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Video: Mark Obenshain Claims Up is Actually Down, Hot is Cold, Black is White...

by: lowkell

Tue Jan 27, 2015 at 16:18:08 PM EST

The following is the weekly Virginia Republican Address, this week delivered by our old extremist friend, Sen. Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain. According to Obenshain, who has basically spent his entire career trying to send Virginia reeling backwards decades, if not centuries, it's actually Republicans who are focused "on kitchen table issues like education." In addition, according to the Orwellian Obenshain, it's actually Virginia Republicans who are "hard at work on issues that matter to Virginians" and with a "forward-looking agenda" (e.g., like letting 4 year olds, stalkers & sexual batterers have guns!).

Meanwhile, in Obenshain's up-is-down, hot-is-col, black-is-white world, it's the Democrats who are "focused on a backward-looking, divisive, politically-driven agenda with one goal, getting the hard-left, liberal interest groups fired up for November." Oh, and those sneaky, wily Democrats are also hell-bent on expanding the evilevilevil "Obamacare." Can't have people getting good, affordable health care, while getting Virginia taxpayers' own money back and boosting our economy - god no!

In sum, Obenshain has always been a nutty, right-wing extremist, and he continues to be a nutty, right-wing extremist. Remember, this is the same guy who wanted to criminalize women's miscarriages, so it's not a big surprise or anything. Still, the fact that Virginia Republicans are happy to put him out there as the face of their party really says all you need to know - and nothing good - about that party...

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Yet ANOTHER Republican-led State Signs on to Medicaid Expansion. And Virginia?

by: lowkell

Tue Jan 27, 2015 at 12:34:33 PM EST

Yep, so we can now add yet another Republican governor to the long list of Republican governors saying "yes" to Medicaid expansion. These Republicans can call their expansions whatever they want (e.g., "Healthy Indiana"); say they're really not "expanding" Medicaid buy "reforming it" (whatever); claim (falsely) that Medicaid expansion has no connection go the evilevilevil "Obamacare" (also known as the "Affordable Care Act," whose provisions are highly popular with the American public), blah blah blah.
But the bottom line is, more and more Republican governors are taking this shwwwwweeeeeeet deal for their states' budgets and their citizens, and not letting the hard-right Teahadists, etc. stop them.

And then there's Virginia, a "purple" state led by a Democratic governor and Democratic Party who badly want to expand Medicaid, where Republican House Speaker Bill "ALEC" Howell, hard-right-wing Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, along with their Teapublican troops, are putting on a modern display of what used to be known in these parts as "massive resistance." In this case, it's about health care coverage for poor people, many of whom are these Teapublican lawmakers' own constituents. But whatever; Virginia Republicans are having none of the common sense and sanity we're seeing in an increasing number of Republican-led states around the country. Essentially, Virginia Republicans have no substantive argument, other than to essentially admit, "we're extremists, we're proud of it, we're not changing, and that's that." Oh, and "screw Virginia's budget, people who desperately need good healthcare coverage, hospitals which want/need this expansion, etc, etc.

The question is, why would anyone in Virginia vote for these cretins?

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Jan 27, 2015 at 06:41:18 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, January 27.

*How Winter Snow Leads To A Blizzard Of Climate Denial
*Netanyahu to American Jews: Get Lost ("By accepting Speaker Boehner's invitation to address Congress, the Israeli leader has chosen to side with political forces opposed by many US Jews." Yep, that's what he's basically saying to people like me.)
*Netanyahu's contempt ("His actions could harm support for Israel." Agreed. I've been pro-Israel my whole life, but the right wing in Israel, particularly its alliance with the far right in this country, is REALLY putting a strain on my support...)
*Koch-backed network aims to spend nearly $1 billion on 2016 elections (So much for "democracy." Thanks a LOT Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito and Kennedy!)
*Senate's swing-state Republicans break ranks ("2016 electoral map complicates life for new Senate majority.")
*Morning Joe Hosts Receive Special Invite To Closed Koch Event, Lavish Koch Brothers With Praise (That really says it all. Utterly corrupt.)
*Senate panel votes to end sexual orientation workplace discrimination ("A Virginia Senate committee voted Monday to prohibit discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.")
*With confusion, Senate kills McAuliffe gun bills (We need to take back the Senate. End of story.)
*Court says Bob McDonnell will be free during appeal ("A federal appeals court has approved the former Virginia governor's request to remain free while he appeals his corruption convictions. A hearing is set for May 12.")
*White House to propose opening waters off Atlantic coast to drilling (Huge mistake if they do that.)
*Virginia lawmakers are rushing too fast to change the law on college sexual assault
*Virginia Senate approves measure allowing 2-term governor ("Sen. Thomas Garrett, R-Lynchburg argued that voters should have a chance to re-elect the governor, no matter who it is. Garrett's measure was approved 24-15.")
*John Guevara, Candidate for Sully District Supervisor (This is getting more fun as a Tea Partier enters the race...)
*Virginia Senate committee defeats gun control proposals ("The Republican-led committee rejected Democratic gun control bills that included restoring a state law requiring criminal background checks on private sales at gun shows.")
*Searching for ways to prevent drug deaths ("Heroin, increasingly a drug of choice for young people, killed 213 people in Virginia in 2013. Prescription drug overdoses caused 468 more deaths that year. Three bills before the General Assembly offer worthwhile tools to keep more people safe and hold dealers accountable when their drugs lead to death.")
*Morning snow showers, blustery today; Sunshine returns Wednesday

