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R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy

by: lowkell

Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 14:46:17 PM EST

I've been a Star Trek fan my whole life, and there have been so many great characters and actors over the years. Still, if I had to pick just one Star Trek character it would have to be Mr. Spock, and the actor who played him, Leonard Nimoy. He lived long and prospered, I just wish the "continuing (orginally 5-year) mission" never had to end for this amazing man. Rest in peace. This loss really makes me sad.

P.S. The following is Leonard Nimoy's last tweet, followed by tributes from his fellow Star Trek actors.

P.P.S. I forgot to mention the important point that Nimoy was a strong progressive, a champion for things like civil rights, LGBT equality, environmental protection and animal welfare.

William Shatner: "I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love"

George Takei: "Today, the world lost a great man, and I lost a great friend. We return you now to the stars, Leonard. You taught us to 'Live Long And Prosper,' and you indeed did, friend. I shall miss you in so many, many ways." Yep.

Brent Spiner: "Farewell Leonard. Glad I knew you. Thinking of Susan, Adam, and his entire family. And his vast extended family of Star Trek."

Levar Burton: "God Bless You, Leonard Nimoy... May Angels guide thee to thy rest!"

Jonathan Frakes: "#LLAP RIP to the best First Officer. @TheRealNimoy"

Wil Wheaton: "We stood on your shoulders, and wouldn't have had a galaxy to explore if you hadn't been there, first. Thank you, Leonard, Rest in peace."

Zachary Quinto (current Spock) - My heart is broken. i love you profoundly my dear friend. and i will miss you everyday."

Patrick Stewart: "It is with sadness that I heard of Leonard Nimoy's death. I was lucky to spend many happy, inspiring hours with him. He won't be forgotten."

Nichelle Nichols: "I am deeply saddened by the death of my dear friend Leonard Nimoy.  But, I also want to celebrate his extraordinary life.  He was a true force of strength and his character was that of a champion.  Leonard's integrity and passion as an actor and devotion to his craft helped transport STAR TREK into television history.  His vision and heart are bigger than the universe.  I will miss him very much and send heartfelt wishes to his family."

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Video: Falls Church, Virginia Second Grader Far, Far Smarter than Scott Walker

by: lowkell

Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 13:00:00 PM EST

Right-wingnut Gov. Scott Walker is not the brightest bulb on a wide range of issues, including of course energy and the environment. Here, he's asked by Haycock Elementary School (Falls Church, Virginia) second grader Aaron Stark what he'd do about climate change. Walker starts out ok, with the Boy Scout/campfire metaphor, but then Aaron follows up, much more skillfully than the Chuck Todds of the world ever do, by asking Walker point blank, "Do you CARE about climate change?" That's when Walker goes off the rails, as he starts talking to a second grader in Republican talking points about "ultimately" having "all the natural resources...as possible to move forward" blah blah blah. I mean, this really isn't complicated: if you're asked this question, certainly by a second grader, the answer is going to be pretty simple, that I care a lot, that this is a huge threat, and that we have to do something about it now! Of course, Walker couldn't do that because: a) he probably doesn't believe it; b) he's bought and paid for by the Koch brothers and other fossil fuel interests; and c) he's busy pandering for support from the crazy, science-denying, environment-trashing Republican base. Anyway, great job by Aaron, who I'd recommend as a replacement for any number of Sunday talk show hosts. :)

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Jim Webb Continues to Be Wrong, Horrible on the Environment

