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Wednesday News: No Gun Control for Lyin’ Ryan; Kushner Never Should Have Had a Security Clearance; Ben Carson’s $31k Dining Set; “Dems surge in generic ballot”


by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, February 28.

  • Video: “Delegate Rasoul making an announcement about the House of Delegates winning the Capitol Classic Basketball Tournament against the State Senate”


  • Corrupt ol’ “Taliban Bob” McDonnell endorses right wingnut Nick Freitas – great duo, eh?


  • Interesting update by former Del. Chris Saxman (R) of “pro-business” group Virginia FREE:

    While the General Assembly has been succesful so far, now House and Senate sources tell me that the 2018 session will not end on or before the scheduled Sine Die date of March 10th.

    There is very little hope that the two sides will be able to agree on much of anything budget related since they are so far apart on the revenue projections which form the base of the biennial budget.

    Those revenue projections are centered on whether or not Medicaid Expansion occurs and in what manner. The House supports Expansion and the Senate is opposed. One senior source close the Senate position mentioned the word June several times. So, this could be a very long General Assembly. June.

  • Also from Virginia FREE, I’d say this list to a large extent indicates which freshmen Dems the Republicans are targeting for defeat in 2019. Also, possibly, which are the most progressive.


  • Good to see Sen. Jennifer Wexton defend students’ rights to protest against Loudoun County Public Schools’ “scare tactics and threats to stifle students’ rights to peacefully assemble”


  • From Equality Virginia:

    Manassas Park School Board Passes LGBT Nondiscrimination Policy

    Equality Virginia applauds policy to ban discrimination against LGBT students and faculty

    Richmond, VA — The Manassas Park City School Board voted unanimously to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its nondiscrimination policy. Equality Virginia hailed this vote as further evidence that Virginians are ready for full equality for the Commonwealth’s LGBT community.

    James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia, provided the following statement:

    “Now more than ever, I’m grateful for local elected officials who choose to lead where our state legislature has failed. No one should face discrimination simply because of who they are or who they love. The Manassas Park City School Board’s policy will ensure that all students and faculty will be treated fairly regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Every student deserves the same opportunities as their classmates to fully participate in school, and we must continue working at the state and local level to counter the bullying, harassment, and discrimination that LGBTQ students face.

    In November 2017, Virginia voters were motivated to change the status quo – and they voted into office a new generation of elected officials who support making our commonwealth a fair and equitable place for all Virginians. That includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people – in fact, one of the highlights of last year’s election was the victory of Danica Roem (D-Manassas) the first openly transgender state delegate in the nation.

    Support for LGBT equality has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. I know in my gut that nondiscrimination protections for LGBT Virginians are a matter of when, not if. Yesterday’s victory in Manassas Park reminds us that Virginia is ready – and we urge the state legislature to take note and move Virginia forward.”

    This session, lawmakers in Virginia’s House of Delegates summarily killed four bills that would have ensured equal treatment under the law for LGBT people across the Commonwealth. Several of the bills dismissed enjoyed bipartisan support in Richmond and had easily cleared the State Senate, including SB 202 and SB 423 would have protected LGBT people from discrimination in public employment and housing.

    Dozens of school districts around the state have added sexual orientation and gender identity to their nondiscrimination policies protecting students, employees, or both. Virginia’s statewide nondiscrimination law, however, does not include sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Andy Schmookler

    About the security-clearance business, something puzzles me:

    During the Porter episode a few weeks ago, all the talk I heard concerned the danger of someone (with access to highly classified material) being vulnerable to blackmail.

    The danger of blackmail in Porter’s case, however, was presumably non-existent before he was forced out of his position. Non-existent because maybe a few hundred millions people already knew — because it had been the main story of the week — that Porter was a wife-beater.

    So if blackmail was no longer a danger, what then would be the grounds for not clearing him? Had he told the truth, and not engaged in efforts to influence his accusers, would he have been approved? Is it the case that wife-beating IN ITSELF constitutes grounds for not giving someone a security clearance?

    If that’s the case, I never heard it said.

    And if that’s the case, what else is sufficient grounds for denial of a clearance? Do the bases for refusing such a clearance always concern how safe America’s secrets are likely to be with such a person? Or are there judgments of a different kind — altogether separate from the “security” aspect of a security clearance — that are used to determine whether a person passes or fails the process?

  • From Rep. Don Beyer:

    Beyer Renews Push For Assault Weapons Ban

    February 28, 2018 (Washington, D.C.) – Rep. Don Beyer this week joined Congressman David Cicilline to introduce H.R. 5087, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018.

    “We need the Assault Weapons Ban because we have to get weapons of war out of America’s communities,” said Rep. Beyer. “It is too late to stop the shootings in Parkland, Newtown, Aurora, and so many others which were carried out with an AR-15 style rifle, but we must act to prevent future such massacres. Congress should listen to the young people in Florida and across the country and pass this lifesaving measure immediately.”

    The Assault Weapons Ban will prohibit the sale, transfer, production, and importation of:

    • Semi-automatic rifles and handguns with a military-style feature that can accept a detachable magazine;
    • Semi-automatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds;
    • Semi-automatic shotguns with a military-style feature;
    • Any ammunition feeding device that can hold more than 10 rounds;
    • And 205 specifically-named and listed firearms.

    “Assault weapons were made for one purpose. They are designed to kill as many people as possible in a short amount of time. They do not belong in our communities,” said U.S. Rep. David N. Cicilline (RI-01), the House sponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban. “I am proud to introduce the Assault Weapons Ban with the support of leaders in law enforcement. It’s on all of us to end this carnage.”

    When an assault weapon or a high-capacity magazine is used in a shooting, the number of victims who are killed increases by 63 percent. There have been almost 8,300 incidents of gun violence so far in 2018. More than 2,200 Americans have lost their lives. More than 500 children have been killed or injured.

  • Quizzical

    Watching Morning Joe just now, I heard Joe Scarborough say repeatedly that gun violence deaths are down but mass shooting deaths are up. I wonder where those stats come from? He said it like it is Gospel. Yet, gun violence deaths are up every year since 2014.

    In baseball and the stock market, four years is long enough to spot a trend. But not in human slaughter?

    Perhaps the Gun Violence Archive stats are wrong, but they are very transparent — you can drill down to each individual incident. I looked up the gun violence stats from the FBI, and found that they are not current. The Sept. 2017 report on crime statistics only reports through 2016. The FBIs gun homicide totals for 2014-2016 also were increasing numbers, albeit slightly different than Gun Violence Archive’s.

    This is part of the problem. The Gun lobby and their political allies don’t want such stats to be collected, as illustrated by the prohibition on the CDC studying the statistics.

    • Yeah, I keep hearing that talking point too….WTF