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Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Apr 17, 2015 at 06:23:24 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, April 17.

*Obama would get key trade powers under legislation
*The world according to Jeb Bush (War and economic disaster, just like in the last Bush administration. Sounds great, huh?)
*Federal Judge On Stopping EPA Rule: 'Why Would We Do That?'
*Expert demolishes the right's "war on coal" myth: The real reason the industry is dying
*Paul Krugman: That Old-Time Economics ("In recent years, however, innovative economic ideas, far from helping to provide a solution, have been part of the problem. We would have been far better off if we had stuck to that old-time macroeconomics, which is looking better than ever.")
*As Cities Raise Their Minimum Wage, Where's the Economic Collapse the Right Predicted? (The right is wrong yet again. Shocker.)
*Editorial: Discussion, not arrests, needed at the University of Mary Washington
*After arrests, Divest UMW group vows to demonstrate
*Scott Rigell, Bobby Scott oppose death tax repeal (Wow, a supposedly journalistic newspaper used the outrageous, loaded, right-wing-nut term "death tax" in their headline? WTF?!? The actual term, of course, is "estate tax.")
*Virginia Supreme Court: Dominion can't bypass local zoning for new power line project
*When the Virginia General Assembly wraps up, let the fundraising begin
*Fixing an error in Virginia lawmakers' ethics bill proves to be not so simple ("The governor's amendment mistakenly imposed a $100 lifetime gift cap rather than an annual one.")
*‚ÄčEnd racial gerrymandering in Virginia ("The General Assembly's redistricting plans violate the Fourteenth Amendment")
*Virginia's economy needs Dulles Airport to soar again, boosters say

There's More... :: (8 Comments, 179 words in story)

Blue Virginia 45th HoD Dem Candidate Interviews: Clarence Tong

by: lowkell

Thu Apr 16, 2015 at 20:18:08 PM EDT

On April 8, I sent Blue Virginia interview questions to all Democratic candidates running for the 45th House of Delegates district (Alexandria, south Arlington) seat being vacated by Del. Rob Krupicka. The candidates are Larry Altenburg, Craig Fifer, Julie Jakopic, Mark Levine and Clarence Tong. I told the candidates that I'd post their interviews in the order I received them. The first one I received back, on Monday, was from Larry Altenburg. Earlier this evening, I received responses from Clarence Tong - thanks! As soon as I receive the remaining candidates' answers, I'll post them. Finally, please note that the primary for this nomination will take place on June 9, so if you're a Democrat who lives in the 45th, make sure you vote!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, and specifically, what in your background and/or temperament makes you the best qualified of the Democratic candidates to represent the 45th House of Delegates district in Richmond.  
I am running for Delegate because I strongly believe in and have dedicated my career to public service. I served as a staffer on Capitol Hill, later became an Obama appointee at the Department of Energy, and currently work as a legislative advocate for the Environmental Defense Fund before our home state Senators on climate and other environmental issues.

My wife Alice and I have made a home in the City of Alexandria and have worked to serve our great community. I was elected Chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, appointed to be a Member of the City's Budget and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee (BFAAC), and selected to represent my neighbors on the Board of the North Old Town Independent Citizens Association (NOTICe). I hope to serve our community in a different capacity, as your representative in the Virginia House of Delegates.

I bring a strong background in the legislative process, as well as experience with the complexities of the budget process, and believe that I will be the best advocate for the priorities of the 45th District.

2. What three issues are you most passionate about and why?  What specifically have you done to further those issues? What would be the first bill you'd introduce in the House of Delegates?
My campaign is based on the idea that all Virginians should have a fair shot. Whether it is access to affordable healthcare, a responsible energy future good for our environment and our economy, or ensuring that all Virginians have access to high quality educational opportunities, I will fight in Richmond to protect our Democratic values and represent the priorities of Northern Virginians.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 1580 words in story)

1Q 2015 Virginia Campaign Money Numbers Are Now Available

by: lowkell

Wed Apr 15, 2015 at 16:14:58 PM EDT

Virginia candidates' fundraising numbers for the first quarter of 2015 are due today, and they're starting to trickle in. According to VPAP: "By 6 p.m. this evening, VPAP will post reports from General Assembly candidates and major state party/caucus committees that were received by COB at the State Department of Elections.  Candidates and PACs have until midnight to file their reports. VPAP will update its listing early Thursday morning." Should be interesting. Anyway, here's what I've heard so far.

