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Virginia Politics

Shad Planking Kerplunk

by: Dan Sullivan

Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:21:16 AM EDT

Shad Planking photo 140414Wakefieldmap_zps3268f662.jpg The shad are running and Virginia politicians will swim with them today. Last year Democratic candidates gave the Wakefield Ruritan event a cold shoulder. The event's organizers made an insincere attempt to dampen the tea party spirit, discouraging stars and bars. This is a charity event, they cried, after all.

This year Virginia's senior Senator Mark Warner will deliver the keynote and his almost certain Republican opponent will make one of his rare public appearances. It will be informative seeing if Team Warner laid the groundwork for a more civil and less homogeneous atmosphere than this annual carnival for reactionaries nourishes. Earlier this year, they stumbled out of the block when, despite refusing to commit to Democratic events closer in than 60 days, they accepted the Shad Planking appearance well in advance. Maybe, tied to an old playbook, they failed to notice that last year's Democratic statewide success demonstrated the irrelevance of the event. One would hope that the acceptance came with some assurance that the event would be more civil, sane, and inclusive.

The impact of the "traditional" sign war has diminished considerably since the Kaine and Webb surprises during the past decade. When this became a war of paid "volunteers" it was no longer a genuine indicator of anything more than a campaign bankroll. And if the intent is to make this event relevant, where is the outreach from the Ruritan Club or encouragement from more progressive constituents to draw in displays and support from the Democratic Party, the NAACP, or the LGBT community?

So what will today provide? Boney fish, cold beer, and the themes that Senator Warner will employ to shore up and broaden his own constituency, an impressive coalition of common interests. This could also provide the national bellwether for the Democratic strategy that will be used to counter this year's onslaught by Republican reactionaries against the Affordable Care Act. There couldn't be a more promising petri dish.  

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:02:26 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, April 16. Also check out Krystal Ball as she rips violent extremist Cliven Bundy, his gang of thugs, and the right wingnuts who back him as a so-called "patriot" (which he is absolutely NOT!).

*Hank Aaron, Braves get racist heat after interview comments ("'Back then they had hoods,' Aaron said. 'Now they have neckties and starched shirts.'" Hank Aaron, of course, is exactly right.)
*Ukraine on the brink as troops take on rebels
*Bloomberg Plans a $50 Million Challenge to the N.R.A.
*ABC News' rightward lurch ("Within the last few months, ABC's hired Bill Kristol, Laura Ingraham and Ray Kelly. Why?")
*Northern Virginia lurches to the right ("Ms. Comstock apparently believes that sucking up to Mr. Limbaugh, a vicious polemicist with a flair for toxic misogyny, gives her an aura of respectability.")
*With still months to go, Virginia Senate race raking in millions ("The campaign of U.S. Sen. Mark Warner has already raised $11.2 million, while Ed Gillespie has raised $2.2 million since mid-January.")
*Va. Speaker: Medicaid germane to budget, House GOP still opposed (What a pathetic joke.)
*Why Virginia Republicans are smiling (According to far-right-wing hackazoid Jennifer Rubin, Virginia Republicans are happy because Ed Gillespie raised a bunch of money. Meanwhile, of course, they continue to send $5 million per day of OUR money out of state. Priorities, priorities...)
*County Still Reviewing Sky-High Real Estate Assessments (This situation is unacceptable. Arlingtonians need answers and we need transparency - now!)
*McAuliffe's PAC off to fast start, with $254,000 raised in two weeks
*Schapiro: In health fight, both sides told what they want to hear (I really like Jeff Schapiro, but PLEASE spare us the "both sides" false equivalency framing. Thank you.)
*We remember: A list of events to commemorate the Virginia Tech shootings
*After Dorsey incident, Trammell calls for security change ("Councilwoman says the panel should consider a stronger police presence in the wake of a dustup between a staff member and an armed activist.")
*Cold today with a freeze threat tonight ("Like a bad dream, winter is back. A freeze is possible tonight before we warm up.")

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 07:02:39 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, April 15.

