I'm certainly no fan of Grover Norquist - because he's an anti-government extremist and a serious menace to our country's future - but what on earth are these crazy Islamophobes and homophobes ranting about? The Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated America and Virginia? "Sharia Law" is somehow taking over the country? Seriously, are Virginia's 10th CD Republican candidates all on seriously mind-altering substances or what?!? Needless to say, none of these people should even be considered for higher office - or ANY office, for that matter.
The conservative movement's sowing of anti-Muslim paranoia and discord to help win elections is now coming back to bite it as even top conservative leaders like Norquist, who is married to a Muslim-American, are facing attacks.
At a 2011 right-wing summit, The Awakening, Gaffney was part of an event that immediately followed a panel featuring Norquist, where he delivered a presentation alleging that Norquist is "both enabling and empowering Muslim Brotherhood influence operations against our movement and our country."
On his radio show last month, Gaffney said that Norquist is advancing the "civilization jihad of the Muslim Brotherhood."
But Gaffney is not alone.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) denounced Norquist from the floor of the House for associating with "unsavory people and groups out of the mainstream."
Glenn Beck and Jerry Boykin, the executive vice president of the Family Research Council, also dedicated an entire program to discussing Norquist's supposed role as "a Muslim Brotherhood facilitator."
Not holding back, anti-Muslim activist David Horowitz attacked Norquist as a "practicing Muslim" who has "infiltrated" the GOP, and Robert Spencer said last year that Norquist's presence at CPAC turned the gathering into a "Sharia-compliant conference."
Ah, Republicans...the party of Lincoln John Birch Society lunacy, bigotry, etc.
P.S. Somehow, 10th CD Republican candidate Rob Wasinger manages to segue from the evils of Sharia Law and the Muslim Brotherhood to Grover Norquist's "work for the gay rights community" and how that "is also very troubling." Again, I ask: WTF? Also, where was Barbara Comstock in all this, and has she denounced this crap or does she agree with it? Of course, given that Frank Wolf appears to be on the same Islamophobic page as the rest of these nuts, and given that Comstock badly wants Wolf's endorsement (which she still hasn't gotten, for whatever reason), I strongly doubt that she'll be denouncing this intolerance and bigotry anytime soon...
Today as we stop to celebrate Earth Day, I encourage everyone to take a moment to marvel in the beauty and bounty of the earth, particularly the diversity of the Commonwealth's natural gems - from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Eastern Shore.
My passion for restoring and preserving the Chesapeake Bay was one of the driving forces that motivated me to get involved in politics and public policy.
The Chesapeake Bay is a shining example of how the commitment of citizens paired with effective public policy can truly make an impact. Responsibly caring for the Commonwealth's natural resources remains one of my greatest passions.
As a Senator, I carried the legislation to remove phosphorus from home fertilizers; brought the legislation to create the Coastal Flooding Working group to study the effects of climate change on Virginia's coastal communities; and worked to ban the winter dredging of blue crabs.
But as we celebrate the splendor of the earth today, we also are reminded to the great responsibility we shoulder to preserve and protect it for future generations. The effects of climate change are real and threaten the natural habitats of many animals, but also human lives around the globe. Combating the effects of climate change go hand in hand with celebrating Earth Day, and we must continue to address these issues through informed public policy decisions at all levels.
Good question from the Democratic Party of Virginia:
The Democratic Party of Virginia sent Ed Gillespie the following letter today asking where he stood on the Ryan budget:
Dear Ed Gillespie:
As Virginia waits for you to finally form your policy agenda, we wanted to see where you stand on a central issue for Republicans in Congress - the Ryan budget. You may have heard about its harmful effects on Virginia's seniors, students, and hardworking families.
But in case you and your policy advisors have been too busy to take a look, we have enclosed a copy of the budget so that you can get back to the people of Virginia with how you would vote.
As 219 Republican members of Congress voted for the measure, we look forward to hearing your opinion on these policy proposals that so many in the GOP have embraced!
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, April 22. Also check out the fascinating interview with former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens about his book, "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution."
Mark Herring has accomplished a great deal of good in his first 100 days in office. I'm proud to have played a (small) role in helping elect him, and look forward to a lot more great stuff in the next 100 days and beyond!
~ Takes action to protect rights of Virginians and modernize Office of the Attorney General ~
"Working together, we have hit the ground running to provide greater opportunity for all Virginians, promote equality, protect our shared assets, work in a bipartisan way on legislation to make Virginia more secure, and restore trust in the public sector," Attorney General Herring said. "I've heard directly from public safety and elected officials all across the Commonwealth about critical, emerging issues we can help address. I'm proud of the work we have done and look forward to tackling the challenges that lie ahead."
