Here he goes again. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli vows once more to sue the federal government. Now, he is challenging the Obama administration and Environmental Protection Agency's new fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks.
Cuccinelli has already filed suit against the EPA's determination that it can regulate greenhouse gases because they cause global warming and are harmful to human health. A Cuccinelli spokesman said the EPA's announcement of fuel efficiency standards amounts to a "tacit denial" of Cooch's insistence that the EPA reconsider its greenhouse gases determination.
I can't figure out what is driving Ken Cuccinelli to make himself the center of attention and the guy in the McDonnell administration that is hogging all the headlines. Is he already running for governor? Does he have aspirations for some Washington job? Perhaps he wants to vie with the Republican governor to get his name on some short list for vice president. Or, perhaps he is just an egomaniac who has to be the center of attention.
Whatever drives him, he has made sure he filled the headlines and airwaves with his agenda. First, there was the filing of a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, stating that, in Kenny's estimation, the agency has no authority to regulate CO2 emissions (even though the present conservative Supreme Court has already ruled that it does.)
Next came that letter to all the state colleges and universities, telling them to go ahead and discriminate against GLBT employees and students.
He followed that with his ridiculous lawsuit against the recently passed health reform legislation. His suit is based on the "supremacy" - in his mind - of a Virginia law denying the right of the federal government to mandate individuals to have health insurance. I guess Cuccinelli didn't check the wording of the law he so vehemently opposes.
There is NO penalty - financial or criminal - for anyone who fails to pay the penalty the law imposes for those who refuse to have health insurance. Thus, there is no standing to sue because no one will have damages because of their failure to follow the mandate ("Waiver of Criminal Penalties" and "Limitations on Liens and Levies" sections of the law)
Maybe Cooch wants the overturn of the health reform law under the pre-Civil War idea of nullification. (Probably, he just wants more publicity, knowing that his suit will fail.)
All of Virginia - and much of the country - now knows that we have elected, not a conservative, but a radical to be our Attorney General. It is already clear that Ken Cuccinelli does not have a mainstream, sensible, moderate bone in his body. No, this man is determined to twist our government into a tool to realize the most extreme right-wing fantasies that only the looniest Tea Partier could ever dream up. After only two months in office, General Cooch has:
- Attacked the integrity of science and the necessity of environmental action by legally challenging the US EPA's finding that climate change represents a threat to human health;
- Attempted to reverse decades of American progress against discrimination by threatening Virginia colleges and universities that they have no right to enact policies of anti-discrimination against gays;
- Challenged the power of the Federal government to make our health care system work for people rather than insurance companies, by suing the Obama administration over the constitionality of the just-signed health care reform act.
There's no question that this guy is nuts and will do all he can to make Virginia the laughing stock of the world. The only question left for me is: HOW DO WE FIGHT HIM.
Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli is insisting that he will file suit against the federal government because the recently passed health reform law requires citizens to either purchase health insurance (with or without government assistance, depending on income) or pay a fine.
According to our legally-challenged attorney general, the federal government has no constitutional right to insist that individuals purchase insurance.
Cuccinelli said in a statement released by his office. "We contend that if a person decides not to buy health insurance, that person - by definition - is not engaging in commerce, and therefore, is not subject to a federal mandate."
What does Kookinelli think about Virginia's mandate that drivers either purchase auto insurance or pay a large fee into the state "uninsured motorist fund"? Isn't that government insisting I and every other person who drives buy insurance?
Texas has gone too far. Too far. I really didn't care when their bouffant-haired governor made his veiled threat to secede from the Union, as if the Civil War was just a bad dream. I even thought it was kind of nice how warmly Texans welcomed their most famous - or infamous - son home after he finished the most disastrous presidency since Herbert Hoover.
Now, however, that Texas State School Board has gone too far.
There are two truisms about Virginia that have lasted down the ages. The first is what William Faulkner's realized. All Southerners, and especially Virginians, never forget the past because it isn't even past to us. We revere our history. We treasure it, warts and all. Our history is like our family, worth defending at all costs.
The other truism is that there are three "saints" in Virginia's history, men who are above criticism, flawed as they might have been: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Thomas Jefferson.
How dare those twerpy, right-wing upstarts in Texas say that Thomas Jefferson's role in American history has to be downplayed simply because he understood that common sense demanded a separation between church and state!