*IPCC report shows action on climate change is not spending, it's investing (With a huge payoff!)
*Scramble to fix Heartbleed could slow Web to a crawl
*Obamacare's victory lap ("It's all over but the shouting: Obamacare is working." Now, let's work to improve it by adding a robust public option?)
*Budget Office Lowers Estimate for the Cost of Expanding Health Coverage (The good news about "Obamacare" just keeps coming!)
*'Shoe Truthers' Wonder If Hillary Staged Shoe Throwing Incident (There are some seriously demented people on the right, including those who revel in a shoe being thrown at Hillary Clinton.)
*Political Divide Slows U.S. Action on Climate Laws (It's also the influence of dirty energy money - from the Koch brothers, ExxonMobil, the coal industry, etc, etc. - in politics.)
*Democrats compete for 'most progressive' in a primary field of 10 for congressional seat
*U.S. Senate: Gillespie discloses client list (And a lovely list it is! Not.)
*Kaine Marks Sabato's Final Guest Speaker in 35 Years of Teaching
*Anti-tax group praises Va. House speaker (Let's get this straight: an "anti-tax group" is against bringing Virginia's own tax money - $5 million a day worth! - back to Virginia, instead of sending it to other states. Brilliant!)
*State Sen. Tom Garrett says Medicaid expansion money "goes away" in a few years (Mostly FALSE)
*Virginia GOP leaders demand apology, more from Lind
*Our view: The free exercise thereof ("Virginians can be proud that their Capitol Square predates Central Park. But it's more than a park. As the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia declared, it's a 'quintessential public forum.'")
*US Senate race to take center stage at Wakefield tradition (Ah, the "Shad Planking"...)
*Conservation group attempting more aggressive land advocacy
*Va. bishops urge health care coverage expansion
*Hope Calls for Higher Taxes on the Wealthy
*Howard Dean to Campaign for Don Beyer in Arlington
*Fracking discussion draws crowd
*State offers to pay half of estimated cost to bring light rail to Town Center ("The Virginia Beach Light Rail Extension Grant Terms would pay up to $155 million of the estimated $310 million project, but the state excludes maglev as an option, and it wouldn't cover overruns")
*Take state's offer on rail
*In chaotic session, activist removed; park lease approved ("Richmond City Council voted Monday to lease Monroe Park to a nonprofit group during a chaotic night in which a well-known activist was forcibly removed by police." In today's media age, the concept of "credentialed" is highly problematic.)
*Bryce Harper, Jordan Zimmermann lead Nationals to 9-2 rout of Marlins
*Strong cold front brings rain today, much colder temperatures tonight

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

The First Issue: Addressing Political Money, Ending Corruption

by: Nolan DiFrancesco

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 02:24:16 AM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

What issue is your issue? What drives your passion for politics?

I’m a relatively new transplant to the Northern Virginia community, but I understood from the start how fortunate this place is to be filled with such strongly progressive voices. Battling climate change, expanding access to affordable health care, pushing for compassionate immigration reform – the residents of Virginia’s 8th congressional district are guided by staunchly progressive values.

But as Professor Lawrence Lessig of Harvard often says – while each of these issues is deeply important, they cannot be the first issue. The first issue is tackling the systemic corruption that has engulfed the American political system. Special interests and the power of money in our political system have rewritten the rules.

I have been following the race to succeed Jim Moran with interest. This is a field of remarkably qualified candidates, each ready to profess their progressive credentials. But from the very start, I have been shocked at how rarely political reform issues have been raised.  

Virginia needs to be ground zero of this debate. The values instilled in the 8th district bleed into the perspective of the greater Washington community. On a state-wide level, the desire for real ethics and campaign reform are on the rise. In many respects, this state will come to represent the challenges in framing these issues across the nation leading up to the midterm elections this year.

Let’s stand up and make these reform issues our issues. Let’s actively shape the debate.

There's More... :: (10 Comments, 288 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 06:36:40 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, April 14. The photo is of Barack Obama and Drew Kleibrink, who passed away suddenly late last week. Drew was a great photographer, environmentalist, progressive, and Democrat. As Del. Mark Keam writes, "Drew (and his camera) was ubiquitous throughout both 2008 and 2012 campaigns, and he did everything you can ask a campaign volunteer to do. Drew worked hard, and his advice was always sound. He was principled in speaking his mind, and as an intellectual, he could engage in a deep conversation with anyone about any issue. Above all, he was a man with incredible empathy and love for fellow human beings." Drew will be greatly missed by everyone who know him, including me.

*The 3 Most Sobering Graphics From The U.N.'s New Climate Report (Very, very scary; this should be priority #1 for every country around the world.)
*Ukraine President threatens military operation as unrest grows
*Man with history of anti-Semitism jailed in fatal shooting of three at Johnson County Jewish centers
*Triumph of the Drill: How Big Oil Clings to Billions in Government Giveaways
*Democrats refine their message to avoid repeat of 2010 midterm disaster
*Searchers to Deploy Submersible in Hunt for Missing Jet
*Va. Republicans aren't budging on Medicaid ("Although expansion of coverage is backed by some important donors and a state government shutdown hangs in the balance, GOP lawmakers are maintaining their opposition, hoping to help the party this fall.")
*Missing in House: Common sense ("In other words, a so-called 'clean budget' can't even be found in the House. The sooner Republican delegates recognize as much, the sooner this stalemate can end.")
*Our view: Prudence on climate ("The Climate Change Commission can complement those efforts with strategies for reducing greenhouse gases and slowing, if not reversing, the literal sea change occurring as a result of a rapidly warming planet.")
*Prayer time makes strange bedfellows
*Ethics bill (of goods) ("But it doesn't take a seasoned political analyst to recognize that lawmakers' efforts to police themselves tend to be big on talk and short on action. The bill recently signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe bears that out. What the lawmakers managed to accomplish fails to live up to the hype.")
*In Prince William budget process, focus is on libraries
*Braves bash Nationals, sweeping the series
*From summer to winter - in one day ("If you thought the summer-like weather was here to stay, think again.")

