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Virginia Politics

VA State Senate Upholds Gov. McAuliffe's Vetoes of Bills that Violate Separation of Church/State

by: lowkell

Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 20:01:40 PM EDT

I'm glad to see that Gov. McAuliffe's vetoes were upheld today in the Virginia General Assembly, in particular SB 236 ("codifies right to religious viewpoint expression") and SB 555 ("Prohibits censorship by state government officials or agencies of the religious content of sermons made by chaplains of the Virginia National Guard") by right-wing extremist, Sen. Dick Black. As the Virginia ACLU wrote about SB 555, "a military chaplain acting in his or her official role does not have the right to use official mandatory events as a platform to disseminate his or her own religious view." And with regard to SB 236, the Virginia ACLU explained: the bill "would have compelled schools to sponsor student prayer at official school events where students and other members of the school community are a captive audience, such as graduations, assemblies, and sporting events.  This bill, while touted as bill to protect religious freedom, would have had the opposite effect, by subjecting students to religious coercion." Both were blatant violations of the separation of church and state, and richly deserved to have their vetoes sustained.
Governor McAuliffe Statement at the Conclusion of Reconvened Session

Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement today following the General Assembly's 2014 reconvened session, in which they considered his vetoes and amendments to legislation passed this year:

"Today the General Assembly moved the legislative session forward by acting on the vetoes and amendments that I made to the bills they passed earlier this year. I was glad to see the Senate of Virginia uphold each of my 4 vetoes, and the entire General Assembly accept a majority of the amendments that I submitted to legislation.

"I am disappointed that my amendments on bills with a fiscal impact were rejected.  Without a budget, I felt it was the fiscally responsible course of action to take. Due to the General Assembly's failure to pass a budget, each of these bills represents an unfunded commitment of taxpayer dollars. Over the next thirty days, I will carefully evaluate each of these bills, particularly if the legislative budget stalemate persists.

"I want to thank the legislators for returning and honoring their commitment to Virginians by acting on the vetoes and amendments I proposed.  I hope that they will continue to fulfill their responsibility to Virginia families by passing a state budget that closes the healthcare coverage gap as soon as possible."

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 06:31:23 AM EDT

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

*Colleges Seek New Paths to Diversity After Court Ruling
*Racial Equality Loses at the Court ("In upholding a ban on affirmative action in Michigan, the Supreme Court failed to see, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out, that 'race matters.'")
*How to Use the Bible to Save the Planet ("Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" embraces a brand of faith-based environmentalism that's increasingly popular with young religious believers.")
*Obama reassures Japan, other allies on China ahead of visit
*U.S. justices show little support for Aereo TV in copyright fight
*Act on immigration reform, former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis tells GOP
*McAuliffe wants to let insurers offer renewals ("Va. firms would be allowed to extend existing policies")
*Duke: Moving coal ash would cost up to $10 billion
*Schapiro: McAuliffe learns his job the hard way ("For a sharp-elbowed partisan who practiced politics at the highest levels - as head of the Democratic National Committee and as chairman of President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign and Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful candidacy in 2008 - McAuliffe has yet to master its provincial iteration.")
*Rep. Goodlatte urges skepticism of feds ("Rep. Bob Goodlatte said Tuesday the state should be skeptical of any promise of the federal government footing the bill for Medicaid expansion." Not helpful as usual.)
*Reforming Port Authority -- again ("By replacing the chairman among five of the board's 11 members, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has implemented significant change. The scope, however, is designed to inflict less disruption than the 2011 overhaul by Bob McDonnell.")
*Reconvened Va. Assembly unlikely to solve biggest divides ("Medicaid expansion and the budget are not on the agenda, raising the prospect of a government shutdown.")
*Rep. Forbes: More cuts will undermine U.S. security (So why does Forbes' party keep cutting defense spending then?)
*Romney donates $10,000 to McDonnell defense fund
*Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe gets Silver Line update ("Officials at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said they will announce Thursday whether the project is 'substantially complete.'")
*Business, community leaders voice concerns to Sen. Kaine
*Police: Access to the Oceanfront to be limited this weekend
*Vance Wilkins aims for last political hurrah
*Fairfax spending plan includes tax increases, pay raises ("Homeowners would see average tax increase of $352 next year; schools funding would increase 3 percent.")
*Arlington budget cuts tax rate, raises spending ("The Arlington County Board unanimously approves a $1.1 billion budget.")
*Wizards make it two for the road
*Much cooler and breezy for today

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 06:41:31 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, April 22. Also check out the fascinating interview with former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens about his book, "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution."

