Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Frank Wolf Finally Comments!

Well, well, Frank Wolf has finally opened his mouth and commented on an issue we all care deeply about. No, it's not the $5 billion Metro to Dulles project, the troubled economy, global warming, or the disastrous situation in Iraq. No, it's something much more important than any of those things -- at least to Frank Wolf. I'm talking about, of course, the retirement announcement of Wolf's buddy Tom Davis.
"He led the way on a lot of things," Wolf said.

"He can tell you what the margin was for some race in North Dakota in 1956," said Wolf. "I don't know anyone who knows more about government and politics, and he loves it."
So there you have it, leadership by Frank Wolf. No, not on things we care about like Metro to Dulles, Iraq, the housing meltdown, children's health care, or anything trivial along those lines. But when it comes to NOVA losing the encyclopedic political knowledge of Tom Davis, now THAT is something Frank Wolf wants to talk about. I mean, c'mon, it's Frank Wolf's buddy Tom Davis! And he knows the margin for some race in North Dakota in 1956! And he's retiring! And...oh, forget it.

Tom Davis to Retire. Hint, Hint FrankWolf!

What is this, the day for withdrawals and retirements? Giuliani, it's Tom Davis:
U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) said today he will retire from Congress at the end of the year, bringing to a close a 14-year stint in the House of Representatives during which he rose rapidly through the ranks of Republican leadership and championed such issues as D.C. voting rights and a vibrant defense-contracting industry.

"It's time for me to take a sabbatical," Davis said. "I would say I'm not ruling out future public service, but it's time to be refreshed, to see what it's like in the private sector. That doesn't mean I will or won't come back."

Hey, that sounds like a great idea -- retire and go make big bucks in the private sector. In fact, it sounds like SUCH a great idea I hereby suggest it for Frank Wolf as well. I've even got a job suggestion for Wolf. Kidding! :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

No Leadership from Frank Wolf, How about from Marc Fisher?

Since we're obviously getting no leadership from "leaders" like Frank Wolf on the Metro to Dulles debacle, how about leadership from Washington Post columnists? For instance, Marc Fisher totally gets it (my comments follow in italics):
So, if the feds really do stop the flow of dollars to the Dig to Dulles, what next? What can the state do?

* A pause of a year or two might be good for the project's future -- if the Democrats regain the presidency. Simpson is no enemy of mass transit: He just approved more than a billion bucks for New York City's Second Avenue subway project, an undertaking every bit as massive as Metro's Dulles extension. But a transit-friendly Democrat in the White House probably would be more aggressive about making sure Metro finds a path to a new rail line.
At this point, taking a year or two "pause" in order to get this crucial $5 billion infrastructure right for Virginia is definitely a good idea. Don't panic, don't rush this thing, and don't do it wrong in the haste to do anything!
* Advocates for bus rapid transit will jump to the fore, and there might even be a resurgence of interest in light rail. Both modes are vastly cheaper than heavy rail, and both have avid fans in the transportation biz.
Why NOT look at all alternatives to heavy rail? What's the goal here, anyway? Is it to get people to and from the airport most efficiently? At the lowest cost? With "smart growth" benefits along the way? Or is it to increase property values for major land owners in the corridor? Hopefully, it's not the latter option; if not, we should be considering Metro alongside other possibilities to move comparable numbers of people in comfort, convenience, and cost-effectiveness to and from Dulles Airport.
* Ditch Bechtel. The company that last week agreed to shell out $352 million to settle claims against its botched work on Boston's Big Dig tunnel project is also one of the two big companies that make up Dulles Transit Partners, which got the contract to design and build the rail line. The feds don't mention Bechtel in their letter, but they express deep concern about likely cost overruns and delays, an echo of the horrific experience in Massachusetts.
I've also addressed this issue ad nauseum. Bechtel's a disaster, but even worse is the whole idea of "no-bid" contracts. Open this thing up, and let's get the best deal for the taxpayers -- us, in other words!
* Bag the airports authority. The feds did get specific about their doubts that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which the state chose to run the Dulles rail construction process, has the experience needed to control the costs and schedule of such a complex project.
Dumping the airports authority (MWAA) is a no-brainer, given the total conflict of interest there (MWAA will directly benefit from construction of a rail line to Dulles Airport, but could care less how much taxpayers fork over for it, how it affects development in Tysons Corner, etc.). Also, Marc Fisher makes a good point - what on earth does an AIRPORT AUTHORITY know about running a RAILROAD?!? In sum, it's high time to get MWAA out of the picture here.
* Give Metro the dedicated funding stream it desperately needs. Metro has no steady source of money for capital projects and operational costs. "Metro -- unlike all other major systems -- remains uniquely dependent on annual operating subsidies from its member jurisdictions as well as revenue it generates internally from passenger fares, advertising and parking," the Brookings Institution's Robert Puentes writes.
I've addressed the issue of fixing Metro first BEFORE proceeding with any extensions to the system. As I wrote Saturday, "It almost seems to go without saying that "doing it right" should involve ensuring that the new "Silver Line" meshes with the existing Metro system." Now that we have a brief "cooling off" period, let's take the time to address this issue. Let's also get a Representative who will listen to their constituents and get the best value for our money. Needless to say, that would be Judy Feder, not the current Congressman from the 10th CD.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Frank Wolf, The Ceremonial Congressman

