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Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:46:20 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, August 21. Also, click on that image and tell Gov. McAuliffe: "Virginia should be a leader in curbing climate change. Now is the time to take bold action. "

*U.S. launched secret raid to rescue Foley (Bottom line, we need to fight these "Islamic State" terrrorists because they would kill all of us if they had the chance.)
*Obama, 'Appalled' by Beheading, Will Continue Airstrikes (Time to ramp them up, I'd say.)
*A peaceful night in Ferguson after a visit from the Attorney General
*Amid rhetoric, President Obama's uncharismatic response so far to Ferguson is apt
*Missouri Councilman Explains Racist Facebook Posts: 'I Was A Very Active Republican' (Well, at least he's honest! LOL)
*U.S. Supreme Court puts gay marriage on hold in Virginia (So now it's up to Anthony Kennedy. Should we be cautiously optimistic?)
*McDonnell testifies: Jonnie Williams got no special favors (That's a big question the jury needs to decide.)
*McDonnell takes the stand, says his wife was a 'tense' first lady (The "throw Maureen under the bus" strategy continues. Classy, Bob! Also, did Maureen FORCE Bob to take the Rolex, etc? Uh, no.)
*Gillespie releases 1st first campaign ad in race with Warner (See here for more on "Enron Ed's" whitewash.)
*Our view: Toxic Democrats ("The Democratic brand is simply too toxic in rural Virginia; it's hard to sell voters on the restorative tonic of Medicaid expansion when all they see is a skull-and-crossbones representing every cultural touchstone they despise." For now, time to focus on urban/suburban/exurban voters, apparently.)
*Va. Republicans take victory lap after sealing control of General Assembly ("Howell and Norment stressed that the two chambers are united, in contrast with the state Republican Party, which is riven by a struggle between moderate establishment members and an insurgent wing of tea party supporters and other conservative activists.")
*Special session in Richmond could be a challenge for Virginia's Barbara Comstock ("In the midst of the most important part of an extremely competitive congressional race, she'll have to spend a significant amount of time in Richmond, when she should be knocking on doors, talking to voters, talking about her position on a number of issues.")
*Environmental regulators, CSX discuss April derailment in Lynchburg
*Protecting Chesapeake as Dominion shuts plant ("Chesapeake wisely refused a request by Dominion Virginia Power to store nearly a million tons of fly ash, which contains heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury, without a special permit.")
*'I want Virginia to be out front' battling campus sex assaults, McAuliffe says ("The governor is forming a task force at schools to prevent attacks and to fairly resolve cases.")
*Area legislators hope to minimize impact of spending cuts
*Chesapeake takes step toward Greenbrier light rail
*N.Va.'s Eden Center is crumbling, Vietnamese business owners say ("The Falls Church mall is losing customers, and tenants have sued to have critical repairs made.")
*Nats extend winning streak to 9 games with late rally against Diamondbacks (Another day, another walk-off win. Amazing.)
*Mini heat spell continues into Friday ("Thunderstorms are likely to push across the area in the evening before dying out.")

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 06:21:30 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, August 20. Also, I really like that photo by Tom Greeson of Rip Sullivan campaign HQ last night...tallying up the big victory. :)

*Islamic State claims to behead U.S. journalist (These cowardly thugs represent the worst of humanity. More than that, they are a serious threat to the region and potentially to the U.S. We need to pound the crap out of them.)
*In Ferguson protests, 'a turning point' ("Police arrest 47 people in late-night clashes, but Capt. Ronald Johnson said a city torn by riots was beginning to heal.")
*The Head of The Missouri GOP Thinks Voter Registration Drives in Ferguson Are "Disgusting" (Perhaps it's the head of the Missouri GOP whose views are "disgusting?")
*David Plouffe joins Uber as 'campaign manager'
*For-Profit College Grads Have The Same Shot At A Job Interview As People Who Never Went To College (More evidence that these "schools" are a menace.)
*Clergy readying to perform same-sex marriages in Virginia ("Unless the Supreme Court acts, same-sex marriages will be allowed in Virginia starting on Thursday morning. Clergy are heading to courthouses throughout the state.")
*Congressmen ask Va. GOP to postpone party battles, but the answer is no ("The rebuff from state Republican leaders is a fresh sign of discord within the organization.")
*In Richmond, Warner pushes student loan bill and VA overhaul
*Warner stresses bi-partisanship (That would be great if there were a partner we could work with, not a bunch of Tea Party extremists.)
*Sister-in-law: Former Va. first lady could be 'sweet' or 'deceptive' (The "throw Maureen under the bus and run over her a few times" strategy by Bob McDonnell's legal team continues. Classy, huh? The thing is, though, it might work...)
*Schapiro: McDonnell fights to clear name - and save pension (It's always about money with the McDonnells, it seems.)
*GOP win in Va. Senate race gives Republicans control in Richmond (More about this in my "Winners and Losers" list a bit later.)
*Chafin wins Va. Senate seat, GOP solidifies control (Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment spouts the Big Lie: "Having a 21st Republican Senator will help us strengthen Virginia's economy and ensure conservative, fiscally responsible management of the Commonwealth's budget." Good one Tommy! LOL)
*Pandering to Northern Va.'s Koreans is going to extremes ("Let politicians pander. But let them also refrain from dictating cartographic advisory opinions to the states.")
*Election | Lindsey declares win in 90th House district (Only 2,100 votes cast, but Lindsey got over 80% of them.)
*Court OKs appeal in case involving SWVa. landowners, gas companies
*Sen. Kaine Presents Medals to 100-Year-Old WWII Vet
*Nats win one the easy way, stomping Diamondbacks 8-1
*Not hot, but kind of humid. Storms later today?