by: lowkell

Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 20:13:08 PM EST

This is wrong on almost every level. "Creation of 40,000 jobs?" That's wildly untrue, been debunked over and over again (e.g., see here). In fact, according to a report by Cornell University researchers, ""The construction of KXL will create far fewer jobs in the US than its proponents have claimed and may actually destroy more jobs than it generates." As for having "no serious impact on the environment," to the extent Keystone XL encourages tar sands development (which is kind of the entire point, you know?), it will be very bad environmentally. Want to see what it looks like? Click here and check out what's been called "the most destructive project on earth." And don't forget the health impacts, which are nasty as well. For more, see Bird deaths reported on Alberta oil sands tailing ponds and Federal study says oil sands toxins are leaching into groundwater, Athabasca River. Also see Keystone XL pipeline may threaten aquifer that irrigates much of the central U.S.. We could go on all day, but the bottom line is that Jim Webb is wildly wrong about this, just as he's wildly wrong in ignoring/minimizing the #1 threat to humanity (and to many other species) - anthropogenic global warming. That alone should eliminate him from consideration by anyone who cares about the environment, or really any progressive.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 06:34:08 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, February 27. Also, check out the loop of John Boehner making kissy sounds at a reporter. Yep, that's the Republican Party's leader in the US House of Representatives.

*GOP stopgap bill may calm DHS shutdown fears (Wow, three whole weeks - what a competent party the GOP is! Not.)
*Out of line ("Scott Walker's questioning of Obama's faith." This one's by conservative columnist Michael Gerson.)
*'Jihadi John' is a Kuwaiti-born Londoner named Mohammed Emwazi
*Scott Walker's Awful Answer on ISIS (I'm linking to the National Review specifically because it's a right-wing publication. Even they know that Scott Walker comparing peaceful protests by Wisconsin working people to a vicious, sadistic, murderous terrorist group is beyond outrageous.)
*The new GOP split on net neutrality (Bizarre; when did the Republicans become so vehemently anti-net-neutrality? When President Obama announced he supported it? This routine got tedious a loooong time ago.)
*Rush Limbaugh Conspiracy Theory: NYC ISIS Arrests A Ploy To Push Net Neutrality, Ban Gun Ammunition (Tedious AND insane, what a combo!)
*Scalise to EPA chief: 'snow blizzards' contradict climate science (This is the same Republican who spoke at a white supremacist rally and apparently was friendly with neo-Nazi leader David Duke.)
*Jim Inhofe's snowball has disproven climate change once and for all (Yet another insane Republican for a Friday morning. My god, where do they find these freaks?)
*USDA Whistleblowers Tell All-and You May Never Eat Bacon Again ("Diseased carcasses, fecal matter in food, untrained employees, and other delights from a new report on pork processing plants.")
*House in limbo: Beyer says 'dangerous time' to shut down Homeland Security
*Jim Webb: We need a voice for economic fairness, new doctrine on U.S. security (I agree on the voice for economic fairness, it just won't be Jim Webb as president.)
*Gov. McAuliffe defends signing bill to change Dominion oversight ("The governor said he tried to negotiate a compromise with the utility." Hmmmm...I've heard REALLY different stories on this one!)
*General Assembly almost done (" The end is well in sight for this session of the Virginia General Assembly, and though a number of high profile issues remain to be done, all indications are the body will wrap its work up Friday.")
*Virginia to compensate victims of forced sterilizations
*Gov. McAuliffe signs bill on marijuana oil for epilepsy treatment
*Taking aim at PETA's work ("PETA can certainly be its own worst enemy. But the organization does a job no one else wants.")
*Va. Republican Party spokesman to announce departure ("Garren Shipley says he's taken another job that will allow him to spend more time with his family." Ha, gotta love the ol' "spend more time with my family" line when someone in politics has been fired.)
*Governor proposes part-time ABC board ("Under McAuliffe's proposal, the state liquor authority would be led by a part-time board and a chief executive officer")
*Va. delegates dole out mock 'sensitivity caucus' awards
*Terry McAuliffe, Republican (I wouldn't say that, but he's definitely from the pro-corporate wing of the party.)
*Patient transported from Clarendon apartment does not have Ebola (More idiotic Ebola coverage, when thousands of Americans die from the flu every year.)
*Fairfax prosecutor asked state police to investigate Fairfax police shooting
*Another chilly day ahead with a 40 percent chance of snow

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Chris Christie's in Virginia Tonight For 2016 $$$. Will He Mention Terrible NJ Economic Record?

by: lowkell

Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 16:40:07 PM EST

From the Democratic Party of Virginia:


RICHMOND -- Kissing the ring of the nation's most notorious loser Eric Cantor has become a rite of passage for 2016 GOP hopefuls, and Chris Christie wants in on the action too. Fresh off a day of riling up right-wing extremists at CPAC, where he reminded participants that he voted to defund Planned Parenthood five times, Christie is once again not in New Jersey. While Christie is in town convincing Virginia Republicans that he's a viable presidential candidate, take a look at how his time in New Jersey stacks up with the Commonwealth.

