In the face of coordinated and underhanded attacks on Planned Parenthood, which provides quality health care to thousands of women across the commonwealth, Virginia organizations today declared they stand with Planned Parenthood and the women they serve. ProgressVA, New Virginia Majority, the Sierra Club of Virginia, the League of Women Voters of Virginia, and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia released statements in support of the organization and the compassionate care they provide.
ProgressVA: "Virginians are no strangers to coordinated attacks on women’s health and abortion access. From transvaginal ultrasounds and bills to ban birth control to targeted restrictions designed to shut down women’s health centers, we know this agenda is really about eliminating safe and legal abortion. We stand with Planned Parenthood because we believe that every woman should be able to decide for herself whether and when to start a family. Politicians have no business interfering in private, personal health care decisions. Every woman’s situation is different, which is why we are so grateful for the quality, compassionate care they provide to every woman who walks through their doors. Shame on the politicians who would exploit crass and underhanded attacks to try to shut down women’s access to reproductive care."
New Virginia Majority: "Planned Parenthood provides quality, compassionate health care to thousands of Virginia women. These attacks threaten women's access to a trusted health care provider, especially in low-income communities. New Virginia Majority stands with Planned Parenthood because we believe every Virginian should have access to affordable, quality health care without political interference."
Sierra Club of Virginia: "Sierra Club stands with Planned Parenthood and the vital services they provide to millions of Americans. Protecting women's access to health care, including voluntary family planning, is key to fostering a healthy planet."
League of Women Voters of Virginia: "The League of Women Voters of Virginia is dedicated to ensuring access to affordable, quality health care, including reproductive health care, for all Virginia residents. We endorse maintaining and increasing the availability of health care in medically underserved areas. The high-quality services provided by the Planned Parenthood women’s health centers are a key part of the reproductive health care needed in Virginia. The League opposes attempts to limit health care services for women and, therefore,supports the continuation of Planned Parenthood’s compassionate, quality care provided here in Virginia."
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia: "Millions of women and families nationwide – including hundreds of thousands of women in Virginia – turn to Planned Parenthood every year for quality, affordable, and compassionate reproductive health care. These heavily-edited videos are part of a much bigger pattern of harassment and violence by extremists whose real goal is to ban abortion, close women’s health centers and cut women off of birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings. NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is proud to stand with Planned Parenthood, and we will continue fighting for the Virginia women and families who rely on this organization every single day.”
Virginia GOP Seeks to Fire Qualified Female Supreme Court Justice In Favor Of Male One
Virginians are used to hyper political temper tantrums from Virginia Republicans like Tommy Norment and Bill Howell, but their dark of the night announcement that they will be kicking a qualified, nonpartisan female justice to the curb in favor of their hand-picked male alternative is a new low.
Judge Jane Marum Roush is qualified (Republicans even concede that in their press release), she was recommended by Republican leaders like Dave Albo and Greg Habeeb, and she is already serving on the bench taking cases.
"Given their history of respect and inclusion toward Virginia women, it is tough to think of a reason the party of transvaginal ultrasounds, banning birth control and fighting equal pay for equal work would fire a female justice in favor of a male pick,"said Morgan Finklestein, press secretary for the Democratic Party of Virginia. "This attack on a qualified and nonpartisan female jurist who is already on the bench is just the latest example of how far outside the mainstream Republicans are, particularly on issues that matter to Virginia women and their families."
This week, the President sent a memo to America about his plan to protect the environment. In that spirit, and on a much smaller, albeit important scale, this is a memo to those living in the New River Valley of Southwest Virginia. Recent efforts by dedicated environmental advocates including the Environmental Patriots of the New River Valley and the New River Valley Chapter of the Sierra Club have shown a light on air pollution coming from from the Radford Army Ammunition Plant (RAAP) here. A potentially game-changing improvement may actually happen. That game changer is an enclosed state-of-the-art incinerator for toxic waste destroyed at the arsenal. Astonishingly, now toxic material from munitions manufacture is open burned! The permit for the open burning is up for review and possible renewal. The US Army, the British contractor BAE (which manages the plant for the Army)and The RAAP facility have announced they are planning to upgrade the facility. This is too important to sit on the sidelines. Make you voice heard. Continued open burning is not an appropriate 21st Century solution.
