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Friday News: Trump’s Russia Scandal Shows No Signs of Stopping; Sessions Needs to Go; Warner Votes for Carson/Zinke/Perry

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by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, March 3.

  • From Sen. Scott Surovell:

    Proud to stand yesterday with Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, Congressman Don Beyer, Hispanic Caucus Chair & Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, Hispanic Caucus Former Chair & Rep. Linda Sánchez, Sen. Adam P Ebbin, Sen. Barbara Favola, Del. Paul Krizek, Supervisor Katie Cristol, Mayor Allison Silberberg, School Board Member Karen Corbett Sanders, and the Legal Aid Justice Center to say that these unconstitutional and illegal random checks needs to stop – especially at hypothermia shelters and churches.

    http://bluevirginia.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/beyersurovelletal.jpg
    http://bluevirginia.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/kainesurovell.jpg

  • Quizzical

    Good news about the wind turbine project in Virginia.

  • I never thought it could get worse than Eric Can’tor, but Dave Brat shows that it can..

    Earlier today Attorney General Sessions recused himself from any investigations related to the presidential campaign. I know Jeff Sessions to be a man of his word and beyond reproach. There is no evidence presented yet of any wrongdoing on his part whatsoever, but of course the opposition party just wants to throw mud on the wall and see if it sticks. The opposition party also does not have a positive agenda, with too much focus on undoing the results of the election and unnecessarily dividing our country. We need to move on and get to work on what the American people elected us to do, and get this economy growing again.

  • WARNER, KAINE FILE AMICUS BRIEF TO SUPPORT RIGHTS OF TRANSGENDER STUDENTS

    ~ Join nearly 200 lawmakers to say that Title IX law protects transgender and gender non-conforming students from discrimination ~

    WASHINGTON – On Thursday, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined nearly 200 members of the Senate and the House of Representatives in filing a U.S. Supreme Court brief explaining that transgender and gender non-conforming students are protected from discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

    The amicus brief was filed today in the Supreme Court case Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., which could decide whether transgender students have the right to a public education free from discrimination and harassment. In the brief, the Senators and Representatives argue that Title IX—the civil rights law that prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of sex—clearly protects transgender and gender non-conforming youth.

    “Title IX was enacted to protect vulnerable students from discrimination on the basis of sex and guarantee that these at-risk students receive equal educational opportunities,” wrote the lawmakers. “Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination ‘on the basis of sex’ encompasses discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotypes.”

    This is the first time the Supreme Court will consider whether transgender students are protected from discrimination by federal civil rights laws. Over the past two years, there have been increasing state-level efforts to undermine nondiscrimination protections for transgender people, and the Senators say a victory in this Supreme Court case is vital to ensuring that all students are safe and discrimination-free learning environment in school.‎

    “This brief is a powerful statement of support for Gavin and transgender students across the country. As the brief makes clear, discrimination against trans students is prohibited under federal law. While the Trump administration has shamefully turned its back on these students, we thank the many Members of Congress who are committed – as the ACLU is – to safeguarding the dignity and rights of trans students,” said ACLU LGBT Project Director James Esseks.

    “With transgender students and their families across the country feeling under attack, the voices of leaders like these members of Congress are needed more than ever. As they clearly explain, federal law protects transgender students and schools have a legal and moral duty to support them,” said National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling.

    “The Trump Administration was wrong to repeal the transgender education guidance, but the Supreme Court has the final word. Hundreds of thousands of transgender students around the country are looking to the Supreme Court to ensure they are treated with the dignity and respect that all students deserve. As these Members of Congress make clear in their brief, federal law protects these students. We thank these Members for standing up for trans kids,” said Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.

  • Quizzical

    There seems to be a constant effort on WMAL talk radio to blame Obama for Trump’s difficulties. Of course Trump himself is trying to blame Obama and/or “his people.” Rush Limbaugh was just on the radio calling it a “silent coup.” Really guys? Eight years of watching Obama as President and you think he has arranged for a silent coup while he is on vacation? It took Obama 2-3 months to decide to go ahead with a surge in Afghanistan.