Frank Wolf does love the ceremonial. From swearing-in firefighters to speaking on Martin Luther King day, our Congressman makes the rounds being seen in the community, doing ceremonial things. He is a master of the photo op and the three-line blurb. His skill in this area allows him to maintain a strong level of mild approval and name recognition. However, a rational look at both his record and his influence demonstrates that Frank Wolf is all style, and no substance. He is a ceremonial Congressman, with only the efficacy of a figurehead.

We could start with SCHIP. On this important issue, Frank Wolf was against it before he was for it. Like a figurehead, he only points in the direction other people turn him. As the dean of the Virginia delegation to Congress, it should be his responsibility to not only vote for SCHIP, but to convince his Virginia colleagues to do so as well. If it is good enough to vote for, it should be good enough to fight for. But Frank Wolf has done no fighting on behalf of Virginia's uninsured kids. His silence stands in sharp contrast with his claim to be one of the most important Republicans in Congress (he's a member of the Appropriations Committee, after all).

This raises the question of Frank Wolf's influence and effectiveness as a Representative. While Wolf has railed against tolls on the Greenway and tried to fund rail to Dulles, his record of success in these signature areas is remarkably slim. He took credit for adding money to the Dulles Rail project in 2007, when he also spoke out strongly against a tunnel, so surely he must also take blame for the near-collapse of the project today. For a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and a twenty-six year veteran of Congress to have a Federal agency controlled by his own party thwart the most important project in his district, without his advanced knowledge is a demonstration of irrelevance, not influence. It is as if the President of his own party knows that Frank Wolf has no real power, and can thus be ignored.

If Frank Wolf is not showing leadership in his caucus or among the Virginia delegation, and there is little recent evidence of any kind of influence he may wield over issues that are important to Loudoun and the 10th District, is he at least looking out for us in Congress?

On this final issue, the answer remains "no." In a time of economic uncertainty and mortgage catastrophe, Frank Wolf's attention has been elsewhere. Even as Congress works to mitigate the foreclosure crisis, Frank Wolf spend his time dealing with Connecticut Indian tribes. While our neighbors are losing their jobs, Frank Wolf is employing people in other states to look at porn. And while our troops have been fighting in Iraq, Frank Wolf claimed credit for a memorial to the Civil War.

On the Iraq issue, Wolf's lack of effectiveness is incredibly stark. He was a major sponsor of the legislation creating the Iraq Study Group, but when the time came to implement the Group's recommendations, Frank Wolf abandoned his own solution and voted against the recommendations.

So yes, Frank Wolf attends many ceremonies, memorials, celebrations and parades in Loudoun. But that is all he does - show up and be seen. We neither want nor need a ceremonial Congressman, but someone who will fight for the citizens of the 10th in Congress. We need a Congressperson who will help effect change in our Iraq policy, who will help fix our healthcare system, and who will take action on our behalf.

The 10th District should not stand on ceremony. The 10th District should elect Judy Feder.

(Crossposted from Leesburg Tomorrow.)

The Dulles Debacle Gets Worse

It's hard to believe, but the debacle over Metro to Dulles is actually getting worse. See here for more. The question is, aside from talk, what on earth are "leaders" like Frank Wolf DOING about this situation? Does he have severe laryngitis or something? How come we never hear a peep out of him on what is ONLY the most important infrastructure project in NOVA in decades?!?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Metro to Dulles in Deep Trouble. Where's Wolf?

It's Saturday after the announcement that Metro to Dulles is on life support (or possibly having passed into the great beyond). My question is simple: does anyone know where their Congressman is? Seriously, has anyone heard Frank Wolf say one word about the FTA's decision to reject his pet project, the one he worked on his seemingly endless, multi-decade career in Congress? Has anyone seen any sign of leadership on Wolf's part? Can anyone tell me why I keep hearing crickets chirping loudly in the background? Chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp....

Friday, January 25, 2008

Blogger Badges

Judy Feder for CongressFYI, if you want to let everyone know that you support Judy Feder for Congress, check out the blogger badges here. Now, if we could just get a "Farewell Frank" badge, I'd be REALLY happy! :)

Feder: Wolf Has Some Explaining to Do on Rail to Dulles!

