Tonight's Debate in Centreville; Tea Partier John Guevara Attacks Democrat Kathy Smith's Family

Monday, August 31, 2015

by: frankoanderson

Mon Aug 31, 2015 at 23:58:23 PM EDT

Tonight I attended the debate between Democratic School Board Member Kathy Smith and Republican Tea Party Member John Guevara, candidates for the Sully District seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Sitting on the western edge of the county alongside Dulles Airport, with about 130,000 residents, Sully is one of the most rapidly growing and changing parts of the Commonwealth. This race is a chance for Democrats to pick up an open seat in a district currently represented by a Republican, retiring Supervisor Michael Frey -- who also was the debate moderator.I have to say that I was surprised when the debate turned ugly, thanks to Mr. Guevara's comments (which I will address later). For most of the time things were relatively civil and Guevara came across as a polished candidate who seemed committed to a drama-free event. But I guess he couldn't resist throwing some red meat to his supporters so, as they say, the gloves came off.
Supervisor Frey remarked on the large crowd, which neared 100 people -- quite a feat for an obscure political debate taking place before Labor Day. I doubt that there were many undecided voters in attendance. This appeared to be an exercise in candidates and parties getting their supporters out. Us Democrats had a good crowd, with elected officials and many top party activists in attendance. The Republicans clearly had sounded the alarm for the Tea Party folks to come out.
frankoanderson :: Tonight's Debate in Centreville; Tea Partier John Guevara Attacks Democrat Kathy Smith's Family
In answers to the questions, Kathy Smith leaned on her experience working on budgets and being involved in the community for many years as a mother, PTA member, active member of multiple local organizations, and as a School Board member first elected in 2002. She stressed that she had worked alongside Supervisor Frey on many issues, and it was clear that she was way ahead of her opponent on most issues of Fairfax County governance. John Guevara was well spoken and although he conveyed that he had some executive experience, he was short on substance and long on generalities.There were a few things that jumped out at me. The question was raised about how we can deal with the $100 million projected shortfall in both the county and school board budgets. Kathy Smith offered several ideas, one of which was "joint services" where the school system can share with the county, such as busing for some high school students. Later in the debate, Guevara touted joint services as a "novel idea" -- proving that he was not paying attention.
One of Guevara's repeated themes (other than sequestration) was what he saw as the failure of the School Board. He threw out some numbers: that the School Board had asked for a 7% budget increase while the county was only experiencing 3% growth. Regardless of whether or not this is accurate, it shows that Guevara has no experience with budget negotiations. The Board of Supervisors, which he is running for, sets the dollar amount of the School Board's budget. Obviously the School Board would put in a slightly higher request than they expected to receive, to give themselves negotiating room. Besides, Fairfax County Public Schools had experienced dramatic increases in enrollments while experts had already identified most of the efficiencies to be found in the budget.
After Smith responded about considering a meals tax, Guevara took this opportunity to attack Smith's family, saying that not all families make as much as hers -- implying that somehow she was deaf to the needs of the poor in our county. I have to say that even when I was a low wage earner working for grocery stores, on the occasions that I went out to eat, I did not consider whether or not the place charged a meals tax.
Guevara insisted that buses are more efficient than Metro and "you can quote me on that." So I have.
Transportation of course was a big issue to be discussed, and both candidates were in support of widening I-66 and expanding Metro. But While Guevara touted HOT Lanes as some kind of great solution, Smith took a more realistic, measured approach to consider whether in public-private partnerships the toll revenue could come back to the state. Additionally, Smith stressed the need for business centers like we have in Reston and Tysons, to reduce the flow of traffic going east to offices in DC.
Now, the more interesting parts. In what I would call an unforced error, Guevara took two infefensible positions at once. It started out as a benign mention from Smith that she will work as a full-time Supervisor. Guevara requested time for a rebuttal, something he didn't have to do. He took the chance to again attack Smith and to assert that the job of Supervisor should be part time. Somehow he tried to equate the "bloated" government with the fact that Supervisors work full time. Never mind that, as Supervisor, you are expected to work year-round on behalf of your constituents AND join various boards and commissions who meet regularly. And for this, the position pays $75K -- quite respectable for a job of this nature and a heck of a lot closer to the median income than most residents. So why would someone be expected to earn that rate but work part-time? Incredibly, Guevara took this opportunity to once again attack Smith's family, saying "not all of us are as wealthy" as them and that he'd keep his job which offered him the flexibility to work as a part-time Supervisor.
Smith was rightly offended and took the next opportunity to defend her family against Guevara's attacks. But this being at the end of the debate, Guevara used his closing statement to double down on the extremeness. At this point it was clear that Guevara was running to the right of, and in opposition to, the Republican he hoped to replace. He started ranting that "this is your call to change course" and he brought up the School Board's recent vote on gender issues, firing up the base in attendance. In fact, his closing statement ended with a dramatic retelling of the School Board meeting where 500 conservatives appeared to oppose the inclusion measures, saying "the offense comes when your own children's privacy is no longer protected." He was no doubt referring to the perverted notion that students are going to claim to be transgender just so they can share bathrooms with the opposite sex. So in Guevara's closing argument he cast himself as the anti-Frey, the change candidate, the "we're not gonna take it anymore" candidate.

