Thursday, October 31, 2013

Five reasons to NOT support Mark Obenshain

Mark Obenshain has not been a very good senator and he would be an even worse attorney general. Here are the top 5 reasons you should NOT vote for Mark Obenshain on November 5:
  1. Mark Obenshain supported legislation that would force a woman who had suffered an emotionally devastating miscarriage to report it to police. He eventually withdrew the bill citing "flaws" but that doesn't excuse his basic premise that government should actively intrude in women's personal lives.
  2. Mark Obenshain has pushed for voter ID laws that obviously target minorities and poor and would make voting more difficult for thousands of Virginians.
  3. Mark Obenshain supported a personhood bill that, if enacted, potentially would ban some forms of birth control.
  4. Mark Obenshain did not support the transportation bill that eventually passed with bipartisan support and the signature of a Republican governor. In short, Mr. Obenshain voted against jobs and improving the Commonwealth's economic climate.
  5. Mark Obenshain has received big bucks from oil, coal, and natural gas companies. If you care about issues like clean water and clean air then Obenshain's friends who favor mountain top removal coal mining, fracking, and uranium mining in Virginia should scare the bejesus out of you.
Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Obenshain - twin sons of different mothers. The former is a far right extremist with a mean-spirit scowl. The latter is a far right extremist with a fake smile. Don't be fooled. If Obenshain is elected the Office of the Attorney General will become ground zero for rolling back women's rights, for diminishing our democracy, and for degrading our environment.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rand Paul takes a page from Wikipedia.... literally!

Appearing at a campaign stop on behalf of Ken "The Cooch" Cuccinelli, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul tried to connect pro-choice Virginians with the evil state depicted in the 1997 sci-fi movie (and financial flop), Gattaca. Paul stopped by Lynchburg, the home of Liberty University, to help The Cooch make up a double digit deficit in the most recent polls.

But, if this appearance by tea party favorite Rand Paul was supposed to put a tourniquet on the bleeding, it failed miserably. Seems Mr. Paul, who wants to run for president, was at a loss for words so he heavily plagiarized the Gattaca article on Wikipedia. Now The Cooch and his campaign are distracted by a prominent surrogate cheating. Watch for yourself:

Voters are heading to the polls in one week and the Cuccinelli, Jackson, Obenshain team of monsters and goblins just got caught in another scary mess. Have fun this Halloween, but if any of this trio gets elected the trick will be on the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

This crew is all tricks and no treats.
Be afraid, very afraid.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

All the news that's fit to print... or spew.

The Washington Post recently ran a blog/article on How Jon Stewart became President Obama's biggest problem. The accompanying chart got me to thinking about where I get my news and information. Seems our household doesn't fit neatly in the 60-64 (getting close to the 65+) demographic in which our dates of birth places us.

So, where do I get my news? Who do I trust? Who do I return to day after day?

I watch local and network national/local news (mostly ABC or NBC) almost every day. I DVR the Colbert Report and Daily Show and watch them the next day. Some days I'll catch all or some of MSNBC shows like Morning Joe, Hardball, or Maddow (MSNBC may lean forward, but there really is diversity of views). Most Sunday morning will find me watching Meet the Press and perhaps another Sunday showIt all gets supplemented with Time magazine, the Washington PostMother Jones and 60 Minutes and occasionally with articles from the Wall Street Journal or the Economist (and similar magazines). A day or two a week I'll catch a show on NPR. Our local papers are pretty lame and the opinion pages hollow, but I check out interesting articles online.

I try to be fair and balanced by watching Fox from time to time but their bias and blatant use of "false facts" and bogus "experts" leads me to push the button on the remote and move on. Same with Limbaugh and the other right wing radio jocks who are making big bucks spreading manure. Unfortunately, too many Americans will buy the big lie they are selling.

So, where do you get your news and how do you form your opinions. Only watch/listen to those with whom you agree? Or, do you intentionally seek out other points of view?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How will Bobblehead Bob vote?

Twin Sons of
Different Mothers

The vote on the CR that will reopen the United States Government and avoid default is on the floor as I type. What will Bobblehead Bob Goodlatte do? Vote for the good of his constituents and the American people or with his twin son from a different mother, Ted Cruz?