Please turn out for the public meeting Wednesday, August 5th, 6 PM, at the Blacksburg Public Library, 200 Miller Street. A spokesperson for the arsenal will attend.
Seriously, the Webb campaign is touting its support from someone basically no Democrat - obviously, we're not counting LIE-berman's pals' John McCain and Lindsey Graham here - likes. And for good reason. Consider that LIEberman spoke at the 2008 Republican convention in support for John McCain and Sarah Palin (LIEberman: "Governor Palin, like John McCain, is a reformer. She's taken on the special interests and the political power-brokers in Alaska and reached across party lines to get things done. The truth is, she is a leader we can count on to help John shake up Washington."). Consider also that LIEberman was one of the most vociferous opponents of a public option, in the Affordable Care Act. Consider also that LIEberman "spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of the confirmation of Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium... Fox, a prominent Republican businessman and political donor, was a contributor to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign in 2004." Consider also that LIEberman "blasted President Obama for stripping terms like 'Islamic extremism' from a key national security document, calling the move dishonest, wrong-headed and disrespectful to the majority of Muslims who are not terrorists." Consider also that LIEberman opposes the Iran nuclear deal and, essentially, favors war with Iran as the only alternative. We could go on and on all day, but the bottom line is that no Democrat should want to be caught dead - for purely political reasons, not to mention substantive policy ones - touting LIEberman's support and/or endorsement. Yet that's exactly what the going-nowhere Webb campaign did this morning.
The comments on Webb's Facebook page, which keep in mind is filled mostly with his supporters, are hilarious in that context.
*"'I wonder what Joe Lieberman thinks about Democratic politics these days,' said no one, ever."
*"This is 'The Kiss of Death' for any Democrat."
*" Oh, Lord. Hardly a compelling endorsement and certainly not a face I want to see on Sunday morning."
*" So you don't want the Democratic nomination, Senator? That's the only explanation I can come up with for this post."
*"Not a very good endorsement. Nobody likes Joe Lieberman."
The corporate media can try to ignore the #1 issue facing humanity (and every other species on the planet) all they want, but that doesn't change the reality of the challenge we're all up against. Unfortunately, fossil-fuel-funded Republicans (and, sadly, some "fossil fool" Democrats as well) have blocked action serious Congressional action on climate change, such as the "cap-and-trade" plan originally proposed by conservatives, a "cap-and-dividend" plan in which money raised from the tax on carbon pollution is returned to the American people; a straight-up tax on carbon pollution, which could easily be designed such that it is "revenue neutral" (e.g., other tax rates cut) if that's what is desired; a serious energy policy which cuts all subsidies - explicit or implicit - for fossil fuels, incorporates all "negative externalities" into their price, and massively promotes energy efficiency, wind, solar and other clean energy sources.
That Congressional failure has left it up to the Environmental Protection Agency -- legally backed by the 2007 Supreme Court decision which ruled that greenhouse gases are pollutants that can be regulated under the Clean Air Act -- to take necessary and long-overdue action on this front.
Which is exactly what the EPA is doing with its Clean Power Plan, which will accelerate America's inevitable transition to clean and increasingly inexpensive energy sources, while actually saving people money on their power bills. In addition, this plan will have tremendous health and environmental benefits, while giving American companies a better opportunity to compete in the multi-TRILLION-dollar world market for clean energy.
In short, this plan is a winner all around. Unless, that is, you are a well-heeled coal or oil company executive, but why would anyone shed a tear for those guys? Anyway, thank you EPA, and thank you President Obama, for taking this action. Now, can you please also stop oil drilling in the Arctic, which is a disaster waiting to happen? A grateful planet thanks you. :)
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, August 2. As for Miles Grant's tweet, the sad reality is that this kind of thing goes on every single week on the so-called "liberal" media, which in actuality leans heavily to the right.
