Where I Agree...and Disagree with My Friend Atif Qarni's Op-Ed, "What happened when a Muslim ran for local office in Virginia"

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I read my friend Atif Qarni's well-written, passionate op-ed in the Washington Post -- "What happened when a Muslim ran for local office in Virginia" and found myself mostly agreeing with it. I do, however, have some disagreements with what Atif wrote that I'd like to explain. But first, here's where I agree.

1. There's no question that there's a vast amount of ignorance and bigotry out there when it comes to Muslim Americans. According to a 2014 Pew survey, for instance, the U.S. public has the "warmest" feelings on average for Jews, Catholics and Evangelical Christians, with the "coldest" feelings towards Muslims and Atheists. And all you need to do is read the newspapers or watch the cable news shows to get a million examples of anti-Muslim bigotry and prejudice on pretty much a daily basis. It's a sad, pathetic, inexcusable state of affairs, an embarassment to our great nation.
2. There's also no question that a few people in Virginia Senate Democratic leadership - first and foremost Minority Leader Dick Saslaw - discouraged Atif from running and instead looked for white Christian alternatives. Thus, Saslaw et al. worked to recruit white Christian guys Rex Parr and David Brickley, both of whom opted not to run, before settling on white Christian guy Jeremy McPike as their preferred candidate. The thing that's maddening is that Saslaw et al. did this without any real evidence that a white, Christian candidate would perform better in the general election than a Pakistani-American, Muslim candidate. Just to be clear, I'm not arguing that Dick Saslaw is a bigot, simply that he looks at the bigotry out there and, instead of fighting it, caves in to it by throwing up his hands and saying "it's hopeless, a Muslim-American can't win in that district." Again, what's that based on? Anything scientific or data-driven? Not to my knowledge.
2a. In fact, as Atif points out in his op-ed, he came closer to beating Del. Bob Marshall in 2013 than any Democrat had done previously -- and that includes several white, male, Christian candidates (e.g., Bruce Roemmelt) Democrats had run previously. I'd add that in 2013, Atif received 8,448 votes in his House of Delegates district. That compares to the 8,256 votes received by Mark Herring in the same district (#13). That's right: Atif Qarni, the Pakistani Muslim guy downballot from the white, Christian Mark Herring, actually received 192 more votes than Herring did. how did being a Muslim or Pakistani-American hurt Atif exactly? No idea. Meanwhile, in Jeremy McPike's 2013 House of Delegates race in the 31st district, he received 71 more votes than Mark Herring did. That's strong, but not quite as strong as Atif Qarni's 192-vote advantage over Mark Herring in the 13th district. Again, if Dick Saslaw at least had some solid, empirical basis for his effort to bypass Atif Qarni for a white, Christian person, that would be one thing; but he didn't and he doesn't. If anything, from a purely political calculation perspective, one would think that the Democrat (Atif) who lives in Manassas, which is Republican nominee Harry Parrish's base, would be a better matchup against Parrish, as he could help hold down Parrish's victory margin there, while racking up the votes in the much "bluer," souther parts of the district.
3. I agree with everything Atif says about Muslim Americans: that overwhelmingly, they "proudly serve their communities in many capacities — in the military, as public school teachers, as state and federal government employees, as doctors, as lawyers and so forth — because they love this country." If there's prejudice out there against Muslim Americans, it's the Democratic Party's job to fight it, not to accept it, acquiesce to it, or allow it do influence our thinking in a negative way when it comes to recruiting and supporting (or not supporting) candidates. How about we leave all that to the Republican Party, since they seem inclined in that direction regardless?

With that, here's where I differ with Atif.

