Has Jack Been Naughty or Nice?

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By , December 24, 2009 11:55 pm

I’m guessing that Jack is getting a bag of coal for Christmas this year! Ha!

Have a great Christmas!

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The GOP, once again, is on the wrong side of history

By , December 24, 2009 11:30 pm

The Republican Party, eyeing the 2010 elections, has convinced itself that the Health Care Bill, slowly, but surely progressing through Congress, will be what political experts call, their “wedge issue.”  They are already talking about targeted seats, and pickups in the House, sufficient, or so they claim, to give them back control of the lower chamber.

It is grandiose talk and not unusual posturing for a party desperate for a comeback.  The Democrats are just as good at it.  But this time, in crowing about voter resentment and anxiety surrounding the Health Bill, and what they hope will be a backlash at the polls in 2010, they had better think again.  The new Healthcare Bill, once it’s enacted, may prove far more popular than anyone at the moment can imagine.

It’s happened before.  In 1935, after raucous debate, divided almost entirely on party lines – Democrats for it and Republicans passionately against it – Democrats in Congress succeeded in passing the Social Security Act.  There were dire predictions from the Republicans that the new bill was just one step away from socialism and a direct challenge to our American way of life.  They claimed it was reckless, dangerous, and oh yes, they assured everyone that it would bankrupt the nation.

For awhile, the public, having heard the details of the debate, and the arguments against it, were skeptical about the new program.  However, as they read more, and most importantly in their decision making, eyed their own old age, or that of their parents, they warmed to the idea.   Maybe President Roosevelt, along with leaders of the House and Senate, who had pushed and cajoled the bill through Congress, had a good idea after all.  Maybe, it was even long overdue.

The Republicans had another view.  They were convinced that there was a massive voter backlash brewing that would give them a big boost in the elections the year to follow.  But that’s not the way it turned out.  In the 1936 Presidential election, President Roosevelt won by the largest majority in history and increased, dramatically, his party’s already lopsided majorities in Congress.  The Republicans couldn’t have been more wrong.

But it’s amazing how little politicians, and this year it’s the GOP, learn from history.  When it comes to the Health Care Bill the public has been subjected to bit of misinformation and all the back and forth behind every compromise.  It’s no wonder that they’re a little mystified and even confused by what they’re hearing.  However, that’s not going to last.  So far, the debate has belonged only to the proposal’s detractors.  When this dynamic shifts, and the bill becomes law, that’s going to change.

Several features of the legislation, once they become known and understood, are going to be hard for the Republicans to argue against.  Take preexisting conditions for example.  Millions of Americans, with everything from diabetes and cancer, as well as more obscure conditions, many of which represent little risk, are denied coverage when they change jobs because they have these preexisting conditions.  This cruel practice will come to an end with the new bill.  Then there is the situation, common to parents with young adult children where their kids can’t get insurance because they don’t have work coverage yet or are still in school.  Their parents plans drop them when they turn 18, or in some cases when they’re 21.  The new bill will allow parents to keep them on the family policy until they’re 26.

Finally, through breaking down artificial protections for insurance companies, and allowing more dynamic competition in the insurance industry, as well as mandating coverage (while also providing tax breaks to small businesses to help off set the costs) some 30 million previously uninsured Americans will have health care coverage.  For many Americans, this prospect alone, which haunts so many people, will no longer be the gut wrenching fear it is today.

That’s why I am anxious, when the Republicans take to the stump, to hear them propose, repealing what will probably be one of the most popular pieces of legislation in our history.  The GOP may find, as they did in 1936, that once again, they are on the wrong side of history.

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HUMOR: An Urgent Weather Announcement from LeavingMyMarc.com

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By , December 19, 2009 10:40 am

The following is a special weather announcement from LeavingMyMarc.com:

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE NATIONAL BLOGGERS WEATHER SERVICE LEAVINGMYMARC.COM 1000 AM EST SAT DEC 19 2009  DCZ001-MDZ006-007-009>011-VAZ052>057-192215- /O.EXA.KLWX.BZ.W.0001.000000T0000Z-091219T2300Z/ /O.EXT.KLWX.WS.W.0008.000000T0000Z-091220T1100Z/ LeavingMyMarc.com-

…BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM EST THIS EVENING… …WINTER STORM WARNING NOW IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 AM EST SUNDAY…

THE NATIONAL BLOGGERS WEATHER SERVICE IN LEAVINGMYMARC.COM HQs HAS ISSUED A BLIZZARD WARNING…WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM EST THIS EVENING. THE WINTER STORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 AM EST SUNDAY.