McAuliffe, Toscano, and Perriello Push for More Women in the General Assembly

DMac and Delegate Candidates photo Dorothy with the candidates_zpsczpsgatq.jpgby Dan Sullivan

Dorothy left the Governor holding their children's backpacks on the evening before Richmond schools began classes, joining Delegate Dave Toscano (D-57th) at Linda Perriello's home and bringing attention to important initiatives and the women running for the Virginia House who support them. Chaos in the mansion?Delegate Toscano introduced this Virginia First Lady who continues in the footsteps of her Democratic predecessors in the impressive tradition of competent leadership. The Perriello home was crammed with enthusiastic advocates of effective legislation and good government. Linda Perriello's grandchildren pitched in with the hosting even officially welcoming the First Lady with a bouquet as Linda circulated as best she could in a house almost bursting at the seams. There was also at least one caped Wonder Woman apprentice making an appearance.
Here is the thing about DMac: she takes every opportunity to pursue her personally held and informed rather than politically motivated agenda; one that includes improving the lives of every Virginian. Her rifts are not made of red meat mantras that rile and anger a constituency demanding to be pandered. She genuinely strives to guide her audience to consider solutions for 21st century challenges rather than harkening back to an era that no longer exists and trying to wish away contemporary problems that demand innovative approaches.
Toscano's introduction emphasized her efforts to ensure that every child in Virginia gets a nutritious meal each and every day. And he reminded us that Dorothy has been at the lead in the effort to make Virginia the most veteran friendly state in the Union ever since her husband's first run at elected office in 2009.  
Dan Sullivan :: McAuliffe, Toscano, and Perriello Push for More Women in the General Assembly
Toscano and Perriello photo Toscano and Perriello_zpsc4b0mug6.jpgGracious as always, DMac thanked Linda for the grand hospitality and Toscano for the kind words looking forward to the day when he would be the majority leader in the House of Delegates. But what she was there to do this evening was to help find more great partners for Toscano and the guy she left behind in Richmond organizing (hopefully) the children for school.Then she went right to the purpose of the evening: finding commonsense, practical representatives that reflect all of Virginia and who Virginians are instead of a "narrow slice of a certain mindset that doesn't represent all Virginians." That, she told the gathering, is who these women are and why they are running. She acknowledged how very difficult it is to find the money and resources to run, to get the voters to the polls, and thanked those who contribute to those efforts. Specifically she thanked Toscano for organizing this fundraising effort:

"It is absolutely critical in this day and age. We all don't like it; it's a reality; it takes money to run." - Dorothy McAulliffe
A background in securities and finance lends credibility to Dorothy's emphasis on building the new Virginia economy. Acknowledging the new realities, she assessed that Virginia can no longer count on growth in federal spending to boost state revenues. Pointing to sequestration and the uncertainty about the budget coming out of Washington, she stated that we have to find sustainable ways to grow our economy and support out families. We have to look for innovation and creative ways at the state level to build that new Virginia economy.
Wonder Woman Apprentice photo Wonder Woman in training_zpshoo1ks7f.jpgThis includes putting forward resources for education. Education challenges include finding the answers to Standards of Learning reform and ensuring competitive teacher pay; feeding hungry children in the best place that they can be (school) so they may learn is important to economic growth.

"...think about meals in the same way as we think about computers and teachers and the whole child. You know, 51% of all public school children in the country are on free and reduced lunch. It's is truly shocking." - Dorothy McAuliffe
Finding opportunity for children includes not just thinking about four year degrees. Investing in vocational skills and certifications that broaden opportunities is essential. She pointed out that a welder in Hampton Roads can make $75,000 a year with great benefits. And though it does not require a four year degree, it does take training.
The litany of violence involving guns in Virginia raised its ugly head again this past week. Addressing this she plead for sensible, practical gun regulations in our state legislature.

"I am not a hunter but my husband is a hunter, my sons are hunters; it's not about that. Again this is about what kind of Virginia economy, what kind of place we want to live, what kind of quality of life we offer to employees of corporations we hope to attract here and the businesses expanding hope to bring new employees to. We need a safe, thriving Virginia." - Dorothy McAuliffe
Beyond that, she said, we need to talk about healthcare. The battle goes on and it will continue to go on because it is important that every working Virginian has access to healthcare.

"Especially if the Federal government is going to pay for it with our tax dollars that we are paying into it!" - Dorothy McAuliffe
Asking the crowd to think about these particular women candidates and that some 50% of our current economy and that new Virginia economy is made up of women she pointed out that women, just as often as men, are heads of households. Women make economic decisions on healthcare, on business, on education. They run their own small-businesses. But in the Virginia legislature women make up only just over 17% of the membership. That does not reflect who we are and it does not allow the fresh look, creativity, or innovation that are available when considering that new Virginia economy and the policies and laws required to support who we are.
Thanking everyone for the opportunity to speak on behalf of the candidates, the First Lady reiterated the obvious: it is tiring in Virginia with elections every year but nothing is more important than focusing on these state races. Turning out the vote by talking to friends and spreading the word is key to success in these races.
Meanwhile, you wonder how Terry measured up in her absence.
(More on the candidates in a subsequent post)

Virginia House Dem Leader David Toscano, First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe Work to Elect Female Candidates

Great job by Del. David Toscano, who on Sunday night held a fundraiser with First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe for six female candidates for Virginia House of Delegates. Good luck to every one of these candidates, and please do whatever you can to help them win in November!

In Virginia, No-Background-Check Gun Sales, Nazi Paraphernalia Cool; but Not Peaceful Protests

From the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV): "This really sums up gun policy in Virginia. Earlier today [Sunday], a peaceful protester (mother of two) on a sidewalk outside the C&E Gun Shows, Inc gun show in Roanoke, Virginia was handcuffed by Virginia State Police. Meanwhile, inside, guys were selling guns to each other through private sales, no background check required, cash and carry. And law enforcement didn't so much as ask them--or their buyers--any questions." Also note the Nazi and Confederate paraphernalia. Lovely, eh? Must be those "good guys with guns" again. Heh.P.S. CSGV adds a good question: "Whose side are you on, Members of the Virginia General Assembly? We'd love to know."

