It will never cease to amaze me that E.W. Jackson, a crazy person and also someone who's as extreme as you can get in this country, was the 2013 Virginia GOP's nominee for Lt. Governor of our state. Jackson's constant ravings are disturbing, although amusing in a twisted way. But his latest lunacy is...well check it out and decide for yourself.
BLACK MINISTERS GROUP: "MARGARET SANGER WAS A RACIST AND IT IS TIME FOR AMERICANS TO KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT HER AND PLANNED PARENTHOOD"
NORFOLK, VIRGINIA- A national group of predominantly black ministers - MINISTERS TAKING A STAND ("MTS") - has denounced Planned Parenthood as a racist organization. Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood founder, has a history that includes support for eugenics as well as racist motivations to limit the number of births of black babies. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, supported eugenics and was a devout racist who sought to limit the number of black births. Bishop E.W. Jackson, National President of the group, said, "If Planned Parenthood is trafficking in baby body parts, you can be sure that many of the babies they are ripping apart and selling on the auction block are black. Yet the liberal media fails to expose this truth. If black lives truly matter, the lives of unborn black children matter."
In fact, FactCheck.org looked at this charge (by Herman Cain back in 2011), and found "no support for that old claim." None. FactCheck.org further noted that just "9 percent of abortion clinics in the U.S. are in neighborhoods in which 50 percent or more of the residents are black." On the other hand, Planned Parenthood DOES provide important health care services to poor and minority women, which means cutting funding for Planned Parenthood simply means thatmany "poor women will go without breast and cervical cancer screening, HIV tests and sexually transmitted disease treatment," which is both "wrong and hurtful."
Not that E.W. Jackson and his ilk care about any of this, nor do they care about perpetuating insane falsehoods about Planned Parenthood (e.g., that the organization is racist, hell-bent on aborting - and even selling - black babies) that have been debunked over and over again. Of course, that didn't stop E.W. Jackson's 2013 running mate, Ken Cuccinelli, who "said he won't defend the statements of lieutenant governor candidate E.W. Jackson, including his assertion that Planned Parenthood has 'been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK,'" but who also "has drawn similar connections between Planned Parenthood and racism." Amazing.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, August 1. Also see President Obama's weekly address, in which he celebrates "the fiftieth birthdays of Medicare and Medicaid, which together have allowed millions to live longer and better lives."
~ AG Herring filed papers in June to allow the Commonwealth to remove the flag from Sons of Confederate Veterans license plates following the Supreme Court's ruling in Walker v. Texas ~
DANVILLE (July 31, 2015)--Today in federal district court in Danville, Judge Jackson Kiser ruled from the bench that he will dissolve his 2001 injunction that had allowed the Sons of Confederate Veterans to place the confederate battle flag on certain specialty license plates in Virginia. On June 26, Attorney General Mark R. Herring filed motions (see below) to dissolve the injunction and vacate the order that had required placement of the flag on SCV license plates. The Commonwealth will now be able to enforce its existing law regarding SCV plates which states "No logo or emblem of any description shall be displayed or incorporated into the design of license plates issued under this section."
"This ruling will allow Virginia to remove a symbol of oppression and injustice from public display on its license plates," said Attorney General Mark Herring. "Virginia state government does not have to and will not endorse such a divisive symbol. I appreciate Governor McAuliffe's leadership in calling for the removal of the flag and those on my team who moved quickly to get it done."
Judge Kiser's ruling will not be official until he enters his order, which will also address whether the decision will apply prospectively to new license plates, or retroactively to include existing ones. Deputy Attorneys General Rhodes B. Ritenour and Jeffrey M. Bourne and Senior Assistant Attorney General Janet Westbrook handled the case on behalf of the Commonwealth.
For anyone who thinks that the Clean Power Plan (coming out Monday) specifically, and transitioning from dirty to clean energy generally, are "bad for business," they might first want to talk to the 365 (!) companies - with 340,000 U.S. employees and $350 BILLION in annual revenue, who signed letters "to more than two-dozen governors across the United States voicing support for the EPA Clean Power Plan for existing power plants and encouraging the states' 'timely finalization' of state implementation plans to meet the new standards."