In addition to maintaining the core functions of the office, below are some of the more noteworthy initiatives undertaken in these first 100 days:
This is even funnier when you consider that Barbara Comstock lied about participating in Rush Limbaugh's 2008 "Operation Chaos," keeps changing her story, and generally can't figure out a consistent narrative on why she voted for Barack Obama in the February 12, 2008 Democratic primary. Weird.
LOUDOUN, Va. - "No 'Operation Chaos' 2014" says 10th District Democratic Committee Chair Charlie Jackson.
Despite Republican candidate Barbara Comstock's example of meddling in the 2008 Democratic Presidential primary by voting for then-Senator Barack Obama, Chair Jackson vowed Monday that the 10th Congressional District committee would not advocate for such an effort, "I think its wrong, and I think its bad for the democratic process," Jackson said.
Comstock's vote for Obama in 2008 has drawn ire from many. Comstock notably claimed her motivation for casting a sabotage-vote in the primary was due to orders sent from radio entertainer Rush Limbaugh. 
On April 16th the Washington Post editorialized that "[b]eing a sycophant to Mr. Limbaugh is bad enough; it's even worse when the sycophancy is based on a fabrication. (In response to our inquiries, Ms. Comstock acknowledges that her 'recollection' was flawed, and that her vote had nothing to do with Limbaugh)." 
Comstock's Republican opponents in the primary smelled a lie and pounced, excoriating Comstock at the Purcellville GOP voter town hall. Comstock was absent from the debate.
Rob Wasinger, a onetime House staffer, paraphrased the notorious outburst by Representative Joe Wilson during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address and shouted "Barbara: You lie!" for the benefit of the audience. 
Limbaugh's "operation" would be difficult in the 10th CD GOP primary, acknowledged Chair Jackson: "Because the Republican committee has decided that a voter's history of party loyalty will be investigated prior to being provided a ballot, people like Comstock will be forced to sign a 'loyalty oath' prior to voting in the primary."
The "loyalty oath," or "statement of intent" to support the eventual nominee is part of the vetting process before citizens will be allowed to participate in the closed GOP "firehouse primary." 
Are more early voting locations for the 8th CD Democratic primary coming to less affluent parts of Fairfax County? Based on Del. Scott Surovell's Facebook post, following up on Del. Patrick Hope's call "to see at least one early vote location in south county for Lee and Mt. Vernon districts, and at least one in northeastern Fairfax for our precincts in the Dranesville, Providence and Mason districts," it's looking a bit more likely this morning. First, a bit of background per Del. Hope's press release.
...The only opportunity to vote in person in Fairfax is also at the electoral board office, however, it is located in western Fairfax County near the border of the 10th and 11th Congressional districts. For many 8th district residents in Mt. Vernon, it is more than a 20 mile drive to the government center. Roundtrip, many 8th district residents in Fairfax will likely have to spend more than an hour in the car in order to vote absentee in person.
This is unacceptable. I understand that Fairfax has not traditionally had early vote locations other than the main government center for primaries. However, while that may have worked well for an 11th district primary, or a 10th district primary, it does not serve the residents of the 8th district...
The discussion on Del. Surovell's Facebook page between Surovell and Fairfax County electoral official Brian Schoeneman (R) is also very interesting. Schoeneman begins by asserting, "Given the historically low turnout we've seen in past June primaries, it's hard to justify the expense to the taxpayers of opening a satellite center somewhere in the 8th District." In addition, he argues, "Folks who are unable or are unwilling to make the round trip from Mount Vernon to the Government Center can simply mail their absentee ballots in, as well."
In response, Del. Surovell writes: "US1 has the largest transit dependent population in the County. In my experience knocking doors, it also has huge numbers of people with multiple jobs who work very long hours not subject to their own control. They can't get to the Government Center." Schoeneman responds, "If folks can't get to the Government Center for in-person absentee, they should mail their absentee ballots" and argues that "the vast majority of absentee votes are sent in via the mail." Surovell's response:
P.S. Oh, and this reminds me why I don't take CNN in any way, shape or form seriously.
P.P.S. Finally, I agree with this analysis of New York Times conservative columnist Ross Douthat's latest idiocy, "a whole column in which seeing all the wealth go to the 1% is perfectly fine so long as the 99% aren't starving so badly that they are rioting in the streets, and the real threat is that people might attack those institutions that keep people living under the rule of the 1%. Because, you know, that might lead to instability." WTF?!?