2005 Loser for Virginia Governor Jerry Kilgore Joins Loser Scott Walker's Campaign

For a reminder, from the early days of Raising Kaine, about the pathetic record of Jerry Kilgore, check out 25AgainstJerry. The list includes: 1) "The Kilgore campaign has resorted to racial code language and "nativism"  repeatedly in this campaign"; 2) "Kilgore recently was subpoenaed in connection with a political eavesdropping scandal"; 5) "Kilgore has also received a significant chunk of change from Kansas-based Koch Industries;" 6) one of Kilgore's big contributors was "Bob J. Perry of Houston, chief financier of the infamous 'Swift Boat Veterans'; 10) "Kilgore was a miserable failure as Attorney General" (e.g., " On his watch, drug arrests fell by nearly half, while forcible rapes increased 10%"); 14) "Kilgore's family is notorious for corruption and brass-knuckle tactics." Sounds like a perfect fit for Scott Walker...ugh.

Monday News: Iran Deal Looking Good; Bob McDonnell Not So Much...

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, August 31.

*Bust: Iran opponents' August fail ("The monthlong break was supposed to be the best window for critics to whip up opposition. It hasn't happened.")
*Oregon Dem becomes 31st senator to support Iran deal (Thank you Sen. Jeff Merkley! Still waiting for word from Mark Warner...)
*Mount McKinley Will Again Be Called Denali (Good.)
*Walker: What about a wall on Canada's border? (Insane.)
*My daughter was killed on live television. I will do whatever it takes to end gun violence.
*Clinton and Biden's awkward friendship ("Not quite rivals, but never very close-now Hillary and Joe are on a collision course.")
*What happened to Scott Walker? (He joined up with Mark Obenshain for one thing! LOL)
*Donald Trump & white America's anxiety: The political throes of a forgotten country ("Liberals, don't kid yourselves: 'The Donald' is not just a media creation. He's a tribune of our past - and future")
*Fox's George Will Dismisses Gun Legislation And Blames "Evil" After Virginia Shooting (Yep, George Will is E.W. Jackson-level insane.)
*Supreme Court likely to deny McDonnell's bail request
*Dominion Va. Power using rate riders to pay for new plants
*Research warns of fast-rising waters ("Scientists know a few things about sea levels: They're rising across the globe, though not uniformly. And they're rising faster than they had been. In Hampton Roads, seas are rising even faster because the Gulf Stream has slowed down and because land here is sinking, a result of the region's geology and groundwater withdrawals.")
*The undercarriage of the car-wash industry: Wage fraud and other abuses
*Library, condos part of South Norfolk's revitalization vision
*Editorial: State Police break an oath
*Nats roar back to defeat Marlins
*D.C. area forecast: A few showers possible today, but heat and humidity are the stories of the work week

Trump: An American Caesar

Sunday, August 30, 2015

by Andy Schmookler

Like everyone else who pays attention to American politics, I have been thinking a lot about the astonishing rise to political prominence of Donald Trump. What a sad thing it is that our country is in this condition where such a man, saying such things, and acting in such a way, can inspire so many people to rally to his support.What does it mean?
Recently, George Will -- for whom I do not anymore have the respect that I once had - put his training in the classics to good use in making an apt observation: he equated "Trumpism" with "Caesarism." (Wikipedia defines Caesarism as "a form of political rule that emulates the rule of Roman dictator Julius Caesar over the Roman Republic, in that it is led by a charismatic strongman whose rule is based upon a cult of personality...")
That resonated with me, as it connected with an image that, for weeks, had been arising in my mind in relation to Trump. It's an image of Mussolini standing on the balcony with his hands crossed in front of his chest and his head thrown back in the most arrogant and full-of-himself way. Mussolini was explicitly trying to be the new Caesar in a regime that harkened back to the days of Roman dominance over the world.
(And of course this would-be Caesar willingly made himself part of history's greatest nightmare.)
"Make Rome great again" was a theme of that twentieth century Italian Caesar. And now in America our own embodiment of the ugly force of "Caesarism" is running to be president of the United States under the slogan "Make America great again."
It would be one thing if Trump had a genuine understanding of what American greatness is supposed to be about, and if he presented a picture of what we as a nation need to do to restore that greatness by repairing the damage lately done to our nation.
But Trump's notion of greatness is all about our getting more "victories." It's all about winning. It's all based on a Caesarian lust for power.
Following Donald Trump on the path that he is pointing us down would be not a restoration of what has been really great about America. It would represent, rather, an empowering of the very force that has degraded our once-great nation.

Falls Church Forum: "The Impact of Climate Change on the Health of Latino Communities"

This past Wednesday, Voces Verdes- Latino Leadership in Action hosted a forum in Falls Church entitled, "The Impact of Climate Change on the Health of the Latino Community." Speakers included Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Alexandria/Arlington), Vanessa Cardenas (Latino Outreach Director of World Wildlife Fund), Lisa Garcia (Earthjustice's VP of Litigation for Healthy Communities), Hareth Andrade (DREAMer & Arlington activist). I wasn't able to make the forum, unfortunately, but Del. Lopez (moderator of the forum) was kind enough to forward me his opening and closing remarks, which I include below (after the "flip"). Also check out the tweets (in English and Spanish) and photos courtesy of Voces Verdes Twitter feed. Finally, check out this recent poll, which found that "Latinos have an intense commitment to action on climate change, carbon pollution standards, development of renewable energy sources, and strong policies to clean up our waterways and air."

