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Virginia Politics

PW County Clerk, Employer of Bigoted Extremist RPV Treasurer, Asks for Stay of Gay Marriage Ruling

by: lowkell

Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 17:05:01 PM EDT

First, the breaking news from Markus Schmidt of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Following Monday's landmark appellate court decision to uphold a ruling to strike down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban, one of the defendants in the case has asked the court for a motion to stay the ruling, pending an eventual U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Michele B. McQuigg, circuit court clerk in Prince William County, filed the motion today with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. She also waived her right for a rehearing before the full Court of Appeals, paving the way for a likely Supreme Court review this fall.

Now, why am I not surprised that McQuigg employs extremist bigot - and Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) Treasurer - Bob FitzSimmonds in her office? That's right, FitzSimmonds is Chief Deputy Clerk of Prince William County, just under Michelle McQuigg on the organizational chart. After I broke the initial story of FitzSimmond's anti-Muslim (and anti-Sikh, anti-Animist, and anti-Jain) remarks on Wednesday, I emailed McQuigg to ask her if she had any comment, possibly a condemnation, and unsurprisingly received no response. Of course, if McQuigg didn't take any action - such as firing FitzSimmonds - after his infamous "sexist tw**" remarks, or after this insane interview (in which he talked about "when Obama is 90 years old and he dies and goes to Hell," how he's "not a big fan of contraception," and how pretty soon we'll be handing out morning-after pills "to babies"), then we can only presume that McQuigg - a Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1998 to 2008 - agrees with FitzSimmonds. Of course, based on McQuigg's Project Vote Smart ratings (e.g., ZERO from NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, ZERO from Planned Parenthood, 100% from the Family Foundation of Virginia), that wouldn't be surprising in the least.

P.S. h/t to Anna Scholl of ProgressVA for catching that one immediately.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

On a Scale of 1-10, How Much Do I Care About the McDonnells' Trial?

by: lowkell

Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 11:20:41 AM EDT

I know, I know, I'm supposed to be utterly enthralled by the trial of Bob and Maureen McDonnell. Scandal! Intrigue! He said! She said! Affair(s)! Or not! Corruption! New York shopping trips! Ferraris! Rolexes! $10,000 wedding gifts!

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Sorry, but on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is absolutely rapt attention and 1 is a snoozefest, I'm probably at a 3 or 4 max right now with this pathetic trial of grifters, trashy/shallow/vapid losers, liars and tawdry slimeballs.

Why don't I care? First off, I have never liked soap operas. Or TV. Or gossip about who's dating who in Hollywood. Or tons of stuff that most Americans apparently find fascinating. Sure, there's some "schadenfreude" (great German word) for yet another right-wing "family values" politician (once dubbed "Taliban Bob", by journalist Jim Spencer of the Daily Press, for T-Bob's persecution of a lesbian judge under Virginia's bizarre "crimes against nature" laws) proven to be a massive hypocrite, but other than that...meh.

Second, other than their friends and families (and the high-priced attorneys involved in this case), who cares what happens to the McDonnells at this point? They have no power, nor are they ever likely to have power or a political future again, regardless of the outcome in this case. Why do I say that? Because, even prior to the case itself, the McDonnells' once squeaky-clean image -- one that I never bought but a lot of Virginians did for some strange reason -- was down the toilet bowl and long gone into the sewage treatment plant. The point is, the McDonnells' trial is not like the case of Rod Blagojevich, who was still Governor of Illinois when he "was arrested at his home by federal agents and charged with corruption," followed by the Illinois House voting 114-1 (with three abstentions) to impeach the guy. Now THAT was both dramatic AND had real political implications. In the case of the McDonnells, at this point, I'm not seeing any political implications to them, no matter what happens in this trial.

Third, I actually find the attention being given to the McDonnells' trial to be harmful, in the sense that it's sucking up media oxygen on idiocy and frivolity (the "crush" defense? Maureen staring "raptly" at Jonnie Williams? seriously?!? I know the media loves the "freak show" and frivolity, but just...barf!), while truly important issues are ignored. Most relevant to this case, the issue that we SHOULD be focused on is why Virginia's ethics laws are so pathetically weak (our state received an F grade from the Center for Public Integrity and others), and why it's so hard to get our General Assembly to strengthen them? How about a total ban on all gifts - tangible, in kind; travel, meals, entertainment; whatever - to elected officials? Also note that, as a ProgressVA investigation found, "the law would not have prevented any of the 756 gifts received by lawmakers in 2012." So what are we doing about this situation? More broadly, what are we doing to rein in all the money from corporations, lobbyists, and wealthy individuals that's sloshing around our state government? So far, basically nothing, and this soap opera of Jonnie Williams and the McDonnells isn't moving us any closer in that direction, as far as I can determine.

Finally, while the press is expending significant resources covering this trial's blow-by-blow, he-said-she-said idiocy, there are important elections coming up in Virginia for the House of Delegates and State Senate, which will have serious implications for the balance of power in the latter legislative body. It also would be interesting if some of the journalistic "juice" now focused on the McDonnells' pathetic soap opera could, for instance, take a look at the extreme positions of Dave Brat, or why the Republican Party of Virginia can't seem to (or doesn't want to) get rid of the raving bigot who serves as the party's Treasurer, or a serious review of the damage Eric Can'tor has done to our country during his time in the U.S. House of Representatives, or a million other topics more important than the has-been, will-never-be-again McDonnells.

So yeah, as a Virginia political blogger, I guess I'm supposed to be watching this trial with rapt attention. Yet for the reasons listed above, and more, I just can't bring myself to care that much.