It is fascinating to me that a conservative state Delegate from Fairfax can so quickly be transformed into a national figure by benefiting from a lackluster Democratic year in Virginia, and some well-timed crazy as he starts out his term as our Attorney General.
Looking at what AG Cuccinelli has been doing since coming into office, it seems he is far more concerned with national / Federal issues than state issues. In fact, seen from a certain angle, I would say that Ken Cuccinelli is setting himself up to run for Senate against Jim Webb in 2012.
This morning, the Washington Post reported on the latest outrage by Virginia Republicans. One day it's global warming denial, another day it's tearing up the social safety net for our most vulnerable citizens, and another day it's rejecting federal money for unemployment benefits for Virginia citizens. Well, today, it's Republicans attempting to turn Virginia into Uganda on anti-gay discrimination. According to the Washington Post:
The decision by the majority of those who bothered to go to the polls last November to put a fundamentalist in the governor's mansion and a far-right, homophobic guy in the attorney general's office will surely cause problems for Virginia. I'll get to one relating to attracting employment to Virginia later. But, first, the side show that has become Virginia governance.
We all know by now that incoming Republican Bob McDonnell did not see fit to continue the eight-year pattern by Democratic governors of issuing a non-discrimination policy that rejected bias in hiring and promotion of state employees based on their sexual orientation.
He contended that only the legislature had the ability to protect those citizens from the actions of bigots. That is his "opinion," despite the fact that the Code of Virginia gives the governor the right to set policy for state agencies, unless prohibited from doing so by the Code of Virginia.
Meanwhile, certifiable nutjob Del. Bob Marshall (R-Far Right Field) has made another ridiculous, homophobic comment about a bill introduced by Democratic Sen. Don McEachin to do what the governor said was necessary - make discrimination in state hiring on the basis of sexual orientation illegal by legislative action.
"I think there first should be some finding that homosexuals, as a class, are being discriminated against," Marshall said. "In all of my experience and reading, gay individuals seem to have more income, to attend more cultural events, to take more vacations than the rest of us."
Words escape me in commenting on the stupidity of that remark. So, I'll just move on to the harm these homophobes may cause the state.
Virginia has a problem. All the progress we have made to gain a new reputation for our Commonwealth as a high-tech, modern, sophisticated state is in jeopardy. We now are at risk of going back to being viewed as Ignorant 'Ol Virginny, one of those bottom of the barrel, backwoods places that are referred to most often as the butt of jokes, not as models for anyone to draw from and admire.
While the new Republican leadership will surely provide lots of opportunities for embarrassment, the smart money is betting that the antics of our new Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, will do the most to tar our state as some kind of Neanderthal haven that hip young people, cutting-edge businesses and smart investors will do their best to avoid.
In fact, General Cooch has started his Reign of Error already, with his ridiculous legal challenge to the US Environmental Protection Agency's finding that climate change presents a threat to human health.
What interest (not to mention scientific expertise) does his office have to drag the state into such a quixotic exercise? Why is Cooch gearing up to spend your tax dollars to (literally) tilt at windmills, promoting Exxon-Mobil's self-interested conspiracy theories as a way to obstruct environmental progress? Why embark on a quest that can only make Virginia the laughing stock of the educated world? The only explanation is that the man is just simply a fanatical fruitloop.
So, how to solve a problem like Cuccinelli? Only one answer: YOU FIGHT.
I am about to send emails to my elected officials requesting that they sponsor resolutions -- both in the General Assembly and at the local government level -- condemning this action and demanding that taxpayer dollars not be wasted on this travesty. Following are some of my thoughts on what such resolutions might say. I welcome your contributions and suggestions as well.
It's been either "no-action" or "the wrong-action" since the GOPers took power in Richmond. First, Gov. Bob McDonnell begged for more time - with no criticism, please - for his not having budget amendments ready to cover his $2 billion refusal to go along with a tax increase in the budget submitted by former Gov. Tim Kaine.
Next, McDonnell has not issued an executive order barring discrimination in state hiring and workforce, breaking a 36-year practice by governors of both parties of making a formal statement on that issue one of their first acts in office.
McDonnell justified his inaction to the Washington Post by insisting that the executive order of Gov. Kaine is still in effect - minus the protection Kaine offered for sexual orientation. That contention makes no legal sense from a man who for four years was the state' top lawyer. How can all but one part of an executive order be said to be in effect? The "logic" escapes me.