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 07:18:26 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, April 13. Also check out the "lightning round" question on which committees the 8th CD Democratic candidates would want to serve on if they're elected to Congress. See here for a lot more video and my notes from yesterday's 8th CD Democratic "forum" at Mt. Vernon High School.

*U.N. Climate Panel Warns Speedier Action Is Needed
*World must end 'dirty' fuel use - UN (Note to politicians, both left and right: that means phasing out fossil fuels as fast as possible and replacing them with efficiency, solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tidal, etc. Thank you.)
*Just what is Marketplace Virginia? ("Lawmakers, experts explain private insurance proposal")
*Schapiro: McAuliffe dismantling McDonnell transportation legacy ("Unless Congress acts by January on an enforcement mechanism for applying sales taxes to Internet purchases, Virginia could lose $841 million by 2018. Near term, the revenue would be made up incrementally at the pump, by automatically increasing the percentage-based sales tax on gasoline.")
*Fewer tests, more learning ("Reforming Virginia's approach to public education and, perhaps more specifically, its methods of measuring students' performance, will take years. But the effort is off to a good start under a bill approved by the General Assembly and signed recently by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.")
*4 GOP candidates get ready for Warner
*Dem congressional candidate Beyer: 'We need to ban super PACs' ("Direct disagreements were rare occurrences in the 120-minute session Saturday.")
*Challenger Brat seeks to hold debate with Cantor
*Senate hopefuls to attend Shad Planking in Wakefield
*Our view: Restless seas for Virginia's port
*Coal ash storage a New River worry
*The story behind building the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
*Few answers known weeks after Navy base shooting
*Virginia Beach sees first increase in property values since 2009
*Momentum building for better Richmond schools
*Ryan Zimmerman breaks thumb in Nationals' loss to Braves (Ouch, that hurts...in more ways than one!)
*D.C. area forecast: Warm spell continues but midweek rain and chill lurking

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 06:47:54 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, April 12. Also see President Obama's weekly address, in which he "highlights the steps his Administration has taken to expand opportunity and narrow the pay gap that exists between men and women."

*As Darrell Issa shows, it's a bad time to be a demagogue
*A national ID card could reshape the irrational way Americans vote
*Obama: GOP wants to stop Democrats from voting (Correct.)
*Objectively bad: Ezra Klein, Nate Silver, Jonathan Chait and return of the "view from nowhere" (From a purely subjective point of view, my own, this is an interesting article! LOL)
*The Heartbleed Bug Reveals We're Willing To Give Up Online Security To Feel More Connected (Which should give us all heartBURN!)
*Virginia Democrats pick new executive director ("Sources said Friday the state Democratic Party has chosen as its new executive director veteran political hand Robert Dempsey -- he recently held the same role for the North Carolina party -- barely one week after Virginia's Republican Party picked a new staff leader.")
*Virginia AG Files Brief Supporting Gay Marriage ("Same-sex couples have the same right to marry as interracial heterosexual couples, Virginia's attorney general said Friday in papers urging an appellate court to uphold a judge's ruling that the state's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.")
*Our view: He's gotta be kidding ("Rep. Jim Moran, poor fellow, has not had a raise in three years, and wants people to know that it's darn hard living in the D.C. area on only $174,000 a year.")
*Virginia GOPer: Incest exceptions in abortion restrictions unnecessary because sometimes incest is "voluntary" (Add this to the loooooong list of insane s*** "Sideshow Bob" has said over the years. The question is, who keeps voting to reelect him?!?)
*Amid public pressure, McAuliffe OKs prayer rally time ("The first reply - a permit denial from the Department of General Services - was not well received by the Family Foundation or the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.")
*License-plate data and privacy rights
*Owners voluntarily protecting land along the Mattaponi
*Webb among Founder's Day honorees at U.Va.
*Vihstadt Sworn in as County Board Member (A sad day for Arlington County.)
*Washington's population growth in midst of slowdown
*Nats fall 7-6 to Braves in 10 innings
*Weekend weather looks nearly perfect

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 06:05:28 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, April 11.

