Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kagro X in Leesburg Thursday

David Waldman (aka Kagro X) is a remarkably gifted analyst of procedure. He has been writing on the intricacies of Senate rules for years, and is working on cloture reform today.

David will be the LCDC's guest speaker this Thursday.
This month’s guest speaker, Mr. David Waldman, will share with us the lessons he’s learned and put into practice as a political activist and esteemed blogger. Mr. Waldman will be talking about how a deeper understanding of Congressional procedure promotes more effective activism and advocacy and discuss the ways we can more effectively interact with our US Congressman in the 10th CD.

Date: Thursday, July 1st
Place: Board Room of the Loudoun County Government Center, 1 Harrison Street, S.E. in Leesburg.
Social: 6:30pm
Meeting: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Post-meeting Social at VINTAGE 50: 9:15pm
Incidentally, the Leesburg District will be providing the food this week and we promise it will be both plentiful, and good.

So come out this Thursday and learn a thing or two about the procedures by which Republicans screw up the Senate!

Friday, June 25, 2010

In Praise of Garbagemen

A neighbor writes a mommy blog, and I wanted to share a little bit of it this morning. She is writing in praise of her garbagemen.
Suddenly, the garbage truck (that has now reached the end of the block) changes direction and backs all the way up to us. ”They’re coming back!” exclaims one of my neighbors. And sure enough, it seems that they are. Two guys jump off the back of the truck, smile at me, empty my cans into the back of the truck , and put them back for me. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I almost started to cry out of gratitude. I thanked them and thought about how unnecessary their act of kindness was – and of how much grander it was because of that fact.

As they pulled away, I turned to my neighbors and said, “I love our garbage truck guys!” We all agreed, sharing similar stories of the above-and-beyond actions that they routinely demonstrate.

I don’t know what they’re like in your neighborhood, but over here in Leesburg, Virginia – they’re amazing! They’re friendly and courteous, accommodating and professional. They haul away everything that they can and they do it all cleanly and efficiently. I really just can’t say enough good things about them. - Did You Remember Your Pill Today?

The people who actually make our modern society run don't get enough credit, so I wanted to amplify this. Thank you to the garbagemen, and the VDOT crews, and the Leesburg water staff. Thank you to all the people who go to work, every day, making sure that the infrastructure of modern life is doing it's job, even as we quibble and argue over the budgets that are their lifeblood.

Thank you.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"I know the Democratic Party sucks."

There's a thousand reasons to read Digby. Here's one more.
I know the Democratic Party sucks. (It always has to one degree or another, by the way. Check out Roosevelt's policies on race. It's not like he didn't know they were bad --- it was his deal with the devil to keep the old confederacy in the coalition.) Sadly, that's true of every political party ever created. However, it is the only institutional governance vehicle we have for liberalism of any kind and it is the only viable tool our system provides to fight back the increasingly manipulative, nihilistic and fascistic conservatives. - Digby
This is what I think of when I hear my fellow Democrats get disheartened and complain about our Party. We are the Party. Not the President, not Congress members, us. The Party is what we make of it. The fight is never done, and the party is not perfect - no human institution is - but it's what we have, and it's what we make of it. Just as America isn't perfect, but we're working towards an ever-more perfect union. Our Democratic party isn't perfect. It's flawed and it's scared, and it needs our help to stay true to its bearings. But isn't that kinda the point of being involved in the first place?

President Obama said we are the change, remember? That doesn't end with an election, the election is only where it starts.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Northeast Connector Footbridge?

Ft. Evans IntersectionSome Leesburg residents have begun advocating for a solution to one of the major pedestrian safety issues in Town: Crossing the Bypass between Edwards Ferry Road and Ft. Evan's Road. Essentially, how do you walk from Sheetz to Target or the Outlets? Every day people in that neighborhood risk their lives trying to cross the road to get to work or buy groceries.

The group has put together a Facebook Page:
There simply is no safe way to cross Rt. 15 N in an area of Leesburg that has several businesses and large communities living and working on either side. Help us promote a pedestrian bridge now for better access to jobs and shopping.

The relevant intersection is, indeed, a hazard, and only gets more dangerous with increased traffic by both pedestrians and cars.
This section of Leesburg-Fort Evans Rd NE/ Edwards Ferry Rd / Rt 15N does not have a safe pedestrian crossing. There are plenty of businesses on either side of this road that are unsafe to access by foot. To access the restaurants and retail stores you have to get there by car, but what if you don't have that mode of transportation? One day while standing on the sidewalk watching the cars drive by, a couple tried to cross the street. We stood and watched in awe as these two people had to weave around the cars and stop at the median, then wait patiently while cars drove passed them before they were abe to cross the street safely. Then 20 minutes later we noticed a young man ride his bicycle across the same street . He had to weave around the cars to safely cross the street.

