Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, June 29. Also check out the classic, spot-on quote from Stephen Colbert: "History moves fast; it's hard to believe that gay Americans achieved full, Constitutional personhood just five years after corporations did." LOL, exactly!
"In 2003, another state lawmaker from Loudoun penned legislation on the issue, taking a different stance from May. Then-Del. Dick Black (R) introduced legislation removing 'the prohibition on display of the organization's logo on Sons of Confederate Veterans special license plates.'"
Dick Black went above and beyond to make sure that the Sons of Confederate Veterans had extra-special permission to slap their flag on Virginia license plates. A federal court ruling had already made the practice legal, but Black needed a specific allowance for the Confederate flag to be enshrined in the Code of Virginia. Yet, strangely, he's been silent on the matter now that the stars and bars are no longer in vogue.
"Since Dick Black was so eager to go out on a limb for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, how does he feel about their cause now?" said Morgan Finkelstein, press secretary for the Democratic Party of Virginia. "He went above and beyond to ensure the Confederate flag would be on Virginia license plates, so it's curious that he's still not said anything on the current issue."
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, June 24. Also check out VPAP, which finds: "Throughout most of Virginia, the General Assembly elections this November will be a mere formality. In 79 of 140 districts, only one name will appear on the ballot. The lack of competition is particularly keen in the House of Delegates, where 62 of 100 seats are uncontested...The percentage of contested seats is down slightly from four years ago, the last year when both House and Senate seats were up for election."
From Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, speaking earlier this morning "in response to the tragic shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC and the U.S. Supreme Court's decision declaring that states can restrict license plate designs."
Before I address some very positive developments regarding my administration's continuing efforts to restore the voting rights of Virginians who were former offenders, I wanted to say a couple of words about last week's horrific tragedy at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
First and foremost, I want to express, on behalf of all Virginians, our heartfelt sympathies to all members of the Emanuel Church Community, as well as the larger community in the City of Charleston.
In the days since last week's tragic shooting, the people of Charleston have displayed unparalleled unity and courage, and they have made all Americans proud.
I also want to commend my colleague, Governor Nikki Haley, for her leadership yesterday in calling for the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the state Capitol grounds in Columbia.
As Governor Haley said yesterday, her state can ill afford to let this symbol continue to divide the people of South Carolina.
I believe the same is true here in Virginia.
Although the battle flag is not flown here on Capitol Square, it has been the subject of considerable controversy, and it divides many of our people.
Even its display on state issued license tags is, in my view, unnecessarily divisive and hurtful to too many of our people.
As you all know, I have spent the past 17 months working to build a new Virginia economy that is more open and welcoming to everyone. Removing this symbol from our state-issued license plates will be another step toward realizing that goal.
Virginia Democrats unveiled a new modern logo last night, just in time for the party's biggest annual fundraiser this Friday. Democrats from across the Commonwealth will be traveling to George Mason University's Patriot Center for the Jefferson-Jackson event with special guest Hillary Clinton.
"This design better reflects who we are as an organization -- modern, sophisticated and streamlined," said Chairwoman Susan Swecker. "Our supporters are fired up and are working in new, innovative ways to win big in November. We felt our logo should reflect the cutting-edge work Virginia Democrats are doing."
Virginia Democrats across the Commonwealth have already mobilized for the 2015 elections, ramping up volunteer recruitment and turnout operations. The new logo is the latest in a series of long-term investments in party infrastructure that have included new staff hires and significant upgrades to field, data, and targeting programs. It will be rolled out to coordinated campaign offices and Democratic Party of Virginia materials statewide.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, June 23. Also see the fascinating discussion from last night's PBS NewsHour on "the roots of Dylann Roof's radical violence."
With another successful Arlington County Democratic Committee Jefferson-Jackson (“JJ”) Dinner in the books and the Democratic Party of Virginia JJ with Hilary Clinton right around the corner, it’s time to have a hard discussion about why we here in Virginia haven’t done away with this event’s terrible, reproachable name. For those not in the know, “Jefferson-Jackson Day” is the traditional name for the annual fundraising dinner held by state and local Democratic Party organizations throughout the United States, usually in the springtime. The name of the JJ Dinner honors Presidents Thomas Jefferson, who established the original Democratic-Republican Party, and Andrew Jackson, who founded the modern day Democratic Party and was the first Democrat elected President. Neither, however, embodied modern Democratic values.
Jefferson’s mixed feelings about slavery, which included a failure to liberate his own slaves and a belief that slaves were too primitive to handle full manumission, are well-documented. Jackson has a far more reprehensible history as an overtly pro-slavery racist. Jackson’s first major legislative initiative after being elected President was to effectuate the mass removal of Native Americans from their ancestral lands through forced marches that resulted in thousands of deaths—a genocide we now know as the Trail of Tears. And, Jackson not only owned hundreds of slaves, but he sought to prohibit abolitionists from mailing informative tracts opposing slavery, tabled abolitionist activity in Congress, and was himself a slave trader. A more detailed rundown of Jackson’s shameful legacy can be found in Steve Inskeep’s new book, Jacksonland, and in this Salon piece from 2013. Indeed, Jackson’s disgusting legacy has been all over the news lately with the introduction in Congress of the “Put a Woman on the Twenty Act” and the corresponding “Women on $20s” campaign. Any way you slice it, Jackson is no one we as Democrats should praise.