"If Virginia Republicans want to seriously compete in 2016, they should stay far away from Chris Christie's horrible economic ideas," said Morgan Finkelstein, spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Virginia. "Christie's record reads like a step-by-step guide of how not to run a state. Virginia Republicans couldn't have picked a more polar opposite to the progress made by Governor McAuliffe here in the Commonwealth."

Some key comparisons:
There's More... :: (1 Comments, 699 words in story)

Video: 2013 Virginia LG Nominee Says SPLC "No Different" Than "Slave Masters Or Segregationists"

by: lowkell

Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 13:19:12 PM EST

For more, see Right Wing Watch, but in short, the 2013 Virginia nominee for Lt. Governor, EW Jackson, yesterday attacked the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for briefly listing 2016 Republican Presidential candidate (and an extremist by any definition of the word) Ben Carson in its "extremist files," claiming that SPLC's criticism of Carson was "no different than what maybe slave masters or segregationists would have said." Yes, you could brush it off as, "well, it's typical insanity by EW Jackson," but the problem is that Jackson't not an aberration in today's Republican Party. Remember, this is a party where top leaders, like Rudy Giulani and Scott Walker, routinely question Barack Obama's religion, patriotism, birth status, you name it. They also deny climate science and evolution, whlie routinely making outrageous comments about a whole host of other topics.  The question is, how can an extreme, John Birch Society-style freak show like this be a major political party in this country?

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Endorsements Start for 2017 Virginia Governor?!? Talk About WAYYYY Too Early!

by: lowkell

Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 11:30:52 AM EST

On Tuesday, after reading that Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam was essentially announcing his run for Governor of Virginia in 2017, I wrote that it's waaaaaay too early for us to be starting that now. First, let's focus on the 2015 state legislative races. Then, let's focus on making sure the Democratic presidential nominee carries Virginia in 2016 (and hopefully picking up a House of Representatives seat or seats). Then, it seems to me, it will be time to turn our attention to 2017.

But certainly not now. Which is why I was happy to read that Northam had "walked that back somewhat Tuesday evening, telling The Richmond Times-Dispatch that he is in the preliminary stages of assessing whether a run is feasible and could be successful before deciding whether to seek the office." OK, cool, I've got absolutely no problem with any of that, particularly since it's 100% expected that, as Larry Sabato notes in the article, "I don't think I've ever met anyone who ran for lieutenant governor because his or her life ambition was to preside over the state Senate." And it's also fully expected that Attorney General Mark Herring will run for governor as well. But again, why on earth do we want to be starting this in February 2015?

Yet, whether we want it or not, here it comes apparently, with the first major endorsement of the election -- 2013 Democratic primary candidate for Attorney General, Justin Fairfax, endorsing Ralph Northam. What makes this one particularly interesting is that Fairfax is clearly running for Attorney General again, which means he hopes to be on the ticket of whoever the Democratic nominee for governor is -- Northam, Herring, or someone else for that matter. Given that we don't know who that nominee will be, I don't think that's a move I would ever have recommended, since it risks alienating any other potential gubernatorial nominees, but to each his own I suppose...

P.S. Just a side note, but I really wish politicians would stop referring to actual or potential political allies as their "dear friend," "great friend," or whatever, when obviously they're not.

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 06:32:40 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, February 26. Also check out Jon Stewart brilliantly skewering Faux "News" and dissecting the right-wing modus operandus (hint: lots of lies, deflection, projection, anger, insanity, etc.).