Gov. McAuliffe: His "Common Good VA" PAC raised $758,452, ending with $334,091 cash on hand.
LG Ralph Northam: His "Stronger Together" PAC raised $44k and ended with $83,223 cash on hand.
AG Mark Herring: His "One Commonwealth" PAC raised $72k and ended with $41k cash on hand.
DPVA: Raised $693,555, ended with $15,537 cash on hand.
RPV: Raised $95,554, ended with $9,705 cash on hand.

State Senate
Virginia Senate Republican Caucus: Raised $230,247 and ended with $761,701 cash on hand.

(lots more on the "flip")

There's More... :: (16 Comments, 883 words in story)

Video: Arlington Young Dems' County Board Debate

by: lowkell

Thu Apr 16, 2015 at 06:42:03 AM EDT

Interesting debate, nice job by the YDs and by moderator Josh Katcher. We'll start off with the "Libby Garvey question," because it got a bunch of "ooohs" from the audience, then post the other videos in the comments section...

P.S. I actually strongly agree with Scott McCaffrey's analysis: "Dodgeball appeared to be the sport of choice as the six Democratic County Board candidates squared off April 15 in their first debate of the season. Specifics were hard to come by, especially when contenders were asked how they would mediate increasingly contentious community battles over allocation of limited county-government resources."

Discuss :: (13 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Apr 16, 2015 at 06:20:35 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, April 16. Also, here's a fun bit of video from last night's Arlington Young Democrats County Board debate...more later.

*Congress Has Made Undermining Energy And Environmental Laws The Focus Of Its First 100 Days
*Vatican Announces Major Summit On Climate Change
*Iran bill unlikely to scuttle deal
*Obama's pivot on trade could mean war with his base
*Indisputable proof that Republicans are warriors for the aristocracy ("GOP contenders are pretending to care about inequality. But it's all for show - and Congress is about to prove it")
*Chris Christie's dangerous Social Security demagoguery: Cloaking the plutocrats' agenda in populist rhetoric
*Jeb Bush to speak at Liberty University's May 9 commencement (So much for "JEB" being a "moderate," not that that was ever true.)
*Governor perfect on vetoes, but splits with assembly on drones and electronic surveillance
*Watchdog group's report critical of General Assembly on transparency
*Governor McAuliffe: Climate change, rising sea levels also endanger economy
*Lawmakers reject many of McAuliffe's amendments, but his vetoes survive ("Privacy rights vs. public safety issues prompt debate, and an ethics measure hits a snag.")
*Reconvene update: House in recess, ethics pending, day care and surveillance votes
*Ethics reform delays Virginia General Assembly again
*State kills 460 contract, wants money back from contractor
*E-mails: Long tried to block Fairfax activist from police commission ("E-mails obtained by community group show resistance to a citizen review board and anxiety over Geer case.")
*Portsmouth dysfunction on display once again
*State ready to commit more money to Virginia Beach for light rail
*Area Senate candidates off to brisk start in fundraising ("Former Del. Bill Janis, who hopes to succeed retiring Sen. Walter A. Stosch, R-Henrico, reported $123,000 in contributions in the year's first quarter, and an ending balance of $107,584.")
*Fairfax County police spokesman charged with possessing child porn (Ugh.)
*Why are Portsmouth officials out? It depends on who's talking
*Capitals start playoffs badly with a 4-1 defeat in Game 1 vs. Islanders
*Breezy and mild today, but showers are possible tonight