* PRECIPITATION TYPE…SNOW DHTML SNOW.

* ACCUMULATIONS…HEAVY SNOW WITH ACCUMULATIONS OF 12 TO 22 INCHES THROUGH TONIGHT.

* TIMING…SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH EARLY SUNDAY MORNING. SNOW WILL BE HEAVIEST BETWEEN 8 AM AND 6 PM TODAY.

* TEMPERATURES…UPPER 20S TO LOWER 30S THROUGH THE EVENT…LOW TO MID 30S IN COASTAL SOUTHERN MARYLAND.

* WINDS…15 TO 25 MPH…WITH GUSTS UP TO 40 MPH DURING THE DAY   TODAY.

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Stafford Schools to Receive $460K in ARRA Funding to Expand Early Head Start Program

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By , December 16, 2009 7:41 pm

Gov. Kaine announced today that Stafford County Schools will receive $462,860 to help expand the Early Head Start (EHS) program, thanks to funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARAA). This will likely mean more jobs in Stafford for teachers and family service staff, due to increased enrollment thanks to these funds.

EHS is a federally funded program for low-income families with children under the age of three and pregnant women. The program’s mission is to promote healthy prenatal outcomes for pregnant women; enhance the development of very young children; and to promote healthy family functioning. The mainstay of the program is a unique home visitation program that provides families with parental education and parent-child activities, comprehensive health and mental health services and access to high quality child care.

Gov. Kaine:

“Virginia has made great strides in our early childhood learning programs, including pre-kindergarten Head Start”

[…]

“Creating the healthy habits and nurturing environments that support learning and development start very early, so access to prenatal care and parent education can’t begin soon enough. It’s excellent news that more families will be helped through an increase in Early Head Start funding.”

Secretary of Health and Human Resources Marilyn B. Tavenner:

“Information shared in a home visit can address a family’s immediate needs – nutrition assistance, for example”

[…]

“In addition, family service staff reinforce the parenting skills that help moms and dads create and maintain an environment that supports early learning and healthy development.”

For more information or to learn more about the Early Head Start Program, visit the Early Head Start National Resource Center.

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Humor: Colbert’s Empire State of Mind

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By , December 16, 2009 7:26 pm
The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor U.S. Speedskating

Alicia Keys performed her hit song Empire State of Mind (minus Jay-Z), off of her new album, on The Colbert Report yesterday with a very special guest. Should Jay-Z be worried? Go Colbert!

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Krystal Ball: Climate Change and the Copenhagen “Jobs” Summit

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By , December 15, 2009 8:39 pm

Krystal Ball, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 1st Congressional District, penned an op-ed late last week that laid out the need for the US to take the lead in confronting the reality of weather climate change. She went on to say that this isn’t only an environmental issue, but rather a national security and economic imperative.

Krystal’s Op-Ed:

I was born and raised in an area of Virginia surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay.  The bay is a priceless treasure and the largest estuary in the United States.  It is second only to New Orleans in its vulnerability to climate-change induced flooding.  I believe that man-made climate change is a scientific fact and confronting the reality of greenhouse gas emissions a critical moral and environmental imperative. Our failure to rise to this challenge would be a betrayal of our children and future generations.   Right now, the world’s attention is focused on the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.   My attention is also focused on Copenhagen.  But not because I am an environmentalist, rather it is my patriotism, my experience as a small business owner and my study of economics that focus me on Copenhagen.

Eliminating our dependence on imported oil is a national security imperative.  Our consumption of foreign oil bought from petro-dictators is the financial engine of worldwide terrorism.  When I think about our men and women in uniform killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by improvised explosive devices and road-side bombs, as I marvel at their heroism, I can’t help but think about where the money came from to buy the explosives and the nails and ball bearings launched at them by jihadi cowards.  Our purchase of foreign oil funds the regimes who fund the terrorists.  It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter whether you want to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels because of global warming or because you want to cut off funds to the terrorists…the patriotic thing to do and the environmental thing to do are the same.  The US has 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.  Osama Bin Laden’s birthplace of Saudi Arabia has 25%.  “Drill baby drill” may be the Saudi energy strategy, but it is no strategy for the US.

