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Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Oct 20, 2014 at 06:50:36 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, October 20.

*Twitter Mocks Media Bias, White-on-White Violence after Pumpkin Riot ("Don't these people have jobs? Where are the white fathers? What will end this corrosive culture of violence?!" Spot on critique of the media's double standard.)
*George Will Spreads Misinformation About Ebola on Fox News (That's about all George Will's been doing for years now -- spreading misinformation. Why is he allowed in newspapers and on TV shows?!?)
*Rand Paul: The Most Interesting Conspiracy Theorist in Washington (It's really fascinating how similar this guy is to his conspiracy-theory nutball father. The main difference is Rand hides it better than Ron.)
*Pentagon makes plans for U.S. Ebola response
*Both parties face a blue-collar imperative ("Over the weekend, Bill Clinton was in Arkansas, and he will campaign Monday in Louisiana. He's trying to bring home voters who once saw his party as the working man's best friend.")
*POLITICO poll: Alarm, anxiety as election looms (The alarm and anxiety are wildly overblown. Thanks a LOT corporate media and Republicans for stoking it!)
*American meat's disgusting secret: Why factory farms are even worse than you thought (There's really no excuse for anyone to eat factory-farmed meat. Ever. It's horrific.)
*Foust, Comstock locked in contentious and expensive House race in Virginia
*In N. Va. House race, seasoned politico Comstock blazes a new path ("'She will stop at nothing to tear apart her opponent,' Murphy says now. 'She will stop at nothing, because she is an expert in the politics of personal destruction.'")
*Rasoul: No Medicaid? Blame gerrymandering (Agreed, that's a big part of the problem.)
*Talk of pipeline surveyance creeps into Franklin County
*Clear choices in Portsmouth
*HRT reduces Naval Station light rail route possibilities to six
*A dose of sunshine today before clouds and possible showers move in

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Ranking Virginia's Elections, 2005-2014

by: lowkell

Sun Oct 19, 2014 at 13:42:27 PM EDT

This is an update to - and a bit different from - my post of December 29, 2013, in which I ranked my nearly 11 years as a political blogger at the time. In this post, I'm going to rank  Virginia's elections from 2005 (when I started blogging about Virginia, so these are the Virginia elections I know the best) through 2014, from the perspective of a Democrat and progressive, but also from that of a political junkie who likes to follow exciting, hotly-contested political races. Which Virginia elections from 2005 were the most exciting, inspiring, interesting, entertaining and successful (a combination of all those factors) for Democrats? Here they are, in descending order.

10. 2009: Just a godawful year in every way; do we even have to talk about it? In brief, we got wiped out in the Tea Party madness, resulting in the loss of great Democrats in the House of Delegates, not to mention the election of far-right-wing extremist Ken Cuccinelli as Attorney General, Jonnie Williams' BFF Bob McDonnell, etc., etc. Plus, the Democratic primary between Terry McAuliffe, Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds was one of the most unpleasant experiences most of us who were involved in it have ever experienced. Good riddance 2009, may you forever rot in hell.

9. 2010: Not quite as bad as 2009, but not good either. I mean, any year when a superb Representative like Tom Perriello is defeated by an utter loser and right wingnut like Robert Hurt can't be good. Throw in the loss of Rep. Rick Boucher (to the climate-science-denying wacko Morgan Griffith) and the defeat of Rep. Glenn Nye by Scott Rigell, and there's really nothing good to say about 2010. Miserable.

8. 2011: The first election after the 2010 census and redistricting was no fun at all. As if losing two Senate seats (and control of the Senate, despite pro-Democratic gerrymandering) wasn't bad enough, we also got our butts handed to us in the House of Delegates, falling from 39 to 32 Democrats. Oh, and as an added "bonus," we had an extremely nasty/godawful Democratic primary between Barbara Favola and Jaime Areizaga-Soto. Definitely not a fun year in any way.

There's More... :: (4 Comments, 1525 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Oct 19, 2014 at 07:03:04 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, October 19. By the way, just click on that image if you want to tell the fossil fuel industry and corporate shills at the Virginia State Corporation Commission what you think about their wildly false, dishonest, disgraceful "report" on the impacts of EPA's Clean Power Plan on Virginia.

*The Dangerous Legal Rule Behind The Supreme Court's Latest Voter Suppression Decision
*Vatican meeting walks back language on gays, divorce (As usual, right wingers and bigots stand in the way of human progress. What else is new?)
*D.C. mayoral choice: Muriel Bowser's caution or David Catania's combativeness?
*Scott Brown: If Romney Was Prez 'We Would Not Be Worrying About Ebola' (Scott Brown, disgusting as always.)
*Schapiro: Va.'s 'Kafka-esque' obstacles to a second chance ("The auditor suggested creating a central debt collection agency, rather than relying on an array of entities and officials. Couple with it, Kalantari says, an easy, one-stop payment system for debtors. The backing of the legislature - political and financial - might make such a move easier. Perhaps the idea should be run by another guest at the Drive-to-Work luncheon: Bill Howell, the speaker of the House.")
*Kaine has found his niche in the Senate, will talk war powers at Public Square
*Rigell fends off attacks in 2nd District congressional debate ("Democratic challenger Suzanne Patrick accused U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell of failing to adequately support the region's military economy, veterans and issues important to women.")
*Editorial: Will Virginia meet the challenge ("One redistricting predicament is that Democrats in Virginia tend to be concentrated in urban areas while Republicans are spread among exurbs and rural regions. The W&M students managed to surmount the challenge. If 'amateurs' can come up with a fair design, then surely the state's professionals can, too.")
*Still distracted while driving? Hands off, legislator says
*Remains found in search for U-Va. student
*The choices in Virginia Beach
*McAuliffe to take Virginia sales pitch to Asia during trade mission
*Virginia budget cuts won't hamper Arlington streetcar funding, state says (Good news!)
*A sunny but brisk day with possible frost tonight to north and west

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Oct 18, 2014 at 07:41:56 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, October 18.

