Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Liberty University Goons trying to play HARDBALL with Lynchburg Mayor and City Manager

Only a couple of weeks ago, Liberty University Chancelor Jerry Falwell, Jr. was singing the praises of Lynchburg Mayor Joan Foster, touting her as a person that Liberty University could work with.  Then only a week later Jerry Falwell Jr. releases to the local press his interest in recending a Conditional Use Zoning Permit ordinance that was supported by the entire Lynchburg City Council on a 7-0 vote in 1991. 

Citing that it's an overly burdensome regulation that really only applies to companies and institutions within a residential area, Jerry Falwell, Jr. indicated that Liberty University moved away from the downtown areas to an area that was originally zoned for commercial use to avoid battles with residents over expansion.  Falwell feels that Liberty University shouldn't have to ask permission from the City of Lynchburg to build on its own property.  It was his hope was that it would be "fast-tracked" through the process before the City Council Election on May 4th.   Mayor Joan Foster and the rest of the Lynchburg City Council (with maybe the exception of Jeff Helgeson) indicated that they saw merit in what Jerry Falwell, Jr. was saying but they were not inclined to fast-track the process because these types of decissions should be considered carefully. 

Then, last night at the Lynchburg City Council meeting, the matter was brought up and it was revealed that Jerry Falwell, Jr. and the other Liberty University officials had secretly taped their meeting in Chancelor Falwell's office with Mayor Joan Foster and City Manager Kimball Payne.  They claimed that they wanted to have an "accurate" account of the meeting and that Mayor Foster and City Manager Kimball Payne indicated that there would be unanimous support and that Liberty should pursue a fast-track request to do away with the Conditional Use Permit.  The only person on Lynchburg City Council that was defending the secret taping was Jeff Helgeson.  As far as if this is legal, in Virginia you only need one person/party to agree to the taping.  So, this might be legal but it don't make it right. 

Regardless of what was said on the videotape, I can't see how Liberty University thinks this will improve relations between the school and the rest of Lynchburg.  But this does raise a few questions for me, and hopefully others:  What other secret tapes does Jerry Jr. have?  Are there other hidden cameras in other "sensative" places on Liberty University's campus?  Does this mean that he secretly tapes the students?  I am only asking questions, that's all. 

Besides the shock and outrage that Jerry Jr. and the rest of the Liberty University Administration would stoop to this level and justify what they did, Jerry Jr. and his Liberty University GOONS must be stopped.  If Liberty University and Thomas Road Baptist Church wonder why they are so vilified, its because of a track record of lies, deception, intimidation, and Goonish behavior like this. 

The Lynchburg City Council Elections are coming up on May 4th and there are three Liberty backed Republicans running for the three open seats on City Council.  A group called Lynchburg 1st has endorsed Mayor Joan Foster, Randy Nelson, and J.P. Vaughan, who are all running as Independents.  If anyone that lives in Lynchburg or knows people that live in Lynchburg are concerned with Jerry Jr. and his Goons taking over City Council, follow the link below to Lyncubrg 1st to get involved with the campaigns. 

Don't let Jerry Falwell, Jr. and his Liberty University Goons take over Lynchburg City Council! 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The GOP were for the Health Insurance Mandate before they were against it

Thank the Lord there is still such a thing as Investigative Reporting at the Associated Press.  In a throwback to a sound bite that killed Senator John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential race, the GOP was for the Health Insurance Mandate before they were against it.  They weren't just for it last year or even during the previous three Presidential Administrations (G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, G.W. Bush), but as far back as Richard Nixon.  As many of us on the Progressive and Liberal side have pointed out, the Health Insurance Mandate is a central piece of (then Massachusetts Governor) Mitt Romney's landmark state health insurance reform. 

There is nothing more disgusting than someone who fains outrage over something that they championed and now finds it politically beneficial to duck away from that position, just to pop-up on the other side and fan the flames of anger and burn their own idea in effigy.  If the Democrats are savvy enough to take advantage of this, I would wrap the GOP in this little fact and make them eat it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

GOP files frivolous lawsuites to block Healthcare Reforms

Washington and Lee Law Professor Timothy Jost breaks down the frivolity of the lawsuits challenging the Federal Government's enforcement of the new Health Care Reform legislation signed into law on Tuesday. I agree, this is totally silliness. Anyway, I thought the GOP was in favor of Tort Reform and that frivolous lawsuits filed against Doctors were one of the main reasons that Health Care costs were out of control? What gives?

People don't want to be told that they have to do anything, and I understand that. But there are times when we need to be pointed in the right direction and given a push to do the things we should have been doing all along. The new Healthcare Reform legislation is just part of the equation to getting healthcare costs under control. The other part is personal responsibility, which the Federal Government has little control over. That means healthy lifestyle changes like regular exercise, quit smoking, eathing healthy.