1. "Although Republicans such as Carson and Donald Trump may be vociferous in their anti-Muslim rhetoric, they are not the only ones who think this way."  True, but let's not do the "false equivalency" thing here. The reality, according to Pew, is that anti-Muslim prejudice and bigotry in America is FAR more prevalent among Republicans and those who lean Republican than among Democrats and those who lean Democratic. Among Democrats, the mean "thermometer" rating for Muslims is 47 -- just above Mormons and Atheists - compared to a super-cold 33 rating for Musims by Republicans. In general, Republicans have more polarized views towards religious groups than Democrats do: far more positive towards the ones they like (Evangelical Christians first and foremost) and far more negative towards the ones they do NOT like (Muslims and Atheists in particular).
2. "Virginia Democrats claim to fight for ethics reform, represent working-class people and lead a big-tent party, yet they groom and recruit mostly white, Christian, male candidates. A party that prides itself on being inclusive can be very exclusive."  Yes, I've seen Dick Saslaw do this twice now -- with Atif Qarni this year and with Jaime Areizaga-Soto four years ago.  On the other hand, as Del. Alfonso Lopez recently explained, Virginia Democrats are overwhelmingly more diverse than Virginia Republicans. For instance, as Lopez writes: "Democratic women in contested [House of Delegates] seats: 17, Republican women in contested seats: 4;" "Democratic people of color in contested [House of Delegates] seats: 9, Republican people of color in contested seats: 5;"
"Democratic women in contested [State Senate] seats: 7," "Republican women in contested seats: 3;"
"Democratic people of color in contested [State Senate] seats: 4, Republican people of color in contested seats: 0." So again, let's stay away from the false equivalency here. The reality is that Democrats are a far more diverse party, one that "looks a LOT more like America" than does the Republican Party. Of course, that does NOT excuse the way Atif Qarni was treated, or attitudes among the Dick Saslaws of the world towards Muslims, South Asians, Latinos, etc, but let's not allow one well-past-his-"sell-by-date," "old school" outlier like Saslaw to tarnish an entire political party.
3. "This is a cautionary tale for Democrats and Republicans alike. Fearmongering for short-term gains in elections has long-term repercussions, including a loss of trust in the people who represent us."  Same point as I just made about staying away from false equivalency between the two political parties. There's simply no comparison between a party whose 2016 presidential candidates are busy demonizing Muslims and many other groups, not to mention using wildly offensive language such as "anchor babies."  Can you even imagine Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton talking like that?  Ee gads, no.
4.  Finally, while I agree with most of what Atif had to say in this post, personally I personally would have waited until after the election to post his op-ed. I understand that Atif felt very strongly about this -- and I don't blame him for that one bit, as in fact all Muslim-Americans, and really all Americans, should be outraged at how Atif was treated by Saslaw et al.  What I don't want is for Atif to somehow be blamed if, let's just say, Jeremy McPike loses on November 3 and Democrats don't take back the State Senate because of it.

One final point: I'm proud of Atif Qarni's courage in putting this out there, risking a backlash from the "powers that be," possibly harming his future political career, etc.  But what else would we expect from a U.S. combat Marine? Semper fi, bro...Semper Fi! :)

A Few Changes to Blue Virginia

You might have noticed that Blue Virginia looks a bit different today than it did yesterday.'re right, it does. :)  The main reason is that Soapblox, which has hosted dozens of progressive, state-based blogs for years now, is pulling the plug on October 15. So, we're all going our separate ways -- in the case of Blue Virginiia, to Blogger, a part of the Google product suite.  So what's changed from the Soapblox version of Blue Virginia you've gotten used to?  A few things.

1. The commenting system is now Disqus: "a blog comment hosting service for web sites and online communities that uses a networked platform. The company's platform includes various features, such as social integration, social networking, user profiles, spam and moderation tools, analytics, email notifications, and mobile commenting...Disqus ranks #1 in Quantcast's U.S. networks with 144 million monthly unique U.S. visits. Disqus has been featured on many major publications, such as CNN, The Daily Telegraph, and IGNand about 750,000 blogs and web sites." To log in and comment, you can use a Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus or Disqus account. As usual, the Blue Virginia rules for commenting apply: no profanity, personal atacks, bigotry, or "trolling" allowed. Other than that, happy commenting!

