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Friday News: Trump Weighs In for His Pal Ed Gillespie with Insane Claim; Gillespie “wants Virginians to be very, very afraid”

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by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, October 6.

  • Video: Stephen Colbert on “The Triumvirate Of Stupidity: Tillerson, Mattis And Mnuchin” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtc2mLbeOvs

  • True Blue

    Justin Fairfax’s quote in the RTD article:

    “I have never questioned her intelligence. My professors at Duke University and Columbia Law School, when I was on the Columbia Law Review, would be shocked to hear that I’m not intelligent enough to read a piece of legislation. They gave me all those great degrees.”

    Mr. Fairfax earned all those great degrees; they aren’t just given! And as far as Ms. Vogel is concerned, she pulled that intrusive transvaginal ultrasound legislation after she realized it was tantamount to state-sponsored rape with an inanimate object. Who is not reading through her (ALEC inspired) legislation?

    • Vogel’s attacks on Justin Fairfax remind me of the attacks by Trump and other right wingers on Obama’s intelligence, educational achievements, etc. Seems like a pattern among (white) Republicans to attack African-Americans’ intelligence, knowledge, etc. What is THAT all about???

      • True Blue

        THAT

  • Trump (not) Making America Great Again!

    https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

    The unemployment rate declined to 4.2 percent in September, and total nonfarm payroll employment changed little (-33,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. A sharp employment decline in food services and drinking places and below-trend growth in some other industries likely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

    Household Survey Data

    The unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point to 4.2 percent in September, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 331,000 to 6.8 million. Both measures were down over the year. (See table A-1.)

    Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.9 percent) and Blacks (7.0 percent) declined in September. The jobless rates for adult women (3.9 percent), teenagers (12.9 percent), Whites (3.7 percent), Asians (3.7 percent), and Hispanics (5.1 percent) showed little change. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

    The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged in September at 1.7 million and accounted for 25.5 percent of the unemployed. (See table A-12.)

    The employment-population ratio increased by 0.3 percentage point to 60.4 percent in September and has increased by 0.6 percentage point over the past 12 months. The labor force participation rate, at 63.1 percent, changed little over the month and has shown little movement over the year. (See table A-1.)

    The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 5.1 million in September. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs. (See table A-8.)

    In September, 1.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 275,000 from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

    Among the marginally attached, there were 421,000 discouraged workers in September, down by 132,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in September had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

    Establishment Survey Data

    Total nonfarm payroll employment was little changed in September (-33,000), after adding an average of 172,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months. In September, a steep employment decline in food services and drinking places and below-trend growth in some other industries likely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Employment rose in health care and in transportation and warehousing. (See table B-1.)

    Employment in food services and drinking places dropped sharply in September (-105,000), as many workers were off payrolls due to the recent hurricanes. Over the prior 12 months, food services and drinking places had added an average of 24,000 jobs per month.

    In September, health care added 23,000 jobs, in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months (+27,000). The employment increase in ambulatory health care services (+25,000) was partially offset by a decline in nursing care facilities (-9,000).

    Employment in transportation and warehousing increased by 22,000 in September. Job gains occurred in warehousing and storage (+5,000), couriers and messengers (+4,000), and air transportation (+3,000).

    Employment in financial activities changed little in September (+10,000). A job gain in insurance carriers and related activities (+11,000) largely reflected hurricane-recovery efforts. The gain was partly offset by losses in activities related to credit intermediation (-4,000) and in commercial banking (-3,000). Over the year, financial activities has added 149,000 jobs.

    In September, employment in professional and business services was little changed (+13,000). Over the prior 12 months, job growth in the industry had averaged 50,000 per month.

    Manufacturing employment was essentially unchanged in September (-1,000). From a recent employment trough in November 2016 through August of this year, the industry had added an average of 14,000 jobs per month.

    Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, information, and government, showed little change over the month.