*Russia Displays a New Military Prowess in Ukraine's East
*Clemency push is on for drug offenders
*There Goes the Sun ("... if you're a card-carrying conservative, who believes that climate change is the biggest, most intricate, and most incredibly successful conspiracy in history - thousands of scientists around the world, and not one of them squealing! - you want to block solar even if it saves money.")
*How To Make Yourself Sound Nuts 101 ("I'm sorry but Attkisson has some serious temperament issues.")
*Dear Ezra Klein: if Americans don't accept evolution or the Big Bang, they won't apply science to politics either (" Liberals operate on the assumption that the public simply needs to be better educated about the facts. But that's not necessarily so. The public is aware of the science of evolution and the Big Bang. A majority simply chooses not to believe it.")
*Retirements Open Door for New Virginia Candidates
*Sharp elbows in GOP primaries ("There's been no free path to potential victory for Barbara Comstock as she tries to win the Republican primary contest next Saturday for the 10th Congressional District in northern Virginia.")
*Changes to voting rights for felons need to go further
*Fish sampling to continue in Dan River ("It's too soon to gauge the long-term impacts of the Feb. 2 coal ash spill on fish in the Dan River, said Virginia and North Carolina regulatory officials during presentations Monday afternoon.")
*Virginia Gov. McAuliffe touts first 100 days in office
*Caller fined for profane message to AG's office
*Kaine seeks women business owners' input in Roanoke stop
*Roanoke council members want to delay their raise
*"Fugitive dust" from coal cars stirs health fears in Norfolk
*Fairfax Board of Supervisors debates key budget elements
*Virginia Intermont College's merger is off
*New proposals could give Fairfax teens an extra hour of sleep on school days
*We're in the weather yo-yo season ("For the balance of this week, warmest days come with the highest chance of rain.")

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Virginia AG Mark Herring Marks First 100 Days in Office

by: lowkell

Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 12:42:02 PM EDT

Mark Herring has accomplished a great deal of good in his first 100 days in office. I'm proud to have played a (small) role in helping elect him, and look forward to a lot more great stuff in the next 100 days and beyond!

 

~ Takes action to protect rights of Virginians and modernize Office of the Attorney General ~

 

RICHMOND--Today marks 100 days since Mark R. Herring was sworn in as Virginia's 48th Attorney General. In that time, the office has continued to serve the people of Virginia by providing high-quality and timely legal advice and representation to state government, by investigating and advising the public of scams and predatory business practices, and by working to ensure justice in the prosecution and appeals processes, particularly in drug crimes and child exploitation cases.

 

"Working together, we have hit the ground running to provide greater opportunity for all Virginians, promote equality, protect our shared assets, work in a bipartisan way on legislation to make Virginia more secure, and restore trust in the public sector," Attorney General Herring said. "I've heard directly from public safety and elected officials all across the Commonwealth about critical, emerging issues we can help address. I'm proud of the work we have done and look forward to tackling the challenges that lie ahead." 

 

In addition to maintaining the core functions of the office, below are some of the more noteworthy initiatives undertaken in these first 100 days: 

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 2794 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 06:29:46 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, April 21.

*Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia
*Running Out of Time ("Avoiding that fate will require a reduction of between 40 percent and 70 percent in greenhouse gases by midcentury, which means embarking on a revolution in the way we produce and consume energy. That's daunting enough, but here's the key finding: The world has only about 15 years left in which to begin to bend the emissions curve downward. Otherwise, the costs of last-minute fixes will be overwhelming.")
*David Brooks Actually Talked About Obama's 'Manhood Problem In The Middle East' (More Obama Derangement Syndrome, this time from a "moderate," "reasonable" Republican.)
*Governor McAuliffe marks first 100 days in office Monday
*Va. ethics measure is seen as inadequate
*Plans for fracking in eastern Virginia raise concerns
*Group wants to set new system for redistricting ("One Virginia 2021 says nonpartisan redistricting will help renew ties between lawmakers and voters.")
*Chesapeake Bay needs the EPA ("Attorney General Mark Herring's brief supporting Chesapeake Bay cleanup represents the kind of common sense Virginians hope to see from the state's lawyer. Yet indiscriminate railing against Washington regulation - including rules designed to clean up the long-beleaguered bay - is what Virginians customarily see from a few of their Washington lawmakers.")
*Virginia Beach lawyer in local gay rights case finds his calling
*NBA playoffs: Wizards top Bulls as Nene lifts Washington to Game 1 victory, 102-93
*Bryce Harper needed a reality check, and Matt Williams gave it to him with benching (Agreed.)
*D.C. area forecast: Toggling between 60s and 70s through the week; tracking a Tuesday threat of showers and storms

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 06:48:35 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, April 20.