2. No more user diaries. Honestly, I don't see this as a great loss, as most people and organizations weren't using the feature (for whatever reason) anyway. Plus, while some of the user diaries were excellent, many were spam, one-or-two-line non-diaries, etc. So...not much loss there if you ask me. If you're interested in submitting a blog post, simply email me at and I'll take a look. If you're a good writer and a progressive, environmentalist, etc., we might even make you a "front pager."

3. The search bar for now is on the right side, underneath the ads. At some point, I might move that bar up to the top, but for now, we'll try it where it is.

4. I saved a bunch of content from the "old" Blue Virginia on this blog, which you can access from the archives on the right side/down the page a ways. As you can see, there are 314 posts from 2014, 291 from 2013, 322 from 2012, 203 from 2011, 686 from 2010, and 3,006 from 2009. I'm working on getting the entire Soapblox blog translated into WordPress as an archive, with ALL the posts and comments, so hopefully that will work.

5. Regarding advertising, if you are interested, we're no longer using Blogads, which I'm not a fan of at all. If you are intersted in advertising on Blue Virginia, or in sponsoring our work in some other way, please email me at Thanks.

6. Also, please check out the donate button below the search bar on the right. If you like waking up and getting the top news of the day (from a progressive perspective), as well as all the other content we provide, please consider supporting the work we do! Thanks again.

7. Also, don't forget to subscribe to our social media feeds, by clicking on one of the buttons on the right side under the "donate" button.

8.  Social media integration is MUCH improved on this blog compared to the Soapblox version, which was not being maintained or upgraded.  In the current blog, you'll notice when you click on a post that at the bottom, there are several options for you to share on your favorite social media platforms. Please do, as this is an important way to get more people reading our content.

8a. Note that there's now a "share" tool for comments as well.  You can also edit your comments, by the way, which is another big improvement over Soapblox.

9. I'm sure I've forgotten something, but I think that's mostly all for the moment. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please let us know. Other than that...enjoy the blog! :)

Sunday News: Treat Guns Like Cars; Biden to Decide on Presidential Run This Week?

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, October 4. Also see Hillary Clinton as a bartender giving herself a pep talk on Saturday Night Live.

*Nicholas Kristof: A New Way to Tackle Gun Deaths ("Actually, cars exemplify the public health approach we need to apply to guns. We don't ban cars, but we do require driver's licenses, seatbelts, airbags, padded dashboards, safety glass and collapsible steering columns. And we've reduced the auto fatality rate by 95 percent.")
*Oregon Gunman's Father Dismayed by Lack of Gun Limits
*Don't Be Surprised That Kim Davis' Pope Visit Was Overblown ("When You're Dealing With A Hate Group, Dishonesty Is Par For The Course" Yep, Kim Davis and Company lied through their teeth.)
*Airstrike Hits Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan (Ee gads.)
*Joe Biden could decide presidential run in the next week
*Secrets of the GOP science war: How spin-masters and pundits confuse conservatives about facts ("Conservatives have become much less trusting of science. A cynical right-wing campaign is behind that." An assault on knowledge and reason itself.)
*Schapiro: The Republican Terry McAuliffe ("A Northam-Gillespie matchup would be about old Virginia and new Virginia.")
*Cuccinelli may try again for governor, or he may not (We can only hope! LOL)
*Gillespie faces GOP skeptics in governor bid ("Some conservatives say he's the wrong choice in the era of Trump and Cruz.")
*Gecker, Sturtevant trade barbs in pivotal Senate race
*Jamycheal Mitchell's ghastly death
*Gecker, Sturtevant trade barbs in pivotal Senate race (Republican Glen Sturtevant "has cast himself as a moderate Republican in Watkins' mold, but he also has adopted the positions of Middle Resolution in opposition to Medicaid expansion and in favor of education savings accounts that would give state education money to the parents of children with disabilities that they could use for private school tuition.")
*At Virginia gun show, pushing back against blame ("Some gun owners say the fault of mass shootings lies with the mental health system - and the media." As always, that doesn't explain why other countries - Canada, the UK, Australia, etc. - don't have these mass shootings. Hmmm...gee, what could the difference POSSIBLY be?!?)
*Prince William County explores Metro expansion. Metro says: Not so fast. (Yeah, that could be decades from now, given the current state of Metro.)
*Senate candidates see chance to raise region's profile ("Southwest Virginia has lost voting power in Richmond as population patterns have shifted.")
*Is Virginia trying to make it more difficult to carpool?
*Nationals' Scherzer tosses his second no-hitter of the season ("Washington's ace struck out 17 Mets to become the first major league pitcher since 1973 to throw a pair of no-hitters in the same regular season.")
*After a Respite From Rain, Sunday to Bring Major Flooding
*D.C. area forecast: Sunday still swampy and breezy, brighter days ahead ("The drizzly and dreary trend continues today, then drier air takes over tomorrow with a beautiful midweek ahead.")

