Saturday, July 15, 2006

List of accomplishments...


Delegate Chris Saxman made some excellent points in his article that was published in the NewsLeader last week. Chris provided an example of what the Delegates accomplished this last session as compared to the reports by local media that had the Delegates doing nothing but stalling and not working with the Democrat Governor on his “pet” projects.

Unfortunately the local media elected to focus on petty issues involving the budget negotiations and ignore reporting what the Delegates accomplished. Below is the example of environmental protection provided by Delegate Saxman and the link to the entire article that appeared in the NewsLeader…

Pollution Reduction
HB #1055 will reduce mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions. This is an aggressive move and is well ahead of the federal guidelines that will result in the air quality of the valley improving sooner then later…

http://newsleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060709/OPINION01/607090323&SearchID=73250732515892

19 comments:

SWAC Girl said...

This is a perfect example of why blogs are helpful disseminating information that is ignored or buried by the drive-by media. The local News Leader (or Misleader) is especially guilty of this.

As noted in a letter to the editor, here are a few accomplishments of the Republican-led General Assembly this past session:

- Passed legislation that will help poultry farmers in case of another avian influenza outbreak.
- Passed legislation that will bring competition to cable operators which will provide better services at lower cost to the consumer.
- Passed legislation that will create health care insurance buying cooperatives so that small businesses can offer health insurance to their employees.
- Passed legislation that will allow any consumer to freeze access to his credit reports.
- Strengthened laws against sex offenders and those who molest children.
- Made it much more difficult to manufacture methamphetamines by restricting the sale of the precursor drugs.
- Passed legislation that will have Virginia study which parts of No Child Left Behind we can try to do without.
- Passed a bill that will develop a 10-year comprehensive energy plan.
- Passed Medicaid reform in the long-term care area.
- Passed a sales tax holiday on back-to-school items.
- Completely revised the taxation of communication services. On July 1 your phone taxes went down!
- Passed a bill that will provide a tax credit for long term care so that people will be encouraged to buy private insurance rather than rely on government funding in the future.

After years of wrangling the Virginia School for the Blind and Deaf (VSDB) will stay in Staunton, thanks to Chris Saxman's lead in that cause.

The NL needs a "Point-Counterpoint" column that can present both sides of any given issue. The suggestion was made to Dennis Neal years ago but nothing ever came of it.

Thanks, Rightside, for posting Chris' column and giving us the opportunity to sing the praises of our hard-working delegates.

Dennis Neal said...

You seem (as usual) to be ignoring the elephant in the room. Two facts: One, The News Leader's editorial page is called "Opinions," plural not singular. That means you will encounter ideas that fly in the face of your treasured paradigms. Second, since Saxman's column and the letter to the editor WERE PUBLISHED, there was a counterpoint made, was there not?

zen said...

Why do you hate America? (jokes)

This ought to be good, I'll sit back and raise my feet...it's about to get deep.

SWAC Girl said...

Well, I'll be! The one and only Dennis Neal himself. Welcome to the RIGHTside, Dennis!

"Elephant in the room"? Ah, Dennis ... I never ignore the elephant in the room! If you see one you must have entered GOP-land!

"Treasured paradigms"? I indeed "treasure" the results of the hard work of our electeds to pass legislation that will benefit the citizens of Virginia. Not sure I would put it in those terms ... but I'm not the wordsmith you are, Dennis, you master-of-obscure-words that you are!

I think it's fair to say the N-L doesn't present a fair counterbalance on many occasions, Sunday being the exception. What I had in mind with Point-Counterpoint was something on a more consistent basis, a regular response to much of what is written on the Opinions Page.

For example, when local resident Nelson Graves pens something negative about the GOP or the President (as he has on several occasions) it would be nice to have a column to respond.

When Joel Baird writes about all the negatives of a megasite, it would be nice to have someone research and present the other side ... and have them both represented equally; i.e., everytime an "anti" megasite article was written it would contain a fair amount of "pro" megasite information. At the last meeting a "pro" megasite person presented 1,000 signatures of folks who wanted the megasite. If that had been the "anti" people I feel certain it would have been headlined in the N-L.