Those two-dozen governors include a letter to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe by 24 companies and investors with " a significant presence in Virginia" - including Mars, Nestle, VF Corporation, Wespath Investment Management, Calvert Investments, etc. Highlights from the letter (see the "flip" for screen shots) include:
*The companies and investors "strongly support the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's Carbon Pollution Standards for existing power plants," as they are "critical for moving our country toward a clean energy economy," with a "flexible approach [that] provides an exciting opportunity for states to customize their own energy portfolio, expand clean energy solutions, attract new industries to the state, and create thousands of jobs."
*They emphasize that their support for clean energy is "firmly grounded in economic reality," which is why "60 percent of Fortune100 companies have set their own clean energy targets and have saved more than $1 billion a year in the process."
*They "are seeking long-term policies that provide businesses the certainty needed to transition to a clean energy economy."
*They correctly note that switching to energy efficiency and renewable energy "will allow you to mitigate the risks of climate change and the volatility of fossil fuel prices," while combatting global warming that, among other problems, puts "trillions of dollars of institutional investors' assets at risk."
*They also explain that "emissions reductions can be achieved without long-term economic harm or damage to the reliability of our electricity system," but that clearly measures should be put in place to "ensure a just transition for impacted workers and communities during this shift toward a low carbon economy" (e.g., coal workers here in Virginia).
The bottom line: these companies and investors "encourage your timely finalization of Virginia's implementation plan and offer the support of the business community in [Gov. McAuliffe's] pursuit of cost-effective clean energy solutions." Let's make it happen ASAP, as there's truly no time to waste.
I saw this article earlier today and immediately thought of Virginia Republicans. I'll explain in a minute, but first the news.
Alpha Natural Resources Inc. is planning to file for bankruptcy protection in Virginia as soon as Monday as the biggest miner of U.S. coal used in steelmaking struggles amid the worst commodities slump in more than a decade, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter...
Bristol, Virginia-based Alpha Natural would follow rivals Walter Energy Inc., Patriot Coal Corp. and James River Coal Co. in filing for bankruptcy during the past 15 months as met coal prices dropped 72 percent since 2011.
Alpha Natural, despite reporting $1.8 billion in cash and available credit at end of March, hasn't turned in a profit since 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The thing is, it's not just Alpha, but the entire coal industry that's getting pounded by a variety of forces: cheap natural gas, the rise of wind and solar power, and the recognition that coal is cooking the planet to death.
So how does the decline of the coal industry potentially impact Virginia politics? First, as VPAP reports, the energy/natural resources sector has donated around $52 million to Virginia politicians since 1996. Of that, around $14 million has come from "Coal Mining/Processing," with another $16 million from heavily coal-powered utilities. And where has that money gone in terms of partisan distribution? Here are a few examples just to give you a feel for how lopsided it's been in favor of Republicans.
Coal company Alpha Natural Resources: $3.0 million, of which $2.3 million has gone to Republicans.
Coal executive Richard Baxter Gilliam: $2.7 million, of which only $1,000 has gone to Democrats, while $1.6 MILLION has gone to Republicans and $1.1 million to "other" (I believe a lot of this went to right-wing SuperPACs, like American Crossroads, that might not be classified as "Republican" by VPAP, but are clearly pro-Republican).
Coal/natural gas producer Consol Energy: $1.2 million, of which the overwhelming majority - $940k - went to Republicans.
Virginia Coal Association: $1.1 million, of which $740k went to Republicans.
Coal executive Marvin W Gilliam, Jr.: $683k, all but $3k of which went to Republicans.
Coal company United Co.: $519k, of which $324k went to Republicans.
Massey Coal: $466k, of which all but $8.3k went to Republicans.
Coal miner Cumberland Resources: $453k, of which all but $30k went to Republicans.
We could go on, but I think you get the picture: the vast majority of Virginia coal industry $$$ has gone to Virginia Republicans over the years, with only a small share going to Democrats. Which could mean, at least in theory, that as the coal industry goes down the tubes financially, the impact will be disproportionately negative on Virginia Republicans. We'll see, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on...