*President Obama: Americans cant give in to fear on Ebola (As Republicans and the wildly irresponsible corporate media stoke it...ugh.)
*The nasty politicization of Ebola ("Conservatives pillory NIH director for stating the truth about budget cuts.")
*Assuring Public on Ebola, but Obama Is Said to Be Seething ("President Obama has projected calm but privately has a different assessment of his administration's handling of cases in the United States.")
*Why An Ebola Flight Ban Wouldn't Work (For starters: "There are no regularly scheduled direct flights to the U.S. from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone - and very few from other countries in West Africa.")
*Conservatives fear Roberts going soft (Translation: they fear Roberts might actually follow precedent, fact, the Constitution, etc.)
*Supreme Court Upholds Texas Voter ID Law (So much for the previous item?)
*Russell Brand slams Fox News outside of Fox News headquarters, is threatened with arrest
*Gillespie reissues ad on Puckett scandal ("The original ad had featured an erroneous news report about Sen. Mark Warner that had been pulled." It also doesn't mention the fact that it was REPUBLICANS who bribed Puckett - successfully, I might add - to resign, throwing the State Senate to Republican control.)
*Warner and Gillespie spell out major differences ("The candidates made separate appearances onstage at Christopher Newport University to answer questions on topics including immigration, health care and fixing Washington's dysfunction")
*Woman who fell ill on bus at Pentagon doesn't have Ebola (Another example of hysteria.)
*The wrong ACA prescription ("By repealing ACA revenue-raising measures, Mr. Gillespie's alternative would leave nearly $300 billion less in the treasury over 10 years, even after all its spending cuts.")
*More Coal Industry Propaganda (There's so much of it out there, even including denial of climate science. Appalling.)
*Sentencing delayed for Maureen McDonnell in Virginia
*McAuliffe mobilizes command group to prepare for Ebola
*Retirement funding improves for first time since 2008 ("The funding of Virginia's pension plans for state employees and teachers improved in the last fiscal year for the first time since 2008, before the recession cut deeply into the retirement system's investments.")
*Sentencing delayed for Maureen McDonnell in Virginia ("One of her attorneys had requested the change because of a scheduling conflict.")
*Virginia Tech celebrates installation of new president Timothy Sands
*A blustery, cool autumn day that
turns much colder overnight

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Oct 17, 2014 at 06:06:50 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, October 17. The photo is from last night's 8th CD Democratic Kennedy-King Dinner, saluting Rep. Jim Moran for his many years of service.

*Nothing to fear but panic itself ("Ebola panic carries serious risks." Agreed, and guess who's spreading it? Yep, the media and the Republicans - shocker, eh?)
*Why a travel ban wouldn't work ("The political momentum for a travel ban on West African nations continued to swell Thursday, but health and transportation experts were uniform in saying it wouldn't stem the spread of Ebola - and could do more harm than good.")
*Don't Look Now, a Democrat Is Leading in Georgia ("Even if she doesn't win, it might spell disaster for the GOP")
*Democrat Foust seeks to regain ground on women's issues (It's absolutely crazy that there should even be a question here of who's the better candidate for women. And no, it's NOT Barbara "Mandatory Transvaginal Ultrasounds" Comstock.)
*Ed Gillespie Will Run Plenty of Ads in the Next Two and a Half Weeks
*Gov. Terry McAuliffe Urges Energy Savings by State Government
*Gillespie reports raising $1.8 million, temporarily ditches ads
*Leonsis, Minor among donors to pro-Warner Super PAC ("Investors and technology moguls are fueling a pro-Sen. Mark R. Warner super PAC that has put up $1.8 m...")
*McDonnell's legal defense fund donations dwindle
*Md., Va. officials hoping to avoid repeat of 2012 election lines
*Booze price hike upsets Va. consumers, restaurants
*4th District needs better choices ("Randy Forbes has not been a consequential member of Congress. By almost every measure of effectiveness, he trails his peers in the House of Representatives, not just among the 435 members of Congress, but among the 11-member Virginia delegation." Ouch, the truth hurts.)
*GOP lawmakers seek curbs on travel due to Ebola threat ("Three Virginia legislators say Gov. McAuliffe should consider suing Dulles airport."
*Students at Virginia Wesleyan protest over sexual assault case
*Virginia Marine Police crack down on oyster violations, poaching
*Stricter Ebola screening begins at Dulles Airport
*Our view: Get on with real business in Roanoke County
*Vihstadt outraises Howze in Arlington County board race
*Gorgeous Friday to kick off a cooler and breezier weekend

Discuss :: (9 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Oct 16, 2014 at 06:30:38 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, October 16.