*Sebelius resigns after flawed rollout of health-care site
*Colbert Will Host 'Late Show,' Playing Himself for a Change
*Dems Slam MSNBC's 'Double Standard' Over Morning Joe Keynoting GOP Event
*Reports: 'Shoe' thrown at Hillary Clinton in Las Vegas
*Kathleen Sebelius' Biggest Achievement Is The One No One Is Talking About
*Psychiatric admissions spike after Deeds tragedyfc
*Dorothy McAuliffe listens to stories about employed but uninsured in Virginia
*Tough on crime and budgets ("Virginia is proud to be one of the best states in the country in which to do business. Its public education system also ranks highly. But its criminal justice policies should not inspire emulation. The commonwealth will spend more than $1 billion in the coming year to arrest and incarcerate people; $3 billion when the court system is included with public safety costs.")
*AG Herring defends Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan
*GOP's Gillespie visits Spotsylvania, dubs Warner 'very vulnerable' (Dream on...)
*Virginia Republican Bob Marshall stands by remarks that raise eyebrows (That's "Sideshow Bob" for ya!)
*Howell misguided to reject Medicaid money
*Herring: premature to consider governor's spending authority ("Attorney General Mark Herring says he's watching developments in the General Assembly budget impasse closely, but says it is premature to start considering the legal issues if the legislature misses its budget writing deadline.")
*7th Congressional District Democratic Nominating Convention Cancelled ("no candidates filed to be considered for the nomination" against Eric Can'tor)
*Deeds calls for end to politicking on health care coverage
*Stephen Strasburg strikes out 12, Ian Desmond hits grand slam as Nationals roll, 7-1 (Lookin' good so far!)
*D.C.'s cherry blossoms hit peak bloom as a brutal winter finally moves on (Yay!)
*Showers make appearance late today ahead of a warm, delightful weekend

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 06:32:54 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, April 10. The photo is of Del. Mark Keam as he joins grassroots activists, "Fast for Families Across America: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship," as they traveled through Virginia on their way to Capitol Hill. Here, they "rallied in front of Congressman Frank Wolf's office in Fairfax County, urging him and all other members of Congress who are blocking the House from taking up comprehensive immigration reform legislation."

*IRS hearings are another Republican circus
*Women Criticizing Equal Pay Have Something In Common: Funding From The Kochs
*How Facebook's Political Donations Could Make It The Next Mozilla
*Eric Cantor falls hard from good graces of conservatives ("Conservatives are increasingly targeting House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, arguing that he has abandoned conservative principles and protesting his planned meeting with moderate and liberal Republicans.")
*Jim DeMint Asserts The Federal Government Played No Role In Freeing The Slaves (Riiiiight, so the slaves freed themselves, eh Jim?)
*Baseball Great Hank Aaron: Obama's GOP Critics Are Like The KKK (You mean the Teahadists carrying signs of Obama like this one or this one?)
*Warner's campaign war chest is at $11.2M
*In 10th District Congressional debate, GOP candidates go after presumed frontrunner (It's hilarious to hear Barbara Comstock attacked as too "moderate," and really shows you how extreme the Republican Party has gotten.)
*Kaine emails detail 2006 plan to avoid budget shutdown
*Hannity endorses Comstock for Va. House (That says it all.)
*Silver Line contractor says first phase is complete ("MWAA now has 15 days to determine whether the Silver Line is ready to move to the next step.")
*Chastened board ponders voters' message
*Arlington election results pose a challenge to Democrats' complacency ("Independent Vihstadt's victory in deep-blue Arlington is a wake-up call for smug Democrats.")
*Arlington Reacts to Vihstadt's Victory (The vast majority of Arlingtonians didn't even freakin' vote in this election, so apparently their reaction is "zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.")
*Region ranks second in number of green buildings in U.S. (Virginia needs laws that require buildings to meet energy efficiency standards, just as the country has fuel economy standards for cars and efficiency standards for appliances.)
*Portsmouth needs independent review
*Caps' Cup hopes are down the drain (Time to shake up this team, big time.)
*Sunshine and highs in the 70s today. And the weekend looks even nicer.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 06:53:21 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, April 9.

*Anti-Obamacare Doctor Celebrated by Fox News and GOPers Said Gays "Recruit the Weak"
*Republicans kiss votes from women goodbye
*More signals heighten hopes of locating missing plane
*Mitch McConnell Compares 'Obsession' With Closing Gender Pay Gap To Blowing 'A Few Kisses'
*State Senate approves budget that includes "Marketplace Virginia"
*Two Virginia state budgets pass, yet lawmakers no closer to deal (What's the end game here? Anyone?)
*The GOP Nihilists in Virginia Who Are Destroying State Government to Block Medicaid Expansion
*Conservative group hits McAuliffe in Medicaid TV ad (It's the Koch brothers, so you know everything's a lie.)
*McAuliffe: Climate change is real and humans have a hand in it (I can't that stating basic science is a headline. The "news" would be an announcement of serious action to deal with this crisis, like putting a price on carbon.)
*Schapiro: Little-known panel a big obstacle in health fight
*Kaine launches volunteer initiative
*Democratic congressional candidate, Foust, lands in Loudoun
*McAuliffe: No plans to recognize Confederate History Month
*'Fox penning' to be phased out, banned in Virginia (Good riddance.)
*Silver Line contractor says 'significant progress' made in fixing problems
*In Fairfax County, taxpayers, service-seekers face off
*Vihstadt wins Arlington board seat; is county's first non-Democrat since '99
*60s today and then some of the weather we've all been waiting for

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Virgina GOP Refusal to Expand Medicaid: Continuing Assault on the System Our Founders Gave Us

by: Andy Schmookler

Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 14:39:09 PM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

This piece appeared this morning as an op/ed in the Roanoke Times.

