Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tell Congress to protect the Chesapeake Bay

The U.S. Congress is debating a new farm bill and looking for ways to cut dollars that could impact the health of our streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay. Funding for conservation programs to reduce harmful nitrogen runoff is threatened. Since 39% of this pollution comes from agricultural sources, cutting these programs could have a devastating impact.

As you can see in the graphic there are many sources of pollution affecting our waters. Reducing urban/suburban runoff is critical. But since the largest chunk of nitrogen pollution comes from agricultural runoff, keeping these conservation programs in place is critical to the health of our beautiful rivers and majestic Chesapeake Bay.

Tell Congress to protect the Chesapeake Bay by fully funding conservation programs in the new farm bill.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Urban runoff vs clean water

Source: Karl Kleiner
York College of Pennsylvania
Urban runoff, a toxic mix of petroleum products, lawn fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, antifreeze, and all sorts of other things we humans dump (intentionally or not) on our streets, parking lots, lawns, and gutters causes huge pollution issues for our waters. This pollution can impact drinking water downstream from the urban area. The Potomac, James, York, and other rivers carry this deadly mix to the Chesapeake Bay. Once there, these pollutants can help create marine dead zones that have so little oxygen life is impossible.

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is conducting a public hearing and receiving comments on Arlington County's application for a new runoff permit that is consistent with the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint. At a minimum the permit should require specific and enforceable goals with public accountability, ensure an appeals process in the event goals are not met, require acceleration of local programs to reduce pollution, and demand thorough and regular monitoring.

Arlington the first of the state's largest localities to seek a permit - it will establish a precedent for other localities so it is essential that the standard it sets is high and adequately protects our waters.

The public hearing is at 10:00 AM on March 22 at the Arlington County Government Building. Public comments will be received until March 29.

Learn more about urban runoff and send your comment to the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bobblehead Bob and K Street

Bobblehead Bob Goodlatte takes his marching orders from the powerful firm of C & K -- Cantor and K Street. In the meantime the wishes of the people he "represents" gets swept under the carpet. Maybe you'd like to take part in the K Street 5K but you just can't get to D.C. Not to worry, there are ways you can help.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Bobblehead Bob -- our representative is rollin' in the wrong kind of green.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Great minds, small minds

President Lyndon Johnson's address on the Voting Rights Act, March 15, 1965. A great mind on expanding American democracy. The signature speech of his presidency.

I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy.

I urge every member of both parties—Americans of all religions and of all colors—from every section of this country—to join me in that cause.

At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama.

There is no Negro problem. There is no southern problem. There is no northern problem. There is only an American problem.

And we are met here tonight as Americans—not as Democrats or Republicans—we are met here as Americans to solve that problem.

This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, north and south: "All men are created equal" — "Government by consent of the governed" — "Give me liberty or give me death."…

Those words are a promise to every citizen that he shall share in the dignity of man. This dignity cannot be found in man's possessions. It cannot be found in his power or in his position. It really rests on his right to be treated as a man equal in opportunity to all others. It says that he shall share in freedom, he shall choose his leaders, educate his children, provide for his family according to his ability and his merits as a human being….

Many of the issues of civil rights are very complex and most difficult. But about this there can and should be no argument. Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right.

Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in this country men and women are kept from voting simply because they are Negroes….

Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. No law that we now have on the books—and I have helped to put three of them there—can ensure the right to vote when local officials are determined to deny it.

In such a case our duty must be clear to all of us. The Constitution says that no person shall be kept from voting because of his race or his color. We have all sworn an oath before God to support and to defend that Constitution.

We must now act in obedience to that oath.

Wednesday I will send to Congress a law designed to eliminate illegal barriers to the right to vote….

To those who seek to avoid action by their National Government in their home communities—who want to and who seek to maintain purely local control over elections—the answer is simple. Open your polling places to all your people. Allow men and women to register and vote whatever the color of their skin. Extend the rights of citizenship to every citizen of this land. There is no constitutional issue here. The command of the Constitution is plain. There is no moral issue. It is wrong—deadly wrong—to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country. There is no issue of States rights or National rights. There is only the struggle for human rights.

I have not the slightest doubt what will be your answer….

But even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and State of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life.

Their cause must be our cause too, because it is not just Negroes but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome….

This great, rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all—all black and white, all North and South, sharecropper and city dweller. These are the enemies—poverty, ignorance, disease—they are our enemies, not our fellow man, not our neighbor. And these enemies too—poverty, disease, and ignorance—we shall overcome.

Justica Antonin Scalia's small minded comments during oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder denies reality, common sense, and what he knows in the deep recesses of his heart must be true in support of those who would shrink our democracy.

Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.... Even the name of it is wonderful, the Voting Rights Act. Who's going to vote against that?