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Ken Cuccinelli Loses Yet ANOTHER Legal Challenge to the Affordable Care Act

by: lowkell

Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 15:05:30 PM EST

Last night, Judge James R. Spencer, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, dismissed on the merits - or lack thereof, in this case (see the "flip" for the decision) - the King v. Sebelius case, yet another ridiculous challenge to the Affordable Care Act. The practical effect of the Plaintiffs' challenge, which was supported by - guess who? - Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (worst lawyer ever?) with an amicus brief, would have been to deny tax credits to low-income Virginians who are otherwise eligible if they sign up for healthcare through the federally operated exchange available to Virginians. The judge rejected the plaintiffs' arguments in the opinion (see the "flip" of this post).

Attorney General Cuccinelli announced his support for the case in early November 2013, as well as for a similar case, Halbig v. Sebelius, which was decided in favor of the ACA in January 2014. His office filed a brief in support of the plaintiffs in King in late November (see Cuccinelli press releases on the "flip").

Needless to say, Ken Cuccinelli's record in cases like these does not suggest a commitment to the law - or a record of success. In contrast, Cuccinelli's infinitely superior successor - Attorney General Mark Herring - is batting 1 for 1 in his constitutional analysis so far. :)

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 958 words in story)

Applying My 8 Criteria to the 8th CD Candidates: Derek Hyra

by: lowkell

Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:28:26 AM EST

Two Saturdays ago, I listed my 8 criteria for choosing the Democratic nominee in the 8th CD race. How do these criteria apply to specific candidates? I started with former Virginia Lt. Governor Don Beyer, continued with Del. Mark Sickles and Del. Charniele Herring, Bruce Shuttleworth, Del. Patrick Hope, Lavern Chatman, Sen. Adam Ebbin, Del. Alfonso Lopez, Mark Levine and Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille. I now turn to Derek Hyra, who just announced yesterday as candidate #11 for Rep. Jim Moran's House seat.

1. The next Representative from the 8th CD should be a strong, rock-solid progressive.
On his campaign website, Hyra discusses his views on several issues.

*Environment: He supports "[s]trengthening the Clean Water and Air Acts, reducing our carbon footprint, and fighting against any efforts to gut the Environmental Protection Agency;" "[s]upporting public transportation options to help solve Northern Virginia's traffic congestion challenges;" and "[e]nsuring underserved communities do not disproportionately suffer environmental risks."

*Education: He supports "universal pre-K for all,"  ensuring that "college is more affordable" and "reducing student loan burdens," expanding "technical education, ongoing job training, and adult education programs."

*Economy: Supports raising the minimum wage, "[s]trengthening our social safety net," "extending unemployment insurance benefits," and taking measures to " create quality jobs in our communities, especially for women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses."

*Social and Economic Equality: He supports "women's rights and LGBTQ rights," "innovative healthcare policies," "[e]qual pay for equal work, and family-leave policies that provide real flexibility for working parents;" and "[e]quitable access to opportunities, skills enhancement and career development initiatives for underserved communities."

These are certainly all solid, progressive policies. The question is, would Hyra fight effectively for these things in Congress? His track record (see below) and professed values certainly would indicate that, but given that I'd never heard of Derek Hyra prior  to his announcement for Congress, I'd like to hear a lot more about him before coming to any conclusions.  

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 488 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 06:43:14 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, February 19. Also, check out the "Inside Scoop" segment from Monday evening with 8th CD Democratic candidates Mark Levine and Del. Patrick Hope.