[The following is running in newspapers in the heavily Republican VA-06 congressional district.]
As the American public recognizes, our political system has become dysfunctional. A big component of the problem is that disgraceful political conduct has become acceptable, and is often even rewarded.
The rejection of Medicaid expansion by the Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly is a case in point.
It is hard - perhaps impossible - to find a way that this rejection is good for Virginia or its people.
Many will not be swayed by the most obvious factor-that it leaves a couple of hundred thousand Virginians without the kind of health care security that every citizen gets in other advanced democracies. Some people will not be moved by the human cost of the failure to extend Medicaid, just as some applauded at a 2012 Republican presidential debate when one of the candidates said we should let the uninsured die.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, June 20. Also see this week's address by President Obama, which pushes for the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a way to "[rewrite] the rules of global trade to benefit American workers and American businesses...with standards that are higher and protections that are tougher than any past trade agreements."
I was chatting with Virginia Democratic Party insider earlier this week, and out of the blue the person asked me, "Are you hearing about the pending DPVA fight over local committees?" I hadn't heard a word about it, actually, so I started asking around (as we bloggers are wont to do - lol). Here's what I've found out so far.
*There's a proposal to give local Virginia Democratic Party chairs a third year and not reorganize until after the presidential election in November 2016, instead of the end of this year, which is what the current plan calls for.
*I haven't nailed down where this is coming from exactly, but it sounds like it's probably from the local chairs (one source specifically mentioned "Chair of Chairs" Gene Magruder) In other words, it does NOT appear to be coming from the Clinton campaign, Gov. McAuliffe, DPVA Chair Susan Swecker (who I hear opposes this) or new DPVA Executive Directly Rebecca Slutzky (ditto).
*What is this all about? I'm not sure exactly, but one source told me, "I hear it's about chairs, particularly in Northern Virginia, wanting to keep their positions for another year, expecting 'bennies' from the Hillary Clinton run." I also heard an argument made that it's better to have "experienced leaders in place for the presidential race."
*Apparently, for this rule change to pass, it would need to get an "absolute majority" of the Central Committee [update: someone else tells me that it might only require a simple majority of those present).
*I've heard from several party folks who oppose this idea. One told me they just don't think it makes any sense, that "the harder years for most local chairs are the odd years," not the federal election/even-numbered years.
*One person responded, tartly: "Canceling elections? These chairs were not elected for next year... changing the rules midstream and making it effect old elections is highly questionable." *Another counterargument I heard was that this change "could create problems for larger committees [Lowell's note: actually all committees have would to amend their bylaws to allow for this change]," such as in Northern Virignia, Richmond and Hampton Roads, since they "would need to change bylaws and their schedules." *I hear from multiple sources that there are folks in the Fairfax County Democratic Committee who are opposed to this because they don't want current chair Sue Langley to get a third year.
*Another local party official told me, "Any DPVA member who cares about their local committee's finances should vote it down."
*Finally, I received the following statement from a Democratic local committee person who wanted to remain anonymous, but was concerned about the potential loss of income to their committee.
I'm a local Democratic Committee member, but not a voting DPVA member, and I'm not happy about this proposal. For one thing, our members hardly know that the proposal exists and they haven't been given much of an opportunity to weigh in on something that will greatly affect our local organization. We elected our Chairs to serve a two-year term in early 2014. The terms of office will be extended not only for our Chair, but for the rest of the leadership and full membership as well. Some will welcome this change, and there are others who never intended to serve that long and will resign.
Additionally, a large portion of our revenue comes from membership dues. We actually budgeted for the thousands of dollars we expected to take in at the end of this year in the form of two-year memberships. Without that income, we'd have to cut back on our voter outreach programs. You can "assess" members for a year's worth of their membership dues but that would have to be optional, and we might only get half of the membership participating (not to mention a lot of confusion). So we would recover roughly a quarter of the budgeted income in membership dues, and wait another year for the remainder.
Given all those arguments, my view is that the terms shouldn't be changed unless there's some overriding reason to do so, and I can't think of any (and haven't heard of any). Also, I see no reason for a divisive issue to come up when we have such important elections this year (for control of the State Senate) and next (for President and Congress). If I were a Central Committee member, personally I'd vote "no."
By the way, DPVA will be meeting at 10 am at Woodson High School in Fairfax City the day after the Hillary Clinton event to vote on this. Supposedly it's open to the public; should be interesting.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, June 17. Also see Vice President Joe Biden speaking at the White House Clean Energy Investment Summit, "bringing together major foundations and institutional investors to announce $4 billion to scale up investment in clean energy innovation."
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