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Virginia Politics

Gov. McAuliffe's 9/1 Deadline for Medicaid Expansion Plan Has Come; Now What?

by: lowkell

Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:00:00 AM EDT

Do you feel like this summer went by fast? If so, can you imagine how quickly it must have flown by for Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe? As Gov. McAuliffe's summer began (ust 73 days ago, on June 20), recall that he held a fiery press conference in which he blasted Virginia Republicans' "unconscionable" refusal to expand Medicaid. Recall that he also vowed that, in spite of Republican obstructionism, we was "moving forward," and specifically that Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel would "have a plan on my desk no later than September 1 of this year" to "move forward with healthcare."

Well, September 1st has come and gone, and presumably Gov. McAuliffe has that plan on his desk now. So, should we expect a big, exciting announcement sometime soon (this week or next week perhaps)? Or, will the confident vows made as the summer began be quietly forgotten now that kids are going back to school, days are getting shorter, and tempers - if not temperatures - have cooled off a bit?  More to the point, were those vows ever realistic in the first place? Was there anything Gov. McAuliffe really could do unilaterally, with the Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly firmly opposed? According to an excellent article by Dave Ress of the Daily Press, it sure isn't looking promising. A few key points:

*"With an overwhelming majority in the House of Delegates resolutely opposed to Medicaid expansion -- or anything that looks like it and that clears the way for Affordable Care Act dollars to flow through state coffers -- the governor doesn't have a lot of choices."

*"[T]he policy wonks and state government grunts who he'd normally ask for ideas aren't hearing many requests...'The screaming silence has been deafening.'"

*"[S]ignals emerging from the governor's office point to a fairly modest proposal to whittle down the number of low-income Virginians who don't have insurance."

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 229 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning (Labor Day)

by: lowkell

Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 06:55:00 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, September 1 (Labor Day 2014). Also, check out that photo of how things used to be in this country, before progressives and unions changed it with much tougher regulations -- you know, those pesky things that Republicans always say we need to roll back because they're "job killing?" Yep, THOSE regulations, like ones prohibiting kids from work in dangerous, dirty sweatshops for 12 hours a day or whatever.

*The Medicare Miracle ("Covering the uninsured was supposed to be unaffordable; Medicare as we know it was supposed to be unsustainable. But it turns out that incremental steps to improve incentives and reduce costs can achieve a lot, and covering the uninsured isn't hard at all.")
*Workers are at the mercy of markets
*Putin suggests 'statehood' for eastern Ukraine
*Feinstein says Obama may be 'too cautious'
*Israel Claims Nearly 1,000 Acres of West Bank Land Near Bethlehem ("The land appropriation has quickly turned attention back to the Israeli-occupied West Bank and exposed the contradictory visions in the Israeli government that hamper the prospects of any broader Israeli-Palestinian peace process.")
*For Gov. Terry McAuliffe, question is whether to be bold or cautious on Medicaid expansion
*Warner: Obama's 'no strategy' remark was 'a very unfortunate choice of words'
*In Virginia, U.S. Senate race unusually low key
*Medicaid expansion holdouts are ideological
*Dorm deportment ("Common sense may be in short supply when hormones are raging, but it shouldn't be too much to require one human being to respect the wishes of another when intimate relations are in the offing. And there must be serious consequences when that most basic decency is absent.")
*GRTC studies Northern Va. rapid transit model ("New system sheds light on Richmond's future for bus service")
*Pr. William announces $5.9 million shortfall for fiscal 2014
*Nationals' power surge continues, but they drop series finale vs. Seattle, 5-3
*Scattered strong storms possible through this evening

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 07:17:34 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, August 31. Also, I watched most of this great discussion yesterday with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin at the 2014 National Book Festival. This woman is truly a national treasure; a fascinating conversation on Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, LBJ, JFK and...Barack Obama.

*Ukrainian port city fears it's next in rebels' sights
*Ferguson isn't about black rage against cops. It's white rage against progress.
*When Whites Just Don't Get It ("After Ferguson, Race Deserves More Attention, Not Less")
*Democrats Seek to Rally Blacks in Bid to Retain Senate Control ("Democrats are trying to mobilize African-Americans outraged by the shooting in Ferguson, Mo., to help them retain control of at least one chamber of Congress")
*America's real ice bucket challenge ("85 percent of the federal government's spending increases between now and 2024 will be consumed by just three items: Social Security (which will claim 28 percent of the increase), Medicare and other health-care programs (32 percent) and interest on the debt (25 percent). Spending on everything else - military and domestic programs alike - would fall to the lowest proportion of the economy since at least 1940" That's not acceptable.)
*Schapiro: Conviction or not, McDonnell scandal alters Virginia politics ("The historic five-week trial will lay waste to the notion of the 'Virginia way,' a quaint concept that elections and governance are conducted with mannered dignity by men and women who - because they have an agonizing sense of public mission - know what's best for the rest of us." Good riddance to a ridiculous notion.)
*Whose 'truth' will McDonnell jurors believe?
*In Virginia, thousands of day cares operate without government oversight (But wait, I thought Republicans always say that the answer to everything is LESS regulation. Hmmmm.)
*Oil train wrecks prompt scrutiny (Yet again, Republicans want LESS regulation when we actually need much tighter regulation in this case.)
*A river of cash, and much of it legal ("The McDonnells received huge sums in legal gifts, thanks to loose campaign-giving laws in Virginia." Again, more regulation - not less, as Republicans argue - is needed here.)
*Broken plastic DVD case may have killed whale (We've got to stop spewing pollution into our air and water ASAP.)
*Elect Norfolk's School Board
*Nats' ace delivers a superb outing ("Stephen Strasburg submits one of his best starts of the season as the Nationals turn back Seattle, 3-1.")
*Warm and sticky heading into Labor Day. Stormy too?