*U.S. Budget Deficit Hits Lowest Since 2007 on Revenue Jump (That's right, this happened under the leadership of President Obama and the Democrats. Actually, it would have fallen a LOT further if we had allowed  more of the Bush tax cuts to expire, or if Teapublicans hadn't killed the Obama-Boehner deficit deal.)
*For Republicans, saying no to Obama may be enough on Election Day (Will voters, in their infinite wisdom, actually FALL for this crap?!? Sadly, a lot of them will...)
*Outbreak fuels an epidemic of fear, anxiety in U.S. (Almost all of it completely unawarranted, also wildly out of proportion with real threats like obesity, smoking, the flu, climate change, whatever.)
*Market gyrations raise a question: Is the five-year ride up about to end?
*Iraq's chemical weapons ("The apparent cover-up of chemical weapons stockpiles in Iraq - and the injuries sustained by American soldiers disposing of them - represents a new, and stunning, level of callous conduct.")
*The Absolute Weirdest Thing Ever To Happen At A Political Debate (Rick Scott is pathetic, part 5 million.)
*NPR Makes 'Significant Change' To Policy To Limit Use of 'Redskins' On Air
*Fox News doctor unloads on Obama in unhinged racial rant about Ebola (Unhinged rants? Fox? Who would have ever guessed?!? LOL)
*Mark Warner for reelection to the U.S. Senate in Virginia (Good, although of course Lee Hockstader has to make several really dumb comments, such as "Gillespie has the skills to be a bipartisan player in the Senate, as Mr. Warner has been." Seriously?!? Whatever.)
*Foust questioned over 'real job' comment during TV interview (Foust: "The problem is, those jobs were so hyper-partisan, and that was the point I was making.")
*Warner raises $2 million in quarter, Brat outpaces Trammell
*Details emerge over mysterious dismissal of juror in McDonnell case ("The juror...was let go because he called a lawyer he knew and mentioned his jury service - although both he and the lawyer said their conversation did not go far beyond that, court records show.")
*Rand Paul stumps for Gillespie and Brat in Ashland (Two extremists - Paul and Brat - plus one corrupt, crony capitalist. Lovely.)

There's More... :: (17 Comments, 141 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Oct 14, 2014 at 06:32:33 AM EDT

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

*The Planet Just Had Its Hottest September On Record (Attention Gov. McAuliffe and Daily Press editorial board: this is Reason #1 why we can NOT have an "all-of-the-above" energy strategy.)
*GOP voter ID law gets crushed: Why Judge Richard Posner's new opinion is so amazing ("Conservative icon/federal judge changes mind on photo ID laws, issues blistering dissent against them.")
*Koch donors uncloaked
*C.D.C. Rethinking Methods to Stop Spread of Ebola
*At the Vatican, a Shift in Tone Toward Gays and Divorce
*Red Dawn: The GOP's Growing Monopoly on State Government (Democrats need to focus a LOT more of their time and energy on state government. For the life of me, I can't figure out how they've let Republicans win this crucial battle.)
*Can't quit Mitt: Supporters try to nudge Romney into 2016 race (My god...)
*Democrats find powerful new attack in Barbara Comstock
*Solving the mystery of the no-tax pledge ("ATR's web site says Gillespie signed the pledge on June 4, 2014. We asked Norquist to explain the error, but did not get a clear answer.")
*Warner denies offering job for state lawmaker's daughter
*Warner, Gillespie spar over Puckett scandal in Virginia Senate debate (And Gillespie tries to weasel out of his Grover Norquist no-taxes-ever promise.)
*Gillespie denies signing Norquist pledge not to raise taxes
*Poll says most Virginians believe McDonnell belongs in prison ("More than half of the respondents of every political persuasion said the former governor should serve time.")

There's More... :: (6 Comments, 234 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Oct 13, 2014 at 06:45:09 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines for Monday, October 13. As for today's holiday, I'd far prefer that we remember, recognize and celebrate Native American culture prior to the disastrous (e.g., 90% of Native Americans dead due to disease alone) European invasion.

*The Big Lie Behind Voter ID Laws
*Turkey Will Allow U.S. Troops to Use Bases to Fight ISIS
*'Citizens United' is turning more Americans into bystanders (This ruling should be priority #1 for overturning as soon as Democrats are able to take back the Supreme Court from the current gang of far-right wingnuts.)
*Late GOP ad blitz shows hesitation by big donors
*Paul Krugman: Revenge of the Unforgiven ("How Righteousness Killed the World Economy")
*11 questions that will decide the Senate
*How Republicans Lost the Culture War (We'll see if the theocrats give up, let alone easily...)
*Worries lessen for Virginia gay immigrants, who can now marry
*Most in Virginia say jail McDonnell
*Our view: Who mopped up whom? ("Gillespie shows no signs of being anything other than a predictable Republican vote on things that matter, such as health care (which, for Republican partisans, is exactly the point).")
*Across region, same-sex couples seize chance to marry
*Re-elect Rigell in the 2nd (This is a bizarre editorial, in which the Virginian-Pilot rips Scott Rigell on a number of his positions - immigration, the Paycheck Fairness Act, offshore oil drilling - and praises Democrat Suzanne Patrick, saying she "would be an asset in the House," yet endorses...Rigell? Well, alrighty then.)
*Disgraced, Soon-To-Be-Former Navajo Nation President Attends 'Skins Game (The guy's a total slimeball, "charged with fraud, conspiracy and theft in connection with allegations that he had dipped into slush funds to benefit himself and family members." No wonder why he's sitting next to Snyder.)
*Native Americans plan to mount largest-ever 'Skins protest at Vikings game
*Damp and cool today, but much warmer on Tuesday, Wednesday