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Breaking: UMW Threatens Police Action Against Students Demanding Fossil Fuel Divestment

by: lowkell

Wed Apr 15, 2015 at 17:37:56 PM EDT

Click on the image to "embiggen." As for UMW, how about they just divest from planet-killing fossil fuels instead of acting like a bunch of goons towards their own students, especially when those students are on the right side of history?
Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Gun Violence Prevention "the political high ground"

by: Lori Haas

Wed Apr 15, 2015 at 14:32:24 PM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

Eight years ago, I got the phone call that no parent in America imagines ever getting. "I've been shot," my daughter told me. Emily was in French class that spring day at Virginia Tech, and had just been shot in the head by a young man who legally bought firearms and ammunition in Virginia despite the fact that seemingly everyone who knew him knew he was dangerously mentally ill.

I was one of the lucky ones that day. My daughter survived. Thirty-two other families had to bury their loved ones, denied even the chance to say goodbye.

Many in the commonwealth wondered if April 16, 2007, would be a turning point. Would this be the moment that our legislators finally rejected the National Rifle Association's fatal prescription and supported common-sense gun reforms?

Sadly, the immediate change we were hoping for did not come. But today, as the legislature weighs in on Gov. Terry McAuliffe's vetoes of three noxious pieces of legislation, it is clear that gun violence prevention has become a winning issue in Virginia.

McAuliffe was one of three statewide candidates who swept to victory in the November 2013 elections while publicly and proudly embracing a platform calling for tougher gun laws (along with Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring). A few years ago, it would have been unfathomable for a Virginia gubernatorial candidate to announce at a televised debate, "I don't care what grade I got from the NRA," but that's exactly what McAuliffe did. And he won.

Now he's backing up the promises he made during his campaign. The bills the governor formally vetoed would have allowed loaded shotguns and rifles to be transported in vehicles, regardless of local laws; prevented Virginia law enforcement from sharing information about our state's concealed handgun permit holders with certain other states; and forced local law enforcement to provide a certification or denial for the transfer of a machine gun within 60 days. These bills were all designed to be handouts to the gun lobby, and none of them had anything to do with improving public safety. In fact, they would have done just the opposite.

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 309 words in story)

The "Best" of Del. David Ramadan as He (Thankfully) Departs the Virginia House of Delegates

by: lowkell

Wed Apr 15, 2015 at 13:37:39 PM EDT

In "honor" of his departure from the Virginia House of Delegates, here are some "highlights" and links to the illustrious career of Del. David Ramadan (Far-right "R"; pictured with the possibly even MORE far-right-wing Sen. Dick Black). Enjoy? ;)

*Loudoun Republicans Double-Down on Divisive, Anti-Gay Agenda ("Delegates David Ramadan and Tag Greason voted against an openly gay candidate for a General District Court Judgeship. Mr. Tracy Thorne-Begland, the Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney in the City of Richmond and a decorated Navy veteran, had been nominated by a Republican Delegate...Ramadan and Greason made no public comments to explain their decisions; they simply voted with a majority of their Republican colleagues against his nomination.")
*Loudoun Republicans Revealed Themselves in the 2012 General Assembly Session (Noted that Ramadan voted for an extreme "personhood" bill, the infamous "transvaginal ultrasound" bill,  repeal of Virginia's "One Handgun A Month" law, an onerous and utterly unnecessary voter ID law, etc.
*DPVA: Ramadan's Record: Speaks for Itself (Ramadan's "record speaks for itself, but it says that he is focused on an extreme ideological agenda mush like Ken Cuccinelli and his right-wing counterparts-not practical solutions to problems facing our Commonwealth.")
*DPVA: Byron and Ramadan Should Come Clean on Gifts ("Following the pattern of Ken Cuccinelli and Bob McDonnell, The News & Advance reported this morning that fifteen-year Delegate Kathy Byron and two-year Delegate David Ramadan failed to disclose their travel to Taiwan in 2012")
*Video: Corrupt Del. David Ramadan Doubles Down on His Lame Excuses
*Video: John Bell for Delegate Hits David Ramadan's Extreme Agenda
*Del. David Ramadan: Extreme, Egregious, Yet Somehow Holding Down an Obama District (Ramadan "has been eviscerated by the Too Conservative crew for being a 'shameless self promoter' and 'egomaniac extraordinaire,' for employing 'disgusting, disturbing tactics,' and for being 'unfit for public office.')
*Video: Del. David Ramadan Speaks to VCDL Membership, Vows Absolutely No Gun Laws
*Del. David Ramadan (Far-Right "R") Files Bill to Cancel In-State Tuition for DACA Students

