I just talked to Don, he seems like he'll be a strong candidate against "Sideshow Bob." As for Atif Qarni, who ran against "Sideshow" the last time, stay tuned for some interesting news... :)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: 571-248-1322, firstname.lastname@example.org
July 22, 2014
Don Shaw Announces Campaign for Virginia House of Delegates
Gainesville, VA - Today, Don Shaw announced his candidacy for the 13th House of Delegates District seat. The district covers portions of the Brentsville, Coles, Gainesville, and Occoquan Magisterial Districts in Prince William County as well as all of Manassas Park City. The race will take place in November 2015.
"After having given the situation a lot of thought," Shaw said, "I have decided I can make a greater impact in Richmond by working to advance responsible economic legislation and mainstream social policies in the General Assembly. I look forward to serving the constituents of the 13th House District."
Good news from Virginia Attorney General Herring's office, partially counteracting the outrageously a wrong/absurd decision by the right-wing judicial activists on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals this morning. Fortunately, the DC Circuit Court decision was so absurdly wrong that it will almost certainly be overturned by the full court ("en banc") and/or by the Supreme Court. Still, it's frightening how a bunch of radical, right-wing, "Federalist Society" judges have screwed up the federal judiciary so badly. THIS is a classic example why elections matter, and why we need to keep electing Democrats to the White House, Senate, etc. for the foreseeable future...
~ Virginia filed an amicus brief and presented oral argument supporting 177,000 Virginians who have already received financial assistance on exchanges ~
Richmond--Today, in unanimously affirming the lower court's decision in King v. Sebelius, now King v. Burwell, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Attorney General Mark R. Herring's position that Virginians are eligible for financial assistance to help them afford insurance purchased through the federally-operated exchange. Because of this ruling, at least 177,000 Virginians will keep an annual average of $3,048 in financial assistance they are already receiving. Attorney General Herring filed an amicus brief in the case and Virginia delivered oral argument defending the right of low- and moderate-income Virginians to access thousands of dollars in assistance to make healthcare coverage more affordable.
"If our tax dollars are helping working families afford healthcare then I will fight to make sure that working families in Virginia have equal access to that assistance," said Attorney General Herring. "Today's ruling is welcome news for 177,000 Virginians who have already purchased a plan and received financial assistance, and for those who may purchase healthcare through the exchange in the future. I'm glad the Fourth Circuit was not convinced by the specious arguments of the plaintiffs, which were based on strident opposition to anything related to the Affordable Care Act."
You think I'm kidding with that headline? Before you laugh, you might first want to check this out by Ken Cuccinelli's "Senate Conservatives Fund." That's right, Cooch and Company are labeling Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and 6 other Republican Senators as the "Shameful Seven" (for having "betrayed the grassroots and recruited Democrats in Mississippi to defeat Chris McDaniel").
But wait, it gets better: Cooch and Company are urging conservatives to pledge "not to donate to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC)," and also to tell the "Shameful Seven" they can't count on conservatives' support anymore. All I can say is, I sincerely hope that conservatives listen closely to their fearless leader Cooch and do what he tells them to do, as there are several close races - including Mitch McConnell fighting for his political life in Kentucky - where a few thousand fewer votes for the Republican candidate could keep Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate for the rest of President Obama's term in office. So...does Ken Cuccinelli deserve a "thank you" from us or what? See, I really wasn't kidding! :)
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, July 22. Also see Jack Trammell, "professor and Democratic candidate vying for Eric Cantor's seat, [as he] joins Luke Russert to discuss his campaign as well as being coworkers and rivals with Dave Brat."
It is been called a field hospital, but really isn't. There is some minor surgery, mostly dental, but most care falls into more clinical than surgical. An impressive endeavor in any case and outclasses any medical or dental activity the U.S. military routinely provides overseas. That was striking.
Odd what catches one's attention. The nice tents and orderly processes were expected. What caught my eye was the condition of the Wise County Fairgrounds as the Remote Area Medical (RAM) effort came to an end. The clients left the grounds far tidier than I would have ever expected. In fact, quite clean. A sign of respect? Or just the nature of people in this part of Virginia. Everywhere you go people are friendlier and more open to strangers than in more urban areas.
At the close of this RAM I was told that the last count at mid-morning had been 2,700 and that the total was likely near last year's 3,000 treated. The numbers are misleading. At every RAM, people are turned away and there is no accurate count of those. If the capacity supported more, the numbers would have some meaning. What is clear is that demand is growing either from awareness or economic conditions.
What I didn't know is that Wise is just one of three clinics that RAM has organized in far Southwest Virginia this year. Next: Jonesville, Virginia; 13 - 14 September. Then: Grundy, Virginia; 4 - 5 October. What I didn't expect was the efficiency of the breakdown of the camp. I now want to take part in and watch the arrival and assembly. For those who want to volunteer, information is available at the RAM website. Note that you should register early as registration can close; it closed a month before the clinic in Wise.
Another thing I didn't realize: the State Fairgrounds at the center of Oklahoma City, The Seattle Center in, of course, Seattle, and the Manhattan Convention Center in New York City now qualify as "remote." New York City! Clinics will be held at those locations in August, October, and November respectively. What does this say about health care in the United States? I am not really sure other than something is amiss.
Since 48th House of Delegates district Republicans chose Dave Foster as their candidate for the August 19th special election to fill the seat of Del. Bob Brink (D), we've been looking into this guy who claims to be a moderate Republican. From what we've found to date - his stated positions on the issues, his pandering to an extremist gun group, etc. - he's most certainly not. Here's a quick review of what we've posted so far on this faux-"moderate."
As if all that's not bad enough, how about Foster's $250 donation to our old pal George Allen, on September 29, 2006? In particular, note the date - that's 1 1/2 months AFTER Allen's infamous "macaca" incident, and well after every sentient voter in Virginia should have heard about it. It's also well after many other revelations about George Allen's racist, violent past had come out, including:
*Allen "shoving a severed deer head into [an African-American man's] mailbox during an early-'70s hunting trip."
*Allegations by several people who knew Allen that he "habitually used the n-word to describe blacks while he was a student at U.Va. decades ago."
*George Allen's photo-op with the Council of Conservative Citizens, the successor organization to the segregationist White Citizens Council and among the largest white supremacist groups.
*Allen's sister writing about how George had dragged her upstairs by the hair, and in another incident held her, terrified, over Niagara Falls.
*Allen welcoming one of his sisters' boyfriends to the house by "slamming a pool cue against his head."
*Allen's love of the Confederate flag, even though the only "South" he grew up in was Southern California. Heh.
*Allen freaking out when asked in a debate about his family's Jewish heritage, angrily accusing Peggy Fox of "making aspersions about people because of their religious beliefs."
We could go on and on, but we'll spare you. The main point is, beyond Allen's deplorable voting record in the U.S. Senate (97% with George W. Bush), all of the stuff listed above should have been more than enough to convince any but the most hard-core right wingnuts to ditch George Allen and support Jim Webb. Yet, not only did Dave Foster NOT ditch George Allen, he actually donated money to him after all this stuff had come out! At that point, all pretense of Foster being a "moderate" Republican should have been out the window, down the toilet bowl, whatever cliche you prefer. Yet this guy has the chutzpah to continue going around masquerading as one. Does he think voters are utterly clueless or what? Does he not know of such things as "Google" and "VPAP" and "YouTube" the "Internet Archive," and also many peoples' memories of his comments and actions over the years? Apparently, he's hoping that we'll forget about all that. Well, sorry to break it to you Mr. Foster, but that's not going to happen. Nice try, though. ;)
P.S. Make sure you vote for DemocratRip Sullivan on August 19th -- a special election in the middle of the "dog days of summer," which means flaky things can happen regarding turnout, even in an overwhelmingly Democratic district. Thanks.
Check out the last 10 seconds or so of these two TV ads in Virginia's 38th State Senate district, the first by Republican Adam Light's State Senate campaign in September 2011, and the second (on the "flip") by Republican Ben Chafin's State Senate campaign right now. Notice anything? How about that they're almost identical, both the words and the framing/composition/imagery (e.g., both have families of four, with two women and two men, standing in front of trees). As for the text, check it out:
*Light: "Together, we can make it so folks don't have to leave Southwest Virginia for the better life. The better life can be right here."
*Chafin: "and make the region more competitive...because with beauty like this, the better life should be here in Southwest Virginia."
Anyway, there's nothing sinister here, I just find it amusing that Ben Chafin has basically nothing new to say, but essentially is just another cookie-cutter Republican with cookie-cutter ads and with really bad ideas (like opposing absolutely crucial expansion of Medicaid) for Southwest Virginia.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, July 21. The photo is of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring volunteering the other day at the Remote Area Medical clinic in Wise County. Now, if only people from that area would stop voting for Republicans who are blocking Medicaid expansion, the Remote Area Medical clinic might not even be necessary.
To end your weekend, here are two, uh, interesting? entertaining? conversations involving Barbara Comstock's BFF and right wingnut extraordinaire Del. David Ramadan (R-Loudoun/Prince William).
First, we have Del. Ramadan retweeting the infamous Grover "Drown Government in a Bathtub" Norquist, celebrating the world "getting better every day" - not because there's less pain and suffering, more happiness and puppy dogs, but because...that's right, the number of Americans with concealed carry gun permits has skyrocketed since 2007. Kinda makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, ya know? As Fairfax County Democratic Committee communications guru Frank Anderson tweets back sarcastically, by Ramadan's and Norquist's reasoning, the world will be a "perfect place when all 240+ million adult Americans are packing heat." The scary thing is, people like Norquist, Ramadan, and Comstock almost certainly believe that to be the case.
Now, for the second, er, interesting? entertaining? conversation - also involving who else but Ramadan and Comstock - please see the "flip." For some background on "Tinder," click here (in short, it's a "dating-hookup hybrid that made things simpler, sexier, and particularly lady-friendly").
...don't walk out through the valley but climb up the mountain to higher ground...Snakes live in the lowland, but if you go up the mountain there's something...called a "snake line;" snakes can't live above it...they're cold-blooded animals and they die.
Well, in America, we've gotta get our politics above the snake line...There are some snakes out here. There are some low-down policies out here. There's some poison out here. Going backwards on voting rights, that's below the snake line. Going backwards on civil rights, that's below the snake line. Hurting people just because they have a different sexuality, that's below the snake line. Stomping on poor people just because you've got power, that's below the snake line. Denying health care to the sick and keeping children from opportunity, that's below the snake line.
But I stopped by to tell you, there's got to be somebody that's willing to go to higher ground, higher ground, where every child is educated; higher ground, where the sick receive health care; higher ground, where the poor are lifted; higher ground, where voting rights are secured...Neighbor, we've got to take America above the snake line...America is better than this. It's time to go above the snake line...
When I go up in the spirit and I listen to the Lord sometimes...I heard the Lord say...Tea Party may endure for a night, Koch brothers may endure for a night, oppression may endure for a night, but hang in there, make your way to higher ground...
Great speech, very powerful...now if only everyone would listen to this. Speaking of which, why was the room only half-full for Rev. Barber? That's seriously screwed up (of course, scheduling Rev. Barber for 9 pm on Thursday night, when people presumably were just arriving, might have something to do with it).
P.S. Note to "Bishop" EW Jackson: this is what Christianity really teaches, and this is what a real Christian - one actually channeling the message of peace, compassion, common good and brotherhood preached by Jesus - really sounds like.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, July 20. The photo is of Del. Mark Keam (D-Vienna), who wrote yesterday: "I had the pleasure of joining federal, state and local officials to cut the ribbon to open the Wiehle-Reston East Station on the new Silver Line Metro. The trains will start test runs this week and accept passengers beginning next Saturday."
If today's demonstration in Verona is any indication, the movement to ban migrant children from communities across the nation does not enjoy broad support. A report that such children were being administered at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Detention Center brought an immediate effort to organize a local protest for today.
But one story in Verona was that the counter-demonstration brought out just as many people who support following the laws regarding the processing of migrant children. Another story is that both groups got along without incident mostly by ignoring each other. They marched to the protest site, the highway 612 I-81 overpass, on opposite sides of the west bound lane. At the bridge, they kept their integrity, left and right of center.
Local tea party leader Dr. Edward Long claimed no role in organizing today's protest when contacted by the local newspaper. However, if t-shirt slogans and bumper stickers are any indication, the protesters share most of the tea party attitudes and political perceptions. Virginia Organizing member Barbara Lee indicated that group was involved in the counter-demonstration.
The press was there. The interviews were the normal shallow questions about the questions of the day. One interview with a woman who said she legally immigrated from Canada demonstrated a typical personal anecdotal depth of knowledge that is so lazily generalized. Her chief complaint seemed to stem from the requirement for her to have gone through a laborious and costly process to immigrate that migrants were managing to avoid. How quickly she has adapted the conservative attitude Lowell mentioned at the end of his piece about Senator Warren just yesterday. But the fact is that migrants who enter without application stand to face a much more laborious and costly experience with far less chance of success.
The other subject in which the protesters seem completely steeped is the human trafficking aspect of the issue. However, it seemed they were mixing and matching trafficking and transportation together so that it made more sense to them. Scratching the surface of any aspect of the current migrant situation does neither side of the debate any favors.
What should be apparent to all sides of this issue is that our current immigration system is antiquated and ineffective. They should be at their Congressional Representative's office demanding immigration reform, not grandstanding on a bridge shouting into the wind. And there won't be any progress at all if both sides continue to ignore each other.
I've never attended Netroots Nation, in part because I have no particular desire to spend hundreds of dollars of my own money to do so, but also in part because I never really saw the point. With the bizarre, brain-dead decision of Netroots Nation to hold their 2015 thingamabob (whatever it is exactly) in Phoenix, Arizona (the state being Anti-Latino-Immigrant Central, pretty much), there's less reason than ever to attend (although perhaps the corporate media, which otherwise could give a crap, will cover it just because there now will be "controversy," which they LOVE?).
Is there a broader point here? In my view, there is. Namely, that Democrats, liberals, progressives, environmentalists, etc. should try to live their values as much as possible. No, nobody's perfect, but I see no reason why we shouldn't try, to the extent possible, to...
*Boycott horrible companies like Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A, and refuse to purchase products that enrich the Koch brothers, or support companies that pay their workers slave wages, etc, etc.
*Support businesses that DO conform to our values.
*Work to reduce our adverse environmental impact - carbon emissions, trash, meat consumption, water runoff from our roofs and yards, pesticide usage, lawns vs. native plants, etc. - in our personal lives.
*Choose to travel to, hold conferences/do business in places that we feel good about, and avoid places that do bad stuff like discriminate against whole groups of citizens.
*Refuse to appear as guests on Faux "News" or other right-wing propaganda channels, which in my view convinces none of their viewers/listeners, but DOES help lend them legitimacy, as they can claim they allow "both sides" to air their views and that they are thereby "fair and balanced." One of the most egregious examples of this was President Obama agreeing to an interview with hatemongering right wingnut Bill O'LIElly. That was utterly inexcusable on both moral and political grounds (e.g., it was wrong morally AND it didn't help Obama politically in any way).
Again, we're all human and none of us are perfect, but we can STRIVE to live our values as much as possible. In the case of Netroots Nation, last I checked there are 50 states in this country, including many that are far superior to Arizona in terms of reflecting the progressive values Netroots Nation stands for. Not that they care about my opinion on this, since they didn't even care about Kos' for god's sake (WTF?!?), but I strongly advise them to rethink this truly stupid decision.
This new ad by allies (the right-wing loons at "Middle Resolution PAC") of 38th State Senate district Republican nominee Ben Chafin, is really about as slimy, misleading, and demagogic as you can get. Let's analyze it one slime-suckingly bad part at a slime-suckingly bad time.
1. Start off with the Big Lie, grabbing peoples' attention with an image of a coal miner and the phrase "the war on energy is a war on our economy." Of course, that's completely false and utterly ridiculous. First off, it's not even theoetically possible to HAVE a "war on energy," given that "energy" covers everything from fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) to renewables like wind and solar and geothermal, given that "energy" is all around us, etc. It's just utterly nonsensical. What they were TRYING to say was "war on coal," which is also absurd, unless you believe that the natural gas fracking industry, which has been overwhelmingly responsible the past few years for the decline in coal consumption by U.S. power plants, is waging said "war." Of course, given that Republicans love fracking, I doubt that that's what they're trying to say either.
Finally, I'd just point out that after a century of coal mining in Southwest Virginia, what they have to show for it is one of the poorest parts of Virginia and America. Which means it would be far more accurate to argue that coal mining itself has severely harmed the economy of Appalachian areas like Southwestern Virginia. And not that folks like Ben Chafin care about academic research, but what that shows is clear: "the heaviest coal-mining regions of Appalachia are worse off in just about every way compared to neighboring regions...mountaintop removal mining's economic cost to Appalachian communities totaled roughly $42 billion per year in lost health and lives."
In sum, it would be far more accurate to argue that coal itself has been waging war on Southwest Virginia's economy than natural gas fracking (which certainly has contributed in recent years to the decades-long decline in coal) or environmental regulations (which are far, far too lax). But as usual with Republicans, don't let facts and logic get in the way of a good piece of demagoguery.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, July 19. Also see President Obama's weekly address, in which he discussed "the importance of ensuring that the economic progress we've made is shared by all hardworking Americans."
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!