Category Archives: Virginia

Virginians favor tighter gun control, survey finds | GoDanRiver.com

More surprisingly good news from the Old Dominion:

A coalition of U.S. mayors Wednesday released a survey that claims broad support in Virginia for tighter background checks on the purchase and sale of firearms in the commonwealth.

According to the survey, conducted by the Democratic polling firm Hart Research for the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns:

•84 percent of Virginians support requiring gun dealers to notify police when someone fails a background check.

•88 percent of Virginians support a law to require background checks for all guns sold at gun shows.

•85 percent of Virginians support tracking the bulk purchase of semi-automatic assault rifles.

The survey coincided with the introduction of the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011, introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

The legislation would require federal agencies to disseminate records on people who are prohibited from purchasing guns, such as felons, drug abusers and the mentally ill. It also would require nearly all gun buyers to pass a background check.

The 550-member mayor’s group, supported by families of victims of the Virginia Tech shooting massacre, claims that “millions of records of dangerous individuals are still missing” from the National Criminal Information System. It says a law passed after the Tech massacre to facilitate the process has not been fully funded.

via Virginians favor tighter gun control, survey finds | GoDanRiver.com.

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Public Policy Polling: Obama strong in Virginia

It’s early, but this is still good news…

Maybe my old home state is regaining it’s sanity….

Now, if only Tom Perriello will run for Jim Webb’s open Senate seat and win, I’ll almost feel safe to cross the border again…

Virginia seems like a state Republicans almost have to win next year if they want to take back the White House but if the voting was today Barack Obama would take it again by a margin comparable to or greater than what he won in 2008.

Obama leads Mitt Romney by 6 points in the state at 48-42. That’s identical to the size of his victory over John McCain in 2008. After that his leads increase to 8 points over Mike Huckabee at 51-43, 12 over Newt Gingrich at 51-39, and a whooping 19 over Sarah Palin at 54-35.

Part of the reason Obama’s doing well in Virginia is that he has respectable, if not great, approval numbers there. 48% like the job he’s doing to 45% who disapprove. There are two keys to his solid standing. The first is that 87% of Democrats stand with him- that’s an indication he’s generally holding onto white voters within his party, even ones who might lean a little bit more to the conservative side of the ideological spectrum.

The other key to his standing is that he’s coming close to breaking even with independents- 48% disapprove of him to 42% who approve. It may seem counter intuitive that negative numbers with those voters are a good sign for Obama, but after two straight election years where independents in Virginia leaned toward the GOP by a margin of about 30 points a Democratic politician getting just slightly negative reviews from them is progress.

via Public Policy Polling: Obama strong in Virginia.

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Is Virginia Republican Congressman Robert Hurt a Vampire?

Just wondering…

Look closely….

Un-retouched picture from his Official Newsletter…

It would explain so much…

He, at least, might want to get a more observant press person…

Or this may just be an attempt to appeal to younger voters- the “Twilight” crowd…

Robert Hurt-R-Va-05

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One in four U.S. counties “dying”: Census Bureau – International Business Times

Danville/Pittsylvania County, VA is included in this list.

I checked…

Emphasis/Italics are mine…

One in four counties in the U.S. are ”dying” – meaning, they are recording more deaths than births – according to findings by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Demographers call this phenomenon a “natural decrease.”

The data shows that 760 of the nation’s 3,142 counties are in this category – exacerbated, analysts say, by an aging population the mortgage crisis, record high unemployment in many states and the ever-fragile economy.

These counties exist in all parts of the country, from the old Rust Belt areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio, to rural East Texas and even in the wine country of northern California.

West Virginia is the first state to experience this “natural decrease” statewide over the last decade. Maine, Pennsylvania and Vermont may soon be next, the Census data suggested.

“Natural decrease is an important but not widely appreciated demographic phenomenon that is reshaping our communities in both rural and urban cores of large metro areas,” said Kenneth Johnson, a sociology professor and demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute.