P.S. If you DO care about this trial, Del. Scott Surovell has some thoughts on week #1 (gack, only week #1?!?). Enjoy (?).

Discuss :: (9 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 06:41:30 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, August 1. Also check out the photo (click to "embiggen") following yesterday's press conference with 48th HoD district Democratic nominee Rip Sullivan and others explaining why a vote for Republican Dave Foster is a vote against women's health and right to control their own bodies in Virginia.

*Bush-Era EPA Administrator Baffles Fox Business Hosts: "We Need To Regulate" Carbon
*House GOP pulls border bill rather than face defeat (Utterly dysfuntional party, why would anyone vote for these folks?)
*Another self-inflicted wound for GOP
*How Ted Cruz helped kill Boehner's immigration bill (The fact that an extremist like Ted Cruz has such influence in the Republican Party is truly disturbing.)
*Cease-fire faltering between Israel, Hamas
*On eve of recess, Congress approves billions in funding for VA, highways (The highway funding bill is simply kicking the can down the road a few months. #FAIL)
*Warner, Kaine introduce bill to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank (Good luck passing it through the crazy Teapublican House!)
*House GOP in disarray: Border fight delays recess (A fight between the extremists and the right wingnuts. Ugh.)
*Boehner Encourages Obama To Take Executive Action, One Day After Voting To Sue Obama Over Executive Action
*GOP leaders stumble on Day One
*Departing majority leader to leave House altogether ("Eric Cantor said he'll vacate his seat early." Don't let the revolving door hit you!)
*85 endorse McQuinn for Marsh's Senate seat
*Witness: McDonnells received gifts 'because they're helping me' (Obviously. Does anyone seriously believe otherwise?)
*Dvorak: Cue the rapt gaze from Va.'s first lady (Utterly bizarre.)
*GOP official who questioned Muslims' contributions denies he offered to quit ("Two Va. party officials say Treasurer Bob FitzSimmonds offered to resign, but he told a blog he didn't." Hahahahaha.)
*Jonnie Williams: McDonnells requested cars, discussed stock
*McDonnell Trial notes - July 31, 2014 ("Williams is the star witness for the prosecution; he must not only be believed, but his testimony must be remembered. It has to make an impression on the jury that will last for another month.")
*Bob FitzSimmonds: WaPo wrong, no resignation offered
*Portsmouth taxed bridge, then state lawmakers quietly untaxed it
*Night turns ugly for Nats in blowout loss to Phillies (Hopefully this will help: "Nationals acquire Indians' infielder Cabrera for prospect Walters")
*Cloudier and muggier; showers and storms a risk through the weekend

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 06:32:35 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, July 31. Also, check out the photo courtesy of former Arlington County Board candidate Peter Fallon, of the candidates at the Democratic 48th House of Delegates district "unity" event last night. From left to right, they are: Paul Holland, David Boling, Yasmine Taeb, Andrew Schneider, nominee Rip Sullivan, and Jacqueline Wilson. I'm not sure where the 7th candidate, Atima Omara, was.

*Economy's growth rate surges to 4 percent in second quarter (And of course, President Obama and the Democratic Party get some credit for saving us from the Bush/Cheney Great Recession. Oh wait...of course they don't, at least not among Republicans, who certainly have been there to criticize Obama and the Democrats when the economy has been in bad shape. Hmmmm.)
*How Media's "Polarized" Voter Fixation Gives The Radical GOP A Pass (Bingo.)
*Dana Milbank: In House, priorities - like wisdom and understanding - in short supply ("House Republicans were instead taking up their not-quite-impeachment legislation: a bill that would authorize the House to sue President Obama for allegedly violating the Constitution, which, by definition, is an impeachable offense.")
*For Hamas, hospitals, mosques and schools are also armories
*Arab Leaders, Viewing Hamas as Worse Than Israel, Stay Silent
*Crying wolf on impeachment: The GOP's impeachment two-step
*House Republicans Vote To Sue Obama
*Senator Denies Climate Change On Senate Floor And Gets A Science Lesson From His Colleague (This science denial is Exhibit A in the sickness currently afflicting the Republican/Tea Party.)
*Fighting onerous rules for clinics ("A review of costly building regulations governing Virginia abortion clinics will wrap up its public comment period today, a 45-day phase that has drawn thousands of messages from supporters and opponents across the commonwealth.")
*Virginia GOP official under fire for online post about Muslims (We broke that one and Patricia Sullivan of the Post credited us/linked to Blue Virginia. Which is the way it's supposed to work - thanks!)
*Senator Calls for Resignation of GOP Treasurer After Offensive Comments
*I Would LIke Bob FItzSimmonds To Meet Someone. She Is My Daughter's Babysitter And She Is Muslim
*Star witness: McDonnell's wife proposed deal ("Richmond businessman Jonnie Williams testified that Virginia's then-first lady offered to help his company, with her husband's blessing, for $65,000.")
*Williams testifies: It wasn't friendship. It was business. (And the McDonnells were big enough rubes to think he was their friend. Duhhhh.)
*Virginia Elections Secretary Accidentally Mails 125,000 Erroneous Voter Registration Warnings (WTF?!?)
*U-Va. Board of Visitors considers limiting public dissent
*McAuliffe says he's "heartsick" over Cantor's primary defeat, loss of clout (Seriously? Cantor was overwhelmingly a force for ill. Good riddance.)
*McDonnells' 'twisted love story' has important lesson about public officials
*Virginia Settles ABC Lawsuit
*McAuliffe restores voting rights of 2,500 felons (Good, now what about the rest of them?)
*Roark helps Nationals avoid sweep in Miami
*Unlimited sun today but weekend looks likely to be on the soggy side

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 06:19:48 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, July 30. Also, any suggested captions for the photo, other than "horrifying," "scary," "disturbing," and "extreme?"

