Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sarah Wants Your Money

Sarah Palin is out with a book. Not really hers, it was written by a Ms. Lynn Vincent, but Sarah got a reported $7 million advance from Harper Publishing for "Going Rogue, An American Life". And she's out on the speaker circuit looking for gigs. However booking agents appear to be in agreement with the majority of Americans, "she's a blithering idiot". Ordinary Americans would just appreciate it if Sarah didn't travel to China and talk down America. Augusta County, fine, Hong Kong, not cool.

While you wait for Sarah to appear at your local Republican political event you can do your part by redistributing your wealth her way - buy her book.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One Funny, One Not at All...

Manufacturing Job Loss & Steve Landes

Chart Source Data: Virginia Employment Commission

cross-posted Blue Ridge Data

At the Marrow - Landes debate on September 24 in Waynesboro, the issue of anemic job growth in the 25th district was raised. From 1996 to 2008, Total Job Growth -- for all public and private jobs grew a modest 16% (or 1.3% per year) in Augusta County, and but the change in Total Jobs was actually a loss of 4% for Waynesboro over this 12 year period.

More troubling -- Waynesboro and Augusta County have seen a dramatic loss of Manufacturing Jobs during Steve Landes tenure from 1996 to 2008. Manufacturing Jobs fell by a stunning 51% in Waynesboro and was also down 9% in Augusta County. We are rapidly losing our highest pay and benefits jobs in Waynesboro and Augusta County. It's not just hourly workers, but highly desirable skilled technician, and engineering jobs are gone. In the last decade, several local chapters of the various professional engineering organizations folded due to declines in membership from the halcyon days of the 1960's to 1980's.

No one in the local or national industrial sector was immune to the pressures of globalization in the last two decades -- simply put, lower skill and low technology operations have been out-sourced to other low wage regions of the world. Higher technology, custom engineered products, rapid time-to-market, and many safety-regulated industries are doing well -- thank you very much. This is the result of basic industrial economics. No new news here.

The glaring disconnect in strategic thinking displayed by Delegate Landes, last Thursday, was evident in his stated belief that his notable economic development support of SME (Small to Medium size Enterprises) manufacturing was adequate to offset the steady decline in Large Manufacturing employment. Sorry Mr. Landes -- it it was, and still is, Not Nearly Enough.

SRI is nice, but not a GE or DuPont.

What our area has lacked is strong leadership in bringing in the next generation of major manufacturers. As the old line plants -- DuPont, General Electric, Westinghouse/Synder General/McQuay were hitting their obsolescence limits, based on older technology platforms -- our local community leaders failed to look and think outside of the box (See Augusta County Toyota Fail). Contrary to the rumors... there is still a vibrant manufacturing sector in the USA, we just failed to do the hard work and put the right economic development effort in place, to sustain industrial development in our area.

To lay this blame solely at the feet of Steve Landes is obviously unfair and disproportionate. Mr. Landes is a symptom of the problem not the cause. Steve seems like a basically nice guy and certainly understands the issues and concerns of small business folks. But that's also his weakness. He is a self-admitted plodder. A "work horse". He has had a bit of a free ride in the last 13 years -- as long as he supported the local small biz agenda and big biz lobbyists in Richmond on issues that served their interest -- the gravy train of PAC money kept chugging along. Meanwhile the middle-class folks back here in the Valley were getting squeezed out of making a good living at a major manufacturing plant. Goodbye DuPont, see you later General Electric/Genicom.

One wonders how many more Governor's Economic Development grants would have come our way in the last decade -- if Mr. Landes hadn't been such a "rank and file" good soldier for the Va GOP and instead ... truly represented the economic interests of all his constituents in our wonderful part of the Shenandoah Valley. Who knows how many great companies overlooked our area -- not to move off-shore, but just down the road to North Carolina or Tennessee, just because we didn't field a team of leaders to get the job done.

Greg Marrow said it best with that funny Albert Einstein quote,

Continuing to do the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result, is a sign of insanity.

On November 3rd, let's hope sane voters -- Democrats, Republicans and Independents -- put some new leaders on the economic development job. Then we might reasonably expect some new and more favorable results.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Deeds vs McDonnell --- How They Voted

Voters elected Democrat R. Creigh Deeds and Republican Robert F. McDonnell to the General Assembly in the same year, 1991. For the next 14 years, the future candidates for Virginia governor were divided on the most contentious issues of the day.

Today, their voluminous legislative records of almost 40,000 votes show a stark contrast in their philosophies on the role of government, the spending of taxpayer dollars and restrictions on abortion, gay rights and guns.

Click here to for a comparison of voting records

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Shenandoah Valley is My Home, Creigh Deeds is My Candidate

The Best Way to Insure that the Shenandoah Valley

is Represented Fairly in Richmond

Is to Elect Good People

From the Shenandoah Valley

How much do you think Bob McDonnell really cares about us?