It will never cease to amaze me that E.W. Jackson, a crazy person and also someone who's as extreme as you can get in this country, was the 2013 Virginia GOP's nominee for Lt. Governor of our state. Jackson's constant ravings are disturbing, although amusing in a twisted way. But his latest lunacy is...well check it out and decide for yourself.
BLACK MINISTERS GROUP: "MARGARET SANGER WAS A RACIST AND IT IS TIME FOR AMERICANS TO KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT HER AND PLANNED PARENTHOOD"
NORFOLK, VIRGINIA- A national group of predominantly black ministers - MINISTERS TAKING A STAND ("MTS") - has denounced Planned Parenthood as a racist organization. Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood founder, has a history that includes support for eugenics as well as racist motivations to limit the number of births of black babies. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, supported eugenics and was a devout racist who sought to limit the number of black births. Bishop E.W. Jackson, National President of the group, said, "If Planned Parenthood is trafficking in baby body parts, you can be sure that many of the babies they are ripping apart and selling on the auction block are black. Yet the liberal media fails to expose this truth. If black lives truly matter, the lives of unborn black children matter."
In fact, FactCheck.org looked at this charge (by Herman Cain back in 2011), and found "no support for that old claim." None. FactCheck.org further noted that just "9 percent of abortion clinics in the U.S. are in neighborhoods in which 50 percent or more of the residents are black." On the other hand, Planned Parenthood DOES provide important health care services to poor and minority women, which means cutting funding for Planned Parenthood simply means thatmany "poor women will go without breast and cervical cancer screening, HIV tests and sexually transmitted disease treatment," which is both "wrong and hurtful."
Not that E.W. Jackson and his ilk care about any of this, nor do they care about perpetuating insane falsehoods about Planned Parenthood (e.g., that the organization is racist, hell-bent on aborting - and even selling - black babies) that have been debunked over and over again. Of course, that didn't stop E.W. Jackson's 2013 running mate, Ken Cuccinelli, who "said he won't defend the statements of lieutenant governor candidate E.W. Jackson, including his assertion that Planned Parenthood has 'been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK,'" but who also "has drawn similar connections between Planned Parenthood and racism." Amazing.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, August 1. Also see President Obama's weekly address, in which he celebrates "the fiftieth birthdays of Medicare and Medicaid, which together have allowed millions to live longer and better lives."
~ AG Herring filed papers in June to allow the Commonwealth to remove the flag from Sons of Confederate Veterans license plates following the Supreme Court's ruling in Walker v. Texas ~
DANVILLE (July 31, 2015)--Today in federal district court in Danville, Judge Jackson Kiser ruled from the bench that he will dissolve his 2001 injunction that had allowed the Sons of Confederate Veterans to place the confederate battle flag on certain specialty license plates in Virginia. On June 26, Attorney General Mark R. Herring filed motions (see below) to dissolve the injunction and vacate the order that had required placement of the flag on SCV license plates. The Commonwealth will now be able to enforce its existing law regarding SCV plates which states "No logo or emblem of any description shall be displayed or incorporated into the design of license plates issued under this section."
"This ruling will allow Virginia to remove a symbol of oppression and injustice from public display on its license plates," said Attorney General Mark Herring. "Virginia state government does not have to and will not endorse such a divisive symbol. I appreciate Governor McAuliffe's leadership in calling for the removal of the flag and those on my team who moved quickly to get it done."
Judge Kiser's ruling will not be official until he enters his order, which will also address whether the decision will apply prospectively to new license plates, or retroactively to include existing ones. Deputy Attorneys General Rhodes B. Ritenour and Jeffrey M. Bourne and Senior Assistant Attorney General Janet Westbrook handled the case on behalf of the Commonwealth.
For anyone who thinks that the Clean Power Plan (coming out Monday) specifically, and transitioning from dirty to clean energy generally, are "bad for business," they might first want to talk to the 365 (!) companies - with 340,000 U.S. employees and $350 BILLION in annual revenue, who signed letters "to more than two-dozen governors across the United States voicing support for the EPA Clean Power Plan for existing power plants and encouraging the states' 'timely finalization' of state implementation plans to meet the new standards."