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Oct 12, 2014 at 07:30:48 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, October 12. Also, check out that photo of right-wing craziness. From the far, far right, there's the anti-Semitic "joke" guy (John Whitbeck); Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain; soon-to-be-overwhelmingly-defeated 8th CD Republican nominee Micah Edmond, who's buddies with these guys; "Agenda 21" conspiracy theorist and all-around extremist nutjob Del. Scott Lingamfelter; and Frank Luntz protege Pete Snyder. Yep, that sums up today's Virginia Republican Party! LOL

*Climate change, Benghazi, the Fed: The science behind the right's irrational obsession with conspiracies ("No matter the topic, a conservative fringe views it through a conspiratorial lens. New research explains why")
*Sen. Elizabeth Warren: "The system is rigged" ("'There has not been nearly enough change,' she tells Salon, taking on Obama failures, D.C. lobbyists, tuition costs")
*Specter of Cantor loss haunts Republicans
*Republicans go to great lengths to keep some people from the ballot box (Republicans: the party of fear, ignorance, anger, intolerance, greed and...voter suppression. Lovely.)
*Asset seizures fuel millions in police spending (This seems crazy to me.)
*Gov. McAuliffe: Hillary Still Undecided, Midterms Will Be Rough ("I think the idea of communicating what you get done when you have Democrats in office and growing and diversifying the economy, I think they need to do a better job of that.")
*Schapiro: Issues may aid McAuliffe ("Ethics is an issue on which lawmakers are being squeezed by their parties and their broader constituencies. The former worries that continuing inaction by the General Assembly will leave politicians vulnerable. The latter won't hesitate to confirm those fears on primary or Election Day.")
*Virginian-Pilot: Warner for U.S. Senate (Gillespie's "support for the Bush administration's profligate spending, proposal to privatize Social Security and use of widespread surveillance provides ample reasons for voters in a broad swath of the electorate to pause over his candidacy.")
*Our view: When Virginia took away rights ("There is precedent in Virginia for the large-scale usurpation of rights, one that requires a little history lesson about the infamous Constitution of 1902 that disenfranchised half the state's voters.")
*Virginia governor: I was 'disappointed' that Cantor lost (Uh huh.)
*Wasteful highway project was McDonnell's other debacle (I still can't figure out why anyone things McDonnell was a decent governor.)
*Congressional redistricting could give governor leverage
*Landowners state their case on fracking
*With Virginia's congressional map struck down, what might a replacement look like?
*Sunday Politifact, story on Senate candidates' position on gay marriage
*Casey: A tangled web of would-be trade-offs ("Phil, it's Terry Kilgore. I want to make sure we're clear on our deal. You resign from the Senate and you'll get a job with the tobacco commission and your daughter will get confirmed as a judge. Then the GOP can shoot down McAuliffe's Medicaid expansion plan.")
*Southwest Virginia hospitals feel pinch from Medicare readmission penalties
*Ovechkin tallies twice against Bruins; Trotz notches first win as Caps' coach
*Showers tease from the south; gradually warmer into midweek

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Oct 11, 2014 at 07:08:11 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, October 11. Also, check out President Obama's weekly address, in which he "makes the case for why it's past time to raise the minimum wage. Increasing the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would benefit 28 million Americans, and make our economy stronger."

*Up to 700 trapped in Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane, UN says
*Global shares fall further on economy fears
*Brawling with the Palins: A blow-by-blow (Don't forget, John McCain would have put Sarah Palin and her trashy, violent, crazy family one heartbeat away from being Commander in Chief. That says it all about John McCain, and also about the Sunday shows and others who continue to listen to him.)
*Warner, Gillespie to meet in Danville (The debate will be Tuesday evening.)
*McAuliffe: Gay married couples can now adopt children in Va.
*Virginia governor officiates at lesbian wedding
*U.S. Sen. Mark Warner discussed job for Phillip Puckett's daughter (I'm starting to wonder, who did NOT discuss a freakin' job for Phil Puckett's daughter?!?)
*Republicans cut ad spending in Virginia race
*Richmond left with one less thing to fight over ("Speaker Howell only has power over two of the three McAuliffe appointments he had hoped to block.")
*Eric Cantor's Website Is Now Just a Headshot That Goes Nowhere (Seems appropriate somehow.)
*Gillespie unveils Obamacare alternative (This godawful piece of crap basically demonstrates why national Republicans have NOT released an "Obamacare alternative" - because they don't have anything even half decent, and also because "Obamacare" essentialLy IS the Republican "Hillarycare" back in 1993.)
*No room for debate: Forbes won't answer opponent's requests ("Fourth Congressional District candidate Elliott Fausz has repeatedly asked U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes for a debate, but the incumbent's staff says his schedule is 'already packed.'" Riiiight, because Congress is SOOOO busy! LOL)
*Kaine back from India
*VDOT employee wins racial bias case, but VDOT faces second action
*Royals blast past Orioles for 8-6 series opener win in 10 innings
*Not too warm, not very sunny, not that dry. Just kind of a gloomy day.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Oct 10, 2014 at 06:43:18 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, October 10. Happy birthday mom! Also, click to "embiggen" on the winning map (by a team of William and Mary Law School students) in the 2011 Virginia College Redistricting Competition. To see all the winners, click here.