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

"Embrace GOP positions, snub base...Lose elections anyway"

by: lowkell

Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 11:52:11 AM EDT


I think Miles pretty much nails it with this tweet. Here are just a few examples, off the top of my head, who have done what Miles describes (and lost anyway) over the past few years in Virginia.

*Creigh Deeds 2005 (ran as a conservative Democrat against Bob McDonnell, only got a few more votes than Leslie Byrne, who ran as a proud, forceful progressive)
*Creigh Deeds 2009 (the whole theory by the so-called "experts" was that a more conservative Democrat from a rural area would have more appeal to independents, "moderates," blah blah blah. So much for THAT theory!)
*Jody Wagner 2009 (although she certainly did everything Miles talks about - she even agreed to meet with progressives, LGBT activists and environmentalists who were dismayed by her campaign - in fairness she had no chance given the wipeout at the top of the ticket)
*Glenn Nye 2010 (ran to the right, ran away from the Democratic Party, lost by 11 points to Scott Rigell, while Tom Perriello - who ran as a strong Democrat, proud of his values - only lost by 4 points in as tough or tougher a district)
*Rick Boucher 2010 (He gave coal companies everything they asked for. He lost anyway.)
*Ward Armstrong 2011 (As Miles wrote on November 9, 2011, "As for me, what I'll remember most about the 2011 election cycle is this ad from House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong trashing just about everything Democrats believe in. The leader of House Democrats - as chosen by his fellow House Democrats - distances himself from President Obama, a woman's right to choose, reasonable gun safety regulations, and limits on air pollution - all in one ad.")
*Paul Hirschbiel 2012 (classic conservadem campaign, classic results, as he lost by 8 points to Scott Rigell while Tim Kaine AND Barack Obama were winning that district)
(Honorable mention: Wayne Powell 2012 would have lost to Eric Can'tor anyway, but running to the right certainly didn't help him any.)
*Mike Hymes 2014 (Classic example; this one wasted something approaching a million bucks to get 9,264 votes - around $100 per Hymes voter, many of whom would have turned out with a simple notice that there was an election, so it's actually a lot worse than that - and lose by 28 percentage points, in addition to running away from Democratic values on issue after issue - woohoo!)
(Honorable mention: Lynwood Lewis 2014 - he came within 11 votes of losing a race he was supposed to win easily, after running to the right, dissing/ignoring the "base," etc.)

Sensing a pattern here?  

Discuss :: (13 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 06:52:31 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, August 30.

*Obama Weighing Delay in Action on Immigration
*Rebels besiege trapped Ukrainian volunteer soldiers
*Ellis Island in reverse: What happens to Guatemalans deported from U.S. (Shameful.)
*Mitch McConnell's campaign manager resigns after Iowa bribery scandal deepens
*California lawmakers pass first U.S. plastic bag ban (Virginia should do the same, or at least slap a fee on plastic bags, bottles, etc. They are a menace to creatures of all types, including the whale that died the other day from having plastic blocking its stomach. Horrible stuff when not recycled and/or disposed of properly.)
*Federal judge blocks Texas abortion clinic law
*McDonnell trial: Arguments done, case goes to jury Tuesday ("The prosecutor ended his rebuttal by lambasting former Gov. Bob McDonnell in front of his family. The jury will hear the judge's instructions after Labor Day, then start deliberating.")
*The Most Bizarre Bits To Come Out Of The Trial Of Virginia's Ex-Governor (#1: that Virginians ever elected this guy!)
*Dominion high-voltage line gives Pr. William jitters ("The company says it's to serve a customer who will add to local growth but declines to say who that is." WTF?)
*McDonnell prosecutor to jury: 'This is corruption. The real thing.' ("As closing arguments ended, lawyers for the ex-Va. governor said the government's star witness lied.")
*The whole Rolex thing
*Former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell should be held accountable, like others are ("Mr. McDonnell insinuated pay-to-play ethics in a state previously known for good government. He preached public austerity while enjoying the fruits of private luxury. He behaved as though the privileges of office provided carte blanche authority to play by special rules. Whether he is a criminal or not, he certainly is guilty.")
*In Virginia, US Senate race unusually low key
*Coal or air? It's a balancing act for Warner (Filthy, impoverishing coal or the planet? Tough choice - not!)
*Selvage: From Southwest Virginia, a path for less pollution (Nailed it!)
*Nats topple Seattle's King Felix with a 10-hit, four-home run barrage
*Summer stages a comeback, just in time for its unofficial departure

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 06:40:24 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, August 29. Also, gotta love Ken Cuccinelli, demonstrating yet again how extreme the Tea Party is, when even far-right-wing Rick Perry is considered "anti-conservative!"