There is no winning choice for these clowns who held the American Government and people hostage for two weeks.

My prediction is that Bobblehead Bob will pussy out and vote "No." Why? Well all, or nearly all, Democrats will vote yes. They will be joined by a couple dozen common sense Republicans to forge a majority to get Americans back to work and short-circuit the GOP-engineered default. Our lovable Bobblehead Bob can vote "No" and cozy up with the tea partiers with full confidence that his vote won't matter.

How is that for courage? How is that for looking out for everyday Americans? How is that for representing constituents?

We should expect more of Bobblehead Bob Goodlatte, but unfortunately over the years he's torched those expectations along with many bridges.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It is only natural... Natural Bridge, that is!

Could a limestone formation 215 feet high that was once owned by American's third President become part of the Virginia State Parks? Let's hope so because it is a natural fit.

Governor Bob McDonnell has let it be known that the Virginia State Park system would welcome a new addition of Natural Bridge, located in Rockbridge County, if a private group wants to buy it, claim some tax credits for conservation easements, and then donate it to the state. If that happens by the end of the year the General Assembly could work out funding for needed improvements, maintenance, and staffing. Natural Bridge is currently privately owned and the planned auction is on hold while the parcels are surveyed.

There are many reasons that Natural Bridge is a great fit in the Commonwealth's system of parks. Proximity to heavily traveled I-81, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Lexington make it a "natural" stop for tourists. Under private ownership ticket prices were high ($21 for adults and $12 for children) and raised $1-2 million each year. The state will probably lower the admission making it accessible to more people and an even more attractive tourist destination that will reap benefits for the nearby caverns and local businesses (and sales tax collections). The National Historic Landmark was owned by Thomas Jefferson who bought it from King George III for 20 shillings. It was later surveyed by none other than George Washington.

Another compelling reason for adding Natural Bridge to Virginia State Parks is the fact that the Shenandoah Valley and Highlands are woefully underrepresented in the system. Only three parks - Sky Meadows, Shenandoah River, and Douthat - are found in the region that stretches from Roanoke northward along I-81 to the West Virginia line.

Our elected officials should be desperately seeking investors to make this deal happen. It is a win-win for everyone.

Washington food fest

Even while the government is shut down and default threatens, lobbyists make sure they get want they want from their bought and paid for politicians. Guess who picks up the tab?

Tell your congressman and senators to represent us, because corruption is so unAmerican.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Goodlatte to furloughed workers: Let them eat BBQ

Bobblehead Bob...
overdosed on tea.
Bob Goodlatte is hosting a BBQ at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds this rainy Sunday afternoon. I thought about going and asking how he could be hosting a social event when so many federal workers are furloughed and when businesses and federal contractors throughout the 6th District are severely impacted. Shouldn't our congressman be in D.C. trying to figure out a way out of this Republican/tea party ignited mess?

But, prudence took over when I re-read the letter I recently received (a friend got an identical one) from him. It doesn't take a genius to understand that our representative lives in Republican La-La Land where all blame is heaped on Senate Democrats and President Obama. Bobblehead Bob failed to address a single point in my original communication to him. Apparently his staffers just scratched through the Boehner & Friends book of "Tea Party Talking Points" and cobbled together a generic letter to send to anyone who asked him to please drop unreasonable demands and end the shutdown while moving away from the brink of default.

Looking at the invitation I realized today is not a BBQ for constituents where our congressman would listen to all points of view. Nope, not even close - this is a campaign event (the RSVP goes to his campaign) that he'll use to pick pockets of adoring lemmings for his next election (once again breaking his term limit promise). Our congressman won't do any listening this afternoon. Instead, he'll be railing against our President and against any Democrat he can find while taking irresponsible positions to make sure he doesn't get challenged from the right. I could show up but my words would fall on deaf ears and I'd risk being run out on a rail.