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia Election Results Thread: SD-38; HD-48; HD-90

by: lowkell

Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 19:00:00 PM EDT

Polls are now closed (although anyone waiting in line can vote). As usual, see VPAP and the State Board of Elections page for election results.

UPDATE 9:25 pm: Just got back from Rip Sullivan's victory party, where he bought everyone a round of beer. Is Rip going to be a great delegate or what? :) Meanwhile, it turns out that there was an error on VPAP earlier, and Rip Sullivan actually won every single precinct in the 48th districdt, romping over Dave Foster by a 62%-38% blowout margin. Hopefully, that marks the end of Foster trying to make the argument that he can win in blue areas of the state, but we'll see...

UPDATE 8:03 pm: With 86% of the precincts counted, it's Chafin 61%-Hymes 33%. With 72% of precincts counted, it's Sullivan 59%-Foster 41% (still only 1 precinct won by too many if you ask me, but what the heck, I'll take it). And with 73% of precincts counted, it's Lindsey 84%-Calabrese 16%. in addition to Delegate-elect Lindsey, congratulations to Delegate-elect Sullivan!

UPDATE 7:49 pm: With 64% of precincts reporting in the 48th, Dave Foster has unfortunately won one - Kirby precinct in Fairfax County. Still, I'll take a 60%-40% lead any day. :) Again, congratulations to Delegate-elect Joe Lindsey in the 80th, who has over 84% of the vote. As for the Virginia Democratic Senate caucus' gamble on the 38th Senate district, to put it mildly it didn't pay off, with Senator-elect Chafin up by 29 percentage points with 76% of precincts reporting. As I said a million times, we should focus our time, energy and resources on 2015...

UPDATE 7:38 pm: By the way, I asked Ben "Not Larry Sabato" Tribbett late this afternoon for his predictions. He said 61%-39% Sullivan and 62%-38% Chafin. Right now it's 62%-38% Sullivan (with 44% of precincts counted) and 62%-32% Chafin (with 74% of precincts counted). Not too shabby!

UPDATE 7:35 pm: A few more from the Arlington elections office -- Cherrydale: @DaveFosterVA 139 @RipSullivan48 302, Madison: @DaveFosterVA  371 @RipSullivan48  406; Rosslyn: @DaveFosterVA 59 @RipSullivan48 126; Dawson Terrace: @DaveFosterVA 49 @RipSullivan48 103; Arlington Absentee: @DaveFosterVA 312 @RipSullivan48 678.

UPDATE 7:32 pm: Looking good for Democrat Rip Sullivan in the 48th House of Delegates district and for Democrat Joe Lindsey in the 90th House of Delegates district. With 7 of 25 precincts reporting, Sullivan's ahead 60%-40%. With 27% of precincts reporting, Lindsey's ahead 89%-11%. Congratulations to Delegate-elect Lindsey! As for Foster, he hasn't won a precinct yet; hopefully that trend will continue and Sullivan will hold his 20-point margin or increase it.

UPDATE 7:30 pm: With 72 of 120 precincts counted in the 38th Senate district, Republican Ben Chafin leads by a huge margin, 10,739 (61.2%) to just 5,638 (32.1%) for Democrat Mike Hymes. So why did Democrats pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into this 2:1 Cooch/Jackson/Obenshain district? I couldn't figure it out then, and I sure can't figure it out now.

UPDATE 7:23 pm: In Senate District 38, VPAP has it at Chafin 6,905 (62.12%)-Hymes 3,337 (30.02%)-Mullins 868 (7.81%) with 45 of 120 precincts counted. Pretty much over, barring a miraculous comeback by Hymes.

UPDATE 7:22 pm: According to the Arlington County Elections Board Twitter feed, Rip Sullivan beat Dave Foster in Thrifton precinct 415-315, in Marshall precinct 337-211, in Wilson precinct 129-86, and in Crystal Plaza precinct 48-37. Looking good for Rip (especially when you consider that his home base is in Dranesville/McLean, while Foster's is in Arlington.

UPDATE 7:16 pm: Del. Greg Habeeb (@GregHabeeb) tweets, "First precinct reports I'm hearing from the Senate Special Election sound VERY promising." Habeeb's a Republican, by the way, so that's not good news if you're on the "blue team."

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 06:40:36 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, August 19.

*Globe sees fourth warmest July on record; Oceans tie for warmest July (This should be an emergency for everyone. The answer: get off of fossil fuels - oil and coal in particular, but also natural gas - ASAP - and switch to energy efficiency, solar, wind, geothermal, etc.!)
*Holder to travel to Ferguson as U.S. role expands
*In Ferguson, a sense of being left behind
*He's no Jack Kemp ("Rand Paul's shady history with African Americans." Note that this is by a conservative columnist.)
*Stark Racial Divisions in Reactions to Ferguson Police Shooting (Only 37% of whites say this case raises important issues about race? Uhhhh...hello?!?)
*Cliven Bundy vs. Ferguson's peaceful demonstrators: A tale of two protests ("Bundy engaged in armed resistance to avoid paying fees. Compare that to peaceful protests responding to a lost life." Why are Bundy and his lawless followers not in jail right now?)
*Scandals hiding in plain sight (Christie, Perry, Walker, McDonnell, Scott and...Cuomo too? Ugh.)
*Former Senator Jim Jeffords Dead At 80 (A moderate, even progressive, Republican - they used to be a powerful force in the GOP, but not anymore!)
*Cantor quietly ends congressional tenure (Now, through the "revolving door" presumably...)
*Advocates urge U.S. top court not to block gay marriage in Virginia
*Virginia voters head to polls in four special elections ("Three seats in the General Assembly will be filled, and a town council election will test new voter ID laws.")
*Virginia attorney general seeks delay in reversing gay-marriage ban
*Former Va. Gov. Robert McDonnell was seen as 'Mr. Honest,' aide testifies ("In stark contrast, his wife was described as a "diva-ish" boss whose staff considered resigning.")
*Aide Describes Staff Revolt Against Former Virginia Governor's Wife
*Foust talks education, immigration, job creation (Foust has been spending a lot of time in the western part of the district -- Clarke County, Frederick County, Winchester, etc. Good to see!)
*Virginia's drastic drop in fully-accredited schools must be answered with action
*Danville Utilities under probe ("Following internal audit, investigation launched into overtime pay, credit car use")
*Nationals overcome Diamondbacks, extend streak to seven with 5-4 win
*Some humidity, clouds, shower chances through the work week

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 06:27:46 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, August 18. Also check out Missouri State High Patrol Captain Ron Johnson's powerful speech at a rally in Ferguson last night.

