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Tuesday, September 25, 2018
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City of Roanoke on Storm Durham Story: “The dismissal in question...

UPDATE Monday 2:25 pm - Snopes says "Storm Durham's claim that she was fired over possessing a concealed carry permit is unconfirmed and in dispute."...

Video: Sen. Tim Kaine, LG Nominee Justin Fairfax, Del. Sam Rasoul...

Next week, Senate Republicans plan to hold a vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act and - among other terrible things - throwing tens of...

Roanoke Pride: Orlando Forgotten

by Catherine Koebel Stromberg On Saturday, September 10th, I attended the annual “Pride in the Park” event organized by Roanoke Pride at Elmwood Park in...

Men Who Need Guns to Put Lead In Their Pencils

By Dan Sullivan Posted on Facebook by William Sellari of Roanoke: While watching the Revenant, there was an older couple beside (us) who kept talking during...

Clinton, McAuliffe, Herring Rally in Roanoke

UntitledA crowd of 450-500 people packed into the City Market Building to see and hear Terry McAuliffe, former President Bill Clinton, and Mark Herring, candidate for attorney general, as they continued their tour to get out the vote on November 5. As people waited outside to enter the venue, Mark Herring greeted them. Herring has been traveling with McAuliffe and Clinton as the campaign ticks down to its final days. Speaking later, he encouraged people to vote for moderation, not extremism and to bring others to the polls. Herring's presence on this campaign swing is a vital part of a campaign plan to make sure voters know who he is and how he differs from his extremist Republican opponent.

When he took the podium,  President Clinton told the audience that one party, the Republican, is driven by a sense of opposition and conflict that arouses intense emotion in its followers but just compounds problems by refusing to see any reality but its own, while the other, the Democratic, believes that only by cooperation and compromise will our serious problems be solved.

I personally was struck by the fact that former State Senator Brandon Bell, a Republican,  took the stage to explain why he was endorsing Terry McAuliffe for governor. (Bell once represented the senate district I live in.)  Bell noted that he sat near Ken Coccinelli in the State Senate and knows exactly what motivates Cooch. Cuccinelli, Bell said, only wants what will advance his career or what fits his extremist ideology. He is incapable of putting the interests of Virginia above his own extremist views or his own self-interest.

Cuccinelli gets ruffled in Roanoke over question related to campaign donations...

In today's spend-heavy era of American politics, it's admittedly difficult for political candidates to fund their campaigns and their hopes for elected office without reaching far and wide for political handouts. Perhaps now more than ever the question becomes, is it appropriate for a political candidate to take money from groups or individuals that have diametrically opposed interests to at least a segment of the potential or actual constituency of the said candidate?

For Virginia's attorney general, and Republican Party candidate for Virginia governor, Ken Cuccinelli, the answer has unequivocally been, "Yes, I'll take campaign donations just about anyone who offers it." And so the plot thickens.

When asked by an attendee of Cuccinelli's campaign stop at the Hotel Roanoke on Friday whether or not he felt it was acceptable to take campaign donations from Consol, Virginia's attorney general responded, "Well I need a lot more donations. My opponent is outspending me like 2:1." In other words, Cuccinelli's argument is that he's in this 'contest' to win, not to necessarily worry about the ethical implications of his behaviors.

Key Smokefree Advocate Considering Political Comeback in Virginia State Senate?

I hadn't heard smokefree advocate Brandon Bell's name since he was primaried out of office as part of a Republican purge of moderates in 2007. But today, Ben Tribbett reports he could be mounting a political comeback, considering a run for Virginia State Senate an independent:
Rumors are flying around today that Former State Senator Brandon Bell is about to become Brandon Bell, an Independent candidate to challenge incumbent GOP Senator Ralph Smith in the Senate seat based around Salem, Franklin and Roanoke.

This is a strong GOP seat, but with Botetourt taken out of the district in redistricting, it's one where Brandon Bell defeated Smith in the Republican primary four years ago (when Smith won by less than 100 votes to snatch the seat from Bell).  Without a Democratic candidate running, and lots of friends on the Republican side, Bell has an excellent shot of pulling off the upset as an Independent candidate of the ultra-conservative Smith.

Given the popularity of Virginia's smoking ban in bars & restaurants (59% of Americans now want smoking banned in all public places), the support for clean air & public health that made Bell so unpopular in today's extremist Republican Party could make him a rock-solid centrist choice.