Discuss :: (9 Comments)

VA Senate GOPers Change Votes from "Yes" to "No" on Bill to Keep Guns Away from Stalkers

by: lowkell

Mon Jan 26, 2015 at 17:09:24 PM EST

From the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus: 



RICHMOND, VA -- In a shocking move earlier today, multiple Senate Republicans seemingly changed their votes on Senator Barbara Favola’s (D-Arlington) SB 943, a bill to keep guns out of the hands of convicted stalkers and sexual batterers. Committee Chair Tommy Norment ruled the bill reported in front of an audience of reporters, committee members, and dozens of others. The ruling was promptly reported by numerous media outlets. Nevertheless, later this afternoon, the Legislative Information Service posted a different result showing the bill as being defeated. Under the Rules of the Senate, votes changed after the fact are not allowed to change outcomes. Given that the bill was reported in committee, it must now be referred to Senate Finance despite the change.


Video of this morning’s vote clearly shows Sen. Tommy Norment (R-James City) voting “aye” and announcing that the bill has reported; no one contradicts him. The votes of Sen. Jill Vogel (R - Fauquier) and Sen. Ryan McDougle (R-Hanover) cannot be determined for certain, but both appear to be in support. Mathematically, one or both must have changed their votes, as well. LIS now indicates that all three voted “no,” and incorrectly lists the bill as having been defeated.


Lori Haas, Director of Virginians for Responsible Gun Laws, said,This is simply the worst of politics--as usual. Everyone in the hearing room understood SB943 to have passed. These kind of backroom shenanigans are what destroy Virginians' faith in their government.”


“SB 943 represents a common sense measure to protect vulnerable populations and restrict firearm access for violent offenders,” said SB 943 Chief Patron Senator Favola. “This decision to kill the bill champions the rights of violent criminals at the expense of victims.”


We expect to see SB 943 on the Senate Finance Committee docket in the coming days. 

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia Senate Votes to Join the Rest of the Country, Allow Two-Term Governor

by: lowkell

Mon Jan 26, 2015 at 13:46:57 PM EST

See below for the vote, which just took place. The debate was hilarious, with bat****-crazy Sen. Dick Black arguing that we don't need this because Virginia is the greatest state in the country, perfect in every way (or something like that - whatever). Even more hilarious was Sen. Chap Petersen talking about how Bacon's Rebellion (the actual rebellion, not the Virginia political blog run by a climate science denier - lol) in 1676 ended the 17-year goernorship of Sir William Berkeley, appointed by the British monarch. In response, Sen. Saslaw noted that we also used to have "leeches" and "evil spirits," that we've moved beyond those and can also move beyond a one-term governor. LOL Also, Sen. Ebbin sarcastically noted that "the crown is no longer ruling here." Hahahaha. I really need to get this video. :)

P.S. I'd suggest that any State Senator concerned with limiting terms in office to one should start with...their own! LOL

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Jan 26, 2015 at 06:24:19 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, January 26.

*U.S. And India Announce 'Cooperation' On Climate Change
*Radical leftists win as Greece rejects austerity ("With millions of voters turning out, the country delivered a historic win to Syriza, a party that could put Greece on a collision course with the rest of Europe." I'm not a fan of austerity policies, but I see nothing good coming out of this.)
*Krugman: Ending Greece's Nightmare ("Still, in calling for a major change, Mr. Tsipras is being far more realistic than officials who want the beatings to continue until morale improves. The rest of Europe should give him a chance to end his country's nightmare.")
*'Potentially historic' blizzard takes aim at Northeast; up to 3 feet of snow
*Obama to call for more wilderness protections in Alaska refuge ("The White House wants more than 12 million acres set aside, but Republicans likely will oppose it.")
*Inside Hillary Clinton's 2016 plan ("The Clinton team knows it can't campaign with the swagger of presumed nominee, because the air of inevitability was so damaging last time around. That said, some advisers are already privately talking up potential running mates, with Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado and Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia dominating the early speculation.")
*Fox news anchor blasts Netanyahu's 'dicey' politics of 'sneaking' into Congress for speech
*Editorial: Virginia should expand Medicaid (Right, but Republicans won't do it, which is one good reason why they need to be voted out of office this November.)
*Terry McAuliffe's 2015 Va. agenda includes economics, health care
*Legalize it ("State Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, is on what once would have been a fool's errand: He wants to decriminalize marijuana possession in Virginia.")
*Virginia lawmakers to revisit ethics legislation ("Another issue to be addressed this week will be gun control, with some 20 bills in the Senate.")
*GOP votes out Campbell County's Jon Berkley, chairman of Fifth District committee
*Protect rights of state's gay employees ("Twenty-one states have passed laws that ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. Virginia should be the 22nd.")
*Editorial: The cost of a felony ("As legislators look for ways to trim the state budget, here's one idea: Raise the threshold for felony crimes in Virginia.")
*Virginia's move to cut emissions the smart way (It's not "Virginia's move," it's a constructive proposal by Del. Ron Villaneuva that is unlikely to go anywhere in the Teapublican-controlled General Assembly.)
*Va. House bill targets asset forfeitures that fund police ("HB1287, sponsored by Del. Mark Cole, R-Spotsylvania, would end civil asset forfeitures - state legal proceedings that allow police to keep property seized from criminal suspects.")
*Conservation program may help James River restoration efforts
*Fairfax County turns over investigative materials to lawyers for John Geer family
*D.C. likely to see a mix of rain and snow ("Federal offices plan to open on time, but there will be some snow and wintry mix in the area today and tonight before gradual drying begins.")