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, July 30. And yes, as you can see from his tweets, 2013 Virginia GOP Lt. Gov. nominee E.W. Jackson is STILL off his meds. Sad.
How about Republicans nominate Jim Gilmore for President in 2016 (not likely, but they can nominate someone just as crazy!) and replicate this electoral map - courtesy of DPVA's "So You Googled Jim Gilmore" microsite - nationally? Just a friendly suggestion from your Democratic pal(s). :)
P.S. The bigger question is why would anyone Google, let alone vote for, Jim Gilmore, who drove Virginia's fiscal truck into a ditch, or any of his fellow Republicans who think the same way he does?!?
From Sen. Donald McEachin's Facebook page, I think these are some interesting questions, in light of what Del. Scott Surovell points out ("Kentucky man shoots down drone hovering over his backyard"). Here are Sen. McEachin's questions. Also, see Del. Surovell's comments after Sen. McEachin's.
Opinions please! I think you should be able to protect your property if someone (not the state assuming it has a lawful order) has a drone hovering over your property. But what legnth of time constitutes a hover? Is it ok for a drone to pass over your back yard (or front yard) on the way to somewhere else? Are there any rules for if it is just passing over how low it may go? Can you imagine a drone buzzing through your back yard during a picnic? At eye level? If a drone is hovering over your property and you destroy it are you liable to your neighbor for any debri that might damage a neighbor's yard. Time to have a conversation with legislative services.
Del. Surovell: "I predicted this last week at the Drone & Space Law Conference in Wise, VA. I said if you fly one of these over private property outside of NOVA, it's likely to get shot down. People laughed but I was serious. We need to clarify this area of the law soon."
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, July 29. Also, interesting infographic from ThinkProgress on Democratic 2016 presidential candidates' climate plans. So far, at least, it looks like Martin O'Malley is in the lead...
From Rep. Don Beyer's office; I really appreciate his leadership on the #1 issue facing humanity.
July 29, 2015 (Washington, DC) – Congressman Don Beyer released the following statement in response to the Department of Defense (DoD) Report on the National Implications of Climate Change:
“Today’s report from the Defense Department is another emphatic statement that climate change is not only real, but is a national security threat," said Rep. Don Beyer. "Sea level rise, drought and severe weather, natural disasters, food insecurity, and competition for scarce resources jeopardize our security, here and abroad. Unless we commit now to addressing this problem, we risk catalyzing conflict and adding to instability around the globe. The DoD recognizes the severity of this crisis - it is time for Congress to do the same.”
The report finds that climate change is a security risk, Pentagon officials said, because it degrades living conditions, human security and the ability of governments to meet the basic needs of their populations. The DoD found that “global climate change will have wide ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the foreseeable future because it will aggravate existing problems.” Communities and states that already are fragile and have limited resources are significantly more vulnerable to disruption and far less likely to respond effectively and be resilient to new challenges, they added.
“The Department of Defense's primary responsibility is to protect national security interests around the world,” officials said in a news release announcing the report’s submission. “This involves considering all aspects of the global security environment and planning appropriately for potential contingencies and the possibility of unexpected developments both in the near and the longer terms.”
Find more information on the DoD’s report on the security implications of climate changehereandhere.
From DPVA. I'd say we know what they're afraid of.
House Speaker Bill Howell and Majority Leader Tommy Norment rejected a meeting with Governor Terry McAuliffe yesterday to compromise on a deal to set the state’s congressional elections map.
The congressional map needs significant changes to alleviate the Supreme Court's issues and to better comply with the principles of equal representation and geographic balance that are essential to democracy. Forging a map early, as Governor McAuliffe suggested, would save taxpayers money and increase transparency in the process.
But Howell and Norment decided to play politics instead of doing what's best for Virginians.
"Hiding under the bed isn't going to fix Virginia's racially-gerrymandered congressional map -- but bipartisan leadership will. Good things happen when leaders get together to make public policy decisions in good faith and we can do that with congressional redistricting," said Morgan Finkelstein, Press Secretary at the Democratic Party of Virginia. "We can only assume that Howell and Norment are simply hoping to stall until the last minute in order to preserve as much of their gerrymandered map as possible."