*White House: Climate Inaction Could Cost $150 Billion ("Senior administration officials urge lawmakers and industry groups not to be penny wise and pound foolish.")
*Obama announces expanded sanctions against Russia as E.U. aligns (Good.)
*Building a progressive alternative to ALEC ("...there is the need for some kind of counterweight to ALEC, one built and operated with progressive values in mind. And soon, we might have one.")
*Eric Cantor's final days
*Ted Cruz's nerve to blame Democrats (He may not have any judgment, or sanity, or ethics, or decency, but he certainly does have nerve!)
*Schapiro: A very different McDonnell stands trial ("When Bob McDonnell ran for governor in 2009, he depicted his family as the Cleavers: bustling and wholesome. Five years later, running for his life, McDonnell is depicting his family as the Bundys: bitter and dysfunctional.")
*Defense attorney: Maureen McDonnell had crush on Williams
*A very sad day in court in Virginia ("One could get snarky about this seemingly over-the-top soap opera. But no one in the courtroom seemed to be smirking.")
*Lawyer: McDonnell marriage had 'broken down' (Top comment in the Post article: "Right, and Maureen asked the guy she had a crush on to give her husband a Rolex; and her husband didn't ask where it came from. And her husband had a crush too, which is why he asked Williams for loans? And the daughter had a crush and that's why McDonnell allowed Williams to pay for the wedding reception? Geez, sounds pretty lame as well as more than a little creepy.")
*List narrows for future FBI headquarters: Greenbelt, Landover or Springfield
*Same-sex marriages in Virginia likely must await a Supreme Court ruling
*Public comment on Va. abortion clinic rules ends this week
*Ex-Rep. Caldwell Butler, key figure in Watergate summer, dies at 89
*Our view: Caldwell Butler's legacy
*Fairfax board rejects extension of controversial Lorton landfill's use (Fascinating: "The 6-to-4 vote came after several attempts to compromise on the plan, which pitted local concerns about truck traffic against broader hopes to develop green energy technology in a rapidly transforming area of the county that overlooks the Occoquan River.")
*7 transportation projects that would have changed Washington (Several of these, particularly the higheway through DC, are absolutely nuts; thank goodness they were never built!)
*Henderson Alvarez outduels Stephen Strasburg as depleted Nats fall, 3-0
*Forecast remains fabulous: Very pleasant and no heat wave in sight

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 06:44:13 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, July 29. The photo is of former Raising Kaine/RK and Blue Virginia blogger Teddy Goodson, who passed away over the weekend, doing what she did best: taking the Democratic battle right to Republicans (which, as a Republican for many decades of her life, she was certainly qualified to do). RIP Teddy (although knowing Teddy, she probably took her fight for progressive values to the afterlife - if there is one - with her, and not rest for a minute!).

*Israel steps up bombardment of Gaza Strip
*Big Oil's New Pitch: Fracking Means Never Having To Fear Putin ("Oil and gas companies want Washington to believe that fracking can save Ukraine from Russia. It can't.")
*Dana Milbank: North Carolina Republicans put ideology above lives (Mayor "O'Neal arrived on Capitol Hill carrying his hiking pole and wearing trail shoes, shorts and a "Save our Hospital" T-shirt. He was accompanied by about 250 supporters, most affiliated with labor unions, and by civil rights leaders."
*Republicans are absent on immigration reform ("The Republican Party's paralysis on immigration is so complete - and so utterly irresponsible - that President Obama has no choice but to act on his own.")
*Exclusive: GOP Senate Candidate Caught Saying States Can Nullify Laws (Nullification?!? Seriously? These people are seriously deranged.)
*North Carolina AG: It's Time To Stop Fighting Gay Marriage In Court (Basically, everyone's coming to the same exact conclusion that Virginia AG Mark Herring came to months ago. Everyone who attacked Herring on that owes him an apology.)
*Obama Mulls Massive Move on Immigration ("Such a large-scale move on immigration could scramble election-year politics and lead some conservative Republicans to push for impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama, a prospect White House officials have openly discussed.")
*4th circuit ruling brings joy to some, upset to others (Yeah, "Sideshow Bob" and "Ewwwwww" Jackson are bummed! LOL)
*The Virginia cases at the heart of the ruling rejecting the state's same sex marriage ban
*Appeals court rules that Va.'s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional
*Jury picked, McDonnells prepare to face charges
*Outside McDonnells' courtroom, a study in contrasts ("Former Gov. Bob McDonnell looked pale and thin but cool and confident, sounding almost chipper as he greeted the crowd. His wife looked small, nervous and unsteady on high heels.")
*McDonnell trial: Defense witness list
*McDonnell trial: Prosecution witness list
*Warner says Va. delegation cooperation on carrier a model to break D.C. gridlock
*$250 speaks volumes ("Last week, the Virginia Supreme Court ordered the conservative group that unsuccessfully sued Mr. Mann and U.Va. in order to get at his unpublished research and related emails to pay him $250 in damages.")
*McCollum challenging $3,500 filing fee for Senate primary ("McCollum called the filing fee excessive and said it benefits sitting members of the General Assembly who already have campaign funds at their disposal. His opponents in the Aug. 9 primary are Dels. Rosalyn R. Dance, D-Petersburg, and Delores L. McQuinn, D-Richmond.")
*Stronger texting laws save lives
*Silver Line's 5 new stations weather their first rush of weekday commuters
*Redskins name gets even harder for Daniel Snyder to defend (Of course, the Washington Post keeps using the name, including in the very editorial in which they say it has to go. Logic, anyone?)
*Miami Marlins erase six-run deficit, score four in ninth to stun Washington Nationals (Gack.)
*Three days of top-notch weather