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

VA "Democratic" Leader Dick Saslaw Strikes Again, This Time Wants to Make Execution Drugs Secret

by: lowkell

Sun Jan 25, 2015 at 11:36:22 AM EST

Yep, the same Dick Saslaw who doesn't believe Virginia needs any stinkin' ethics laws, who is well known to despise progressives and environmentalists (aka, his "base"; can you imagine Tommy Norment constantly dissing his right-wing base like this?!?), who recently called the Sierra Club "crazy," who has presided over Democrats losing control of the Virginia State Senate (and the pissing away of much of the money he raised), is at it again. This time?

That's right, Saslaw's latest cause is to ensure that "information relating to the identity of...compounding drugs for use in executions and all documents related to the execution process are confidential, exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, and not subject to discovery or introduction as evidence in a civil proceeding except for good cause shown."

Now why might Saslaw be doing something like this? Well, for starters, he's a supporter of the death penalty. Virginia also has a "problem," if you think not being able to execute people is a "problem," in that it has some lethal injection drugs, lacks anesthetic ("the department does not have in stock either thiopental sodium or pentobarbital - anesthetics used as the first in the three-drug lethal injection protocol developed by the Department of Corrections."). Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to rule on the constitutionality of an execution "drug cocktail," with death row opponents contending "that the drugs being used are untested, experimental drug combinations that can cause great suffering, in violation of the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment."

Now, if the public doesn't know what is IN Virginia's execution "drug cocktail," it will be kind of hard to challenge it in court. Of course, the public should have a right to know this information, as the state is arguing for the right to put people to death using our tax dollars. In short, Dick Saslaw is wrong both on the merits of the issue here as well as on the right of the public to know what's going on. So when is someone going to primary this faux "Democrat?"

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Jan 25, 2015 at 07:13:53 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, January 25. As for that photo from yesterday's "clown car" event put on by raving bigot and extremist Steve King in Iowa, I had to post it simply because I thought it was hilarious, and also because it epitomizes the lunacy of the Teapublican Party these days.

*Obama Lands in India, With Aim of Improving Ties
*Outrage in Japan as Video Appears to Show Victim of ISIS
*Sarah Palin 'seriously interested' in 2016 bid (Hahahaha.)
*GOP clown car runs into ditch ("Simon says the Republican Party's clown car has become a clown van.")
*CNN's Newt Gingrich Parrots Debunked Right-Wing Smear About Hillary Clinton And Boko Haram (Gingrich is truly a horrible, horrible human being.)
*The Jindal-Hate Group Relationship You Won't Hear About This Weekend ("When it comes to GOP politics, media outlets have a hard time seeing what's newsworthy about a hate group like AFA being used to cement the campaign of a potential presidential candidate.")
*Greeks vote in 'make-or-break' poll
*Schapiro: A scenario under which assembly elections actually matter ("It's not just losing [in court] that scares House Republicans. They're panicking over the possible remedy - that the court draws new districts and orders a special election.")
*With Medicaid expansion unlikely, hospitals and lawmakers in bind ("Virginia lawmakers are beginning to see what lies on the other side of their decision not to expand Medicaid or health coverage of uninsured Virginians." Except it's not "lawmakers" generally, it's REPUBLICANS specifically who have been blocking this. Why won't the corporate media just SAY THAT?!?)
*Killings of blacks by police in Virginia fuel debate
*Rose: To prosper, Southwest Virginia must break with coal (Yep, coal's been a disaster for Appalachia.)
*Letter: Mountain Valley Pipeline would harm Southwest Virginia's economy
*Avoiding bad deals for transportation ("The errors and reckless decisions that shaped key transportation projects under former Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration were so egregious, so inexplicable, that lawmakers rightfully feel burned. And they appear increasingly willing to overhaul the state's Public-Private Transportation Act to prevent them from happening again and to ensure that the public's interests are served.")
*Privacy concerns create strange alliances in Richmond
*Virginia GOP elects John Whitbeck as new chairman (No comment from DPVA on the anti-Semitic "joke" dude?)
*Virginia bars' happy hours might become less secretive if bill passes ("A Fairfax delegate's proposed law would let bars detail their drink specials, though not prices.")
*Heroin overdose deaths alarm leaders in Maryland, Virginia
*Former Del. Phil Hamilton says feds target Virginia politicians (Well maybe if they'd get their own act together...)
*Restraining or secluding Va. schoolchildren demands strict guidelines
*Dominion power line project also needs federal approval (If Domninion would encourage, instead of blocking, distributed power like rooftop solar, plus energy efficiency of course, it wouldn't need to build more power lines.)
*Snowfall tonight could make for a dicey Monday morning commute

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Jan 24, 2015 at 07:48:22 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, January 24. Also see President Obama's weekly address, about "middle-class economics."