*Waiting for the punch ("Speaker John Boehner is leading from behind." What else is new?)
*Obama vows 'aggressive' defense on immigration (G'Obama!)
*On immigration policy, the GOP is out of touch with the rest of America
*Breaking stalemate, Senate votes 98-2 to debate 'clean' DHS bill
*Another Fabrication: O'Reilly Never Witnessed The Murder Of Nuns In El Salvador ("O'Reilly's Claim To Have Seen Nuns 'Shot In The Back Of The Head' Contradicted By His Own Timeline")
*Jeb braces for CPAC (The fact that "JEB" is even going to this extremist freak show, let alone that he's taking questions from far-right-wing shock radio host Sean Hannity, says it all about "JEB")
*Trump says he is serious about 2016 bid, is hiring staff and delaying TV gig (Oh please! Sarah Palin too, the "clown van" is big enough! LOL)
*Budget pact leaves McAuliffe with sunny outlook ("Despite the bad weather, Gov. Terry McAuliffe had a sunny forecast for the progress of his administration and state lawmakers on a budget agreement and spending priorities for the coming year.")
*Richmond leashes watchdog ("It looks like the State Corporation Commission is going to have some free time on its hands over the next five years, now that Gov. Terry McAuliffe and state lawmakers have effectively cut the consumer watchdog from holding Virginia's biggest power company accountable." Except at the SCC is a pussy cat of a "watchdog" anyway.)
*Tim Kaine the latest Hill Democrat to announce plans to skip Netanyahu's speech
*McAuliffe tries and fails to protect bill that would hide data on Va. executions (Glad that he failed on this one.)
*Va. ruling could mean big refunds for businesses - and lower tax revenue
*Va. lawmakers try to negotiate ethics reform, college sex assault bills (The good news is that adjournment is near! LOL)
*Sen. Jeff McWaters won't seek re-election (Unfortunately, the guy favored to succeed him may be even worse - a right wingnut AND a raging Islamophobe to boot. Ugh.)
*Rigell adviser seeks Virginia House seat ("Jason Miyares is seeking election to the 82nd District House seat now held by Republican Bill DeSteph, who is running for a state senate seat. DeSteph is seeking to replace Sen. Jeff McWaters, who announced this week he will not seek a second term in the 8th Senate District.")
*House, Senate churn through bills, negotiations
*Casey: Of phony and incomplete Thomas Jefferson quotes
*Our view: McAuliffe could show Obama how to deal (Included in the news clips simply as an example of how NOT to write an editorial. WTF?)
*Virginia General Assembly appoints 3 new Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court judges (A legislator was telling me yesterday that they don't even really know who they're voting for much of the time on judges. Great, huh?)
*Herndon delegate announces retirement amid tough reelection bid
*Snow brings Richmond-area school closings ("The four major Richmond-area school systems canceled classes Thursday as snow fell heavily across the region, covering roads.")
*Legislators reach compromise on bake sales bill ("They may not have reached agreement yet on ethics, but lawmakers in the state Senate and House of Delegates found compromise Wednesday on a bill to regulate school bake sales." Tackling the REALLY important stuff, I see! /snark)
*Blanket of snow covers Hampton Roads overnight
*Falling snow once again making for slow and messy morning commute

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Sens. Markey, Boxer, Whitehouse Query Dominion, Alpha on Climate Science Denial Funding

by: lowkell

Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 17:59:01 PM EST

According to a press release I received earlier today, "Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) today sent letters to 100 fossil fuel companies, trade groups, and other organizations to determine whether they are funding scientific studies designed to confuse the public and avoid taking action to cut carbon pollution, and whether the funded scientists fail to disclose the sources of their funding in scientific publications or in testimony to legislators." Among those companies were two based in Virginia: Richmond-based Dominion "Global Warming Starts Here!" Resources and Bristol-based coal company/polluter Alpha Natural Resources. My attitude is that it couldn't have happened to two nicer companies. :) In all seriousness, though, their answers to these questions should be fascinating. Great work by Senators Markey, Boxer and Whitehouse on this!