Imagine that the American people elect as president someone promising to institute an important reform to address an obviously major problem - a problem that every year costs the nation a trillion dollars and tens of thousands of lives.

Imagine further that, once elected, the president tries to fulfill his promise with a moderate solution based on ideas from the other party - more moderate than the policies of all the other major democracies on the same matter.

How do you think our nation's Founders would feel about an opposition party that responds to all this by going all-out to block enactment of these reforms, making the reform worse, trying to overturn the reform even before it's tried and hindering its proper implementation?

I think our Founders would be outraged. They'd say that once the people make a fundamental choice, the question then is, "What is the best way to implement what the people have chosen?"

Our Founders gave us a system combining two important virtues: giving the people ultimate power to make fundamental decisions about what kind of society we'll be and providing for thoughtful deliberation on the best way to realize the people's goals. That's representative democracy.

The health care reform that President Barack Obama promised in the election of 2008 bears on what kind of society we'll be. In electing Obama president, the American people decided we'd stop being a society in which 45,000 of our citizens die every year because they lack the reliable access to health care provided to the citizens in every other advanced democracy.

There's More... :: (10 Comments, 454 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 06:53:36 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, April 8. If you live in Arlington, don't forget to vote today for Democrat Alan Howze for County Board! (polls are open from 6 am to 7 pm; vote at your regular polling location)

*NBC Hits Home On Climate Change Special ("Ann Curry Makes Extreme Weather Connections Others Shy Away From" -- See, it's not that hard!)
*Eugene Robinson: Here's an emotional response to the torture report: I'm outraged (Agreed, I want people to go to jail over this for war crimes.)
*Russia warns of civil war if Ukraine uses force to quell eastern revolts
*Fox News Was Accurate On Climate Science Just 28 Percent Of The Time In 2013 (In short, if you get your "news" from Fox, you have no clue what's going on in the world.)
*Seeking U.S. House seat, GOP's Comstock defends '08 Obama vote in Dem primary ("The campaign defended the vote for Mr. Obama by arguing that it was part of Operation Chaos, a movement spearheaded by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.")
*Two paths seek health care expansion; House balks
*Judge rebuffs ex- Va. attorneys general in McDonnell case ("Judge James R. Spencer turns down their bid to file a brief in support of motion to dismiss.")
*Cantor passes on direct response to Brat attacks ("But for all of Brat's bluster, it is hard to assess just how much of it is having an impact. Judging by Cantor's muted response, not much.")
*Connaughton picked to lead health-care association ("The former McDonnell transportation secretary is expected bring bare knuckles to fight to expand Medicaid.")
*McAuliffe makes only small changes to Virginia ethics bill (That's very unfortunate.)
*Southern Political Report: Virginia's 10th District
*McAuliffe quietly amends bills to add budget-approval catch ("The Democratic governor has quietly amended at least 11 bills - mostly GOP - so they wouldn't take effect until Virginia has a budget. Medicaid expansion remains a sticking point.")
*Northam raising money for newly formed PAC ("Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam is launching his Stronger Together political action committee with a fundraiser next week in Richmond where the top ticket is $5,000.")
*Policy limiting campus preaching is suspended after student's lawsuit
*Arlington voters head to polls for special board election
*Overall count of Virginia shorebirds down 36 percent over past 20 years (Not good.)
*UConn takes 4th title with 60-54 win over Kentucky
*Storm clears out, leaving sunny, breezy weather behind

Discuss :: (9 Comments)

Virginia Senate Finance Committee Passes Bipartisan Budget to Close Health Care Coverage Gap

by: lowkell

Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 13:04:29 PM EDT

From the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus. Now, can the Republican-controlled House of Delegates PLEASE do its job for a change?!?


New budget again contains compromise “private option” Marketplace Virginia

RICHMOND — This morning, the Senate Finance Committee voted on a bipartisan basis to report a new budget that would use the Senate’s private option approach — Marketplace Virginia — to close the health care coverage gap, enabling up to 400,000 uninsured Virginians to access health care. The final vote was 11 – 3, with three Republicans joining all eight Democrats in supporting the budget.

The bill retains several of Gov. McAuliffe’s critical amendments, including a 2% pay increase for public employees, allowing up to $17 million in subsidies to local governments for Line of Duty Act-covered employees, and providing up to $7.1 million for additional land conservation efforts.

Said Senate Majority Leader Sen. Dick Saslaw (D – Fairfax), “Marketplace Virginia will enable hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians to access care, create tens of thousands of jobs, return billions of federal tax dollars to the Virginians who paid them, and keep endangered hospitals open for business.”

