Welcome to the Madison County Democratic Committee

Organized to help protect the needs and interests of families and individuals living and working in our local communities


Jeb Bush is no Jon Huntsman

Jeb Bush

This week, following months of slobbering coverage from mainstream and nominally liberal journalists, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) announced that he will “actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States.” If anyone suggests that could be good news for the climate, don’t buy it.

As W himself said, “fool me once, shame on … shame on you. Fool me, you can’t get fooled again.”

Center-left establishment journalists like to demonstrate their nonpartisan credentials by finding at least one Republican presidential candidate to hold up as the exemplar of reasonable, intelligent conservatism. In the 2012 race, that was Jon Huntsman, who accepted climate science and eschewed homophobia. A close look at his platform showed he was actually extremely conservative. This time, it will be Bush. The difference? Bush, especially when it comes to climate change, is no Jon Huntsman. Like Huntsman, he is not moderate. Unlike Huntsman, he is neither intelligent nor reasonable. But, also unlike Huntsman, he could actually win the Republican nomination.

Gas prices drop below key threshold

Excerpts from an article by Steve Benen

Gingrich GasRemember the 2012 presidential campaign? It was just two years ago that Mitt Romney boasted that if he were elected president, he’d “get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, perhaps a little lower” by the end of his first term in 2016.

Americans decided to re-elect President Obama instead. The unemployment dropped below 6 percent in September 2014, about two years ahead of Romney’s timeline.

It was around this time when Newt Gingrich vowed that if he were the president, he’d lower the price of gas to $2.50 a gallon. That was the threshold for success.

You know, by the standards set by Republicans two years ago, Obama sure is looking like a great success, isn’t he?

Indeed, in February 2012, when the average price for a gallon of gas was $4.25, the Georgia Republican said we’d already be paying $2.50 per gallon if it weren’t for the Obama administration overseeing “an anti-American energy government.” Gingrich added, “If you want $10 a gallon gasoline … Barack Obama should be your candidate.”

Just so we’re clear, I realize that it’s foolish to credit Obama alone for lowering gas prices – it’s not as if the White House can unilaterally control the price of a global commodity. Rather, the point is, Republicans established some pretty specific policy thresholds, and urged the public to take them seriously. And if we’re playing the game by GOP rules, Obama has some reasons to crow a bit.

As best as I can tell, there’s been no word from Romney or Gingrich on the latest developments on unemployment or gas prices.


Governor McAuliffe Announces $28 Million in Funding for New Voting Machines across Virginia

Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of Governor Terry McAuliffe


Date: December 15, 2014
Office of the Governor
Contact: Rachel Thomas
Email: rachel.thomas@governor.virginia.gov

Governor McAuliffe Announces $28 Million in Funding for New Voting Machines across Virginia

~ All precincts will be equipped with uniform, state-of-the-art voting machines for November 2015 elections ~

VIRGINIA BEACH – Today Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that he is including $28 million in his budget to provide new voting machines to precincts across Virginia so all polling places will have uniform, state-of-the-art equipment for the 2015 November elections. On Election Day 2014, 49 Virginia localities reported voting equipment issues, and currently Virginia precincts are using a wide variety of machines that are often outdated and lack paper trails.

Governor McAuliffe will also include in his budget $30,000 per fiscal year to update the Department of Elections’ website to ensure reliable reporting for future elections.

“Participating in our democracy is one of the most important rights we have as citizens of this Commonwealth and country,” said Governor McAuliffe. “However, we cannot expect Virginians to come to the polls on Election Day if we cannot ensure that their votes will be counted correctly and in a timely manner. The problems Virginia encountered on Election Day this year were unacceptable, which is why I have taken unprecedented steps to replace all legacy voting equipment in the Commonwealth with state-of-the art machines that have paper trails and will update our Department of Elections website.”

Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections Edgardo Cortes added, “This investment will increase transparency and accountability in our election processes. It will also reduce inefficiencies by allowing the Department of Elections to provide uniform training to all election officials, volunteers, and monitors since all localities will have the same voting technology.”

Congressman Scott Rigell, who joined Governor McAuliffe for the announcement stated, “I applaud Governor McAuliffe for his leadership in protecting Virginians’ trust in our election processes. Many of our friends and neighbors in Virginia experienced significant challenges when voting this past November and no American voter should ever feel disenfranchised at the polls. These important investments will ensure a more effective, transparent, and streamlined voting process in the Commonwealth.”