Who do you trust to treat the Valley Equally

with the rest of Virginia?

Support Creigh Deeds for Governor

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Time to Ring the Bell

At the end of July, Dickie Bell was anointed to run for House of Delegates District 20 to replace Del. Chris Saxman who suddenly and surprisingly exited stage right. Within a few days, the Democratic candidate Erik Curren wrote to Bell suggesting four debates across the district - one each in Staunton, Augusta County, Highland County, and Rockingham County. After Bell's tantrum about a reporter finding out about the proposal before he did, the GOP candidate eventually agreed in principle to Curren's proposal.

A series of debates seems like a good idea. After all, both men are little known outside of Staunton and even there voters weren't aware of their views on state issues like transportation, the state budget, and job creation. Debates could help candidates dispel whispers such as Bell being known as "NO! and NO SHOW" by some who've watched his time on City Council.

After the Marrow/Landes debate earlier this week (hopefully there will be more in the 25th) I wondered about the status of the proposed debates for the 20th District. It seems that although Bell agreed to the debates, he (or his negotiator Chris Saxman) is having trouble finding open dates, a suitable format, and raising all sorts of other objections. Nearly a month and a half has passed and, to my knowledge, the campaigns aren't much closer to agreeing to a debate schedule or even a solitary debate.

All this raises troubling questions. Why is Dickie Bell resisting debates and what is he hiding from voters? Is Mr. Bell his own man or is somebody pulling his strings? If he won't talk to voters and address issues now, would he do so if elected? How can a candidate in our "government by the people" hide from those very people?

Several things are becoming increasingly apparent: the local Republican powers that be are a bit afraid of how their candidate will perform if put on the same stage as his opponent. Perhaps they worry about his ability to articulate their stands on issues? Or maybe they wonder about his well-known short fuse? Could they fear dirty laundry flapping in the sunlight of a debate?

With just five weeks until Election Day, it appears the GOP/Bell strategy is to run the clock out on debates, put up a bunch of signs in the typical GOP lawns, and bank on party zombies in the red 20th pushing the Bell button even though they are clueless about the man, his background, and his views. Sad to say, with a complacent local media and dozy voters, that game plan just might work. If so, our democracy is diminished and our next delegate will be a man we hardly know. And who hardly knows us!

Cross-posted at Coarse Cracked Corn.

Creigh Deeds: Opportunity

The Best Way to Insure that the Shenandoah Valley

is Represented Fairly in Richmond

Is to Elect Good People

From the Shenandoah Valley

How much do you think Bob McDonnell really cares about us?

Who do you trust to treat the Valley Equally

with the rest of Virginia?

Support Creigh Deeds for Governor

Friday, September 25, 2009

Landes coming unhinged...

Any time now we can expect Steve Landes to begin showing the strain of being held accountable for his lack of legislative representation of the 25th District... By attacking Greg Marrow...

Most likely by attacking Dr. Marrow on one of the usual issues like taxes, guns, social policy, or by claiming the President is a socialist Nazi or Stalinist or some other such nonsense...

Delegate Landes has been in office for over a decade and has contributed virtually nothing to the wellbeing of the people who have trusted him to be their representative in Richmond.

Finally someone of integrity and ability has decided to challenge Steve Landes' unwillingness to represent the interests of the working people here in Eastern Augusta County, Waynesboro, Elkton, Eastern Rockingham, and Western Albemarle County.

Dr. Greg Marrow rocked Steve Landes on his heels in their first real public debate last evening in Waynesboro at the Kate Collins Middle School simply by asking Mr. Landes to tell folks in attendence what he had accomplished for the area regarding job creation and economic development for the voters in the 25th. Mr. Landes had no answer...

So we can expect that out of desperation Steve Landes will lash out and falsely accuse Dr. Marrow of some outlandish and fiendish plot or plan...

People deserve honest information about what we face as a state, and as a community. Not the partisan attack politcs we know all too well...
We're tired of that, and would like new and sound ideas and good solutions to make our area prosperous and thrive...

Steve Landes wants us to be afraid.

Greg Marrow wants us to be successful.

Who do you trust to work for you?

Marrow takes Landes to Task in Waynesboro Debate

Thursday’s debate between House District 25 incumbent Steve Landes and Democratic challenger Greg Marrow produced fireworks when Marrow twice questioned Landes’ effectiveness in producing jobs for the Shenandoah Valley.

Marrow, a Harrisonburg optometrist, said his examination of five years of Landes’ legislative record showed numerous bills to change Virginia codes but “none of them about increasing the quality of life in the Shenandoah Valley.”