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 11 words in story)

Jennifer Boysko Statement on Del. Tom Rust's Retirement

by: lowkell

Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 11:17:13 AM EST

The following press release is from Jennifer Boysko, who hopefully will be the next delegate from the 86th House district!
HERNDON- This morning Del. Tom Rust announced his retirement on the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates.  Jennifer Boysko, the Democratic Candidate for the 86th House District, made the following statement regarding Del. Rust's announcement:

"I want to thank Tom Rust for his many years of service to our community as a Delegate and as Mayor of Herndon.  When Tom first ran for Delegate, I volunteered for his campaign because I had so much respect for him as Mayor.  While we have disagreed on several issues over the years, he has always been committed to serving his constituents and our community to the best of his ability, working in the harsh political environment, which has become more and more divisive over the years.  His accomplishments especially on transportation and fiscal responsibility are to be celebrated and will be appreciated for decades to come."

"It is always difficult to run against someone you personally respect.  I challenged him because I have been troubled by the Republicans in Richmond who have made it more difficult to govern in a moderate, common-sense manner, as Tom Rust so capably did as our mayor."

"I wish him well in whatever endeavor he pursues next and thank him again for his public service."

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Checks and Balances Project Launches Captured Regulators Initiative

by: sthepeterson

Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 09:15:20 AM EST

(This is highly relevant to Virignia, where the State Corporation Commission has been "captured" by Dominion Power and fossil fuel interests, and is essentially regulated by the corporations, not the other way around. - promoted by lowkell)

Checks and Balances Project Launches Captured Regulators InitiativeInfluence pedaling in America is a $9 billion a year industry. It's as big as Major League Baseball or NASA's Mars spacecraft program, changing from direct meetings with lawmakers to a vertically integrated set of businesses that work every stage of government decision making - including the shaping of public opinion.

Checks and Balances Project Launches Captured Regulators InitiativeMany have charted the size, scope, and growth of the influence peddling industry. There's the definitive, 25-part Washington Post series on the emergence of modern mega-lobbying firms. Ross and Amter's definitive history of the chemical lobby The Polluters. Merchants of Doubt, by Oreskes and Conway, that laid bare the growth of the lobbyist-funded think tank industry. There are also definitive books by then-reporter Jeff Birnbaum's, including The Money Men: The Real Story of Fund-raising’s Influence on Political Power in America - though Birnbaum later joined the influence business himself.

The point is that as a growth industry, influence peddling needs to find new ways to grow to accommodate the ever-expanding ranks for former staff and public officials who want to make big money after their public "service."

So it was only a matter of time before previously sleepy public offices, such state assembly offices, state public utility commissions, and writers of obscure cost-benefit analyses became part of the influence peddling playbook. That's particularly true now that the big shifts in the energy industry are under way. Rooftop solar on people's homes has been declared a "mortal threat" by the lobbying arm of the utility industry, which has launched a very concerted effort to penalize their customers for buying less of their product.

Regulatory Capture in State Agencies
In many states, commissioners have been lured to ally themselves with the industries they are charged with regulating. There is a term for this, created by Nobel Prize winner Economist George J. Stigler over 50 years ago: "Regulatory capture."

There's More... :: (5 Comments, 485 words in story)

Ralph Northam: "I'm planning for the next step - planning to run for governor"

by: lowkell

Tue Feb 24, 2015 at 21:10:05 PM EST

It's late, but just a few quick thoughts on this news. First, it's waaaaaaaayyyy too early to start a race for 2017, when we're just two months into 2015, and just over a year after Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam and Mark Herring were sworn in as Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General, respectively. I mean, I agree with Northam that "if you're gonna run for governor, you can't do it at the last minute," but February 2015 is far from the "last minute" for a Democratic primary in June 2017.