    The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in September. In manufacturing, the workweek also was unchanged at 40.7 hours, and overtime held steady at 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.6 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

    In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 12 cents to $26.55. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 74 cents, or 2.9 percent. In September, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 9 cents to $22.23. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

    The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised down from +189,000 to +138,000, and the change for August was revised up from +156,000 to +169,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 38,000 less than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 91,000 over the past 3 months.

  • Governor McAuliffe: Latest mass shooting must be a wakeup call for Virginia leaders

    ~ Governor will introduce legislation to ban assault weapons, ‘bump stock’ devices, high capacity magazines ~

    RICHMOND – As the nation continues to reel from the unspeakable act of gun violence in Las Vegas that cost 59 people their lives and injured hundreds more, Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that he has directed his public safety team to draft and introduce gun safety legislation for the next General Assembly to pass.

    Below is a statement the Governor released about the approach he and his team are taking:

    “The terrible tragedy we witnessed in Las Vegas earlier this week should be a wakeup call to leaders in every corner of this country, particularly here in Virginia, where the mass shooting at Virginia Tech taught us the heartbreak of these events firsthand. Elected officials who have the honor of serving here in Richmond have a responsibility to do everything we can to prevent the next mass shooting from happening in our Commonwealth. I have asked my public safety and policy teams to draft legislative items the next General Assembly can pass to keep Virginians safe from the gun violence that has become all too common in our nation.

    “In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, much attention has been paid to the ‘bump stock’ device that allowed the shooter to kill and injure so many people in such a short period of time. We have a responsibility to ban that device in Virginia, and I will introduce legislation this session to do just that.

    “But our efforts cannot stop there. The shooter in Las Vegas, much like the shooters in the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and many other horrible mass tragedies, was armed with military-style assault rifles fitted with high-capacity magazines. Those guns and magazines were not created for hunting or self-protection – they exist to allow a shooter to wound or kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Today, a person with intentions of committing the next mass shooting can walk into gun stores or shows across our Commonwealth and walk out with these weapons of war. I will ask the General Assembly to keep our families safe by banning the sale or possession of these items next year.

    “Additionally, my administration has tried every year to work with the General Assembly on common sense gun safety measures like universal background checks and reinstating Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month policy. Unfortunately, Republicans in both chambers of the legislature have blocked those measures from passing. We cannot credibly say that we have done everything we can to keep people safe while criminals can still buy firearms at gun shows without presenting identification to anyone and gun traffickers can still buy limitless handguns to sell across Virginia and the nation.

    “These common sense actions will make Virginia safer. They will not threaten the rights of individuals to responsibly bear arms to protect themselves or to hunt. They will not prevent every act of violent crime, but these steps will make it harder for dangerous people to acquire dangerous weapons, and send a signal to Virginians that their leaders are doing everything they can to keep them safe.

    “Between now and the end of my term, my team and I will continue to fight every day to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer. The people of this Commonwealth deserve leaders who will not prioritize partisan agendas or special interests groups over the safety of our families and communities. I intend to submit a set of bills to the General Assembly to advance the important work of making Virginia safer and I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will work to pass it.”

    Preventing gun violence has been a centerpiece of Governor McAuliffe’s agenda throughout his term. In addition to the many unsuccessful efforts he and Democrats in the legislature have made to close the gun show loophole and fight gun trafficking, the Governor has vetoed 20 bills the General Assembly passed that would have made it easier for people to acquire dangerous weapons.

    Additionally, the Governor brokered a bipartisan compromise to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and expand access to voluntary background checks. The Governor also took executive action to ban firearms from state executive office buildings.

  • This one is a no brainer – if you care about animal welfare, you should basically ALWAYS vote Democratic and NEVER vote Republican.

    HUMANE SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE FUND ENDORSES RALPH NORTHAM FOR GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA

    WASHINGTON (October 6, 2017) — Today the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the nation’s leading political advocacy organization for animal welfare, announced its endorsement of Ralph Northam for election as Governor of Virginia.

    While serving in the state Senate, Dr. Northam introduced legislation to ban the use of gas chambers in the Commonwealth, and supported making the fighting of any animals a Class 6 felony — both measures that were signed into law. He supports legislation to ban the tethering of dogs in severe weather and for prolonged periods, and we are confident that he will appoint individuals attuned to animal welfare issues to state agencies whose programs affect animals, including the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF).