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 07:12:44 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, July 27. Also see the video of State Senator George Barker welcoming Mayor Adam O'Neal, the "walking mayor," from North Carolina to Woodbridge, Virginia. Sen. Barker thanks Mayor O'Neal for his walk and for "inspiring us," says "we're with you" and that Virginia shares many of the same issues and problems (e.g., with rural hospitals under tremendous financial pressure, being forced to close in Lee County, etc.) as North Carolina. Sen. Barker notes that only 2 legislators in the entire General Assembly out of 140 who represent largely rural areas and who supported closing the coverage gap, and only 1 is a Republican. "They are hurting their own constituents." Sen. Barker notes that his isn't just happening in rural areas, but that people are dying because of lack of health care in urban/suburban areas as well. Bottom line: we need to expand Medicaid ASAP.

*Israel Resumes Gaza Offensive After Hamas Rocket Attacks (Note: AFTER Hamas rocket attacks.)
*Federal judge overturns D.C. ban on carrying handguns (Another conservative activist judge...)
*Charlie Crist: "I'm not a scientist either but I can use my brain and I can talk to one" (Great line. Apparently, many Republicans can't use their brain or talk to a scientist.)
*Repeal Prohibition, Again ("It is past time to end the ban on marijuana. The case for legalization: the first part in a series.")
*Rand Paul Is Also A Minority And Will Lead His Libertarian People Out of Bondage (Hahahahaha. Also, just a handful of people came to hear his ridiculous speech. #FAIL all around, as usual with this loser/wacko.)
*Getting Back Virginia's Good Name, Reputation ("What Virginians deserve is the absolute assurance their elected officials are as clean as Caesar's wife. That means, in our view, strict bans on all gifts - tangible or not. Period. No free or subsidized trips to seminars. No free meals on lobbyists' tabs. No little trips to that swanky golf course, paid for by corporations with business before the state. Nothing.")
*Schapiro: McDonnell legacy damaged before Giftgate ("Whether it was transportation, privatization, education or ethics - an issue he addressed literally days before his indictment - McDonnell took steps that, he believed, would change the course of government. Instead, McDonnell's program has been stepped on. Make that: trampled - and by supposed friends.")
*Expect drama at the McDonnells' corruption trial: 'It's going to be ugly' ("Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton could even get a mention in the trial of the ex-governor and his wife.")
*McDonnell trial tells Va. politicians that the feds are watching
*Trial comes down to Bob McDonnell's conduct ("Former Gov. Bob McDonnell will have to answer for his own conduct, not his wife's, when their trial on corruption charges begins Monday in federal court in Richmond.")
*Mark Warner on offense in Virginia Senate debate  

There's More... :: (14 Comments, 127 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Jul 26, 2014 at 06:32:34 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, July 26. Also see President Obama's weekly address, in which he "continued his call for our nation to rally around an economic patriotism that says rather than protecting wasteful tax loopholes for a few at the top, we should be investing in things like education and job training that grow the economy for everybody."

*Pause in Gaza fighting begins as promised
*Russia and Ukraine trade charges of border shelling
*Putin Isolated as EU Prepares Tougher Sanctions on Russia
*Why the Border Crisis Is a Myth ("...the myth of a 'crisis' is being used by politicians to justify ever-tighter restrictions on immigration, play to anti-immigrant voters in the fall elections and ignore the reasons so many children are coming here in the first place.")
*Paul Ryan's Anti-Poverty Plan Would Cost Billions to Implement. Will GOPers Go for That?
*Benny Johnson and Buzzfeed's Achilles heel ("In the eyes of many journalists, BuzzFeed is constantly walking a fine line between aggregation, or 'curation,' and theft.")
*Meet The Congressman Who Assumed Two Senior U.S. Officials Were Foreigners (Of course he's a Republican...what else?)
*Book review: "I Heard My Country Calling," by James Webb (Interesting, definitely not a positive review...)
*Sen. Kaine, Loudoun-based firms advocate for Ex-Im Bank (Funding the Ex-Im Bank is a no brainer. Which is probably why Teapublicans oppose it.)
*Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Wife Set for Corruption Trial ("Couple Is Accused of Accepting Gifts in Exchange for Promoting a Friend's Company")
*Saslaw says 40 percent of rural hospitals will close in states that don't expand Medicaid (Still: "40 percent of rural hospitals are running in the red and those located in states that don't broaden Medicaid eligibility may see their problems exacerbated.")
*Warner and Gillespie to face off in first debate ("The Democratic senator and his GOP rival will square off for 90 minutes at the Greenbrier resort on Saturday.")
*Virginia keeping drug used in botched executions
*McAuliffe says it's a blessing more didn't die in tornado
*McDonnell defense subpoenas
*Rigell seeks funds to promote girls' science education
*Loudoun will pay Delgaudio's legal fees in recall case
*'It's a great piece of American history' ("While restoring U-Va.'s iconic Rotunda, workers discovered remnants of its Jeffersonian past.")
*Roark earns 10th win, Span collects 4 hits as Nats rough up Reds, 4-1
*Isolated storm risk today; increased threat of severe weather Sunday

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 06:46:43 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, July 25. Also see the video of Sen. Tim Kaine making the case to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank ("let's create American jobs, let's help American businesses find customers abroad, and let's do it at no cost to the American taxpayer")