Second, our focus this year, now that the General Assembly session is winding down, needs to be on taking back the State Senate, with a secondary goal of picking up seats in the House of Delegates, not on starting a contest between Northam and Herring (and whoever else) for 2017.

Third, after 2015 we need to focus on making sure the Democratic nominee for President carries Virginia in 2016, and also on hopefully beating Barbara Comstock, maybe Scott Rigell and others as well. Again, we should NOT be focusing on the 2017 governor's race when we have other, more pressing things to worry about.

Fourth, it seems to me that the AG's office is a much stronger platform to get stuff done than the LG position, unless perhaps the Senate is evenly divided and the LG gets to break a lot of ties (which hasn't been the case this year). Thus, over the past year, we've seen AG Herring in high-profile cases dealing with immigration (e.g., Virginia attorney general declares 'dreamers' eligible for in-state tuition) and marriage equality -- issues with great appeal to the "base." Perhaps that factored into why Northam felt the need to jumpstart this race so soon?

Finally, I'm not sure it bodes well for a unified Democratic Party heading into 2017 that Northam hadn't "discussed my next step" with Herring. I don't get that one at all.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 06:43:30 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, February 25.

*Senate moves closer to a deal on DHS funding (As usual, it will be up to extreme House Teapublicans. We really need to take back the House in 2016 if at all possible!)
*Obama Aide Calls Netanyahu's Planned Visit 'Destructive' (All I have to say is, go Isaac Herzog and the Israeli Labor Party!)
*Bruni: The G.O.P.'s Assertive God Squad (Christian conservatives...have a disproportionate sway over the Republican Party. And because of that, they have an outsize influence on the national debate.")
*A compelling argument on Iran ("They see in Netanyahu's maximalist goals an air of unreality - of fantasy, even. They grant that their solution isn't perfect. But they argue that it's far better for Israel and the West than any other plausible scenario." Bingo.)
*GOP Attacked Democrats For Not Supporting Homeland Security. Now They're Threatening To Shut It Down (Internal consistency is the hobgoblin of small...Teapublicans?)
*F.C.C. Net Neutrality Rules Clear Hurdle as Republicans Concede to Obama
*O'Reilly Lied About Suicide Of JFK Assassination Figure, Former Colleagues Say ("Fox Host's Dallas TV Colleagues Tell Media Matters Of Another Fabrication")
*Virginia lawmakers offer plan to pay workers during shutdown
*McAuliffe signs bill that would change oversight of Dominion (A deeply flawed bill. Even more troubling, I've heard that Gov. McAuliffe was happy to sign the bill even BEFORE extensive changes for the better were made. If so, that's messed up, let's just put it that way.)
*Va. House kills lethal injection secrecy bill despite support of McAuliffe (I can't believe I actually was rooting for the House of Delegates against Gov. McAuliffe on something, but I was - big time - on this!)
*Ralph Northam confirms he's running to become next Va. governor (Waaaaayyy too early!)
*Schapiro: McAuliffe, GOP refuse to work or play well together ("Conflict is the norm. Cooperation is an aberration. When they're not working around each other, the governor and General Assembly are working each other over. McAuliffe now has less than three years to leave his mark. Howell, in concert with Senate GOP leader Tommy Norment, has only to wait out McAuliffe.")
*General Assembly: Mixed bag ("It's hard to say whether the ethics reforms currently under consideration deserve cheers or jeers. They're a slight improvement over the status quo, but the status quo is so woeful that doesn't qualify as much of a compliment.")
*America 'starving for leadership' Perry tells GOP in Richmond (Agreed, which is why Democrats need to take back Congress in 2016, because since 2011, Teapublicans have been an obstacled to said "leadership.")
*Editorial: Shrouding executions in secrecy isn't the answer ("Legislating secrecy is hardly the way to address an issue that merits straightforward debate.")
*Va. budget deal done (Not a good one, but yeah, it's done. Yay.)
*A number of bills are heading to the governor ("The General Assembly shipped a slew of bills to Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday, just four days before the close of the legislative session." A bunch of them should be vetoed.)
*Cantor, now of Moelis bank, to seek defense clients in D.C. (Revolving door.)
*Is Brian Schoeneman "Ready for Hillary"? ("Sully District candidate for Supervisor Brian Schoeneman has voted in Democrat[ic] primaries twice in the last decade." In 2006 and 2008. Maybe time for Brian to join the Democratic Party?)
*Hilliard to run for Howell's House seat as Democrat (Good!)
*Bob McDonnell, children, asked leniency for Maureen McDonnell ("Many friends and relatives urged leniency from Judge James R. Spencer, pleading that the public humiliation was punishment enough.")
*Arlington board agrees to two new developments along Columbia Pike (OK, no what about the transportation component?)
*Winter storm watch issued south of Roanoke; heavy snow risk may yet edge northward
*Possible highs in the 40s today then a chance for snow tonight