The Governor is proposing a one-time investment of $28 million in Virginia Public Building Authority bonds to replace all legacy voting machines in Virginia with digital-scan voting machines that have paper trails. Included in that $28 million is $1.7 million to update Virginia’s electronic pollbooks. Currently, localities are responsible for purchasing their own voting machines, however, the state will fully cover the cost of purchasing these new voting machines for 2,166 precincts across Virginia. The investment will also reimburse 401 precincts that have already purchased the approved type of machine.


“Nothing stops a bullet like a job.”

Chicago gave hundreds of high-risk kids a summer job. Violent crime arrests plummeted.
Chicago gave hundreds of high-risk kids a summer job. Violent crime arrests plummeted.

A couple of years ago, the city of Chicago started a summer jobs program for teenagers attending high schools in some of the city’s high-crime, low-income neighborhoods. The program was meant, of course, to connect students to work. But officials also hoped that it might curb the kinds of problems — like higher crime — that arise when there’s no work to be found.

Research on the program conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and just published in the journal Science suggests that these summer jobs have actually had such an effect: Students who were randomly assigned to participate in the program had 43 percent fewer violent-crime arrests over 16 months, compared to students in a control group.

The results echo a common conclusion in education and health research: that public programs might do more with less by shifting from remediation to prevention. The findings make clear that such programs need not be hugely costly to improve outcomes for disadvantaged youth; well-targeted, low-cost employment policies can make a substantial difference, even for a problem as destructive and complex as youth violence.

That number is striking for a couple of reasons: It implies that a relatively short (and inexpensive) intervention like an eight-week summer jobs program can have a lasting effect on teenage behavior. And it lends empirical support to a popular refrain by advocates: “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.”

Action Alert: Omnibus Spending Bill

Kaine, Tim – (D – VA)
388 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4024
Contact: http://www.kaine.senate.gov/contact

Warner, Mark R. – (D – VA)
475 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2023
Contact: http://www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Contact

John McCain Calls Out the Torture Apologists

John McCain Calls Out the Torture Apologists

There was considerable misinformation disseminated then about what was and wasn’t achieved using these methods in an effort to discourage support for the legislation. There was a good amount of misinformation used in 2011 to credit the use of methods with the death of Osama Bin Laden, and there is, I fear, misinformation being used today to prevent the release of this report, disputing its findings and warning about the security consequences of their public disclosure.

With the report’s release, will the report’s release cause outrage that leads to violence in some parts of the Muslim world? Yes, I suppose that’s possible, perhaps likely. Sadly, violence needs little incentive in some quarters of the world today. But that doesn’t mean we will be telling the world something it will be shocked to learn. The entire world already knows that we waterboarded prisoners. It knows we subjected prisoners to various other types of degrading treatment. It knows we used black sites, secret prisons. Those practices haven’t been a secret for a decade. Terrorists might use the report’s reidentification of the practices as an excuse to attack Americans, but they hardly need an excuse for that. That has been their life’s calling for a while now.

What might cause a surprise not just to our enemies, but to many Americans is how little these practices did to aid our efforts to bring 9/11 culprits to justice and to find and prevent terrorist attacks today and tomorrow. That could be a real surprise since it contradicts the many assurances provided by intelligence officials on the record and in private that enhanced interrogation techniques were indispensable in the war against terrorism.

And I suspect the objection of those same officials to the release of this report is really focused on that disclosure; torture’s ineffectiveness. Because we gave up much in the expectation that torture would make us safer. Too much. Obviously, we need intelligence to defeat our enemies, but we need reliable intelligence. Torture produces more misleading information than actionable intelligence. And what the advocates of harsh and cruel interrogation methods have never established is that we couldn’t have gathered as good or more reliable intelligence from using humane methods. The most important lead we got in the search for Osama Bin Laden came from conventional interrogation methods. I think it’s an insult to the many intelligence officers who have acquired good intelligence without hurting or degrading suspects. Yes, we can and we will.

But in the end, torture’s failure to serve its intended purpose isn’t the main reason to oppose its use. I have often said and will always maintain that this question isn’t about our enemies, it’s about us. It’s about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be.