Cutting out our reliance on fossil fuels isn’t just about national security, it’s also about jobs.  That’s why I think about the Copenhagen Summit as the jobs summit.  Our car companies went bankrupt because we ignored world-wide demand for more fuel efficient cars and focused on higher short-term profits from SUVs and trucks.  China leads the world in manufacturing, not just in the manufacture of the household goods that used to be made in America, but in solar power production and electric vehicle production.  Our universities, our scientists, our venture capitalists are the best in the world by far.  We have the largest consumer market in the world and are the world’s largest consumers of energy.  The US is the natural choice to lead the world in energy-efficient, green technology and alternative and renewable energy.  India, China, Japan and Europe are all aggressively promoting green technology as part of their economic growth strategy.

We work longer hours and have more productive workers than India or China.  We are the best positioned in the world to lead in green technology  and if we invest in that leadership, the entire world will buy green technology produced in America by American workers.

In the US, a fierce political debate rages about whether climate change is real.  In the rest of the world, there is no such debate.  The rest of the world accepts the reality of climate change and they are gearing up industry, research investment and regulation to make their economies more energy efficient, less reliant on fossil fuels, to turn their buildings green, to develop electric cars and affordable solar power in order to confront the reality of climate change.   Those focused on events in Copenhagen are derided by “global warming skeptics” as tree-hugging internationalists who care more about world opinion than the economic reality of job creation in the United States.  They deride climate change legislation as “Cap and Tax” and sound alarm bells about the economic consequences of higher energy costs that come with controlling greenhouse gas emissions.   I say, for the cleanliness of our air, the purity of our water, the diversity of our wildlife, the national security of our homeland and the job creation of the 21st century, we need to heed the warning of Copenhagen and take the lead in the world-wide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.  And in the process, if we just happen to avoid a civilization ending climatic catastrophe, we can call that a bonus.

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Help Wanted at the DPVA?

By , December 15, 2009 6:52 pm

At the DPVAs December State Central Committee meeting, Chairman Cranwell announced the semi-controversial departure of Leigh Anne Collier as the DPVAs Executive Director. The reason why I say semi-controversial is that chairman announced that Leigh Anne was to receive a $10K bonus upon her departure. Naturally folks were up in arms over this bonus being awarded, based on the most recent election results. This is not to take away how hard Leigh Anne may have Help Wantedworked, since I have no idea; however, perception is everything.

This afternoon Chairman Cranwell moved to fill this void. I’m not sure how far-and-wide his email was actually sent out, but it was essentially a job advertisement seeking a “committed individual to serve as executive director.”

The email went on to say that

The applicant must possess strong organizational skills, demonstrated success in winning elections, and technological and strategic expertise. The executive director will be responsible for developing and implementing a plan to strengthen and expand Democratic Party of Virginia.  A complete job description is listed below.

If you know of anyone interested in applying, please email a resume with cover letter and three references to jobs@vademocrats.org by December 28, 2009.

Sincerely,

C. Richard Cranwell

Chairman

A more detailed job description follows:

JOB DESCRIPTION
The Executive Director, working with the Chair and State Steering and Central Committees, develops and implements the Democratic Party of Virginia’s strategic plan and oversees personnel and programmatic activities of the party.

Responsibilities:
Political Affairs
Develop and implement a plan to strengthen and expand the party; develop the party’s election strategies and supervise a political director
Administrative & Financial
With an Operations Director, oversee federal & non-federal compliance, bank accounts, and other administrative requirements
Fundraising
With a finance director, create a yearly fundraising plan and oversee its execution
Communications
With a communications director, create a comprehensive communications plan, including messaging, media outreach, press releases, web and email, and oversee its execution; develop and maintain professional relationships with national, state and county elected officials and organizations
Technology
With an information technology director, develop and maintain a state-of-the-art technological infrastructure

The blogosphere is never short of opinions. With that said who do you think would be an ideal candidate? Please leave your suggestions and rationale in the comments section.

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