Then, the Republican attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, recommended the withdrawal of Gov. Tim Kaine's state policy change that would allow government employees to add same-sex partners and other dependent adults living in their households to their state health benefits.
David W. Marsden, Democrat, who just won re-election to the position of Delegate in the 41st House District, has made it official: he is running for the 37th Senate District seat vacated by Republican Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, who won the slot of Commonwealth's Attorney General in the recent November election. The election will be Tuesday 12 January 2010.
Marsden has hit the ground running. Much of his staff is already in place, and he has lined up two field offices already to cover the sprawling 37th District, which runs diagonally across Fairfax County from West Springfield northwest through Chantilly and Centreville to the edge of Manassas Battlefield, but is basically centered in Burke with US Route 50 as its northern boundary and Clifton on its southern. Many residents of the 37th Senate District know Dave and have already voted for him, since 10 of the 14 precincts of the Senate 37th District are in both the 37th and his House 41st Districts, and about 30 percent of the residents of the Senate District are also in his House District. Marsden has served in the Assembly for four years as the Delegate from Burke, that is, the 41st District. In the 2009 Republican landslide, Dave won with 49.66 percent of the vote, beating Republican Kerry Bolognese (48.66 percent) and Independent Green C. Monique Berry (3.49 percent).
Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.
That was the final line spoken by Agent Hotchner in a rerun on A&E of an episode of "Criminal Minds." What, might you ask, could it possibly have to do with the race for Attorney General in the Commonwealth of Virginia?
The Democratic candidate Steve Shannon is someone I first met through his wife, Abby, whom I met because she was the LA who handled education for my friend Rep. Nick Lampson of Texas. And Steve and Abby were concerned with dragons, the dragons who abducted little children, which is why they were responsible for founding the first Amber Alert in the DC metro area.
And Steve was a prosecutor, someone who handled crimes committed by sexual predators.
And whether or not dragons exist, monsters do. Sometimes they run for political office. I believe if one looks at the public record of Steve's opponent, State Senator Ken Cuccinelli, one will see someone whose record in public office and his declared intentions have monstrous implications. Which is why this race is so important.
GOP candidate for AG, Ken Cuccinelli, has long expressed hate and intolerance against some members of society. But, according to the Virginia Pilot, he has reached new depths. He's implicitly threatened our gay citizens with discrimination, even possibly removing them from government positions. Said the Virginia Pilot:
To put it politely, Cuccinelli's election would bring embarrassment to Virginia, instability to the state's law firm and untold harm to the long list of people who don't fit his personal definition of morality.
Here's the problem:
He declined to commit to a nondiscrimination policy against gays and lesbians observed by former Attorney General Bob McDonnell: " My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong. They're intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law based country it's appropriate to have policies that reflect that. ... They don't comport with natural law. I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society."
To put it politely, Cuccinelli's election would bring embarrassment to Virginia, instability to the state's law firm and untold harm to the long list of people who don't fit his personal definition of morality.
(I am going to use this video at the top of every article I write about Steve Shannon/Ken Cuccinelli (unless a better one summarizing Ken comes along.)
Don't say I didn't warn you! Regarding the candidacy of Republican Ken Cuccinelli, we have told you what you'd get if he is elected on Nov. 3. Now, the Virginia Pilotcalled him a "pugnacious culture warrior." And, in its own endorsement of Steve Shannon for AG, the Roanoke Timessaid:
When Virginians choose their next attorney general on Nov. 3, they will either continue the levelheaded, no-nonsense approach preferred by most previous holders of that office or install an ideological firebrand who would impose his radical morality on the commonwealth. We recommend they select the former in Steve Shannon.
Ken Cuccinelli, "a radical firebrand." I couldn't have said it better myself.
Steve Shannon has the experience, the expertise, the understanding of the job and the ability to prioritize Virginia's legal needs. The AG is the state's legal counsel, the Commonwealth's top lawyer. Steve Shannon would be that. As the Virginia Pilot noted:
Steve Shannon's style is the better fit for Virginia. His thoughtful approach would preserve the reputation of the state's law firm as a source of reliable legal advice.
No one would ever call the editorial page of the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star a bastion of liberal thought. Thus it is newsworthy that in the AG race they have chosen to strongly support Steve Shannon for AG and to criticize his opponent.