    “Lieutenant Governor Northam’s distinguished career demonstrates compassion for the most vulnerable members of our society, including animals,” said Mike Markarian, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “We urge voters in the Commonwealth who care about animals to support Ralph Northam for Governor.”

    In addition to advancing statewide animal protection policy, Northam has demonstrated concern for animals in his personal life, growing up on a farm and understanding the importance of proper animal care. He first met his wife, Pam, after she had taken in a pregnant stray cat, most of whose kittens unfortunately didn’t survive. Another was too weak to nurse, so Dr. Northam cared for the feline, restoring it to health. Their family has since maintained the practice of adopting pets from shelters, including their current cat, Odysseus.

    Virginia is rated fifth in the nation in terms of the strength of its animal welfare policies. In addition to anti-tethering legislation and animal-friendly appointments, the Humane Society Legislative Fund is placing a priority on providing and leveraging crucial resources for enforcement against animal crimes, as well as bills to protect wildlife, ban the private possession of exotic animals, save animals from distressing roadside zoos, eliminate state funding for cruel animal experiments, and safeguard local ordinances that protect consumers and dogs against unscrupulous puppy mill dealers.</blockquote.

  • From AG Mark Herring’s office:

    HERRING STATEMENT ON TRUMP’S ENDING OF CONTRACEPTION COVERAGE RULE

    RICHMOND (October 6, 2017)-Attorney General Mark R. Herring released the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s move to effectively end the contraception coverage rule created under the Affordable Care Act:

    “Today’s decision by the Trump administration puts healthcare decisions in the hands of a woman’s employer, which is so demeaning, discriminatory, and dangerous that it’s hard to put it into words. All women should have the freedom to make their own healthcare decisions, especially when it comes to something as personal as contraception and reproductive health.

    “We have been anticipating this awful idea and have already begun working with other states to evaluate any legal response that may be appropriate to protect our citizens’ private decisions and access to affordable healthcare.”

    For millions of women the contraception coverage rule has reduced their healthcare costs, helped address medical conditions, and allowed them to make their own decisions about when and if to have children. Before the contraception coverage rule, birth control accounted for 30-44% of a woman’s out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Now, 62 million women across the country, including 1.6 million women in Virginia, have access to contraception without a co-pay, saving an average of $255 per year for oral pill contraceptives, and the percentage of women who have a co-pay for contraception has fallen from more than 20% to less than 4%.

  • Nice!

    Governor McAuliffe Announces RFP to Deploy $14 Million for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in Virginia

    ~ Volkswagen settlement funds to support project, further Governor’s Electric Vehicle Initiative ~

    RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe today announced the release of a Request for Proposal (RFP) to deploy an interconnected and statewide public electric vehicle charging network. The request is part of the Governor’s broader Electric Vehicle (EV) Initiative, which is aimed at driving infrastructure investments that will support an overall electric vehicle adoption rate of 15 percent by 2027, equal to approximately 1 million vehicles statewide. Funding, in the amount of $14 million, comes from Virginia’s portion of the Volkswagen settlement.

    “Today’s announcement offers an exciting opportunity for the private sector to partner with the Commonwealth to drive greater deployment of electric vehicles in Virginia and I am pleased that we will be able to utilize funds from the Volkswagen settlement to support this project,” said Governor McAuliffe. “By providing the charging network citizens need to move quickly and at long distances throughout Virginia, we will make certain that electric vehicle travel in the Commonwealth is seamless. This infrastructure will also help us to reduce our collective carbon footprint and drive innovation in the new Virginia economy.”

    As part of the Volkswagen settlement, which resulted from the use of emissions testing defeat devises in Volkswagen vehicles, Volkswagen is required to establish a nearly $3 billion environmental mitigation trust. Virginia is expected to receive $93.6 million from this trust, and the Commonwealth may spend a maximum of 15 percent on electric vehicle infrastructure.