*In Echo of Cold War, Obama Strategy Writes Off Putin ("President Obama is focused on isolating Russia by cutting off its economic and political ties to the outside world, limiting its expansionist ambitions and effectively making it a pariah state.")
*Democrats look to fight midterm disadvantage ("Trying to reshape the electorate to make it more like a presidential year, Democrats will fully employ tools used in Obama's presidential campaigns to motivate voters in this year's Senate and House races")
*Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt' (This guy's a menace to the country.)
*Gov. McAuliffe expands voting rights for ex-convicts ("Much more can be done. Prisoners finishing their sentences now will regain their rights, but what of those who served their time in the past? At least 100,000 of them committed nonviolent crimes and should be immediately eligible to vote. But the state has devoted no extra money or resources to tracking them down.")
*Schapiro: Va.'s 'Overdog' plays the victim ("Crushing Brat, a college economics professor who has raised $89,000 to Cantor's $2 million, could silence malcontents within Cantor's caucus. It will be a lesson to restive Republicans at home that crossing Cantor can be politically fatal.")
*Governor names Jay W. DeBoer to again serve as director of DPOR ("Gov. Terry McAuliffe has named Jay W. DeBoer as director of the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, a post that DeBoer manned from 2006 to 2010, when Democrat Timothy M. Kaine served as governor")
*Oil and gas leases in bay region spark debate
*Our view: A little Va. soy in economic burger ("Why would Gov. Terry McAuliffe trek to a town of 2,600 people for what, in dollars and jobs, amounted to small beans? He was there to deliver both the check and a larger message: Diversify, diversify, diversify.")
*Roanoke County torn on green initiatives ("In an upcoming work session, supervisors will debate the future of county environmental programs.")
*New and familiar faces in Norfolk ("The City Council should see at least two newcomers. It's unlikely, but it could have as many as four.")
*Forecast: Magnificent Monday awaits after slightly cooler Sunday; Tuesday showers and storms?

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Del. Surovell Reports: Even in Costa Rica, They're Rooting for Virginia to Expand Medicaid!

by: lowkell

Sat Apr 19, 2014 at 19:56:36 PM EDT

Virginia Delegate (and new Blue Virginia Costa Rica correspondent? LOL) Scott Surovell reports, "Found this on the beach in Playa Guiones, Costa Rica." Surovell adds, "Playa Guiones is a hotbed of healthcare policy." ;)

In all seriousness, though, here's some information on Costa Rica's health care system. You'll notice it's a gazillion times better than ours. Fortunately for Costa Rica, they apparently don't have ALEC or ALEC tools like Virginia House Speaker Bill "ALEC" Howell in their country.

Costa Rica provides universal health care to its citizens and permanent residents. Costa Rica offers some of the best health care in Latin America. Both the private and public health care systems are always being upgraded. New hospitals, new clinics, new machines, and improvement in staff and training...

...Statistics from the World Health Organization frequently place Costa Rica in the top country rankings in the world for long life expectancy...

...Costs tend to be much less than doctor, hospital, and prescription costs in the U.S...

...Costa Rica is a popular destination for medical tourism because of the beautiful surroundings, low costs, and medical reputation.

Anyway, maybe if Delegate Surovell can't persuade his obstinate Republican colleagues to expand Medicaid in Virginia, he could persuade them to all move to Costa Rica? On second thought, I wouldn't wish those guys on my worst enemy, let alone a beautiful, peaceful place like Costa Rica! LOL
Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Video: Gov. McAuliffe on "The Politics Hour" Says House of Delegates Has Failed to Do Its Job

by: lowkell

Sat Apr 19, 2014 at 12:02:43 PM EDT

Here are a few highlights from Gov. McAuliffe's interview on The Politics Hour yesterday (I'm focusing on the Medicaid expansion discussion, because to me this is priority #1 for Virginia right now).

*According to Gov. McAuliffe, House Speaker Howell did admit the other day on the radio that "yes indeed, this Marketplace Virginia IS germane to the budget, so their whole argument that they've been using the for the last several months the Speaker admitted is a wrong argument."
*"It is the House Republican leadership that has dug in on this issue, and I don't know whether they don't like the president...doesn't really matter to me, my job as governor is to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia."
*"It is the General Assembly's job to pass a budget; they have failed to do their job."
*House Republicans "have put up one roadblock after another." The argument that healthcare expansion will cost Virginia is false.
*This is sheer politics, anti-ACA; "what else is there?" According to Gov. McAuliffe, "no matter where you may be on the healthcare bill, it's now the law of the land...[House Republicans] are off in their corner; it's time they started doing their job, representing the folks who sent them to Richmond."
*What is the "exit strategy" with Medicaid expansion? According to McAuliffe, the House has "no arguments left." "We are going to get this done." "The House Republicans are offering nothing."  Did anyone hear anything about an "exit strategy" or "Plan B" in Gov. McAuliffe's answer there? I most definitely didn't (unless he's got something up his sleeve - like unilateral executive action of some sort? - but, to mix metaphors, is playing it close to the vest?). Nor am I hearing that from others I talk to about this. Which means...what? Government shutdown? Gov. McAuliffe "caves" because he doesn't want a government shutdown? Because, frankly, I don't see House Republicans caving, certainly not before the 2014 elections, and probably not before the 2015 elections either. So...then what becomes of the McAuliffe governorship at that point? Got me.
*On restoring ex-felons' right to vote, McAuliffe said "people who have paid their debt to society...I want them back working, I want them part of society; part of that is being able to vote...Let's treat people with dignity and respect."