*National Guard deployed to Ferguson after violent unrest
*Better-paying jobs staging a comeback ("If the trend holds, economists say it might mean the bumpy road back from recession is beginning to even out - particularly if it means that such jobs can help boost household income.")
*Backed by U.S. strikes, Iraqi forces close to retaking dam
*Autopsy Shows Michael Brown Was Struck at Least 6 Times ("One of the bullets entered the top of Mr. Brown's skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when it struck him and caused a fatal injury..." WTF?)
*Autopsy Report Shows Michael Brown Was Shot Six Times
*McDonnell trial: Walking through the indictment
*McAuliffe steps up for the state's future ("The governor last week launched a workforce initiative aimed at graduating more students and filling more jobs in science, technology, engineering, math and health.")
*Cantor loss foreshadowed in Lyndon Jonhson's day
*Sarvis fights for some attention to his Senate campaign
*After record 2013, gun sales down so far this year
*Mosque proposal hits roadblock in Henrico
*Blue crab panel: Take action to avoid fishery collapse
*Local protesters show solidarity with Missouri demonstrators
*Our view: Roanoke falls behind Latvia ("Trick question: Which part of the country has the fastest Internet speeds?")
*Nationals walk off and race onward in a wild victory over Pittsburgh (Time for a new closer?)
*A humid start to the work week

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 07:09:22 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, August 17. Also, click on that image to "embiggen" and check out Senator Kaine rallying volunteers and voters for Rip Sullivan. The special election for the 48th House of Delegates district (see here for a map) is Tuesday; make sure you vote for Rip!

*Chaos after Ferguson curfew leaves 1 critical, 7 arrested
*Some evangelicals in Republican Party are feeling left out, see no standard-bearer
*Schapiro: For McDonnell, it's not a case - it's a campaign ("But will McDonnell be required to testify sooner than later, particularly if his lawyers are troubled by the trial's trajectory? And isn't that rather like saying in the heat of a campaign, that the race will be come down to the final televised debate? No candidate really wants to be in that position.")
*Democrats face uphill battle in 7th District congressional elections (Especially since the Democratic candidate refuses to go on the offense against the far-right-wing Republican candidate, Dave Brat. Hello?!?)
*Dominion Resources aims at the sun ("The Richmond-based energy company is exploring building 220 megawatts of solar energy in Virginia over five years starting in 2017." That's a start, but a VERY small one. Make that 220 megawatts every single year - or how about 2,220 megawatts per year - and you're starting to get somewhere.)
*Big problem with the state budget ("Virginia's budget situation went from bad to worse on Friday, with news of an additional revenue shortfall of $882 million over the next two years. That puts Gov. Terry McAuliffe and lawmakers, who remain in special session, in the unenviable position of pulling dollars away from state departments and agencies - and localities - that had already factored the money into their own budget plans.")
*McDonnell faces 'the biggest sell of his life' when he takes the witness stand
*Roanoke Times:  Missed opportunity ("Much of the campaign between Republican Ben Chafin, Democrat Mike Hymes and independent Rick Mullins - too much - has been spent on things the next state senator can't do a blame thing about.")
*Ben Chafin touts his 'successful first year' in General Assembly ("Successful?" Seriously? What, is this guy a comedian too? LOL)
*Hymes seeks to keep seat in the Democrats' fold
*38th District race inundated with negative ads ("As the special election for the 38th District Virginia Senate seat draws near, tensions have escalated and campaign advertising and rhetoric have taken negative turns.")
*Dispute over Asian sea's name could spill into Congress (What's in a name? Apparently a lot when it comes to this body of water.)
*Lindsey in House District 90 ("Calabrese opposes the expansion of Medicaid in Virginia, the most important issue before the legislature. Like members of the Republican House caucus, his reasons make little sense and eventually come down to politics and indefensible math.")
*Connaughton: A better way for Southwest Virginia
*Colgate Wins; Campbell and Fauquier to Conduct New Party Elections ("The RPV State Central Committee has concluded its consideration of all of the appeals arising from this spring's slating controversies.")
*Ramos puts Pittsburgh on ice as Nationals rally for fifth straight win ("Wilson Ramos's double sends Bryce Harper home in the bottom of the ninth.")
*Sunday stays pleasant; turning unsettled into the work week

Discuss :: (21 Comments)

Extremist Mark "Voter Suppression" Obenshain Fundraises off My Calling Out His "unhinged ravings"

by: lowkell

Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 13:13:06 PM EDT

Hilarious -  Extremist Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain is now fundraising off of my calling out his "unhinged ravings" and "extreme" views with regard to suppressing our right to vote.  He must really be hurting for cash these days. LOL



Dear Brian —

My last email to you appears to have hit a nerve with Democratic Party operatives and consultants. I need your help in order to continue this fight.