From the Feder for Congress cmapaign...
FTA Rejects Rail to Dulles

Wolf Fails to Deliver on Transportation Project He Once Called

“The only bright hope for the region.”

McLean, VA — With the news this morning that rail to Dulles is all but dead [Washington Post, Dulles Rail Project All but Dead, January 25, 2008], Congressman Frank Wolf will have some explaining to do to the residents of Virginia’s 10th Congressional District.

“Frank Wolf has claimed that Rail to Dulles was his top priority and that he was working hard to get it done. In November of last year, just two months ago, Congressman Wolf claimed: ‘after years and years of talk, this project is on the brink of reality,’” said Judy Feder. “Now because of Wolf’s lack of leadership it’s instead on the brink of extinction. People in the 10th district deserve better than that.”

The rail to Dulles project—Congressman Wolf’s signature transportation project—was expected to bring relief to the region’s roads and help alleviate traffic congestion. The failure of the project comes as a shock to constituents in the 10th District who believed Congressman Wolf’s promise that the project—in his words, “the only bright hope for the region”— was indeed “on the brink of reality.” Rail to Dulles was the #1 transportation priority for northern Virginia. Wolf himself has said, “We need rail. Without rail there is no hope.” The project’s rejection will only add to the transportation woes in northern Virginia.

“For 27 years, Wolf has focused almost exclusively on transportation,” said Feder. “What do we have to show for it? Real leadership means more than just synchronizing traffic lights. The transportation mess in northern Virginia has grown worse and now the top transportation priority for the region has been scuttled while Congressman Wolf stood idly by.”

Judy Feder laid out several priorities for getting the rail to Dulles project back on track:

* Full consideration of the Tysons Tunnel option. The below-ground option creates the potential for Tysons Corner to be a vibrant mixed-use development while providing economic and environmental benefits for the community at large.
* A transparent and open process – subject to public input and scrutiny.
* Competitive bidding to provide the best value for taxpayer dollars – no more sweetheart deals for Bechtel.

“When it comes to fixing our transportation problems in northern Virginia, I won’t take No for an answer. Congressman Frank Wolf’s failure on this key issue is a clear signal that he’s been in Congress too long and it’s time for a change. Northern Virginia needs a new voice in Congress working to solve our transportation problems.”

In 2006, Judy Feder mounted the strongest challenge to Frank Wolf in nearly a quarter century, waging a vigorous campaign and raising an unprecedented $1.6 million. Though Feder entered the 2006 race a mere 10 months before Election Day, she cut Wolf's margin of victory dramatically from 2004, revealing growing discontent with the longtime incumbent. Feder begins her 2008 rematch with Wolf as one of only a handful of challengers nationwide to have more cash on hand than an incumbent Member of Congress.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Judy's January Newsletter

From the Feder campaign...
Campaign News Update 1/24/08

Gearing Up the Grassroots

It's finally time! Thanks to your help we had a great 2007. Now it's time to get the grassroots in gear. The first order of business is to gather the 1,000 signatures necessary to get Judy on the ballot.

Judy's already hard at work collecting signatures. See the picture (right) with Salona precinct captain LaVerne Taylor being one of the first to sign Judy's petition. Before LaVerne started delivering Salona for the Democrats every election she was a political pioneer in her own right. As State Auditor of Montana she was one of the first female elected officials west of the Mississippi.

Can you help gather signatures for Judy? Click here to lend LaVerne and Judy a hand.

The Washington Post: "Feder Building Campaign War Chest"

Our financial strength has caught the attention of the national media, with the Washington Post noting the increasing size of our formidable war chest. The incredible outpouring of support for our campaign demonstrates that Virginians are frustrated with the lack of leadership in Washington and ready for change in 2008.

Click here to keep the momentum going with a contribution today!

Frankly, Why Frank's Franking

Frank Wolf never put together much of a record on health care. Therefore it was a surprise when a postcard on Wolf's health care record landed in 10th District mailboxes recently. The glossy mailing, paid for at taxpayer expense, does it's best to hide Wolf's record of failure on health care issues during his 27 years in Congress.

Wolf’s dismal record on health care includes voting to allow insurance companies, not doctors and patients to make health care decisions, gutting state protections for diseases like diabetes and breast cancer and repeatedly voting against potentially life saving stem-cell research. Wolf also initially opposed the State Children's Health Insurance Program before a politically motivated conversion this summer.

You can see Wolf's mailing and get the real scoop on the Wolf record on our blog at:

December Challenge Update

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! On December 6th we asked for your help to raise $35,000 online in the last 25 days of 2007. You blew us away with your generosity and enthusiasm. 238 individuals gave online for a total of $72,069.08 in only 25 days! Judy's never been stronger and it's all because of you!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Frankly, Why Frank's Franking

The image here is of a fancy "franked" mail piece that Frank Wolf recently sent out on health care. Last year, Leesburg Today did an expose of Frank Wolf's franking. As the Daily Whackjob blog explained at the time:
For the uninitiated, franking is the privilege given to members of Congress that allows them to send mail to their constituents for free by signing their name in the upper right hand corner, where a stamp normally be placed.