*A climate for change: The U.S. can help drive a new round of global carbon cuts (I'm glad the Post did this series of editorials on global warming the past few days, but more importantly they need to stop: a) giving a platform to science deniers; and b) doing "false equivalency" journalism. If not, then the benefit of these editorials is negated.)
*Hillary Clinton on Ferguson: 'We Are Better Than That'
*Islamic State waterboarded Foley, others (It's evil if they do it, and it's evil if we do it. Why has no U.S. official - Cheney, etc. - been prosecuted for authorizing torture?!?)
*Obama accuses Russia of sending troops into Ukraine ("President rules out military action, but says Moscow's actions will bring 'more consequences'")
*Obama on the Islamic State: 'We don't have a strategy yet' (Right wingers are going nuts about this comment, but the fact is there aren't a lot of great options here.)
*Chuck Todd Pushes RNC Chair: 'Too Many Crazy White Guys'? (Ya think?)
*Another big boost for Obamacare ("In another sign that the politics of Obamacare continue to shift, the Medicaid expansion is now all but certain to come to another big state whose Republican governor had previously resisted it: Pennsylvania." Hello Bill Howell?)
*The Koch Brothers And Republican Party Have Just Joined Forces To Track Voters (I presume the Tea Party will go nuts about this, right? Oh wait...)
*Kaine, Warner speak on threat of ISIS
*Medicaid plan from House GOP ("Virginians have waited all year for House Republicans to offer a plan. Rust and Davis have stepped up and done so. Party leaders would be wise to give it a full hearing, and to recognize it for what it is: a way for them to do what's right for Virginia.")
*Closing arguments set to begin as McDonnells' trial nears its endgame ("The judge's instructions to jurors, including the definition of an 'official' act, could shape deliberations.")
*What's America's No. 1 Problem? A surprising answer from Rep. Scott Rigell (No, just hypocrisy given that he refuses to point the finger at the source of the problem: the Tea Party and Teapublicans blocking everything and pushing for harmful policies.)
*Officials confirm F15 pilot's death
*Tax exemption off table in baseball negotiations
*Voters may have crossed Va.-Md. line to cast ballots twice ("'The GOP has been on a witch hunt for voter fraud for 15 years to make it harder for people to exercise their constitutional rights,' said Del. Scott A. Surovell")
*Our view: Election skullduggery ("Critics, at least in this quarter, do not say voter fraud is myth, but that it has taken on mythic proportions unwarranted by the evidence - especially in regard to voter impersonation.")
*A refreshing Friday as summer recharges for the holiday weekend

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 06:46:28 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, August 28.

*A strong answer to climate change
*Exclusive: GOP poll of women: Party 'stuck in past' (Of course, women are right about this. Given that, the question is, why would any woman vote Republican these days?)
*Ukraine fears Russian invasion is now underway ("Fighting between Russian troops and the Ukrainian military worsened Thursday on a new, southern front as NATO promises to deploy forces to eastern Europe.")
*U.S. Budget Gap Narrows to Smallest Since 2007, CBO Says (And it would be a LOT lower if we had gotten rid of the Bush tax cuts.)
*Immigration plan could shake up 2014 election
*Iowa politician says 2012 Ron Paul campaign paid him for endorsement
*An anti-immigration group's imaginary scapegoats
*2014 and the limits of rage ("The question to ask: Do voters begin to push back against the tea party tide that swept governorships and legislatures into Republican hands four years ago and produced the most radical changes in policy at the state level in at least a generation?")
*The cold calculus of global warming ("Peddling doubt has helped protect lucrative, if unsustainable, livelihoods.")
*Virginia Senate candidates to talk tech
*Foust Defends Comments Against Comstock's Work Experience
*Ask the Governor: McAuliffe talks budget, ethics and Clinton '16 in radio interview
*Separate arrivals and exits drive home a point at former Va. governor's trial
*McDonnell defense rests with details of a sad and troubled marriage
*A different former Governor's thoughts on ethics: Sen. Kaine says Va laws too lax
*They're baaaack ... big outsider ad buys in Gillespie-Warner race
*Fighter jet pilot missing after Virginia crash
*Va. reading scores remain stagnant on harder state tests
*In coal country, the jobs are vanishing. Even so, workers find it hard to leave.
*Fister's vulnerabilities appear as Phillies show Nats the broom
*Humidity drops as storms hold off

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Gov. McAuliffe Signs Bill Addressing Notary Fraud Aimed At Members of the Latino Community

by: lowkell

Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 16:11:38 PM EDT

Photo and description of the event earlier today, courtesy of Virginia State Senator Jennifer Wexton:
I was proud to stand with Senator Adam Ebbin, Delegate Alfonso Lopez, Delegate-elect Rip Sullivan, and other important members of the Northern Virginia community as Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe signed SB 503, which I co-patroned, and HB 492 into law. They address the growing problem of notary fraud perpetrated towards members of the Latino community, as well as other minority communities. There are many cases of notaries fraudulently charging thousands of dollars for misleading advice. This legislation prohibits non-attorney notaries from offering legal or immigration advice, as well as imposes civil penalties and possible revocation of notary license for repeat offenders.
Also present in the photo are Del. Alfonso Lopez, Del.-elect Rip Sullivan, Arlington County Board Members Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada, State Senator Adam Ebbin, and of course Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Great job by everyone involved in this, including co-patrons Adam Ebbin and Jennifer Wexton, and House Chief Co-patron Alfonso Lopez.

P.S. I don't recognize the other two people in the photo. Also note that the other House Chief Co-patron, Del. Dave Albo (R), is not in the photo. Hmmmm.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 06:47:44 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, August 27. Also see Jon Stewart take on Fox "News" coverage of Ferguson.