Read more

The candidates had agreed beforehand to take one question from their opponent. Marrow asked Landes to detail what he has accomplished in his time in the House of Delegates, prompting a visibly rattled Landes to first promise Marrow that he would give him a copy of his legislative record, then, when it was Marrow’s turn to answer a question from Landes, Landes interrupted Marrow to hand him a red folder with a Landes campaign sticker on it.

“We need to not just worry about excessive legislation,” Marrow said as he took the folder from Landes. “What we need to worry about is legislation that’s going to help the Valley, including jobs and people who can’t afford …”

“And that’s in there. If you’ll look into it and actually look at my record, you’ll see it,” Landes talked over Marrow, pointing.

“I’m trying to answer your question. I have looked at the record,” Marrow said.

The exchange would seem to indicate that Landes is feeling some heat in his re-election bid.

Read more

After a question about unemployment and new job creation, Marrow says Landes has not done enough to bring jobs, specifically green jobs to the valley.

Around the country, "In 2007 about 9 million jobs were created in the green collar sector to the tune of about a billion dollars worth of revenue, but not one dollar, not one job, came to Virginia, they're going to these other states," said Marrow.

Read more

"You are not reading the whole record. You are trying to distort my record and I am really starting to get a little PO'ed about that because you are distorting what I have done over the last 13 years," Landes told Marrow.

Marrow responded that he had read Landes' record and said he disagreed vehemently on several points.

"Actions speak a thousand words and I have them right here," Marrow said of bills Landes introduced that did not do anything for the district.

Excessive legislation is not the answer, Marrow said.

"We need to worry about legislation that will improve the Valley, including jobs and helping those people who cannot afford health care," he said.

Read more

"I'm looking at five pages of legislation you introduced over past five years ... and none of them have to do with the Shenandoah Valley," Marrow said as he asked Landes to explain what he has done to enhance the district during his seven terms as delegate.

Read more

Watch the entire debate and decide for yourself

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Meals Tax Referendum Q and A -- The County Position

Official County Position

Rockingham County Meals Tax Referendum:
Questions and Answers

On this fall’s ballot, citizens of Rockingham County have the opportunity to give the Board of Supervisors the approval to add a food and beverage (meals) tax, the money from which will be used only to protect and enhance the quality of our school system. If approved the tax will lessen the County’s dependence on real estate taxes as the primary source of funds for the local share to construct and operate our schools. At the same time, by adding this tax, those who travel through our County – and enjoy its resources – will help pay a share of the cost to educate our youth.
Both the Board of Supervisors and the School Board strongly support this initiative, believing that it is a fairer way of providing the funds needed for investment in our schools and the future of our school children.

What is the meals tax?

The meals tax is a local-option tax levied on the purchaser of all prepared food and beverages served in restaurants and other dining room eateries, such as grills, coffee shops, cafeterias, snack bars, carry outs, delicatessens, caterers, gas stations, and other similar facilities that provide already prepared, ready-to-eat meals. It does NOT apply to those groceries which require or involve preparation, like cooking, at home or elsewhere.

I have heard that the money collected from this tax is limited to being used for the school system; is this true?

Yes, according to the language that will be on the ballot, the money may be used only for the construction, addition and operation of public schools in Rockingham County, Virginia. A copy of the petition from the Board of Supervisors to the Circuit Court requesting the referendum may be found at . The Board of Supervisors is not required to limit the uses of the money but chose to do so because of its commitment to provide quality education in the County, and its concern that not all of the burden to pay for schools should come from real estate property owners in the County.

How about churches, schools and other charitable groups? Will they be expected to collect the tax?

No, the Board passed a resolution on September 9, 2009 that exempts all of these groups from collecting the tax on meals sold for charitable purposes. A copy of that resolution can be found at .

What is the maximum rate that can be charged?

The maximum rate that can be charged in counties is 4%. Cities and towns can approve a higher rate, and currently Harrisonburg and Elkton charge 6%, while Bridgewater, Dayton, Grottoes, Strasburg, Staunton and Waynesboro charge 5%. All of the Towns in Rockingham except Broadway have a meals tax. Broadway Town Council can add the Meals tax at any time by resolution of the Council. Currently, 182 local governments in Virginia have a meals tax.

I heard that the “County” meals tax will have to be paid in addition to the meals tax charged in Harrisonburg, Bridgewater, Dayton, Elkton, Grottoes, Mt. Crawford and Timberville, is this true?

No. If approved, the County meals tax will only be collected from persons who eat at businesses located in the County, and outside of Harrisonburg and the Towns. People already pay the meals taxes in City and the Towns. Also, remember, this is not a tax on the business but on the people who purchase the food. The businesses will have to collect the tax and send it to the County.

In these tough financial times why does the Board of Supervisors think we need a meals tax?