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Apr 19, 2014 at 07:05:55 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, April 19.

*State Department To Delay Keystone XL Pipeline Decision Until After November (Hopefully to be killed after November.)
*Harry Reid defends 'domestic terrorists' comments
*Cliven Bundy syndrome: Why Christian conservatives think they're above the law ("From Hobby Lobby to the Nevada rancher, members of the far right share a dangerous, anarchic pathology")
*House rules: Republicans fight to hold on to a bellwether seat
*VA 10th District GOP Ready for Firehouse Primary
*Va. speeds voting-rights process for some drug-case felons
*Author of Va. constitution backs AG on gay marriage ("Three constitutional scholars, including the principal architect of Virginia's current constitution, have filed court papers supporting Attorney General Mark Herring's decision not to defend the state's prohibition of same-sex marriage.")
*Express lanes on target to open early next year
*McAuliffe announces state data site
*Assessor to review drop in mayor's tax assessment
*Our view: Corporate trail-blazing
*Pr. William's schools plead poverty in failing to offer pre-K to disadvantaged students
*Arlington proposes freezing merit pay, then backs down
*Gio Gonzalez tosses Nats past Cards
*A mighty fine Saturday is going to be followed by a splendid Sunday ("It's a close to ideal weekend with sunshine and near-perfect temperatures.")

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia New Majority applauds Governor McAuliffe for changes to civil rights restoration process

by: ChangeComm

Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 11:31:10 AM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

From Virginia New Majority

Richmond, VA - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today improvements to Virginia's rights restoration process, including removing drug offenses from the list of crimes that are subject to a waiting period before an individual can apply to have their rights restored and reducing that waiting period from five years to three years. The administration will also provide a definitive list
of offenses that require a waiting period.

"We are very happy to see Governor McAuliffe expand upon the automatic rights restoration process that was put in place last year," stated Tram Nguyen, co-executive director of Virginia New Majority. "We believe that once an individual has served their time and fully paid their debt to society, they should have their civil rights restored without any additional burdens or punishments. The changes announced today are great steps forward to more efficiently re-enfranchise these individuals and sends a message that citizens who want a second chance are welcome as full members of our communities."

While today's announcement represents continued progress forward, Virginia still needs a more permanent solution. "We look forward to continuing to work with Governor McAuliffe and members of the General Assembly to achieve legislative action to automatically restore the civil rights for all citizens who have served their time," added Nguyen.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 06:36:51 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, April 18.

*Here's how we got to 8 million Obamacare signups (This is turning into a major success story, despite Republicans' efforts at sabotaging the program.)
*The Affordable Care Act comes in with better-than-expected numbers ("...the news about Obamacare is good, even if Republicans can't quite bring themselves to admit it yet.")
*ANALYSIS: How The Media Covered The U.N. Climate Reports In Three Charts
*Toward a climate abyss ("For many nations, it's business as usual.")
*Joe Scarborough, conspiracy theorist ("Accusing the census, without evidence, of "cooking the books" is advancing a conspiracy theory")
*Dick Morris is very afraid: A horrible pundit's "popular vote" hysteria ("In his wingnut bubble, the last thing any Republican should want is for everyone in the country to vote. Here's why")
*Scott: Got 'em right where we want 'em ("There was a glimmer in U.S. Rep. Robert C. 'Bobby' Scott's eye as he discussed this year's round of congressional elections. Despite Obamacare's alleged poor reputation, he and other liberal Democrats say they're eager to run on the health reform's record.")
*McAuliffe to cities: Make decisions not excuses about roads funding ("'No more complaining, whining, bickering' about highway projects, the governor told mayors, city officials and county supervisors from the region. 'This is your decision now.'")
*Governor simplifies process to regain vote ("In a series of changes to the state's restoration of rights process, McAuliffe plans to collapse the application waiting period from five to three years for people convicted of violent felonies and others that require a waiting period, and to remove drug offenses from that list.")
*Cantor challenger asks state GOP for probe ("David Brat, a Henrico County resident challenging House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, for the Republican nomination, is asking the Republican Party of Virginia to probe the relationship between the party's executive director, a consulting firm he was affiliated with, and work performed for Cantor's campaign.")
*McDonnell's defense makes appeal for donations, says trial alone will cost $1 million
*McAuliffe replaces five port authority members
*Another blow to former Va. governor McDonnell's defense in corruption case ("A judge on Thursday rejected a request by the couple's attorneys to file completely secret declarations about the testimony their clients would give if their trials were separated.")
*Norfolk council hopefuls discuss crime, tolls and other issues
*U-Va.'s in-state price likely to increase
*[Arlington] County Tax Rate to Drop By a Penny
*Washington and Lee U. administrators urged to atone for Confederate past
*Baseball panic springs eternal ("There are many reasons to be nervous about the Nats, and a few might even turn out to be true.")
*Clouds may prove stubborn today, but a sunny Easter weekend awaits