Democrats are furious that I exposed their hypocrisy on voter ID standards, with one prominent Democratic consultant and commentator calling me a “right wingnut” and saying I’m “Craaaaaaazy” (that’s a lot of “a”s) for daring to point out that even the Democratic Party, when it runs its own elections, thinks that voter ID is a good idea.

Lowell Feld, who consulted for Mark Herring last year, took to his blog to say that I was engaging in “unhinged ravings” by pointing out that, if the law says that an ID must be valid, it is not within the power of an agency to decide otherwise. Oh, and apparently I’m “paranoid as well as extreme.”

Apparently along with the 75% of Virginians who think this is a common sense issue.

And they’re pulling out all the stops to attack me on this issue, because they’re afraid of what will happen if the public is made aware of their hypocrisy.

Will you help me fight back against these outrageous Democratic attacks? Your contribution of $50, $25, or even $10 will help me continue to expose Democratic hypocrisy and stand up against their dishonest attacks?

Your contribution will not only enable me to stand up to the Democrats, but to help elect conservatives across Virginia who share our common sense values.  Please give today!


Best regards,


Mark Obenshain


Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 06:50:00 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, August 15.

*In Ferguson, sweeping steps set a new tone (About time! Now, we need "sweeping steps" across the country.)
*Congressman Wants To Stop The Feds From Giving Cities Like Ferguson Military Weapons For Free (Good luck with that; from everything I've read and seen in the news, that's been an extremely popular program with near-unanimous support.)
*A junkie comes to fix 'Meet the Press' (Good riddance to David Gregory, who was simply horrible at this job, and good luck to Chuck Todd. We'll see.)
*Black Caucus members call for hearings on Ferguson shooting ("[John] Conyers, [Bobby] Scott and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) wrote to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) Thursday urging him to probe Brown's death as part of a broader examination into police killings of young black males across the country.")
*The GOP's war on voters continues in Virginia (Specifically, it's a war on "Obama coalition" voters - young, people of color, etc. And extremists like Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain are leading the way.)
*Prosecution rests case with display of luxury goods McDonnells received ("All eyes in the corruption trial now turn to what the former Va. governor and his wife will say in their defense." That should be amusing.)
*Clerk: Gay marriages can start in Va. next Thursday
*First lady's texts with handyman Donnie Williams released

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 243 words in story)

Mark Obenshain's Facebook Rant on Supposed "Voter Fraud" Hypocrisy Makes Zero Sense

by: lowkell

Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 14:21:56 PM EDT

Who even knows what Republican State Senator Mark Obenshain is babbling about here. So many logical flaws and internal contradictions, so little time to mock them. First, here's Obenshain's "argument," using the word very loosely, in a nutshell:

1. Obenshain asserts that in last weekend's "Democratic Party-run firehouse primary to choose the party's state senate nominee in the 16th District special election, Democrats -- free to adopt any voter identification standard they wished, or none at all -- opted for requirements considerably more stringent than those contained in the state law they denounce, actually going so far as to require that IDs show the address at which the individual is registered."
2. Obenshain adds, "When the party establishment's candidate lost, the cries of massive voter fraud started rising from the most unlikely of places, with the local Democratic committee refusing to certify the election results, citing possible voter fraud." But, he adds sarcastically, "as the DPVA always tells us, voter fraud doesn't exist."

In short, Obenshain is claiming that Democrats are hypocrites for fighting voter ID laws, but then requiring voter ID in their own "firehouse primary" (for former Senator Henry Marsh's seat) this past weekend.

Just a few problems here. First, Obenshain outright admits that he "[doesn't] know what happened in the 16th District -- whether this is just sour grapes from party leaders who didn't get their way, or if there were in fact irregularities." That's right, he has no idea what exactly took place this past weekend (and from what I've heard, it was a mess in many ways - just not because of anything to do with voter ID), but he's talking about it anyway. LOL

Second, Obenshain then undercuts his entire case to tighten up Virginia's voter ID laws, admitting (for the first time publicly?) that he does NOT "believe that voter fraud is widespread" (actually, its statistically nonexistent). So, then, why go to such lengths to make it harder for Virginians to vote, for no good reason other than to address a supposed problem that Obenshain himself doesn't even believe exists?!? Is this the same sort of "logic" Obenshain used to first push to criminalize women for having miscarriages, then deny that he did just that? Craaaaaaazy.

Meanwhile, an astute commenter on Obenshain's tirade note that the "firehouse primary discussed above is a different issue - not a general election, not run by the Virginia State Board of Elections, etc." This same commenter also astutely notes that "[b]oth parties have been disconcerted about the possibility of cross-over voting and more in elections over the last year (especially since the Cantor-Brat race); some have advocated party registration, and more."

Finally, the same astute, reality-based commenter points out that Obenshain has "pushed for a costly law, addressing a problem that does not exist (in-person voter fraud), and likely increasing one that does (absentee voter fraud.)" Brilliant, no?

P.S. Just remember, this guy - Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain - came within 166 votes (out of 2.2 million cast) of becoming Attorney General of Virginia last November. Instead of this right wingnut, fortunately we have Democrat Mark Herring doing a superb job on a wide number of fronts - LGBT equality the one in the news today. So, to anyone who claims that "my vote doesn't matter," or "why bother getting involved," just refer them to the enormous, glaring difference in people's lives due to the razor-thin victory of Herring over Obenshain in 2013. As they might say in the Attorney General's office, "case closed!"

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 06:19:10 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, August 13. The photo is by Del. Jennifer McClellan of Gov. McAuliffe "creating a cabinet solely dedicated to the education, health, safety, and welfare of Virginia's children and youth and establishing the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success, chaired by Lt. Governor Northam, to focus on improving the health, education and wellbeing of our youngest children."