All this extremism and nuttiness is particularly sad, because Ramadan's district (the 87th) is an Obama/Kaine/McAuliffe/Northam/Herring district that should either be represented by a Democrat, or at WORST a moderate Republican (if there are any of those left). Yet instead, the 87th got a far-right loon like David Ramadan. Frankly, that's what happens when "federal election" Democrats stay home in "odd-year" elections. If and when that stops, so will the phenomenon of right-wing Republicans holding otherwise "blue" districts in this state. Until then, expect more David Ramadans...ugh.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Beyer, JEC Release Report on Economic Challenges Facing African Americans

by: lowkell

Wed Apr 15, 2015 at 09:41:16 AM EDT

From Rep. Don Beyer's office: 

April 15, 2015 (Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Representative Don Beyer, member of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement on the JEC's new report that African Americans continue to face economic challenges and are nearly three times as likely as white Americans to live in poverty.


"This report documents persistent economic barriers African Americans face, even as the rest of the country recovers from the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression,” said Rep. Beyer “If we are to meet the challenge of the promise of equality in America we need to address these inequities in employment, income, wealth, housing and education through policies designed for inclusive prosperity. In our commitment to a new American economy, to inclusive prosperity that lifts up all Americans, let us be ever mindful of the decisions we make that can change the economic condition of black Americans for generations to come."


Beyer joined Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Ranking Democrat on the JEC, and Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) at a press conference to discuss the report, which reveals that African Americans continue to face disproportionately high rates of poverty, unemployment and long-term unemployment as well as significantly lower incomes and slower wealth accumulation than white households. When examining various measures to determine economic well-being, the report finds black Americans lag far behind the white population.  


Included in the report’s key findings:

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 182 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Apr 15, 2015 at 06:13:34 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, April 15. Also, check out Marco Rubio demonstrating yet again that he's a candidate of the past, NOT the future.

*Fossil Fuels Just Lost the Race Against Renewables (Time for Virginia to go all-out in the race for the multi-trillion-dollar clean energy economy of the 21st century. If we don't, we lose.)
*Obama Yields, Allowing Congress Say on Iran Nuclear Deal
*Catholic Bishops, Nuns Voice Support For Obama's Iran Deal, Ask Congress To Back Off
*Obama removes Cuba from list of terror sponsors
*Republicans push for a permanent aristocracy ("A bill to end the estate tax is the ultimate perversion of the tea party movement.")
*The True Cost of Gun Violence: A Mother Jones Investigation
*Schapiro: Taking back the legislature one vote at a time ("But to Democrats such as [Ferguson] Reid, its successor in Virginia is the Republican-authored voter ID law. It requires that a voter produce a photo identity card before going into the polling booth. Democrats say it's designed to discourage their voters: minorities, seniors and the young.")
*State Board of Elections decertifies voting machines
*Judge denies Morrissey's injunction to stop ballot production
*Morrissey to seek Va. Senate seat as an independent
*Virginia General Assembly veto session begins Wednesday ("Issues of ethics regulation and privacy measures will be debated Wednesday as Virginia's General Assembly gathers in Richmond for a scheduled one-day session to consider vetoes and amendments.")
*Police surveillance data high on agenda for Va. legislators' veto session
*McAuliffe amendment glitch appears to put a $100 lifetime limit on gifts (That's fine, make it zero!)
*Governor, energy companies say they want more lenient clean power plan (To the contrary, we should be pushing ahead FASTER than the very mild, easily achievable Clean Power Plan goals. Dominion et al are just whining...)
*Breaking News-Delegate Ramadan Not Running for Re-election (Good riddance to this far right winger. Now, we need to elect Democrat Jack Tiwari in his place!)
*Del. David Ramadan, vocal critic of Dulles Greenway tolls, to call it quits
*Edmunds: Virginia shouldn't be "a little bit gruesome," either
*Report criticizes lack of transparency in Richmond ("Among the problems found by Transparency Virginia: House of Delegates committees and subcommittees didn't have recorded votes on 76 percent of the bills they killed.")
*The outrageous death of a Fairfax County jail inmate (Agreed, and I can't even imagine anyone defending this.)
*Portsmouth's city attorney, manager fired by council
*After 27 years in office, Newport News' Circuit Court Clerk stepping down
*Warming up to the 70s today, but on track for more rain tomorow