Franking is one of the reasons that incumbents are hard to unseat. While franking cannot be used for campaign purposes (in much the same way that campaign calls and work cannot be done from a congressional office), incumbents can tout their accomplishments to everyone in their district for free, while challengers have to pay the costs associated with material creation and postage.<

Frank Wolf has used franking in the past more heavily in election years

The blog quotes the Leesburg Today article:
The numbers show that franked mail from that office goes up in election years. Wolf spent $90,417 in 2002, an election year, but only $73,304 the next year. In the next election year, 2004, Wolf spent $115,881 on franked mail. In 2005, when there was no election, the amount dropped to $66,285. As of May 23, Wolf had spent $34,232 this year.

Even better:
“The format has changed,” said Wolf Chief of Staff Dan Scandling, noting that previously the 26-year congressman sent a single annual mailing. That mailing was made in a newspaper-style format and offered all of the congressman’s votes for the year. The new format includes 8.5-inch by 11-inch glossy, full-color, card-stock mailers that closely resemble the campaign mailers typically seen during election cycles. The new format also includes sending press releases to individual homes.

To summarize, Frank Wolf has been using his congressional franking privileges to send out glossy, full-colr, card-stock mailers touting his "accomplishments" to voters in his district. Now, it's an election year, and Wolf's cranking up the franking once again. Why? Perhaps because he's running scared of Judy Feder? Or maybe he just feels insecure about his record on health care, such as his votes against reauthorizing and expanding SCHIP to cover millions more kids (there's another vote today on overriding President Bush's veto -- no mention in his glossy mailer!)? Or maybe all the glossiness is merely a smokescreen for the fact that all Wolf has to offer on healthcare are same old tired solutions to health care problem that haven’t solved the problem in his 27 years in office?

Anyway, enjoy the rest of the franked mailer from Frank. Heck, you might as well enjoy it; you paid for it with YOUR tax dollars! :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Just What We Need, Another Commission!

In December 2006, the Iraq Study Group issued its report. Among other things, the panel -- first proposed by our own Rep. Frank Wolf -- recommended a phased troop redeployment and negotiations with nations in the region including Syria and Iran. The problem is, the report's recommendations were slammed by conservatives as "Operation White Flag", among other things. Since then, Congress has held a series of party-line votes, with Republicans like Frank Wolf voting in lockstep to uphold George W. Bush's Iraq policy, and Democrats mainly voting to place benchmarks and timetables on the Iraqi government and the war in general.

Meanwhile, the Iraq Study Group Recommendations Implementation Act of 2007 was introduced in June 2007 but has "received no action."

Given all that, you'd think the last thing we need is yet another commission to study the Iraq fiasco. Believe it or not, though, that's exactly what Rep. Frank Wolf has in mind:

The Iraq Study Group might get a second go-round. Legislation pushed by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), which is now law, directs the U.S. Institute of Peace to support a second version of the commission that would send former Rep. Lee Hamilton and former Secretary of State James Baker III and two other commissioners to Iraq to assess the situation. Hamilton has told the Institute that he is prepared to go, according to Hamilton and an Institute spokesman.

“I think they could really be an asset,” said Wolf. “They ought to do it sooner and not later.” The Iraq Study Group initially recommended negotiations with neighboring countries and a gradual troop withdrawal. A second report, however, is waiting on Baker.

So...Iraq Study Group Part Deux? For the purpose of...what, having Republicans like Frank Wolf ignore its recommendations once again? What a great idea; thank you Frank Wolf!

Friday, January 18, 2008

What Does Frank Wolf Have Against Miners?

Another year, another bad vote by Frank Wolf. This time, Wolf voted against HR 918, "Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2768) to establish improved mandatory standards to protect miners during emergencies."

What does Frank Wolf have against miners, anyway?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

No "Federian Spin" Zone Here!

I like Renaissance Ruminations -- a well-written, well-reasoned Republican blog (what a concept!). Which is why I was a bit surprised by this, something about "Federian spin," whatever that might be. Anyway, here's my response to Bwana, editor of Renaissance Ruminations:
There are several inaccuracies here that need to be corrected.

1. I didn’t write the Feder press release on her 4th quarter fundraising, so I’m not sure why you’re talking about how I “spin” things. Also, she’s the one who raised the money, all I did was promote her on the blogs.

2. I’m not sure how you figure that Judy’s fundraising fell. Here are the actual numbers for 2007:

2nd quarter - $111K
3rd quarter - $223K
4th quarter - $241K

That sure looks like an increase to me, no spin required whatsoever.