*Playing Politics on Iran ("House Speaker John Boehner's invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel defies diplomatic norms and common sense." What Bibi and BONEr are doing here is disgraceful at best.)
*Jorge Ramos, Voice of Latino Voters on Univision, Sends Shiver Through G.O.P
*Sarah Palin on 2016: 'Of Course' She's Interested (Oh pleasepleasepleaseplease run! LOL)
*Get used to Obama's swagger ("Economic indicators suggest he's going to have even more to crow about in the months to come.")
*Why Republicans can't stop talking about rape ("There's a deep philosophical divide between the core of the pro-life movement, which wants no exceptions for abortion, and those who side with the vast majority of Americans, who support access to the procedure for rape victims.")
*Opponents of proposed gas pipeline rally at Virginia Capitol ("Environmentalists and western Virginia property owners rallied Friday at the state Capitol in opposition to a proposed 550-mile natural gas pipeline.")
*Va. Senate panel rejects adoption by unmarried gay couples ("A proposal to allow adoption by the partners of unmarried gay parents was rejected Friday by a Virginia Senate committee.")
*Legislation would reform Virginia Tobacco Commission ("Gov. Terry McAuliffe is backing legislation sponsored by two Republican lawmakers to reform a commission that doles out tobacco settlement money.")
*Governor appears in public after hospital stay; talks veterans healthcare
*Notice critical to government oversight (Sure, but that notice does NOT have to be printed in hard-copy newspapers, it can be posted online these days.)
*McAuliffe trip security cost taxpayers nearly $16K
*Virginia State Bar suspends Bob McDonnell's law license
*20-week abortion bill faces long odds in Virginia
*If you think the D.C. region is crowded now, just wait until 2030 (More than ever, we need policies that encourage smart growth, not sprawl development!)
*Booming student population puts Arlington schools at conflict with parks, housing (Again, we need smart, transit-oriented, high-density developoment.)
*Reston residents fiercely opposed to idea of building homes on golf course ("The course sits near a new Metro station on the Silver Line, making it a prime spot for developers.")
*U-Va.'s sensible new fraternity rules
*Hampton Roads economy set to improve in 2015
*Weather advisories in some areas; D.C. might see light rain or snow

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Progress VA: Take Action to Stop Proposed Virginia Abortion Ban

by: lowkell

Fri Jan 23, 2015 at 08:42:33 AM EST

From Anna Scholl of Progress Virginia:


Virginia conservatives are attempting an abortion ban more extreme than the bill conservatives in the US Congress were too afraid to try. Last night, on the very anniversary of Roe v. Wade, right-wing lawmakers put in HB2321 which unconstitutionally bans abortion after 20 weeks, with zero exception for survivors of rape.

We need you to take action right now to tell your State Senator and Delegate to oppose this blatant abortion ban.

Only the extremist lawmakers who tried to subject Virginia women to trans-vaginal ultrasounds and personhood would attempt to pass an abortion ban bill too extreme for the far right Congressmen in Washington, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. We can't stand for this.

Speak out against this outrageous abortion ban right now.

Once you've taken action, please take a second to help spread the word and make sure as many people know as possible:

Together we will defeat this,


Contribute Now!


Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Jan 23, 2015 at 06:26:41 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, January 23. Also see the video of President Obama's post-SOTU YouTube interview.

*Saudi king championed reform, preserved power (He may have "championed reform," but this is still a country with an abysmally bad human rights record.)
*What is the GOP thinking? ("There they go again. Given control of Congress and the chance to frame an economic agenda for the middle class, the first thing Republicans do is tie themselves in knots over...abortion and rape.")
*Inside The GOP Meltdown On Abortion And Rape
*Abortion dissenters face backlash ("GOP lawmakers who haulted the signature anti-abortion bill could face primaries in 2016.")
*Steve King for a day ("Democrats seize on an event being hosted by immigration lightning rod Steve King." He's not just a "lightning rod," he's a raging bigot and all-around lunatic.)
*Senate's marathon Keystone debate ends in anger ("Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to end debate around midnight, after a seemingly endless series of votes and quorum calls that left Democrats fuming.")
*Lawmakers focus on lagging pay for state employees and state police
*Governor McAuliffe released from hospital
*Keeping dreamers' hopes alive ("Virginia lawmakers should approve House proposals to ensure that high-achieving students who've graduated from Virginia high schools, who've stayed out of trouble and been raised by families that pay taxes, have a shot at earning higher education and contributing to Virginia's economy. No matter where they were born.")
*Va. lawmakers struggle with campus sexual assault policy ("Mandatory reporting to law enforcement at heart of difficult issue")
*Va. lawmaker seeks to decriminalize marijuana possession ("Sen. Adam Ebbin's bill would downgrade possession of a small amount of pot to a civil offense.")
*Decriminalizing marijuana will take more than grass-roots support
*Va. GOP objects to McAuliffe's Republican choice for elections board ("Republican parity pick also voted in Democratic primaries, which could jeopardize his party standing.")
*House subcommittee rejects cellphone ban for drivers ("A bill that would ban drivers from using cell phones failed again before a House subcommittee, ending any chance of further restrictions this legislative session.")
*Virginia lawmakers push for increased day-care regulation ("The proposals follow a Washington Post investigation of child deaths in day-care operations.")
*Humane Society undercover investigation alleges animal abuse at Natural Bridge Zoo
*Scandal: Joltin' Joe ("Juries are instructed to assume a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Lawmakers and the public labor under no such obligation. In the wake of Del. Joe Morrissey's indictment on felony forgery charges, it's fair to assume a large share of both groups suspect the worst.")
*Government opposes Bob McDonnell's appeals court bond bid
*Rain and snow mix may fall by your evening commute; then comes sleet