*Maliki isolated as Iran backs his rival as Iraq's leader
*Americans' optimism is dying ("Americans are reacting, in part, to the breakdown of the political system, which leaves people quite rationally worried about American decline and the nation's diminishing ability to weather crises.")
*Rush Limbaugh Links Robin Williams' Death To 'Leftist Worldview' (One of the top right-wing voices in the country, demented as always.)
*No one spins a conspiracy theory like TV preacher Pat Robertson (And this extremist bigot's a top Virginia Republican donor. Ugh.)
*Pro-Lifer Suggests Abortion To Blame For Robin Williams' Depression (And why is this not surprising either? Disgusting.)
*On Immigration, G.O.P. Starts to Embrace Tea Party (More lunacy from the Teapublicans.)
*The Death of Michael Brown ("Racial History Behind the Ferguson Protests")
*Ferguson Is 60 Percent Black. Virtually All Its Cops Are White.
*South Carolina Democrats Get Boost From Terry McAuliffe (From what I hear, DPVA could use a boost like that.)
*Credit union league endorses Warner
*McDonnell trial's wild proceedings move into a realm even more bizarre ("A doctor tells the court of a strange introduction to Steven Spielberg at the Virginia governor's mansion.")
*Sessoms: McDonnell didn't reveal Williams loans on properties
*Schapiro: Aides tried to protect McDonnells from themselves ("These public employees knew, long before the public did, that a cancer was growing on the governorship.")
*Judge excuses juror from McDonnell case
*High-profile suicide puts spotlight on troubling regional trend
*Follow-up on Elections Board notice to voters it thought had (erk) left Virginia
*An August Race in Arlington
*Manassas Mosque vandalized in possible hate crime
*City's stadium project at risk ("The owners of the Hagerstown Suns, a Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, seek to relocate the team to Fredericksburg.")
*Taylor homers in MLB debut as Fister mows down Mets in 7-1 Nats' victory ("Michael Taylor has a memorable first game in the major leagues as the Nationals cruise past the Mets.")
*Rain moves out and breezes will usher in several spectacular summer days

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Video: Pat Robertson Says Eric Holder Behind Bob McDonnell Prosecution

by: lowkell

Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 14:44:11 PM EDT

Uh,'s all a big conspiracy by the evil Obama administration against poor "Bobby"(Pat Robertson's nickname for former Governor and part-time Anatabloc salesman Bob McDonnell). Just keep in mind that Robertson is a top Virginia GOP donor. Also keep in mind that he's the guy who said that non-Christians are "termites;" that Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Methodists are in the "spirit of the Antichrist;" that Islam is "violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world, and world domination;" that Hinduism is "demonic;" that feminism is "a "socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians;" that a man complaining that his wife didn't "respect" him should "'move to Saudi Arabia,' where beating his wife would be permissible by law;" etc. So yeah, on one level, "what else is new?" But on another level, when you consider that this extremist nutjob was one of Bob McDonnell's main mentors and "dear friend" (Robertson's words)...well, it sort of puts it all into perspective, let's just leave it at that.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 06:31:09 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, August 12. Just one week until Virginia holds several special elections, including one for control of the State Senate.

*Maliki digs in for fight amid fears of Iraq instability ("As his already limited political support crumbled, Nouri al-Maliki argued that the appointment of a new Iraqi prime minister was legally invalid.")
*Ukraine Is Winning the War ("But will Putin invade?")
*Irrepressible Oscar winner found dead in his Calif. home in suspected suicide (RIP Robin Williams, a comedic force of nature who will be greatly missed!)
*Confidential Memo: Former Koch Group Insider Fears the Tea Party Is Fading ("An ex-state director for Americans for Prosperity bemoans the decline of the tea party movement.")
*Hillary's Delicate, Dangerous Game
*Witnesses: McDonnell plugged Anatabloc at insurance meeting
*Property losses had McDonnell
on financial ropes, manager testifies
("The ex-Va. governor took large loans to stop the bleeding on two rental homes, the witness said.")
*Good grief, Goodlatte (According to Goodlatte, "there are no studies out there that support any finding that medical marijuana helps with any illness of any kind." This guy's really a Congressman? Seriously?)
*McAuliffe creates two boards to address children's issues
*Dietary maker halts sale of Anatabloc
*Changes in fish signal problems with waters ("For more than a decade, scientists and policymakers have known that something has gone terribly wrong with the male fish in the rivers leading to the Chesapeake Bay.")
*Williams touted McDonnells' support, Jerry Kilgore says (On a side note, I still can't believe that Jerry Kilgore could have been governor of Virginia.)
*Favor free expression ("University of Virginia backs away from ill-considered dissent policy proposed for Board of Visitors")
*Prosecutor: Morrissey turned down misdemeanor offer in sex case
*Showers and storms today, some heavy, but then a beautiful turn

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 06:44:15 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, August 10. By the way, I'm posting Catherine Read's video of Mike Hymes not because I'm a big fan of his views on coal and the 2nd Amendment (to put it mildly, I'm not), but because that special election on August 19 will determine which party controls the Virginia State Senate. And, bottom line, I'd rather have the Democrats control it than the Teapublicans.

