Saturday, January 23, 2021
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“Freedom of Religion” Can’t Mean Imposing One’s Religion on Others

This piece has appeared this week in newspapers in my very red congressional district (VA-06). ******************************* I agree with a lot of people on the right...

People Who Are Different from ‘Us’ (My Latest Challenge to the...

This piece is appearing in newspapers in my very red congressional district (VA-06). ************************** How do we know that it was of major importance to Jesus...

A fitting farewell to the 2012 GA session: gay prosecutor is...


In a fitting move by the Virginia General Assembly in the waning hours of its raucous and fractious 2012 session, lawmakers rejected the Richmond judgeship of Tracy Thorne-Begland, an openly gay man.

Over the course of the 2012 session, legislators dealt with such integral issues such as what kind of instrument should be used to undertake a transvaginal ultrasound and how Virginia should combat voter fraud before anyone in the General Assembly was aware investigations were being conducted on cases of voter fraud. In other words, the 2012 General Assembly session in Virginia has been a boon for comedians and commentators looking for signs of backwardness in the U.S.

The last day of the 2012 session proved to be no less impressive in its hatefulness. In order to justify their decision, Republican legislators argued that Thorne-Begland's public positions on gay rights  disallowed his impartiality as a judge. But for anyone who has listened to the Republican Party, whether it be statewide or nationally, knows better than to fall for this argument.  

A conversation with Tim Kaine

note - this was written for Daily Kos, which explains some of the phrasing.  As a Virginia story, it also belongs here.  I wrote it for Daily Kos because this race is and should be of national importance.

over dinner last night.  His campaign reached out to a group of us, bloggers from Northern Virginia and the head of Virginia Partisans, the most important LGBT political organization in the Commonwealth.

Most of us got to know Tim when he was running for Governor, back in 2005.  In fact, a good number of us were involved with a blog called Raising Kaine, which passed on a few years ago.  We were also joined by several of his campaign staff:  Mike Henry, his campaign manager; Brandi Hoffine, his communications director, Nickie Titus, his new media director;  and Eli Kaplan, who had organized similar get-togethers for the gubernatorial campaign of  Terry McAuliffe back in 2009.  

The entire conversation, over a pleasant dinner in an Arlington restaurant for two hours, was on the record.

Kaine began by talking about the three key issues on which he will contrast himself from George Allen - or should I say, on which he has already contrasted himself from Allen, since they have already debated.  First is the economy, where Allen is committed to "drill, baby, drill" (more in a bit); second is the budget; and finally is Common Ground, where Kaine focused on his record of getting things done.

Please keep reading. . .

Mr. Cuccinelli’s Bully State

Cross-posted at Daily Kos

There are Republicans who genuinely believe in a weak government that steps aside to let other sectors of society take the lead.  But Ken Cuccinelli is not one of them.  His approach, demonstrated time and time again, is to use government as a weapon to harass and strip the rights of any people and institutions that do not share his point of view.   The net effect is to increase the power of himself and future government officials at the expense of most everyone else in the state. 

Whereas an attorney general would normally be expected to use his position to protect the citizens of his state from genuine threats to their rights and well being, I cannot think of a single occasion on which our attorney general has done so.  To the contrary, most of his acts involve attacking any institution that seeks to protect Virginia citizens in any way that does not conform with Cuccinelli's rigid (and at times delusional) right-wing ideology.  And in nearly every instance, he has done so on the thinnest of legal grounds, stretching any law he can find to justify his ideological assaults. 

While conservatives and libertarians like to talk about a "Nanny State", our Ayatollah General presents us with something much worse -- the Bully State: government not as protector, but as a threat to anyone who does not support his agenda.