Two supervisors leaking information ... there's more of a story lurking other than they gave a heads-up about the megasite! I think the lack of investigative research is what bothers me the most at the local level ... talk about an elephant in the room!!

The Maggie Ragon/Ray Ergenbright race -- why didn't the N-L research the connection between Maggie Ragon and Kurt Plowman, the IT man at City Hall, as business partners? She's now Commissioner of Revenue, he's IT Director (both for the city), they own a business together downtown ... and no one at the N-L raises an eyebrow? What about follow-up from the N-L about how things are going now that Ragon is in office? All we read/re-read leading up to the election was about how the software didn't work. Read anything about that lately in the N-L? Nope. Not a peep. Things must be going pretty well in City Hall ... except word is things aren't going well in City Hall ... but not a word in the N-L.

Sorry, Rightside. I got a little off-topic with Dennis....

RightsideVA said...

The "Point-Counterpoint" tactic has been used many times and I believe brings many people to the same page and exposure to the other viewpoints as well...

Investor Business Daily (IBD) has a column "From the Left" & "From the Right" on their page and at times it is not about the same topic. But it does draw people to a page to see what "their side" has to say. I find myself reading the "Left side" and not always agreeing with it but I am exposed to the viewpoint. The IBD is a strong "Conservative" paper and has some very good writers. It is also over $300 a year subscription so it is not something picked up by many for morning coffee.

There is bias in the Newsleader...
If we cannot agree on that then we are wasting time. "RightsideVA" leans to the Right also But it is a blog where many are welcomed to read my ramblings, make comments, and stay or leave as they wish. The Newsleader is in a 75% conservative area (County) and I see many dropping subscriptions simply because of this bias... To say there is no bias is like saying there was no bias with the recent reporting of the use of the Flag drapped coffins in the DNC ad that was just removed...
(See link to Media Research Center article on other post for info)

It is good to see you here Dennis and welcome. I respect your opinion and appreciate it when I am able to voice my opinion in my "Letters to the Editor". Just thing the Left-Right thing would be a great way to get people going to the "Opinion(s)" page...

Remember Saturday Night Live with Jane Curtin and Chevy Chase and the famous comeback by Chevy?!!!

RightsideVA said...

WHOAAA!!!

It was Dan Akroyd who had the classic response to Jane Curtin...

Been away from college too long...
Must go watch "Animal House" DVD as soon as possible...

zen said...

Today's edition has a piece from Bill O'Reilly. He is very hostile towards the left and liberals. ("No Spin" please)

So you're proposing that a voice should now be offered up to balance BillO?

Once in a while I get to catch the Daily Press in the Hampton area...they also have a "From the left/right" feature in their opinions page. Seems like an interesting idea. Think it would offer a forum to 'debate' issues, or just add more noise? Not sure, but I agree that at least it will expose people to more ideas and help bring some out of their normal comfort zone.

As for the issue about the software problem, I agree that there should be factual news stories on what's happening now. Opinions are just opinions and one seems about as valid as any other.

RightsideVA said...

Actually took a ride today to find a copy of the Newsleader for the Bill column was not on-line issue. Looked at 6 different machines and none of them had a single copy. What is the article about and maybe I can find it on his site...

zen said...

Media bashing and Bush lovin'...what else does Billo bloviate about?

It was called...
"Who do you trust? Bush or the Press?"

As if it's an "either/or" option. Black or white. Yes or no. With us or Against us. The world must be pretty simple for people like Billo.

Dennis Neal said...

First of all, we don't have the "real estate" on the Opinions page at the News Leader to do a point/counterpoint (at the same time) as many major metro dailies do. But I have been working on a feature that would allow readers to write an opposing viewpoint about a published editorial. Working title: Get Me Rewrite! Stay tuned for more.
As for bias, it's all around you, including here, so I just let that one roll off me.
An aside: we don't publish O'Reilly on the Web site because he's syndicated. He's only available in the print edition, although you can read whatever his latest column is at his Web site or linked through the Fox News site.