The meals tax is being considered by the Board because the State continues to have significant financial difficulties (because of problems in Northern Virginia), and is not able to meet its commitment to pay for county (local) services such as schools, sheriff, courts, social services, health department and other areas that we share the responsibility to pay for services under state law. The State is required by law to pay as much as 100% of the cost of some of these programs, but is telling local governments like Rockingham that it is reducing the amount it will pay for its share; as a result, the check it will send is not sufficient since it doesn’t have enough to pay our County for your services, but the County still has to provide the service! The un-funded or under-funded mandates from the State cost our citizens their hard-earned local money! The Governor earlier this month told us that the State is looking at another $1.3 billion shortfall for the coming year. Despite those shortfalls, the State is not changing the County’s legal responsibility to provide services. The County has reduced services, not filled most vacant positions, increased class sizes in schools, laid off staff, cut out travel, reduced office costs, and eliminated programs to meet its obligations for the critical services we are obligated to provide, and has done this within the resources available to it and without a real estate tax increase. The Board of Supervisors and School Board are committed to working together to continue their efforts to provide quality services for our citizens at the lowest cost possible within reason. By approving a meals tax, you will allow those that travel through our County along I-81, and those that go to Massanutten, JMU, EMU, Bridgewater College, the Shenandoah National Park and other tourist areas, as well as, City residents that eat in the County, to share in some of the cost of educating children in Rockingham County, both now and in the future.

What can you do to help?

Learn more about the benefits of having a meals tax. Talk with your neighbors about how it lessens the dependence on real estate taxes, and sets aside money for the continuation of our quality schools. And express your views at the ballot box on November 3, 2009.

Where can you get more information?

Joseph S. Paxton, County Administrator
Rockingham County Administration Center
20 East Gay Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22802
(540) 564-3000


Here is contact information for the Board of Supervisors if you'd like to speak with them:

Pablo Cuevas, Vice-Chairman, District 1 Supervisor-R
543 Elm Street
Broadway, VA 22815

Home: (540) 896-7889

Frederick E. Eberly, Chairman, District 2 Supervisor-R
3155 Harpine Highway
Harrisonburg, VA 22802

Home: (540) 833-5167
Cell: (540) 578-2671

Dee E. Floyd, District 3 Supervisor-R
PO Box 68
Penn Laird, VA 22846

Home: (540) 434-2887

William B. Kyger, Jr., District 4 Supervisor-R
6710 Vista Heights Rd
Bridgewater, VA 22812

Home: (540) 828-2004
Work: (540) 828-2008

Michael A. Breeden, District 5 Supervisor-D
1716 Breeden Circle
Elkton, VA 22827

Work: (540) 289-5358

---And the School Board---

District 1
Anthony Slater
406 Gold Drive
Broadway VA 22815
(540) 896-5082

District 2
Gayl Brunk
7858 Glen Hollow Road
Singers Glen, VA 22850

District 3
John J. Myers, Jr.
125 Steeplechase Drive
Penn Laird VA 22846
(540) 433-4712

District 4
Bill Gamble
103 West Ave.
Bridgewater VA 22812
(540) 828-2906

District 5
W. R. Good
16642 Red Brush Road
Elkton, VA 22827

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bill Bolling... No Show? No Job...

Let's hire someone who wants to do the work instead of someone who just wants the position...

Bill Bolling has missed 61 of 65 Committee Meetings since being elected Lt. Governor in 2005. Could you keep your job if you didn't show up for work?

Do you still trust someone who has a proven record of not showing up for the job we trusted him to do?

He's shown us his work ethic. Does Bill Bolling deserve to be re-elected?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Notice for Strong Women of the Valley

Supporting Women and our causes,
The Time is Now...

Host: Valley Democratic Women

Price: Cost is covered by Valley Democratic Women

Date: Sunday, September 27, 2009

Time: 4:00pm - 6:00pm

Clementine Cafe
153 S. Main St
Harrisonburg, VA

View MapQuest Map

Phone: 434-242-3436

Purpose is to gather women across the state to reflect on the importance of our Governor's race and Mr. Creigh Deeds history of supporting women and our causes.

Featured: "Shut-Up and Sing Documentary"--A chance to reflect on an administration that wasn't accepting of free speech, especially by an all girl band!

The movie from two time Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple and Cecelia Peck that chronicles the lives of the Dixie Chicks from 2003 to the start of their 2006 tour. All the highs, lows and mayhem that occurred just before and for the three years following “the incident” when the lead singer spoke out against the Bush Administration. The personal attacks, the backlash, personal growth, a changing world, making music, having babies, receiving death threats, and even a fair amount of laughter.

We will reflect and discuss just how important the race for Governor of Virginia is to Women. We face a crossroads where we will either elect someone who has actively promoted Women's interests in Virginia government, or a man who spelled out quite clearly his intent to relegate Women to what he considers a support role.