*Ukraine protests explode into deadly violence (Vladimir Putin, whose "soul" Worst President Ever George W. Bush infamously peered into, is significantly to blame for BOTH the Syrian and Ukrainian horror shows, not to mention the Sochi Olympics abomination.)
*Wage hike would kill jobs but help millions, CBO says (So the question, as always, is what are our public policy priorities?)
*What Really Happens When You Raise The Minimum Wage ("But businesses may respond to a higher minimum wage in other ways. In a paper for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, John Schmitt argues that they can benefit from improved efficiency and lower turnover.")
*Green groups tell Obama Keystone won't be forgiven (Approval of this environmental disaster would severely harm Obama's legacy.)
*Draft of Boyd Marcus liquor board resolution appears (If I were in the General Assembly, I'd most certainly vote NO on Boyd Marcus. The guy's a total slimeball, with absolutely ZERO principles other than $$$. He represents the antithesis of good, clean, progressive governance.)
*Comstock must strike fragile balance to gain ground in Va.'s 10th District ("Positions the Republican takes before the primary in the crowded field could hurt her on Election Day.")
*Va. Republicans not letting up on Sen. Lewis ("Republicans are bullish on their chances to compete for that seat then, especially after losing it by just 11 votes out of about 24,000 cast Jan. 7.")
*Our view: No nonsense, just numbers ("On Sunday, Virginia businesses asked legislators to have an honest conversation about the commonwealth's health care options. On Monday they got something well short of that goal.")
*Bipartisan group pushes Va. redistricting reform ("OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting, founded by Leigh Middleditch, co-founder of the University of Virginia's Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, will advocate for nonpartisan redistricting outside of lawmakers' control." Yes!)
*Schapiro: A voice from the past assesses future battles for rights
*Democrats: House budget targets women
*McAuliffe backs away from tough talk on Medicaid expansion but vows to "get it done" (Speaker Bill "ALEC" Howell, "who rules his powerful GOP caucus with an iron fist, remains committed to letting a commission formed last year take its time and map out a path forward on Medicaid without opening up the program immediately to a whole new pool of consumers.")
*Toscano says House GOP, not Senate Finance Committee, are the ones pushing for gridlock over Medicaid (Correct.)
*Lawmakers on both sides of debate get insight from Ark. ("Some Republican leaders in the Virginia Senate have embraced a private insurance plan that looks much like the new private option plan that Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is scrambling to protect in the Arkansas legislature this week.")
*Toxins leaking from second pipe (More evidence that coal is dirty through and through. Let's transition to clean energy - fast!)
*Results of crucial study on offshore drilling in Virginia are near
*Tougher penalties sought for hitting troopers, others on side of the road
*Virginia Beach School Board won't cancel makeup days
*Bernick Withdraws from County Board Race (That slightly increases the chances of Republican John Vihstadt defeating Democrat Alan Howze for Arlington County Board on April 8. Let's hope not!)
*A warm and welcome change of
pace in store for the winter weary
("Highs should reach the 50s again today, with 60s likely for Friday.")

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Video: Virginia Sen. Bryce Reeves Delivers Weekly Republican Unhinged Tirade

by: lowkell

Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 16:07:12 PM EST

Seriously, where do Republicans find these people? The weekly Virginia Republican address is usually fact challenged and a bit crazed, but this week's speaker - Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) - seriously needs a few napkins to catch the spittle and foam coming out of his mouth. A few "highlights": 1) Reeves rants about Democrats taking charge of the States Senate following the election of Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, acting like it's an unprecedented partisan abuse of power, but fails to mention that Virginia Republicans have repeatedly done the exact same thing for years now (e.g., manipulating the rules, rushing through a partisan gerrymandering scheme while Democratic Senator and 70-year-old civil rights leader Henry Marsh was attending President Obama's inauguration on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; 2) his voice dripping with scorn, he states that "our Democrats are Obama Democrats" (red alert! red alert! severe possibly fatal case of Obama Derangement Syndrome! somebody call an ambulance!), yet again confusing our centrist (to a fault) president with whatever Reeves' fevered Teahadist brain falsely believes Barack Obama to be (it's very revealing about Reeves, that's for sure); 3) Reeves "proves" that Virginia Democrats are a bunch of crazed liberalliberalliberals because...wait for it...they want to raise the minimum wage (!!!) - the horror, the horror (snark)...thus ruining Virginia, basically; 4) Reeves repeats crazed (not to mention totally false) Faux "News" talking points that President Obama has ignored the "rule of law" and acted "unilaterally" blah blah blah, and suggests that Virginia Democrats are doing the same thing (you know, the thing that Obama DID NOT DO!). Anyway, this has been your weekly installment of Virginia Republian Fever Dreams and Frothing at the Mouth. I watch (and report) so you don't have to! You're welcome. ;)

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

New video featuring Virginia Congressmen to encourage action on global warming

by: sbucci

Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 10:17:10 AM EST

( - promoted by lowkell)

Environment Virginia launched a new online video campaign featuring  interviews with Congressmen Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran to encourage  Virginians concerned about global warming to tell the U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency (EPA) to act on climate.

Washington, DC –Environment Virginia launched a new online video campaign  to encourage Virginians concerned about global warming to tell the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to act on climate. The video  features exclusive interviews with U.S. Congressmen Gerry Connolly  (VA-11) and Jim Moran (VA-8), who say they’re prioritizing tackling  climate change and Virginia would benefit from implementing climate  solutions, like cutting carbon pollution and investing in clean energy.

