Archive for the ‘Virginia’ Category

VRS: Virginia Pension Fund beginning to look anemic under Republican reign

August 5th, 2013 43 comments

vrs graph

The VRS has been in a steady decline in the past 5 years, since the onset of the Great Recession.   One has to ask why, since the stock market recovery has been remarkable and is at an all time high.  In short, the VRS got knocked on its financial ass, like everyone else, during the crash.  It has not kept pace because the General Assembly has refused to fund it at the levels where they should be funding.     Additionally, the State of Virginia has used the VRS like an ATM.  It owes the fund millions of dollars that must be repaid.  Part of this ‘loan’ is from municipalities and school system pay-ins being deferred.

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Governor Ultra-Sound or Governor On-the-Take?

July 10th, 2013 17 comments

RICHMOND — A prominent political donor gave $70,000 to a corporation owned by Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and his sister last year, and the governor did not disclose the money as a gift or loan, according to people with knowledge of the payments.

The donor, wealthy businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr., also gave a previously unknown $50,000 check to the governor’s wife, Maureen, in 2011, the people said.

The money to the corporation and Maureen McDonnell brings to $145,000 the amount Williams gave to assist the McDonnell family in 2011 and 2012 — funds that are now at the center of federal and state investigations.

Williams, the chief executive of dietary supplement manufacturer Star Scientific Inc., also provided a $10,000 check in December as a present to McDonnell’s eldest daughter, Jeanine, intended to help defray costs at her May 2013 wedding, the people said.

Virginia’s first family already is under intense scrutiny for accepting $15,000 from the same chief executive to pay for the catering at the June 2011 wedding of Cailin McDonnell at the Executive Mansion.

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Categories: Governor McDonnell, Virginia Tags:

The Road Battle: The roads down our throats

June 16th, 2013 5 comments


A proposed six-mile highway outside Charlottesville is so wasteful and ill-conceived that it’s achieved literary status. It prompted best-selling novelist and area resident John Grisham to write a book implicitly denouncing it.

“The Activist,” published last month and aimed at youths ages 10 to 12, is fictional. But Grisham said it was inspired by the decades-long battle over a $245 million bypass west of the city that’s home to the University of Virginia.

Grisham, famed for such legal thrillers as “The Firm,” said the new book is about “a boneheaded bypass around a lovely little college town and all the issues that go into such a boondoggle.”

The rest of the state, and especially Northern Virginia, should be equally appalled. The road is one of the most egregious examples of a pattern in which Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration relentlessly pushes a major highway project despite abundant evidence that the money could be spent more wisely elsewhere.


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Federal Grand Jury to convene over McDonnell, Star Scientific, the wedding and the chef

June 9th, 2013 4 comments

A Virginia state delegate has confirmed that he’s been called to appear next month as a witness before a federal grand jury as part of an investigation related to Gov. Robert F. McDonnell.

Del. David Ramadan (R-Loudoun) declined to comment further, saying that the federal subpoena prohibits him from disclosing its details, which might reveal what authorities are seeking from the first-term legislator.

The Washington Post has previously reported that the FBI has been conducting interviews about the relationship between McDonnell (R) and his wife and the chief executive of a dietary supplement company who paid for the catering at the 2011 wedding of the governor’s daughter. The agents are exploring whether McDonnell assisted the company in exchange for gifts.

Ramadan’s subpoena, however, is the first public indication of the impaneling of a grand jury to review evidence in the McDonnells’ case — a significant escalation in the investigation.

Dave Ramadan is a friend of the Governor and was also a guest at the McDonnell daughter’s wedding.  He says he did not give a cash gift to the bride and groom.

Office holders must report all gifts over $50.  However, there is no such restriction on gifts to children or spouses.  Perhaps Virginia might shore up this loophole immediately.  The current law allows for abuse.  and favoritism.  I suggest the legislature start working on this problem immediately rather than devoting so much attention to women’s reproductive rights and other social issues.


Categories: Va Politics, Virginia Tags:

Star Scientific, Jonnie Williams, the FBI, the Gov, and Snake Oil

June 5th, 2013 6 comments


star scientific

Would you buy this stock?  Check the side bar  dollar amounts.  This stock looks like a roller coaster and is now worth, as of June 4, 2013,  $1.46 a share.  What could be causing this stock so much pain, in a cycle where stocks have normally done real well?  Why is this stock technically a penny stock?  This is a graph of Star Scientific.

Perhaps an FBI investigation surrounding this stock, its CEO, the Governor of Virginia and the GOP Wannabe Governor isn’t the healthiest environment for a stock tied to the tobacco industry and dietary supplements to be in.


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E.W. Jackson: The man Virginia Republicans want as our next Lt. Gov.