*John McCain: Arizona execution 'torture' (For once I agree with McCain.)
*Central American leaders want Washington's help with immigration crisis (And they absolutely should get it, given that we're largely responsible for the problem due to our illegal drug consumption in this country that's fueling the Central American drug wars.)
*A no-show in Ukraine ("Where is the European Union's Russia strategy?" As with America, unfortunately there are very few good options when it comes to dealing with Russia...)
*The Progressive Proposal Buried In Paul Ryan's Poverty Plan ("On criminal justice, Ryan quietly shifted his position to endorse bipartisan, progressive reform including moves to reform draconian drug sentences, and policies that ease re-entry from prison.")
*Will an Ethics Scandal-and Jimmy Carter's Grandson-Bring Georgia's GOP Governor Down? (Don't look now, Teapublicans, but Georgia's turning blue!)
*Sadly, politics as usual ("Is McDonnell guilty? Twelve of our fellow citizens will hear the evidence and tell us. But we know this much already: This will not be pretty.")
*Senate Race: Warner, Gillespie Set for First Debate This Weekend
*An Instant Classic War on Women Whiff ("There's no sexism whatsoever in attributing 'stalker-like' behavior to Comstock.")
*U.S. wants judge to compel Williams' former assistant to testify
*
*Regulators seek funds from four Justice coal mines ("Virginia regulators are moving against the Roanoke-based coal mining enterprises of Jim Justice to restore mined land at company expense because, they say, Justice isn't doing it.")
*Silver Line opening will be a boon for Northern Virginia ("Expected to bring in 100,000 new jobs")
*Metro's Silver Line 'is ready for its close-up'
*Va. 'sexting' case reignites debate over whether law is too harsh on teens ("Some push for a misdemeanor alternative to treating the practice under child pornography laws.")
*Fairfax County low-income housing plan likely to be tabled
*2 killed in campground after tornado strikes Virginia's Eastern Shore
*Survivors recount tornado that killed two on Eastern Shore
*Sunny and pleasant today; heat, humidity return this weekend

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Saturday: Prince William County Rally In Support Of Medicaid Expansion With "Walking Mayor"

by: lowkell

Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 11:31:59 AM EDT

From ProgressVA:

Woodbridge, VA – Prince William County residents and elected officials will join Adam O’Neal, the Republican mayor of Bellhaven, NC, to discuss the importance of expanding Medicaid and closing the coverage gap to families and health care providers. Mayor O’Neal is walking 273 miles from Bellhaven to Washington, DC to highlight the impact of closing the coverage gap on local communities. As in Virginia, conservatives in the North Carolina General Assembly are blocking Medicaid expansion. O'Neal became an outspoken critic of the obstruction when his local hospital closed as a direct result of the lack of expansion.

In Virginia, a hospital in Lee County has already closed and without expansion, hospitals and clinics like the Woodbridge Community Health Center are facing financial pressures that could impact their ability to continue to serve our community. According to The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, over 13,000 Prince William residents could access affordable care if Virginia closes the coverage gap.

WHO: Mayor Adam O’Neal, Delegate Michael Futrell, State Senator George Barker, Virginia New Majority, Planned Parenthood of Metro Washington, ProgressVA, and local community leaders

WHAT: Rally in support of closing the coverage gap and extending quality, affordable health care coverage to up to 400,000 Virginians

WHEN: Saturday, July 26th at 6pm

WHERE: Outside the Greater Prince William Community Health Center, 4379 Ridgewood Center Dr, Woodbridge, VA 22192

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 06:42:28 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, July 24. Also, courtesy of Eric Byler and Annabel Park, see the statement of GOP Mayor Adam O'Neal after meeting with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday. Mayor O'Neal is currently making his way across Virginia, en route to Washington, DC, as part of his "14-day, 273-mile march to Washington, DC in support of quality health care."

*A conservative judiciary run amok ("By effectively gutting the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday, two members of a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals showed how far right-leaning jurists have strayed from such impartiality. We are confronted with a conservative judiciary that will use any argument it can muster to win ideological victories that elude their side in the elected branches of our government")
*Arizona execution lasts nearly two hours, witness says Joseph Wood was 'gasping and struggling to breathe' (Barbaric. The death penalty is a disgrace to our nation and needs to be abolished.)
*U.S. ramps up pressure on Israel over Gaza campaign
*Intense battles continue to rage in eastern Ukraine
*The U.S. should push for the disarming of Hamas in Gaza-Israel cease-fire
*Blow: Paul Ryan and His Poverty Prophet
*Latest front in Clinton wars: Virginia suburbs ("Comstock's bid against Democratic Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust has reopened the old wounds of Travelgate, Filegate, Monicagate and more. But the stakes go way beyond settling old scores. Clinton allies worry that if Comstock wins and Hillary Clinton returns to the White House as president, she'll reprise her role as Clinton investigator-in-chief." Don't let that happen!)
*A heartfelt call to action on child refugees from Kaine ("Today seems to be the day for Virginia politicians to get personal - on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Tim Kaine spoke  from the heart on the issue of child refugees on the nation's southern border, reminding his colleagues 'that we're dealing with little kids.'")
*Warner says W&M vet's clinic, other Virginians could help VA
*An unwavering focus ("Flaws in Virginia's mental health system demand our commitment to reform")
*McAuliffe heads west for PAC fundraisers (Good, we're going to need a LOT of money for the 2015 elections if we want to hold the Senate and pick up a bunch of seats in the House of Delegates!)
*Fighting Va. flooding linked to rising seas will be complicated, costly
*Confederate group plans rally over Washington and Lee flags (WTF? Seriously?!?)

