FOIA Requests Sent to Richmond on Global Warming

On August 26, 2010 at a town hall meeting at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell stated, in response to a question I posed on global warming, that the science of anthropogenic climate change was debatable. When I countered that there was not significant debate on this issue, he replied, “I’m telling you, there is.”

At that same town meeting I also spoke with Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources and Senior Advisor on Energy, Maureen Matsen. She stated that the science is not clear that climate change is man made, going on to say that, in any event, addressing energy issues was synonymous with addressing anthropogenic climate change. The problem with this reply is that it implies that as long as we get the amount of energy we need, it does not matter that the source of energy is climate harming fossil fuels. When I suggested to her that the United States has hundreds of years of coal and natural gas, and, therefore, there would be no reason to develop renewables except for concern with greenhouse gases, she chose not to respond.

I thereupon sent freedom of information requests to both Governor McDonnell and the Secretary of Natural Resources, asking each to produce any documents they had to support their positions that anthropogenic climate change was invalid science or debatable. The response was: Continue reading “FOIA Requests Sent to Richmond on Global Warming” »

This post was submitted by Bishop Dansby.

Do the Super Rich Owe America Anything?

The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released its report to a cheering crowd of enthusiastic supporters of fiscal responsibility but those cheers were drowned out by the thunderous roar of just about everybody else. Unlike the hoax of global warming, the growing national debt is a real and serious problem that will spell doom if not addressed immediately, so say neo-conservatives. The Commission, in its reserved and even-handed examination of the facts and figures, has decided that the working poor must bear as much of the burden as the super rich to rectify this difficult situation. We are Americans; we can do this!   Continue reading “Do the Super Rich Owe America Anything?” »

Hburg, Fall ’10, a Pocket of Political Civility

This was submitted prior to the November 2, but unfortunately was left unpublished prior!

If you’ve followed state and national politics this Fall, you’ve observed rage, bizarre accusations and even occasional violence. What a surprising contrast the Harrisonburg City Council campaigns have been! I’ve seen the 6 candidates display pragmatism, civility and willingness to respectfully disagree. This is by no means typical of local politics or of politics in Harrisonburg (where mention of the city’s ten-year-money-losing golf course can still push bitter buttons). Yet the tone this Fall has seemed remarkably sane. The nonpartisan group, Citizens for Equal Rights, deserves special appreciation for organizing Meet and Greet sessions with each of the six contenders in a private home, open to all. Informal discussions there have proved highly informative, as have the public forums. Voters can find clear differences in policy, such as how to balance taxation with needs in this city which continues to have an unusually low tax rate. We can choose our two next council members from among six very diverse sets of strengths, perspectives and leadership styles . . . but I’ve seen no ideological demagogues/immigrant-bashers/gay-bashers/screamers-toting-guns in the lot. So I think we can feel at least moderately ok about whoever wins. Hburgers, please study your choices and vote on Tuesday!

This post was submitted by Chris Edwards.

I Regret To Inform You That I Will Never Be Rallying For Sanity Again


My enthusiasm sputtered and died as I stood in line at the concessions stand, about the time the seventh person in a witch costume walked past carrying a sign making fun of Christine O’Donnell. I tried to look at it on the bright side – she did manage to temporarily block out my view of the guy roaming a small patch of open grass while performing a minstrel version of “The Times Are A-Changin’”, pausing often for iPhone photo ops with strangers.

But then along came the guy with a sign announcing The End Is Far, after the guy demanding a Return To The Metric System, then a couple holding a giant banner warning of the dangers of a four-hour Boehner, the woman with a giant fake penis strapped around her waist, the woman wearing a sandwich-board homage to masturbation (accompanied by another dig at O’Donnell) and a thousand others that I don’t feel like describing. All of them wore semi-sheepish, aren’t-I-funny? grins, while their fellow rallygoers fell over each other in their haste to photograph the hilarity. This was my Saturday? This is supposed to be meaningful and memorable? Continue reading “I Regret To Inform You That I Will Never Be Rallying For Sanity Again” »

Patriotism Prevails

I suppose it is the confluence of Veterans Day, Election Day and of course, Halloween that compels me to re-examine my deepest feelings about the country in which I am so fortunate to have been born. I fly our flag on appropriate holidays, remembering the days I was in uniform performing color-guard duty. I became very proficient at raising, lowering and folding Old Glory. Now, I just spinher around the staff, fasten her with a rubber band and stick her in the corner of the garage until she is needed again. Continue reading “Patriotism Prevails” »

Protesters Rally at DMV in Harrisonburg: “Hey McDonnell Shame on You. Immigrants are People, Too!”