The headline refers to a great line by Janet Oleszek at a fundraiser last night in McLean (see video below), regarding just one of the reasons why current Fairfax County (Braddock District) Supervisor John Cook (R) needs to be shown the exit door this November. Janet added that John Cook is a seriously "flawed public official" who, "time and again...has benefited personally...by taking cases in which he has a clear conflict of interest...This is unacceptable for a public servant and I will introduce ethics legislation at once to ban this practice." Finally, Janet noted that John Cook had done a poll to find out if voters wanted their Supervisor to work with the School Board or "act as a check on it." Need any more reasons to vote John Cook out of office this November? Go Janet! :)
P.S. For video of Tim Kaine speaking last night, click here.
Today's Republican Party is a disgrace like nothing ever seen before at center stage of American politics. From 2001 to 2009, it gave us the most lawless presidency in the history of the nation, and then from 2009 till now, it has given us the most obstructionist opposition party the nation has seen. Unprecedented, for a major American political party, in how consistently it is damaging the nation.
For well over a decade, this should have been the main topic of our national conversation.
No, let me correct that: Had the Democrats made it the main topic of our national conversation earlier, the dark force that has taken over the Republican Party would not still need to be brought to the attention of the American people. Calling it out forcefully enough would have either driven out this dark force from the one-time "Grand Old Party," or have driven that Party into oblivion.
But the Democrats have been weak, and have never pressed the battle. And the combination of Republican destructiveness and Democratic weakness has been a disaster for America.
Today's rise of Donald Trump gives the Democrats, and Liberal America generally, an unusually good opportunity to launch the long-needed attack on the Republican Party for the morally degraded force that it has become.
That opportunity arises from two factors.
First, Trump has thrown the Republican Party into disarray. Most of the time - largely because of the weakness and passivity of the Democratic Party - the Republicans have been able to control their narrative. But, with Trump lobbing his attention-getting rhetorical bombs and dominating virtually every news cycle, the Republicans are caught up in a story beyond their control. This leaves them weakened, distracted, disjointed -- generally less able to fight back in a cohesive way.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, July 29. Also see the video of Sen. Tim Kaine speaking last night at an event for Janet Oleszek's Fairfax County Board campaign against Republican John Cook. According to Kaine, "you will make people happier or madder in local government than anywhere else...you get measured by your results, not your slogans." On the other hand, you have the ability to counter voter cynicism by "being a good listener and trying to solve [people's] problems" while "helping your community." Finally, Kaine said there's a "night-and-day difference" between Janet Oleszek and John Cook when it comes to support for schools, teachers, education.
Seriously, is Ken Cuccinelli ever right about anything? Apparently not. Even worse are the ugliness he attracts, and brings out, to his extremist demagoguery. For instance, the top comments on Cooch's Facebook page to this post are as follows.
*23 likes: "Why would a deal like this include money being given to Iran? Logically, a deal should say that they will not do so and so, period. Money being given to foreign nations, borrowed from China, is the true death of our nation."
*14 likes: "KILL THE DEAL AND THEN KILL IRAN,,, BOMB THE HELL OUT OF THEM..."
*13 likes: "Some well placed nukes will make for a short war. Sounds harsh but I would rather that than waste our men in the sand over there fighting these lunatics."
Just another day on Ken Cuccinelli's Facebook page, basically. Recall that a few weeks ago, we wrote about the top comment on his post on immigration stating, "illegal immigrant families deserve a ride to the border and if they come back they deserve a bullet." Again,why is it that Cooch attracts despicable people like this? And why is it that Cooch isn't atypical of many Republicans these days, from Mike Huckabee to Ted Cruz to E.W. Jackson to...we could go on all day? As Andy Schmookler writes in his new book, the "political right - and its political arm, the Republican Party - has become an extraordinarly destructive force in the American body politics," one that's "more consistently destructive and dishonest than anything seen before at center state of American politics (except perhaps for the decade leading up to the Civil War." No argument here; the question is what's the rest of America doing to stop this lunacy?
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