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Shocker: Teapublican House of Delegates Does Something Right, Nixes Secret Execution Drugs Bill

by: lowkell

Tue Feb 24, 2015 at 12:53:42 PM EST

Good riddance this horrible bill (would have made the contents of execution drugs secret - seriously!), which just went down to defeat in the Teapublican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates by a 56-42 vote (I hear all Dems voted to kill it). I also hear that Del. Rick Morris (R) basically argued government of/by/for the people, and that government shouldn't do anything in secret. Del. Charniele Herring (D) correctly argued that killing human beings shouldn't be done under a veil of secrecy. In contrast, our old pal Del. Dave Albo (R), infamous for this embarrassing performance (among many many others) said it wasn't a big deal. Finally, Dick Saslaw deserves condemnation for sponsoring this horrible bill, as does any Democrat - or Republican, but you kinda expect it from them - who voted for this.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Death Panel: Virginia's Republican General Assembly

by: Dan Sullivan

Tue Feb 24, 2015 at 11:36:58 AM EST

Virginia Capitol photo StateCapitol_zpsed333520.jpgTurns out they were right. There is a self-anointed death panel and it meets in this building. Recall they said that healthcare would be rationed? Now that they've managed it, they are quite proud of their accomplishment. What Republicans really relish is the surreptitious method: don't decide, just deny.

Millions and millions and millions of your federal tax dollars have been flushed down the Potomac only to be harvested by wiser state legislatures. What could have been a catalyst for not only broad medical service sector growth but also the survival of rural medical clinics and hospitals was set aside for base political posturing. This should have been a simple financial decision. Instead it was a cynical sacrifice of their voiceless, powerless constituents for the protection of their own political hides.

Let's consider the costs because they are not limited to those dollars passed on to other states. Some number amounting to just under 5% of Virginians are without healthcare coverage because Medicaid expansion has been denied. That doesn't mean they go without healthcare. In many cases it means they go without healthcare until there is a crisis and then an emergency room visit and expensive procedure are required. Who pays for that? You can make up all kinds of voodoo financial and economic formulas but the costs get passed to those who are covered in increased insurance premiums and/or copays and/or deductibles. And maybe more importantly, in scarcer medical service resources. Visit an emergency room for the Republican version of healthcare delivery in the unregulated free market. They simply don't understand that the risk pool is the risk pool. No one in America is denied care in an emergency and those emergencies are exponentially more costly than preventive care. Republican denial of coverage poisons the well that feeds the pool. Welcome to the Teapublican Utopia.

On the other hand, some number amounting to just under 5% of Virginians now have healthcare insurance through the Federal Marketplace established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. That hasn't solved every problem but it goes a long way in that direction. While some are subsidized, these policies are not some government giveaway. They are a way Americans can take responsibility for their financial exposure. Republicans talk about individual responsibility in a vacuum. They like to preach about it but don't want to facilitate it. The fact is that 60% of bankruptcies in the United States involve medical indebtedness. Healthcare insurance builds a firewall between personal financial survival and insolvency leading to financial disaster.  

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 529 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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