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

The State of the Gunonwealth (satire - in case you didn't notice!)

by: AndyG

Thu Jan 22, 2015 at 18:25:36 PM EST

( - promoted by lowkell)

The circus is in town again, so it's time for my annual blog post about the "State of the Gunonwealth." It's time to see what came tumbling out to the clown car again this year, at least regarding firearms legislation. As in previous years, there's plenty of crazy to go around. So here is a brief roundup of some of the high, or should I say low points, of the firearms bills:

This year we have two bills to allow concealed carry in the "unsecured" parts of our air terminals. Seems we can't rely solely on the increasing number of highly trained and competent individuals that show up at TSA checkpoints, with loaded guns that they "forgot they had," to keep us safe. After all, should a rampaging hoard of AQAP members come spilling out of one of the many Yemeni Airways flights to Richmond international or an ISIL pickup truck take a wrong turn outside Mosul and find itself in the airport parking lot in Roanoke, we need to be able to rely on Gary and his Glock to protect all the passengers from being mowed down in the baggage claim area.
Either that, or see him shooting off a significant part of his manhood during a "wardrobe malfunction" in front of the urinals.

Not satisfied with turning our airports into a scene from a Rambo movie, there are several bills that would "enhance the security" of our school kids, despite the fact that most of them are already safer in school than they are in their homes. A brilliant idea to decriminalize the carry of knives of all sizes, Ninja throwing stars, blackjacks and even ballistic knives for anyone in, or on the bus to or from, Private and Religious schools would certainly spice up the Kindergarten classes. This "Baptist Babies with Blackjacks" bill might not make you feel like immediately transferring your kid from Public to a Private school, but if you do want to, make sure they are packing a tazer on the first day of class, or at least a set of suitably sized brass knuckles.  

There's More... :: (4 Comments, 714 words in story)

Sen. Saslaw Continues to Oppose Strengthened Ethics Laws; Says "Everyone Knows" Sierra Club "Crazy"

by: lowkell

Thu Jan 22, 2015 at 08:07:32 AM EST

For more on Saslaw's obnoxious, bizarre comments see the Checks and Balances Project (C&BP). A few highlights:

  • C&BP Executive Director Scott Peterson "pointed out that last year, Dominion was the largest donor to state-level politicians with over $1.3 million in campaign contributions.* 'No wonder Dominion Virginia gets its way when it comes to energy in Virginia.'"
    *Peterson writes: "I had Senator Saslaw's attention now. In fact, he appeared to be glaring at me."
  • Saslaw doubled down on what he said in March 2014 ("Video: In Crude Language, Sen. Dick Saslaw Argues that Ethics Laws are Irrelevant, Unnecessary"), regarding how you "can't legislate ethics," because "either you're dishonest or you're not." Ugh.
  • Saslaw refused to let Peterson respond, then "before I could sit down...bounded up the aisle toward me...walked up and leaned in within inches of my face...told me that he had been interviewed by the FBI who told him that the way he handled campaign contributions was not corrupt."
  • As for the following exchange, it needs to be quoted in full to believe:
He seemed not to understand, so I repeated the word "apologist." He then explained how he had gotten Virginia Dominion President Robert Blue and a solar chieftain together to try and work out their differences. I countered with the fact that the Sierra Club's climate and energy scorecard had given Senator Saslaw an overall grade of D, while three Republican delegates received B's.

"Well," Senator Saslaw huffed. "Everyone knows they're crazy!" He invited me to visit him in Richmond, then walked off.

Of course, when Saslaw talks about how "everyone knows," he's talking about the people corporate interests he hangs out with (lobbyists from Dominion, the Virginia Bankers Association, Verizon, the Beer Wholesalers, the Auto Dealers, the Trial Lawyers, the Wine Wholesalers, the Realtors, the coal companies, etc, etc.).

Bottom line: Dick Saslaw continues to represent the antithesis of where Virginia should be going on ethics legislation. He also should be an embarrassment to any Virginia Democrat with a moral compass. Sad to say - at least as far as I can determine - he remains as Majority Leader in large part due to his ability to raise s***-tons of money from Dominion Power and many other wealthy, powerful corporations. The problem, other than the massive ethics #FAIL of doing the bidding of companies who contribute huge sums of money to you, is that Saslaw's utterly incompetent in what he DOES with the money, such as blowing hundreds of thousands of dollars on an unwinnable special election for Phil Puckett's Senate seat in a 2:1 Cuccinelli district, or losing control of the State Senate in district lines drawn/approved by him. And that's not even counting the fact that Saslaw completely missed the embezzlement of $600,000 of his own money by trusted advisors. But, again, as Saslaw himself says, you can't legislate that kind of thing. So,  by that fascinating "reasoning," I guess Saslaw won't be pressing charges against the people who stole his money? Talk about "crazy."  