As far as if the Federal Government had the power to enforse the legislation, yes they do. Case in point, many years ago the Federal Government included a provision in a Transportation Bill that basically said if the states want money from the Federal Government to build and maintain their roads they had to raise the age a person could buy alcohol from 18 to 21. The states complied. Roads got build and Drunk Driving deaths went down.

A few more examples of the Federal Government mandating things that forever changed our lives:

1. The passage of the Sixteenth Amendment in 1909 for the Income Tax - since that time we have fought two World Wars, been through the Great Depression, Korean War, Vietnam War, several recession, etc...

2. Passage of the Social Security Act - this helped lift million of the out of poverty and provide a small source of income to the elderly in their twilight years. (If the Federal Government hadn't dipped into the Social Security Trust Fund the fixes would be much smaller. Also, people are living much longer now than back in 1935.)

3. Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s plus the passage of the Twentyfourth Amendment in 1962 making it illegal to deny any person the right to vote for failure to pay a poll tax or any tax. (Incidentally, poll taxes were targeted towards Blacks to prevent them from voting, along with Literacy Tests which were used to deny Blacks the right to vote as well.)

4. Medicaid and Medicare in 1968, which ensured that the poor and those age 65 and over had access to Health Care. (These things need fixing too, which Democrats and Republicans have failed to do until now.)

The point is that we didn't turn into a Communist/Socialist Dictatorship. Our economy didn't collapse, and it didn't kill any jobs. Yes, the size of the Federal Government has grown, but so has our nation and the services we demand of our Government.

One last point, we are all required to purchase car insurance or pay into a fund for those that don't have car insurance. We can all grip and complain about having to purchase or have some type of health insurance all we want. The fact is that we are paying way more right now for those that don't have health insurance, or can't afford it, when they go to the Hospital Emergency Room through higher health insurance premiums. So give me a break and get over it. We are going to be better off and more people are going to be covered, enabling Doctors and medical professionals to catch things earlier to help avoid treating more costly catastrophic illnesses down the road.

These gasbags in the GOP are on the wrong side of history, just like these fake patriots that warned of the impending doom we were heading for with the passage of the Income Tax Amendment, Social Security, Civil Rights legislation, Medicaid and Medicare. It is very unlikely that these lawsuits will go anywhere. Filing frivolous lawsuits are just a waist of time and Tax Payer money.

These reforms aren't perfect, but at least it's a start.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sewage Sludge hearing set for Campbell County on Tuesday 3/16/2010

I posted on this a while back and there has been little movement until recently. This issue is of significant importance because if the science is not done objectively and the treated sewage sludge is not applied correctly, it can contaminate drinking water. The following is from Lorraine Potter, who is part of a local group following the process relating to the DEQ and Nutri-Blend's application to spread treated Sewage Sludge:
If you own land in Campbell County it's important that you attend the Mar 16 Biosolids public hearing at Rustburg High School. Over 55,000 tons are proposed to be spread on over 3000 acres, much of it surrounding Rustburg and 1/2 mile from our schools. Come and make sure your land has not been inadvertently included in this permit. So far County citizens and employees have found 14 properties that were mistakenly included in this permit when the actual landowner had not given permission to have sludge applied to his property. DEQ has admitted that they do not verify the accuracy of information received in a permit application yet this is what is used to draft the permit.

The permit hearing will begin at 7 PM. If you wish to speak come and sign up. Written comments will be accepted by DEQ through March 31, 2010.From 6:15 - 6:45 materials will be available showing which properties are proposed for sludging.
Ed Foster's letter from 3/14/10
Please contact Lorraine Potter at 821-2949 if you have any questions. Also please visit their website at to learn more about Sewage Sludge.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Right-wing votes to re-write History Textbooks in Texas

If anyone was wondering what it would look like if ideologues and extremists got control of a School Board (at the State level), then here's a peek. The Texas State Board of Education vote 10-5 to for preliminary approval for new standards for textbooks. This is really scary stuff.

When a group of people can get together and replace actual history for a version of history that is more opinion and conjecture woven into propaganda, we have a very dangerous situation. There are places other than Texas where this is a major concern. Lynchburg, Virginia is one of those places since Liberty University and Thomas Road Baptist Church have made very deliberate moves to have their students register to vote at the local level. They claim their issues are not being addressed and they want a greater say in local government to address those issues.

While Lynchburg is a locality rather than a whole state, what is happening in Texas should serve as a wake-up call for people around Virginia and in Lynchburg. History has shown time after time that when extremists and ideologues get control of anything, persecution follows close behind them. I wonder which Horseman of the Apocalypse they are going to cover first in the new textbooks they print in Texas?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Virginia YDs call on the Governor to renounce Bob Marshall's remarks and live up to his promises to Youth with Disabilities

I received this release from the Virginia Young Democrats late yesterday:

Virginia Young Democrats Call on Governor Bob McDonnell to Repudiate Bob Marshall’s Remarks and Live Up to His Promises to Youth with Disabilities By Cancelling Devastating Budget Cuts to Proposed Safety Net Services
I've known Delegate Marshall for nearly 20 years and I'm sure he regrets saying that. I think those are wrong and offensive comments. We should do everything we can for young children that are developmentally disabled and provide the best safety net that we can through state government.

