that nominee will be. The local GOP is slated to announce their new candidate on July 27. That gives us a precious 9 days to show them that they'll have a real fight on their hands -- and to show the state Democratic party that we mean business so they might give us some help.

Will you contribute $100 or more to my campaign today?

I've run my campaign so far on people power. Unlike the Republicans, I don't have any money from payday lenders, coal companies, or liquor distributors.

Please help me show that we can continue to build a strong base of local, individual donors.

I can win in November. The experts say so. But I can't win without your help.

Please contribute $100, $200, or more to my campaign today. Please help me raise $20,000 before the Republicans announce their candidate on the 27th.

As always, thanks for your help and support. With your help, we now have an even better chance to win in November.



PS -- We have a precious 9 days to show that we can run a campaign to win the 20th District. Please help us raise $20,000 by then and show that people power can win this race.



Paid for and authorized by Erik Curren for Delegate.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Health Care - Candidate Forum

With Health Care cost rising and restrictions getting tighter, something has to be done in order to ensure we have the best and most affordable health care system.

3 Local Democratic Candidates will be holding a Public forum on health care to discuss their views and hear the public's concerns. This issue is not going to be solved over night but we want to ensure that everyone's voice is going to be heard.

Join Dr. Greg Marrow of the 25th district, Gene Hart of the 26th district and Erik Curren of the 20th district. These candidates will have a great opportunity to help create a reformed system to benefit us all.

This forum is so important that no one should miss it, once you read this, please let another friend know about it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Waynesboro Public Library Meeting Room A
600 S Wayne st
Waynesboro, VA


Sustainability - A Proven Model

As a promised follow up to our Thursday
RCDC Meeting with Tom Benevento and Daniel Chavez,
I'm reposting this article on Sustainable Living in the United States
Lowell Fulk

What Our Grandparents Can Teach Us
About Saving the World
Half the vegetables produced in 1943 in the United States,
were grown in Victory Gardens...

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?

"With the participation of the Boy Scouts, trade unions, and settlement houses, thousands of ugly, trash-strewn vacant lots in major industrial cities were turned into neighborhood gardens that gave tenement kids the pride of being self-sufficient urban farmers. In Chicago, 400,000 schoolchildren enlisted in the "Clean Up for Victory" campaign, which salvaged scrap for industry and cleared lots for gardens."

Click here for the story

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

Friday, July 17, 2009

Why the Far Right is Losing Its Mind

Curren Racing for Open Seat?

A look at Erik Curren

From Curren's website:

Erik serves as the marketing director for the American Shakespeare Center, in Staunton, Virginia, where he also volunteers on several local and statewide boards related to economic development, tourism, and the arts.

A co-founder of Staunton Green 2020 — a citizens’ coalition dedicated to helping the city generate 20% of its energy from clean local sources, and cut its global warming pollution, both by the year 2020 — Erik has long sought to promote clean energy and efficiency to create good jobs for all.

Click here to visit Curren's campaign website

Armed Revolt if GOP Loses???

These People are Coming UnHinged!

Appearing at a "Tea Party" rally Wednesday to protest Obama's expansion of government, Catherine Crabill, a political neophyte running for the House of Delegates in the Northern Neck, quoted from a March 1775 speech by Patrick Henry and then went further, calling on Americans to resist the course Obama has set for the country.

"We have a chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box," Crabill said. "But that's the beauty of our Second Amendment right. I am glad for all of us who enjoy the use of firearms for hunting. But make no mistake. That was not the intent of the Founding Fathers. Our Second Amendment right was to guard against tyranny."

Read the story

Saxman Drops Out?

Saxman Giving Up Seat In House
Republican Drops Out Of Re-Election Race

Del. Chris Saxman, R-Staunton, who represents a portion of Rockingham County, is expected to announce today that he is stepping down from his seat in the House of Delegates. Saxman, reached by phone Thursday evening, confirmed that he is withdrawing from the race with Democrat Erik Curren of Staunton in the Nov. 3 election to follow other pursuits, including advocating for school choice.

Read the story

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jody and the Valley Blues Brothers - Hart, Marrow and Curren

Greg Marrow (HD candidate, 25th) and Jody Wagner (Lt. Gov. candidate)
photo credit: Crystal Graham, Augusta Free Press

Today, Jody Wagner, Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, made a opening foray into the Valley of Virginia in what will be a full-contact battle for the hearts and minds of voters in the "rest of Virginia".

For the small business owners, and party activists that she met, Jody hit all the right notes on economic development and transportation infrastructure issues. She spent time visiting area businesses, and meeting the local Blues Brothers: Gene Hart (Harrisonburg), Greg Marrow (Waynesboro)and Erik Curren (Staunton), who appear to be eager and ready to rock and roll in their campaigns for the 26th, 25th and 20th House of Delegate seats.

Wagner made it clear that her Republican opponent, Bill Bolling, had better come up with a better song about his newly-found religion on economic development.

So far he, and running mate Bob McDonnell, are doing a poor job of trying to sing out of the Democratic song book on jobs. The working-class folks of the Valley aren't likely to enjoy the noise these two GOP mocking birds are making. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs .... Me Too, Me Too! Silly birds!

from the Augusta Free Press:

“It’s interesting that last week Bill Bolling was traveling around the state, and he was talking about the fact that the Governor’s Opportunity Fund has to be greater. Well, he’s been part of the crowd that’s been cutting the Governor’s Opportunity Fund. And cutting the Virginia Economic Development (Partnership)’s funding,” Wagner said, referring to her Republican opponent, the sitting lieutenant governor, Bill Bolling, and his sudden interest in increasing the state’s commitment to the Opportunity Fund now that he is up for re-election.