May 20th, 2013 110 comments

Great balls of fire. You really have to be kidding me. I had to see it for myself.

I had read that Jackson also suggested that “enhanced interrogation” be codified and that members of the  CIA and Military would be protected from prosecution if they should use this method of questioning. I think that he suggested legalized torture. Have I misread something here?

Pardon me. This candidate is simply unacceptable. What WERE they thinking?

Did he compare Planned Parenthood to the KKK?

I think I’ll tiptoe on off and vote for Dr. Ralph Northam, thank you very much!

Categories: Va Politics, Virginia Tags:

And the Republican winners are……

May 18th, 2013 7 comments

The Republican State Convention selected the following folks to challenge the Democrats in this year’s state elections.

Governor:  Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Lt. Governor:  Bishop E.W. Jackson

Attorney General:  Senator Mark Obenshain

This is an extremely conservative ticket.  Make no mistake, the Democrats will point out the extremism.  It looks like its all about numbers now–who can get the most votes.  As far right as this slate is, the Democrats can be all over the spectrum.

There will be a Democratic primary on June 11th to decide who will represent the party for Lt. Governor and Attorney General.

Star-gate? The saga continues

April 28th, 2013 6 comments

At first I just thought it was an awkward situation getting a lot of attention…high roller Republicans buying in to a company to make healthy smoking.  Now I think it is a far more serious situation that involves influence peddling.


Williams offered the wedding gift at a time when Glen Allen, Va.-based Star Scientific, which makes a dietary supplement and facial cream under the brand name Anatabloc, was suing the state to challenge a property tax assessment.

The governor and his wife have been high-profile boosters for Star Scientific, which has lost money for 10 years and is the subject of a federal securities investigation and two shareholder lawsuits. Maureen McDonnell traveled to Florida to talk up Anatabloc to investors three days before the wedding, and she and the governor hosted a gathering at the mansion to mark the product’s arrival in stores.

Does the above paragraph send up red flags?  In Virginia, this behavior is not illegal but it sure is unethical to most of us.  McDonnell says the money was given to his daughter, even though he signed the contract and put down an $8,000 deposit which was later refunded to Mrs. McDonnell.    It all just sounds like weasel words at this point.

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A common denominator? What is Star Scientific?

April 27th, 2013 24 comments
Tres Amigos?

Tres Amigos?

The name Star Scientific keeps popping up in the news and it always is attached, in some way, to both the current governor, Bob McDonnell, or the wannabe governor, Ken Cuccinelli.  This association is usually surrounded by the oft-unspoken words, OOOPS or I forgot.

The Governor attracted some attention by not declaring that the CEO of this company, one Jonnie Williams, paid $15k for his daughter’s wedding reception.  McDonnell said he didn’t declare it because the gift was to his daughter.  Well, so much for traditional values where the parents of the bride pay for the wedding.  Sorry Bob, but do you think Jonnie would have sprung for the bill if you weren’t the Guv of VA?

Ken Cuccinelli also has gotten into political hot water over this same company.  The latest is the fact that he failed to report some gifts, namely an almost $5000 vacation to William’s Smith Mountain  Lake vacation home and a catered turkey dinner.   Cuccinelli also admitted to forgetting to report a plane trip to NYC financed by Williams.  In all, Cuccinelli has received about $18,000 in gifts from the CEO of Star Scientific in the past 4 years.

$18,000 might not seem much to a high roller.  To put this amount in perspective, many seniors don’t even get $18,000 a year in social security benefits.  I guess it pays to be a Virginia high roller.  Cuccinelli also owned stock in Star Scientific.  This sure seems like a cozy relationship.  Star Scientific used to be named Star Tobacco.  It appears they make supplemental products, as in supplemental vitamins of a sort.

So the question still remains, what is this company and what does it want?  No one gives away this much money to politicians without wanting something, do they?  Meanwhile, will both Cuccinelli and McDonnell continue to reap the benefits of their respective high profile positions?

What is Star Scientific?

Further reading:

Richmond Times Dispatch

Washington Post

VA ponders how to deal with sexting teens

April 18th, 2013 12 comments

Three Fairfax County high school students made cellphone videos of drunken sex acts with fellow teens and shared them among themselves, authorities said. When they go on trial Thursday, they face a charge usually reserved for adult predators: child pornography.

The case is one of a number in Virginia where teens caught “sexting” have been charged with a felony that can carry a sentence of 20 years in prison and could require registry as a sex offender.

In Virginia, Maryland and many other states, the law has not caught up with the combustible mix of teens, technology and sex that has made sexting an issue. Prosecutors must rely on a patchwork of laws created before the rise of smart­phones to handle such cases.