*U.N. Draft Report Lists Unchecked Emissions' Risks (That's right, no matter how much you try to deny or minimize this problem, it's a 12-alarm emergency right now. WTF are we doing about it?!?)
*Obama rules out help from Assad on Syria strikes ("Airstrikes against Islamic State militants, even if officially opposed by Syria as a violation of sovereignty, would put the U.S. and Syrian presidents on the same side of a war Obama has been loath to join.")
*Cease-fire holding between Israel, Hamas amid rejoicing (Now, the people of Gaza should rise up and overthrow Hamas.)
*A climate for change: The EPA's limits on emissions are important but not enough ("The EPA is starting the country down a carbon-reduction path, an important signal to Americans and foreigners seeking confidence that the United States will cut its carbon use. But the regulations' greatest contribution will come if they prod Congress to enact a plan that's both more comprehensive and more efficient")
*Obama Pursuing Climate Accord in Lieu of Treaty ("The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress." Thanks a lot, pathetic, climate-science-denying Republicans.)
*When youthful mistakes turn deadly ("For young, black men, errors can be deadly.")
*Why Conservative Christian Homeschoolers Are Fighting Standards That Don't Apply To Them
*U.S. Mobilizes Allies to Widen Assault on ISIS
*Senate Dems frustrated by colleague's push for ISIS vote ("'Asking anybody to take that vote within two months of an election is just stupid. Why would you put people in that position?' said a Senate Democratic aide.")
*Former Va. governor insists he never promised favors in return for gifts (The question is whether or not the jury believes that one.)
*Homophobic Ex-VA Gov. Bob McDonnell Now Living With Priest Who Pled Guilty To Having Sex With Another Man In Public
*McDonnell Living With Priest Who Pleaded Guilty To Sex Crime
*Despite 'real job' comment, Foust and Democrats to push 'women's issues' (Why is the Loudoun Times accepting the b.s. Republican narrative on this?)
*A year after McDonnells' gifts scandal was revealed, lobbyists' assembly spending dips (Now we need serious ethics reform, with sharp teeth, to slash this a lot further.)
*Schapiro: Lawmaker-judge who found joy in public life
*Our view: A reset, perhaps, on safe abortion ("Supporters' insistence that the law's purpose is women's health and safety offers such thin cover as to be transparent. They mean to stop abortions. That debate can be held on honest grounds, but TRAPers should know this: They cannot end abortions, and abortions are safe because they are legal.")
*Attorney general investigating alleged voter fraud
*As ex-governor's trial continues, the current Guv's thoughts on gifts to public officials ("'Nobody should be giving you gifts, why is anybody giving you gifts,' McAuliffe said." Right, so let's make it illegal.)
*Early stirrings of life in 2nd Congressional District race (Yeah, it's been super quiet there.)
*Electric vehicles to get more support in Hampton Roads
*Nats come up short against Phillies
*D.C. area forecast: No scorchers in sight, but summer simmers a bit today and again this weekend

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 06:46:12 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, August 26.

*A climate for change: America should not wait while the world warms
*Ukraine detains Russian paratroopers; U.S. ambassador warns of 'counteroffensive' (Scary situation, but you know what's even scarier? See story #1, above.)
*Obama Allows Surveillance Flights of ISIS Over Syria
*Progressive Congresswoman Welcomes Jim Webb Into Dem Presidential Primary (Interesting.)
*Restoring a sense of security on campus ("The systemic failure of colleges and universities across the U.S. to accurately report sexual assaults on campus - and hold offenders accountable - demands a comprehensive approach to changing a culture of complacency.")
*McAuliffe prepares for budget cuts ("Agency heads plan for cuts of 5 percent this year, 7 percent next year")
*Tim Kaine: Congress must vote on Iraq
*Kaine pledges to protect VIMS ("He want to limit effect of federal budget cuts; state reductions loom as well")
*Say cheese! McDonnell's photo with Anatabloc
*Prosecutor to McDonnell: How could anyone know about loan?
*Ex-Va. governor comes under sharp questioning from prosecutors ("The corruption trial of the former governor was expected to turn on his cross-examination.")
*Ann Romney lauds Va. House hopeful Comstock (Another good reason to vote against Comstock.)
*The only way forward ("Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission must recover from early stumbles")
*Ed Gillespie introduces tax reform plan (Same ol' same ol' supply-side, trickle-down stuff. Shocker.)
*McAuliffe pleased with improved Chesapeake Bay health (But a looooong way to go!)
*PolitiFact: Beyer 'Mostly true' on paid family leave comment
*Nationals vs. Phillies: Nats open road trip with 3-2 loss in Philadelphia
*Mild weather before humid weekend

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

If You Can't Defend McDonnell, Attack the Messenger

by: Dan Sullivan

Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 15:05:31 PM EDT

090601 Bob McDonnell photo 090601BobMcDonnell.jpgWhat we have here, is the failure of circumspection so common among neo-conservatives. The "here" are the personal attacks resulting from yesterday's post about former Governor McDonnell's accumulating and compounding hypocrisy. Somehow facts and evidence are irrelevant in the neo-conservative world unless they support your position.

It must be painful to have fallen for the original McDonnell shtick hook, line and sinker. Accepting this new fiction of a defense with all its twists, turns, and subplots as relief for the cognitive dissonance caused by recent revelations provides relief. Then someone points out the concurrent serial hypocrisy of McDonnell embracing a priest who casually violated his vow of celibacy with another man; behaviors McDonnell has blatantly condemned as antithetical to his core conservatism. This resonates and echoes hypocrisy. There is no argument that can refute the blatant self-serving behavior of their fallen hero, so resort to personal attacks.

Suddenly the raw truth of the McDonnell formula for defense being revealed is turned on its head and becomes an attack by the left on homosexuals. That is some desperation. This is just another brick in the wall McDonnell is building to defend himself. And we are cautioned that if we want to sway public opinion we need to make nice. Part of one rant is not only unintelligible but also contains utter nonsense:

"But it does show you an insight into the liberal extremist mind. Democrat (sic) bloggers, especially Lowly (sic), must not really like gay people. They need their votes, and the fact that they don't like religion makes gay people social "brothers in arms" with hatemongers like Lowly (sic), but in reality they only use gay people to shore up their own power."
Where to start?  
There's More... :: (3 Comments, 332 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 06:24:22 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines,  political and otherwise, for Monday, August 25. Also, check out that video, because it provides a crystal clear indication regarding one of the top 2 or 3 themes Jim Webb would run for president on -- "economic fairness and social justice," a phrase he repeats several times.