Run Ken Cuccinelli Run!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Oh please please please please PLEASE!
Former attorney general Ken Cuccinelli II said on Saturday that he has begun thinking about making another run for Virginia governor - if only just barely."Teiro and I have not ruled out running for Governor in 2017, but we have barely begun to think about it," Cuccinelli, referring to his wife, said in an email to The Washington Post.
"Right now I'm focused in Virginia on helping conservatives win their state senate races next month and Virginia will be ground zero for the presidential race. Of course, as President of the Senate Conservatives Fund, my priority is advancing conservative candidates who are willing to fight to change how Washington does business."
This would be so awesome, both from a "political junkie" perspective as well as from a Democratic activist perspective. Regarding the former, can you imagine Cooch taking on Ed Gillespie, particularly at a Republican convention, like the 2013 freak show that nominated Cooch/EW Jackson/Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain? So much fun, it's hard to even know where to start! :) On the second point, there's no doubt in my mind that Cooch would be easier for Ralph Northam to beat than Ed Gillespie would be.

So, again, please please PLEASE run Ken Cuccinelli run...for the Virginia Republican nomination for governor in 2017! :)

Want to motivate VA Dems to vote? Dump Dick "TitleMax" Saslaw as Leader.

by Kindler

Hey, I just thought of a great way for Virginia Democrats to motivate the base to turn out and vote for a Democratic Senate.  It occurred to me as I was listening to the first in a series of reports  by Michael Pope on WAMU radio on the rip-off artists known as "car-title lenders."

After discussing how one poor victim took out a loan for $2,600 and ended up paying a whopping $5,515, Pope then shifts to a staunch defender of the industry:

"It's not predatory," says Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw, who has taken about $37,000 from TitleMax in the last decade. He says if people like Waverly didn't have access to businesses like TitleMax, they would find other ways to get the money."Well they borrow it on the street," he says. "Borrow $100 on Monday, pay back $200 on Friday, 10,000 percent APR. That's where they were borrowing money. And if they didn't pay it back they got the hell beat out of them and they still had to pay it back."
The report then cites the Center for Responsible Lending, which indicates no evidence of such a black market for loans, but reports that car-title lenders in 21 states are "costing borrowers about $3.6 billion each year in interest on $1.6 billion in loans."
In other words, Sen. Saslaw is doing here precisely what we see conservatives on Fox do every single day: make an utterly ridiculous argument, contrary to all known facts - but in concert with his donors' economic interests.

Saturday News: "JEB" Says "Stuff Happens," Falls to 4% in Latest Poll. #FAIL

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, October 3. Also check out President Obama's weekly address, in which he "emphasized that we need to do everything we can to strengthen economic growth and job creation," including Republicans in Congress doing its job and passing a serious budget for a change.

