Do you feel like this summer went by fast? If so, can you imagine how quickly it must have flown by for Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe? As Gov. McAuliffe's summer began (ust 73 days ago, on June 20), recall that he held a fiery press conference in which he blasted Virginia Republicans' "unconscionable" refusal to expand Medicaid. Recall that he also vowed that, in spite of Republican obstructionism, we was "moving forward," and specifically that Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel would "have a plan on my desk no later than September 1 of this year" to "move forward with healthcare."
Well, September 1st has come and gone, and presumably Gov. McAuliffe has that plan on his desk now. So, should we expect a big, exciting announcement sometime soon (this week or next week perhaps)? Or, will the confident vows made as the summer began be quietly forgotten now that kids are going back to school, days are getting shorter, and tempers - if not temperatures - have cooled off a bit? More to the point, were those vows ever realistic in the first place? Was there anything Gov. McAuliffe really could do unilaterally, with the Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly firmly opposed? According to an excellent article by Dave Ress of the Daily Press, it sure isn't looking promising. A few key points:
*"With an overwhelming majority in the House of Delegates resolutely opposed to Medicaid expansion -- or anything that looks like it and that clears the way for Affordable Care Act dollars to flow through state coffers -- the governor doesn't have a lot of choices."
*"[T]he policy wonks and state government grunts who he'd normally ask for ideas aren't hearing many requests...'The screaming silence has been deafening.'"
*"[S]ignals emerging from the governor's office point to a fairly modest proposal to whittle down the number of low-income Virginians who don't have insurance."
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, September 1 (Labor Day 2014). Also, check out that photo of how things used to be in this country, before progressives and unions changed it with much tougher regulations -- you know, those pesky things that Republicans always say we need to roll back because they're "job killing?" Yep, THOSE regulations, like ones prohibiting kids from work in dangerous, dirty sweatshops for 12 hours a day or whatever.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, August 31. Also, I watched most of this great discussion yesterday with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin at the 2014 National Book Festival. This woman is truly a national treasure; a fascinating conversation on Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, LBJ, JFK and...Barack Obama.
I think Miles pretty much nails it with this tweet. Here are just a few examples, off the top of my head, who have done what Miles describes (and lost anyway) over the past few years in Virginia.
*Creigh Deeds 2005 (ran as a conservative Democrat against Bob McDonnell, only got a few more votes than Leslie Byrne, who ran as a proud, forceful progressive)
*Creigh Deeds 2009 (the whole theory by the so-called "experts" was that a more conservative Democrat from a rural area would have more appeal to independents, "moderates," blah blah blah. So much for THAT theory!)
*Jody Wagner 2009 (although she certainly did everything Miles talks about - she even agreed to meet with progressives, LGBT activists and environmentalists who were dismayed by her campaign - in fairness she had no chance given the wipeout at the top of the ticket)
*Glenn Nye 2010 (ran to the right, ran away from the Democratic Party, lost by 11 points to Scott Rigell, while Tom Perriello - who ran as a strong Democrat, proud of his values - only lost by 4 points in as tough or tougher a district)
*Rick Boucher 2010 (He gave coal companies everything they asked for. He lost anyway.)
*Ward Armstrong 2011 (As Miles wrote on November 9, 2011, "As for me, what I'll remember most about the 2011 election cycle is this ad from House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong trashing just about everything Democrats believe in. The leader of House Democrats - as chosen by his fellow House Democrats - distances himself from President Obama, a woman's right to choose, reasonable gun safety regulations, and limits on air pollution - all in one ad.")
*Paul Hirschbiel 2012 (classic conservadem campaign, classic results, as he lost by 8 points to Scott Rigell while Tim Kaine AND Barack Obama were winning that district)
(Honorable mention: Wayne Powell 2012 would have lost to Eric Can'tor anyway, but running to the right certainly didn't help him any.)
*Mike Hymes 2014 (Classic example; this one wasted something approaching a million bucks to get 9,264 votes - around $100 per Hymes voter, many of whom would have turned out with a simple notice that there was an election, so it's actually a lot worse than that - and lose by 28 percentage points, in addition to running away from Democratic values on issue after issue - woohoo!)
(Honorable mention: Lynwood Lewis 2014 - he came within 11 votes of losing a race he was supposed to win easily, after running to the right, dissing/ignoring the "base," etc.)
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, August 29. Also, gotta love Ken Cuccinelli, demonstrating yet again how extreme the Tea Party is, when even far-right-wing Rick Perry is considered "anti-conservative!"
I was proud to stand with Senator Adam Ebbin, Delegate Alfonso Lopez, Delegate-elect Rip Sullivan, and other important members of the Northern Virginia community as Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe signed SB 503, which I co-patroned, and HB 492 into law. They address the growing problem of notary fraud perpetrated towards members of the Latino community, as well as other minority communities. There are many cases of notaries fraudulently charging thousands of dollars for misleading advice. This legislation prohibits non-attorney notaries from offering legal or immigration advice, as well as imposes civil penalties and possible revocation of notary license for repeat offenders.
Also present in the photo are Del. Alfonso Lopez, Del.-elect Rip Sullivan, Arlington County Board Members Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada, State Senator Adam Ebbin, and of course Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Great job by everyone involved in this, including co-patrons Adam Ebbin and Jennifer Wexton, and House Chief Co-patron Alfonso Lopez.
P.S. I don't recognize the other two people in the photo. Also note that the other House Chief Co-patron, Del. Dave Albo (R), is not in the photo. Hmmmm.
It must be painful to have fallen for the original McDonnell shtick hook, line and sinker. Accepting this new fiction of a defense with all its twists, turns, and subplots as relief for the cognitive dissonance caused by recent revelations provides relief. Then someone points out the concurrent serial hypocrisy of McDonnell embracing a priest who casually violated his vow of celibacy with another man; behaviors McDonnell has blatantly condemned as antithetical to his core conservatism. This resonates and echoes hypocrisy. There is no argument that can refute the blatant self-serving behavior of their fallen hero, so resort to personal attacks.
Suddenly the raw truth of the McDonnell formula for defense being revealed is turned on its head and becomes an attack by the left on homosexuals. That is some desperation. This is just another brick in the wall McDonnell is building to defend himself. And we are cautioned that if we want to sway public opinion we need to make nice. Part of one rant is not only unintelligible but also contains utter nonsense:
"But it does show you an insight into the liberal extremist mind. Democrat (sic) bloggers, especially Lowly (sic), must not really like gay people. They need their votes, and the fact that they don't like religion makes gay people social "brothers in arms" with hatemongers like Lowly (sic), but in reality they only use gay people to shore up their own power."
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, August 25. Also, check out that video, because it provides a crystal clear indication regarding one of the top 2 or 3 themes Jim Webb would run for president on -- "economic fairness and social justice," a phrase he repeats several times.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, August 24. Oh, and click to "embiggen" that image to see what Ed Gillespie's extreme views against gun safety legislation are...
The following story most definitely falls into the "you can't make this s*** up" category. So, you know how Bob McDonnell, now on trial for corruption as governor (and busy throwing his wife under the bus while rolling back and forth over her a few times, proving he's a complete cad as well as a sleazeball), has moved out of his home with Maureen and moved in with a priest (Rev. Wayne Ball of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Richmond)? Well, how about we meet the good Reverend (note: thanks to Ben "Not Larry Sabato" Tribbett for the tip on this one, since he really broke the story).
The Rev. Wayne L. Ball, a Norfolk priest who pleaded guilty late last year to a misdemeanor sex offense, has been reassigned to St. John's Catholic Church in Highland Springs, according to The Catholic Virginian, a biweekly diocesan newspaper. The move is effective June 2.
Ball, 42, has served as pastor of Norfolk's Holy Trinity Catholic Church since 2000. The current pastor at St. John's, the Rev. David V. McGuire, will replace Ball at Holy Trinity.
In December, Ball pleaded guilty in Norfolk General District Court to the misdemeanor charge of frequenting a bawdy place. Norfolk police arrested Ball and a 41-year-old Richmond man on the night before Thanksgiving in a parked car in a Norfolk park. The judge continued Ball's case until July 8 and will dismiss the charge if the priest has no further criminal problems and completes 80 hours of community service by June 3. The man in the car with Ball received a similar deal.
Ball will be the second Catholic priest who recently pleaded guilty to a sex crime to serve at St. John's in Highland Springs.
In February, the Rev. John P. Blankenship, who served at St. John's from 1973 to 1977, pleaded guilty in Prince George County to four counts of sodomy. The charges stemmed from incidents that occurred after Blankenship's time at St. John's.
Look, it should go without saying that I have no problem with priests -- or any other religious officials, or anyone else -- being gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, etc. What I DO have a problem with is massive hypocrisy among politicians, such as a guy who richly earned the nickname "Taliban Bob" for his viciously anti-gay rhetoric and actions hounding/harassing LGBT people (not to mention his right-wingnut, theocratic, holier-than-thou, Pat Robertson-trained moralizing about what we all should or should not be doing in the privacy of our own bedrooms; not to mention the fact that when McDonnell himself was asked by reporters if HE had ever violated Virginia's "crimes against nature" laws, he said "not that I can recall").
Anyway, this is the priest - Wayne Ball - who "Homophobe Bob" McDonnell is now living with in a rectory in Richmond. Just when you thought this trial couldn't any more soap opera-ish or bizarre...
P.S. Again, let me just emphasize that I don't have any problem whatsoever with Rev. Ball being gay. I DO have a problem with Bob McDonnell spending his career telling everybody what's right and wrong sexually as well as who they can and can't marry; voting for anti-gay legislation; and generally being a homophobic jerk; and then moving in with a gay priest after moving out with his wife Maureen. Holy hypocrisy alert, Batman!
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, August 23. Also see President Obama's weekly address, in which he emphasizes the importance of increasing U.S. exports, including by supporting the U.S. Export-Import Bank. He's right. Congress needs to do its job and reauthorize/fund the Bank.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, August 22. Also, check out ABC's coverage of the bizarre story of the woman who stalked and assaulted Virginia House Democratic leader David Toscano's wife. There's a lot of strange stuff here, including why the stalker's attorney didn't ask for bond for his client. As the ABC News reporter says, "you can't help but think there's a lot more going on with this." Not sure exactly what that "lot more" would be, though (although there are lots of rumors flying around, even including potential ramifications for House Democratic leadership)...stay tuned.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, August 21. Also, click on that image and tell Gov. McAuliffe: "Virginia should be a leader in curbing climate change. Now is the time to take bold action. "
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, August 20. Also, I really like that photo by Tom Greeson of Rip Sullivan campaign HQ last night...tallying up the big victory. :)
UPDATE 9:25 pm: Just got back from Rip Sullivan's victory party, where he bought everyone a round of beer. Is Rip going to be a great delegate or what? :) Meanwhile, it turns out that there was an error on VPAP earlier, and Rip Sullivan actually won every single precinct in the 48th districdt, romping over Dave Foster by a 62%-38% blowout margin. Hopefully, that marks the end of Foster trying to make the argument that he can win in blue areas of the state, but we'll see...
UPDATE 8:03 pm: With 86% of the precincts counted, it's Chafin 61%-Hymes 33%. With 72% of precincts counted, it's Sullivan 59%-Foster 41% (still only 1 precinct won by Foster...one too many if you ask me, but what the heck, I'll take it). And with 73% of precincts counted, it's Lindsey 84%-Calabrese 16%. in addition to Delegate-elect Lindsey, congratulations to Delegate-elect Sullivan!
UPDATE 7:49 pm: With 64% of precincts reporting in the 48th, Dave Foster has unfortunately won one - Kirby precinct in Fairfax County. Still, I'll take a 60%-40% lead any day. :) Again, congratulations to Delegate-elect Joe Lindsey in the 80th, who has over 84% of the vote. As for the Virginia Democratic Senate caucus' gamble on the 38th Senate district, to put it mildly it didn't pay off, with Senator-elect Chafin up by 29 percentage points with 76% of precincts reporting. As I said a million times, we should focus our time, energy and resources on 2015...
UPDATE 7:38 pm: By the way, I asked Ben "Not Larry Sabato" Tribbett late this afternoon for his predictions. He said 61%-39% Sullivan and 62%-38% Chafin. Right now it's 62%-38% Sullivan (with 44% of precincts counted) and 62%-32% Chafin (with 74% of precincts counted). Not too shabby!
UPDATE 7:35 pm: A few more from the Arlington elections office -- Cherrydale: @DaveFosterVA 139 @RipSullivan48 302, Madison: @DaveFosterVA 371 @RipSullivan48 406; Rosslyn: @DaveFosterVA 59 @RipSullivan48 126; Dawson Terrace: @DaveFosterVA 49 @RipSullivan48 103; Arlington Absentee: @DaveFosterVA 312 @RipSullivan48 678.
UPDATE 7:32 pm: Looking good for Democrat Rip Sullivan in the 48th House of Delegates district and for Democrat Joe Lindsey in the 90th House of Delegates district. With 7 of 25 precincts reporting, Sullivan's ahead 60%-40%. With 27% of precincts reporting, Lindsey's ahead 89%-11%. Congratulations to Delegate-elect Lindsey! As for Foster, he hasn't won a precinct yet; hopefully that trend will continue and Sullivan will hold his 20-point margin or increase it.
UPDATE 7:30 pm: With 72 of 120 precincts counted in the 38th Senate district, Republican Ben Chafin leads by a huge margin, 10,739 (61.2%) to just 5,638 (32.1%) for Democrat Mike Hymes. So why did Democrats pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into this 2:1 Cooch/Jackson/Obenshain district? I couldn't figure it out then, and I sure can't figure it out now.
UPDATE 7:23 pm: In Senate District 38, VPAP has it at Chafin 6,905 (62.12%)-Hymes 3,337 (30.02%)-Mullins 868 (7.81%) with 45 of 120 precincts counted. Pretty much over, barring a miraculous comeback by Hymes.
UPDATE 7:22 pm: According to the Arlington County Elections Board Twitter feed, Rip Sullivan beat Dave Foster in Thrifton precinct 415-315, in Marshall precinct 337-211, in Wilson precinct 129-86, and in Crystal Plaza precinct 48-37. Looking good for Rip (especially when you consider that his home base is in Dranesville/McLean, while Foster's is in Arlington.
UPDATE 7:16 pm: Del. Greg Habeeb (@GregHabeeb) tweets, "First precinct reports I'm hearing from the Senate Special Election sound VERY promising." Habeeb's a Republican, by the way, so that's not good news if you're on the "blue team."
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