Virginia Delegate (and new Blue Virginia Costa Rica correspondent? LOL) Scott Surovell reports, "Found this on the beach in Playa Guiones, Costa Rica." Surovell adds, "Playa Guiones is a hotbed of healthcare policy." ;)
In all seriousness, though, here's some information on Costa Rica's health care system. You'll notice it's a gazillion times better than ours. Fortunately for Costa Rica, they apparently don't have ALEC or ALEC tools like Virginia House Speaker Bill "ALEC" Howell in their country.
Costa Rica provides universal health care to its citizens and permanent residents. Costa Rica offers some of the best health care in Latin America. Both the private and public health care systems are always being upgraded. New hospitals, new clinics, new machines, and improvement in staff and training...
...Statistics from the World Health Organization frequently place Costa Rica in the top country rankings in the world for long life expectancy...
...Costs tend to be much less than doctor, hospital, and prescription costs in the U.S...
...Costa Rica is a popular destination for medical tourism because of the beautiful surroundings, low costs, and medical reputation.
Anyway, maybe if Delegate Surovell can't persuade his obstinate Republican colleagues to expand Medicaid in Virginia, he could persuade them to all move to Costa Rica? On second thought, I wouldn't wish those guys on my worst enemy, let alone a beautiful, peaceful place like Costa Rica! LOL
Here are a few highlights from Gov. McAuliffe's interview on The Politics Hour yesterday (I'm focusing on the Medicaid expansion discussion, because to me this is priority #1 for Virginia right now).
*According to Gov. McAuliffe, House Speaker Howell did admit the other day on the radio that "yes indeed, this Marketplace Virginia IS germane to the budget, so their whole argument that they've been using the for the last several months the Speaker admitted is a wrong argument."
*"It is the House Republican leadership that has dug in on this issue, and I don't know whether they don't like the president...doesn't really matter to me, my job as governor is to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia."
*"It is the General Assembly's job to pass a budget; they have failed to do their job."
*House Republicans "have put up one roadblock after another." The argument that healthcare expansion will cost Virginia is false.
*This is sheer politics, anti-ACA; "what else is there?" According to Gov. McAuliffe, "no matter where you may be on the healthcare bill, it's now the law of the land...[House Republicans] are off in their corner; it's time they started doing their job, representing the folks who sent them to Richmond." *What is the "exit strategy" with Medicaid expansion? According to McAuliffe, the House has "no arguments left." "We are going to get this done." "The House Republicans are offering nothing." Did anyone hear anything about an "exit strategy" or "Plan B" in Gov. McAuliffe's answer there? I most definitely didn't (unless he's got something up his sleeve - like unilateral executive action of some sort? - but, to mix metaphors, is playing it close to the vest?). Nor am I hearing that from others I talk to about this. Which means...what? Government shutdown? Gov. McAuliffe "caves" because he doesn't want a government shutdown? Because, frankly, I don't see House Republicans caving, certainly not before the 2014 elections, and probably not before the 2015 elections either. So...then what becomes of the McAuliffe governorship at that point? Got me.
*On restoring ex-felons' right to vote, McAuliffe said "people who have paid their debt to society...I want them back working, I want them part of society; part of that is being able to vote...Let's treat people with dignity and respect."
The news broke on April Fools' Day, making Virginians feel we were the victims of a bad joke: Dominion Power announced it had bought six California solar projects, for a total capacity of 139 megawatts (MW). "This investment is another important step forward for Dominion as we expand our renewable energy portfolio," said Dominion Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas F. Farrell II. "These projects fit well within our portfolio of regulated and long-term contracted assets," which also include 41 MW of solar in Georgia, Connecticut and Indiana.
Don't get excited, Virginia: this solar investor is not Dominion Virginia Power but Dominion Resources, the parent company. You can be sure executives will take every opportunity to brag about the company's stake in the national solar market, but none of this power will reach us here in the Commonwealth.
Here, Dominion owns a grand total of one solar array at a university, all of 132 kilowatts, and a 500-kilowatt array on an industrial building. That brings the grand total to about 70 houses' worth, if the owners don't leave the lights on too much. Dominion is supposed to be developing a total of 30 MW of solar under a law passed in 2012, but the glacial pace of deployment is discouraging. Oh, and neither of its first two projects employed Virginia solar companies, further minimizing their impact in the state.
Why isn't Dominion investing in Virginia? "The cost of large solar projects such as this are still too high for a regulated market in Virginia," Dominion spokesman Dan Genest told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
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