We look forward to sharing the evening with strong Women of the Shenandoah Valley!

Mary Slade

Gas Tax Op Ed -- Fuel for Thought

Do we owe the French and other Europeans a second look when it comes to their willingness to exercise power in today’s world? Was it really fair for some to call the French and other Europeans “cheese-eating surrender monkeys?” Is it time to restore the French in “French fries” at the Congressional dining room, and stop calling them “Freedom Fries?” Why do I ask these profound questions?

Because we are once again having one of those big troop debates: Do we send more forces to Afghanistan, and are we ready to do what it takes to “win” there? This argument will be framed in many ways, but you can set your watch on these chest-thumpers: “toughness,” “grit,” “fortitude,” “willingness to do whatever it takes to realize big stakes” — all the qualities we tend to see in ourselves, with some justification, but not in Europeans.

But are we really that tough? If the metric is a willingness to send troops to Iraq and Afghanistan and consider the use of force against Iran, the answer is yes. And we should be eternally grateful to the Americans willing to go off and fight those fights. But in another way — when it comes to doing things that would actually weaken the people we are sending our boys and girls to fight — we are total wimps. We are, in fact, the wimps of the world. We are, in fact, so wimpy our politicians are afraid to even talk about how wimpy we are.

Read more

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hart Proposes Term Limits - Lohr Says No!

Picking up GOP broken promise from Contract with America...
Voters thought term limits were a good idea in 1992, but when the GOP won a majority on the promise, they forgot all about their "contract" with the voter...
Gene Hart wants to make it right. Matt Lohr doesn't.

Term limits, an idea that largely faded after gaining strength in American politics in the 1990s, has been resurrected as a campaign issue in at least one Valley race.

Democrat Gene Hart, who is seeking to unseat Del. Matt Lohr, R-Broadway, is proposing delegates be limited to serving six years, or three consecutive two-year terms, in a 10-year period.

Under Hart's proposal, state senators would be limited to two consecutive four-year terms.

Hart, who has made the same pledge on his campaign Web site, explained his proposal Wednesday to a group of young professionals in Harrisonburg.

Term limits, he said, would take lawmakers' focus off getting re-elected and place it on solving problems.

Lohr said term limits may have some merit, but he does not support Hart's position. Elected officials have to face voters, he said.

Read more

Round 1 - Marrow vs Landes, Be There!

Marrow - Landes Debate

Blue Progress vs. Red Status Quo!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Waynesboro, VA

The first one-on-one debate between Greg Marrow and his opponent will be at Kate Collins Middle School at 6:00 PM on Thursday, September 24. Volunteers are needed to greet voters and hand out literature (starting at 5:30), and cheer our candidate to victory.
Contact Daniel at or 540.560.8850 for details.

Click here for driving directions

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Best Wealthcare MONEY can Buy!

Deeds Getting Stronger --- McDonnell Declining

Dramatic shifts among independent female voters and Northern Virginians over the past month have propelled Democrat R. Creigh Deeds to within four points of Republican Robert F. McDonnell in the race for Virginia governor, according to a new Washington Post poll.
The change among likely voters -- down from a 15-point margin in mid-August -- coincides with the publication and ensuing controversy surrounding McDonnell's graduate school thesis, in which he writes of his opposition to working women, feminists and gay people.

In the new poll, McDonnell edges Deeds by 51 to 47 percent among voters who say they are certain to vote in November, with the poll offering both candidates reasons to be optimistic as people begin to make up their minds six weeks before Election Day.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Beck, Dancing with the Czars

Washington, D.C.—The DNC, today, released a new web video calling out Republican hypocrisy in attacking the use of policy czars in the Obama administration by highlighting the 47 czars that served in the Bush administration. The video, called "Dancing with the Czars," uses footage of Fox News' Glenn Beck sarcastically reciting a list of Obama administration "czars" while displaying images of Bush administration officials who filled many of the same roles Beck mocks. See below for a statement from DNC Press Secretary Hari Sevugan on the Republican attacks:

"With apologies to Tom DeLay, and despite the railing you're hearing from the Republican cloakroom and Fox News, the GOP has been 'dancing with czars' for a very long time. The unmitigated hypocrisy of these attacks not only speaks to the credibility of this manufactured controversy, but to the inability of the Republican party to say no to the marching orders doled out by Glenn Beck and the far right's noise machine."

Bush's 47 Czars

Marrow Plan to Promote Nurses

Trained and licensed nurse practitioners should have more autonomy to provide primary care in rural Virginia, according to Greg Marrow, Democratic candidate in the 25th House District.

An optometrist, Marrow said Thursday that some people travel long distances to see doctors when licensed professionals could be treating patients for routine medical care closer to where they live.