The video comes in the midst of the EPA’s public comment period for  the proposed standard to limit the carbon pollution fueling global  warming from new power plants. Congressmen Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran  explain why they support the EPA’s proposed new rule and ask citizens to  make a supportive comment before the public comment period closes on  March10.

“If we want a safer climate and future for our kids, we can’t keep  letting dirty power plants pollute,” said Madison Poche of Environment  Virginia. “This video is a call for thousands of Virginians to come  together and say: No new dirty power plants.”

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 327 words in story)

Ranking the Presidents Since 1961

by: lowkell

Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 22:11:21 PM EST

President Obama was born in 1961, so I was thinking it might be fun on Presidents Day to rank the U.S. presidents since 1961 from worst to best. I'll also explain my reasoning.

10. George W. Bush (2001-2009) - No doubt, one of the worst U.S. presidents in our history, a disaster on almost every front (starting with massive tax cuts to the wealthy and failures to heed major warnings about a potential terrorist attack on the U.S. in the months leading up to 9/11). The only saving grace, really, was his reaction to the financial meltdown in the fall of 2008. For once, instead of just doing the right-wing ideological thing, he actually did what was necessary to save the U.S. (and world) economy from total meltdown. Other than that, he was horrible: turning budget surpluses into deficits for no good reason, misleading the country on the reasons for war with Iraq, failing to take action on climate change, allowing freakin' torture to take place on  his watch, the Katrina debacle/disaster, letting Dick Cheney and others corrupt/buy the government for their cronies, screwing up the North Korea situation big time, on and on and on...near-total #FAIL.

9. Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) - The Iran-Contra scandal alone puts Reagan down towards the bottom of the list. Then add to that the Lebanon fiasco, in which 241 American servicemen were killed after the Reagan Administration pretty much did everything wrong -- mission creep, no clue what we were doing there, an indefensible position, inadequate security, "cutting and running" as the right-wing would say if it were a Democrat in office, etc, etc. (also note that the Lebanon disaster was a gazillion times worse than the Benghazi tragedy, yet Democrats did NOT pile on Reagan for it). Then add to that Reagan's disastrous economic, environmental, and many other policies. Plus, he raised tensions with the Soviet Union to dangerous levels; invaded Grenada for no good reason; helped lay the groundwork for the rise of Al Qaeda by heavily funding and supplying the Afghan mujahadeen; putting the horrendous Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court; etc. The saving grace of Reagan, ironically, was that despite the worshipful attitude towards him by many on the right, he committed a series of heresies: raising taxes multiple times, increasing government spending and the size of government, offering to get rid of all nuclear weapons, granting "amnesty" to 3 million undocumented immigrants, etc.

There's More... :: (30 Comments, 1467 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 06:53:29 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, February 18. By the way, I hear that several 8th CD candidates (Hope, Levine, Chatman, Euille) were at Alexandria's President's Day parade yesterday, and that Patrick Hope had the largest group of supporters with around 25.

*Obama to take next step in fuel efficiency for trucks
*North Korea's Kim Should Be Tried for Rights Abuses, UN Says (No question, this guy - and the entire regiem - are raw evil. While we're at it, Bashar Assad needs to be tried for war crimes.)
*GOP leaders plan to put big-ticket legislation on hold (Shocker, huh?)
*Work with Kerry, senators tell Netanyahu ("In visit to Israel, Tim Kaine and Angus King meet with PM, defense minister; tour Iron Dome facilities")
*Eric Cantor blasts 'isolationist sentiment' ("The Virginia Republican's decision to counter the libertarian wing of his party on foreign policy is yet another example of Republican leaders being increasingly willing to stand up to tea party backers like Sen. Rand Paul...and Rep. Justin Amash...who've pushed for reduced spending on defense.")
*Virginia inspector general criticizes spending on mental health
*GOP legislators in Virginia predict impasse over Medicaid expansion, blame Democrats (Reality check: it's 100% Republicans' fault; Medicaid expansion that's completely paid for by the federal government is an absolute no brainer, except for no-brain Republicans.)
*Two more Democrats entering race for Rep. Moran's seat ("Professor Derek Hyra and radio host Mark Levine say they will run for the Northern Virginia congressional seat.")
*Don Beyer Opens Congressional Campaign With Focus on Women at F.C. Dealership
*Budgets differ on ideology, insurance
*Senate committee advances pet protection bill
*Our view: Unwanted gas rights intrigue
*Assembly's millionaires club includes local lawmakers
*Proposed Virginia Beach arena would use only private money
*A dangerous high: Parts of region see slight uptick in heroin crime ("
Heroin deaths have increased statewide. Last year, state lawmakers approved a program to stem the tide of overdose deaths from heroin and other opioids")
*Wildlife group urges county not to spray for ticks in parks
*After the overnight snow, sunshine
and a warm-up are on the way