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Jan 22, 2015 at 06:29:47 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, January 22.

*Fox News is self-destructing: Islamophobia, Obama's Reagan moment and Roger Ailes' new humiliation ("The network was riding high after the midterm elections. Since then, it's been one embarrassment after another.")
*GOP leaders abruptly drop abortion bill ("The move comes after female Republican lawmakers raised concerns that the bill, which would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, might spoil the party's chances to broaden its appeal." Ya think?)
*Israeli Mossad Goes Rogue, Warns U.S. on Iran Sanctions ("The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has broken ranks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling U.S. officials and lawmakers that a new Iran sanctions bill in the U.S. Congress would tank the Iran nuclear negotiations." I'm with the Mossad on this one, at least for now.)
*Reagan, Obama and Inequality ("Congressional Republicans seem focused on a pipeline that isn't even economically viable at today's oil prices. Let's hope that the national agenda can broaden along the lines that Obama suggests, so that the last 35 years become an aberration rather than a bellwether.")
*'Discrimination With a Smile' ("Blacks and Hispanics have faced unjust biases in getting mortgages and renting homes in the past. The Supreme Court should uphold the Fair Housing Act.")
*Fueling Speculation, Romney and Jeb Bush Will Meet (Personally, I'm hoping both of them will run!)
*Republicans pulled a classic bait-and-switch with abortion bill ("The decision wound up blowing up in the faces of House GOP leaders.")
*Obama ditches his illusions about Republicans ("... in telling the Republicans that all their predictions turned out to be wrong, he reminded his fellow citizens which side, which policies and which president had brought the country back.")
*Uber bills, transportation issues and the Morrissey mess dominate the day at Capitol
*Obamacare enrollment tops 300,000 in Virginia ("With nearly a month of enrollment remaining, Virginia has already surpassed last year's number of people obtaining health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.")
*Pipelines prompt discussion of property rights law
*General Assembly notebook: Conservative caucus supports bills that favor lower taxes, gun rights (Yep, trickle-down bull**** and the opposite of what huge majorities of Virginians want in terms of background checks, etc.)
*Lung association gives Virginia an F on anti-tobacco efforts (Start by cranking up the cigarette tax, which is the second-lowest in the nation!)
*Bill: Let Dominion skip state of Virginia reviews (We should actually be going in the opposite direction on this out-of-control behemoth.)
*McAuliffe official says politics and media drove McDonnell on U.S. 460 project
*Gingrich ally Haley seeks Stosch's Senate seat ("The onetime campaign manager for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's 2012 presidential bid has joined the race to succeed retiring Sen. Walter A. Stosch, R-Henrico.")
*A pardon can begin treatment ("Gov. Terry McAuliffe's decision to conditionally pardon a man in prison for assaults prompted by mental disabilities was made easier because leaders in both political parties supported it and mental health authorities rallied for it.")
*Lawmakers: Metro smoke fatality 'unacceptable'
*Warner, Connolly on Metro: "Some answers but a lot of questions remain"
*Va. lawmaker Joseph D. Morrissey faces new criminal charges (The question is, how many lives does this cat have?)
*Ending saga, Norfolk bald eagles relocate away from airport
*Saving dogs is a calling for XOXO Pet Rescue in Hampton Roads
*Distaste grows for Washington football team's name, even among some NFL allies (Again, so why is the Washington Post still using that name in its "news" articles?)
*McAuliffe talks about safari injury, health care, and his tolerance for pain ("Va.'s governor, still hospitalized, says the horse that threw him 'could have won the Kentucky Derby.'")
*Partly sunny and breezy today, but sleet and snow possible late Friday

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Check Out the Mt. Vernon Dems Mardi Gras Celebration, Straw Poll(s) on February 21

by: lowkell

Wed Jan 21, 2015 at 21:30:26 PM EST

As always, this should be a fun time, with great music, food, and lots of politics (if you're into any or all of those things). :)  Check it out!

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VA House Republicans Block Attempt to Prohibit Fundraising During Lengthy Special Sessions

by: lowkell

Wed Jan 21, 2015 at 18:00:41 PM EST

Currently, as you probably are aware, members of the Virginia General Assembly are prohibited from raising money during session. There's a logic to this; namely, that fundraising during session creates at least the appearance of impropriety (e.g., members taking  money from the very corporations and others who stand to gain - or lose - from legislation before those very same General Assembly members).

Of course, this prohibition is utterly inadequate - basically a bad joke - as it's still possible for corporations and others to donate unlimited amounts of money to members in all the time leading up to and following sessions. For instance, while our pals at Dominion Power aren't allowed to donate to Speaker Bill "ALEC" Howell DURING a session, it's perfectly legal from them to donate as much as they want to Howell (or anyone else) the moment a session ends, all the way up to the moment a new session begins. How on earth that prevents the appearance of impropriety, let alone actual impropriety (e.g., the "capture" of our government by powerful interests of all types) is beyond me.

Add to this pathetically weak, intrinsically corrupt situation the fact that Republicans last year held extended "special sessions," the apparent purpose of which being to prevent Gov. McAuliffe from appointing judges, while effectively allowing the Republican-dominated legislature to stack the Virginia judiciary. During those "special sessions," commonsense would suggest that the same logic about not being able to fundraise during regular sessions would apply. I mean, either you're in session or you're not, whether it's called "special" or "regular" or whatever.

