Monthly Archives: November 2010

Links We’re Reading – November 3-10, 2010

The first post-election links, would that they were golf links.

But if health care did cost the party its majority, so what? The bill was more important than the election.

I realize that sounds crazy. We’ve become so obsessed with who wins or loses in politics that we’ve forgotten what the winning and losing are about. Partisans fixate on punishing their enemies in the next campaign. Reporters, in the name of objectivity, refuse to judge anything but the Election Day score card. Politicians rationalize their self-preservation by imagining themselves as dynasty builders. They think this is the big picture.

They’re wrong. The big picture isn’t about winning or keeping power. It’s about using it. – William Saletan

Black Ops

Former Republican Delegate Dick Black is back. He’s going to announce his candidacy for State Senate on November 11th, Veterans Day, and I imagine it’s to highlight his military service (please provide a copy of your DD-214, sir). That’s all well and good, but it glosses over his odious behavior from the time he served in the General Assembly, before many current Loudouners were residents here.

They may not be aware of some of Mr. Black’s antics, so I’d like to remind everyone, and to bring certain issues to their attention:1) Mr. Black voted against increased penalties for a second stalking conviction within 2 years (HB 2688, February 2005), raising the crime from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony;

2) He voted against a bill in subcommittee in 2005 which would have notified parents when their children were being assaulted at school (i.e., an “anti-bullying” measure). He touts the fact that he eventually supported the bill, though. Sort of like,” I was against it before I was for it”. But the fact remains that he tried to kill the bill before it left committee;

3) HB 1015 (4/26/04) included language that would allow the provision of counseling and advice through the schools to children who are victims of sexual abuse. Mr. Black voted against that bill;

4) On education, he voted against a bill that included a raise in teacher salaries (HB 292) in January 2004. He was also ranked next-to-last for Delegates in 2005 by education advocacy group Virginia 21 for “protecting higher education, increasing economic opportunity and creating an open government top priorities”;

5) He argued, on the floor of the House of Delegates in 2002, against the removal of the “marital exemption” in Virginia’s rape law (HB 488). Mr. Black stated, “I don’t know how on earth you could validly get a conviction when they (a husband and wife) are living together, sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nighty, and there’s no injury. We’ve got to establish rules to reasonably ensure that we’re not going to convict an innocent person”;

6) In 2005, his final year in the House of Delegates, he was given a rating of 42% effectiveness by the Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education, ranking him 96th out of 98 Delegates measured.

Those are just a few examples of his bizarre behavior.  And that doesn’t take into account his offensive act in February of 2003 of sending plastic replica fetuses to members of the legislature along with a grisly description of abortion procedures. Or his quote in January 2004 where he called contraceptives “baby pesticides”.  He is noted for his desire to legislate what consenting adults do in their own homes; for relentless censorship, book-banning, and anti-First Amendment efforts, and for his intolerant stances on civil rights.

This type of extremist, unproductive behavior has no place in Loudoun County. We got rid of Mr. Black and his brand of extremism 5 years ago. There’s no reason we should return to it now, no matter in which Senate district he ends up. Please consider these issues when Mr. Black starts his campaign.

Oh, and by the way, Mr. Black, if an exemplary Air Force officer such as Jeff Barnett couldn’t be helped in his campaign by his stalwart military service, what makes you think yours matters?

Sen. Webb on Veterans Day

Sen. Webb will be speaking here in Leesburg on Veterans Day.

Senator James Webb and Rear Adm William Cross (ret.) will be speakers at a Veterans Day Commemoration on Thursday, Nov 11 at 10:15 a.m. a ceremony to honor the courage and sacrifices of our Vietnam War veterans.

Participants will include members of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 227, Leesburg VFW 1177, Sterling VFW 9478, VA Hospital of Martinsburg WV, American Legion, Virginia Defense Force, Virginia National Guard and Loudoun County High School NJROTC.

The free event will be held at the George C. Marshall International Center, Dodona Manor, 217 Edwards Ferry Rd., Leesburg, VA. Dodona Manor was George and Katherine Marshall’s residence from 1941 until the General’s death in 1959.

Tours of the manor and refreshments will follow the event.

Parking is available at the Shops at Dodona Manor (310 East Market Street) and the Loudoun County Government Building parking garage (entrance on Loudoun Street, between Harrison Street and Church Street). For more information and directions, contact Dodona Manor at 703-777-1301 or or go to:

The Costs of Conservatism

Fiscal Conservatives are agitating to permanently extend the Bush tax cuts.

To do so will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 trillion dollars over ten years.

That is $1.3 billion a day. Every day. For ten years.