*The certainty of climate change ("Action, too, is inevitable. It should be smart - and prompt." Immediately -- at federal, state and local levels.)
*Obamacare has growing support, even if its name does not ("As one Democratic pollster told me, his focus groups showed that when voters outside the Republican base are given details about what the law does and how it works, 'people come around and say, 'That's not so bad, what's everybody excited about?''")
*In latest bloody victory, ISIS seizes key air base in Syria
*US Journalist Held in Syria Freed (Finally, a bit of good news for a change.)
*More Audio Surfaces From Dan Page, the St. Louis County Police Officer Suspended After Racist Remarks (Clearly, people like this should not be cops.)
*Beyond Ferguson: 5 glaring signs that we're not living in a post-racial society ("Privileged pundits love to insist that race is no longer a factor in American life. The numbers say they're wrong")
*Krugman: Wrong Way Nation ("So Rick Perry doesn't know the secrets of job creation, or even of regional growth. It would be great to see the real key - affordable housing - become a national issue.")
*Anti-Clinton past echoes
for Virginia Republican
("GOP congressional hopeful Barbara Comstock touts her bulldog aggression in a state where Clinton-bashing is no longer a surefire way to rally voters.")
*Bob McDonnell courts jurors with narrative of a micromanager blindsided by his wife
*Judge in McDonnell case presides with humor and impatience
*With gay marriage on hold, same-sex couples remain hopeful
*VDOT hopes photographic study will reduce interstate wildlife collisions ("People and animals are getting killed and maimed in highway collisions, and Virginia is looking for ways to reduce the carnage.")
*McDonnell's broken covenant worse than loans (Not sure about that, but he's an extreme hypocrite, that's for sure.)
*McAuliffe to visit area to tout conservation program
*Nationals flex muscle, beat Giants
*A stellar start to the work week ("Mostly sunny skies, comfortable temperatures and low humidity will last a few days.")

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:16:37 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, August 24. Oh, and click to "embiggen" that image to see what Ed Gillespie's extreme views against gun safety legislation are...

*'Incredible' rate of polar ice loss alarms scientists (Of course, stuff like this SHOULD be the #1 news headline in every newspaper across America and the #1 topic on the Sunday morning gabfests. But, given the idiocy of the aforementioned, of course it isn't.)
*Intelligence gaps could limit U.S. action in Syria
*Russian aid trucks exit Ukraine
*The burning of Washington: D.C.'s darkest, forgotten day (200 years ago today.)
*Ivy Main: Constitutional amendment needed to end 'crony capitalism' for the Right and 'plutocracy' for the Left
*Warner seeks re-election
*Senate challenger Ed Gillespie makes whirlwind stop in Hampton Roads
*Schapiro: The rundown on why Maureen McDonnell's been run over
*NRA-backed media blitz could hurt Gillespie
*Is McDonnell, the self-professed micromanager, a convincing chump? (Very hard to believe.)
*Bob McDonnell's plea for sympathy at trial is riddled by rationalizations, contradictions (Just like his entire political career.)
*Former governor likely to face 'blistering cross-examination' (As well he should.)
*Jay Fisette: Why Arlington joined the battle against climate change
*Washington region's first bus rapid transit starting service
*Slash fares on Norfolk's Tide
*Nationals growing into their status as favorites to reach the World Series (They had their 11th win in 12 games last night.)
*Sunshine emerges for the week ("Another spell of nice weather set to last through the first half of the work week")

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Meet the (Gay) Priest that Homophobic Hypocrite Bob McDonnell is Now Living With

by: lowkell

Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 06:41:28 AM EDT

The following story most definitely falls into the "you can't make this s*** up" category. So, you know how Bob McDonnell, now on trial for corruption as governor (and busy throwing his wife under the bus while rolling back and forth over her a few times, proving he's a complete cad as well as a sleazeball), has moved out of his home with Maureen and moved in with a priest (Rev. Wayne Ball of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Richmond)? Well, how about we meet the good Reverend (note: thanks to Ben "Not Larry Sabato" Tribbett for the tip on this one, since he really broke the story).

Yeah, it's this same guy.

The Rev. Wayne L. Ball, a Norfolk priest who pleaded guilty late last year to a misdemeanor sex offense, has been reassigned to St. John's Catholic Church in Highland Springs, according to The Catholic Virginian, a biweekly diocesan newspaper. The move is effective June 2.

Ball, 42, has served as pastor of Norfolk's Holy Trinity Catholic Church since 2000. The current pastor at St. John's, the Rev. David V. McGuire, will replace Ball at Holy Trinity.

In December, Ball pleaded guilty in Norfolk General District Court to the misdemeanor charge of frequenting a bawdy place. Norfolk police arrested Ball and a 41-year-old Richmond man on the night before Thanksgiving in a parked car in a Norfolk park. The judge continued Ball's case until July 8 and will dismiss the charge if the priest has no further criminal problems and completes 80 hours of community service by June 3. The man in the car with Ball received a similar deal.

[...]

Ball will be the second Catholic priest who recently pleaded guilty to a sex crime to serve at St. John's in Highland Springs.

In February, the Rev. John P. Blankenship, who served at St. John's from 1973 to 1977, pleaded guilty in Prince George County to four counts of sodomy. The charges stemmed from incidents that occurred after Blankenship's time at St. John's.

Look, it should go without saying that I have no problem with priests -- or any other religious officials, or anyone else -- being gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, etc. What I DO have a problem with is massive hypocrisy among politicians, such as a guy who richly earned the nickname "Taliban Bob" for his viciously anti-gay rhetoric and actions hounding/harassing LGBT people (not to mention his right-wingnut, theocratic, holier-than-thou, Pat Robertson-trained moralizing about what we all should or should not be doing in the privacy of our own bedrooms; not to mention the fact that when McDonnell himself was asked by reporters if HE had ever violated Virginia's "crimes against nature" laws, he said "not that I can recall").  

Anyway, this is the priest - Wayne Ball - who "Homophobe Bob" McDonnell is now living with in a rectory in Richmond. Just when you thought this trial couldn't any more soap opera-ish or bizarre...

P.S. Again, let me just emphasize that I don't have any problem whatsoever with Rev. Ball being gay. I DO have a problem with Bob McDonnell spending his career telling everybody what's right and wrong sexually as well as who they can and can't marry; voting for anti-gay legislation; and generally being a homophobic jerk; and then moving in with a gay priest after moving out with his wife Maureen. Holy hypocrisy alert, Batman!