Those two-dozen governors include a letter to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe by 24 companies and investors with " a significant presence in Virginia" - including Mars, Nestle, VF Corporation, Wespath Investment Management, Calvert Investments, etc. Highlights from the letter (see the "flip" for screen shots) include:
*The companies and investors "strongly support the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's Carbon Pollution Standards for existing power plants," as they are "critical for moving our country toward a clean energy economy," with a "flexible approach [that] provides an exciting opportunity for states to customize their own energy portfolio, expand clean energy solutions, attract new industries to the state, and create thousands of jobs."
*They emphasize that their support for clean energy is "firmly grounded in economic reality," which is why "60 percent of Fortune100 companies have set their own clean energy targets and have saved more than $1 billion a year in the process."
*They "are seeking long-term policies that provide businesses the certainty needed to transition to a clean energy economy."
*They correctly note that switching to energy efficiency and renewable energy "will allow you to mitigate the risks of climate change and the volatility of fossil fuel prices," while combatting global warming that, among other problems, puts "trillions of dollars of institutional investors' assets at risk."
*They also explain that "emissions reductions can be achieved without long-term economic harm or damage to the reliability of our electricity system," but that clearly measures should be put in place to "ensure a just transition for impacted workers and communities during this shift toward a low carbon economy" (e.g., coal workers here in Virginia).
The bottom line: these companies and investors "encourage your timely finalization of Virginia's implementation plan and offer the support of the business community in [Gov. McAuliffe's] pursuit of cost-effective clean energy solutions." Let's make it happen ASAP, as there's truly no time to waste.
I saw this article earlier today and immediately thought of Virginia Republicans. I'll explain in a minute, but first the news.
Alpha Natural Resources Inc. is planning to file for bankruptcy protection in Virginia as soon as Monday as the biggest miner of U.S. coal used in steelmaking struggles amid the worst commodities slump in more than a decade, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter...
Bristol, Virginia-based Alpha Natural would follow rivals Walter Energy Inc., Patriot Coal Corp. and James River Coal Co. in filing for bankruptcy during the past 15 months as met coal prices dropped 72 percent since 2011.
Alpha Natural, despite reporting $1.8 billion in cash and available credit at end of March, hasn't turned in a profit since 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The thing is, it's not just Alpha, but the entire coal industry that's getting pounded by a variety of forces: cheap natural gas, the rise of wind and solar power, and the recognition that coal is cooking the planet to death.
So how does the decline of the coal industry potentially impact Virginia politics? First, as VPAP reports, the energy/natural resources sector has donated around $52 million to Virginia politicians since 1996. Of that, around $14 million has come from "Coal Mining/Processing," with another $16 million from heavily coal-powered utilities. And where has that money gone in terms of partisan distribution? Here are a few examples just to give you a feel for how lopsided it's been in favor of Republicans.
Coal company Alpha Natural Resources: $3.0 million, of which $2.3 million has gone to Republicans.
Coal executive Richard Baxter Gilliam: $2.7 million, of which only $1,000 has gone to Democrats, while $1.6 MILLION has gone to Republicans and $1.1 million to "other" (I believe a lot of this went to right-wing SuperPACs, like American Crossroads, that might not be classified as "Republican" by VPAP, but are clearly pro-Republican).
Coal/natural gas producer Consol Energy: $1.2 million, of which the overwhelming majority - $940k - went to Republicans.
Virginia Coal Association: $1.1 million, of which $740k went to Republicans.
Coal executive Marvin W Gilliam, Jr.: $683k, all but $3k of which went to Republicans.
Coal company United Co.: $519k, of which $324k went to Republicans.
Massey Coal: $466k, of which all but $8.3k went to Republicans.
Coal miner Cumberland Resources: $453k, of which all but $30k went to Republicans.
We could go on, but I think you get the picture: the vast majority of Virginia coal industry $$$ has gone to Virginia Republicans over the years, with only a small share going to Democrats. Which could mean, at least in theory, that as the coal industry goes down the tubes financially, the impact will be disproportionately negative on Virginia Republicans. We'll see, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on...
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, July 30. And yes, as you can see from his tweets, 2013 Virginia GOP Lt. Gov. nominee E.W. Jackson is STILL off his meds. Sad.
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