Right? Except for one problem: we're not talking about normal human logic here, but instead that strange, oxymoronic concept known as "Republican logic." As Gov. McAuliffe tweeted earlier today: "Disappointed to see a party line vote defeat proposal to ban fundraising in special session. A session is a session & should have same rules." Yeah, you'd think they should. But not, apparently, in a General Assembly controlled by the likes of Bill "ALEC" Howell, Tommy Norment, etc.

Anyway, that so-called "Republican logic" was on full display earlier today in a House of Delegates subcommittee, where Republicans killed, on a party-line vote (shocker!), legislation that would have prohibited fundraising during special sessions, just as it's prohibited during regular sessions. I had a short conversation with Democratic House Leader Del. David Toscano about this a little while ago. The bottom line, in Toscano's view, is that prohibiting fundraising during special sessions would have made Virginia's pathetically weak campaign finance ethics system at least a wee bit stronger than it is now. But Republicans clearly prefer to have their cake (being able to call extended special sessions to block Gov. McAuliffe from appointing people to the judiciary) and eat it too (treat the special session differently than the regular session when it comes to raising money). It's not good government, it's not a sign of seriousness on ethics reform (even after everything we've seen the past couple years, including the conviction of former Gov. McDonnell), and it's not internally consistent logic.'s what Republicans want, and sadly they're in the majority right now and can get their way. Which is just one reason, out of many other important ones, why Democrats need to take back the State Senate this November and pick up a bunch of seats in the House of Delegates as well.  

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Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Jan 21, 2015 at 06:40:37 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, January 21.

*'Shadow of crisis has passed' ("Obama says the improving economy vindicates his policies")
*Assertive call to reform tax code, fight terrorism
*The Problem With Obama's Bold SOTU ("Though he did adopt a muscular stance in presenting a forceful and vigorous vision-going on offense in the fourth quarter of his presidency, as his advisers have put it-the president let the Republicans off easy.")
*Obama Ad Libs Epic Burn Against GOP During State of the Union ("'I have no more campaigns to run,' Obama said, and when a few scalliwags clapped, he added, 'I know, because I won both of them.'")
*Obama trolls the GOP: How a not-so-lame-duck president left them bumbling ("With his modest tax proposals Obama is neither Piketty nor Robin Hood -- but here's why his SOTU riled up the right")
*The Liberated Liberal ("President Obama offered an assertive vision of Democratic ideals. But was it enough?")
*Joni Ernst's SOTU Rebuttal Wasn't One ("To grade Ernst's response by its policy proposals, it landed somewhere between an F and an Incomplete.")
*Republican Response To Obama SOTU Dodges Nearly Every Major Issue
*Morrissey now the subject of new criminal investigation ("Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, I-Henrico, is cited as the defendant in an ongoing criminal investigation that lists four unnamed felonies and a new judge.")
*Senate defeats bill blocking in-state tuition for some immigrants (19 Republicans voted against "DREAMers" - gack.)
*In Richmond, legislators fail civics quiz
*Virginia lawmakers accept fewer gifts, with some exceptions
*House Republicans fight McAuliffe plan to insure mentally ill (Lovely, eh?)
*Judgeship for Puckett's daughter clears Va. legislature (So much for ethics reform in Richmond.)
*Schapiro: Virginia business gives legislature the business ("Welcome to the General Assembly. Its unofficial motto, with apologies to Calvin Coolidge: 'The business of Virginia is business.'" Actually, it's crony capitalism, corruption, and the "capture" of government by powerful/wealthy special interests.)
*Roanoke College poll finds support for ethics reform, continued split on Medicaid expansion
*Va. weighs medical marijuana bills for kids with epilepsy
*Maureen McDonnell guidelines call for 5 to 6 1/2 years ("Virginia's former first lady is unlikely to receive the stiff sentence the federal probation office calculated.")
*Hampton Roads politicians react to State of the Union
*Roanoke Mayor David Bowers takes heat for talk with assembly delegation ("Mayor David Bowers was called out Tuesday by fellow Roanoke City Council members for contacting members of the city's delegation to the General Assembly and undermining a piece of the council's legislative agenda.")
*Schoeneman announces candidacy to succeed Frey in Sully District (Dems will need to run a strong campaign to win in this district.)
*Arlington neighbors wonder if dog-poisoner is at work
*Minor amounts of snow today, but weekend storm possibility looms

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Do These Stories Give You the "Warm and Fuzzies" Over Ethics in Virginia Government?

by: lowkell

Tue Jan 20, 2015 at 16:14:39 PM EST

Two stories on the Washington Post website, two prime examples of the "Virginia Way" in action. I'm not, of course, talking about the "Virginia Way" that meant Virginia was somehow above the petty (or more than petty) corruption we see in other states, countries, etc. Instead, I'm talking about the REAL "Virginia Way," as explained here by DJ Rippert -- "Endless recent scandals (Tobacco Indemnification Fund, Phil Hamilton, Star Scientific, etc, etc)." Below, you can see the two examples of how dirty money in politics has made a mockery of the "Virginia Way." I mean, seriously, after all that's happened -- including Republicans having the chutzpah to attack Mark Warner over the sleazy Phil Puckett jobs-in-exchange-for-Puckett's-resignation/control-of-the-State-Senate deal, the one that THEY came up with -- Republicans are about to vote to approve a judgeship for Phil Puckett's daughter? And these are the same people who the people of Virginia are trusting to enact ethics reform that's worth anything? Amazing.