*Christian right's huge dilemma: How social conservatives could doom Republicans (Works for me! LOL)
*Malala Yousafzai, Kailash Satyarthi win Peace Prize (Nice: "Yousafzai, a Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban, and Satyarthi, who has fought against child labor in India for nearly two decades, were honored for their children's rights work.")
*Supreme Court blocks Wisconsin's voter ID law
*Federal Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law, Calling It A 'Poll Tax' (How about Virginia's voter ID bull****?)
*Ominous math of the Ebola epidemic worries experts
*Our view: How Virginia elections are rigged ("...the way state legislatures - more accurately, the majority parties in state legislatures - redraw district lines effectively amounts to rigging elections." Bingo.)
*UMW Poll shows Warner with 10 point lead (That's among likely voters. It's 20 points amount registered voters, actually).
*Virginia GOP congressmen might appeal ruling on redistricting
*Federal judges deliver blow to racial gerrymandering in Virginia ("The antidote to such brazen manipulations is nonpartisan redistricting...but lawmakers - generally Republicans - have killed it.")

There's More... :: (4 Comments, 147 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Oct 09, 2014 at 06:26:58 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, October 9. As for the cartoon, if anything the climate change cauldron should be about 10 times bigger than it is, in terms of its relative importance to the other issues.

*America Steps Up Fight to Stem Flow of ISIS Volunteers
*Mr. Erdogan's Dangerous Game ("Turkey's president is weakening the fight against ISIS by engaging in cynical political calculations.")
*"Needlessly angry": Is Mitch McConnell getting worried? ("The senator's bizarre call-in to a local sports program doesn't exactly reek of political confidence ")
*Why SCOTUS Is Interfering With Gay Marriage in Idaho ("Justice Kennedy's stay is just the latest in a long line of emergency orders that aid conservatives")
*House Dems make Clinton 2016 pitch
*At Pentagon, Obama urges sequestration deal
*Va. House speaker keeps 3 McAuliffe nominees in limbo to make a political point
*GOP congressmen may push high court for 3rd District ruling review
*Scandalous boundaries laid bare
*Today's Top Opinion: Both parties flunk reform test ("At this moment, neither Virginia's Republicans nor its Democrats can claim the reform mantle. The electorate is waiting for one of them to seize the initiative." Wow, I keep agreeing with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, will wonders never cease?)
*Pipeline route changes bring relief in Floyd County, concern in Roanoke County
*Washington Nationals core will return in 2015, but Adam LaRoche, Rafael Soriano likely will depart
*Sunny and warming to 70s today, but a cool, wet weekend ahead

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Will Speaker Howell and Leader Norment Support Fair Redistricting?

by: lowkell

Wed Oct 08, 2014 at 10:51:02 AM EDT

Excellent question from DPVA, although I'd also ask the question to Democrats like Dick Saslaw.  And, of course, how firm will Governor McAuliffe be on this? Will he be willing, for instance, to veto, veto, and veto some more if need be? We'll see...

Yesterday's historic decision by the Eastern Court of Virginia has paved the way for fairer Congressional districts that better reflect Virginia's unique demographics. Governor McAuliffe and Democrats statewide have welcomed this important ruling and its implications for fairer representation for all Virginians.  Editorial boards like the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Virginia Gazette have already weighed in to call for fair redistricting. Will Republican leadership follow suit, or continue to spew the same extreme partisanship that puts ideology ahead of the Virginians they're supposed to serve?

Speaker Howell and Leader Norment have remained painfully silent. Speaker Howell has repeatedly declined to comment, leaving Virginians to wonder -- will Republican leadership support fair redistricting, or continue to promote unequal districts to further their partisan plans?  

"Speaker Howell and Leader Norment must support fair redistricting that yields more contiguous, concise districts," said Morgan Finkelstein, press secretary for the Democratic Party of Virginia. "It's the right thing to do for Virginia. But so far, we've heard nothing from Republican leadership to indicate they'll fight for the fair and equal representation Virginians deserve." 

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Oct 08, 2014 at 06:27:35 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, October 8.