*Iraq Airstrikes May Continue for Months, Obama Says
*Hillary Clinton: 'Failure' to Help Syrian Rebels Led to the Rise of ISIS ("When I asked her about the intense international focus on Gaza, she was quick to identify anti-Semitism as an important motivating factor in criticism of Israel.")
*CIA shouldn't get away with redacting torture report (There also need to be prosecutions for this heinous crime, starting with people like Dick Cheney.)
*Tea party loses again; blame game begins
*Schatz holds late lead over Hanabusa in Senate race (Also, Hawaii's governor was defeated in a Democratic primary.)
*In opening 2 weeks of McDonnell trial, prosecution case looks strong
*McDonnells' friends and aides are prosecution witnesses
*Schapiro: McDonnell marriage on trial, too ("That the McDonnell marriage supposedly has been detonated could raise anew an issue that briefly threatened to blow up Bob's career: the thesis he wrote in 1989 as a law student at Pat Robertson-founded Regent University.")
*As Voting Rights Act marks 49th anniversary, Virginia localities face less federal scrutiny (Not good at all.)
*Reform redistricting ("Creating an independent process will help ensure more accurate representation for Virginia voters")
*Pushing Forward with Reform of Redistricting ("It's time for a break with the past. It's time for redistricting reform that puts the interests of the Commonwealth of Virginia and her people first, rather than protecting politicians and parties. It'll require some heavy lifting, but the result - a government that actually represents the people - is worth it.")
*Dance wins Democratic nomination to run for Henry Marsh's Senate seat
*Officials work to lure more businesses to Virginia
*Medicaid expansion hot-button issue in 38th District race in Va. ("Three Virginia Senate candidates vie for seat vacated by Puckett")
*6 Dumb Things Dan Snyder Has Said About the Name of His Football Team
*Nationals vs. Braves: After lengthy rain delay, Washington outlasts Atlanta in 11 innings, 4-1
*D.C. area forecast: Sunnier Sunday skies; rain odds increase to start work week

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 06:59:59 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, August 9. Also, see President Obama's weekly address, in which he details "why he authorized two operations in Iraq-targeted military strikes to protect Americans serving in Iraq and humanitarian airdrops of food and water to help Iraqi civilians trapped on a mountain by terrorists."

*U.S. planes hit militants in Iraq ("Strikes help temper days of panic across country's north")
*McCain Calls Obama's 'Pinprick' Iraq Strikes 'Meaningless' and 'Almost Worse Than Nothing' (The only question was how many minutes it would take for Senator "Get off my lawn" to weigh in with this line of criticism.)
*Analysis: Limited U.S. strikes in Iraq may not work (Having said that about McCain, who always wants more military force for every situation, it's true that limited air strikes might not be sufficient to deal with the humanitarian and strategic problems in Iraq. It also needs a broader political and probably military effort involving Iraq and possibly regional allies.)
*How Obama's plan for aid to refugees, bombings unfolded ("The strategy for intervention in Iraq entailed humanitarian airdrops and the targeting of militant artillery sites.")
*Obama on the World ("President Obama Talks to Thomas L. Friedman About Iraq, Putin and Israel")
*With no Gaza truce, airstrikes and rocket launches ramp up ("Militants fired 70 rockets in 24 hours, and Israeli air attacks on Saturday so far killed five Palestinians.")
* Judge Allows America's Worst Voter Suppression Law To Take Effect For 2014 Election (Appalling. Of course it's North Carolina under Teapublican management.)
*A GOP dilemma: Tough immigration rhetoric while wooing minorities ("Recent moves by House leaders and 2016 hopefuls conflict with the party's plan to appeal to Hispanics.")
*Cucinelli Blasts Senate Republicans' Re-Election Committee at the RedState Gathering (LOL, gotta love Cuckoo - if you're a Democrat, that is!)
*Va. AG asks Supreme Court to hear gay marriage case
*Star exec was "wary" of Williams', McDonnells' dealings
*McDonnell prosecutors put focus on secrecy surrounding dealings
*Judge at end of day 10 in McDonnell trial: TGIF
*Our pick in Northern Va.'s special election is Democrat Richard 'Rip' Sullivan ("But the contrast is clear: Mr. Foster is a shape-shifter; by contrast, voters would know what they were getting with Mr. Sullivan." Foster's a Cuccinelli Teapublican one minute, a "moderate" Republican the next. He clearly thinks voters are idiots.)
*Democrats to pick state senate candidate today ("Democrats will choose from four candidates vying to carry the party's banner in this fall's election for the 16th state Senate district." I'm neutral in this one.)
*Jones endorses McQuinn in Senate primary bid ("Jones' endorsement drew fire from McQuinn's opponents, who said the party leader should not choose sides in a party nominating contest." I agree; the DPVA chair should NOT be doing that, even if it's in another "capacity.")
*Who had the worst week in Washington? Maureen McDonnell. (Not sure Bob did so well either.)
*Nationals vs. Braves: Souza crashes into wall, Washington's comeback falls short in 7-6 loss (How can someone as talented as Strasburg be so wildly inconsistent from start to start?!?)
*Minimal shower threats this weekend, but rain isn't far, and it's staying sticky

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Prince William Today Editorial: Bob FitzSimmonds Needs to Resign as Deputy Court Clerk

by: lowkell

Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 16:39:47 PM EDT

Former Prince William County Board Chair Democratic nominee Babur Lateef posted this on his Facebook page and noted: "The Prince William Today newspaper is the first editorial board to call for the FitzSimmonds resignation from the clerks office. This is very STRONGLY worded and thank you to the editorial board!"

P.S. FitzSimmonds also needs to fulfill his (supposed) pledge to resign as Republican Party of Virginia Treasurer. Until he actually does so, we really can't believe a word this guy says about anything.

UPDATE: Also, make sure you sign Sen. Adam Ebbin's petition demanding "the removal of Bob FitzSimmonds from his position as Prince William County Deputy Clerk of the Court due to his bigoted and intolerant remarks against Muslims and other religious minorities."

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Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 06:49:55 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, August 8. Also see the video of President Obama authorizing airstrikes on militants in Iraq. Cue right-wingnut criticism (too strong? too mild? too early? too late?) in 5...4...3...2...1.

