John W. Forbes II, state secretary of finance under former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal wire fraud charges. It is by far the biggest scandal involving a state cabinet-level official in years.Also, see Waldo Jaquith for commentary on this issue, including an important point: "That's our money that was stolen by our secretary of finance."
The case also raises questions about a state entity that is supposed to use money obtained in a massive 1998 lawsuit settlement against four major tobacco companies for the public good.
By the way, Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Scott) - 2005 Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore's brother - is now the commission's chairman. In addition, I'm told that Jerry Kilgore's wife was the head of the commission when it was first created. Maybe they should rename this the Kilgore/Gilmore Good Government Commission? Heh.
Photo credit: Chris Starnes/LENOWISCO PDC
In short, according to Matt Yglesias, Democrats are basically doing fine, the implication being that there's little (if any) need to fix their "problems" (since they don't really have any), to strengthen their messaging/narrative skills (which Yglesias seems to argue are perfectly adequate), etc. Well, sorry, but I don't buy it. Instead, here's my own "reality check" on Matt Yglesias' "Reality Check."
First off, as one of Matt Yglesias' readers (correctly) points out:
1. TEA PARTY INVESTS AT LOCAL LEVEL IN VIRGINIA
2. NEW VA. LAW REQUIRES GUIDELINES ON CONCUSSIONS
3. MAE HAMLIN SCOTT, REP. SCOTT'S MOTHER AND MAYOR MCKINLEY PRICE'S MOTHER-IN-LAW, DIES AT AGE 89
5. SUFFOLK RETURNS 100 ACRES OF INDIAN ANCESTRAL HOMELAND
6. OCEANA, DOD SEEK CLARITY ON OCEANFRONT DEVELOPMENT
7. REPORT FINDS LABOR STRUGGLES IN VIRGINIA DESPITE FAVORABLE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
15. LARGESS FOR LOUDOUN TEACHERS
16. MAKE IT EASIER TO VOTE
17. SOBERING PICTURE FOR VIRGINIA BEACH FINANCES
21. NAVY DISCUSSES CLIMATE CHANGE THURSDAY
22. THE FUTURE OF TRANSIT IN HAMPTON ROADS?
23. FAIRFAX SCHOOLS' GROWING PAINS
*Richard Cohen: "Awful attempts at humor, clueless sexism, shameless use of lazy Op-Ed clichés, warmongering, generally being The Worst." I mean, who actually reads this guy? Anyone? Apparently, it's that huge audience of people out there who enjoy the musings of "a simplistic old hack who believes his common prejudices to be politically incorrect truths and his Beltway conventional wisdom to be bracing political insight." Sounds great, huh? Well, maybe not so much...
*David Broder: "Radical centrism, repetition of conventional wisdom, pathological need to demonstrate that 'both sides do it,' hatred of partisanship/democracy." For Broder's latest piece of complete drivel, arguing that Lisa Murkowski's victory in Alaska proves that the last election was all about bipartisanship, centrism ("radical" or otherwise), blah blah blah. click here. Or, think better of it and don't, you'll be better off for having not read David Broder's utter drivel.
*Marc Thiessen: "As a person with a functioning moral compass, I'm outraged to see Thiessen become a paid employee of one of the nation's most prominent newspapers. As a reader, I'm outraged that they couldn't find a torture enthusiast who can actually turn a phrase."
*George Will: "Dishonesty, feints toward 'reasonableness' while remaining doctrinaire Republican, repetition, hypocrisy." In addition, Will "lies about climate change, just because lying about it is what Republicans are supposed to do, and instead of removing Will from their stable of columnists -- or even correcting his columns -- the Washington Post just publishes other columns pointing out that Will lied, thus presenting the reader with 'both sides' of the issue."
So, 4 out of the top 11 top "hacks" in America reside at the
Washington Kaplan Post - great stuff, huh? But hey, at least the Washington Kaplan Post does great investigative journalism on a regular basis. Oh wait, that function is being outsourced to non-profits? Well, at least it has superb coverage of Virginia and Maryland. Oh wait, it doesn't in the least bit? Well, at least it has a great Sunday magazine? Oh wait, you mean it actually prints pathetically fawning cover stories on Ken Kookinelli in addition to the ever-fascinating "Date Lab"? But, but, but...uh, the Post still has a great sports section, right? Actually, that's probably the paper's strongest section, although a few more losses like this one and that may no longer be the case.