*Jeb Bush criticized for saying 'stuff happens' while discussing school shootings (What an insensitive, callous jerk.)
*Jeb's growing list of unfortunate comments (He has the Bush family's foot-in-mouth disease, even worse than his Village Idiot brother.)
*The U.S. should lead with confidence on climate change ("This is not to say that climate diplomacy - or decarbonizing energy-hungry economies - will be easy. It will take the sort of sustained global effort that only the United States is capable of.")
*Obama Rebukes Bush on 'Stuff Happens' Reaction to Oregon Shootings (Bush is just appalling in so many ways, from his disgusting "anchor babies" comment to his "voodoo economics" to his warmongering foreign policy to his abysmally bad energy policy to this latest comment.)
*The Sheriff Investigating The Oregon Shooting Believes Some Seriously Fringe Things About Guns
*Obama tells media to tally up number of mass shootings vs. terrorist attacks, so we did (24 Americans killed by terrorism in the last decade vs. 280,024killed by guns!)
*Poll: Jeb Falls to 4% ("The latest Pew poll shows that Jeb Bush has fallen to 4 percent in the Republican field. Donald Trump leads the field with 25 percent; Ben Carson is at 16 percent.")
*'Good Guy With A Gun' Was On UCC Campus At Time Of Massacre
*Governor McAuliffe warns of problems getting lethal injection drugs
*McAuliffe beats drum on gun control and Medicaid after Oregon shooting
*Prieto executed while stay request was at U.S. Supreme Court
*Trump names Virginia state director (Not surprisingly, the guy used to work for extremist nutjob Dave Brat.)
*Republican Ed Gillespie confirms he is running for Virginia governor
*Superstorm could have been 'our Sandy,' expert says
*Drawing the lines: Redistricting plans could affect 5th District, Hurt (Hurt is a worthless Congresscritter, a HUGE step down from what that district had previously with Tom Perriello.)
*Atif Qarni: What happened when a Muslim ran for local office in Virginia
*U.S. Forest Service approves permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline surveying (There's no good reason or excuse for this pipeline; totally wrong direction in terms of energy policy, which should be focused on moving to CLEAN energy - solar, wind, energy efficiency - as rapidly as possible, NOT doubling down on more carbon/methane-spewing fossil fuels.)
*Corps of Engineers says only two power line options meet Peninsula needs (Again, until energy efficiency and distributed power has been maxed out - and Dominion has done essentially nothing on either of those fronts - they shouldn't be allowed to build new powerw lines, plants, etc. While we're at it, break up this monopoly and allow the free market to thrive!)
*Hampton Roads: Washed out, fed up, but likely to miss the worst of Hurricane Joaquin
*Jesse Matthew gets 3 life terms for 'brutal' Fairfax sex assault ("Man also accused of slaying Hannah Graham and Morgan Harrington." What a nightmare.)
*Fraim: Mayor of the moment ("Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim's surprise decision not to seek re-election offers residents a chance to reflect on how far the city has come under his two decades of leadership, and the challenges that remain. The work completed is staggering; despite the progress, the work ahead remains daunting.")
*D.C. area forecast: Today's rain focuses early, but staying gloomy and damp through much of the weekend

Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R) Goes Completely Off the Rails Over Oregon Shootings

Friday, October 2, 2015

For those of you not familiar with him, Virginia Del. Scott Lingamfelter is a far-right-wing Republican (mis)representing the 31st House of Delegates district (parts of Prince William, Fauquier Counties). This is a "purple-ish" district which Mark Herring won narrowly (51%-49%) in 2013 and which Mark Warner lost narrowly (50%-48%) in 2014, so you'd think that Lingamfelter might be interested in moving just a weeeeee bit to the center. But noooooo...this guy's as big of a right wingnut as any in the Virginia General Assembly, among other things an "Agenda 21" conspiracy theorist and global warming denier. In other words, the guy's a bit...uh, "out there," let's just put it that way.

With that, I guess we shouldn't be surprised at his latest wackiness (see screen shot of Lingamfelter's Facebook post), accusing the "Democrat [sic] Party of Virginia" of making "calls last night trying to capitalize on the tragic shooting in Oregon." The ever-creative Lingamfelter also somehow tries to drag Sen. Tim Kaine into this, taking a comment Kaine made eight years ago - and also completely out of context - to try and gin up hysteria against the supposed "gutter politics" by Virginia Democrats. I checked with DPVA Communications Director Stephen Carter, and also spoke with Sen. Kaine's office, and basically confirmed what I first suspected: Lingamfelter is totally pulling this stuff out of his butt. A few points.