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Video: How Representative are Virginia's Senators and Delegates?

by: lowkell

Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 16:51:06 PM EST

In short, according to VPAP, they're not particularly representative of Virginia's highly diverse population. A few differences: a) they're much older; b) they're overwhelmingly white (e.g., "far less likely to be persons of color"), c) they're far less likely to be female (17% of the General Assembly vs. 51% of Virginia's 8 million people); and d) they're wealthier (e.g., 73 of the 140 members have stock portfolios above $100,000). By the way, I'd love to see this broken down by party.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

House Republicans Include Anti-Women's Health Measures in Budget

by: kathy.shupe

Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 15:59:44 PM EST

( - promoted by lowkell)

It's no surprise that the House version of the budget did not include Medicaid expansion. House Republicans have shown that they are unwilling to extend health care to an estimated 270,000-400,000 currently uninsured Virginians who stand to benefit. But just months after voters rejected the extreme, anti-women's health agenda of Ken Cuccinelli and his running mates, House Republicans have tucked three budget amendments in their version of the biennial budget that undermine women's reproductive health and rights.

The first amendment they proposed would defund Planned Parenthood health centers in Virginia - cutting off the more than 24,000 Virginians who rely on Planned Parenthood for access to quality, affordable care. The second amendment they proposed would undermine the Governor's ability to roll back the targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP) by Executive order. And the third amendment they proposed would repeal abortion funding for low-income women when a doctor certifies that the fetus has an incapacitating physical or mental anomaly.

These measures would chip away at Virginia women's access to comprehensive health care. Voters have made it clear they don't want politicians in Richmond interfering in our personal and private medical decisions. It's time House Republicans put Virginia women ahead of their extreme and dangerous agenda.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Why Why Why Why Why, 1,000 Times Why "Debate" Climate Science?!?

by: lowkell

Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 14:29:58 PM EST

The only thing I'd add to the following brilliant essay, by Charles P. Pierce of Esquire, is that nobody - Bill Nye or anybody else - should be lending legitimacy to climate science deniers -- or evolution science deniers or 9/11 deniers or Holocaust deniers -- or any other ignorant/evil a**holes by "debating" them. Oh yeah, and I guess I'd also add that normal, sane people - let alone the President of the United States - shouldn't be giving right-wing nutjobs and trolls like Bill O'Reilly legitimacy either by agreeing to be "interviewed" (actually yelled at) by them. Why, why, why, why, why, a thousands times why, does anyone do this?!? (note: bolding added by me for emphasis)
This week, a Very Special Episode of How We're Fked As A Species.

Centuries from now, when the several remaining humans are huddled around a dwindling fire and pondering how each of them will kill the others and eat their still-warm flesh, the most boring among the remnant will pose the question, "Who is to blame for all of this?" Someone will mention the Koch Brothers. Someone else will bring up BP, and maybe our old friend, the Keystone XL pipeline will get a moan-out while the silent one in the corner sizes up the available rocks and studies the heads of his companions. If I'm not around, I hope at least one of them will summon up his last remaining breath and say, "The noodlebrained bag of useless flesh named David Gregory," before collapsing in a heap in the corner, whence he will awaken an hour later to find one of his companions sizing up his quadriceps for a light snack.

Yesterday, and I am not exaggerating a bit here, David Gregory and the Meet The Press gang presented the definitive argument not only for their mutual expulsion from the company of sentient primates, but also the single best example of why the entire elite political class of this country is one day going to be subject to a massive class-action negligence suit on the part of whatever rodents are left. Let us stipulate from the outset -- among the people who actually know what they're talking about, there is no debate about climate change. None. It is occurring. Humans are exacerbating it at an unacceptable rate and, if something isn't done, beachfront property in Indianapolis one day is going to be at a premium. Neither political party has shown itself overly willing to confront this reality, but only one of them mocks the science and slanders the scientists. Having largely ignored the primary environmental issue of the past millennium, the Dancin' Master decides to take the bull by the ass and stage a "debate" between Bill Nye, a mechanical engineer turned television science guy, and Marsha Blackburn, a congresswoman from Tennessee with a BS from Mississippi State. The rodents are going to have a helluva case, I'm thinking.

