Tuesday, October 27, 2020
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Video: At 2019 VA Women’s Summit, Parade of Champions on Environment,...

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Want to put names with faces of 2019 Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate candidates - and also who is a "champion" on...

Oroville: How California narrowly avoided disaster, and what Virginia can learn...

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We all saw the headlines last week, as the tallest dam in the United States threatened to breach catastrophically.  Nearly a quarter of a...

Public Safety and Personal Responsibility

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The debate about gun control has raised the usual themes, centering around the Second Amendment and the sacred right of a free citizenry to bear arms versus the outraged sentiments of victims of gun violence and their loved ones--- a debate  with such limited parameters that it could take place nowhere  else in the world but in the  United States of America. Every time we have another mass carnage, Second Amendment buffs immediately claim the answer is to arm everyone, so the "deranged" shooter could be stopped in his tracks by a well-armed good guy... thus turning a settled, civilized society into a Wild West shoot out. "Guns are the answer to more guns." If this sounds counter-intuitive, that's because it is.

What's missing from the debate are two other bedrock myths beloved by conservatives: personal responsibility, and the profit motive--- two equally sacred themes running through American political discourse. Consider how the conservatives demand that people take "personal responsibility" for their retirement, think about the "makers" and "takers" and how the right wing dismisses the poor as slackers. Also, consider how they believe that everything society needs can be provided by private enterprise for a profit---- if there is no profit to be had, then society must not need it. We use taxes and tax loopholes to encourage behavior we think beneficial for society as a whole. So, why not apply these principles to the gun debate?

King McDonnell Will Grace Virginians with 4 Public Meetings of the...

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Whenever you hear a phrase like "sincerely apologize" or, in the case of Governor McDonnell's uranium-mining study, "extremely transparent,"  my spider-sense starts tingling with mistrust about what is being said. Of course, there may be absolutely no grounds to discount the "sincere apology" of a friend who forgot to pick you up at the airport on time, for example, but in the case of Gov. McDonnell and his administration, my lie detector is constantly on alert.

The sheer fact that "key" documents will be initially withheld from Virginians is itself a red flag that politics is playing a role in the uranium mining study group. Why else would Gov. McDonnell want to keep the documents out of the public eye until the final public report is released? Wouldn't he score political cookie points by keeping the meeting process entirely transparent? If so, what his restraining his decision to do so?

McDonnell says that public safety trumps economics of uranium mining

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Cross-posted from Article XI

On Tuesday, Gov. Bob McDonnell stated that public safety overrides the possible economic gains stemming from uranium mining in Southside VA. For Virginians in the south, this is particularly good news. For the commonwealth as a whole, this should also come as a breath of fresh air (literally).

While Gov. McDonnell's announcement is far from a renouncement of uranium mining in Southside VA, it does leave the door open for the status quo on the uranium mining ban to hold.

For the past two years in particular, Virginia Uranium has thrown a slew of lobbyists into the legislative mix to influence VA legislators regarding their decisions on whether or not to lift the ban on uranium mining.

With all of the lobbyists hounding at the doors of VA legislators, however, the decision on whether to retain the ban may come down to the concern Virginians publicly show towards uranium mining.

If Virginians concerned about the possible human and environmental consequences get involved in the debate over uranium mining, and in particular voice their concerns to their respective legislators, then the default position on lifting the ban may fall towards the status quo.

For anyone in VA who doesn't feel like they have or will have a voice in this debate, I'd like them to know that they do. In fact, your involvement may be the difference between an environmental and human health disaster and a more reasoned approach towards uranium mining in VA.

So please take a few minutes out of your day to get involved and let your voice be heard. Virginia still has a republican form of government and ultimately your concerns do matter.  

Drano Bombs in Pop Bottles. Really

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It sounds too crazy to be true, but Snopes confirms it here. An e-mail from the Washtenaw County, Michigan, Sheriff confirms that in April there was a rash of "bottle bombs" in his area, consisting of a liquid form of Drano with a piece of tinfoil floating in it. About 30 seconds after he moved it, it detonated, spewing acid and shattered bottle pieces.