Marrow, who is challenging Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, wants to change the state's laws to allow nurse practitioners greater flexibility to meet a projected shortage of doctors.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dead Heat in Governor's Race

The race to become the next governor of Virginia has gotten a lot closer. Right now, it’s effectively a toss-up between Republican Robert F. McDonnell and Democrat R. Creigh Deeds.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Virginia voters finds McDonnell attracting 48% of the vote while Deeds picks up 46%. Two weeks ago, McDonnell held a nine-point advantage. In August, McDonnell was up by eight.

Read more

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Deeds Building Momentum - McDonnell Losing Ground

Another poll shows Bob McDonnell ahead of R. Creigh Deeds for governor -- this one, however, by 5 percentage points -- with Deeds getting a boost among fellow Democrats from the fallout over McDonnell's controversial law-school thesis.

The Republican apparently leads Deeds, 42 percent to 37 percent, and 20 percent are undecided, according to Clarus Research Group, a nonpartisan polling firm in Washington led by Ronald A. Faucheux, former publisher and editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine.

Read more

Landes using schoolchildren for campaign?

Steve Landes Discovers South River Elementary School!!!

Steve Landes has been in the House of Delegates since his election in 1995, he serves on the House Education Committee, and oddly enough has never visited South River Elementary School, until now that is... And how nice that he is bringing along a reporter, and probably a photographer from the Daily News Record to document the event.

I wonder if parents were notified ahead of time in case they wanted to opt their children out of participation?

Look for the story in Thursday's DNR...

The following email was sent to school faculty:

Company is coming!

Wednesday morning Delegate Steve Landes will be visiting The River. He will be here from 8:30 - 10:00. The DNR will be here as well. We will be going from room to room to greet each class. He may wish to speak to some of classrooms.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and a racist in chief."

Tea Party leader Mark Williams is a Jackass. What do YOU think America?

Gene Hart --- Leadership that Works

Leadership in the General Assembly has been lacking on finding transportation funding, argued Hart, who added that transportation would be his top priority as a legislator. "We know we need more revenue," he said.

Lohr, who is seeking his third two-year term, supported a schedule of abusive-driver fees in 2007 meant to help raise revenue. But many Virginians became upset with the fees, especially a provision exempting out-of-state drivers.
Lohr voted in 2008 to repeal the fees in light of the public outcry.

Hart called the abusive-driver fee program a boondoggle.

Read the story

Monday, September 14, 2009

Proverbs 14.8 - with video

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.

McDonnell Sponsored Anti-Profanity Law.

What do you call a Conservative Republican Candidate for Governor who had previously sponsored a law to punish school children for the use of profanity...who himself uses profanity?

Hypocrite? Secret Sodomite? Unhinged? Unfit for Office?

Failure of Leadership, Betrayal of Trust

Thursday's annual Census Bureau report on income, poverty and access to health care-the Bureau's principal report card on the well-being of average Americans-closes the books on the economic record of George W. Bush.

It's not a record many Republicans are likely to point to with pride. On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush's two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked.

By contrast, the country's condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton's two terms, often substantially.

Read more

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Racists Gather on the National Mall

Looks like racism, sounds like racism.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

McDonnell Describes Unique Funding Option

I am shocked and horrified at the language used by GOP Gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell in describing funding options on WTOP. WARNING: Do not let children or the faint-of-heart listen to this audio. Not safe for work. Originally on NLS.

Friday, September 11, 2009

We're #37 - Healthcare - Go U S A!

more videos at Visualize Politics

Local Health Care Expert goes National

Long-time Valley Dem and Washington & Lee law prof Tim Stoltzfus Jost's paper on health care triggers is getting serous national press from some of the top-20 big-name political blogs. He's been well-know locally as an expert in the field for just about forever, but his work is now being cited in articles that attract millions of eyeballs.

Three example: pieces by Tim Noah at Slate here , Kevin Drum at Mother Jones here and Andrew Sullivan's blog at the Atlantic (which gets millions of national and international readers) here .

Kudos for a valuable addition to the research on what works and what doesn't work in heath care.

Landes fires salvo, into his foot...

Valley Democrats demanded a public apology from Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, on Thursday after a published news report quoted the delegate comparing tactics by President Barack Obama's White House to those of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

Read more

Prodded by his Democratic opponent and three local party chairmen, Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, refused Thursday to apologize for comments he made at a Republican picnic last month comparing White House tactics to those used by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

Read more

A comment Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, made comparing the White House to the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany has drawn the ire of his opponent and area Democratic leaders.

Greg Marrow, who is running against Landes in the 25th District House of Delegates race, issued a statement Thursday calling for Landes to apologize for comments he gave during the Staunton-Augusta County-Waynesboro GOP picnic on Aug. 29.

Read more

You’ve seen the placards at health-care town halls depicting Barack Obama with a Hitler mustache. Pretty extreme, right? Not to Steve Landes.