There's More... :: (4 Comments, 119 words in story)

Video: Arlington Young Dems Forum on "How to Elect More Women"

by: lowkell

Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 21:50:08 PM EDT

Interesting forum tonight at Cafe Asia in Arlington on "How to Elect More Women," organized by the Arlington Young Democrats Women's Caucus. Participants included Jennifer Boysko, who ran in 2013 and lost to Del. Tom Rust (R-86th) by just 32 votes out of 21,000 cast; Kathleen Murphy, who ran in 2013 and lost to Del. Barbara Comstock (R-34th) by just 422 votes out of 29,544 cast; State Senator Barbara Favola (D-31st); Yasmine Taeb, who was recently a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 48th district; and State Senator Jennifer Wexton, who won a special election to fill the seat of Mark Herring, who had been elected as Attorney General of Virginia in 2013. Here's some video from the event. Note that the acoustics in the room were not the greatest, nor was the microphone used by the speakers, and that (unfortunately) reflected in the quality of the recording.

My bottom line takeaways were: 1) many of the lessons for electing women are applicable to electing ANYONE, male or female; 2) there are both advantages (e.g., more women vote; women are perceived as more likely to be running for the "right reasons" and not just power hungry, etc.) and disadvantages (e.g., weak recruitment and developmemnt of female candidates) for women running for elective office; 3) while the number of women holding elective office in this country is increasing, it's still far lower than women's share of the population, let alone the electorate; and 4) the Democratic Party most definitely needs to up its game when it comes to recruiting, training, and helping elect strong, qualified female candidates.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 117 words in story)

Virginia School Board Members Weigh Tax Authority

by: Dan Sullivan

Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 08:11:29 AM EDT

Waynesboro High School photo 130203WaynesboroHighSchool_zpsb2f61365.gifIt isn't a formal proposal just yet, but it could move that direction at the September Legislative Advocacy Conference of the Virginia School Board Association (VBSA). Under the radar, school board members are questioning whether the Virginia Constitution allows the legislature to grant tax authority to school districts.

In a number of conversations that began during the McDonnell administration's efforts to strangle the budget in order to boast fiscal austerity and have intensified as the effects have manifest, school board members across the Virginia have floated concepts of revenue generation to meet shortfalls that are starving maintenance and operational funding. Because there is no standard for engineering studies and no requirement to maintain a maintenance reserve, there is no practical measure of unfunded liabilities. In the short run, that masks the accumulating real deficit.  

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 358 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 06:37:45 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, July 23.

*Kerry lands in Israel in pursuit of cease-fire
*U.S. releases intelligence on Flight 17
*Appeals courts split on health-law subsidies
*No, the Halbig case isn't going to destroy Obamacare
*The Supreme Court's Coming Paralysis
*Why Democrats Now Have a Shot in Georgia
*Schapiro: Political debate flares anew over Va. pension fund ("...if VRS had stuck with U.S. equities based on the S&P 500, and bonds selected from a broad index, the fund would have piled up another $6.6 billion over three years. The total value of its holdings would exceed $72 billion.")
*Medicaid session change: House coming in Sept. 18
*Walking mayor passes through Capitol Square ("Adam O'Neal, the eastern North Carolina mayor walking to Washington D.C. to draw attention to a local hospital closure, and to argue in favor of Medicaid expansion, was in Richmond today.")
*McAuliffe headed to Aspen, L.A. for PAC fundraisers (Virginia Dems are going to need a ton of money for 2015.)
*Virginia psychiatric-bed registry does not work as intended, lawmakers told
*Chance for change with Deeds pick
*RC Poll: Warner lead Gillespie in Senate race; Clinton keeps edge over possible 2016 Republican rivals; Obama approval down (I wish the Warner-Gillespie numbers were true. The problem is, Roanoke College is notorious for its horrendously bad polling.)
*EDITORIAL: Debate more
*For health and safety ("Women's clinic regulations in Virginia should reflect these straightforward goals")
*McAuliffe decides against appeal of school takeover ruling
*Clinging to a pipe dream for Virginia ("Despite last week's renewed push toward offshore drilling and its attendant riches, there remains precious little movement in Washington toward repairing a royalty scheme that makes no provision for Atlantic drilling")
*Coal Ash: Law group says 94 percent of deposit still in river
*Ron Jaworski ranks Robert Griffin III last among NFC East quarterbacks
*Nats battle back to best Rockies; Zimmerman leaves with injury
*Heat, humidity dominate today, but relief is right around the corner

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Don Shaw to Run for 13th HOD Seat Against Bob Marshall

by: donshaw

Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 08:42:07 AM EDT

I just talked to Don, he seems like he'll be a strong candidate against "Sideshow Bob." As for Atif Qarni, who ran against "Sideshow" the last time, stay tuned for some interesting news... :) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: 571-248-1322, info@shawfordelegate.com

July 22, 2014

Don Shaw Announces Campaign for Virginia House of Delegates

Gainesville, VA - Today, Don Shaw announced his candidacy for the 13th House of Delegates District seat. The district covers portions of the Brentsville, Coles, Gainesville, and Occoquan Magisterial Districts in Prince William County as well as all of Manassas Park City.  The race will take place in November 2015.

"After having given the situation a lot of thought," Shaw said, "I have decided I can make a greater impact in Richmond by working to advance responsible economic legislation and mainstream social policies in the General Assembly.  I look forward to serving the constituents of the 13th House District."

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 107 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 06:45:20 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, July 22. Also see Jack Trammell, "professor and Democratic candidate vying for Eric Cantor's seat, [as he] joins Luke Russert to discuss his campaign as well as being coworkers and rivals with Dave Brat."

