Weekend roundup

A quick look at some of the stories and other stuff from the past week.

VA Republican primary: still Romney v Paul
The week started off with a ruling by Judge John Gibney to delay the printing of the ballots for the March 6 primary. When he put the ruling in writing the next day, it appeared that his final order might be in favor of the plaintiffs. (Rick Perry had filed the lawsuit but was joined by Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman and Michelle Bachmann, the latter three having not even bothered to turn in any petitions.) That was not to be. Friday, the judge heard the arguments in the case and ruled that Perry, et al, had waited too long to fight the rules (pdf).

General Assembly back in session: Republicans in charge
The General Assembly convened Wednesday. To the surprise of no one, Republicans in the Senate claimed control of that chamber. With the large majority in the House, Republicans are now in complete control of Virginia’s government. Despite the exhortation of Gov. Bob McDonnell in his State of the Commonwealth address that Republicans not “be arrogant” and not “overreach,” I simply don’t see that moderation coming to fruition. Elections have consequences, and how Republicans act with their control might just come back to bite them in November.

Republicans in charge: fast-track for congressional redistricting
I have to say I didn’t see this one coming, although I mentioned it as being on the table in my op-ed this week. I just didn’t think they would get to it as quickly as they did, with the first committee vote coming on the opening day of session. The bill has passed the House, but not without some division amongst the members of the black caucus. I have seen the memo – and my first response was that was something that needed to be spoken to the members of the VLBC, not committed to writing, simply because I knew it would end up in a story somewhere. The black caucus is a minority within a minority – and the need to stick together on the big issues cannot be overstated. But next time, I hope this kind of conversation takes place in the caucus meetings.

Bob Marshall is in!
Delegate Bob Marshall, author of HB1, the personhood bill, is running for the U.S. Senate. Marshall, who nearly pulled off an upset in the 2008 Republican convention for Senate, is entering an already crowded primary field. If nothing else, it’s going to be fun to watch Marshall debate front-runner George Allen.

Transparency? Um, no
The finance committee of the Portsmouth School Board canceled its meeting on the budget, rather than allow a Virginian-Pilot reporter to attend. When those who are supposed to represent us are afraid of the media, something’s very wrong. “Stop treating residents with contempt.” And the media, too.

Missing
The latest addition to the Virginian-Pilot editorial board, Michelle Washington, wrote a nice piece earlier this week about the lack of women in public life. Women, as I learned during the 2008 Democratic presidential contest, can be our own worst enemies. The sentiment of that woman she quoted in the story was one I heard far too often from women who would not support Hillary Clinton. If you substituted black for women in the article, you’d find a similar sentiment. There’s a name for it: internalized oppression.

Missing, part 2
Speaking of missing, I attended the Norfolk Forum Tuesday night and the speaker was University of Richmond president Dr. Edward L. Ayers. Ayers is a historian and an expert on the Civil War, the topic of his remarks. I don’t recall a speaker ever not having received a standing ovation before, but Ayers didn’t. Perhaps his blunt talk on the causes of the war made his overwhelmingly white audience uncomfortable.

Playoffs
My picks for the NFL playoffs this week: Saints over the 49ers, Patriots over the Broncos, Texans over the Ravens and Packers over the Giants.

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