*Republicans Are Trying to Make Sure Minorities and Young People Don't Vote This November (This should enrage and appall every American.)
*Kurds say air strikes push Islamic State back from Kobani
*David Ignatius: Obama may be looking to shake up his White House team
*President Obama's executive action plan falls short (Well yeah, we need a Congress that actually gets stuff done!)
*GOP's gay rights crack-up: Why the wingnut base won't let Republicans move on ("Republicans want to duck same-sex marriage now that the issue has turned against them. Ted Cruz won't allow it" Or Mike Huckabee or many other theocratic nutjobs.)
*Same-sex marriage scrambles politics ("Other Democrats say they're not discounting Ralph Northam, the lieutenant governor, for the nomination. However, state history shows that, more often than not, attorneys general prevail for gubernatorial nominations and ultimately are elected.")
*Va. congressional map tossed over racial makeup
*A perpetual quagmire ("If Gov. McAuliffe intends to lead by example, as he has repeatedly pledged, then he must hold his most trusted advisers to a higher standard of conduct and fire his chief of staff.")
*Virginia vs. the political parties ("'We would basically do anything.' That sleazy suggestion from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's chief of staff sums up elegantly the Virginia political elite's attitude about ethics in politics.")
*Sen. Tim Kaine arrives in India
*Feds to Howell: No, and no comment ("Howell sent his initial letter in an apparent attempt to draw attention to the differences, or lacks thereof, between former state Sen. Phil Puckett's resignation and Gov. Terry McAuliffe appointing several legislators to administration posts.")
*McAuliffe orders gay marriage compliance (Good move by T-Mac.)
*Editorial: 3rd District - Virginia needs to redraw its House map ("The new ruling gives the legislature an opportunity to redeem itself by using the occasion to move toward independent redistricting in general. Stop partisan gerrymandering now." YES!)
*Warner, Gillespie promise a more independent voice in a partisan D.C.
*New poll shows Warner with 12 point lead over Gillespie (I've always thought Warner would win by 10-15 points, and that's what this poll certainly shows. We'll see in 27 days...)
*Virginia: The Energy Guzzler Capital of the East Coast
*Fundamental failures bar Nats' path to elite (How about a bit of hitting from Werth, LaRoche, etc?)
*For Nationals, the one that got away ("A thrilling season reached a brutal conclusion as once again the Giants eked out a one-run victory over mistake-prone Washington.")
*Sunny skies and a nice breeze will make for a near-perfect October day

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Virginia's Racially Gerrymandered Congressional 3rd District Struck Down by District Court!

by: lowkell

Tue Oct 07, 2014 at 15:26:16 PM EDT

The reason I'd say this tweet by Marc Elias is credible is that Elias is the attorney "for the National Democratic Redistricting Trust, represent[ing] two Virginia voters in a lawsuit that accuses the General Assembly of 'racial gerrymandering' by improperly packing African-Americans into the state's only black-majority congressional district to make adjacent districts safer for GOP incumbents." If true, this is potentially excellent news, but stay tuned for more news from the Eastern District Court of Virginia.

UPDATE 3:51 pm: RTD reporter Graham Moomaw tweets:  "Court opinion on 3rd Congressional District: 'constitutional rights have been injured by improper racial gerrymandering'." Also: "Racial gerrymandering, even for remedial purposes, may balkanize us into competing racial factions" and " threatens to carry us further from the goal of a political system in which race no longer matters."

UPDATE 3:58 pm: Here's a link to the decision. Also see BREAKING: Federal Court Strikes Down One Of The Most Aggressive Gerrymanders In The Country.

UPDATE 4:02 pm: Apparently, all three judges (Liam O'Grady, Allison Kay Duncan and Robert E. Payne) were Republican appointees. The George HW Bush appointee (Payne) dissented, but the other two judges (O'Grady and Duncan) - both George W. Bush appointtes - held that "the maps that produced this result are unconstitutional and the legislature must 'act within the next legislative session to draw a new congressional district plan.'"

UPDATE 4:06 pm: The Richmond Times Dispatch is up with its story, which notes, "Changes to the 3rd will trigger revisions elsewhere, possibly jeopardizing the GOP's 8-3 advantage in the state's House delegation." Good!

UPDATE 4:29 pm:  ‏@KentonNgo tweets, "Note that judge ruling forces the VA maps back to General Assembly. Post-Puckett, the only hope for Dems is McAuliffe vetoes EVERYTHING." Which he should. I also agree with Kenton on the following:

"Only reason McAuliffe would play ball and sign is flimsy incumbent protection. Literally any court map is better" and "Forbes retirement is most geographically convenient, of course"

Discuss :: (9 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 06:23:36 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, October 6.