Harrisonburg- On Wednesday, a crowd of forty community members gathered in front of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Harrisonburg to call attention to Governor Bob McDonnell’s anti-immigrant, discriminatory policies including his recent decision to make it difficult for legal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.

Governor McDonnell has angered Virginia residents with his latest call for the DMV to deny federal Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) as a form of identification in obtaining a driver’s license which protesters say is an act of discrimination against all immigrants. The law causes significant risk for Virginians, especially those who are undocumented, and those on Temporary Protection Status from countries such as Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Somalia and Sudan.

The protesters stood on the sidewalk in front of the DMV chanting Continue reading “Protesters Rally at DMV in Harrisonburg: “Hey McDonnell Shame on You. Immigrants are People, Too!”” »

This post was submitted by Julie Blust . Begins City Council Questionnaire, the longest-running local Harrisonburg news blog, published its first post in a series devoted to sharing Harrisonburg City Council candidate responses to questions submitted by readers.  The first question answered is, “What qualifies you to be on council?”

Six candidates are vying for two spots on the city council on the November 2 election day. Due to my role on city council and close affiliation with the, readers here  are encouraged to look to for community-driven information about this local election.

Immigration Reform Protesters Rally at DMV in Harrisonburg

Harrisonburg residents joined together at the local DMV location to protest Governor McDonnell’s attempts to deny drivers licenses to legal immigrants with work permits.   Isabel Castillo, local organizer, says in a Facebook status update, “We need to send the message that we will not sit idly by as persons who are doing the right thing are punished unjustly.”

The press release is below.  Please share comments about the event below. Continue reading “Immigration Reform Protesters Rally at DMV in Harrisonburg” »

This post was submitted by Julie Blust .

Do We Need to Correct Our Thinking About Corrections?

As a a long time advocate of criminal justice reform, I was heartened by something our new governor Bob McDonnell included in his January 10 Inaugural Address to the Joint Houses:

“Tough sentences are only half of the equation in making Virginia safer. We must provide real opportunities to prisoners to turn their lives around, and to become responsible and contributing members of society when their sentences have concluded. A failure to do so only leads to more crime, and more victims. I will work with faith-based and community organizations to create an effective prisoner re-entry program to keep people out of jails and prisons. It’s smart government, and will save money.”

These are bold words from a governor of a state with the 8th highest per capita incarceration rate in the US, the nation with the distinction of holding more prisoners than any other country in the world, including China. Continue reading “Do We Need to Correct Our Thinking About Corrections?” »

This post was submitted by Harvey Yoder.

Hydrofracking Continues to be Discussed by Citizens

WHSV TV3 is reporting that a citizen meeting today in Broadway focused on the status of hydrofracking in Rockingham County.  While a special use permit to allow hydrofracking remains tabled by the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors and Carrizo, the company proposing the drilling, decided to leave the area, citizens and community organizations met to discuss actions and legislation needed in case hydrofracking is revisisted in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As noted in the story, an aid to Delegate Tony Wilt says his office, “has not yet been contacted by either side about bringing the hydrofracking issue up in the General Assembly’s next session.”

The hydrofracking story is within the first 2:30 of the embedded video.

Bus Chartered for Rally to Restore Sanity

As previously reported, Shenandoah Valley residents are heading to Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity – now by the bus full.   Beginning at noon on October 30, the star of Emmy Award-winning TV program “The Daily Show,” will be hosting the event on the Mall in Washington, DC. A group of area residents, led by Lowell Fulks 7Generations PAC, have contracted for charter buses to bring attendees to the event.

Seats are priced at Continue reading “Bus Chartered for Rally to Restore Sanity” »

Tea Party Revolts over Nothing

The Tea Party/Republicans claim the Democrats are dismantling free enterprise and building up unprecedented debt. Bailing out Wall Street and the car industry, and stimulating the economy were emergency measures. The Tea Party/Republican complaints go to the long term, what to do about the crushing entitlement costs.   Continue reading “Tea Party Revolts over Nothing” »

This post was submitted by Bishop Dansby.

