Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, May 18. Today, as DPVA puts it, a "small group of Tea Party fanatics" gathers in Richmond to nominate a ticket of Tea Party fanatics headed by Ken Kookinelli. It promises to be a John Birch Society-style, far-right-wing freak show promoting policies that would send Virginia lurching backwards. In stark contrast, see President Obama's weekly address, in which he " talks about his belief that a rising, thriving middle class is the true engine of economic growth, and that to reignite that engine and continue to build on the progress we've made over the last four years, we need to invest in three areas: jobs, skills and opportunity."
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, May 16. Also check out "A Conversation With Climate Scientist Michael Mann" - the guy's a true hero, persecuted by our climate-science-denying freakazoid of an Attorney General, defended by people like Sen. Mark Herring (who Mann endorsed for AG the other day).
(I missed this fascinating story: "The number of non-Virginians obtaining state-issued concealed handgun permits has boomed in the four years since Ken Cuccinelli sponsored legislation making it clear that online testing meets the legal training requirement for them. One beneficiary of that increased demand is a Norfolk gun dealer, and Cuccinelli campaign contributor, who markets virtual training to out-of-staters whose home states have tougher permit standards than Virginia's." - promoted by lowkell)
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, May 14. Also, check out the video and take the Cuccinelli quiz!
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, May 12. The photo caption by AG candidate Mark Herring is: "It was an honor to attend this pre-Mother's Day women's event in Richmond today. I'm glad to have so much support from folks in the capital city." Go Mark, and happy Mother's Day!
Having been the one who wrote the fiscal plank to Mark Warner's campaign platform - and provided the key fiscal stuff in the basic stump speech on the subject - it has been brought to my attention that Politifact is wrong again. Lowell has pointed it out before - as have I - they got it wrong on Democrats too. No reason to repeat their stuff on that. Here at 200-proof politics, we don't worry about which party is getting unfairly slammed, we just tell the truth and let everyone else sort it out. We like to try at least for this brief column to be like the legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow. However, to the extent we can stop this stuff from getting on the Internet, it will help everyone. All any Democrat should want this year is a fair fight. If you can't win that one, then you should pack up the party and let some other people have a shot.
Politifact uses Warner's fiscal position in the 2001 campaign to buttress their argument that Cuccinelli was wrong in saying Virginia had never gone a year without passing a budget. According to Politifact, Cuccinelli was wrong because the General Assembly didn't pass a budget in 2001. So they labeled Cuccinelli as telling a lie, although they used a more socially acceptable term.
It is true that in 2001, we in the Warner campaign did use what the media called the budget deadlock that year between GOP Governor Gilmore and the anti-Gilmore Republicans in the State Senate, rooted in their disagreement over whether to fund the next phase of the car tax phase out. The Senators thought it would be fiscally irresponsible. So they refused to go along, and the GA adjourned without passing a "budget" according to the media at the time and PolitiFact today.
HOWEVER: That is not true. Yes, the Warner stump speech criticized the gridlock and the failure to come to an agreement. We talked about their budget failures but in careful terms. It is also true that I made sure the Warner platform supported the full phase out of the car tax....although with a carefully nuanced *asterisk. But you say: "Paul, you were trying to have it both ways?" Duh! What do you think a successful political strategy does, provide a platform from Gandhi? Dude, this is politics, not a salt march to the sea. As long as you tell the truth, you can "spin" it anyway you like.
So, what do I mean about "however?" Very simple: Virginia is on a two-year budget cycle. Thus, when the 2001 fight between Gilmore and the State Senate took place at the 2000 Session of the General Assembly, the state of Virginia had a budget in place for ALL of 2001 and half of 2002 [we are on a July fiscal year, so the next budget wasn't due to go into effect until July 1, 2002. Or put another way: Virginia had a budget in place through June 30, 2002 no matter what happened at the 2001 GA Session between the Governor and his party].
This is why the anti-Gilmore crowd in control of the Senate could afford to screw him and their party in the gov. election year!
Contrary to what the media was writing, at least most of them, and to what PolitiFact is claiming, the 2001 gridlock between the governor and the Senate was over AMENDMENTS TO THE EXISTING BUDGET. It is true that historically, there had never actually been a a failure to make "mid-course" corrections. This had always been done as a matter of course, expected really.
But unlike Washington, which is on a one-year budget cycle, Virginia passes a two-year budget. Accordingly, the state already had a budget in place during the whole alleged "budget" gridlock." This was at all times a fight over amending the existing budget.
Again, that is why the two sides could afford to stalemate: it would not be a case of what happened with Gingrich vs. Clinton in 1995, when the federal government didn't have a budget and they couldn't agree on a continuing resolution [that is fund government operations for a short period until the budget was passed.]
Therefor: PolitiFact is wrong... AGAIN.
Some truth tellers they: I believe candidate Warner, Governor Warner, advisor Goldman, were very careful about being precise in our wording. We used the term budget and others correctly if you understood the law and the reality.
FACT: Virginia, at all times, had a budget in place, there was NEVER ANY TIME WHEN IT LACKED A BUDGET as that term is used in finance and the law. Remember: If Virginia actually lacked a budget, then how did the state pay its bills once the GA and the GUV left town with supposedly not having passed a "budget'? If that were true, state government could not longer pay its bills. Why? Because there would be no legal authority to write a check except for emergencies as defined. Why? Because there would have been no monies legally appropriated to do it except as otherwise defined or implied under the Governor's emergency powers.
PolitiFact is simply wrong, to the extent (let's give them an out) they are implying that the state of Virginia had no budget when the General Assembly and Governor Gilmore threw in the towel and accepted the state of gridlock. THERE WAS A BUDGET, THE ONE PASSED IN 2000. It was still good law.