Better to stay home and check out what prudent steps to take as Congress Attacks America. Then maybe I'll call some family and friends who are among the groups taking the brunt of this GOP shutdown and offer some empathy or maybe a meal. Then I'll do a little reading, maybe to reassure myself that, in spite of the group gathered at the fairgrounds, Americans as a whole are pretty much a practical, common sense people. Three-quarters of us know the current impasse is driven by Republicans. As one of the pollsters in the recent NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll noted,“These numbers lead to one inescapable conclusion: The Republicans are not tone deaf; they are stone deaf.”

Friday, October 11, 2013


In a world where news seems to be dominated by those who want to tear us down rather than lifting us up, I am glad that I got to hear Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band three times during the amazing Wrecking Ball tour. During the 133 shows his words, energy, and music reminded millions of folks living in 26 nations that we can DREAM BABY DREAM.

Turn up your speakers.   Play it loud.   Play it proud.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Government is the enemy

"Government is the enemy
until you need a friend."
William Cohen, Republican Senator from Maine, 1996

Hey Bobblehead Bob, under current Republican leadership, government has become the enemy: of tourists and small business, of farmers, and indeed of all Americans.

Bobblehead Bob Goodlatte, it is long past time to represent your constituents. It is long past time to represent the American people. NOW is the time to sever your perverted subservience to the tea party terrorists.

Virginia League of Conservation Voters Endorsements

After a grueling and detailed process, the Virginia League of Conservation Voters has endorsed candidates for statewide office and in 20 House of Delegates districts. The goal of the League is to elect candidates with a strong conservation ethic and to build a legislative majority to protect our environment and heritage.

For Governor the League endorses Terry McAuliffe because he is committed to keeping the moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia, strengthening Virginia’s land preservation funding program, encouraging the growth of clean energy and clean energy jobs, and studying the ways Virginia can lessen its impact on climate change.

For Lt. Governor the League endorses Ralph Northam because of his strong leadership in restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay. Senator Northam has also lead efforts to improve Virginia’s Renewable Portfolio Standard program.

For Attorney General the League endorses Mark Herring because of is demonstrated devotion to protecting our air, water, and open spaces, supporting an increase in Virginia’s investment in clean energy to create jobs and combat climate change, and supporting the ban on uranium mining.

The League also endorsed 20 candidates, from both parties, for the House of Delegates. No candidates in the central Shenandoah Valley won that coveted endorsement - now what does that say? Check out the conservation scorecard to find out.

Monday, October 7, 2013


INEQUALITY FOR ALL, the Robert Reich film about the exploding income gap in the United States, is on the big screen. It is playing in a number of major cities and will be opening at more locations, including the Regal Downtown Mall 6 in Charlottesville, VA within days. Hopefully other theaters in western Virginia, perhaps the Visulite in Staunton, will schedule it too.

INEQUALITY FOR ALL is currently playing at the E Street Cinema in our nation's capitol. General admission is $11.50 but, since he's not doing much of anything right now, maybe Bobblehead Bob Goodlatte can catch the bargain matinee for just $8.50! He might just learn a few shocking things about America the Beautiful (for some but not for all):

Reich advocates (and tells us how to get these things done) raising the minimum wage, giving workers a stronger voice, reforming Wall Street, fixing the tax system, investing in education, and getting the corruption of money out of politics.

Hey Bob, make it fun afternoon. Invite your obstructionist buddies Eric Cantor, Randy Forbes, Robert Hurt, Morgan Griffith, and Robert Wittman to join you. Enjoy a bitter tea party afterwards!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Blue Ridge Parkway closes during prime time

Every October the autumn leaves light up our mountains with stunning hues of reds, yellows, and oranges making this month one of the busiest (estimated to be an average of 70,000 per day) for the Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. With the House Republicans holding America hostage and forcing a shutdown, many who love to visit those stunning national treasures will find themselves turned away at the gate.

The Blue Ridge Parkway announced that all park programs and events have been cancelled. Campers and visitors in lodges must vacate by 6:00 pm on October 3. It is lights out for those wishing to experience the beautiful fall colors on the parkway.

Oh well, people can see the colors in their own neighborhood or catch a glance from one of the I-64 overlooks on Afton Mountain. No lasting harm, no foul.