“It’s interesting that Bill Bolling has been lieutenant governor for almost four years, and it took up until three months before the election for him to take notice of the fact that we had a shortage in the Governor’s Opportunity Fund,” Wagner said.

Full Story at the Augusta Free Press and NBC29 coverage of Waynesboro tour.

ABC TV3 coverage of Harrisonburg visit:

Wagner says transportation is a highly debated issue between her and her opponent.

"You're trying to seduce a business to come here. If you're beginning construction on a road, that's encouraging," says Wagner. "If you're just talking about the road, and you've been talking about it since 2000, it's hard to get a business to believe you're actually going to do it."

cross-posted: Blue Ridge Data

Of Service and Activism

Rockingham County Democratic Committee

July Meeting Reminder

New Community Project
As covered in a recent article in the DNR, The Harrisonburg based New Community Project offers a practical approach through which organizations, churches, and individuals can combat global warming and protect the environment. In this talk, Tom Benevento will share how NCP is working to create a sustainable living homestead in the heart of Harrisonburg.

Observations from a Community Organizer
Come and hear reflections and lessons learned, from community organizer and Democratic activist Daniel Chavez about the interface between political, community, and movement campaigns.
Mr. Chavez, who began his political journey at age 15 as a member of the United Farm Workers with Caesar Chavez, has been actively involved with civil rights, peace, and workers’ rights movements ever since. He was a Presidential Appointee to the Labor Department under the Clinton Administration.

Updates from the Campaign Trail
Hear what is happening, and what we can do to help, with the campaigns of our Outstanding Democratic Candidates in this year's election.

And learn of upcoming events and opportunities.

Questions, answers, and conversation among the best people!

Date: Thursday, July 16, 2009

Time: 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Location: Rockingham Co Administration Building: Board of Supervisors Meeting Room

Address: 20 East Gay Street

Harrisonburg, VA

View MapQuest Map

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

No Words Required

Political Cartoons are Art

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Of Debt and Deficit...

Understanding is the First Step to Solution

Who caused the Deficit?

Click on picture to enlarge

How the U.S. Federal Debt and Deficit Differ and How They Affect Each Other

The U.S. Federal Deficit is when government spending is greater than revenue received for that year. In Fiscal Year 2009, the budget deficit will be $1.75 trillion. The FY 2010 deficit will be $1.17 trillion.

The U.S. Federal Debt is over $11 trillion. This is nearly double the debt in 2000, which was $6 trillion.

Read more

Budget deficit tops $1 trillion for first time

The federal deficit has topped $1 trillion for the first time ever and could grow to nearly $2 trillion by this fall, intensifying fears about higher interest rates, inflation and the strength of the dollar.

The deficit has been widened by the huge sum the government has spent to ease the recession, combined with a sharp decline in tax revenues. The cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also is a major factor.

Read more

The U.S. National Debt and How It Got So Big

What the U.S. National Debt Is:
(Updated January 2009) The U.S. debt is $10.6 trillion, and is the sum of all outstanding debt owed by the Federal Government.

Over half is the public debt, which is owed to individuals, corporations and foreign governments, who have purchased Treasury Bills, Notes and Bonds.

The rest is owed by the government to itself, and is held as Government Account securities. Most of this is owed to the Social Security and other trust funds, which have been running surpluses. The securities are a promise to repay these funds when Baby Boomers retire over the next 20 years.

Read more

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rethinking the Cost of Prison

States Seek Less Costly Substitutes For Prison

Treatment, Parole Are Gaining Favor

Cash-strapped states are increasingly turning to alternative sentencing methods and to streamlined probation and parole as a way to keep low-level offenders out of prison and in their communities.

The alternative sentencing methods have been in limited use for years, often with little funding and less publicity. But recently they have gained in popularity across the country and have attracted interest from lawmakers. The measures include drug courts, which allow low-level drug offenders to avoid prison time through treatment and intense, personal, weekly intervention by a judge, and at least 500 courts for people arrested for driving while intoxicated. Drivers avoid jail by attending regular alcohol-treatment classes and by submitting to random tests.

States have also begun to shorten probation and to reduce the number of people sent to prison for technical violations, such as missing appointments. Some states are also more readily granting parole to prisoners as they become eligible, reversing a trend that kept even parole-eligible inmates locked up longer.

These trends are showing up almost everywhere as a direct response to governors and state legislatures looking with alarm at prison costs eating up increasing shares of their budgets. According to Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project for the Pew Center on the States, more than half the states and the District are trying to reduce the growth in their prison populations through alternative sentencing and through new probation and parole procedures.

Read more

Drug Court?

In many courtrooms, judges see the same defendants so often they're practically on a first-name basis. Whether the charges are breaking and entering, driving under the influence, neglecting a child, or some other offense, the underlying cause is often the same: alcohol or drug abuse.

SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) is helping to stop these revolving doors. Since the late 1990s, CSAT has provided funding to support treatment drug courts—often referred to simply as drug courts—that offer offenders access to alcohol or substance abuse treatment instead of incarceration. Today, CSAT's criminal and juvenile justice portfolio funds 62 drug courts, helping adult offenders, juvenile offenders, and parents at risk of losing custody of their children break the cycle of substance abuse, crime, and prison time.

Read more