1. According to DPVA, they didn't do any "calls last night trying to capitalize on the tragic shooting in Oregon." Or anything even remotely resembling such a thing. Again, Lingamfelter's just making stuff up out of whole cloth.
2. According to DPVA, the Virginia House Democratic Caucus likewise didn't make any "calls last night trying to capitalize on the tragic shooting in Oregon." Or anything even remotely resembling such a thing. Sensing a pattern here?
3. No other component or arm of the Virginia Democratic world made any "calls last night trying to capitalize on the tragic shooting in Oregon."
4. As for Sen. Kaine, the comment Lingamfelter cites was made 8 years ago, in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings. Of course, Lingamfelter takes that one completely out of context as well, turning the meaning around in the process. Here's an excerpt from a fact check by Media Matters from 2007, entitled "Fox's Angle falsely suggested Kaine condemned Moran's comments on gun control."
In fact, Kaine was not responding to Moran or even addressing gun control advocates in general. Rather, he was answering a reporter, during an April 17 press conference in Blacksburg, Virginia -- before Moran made the statement Fox aired -- who appeared to be asking about the argument by "pro-gun lobbyists" that Virginia Tech students should be allowed to carry guns.In response to the question, Kaine made a blanket assertion that the shooting in Blacksburg was not "a political hobbyhorse or a crusade or something for a campaign or for a fundraising mailing."
Riiiight, so Kaine was responding to a question about PRO-gun lobbyists, and his statement was about making the Virginia Tech shootings the basis for a fundraising email or campaign by said lobbyists. Neither of which any arm of the Democratic Party of Virginia (or its sister organizations) did last night, as Del. Lingamfelter wildly and erroneously charged. #FAIL all around, except perhaps in revving up his rabid, right-wingnut "base?"P.S. Of course, Lingamfelter is part of the same party with presidential candidates who just blatantly lie (e.g., Carly Fiorina's imaginary scene from the anti-Planned Parenthood hit videos by anti-choice extremists) and then, when called on their lying, simply double down with more lies. Obviously, Lingamfelter fits very well into that party, which is a frightening thought in and of itself. Let's just hope this guy loses on November 3 to Democrat Sara Townsend.

Gov. McAuliffe: "We have politicians who are bought and paid for by the NRA"

Gov. McAuliffe was just on WTOP's "Ask the Governor" show, and he certainly had some interesting things to say. Hopefully the audio will be available today, but for now, here are some tweets by Max Smith of WTOP and Travis Fain of the Daily Press. I particularly liked McAuliffe's comments on how so many politicians are "bought and paid for by the NRA" and on the Republicans' idiocy with regard to I-66 (seriously, these are the LAST people on earth we should be listening to when it comes to transportation, land-use, etc.). As for McAuliffe's comment regarding Hillary Clinton's VP possibilities, I've got a few thoughts. First, let's see if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination first, as that's far from a "done deal." Second, as far the "short list," I strongly doubt that Terry McAuliffe would be on it, certainly not ahead of Tim Kaine. Third, I strongly doubt that Mark Warner would be on Hillary Clinton's short list, but I suppose you never know.@amaxsmith McAuliffe on @WTOP says he doesn't have info himself on backgrounds of #wmata GM candidates. Reiterates he supports transit background

@amaxsmith McAuliffe on @WTOP: #wmata to have new GM by end of November. Interviewing finalists.
@amaxsmith McAuliffe on GOP calls to end #i66 plans - they don't know what they're talking about. Cites inside Beltway plans
@amaxsmith McAuliffe on @WTOP re: whether he'd leave for Hillary admin: "I love being governor and I'm not leaving (until my term ends)"
‏@WTOP McAuliffe on Hillary's veep candidates: We have two great candidates on the short list. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. I love being governor.
@TravisFain McAuliffe on shootings: "If we can stop one we need to do it.... unfortunately we have politicians who are bought and paid for by the NRA."