*No economic credit for Democrats ("Here are the jobs. Why doesn't the electorate care?")
*Why the GOP hates U.S. history: Inconvenient truths that freak out American conservatives ("The right is losing its mind over new testing standards that aren't 'patriotic' enough. Time for a history lesson!")
*Former SC GOP director: Execute anyone who comes into contact with Ebola - 'it's just math' (Ahhhh...Republicans.)
*PBS science reporter: Fox's Ebola coverage is 'a level of ignorance we should not allow' (Same thing with their climate science denial and other brain-dead idiocies, but unfortunately there's no way to stop them from being like this.)
*Krugman: Voodoo Economics, the Next Generation ("It would destroy the credibility of a very important institution, one that has served the country well. But have you seen any evidence that the modern conservative movement cares about such things?")
*Chuck Todd attempts to twist guest's words to bash President and fails (VIDEO) (Actually, if you check the MTP website, their headline - "Jim Webb Says States Deciding Gay Marriage Is Best" - is STILL wildly inaccurate, as Webb did NOT say that!)
*Virginia state budget data (Interesting data.)
*An Obama Ally Parts With Him on War Powers
*Women emerge as crucial target group in bitter, expensive N. Virginia race ("Independent women in the 10th District are turned off by partisan rhetoric and ideological extremes.")
*Our view: What not to expect in the debates ("On Monday, Warner, Gillespie and Libertarian Robert meet in Roanoke, in back-to-back appearances before the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce - which is remarkably close to the format Honest Abe and Little Doug met under. On Tuesday, Warner and Gillespie...have what will technically be their first debate - from 7 to 8 p.m. on NBC affiliates, and streamed live on Then Warner and Gillespie will debate for a second and, apparently, final time on Oct. 13.")
*Virginia family group outraged over teen abortion ruling (I'm not sure what to make of this, would love to hear the AG office's take.)
*Today's Top Opinion: ROTFLOL ("Well. If dangling a job offer to leave the legislature is despicable, then does the governor consider dangling a job offer to stay despicable as well?")
*10 things you may not have known about the Senate candidates
*Webb says 'evolution' of same-sex marriage good for country
*Pipeline's path stirs opposition in Va., W.Va.
*Christians urged to help rebuild the American family in the face of adversity
*The decision to pull Zimmermann with one out left might haunt the Nats
*Orioles sweep Tigers, advance to ALCS
*A magnificent start to the work week

Discuss :: (10 Comments)

Rick Boucher, Bill Bolling Inadvertently Prove They're Utterly Unserious About Ethics Reforms

by: lowkell

Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 12:20:36 PM EDT

Over on his Facebook page, former Virginia Lt. Governor Bill Bolling is busy encouraging everyone to read "Bill's op/ed - Restoring Virginians' Trust In Government - in today's edition of the Washington Post. Now, of course I'm not normally in the habit of taking advice from Bolling, a conservative Republican who's wrong about, well, pretty much everything (recent example: joining in the Ebola hysteria, alarmism and fear-mongering), but I was curious what he and former Rep. Rick Boucher had to say about ethics reform, given that Gov. McAuliffe has (unfortunately) appointed the two of them to lead the newly-formed "Commission on Integrity and Public Confidence in State Government." Unfortunately, as much as Bolling and Boucher probably believe that their editorial shows how serious they are about cleaning up the ethics mess Virginia finds itself in, reading it causes me to reach the exact opposite conclusion, that they are not the least bit serious, nor do they in the least bit "get it" (or even "get" what they don't "get").

First, though, let's review a bit of history about Bolling and Boucher, the heads of Gov. McAuliffe's ethics commission. As for Bolling, you might be interested to know that he worked for 21 years at the Virginia-based Reciprocal Group, an insurance company "whose executives were found guilty of Enron-like fraud." That's right, "Enron-like fraud." Bolling's excuses? Well, he implausibly/laughably claimed to have only been a mere "middle manager" at the company, even though he earned a whopping $250,000+ per year "in a company listing a mere $4 million in assets!" Nice, huh? Oh yeah, Bolling also Bolling implausibly/laughably claimed to have no memory whatsoever of any wrongdoing at the company, which went bankrupt in 2003 "with $770 million in unpaid claims," including the fact that it "financially devastated thousands of doctors and lawyers as well as many hospitals across the country that relied on it for their malpractice insurance." Yeah, memory loss can be a terrible thing, but in this case it's all too convenient for Bill Bolling, and obviously not the least bit credible (I mean, if you believe Bolling on this, I've got some nice swamp land in drought-stricken California to sell you...). Bottom line: Bill Bolling is one of the LAST people this side of Bob McDonnell we should trust to head up an ethics commission.

As for Rick Boucher, he epitomizes so much of what's wrong about government these days (e.g., "revolving door" between Congress and the lobbying world; doing the bidding of corporations when he was in Congress), it's hard to know where to start. Check out "The Climate War" and Why Rick Boucher Lost His Election, plus YOU HAVE WON A NEW CAR!!! and details on how Boucher has cashed in since he lost his bid for reelection in 2010. Again, this is one of the last people we should trust to reform the many problems in Virginia government.

Enough on their (sordid) background, though; let's get to the arguments Bolling and Boucher make in their op-ed to demonstrate just how clueless and unserious they really are. Here are a few highlowlights:

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Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 07:42:06 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, October 5.