It is interesting that the effort is being titled "The Northeast Connector," which is an obvious reference to the Southwest Connector. Of course, the Southwest Connector is a bike trail connecting the Southwest of Town with the WO&D Trail, and the Northeast Connector is a pedestrian footbridge.

The two ideas are linked under the idea that funding for the Southwest Connector could be used to build the Northeast Footbridge. The theory is that solving for the safety problem at that intersection is a higher priority for the Town than a new bike trail.

Separating that linkage, I believe that a footbridge at Ft. Evans or Edwards Ferry over the 15 Bypass is a very good idea. It is frighteningly dangerous to see Town residents trying to cross the Bypass there, and it is only a matter of time before someone is killed. I do not, however, believe that we must accept the false dichotomy of moving forward with either a footbridge at Ft. Evans or the Southwest Connector trail. The planning for a footbridge at Ft. Evans is going to take time, but the planning for the Southwest Connector is largely complete. The funding for one is not dependent on the funding for the other.

But that's just my opinion, and I could be wrong.

Friday, June 11, 2010

An Interlude: The Football

Since so many of my friends appear to care about the World Cup, this is for them.

Leesburg Kicks Cancer's...

Relay For LifeLet's hear it for the Town of Leesburg doing its part to kick cancer in the rear. The Western Loudoun Relay for Life is tomorrow at Heritage High School, and according to the latest figures, people from Leesburg are helping to lead the way.

From the Town Government, the Government Steps team, led in part by our own Marty Martinez, has already raised $3,782, thanks in part to the prodigious fundraising of Kevin Wright and his mom. The Rust Library team has raised $1,103.

As for us, the Leesburg Democrats have raised almost $600 through my own page. With individual members adding over $100 to that total.

Tomorrow's event promises to be a lot of fun, with games, prizes, food, massages and fellowship all around. I hope you will consider coming out and supporting the fight against cancer here in Town!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Support Hate, Buy A Plate

Sons of Confederate Veterans PlateHey, this is exciting! Did you know that you could support your favorite white supremacists by just buying a special plate from the DMV? It's true!

The plate honors the Sons of Confederate Veterans, they of the Confederate History Month debacle, in case you had forgotten. It was at their behest that the Governor issued his benighted proclamation in the first place, and after Mr. McDonnell walked back that particular piece of bad press, the Sons of Confederate Veterans blasted him for backing off the original proclamation. Of course, they didn't get their facts exactly right.
The Virginia Division of the SCV was not pleased with McDonnell's reversal. In a lengthy statement, it commended McDonnell for issuing the Confederate History Month proclamation, but "absolutely refute[d] the claim that Confederate soldiers went to the field of battle for the sole purpose of preserving slavery as an intellectually dishonest argument." (In fact, McDonnell does not say that the Civil War was fought only over slavery.) - Southern Poverty Law Center
Yes, this is the group that called for the original proclamation, without reference to slavery. And when the slavery acknowledgments were added later, they were so angry about it that they issued a lengthy statement filled with factual errors condemning the Governor!

The SCV, as they are known, purports to be a heritage group, and a heritage group they may have been, but in the course of a series of elections within the organization over the past ten years, a number of unreformed, neo-confederate white supremacists were elected to national leadership. These SCV leaders just so happen to also be members of organizations dedicated to white supremacy, modern-day seccession and reconstitution of the Confederacy.

Remember the Confederacy?
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. - Alexander Stephens, Vice-President of the CSA
According to the membership of the SCV, leaders who want to return to the Confederacy are worth supporting and re-electing. Something to think about.

The SCV is allowed to have the Confederate battle flag on a Virginia plate because they won a court case in 2001. This case, and the original plate designation, happened before the white supremacists took over the SCV, however. It is past time for Virginia to revisit this honor and withdraw this plate from circulation. Let the SCV sue again if it comes to that, our Attorney General has no qualms defending crazy positions, after all.

But hey, what's buying a plate when we simply re-elect a local SCV officer as our Delegate every two years anyway. For all our neighborliness, tacit bigotry can lie under the surface, even here, even now.

Friday, June 4, 2010

On BP's Mess

I think we should turn over management of BP to Jim Joyce and Jim Leyland. They'd be exactly as effective as the current leadership of the company in terms of actually fixing the mess in the Gulf, but they'd handle it with way more class, style and grace.