Sorry for the rough audio quality at times; the wind was blowing hard at Upton Hills Park in Arlington this morning, and it messed big time with my built-in mic. So...here's a partial transcript of what Delegates Bob Brink and Patrick Hope had to say this morning about Ken Cuccinelli, the "liberty pie," and his opposition to public swimming pools and recreation facilities on this Friday before Memorial Day weekend.
Now, not everybody looks forward to this weekend as much as we do. For Ken Cuccinelli, this weekend is not about being able to cool off at the local pool, it's the threat to liberty that he believes public pools pose. That's right; the Republicans have nominated a candidate for governor who looks at a public pool and doesn't see a fun place for his kids to hang out in the summer. As we learn from his book...he sees tragic government overreach that..."crowds out private business" and "shrinks the liberty pie."
Now, we might find it a little nutty that somebody would think public pools are a threat to liberty, but it's...the same mindset led Ken Cuccinelli to write in his book that Social Security and Medicare are "goodies that bad politicians created to make people dependent on government"...Now, don't think that Ken Cuccinelli is against the use of government power across the board. Unfortunately, the only times Ken Cuccinelli seems interested in the power of government is when he can use it to force his agenda into Virginian's personal lives. Government power was ok with him when he bullied the Virginia Board of Health into passing regulations that threaten to close women's health clinics across the Commonwealth...and when he tried to bully our state universities into doing away with policies that protect gay and lesbian students and staff from discrimination.
So here's the Cuccinelli rule: it's ok to use government to intrude into personal lives, in order to threaten, in order to intimidate. But if government provides a place for people to enjoy themselves on a hot summer day, it's a threat to the liberty pie. So this weekend as Virginians head to public pools...we hope they'll consider for a moment what kind of governor they want for them and their families. And I hope they'll join use in helping to keep Ken Cuccinelli from becoming the Grinch who stole summer.
The following remarks by Del. Patrick Hope are in response to the statement by Bishop Paul Loverde, the leader of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, who said "the vote would likely force the diocese to reconsider sponsoring troops in about 50 of its parishes." It goes without saying that I strongly agree with Del. Hope.
Delegate Hope's Response to Bishop Loverde's Remarks on Gay Youth in the Boy Scouts of America
Arlington - As a Catholic, I am offended and deeply disappointed in the leader of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington County, Bishop Paul Loverde's statement that the Boy Scouts of America's vote would force the diocese to reconsider sponsoring troops in about 50 of its parishes.
The decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow openly gay youth to participate is in direct line with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Bishop Loverde's statement is made out of fear and ignorance and should not be tolerated. I hope and pray the Bishop will reconsider and continue to support Boy Scouts of America.
Patrick A. Hope is a Member of the Virginia General Assembly as the Delegate from the 47th District representing part of Arlington County. He serves on the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee and House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee.
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, May 24. Also, check out Mark Obenshain's speech from the RPV convention, as it demonstrates VERY clearly why he should never be Attorney General of Virginia. Reason #1: he's full of crap when he says he's for expanding "freedom" (Republicans just throw this word around, but they certainly don't mean it, certainly not for women, LGBT citizens, the right to vote, etc.). Reason #2: he's got a serious case of "Obama Derangement Syndrome" and will be just like Kookinelli in wasting time and our tax dollars fighting with the federal government. No thanks!
A few things you need to know as you watch this fascinating NLS interview (great job by Ben Tribbett, by the way...can't wait to see what else he came up with at the RPV freak show...er, convention). First, Bob Fitzsimmonds is not some random guy, but the treasurer of the Republican Party of Virginia who served as Ken Cuccinelli's legislative aide in the Senate for most of Cuccinelli's time there, and who is still a very close ally and adviser to Cuccinelli. Second, following President Obama's reelection this past November, Fitzsimmonds wrote on his Facebook page, "When Obama is 90 years old and he dies and goes to Hell, he is going to say 'This is all Bush's fault.'" At the time, DPVA Chair Brian Moran said, "Taking to Facebook to muse on the death of the President of the United States and whether or not he will go to hell is well below the standard of conduct Virginians set for their public officials and political leaders."
Finally, note that in the interview, Fitzsimmonds says a few...uh, "interesting" things. And again, keep in mind that this guy is a VERY close adviser to Ken Cuccinelli (and would be powerful in a Gov. Cuccinelli administration).
1. Starting at 7:45, Fitzsimmonds starts ranting about sex education and "the spread of STDs." He claims that "HIV's kind of hard to catch, abortion happens if you get pregnant, but we're on the trajectory for 50% of the American people to have herpes...and that is a profound not only health but sociological crisis that's facing this country, and it's not even as prevalent as HPV." Fitzsimmonds adds, "we have a disease [HPV] out there that's killing women more than HIV is, and we don't even talk about it." Hmmm...actually we do talk about vaccinating young people against HPV (see this video of Del. Patrick Hope, for instance) but isn't Cuccinelli against that?