Yep, the rodents. And the cockroaches too, who will be one of the few varieties of fauna left after our fine species (exemplified by imbeciles like Marsha Blackburn - who, it should be noted, has received over $300,000 from the oil and gas industry - the egregious David Gregory, and the utterly inarticulate/airheaded Chuck Todd) finishes wiping out most of the species on Earth, quite possibly including our own. Heckuva job...
Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 06:55:05 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, February 17.

*In Debate With Bill Nye, Congresswoman Says Climate Policy Must Consider 'Benefits Of Carbon' (Climate science deniers are demented and/or bought-and-paid-for by the fossil fuel industry.)
*President Obama condemns Ugandan measure (This vicious anti-LGBT crap in Uganda and other African countries has got to stop.)
*House, Senate unveil competing budgets in Virginia (The House budget is far, far worse than the Senate budget, which isn't ideal by any means either.)
*Virginia's Philosophical Crossroads ("Conservatives, meanwhile, are trying to reinvent themselves...They will lose because the handwriting is on the wall. Judge Wright Allen has helped script it.")
*Could stricter oversight have prevented spill?
*Our view: Bay solutions draw notice ("...enforcing serious, measurable pollution control efforts to restore impaired waters can be not only difficult, but a very good thing - for the environment, for wildlife and for local economies. They are all pieces of a whole.")
*Transform VDOT's punishing culture ("Four years ago, the Virginia Department of Transportation paid for a piece of property in Virginia Beach and built a five-lane road on it. Now it says the property is worth less and wants 63 percent of its money back. That's outrageous. It should be illegal but isn't.")
*Va. Senate panel rejects Medicaid expansion, proposes alternative ("The plan would use $2B in federal expansion funds to would help 400,000 buy private insurance.")
*Va. gay marriage ruling prompts little reaction from Cuccinelli ("The ordinarily outspoken Republican, who lost the state's governor's race in November, had little to say about U.S. District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen's decision Thursday night that the state's ban violates guarantees of due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.")
*Virginia artists show their stuff at the General Assembly
*Influx of money kicks Beach roadwork into high gear
*Snow again? It's possible for tonight, but the rest of the week will be milder. ("On Thursday or Friday, the temperature may reach as high as 60 before cooling down.")

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Should Newspaper and Blog Comment Sections Simply Be Eliminated?

by: lowkell

Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 12:22:47 PM EST

If you've ever checked out the comments section on just about any newspaper or blog, you'll quickly notice that it's a nightmare. Wackos. Vicious a**holes. Liars. Science deniers. Bigots. You name it. And no, it's not just on politics; it's on any and every subject under the sun, from the weather to sports to dating advice to...anything, basically. The question is, who are these crazy, nasty, horrible human beings trolls and why are they allowed to pollute newspapers and blogs? A new study helps answer that question, but also raises another one: should comments sections be eliminated altogether? First, some background:
In the past few years, the science of internet trollology has made some strides. Last year, for instance, we learned that by hurling insults and inciting discord in online comment sections, so-called internet "trolls" (who are frequently anonymous) have a polarizing effect on audiences, leading to politicization, rather than deeper understanding of scientific topics.

That's bad, but it's nothing compared with what a new psychology paper has to say about the personalities of so-called trolls themselves. The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called "Dark Tetrad": Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).

It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What's more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the internet.

[...]

To be sure, only 5.6 percent of survey respondents actually specified that they enjoy "trolling." By contrast, 41.3 percent of internet users were "non-commenters," meaning they didn't like engaging online at all. So trolls are, as has often been suspected, a minority of online commenters, and an even smaller minority of overall internet users.

It's studies like these that prompted Popular Science to completely ditch its comments sections, and in my view they made the correct call. Why? Several reasons.
There's More... :: (13 Comments, 416 words in story)

Wild Discussion Erupts at Raging Homophobic Del. "Sideshow" Bob Marshall's FB Page re: Gay Marriage

by: lowkell

Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 09:21:09 AM EST

Fascinating, horrifying and hilarious all at the same time...check out Del. "Sideshow" Bob Marshall's Facebook page for more, including comments by a "staffer" posting as "Bob Marshall" for some strange reason. I've captured it, just in case either Del. Bob Marshall or "Bob Marshall" try to delete it.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 06:40:22 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, February 16.

