The proclamation was quite a remarkable unforced error from a political team that doesn't usually make even small mistakes (at least, on the campaign). The hows and whys of the proclamation's writing are still unclear, but a McDonnell aide suggested it had been written quickly.Exactly right. There's no evidence to suggest that Bob McDonnell is a racist, but McDonnell's proclamation - which, I'd point out, has not been changed to something more neutral like "Civil War History Month" - was incredibly insensitive and divisive. So says the Weekly Standard, not the "liberal media," although Bob McDonnell and his rabid defenders in the blogosphere would like to pretend that's the case.
I was saddened by it. I don't believe McDonnell is racist or that this mistake makes him one, but the proclamation was insensitive. I spend some of my time-too much now that many in the media have decided everyone within a mile of a Tea Party is racist- defending innocent Republicans and Southerners of all stripes from unfair racism allegations. This made that job harder.
Massey's Tiller No. 1 mine in Tazewell, Va., had the company's highest injury rate at 9.78 [injuries per 200,000 worker hours].Priorities, priorities, I guess, not that this has anything to do with Cooch's (non)allocation of time and resources.
So, I've been asking around to our elected officials regarding what Cooch can and should be doing about Richmond-based Massey Energy, as well as about its Tazewell, Virginia mine. Here's what they had to say.
2009 Democratic AG Nominee Steve Shannon
"There's a lot the Attorney General can do to make sure inspectors are ensuring compliance for laws related to mine safety and that bad actors in the market are punished. In addition, Commonwealth Attorneys are charged with prosecuting violations of the coal mine safety laws of Virginia."
"Attorney General Cuccinelli certainly has the power to look at Virginia-based companies' safety records within Virginia. Depending on where the safety violations take place, that will determine what course of action the Attorney General takes. There's no doubt that the AG has the power of the 'bully pulpit' to speak out about companies like Massey. That's precisely what the AG should be doing."
Del. David Englin
"[I]f an activist AG can go after the EPA and Health Care Reform, he could go after Massey."
Del. Albert Pollard
"The short answer: if there's the political will to go after the Federal government...it's certainly sounder reasoning to go after Massey than the federal government on healthcare reform. The Virginia AG has a fair amount of latitude and discretion to enforce environmental laws. If there are violations in the state of Virginia, the AG could definitely act."
Del. Mark Keam
[E]very AG can decide if he wants to be more proactive and come up with creative ways to make himself relevant (as we already saw with Ken Cuccinelli and the gays memo, EPA and healthcare lawsuits, etc). I'm sure he can point to some specific statutory authorities that allowed him to intervene in these areas or at least make a colorable assertion that he has jurisdiction to take such actions.In short, the Virginia Attorney General has the power -- certainly if he has the will and the creativity to use that power -- at the minimum to speak out about and/or investigate Virginia-based Massey Energy for safety violations occurring within the borders of Virginia (such as at the Tazewell mine). The question is, why isn't Cooch doing that? As noted above, he certainly has plenty of spare time on his hands, so that's not an excuse. Hey, for another "$350", maybe Cooch could have his staff spend a few hours and look into Massey, preferably before a disaster like the one that took place in West Virginia occurs here in Virginia? Just a thought...
Likewise, I have to assume there are some provisions of existing VA law that would give him the "hook" he needs to bring some sort of enforcement action against Massey, if he's willing to be creative enough. Or maybe someone can find such jurisdictions for him and suggest that he bring a suit using that statutory authority against Massey. The existing statutes don't necessarily have to be criminal. They can be civil with enforcement penalties.
I'd look at consumer protection or environmental/safety regulatory laws to start. I'd also look at federal environmental or mine safety laws to see if they provide for state enforcement as dual jurisdiction in addition to federal penalties. Or maybe there are private rights of action created under federal law, in which case a VA constituent could ask the VA AG to intervene in his private lawsuit as a party of interest.
UPDATE: Great comment by Gretchen Laskas regarding Republican attacks on those who call for action against Massey. "The only people who think anyone is 'capitalizing' on the deaths of miners are people who wish those fighting for mine safety would just shut up." So true.
1. VA GUV TELLS FELONS: WRITE LETTER TO GET RIGHTS
3. OPPOSITION BUILDS TO MCDONNELL'S CHANGES TO FELON VOTING RIGHTS RESTORATION PROCESS
6. VA. GOV. RESTORES MINE SAFETY MONEY TO BUDGET
7. VIRGINIA, MCDONNELL JOIN WEST VIRGINIA, MANCHIN IN MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR DEAD COAL MINERS
9. MCDONNELL BEGINS TO SHOW BUDGET HAND WITH FUNDING RESTORATIONS--CUTS TO COME
10. CUCCINELLI ADDRESSES GUN-RIGHTS RALLY AT CAPITOL SQUARE
13. CHALLENGERS EMERGE IN LOCAL U.S. HOUSE RACES
14. PERRIELLO ANNOUNCES NEARLY $1.4 MILLION ON HAND
17. CROWDED OFF-CAMPUS PARTY DEGENERATES INTO 'WAR ZONE'
25. VIRGINIA'S DISGRACEFUL MOVE TO DISCOURAGE RESTORATION OF EX-CONS' VOTING RIGHTS
27. CHKD FINDS FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES
33. THE GOP'S SOUTHERN STRATEGY LIVES ON
...[McDonnell's] initial attempts to expedite the process [of restoring voting rights to non-violent ex-felons] have come with a fat asterisk that casts doubt on any claim to fairness and decency, let alone moderation...