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 06:34:36 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, April 17.

*Three dead in east Ukraine, Putin warns of 'abyss' (Dangerous situation.)
*Putin Asserts Right to Use Force in Ukraine ("President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Thursday said that he had parliamentary authorization to invade Ukraine, but that he hoped that it would not be necessary.")
*Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds (Supporting a violent, lawless, anti-government extremist? That should automatically eliminate Rand Paul from consideration for higher office. It also confirms yet again that Ron Paul is a maniac.)
*Paul Krugman slams "Obamacare truther" Joe Scarborough for "vile" accusations ("The Times columnist is not amused with the MSNBC host's claim that the White House is trying to 'cook the books'")
*Hundreds Missing After Ferry Sinks Off South Korea
*Va. transportation plan makes debut Wednesday ("Virginia's six-year transportation plan totals $13.1 billion, with $9.9 billion earmarked for highway construction." Stupid; the vast majority of money should NOT be going to encourage more fossil fuel consumption and sprawl.)
*Our view: Calling out long-distance critics ("Did Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty blush when he signed onto a lawsuit suggesting that the Environmental Protection Agency is overreaching, or might one day do so, by working with states to clean up the Chesapeake Bay?")
*Coordinate better on Chesapeake line ("Political candidates on both sides of the Virginia-North Carolina line are expressing hopes for major economic development, particularly high-tech businesses, along the U.S. 17 corridor. But so far officials in Chesapeake and their counterparts in Camden County haven't talked about how they might coordinate their efforts.")
*Money leaders emerge in pair of Va. primaries for open congressional seats
*Today's top opinion: No account ("The Times-Dispatch supports Marketplace Virginia. If Obamacare did not exist and Marketplace were seen as a way to increase access to private health insurance, we suspect it would pass. A case could be made that Marketplace does not belong in the budget, but Virginia has moved beyond that argument. A yes to a budget that includes Marketplace Virginia marks the proper step.")

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 188 words in story)

Shad Planking Kerplunk

by: Dan Sullivan

Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:21:16 AM EDT

Shad Planking photo 140414Wakefieldmap_zps3268f662.jpg The shad are running and Virginia politicians will swim with them today. Last year Democratic candidates gave the Wakefield Ruritan event a cold shoulder. The event's organizers made an insincere attempt to dampen the tea party spirit, discouraging stars and bars. This is a charity event, they cried, after all.

This year Virginia's senior Senator Mark Warner will deliver the keynote and his almost certain Republican opponent will make one of his rare public appearances. It will be informative seeing if Team Warner laid the groundwork for a more civil and less homogeneous atmosphere than this annual carnival for reactionaries nourishes. Earlier this year, they stumbled out of the block when, despite refusing to commit to Democratic events closer in than 60 days, they accepted the Shad Planking appearance well in advance. Maybe, tied to an old playbook, they failed to notice that last year's Democratic statewide success demonstrated the irrelevance of the event. One would hope that the acceptance came with some assurance that the event would be more civil, sane, and inclusive.

The impact of the "traditional" sign war has diminished considerably since the Kaine and Webb surprises during the past decade. When this became a war of paid "volunteers" it was no longer a genuine indicator of anything more than a campaign bankroll. And if the intent is to make this event relevant, where is the outreach from the Ruritan Club or encouragement from more progressive constituents to draw in displays and support from the Democratic Party, the NAACP, or the LGBT community?

So what will today provide? Boney fish, cold beer, and the themes that Senator Warner will employ to shore up and broaden his own constituency, an impressive coalition of common interests. This could also provide the national bellwether for the Democratic strategy that will be used to counter this year's onslaught by Republican reactionaries against the Affordable Care Act. There couldn't be a more promising petri dish.  