3. I didn’t write “almost $250,000.00″ — that was Tim Craig in the Washington Post (I linked to his article and blockquoted from it).

4. Obviously, Judy’s outstanding fundraising success doesn’t mean that she still isn’t an underdog to entrenched incumbent Frank Wolf. Having said that, why on earth wouldn’t we celebrate great news for our candidate and take it as an optimistic sign for the future? What’s “spin” about that?

5. The point about Wolf “running scared” is that his own fundraising appeals are sounding rather panicky. Don’t take my word for it, check them out for yourself. Oh, and if Frank Wolf wants to believe that he’s totally safe in his seat, that’s fine with me — just sit back, relax, and we’ll see what happens! :)

6. I’ve said this a million times, but I’ll keep saying it: I strongly backed Judy Feder in 2006 when I wasn’t being paid a penny. I strongly backed Judy Feder during the first half of 2007 when I wasn’t being paid a penny. And now, I continue to strongly back Judy Feder, the only difference is that I’m being paid for my blogging assistance. Could it be that I simply dislike Frank Wolf and strongly believe that Judy Feder would make a superb Congresswoman for the 10th district? Or is that too straightforward in the ever-suspicious world of politics? :)

The bottom line is that we don't need any "spin" to demonstrate why Frank Wolf needs to be replaced by Judy Feder. Simply look at Wolf's votes, look at Judy's qualifications, and make up your own mind.

P.S. For Bwana's most reasonable response, see here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hey Vern?

You may be aware that Frank Wolf is being challenged by another Republican this year -- a man named Vern P. McKinley (not pictured at left), who says he's a Goldwater/Reagan conservative. More likely, you're NOT aware that Frank Wolf is being challenged by another Republican this year, because Mr. McKinley has run one of the quietest "campaigns" I've ever seen. So far, McKinley's issued 10 press releases -- about 1 per month -- and raised $6,325 (he's also loaned himself $10,000). That's about it, as far as I know.

In contrast, Wolf's Democratic challenger, Judy Feder, has raised almost $600,000 in 2007 and over $240,000 in the fourth quarter alone. She's been traveling all over the district, talking to voters and campaigning for Democratic candidates. And she's been critiquing Frank Wolf's record, just as a serious challenger's supposed to do. Apparently, these Reagan/Goldwater conservatives must think the "invisible hand" will make them the nominee or something, or that success will "trickle down" upon them without any effort on their part. Luckily, Judy Feder doesn't think that way. She knows it's time for Frank Wolf to go, and she's busting her tail to make sure that's exactly what happens.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Huge Fundraising For Judy Feder

Very impressive, to put it mildly -- watch out Frank Wolf!
The much anticipated 2007 fundraising numbers won’t officially be released until the end of the month. But I want you to be one of the first to know about our great year.

We'’re announcing today that we raised almost $600,000 in 2007 and better than $240,000 in the fourth quarter alone!

The incredible outpouring of support for our campaign demonstrates that Virginians are frustrated with the lack of leadership in Washington and ready for change in 2008.

During the next ten months I'll continue to travel the district, listening to your concerns and discussing how we can work together for a new direction in Washington.

I am so grateful for your support over the past year. Thanks to your help we built a tremendous amount of momentum in 2007. Together we’ll use it to change our country in 2008.


Judy Feder

Monday, January 14, 2008

Judy Welcomes Margi to Richmond!

From a friend...thanks! Also, congratulations to Margi Vanderhye, who I see has already introduced some great legislation. Cross-posted at Raising Kaine.
Yesterday around 100 friends and family members joined Delegate Margi Vanderhye for her ceremonial swearing in. It was a rare opportunity for most of us to step onto the house floor for a birds eye view of a delegate's working environment. Delegate Vanderhye as always looked great. The best news of all is that after 40 years of republican rule the 34th House District will now be served by an intelligent, able, and forward thinking democrat.

Delegate Vanderhye thanked all of those in attendance. She noted that she visited the House chamber when she was a teenager and promised that she would return! Here at RK we just want to say WELCOME BACK Margi, WELCOME BACK!

*Hoping to duplicate the same success as Delegate Vanderhye, Judy Feder was one of many guests to join Margi and her family is yesterday's ceremonial proceedings.

*Delegate Vanderhye sits at her desk. Here she is seen with former staffers Julia and Jessica. During the session Delegate Bouchard and Delegate Amundson will sit next to her.

*A birds eye view of Delegate Vanderhye's desk.

This is Worth its Own Diary!

Promoted from the comments section of a recent diary on Frank Wolf and the Theocrats...
I'm Jeff Sharlet, the author of the 2003 Harper's article that identified Frank Wolf as connected to the Family, a secretive network of elite fundamentalists in government, the military and business. Harper's, as many readers know, is an old and august magazine, hardly prone to conspiracy theory; that article went through fact checking and legal review. Nothing was disputed.