    “Expanding Virginia’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure will contribute to Virginia’s economic diversification by encouraging innovation in electric vehicle technology, making electric vehicle travel easier, and facilitating public-private partnerships throughout the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “This targeted and rapid deployment of EV charging stations is designed to jump-start adoption and generate more private investment in EV technology in Virginia.”

    In order to develop a robust network of electric vehicle charging stations along the most-traveled portions of the state, Virginia will designate the full 15 percent, representing approximately $14 million dollars, for electric vehicle infrastructure. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the lead agency for the Commonwealth, has issued a request for proposals for allocation of the full $14 million to establish an interconnected and statewide public electric vehicle charging network. Responses to the RFP are due by 2:00pm on Monday November 6, 2017.

    “The Department of Environmental Quality, as lead agency on the Volkswagen settlement, is driving an innovative program to deploy electric vehicle infrastructure,” said Molly Ward, Secretary of Natural Resources. “The transportation sector is the largest contributor to nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide emissions, so this program will also help Virginia achieve our air quality and climate change goals.”

    Today, Virginia’s Direct Current (DC) fast charging network for electric vehicles consists of 100 DC fast charging stations, underscoring a significant gap in infrastructure in the state.

  • From Progress VA:

    Attorney General Candidate John Adams Paved The Way For Trump Administration Rollback of Birth Control Coverage

    Richmond, Virginia—Today, the Trump Administration announced a rollback of the birth control insurance coverage mandate that is a signature part of the Affordable Care Act. This move would not have been possible if John Adams, Republican candidate for Attorney General, had not paved the way by filing a pro bono amicus brief in support of Hobby Lobby when the United States Supreme Court heard the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case in 2014. He later filed an amicus brief ion behalf of n the Zubik v. Burwell case that also went before the Supreme Court.

    “This is just one of many attacks on women’s health we can expect if John Adams becomes Virginia’s Attorney General,” said Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia. “Women deserve to be able to decide how and when to start a family. Their bosses, John Adams, and Donald Trump have no business inserting themselves into women’s private lives. When Virginians go to the polls this November, they will ask themselves who should be making these decisions for women, and they know it isn’t John Adams.”

    The Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision allowed religiously affiliated businesses to opt out of providing birth control, but all other employers are required to provide it. The Trump Administration’s allows all employers, not just those that are explicitly religious, to opt out of providing insurance coverage for contraceptives. 77% of women and 64% of men support no-cost contraceptive coverage. One study estimated that women saved more than $1.4 billion dollars per year due to the mandate.

  • Good, but what we need is hundreds of megawatts, gigawatts of clean energy…and fast.

    Governor McAuliffe Announces New Solar Project in King William County

    RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe this week announced the permit for a new solar facility to be built in King William County. Dominion Energy received authorization from the Department of Environmental Quality to construct and operate a solar farm, Hollyfield Solar, on October 2, 2017. The 17 megawatt (MW) project, under development by Dominion Energy, will supply enough electricity to power over 4,000 homes.

    “Once complete, the new King William facility will allow thousands of Virginians to sustainably power their homes and businesses,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “This latest announcement is a testament to how rapidly Virginia’s solar sector is growing. Solar energy is essential to bringing the energy diversity our Commonwealth needs for businesses, families, and taxpayers as we work to build a new Virginia economy. We will continue to support investments in solar energy infrastructure that will bring low-cost, renewable energy to all corners of the commonwealth.”

    Once complete, the project is anticipated to offset the generation of 20,085 tons of carbon dioxide, 14 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 16 tons of sulfur dioxide. The Hollyfield Solar project is owned by Dominion Energy, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Richmond-based Dominion Resources.

    Governor McAuliffe is an active supporter of renewable energy and Virginia’s solar industry. Since he took office, the commonwealth has seen a ten-fold increase in its installed solar capacity, growing from 17 MW in 2014 to nearly 200 MW at the end of 2016. This rapid growth is expected to continue as Virginia currently has 2,600 MW of solar in service or under development.