Read more

The original story from the Washington Post

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Majority of Americans Favor Public Option Health Reform

Now thinking specifically about the health insurance plans available to most Americans, would you favor or oppose creating a public health insurance option administered by the federal government that would compete with plans offered by private health insurance companies?

Favor 55%
Oppose 41%
No opinion 4%

CNN/Opinion Research Poll, August 28-31, 2009

Here's why (in 2.5 minutes)

Transportation Funding - About to Get Worse

Local highway funding in Virginia is based on a redistribution of wealth - richer localities send most of their tax collections to poorer localities to pay for our roads. Fairfax County only retains 19% of the tax revenues that they collect. But Fairfax County is talking about becoming a City, and with that designation they can keep more of their tax money and maintain their own roads. That means that less will come to the Valley to pay for our roads.

This is the predictable outcome as our legislative Delegates continue to fritter and waver on a sustainable revenue source for transportation - localities will do it for themselves. And poorer Counties like Shenandoah, Page, Rockingham, Highland and Augusta counties will see less for our highways. It is time to lay aside the anti-government ideology in Richmond - and get transportation funding fixed.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Politics of fear and hate

Was this just over-the-top talk at a hyper-partisan picnic or does Del. Steve Landes really believe his own fear mongering words that help spread distrust and hate among neighbors?
"They're afraid because they're afraid their neighbors are going to tell on them. When you've got a White House that's keeping names of people that don't agree with them, that reminds me of what went on the Soviet Union and in Nazi Germany."
Politics and politicians can be better than this trash talk. Landes is being challenged by Greg Marrow for the 25th House of Delegates seat. It is time for leadership in the 25th for a change.

Cross-posted at Course Cracked Corn.

Bob McDonnell's World View

Waldo Jaquith has the complete analysis of Bob McDonnell's masters degree thesis. It is awesome! Well worth the read:

McDonnell has written a short book explaining the things that he wants to accomplish, he has worked unflaggingly to accomplish them, and now he’s claiming that it’s ludicrous that anybody would believe that he ever supported such things.

I can hardly wait for Bob McDonnell to tell us who he really is.

Note: Jaquith is a top tier Journalist - one of Virginia's best. And his thesis deconstruction story is an example of what he can do. Send him money.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Little Girl in Kabul

".....Guljumma talked about what happened one morning last year when she was sleeping at home in southern Afghanistan's Helmand Valley. At about 5 AM, bombs exploded. Some people in her family died. She lost an arm.

With a soft, matter-of-fact voice, Guljumma described those events. Her father, Wakil Tawos Khan, sat next to her. He took out copies of official forms that he has sent to the Afghan government.

Like the other parents who were gathered inside a crude tent in this squalid camp, Khan hasn't gotten anywhere through official channels. He's struggling to take care of his daughter. And he has additional duties because he's a representative for 100 of the families in the camp, which is little more than ditches, mud structures and ragged canvas.

Khan pointed to a plastic bag containing a few pounds of rice. It was his responsibility to divide the rice for the 100 families."

Read the story

Real Leadership for the Valley

AS VETERANS IN our country’s military service, we each learned about leadership and how to get things done. But rarely, if ever, have we witnessed such a profound failure of leadership as that shown by the Shenandoah Valley’s current delegates at last week’s special session of the General Assembly.

In a much-publicized effort to remedy a problem they helped create, these legislators vowed to force consideration of re-opening the rest stops on Interstate 81 and other highways in the Commonwealth. Surely, if such consideration were necessary and good, then these leaders would make that clear to their colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Surely, the rest stops could be re-opened if these leaders could demonstrate why safety, good governance and quality of life required it.

But our bloc of Valley delegates could not convince a majority of their own party, much less a majority of the House of Delegates, to even consider the issue. We are sure they did their best. But their best was a total of seven votes for their position. Five of those votes came from the Valley bloc. But Steve Landes, R-25th, Todd Gilbert, R-15th, Matt Lohr, R-26th, Chris Saxman, R-20th, and Ben Cline, R-24th, could only convince two other delegates to go along.

If these five delegates can only bring two other delegates to the table, we can hardly expect them to address other Valley concerns. That is why voters in the cities of Harrisonburg and Waynesboro, and Rockingham, Augusta, Shenandoah, Page and Rappahannock counties are looking for new voices and new leadership to replace these ineffective multi-term politicians.

Unfortunately, this disappointment is only the most recent reflection of the continuing failure of leadership in the House of Delegates. This failure is most dramatically and repeatedly seen in their failure to work towards a solution to the Commonwealth’s transportation crisis.