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Sierra Club Protests VA Chamber's "Orwellian-named 'Energy and Sustainability' Conference"

by: lowkell

Tue Apr 14, 2015 at 13:13:05 PM EDT

From the Virginia Sierra Club -- good work, keep it up!
Dominion Resources doesn't just pollute our air, water, and climate. The company pollutes our politics too. And it's not acting alone. Dominion is a member/ supporter of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as are two other big Virginia coal-burning carbon polluters- Appalachian Power (AEP) and the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC). ODEC is complicit through its participation in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

On Tuesday, April 14 we demonstrated against Dominion and its ALEC partners outside the VA Chamber of Commerce's Orwellian-named "Energy and Sustainability" Conference. A conference panel discussion on the EPA Clean Power Plan included representatives from ALEC supporters Dominion, AEP and ODEC and no clean energy representatives. When coal-burning ALEC supporters dominate a conference on sustainability, it's time for the people to stand up and say "enough."

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Here's Where The Virginia GOP Stands On Equal Pay

by: lowkell

Tue Apr 14, 2015 at 12:34:46 PM EDT

From DPVA:

On Equal Pay Day, Virginia Democrats have been clear that equal pay is a top priority. When women earn less than men for equal work, it’s harmful to our economy. From bills introduced in the General Assembly to the larger movement nationwide, Democrats have consistently been the party of inclusion, empowerment, and equal opportunity.

During the 2015 legislative session, Republicans in the General Assembly had the opportunity to pass several bills that would help level the playing field for Virginian women. Sadly, rather than support these economic boosters, Republicans stuck to partisan politics and killed several important bills. Here's some of the economic opportunities that Republicans blocked this year:

  • Equal Pay for Equal Work — Virginia women earn just eighty-three cents for every dollar their male colleagues receive. Democrats supported a bill that would have raised the penalty for pay discrimination and required full equality in benefits and privileges. It died in a House committee thanks to 14 Republican votes, including Bob Marshall and Jackson Miller.
  • Equal Rights Amendment — Senate Democrats fought to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. constitution, which provides that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied […] on account of sex.” Upon reaching the House floor, Republicans chose to put ideology ahead of women’s needs, opposing this common-sense protection despite abundant evidence that women still face discrimination every day.
  • Employee Protections  — Senate Democrats supported a bill prohibiting employers from retaliation against employees for sharing salary information, because women deserve to know if they're being paid equally for equal work. Ten Republicans, including Frank Wagner and Tommy Norment, killed that key safeguard in committee.
When women are treated unfairly, Virginia's economy suffers. On this Equal Pay Day, remember who voted to hold equality back.
Discuss :: (2 Comments)

More Craziness from Virginia Republicans' 2013 Gubernatorial Nominee

by: lowkell

Tue Apr 14, 2015 at 11:12:12 AM EDT

That's right, according to Ken Cuccinelli, who Virginia Republicans nominated at the top of the 2013 "Extreme Team" of Cooch/E.W. Jackson/Mark Obenshain for the top three statewide elective offices in Virginia, John McCain - a conservative by any sane person's measure - is actually someone who...
"...takes a baseball bat to conservatives and conservative principles all the time. And then he turns around and kisses and hugs with the Democrats," said Cuccinelli, the former attorney general of Virginia.