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:02:26 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, April 16. Also check out Krystal Ball as she rips violent extremist Cliven Bundy, his gang of thugs, and the right wingnuts who back him as a so-called "patriot" (which he is absolutely NOT!).

*Hank Aaron, Braves get racist heat after interview comments ("'Back then they had hoods,' Aaron said. 'Now they have neckties and starched shirts.'" Hank Aaron, of course, is exactly right.)
*Ukraine on the brink as troops take on rebels
*Bloomberg Plans a $50 Million Challenge to the N.R.A.
*ABC News' rightward lurch ("Within the last few months, ABC's hired Bill Kristol, Laura Ingraham and Ray Kelly. Why?")
*Northern Virginia lurches to the right ("Ms. Comstock apparently believes that sucking up to Mr. Limbaugh, a vicious polemicist with a flair for toxic misogyny, gives her an aura of respectability.")
*With still months to go, Virginia Senate race raking in millions ("The campaign of U.S. Sen. Mark Warner has already raised $11.2 million, while Ed Gillespie has raised $2.2 million since mid-January.")
*Va. Speaker: Medicaid germane to budget, House GOP still opposed (What a pathetic joke.)
*Why Virginia Republicans are smiling (According to far-right-wing hackazoid Jennifer Rubin, Virginia Republicans are happy because Ed Gillespie raised a bunch of money. Meanwhile, of course, they continue to send $5 million per day of OUR money out of state. Priorities, priorities...)
*County Still Reviewing Sky-High Real Estate Assessments (This situation is unacceptable. Arlingtonians need answers and we need transparency - now!)
*McAuliffe's PAC off to fast start, with $254,000 raised in two weeks
*Schapiro: In health fight, both sides told what they want to hear (I really like Jeff Schapiro, but PLEASE spare us the "both sides" false equivalency framing. Thank you.)
*We remember: A list of events to commemorate the Virginia Tech shootings
*After Dorsey incident, Trammell calls for security change ("Councilwoman says the panel should consider a stronger police presence in the wake of a dustup between a staff member and an armed activist.")
*Cold today with a freeze threat tonight ("Like a bad dream, winter is back. A freeze is possible tonight before we warm up.")

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 07:02:39 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, April 15.

*IPCC report shows action on climate change is not spending, it's investing (With a huge payoff!)
*Scramble to fix Heartbleed could slow Web to a crawl
*Obamacare's victory lap ("It's all over but the shouting: Obamacare is working." Now, let's work to improve it by adding a robust public option?)
*Budget Office Lowers Estimate for the Cost of Expanding Health Coverage (The good news about "Obamacare" just keeps coming!)
*'Shoe Truthers' Wonder If Hillary Staged Shoe Throwing Incident (There are some seriously demented people on the right, including those who revel in a shoe being thrown at Hillary Clinton.)
*Political Divide Slows U.S. Action on Climate Laws (It's also the influence of dirty energy money - from the Koch brothers, ExxonMobil, the coal industry, etc, etc. - in politics.)
*Democrats compete for 'most progressive' in a primary field of 10 for congressional seat
*U.S. Senate: Gillespie discloses client list (And a lovely list it is! Not.)
*Kaine Marks Sabato's Final Guest Speaker in 35 Years of Teaching
*Anti-tax group praises Va. House speaker (Let's get this straight: an "anti-tax group" is against bringing Virginia's own tax money - $5 million a day worth! - back to Virginia, instead of sending it to other states. Brilliant!)
*State Sen. Tom Garrett says Medicaid expansion money "goes away" in a few years (Mostly FALSE)
*Virginia GOP leaders demand apology, more from Lind
*Our view: The free exercise thereof ("Virginians can be proud that their Capitol Square predates Central Park. But it's more than a park. As the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia declared, it's a 'quintessential public forum.'")
*US Senate race to take center stage at Wakefield tradition (Ah, the "Shad Planking"...)
*Conservation group attempting more aggressive land advocacy
*Va. bishops urge health care coverage expansion
*Hope Calls for Higher Taxes on the Wealthy
*Howard Dean to Campaign for Don Beyer in Arlington
*Fracking discussion draws crowd
*State offers to pay half of estimated cost to bring light rail to Town Center ("The Virginia Beach Light Rail Extension Grant Terms would pay up to $155 million of the estimated $310 million project, but the state excludes maglev as an option, and it wouldn't cover overruns")
*Take state's offer on rail
*In chaotic session, activist removed; park lease approved ("Richmond City Council voted Monday to lease Monroe Park to a nonprofit group during a chaotic night in which a well-known activist was forcibly removed by police." In today's media age, the concept of "credentialed" is highly problematic.)
*Bryce Harper, Jordan Zimmermann lead Nationals to 9-2 rout of Marlins
*Strong cold front brings rain today, much colder temperatures tonight

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

The First Issue: Addressing Political Money, Ending Corruption

by: Nolan DiFrancesco

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 02:24:16 AM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

What issue is your issue? What drives your passion for politics?