Faced with a multi-billion dollar need to meet acknowledged transportation problems, they have given us false solutions that satisfied the needs of their ideological accomplices but wholly failed to meet the transportation needs of Virginia. In 2006, Landes, Lohr, Gilbert and the House gave us the much-hated abusive driver fees and promised $65 million a year to meet transportation needs. The fees outraged citizens and gridlocked traffic courts. Our local rest stops would be open today if those delegates had come up with real funding solutions then.

In 2007, Landes, Lohr, Gilbert and the House created boondoggle regional taxing authorities that many leaders knew the Virginia Constitution did not allow. The Supreme Court of Virginia agreed, and the taxing power of these authorities went the way of the abusive driver fees. And, again, our local legislators failed to deliver on the promised funding to meet our transportation needs.

So, while the transportation funding needs remained unanswered and our roads became more clogged and less safe, our delegates and their cohorts followed up in 2008 and 2009 by doing nothing. This failure to lead, to act and to govern cannot be allowed to continue.

There are transportation funding solutions that can take into account the needs and interests of rural, suburban and urban areas of the Commonwealth if we have delegates who will make good faith efforts to find them. There are solutions from the broad center of political thought that can overcome the ideological obstructionism of the current delegates. But last week’s failure by Landes, Lohr and Gilbert demonstrates that they are not willing to seek those solutions or politically able to lead their own party towards those solutions.

This latest failure demonstrates that it is time for the Valley to send new voices to Richmond. We have the experience to be those voices. Now, we offer our districts the same leadership previously given in service to our nation and to our communities in the Valley.

Gene Hart, Democratic Party Candidate in the 26th House of Delegates District, served in the United States Army from 1985-1990 and 1991. Greg Marrow, Democratic Party Candidate in the 25th House of Delegates District, served in the United States Navy from 1987-2000. John Lesinski, Democratic Party Candidate in the 15th House of Delegates District, served in the United States Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve from 1980-2006.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Deep Thoughts - to my Republican friends

Stand up and reclaim your party.

I understand that it has been a tough few years - the loss of Republican control in the Governorship, Virginia Senate, United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, the Presidency. That last one was no contest, and you find yourself angry with America. You could take this opportunity to rebuild and once again become the Party of Ideas, or you could allow this chucklehead , or this one, or this one, to take your party to the Whig Party dust bin of history.

And the religious right, you own them right? Maybe they own your reputation?

Democrats did not move quickly enough to distance themselves from the radical left in the sixties and seventies - it cost them a generation of lost voters. Choose wisely, America needs a sane, coherent, constructive Republican Party, or none at all.

Sick for Profit

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Poll - Deeds Surges

Public Policy Polling has their latest Virginia poll out. McDonnell 49%, Deeds 42%

Creigh Deeds has cut McDonnell's lead in half in less than a month and has moved to within 7 points. This poll was taken as McDonnell's radical rightwing beliefs were made public. Late polling interviews indicate a big break toward Deeds. Results here.

Other candidates:
Bolling 46%
Wagner 40%

Cuccinelli 48%
Shannon 35%

Welcome to Glenn Beck's Crazy Town USA

Texas Governor Rick Perry ,who helped Glenn Beck get this ball rolling was a no show.

...the protesters had Larry Kilgore, a “Christian activist” and candidate for governor who has endorsed executions for homosexuals; Debra Medina, a Ron Paul Republican and a slightly-less long-shot candidate for governor; and Melissa Pehle-Hill, yet another fringe candidate and a member of a self-appointed “citizens grand jury” investigating Barack Hussein Obama, aka Barry Soetoro.

“I hate that flag up there,” Kilgore said pointing to the American flag flying over the Capitol. “I hate the United States government. … They’re an evil, corrupt government. They need to go. Sovereignty is not good enough. Secession is what we need!”

“We hate the United States!,” he said later in the speech.

Medina chipped in: “We are aware that stepping off into secession may in fact be a bloody war. We are aware that the tree of freedom is occasionally watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.”

Read more

Here is a list of sponsors who have withdrawn from the Beck program.
Using the power of how you choose to spend your money, or not, can have a great effect...

• Progressive Insurance
• Proctor & Gamble
• Men's Wearhouse
• Sargento Cheese
• Wal-Mart
• Best Buy
• Travelocity
• Allergan (maker of Restasis)
• Ally Bank (a unit of GMAC Financial Services)
• Broadview Security
• Re-Bath
• Radio Shack
• Roche
• Sanofi-Aventis
• SC Johnson
• State Farm Insurance
• Airware Inc. (makers of Brez anti-snoring aids)
• AT&T
• Cambell Soup Company
• Verizon Wireless
• Lowe's
• Johnson & Johnson
• Ditech
• Blaine Labs Inc.
• Clorox
• Sprint
• The UPS Store
• Farmers Insurance Group
• Experian (creator of
• The Elations Company
• NutriSweet

(as of 8-25-2009)