@VocesVerdes "Me interesa este tema del #cambioclimatico porque tiene que ver con nuestra salud y los trabajos."
‏@VocesVerdes "Let's make sure that #climatechange is not a soap opera. We don't want a tragic ending. It affects us daily."
‏@VocesVerdes "Flooding like in #hamptonroads directly affects #jobs & quality of life." - @Lopez4VA #voces4climate #climatechange #cleanenergy
@VocesVerdes  "Tenemos que conectar nuestra vida cotidiana con el #medioambiente." -Lisa Garcia, @Earthjustice #voces4climate
@VocesVerdes "Cómo vamos a crear un movimiento tan fuerte como lo de #inmigración?" - Gaston Araoz #voces4climate #virginia
@VocesVerdes "If thousands of #scientists say #climatechange is real, we can't give weight to the oil & gas industry." @Lopez4VA
‏@VocesVerdes  "El impacto que estamos teniendo en el #planeta está impactando más a los pobres." -@vcardenasDC #voces4climate
@VocesVerdes  "Cuál es el rol del @Pontifex en este movimiento de #accionclimatica?" - Federico Cura #virginia #voces4climate
@VocesVerdes  Quien dijo que no nos importa nuestro medio ambiente!? Estamos aquí y de aquí no nos vamos #AccionClimatica
@VocesVerdes  "Tenemos que hablar con nuestras familias. Necesitamos un movimiento fuerte." - Hareth Andrade, Dreamers of #Virginia
@VocesVerdes "We need to call upon our #electedofficials to talk to us about #climatechange. Queremos acción." - @vcardenasDC, @WWF #voces4climate
@VocesVerdes "We have to show that we as #Latinos are united & care about nuestra #madretierra." - Lisa Garcia, @Earthjustice
‏@VocesVerdes  "No hay cuestión que nos importa #inmigración. Es que también nos importa el cuidado del #medioambiente." - Lisa Garcia #voces4climate
@VocesVerdes "#Latinos are more likely to live near polluting facilities."-Lisa Garcia, @Earthjustice #voces4climate #ActOnClimate
‏@VocesVerdes  Our amazing panel today. Lisa Garcia from Earthjustice taking the mic right now en español! #ActOnClimate
@VocesVerdes "Tenemos que cuidar a nuestra creación." -@vcardenasDC #voces4climate #CambioClimatico #accionclimatica #actonclimate
@VocesVerdes Thank you to our panelists for speaking to #Virginia community members about the #CleanPowerPlan! #voces4climate
@VocesVerdes  Voces Verdes is so proud of Falls Church's Latinos for the amazing outcome today
@VocesVerdes  "El #cambioclimatico es real y nos esta afectando donde vivimos y trabajamos."

Sunday News: GOP, Dem Races Tighten in IA; Another Push for Medicaid Expansion Coming?

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, August 30.

*Iowa poll: Trump, Carson lead GOP race
*Democrats worry about autumn after Clinton's summer of stumbling
*Trump to decide 'very soon' on whether to rule out independent bid
*Sanders Within Striking Distance of Clinton in Iowa
*Top Jeb fundraisers leave campaign amid troubling signs ("The move comes amid weak poll numbers and concerns that Bush's torrid fundraising pace has slowed.")
*Dems say party chair blocked Iran resolution at DNC meeting (Not cool at all.)
*Chris Christie: As president I would hire FedEx CEO to teach us how to track immigrants like packages (Sounds just like Barbara Comstock, and that's not a good thing.)
*Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Visits Albemarle on Campaign Trail
*Commentary: Solar can help Virginia meet clean-energy goals (" For the sake of our environment, economy, and future generations, we can't afford to wait to tackle global warming.")
*Schapiro: In Va. politics, sometimes there's less than meets the eye ("Don't rule out another push for a Medicaid-financed expansion of Obamacare. A seemingly unlikely endorsement for Northam. Gillespie eyes Senate - again. And Supreme Court pick could survive.")
*Casey: Gun control efforts are unwelcome in Richmond ("'s going to be even harder to win approval from a gang of lawmakers who are so reflexively pro-gun that they would reject firearms restrictions on 4-year-olds.")
*Gilmore campaigns in Petersburg, says Trump has yet to accept challenge for one-on-one debate
*Virginia relaxes restrictions on death row inmates
*University, college presidents move up state compensation list
*Editorial: Being No. 1 in congestion takes a heavy toll on region 
*Millennials have transformed Arlington, but will they stay?
*Zimmermann stifles Marlins, Nats gain a game on Mets (That's what the Nats need, a pitching staff that "stifles" opponents day after day for the next month.)
*D.C. area forecast: Sunday starts a several-day stretch of highs near or past 90

Photos: Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain and Scott "Circling the Drain" Walker

Saturday, August 29, 2015

It's great to see Scott Walker recover sufficiently from Out-Of-Control Scott Walker Injured After Wildly Careening Between Stances On Immigration to be able to attend today's event in Woodbridge with Virginia State Senator Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain (Far-right "R") and what looks to be a huge crowd of...maybe a few dozen people? LOL. For other, recent news about Scott "I'm going to punt on that one" Walker, see Scott Walker Is Circling The Drain: Experts Slam His "Childish" Comments On China, Scott Walker Takes $250 Million From U. Wisconsin, Gives $250M To Billionaire Sports Team Owners'It's just wrong': Walker defends Cruz from Boehner 'jackass' attackScott Walker falls flat on his faceScott Walker clueless on both guns and mental health6 ways Scott Walker has become more Trumpy, etc., etc. So yeah, crazy extremist Mark Obenshain and crazy extremist Scott Walker are just purrrrrfect for each other. Also gotta love the sign for Manassas City Mayor Hal Parrish, that supposedly more "moderate" Republican who's anything but...