Said Sen. Janet Howell (D – Reston), “Today, Senate Finance compromised yet again. We could have voted to expand Medicaid, but instead we voted for a bipartisan alternative that encourages personal responsibility and relies on the private sector. House Republicans need to come to the table and offer something in return. That’s how governing works.”

Said Sen. Mamie Locke (D – Hampton), “House Republicans need to understand that the Senate will not negotiate with itself. During regular session, the Senate put forward a good-faith, bipartisan proposal that addressed House Republicans’ concerns with Medicaid expansion. House Republicans shot down that proposal, and they’ve failed to offer any alternative. Now that proposal will be before them again, and it’s once again up to them to come to the table and work with us to move Virginia forward. If they do that, I’m confident that we can reach an agreement. If they don’t, nothing will change.”

Said Sen. Louise Lucas (D – Portsmouth), “As legislators, we are elected to solve Virginia’s problems. The coverage gap is a great and growing problem, and it hurts businesses and families across the Commonwealth — whether or not they pay for health insurance right now. Today, Senate Finance once again offered a compromise solution to that problem — and once again, House Republicans have to decide which matters more: helping those Virginians, or hiding behind narrow, ideological objections in order to justify doing nothing.”

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 06:31:28 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, April 7.

*Promising Lead in MH370 Search
*Jeb Bush Talks Approach If He Runs for President
*Obama moving again on equal pay
*Former CIA Director Calls Female Senator Too 'Emotional' On Torture Report (What a jerk.)
*India Begins World's Largest Election ("India's 814 million registered electors are heading to the voting in stages over the next five weeks in the planet's largest exercise in democracy. The opposition BJP, making promises of economic change, is looking strong in the opinion polls")
*Rwanda begins mourning week for genocide anniversary ("Rwanda has begun a week of official mourning to mark the 20th anniversary of the country's genocide on Monday.")
*Legislators return today to take up budget (This should be fun. Not.)
*Conflict trumps compromise in Virginia's Medicaid expansion debate
*McAuliffe says he'll tolerate no more losses at port ("With the Virginia Port Authority losing millions annually, Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he plans to make 'substantial changes' to its board")
*Federal employees losing Rep. Moran, a strong supporter who is 'very frustrated' ("What would we do without the federal workforce? We would not be the country we are. At some point, the country's got to recognize that.")
*Despite legal opinion, license plate scanners are still tracking you
*Bitter winter takes toll in Virginia vineyards
*Ryan Zimmerman will stay off the disabled list for now ("Nationals beat Braves, 2-1")
*A rainy start to a good-looking week

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 06:58:29 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, April 6. Also note that screen grab from Republican Party of Virginia Treasurer Bob FitzSimmond's Facebook page, in which he calls people who fight for LGBT equality "fascists." Lovely, eh?

*The new IPCC report shows that work to limit climate change must begin now (Exactly, Washington Post, so why the hell do you allow climate science deniers to write on your pages?!?)
*Searchers Zero In on Underwater Signals in Hunt for Jet
*"Fast for Families" hunger strike for immigration reform comes to Richmond
*Herring: Va. gay couples not seeking 'special treatment'
*AG Herring names staff appointments
*Schapiro: The new U.S. 460 a road paved with risk ("You might not want your retirement riding on them. But Wall Street is happy to buy Virginia bonds barely rated better than junk. They're paying for the now-on-hold back door for trucks into the Port of Hampton Roads and other controversial road projects that are part of the Bob McDonnell transportation legacy.")
*Our view: Have a heart for local governments ("The institute also notes that municipalities spend an average $6 million annually on medical treatment for jail inmates. If Virginia agrees to participate in health care reforms, it could be eligible for federal funding to cover incarcerated men and women, who are not eligible for Medicaid.")
*Our view: Bill is unfaithful to religious freedom ("Virginia lawmakers should let stand Gov. Terry McAuliffe's veto of a curiously worded bill forbidding any state restriction on the 'religious content of sermons made by chaplains of the Virginia National Guard.' The bill is either unnecessary or it is unconstitutional. In either case, it should not become law.")
*EPA still trying to clean state's Superfund sites ("Virginia has 31 sites still on the list even after years - sometimes decades - of cleanup efforts.")
*Careful of detours on Virginia Beach light rail
*Following one or both tracks to Virginia Beach? ("Some city officials are beginning to think a maglev line near the Oceanfront could dovetail nicely with a light-rail extension.")
*Virginia students will take fewer SOL tests next year ("Number of elementary and middle school exams drops from 22 to 17 amid concerns about overtesting.")
*Area governments to spend $2.5 billion next year ("Richmond, three counties begin fiscal year on July 1")
*Why can't the D.C. region demonstrate how big projects should be done? ("Fiascoes like the Maryland health exchange and Silver Line give government a black eye.")
*Braves pounce after Zimmerman's bad toss unravels Strasburg, beat Nats 6-2
*A milder and sunny Sunday, but showers will move in on Monday

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 06:32:21 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, April 5. Also, "In this week's address, President Obama highlights the important differences between the budget he's put forward -- built on opportunity for all -- and the budget House Republicans."