    None of these Republican conspiracy theorists talk about the New York Times article that mentioned that information about contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians was received from British and Dutch intelligence.

    • WMAL is part of the far-right noise/propaganda machine. The question is why Dems have ceded talk radio to the far right.

  • From the Mt. Vernon District (Fairfax County) Democratic Committee:

    VIRGINIA DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL AND LIEUTENANT GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY STRAW POLL, TOMORROW, SATURDAY, MARCH 4
    MOUNT VERNON DISTRICT DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE TO CONDUCT STRAW POLL FOR VIRGINIA DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL AND LIEUTENANT GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY PICKS, IN CONJUNCTION WITH MARDI GRAS CELEBRATION

    WHAT: With Virginia’s gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial elections coming up in November, a straw poll for Democratic primary candidates will be held at the Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee’s (MVDDC) annual Mardi Gras celebration.
    The ballot will include the two Democratic primary candidates for governor –Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and former U.S. Representative Tom Perriello –along with the three Democratic primary candidates for lieutenant governor: Justin Fairfax, Gene Rossi, and Susan Platt. Voting is by secret ballot and results will be announced at the end of the evening. Anyone with a ticket is eligible to vote: no age limit, no photo ID, and no proof of residency required.
    The event will commence with a welcome by Congressman Don Beyer. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor will speak before the straw poll.

    This is the 9th annual Mardi Gras celebration, and the 7th to be held at Don Beyer Volvo’s Alexandria showroom. Beyer was elected to Congress in 2014 after serving as Ambassador to Switzerland and lieutenant governor of Virginia. The event features a Cajun and Creole buffet, an open bar with beer and wine, along with music and dancing. Food is included with the price of ticket.

    The Mardi Gras straw poll results often predict the winner of the state and local Democratic primaries. Virginia’s Democratic primary will be held June 13.

    Tickets ($50 in advance/$55 at the door) and individual and corporate sponsorship are available at: http://www.mvdemocrats.com.

    WHEN: Saturday, March 4, 2017
    8 to 11 p.m.
    WHERE: Don Beyer Volvo
    7416 Richmond Hwy
    Alexandria, VA 22306
    WHO: Hon. Don Beyer, U.S. House of Representatives
    Candidates for governor: Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and former U.S. Representative Tom Perriello
    Candidates for lieutenant governor: Justin Fairfax, Gene Rossi, and Susan Platt

  • From People of Faith for Equality in Virginia-Northern Virginia Network:

    85 Virginia Faith Leaders join Faith Leaders Amicus Brief in support of transgender protections.

    Here 7 Virginia clergy share their reasons for joining the more than 1,800 clergy and religious leaders who signed a friend-of-the-court brief in Gloucester County School Board v. GG, the first-ever case on transgender rights to go before the Supreme Court. The full press release is linked below.

    Rabbi Amy M. Schwartzman, Senior Rabbi, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church:
    “Signing on to the Amicus brief in support of Gavin Grimm’s rights is a fulfillment of God’s vision that all of us are created “b’tzelem elohim – in the image of God.” In Genesis 1:27 we read that God created all of humanity in the Divine image – male and female God created us. Every person, whether transgender, straight, lesbian or gay is a reflection of God and therefore to honor God we must honor every human being – affording each individual equal and respectful rights in all dimensions of their lives.”

    Rev. Dr. Steve Hyde, Pastor of Ravensworth Baptist Church, Annandale:
    “My wholehearted support for transgender equality is grounded in my conviction that each person is a beloved daughter or son of God. Transgender equality is not merely an issue. It is persons with faces and hearts, all of whom own the God-given birthright of equality and dignity.”

    Rev. Rob Vaughn, Ph.D., Community of Faith United Methodist Church, Fairfax:
    “Scripture tells us that God did not make any junk – we are fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving God who creates us all in God’s own image. Jesus taught us to love God by honoring the dignity and worth of every person and when one person’s sacredness is diminished, we all are diminished. That’s why it’s important for persons of faith to work for the dignity of persons who are transgendered.