...Only Virginia and Kentucky insist that some sanctions last indefinitely -- until the state, in its infinite wisdom, grants what the U.S. Constitution regards as the inalienable right to vote. In the Old Dominion, the result is that huge numbers of people are disenfranchised. Although the powers that be in Richmond regard former felons with such contempt that they don't even bother counting them, voting rights advocates estimate that some 300,000 ex-cons in Virginia remain barred from voting. African Americans account for just a fifth of Virginia's 7.8 million citizens but are thought to constitute about half of those ineligible to vote. This is Jim Crow by another name.
...Virginia's secretary of the commonwealth, Janet Polarek, who oversees the process, makes it sound as if the ex-offenders would be applicants vying for coveted positions at a selective college. The essays, she said, would allow the petitioners "to have their full stories heard."
Marc Broklawski writes
At a April 10th Tea Party Rally in Stafford, VA, Ken Cuccinelli insisted that he had a mandate to reign in the Federal Government. He pretty much stated that we should expect more of the same from him (i.e. more frivolous lawsuits). How did this guy get elected?!Good question, Marc. I'd also ask, "How are we going to survive 3 years, 9 months more of this true believer/extremist?"
P.S. By the way, Cooch, those of us "on the other side" do care about the Constitution, we just read it in light of 200 years of legal precedent and not in the narrow, twisted way you do.
Shorter Joe Biden speech: This is a Big. F***ing. Deal! Ha, actually it is, as was the signing of health care reform legislation. Great work by the Obama administration, even if they're not getting nearly enough credit for their tremendous accomplishments in little over a year in office.
UPDATE: On a related note, a new CNN poll (PDF) finds that 70% of Americans want the U.S. Senate to ratify the new treaty on nuclear weapons reduction. Only 28% think the U.S. Senate should not ratify the treaty. I presume that Republicans will follow the will of the overwhelming majority on this. :)
This Saturday, my Blue Virginia colleague Marc Broklawski attended a Tea Party rally in front of the Stafford County, Virginia courthouse. As Marc writes, "One of their featured speakers was Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart. This is the same person that recently sent a letter to Ken Cuccinelli thanking him for his frivolous health care reform lawsuit." Stewart is also well known as a rabid xenophobe, the author of the notorious "rule of law" resolution in Prince William County that was the basis for the film, 9500 Liberty.
Now, Stewart has gone even further off the demagogic deep end. I'll let Marc Broklawski take it from here.
With all the crazy things that Stewart has said or done in the past, nothing prepared me for what I witnessed this past Saturday from him. There were many things he said that were non-factual and completely offensive, but his comparison of the Obama administration to that of the Nazi regime was outrageous (fast forward to the 5:25 mark).Wow, even for Corey Stewart - notorious xenophoboe and thug - this is really bad.
For Stewart to even suggest that this administration is anything like that of the Nazi's is way over-the-line, irresponsible and deeply offensive. How the chairman of the second largest county in the Commonwealth of Virginia could make this despicable statement is beyond me?!
h/t: Leaving My Marc. Great work by Mark Broklawski!
The prize for public service went to the tiny Bristol Herald Courier of southwestern Virginia, circulation 29,000, for revealing that many energy companies failed to pay required royalties on natural gas drilling, and that the royalties that were paid were not reaching the local people who deserved them.Also, congratulations to conservative political columnist Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post for winning an award for commentary. I don't always agree with her, but I find her writing to be well-informed, thought-provoking, and fair (unlike George Will, for instance).
Finally, kudos to Iraq correspondent Anthony Shadid, who won the Pulitzer for international reporting. For those who haven't read his book, I definitely recommend Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War.
P.S. How did the 2nd Amendment get in here, I must have missed something? Also, as far as I'm concerned, there can't be too many barriers for felons to get a hold of guns. No thanks!
Virginia Democrats called on Gov. Bob McDonnell on Monday to remove an unnecessary additional barrier to restoration of rights for non-violent felons who have served their sentences.
The McDonnell Administration will require non-violent felons to write a detailed essay in order to have their voting and 2nd Amendment rights restored, according to news reports this weekend.
Democratic Party of Virginia Executive Director David Mills released the following statement Monday: