In our last installment of Ken Cuccinelli's crazy Facebook page and the bigoted extremists who comment on said page, we featured a status update in which the top-rated comment (by far) said that "illegal immigrant families...deserve a bullet." Today, there's another good one, with Cooch ranting and raving (does he ever do anything else?) about same-sex "marriage" (air quotes are his). According to Cooch: "The future is now in Canada thanks to their 2005 adoption of same-sex 'marriage.' Ten years later, the tyranny against Christians is well under way. What is this "tyranny" of which he speaks? In short, a strongly anti-LGBT, fundamentalist Christian law school was rejected for certification by British Columbia's Minister of Advanced Education. Whether or not you think that's right or wrong, it's a wee bit of overstatement to claim that it's evidence of "tyranny"/wholesale "persecution" of Christians in Canada, as Cooch breathlessly claims. It's also certainly not evidence of what the top-rated comment on Cooch's Facebook post claims it to be: evidence of the "last days" in which "you will not [be] allowed to buy or sell unless you accept the mark of the beast." But yeah, just another day in the bizarre, warped, paranoid, constantly-under-siege-from-gays-and-liberals-etc. world of Ken Cuccinelli's. Again, can you imagine if the nut had been elected Governor of Virginia?!? In the end, he lost, but it was horrifyingly too close for comfort...
Del. Johnny Joannou is arguably the worst "Democrat" in the Virginia General Assembly, horrendous on just about everything, might as well be a Tea Party Republican. For more, see this website, and if you live in the 79th House of Delegates district (Portsmouth, Norfolk), make sure you vote for a real Democrat, Steve Heretick, on June 9!
This is something that's been bugging me for weeks now, and Jon Stewart really nailed it last night: the media's coverage of Bernie Sanders has been an utter disgrace. Note that I don't say this as a Bernie Sanders supporter per se, simply as someone who finds the corporate media coverage of politics in this country - and of Sanders specifically - to be horrendously lame, irresponsible, brain dead, you name it.
Thus, according to the corporate media political hacks, Bernie Sanders is not going to be "taken too credibly" because he's "a loon" who is a "socialist for god's sake, is "73 years old, he looks 91;" and, worst of all, "has a thick Brooklyn accent." My god, a THICK BROOKLYN ACCENT! We certainly can't have THAT in the White House! (snark)
On the other hand, according to the same corporate media hackdom, the following people ARE apparently to be taken credibly.
Ted Cruz: An extremist who has said so many crazy things, so many outrageously false things, it's hard to keep track. He also worked hard to shut down the government, is a raging anti-gay bigot, anti-Muslim bigot, etc, etc., denies climate science (an automatic disqualifier in and of itself), and is generally speaking a far-right, theocratic nutjob. Yet he's treated much more seriously by the corporate media than Bernie Sanders is. Perhaps because he's a Teapublican, and the corporate media is terrified of those people?
Rand Paul: Same deal as Ted Cruz, pretty much. This guy is an anti-vaxxer who defended BP during the Gulf of Mexico disaster (saying that anyone who criticized the oil company was "really un-American"), compared Benghazi to 9/11, compared healthcare to slavery, frequently "shushes" female rpeorters, is also a climate science denier and apparently a creationist as well, etc, etc. Total nutjob and far-right-wing extremist, in other words, yet he's a more serious candidate for president than Bernie Sanders, who by world standards would be slightly left of center (my god, he supports expanding Social Security - gasp - he must be a commie!). Again, the corporate media is utterly brain dead.
Jeb Bush: A climate science denier (automatic disqualifier) who's apparently still for the Iraq War (even knowing now what we didn't know then), also ran for Florida Governor on "a sweeping set of conservative proposals that, if enacted, would have made Florida a virtual laboratory for far-right policy." Yet Jeb Bush is treated more seriously by the corporate media as a candidate for president in 2016 than Bernie Sanders, who believes such wild-eyed thing like: we "must transform our energy system away from polluting fossil fuels and towards energy efficiency and sustainability;" "as the rich become much richer, the level of income and wealth inequality has reached obscene and astronomical levels;" and that "Congress must pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and move toward public funding of elections." Yep, crazy talk...except that it's not at all crazy, and also happens to be supported by the majority of Americans in each case. But whatever, Sanders isn't serious, so sayeth the corporate media, and Jeb Bush is. Gotcha.
I could go on and on, but I don't have all day to cover all the dozen+ far-right Republican candidates (Donald Trump anyone? Ben Carson? Rick Perry?) spewing out their extreme beliefs and la-la-land craziness 24/7. Also, the corporate media seems to have that beat covered, except not in the sense of calling out these folks for their lunacy and extremism, but in treating it all as normal, "both sides," etc. Only in such a brain-dead world could Bernie Sanders - who Jon Stewart correctly described as a "rational, slightly left-of-center, mainstream politician" - while true extremists like the Republicans mentioned above are juuuuust fine with the corporate media. Sorry corporate media guys, but this judgement reflects a lot more on YOUR inadequacies (intellectual, moral, etc.) than on Bernie Sanders or anyone else you choose to trivialize, marginalize, mock, or ignore for no good reason whatsoever (other than your own cowardice and smug stupidity).
A few weeks ago, I sent identical questionnaires to both Democratic candidates in the 44th House of Delegates district. Below are the answers from Paul Krizek, who I am strongly endorsing this morning (joining other Krizek endorsers -- Congressman Gerry Connolly; Former Congressman Jim Moran; Senators Toddy Puller, Adam Ebbin and George Barker; Delegates Scott Surovell, Alfonso Lopez, Mark Sickles, Patrick Hope, Kaye Kory, Marcus Simon, David Bulova, and Eileen Filler-Corn; Supervisor Gerry Hyland and Supervisor Jeff McKay). If I receive responses from the other candidate, Justin Brown, I will print them, but I have repeatedly followed up with his campaign and, despite being told on May 12 that they would have responses back to me "asap," I haven't heard back since then. Whatever. Anyway, with that, here are Paul Krizek's answers, which I'd give an "A+" grade to -- thorough, thoughtful, strongly progressive, excellent no matter how you look at them!
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 44th House of Delegates district in Richmond. I love Mount Vernon, and I am deeply committed to my community. I grew up in the 44th House District in Mount Vernon, went to the local public schools, and have a daughter at Carl Sandburg Middle School.
I want to go to Richmond to help those that are struggling in our community just as I have done as a charity executive and before that, as a legislative staffer for Congressman Jim Moran, where I worked for eight years on legislation and constituent service for the people of the 8th Congressional District. I find helping people immensely gratifying and rewarding.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, May 29. Also, congratulations to Del. Patrick Hope, who last night received the Aggie Wolf Defender of Choice Award from NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia (photo by Catherine S. Read).
The Virginia Sierra Club scorecard for 2015 is now available, and sadly, an issue that should equally concern all of us - protecting the environment we all inhabit - continues to show a lamentable, absurd, frustrating partisan divide. For instance, courtesy of Ivy Main's Power for the People VA blog, note that every single Senator and Delegate receiving a perfect Sierra Club environmental score is a...yep, Democrat.
Thirteen Senators scored a perfect 100%, including Sen. Barker (D-39), Sen. Colgan (D-29), Sen. Dance (D-16), Sen. Ebbin (D-30), Sen. Favola (D-31), Sen. Howell (D-32), Sen. Lewis (D-6), Sen. Lucas (D-18), Sen. Marsden (D-37), Sen. McEachin (D-9), Sen. Miller (D-1), Sen. Petersen (D-34) and Sen. Wexton (D-33).
Twenty-five Delegates scored a perfect 100%, including Del. Bulova (D-37), Del. Carr (D-69), Del. Filler-Corn (D-41), Del. Futrell (D-2), Del. Herring (D-46), Del. Hester (D-89), Del. Hope (D-47), Del. Keam (D-35), Del. Krupicka (D-45), Del. Lopez (D-49), Del. Mason (D-93), Del. McClellan (D-71), Del. McQuinn (D-70), Del. Morrissey (I-74), Del. Murphy (D-34), Del. Plum (D-36), Del. Preston (D-63), Del. Sickles (D-43), Del. Simon (D-53), Del. Spruill (D-77), Del. Sullivan (D-48), Del. Surovell (D-44), Del. Toscano (D-57), Del. Ward (D-92) and Del. Watts (D-39).
Again, I take no real pleasure in that list (although THANK YOU to everyone who voted for the environment, not for the polluters, in 2015!). The fact is, Republicans and Democrats breath the air and drink the water equally, so there really should be no partisan divide at all when it comes to the environment. Also, even if you're utterly cynical about it, the fact is that BOTH parties receive a lot of money from Dominion Power and other fossil fuel interests (although no doubt Republicans receive even more dirty fuel dollars than Democrats do), so again that should cut against such a stark partisan divide as we see in Virginia. Yet here we are, even as the science is screaming at us about the enormous environmental challenges we ALL face, with this stark partisan divide on what SHOULD be an utterly non-partisan issue.
In that context, you'll understand why I find it sad and outrageous to see the Republican Party -- formerly the party of conservationist Teddy Roosevelt and even Richard Nixon, who did some excellent things for the environment -- become an earth-pillaging, Koch-sucking disaster. With that, here are the worst of the worst in the Virginia General Assembly, the Republicans who received "D" or "F" grades from the Sierra Club.
Oh yeah, and let's not forget two "Democrats": the godawful Johnny Joannou ("F" grade) and also Matthew James ("D" grade). No excuses there, but at least in Joannou's case, he has an opponent (Steve Heretick), who hopefully will beat him on June 9! As for the rest of the "D" and "F" Senators and Delegates, polling clearly shows that they are wildly out of step with their constituents, large percentages of whom (of both parties) support switching to clean energy and reducing carbon pollution. The question is, why aren't their supposed "representatives" listening to their constituents?!?
This is fascinating: Siobhan Dunnavant, running for the Republican nomination for Virginia State Senate in the 12th district, completely contradicts the accounts of three Democrats -- Senator Dick Saslaw, Senator Donald McEachin and another unnamed Democrat - she met with. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Dunnavant met with the Democrats "toward the end of the 2015 legislative session," and "what was shared...is that she was for Medicaid expansion." In addition, as John Fredericks reports in this interview:
1. Dick Saslaw said Dunnavant's brother called him (Saslaw) "to set a meeting up with the Democratic caucus because, he said, you were exploring running for State Senate and were exploring the potential for being the Democratic nominee, and he said that was the genesis, that was the catalyst of the meeting." (Dunnavant's response: "I don't know what happened between Ken [Stolle] and Dick...")
2. All three Democrats who met with Dunnavant said that Dunnavant didn't follow up with them, but Dunnavant said she DID follow up with them and told them she was running as a Republican. According to Dunnavant, "I have no explanation for why they said that, I spoke directly with Sen. Saslaw, and I called Sen. McEachin and within a few minutes he returned my call and we spoke...thanked them...I don't know why they don't remember that, I'm sure it was a busy time for them.")
Dunnavant goes on to spin a convoluted conspiracy theory, about how "now when my campaign is surging, all of a sudden this is coming up and being presented as an issue." She continues, asking "why is a powerful Democratic Senator getting involved in a Republican primary, except that I'm the best candidate and he doesn't want me to get the nomination?"
Here's video from last night's Democratic debate for the 45th House of Delegates district, held at the Alexandria Country Day Schoool. The candidates are Julie Jakopic, Mark Levine, Larry Altenburg, Clarence Tong and Craig Fifer. The first video is a question about the ethics issues raised by the resignation of (former) Del. David Englin and the egregious behavior of (former) Del. Joe Morrissey. More video - opening and closing statements, questions on taxes, Medicaid expansion, voting reform, police misconduct, local government, education, transportation, the environment, etc. in the comments section. Also, I may or may not end up grading this (depends how much time I've got today), but my initial impression was that the top three in this debate were (in no particular order) Mark Levine, Craig Fifer and Julie Jakopic, all of whom deserve "A" grades. I like Larry Altenburg and agree with much of what he has to say, but we are definitely not in sync on tax policy or on the importance of a delegate from this district helping to elect Democrats across Virginia (he thinks the latter is NOT the job of the delegate from the 45th; I strongly disagree). As for Clarence Tong, he's a good guy, very smart, and we agree on the vast majority of issues, but he's clearly not particularly comfortable with debating (or public speaking generally, for that matter)...
P.S. In the question on ethics, Jakopic ripped Joe Morrissey as a "pedophile" who "harassed that employee," and said there's "no excuse" for having him as an elected official. Tong said it's right to have a "high expectation" for our elected officials. Fifer said incarceration should be incompatible with service in the General Assembly, also finds it "a lot more offensive that the voters keep electing Joe Morrissey and some lawfully serving Republicans with terrible ideas." Altenburg said "criminals should not be serving...in legislative office," legislators should be "role models," it's reprehensible that people keep electing criminals. Levine says non-criminal behavior should not force someone against their will to leave office, that ex-felons should have a chance to serve, that non-violent drug crimes don't "bother me."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, has called on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) to explain why a Muslim woman driver who wears an Islamic head covering (hijab) was prevented from operating her train with a group of political VIPs as passengers.
According to the Muslim woman operator, the first car of her Silver Line train was commandeered for a media event [on Friday, May 8] featuring VIPs such as Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.)...
Before leaving on her normal schedule, the Muslim operator was reportedly informed by a supervisor that she would not be driving the train and was told to sit in the commandeered compartment while being watched by security personnel. The Muslim driver ultimately burst into tears because of the stress and humiliation she felt.
What on earth caused THIS to take place? Rep. Comstock, any comment?
What Bob Schieffer's talking about here (see partial transcript below) is so, so true, certainly in Virginia state (and local) government. I mean, just think about the decline of the Virginia state capitol press corps(e) the past few years, the exodus of reporters with decades of experience from keeping an eye on the crooks shenanigans going on in the Virginia General Assembly. Quick multiple-choice question: without that sunshine, do you think things will get a) better; b) worse? Hmmmm. And yes, political blogs have filled the gap to a small extent, but they're not even close to having the resources necessary to cover the Virginia General Assembly on a day-to-day basis during session, let alone the rest of the year. So...next time you hear someone complain about how corrupt things are in government, remind them that there are fewer and fewer experienced eyes (or any eyes for that matter) shining any light on what's going on there.
P.S. h/t to Chris Cillizza on this interview. As Cillizza writes: "Not only are there fewer eyes watching politicians, legislation and the like but also the pols are all-too-well well aware of that fact. More things are tried -- in a bad way -- by politicians because they know there is a far smaller chance of them getting caught or even called on it." Not good at all.
...one of the things that worries me about current journalism practices is the deemphasis on beat reporters. You know, so many newspapers around the country now - and I'm really worried about the state of newspaper journalism right now - because unless some entity comes along and does what local newspapers have been doing all these years, we're going to have corruption at a level we've never experienced...So many papers now can't afford to have a beat reporter...many papers don't have a city hall reporter anymore...to cover city hall you have to be there every day, and you have to know the overall story...
See below for the top-rated comment on Ken Cuccinelli's Facebook post regarding the three-judge panel's ruling on President Obama's immigration executive actions. I've crossed out the commenter's name, as that's not really relevant; the point is that this comment, claiming that any "illegal immigrant families" who "come back" to the U.S. "deserve a bullet" has received 126 "likes" as of 9 am Wednesday morning, and has not been removed or rebutted in any way by Ken Cuccinelli. What's horrifying is that Cuccinelli is not an outlier in today's Republican Party; to the contrary, he was elected Atttorney General of Virginia and almost elected Governor of Virginia as the Republican nominee in 2013. How can someone so extreme, so crazy, so godawful even be taken seriously in the United States of America? And how many others in his party agree with the sentiments expressed by the "bullet" commenter? Clearly, a large number, based on the 126 "likes." It's extremely disturbing, even more so that the media won't call out this party for what it has become, but continues its dangerous and cowardly "false equivalency," false "balance" "reporting" instead of simply reporting the TRUTH.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, May 27. Also, courtesy of Catherine Read, check out the photo of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee's "endorsed Democratic school board candidates from each of Fairfax County's magisterial districts." That includes: School Board At-Large candidates (not included in this photo) Ryan McElveen, Ted Velkoff and Ilryong Moon; Megan McLaughlin (Braddock District), Patricia Hynes (Hunter Mill District), Janie Strauss (Dranesville District), Tamara Derenak Kaufax (Lee District), Sandy Evans (Mason District), Karen Corbett Sanders (Mt. Vernon District), Dalia Palchik (Providence District), Karen Keys-Gamarra (Sully District). Good luck to all of them!
This endorsement would be hilarious if it weren't so pathetic. Actually, come to think of it, it IS hilarious.
Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has said he wants to unseat powerful Republican state Sen. Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach as the Democrats seek to retake control of the chamber this year.
Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim, also a Democrat, isn't on board with the plan.
Fraim will emcee a fundraising luncheon for Wagner on Wednesday at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott catering to the maritime community.
"He is supporting Frank," said Wagner campaign manager Scott Weldon. "Mayor Fraim and Sen. Wagner go back years."
Fraim, Norfolk's mayor for 21 years, said Wagner asked for his support long before he knew there would be a Democratic challenger "and I committed to it."
How inspiring, huh? More like super lame. Why? First off, you've gotta love the Wagner campaign manager's pathetic "they go back years" reason for why Fraim is supporting his buddy Frank. Second, does Fraim really think we're all that stupid to believe he did this simply because Wagner asked for Fraim's support "before [Fraim] knew there would be a Democratic challenger 'and I committed to it.'" Uh huh...
As to the "corrupt slimeball" part of the title, I refer you to Exhibit A ("Norfolk, Suffolk mayors resign from TowneBank boards") on Fraim and Exhibit B on Frank "Fully Owned and Operated by Dominion Power" Wagner ("During the 2015 legislation session, Senator Wagner carried SB 1349, controversial legislation on behalf of Dominion Virginia Power that restricted the oversight authority of the State Corporation Commission to order refunds when the utility overcharges its customers. When it became public knowledge that Senator Wagner also owned stock in Dominion, he sold his shares during the legislative session.").
Bottom line: Wagner and Fraim are two slimy peas in a rotting pod, truly made for each other, and no surprise whatsoever that one would endorse the other. Politics at its "why so many people hate politicians" worst...
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