I’m a relatively new transplant to the Northern Virginia community, but I understood from the start how fortunate this place is to be filled with such strongly progressive voices. Battling climate change, expanding access to affordable health care, pushing for compassionate immigration reform – the residents of Virginia’s 8th congressional district are guided by staunchly progressive values.

But as Professor Lawrence Lessig of Harvard often says – while each of these issues is deeply important, they cannot be the first issue. The first issue is tackling the systemic corruption that has engulfed the American political system. Special interests and the power of money in our political system have rewritten the rules.

I have been following the race to succeed Jim Moran with interest. This is a field of remarkably qualified candidates, each ready to profess their progressive credentials. But from the very start, I have been shocked at how rarely political reform issues have been raised.  

Virginia needs to be ground zero of this debate. The values instilled in the 8th district bleed into the perspective of the greater Washington community. On a state-wide level, the desire for real ethics and campaign reform are on the rise. In many respects, this state will come to represent the challenges in framing these issues across the nation leading up to the midterm elections this year.

Let’s stand up and make these reform issues our issues. Let’s actively shape the debate.

There's More... :: (10 Comments, 288 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 06:36:40 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, April 14. The photo is of Barack Obama and Drew Kleibrink, who passed away suddenly late last week. Drew was a great photographer, environmentalist, progressive, and Democrat. As Del. Mark Keam writes, "Drew (and his camera) was ubiquitous throughout both 2008 and 2012 campaigns, and he did everything you can ask a campaign volunteer to do. Drew worked hard, and his advice was always sound. He was principled in speaking his mind, and as an intellectual, he could engage in a deep conversation with anyone about any issue. Above all, he was a man with incredible empathy and love for fellow human beings." Drew will be greatly missed by everyone who know him, including me.

*The 3 Most Sobering Graphics From The U.N.'s New Climate Report (Very, very scary; this should be priority #1 for every country around the world.)
*Ukraine President threatens military operation as unrest grows
*Man with history of anti-Semitism jailed in fatal shooting of three at Johnson County Jewish centers
*Triumph of the Drill: How Big Oil Clings to Billions in Government Giveaways
*Democrats refine their message to avoid repeat of 2010 midterm disaster
*Searchers to Deploy Submersible in Hunt for Missing Jet
*Va. Republicans aren't budging on Medicaid ("Although expansion of coverage is backed by some important donors and a state government shutdown hangs in the balance, GOP lawmakers are maintaining their opposition, hoping to help the party this fall.")
*Missing in House: Common sense ("In other words, a so-called 'clean budget' can't even be found in the House. The sooner Republican delegates recognize as much, the sooner this stalemate can end.")
*Our view: Prudence on climate ("The Climate Change Commission can complement those efforts with strategies for reducing greenhouse gases and slowing, if not reversing, the literal sea change occurring as a result of a rapidly warming planet.")
*Prayer time makes strange bedfellows
*Ethics bill (of goods) ("But it doesn't take a seasoned political analyst to recognize that lawmakers' efforts to police themselves tend to be big on talk and short on action. The bill recently signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe bears that out. What the lawmakers managed to accomplish fails to live up to the hype.")
*In Prince William budget process, focus is on libraries
*Braves bash Nationals, sweeping the series
*From summer to winter - in one day ("If you thought the summer-like weather was here to stay, think again.")

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 07:18:26 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, April 13. Also check out the "lightning round" question on which committees the 8th CD Democratic candidates would want to serve on if they're elected to Congress. See here for a lot more video and my notes from yesterday's 8th CD Democratic "forum" at Mt. Vernon High School.

*U.N. Climate Panel Warns Speedier Action Is Needed
*World must end 'dirty' fuel use - UN (Note to politicians, both left and right: that means phasing out fossil fuels as fast as possible and replacing them with efficiency, solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tidal, etc. Thank you.)
*Just what is Marketplace Virginia? ("Lawmakers, experts explain private insurance proposal")
*Schapiro: McAuliffe dismantling McDonnell transportation legacy ("Unless Congress acts by January on an enforcement mechanism for applying sales taxes to Internet purchases, Virginia could lose $841 million by 2018. Near term, the revenue would be made up incrementally at the pump, by automatically increasing the percentage-based sales tax on gasoline.")
*Fewer tests, more learning ("Reforming Virginia's approach to public education and, perhaps more specifically, its methods of measuring students' performance, will take years. But the effort is off to a good start under a bill approved by the General Assembly and signed recently by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.")
*4 GOP candidates get ready for Warner
*Dem congressional candidate Beyer: 'We need to ban super PACs' ("Direct disagreements were rare occurrences in the 120-minute session Saturday.")
*Challenger Brat seeks to hold debate with Cantor
*Senate hopefuls to attend Shad Planking in Wakefield
*Our view: Restless seas for Virginia's port
*Coal ash storage a New River worry
*The story behind building the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
*Few answers known weeks after Navy base shooting
*Virginia Beach sees first increase in property values since 2009
*Momentum building for better Richmond schools
*Ryan Zimmerman breaks thumb in Nationals' loss to Braves (Ouch, that hurts...in more ways than one!)
*D.C. area forecast: Warm spell continues but midweek rain and chill lurking