*Obama authorizes limited airstrikes in Iraq ("U.S. also sends food, water to besieged Iraqi minorities")
*What 'war on whites'? ("If there really were a "war on whites," as a Republican congressman from Alabama ludicrously claims, it wouldn't be going very well for the anti-white side.")
*Cease-Fire in Gaza Expires With Rockets Fired Into Israel (Note that Hamas and company broke the cease fire. Shocker, huh?)
*Preventing a Slaughter ("Having shaped the issue in terms of a humanitarian crisis, President Obama made it clear that the United States won't ignore the growing catastrophe of Iraq.")
*Krugman: Inequality Is a Drag
*Tea party loses again; blame game begins (Great, so when's the rest of the Republican Party going to start moving back from the far, far right?)
*Registrars plan to replace voting equipment before it fails
*As Virginia's demographics have changed, so has Warner ("The U.S. senator no longer needs to court the rural vote as a moderate as much as when he ran for governor.")
*Why Obama acted on Iraq ("American warplanes based in the Middle East now are authorized to attack the Sunni fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Obama announced on Thursday night, after a lethal, coordinated offensive threatened not one, but two horrific outcomes." That includes genocide, which I believe we have a duty to stop if possible.)
*Health Secretary: Jonnie Williams' claims were "unbelievable" (They were believable to Bob and Maureen McDonnell, apparently. Ugh.)
*Ex-McDonnell official: Williams had rare clout over office ("Businessman's ability to get into a health-care leaders' event was frustrating, a Cabinet member says.")
*Va. names head of new ethics council (This needs to be strengthened a great deal.)
*Dance drops in on Richmond Democrats after forum confusion ("Dance, D-Petersburg, had more than a dozen supporters in tow as she headed to what she thought would be a Richmond Crusade for Voters forum for the Democratic candidates for the state Senate's 16th District. She arrived to find no one else there.")s
*Gillespie, Comstock move has Dems pouncing, fans griping ("After rumors that 'unfriendlies' might infiltrate a planned tea party event, candidates switch to tele-conference.")
*Former McDonnell spokesman said he hopes his legacy recovers (There's no basis for such a recovery.)
*50 Virginia college leaders criticize Obama ratings proposal
*Cynical campaign on ballot protection ("Indeed, there is no evidence that the Virginia ballot is insecure, or that voting fraud has influenced a single election in the commonwealth. That suggests the whole national outcry about 'ballot protection' is little more than a cynical exercise in excluding some voters." Gee, ya think?)
*Walk-off homer in the 13th inning gives Bryce Harper a boost and the Nats a 5-3 win (Finally!)
*Comfortable warmth before weekend clouds transition us into a more typical summer pattern

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 06:39:14 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, August 7.

*Iraqis ask for aid for thousands trapped on peak (This is an utterly outrageous, unacceptable situation.)
*Summit brings social conservatives to Ames (The hatefest includes Ken Cuccinelli, of course, along with Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and other assorted nuts.)
*With immigration reform, President Obama takes cue from Lincoln ("The ideological concept behind Obama's grand slicing of the Gordian knot of immigration, if he attempts it, would be akin to that which drove Lincoln's action: the president as liberator.")
*Uber and Lyft win temporary state approval
*The McDonnell trial: match the crazy quotes to the crazy characters
*Maureen McDonnell was 'a nutbag,' former aide told prosecutors (And what about her husband, "Taliban Bob?" Total freak show.)
*Witness: Working for McDonnell 'intolerable' ("The former chief of staff for Maureen McDonnell also testified that her boss complained of financial difficulties.")
*Va. GOP treasurer resigns over comments about Muslims (Ha! So much for his vow, "I have no plans to resign now or in the future.")
*In Virginia's 10th District Congressional Race, K Street Ties Are Everything
*GMU to host debate between candidates in Aug. 19 special election
*State Sen. Stanley says judge isn't 'powerless' in Pittsylvania County prayer case
*Elections board votes not to allow IDs expired more than 12 months (Absurd decision, definitely time for some turnover at the State Board of Elections...)
*UVa reins in proposal to muzzle board dissent ("A revised policy would allow Board of Visitors members to speak publicly as individuals.")
*Confederate flag is an offensive emblem of a hateful cause ("The rebel flag cannot be divorced from the Confederacy's effort to preserve slavery.")
*An untimely decision ("Limiting public comments stifles participation and discourages engagement")
*U-Minn. seeks to bar R**skins' name at its stadium when team plays Vikings
*Fister, LaRoche lead Nats past Mets, 7-1
*Sunny and delightfully dry today

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Mike Hamlar, 19th District State Senate Candidate

by: Dan Sullivan

Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 05:00:05 AM EDT

Mike Hamlar photo MikeHamlar_zps492938e3.jpgThere is a refreshing candidate in Southwest Virginia ready to take on Ralph Smith for the 19th District state Senate seat. Mike Hamlar is a Roanoke native who excelled at athletics in high school, earning a football scholarship to Wake Forest. Returning home he's become an established high energy local entrepreneur.

Mike has three businesses. He is a third generation co-owner of Hamlar-Curtis Funeral Home which has been serving the community for 62 years. In 2009, Michael started Hamlar Enterprises, which is a business brokerage firm. The firm has engaged in multi-million dollar deals across the region, handling mergers, business acquisitions, business evaluations etc. In 2012, Michael and his wife, Katina, established Hamlar Properties, which is a property real estate firm that manages and oversees real estate transactions. Mike is also an adjunct professor at American National University in Salem, VA. He has been recognized by The Blue Ridge Journal as one of the "Top 20 leaders under 40."

At Wake Forest University Mike played football under Jim Caldwell and was on the Seattle Bowl championship team that defeated the University of Oregon. He is accustomed to winning and wants to take this race to the Republican incumbent, Ralph Smith.