2. Starting at 9:10, Fitzsimmonds claims, "We have an entire generation of children who are in their teens, 50% of the ones that are sexually active have an STD...we never lived with this kind of crisis; so I think we absolutely have to address that, and I think Ken will do it." Alrighty then.
3. Starting at 11:50, he talks about his 501c(3) waiting for approval from the IRS; "it doesn't say 'Tea Party" in the name, but it does say 'Christian abstinence.'" Yep, that's apparently Fitzsimmond's big thing: "Christian abstinence." Is that what the people of Virginia want in their governor? I guess we're going to find out.
4. Starting at 13:30 he says, "I'm not a big fan of contraception, frankly...I think there are some issues with giving morning-after pills to 12 year olds, and pretty soon I guess we'll hand them out to babies, I don't know." Giving out morning-after pills to babies - hahahahaha, very funny. That WAS meant as a "joke," right? Wow.
By the way, these are just excerpts, I encourage you to watch the entire video. It's an eye opener into Ken Cuccinelli's thinking, and to use Fitzsimmond's words in a different context: "it's chilling, it's scary."
A bit earlier today, President Obama delivered an important address entitled, "The Future of our Fight against Terrorism." See the "flip" for a transcript. Also, here's Rep. Jim Moran's reaction to the speech.
I applaud President Obama reiterating his commitment to closing Guantanamo. He was correct when he said that "History will cast a harsh judgment on this aspect of our fight against terrorism, and those of us who fail to end it." The treatment of these prisoners, most of whom never committed a violent act against the United States or our allies, falls far short of our own judicial standards.
The President has rightly lifted the ban on detainee transfers to Yemen, and I echo his call on Congress to repeal the onerous restrictions on detainee transfers overall. Further, I welcome the President's commitment to restarting transfers to third countries, and I look forward to supporting his special envoy to achieve that outcome. I remain concerned that we continue prohibiting trying detainees in U.S. courts, which have tried thousands of terrorists, who today are housed in Defense and Justice Department facilities throughout the country. We have the finest Justice system in the world, one that no individual bent on terror can break.
I look forward to the day we can finally shut the doors on this prison that should never have existed.
With regard to President Obama's commitment to reduce drone strikes, I welcome the President's willingness to improve their transparency and reduce the frequency of their use.
LABOR ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTING 80,000 WORKING MEN AND WOMEN THROW THEIR SUPPORT BEHIND HERRING IN PRIMARY
Building Trades Council Joins Teamsters, Laborers and Teachers In Supporting Herring
Leesburg – The Washington DC Building Trades Council is the latest organization representing working Virginians to add their name to the list of labor groups supporting State Senator Mark Herring (Loudoun and Fairfax) in the Democratic primary for Attorney General on June 11th.
The Washington DC Building Trades Council is comprised of the following organizations: Asbestos Workers Local #24, Boilermakers Local #193, Bricklayers & Allied Crafts Local #1, Electrical Workers Local #26, Elevator Constructors Local #10, Iron Workers Local #5, Operating Engineers Local #77, Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons #891, Painters District Council #51, Plumbers Local #5, Reinforced Rodmen Local #201, Roofers & Waterproofers Local #30, Sheet Metal Workers Local #100, Sprinkler Fitters Local #669, and Steamfitters Local #602.
The Building Trades Council joins the Virginia Education Association, Laborers’ Mid-Atlantic Region and Teamsters Joint Council 83. In total, these organizations represent over 80,000 working men and women.
So...not only are high-ranking Virginia Republicans not condemning EW Jackson's bigoted, hateful, outrageous, divisive remarks, they are actively embracing him, even raising money for the guy! Honestly, we need to toss out every single one of the Republicans at the next opportunity. That starts on November 5, 2013.
As VA GOP LG nominee EW Jackson Sr. will shortly learn, in America you can last a long time in politics if your MO is to make bigoted attacks on African-Americans, women, President Obama specifically and Democrats in general, Mormons, non-Christians, Latinos, gays...go down the list. Indeed, it appears that Mr. Jackson is determined to get a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the U.S. politician who offended the most groups during a single statewide run for office. As someone of the Jewish faith, I kinda feel offended that my religion hasn't been worthy of being directly offended by Bishop Jackson; as they say in New York, what are we, chopped liver? But he has only been the GOP nominee for less than a week, and he has a long list, so our time will come, no doubt.
Now, it is one thing for a Republican to lead the Hit Parade in the bigotry category. Nothing new there. But it is quite another matter when he gets on the front page of the state's newspapers as having played fast and loose, not just with his tongue, but also with his personal and business finances.
That EW Jackson is bankrupt of common SENSE is one thing. Republicans can live with that as long as he isn't attacking their own. But when it comes out that Mr. Jackson can't be trusted with money, then Republicans will realize they have sat down not at a Tea Party Convention but had tea with the Mad Hatter himself.
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, May 23. The photo, by the way, is of Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada and the great composer/singer Carole King at the White House last night. While I like and respect Tejada, I absolutely love (and idolize) Carole King, so I guess I'd just say to Walter: I'm jealous! (P.S. On his Facebook page it captions the photo as, "Walter telling Carole King that when he was a young new immigrant in NY, he saw her practicing in Central Park and never forgot it." Cool!)