Such areas typically have aging white people who are not having children, as well as grim job prospects that drive younger adults away. These locales also tend to have few Hispanic immigrants, who, on the whole, are younger and have more children.

Indeed, the population of the entire U.S. grew by only 9.7 percent since 2000, the lowest such decade-rate since the Great Depression.

via One in four U.S. counties “dying”: Census Bureau – International Business Times.

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Tom Perriello for Senate in Virginia? – David Catanese – POLITICO.com

This would be sweet revenge on VA-5 and Perriello can win this…

If he won once in a district as conservative as VA-5 and did relatively well under horrible circumstances last year, Perriello could really win a state-wide race.  Vote rich Northern Virginia would love him…

Conventional Washington wisdom suggests that Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine is the best candidate to carry the banner for Virginia Democrats in the Senate race to replace retiring Jim Webb.

But it’s not a certainty that Kaine would be the candidate most useful to President Barack Obama as he attempts to again lock down the Commonwealth’s 13 electoral votes in 2012.

Kaine is unquestionably an Obama loyalist. Before taking the DNC post, he was widely viewed as a finalist for Obama’s running mate in 2008 and was the first governor to endorse the president outside his home state of Illinois.

But some progressives argue that the unapologetic former Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) would be better suited to ignite the fire of a complacent base than the more measured, milquetoast Kaine. While Kaine might carry the baggage of being an Obama “cheerleader,” Perriello would proudly wear the label and be more effective at rallying disgruntled Democrats to the cause, some progressives say.

Kaine also appears wary of jumping into the race and might have to be talked into running.

“Why Not the Guy Who Wants the Job?” wondered the Democratic blog Blue Virginia. “When we have a candidate like Tom Perriello — strong progressive values, hardworking and accessible, consistently beat expectations in a conservative district — why are Democratic Party leaders in such a rush to coronate the guy who apparently needs to be talked into it?”

via Tom Perriello for Senate in Virginia? – David Catanese – POLITICO.com.

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The Record of VA 5th District Congressman Robert Hurt- So Far

Checking up on Country Club Robbie to see what he’s been up to since he went to DC….

Remember, he said he was going to bring jobs, so I thought I would check to see how his legislative record to deliver on that promise was shaping up.

Here is a list of the legislation he is sponsoring:

Sorry, nothing is listed in his website as being sponsored by him…

Here is a list of what he is co-sponsoring, or tagging along with on someone else’s work:

1. H.R.2 : Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act
Sponsor: Rep Cantor, Eric [VA-7] (introduced 1/5/2011)      Cosponsors (182)
Committees: House Energy and Commerce; House Education and the Workforce; House Ways and Means; House Judiciary; House Natural Resources; House Rules; House Administration; House Appropriations
Latest Major Action: 1/26/2011 Read the second time. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 3.
Latest Action: 2/1/2011 Referred to the Subcommittee on Health.


2. H.R.3 : No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act
Sponsor: Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] (introduced 1/20/2011)      Cosponsors(209)
Committees: House Judiciary; House Energy and Commerce; House Ways and Means
Latest Major Action: 2/8/2011 House committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Committee Hearings Held.


3. H.R.4 : Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011
Sponsor: Rep Lungren, Daniel E. [CA-3] (introduced 1/12/2011)      Cosponsors (272)
Committees: House Ways and Means
Latest Major Action: 1/12/2011 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.


4. H.R.217 : Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act
Sponsor: Rep Pence, Mike [IN-6] (introduced 1/7/2011)      Cosponsors (167)
Committees: House Energy and Commerce
Latest Major Action: 2/1/2011 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health.


5. H.R.374 : Life at Conception Act
Sponsor: Rep Hunter, Duncan D. [CA-52] (introduced 1/20/2011)      Cosponsors (61)
Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/20/2011 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.


6. H.J.RES.1 : Proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
Sponsor: Rep Goodlatte, Bob [VA-6] (introduced 1/5/2011)      Cosponsors (119)
Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/24/2011 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution.


7. H.J.RES.2 : Proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
Sponsor: Rep Goodlatte, Bob [VA-6] (introduced 1/5/2011)      Cosponsors (194)
Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/24/2011 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution.