SWAC Girl said...

First, I consider Bill O'Reilly's column as counter-balance to the anti-conservative slant of the N-L. If you want a response to that it would have to be counter-counter-balance ... and then we'd be back to where we started.

I must be as simple as "Billo" because though the world isn't black or white, in the case of the media I think he makes a case. I believe you are either with us or against us ... there's no sitting in the middle. Terrorists are real; dead is dead.

Get Me Rewrite! I like it! Dennis, you're on to something. I'm just looking for the strings that must be attached somewhere....

As to bias being "all around" including Rightside....

Read the banner of Rightside: Conservative living in Virginia that supports President Bush and the majority of the Republican party.

This is kind of like an Opinions Page ... and it says right up front that we are conservative and support President Bush. You're welcome to join us but don't act surprised that our opinions follow up on the banner.

The N-L has biased opinions on their Op-Ed page but the balance of the newspaper should be unbiased, something I've not seen to be the case over the years.

RightsideVA said...

Dennis,

The idea of "Get Me Rewrite!"
sounds good and I look forward to it...

zen said...

On the idea of being unbiased...There will always some sort of bias. Even if a story sticks to "just the facts," how it is told will give a bias somehow. Usually this can be minor, but even something as seemingly minor as the order of events can appear as taking sides by some—especially those who don't agree.

The idea of being "fair and balanced" is a good goal, but usually not often do many news outlets attain such a standard (in particular Fox who claims this title).

What can be achieved is being "fair" and "unbalanced." Meaning it is ok to take a position and absolutely expected. Like this site saying whom it supports.

HOWEVER, and this is a biggie: It should remain FAIR. This is a crucial point that is often ignored, particularly on this site. Fairness is a quality that depends on accuracy and factual information. Topics put forth on this site have often relied on inaccurate information. And when it is pointed out, then it is often perceived as a swipe at the 'balance' of this site. It is not.

Again, one can be Fair and Unbalanced. Most people and sources are. So in relation it is also not rational to attack comments, or the DNL as being "unfair" if the facts are accurate and there is a slant—this would be 'fair' but perhaps 'unbalanced.' By nature, a "point of view" is just that one single point within a much large field, so obviously biased.

And finally what continues to astound me is when people only complain about bias when it goes against their position. And they almost never advocate true unbiased coverage, but something that leans the direction they agree with.

RightsideVA said...

Zen,

"HOWEVER, and this is a biggie: It should remain FAIR. This is a crucial point that is often ignored, particularly on this site."

Not fair?
I think I have given you plenty of room to present your facts as you see them and have them debated. You have been allowed to, and have made your point on several topics but claim when I do not "Like" the facts I claim bias... Here comes some more "Bias" for you. Rightside is just that. From the "Right" side point of view and unfortunately too much time is spent on countering the "Left" viewpoints that have been shoveled out by a supportive mainstream press. No bias at the NY Times? No bias at the Newsleader? No bias with Dan Rather, Couric, Matthews, and the once major networks ABC, NBC, CBS,? If you truly believe there is no bias in these orginizations then please waste no more time here on the "Rightside"...

Move onto to those who tell "Your" truth such as the economy is the worst since the depression. 18 qtrs of economic growth and the lowest unemployment rate avg over the last 3 decades. It is unfortunate that the unemployment rate is so low for it takes away the "Lefts" favorite argument that the "Homeless" population is exploding under the Republicans.

Please check out the blog for the Augusta County Democrats for some stimulating conversation and debate... (Insert sound of chirpping cricket here)...

SWAC Girl said...

An example of News Leader bias:

Headline top of pg. A3 on April 5, 2005: Military dad speaks out against war. Larry Syverson spoke at MBC, saying he didn't believe the U.S. went to war over WMDs or terrorism but, instead, it was about oil and avenging a father's legacy ... and that he wanted his two military sons to come home from Iraq. It was reported that about 30 people attended.