– Governor Bob McDonnell, “Ask the Governor,” WTOP Radio, February 23, 2010

Virginia Young Democrats calls on Governor Bob McDonnell to honor his rhetorical commitment to “the best safety net” services for children with disabilities by cancelling his draconian budget proposals slashing funding for home and community based services.

When Governor McDonnell appropriately condemned the appalling remarks of Delegate Bob Marshall(R-Prince William) for suggesting that children with disabilities were punishment for the actions of their parents, he verbally endorsed doing “everything we can” to provide these children with the “best safety net through state government.” Yet McDonnell’s laudable rhetoric is inconsistent with the stark reality that his budget endorses draconian cuts to home and community based services and related programs which these children and their families rely upon.

As Delegate Robin Abbott (D- Newport News), mother of a young adult with a disability, said recently while referencing Marshall’s hurtful words, and McDonnell’s devastating budget, “More important than words or rhetoric are the actions we take." Budgets are moral documents, which reflect a leader’s values and priorities. And as a moral document Governor McDonnell’s budget is quite disturbing: He proposes eliminating 6,000 self-directed home and community based services waiver slots for children and adults with disabilities, while cutting Medicaid eligibility and slashing funding for related supports that children and young adults with disabilities rely upon to live independently in the community.

While Bob Marshall’s words are extraordinarily hurtful to children with disabilities and their parents, Bob McDonnell’s budget is far more harmful, threatening to devastate the services and supports families have come to rely upon and to deprive young people with disabilities of their opportunity to pursue educational and career opportunities in their communities.

Fortunately, the Democratic –led Senate takes a different approach, prioritizing the preservation of community services, while minimizing painful cuts to Virginia’s young people with disabilities and their families. To honor his commitment to a safety net and dignity for children with disabilities and demonstrate his respect for their lives and dignity, Virginia Young Democrats calls upon Governor McDonnell to use opportunity of the budget negotiations to reach an accord with Senate Democrats and ensure that we do not balance the budget on the backs of people with disabilities.

I can't agree more. But what did people expect when they voted in Bob McDonald as Governor and expand the Republican majority in the House of Delegates? Catastrophic cuts to Social Services, the proposed de-funding and dismantling of Virginia's Public School's, and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli ordering Virginia's state funded Higher Education system to rescind non-discrimination policies relating to sexual orientation, I wonder if there's just a little bit of buyer's remorse out there? Again, what did people expect? You get the government you deserve while the rest suffer from the bad choices.

As for Delegate Bob Marshall's comments about mothers giving birth to babies with sever mental and physical disabilities, how does he account for mothers who didn't have abortions and their first child was born with these same disabilities? This one hits very close to home for me because my mother falls into this catagory. My oldest sibling (who passed away more than ten years ago) was born with sever mental and physical disabilities. And my mother never had an abortion. What sin did she commit for her first born child to have sever mental and physical disabilities? HOW DARE YOU MAKE SUCH EXTREM AND INSENSITIVE REMARKS TO ADVANCE YOUR EXTREMIST SOCIAL AGENDA!

I know this is very late, but the YD's statement on this brought it back for me. It's time for you to go Bob Marshall.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

FINALLY! Car Title Lenders to have their gas tanks drained.

It only took the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and Budget Proposals from the Governor, State Senate, and House of Delegates that cut so many state jobs for there to be any kind of consumer protection bill to reign in PREDATORY CAR TITLE LENDERS! SB 606 reported out of the Virginia House of Delegates Commerce and Labor Committee with 21 yeas and 1 nay (21 Y - 1 N) and will head to the floor for a vote. I am almost without words.

I haven't had much to say of late, because much of the debate on most any topic is just flailing. Nothing is happening. There's been no leadership. Liberals and progressives have been absolutely awfull at PR and getting their message out. The only thing that is keeping them in the game at this point are absolutely moronic behavior and mistakes by the GOP. The latest example is the fundraising presentation leaked to the traditional press that show how the RNC plans to use FEAR to raise money from their grassroots base. Absolutely disgusting.

OK, back to the Car Title Lenders. Huge message sent by the House of Delegate Commerce and Labor Committee today. The only Delegate to vote against it was Delegate Bill Janis. Janis is the only one to vote against this Bill in either the House or Senate. This bodes well for this bill to pass the House of Delegates and go to Governor McDonald's desk. This should be a no-brainer, so we shall see...