Del. Marcus Simon on Jamycheal Mitchell: "This makes me incredibly sad and angry at the same time"

How can this lunacy happen in the United States of America in 2015? I agree 100% with Del. Marcus Simon: "This makes me incredibly sad and angry at the same time," and we "need to get serious about fixing our broken mental health system in Virginia before more people die!" I'd add that nobody - let alone someone with severe mental illness - should be in jail for stealing a Snickers bar and a 2-liter Mountain Dew - let alone for months "while awaiting trial on the charges." Add this one to the outrageous case of Natasha McKenna, and yes Virginia, we've got a major problem here that needs to be addressed ASAP!

Saturday News: Calls for More Dem Debates; GOP Pours $$ Into 2015 VA Gen. Assembly Races

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, August 29. Also see President Obama's weekly address, this time on "his upcoming trip to Alaska, during which he will view the effects of climate change firsthand. Alaskans are already living with the impact of climate change, with glaciers melting faster, and temperatures projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century." Given this and other environmental threats, I urge President Obama to announce his absolute opposition to oil and/or gas drilling in the Arctic. And no, I don't buy President Obama's argument that "high standards" are sufficient; the fact is, an oil spill in the Arctic would be a catastrophe, not in any way/shape/form worth the risk.

*Paul Krugman: Crash-Test Dummies as Republican Candidates for President ("The point is that one side of the political aisle has been utterly determined to learn nothing from the economic experiences of recent years. If one of these candidates ends up in the hot seat the next time crisis strikes, we should be very, very afraid.")
*Underdogs blast Democratic leaders, Hillary Clinton (I definitely agree that there should be more debates, probably twice as many...)
*As GOP outsiders surge, insiders favor Jeb Bush (Not surprising.)
*Don Lemon slams CNN for homophobic coverage of shootings of Virginia journalists
*Donald Trump plays a dangerous game: The dark side of making America great again ("Fascists always masquerade as patriots -- but their sinister motives are never far beneath the surface")
*Sarah Palin Lobs Softballs at Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush (What a pathetic oke.)
*Senator powerfully indicts colleagues for gun control cowardice: "We are essentially sending a message of quiet endorsement of these murders"
*Jeb Bush's foot-in-mouth problem ("When Jeb Bush opens his mouth, danger occurs.")
*GOP group to pump $100K into Va. races in bid to draw women, minorities (This is what Republicans have been doing for a long time at the state and local level, while Democrats have mostly allowed them to run roughshod and demolish our "farm team." When are Democrats going to wake up and fight this battle to win?)
*Jim Webb Snubs DNC Summer Meeting Over Clinton Favoritism
*Jim Webb Campaign: Reaching Out to DNC 'About As Useful as Sticking One's Hand Into a Wood Chipper'
*Gilmore challenges Trump to 'mano a mano' debate on birthright citizenship
*Alison Parker's parents call for reform; McAuliffe offers support to WDBJ family
*Court moves toward special master to redraw 3rd Congressional District
*Va. Supreme Court secretary responds to FOIA lawsuit
*Jailed over $5 theft, inmate found dead in cell at regional jail (Absolutely inexcusable on almost every level.)
*Public's business should be public
*Officials say WDBJ attack was 'well-planned,' 'premeditated'
*WDBJ reporter's father criticizes senators for not calling family
*Northern Virginia teen sentenced to 11 years for aiding Islamic State
*Virginia Shooter's Ex-Boss Tells of His 'Abrasive' Behavior (Sounds like a nightmare employee.)
*Marlins handle Scherzer and hold off the Nationals, 4-3 (This season is very close to being over.)
*D.C. area forecast: Summertime heat and humidity build back in

Video: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders Speeches to the DNC 2015 Summer Meeting

Friday, August 28, 2015

A bit earlier this afternoon, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders spoke to the Democratic National Committee (DNC)'s 2015 summer meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Here's video of the speeches, which are a fascinating contrast in style and (to a lesser extent) substance. As for Jim Webb, see Jim Webb Snubs DNC Summer Meeting Over Clinton Favoritism (whatever).

Huh? "National" Day of Action for Two Local GOP Candidates 99.99999% of the Nation's Never Heard Of

Seriously? A "national" day of action for a local County Board and School Board candidate who probably 99.99999999% of the nation has never heard of (nor cares about)? Delusions of grandeur or just completely clueless?

Virginia Dems Attend WDBJ Vigil; Virginia Republicans Busy Fundraising

According to the Roanoke Times, Democratic State Senate candidate Mike Hamlar cancelled a fundraiser last night so he could attend the "Stop the Violence vigil" outside WDBJ's station. Attorney General Mark Herring (D) also attended the vigil last night, as did State Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke). In contrast, Edwards' Republican challenger, Nancy Dye, along with State Senator Mark Obenshain, were busy doing what they do best: fundraising. Which would normally be fine, except that Republicans have been incessantly lecturing Democrats about how it's wrong to talk politics during a period of mourning. Hypocrisy much? Meanwhile, what we need is action to strengthen laws in a way that protects all of us against rampant gun violence. Which means, in turn, that we need to start by booting Republicans - and really anyone of either party in the pocket of the NRA - out of office (or at least pressuring them to change their ways).

P.S. I can just hear the pushback now: "but Lowell, you're politicizing the politicizing of the politicians attending a political event." LOL

P.P.S. By the way, former Rep. Eric Can'tor and "JEB" Bush were busy fundraising last night as well...