Some parents and rights groups are calling for a new law that would distinguish sexting from child pornography, create lesser punishments and focus on educating teenagers, not punishing them. But they also acknowledge that young victims can be devastated when embarrassing photos or videos are spread among their peers.

Kids will be kids?  Stupid is as stupid does?  I want these kids to feel some pain…big pain.  I am not sure I want them to go to prison.  That seems a little harsh.  Once again, perhaps the schools can pick up the slack and tell these knuckleheads about the penalties involved in doing something like this.

Do they still have reform schools?  Where do bad-asses get sent if they aren’t 18?  The simple solution is not to get drunk and disorderly.  I guess that’s too simple.

So cyber-buds…do we send the little pervs to reform school, prison, or slap them on the wrist and tell them not to do it again?

PS there is no opening picture.  I tried to find something and ended up totally grossed out.


Some of the teens were found guilty. Further Reading…click here.

These little brats sound to me like rapists in training. I hope their punishment is severe.

Categories: Virginia Tags:

Cuccinelli called out over climate change on the US Senate floor

March 18th, 2013 Comments off
Senator Sheldon whitehouse

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

RICHMOND — U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse frequently takes to the  Senate floor to warn against climate change, having done so, by his count, at least two dozen times in the past year. So perhaps it was only a matter of time before the Rhode Island Democrat got around to calling out Virginia’s most prominent global-warming skeptic by name.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, the presumptive Republican nominee for governor, got a backhanded shout-out in a Whitehouse floor speech last week for his unsuccessful legal battle against a University of Virginia climate scientist.

The battle went something like this:

“In 2010, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli used his powers of office to harass former University of Virginia climatologist Michael Mann and 39 other climate scientists and staff,” Whitehouse said in a speech Thursday, which was posted on YouTube. “As a U-Va. grad, I am proud that the university fought back against this political attack on science and on academic freedom.”

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Cuccinelli slides further down the slippery slope

March 6th, 2013 29 comments
AG refuses to resign whiling running for governor.

AG refuses to resign while running for governor.

SINCE WORLD WAR II, 10 of Virginia’s 11 attorneys general have run for governor. Nine of those 10, Democrats and Republicans alike, resigned to do so, and for good reason: They were loath to politicize an office whose effectiveness and prestige depend on making legal judgments untainted by politics.

Despite that wise precedent, Virginia’s current attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli II (R), has refused to follow suit. He has clung to his position even as he angled for his party’s gubernatorial nomination, bringing a cloud over his office and casting doubt on its ability to act impartially as the state’s legal counsel.

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Archaic Virginia laws: Virginia is NOT for lovers

February 3rd, 2013 3 comments


NOT lovers


Several decades ago, when Virginia adopted the slogan “Virginia is for Lovers” someone apparently hadn’t read the Code of Virginia.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Virginia is for the nunnery!

For some proof, let’s see what Huffington Post has uncovered (blush).

Only one or two centuries late, Virginia lawmakers have decided it is none of their business if unmarried couples share a roof. So the legislators are now working diligently to repeal the state’s law against “lewd and lascivious cohabitation.” Huzzahs all ’round for that.

But do not unclutch thy bodice yet. Virginia law is riddled with antiquated provisions meant to govern the “morals and decency” of the fair people of the commonwealth. And while the law against shacking up apparently never gets enforced, others do.

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VA Republicans attempt to change electoral college

January 25th, 2013 28 comments

electoral college

Republicans in Virginia and a handful of other battleground states are pushing for far-reaching changes to the electoral college in an attempt to counter recent success by Democrats.

In the vast majority of states, the presidential candidate who wins receives all of that state’s electoral votes. The proposed changes would instead apportion electoral votes by congressional district, a setup far more favorable to Republicans. Under such a system in Virginia, for instance, President Obama would have claimed four of the state’s 13 electoral votes in the 2012 election, rather than all of them.

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State Republicans refuse to address voting issues

January 22nd, 2013 7 comments

The state Senate approved a bill Monday allowing Virginians age 65 and older to vote by absentee ballot without having to provide an excuse.

Currently, Virginians are allowed to vote absentee only if they cannot get to the polls on Election Day for certain reasons, such as military service or jury duty. Last week, a Senate panel killed a bill that would have allowed any registered voter to vote absentee, but it approved a measure to allow seniors to do so.

On Monday, the Senate voted 28-9 for that bill, sponsored by Sen. John Miller (D-Newport News) and Sen. Jeffrey L. McWaters (R-Virginia Beach). All of those opposed were Republicans.

Why can’t anyone vote absentee?   Don’t get me wrong.  I am glad the vintage folks can vote absentee.  Usually it required bending of the truth.  But everyone should be able to without lying.  It would save the state money in the first place.  How many people would opt to vote absentee if given the choice?

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