Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Boucher's district neighbors Perriello's, and the two split representation of Henry County. Boucher said he speaks to Perriello often about how their partnership can benefit Southwest Virginia as well as passing on his own experiences from more than two dozen years in Congress.
"Tom is terrific," Boucher said. "He's tremendously respected on both sides of the aisle. ... He has made a good impression in his first month."
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
If it takes place, the firefighters endorsement could be a huge boost for McAuliffe's campaign.
In past races, the firefighters' union have provided valuable grassroots support to political candidates, including President Barack Obama last year. In 2006, the firefighters appeared to be an major assett to Sen. James Webb (D-Va) in his race against former senator George Allen (R).
The firefighters could help McAuliffe neutralize concerns about whether he has enough experience to oversee a major crisis. They could also serve as an important validator in rural Virginia.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
This is also a win for Congressman Perriello, who will have his first bill, the CLASS Act, pass into law as part of the stimulus. This will improve access to tax credits for higher education funding and allow greater opportunity for students throughout the country to go to college. Go Tom!
But all of this comes with a caveat: this thing better work. Every Democratic congressman and senator needs to direct as much of this stimulus to their districts as possible--and I mean legitimate, crucial, tangible improvements to the lives of their constituents. Things that can't be called "pork." In 2010, a Democrat driving through his or her district has to point to Stimulus High School and say, "Yeah, we spent a lot of money, but your kids have a modern school building and good teachers. And this road I'm driving on, which brought in new companies? You're welcome."
Throughout this debate, I've been just as puzzled as I was frustrated that House Republicans were so obstructionist, even after the president extended a bipartisan hand. If the bill had failed and the economy worsened (as many think it will), the country would blame them. They're betting that the stimulus won't help and they'll have a compelling argument in 2010--even though their plan would have run up just as much debt without producing direct results. We got a stimulus by the skin of our teeth, thanks to the three remaining moderates in the Senate's GOP caucus. This is a monumental opportunity. Let's not squander it.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
"Perriello votes to double cigarette tax"
"Although congressman says it will likely have dramatic impact on jobs and revenues across the country."
Monday, February 9, 2009
In the words of some Martinsville natives I've known for years, this just ain't right. Chris Guy at Fred2Blue posted a story on Del. Bobby Orrock (R-54) and his bill aimed at making it even harder for third-party and independent candidates to attain ballot access. Chris posted the money paragraph:
... (iii) makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to pay or receive compensation on a fee per signature or on a basis related to the number of signatures obtained for circulating election-related petitions or completing and submitting voter registration applications;...
Chris notes that the Libertarian Party sent an e-mail to supporters, wherein it was clear they were none too thrilled.
Our ballot access laws are already a sham, not just in Virginia but in the nation as a whole. Over years of two-party dominance, the Ds and Rs have passed regulation after regulation that, taken as a whole, make it effectively impossible for any other party or candidate to compete. Granted, some version of the two parties will always dominate no matter what--that's just the nature of having to win 50% +1 vote (unless we revert to a parliament or adopt proportional representation--both about as likely as John Lennon singing at the next inauguration).
Having said that, there's no reason smaller parties should be barred from even holding a few seats here or there. Locking out any possible form of competition is every bit as reprehensible as gerrymandering and it is every bit as destructive to our democracy. Think about it: no matter how badly either party screws up, they know that all they have to do is wait and their fortunes will eventually reverse themselves. In the last hundred years, both parties have presided over unnecessary wars, played economic roulette with the livelihoods of all Americans, spent copious amounts of monopoly money and basked in endemic corruption, and yet they remain in power. It would do both of them some good to sweat a little from time to time, and it may even help reduce the average person's cynicism and breathe new life into American politics.
You may have gathered from a recent post that I'm not a big fan of the libertarians' economic philosophy. Their unrestricted trade, let-the-market-run-rampant worldview is demonstrably harmful to the middle class, and I shudder to think of them at the reins of government. But to their credit, at least the LP is ideologically consistent--they're against government involvement in pretty much everything, including social issues like gay marriage, and they're not so sure invading everybody is such a great idea. You can make a good case that they have a more credible claim to "conservatism" than most conservatives. Heck, I'd rather run against them and have a real debate than run against these Rovian clowns who shout us down and scare people into supporting things like the Iraq War.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Laws that protect unions are problematic. Unions raise wages above market levels, increasing unemployment.
The Obama fiscal stimulus risks reviving this insanity, since both the House and Senate bills require that certain stimulus-funded projects use U.S. equipment and goods. The administration should oppose these provisions. More generally, President Obama and his economic advisors should state -- no, scream -- that America is unambiguously committed to free trade.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Former Danville Mayor F. Seward Anderson has announced plans to challenge Delegate Danny Marshall, R-Danville, this year for his House seat in the General Assembly.
Anderson, a Democrat, said he mailed his papers Monday to the state Board of Elections to declare his candidacy. He also has filed papers with the city registrar.
“My focus will be job growth, education, transportation and working as hard as possible to obtain more funding from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund,” Anderson said Tuesday.
Anderson, a financial advisor with Wachovia Securities, served on Danville City Council from 1982 to 1996, including 10 years as mayor.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
For the last seven years, State Senator Creigh Deeds has gone to bat for a non-partisan redistricting proposal; today’s unanimous vote in the Virginia State Senate makes it three consecutive years that proposal has received support from a bi-partisan coalition in the Virginia Senate [See: Richmond Sunlight, SB 926, 2009].
It isn’t sexy. It isn’t soundbite worthy. But it is the key to ensuring political competition and bipartisanship in a state government nearly paralyzed with gridlock. Deeds says,
“This important reform can change the way we do business in state government by putting an end to the bitter partisanship that keeps us from moving Virginia forward. With the next redistricting just around the corner, my proposal ensures that the electorate chooses their elected leaders; not the other way around.”
The operative word here is non-partisan. A good example of how this might work would be districting by a panel of retired judges--since they spent their careers striving for neutrality and no longer have a stake in the system, they should be pretty fair and impartial. Hopefully this would produce as many competitive districts as possible, as opposed to bipartisan redistricting, which only produces equal numbers of safe districts through wheeling and dealing.