Friday News: "GOP's denial won't defeat trump;" "Clinton email 'scandal' that isn't"

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, August 28. Also check out President Obama's speech in New Orleans marking the 10-year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

*Boat sinks off the coast of Libya, killing as many as 200; death toll up from abandoned truck in Austria (What a nightmare.)
*Key ruling gives workers more power to unionize (Nice!)
*Tech nerds are smart. But they can't seem to get their heads around politics.
*Dow Jones Industrial Average Rallies After US Economic Growth Surges In Second Quarter(Demonstrating that this was possibly the stupidest stock market "correction" ever.)
*Trump and the Dangers of Passionate Politics (Excellent analysis by Mike Signer.)
*The GOP's denial won't defeat Trump
*The Hillary Clinton e-mail 'scandal' that isn't (Wildly overblown by an irresponsible corporate media that despises the Clintons.)
*New poll showing Clinton beating everyone is reported as bad news for Hillary (Perfect example of how biased the corporate media is.)
*Breitbart Defends Homophobic, Race Bait-y Virginia Shooting Coverage (Breitbart is truly the dregs of the dregs...)
*Virginia Shooting Spotlights Riddle of Workplace Safety
*Eric Cantor endorsing Jeb Bush (Hahahaha.)
*Digging into big coal's climate connections ("Now, the bankruptcy filings of Alpha Natural Resources, a large Virginia-based coal company, provide a rare window into the list of political and advocacy organizations the company has funded. E&E Legal (formerly known as the American Tradition Institute) is one of them. Other recipients include the Heartland Institute, which compared climate scientists to the Unabomber, the American Legislative Exchange Council and numerous others.")
*Jindal Writes Letter To Obama Telling Him Not To Talk About Climate During Katrina Anniversary Visit (Jindal's at 1% or less in polls, and rightly so...the guy epitomizes what he called the "stupid party.")
*Jeb Bush is losing, and the GOP establishment has no one to blame but itself ("Elites are indicting Jeb Bush for Donald Trump's success. But if they want culprits, they should look in a mirror")
*McDonnell's lawyers tell Supreme Court he was victim of 'high-profile political prosecution' (Actually, he was the "victim" of his own actions.)
*Virginia Democrats Push Gun Reforms After News Crew Is Killed (Del. Patrick Hope: "Yes, I'm taking advantage of a situation where it's really raw for people right now, but people are frustrated and we've got to quit hiding behind this do-nothing attitude.")
*As partisan fight simmers, optimist-in-chief McAuliffe brushes concerns away
*McAuliffe on guns, and the pro-gun outrage loop (The vast majority of Virginians are on Terry McAuliffe's side on this one.)
*McAuliffe's call for tighter gun controls upsets Republicans (Whatever.)
*McAuliffe promises more money for education in spending plan
*Swecker: Leaving us behind - The Republican problem with women in Virginia ("Everywhere you look in Virginia, Republicans are torpedoing their relationship with women. Let me assure you - it's going to be an issue in November. From the backward policies discussed in the GOP debate to political temper tantrums here in Virginia, the GOP is burning any bridge it might have to women voters.")
*Hamlar camp nixes fundraiser with attorney general in light of WDBJ tragedy
*WDBJ staffers pull together after attack on 'our family'
*Politicians speak at vigil for WDBJ shooting victims
*Nationals hold off Padres, but win comes with more injuries ("Michael A. Taylor and Yunel Escobar leave the game with injuries and Denard Span returns to the disabled list to overshadow a sterling start from Joe Ross as Washington wins at home.")
*D.C. area forecast: Warm but tolerable today, with bigger heat on the way

Eric Can'tor and "JEB" Bush: Two Corporate Peas in a Corrupt Pod

Thursday, August 27, 2015

First, here's the response by the Democratic National Committee to this ridiculous endorsement.
"Eric Cantor was defeated by GOP primary voters for being too cozy with Wall Street and the GOP establishment, and Jeb Bush is being relegated to middle-of-the-pack status by GOP presidential primary voters for exactly the same reasons. Jeb Bush seems to go out of his way to show he's out of touch." - Christina Freundlich, DNC spokeswoman
Now, a few comments from on Twitter.‏@realDonaldTrump "Who wants the endorsement of a guy (@EricCantor) who lost in perhaps the greatest upset in the history of Congress?"
‏@IngrahamAngle "Kiss of Death Alert: Eric Cantor will endorse Jeb Bush on Thurs. evening and will
@michellemalkin "Dear America: Please do to JebBush what Virginia conservatives did to Big Govt loser Eric Cantor."
@LOLGOP "If Jeb Bush had convinced Eric Cantor to endorse Donald Trump, that would have helped Jeb."
@hotairblog "Eric Cantor to endorse - who else? - Jeb Bush"
@chucktodd "Jeb's announcement of his VA co-chairs, which includes Eric Cantor, also interesting for who is NOT on it... ex-Bush 43 aide Ed Gillespie"
@jeisrael - "Endorsement from Eric Cantor, the right winger so corporate the Tea Party voted him out, speaks volumes about Jeb!"
@progressive_va  "Corporate-owned loser endorses corporate-owned loser: Eric Cantor to endorse Jeb Bush"
@RalstonReports "Twitter is not endorsing the Cantor endorsement."
I'd just add that both Can'tor and Bush are two corporate peas in a corrupt pod, that this endorsement might help Bush with fundraising as he tries to buy the nomination, but that it clearly will backfire/is backfiring with the right-wingnut "base." Gotta love it.
P.S. According to Politico: "Cantor is to introduce Bush on Thursday evening at a fundraiser in Richmond and then will appear with him Friday morning at a VFW post in Norfolk, for a town hall focused on veterans issues. Bush's other Virginia state co-chairs are Kay Coles James, director of the Office of Personnel Management under President George W. Bush, and John Hager, former Virginia lieutenant governor. Both will attend the fundraiser."