8. H.RES.9 : Instructing certain committees to report legislation replacing the job-killing health care law.
Sponsor: Rep Dreier, David [CA-26] (introduced 1/5/2011)      Cosponsors (8)
Committees: House Rules
House Reports: 112-1
Latest Major Action: 1/20/2011 Passed/agreed to in House. Status: On agreeing to the resolution, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 253 – 175 (Roll no. 16).
Latest Action: 1/20/2011 Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.

In summary, he is co-sponsoring:

a.  Three anti-choice bills aimed at restricting a woman’s right to choose

b.   Two Job Killing Balanced Budget Amendments

c.  Repealing Healthcare for people with pre-existing conditions, blocking closing the donut hole for Seniors and making it impossible for college students and young adults to stay on their parent’s healthcare plans- among others.

d.  One bill to reduce small business paper work.

Uh, where is the job creation here?

Not exactly a dynamo…Typical Republican tool for the GOP leadership …and typical slack Hampden-Sydney Boy….

Well done, VA-5.  You replaced one of the hardest working, most effective Congressman with a slackard frat boy….

But that is the Virginia way.  They knew his family better….

 

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Virginia Politics Blog – House panel kills bill to add legal protections for gay state employees

Yep, you can count on the VA GOP to always move backwards….

A House of Delegates subcommittee has killed a proposal to write legal protections for gay state employees into Virginia law.

The same GOP-led panel killed similar legislation last year. Democrats had pushed the bill hard this year, in part in response to a letter that Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) delivered to colleges and universities last year instructing them that, in the absence of a decision by the General Assembly to write protections for gays into law, they could not include language dealing with sexual orientation in their campus non-discrimination policies.

After Cuccinelli’s letter sparked a firestorm, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) issued a executive directive outlining that the state does not discriminate, including on the grounds of sexual orientation, and that employees who violate the policy can be disciplined.

Opponents of the bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Don McEachin (D-Richmond), argue that there is little evidence gay state workers face discrimination and that the governor’s executive directive provides sufficient protections. Proponents note that without a change in law, employees cannot sue if they have faced discrimination.

“I can’t pretend it’s a surprise,” McEachin said of the vote. “It’s still a disappointment.”

The same subcommittee also killed a bill that would have allowed public colleges and universities to offer employees the ability to extend their health coverage to their unmarried partners, including gay partners.

via Virginia Politics Blog – House panel kills bill to add legal protections for gay state employees.

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Deep Roots Market Proposes Downtown Grocery Store | digtriad.com | Triad, NC | Local News

This is great news from the News & Record.

I always want to support Deep Roots more, but they don’t ever have everything I need.  Hopefully this will enable them to carry more local produce and fresh, safe meats.  I love the idea of a cafe.

And this will be very convenient for us.  Good news all around!

Deep Roots Market announced it has signed a contingency lease agreement with North Eugene Partners, LLC to build a downtown area grocery store.

The builder will construct a 10,500 square foot building on the 600 block of N. Eugene Street, between Smith St. and Fisher Ave.

Final lease signing and construction will be depend on certain conditions being met in the next few months. If the project goes forward as scheduled, construction will begin in March and the store will open in October.

Downtown residents have long hoped for a grocery store within easy driving and walking distance.

The proposed store, on the northern perimeter of downtown, will be easily accessible to downtown residents and workers, but will also be connected by major roads to all parts of Greensboro. It will be located along the proposed path of the Downtown Greenway.

Deep Roots has been in business since 1976 and focuses on local, natural, and organic products. By expanding to this larger store, Deep Roots will be able to add a deli and café, clean-raised fresh meats, and a beer and wine section, as well as expanding other selections of the store. The new store will also offer a community room which will be available for classes, meetings, and other uses.

Deep Roots Market is owned by over 1,700 households in the Greensboro area. For more information about Deep Roots Market visit http://www.deeprootsmarket.com.

via Deep Roots Market Proposes Downtown Grocery Store | digtriad.com | Triad, NC | Local News.