Discuss :: (54 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 06:53:54 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, August 23. Also see President Obama's weekly address, in which he emphasizes the importance of increasing U.S. exports, including by supporting the U.S. Export-Import Bank. He's right. Congress needs to do its job and reauthorize/fund the Bank.

*Obama weighs combat options against militants ("A mandate from Congress could provide domestic legal justification for the unlimited use of force against the Islamic State across Iraq and Syria, a senior administration official said.")
*Russian trucks begin leaving Ukraine as Merkel arrives ("The German chancellor came to ease escalating tensions after the convoy's arrival - called a 'direct invasion' - and reports of Russian artillery fire in Ukraine")
*U.S. Isn't Sure Just How Much to Fear ISIS ("...some American officials and terrorism experts said that the ominous words overstated the group's ability to attack the United States and its interests abroad, and that ISIS could be undone by its own brutality and nihilism.")
*Reid apologizes for Asian jokes (I like Reid in many ways, but this crap is just unacceptable.)
*Justice Ginsburg: America Has A 'Real Racial Problem' (Yes we do, no doubt about it.)
*Erick Erickson Admits Redstaters Don't Show Christian Values - Flames Ensue (I must say, this is amusing.)
*McDonnell testifies he 'misjudged' businessman as 'a true friend' (Not a very bright guy, on top of being a sleaze.)
*Bob McDonnell: "I don't blame my wife," says he's accountable (Riiiiight...after the entire defense strategy has been to BLAME HIS WIFE!)
*Gift Horses Gone Wild: Lessons From the Trial of Bob McDonnell ("As long as an elected official reports gifts and there's no quid pro quo, he can accept a bar of gold from a lobbyist every day. Virginians have always believed that their political culture was too upright to require ethics laws. Because, you know, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson." Exactly - just laughable.)
*Southern Virginia University subject of sexual harassment investigation
*GOP calls John Foust an insensitive sexist after comment about opponent (Of course, Comstock has held many jobs, the problem is that the vast majority of them involved things like stalking the Clintons, defending Scooter Libby, and other bad stuff.)
*Dead whale likely struck by ship, necropsy shows (So, plastic pollution and getting hit by a ship killed this whale. Nice job, humanity! Ugh.)
*Washington region's first bus rapid transit opens Sunday (Excellent, we should do a lot more of this, along with streetcars and greatly expanded Metrorail.)
*The 'Redskins' name is a slur. We will no longer use it. (Great, but what about the rest of the Washington Post - sports section, news section, etc? If the word is racist, as the Post believes, then it has no place in their newspaper - period.)
*Longest winning streak in Nats' history meets ugly end against Giants (Oh well, it had to end at some point!)
*A gloomy Saturday, a glorious Sunday

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 06:47:14 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, August 22. Also, check out ABC's coverage of the bizarre story of the woman who stalked and assaulted Virginia House Democratic leader David Toscano's wife. There's a lot of strange stuff here, including why the stalker's attorney didn't ask for bond for his client. As the ABC News reporter says, "you can't help but think there's a lot more going on with this." Not sure exactly what that "lot more" would be, though (although there are lots of rumors flying around, even including potential ramifications for House Democratic leadership)...stay tuned.

*The new battle against evil ("Those were difficult but sound decisions, and a principled start to a long campaign against brutal killers.")
*After Israeli airstrikes, Hamas kills 11 suspected informers (Trying to decide which one's more evil, Hamas or ISIL.)
*Hamas Claims Responsibility for Kidnapping, Murder of Israeli Teenagers in June (Ditto. Both Hamas and ISIL are evil. Also, this changes the narrative of the conflict significantly; sorry all you Israel bashers out there!)
*Chuck Hagel: ISIL 'beyond anything that we've seen' (Right, so what are we going to do about it?)
*Roanoke Times: U.S. needs clarity on marriage equality
*Gillespie's first TV ad sparks immediate response from Warner ("Sen. Mark R. Warner's campaign responded immediately, accusing their Republican opponent of keeping his career milestone as a Washington lobbyist from viewers.")
*Warner agrees to face Gillespie eight times in Senate race
*'Mr. Honest' is betraying his wife and airing dirty laundry to avoid jail time ("Ex-governor McDonnell used his wife as a campaign prop. What he's doing now is worse." Agreed; it's appalling.)
*Ex-Va. governor reveals details of failing marriage (Still, none of this throwing Maureen "under the bus" absolves Bob McDonnell from his own actions.)
*Robert McDonnell throws his wife under the bus at trial (How on earth did Virginia voters elect this Pat Robertson-trained jerk, aka "Taliban Bob," as governor in 2009?!?)
*Democrat Foust Stakes Ground as Women's Candidate Against Republican Comstock
*Foust taps McAuliffe to headline campaign fundraiser
*Ex-congressman Davis to lead George Mason U.'s board (The school was already right wing, with all its Koch brothers' money, and it just continues in that direction with this move...)
*Sexual assault task force created for Virginia colleges
*Another day, another walk-off as Nationals extend their streak to 10 (Magical.)
*Don't like the humidity? Get used to it. ("Warning: Muggy days ahead, with rain risks as well. Just hold on till Sunday ... or Monday.")