*The Country Simply Can't Go On Like This ("You can't do this and then claim to be acting responsibly. You can't spread ignorance this way, because ignorance is more virulent than the virus is. You can't have your own science just because you have your own media, and you have your own history, and your own Constitution. You can't do this and be treated as anything but a pariah in any country that pretends to make sense. What the hell does ABC think of their premium hire now?")
*U.S. Trying to Counter ISIS' Efforts to Lure Young Muslims
*Democrats Lean on PACs in Push to Counter G.O.P.
*Gay rights could reshape legacy of Supreme Court
*Puckett scandal exposes the ugly underside of the 'Virginia Way' (Yes, it's disgusting.)
*Horse-trading in Richmond ("But having spent the past several months affecting shock and outrage at the Republicans' supposed treachery, Mr. McAuliffe should now explain whether his administration was in fact not doing precisely the same thing.")
*Schapiro:The cowardly new world that is Va. ethics ("McAuliffe - suspect record in business and politics notwithstanding - wants to be seen as a straight-up advocate for tougher ethics laws. Reagan pretty much laid waste to that with a voice-mail message for a Democratic state senator who was little known until his surprise resignation in June killed McAuliffe's chances for a Medicaid-financed expansion of Obamacare.")
*Va. gov: Chief of staff acted alone on job offer (Uh huh...)
*Pipeline's path stirs opposition (As well it should.)
*Ethics Reform: The Third Rail of Virginia Politics
*Dave Brat adjusts to life as front runner (And Jack Trammell adjusts to life as the Democratic nominee who won't criticize his far-right-wing opponent's views and the extremists - Jeff Sessions, Lauran Ingraham - who rally with him.)
*U-Va. copes with a trauma's unknown end
*Nationals fall to Giants in marathon (Bummer.)
*Fall arrives with vengeance - for now

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 07:03:30 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, October 4. Also, check out President Obama's weekly address, "We Do Better When the Middle Class Does Better."

*GOP 2016ers on Ebola: Panic (That's Republicanss' thing, of course: appeal to fear, anger, ignorance, etc. -- all the worst aspects of humanity.)
*The GOP's mug-shot primary ("Why is the lineup of prospective GOP presidential candidates beginning to look like, well, a lineup?" Ha, good point!)
*Islamic State beheads Briton, threatens to kill American
*DCision '14 potpourri: Catania wins Sierra Club nod; AG candidates hit the mail (Interesting, I didn't realize Catania was strong on the environment. The fact that Bowser wouldn't even fill out the Sierra Club's survey is really bad.)
*Virginia Cases Show Vulnerability of Women on Campus
*Barbara Comstock, John Foust raise more than $1 million in third quarter
*Brat accuses media of filtering his message (Yeah, uh huh....riiiiight.)
*Speaker Howell: WaPo report is "troubling," but let's see what develops (Sure, it's troubling, but Bill "ALEC" Howell is the LAST person on earth to talk about ethics, corruption, etc.)
*Va. governor's aide apologizes for talk of job for resigning senator's daughter (Bottom line is we need super-aggressive ethics and elections reform in Virginia, on a variety of fronts...)
*Lawyers: McAuliffe aide could be in legal jeopardy
*Pot, meet kettle ("before calling Puckett's actions 'despicable,' as he did on the radio last week, McAuliffe might've done well to check first with his industrious chief of staff, Paul Reagan, and others about whether his administration is operating out of a glass house." The entire Puckett incident was just disgusting from beginning to end.)
*Our view: What the governor should do (" McAuliffe could make his call for stronger ethics in government look more authentic if he sent his chief of staff packing - and then invited the FBI to investigate his office, as well." No doubt, the FBI should investigate all aspects of this. In addition, Virginia should - but almost certainly won't, given the rotten-to-the-core system and slimy cast of characters in Richmond - clean up its act. "Virginia Way?" Bad, bad joke.)
*In irregular format, Comstock visits Loudoun retirement community ("...some Democrat-leaning locals expressed disappointment residents weren't allowed to openly ask questions.")
*McCommon: Will natural gas save our way of life? (Short answer: absolutely not.)
*Washington Nationals discover how tough the San Francisco Giants can be in October
*First big taste of fall this weekend as temperatures slowly cool

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Oct 03, 2014 at 06:18:50 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, October 3.

*Second D.C. mayoral debate: Digs a little deeper, exchanges more personal (No great choices here that I can see.)
*About 100 people in U.S. at risk of Ebola exposure
*The Senate Conservatives Fund has had a very bad 2014 (Cuccinelli #FAIL as always. Shocker.)
*McAuliffe aide suggested job for senator's daughter if he remained in his seat (Ahhhh...the "Virginia Way," gotta love it eh? Or not!)
*Transcript: Voicemail from McAuliffe's chief of staff ("We, we would basically do anything. We just need you really, we need you for the rest of your term and beyond, but in the immediate future, we need you to help us get this Medicaid deal through and I think we've got a way to do it. So anyway, please let's keep all this confidential.")
*McAuliffe Dodges Mandatory Renewable Energy (Yep, Peter Galuszka nails it yet again -- "One more step back.")
*Mark Warner targets Ed Gillespie's Enron work in Virginia Senate race
*FEC to Cantor: Since you lost, you can't have that money in your general election account
*Trammell, Carr debate Medicaid expansion (That's a state issue, why are Congressional candidates debating it?)
*Herring calls for attack on illicit drug use
*Lawsuit challenges state code allowing gas company to survey land without permission
*A look at why a purple state might have a red Congressional delegation
*Beyond Suffolk's growth boundary ("Even if the Army Corps of Engineers hadn't already warned that his 650-acre property on U.S. 58 in Suffolk was riddled with wetlands, Scott Camp would still have a problem. His parcel is surrounded by farmland, just west of the urban growth boundary circling the city's downtown.")
*Nationals give D.C.'s crestfallen sports fans a reason to believe again
*Orioles Pummel Tigers in Teams' First Playoff Matchup
*A rainy, windy and much cooler weekend ahead in the D.C. area

Discuss :: (4 Comments)
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