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My Thoughts: Why Politics Matter

I’m tired of people saying Politics doesn’t matter and tuning out of the Political process.  Not only is this an abdication of responsibility, it’s stupid.

Politics does matter and the votes taken in various elected bodies do impact everyone’s  life.

In fact, Political decisions impact almost every aspect of day-to-day life.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Drafting young men during the Vietnam War was a political decision as was ending the Draft.
  2. Going to War with Iraq and Afghanistan was a political decision.
  3. Creating Social Security and Medicare was a political decision.  Destroying them could be, too.
  4. Ending Slavery was a political decision.
  5. Granting Women the right to Vote was a political decision.
  6. How much money your hometown gets for roads and economic development is a political decision.
  7. The books and curriculum used to educate your children in public schools is a political decision.
  8. Financial Aid for College is a political decision.
  9. Whether or not you can park your car in your yard or put a ratty sofa on your front porch is a political decision.
  10. How much you pay in property, sales and income taxes are a political decision.
  11. Whether your food is safe and how this safety is assured is a political decision.
  12. Whether you have adequate Health Care is a Political decision.

These are just a few impacts off the top of my head.  So when I hear people say they aren’t voting or that one side is as bad as the other, or that it just doesn’t matter, it pisses me off.

Admittedly, I am passionate about this…I used to work in Politics and spent a good deal of time in Washington and Richmond.  I have been “behind the curtain.”  I’ve smoked cigarettes over cocktails at the Congressional Club with now Speaker John Boehner and ridden the back roads of Virginia with Senator John Warner.  I know neither side is perfect and I well know how the “other side”-for whom I used to work- manipulates the process and puts out false information.  I’ve seen the decline in civility by both sides and made my well-known choice.

I came to the conclusion that the Republicans look backwards with fear while the Democrats look forward with hope.  I’ve also reached the conclusion the Republicans cater to the wealthy and Corporate elite- as do the Democrats to a lesser degree.  This is an informed, fact-based decision I made as part of my personal journey.  You can disagree with me, but you can’t call me uniformed or accuse me of not thoroughly examining the issues to reach my decisions.

I also think we have a moral obligation in America to ensure our elected officials don’t forget the poor, the sick, the hungry, the elderly, college students hungry for learning but limited in funds and the homeless.  I think one of the main purposes of government is to ensure we have safe, reliable transportations– by road, by air and most urgently by train.  I think the government should level the playing field by allowing those who are born to less have the same opportunities as those who are born with more.  I think the government should ensure our food supply is safe, but not over burden local growers.  I think a lot of things…

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I do expect them to be involved and to make fact-based decisions.  I can respect that…

I can’t respect people who tune out facts or don’t do their own due diligence.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Several Elections have been decided recently based on just a few votes difference.
  2. When given the facts, more people support the policies of the Democratic party, but more Republicans vote.
  3. Not voting for the Legislative branch of Government impacts the Executive and Judicial Branches.  Elected officials appoint and approve Supreme Court justices. Sometimes Judges decide Elections.  It’s all connected.
  4. When you vote, you have an obligation to know what the person you are voting for really stands for- not that they are the cutest or most telegenic or that you just know their name or Party.

For Democracy to work, you must have an informed, active electorate.  I hope people are paying attention to what is going on in Washington, the State Houses and the Supreme Court.  These decisions do matter and do impact your lives.

The Elites count on people being confused, misinformed and lazy when-and if- they vote.  It’s up to us to prove them wrong.  We haven’t done a great job the last year or so…

I may be dreaming, but here are a few things that I think would help rectify the situation:

  1. Get the big money out of politics.  Block Corporate donations and self-financing wealthy candidates by leveling the playing field.  Move to Public Financing of Elections with each qualifying Candidate having the same amount of money to spend.
  2. Require the Television and Radio stations to run an equal amount of adds for each qualifying candidate and/or Political Party.  Remember, the airwaves are Public Property that is leased to the media.  We need to make them do their civic duty and not just profit off a broken system.
  3. The media needs to do its job and check facts and call attention to mis-representations of facts- and lies- by all Candidates, Politicians and Parties.  I would love to re-implement the Fairness Doctrine- if for no other reason to put Fox News out of business- but that is impractical.
  4. Separate News from Entertainment.  The line has blurred too much….
  5. End Corporate monopolies of the Media.  Limit the number of media outlets that any one Corporation can own.
  6. Encourage people to check the facts on reputable web sites and from other non-mainstream media sources.  Form non-partisan grass-roots groups to educate them on how to do it…
  7. Enforce the Separation of Church and State.  Churches and Religious organizations who become involved in Politics should lose their tax exempt status.
  8. Encourage the growth of Third-and Fourth- Parties by making it easier for their candidates to get on the ballot and have appropriate funding.
  9. Require a fixed number of debates for all offices.  Don’t let politicians hide behind adds.  Put the public and media spot light on them all.
  10. End the revolving door between elected officials and lobbyists.  Elected Officials should not be able to lobby their former colleagues.  This is how the  insider Boys Club perpetuates itself.
  11. Develop and enforce ethics rules at all levels of Government.  With real, still penalties and not slaps on the hands.  Independent boards should manage inquiries and not political cronies.
  12. In Politics, just like in other areas of life, we need to encourage civility and reasonable debate- not encourage blood sport and boorish behavior.
  13. Make it easier to vote.  We need to find a secure way to vote via the internet.  We need to extend and expand early voting.
  14. We need to be confident all voting machines are secure and not subject to manipulation.
  15. Focus on encouraging more voters, not suppressing voters.

We need to encourage people to pay attention by restoring trust in the media and elected officials who represent the Public Trust.

This is not a game.

It is not a reality TV show.

Bottom Line:  Get serious, people!

Discuss among yourselves….

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Virginia 5th District Rep. Hurt Will Repeal Health Reform, Incoherently Explains Why He Will Keep His Own Gov Health Care

This is the idiot they elected in Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District, my old home district, to replace the excellent Tom Perriello…

Click the link to go to ThinkProgress.org and see the video….

Newly-elected Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA) campaigned for Congress on a promise to repeal health reform. This week, Hurt granted ThinkProgress a short interview outside of the Capitol, where he doubled down on his pledge to remove health reform. However, Hurt said he would not opt-out of the government health care granted to him and his staff as a member of Congress:

HURT: I’ll support the repeal. Okay, what else?

TP: After you vote to repeal health care, will you also reject government-sponsored, government-subsidized health care given to members of Congress?

HURT: Uhm, well obviously we’ve got — I’ve got a health insurance policy that I pay for through the government so I don’t really–

TP: Well there’s $700 a month in taxpayer money on average that goes to a member of Congress’s health care plan given by you know the taxpayer.

HURT: It’s a policy that’s issued by Anthem and it’s a policy that any– it’s open to the public.

TP: But my tax dollars and everyone’s tax dollars subsidize your plan as a member of Congress. And all of your staff members. You’ve got what, thirty members of your staff? Do you think they should have government-sponsored health care if you’re going to repeal it for everyone else?

HURT: If you’re going to pay members of Congress anything, if they’re going to have a salary and they’re going to have benefits, like so many people who are employed do, then I think it’s not unreasonable to offer those benefits. So I support that.

Hurt tried to initially deny that he received any special health care and that his plan is available to the public. In fact, the regulated private insurance that Hurt and his staff receive is not open to the general public because the general public does not have access to a regulate exchange or to taxpayer subsidies.

Members of Congress on average receive a $700 a month taxpayer subsidy for their private health insurance plan, which they can choose through a highly regulated exchange offered by the government. The federal system mirrors the reforms enacted by Democrats and President Obama, which end health insurance abuses by regulating coverage through an exchange, while offering subsidies to individuals and small businesses to make coverage more affordable.

via ThinkProgress » Rep. Hurt Will Repeal Health Reform, Incoherently Explains Why He Will Keep His Own Gov Health Care.

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