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:46:20 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, August 21. Also, click on that image and tell Gov. McAuliffe: "Virginia should be a leader in curbing climate change. Now is the time to take bold action. "

*U.S. launched secret raid to rescue Foley (Bottom line, we need to fight these "Islamic State" terrrorists because they would kill all of us if they had the chance.)
*Obama, 'Appalled' by Beheading, Will Continue Airstrikes (Time to ramp them up, I'd say.)
*A peaceful night in Ferguson after a visit from the Attorney General
*Amid rhetoric, President Obama's uncharismatic response so far to Ferguson is apt
*Missouri Councilman Explains Racist Facebook Posts: 'I Was A Very Active Republican' (Well, at least he's honest! LOL)
*U.S. Supreme Court puts gay marriage on hold in Virginia (So now it's up to Anthony Kennedy. Should we be cautiously optimistic?)
*McDonnell testifies: Jonnie Williams got no special favors (That's a big question the jury needs to decide.)
*McDonnell takes the stand, says his wife was a 'tense' first lady (The "throw Maureen under the bus" strategy continues. Classy, Bob! Also, did Maureen FORCE Bob to take the Rolex, etc? Uh, no.)
*Gillespie releases 1st first campaign ad in race with Warner (See here for more on "Enron Ed's" whitewash.)
*Our view: Toxic Democrats ("The Democratic brand is simply too toxic in rural Virginia; it's hard to sell voters on the restorative tonic of Medicaid expansion when all they see is a skull-and-crossbones representing every cultural touchstone they despise." For now, time to focus on urban/suburban/exurban voters, apparently.)
*Va. Republicans take victory lap after sealing control of General Assembly ("Howell and Norment stressed that the two chambers are united, in contrast with the state Republican Party, which is riven by a struggle between moderate establishment members and an insurgent wing of tea party supporters and other conservative activists.")
*Special session in Richmond could be a challenge for Virginia's Barbara Comstock ("In the midst of the most important part of an extremely competitive congressional race, she'll have to spend a significant amount of time in Richmond, when she should be knocking on doors, talking to voters, talking about her position on a number of issues.")
*Environmental regulators, CSX discuss April derailment in Lynchburg
*Protecting Chesapeake as Dominion shuts plant ("Chesapeake wisely refused a request by Dominion Virginia Power to store nearly a million tons of fly ash, which contains heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury, without a special permit.")
*'I want Virginia to be out front' battling campus sex assaults, McAuliffe says ("The governor is forming a task force at schools to prevent attacks and to fairly resolve cases.")
*Area legislators hope to minimize impact of spending cuts
*Chesapeake takes step toward Greenbrier light rail
*N.Va.'s Eden Center is crumbling, Vietnamese business owners say ("The Falls Church mall is losing customers, and tenants have sued to have critical repairs made.")
*Nats extend winning streak to 9 games with late rally against Diamondbacks (Another day, another walk-off win. Amazing.)
*Mini heat spell continues into Friday ("Thunderstorms are likely to push across the area in the evening before dying out.")

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 06:21:30 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, August 20. Also, I really like that photo by Tom Greeson of Rip Sullivan campaign HQ last night...tallying up the big victory. :)

*Islamic State claims to behead U.S. journalist (These cowardly thugs represent the worst of humanity. More than that, they are a serious threat to the region and potentially to the U.S. We need to pound the crap out of them.)
*In Ferguson protests, 'a turning point' ("Police arrest 47 people in late-night clashes, but Capt. Ronald Johnson said a city torn by riots was beginning to heal.")
*The Head of The Missouri GOP Thinks Voter Registration Drives in Ferguson Are "Disgusting" (Perhaps it's the head of the Missouri GOP whose views are "disgusting?")
*David Plouffe joins Uber as 'campaign manager'
*For-Profit College Grads Have The Same Shot At A Job Interview As People Who Never Went To College (More evidence that these "schools" are a menace.)
*Clergy readying to perform same-sex marriages in Virginia ("Unless the Supreme Court acts, same-sex marriages will be allowed in Virginia starting on Thursday morning. Clergy are heading to courthouses throughout the state.")
*Congressmen ask Va. GOP to postpone party battles, but the answer is no ("The rebuff from state Republican leaders is a fresh sign of discord within the organization.")
*In Richmond, Warner pushes student loan bill and VA overhaul
*Warner stresses bi-partisanship (That would be great if there were a partner we could work with, not a bunch of Tea Party extremists.)
*Sister-in-law: Former Va. first lady could be 'sweet' or 'deceptive' (The "throw Maureen under the bus and run over her a few times" strategy by Bob McDonnell's legal team continues. Classy, huh? The thing is, though, it might work...)
*Schapiro: McDonnell fights to clear name - and save pension (It's always about money with the McDonnells, it seems.)
*GOP win in Va. Senate race gives Republicans control in Richmond (More about this in my "Winners and Losers" list a bit later.)
*Chafin wins Va. Senate seat, GOP solidifies control (Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment spouts the Big Lie: "Having a 21st Republican Senator will help us strengthen Virginia's economy and ensure conservative, fiscally responsible management of the Commonwealth's budget." Good one Tommy! LOL)
*Pandering to Northern Va.'s Koreans is going to extremes ("Let politicians pander. But let them also refrain from dictating cartographic advisory opinions to the states.")
*Election | Lindsey declares win in 90th House district (Only 2,100 votes cast, but Lindsey got over 80% of them.)
*Court OKs appeal in case involving SWVa. landowners, gas companies
*Sen. Kaine Presents Medals to 100-Year-Old WWII Vet
*Nats win one the easy way, stomping Diamondbacks 8-1
*Not hot, but kind of humid. Storms later today?

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia Election Results Thread: SD-38; HD-48; HD-90

by: lowkell

Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 19:00:00 PM EDT

Polls are now closed (although anyone waiting in line can vote). As usual, see VPAP and the State Board of Elections page for election results.

UPDATE 9:25 pm: Just got back from Rip Sullivan's victory party, where he bought everyone a round of beer. Is Rip going to be a great delegate or what? :) Meanwhile, it turns out that there was an error on VPAP earlier, and Rip Sullivan actually won every single precinct in the 48th districdt, romping over Dave Foster by a 62%-38% blowout margin. Hopefully, that marks the end of Foster trying to make the argument that he can win in blue areas of the state, but we'll see...