Video: Pat Robertson Says We Don't Have a "Gun Problem," It's About a "Closet Gay"...and Stuff

Yep, this is the same Pat Robertson who has donated $733,000 to Virginia Republicans over the years, and who called Bob McDonnell his "dear friend" "Bobby". Charming, eh?

Video: Scott Surovell Debates Empty Chair as Republican Opponent Refuses to Show

Last night in Occoquan, Del. Scott Surovell (D) attempted to debate his Republican opponent, Jerry Foreman, in their race for the 36th State Senate seat being vacated by long-time Sen. Toddy Puller (who has endorsed Surovell). Unfortunately for the public, the Republican candidate (Foreman) simply didn't show up. Interestingly, Foreman's campaign manager Shannon Duffy Daniels DID somehow manage to show up, along with members of the Prince William County Republican Committee -- but no Foreman himself. I'm told the Republicans in attendance even went so far as to distribute flyers attacking Surovell and listing his home address, which is not cool. Furthemore, individuals with questions for Jerry Foreman were told by his campaign they would only answer questions "offline." Is this the type of person voters in the 36th district want (mis)representing them in the State Senate. Nope, didn't think so.

Thursday News: "Republicans stay mostly silent in face of Trump's bigotry and misogyny"

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, August 27. Also check out video of Andy Parker, father of murdered WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, vowing that his "mission in life" will be to do "whatever it takes" to "shame legislators into doing something about closing loopholes and background checks and making sure crazy people don't get guns." A courageous man, glad to see Gov. McAuliffe strongly supporting him, as do 80%-90% of Virginians based on the polls.

*Republicans stay mostly silent in face of Trump's bigotry and misogyny ("But the character of the candidates already has been revealed. Trump is acting like a sexist and a bigot - and the rest of the candidates are, with occasional exceptions, too timid to call him what he is.")
*The Trumpification of the news ("Nowhere is the tension between financial and public imperatives more obvious than in the massive coverage of the Trump spectacular and the parsimonious attention given to anything serious any other candidate might say. But hey, how often does a serious speech about our economic troubles win ratings for anyone?")
*Will America finally do something to stop our gun-fueled carnage? ("Congress must act. And if not Congress, then state leaders who want to finally do something about the gun-fueled carnage.")
*McAuliffe says tragedy reinforces need for stricter gun laws
*Biden unsure if he has the 'emotional fuel' for 2016 run
*Father Of Slain Journalist Makes Emotional Plea For Gun Control On Fox News
*We're now averaging more than one mass shooting per day in 2015
*Dow soars more than 600 points, ending a six-day losing streak
*4 Reasons Why a Biden Run Would Help Sanders (I've been thinking the same thing for a while, that Sanders has to be very happy about this prospect...)
*State attorneys ask judge to dismiss Virginia Uranium suit
*Feds: McDonnell does not deserve continued freedom ("The Solicitor General urged Chief Justice John Roberts to reject the former Va. governor's request for bail while pursuing his high court case.")
*Virginia killings become world's
*McAuliffe says public can't see report on U.Va. student arrest by ABC police ("The investigation into a bloody arrest by Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control police is done and Gov. Terry McAuliffe has read it. It concluded the agents involved did not violate ABC policy, and McAuliffe said he agrees they be put back on the job.")
*City Attorney to seek court order to remove Confederate monument
*Two Roanoke journalists killed on live television by angry former colleague
*Remembering the lives of the news crew killed in Virginia ("Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward worked as a team at WDBJ in Roanoke, Va.")
*Gunman in televised shootings of Roanoke journalists used Twitter, sent manifesto
*Deaths of WDBJ journalists leave region in 'state of shock'
*Nationals' late rally falls short, and their deficit grows ("Gonzalez is again unable to make it out of the fifth inning in 6-5 loss. Three-run rally in the seventh is not enough." What happened to Gio?)
*PM Update: Another beautiful night and a gorgeous Thursday; Ragweed heading toward peak

Audio: Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks about Moneta murders, "there are too many guns...too much gun violence"

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Gov. McAuliffe nails it, as does Rep. Don Beyer (see his statement in the comments section): too many guns, too much gun violence, too many unacceptable and horrible gun-related tragedies like the one that happened this morning in Moneta, Virginia. So what, as a nation, are we going to do about this scourge?

Rep. Don Beyer: "Gun violence claims more than 30,000 lives per year." (0.00 / 0[delete comment]
"This morning in Roanoke two young people with their whole lives ahead of them were shot and killed. Another woman was shot and is in surgery fighting for her life. Gun violence claims more than 30,000 lives per year. I want to be able to tell the victim's families and loved ones that we did the best that we could to protect them. I want to be able to tell the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia that we will work to make sure this never happens again. No family should have to go through what Alison and Adam's families have to go through today. I am heartbroken over these tragic and unnecessary deaths. All of our hearts, prayers, and sympathy are with their families."

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Statement from Virginia State Police (0.00 / 0[delete comment]
Shortly before 11:30 a.m., Virginia State Police spotted the suspect vehicle headed eastbound on Interstate 66 in Fauquier County, Va. With emergency lights activated the Virginia State Police trooper initiated a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle. The suspect vehicle refused to stop and sped away from the trooper. Minutes later, the suspect vehicle ran off the road and crashed. The troopers approached the vehicle and found the male driver suffering from a gunshot wound. He is being transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries.
The male driver is believed to be the same male subject who shot three people this morning in Franklin County during a television news interview.
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office will be holding a press conference at 2 p.m. TODAY at the Willard Office Plaza at 13245 Booker T. Washington Highway in Hardy, Va."