The following statement, by the Virginia Sierra Club, basically sums up my views on this one (see video of Senators Warner and Kaine talking about their legislation to to "Expand Offshore Energy Leases"). Given the grave environmental problems posed by fossil fuels (first and foremost being climate change), as well as the rapidly declining costs of solar and wind, as well as the fact that we'd get (by far) more "bang for the buck" from energy efficiency, combined with the risks posed by offshore oil and gas development, I'm not even sure why we're talking about offshore oil drilling (or an "all of the above" strategy). It's simply the wrong approach, the wrong way of thinking, the wrong way to go, the wrong...everything, basically. Ugh.
Statement of Sierra Club-Virginia Chapter Director Glen Besa on announcement of Warner-Kaine support for offshore drilling
"As we saw with the Gulf oil disaster, oil spills decimate tourism and fishing industries. In Virginia, that means risking over $2.5 billion and over 100,000 jobs in industries that depend on healthy ocean and Chesapeake Bay waters and clean beaches," said Glen Besa with the Sierra Club. "It's a risk that remains real as large spills continue to occur around the world and as Congress has yet to pass a single law strengthening federal oversight of offshore oil and gas development."
"It is disappointing that so many Virginian politicians of both parties seem willing to jeopardize our strong coastal tourism and fisheries industries for a policy of drill every where and burn it all now that ignores environmental, climate and national security concerns," said Besa.
P.S. I checked with Rep. Jim Moran's office to see what they thought of this legislation, and they responded, "The Congressman does not support drilling of Virginia's coast."
The following statement is from the McAuliffe for Governor campaign. Needless to say, I agree 100% - there is no place for bigotry in American politics, and anyone who expresses bigotry - certainly of the extreme version we've heard from the 2013 Virginia Republican ticket - should be immediately be disqualified from voters' consideration of an even semi-plausible choice.
Terry McAuliffe's campaign denounced the extreme anti-gay rhetoric of Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson on Wednesday, saying the attacks “do not represent Virginia values and have no place in political discourse.” The statement is in response to numerous anti-gay comments by Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli and newly-nominated Lieutenant Governor candidate E.W. Jackson, such as Cuccinelli's remark that the "homosexual agenda" brings "nothing but self-destruction, not only physically but of their soul.
McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin stated, “While we can have earnest disagreements about public policy issues, the manner in which Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson have demonized fellow Virginians who happen to be gay is divisive, dangerous and is damaging to the Commonwealth.”
Schwerin added, “While Terry McAuliffe is focused on important issues like growing Virginia’s economy and creating jobs, Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson have focused much of their careers on waging divisive, social battles, that will alienate mainstream Virginians, and deter families and businesses from locating in the Commonwealth."
The statements from Cuccinelli and Jackson have drawn heavy scrutiny from across the political spectrum, including Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, who said Jackson’s anti-gay statements were “indefensible.”
The following videos (here and on the "flip") are from last night's NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia forum in Alexandria. The following videos are of NARAL Executive Director Tarina Keene and Virginia's next Attorney General, State Senator Mark Herring (with a sterling 100% pro-choice record), blasting GOP Attorney General nominee Mark Obenshain's 2009 proposed legislation to essentially criminalize miscarriages (forcing women to report them within 24 hours, have police come out to the woman's home, take a report, and investigate the "evidence").
As Keene put it, Obenshain's bill would have made "every woman of reproductive age as a suspect." Keene also reminds everyone that Obenshain's "ridiculous" legislation was first introduced back in 2005 by Del. Cosgrove, who withdrew the bill after a tremendous backlash (including by fellow Virginia progressive blogger Maura Keaney). Apparently, Mark Obenshain - with his pathetic, ZERO rating on choice - never learns.
Sen. Herring added that what Obenshain (who "has a long record of anti-choice legislation") did with the miscarriage bill was "fundamentally wrong," and that "with him as Attorney General, you could expect a lot more of that and we can't let that happen." So true.
P.S. It was also good seeing Senator Adam Ebbin and former Senator Mary Margaret Whipple there last night.
HERRING RELEASES NEW VIDEO COMPARING HIS RECORD TO EXTREME GOP CANDIDATE MARK OBENSHAIN'S
Democratic Candidate Holds Telephone Townhall Tonight To Discuss GOP AG Nominee’s Extreme Record
(Leesburg) – Today Senator Mark Herring released a web video comparing his record against Senator Obenshain’s. The video can be found by clicking here. A transcript of the video is below.
On Saturday, Tea Party activists in Virginia nominated their choice for Attorney General and Lt. Governor to join Ken Cuccinelli on the ballot this Fall. Emerging from this convention was Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) for Attorney General.
Since Saturday, Virginians have been introduced to Senator Obenshain’s extreme record, which includes sponsoring a bill that would require women to report miscarriages to the police. Obenshain also sponsored the “Personhood” amendment with Ken Cuccinelli which would ban common forms of birth control, restricting women's access to contraception and punishing them for their private medical decisions.
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