In the meantime, though, congratulations once again to the
Washington Kaplan Post for its superb showing in Salon Magazine's "Hack Thirty" ranking. And that's not even counting Charles "Sacrilege at Ground Zero" Krauthammer, who somehow managed to avoid Salon's list...
I was curious about Kamala Harris, so I checked out her website's issues page. As a Virginia-focused blogger, what struck me the most was the stark contrast between what Harris plans to do as Attorney General of her state, and what our pathetic excuse for an Attorney General -- divisive, extremist, homophobic, anti-environment wackjob Ken Kookinelli -- is doing here in Virginia. I mean, just imagine if our state's Attorney General stood for stuff like this:
*"Kamala Harris has been an early and ardent supporter of marriage equality."
*"Kamala Harris is commited to protecting a woman's right to make determinations about health decisions."
*"As Attorney General, Kamala Harris will use the powers of the office to protect our environment", including "pioneering state efforts to both mitigate and adapt to the myriad environmental threats posed by climate change."
*" She has created new prosecution units focused on child assault, public integrity and environmental crimes, and has taken on perpetrators of financial crimes, mortgage fraud, identity theft and elder abuse."
Now, that is what a real Attorney General (other examples are Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut and Douglas Gansler in Maryland) can do, unlike the national laughingstock - and rightly so - who holds the office in Virginia right now. Just imagine...
P.S. Although even cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs Cooch was able to figure out that Corey Stewart's "Rule of Law" resolution is a poorly-written, redundant, unconstitutional (in parts at least) joke.
1. VIRGINIA TRIBAL CHIEFS DELIVER DEER TO GOVERNOR
3. CUCCINELLI: TEACHERS OKAY TO CONFISCATE CELLPHONES, READ TEXTS
4. VA. AG'S OFFICE: PRINCE WILLIAM IMMIGRATION BILL FLAWED
6. MORGAN RENEWS PUSH TO DECRIMINALIZE POT
8. MUMPOWER TO FOCUS ON ECONOMY, JOBS
9. RALLY CALLS FOR EXTENDING JOBLESS BENEFITS
10. VIRGINIA'S OWN THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS UNDERWAY
13. OBAMA WIND PROGRAM DRAWS PRAISE FROM MCDONNELL, SIERRA CLUB
14. PRINCE WILLIAM, THREE YEARS LATER
15. PUTTING UP WITH PAT-DOWNS
17. ODU SURVEY SAYS RESIDENTS FAVOR LIGHT RAIL EXPANSION
20. OH, DEER! AUTO COLLISIONS WITH WILDLIFE ON THE RISE IN SUFFOLK
"The President expresses gratitude to America's military men and women and their families, and discusses the steps his administration is taking to help create jobs so that next Thanksgiving, Americans can give thanks for a stronger economy."
As Homer Simpson might say, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmPIE. Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy the pie! :)
Six years ago Tom DeLay was publicly crowing about the Republican "permanent majority". Seven years ago he told a man who asked him to put out a cigar, "I AM the federal government."
The Department of Justice, despite having convicted criminal-lobbyist turned informer Jack Abramoff set up with a desk of his own at the DoJ, dropped the investigation of DeLay's many many crimes three years ago.
But one Texas prosecutor with a naive sense of justice pressed charges against DeLay in a much tougher case and today a tiny bit of justice was done. Here's to you Ronnie Earle! Well done and at great personal cost.
See here for a side-by-side matrix that quotes on the left from Corey Stewart's "Rule of Law" resolution, and states on the right what Cooch's office thinks of it. I asked a smart Virginia Democratic attorney friend of mine what he thought, and here's what he wrote:
Basically, the OAG analysis systematically and methodically tears to shreds what Stewart is proposing--for different kinds of reasons. Sometimes, the OAG tears it to shreds because the powers it is trying to grant already exist under Virginia or Federal law. (As a substantive policy matter, the fact that the powers already exist may not be a good thing, but OAG is pointing out that Stewart is so dumb he didn't realize these powers already exist.)I agree 100% with that brilliant analysis, so I'll just add a few choice quotes (on the "flip") from Cooch's opinion, and leave it at that. Enjoy the shredding! (also, see Cooch's letter to Del. Lingamfelter and Lingamfelter's letter to Corey Stewart.)
Sometimes, the OAG tears it because the powers it is trying to grant risk being struck down as violations of the U.S. Constitution. (Again, making Stewart look dumb for sponsoring something that raises such problems.)
So, my take is that Cooch views Stewart as a political rival whom he doesn't want to see grow any more in stature, and so Cooch is using his OAG office to kneecap Stewart.