*ABC News Exclusive: Grand Jury Convened in Christie Bridge Scandal Probe
*Afghans defy Taliban's threat, cast their ballots
*Paul Ryan Accidentally Reveals The Truth About The GOP's Obamacare Replacement ("Paul Ryan Accidentally Reveals The Truth About The GOP's Obamacare Replacement" Of course not.)
*The States That Agreed To Expand Medicaid Are Seeing A Huge Jump In Enrollments (But not Virginia, thanks to Obama Derangement Syndrome, Tea Party-terrified Republicans.)
*Wilder's son, labor leader get McAuliffe appointments
*Missed budget deadline wouldn't mean shutdown ("The problem is, nothing in Virginia's constitution or state laws says what should happen.")
*Along came Jones: Delegate gets in governor's way
*Virginia bishops file brief on marriage (Fortunately, we don't live in a theocracy!)
*Behind Virginia's Medicaid fight lurk roads and politics ("Holding the line on Medicaid allows the GOP's House of Delegates and Senate leaders to atone for, or distract from, conservative anger caused last year when taxes were raised to pay for new roads.")
*McAuliffe vetoes school prayer bill, calling it unnecessary ("Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the bill could lead to 'coercive prayer' or 'religious messaging.'")
*Gov. McAuliffe: Virginia is best site for FBI, politics aside
*You're clearing for more takeoffs? Norfolk airport seeks 2nd runway.
*Lopez drops out of 8th congressional district race
*In Fairfax, volunteers fight a flood of trash in Little Hunting Creek
*In home opener, Nats are reminded why Braves are the defending division champs
*Gusty Saturday winds in an otherwise nice weekend; rain returns Monday

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Rep. Connolly Urges Virginia General Assembly to Close Medicaid Gap

by: lowkell

Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 13:41:17 PM EDT

Not that Bill "ALEC" Howell and the GOP beard brigade in the House of Delegates will listen, but good for Rep. Connolly for trying!
Congressman Connolly Urges Virginia General Assembly to Rise Above Partisan Ideology & Close the Medicaid Gap
'It's Irresponsible to Leave Billions of Dollars on the Table And Hundreds of Thousands of Virginians Uninsured'

FAIRFAX - With the Virginia General Assembly scheduled to return to Richmond next week for a special session, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) today wrote to all 140 members of the legislative body urging them to "put aside partisan ideology and political posturing to do what's right for Virginia" and approve a Medicaid expansion plan for the Commonwealth funded by more than $9 billion in federal dollars.

"How can we sleep at night knowing that a vote against Medicaid expansion will deny chemotherapy drugs to cancer patients in need, force many Virginians to ignore their acute medical conditions, and continue to increase the financial burden on emergency rooms and hospitals, particularly in rural areas of the Commonwealth?" Connolly asked.

"How can any elected official turn a blind eye to the pleas and needs of our own constituents, especially in the House where delegates from the majority represent 32 of the 50 House districts in Virginia with the highest percentage of Medicaid recipients?" Connolly said.

"How can fiscally-prudent Virginia legislators look each other in the eye knowing they are preventing Virginia from accepting $5 million a day in federal funds and those tax dollars, paid by Virginians, are being turned over to fund Medicaid expansion programs in other states?"  the Virginia congressman asked.

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 289 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 06:42:04 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, April 4. Also, I don't normally post advertisements for graham crackers or any other product, but this is a good one. :)

*Whale-hunting lie comes to an end (Great news. Now, what about Iceland and Norway?)
*Obamacare hits its target in final days
*Obama signs bill shifting party convention funds to pediatric research (Why didn't we just straight-up increase funds for pediatric research instead of shifting the money from public funding of party conventions?)
*Cantor sells "alternative" to Obamacare instead of "repeal" (Big Lie by Can'tor, as there is no serious "alternative" to the Affordable Care Act. Why not? Because, in part, the Affordable Care Act already incorporates long-standing Republican, conservative ideas such as the individual mandate and keeping private, for-profit insurance companies as the centerpiece of America's health care system. How about THIS for an alternative: single payer?)
*Senate panel votes to release CIA interrogation report (Anyone who ordered torture or participated in it should go to jail for a looong time.)
*Both Fort Hood Shooters Bought Their Guns At The Same Store (Shocker, huh?)
*Minimum Wage Raise Promoters Make Leesburg Stop ("'People are working full time and their families are living in poverty,' Foust said. 'Especially in our great country this is unacceptable. We can do better. We need to give America a raise.'")
*Virginia's 'East Sea' textbook bill a nod to Korean Americans
*Gov. signs bill on dam evaluation (Well, hot dam...lol, just had to say that!)
*Baliles to retire as CEO of UVa's Miller Center
*McAuliffe signs celebratory gunfire legislation ("Senate Bill 65 is also known as 'Brendon's Law,' named after 7-year-old Brendon Mackey of Chesterfield")
*McAuliffe, Sessoms stump for Medicaid in Va. Beach
*Passion, tears at Va. Beach rally backing immigration policy reform
*Moran Says $174,000 Per Year for Members of Congress Is 'Underpaid' (Uhhhhhh....)
*A conversation with Reston creator Robert E. Simon
*Two well-funded candidates vie for Arlington board seat
*Mets, Braves series could set the tone for the Nationals' season ("Roark leads Nats on rally past Mets, 8-2")
*Showers and storms end tonight; bright, comfortable weekend on way