    The prophets of Hebrew scripture witness to the importance of caring and protecting the most vulnerable among us. Today, some of the most vulnerable among us are transgender people. To love our neighbor as ourselves, a central teaching of Jesus, is to oppose discrimination based on gender identity.

    I am a life-long Virginian, raised in a commonwealth that has prided itself on religious liberty. To affirm transgender rights is to maintain our historic belief in religious liberty prohibiting the state to interfere in an area so fundamental to one’s dignity and sense of self as one’s gender identity.”

    Rev. Dr. David Ensign, Pastor, Clarendon Presbyterian Church, Arlington:
    “Transgender rights are human rights, and commitment to human rights is central to my faith. My transgender friends are beloved children of God. Like every other child of God, Gavin Grim has the right to equal treatment and protection under the law​.”

    Rev. Dr. Debra W. Haffner, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston:
    “As a person of faith and a Unitarian Universalist minister, I affirm that gender diversity is a blessing. I support Gavin and other transgender young people in affirming their own gender identity and their right to full protection under the law. My faith teaches me that we are all created in the divine image and all people have dignity and worth. All people – no exceptions. I’m pleased to support this faith brief.”

    Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles, Minister for Faith in Action, Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington:
    “I support the right of Gavin Grimm, and other transgender individuals, to be able to live in our world being true to themselves, expressing the gender which they know to be their identity. Every individual, and especially children and youth in public schools, need to have equal access to facilities to relieve and wash themselves. Equal protection under the law is a constitutional right, and discrimination is not only illegal, it is immoral and hurtful.
    The first Principle of my faith affirms and promotes the inherent worth and dignity of every individual, and calls me to act and speak for the fullness of Gavin’s humanity.”

    Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Sterling:
    “As a Unitarian Universalist I affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and that worth and dignity includes our sexuality and gender. All of who we are is sacred and all of us have the right to self-identity.”

    POFEV (People of Faith for Equality in Virginia) is an interfaith network of clergy and lay people who have been working together since 2006 for equality for LGBT Virginians.

  • STATEMENT: Northam Condemns Proposed Cuts to Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

    Richmond, VA – Yesterday, the Washington Post reported the president’s draft 2018 budget includes massive reductions to programs at the Environmental Protection Agency — a cut that slashes federal funding dedicated to Chesapeake Bay cleanup from $73 million annually to $5 million.

    Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam has long been committed to the cleanup and preservation of the Chesapeake Bay. A strong opponent of offshore drilling, the lieutenant governor was the first statewide official to urge the Obama administration to exclude the Commonwealth from offshore drilling. He voted consistently to oppose legislation favoring drilling in the Senate, citing the risk to important state industries such as defense, agriculture and tourism. And for years, he fought for legislation to protect the bay from pollution and to champion industries that depend on its health like crabbing and oyster harvesting.

    Lieutenant Governor Northam issued the following statement in response to these reports:

    “The restoration of the Chesapeake Bay is one of the reasons I became involved in politics. The Trump Administration’s proposed budget slashes crucial funding and will stop the progress we’ve made. Any efforts by this administration or Congress to undercut funding to the Chesapeake Bay’s cleanup are unacceptable. As governor, I’ll never waver in defending the resources and efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

    “I grew up on the Eastern Shore and I witnessed the decline of the Chesapeake Bay over my lifetime, so this is personal for me. It is one of the reasons I am a strong opponent of offshore drilling, and why I have long supported efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay. I know how important it is to preserve the bay for future generations of Virginians and now, more than ever, Virginia needs to stand up to the threat of polluting our waters.”

  • Quizzical

    Pakistan is planting 750 million trees
    http://www.voanews.com/a/pakistani-province-grows-seven-hundred-fifty-million-trees/3746994.html
    Why not think big in this country?