*Ukraine rebels turn over bodies, data recorders ("The developments offered some hope that an international investigation might clarify how Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine.")
*Gaza conflict offers little hope of truce
*June 2014 was Earth's warmest on record (Any more questions by the science-denying freaks and tools out there?)
*The West needs a strategy to contain the world's newest rogue state - Russia ("It's time to treat Mr. Putin's Russia as what it has become - a dangerous outlaw regime that needs to be contained.")
*New England Journal Of Medicine: 20 Million Covered Under Obamacare
*If the Left Wants Scapegoats, Just Look in the Mirror ("So fine. Blame Obama if it makes you feel better. That's what we elect presidents for: to take the blame. But he only deserves his share. The rest of us, who were unable to take advantage of an epic financial collapse to get the public firmly in favor of pitchforks and universal health care, deserve most of it. The mirror doesn't lie.")
*Warner dodges question about how much he'll campaign with Obama
*McDonnell wants subpoena for public official to stay private
*Mental health panel discusses 'streeting' of psychiatric patients
*First bills for 2015 Assembly session emerge
*Tighten Chesapeake coal waste regulations
*One option for port authority: $10M treasury loan
*Delgaudio regains control of Sterling district budget ("Some fellow Loudoun supervisors protest, urging board to wait until a new county ordinance takes effect.")
*Metro says 'all systems go' for scheduled opening of Silver Line Saturday
*Casey: Photo IDs may hamper senior voting (Republicans don't care.)
*Arlington pub crawls to pay security and cleanup costs (As well they should!)
*Virginia oyster harvest surges to half a million bushels ("2013 records highest year since 1987")
*Former Richmond mayor to seek state Senate seat ("Rudolph 'Rudy' C. McCollum, an attorney in private practice, announced Monday that he is seeking to fill the vacancy in the 16th Senate District in a special election on Nov. 4.")
*Arch Coal to idle Wise County complex, cut 213 full-time jobs (Why don't they switch to installing solar power and improving homes/businesses' energy efficiency? There are tons of potential jobs there.)
*Tapping solar power just got easier in Roanoke
*Desmond's slugging powers Nats past Rockies in road trip opener, 7-2
*Brief burst of summer heat and humidity before late week retreat

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 06:39:40 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, July 21. The photo is of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring volunteering the other day at the Remote Area Medical clinic in Wise County. Now, if only people from that area would stop voting for Republicans who are blocking Medicaid expansion, the Remote Area Medical clinic might not even be necessary.

*U.S. builds case against rebels, Russia in jet strike (Then what?)
*How Hamas uses its 'terror' tunnels
*Will Flight 17 focus us? ("Obama's foes make every policy issue about him.")
*Israel Claims Destruction of Two More Gaza Tunnels
*Kerry Returns to Middle East to Push for Israel-Hamas Cease-Fire
*The Fiscal Fizzle ("The budget office predicts that this year's federal deficit will be just 2.8 percent of G.D.P., down from 9.8 percent in 2009.")
*Legislative panel studying mental health reforms convenes Monday
*In Virginia's 10th, GOP struggles to woo minority voters (Smart of them to try, but why would any minority vote for the party of exclusion and intolerance?)
*Warner makes his case for second Senate term
*Va. suburbs brace for parking battles
as Silver Line debut draws near

*More money for Lynchburg road projects, but local leaders still miffed
*Virginia Tech researchers search for ways to better trace effects of coal ash spills (How about not have these spills in the first place?)
*Humid through midweek as storm chances slowly rise

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:08:46 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, July 20. The photo is of Del. Mark Keam (D-Vienna), who wrote yesterday: "I had the pleasure of joining federal, state and local officials to cut the ribbon to open the Wiehle-Reston East Station on the new Silver Line Metro. The trains will start test runs this week and accept passengers beginning next Saturday."

*U.S. official: Missile from Russia ("Sophisticated launchers were in the hands of separatists")
*Moran blasts Kremlin for enabling 'mass murder'
*Southern Black voters to the rescue in the Senate?
*Russia says it will bar entry to 13 Americans, including Virginia's Moran (Yeah, that will be really effective...not.)
*What we learned from liberals at Netroots Nation ("Even though grassroots activists acknowledge that Clinton is the most electable Democrat on the radar right now, they don't want a Clinton coronation.")
*At McDonnell corruption trial, former Va. governor's character will be key ("Once known as an effective public servant, he will try to convince jurors that his reputation was not a farce.")
*McDonnell's fall reads like a Greek tragedy of Virginia politics (A really bad Greek tragedy, perhaps.)
*Schapiro: Perhaps it's time for McAuliffe to change the subject ("One increasingly hears in General Assembly circles - Democratic and Republican - that McAuliffe should start talking about something other than a Medicaid-financed expansion of Obamacare; that he should more sharply focus on the economy and jobs.")
*Former general counsel to RNC aids McDonnell's fund
*Rand Paul coming to Arlington to meet Republicans in swing state of Virginia (This says it all: "[Pete] Snyder, who last year sought the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor, planned the events at Paul's request along with Ken Cuccinelli...")
*Virginia's GOP hurts the poor and the budget by refusing Medicaid expansion (All true, but Republicans don't care, and sadly they control the Virginia General Assembly for now.)
*Virginia's racist legacy at the polls
*1/3 of Va. Beach, Chesapeake students qualify for lunch program
*State funds to pay for contentious Columbia Pike streetcar ("The once-united Arlington County Board splits as the streetcar fight rages on.")
*Fairfax transportation director takes travelers' questions about Metro Silver Line
*As Silver Line simulations begin, so will the waits for Blue Line riders
*Nationals come out swinging to batter Brewers starter Matt Garza
*Summer humidity starts to return

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 07:01:37 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, July 19. Also see President Obama's weekly address, in which he discussed "the importance of ensuring that the economic progress we've made is shared by all hardworking Americans."