Neoconservatives took us to war in Iraq.

Combat operations in Iraq cost us at least $3 trillion dollars over five years.

That’s $1.6 billion a day. Every day. For five years.

I’m not sure we can afford more Conservative policies from our government.As a bonus.

Republicans want to prevent a permanent tax cut for 294,000,000 Americans, in order to preserve one for 6,000,000 Americans.

And Democrats are the ones accused of being elitist.

The President Says Thank You

A thank you to everyone who worked to make America a better place over the past election season.

I really like this video. This is the guy I voted for.

2011 Starts Today

2011 starts today.

We will have a dozen races in 2011 that directly impact Loudoun, and those races start today.

I choose to focus on that this morning, because yesterday did not turn out the way we would have liked. As good Democrats, we hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I take heart in the fact that Harry Reid won and we retained the Senate. I choose to see Tom Perriello not as a former Congressman, but as a future Governor. I recall the dedication and energy of our fantastic volunteers and smile in the knowledge that the return of the Democratic Party in Loudoun rests on a solid foundation.

2011 starts today. Kelly Burk and other Democratic Supervisors are running once again for the Board of Supervisors, and Loudoun Republicans have their eyes on those seats. Mark Herring is running for re-election to the Virginia Senate, and the odious Dick Black is likely to oppose him. (For those, like me, who were not here when Mr. Black last served in public office, all you really need to know is that he mailed plastic fetuses to people in his zeal to oppose the right to choose. And he did this while serving in the Assembly.) I strongly suspect that great Democratic candidates will emerge to challenge for our Assembly seats and the countywide Constitutional offices that are also on the ballot in 2011.

For my part, Rebuilding our Democratic base in Leesburg will be essential to stopping the negatives to which Republican governance tends, as Loudoun counts on Leesburg being a bright blue beacon in a fog of Republican red. There is no place in Leesburg where Jeff Barnett, out-spent 3:1 in a strongly Republican year, did not get at least 30% of the vote. That is a strong core from which to build.

So, today, take heart. Stay strong and true. Talk to your neighbors about what is important, and have them stay informed and get involved. Plant the seeds of Democratic action early. Proudly advertise your affiliation on your car. You, each, are part of that effort. The first step to reasserting our majority here is letting our fellow Democrats know that they are not alone. That we are in this together.

Politics and elections in Virginia are constant. That’s one of the great things about living here. There is always another chance to make things better just around the corner. The only question is whether we take that chance.

I know my answer. 2011 starts now.

(Crossposted with some edits from Leesburg Tomorrow.)

Highs and Lows

Yeah, we got smacked last night. But you know what? I’m not dismayed. I’m actually interested. Interested in seeing how the dynamic between a closely divided Democratic Senate and a more Republican House works. I give the Republicans 18 months to fix what they perceive to be wrong.

It’s only fair, after all, since that’s all they gave the President.

A high from yesterday: meeting and working with a great group of volunteers in Broad Run District, Republicans included. The “opponents” I interacted with were very cordial and not at all filled with malice.

A low would have been some of the reactions I got from Republican voters when trying to hand out sample ballots. A simple “No, thank you”, or even a “No” would have been sufficient, but to reach out and then quickly pull your hand away like the sheet of paper is diseased is uncalled for. Also uncalled for are the under the breath insults. “Yeah, right” or “Not on your life” are two examples. It doesn’t hurt to have a little civility once in a while.

High: Sharron Angle losing. Harry Reid isn’t my favorite politician in the world, but he’s better than his bat-sh*t crazy opponent. Had Nevada voters put up anyone else, Reid would have lost.

Low: Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) losing. He was one of the few true progressives in the House, with a blunt style, to boot. He told it like it was. Sorry to see him go.

High: Very better than expected voter turnout in my district yesterday. Great to see everyone exercising their constitutional right.

Low: Our guy, Jeff Barnett, pulled in about 34% of the vote. He’s a hard worker, with great ideas, but I guess the anti-Democrat mood didn’t help him.

All in all, it was a very long day, a disappointing day, but not completely unexpected. Now we take a breath, relax for a bit, and then start to gear up for a busy 2011 election season.

Links We’re Reading – October 25-30, 2010

Insert your own link pun here. I’m out.

Watching one Republican candidate for office after another declare outright that they do not believe humans are causing climate change is befuddling enough. But to flat-out reject science as a guide to policy is beyond medieval. It’s a retreat to pure superstition, a surrender to barbarism. We might as well be reading omens in the entrails of sacrificial animals. Our wealth as a country, our incredible technological wonders — the Industrial Revolution! — were built upon scientific discovery.