On February 24, 2005, just six weeks earlier, a former officer in Saddam Hussein's cabinet spoke at MBC as he toured America thanking Americans for freeing his country from the "worst regime in history." He said Hussein was very happy to support and help international terrorism ... which was the connection to 9/11 that should have made headlines. More than 30 people were in attendance. And, yet, the News Leader did not cover one word of what that Iraqi man had to say. I saw the story through TV coverage and wrote to Cindy Corell saying that was another example of why we felt the N-L was slanted.

Bias?

As to Fox News Channel (FNC) ... they offer representatives from both sides of an issue which is more than I can say for ABC, CBS, and NBC. For years I watched NBC and felt extreme frustration at their constant left slant. Fox News offered a home for someone like me ... but I continue to hear complaints about them from liberals because they tend to lean right. So let's count ... ALL OTHER networks lean left, ONE leans right. Hmmm.... Needless bellyaching?

And don't even get me started about the New York Times....

Dennis Neal said...

Sorry for the long pauses between comments. It's not because I'm old, it's because my day job tends to turn into a night job that lasts until the next day. As for the unbiased part, I know what the banner says, and that's fine; it's your sandbox and I'm not going to play cat in it unlike some of the visitors to my blog. I KNOW you are biased and that's fine; but I cannot allow misstatements to be made. The News Leader's Opinions page offers every sort of political slant; left, right, center, far right, far left, mumbo-jumbo and estrogen-laced musing. WHAT IS WRONG WITH A VARIETY OF OPINIONS? I would get bored spitless if all I read was DeWayne Wickham or Froma Harrop; likewise for Bill O'Reilly and Linda Chavez.
Fact is, I don't agree with any of them half the time. I just put them out there because it gets awfully communist-sounding and boring when all you get is one point of view. If that's all I wanted, I'd talk to myself; then I'd know I was nuts.
Some people assume too much about who I am and what I am when they don't know a thing about me except what they assume. It's the same old story; minimize someone, make them a non-person, label them. It worked for Goebbels and it still works.
The problem, as I see it: While I can agree with you some of the time, I can't agree with you all of the time; and I think you expect all Bill O'Reilly all of the time. That's not going to happen. We're never going to get past that, so all I ask is that you remain fact-based, fair and balanced when you take a baseball bat to my place of work.

Bubba said...

Dennis,

I for one would never carry a baseball bat to your place of work. They are much to hard to conceal and they don't have nearly enough range. *GRIN*

RightsideVA said...

Dennis,
Thank you first for “Not playing Cat in my sandbox” and I hope you do not feel I am one of those you mentioned in your sandbox. Also thanks for pointing out my bias and I AM sure of yours and the NewsLeaders also. Like you, I point out where the paper fails to provide the same “Balanced” reporting or support to all sides or parties… So be it. I have seen examples of this and I am sure that many other readers of the paper are not “Off track” either with their observations. It’s your paper and I do not have to read it. I also agree with you on providing a variety of viewpoints and when did I ever say I only wanted Bill O’Reilly?

“It's the same old story; minimize someone, make them a non-person, label them. It worked for Goebbels and it still works.” Are you saying here that I and some of those posting on Rightside are using “Nazi” tactics here? That is a broad statement and please refer to that 6 page e-mail I sent you & the staff regarding the last “Coalition for Peace” demonstration in Staunton. How would your above quote be applied to these people? Something that was NOT reported by the reporter and no reply to my comments by the NewsLeader.

Would never take a baseball bat to your place of work. Remember, I offered to bring donuts when you guys let me sit in on the candidate interviews. After attending the Allen \ Webb debate today at The Homestead I believe it is very important to report the candidates actions, emotions, and demeanor which is not provided in the format now used by the NewsLeader…

SWAC Girl said...

Rightside ... the Allen-Webb debate was phenomenal today, wasn't it? It was like having a ringside seat on history. Now as we hear the news reports we can compare them to what we actually saw and heard. That room belonged to Allen!