*Rebels limit access to crash site ("The fate of the data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was unclear, and separatists argued over whether to allow a brief cease-fire so bodies could be taken to morgues elsewhere.")
*Separatists said to have received antiaircraft training in Russia
*Obama builds circumstantial case against Russia ("The president said the rebels "have received a steady flow of support from Russia," including antiaircraft weapons.")
*Israeli clashes with Hamas intensify in Gaza
*The Malaysia Airlines crash is the end of Russia's fairy tale
*Ukraine rebels 'destroy MH17 clues' (The more they do this kind of thing, the more it appears that they did it and that most likely Russia was involved, which is why the rebels are covering tracks...)
*Obama to Issue Order Barring Anti-Gay Bias by Contractors
*For Republicans, Fine Line Seen on Immigration ("The recent wave of young migrants has complicated the Republican Party's effort to win back the support of Latinos while gaining immigration reform.")
*Virginia jobless rate inches up to 5.3 percent
*Oil and gas exploration off Va. coast a step closer (Huge mistake, not at all the direction we should be going!)
*Gov. McAuliffe says Wise clinic shows need for health care (No question about it. Hello Republicans?!?)
*McAuliffe finds fertile ground for Medicaid pitch in coal country ("In southwest Virginia, thousands line up for free health care at a clinic at the county fairgrounds.")
*At a huge free medical clinic in Southwest Virginia, misery that shouldn't exist (The ONLY reason for this is Republican opposition to providing universal healthcare coverage to all Americans.)
*Goodlatte, other congressmen ask McAuliffe to hold off on sale
*Foust opens Winchester office for congressional race
*Democrats trumpet fundraising totals in Northern Virginia race ("After collecting $705,000 since April 1, Foust's campaign has twice as much cash available as his Republican opponent, Del. Barbara J. Comstock...")
*Corey Stewart continues his immigration demagoguery (Yep, that's what this guy does, sad to say...)
*Arlington House Gets $12.35 Million Donation
*County Breaks Ground on Crystal City BRT
*Washington and Lee makes a wise decision to take down the Confederate flag
*Va. taxi companies file suit to stop Uber, other ride services
*Nationals open second half with a thud ("The Brewers light up Stephen Strasburg, whose starts are a mix of dominance and vulnerability.")
*Weekend looks mostly nice before heat and humidity begin to creep higher

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 07:01:37 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, July 19. Also see President Obama's weekly address, in which he discussed "the importance of ensuring that the economic progress we've made is shared by all hardworking Americans."

*Rebels limit access to crash site ("The fate of the data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was unclear, and separatists argued over whether to allow a brief cease-fire so bodies could be taken to morgues elsewhere.")
*Separatists said to have received antiaircraft training in Russia
*Obama builds circumstantial case against Russia ("The president said the rebels "have received a steady flow of support from Russia," including antiaircraft weapons.")
*Israeli clashes with Hamas intensify in Gaza
*The Malaysia Airlines crash is the end of Russia's fairy tale
*Ukraine rebels 'destroy MH17 clues' (The more they do this kind of thing, the more it appears that they did it and that most likely Russia was involved, which is why the rebels are covering tracks...)
*Obama to Issue Order Barring Anti-Gay Bias by Contractors
*For Republicans, Fine Line Seen on Immigration ("The recent wave of young migrants has complicated the Republican Party's effort to win back the support of Latinos while gaining immigration reform.")
*Virginia jobless rate inches up to 5.3 percent
*Oil and gas exploration off Va. coast a step closer (Huge mistake, not at all the direction we should be going!)
*Gov. McAuliffe says Wise clinic shows need for health care (No question about it. Hello Republicans?!?)
*McAuliffe finds fertile ground for Medicaid pitch in coal country ("In southwest Virginia, thousands line up for free health care at a clinic at the county fairgrounds.")
*At a huge free medical clinic in Southwest Virginia, misery that shouldn't exist (The ONLY reason for this is Republican opposition to providing universal healthcare coverage to all Americans.)
*Goodlatte, other congressmen ask McAuliffe to hold off on sale
*Foust opens Winchester office for congressional race
*Democrats trumpet fundraising totals in Northern Virginia race ("After collecting $705,000 since April 1, Foust's campaign has twice as much cash available as his Republican opponent, Del. Barbara J. Comstock...")
*Corey Stewart continues his immigration demagoguery (Yep, that's what this guy does, sad to say...)
*Arlington House Gets $12.35 Million Donation
*County Breaks Ground on Crystal City BRT
*Washington and Lee makes a wise decision to take down the Confederate flag
*Va. taxi companies file suit to stop Uber, other ride services
*Nationals open second half with a thud ("The Brewers light up Stephen Strasburg, whose starts are a mix of dominance and vulnerability.")
*Weekend looks mostly nice before heat and humidity begin to creep higher

Discuss :: (3 Comments)
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The purpose of Blue Virginia is to cover Virginia politics from a progressive and Democratic perspective. This is a group blog and a community blog. We invite everyone to comment here, but please be aware that profanity, personal attacks, bigotry, insults, rudeness, frequent unsupported or off-point statements, "trolling" (NOTE: that includes outright lies, whether about climate science, or what other people said, or whatever), and "troll ratings abuse" (e.g., "troll" rating someone simply because you disagree with their argument) are not permitted and, if continued, will lead to banning. For more on trolling, see the Daily Kos FAQs. Also note that diaries may be deleted if they do not contain at least 2 solid paragraphs of original text; if not, please use the comments section of a relevant diary. For more on writing diaries, click here. Thanks, and enjoy!

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