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 06:47:54 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, April 12. Also see President Obama's weekly address, in which he "highlights the steps his Administration has taken to expand opportunity and narrow the pay gap that exists between men and women."

*As Darrell Issa shows, it's a bad time to be a demagogue
*A national ID card could reshape the irrational way Americans vote
*Obama: GOP wants to stop Democrats from voting (Correct.)
*Objectively bad: Ezra Klein, Nate Silver, Jonathan Chait and return of the "view from nowhere" (From a purely subjective point of view, my own, this is an interesting article! LOL)
*The Heartbleed Bug Reveals We're Willing To Give Up Online Security To Feel More Connected (Which should give us all heartBURN!)
*Virginia Democrats pick new executive director ("Sources said Friday the state Democratic Party has chosen as its new executive director veteran political hand Robert Dempsey -- he recently held the same role for the North Carolina party -- barely one week after Virginia's Republican Party picked a new staff leader.")
*Virginia AG Files Brief Supporting Gay Marriage ("Same-sex couples have the same right to marry as interracial heterosexual couples, Virginia's attorney general said Friday in papers urging an appellate court to uphold a judge's ruling that the state's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.")
*Our view: He's gotta be kidding ("Rep. Jim Moran, poor fellow, has not had a raise in three years, and wants people to know that it's darn hard living in the D.C. area on only $174,000 a year.")
*Virginia GOPer: Incest exceptions in abortion restrictions unnecessary because sometimes incest is "voluntary" (Add this to the loooooong list of insane s*** "Sideshow Bob" has said over the years. The question is, who keeps voting to reelect him?!?)
*Amid public pressure, McAuliffe OKs prayer rally time ("The first reply - a permit denial from the Department of General Services - was not well received by the Family Foundation or the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.")
*License-plate data and privacy rights
*Owners voluntarily protecting land along the Mattaponi
*Webb among Founder's Day honorees at U.Va.
*Vihstadt Sworn in as County Board Member (A sad day for Arlington County.)
*Washington's population growth in midst of slowdown
*Nats fall 7-6 to Braves in 10 innings
*Weekend weather looks nearly perfect

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 06:05:28 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, April 11.

*Sebelius resigns after flawed rollout of health-care site
*Colbert Will Host 'Late Show,' Playing Himself for a Change
*Dems Slam MSNBC's 'Double Standard' Over Morning Joe Keynoting GOP Event
*Reports: 'Shoe' thrown at Hillary Clinton in Las Vegas
*Kathleen Sebelius' Biggest Achievement Is The One No One Is Talking About
*Psychiatric admissions spike after Deeds tragedyfc
*Dorothy McAuliffe listens to stories about employed but uninsured in Virginia
*Tough on crime and budgets ("Virginia is proud to be one of the best states in the country in which to do business. Its public education system also ranks highly. But its criminal justice policies should not inspire emulation. The commonwealth will spend more than $1 billion in the coming year to arrest and incarcerate people; $3 billion when the court system is included with public safety costs.")
*AG Herring defends Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan
*GOP's Gillespie visits Spotsylvania, dubs Warner 'very vulnerable' (Dream on...)
*Virginia Republican Bob Marshall stands by remarks that raise eyebrows (That's "Sideshow Bob" for ya!)
*Howell misguided to reject Medicaid money
*Herring: premature to consider governor's spending authority ("Attorney General Mark Herring says he's watching developments in the General Assembly budget impasse closely, but says it is premature to start considering the legal issues if the legislature misses its budget writing deadline.")
*7th Congressional District Democratic Nominating Convention Cancelled ("no candidates filed to be considered for the nomination" against Eric Can'tor)
*Deeds calls for end to politicking on health care coverage
*Stephen Strasburg strikes out 12, Ian Desmond hits grand slam as Nationals roll, 7-1 (Lookin' good so far!)
*D.C.'s cherry blossoms hit peak bloom as a brutal winter finally moves on (Yay!)
*Showers make appearance late today ahead of a warm, delightful weekend

Discuss :: (1 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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