Terrorist Victory? years after the most horrendous attack on American soil, we look back on that tragic September day and reflect on what has transpired since then. When those nineteen fanatics commandeered four jet airliners to use them as weapons against us, we were dumbfounded that our open society could be so vulnerable. The sense of horror and frustration soon gave way to anger, and under the leadership of President George W. Bush, we mobilized an international coalition of nations to take the fight to the terrorists. Continue reading “Terrorist Victory?” »

Valley Delegation to Attend Stewart’s Million Moderate March

Shenandoah Valley residents are organizing to attend Jon Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity,” scheduled for October 30 on the National Mall.  Lowell Fulk, among others, is extending an invitation for people up and down the Valley to carpool to the event described by Stewart as being “for the people who’ve been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) — not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence… we couldn’t. That’s sort of the point.”

Currently the Valley-centric Facebook event shows close to 2,000 people having been invited to attend.  See Fulk’s email below: Continue reading “Valley Delegation to Attend Stewart’s Million Moderate March” »

Governor McDonnell: Global Warming Skeptic

Governor Bob McDonnell held a town meeting at JMU last week. I had an opportunity to ask him whether he was prepared to support policies that would reduce greenhouse emissions to avoid the worst impacts of global warming (see video inset).
In the course of his answer, he revealed that he thought it was still debatable as to whether climate change was anthropogenic (caused by man). This and other statements made it clear that none of his policies would be based on the assumption that man’s use of fossil fuels was the cause of climate change.

It is clear that this administration takes its cues from coal and the electric utilities that run largely on coal. McDonnell specifically stated that he is a “supporter of coal.” He more than once stated that no one Continue reading “Governor McDonnell: Global Warming Skeptic” »

This post was submitted by Bishop Dansby.

EMU Grad Pushes Gov. McDonnell On DREAM Act

Updated with Video

Governor McDonnell nodded as Isabel Castillo told him how she’d come to the United States at age 6, earned a 4.0 GPA in high school and graduated magna cum laude from Eastern Mennonite University in 2009.

Then, her voice cracking with emotion as she spoke at a town hall meeting the governor hosted at JMU, Castillo surprised the crowd of several hundred into momentary silence when she said, “But I’m undocumented.” Continue reading “EMU Grad Pushes Gov. McDonnell On DREAM Act” »

Cuccinelli Abuses Office

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (Image from AP)

Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli has filed a petition on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia to request the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider the regulation of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide.  The petition says that the hacked emails (“climategate”) of the scientists coordinating the International Panel on Climate Change (IPC) raise such doubts as to the integrity of the IPCC conclusions that the EPA should reconsider regulation. In general, the petition questions the validity of anthropogenic climate change, that is, global warming caused by man made emissions.

On July 29, 2010, the EPA denied the AG’s petition, citing the Continue reading “Cuccinelli Abuses Office” »

This post was submitted by Bishop Dansby.

Redistricting Public Hearings Set

A release from Delegate Mark Cole announced today that public hearings will be held throughout the Commonwealth related to the redistricting process.  Roanoke and Richmond are the closest locations for Harrisonburg residents.

Press Release

Delegate Mark L. Cole of Fredericksburg today announced that the redistricting subcommittee of the House of Delegates Committee on Privileges and Elections has scheduled a series of six public hearings throughout the Commonwealth to encourage broad public input into the redistricting process. The six different public hearings will take place in September, October, and December of this year in preparation for the redistricting process that will occur in 2011.  Continue reading “Redistricting Public Hearings Set” »

Coffee Party learns about hydro-fracking

An example of a hydrofracking site in New York

The Coffee Party, a national response to the infamous “Tea Party” movement, is a group who wants to see co-operation and positive solutions in government. A local chapter meets on the second Saturday of the month in Bridgewater.

On Saturday morning August 14, about 35 folks showed up to learn about the current status of the controversial natural gas mining process known as “hydro-fracking” in Rockingham county. The presenter was Kim Sandum, director of the Community Alliance for Preservation, or CAP.

Hydraulic fracturing, or “hydro-fracking,” is an industrial-scale process that involves injecting toxic chemicals, sand, and millions of gallons of water under high pressure directly into shale formations. This toxic brew, along with any natural gas, is then extracted, or leaked to the surface. There is great potential for contamination of sources of drinking water, among other hazards, including destruction or damage of national forest and small county roads. Continue reading “Coffee Party learns about hydro-fracking” »

This post was submitted by Diana Woodall.