Here's the criticism:
is bill to push Congress to deny citizenship to the kids of illegal immigrants is the sort of idea that jollies only the least tolerant Virginians, and another failed measure, making criminals of journalists who knocked on the doors of mourners, is further evidence of Mr. Cuccinelli's vulnerability to ad hominem temptations.
And here's the praise of Shannon:
For most of his career, Mr. Shannon, 38, has protected children from the despicable criminals who exploit the blind spots of a mobile, techno-chaotic society. Just after finishing U.Va. Law School, Mr. Shannon and his wife brought the then-new idea of the anti-kidnapping Amber Alert to the Washington metro area and arduously sold it to skeptical authorities. As a Fairfax prosecutor, Mr. Shannon zeroed in on child molesters. Today--yes, we mean right now--he can tell you exactly how many computerized kiddie-porn transactions took place in Virginia yesterday. (Smile, pervie, you're on Candid Keystroke.) He can speak knowledgeably about gang violence, cropping up even in Virginia's boonies, and his prosecutorial and legislative record glitters with efforts to shield consumers from fraud.
And here's their conclusion:
Mr. Shannon, in short, strikes us as more temperate and more adaptable to the realities of social change. We endorse him for attorney general.
7 of 8 business groups have endorsed Shannon. Now we are seeing normally reliable Republican editorial pages doing so as well.
Update: Bob McDonnel is apparently so emboldened in his deceptions that he tells Virginians one thing, for example, that he is moderate, as recently as last night in Salem, VA, and then goes to Liberty University this very day and says this.
We are sick of mopping up Republican messes. Both on the national and statewide stages, we have undergone massive de-funding of important programs so that the well-heeled might be further enriched. We've seen our national and statewide treasure parceled off to the (not always) highest bidder. And now we've seen our Treasuries having to plug the leaks of the profligate. Though we in Virginia have thus far fared better than much of the country, the mess that George W. Bush made continues to bedevil the statewide budget. And yet instead of helping to constructively mop up the Bush mess, GOPhers posture, claim credit for things they had no real hand in, and downright lie about Creigh Deeds.
In all my nearly thirty years in Virginia, I have never heard so much bull spun by the GOP, and to best Allen, Gilmore and Kilgore, there's a lot of bull-slinging. They do it with apparent near-impunity. This year, there are better fact-checks in the so-called MSM than usual. Yet, the fibbing is so bad that even those newspapers endorsing McDonnell do so tepidly, as if holding their collective noses. So the voter really has no excuse. And yet the prevaricators of the other side continue to fool them, according to polls. It's become a veritable Liar's Poker game. But it's too important a situation for Virginians to be gamed.
And so the liars' poker charade of a platform and the cascading lies about Bob McDonnell's opponent stack deception upon deception. BS Bob's false claims attempt to rewrite history and shift blame from the Party of tax cuts and "No." His party gives away the revenue stream to those already doing the best in the lingering poor economy. And they propose doing more of it.
in today's paper theWashington Post completed its endorsement for statewide races in Virginia as a sweep for the Dems, when it picked Steve Shannon over his Republican opponent, Ken Cuccinelli. The sub-title puts it in the proper context: Two Fairfax lawmakers are vying for the job -- one wonkish, one worrying.
The editorial is thoughtful, gives Cooch credit for bucking his party on some issues, but makes its concerns clear in words I have bolded in the opening paragraph:
THE RACE for attorney general in Virginia is a face-off between a pair of youngish lawyers, each from Fairfax County, each elected to the General Assembly this decade, and each now running his first statewide race. The similarities end there. While the Democratic candidate, Del. Stephen C. Shannon, is a mainstream former prosecutor -- strait-laced, sober, earnest almost to a fault -- his Republican opponent, state Sen. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, is a provocative hard-liner who at times has struggled vainly to attract a single vote for his more far-fetched initiatives.
I will not mince words. Nor will I even try to be polite. The choice is this: It's either a rational, experienced, mainstream, accomplished legislator or a wingnut who operates in the stratosphere. (They call liberals moonbats and then they give moonbat new meaning, as in a candidate (a slate, actually) who does everything except howl at the moon. Ken Cuccinelli howls about almost everything else, though, as you will see in some of the videos linked below.
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