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

DPVA: The Republican Party of Virginia is the "Party of Intolerance"

by: lowkell

Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 10:40:47 AM EDT

The following press release is from the Democratic Party of Virginia...and it's so true. The question is, who are the 40-whatever percent of Virginians who keep voting for this intolerance, and why the hell do they keep doing it?!?

RICHMOND --Earlier this week Delegate Tag Greason was the latest Virginia Republican to make insensitive and out of touch comments when he told a constituent she was "intellectually lazy" after she urged him to close the coverage gap for 400,000 uninsured Virginians.

This comes just weeks after Senator Steve Martin referred to mothers as "hosts" and Senator Frank Ruff likened closing the coverage gap to a "tar baby." 

Instead of condemning this divisive and offensive rhetoric as unacceptable, the Republican Party of Virginia has shown that they have no plans to move beyond the GOP of yesterday, as they announced that conservative blogger Shaun Kenney has been tapped to be their new Executive Director.

The same Shaun Kenney who defined 'tolerance' in reference to a homophobic rant by Duck Dynasty's Pat Robertson. The same Shaun Kenney who agreed with Red State's Erik Erikson that Democrats were the party of the Klan, and the list could go on.

In a press release, The Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins touted Shaun's experience, claiming "Shaun's resume checks all the boxes our party needs at this time." 

"These displays of extreme and divisive rhetoric have no place in any political party or any conversation around the Commonwealth," said DPVA Spokesperson Ashley Bauman. "This is a clear indication that the Virginia Republican Party has no interest in turning away from its members' discriminatory comments and will continue to push itself even further out of the mainstream." 

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 06:44:12 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, April 3. Also, that Facebook status update by Ken Kookinelli says a great deal - nothing good! - about the Republican Party of Virginia.

*4 dead in Fort Hood shooting (Yet again, the deadly combination of mental health issues and guns. Ugh.)
*The GOP must admit it was wrong on Obamacare (Do they ever admit they're wrong on anything? Climate change, for instance? The economic recovery act? Benghazi? nope)
*Rich Suburbs Can't Save Democrats This November (Fascinating if somewhat discouraging article by Dave Wasserman, with a heavy focus on Virginia.)
*Latest Benghazi hearing is another Republican flop (Of course it is, this has always been nothing more than a McCarthy-ite witchhunt.)
*Congress must stem the flow of campaign cash in wake of 'McCutcheon' (Good luck with that, as long as Republicans control the House of Representatives.)
*Mark Levine: We the Billionaires Kings of America
*Big money's grip stronger than ever (This is crazy.)
*Surprise! The Rich Won One (Did I mention this was crazy? Oh yeah, I guess I did...)
*Climate change to force us to change ("Despite the constant foment from professional skeptics in America, global warming isn't in serious doubt among the vast majority of the world's scientists or policymakers. That's good. As a report from the International Panel on Climate Change made clear this week, the world is running out of time to ignore the implications of mankind's impact on the planet.")
*Stage set for battle over health insurance expansion
*Bill streamlines Virginia homeland security efforts
*Terry McAuliffe 'wasn't keen' on signing caboose budget bill
*EPA expressed concern about Duke Energy coal ash dumps
*One size fits all isn't always wise
*House GOP spurs local Medicaid resistance with form documents (Lame.)
*Va. GOP hires new director, touts Cuccinelli donation (They hire a hard-right winger and tout a donation from another hard-right winger. Sensing a pattern here?)
*Five former AGs: Dismiss McDonnell corruption charges
*McAuliffe signs East Sea bill that pitted Korean Americans against Japan (Thrills.)
*Loudoun OKs budget; schools face a financial shortfall ("Supervisors hold property tax rates steady, despite pleas from some to raise rates to fund schools.")
*Loudoun County picks schools superintendent ("Eric Williams to take over for retiring Edgar B. Hatrick III, who has led the county's schools for two decades.")
*D.C. area forecast: Staying in the 60s with showers here and there

Discuss :: (5 Comments)
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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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