UPDATE 8:03 pm: With 86% of the precincts counted, it's Chafin 61%-Hymes 33%. With 72% of precincts counted, it's Sullivan 59%-Foster 41% (still only 1 precinct won by Foster...one too many if you ask me, but what the heck, I'll take it). And with 73% of precincts counted, it's Lindsey 84%-Calabrese 16%. in addition to Delegate-elect Lindsey, congratulations to Delegate-elect Sullivan!

UPDATE 7:49 pm: With 64% of precincts reporting in the 48th, Dave Foster has unfortunately won one - Kirby precinct in Fairfax County. Still, I'll take a 60%-40% lead any day. :) Again, congratulations to Delegate-elect Joe Lindsey in the 80th, who has over 84% of the vote. As for the Virginia Democratic Senate caucus' gamble on the 38th Senate district, to put it mildly it didn't pay off, with Senator-elect Chafin up by 29 percentage points with 76% of precincts reporting. As I said a million times, we should focus our time, energy and resources on 2015...

UPDATE 7:38 pm: By the way, I asked Ben "Not Larry Sabato" Tribbett late this afternoon for his predictions. He said 61%-39% Sullivan and 62%-38% Chafin. Right now it's 62%-38% Sullivan (with 44% of precincts counted) and 62%-32% Chafin (with 74% of precincts counted). Not too shabby!

UPDATE 7:35 pm: A few more from the Arlington elections office -- Cherrydale: @DaveFosterVA 139 @RipSullivan48 302, Madison: @DaveFosterVA  371 @RipSullivan48  406; Rosslyn: @DaveFosterVA 59 @RipSullivan48 126; Dawson Terrace: @DaveFosterVA 49 @RipSullivan48 103; Arlington Absentee: @DaveFosterVA 312 @RipSullivan48 678.

UPDATE 7:32 pm: Looking good for Democrat Rip Sullivan in the 48th House of Delegates district and for Democrat Joe Lindsey in the 90th House of Delegates district. With 7 of 25 precincts reporting, Sullivan's ahead 60%-40%. With 27% of precincts reporting, Lindsey's ahead 89%-11%. Congratulations to Delegate-elect Lindsey! As for Foster, he hasn't won a precinct yet; hopefully that trend will continue and Sullivan will hold his 20-point margin or increase it.

UPDATE 7:30 pm: With 72 of 120 precincts counted in the 38th Senate district, Republican Ben Chafin leads by a huge margin, 10,739 (61.2%) to just 5,638 (32.1%) for Democrat Mike Hymes. So why did Democrats pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into this 2:1 Cooch/Jackson/Obenshain district? I couldn't figure it out then, and I sure can't figure it out now.

UPDATE 7:23 pm: In Senate District 38, VPAP has it at Chafin 6,905 (62.12%)-Hymes 3,337 (30.02%)-Mullins 868 (7.81%) with 45 of 120 precincts counted. Pretty much over, barring a miraculous comeback by Hymes.

UPDATE 7:22 pm: According to the Arlington County Elections Board Twitter feed, Rip Sullivan beat Dave Foster in Thrifton precinct 415-315, in Marshall precinct 337-211, in Wilson precinct 129-86, and in Crystal Plaza precinct 48-37. Looking good for Rip (especially when you consider that his home base is in Dranesville/McLean, while Foster's is in Arlington.

UPDATE 7:16 pm: Del. Greg Habeeb (@GregHabeeb) tweets, "First precinct reports I'm hearing from the Senate Special Election sound VERY promising." Habeeb's a Republican, by the way, so that's not good news if you're on the "blue team."

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 06:40:36 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, August 19.

*Globe sees fourth warmest July on record; Oceans tie for warmest July (This should be an emergency for everyone. The answer: get off of fossil fuels - oil and coal in particular, but also natural gas - ASAP - and switch to energy efficiency, solar, wind, geothermal, etc.!)
*Holder to travel to Ferguson as U.S. role expands
*In Ferguson, a sense of being left behind
*He's no Jack Kemp ("Rand Paul's shady history with African Americans." Note that this is by a conservative columnist.)
*Stark Racial Divisions in Reactions to Ferguson Police Shooting (Only 37% of whites say this case raises important issues about race? Uhhhh...hello?!?)
*Cliven Bundy vs. Ferguson's peaceful demonstrators: A tale of two protests ("Bundy engaged in armed resistance to avoid paying fees. Compare that to peaceful protests responding to a lost life." Why are Bundy and his lawless followers not in jail right now?)
*Scandals hiding in plain sight (Christie, Perry, Walker, McDonnell, Scott and...Cuomo too? Ugh.)
*Former Senator Jim Jeffords Dead At 80 (A moderate, even progressive, Republican - they used to be a powerful force in the GOP, but not anymore!)
*Cantor quietly ends congressional tenure (Now, through the "revolving door" presumably...)
*Advocates urge U.S. top court not to block gay marriage in Virginia
*Virginia voters head to polls in four special elections ("Three seats in the General Assembly will be filled, and a town council election will test new voter ID laws.")
*Virginia attorney general seeks delay in reversing gay-marriage ban
*Former Va. Gov. Robert McDonnell was seen as 'Mr. Honest,' aide testifies ("In stark contrast, his wife was described as a "diva-ish" boss whose staff considered resigning.")
*Aide Describes Staff Revolt Against Former Virginia Governor's Wife
*Foust talks education, immigration, job creation (Foust has been spending a lot of time in the western part of the district -- Clarke County, Frederick County, Winchester, etc. Good to see!)
*Virginia's drastic drop in fully-accredited schools must be answered with action
*Danville Utilities under probe ("Following internal audit, investigation launched into overtime pay, credit car use")
*Nationals overcome Diamondbacks, extend streak to seven with 5-4 win
*Some humidity, clouds, shower chances through the work week

Discuss :: (2 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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