*How To Make Sense Of The Michael Dunn Verdict
*Obama administration lashes out at Russia as Syria peace talks close (And rightfully so.)
*In drought-ravaged Calif, Obama talks preparation for climate change (We need to head it off as much as possible, also prepare for what we can't head off, and we need to do that starting NOW - urgently!)
*Elizabeth Kolbert: Earth's growing extinction crisis is a man-made disaster (And what the heck are we doing to stop it?!?)
*Virginia House, Senate to release budgets today ("Both plans address the issues with the state mental health system raised by the November death of Gus Deeds.")
*Welcome my brother back to Virginia ("My brother is gay. He also is left-handed. Neither biological trait should disqualify him from leading a happily married life or holding gainful employment.")
*Chambers far apart on health care ideas ("The gulf between the two sides on Medicaid expansion - the House is opposed, but a working majority in the Senate favors a private-option approach - could delay a budget compromise beyond the scheduled March 8 end of the legislative session.")
*Voters should pick representatives ("A majority of those districts are so reliably partisan that they preclude any real competition. Their shape is formed more by polling and voting data than by geography or principles of effective governance.")
*Our view: Shoddy effort on ethics reform ("The legislation is thin gruel, indeed. Easy enough for legislators to swallow, but less than satisfying for those who voted them into office. Their constituents should insist on better." Pathetic, exactly as I expected/predicted.)
*Toscano: A Virginia way to reform health care (Ugh, the brain-dead, utterly meaningless phrase "Virginia way" is used yet again...)
*Schapiro: Courts of law, public opinion shaping Va. law ("Virginia is changing - quickly...Redistricting - and the accompanying false sense of security - apparently is convincing Republicans otherwise.")
*State workers fare well in House budget plan
*How many Northern Va. churches cut ties with Boy Scouts? Not many.
*U-Va. invites the world to the 'Age of Jefferson' with new online course
*Editorial: Time to act ("A key component in the package would increase, to 24 hours, the time a patient can be placed in emergency, involuntary custody for psychiatric evaluation. Gus Deeds clearly needed such help")
*First steps in Norfolk overhaul
*Forecast: Still cold with another snow threat Monday night, then a major warm-up

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

A Few Thoughts on the Right-Wing Blog War Over "Virginia Blogs, Money, Consulting and Ethics"

by: lowkell

Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 13:15:09 PM EST

Once upon a time, back in the long-ago days of 2005, the Virginia political blogosphere was just getting going. Believe it or not, progressive and conservative bloggers would actually sit down with each other occasionally, including at events like the August 2005, Sorensen Institute "Summit on Blogging and Democracy in the Commonwealth." Among other things at that summit, we discussed "Blog Ethics and Regulation: Towards Developing a Blogging Code of Conduct." Among others, Will Vehrs of Bacon's Rebellion developed a proposal. Part of rule #1 - "I do not seek nor will I accept any payment for expressing opinions without advance notification to my readers." - jumps out at me, as it's exactly what the Virginia right-wing blogosphere is vehemently arguing (note: excellent article by conservative blogger Justin Higgins) about right now (note: one righty blogger - Brian Schoeneman - apparently threatening to sue another - Greg Letiecq - for defamation). My version of that rule? As I wrote at the time:
Fully disclose.  Unless there is some overriding ethical or legal reason why you shouldn't, let your readers know the following information: your true name, your political affiliations and personal agendas wherever applicable, your weblog's purpose and mission, your personal connections to partisan elected officials (if relevant), and any payments you receive related to what you write on your blog.
How has the Virginia blogosphere done on that front since 2005?
There's More... :: (4 Comments, 1029 words in story)
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The purpose of Blue Virginia is to cover Virginia politics from a progressive and Democratic perspective. This is a group blog and a community blog. We invite everyone to comment here, but please be aware that profanity, personal attacks, bigotry, insults, rudeness, frequent unsupported or off-point statements, "trolling" (NOTE: that includes outright lies, whether about climate science, or what other people said, or whatever), and "troll ratings abuse" (e.g., "troll" rating someone simply because you disagree with their argument) are not permitted and, if continued, will lead to banning. For more on trolling, see the Daily Kos FAQs. Also note that diaries may be deleted if they do not contain at least 2 solid paragraphs of original text; if not, please use the comments section of a relevant diary. For more on writing diaries, click here. Thanks, and enjoy!

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