Friday News: Joaquin Shifts East; "Voodoo Never Dies;" "Something We Should Politicize"

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, October 2.

*Clinton team sees political gift in McCarthy comment on Benghazi probe (A Republican admitted what anyone with half a brain already knew, that the Benghazi "investigation" was simply a right-wing smear campaign/witchhunt against Hillary Clinton. Duh.)
*Vatican: Meeting with Kim Davis doesn't mean pope shares her views (I sure hope not, because Davis' views are: a) repugnant; and b) antithetical to our system of government and the rule of law.)
*Krugman: Voodoo Never Dies ("'s straightforward and quite stark: Republicans support big tax cuts for the wealthy because that's what wealthy donors want.")
*Another infuriating, but unsurprising, gun tragedy ("...we shouldn't have to wait for Congress to enact laws to combat what is clearly a crisis of gun violence.")
*Warner supports bill to strengthen U.S.' Iran policy
*As Governor, Bush Embraced His Inner "Veto Corleone" ("His 2,549 line-item vetoes cut millions of dollars from social programs, health centers, and projects backed by people who crossed him.")
*Gun nuts, the ultimate thought police: Shutting down an open debate after yet another mass shooting ("A community college reels from a horrific massacre. The right tells us (again) to ignore the elephant in the room")
*Let's be honest, they're idiots: The embarrassing truth about the unqualified, underprepared GOP field ("Becoming Madison" author Mike Signer nails it about the Republican 2016 presidential field.)
*Obama to Putin: Good luck with that ("U.S. officials are convinced Russia's intervention in Syria will backfire.")
*Obama On UCC Shooting: 'This Is Something We Should Politicize' (Actually, the gun lobby and the right wing politicized this a long time ago. The other 80% of the country needs to make their voices heard as well, loudly and clearly.)
*New maps for voting districts are on the way ("If you're reading this, there's a decent chance that next November you'll vote in a congressional district different from the one you're in now. That's because Virginia lawmakers drew boundaries for the 3rd congressional district in a way that was so absurd and so blatantly unconstitutional that federal judges struck it down and ordered it redrawn.")
*Virginia Republicans Admit They Rigged The State's Congressional Districts To Elect GOP Lawmakers
*Editorial: A gun-control proposal worth considering ("Those who object to the governor's proposal probably should start asking whether Virginia is too tough on drunken drivers, too.")
*McCollum's jab about leadership draws Wagner's ire during debate
*At Forum, Loudoun Board Candidates Wary Of Rail, Redskins Deals
*Virginia executes Alfredo Prieto
*NAACP calls for change in Fairfax
*Hurricane Joaquin forecast shifts farther from Hampton Roads
*Southwest Virginia gears up for another round of heavy rain
*Hurricane Joaquin turns further east, but more rain likely through Friday

Rep. Don Beyer Statement on Oregon Mass Shooting

Thursday, October 1, 2015

From Rep. Don Beyer:
October 1, 2015 (Washington, DC) - Congressman Don Beyer released the following statement in the wake of today's shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon:"Speaker Boehner wants to 'clear the barn' in his last month in office, he said.  Today's tragedy in Oregon reminds us of an opportunity for him:  It is within the Speaker's power to bring a common-sense bill on gun violence prevention to the House floor.  In doing so, he could bypass the intractable House Judiciary Committee, where the Chairman tables all such proposals that might stem the tide of gun violence.  How many communities must continue to live in fear of these tragedies before we do something?
"This week, 147 members of the U.S. House - Democrat and Republican - sent Speaker Boehner a letter asking for consideration of just one of nearly 100 bills that can protect innocent lives. Expanding background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and criminals are practical reforms that a majority of Americans support.  I call on him today to allow a vote on legislation to prevent such tragedies.
"Far too often we are heartbroken by the news of another tragic shooting.  It was only four weeks ago that a gunman killed an on-air TV reporter and her cameraman in Southwest Virginia.  My heart goes out to all the victims, families, and friends impacted by today's horrific shooting."

Video: President Obama speaks on yet ANOTHER mass shooting in America