"He is vicious, vicious, anti-conservative Republican, and you can see what he's done in Arizona.

"He has been purging the Republican Party in Arizona for a long time as best he can of conservatives, of people who actually have principles and expect their elected officials to stick to them."

As Cooch himself always likes to say, "you can't make this stuff up!"
Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Apr 14, 2015 at 06:23:25 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, April 14.

*4 Ex-Employees of Blackwater Get Long Terms in Iraq Killings
*Republicans' and Netanyahu's wildly inconsistent opposition to an Iran deal
*Marco Rubio Is a Polished Performer, but He's Out of Position ("At a certain point, one wonders whether he is like the first-round draft pick who doesn't make the All-Star team after four years.")
*Marco Rubio Is the Most Disingenuous Republican Running for President ("He's not a reformer. He's a fraud.")
*Nate Silver to Vox: Stop stealing our charts! (I already wasn't a big fan of Vox. Hmmmm....)
*McAuliffe, Warner, mark 10,000 DNA "hit" at state forensics lab
*In Richmond McAuliffe, Warner tout Clinton's bid
*Editorial: General Assembly gives its final answers ("Chief among them: ethics legislation. The governor made a number of commendable changes to the General Assembly's latest effort.")
*Virginia GOP excited about Florida Sen. Marco Rubio running for president (He's a climate science denier, end of story - disqualified.)
*Marco Rubio Used to Believe in Climate Science. Now He's Running for President. (As I said, climate science denial or "skepticism" should be an automatic disqualifier for president, for two reasons: 1) it shows a fatal flaw in the candidate's "thinking;" 2) climate change is by far the biggest threat to America in coming years, and we require a president who understands that and will act aggressively.)
*Virginia revenues higher than projected
*Sweet Briar faculty members back call for injunction to halt college's closing
*Wittman, Brat hold town hall meeting at defense contractor's Spotsylvania headquarters
*Editorial: Lowly oyster says a lot about health of Chesapeake Bay
*Newport News civil rights activist pulled over, claims retaliation
*Plenty wrong with tuition hikes
*Fairfax Sheriff defends actions in apparent fatal Tasing (Seems indefensible to me...)
*Tax hike draws first opposition on Portsmouth council
*Metro's new rail cars are ready for riders on Tuesday
*Norfolk changing construction oversight after ordeal with builder
*A move to Virginia might be best for both Daniel Snyder and the city (As long as we don't give him a single penny in taxpayer-funded corporate welfare!)
*April showers and not much sun today; mostly a wet week ahead

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Del. Surovell, Friends Remove 8,500 Pounds of Litter from Little Hunting Creek

by: lowkell

Mon Apr 13, 2015 at 15:46:36 PM EDT

Great work by Del. Scott Surovell, who hopefully will soon be State SENATOR Scott Surovell. Clearly, though, as Surovell understands, we need a lot more education, enforcement, and stronger laws to stop our streams, rivers, etc. from being polluted in the first place!

Mt. Vernon, Virginia. This past weekend, Delegate Scott Surovell held his seventh annual Little Hunting Creek Cleanup in the Hybla Valley section of Fairfax County. The cleanup, in coordination with the Friends of Little Hunting Creek and the Alice Ferguson’s Foundations Annual Potomac Watershed Cleanup, was led by Delegate Surovell at three different sites:

  •   Janna Lee Avenue Bridge
  •   Mount Vernon Shopping Plaza behind the Shoppers and Post Office
  •   Creekside Village

Eighty volunteers helped remove the trash from the creek over eight hours. Volunteers included students from Fort Hunt Elementary School, Carl Sandburg Middle School, West Potomac High School and Mount Vernon High School.  Additionally, residents of the surrounding neighborhood assisted with the event.


The cleanup netted around 8,500 pounds of trash including:

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 623 words in story)
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