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Gov. McAuliffe: "We cannot rest until we have done whatever it takes to rid our society of preventable gun violence" (0.00 / 0[delete comment]
Governor McAuliffe Statement on Conclusion of Search for Smith Mountain Lake Shooting SuspectRICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement today following the conclusion of the manhunt for the individual responsible for killing two individuals and wounding another this morning:
"Dorothy and I and our entire administration remain heartbroken over this morning's senseless tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims' families, the WDBJ staff and the entire community that is mourning this awful loss. We stand ready to offer whatever resources or assistance we can in the wake of this horrific incident. We also continue to pray for the safe recovery of Vicki Gardner, who was wounded in this terrible incident.
"On behalf of all Virginians, I want to thank the public safety personnel from across Virginia who responded with great professionalism and bravery to this threat.
"As we reflect with heavy hearts on this tragedy, it is appropriate to begin to ask questions about how we can prevent these senseless events in the future. Keeping guns out of the hands of people who would use them to harm our family, friends and loved ones is not a political issue; it is a matter of ensuring that more people can come home safely at the end of the day. We cannot rest until we have done whatever it takes to rid our society of preventable gun violence that results in tragedies like the one we are enduring today."

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Lieutenant Governor Northam Statement on Smith Mountain Lake Shootings (0.00 / 0[delete comment]
Richmond, VA - Lieutenant Governor Northam issued the following statement regarding today's horrific shootings at Smith Mountain Lake:"First and foremost, Pam and I have Alison Parker, Adam Ward, and the entire WDBJ7 family in our thoughts and prayers. We are also praying for Vicki Gardner as she recovers. I heard about today's senseless tragedy in between seeing patients - children who aren't that much younger than today's victims. As a parent, I simply cannot imagine a more heartbreaking tragedy than what has occurred today.
There is no debate or question that we have a real and grave problem with gun violence. While more details will continue to emerge about today's events, it is undeniable that these horrible shootings are happening far too often across the United States. We need to put politics and special interests aside and make sure that we are doing everything we can to keep our communities safe."

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Apparantly (0.00 / 0[delete comment]
We're going to criticize the Governor for trying to score cheap political points.It makes me sick. The senseless waste of life and the absolute refusal to do anything about it.

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What are you referring to? (0.00 / 0[delete comment]
As for me, I agree strongly with Gov. McAuliffe and LG Northam and praise both for their strong statements. Rep. Beyer too...

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CSGV: "On-Air Shooting Brings Virginia's Gun Violence to the Commonwealth's Breakfast Tables" (0.00 / 0[delete comment]
From Lori Haas of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence:
Live Murder of WDBJ Reporters in Southwest Virginia Should Serve as a Turning Point for General Assembly Where Sensible Gun Laws are Long OverdueThe public is devastated by the murders of Reporter Alison Parker and Cameraman Adam Ward that occurred during a routine live report during the 6:30 am broadcast of WDBJ 7 News. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family, friends, and colleagues at WDBJ.  
The Commonwealth of Virginia has had its share of horrific tragedies because of its lax gun laws and the killings this morning add to our sad history (Virginia Tech, the Navy Yard). Despite the fact that research and evidence provide opportunities to prevent dangerous individuals from accessing firearms (backgrounds checks on all purchasers; prohibitions on violent misdemeanants and persons subject to protective orders; and gun violence restraining orders), our elected officials from across the Commonwealth continue to put the moneyed interests of the gun lobby and NRA ahead of the safety of the citizens of the Commonwealth.
"The gun lobby and the NRA care about one thing: putting more money in their pockets at the expense of common sense regulations to reduce gun violence. These regulations target dangerous individuals with a history of violence - they would not impact law abiding citizens. The voting records of many of our elected officials show whose side they are on - and it's not the safety of their constituents", stated Lori Haas, the Virginia State Director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, whose daughter was injured at the Virginia Tech shooting.
The lack of action facilitated by the votes of those in bed with the gun lobby speaks volumes. The horrific shooting this morning is shocking but not surprising. The horrors of Virginia's day-to-day gun violence were on graphic display today for all the world to see.   And this will continue unless meaningful action is taken by the General Assembly.  Thoughts and prayers are not enough.

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Video: Hillary Clinton says "we have got to do something about gun violence in America" (0.00 / 0[delete comment]
This is one area where I'm much more with Hillary Clinton than with Bernie Sanders.

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Virginia Chapter of Moms Demand Action: today "a horrifying depiction of what gun violence looks like" (0.00 / 0[delete comment]
"Today's tragedy has shaken communities well beyond those in the Commonwealth. As a mom, I do everything I can to protect my children, but I know through my work with Moms Demand Action there is more we can do as a nation to prevent the senseless gun violence that is invading the places we should be safe: work, school, church, at the movie theater. We watched this scene play out on live TV-a horrifying depiction of what gun violence looks like.  This is not the kind of reality TV we want to see-but it was a glimpse of the everyday gun violence that kills and injures so many Americans when the cameras aren't rolling. Every day, 88 Americans including seven children and teens are shot and killed. This is not the kind of country we want to live in.  We must work together to call on our elected leaders to reduce gun violence, and if they don't, we will find new ones who will."  

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Virginia Dem House Leader David Toscano on "Yet another tragedy in Virginia involving gun violence." (0.00 / 0[delete comment]
Yet another tragedy in Virginia involving gun violence. My heart and sympathy goes out to the families of the victims, and I pray for the quick recovery of the other person injured in the shooting. As someone who has frequent contact with news teams, I know how close knit a community this is and how this is affecting the media in that area. This tragedy again focuses attention on the importance of gun safety policies and on our need to insure that those with mental health problems get the care they need.

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