Late April, I'll be coming out with the result of four years of research related to the group Wolf is associated with: "THE FAMILY: THE SECRET FUNDAMENTALISM AT THE HEART OF AMERICAN POWER," to be published by HarperCollins on May 20. (In stores late April).

Here's a sample of the rhetoric of Doug Coe, the leader of the Family. In this sermon, he's discussing his method for winning a congressmen to his peculiar concept of Christ: "You say, hey, you know Jesus said you got to put Him before
mother-father-brother-sister? HITLER, LENIN, MAO, THAT'S WHAT THEY TAUGHT THE KIDS... Mao even had the kids killing their own mother and father. But it wasn't murder. It was for building the new nation. The new state. The new kingdom."

Here's Coe on the secrecy of the organization he built: "The more you can make your organization invisible the more influence it will have. Jesus Christ, when he organizes, the way he puts the organization together he makes it invisible."

In THE FAMILY, I tell the 70-year-history of the group (as well as write about several different fronts of contemporary fundamentalism). The group has long been involved with some very nasty stuff -- genocide in Indonesia, support for military dictators in Central America, etc. Wolf's specialty is Eastern Europe.

In 2004, Wolf's Democratic opponent tried to put this issue into the public. The Washington Post broke several rules of journalistic ethics to defend Wolf. (I taught journalism for 2 1/2 years in New York University's graduate journalism program, I'm a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and Harper's, I've been a senior writer for The Chronicle of Higher Education; which is to say, I'm for better and worse a media insider). The paper had to issue two corrections, as I recall, though they never apologized for writing an editorial defending Wolf BEFORE they sent out a reporter to investigate the allegations.

I can't speak to Wolf's qualities as a congressman, but I'm quite certain that a close association with a group as contemptuous of democracy as the Family is not good for the citizens of northern Virginia or the rest of us. I hope you'll all take Representative Wolf to task for refusal to come clean on his associations.

And, I admit, I hope you'll buy the book. THE FAMILY. It's an uphill fight to get this issue into the public. Both Harper's and the LA Times have examined the Family and found some frightening things (please -- ignore the conspiratorial stuff online), and yet the rest of the press takes a pass. That's not the way it is everywhere -- in 2004 and 5, Norwegian reporters, concerned about their own conservative government's ties with this group, put it on the front page for weeks. That government was voted out. That's how democracy works, right?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Frank Wolf and the "Christian Nationalists"

Courtesy of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee, perhaps this explains our previous article about Wolf's support for an abortion ban in Israel (bolding added for emphasis).
The Family Research Council (FRC), a “Christian Nationalist” organization with strong ties to Loudoun has once again awarded Frank Wolf a 100% perfect score for promoting their mission to subvert our democracy and turn America into a “Christian Nation.” Formerly headed by Gary Bauer, the FRC has been one of the worst offenders working to undermine the religious freedom of everyone except themselves.

Then there's this article, which discusses another group Frank Wolf associates with (the "Family" -- "a secretive association of dominionist politicians and others that can be regarded as the first documented dominionist group in the US"):
The Family is, in its own words, an “invisible” association, though its membership has always consisted mostly of public men. Senators Don Nickles (R., Okla.), Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), Pete Domenici (R., N.Mex.), John Ensign (R., Nev.), James Inhofe (R., Okla.), Bill Nelson (D., Fla.), and Conrad Burns (R., Mont.) are referred to as “members,” as are Representatives Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), Frank Wolf (R., Va.), Joseph Pitts (R., Pa.), Zach Wamp (R., Tenn.), and Bart Stupak (D., Mich.). Regular prayer groups have met in the Pentagon and at the Department of Defense, and the Family has traditionally fostered strong ties with businessmen in the oil and aerospace industries. The Family maintains a closely guarded database of its associates, but it issues no cards, collects no official dues. Members are asked not to speak about the group or its activities.


...During the 1960s the Family forged relationships between the U.S. government and some of the most anti-Communist (and dictatorial) elements within Africa's postcolonial leadership. The Brazilian dictator General Costa e Silva, with Family support, was overseeing regular fellowship groups for Latin American leaders, while, in Indonesia, General Suharto (whose tally of several hundred thousand “Communists” killed marks him as one of the century's most murderous dictators) was presiding over a group of fifty Indonesian legislators. During the Reagan Administration the Family helped build friendships between the U.S. government and men such as Salvadoran general Carlos Eugenios Vides Casanova, convicted by a Florida jury of the torture of thousands, and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, himself an evangelical minister, who was linked to both the CIA and death squads before his own demise. “We work with power where we can,” the Family's leader, Doug Coe, says, “build new power where we can't.”

Yes, this is the group that "moderate" Frank Wolf belongs to. What more do you need to know about this guy? No, he's NOT who you thought he was.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Completely Outrageous

This is completely outrageous on a number of levels:
Three Republican members of Congress -- Frank Wolf of Virginia and Congressional Pro-Life Caucus co-chairs Chris Smith of New Jersey and Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania -- are in Israel this week lobbying for an abortion ban there.

Israeli press coverage of the visit did not mention Smith's 2004 comparison of abortion to the Holocaust. Instead, it was reported that the congressmen were concerned about Israelis' declining birth rate compared to that of the Palestinians. They are working with Shas, the ultra-orthodox Sephardic party and its rabbinic council, which believes that "abortions are a grave sin which may even delay the coming of the messiah."

But just like here, this is a minority view; according to a recent poll, only 30% of Israelis believe that abortion is murder.

Frank Wolf's out-of-the-mainstream views are bad enough, but now he's meddling in another country's affairs with someone who compares abortion to the Nazi Holocaust? He's messing around with people who believe that abortion may "delay the coming of the messiah?" He's trying to impose his absolutist anti-abortion views on a country where 70% of people disagree with him, and where they've got a lot more pressing problems? Is THIS the kind of representation people want in the 10th district? Right, I didn't think so.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Fairfax, Prince William Democratic Committees Choose New Leadership

Last night was a big night for the Fairfax and Prince William County Democratic committees, as both voted for new leadership. In Fairfax, Judy Feder was present as Scott Surovell defeated Steve Bunn, 217 votes (59%) to 152 votes (41%), for FCDC chair. Scott emphasized the importance of FCDC operating on "all cylinders," pointing out that if it doesn't, we end up with people like Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling in office. Scott declared, "We're gonna take this committee to the next level." He added, "I've got a lot of energy, we're gonna do great things." I'm sure he will...great things like helping to take back the 10th and 11th CD's for the Democrats this November!

Meanwhile, in Prince William County, Pete Frisbie was elected to serve a full two year term has chairman. Frisbie, just 28 years old, is one the youngest chairs of a local political party committee of any party in Virginia. Also elected as Vice Chairs were Kevin English in the 1st CD, Cindy Kennedy in the 10th CD, and Ernestine Jenkins in the 11th CD. Jim O'Connor and Dottie Holley were elected as Recording Secretary and Corresponding Secretary, respectively, with Bill Westhoff elected as Treasurer.

Congratulations to everyone who was elected last night; 2008 should be a great year, and you'll all be a big part of it!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Leesburg Tomorrow Endorses Judy Feder

During the 2006 campaign, I worked for all our Democratic candidates. Here in Leesburg I was proud to hand out Webb and Feder materials at the Farmers' Market. In 2007, I volunteered for Kelly Burk's campaign, and worked for our other fantastic candidates, like Mike George and John Flannery. We were lucky to effect some great changes here in Loudoun as a result of November's elections. In 2008, there is remarkable Democratic energy around the Presidential campaign, energy which may translate downticket to the Congressional race against Frank Wolf.


The 10th District has a primary this year, on June 10th, to decide who will face Frank Wolf in November. Democrats in Loudoun, Fairfax, Warren, Fauquier, Frederick, Clark and Prince William Counties (and many cities and towns therein) will decide between Mike Turner and Judy Feder to compete in this race.

Leesburg Tomorrow happily and heartily supports Judy Feder as the Democratic Party's challenger to Frank Wolf in the 10th District. I have three main reasons for supporting Judy again this year.
  • Healthcare - The biggest reason I support Judy this year is healthcare. Our next President will face a great challenge in bringing healthcare reform to America. To do that, he or she will need a strong and experienced partner in the Congress. Judy Feder has spent her career in public service and is an expert on healthcare policy. She is a veteran of the healthcare fight of the 1990s, and will be able to help the Democratic leadership avoid the pitfalls of fourteen years ago in the next Congress. Judy has the skills and knowhow to help make healthcare reform work for America.

  • Candidate Experience - Judy Feder was our candidate in 2006. That kind of experience counts. It matters because Judy has continuing name recognition from the 2006 election, as well as an established network of supporters from that run throughout the 10th district. It matters because second chance Democrats have had good luck running for Congress of late (Nancy Boyda, Joe Donnelly, Paul Hodes). Judy continued fighting for Democrats in the 10th after losing her race in 2006, helping all our candidates in 2007. In many ways, her 2008 campaign began in 2006. She is in the best position to cross the finish line in November and take the race for the Democrats.

  • Intellectual Rigor - Judy is a tenured Georgetown professor. (She stepped down from her position as Dean of the Public Policy Institute there to focus on the campaign this year.) The House of Representatives is a body dominated by nitty-gritty proposals and detailed, technical hearings. It is in the House that very nuanced and difficult problems are discussed, evaluated and solutions proposed. Our Representative should have a background in rational rigor, capable of insuring that the ideas put forth for consideration really are the best, most effective ideas. The discipline of academic review and teaching gives Judy experience in giving and taking criticism, while advancing ideas through opposition and bureaucracy. Is there anything more deliberative than Congress? Perhaps so: The professor's lounge at a major University.
For these reasons and more, on June 10th I will proudly cast my primary ballot for the next Democrat to represent the 10th District, Judy Feder.

Monday, January 7, 2008

"A New Day in Loudoun"....and America!

The Washington Post writes that it's a "New Day in Loudoun," and "time for a middle course."
...Upon taking office four years ago, the Republicans who then controlled the Board of Supervisors immediately launched what amounted to a coup d'etat, stripping Chairman Scott K. York (I) -- the board's only member elected countywide -- of most of his powers. They then embarked on a growth-at-all-costs policy that bore little relation to either their campaign promises or the stated desires of most county residents. So much for the will of the people.

Thus it was gratifying the other day to see a newly elected board take office, shorn now of the Republican majority that was defeated at the polls. And it was heartening to watch it take up, as its first official business, the restoration of Mr. York's albeit mostly symbolic powers. That alone will not heal the wounds caused by the last board's arrogance, but it was a start.
Right, "it was a start" in Loudoun County. And, come November, it can be a "start" in Washington, DC as well, with a new president and a new representative for the 10th district. Go Judy!

Friday, January 4, 2008

"Return to Normalcy" in Loudoun County

The other day, I wrote about the good things that happen when Democrats take charge from Republicans. Today, there's more evidence of this phenomenon in Loudoun County:
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, led by a freshly minted Democratic majority, took a sharp turn at its first meeting yesterday, reversing course on several of the previous Republican-led board's efforts.

As one of its first acts, the board gave Chairman Scott K. York (I) a host of powers that the previous board had stripped from him four years ago. In November, voters ousted four Republicans who had been supportive of growth and development and often clashed with York because of his slow-growth stance.

The board, now made up of five Democrats, two Republicans and two independents, voted unanimously and without comment yesterday to restore York's powers, including the right to set the board's agenda.

"A return to normalcy doesn't require a lot of comment," said James G. Burton (I-Blue Ridge).
This is more like Democracy's supposed to work, as opposed to the "power plays" used by the Republicans when they were in charge. And this -- a "return to normalcy" in our Democracy -- is exactly why we need more Democrats at all levels of government, including Congress. Go Judy Feder!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

"Red to Blue" in the 10th?

The Connection Newspapers has an article up entitled, "Year In Review: Red to Blue? RoVa to NoVa?" Here's an excerpt:
Virginia Democrats hope to carry the momentum through 2008 and win the seat currently held by retiring U.S. Sen. John Warner (R- Va.) as well as two congressional seats currently held by Republicans Tom Davis and Frank Wolf. Former Gov. Mark Warner (D) will be the likely nominee for the 2008 senate race against a Republican field that includes former Gov. Jim Gilmore.

Out of both the Republican and Democratic candidates running the 10th congressional district, prolific fundraiser Judy Feder is considered a strong candidate against Wolf, though the incumbent garnered 57 percent of the vote against Feder in 2006.
Exactly right, Judy Feder IS a strong candidate, the 10th district's trending from "red to blue" (see the tight race between Karen Schultz and Jill Holtzman Vogel this past year), and Frank Wolf's continuing to rubber stamp George W. Bush. It's time for a change in 2008, and Judy Feder's going to provide that change.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

When Democrats Take Charge

Elections in November brought big changes to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, and they're good ones. For starters, as the Examiner writes, "The sweeping election of four new Democrats to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has dramatically reshaped the government's approach to growth, the dominant issue in what was the nation's fastest growing county in recent years."

As the Washington Post wrote on Christmas eve, the Republican-controlled board had "moved forward with its [development] plans, mocking those who tried to stand in its way." That's right, it was "my way or the highway" - almost literally -- when the Republicans were in charge. Not anymore.

In addition, the Examiner reports that the Board of Supervisors "will open its 2008 agenda Thursday with a slate of ethics proposals designed to upgrade the reputation of the beleaguered county board." This comes in reaction to improper activity (possibly worse, as authorities announced a federal probe into possible corruption) when Republicans were in charge. Now, with Democrats in control, the situation is improving rapidly.
The initiatives include restrictions on last-minute adjustments to development applications and new financial disclosure requirements for members of all citizen advisory committees and many county staffers. The plan also proposes some restrictions on former county officials and employees and better disclosure of board meeting information and archives.
This is what happens when Democrats take charge, whether at the county level or the national level. And this is exactly why we need people like Judy Feder in Congress -- to continue the progress made over the past year in purging Washington, DC of the rampant corruption and arrogant disregard for the rule of law seen during the Tom DeLay/Dick Cheney years.