They failed to pass amendments to the 2000 budget in 2001. Legally, that is not the same thing as failing to pass a budget. Yes, it was Washington style politics, just the Warner campaign said, just as I wrote, just as everyone understood. And yes, in political terms, it was fair, with the right wording, to say they didn't pass a new budget as had been always done previously.
BUT POLITIFACT IS DEAD WRONG IN SAYING THE STATE DIDN'T HAVE A BUDGET.
So when, in the next coming months, they slam Terry and the Dem ticket for telling lies - which they will - now even Republicans will have to concede they should be giving their awards back and surely change the name to something more appropriate to their track record.
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, May 11. Also, see President Obama's weekly address, in which he "urges Congress to confirm Mel Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency and take action to give every responsible homeowner the chance to refinance and save money on their mortgage."
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, May 9. Also, check out Jon Stewart as he rips Faux "News" over its Benghazi coverage - "Denizens Of Bullsh*t Mountain Have Cried Wolf Before.")
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, May 7. Also, check out Stratfor's analysis of Israel's recent strikes on advanced weapons (destined for their archenemy, Lebanese Shi'ite terrorist group Hezbollah) in Syria.
An activist working with Oppose TRAP has submitted a petition calling into question the legality of the current regulations of most Virginia hospitals. Taking Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli at his word, the petition points out the unintended consequences of his position on grandfathering for women’s health centers that provide abortion care, which under 2011 legislation are now defined as hospitals.
In 2011 the Virginia General Assembly passed SB924, defining health care facilities that perform first-trimester abortions as hospitals, requiring they be regulated by the Board of Health. Despite a panel of medical experts’ recommendation to grandfather in existing facilities2, the regulations as written by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office required clinics to undergo extremely costly structural upgrades to parking spaces, hallways widths, awnings, etc. These medically unnecessary requirements come from three chapters of a manual called the 2010 Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities, and are unrelated to women’s health and safety.
These regulations were expected to permanently close the doors of at least 75% of the abortion clinics in the state.1 After public protest and outspoken opposition from the medical community made clear the dire consequences of Ken Cuccinelli’s position, the Board passed an amendment that would exempt existing clinics from having to meet the new building codes.
In response, Cuccinelli opined that the Board of Health did not have the authority to grandfather existing clinics. He threatened to withhold future legal counsel from the Board, directing it to pass the regulations as originally written.
The Board of Health capitulated, effectively sentencing the closure of most abortion clinics in the state.
The facility guidelines for hospital construction clearly state they are “intended as minimum standards for designing and constructing newhealth care facility projects.” When it was pointed out that these are not new facilities, and in some cases have been in safe operation for decades, the Attorney General's Office declared that they werenew hospitals because the 2011 legislation newly defined them as hospitals.
Since that time, reproductive rights activist Molly Taylor Vick researched the legislation which originally defined general hospitals in 1947, just as SB924 defined abortion clinics as hospitals in 2011. After further investigation she discovered the first Rules and Regulations Governing Licensure of General Hospitals in an unprocessed box of files at an off-site archive of the Library of Virginia; these regulations didgrandfather in existing hospitals without requiring them to meet the same standards as newly constructed facilities.
Now, with clinics already closing3 and only a year remaining until some must come into compliance, Molly Taylor Vick has filed a petition that challenges Ken Cuccinelli to defend the legality of his position. This may provoke concern in some reproductive rights advocates, who could feel uncomfortable being associated with a legal process that has the potential to shut down health care facilities. They cannot afford to alienate their allies in the medical community.
Oppose TRAP appreciates these concerns. “Access to health care is something we all value very highly, but this is really about whether people believe in equal application of the law. One argument of pro-choice activists has been that abortion clinics cannot be regulated differently than other facilities; that the law must be applied equally. That is exactly what we’re saying. We are merely pointing out the implications of a decision made by Cuccinelli.” Oppose TRAP continues to explain that after due diligence, they also feel confident that the economic, political and social consequences are so severe that there is not a real threat to general hospitals. “That is the whole point. It is absurd. Cuccinelli needs to explain how it isn’t or own up to what he has done.”
Molly Taylor Vick notes that participation in the public comment period does not equal support for the petition. “People are encouraged to use their voices to express their individual concerns, whether they are in support of or strong opposition to the petitions.”
She further contends that this is taking the fight to where Ken Cuccinelli pretends it is - in the legal interpretation and application of law. “He must own this.”
Cuccinelli can not selectively apply the law:
If existing hospitals CANNOT be grandfathered in under new regulations, this brings into question the legal status of every facility built prior to 2005, many of which will now be forced to undergo the same costly architectural renovations as abortion clinics. This could result in hospitals across the state closing their doors.
If existing hospitals CAN be legally grandfathered as they always have been, then they CAN be legally grandfathered today, and Cuccinelli overstepped his legal and professional authority by refusing to certify those approved regulations. He also overstepped ethical boundaries by threatening to withhold representation if the Board of Health was sued.
VDH must either act to amend hospital regulations to require current construction code of existing facilities or readdress the issue of grandfathering as applied to abortion clinic facilities.
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, May 5. Happy Cinco de Mayo! Also, check out Saturday Night Live's mocking of the utterly absurd, eminently mockable "Fox and Friends."
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, May 4. Also check out President Obama's weekly address, in which he "describes the incredible opportunities to create middle-class jobs in the United States by deepening our economic ties and expanding trade in Latin America and discusses recent Senate bill that takes commonsense steps to fix our broken immigration system."
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, May 2. Also check out the video of LG candidate Aneesh Chopra's speech last night at the Arlington County Democratic Committee monthly meeting.
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, May 1. Also check out Terry McAuliffe's first television advertisement of the campaign, "Youngest of Four," a positive ad which will air statewide starting tomorrow. Go Terry!
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