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Economic Opportunity Coalition Discusses Legislative Agenda

by: lowkell

Tue Jan 20, 2015 at 16:01:05 PM EST

From Progress Virginia:

Priorities include wage increases, paid sick days, and targeted tax policies 

Richmond, VA  - Virginia’s Economic Opportunity Coalition today announced key legislative priorities for the 2015 General Assembly session to promote economic security for Virginia families. Legislative priorities include making Virginia’s Earned Income Tax Credit fully refundable, providing broader access to paid sick days, and raising Virginia’s minimum wage.

Michael Cassidy, President of the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, explained why making Virginia’s EIC refundable would provide a huge boost to working Virginians. “Although we are well into the recovery, low-wage workers with full-time jobs across Virginia are struggling to earn enough to pay for necessities that help them get to work, like childcare and transportation,” said Cassidy. “Making matters worse, the lowest-income households also pay a greater share of their income to state and local taxes than all other households. Virginia lawmakers have a critical opportunity to help working families and to strengthen the economy and local businesses by making the Earned Income Credit refundable.” 

The EIC provides a modest credit for roughly 314,000 low-wage working families, like those in the military, against the income taxes they owe, freeing up more of their household budgets to pay for basic goods and services. But the credit is not refundable. Making just half the credit refundable would put roughly $40 million back into the pockets of working families.

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Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Jan 20, 2015 at 06:40:44 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, January 20.

*Dangerously in denial on climate change ("Conservative climate-change denialism is indeed dangerous, and not just because it threatens coral reefs and polar bears tomorrow. It's also dangerous because it's a symptom of a much greater anti-intellectual, anti-science epidemic, one that prioritizes populist punch lines over smart policy and threatens our ability to compete in the global economy today." It also threatens humanity.)
*Eugene Robinson: Republicans are stubbornly blocking the road on climate ("Instead of pretending there's some kind of debate about climate change, Congress ought to be working on economic development alternatives for coal-mining regions that will inevitably suffer." Exactly. Buy out the coal miners if need be.)
*Pope says birth control ban doesn't mean breed 'like rabbits' (Uhhhhh...that's exactly why people need access to effective, affordable contraception!)
*Mike Huckabee's PAC Paid His Family Almost $400,000 (Grifter/scam artist.)
*4 GOP hopefuls expected to attend Koch event (Which should disqualify all four.)
*Ready to Move Past Hardship, Obama Resets His Goals ("President Obama is expected to use Tuesday's State of the Union address to urge action on issues deferred by the nation's economic struggles in recent years.")
*Obama's tax plans to focus on middle-class Americans
*Today's Top Editorial: More, not less ("The proposal to let local governments hide public notices from public view turns up at the General Assembly every year like a bad fungal infection. The premise of the bills - they would save money - is mistaken. They would only allow more mischief to flourish.")
*Casey: Republican leader cries foul after sleazy GOP trick ("Virginia Republicans started the ball rolling on a sleazy ploy to gain control of the Virginia Senate. Now the GOP state leader is calling for an investigation of Sen. Mark Warner." Up is down, hot is cold, black is's Republican World!)
*Virginia Legislative Notebook: Uber, Lyft bill rolling
*Gun bills stoke ire on both sides in Virginia ("Both sides," even though 2:1 or greater majorities of Virginians favor the types of commonsense safety measures that are being discussed?)
*Senate R's kill minimum wage bill (So, when are they going to kill the billions of dollars a year in taxpayer-funded corporate welfare and "tax expenditures" for rich people we dole out in this state? Oh, of course they're not going to do that, they're Republicans.)
*House Republicans challenge McAuliffe program for mentally ill (Of course they do, they're Republicans.)
*Our view: The fundamental right to private property* ("Should the gas company's ability to bypass that otherwise
'fundamental right' to private property and walk over someone's land to survey and drill and whatnot come before that 'public need' has been established, or should it come after?" How about NEVER?)
*Gifts to Va. lawmakers down last year following McDonnell scandal ("In 2013, lawmakers accepted gifts worth $273,325, but the number dropped by about one-third, or 32.5 percent, in 2014, to $184,614." Good!)
*Va. Gov. McAuliffe hospitalized weeks after horse-riding accident in Africa
*Lawmaker supports bill to limit isolation, restraints on schoolchildren
*A new, better route for U.S. 460
*King's struggle not finished, Rev. Jeremiah Wright says in Va. Beach (I'd still love to have someone explain how Wright is any worse than E.W. Jackson and a score of hatemongering, far-right-wing, extremist preachers.)
*Sully District Supervisor Frey Announces Retirement
*Hundreds march through Roanoke on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
*Proposed bills address rising heroin problem in Virginia ("One bill would loosen restrictions on an antidote to overdoses from heroin and other opioids. If passed, police in Virginia Beach would start carrying naloxone.")
*Fairfax County officials plan to scrap a policy that enables police stonewalling
*Highs near 50 in sunny areas today; wintry mix possible Wednesday

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