Not so fast - beyond missing the views and the experience of the great outdoors, there are real human consequences to the Blue Ridge Parkway closure:
  • 195 Park Service employees are on furlough and an estimated 200 employees of concessionaires will lose their jobs forcing them to dip into savings or use credit cards to pay for food and mortgages;
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway will lose approximately $450,000 per day in fees;
  • Communities along the parkway, like Waynesboro and Roanoke, will see fewer visitors and small businesses (and their employees) catering to tourism will take an hit - it is estimated that losses along the 469 miles of parkway could total as much as $76 million per day;
  • Because of reduced tourism there will be less Virginia sales, gas, and meals taxes collected.
Do the national math: 401 parks and other sites x 20,000 Park Service employees furloughed x how many (??) concessionaire jobs lost x lost tourist dollars in thousands of communities = a huge hit to the American economy. Could Republicans actually be gleeful that a rise in unemployment is a good thing since it might reflect in the President's poll numbers?

Now you may be saying "hey, the House sent a bill to fund the Park Service and exempt it from the shutdown." How convenient - cherry picking a few programs to appease constituents hoping to keep the heat off the politicians who are still collecting their paychecks. Nothing new about public "servants" serving their own interests first.

Bobblehead Bob
Listening to people or party?  
At the core of the shutdown are approximately 75-80 tea party wingnuts from safe (gerrymandered) districts who have little interest in the hard work of governing but a great passion for tearing down the people's government. Many looked forward to and encouraged a government shutdown. It seems that Speaker John Boehner and representatives like Bob Goodlatte lack the gonads to stand up to these terrorists thereby enablin the crazies in their own party. The inevitable result is a scruffy tail is wagging a mongrel dog known as the House of Representatives.

Tell Bob Goodlatte the GOP engineered shutdown is hurting people and communities in the 6th District. Tell Bob Goodlatte it is time to stop marching in lockstep with the party and put constituents first. Tell Bob Goodlatte a prolonged shutdown will undermine the national economic recovery. Tell Bob Goodlatte to join Rep. Scott Rigell (VA-02) and a growing number of Republicans who support passing a clean continuing resolution without unrelated stipulations.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

American disconnect

Republicans are masters at spinning false facts into tea party "realities" that are deadlocking our government and undermining our nation.

I don't know where I'm a gonna go

With sincere apologies to Jimmy Buffett. Check out Jimmy performing Volcano in Jacksonville, January 2012.

Now I don't know

I don't know

I don't know where I'm a gonna go
When the tea party blow

Let me say now, I don't know

I don't know

I don't know where I'm a gonna go

When the capitol blow

Ground she's movin' under me

Tidal waves out on the sea

Sulfur smoke up in the sky

Pretty soon we learn to die

Let me hear ya now, I don't know

I don't know

I don't know where I'm a gonna go

When the U.S.A. blow

Now my girl quickly say to me

Mon you better watch your feet

Tea party bull shit come down soft and hot

You better pray for truth now or pray for truth not

Let me say now, I don't know

I don't know

I don't know where I'm a gonna go

When the tea party blow

"Mr. Utley"

No time to count what I'm worth
Cause I just left the planet Earth

Where I go, I hope there's rum

Not to worry, Mon soon come

Now I don't know

I don't know

I don't know where I'm a gonna go

When the GOP blow

One more now, I don't know

(Ah, he don't know)

I don't know

(He don't know, mon)

I don't know where I'm a gonna go

When the U.S.A. blow

But I don't want to land on no Speaker Boehner

Don't want to land near Ted Cruz

(No no no)

Don't want to land on no Bobblehead Bob

Don't want to see my country go low

(No no no)

Don't want to land in a closed National Park

Or anywhere in TexAss

(No no no)

Don't want to land in no Houston airport

Or the racist territory

(No no no)

Don't want to land in no Fox News swill

Don't want to land in the NRA

(No no no)

Don't want to land on no Bob Goodlatté

I got nothing more to say

I don't know

I don't know

I don't know where I'm a gonna go

When our economy blow

Just a one more, I don't know

(He don't know)

I don't know

(I don't know, man)

I don't know where I'm a gonna go

When our beloved country blow

when I blow, (hey)

when I blow (hey)

When I blow it smells