19th Virginia Senate District photo 19thSenateDistrict_zps1619902a.jpgA family man with three young children, Mike is faith-driven and confident that he can win this race. That will be a task. Mike likes to say that if you look at the 19th district, it is as though his one-year-old drew it. It encompasses part of Roanoke County, all of Floyd County, all of Salem, part of Montgomery County, all of Wythe and Carroll Counties, and part of Bedford. From end to end it stretches about 120 miles from end to end, not the way the crow flies, but the way the SUV drives, and it takes at least three sweeps to hit every location in it. That is why he has started early. He plans kickoffs in every locality.

Recently appointed by Governor McAuliffe to the Secure Commonwealth Panel, Mike is involved in the community both in business and local civic organizations like the Kiwanis Club, so he is hardly starting from a standstill or without connections. And quite frankly it seems he is always in motion, with clear aims. Right now his goal is to become as well known throughout the district as he is in Roanoke. He is certainly well liked among local Democrats.

His priorities are education, Medicaid expansion (which he hopes is accomplished before he makes it to the Senate), and economic development. He points out that a program like Marketplace Virginia would create 30,000 jobs while providing necessary preventive healthcare. Not yet the official Democratic nominee, he is eager to gain that distinction so that he can focus solely on Republican Smith.  

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Virginia State Board of Elections Issues Nonsensical Ruling on "Valid" Voter ID Definition

by: lowkell

Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 15:09:34 PM EDT

On Tuesday, we wrote about Virginia State Senator Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain's relentless efforts to make it harder for Virginians to exercise their right to vote. Most recently, Obenshain has been trying to bully the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) into reversing its plans to eliminate the current 30-day limit on expired IDs for voting purposes. Well, the meeting just concluded, and here's the result (per Markus Schmidt of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Tram Nguyen of Virginia New Majority).

Huh? Does that make any sense at all to anyone? What about Tram Nguyen's points about the new definition just being made public earlier this afternoon, only two weeks before elections are scheduled to be held? Brilliant, huh? (not)

More to the point, does this decision conform with the Attorney General's opinion that changing the definition of "valid" in this way would violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution "in that it would lead to an inconsistent result in its application and disparate treatment of voters from one jurisdiction to another?" Nope, didn't think so. Yet that's what the (mostly Republican) geniuses at the Virginia State Board of Elections have decided to do - basically kick the can down the road for 12 months, then cave to Mark Obenshain and all the other "voter fraud" conspiracy theorists out there. In sum, the SBE swung...and missed, badly. Nice job, guys, can't wait until your 4-year terms expire (in Palmer's case, I believe that will be in early 2015, since he was appointed by Bob McDonnell in January 2011).

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Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 06:39:52 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines,  political and otherwise, for Wednesday, August 6. As for that graphic, it's a reflection (pun intended) of Virgnia's system of crony capitalism, in which powerful companies with vested interests (in this case, fossil fuels and nuclear) leverage the power of government to maintain their advantages and keep competitors down. Total #FAIL on Virginia's part in so many ways.

*The Obama Cousin Who Compared Obama to Hitler Just Lost His Kansas GOP Primary (What is it with Republicans and Godwin's Law violations anyway? Heh.)
*Iraqi Yazidis stranded on isolated mountaintop begin to die of thirst (WTF is the international community doing about this abomination?!?)
*Amid Gaza calm, worries about future clashes ("Ahead of Cairo talks, it's unclear whether Israel and Hamas can alter the dynamic that has led to three rounds of combat in less than six years.")
*U.S. general killed in Kabul was key figure in training
*Not exactly a state dinner, but White House still rolls out the red carpet
*Mann Vs. National Review: National Review Floundering
*K St. connections dog Va. hopeful ("Comstock, a longtime GOP power player in both Washington, D.C., and Virginia, lobbied for Koch Industries on crime and environmental issues in 2004, according to lobbyist disclosure forms, and was registered as a lobbyist for Carnival Cruise Lines in 2005 and 2006, when the company won contracts to help with recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina that later drew bipartisan criticism.")
*Hazel: Not everyone gets the health care they need
*Maureen McDonnell wanted to serve on Star's board, Eige testifies
*In Maureen McDonnell v. the World, how does a 'crush' preclude a conspiracy?
*Former McDonnell staffers describe simmering concerns about dealings
*Testimony at trial: Jonnie Williams got little return on investment
*Herring warns new Virginia voter ID definition may be unconstitutional
*Schapiro: Cantor games the system even as he leaves it ("In skirting the actual reasons for his resignation - Cantor disclosed it this past Friday in an op-ed column for the Richmond Times-Dispatch - he gave his soon-to-be-former constituents what they gave him: the back of a hand.")
*Warner talks economy, bipartisan efforts at roundtable
*Sen. Warner distances self from Obama at campaign stop
*Our view: The public's business ("It appears that some people at the University of Virginia are in dire need of an education.")
*Imposing silence on U.Va.'s board ("The University of Virginia is not a private, for-profit corporation with a singular focus; it is a publicly supported institution of higher learning and its board of visitors has a responsibility to govern in a transparent and truthful manner.")
*Squabble over plans for outlet mall continue between Norfolk, Va. Beach
*Virginia candidates trade jabs over endorsements from school board members ("Sullivan announced that he was being endorsed by every member of the Arlington and Fairfax County school boards who represent any portion of the 48th legislative district. Sullivan also noted that he has been endorsed by four of the six board members who served with Foster during his 1999-2007 tenure on the Arlington School Board." Nice!)
*In 48th District debate, Sullivan and Foster jockey for the political center (Foster's certainly NOT in the center in terms of district voters' views on a woman's right to choose, clean energy, guns, the minimum wage, etc, etc.)
*Nationals unable to take advantage of chances, fall to New York Mets, 6-1
*Plenty of summer heat today, then a perfectly pleasant turn yet again

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